Richmond Music Teachers Concert Today At Main Library

A concert by the members of the Richmond Music Teachers Association will be held today in the Gellman Room of the Main branch of the Richmond Public Library at 2 pm.

This is also a good excuse to check out the art exhibited at the Main branch:

GELLMAN ROOM: “Bringing the AT to RVA” – photographs by CHERYL HADRYCH
DOOLEY FOYER: “A Glimpse of Happiness” – new works by TITUS MARQUES
DOOLEY HALL: “From This Earth” – black and white gelatin silver prints by REBECCA TAYLOR
2ND FLOOR GALLERY: “Paintings of Trains and Nature” by CHRISTOPHER C. ALEXANDER, IV

Announcing The First Annual Oregon Hill Jack O’Lantern Contest

I have been wanting to do this for a while, and I think this is the year… I am hereby announcing the first annual Oregon Hill Jack ‘O Lantern Contest. First prize so far is a measly $20 from yours truly, however I am also announcing that I am looking for a local business to co-sponsor and help to significantly increase the prize money. (In other words, this could quickly become the ________/Oregon Hill Annual Jack O’Lantern Contest with the right advertising contract).

Creative Commons image- A Jack o' Lantern made for the Holywell Manor Halloween celebrations in 2003. Photograph by Toby Ord on 31 Oct 2003.

Creative Commons image- A Jack o’ Lantern made for the Holywell Manor Halloween celebrations in 2003. Photograph by Toby Ord on 31 Oct 2003.

So…rules…let’s see…

Submission Info invites submissions for its first annual Oregon Hill Jack O’ Lantern Contest. Entrants should read the following rules, terms, and conditions before submitting any photos or documentation.


Entrants must be 18 years of age or older. All entrants younger than 18 years of age must submit a note of parental consent with their entry. All entrants must be a resident of the Oregon Hill neighborhood to be considered. Contest is void where prohibited by law.
Contest judges (which is so far just me) and their immediate families are not eligible to enter.


Entries will start being accepted from October 15, 2016 at noon through October 27, 2016 at 11:59 pm. A winner and runners-up will be announced and presented on on Friday, October 29, 2016 at noon. Please submit entries by emailing a photo jpeg file, size between 200 kb and 1.5 mg, of the entry to, including a (real) name and a (real) address. Submitted photo should be of a carved or altered pumpkin in front of address. All entries must be original, newly-produced works, created after October 1, 2016. Entries must be original creations, with photo by the creator, and not infringe on the copyrights of any other parties. Any entires suspected, in the discretion of, to be in violation will be rejected immediately from the competition. does not grant entrants the right or access to photograph private property or use of its name to secure access. Entries may have multiple co-producers, but one should be listed as the primary contact upon entry. The fair dissemination of any prize winnings will be the responsibility of the primary contact. Participants may submit multiple entries, however 1 photo entry per email. All forms of photos that are not produced by the entrant must be credited to the original photographer. Entries containing immoral, defamatory, obscene or scandalous content, or any other content which, at the sole discretion of, is not in the keeping with, will be deemed ineligible. By submitting a photo entry, each participant represents that the photo submitted is an original work that does not infringe on the copyright or intellectual property right of another party, and each participant agrees to indemnify, and its contest judges from all liability arising from any alleged infringement in this regard. Photographer retains ownership rights to the submitted photo. However, the winning entrants grant to the non-exclusive, non-transferable right and license to use the photos and the winners’ names in perpetuity without compensation, notification, or other limitation or condition, both in conjunction with the competition and promotion of the competition and promotion of generally. is not responsible for entries that are not received or not received properly, or for any technical problems with corrupt digital files, internet outages, computer failures, and the like. is not responsible for lost, late, or misdirected entries. is not obligated to acknowledge receipt of entries.


Entries will be judged by a panel made up of editors and Halloween experts invited by Judges’s decisions will be final and binding.

To select the winner, entries will be by judged by awarding of points based on the following criteria: (1) originality (40%), (2) composition and coherence (20%), (3) quality of photo (20%), and (4) consuming/recycling/composting of materials (20%) (this can be signified by a statement of intent included with entry). In the event of a tie score, the tie will be broken by awarding the prize to the entrant with the highest score in the first of the above-listed criteria (in order of appearance) as to which there is no tie.


Prize consists of $20 in U.S. currency, prominent featuring on, and bragging rights. Runners-up will receive prominent featuring on, and bragging rights. Applicable federal, state, and local taxes on prize are the sole responsibility of the winner.

Lastly, reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to modify, suspend, or cancel the contest for any reason.

I think that covers it.

In addition to possibly having a co-sponsor, there is the possibility that the contest judging will change to online public voting on to determine winner, but that possibility may or may not happen for this year’s contest.

The Bijou Opening

Although it is not in the neighborhood, The Bijou Film Center is opening within walking distance downtown at 304 E. Broad, offering ‘art house cinema’. At one point, there was speculation that the Bowtie movie theater complex was going to be closer to us, building on a block near 3rd Street, but they decided to go the Boulevard location instead. Anyway…

For its first feature to be presented in its own location The Bijou will screen Charlie Chaplin’s classic, “Modern Times,” Sat., Sept. 3.

Show times are 7: 15 p.m and 9:30 p.m. Admission will be $5.00.

“Modern Times” (1936): B&W. 87 minutes. Directed by Charlie Chaplin. Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Godard, Henry Bergman. Released in the middle of the Great Depression, Chaplin’s Little Tramp character is plunged into the daunting world of the assembly line. He can’t keep up, so he cracks up. Mishaps ensue. He’s hospitalized and jailed. Although the comedy has lots of sound effects, music as well, it doesn’t depend on spoken dialogue to tell the story. However, Chaplin’s voice is heard (for what was the first time in a movie). The popular song, “Smile,” which was written by Chaplin is presented.


ART180 Forum with RPD at Main Street Library This Friday

From announcement:

Richmond, Virginia- Richmond Police Department will meet with formerly incarcerated youth, artists, and advocates for juvenile justice reform in a community forum designed to create an exchange of perspectives on issues concerning the juvenile justice system. The event will be hosted at the Richmond Public Library’s Main Library (101 E. Franklin St.) on August 26, 2016, from 5:30-8 p.m. The hope for the forum is to spark an honest and heartfelt conversation about the relationship between the needs of young people and law enforcement.

This event will be the culmination of three trainings conducted that week for up to 75 officers of the Richmond Police Department. During the training the officers will create a piece of art that allows them to present themselves not as officers, but as fellow humans. Their artwork will be exhibited alongside various artworks created by young people incarcerated at the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center during a program called Performing Statistics offered by the nonprofit ART 180.

Since June, teens from the detention center have been meeting three days a week at ART 180’s teen art center ATLAS. Working on various projects including poetry, video, photography, and stenciling, their work addresses their experiences in the system and the support they wish they had in the community. “If justice was transformed, I would be doing work, not time,” wrote one teen.

Conceptualized in 2014, the Performing Statistics project is now a permanent program of ART 180 in partnership with Legal Aid Justice Center. The unique collaboration connects incarcerated youth to juvenile justice reform advocates in Virginia with the goal to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. The art created by the teens shares a rare perspective of the juvenile justice system from a first-hand experiencer. Ultimately, Performing Statistics looks to the youth most affected as the experts whose voices are important for building a more just, equitable world. As one of the program participants explained, “It’s not where you’re from, but where you want to go.”

Future events to look out for are an October exhibition at ART 180’s ATLAS gallery that will feature the work created this summer by incarcerated teens,, as well as the program’s second annual Justice Parade for Incarcerated Youth.

More on ART 180 at
More on the Performing Statistics project at

Fireworks’ Future

Oregon Hill residents have had a real love/hate relationship with the annual fireworks displays surrounding the Fourth of July. And if asked, I am sure it would mostly be ‘love’.

That said, this year the RVA Fireworks on The James (usually on July 3rd) is not happening. Before everyone complains and accuses certain Oregon Hill residents of being NIMBY party poopers, it should be recognized that the reason that they are not happening is that major sponsors decided not to support the event this year.

So, fireworks fans can certainly attend other fireworks displays throughout the area, including the free one sponsored by the City at the Dogwood Dell on the 4th. What happens in future years is anyone’s guess, but one way to adjust is to change the nature of the fireworks displays themselves by making them more respectful of nature.

The New York Times has a wonderful recent article on the increasing popularity of ‘quiet fireworks’:

In parts of Europe, quiet fireworks displays have grown increasingly common. In Britain, venues close to residents, wildlife or livestock often permit only quiet fireworks. One town in Italy, Collecchio, passed a law in 2015 that all fireworks displays must be quiet.

By relying on rich color effects and tight visual choreography, designers of quiet fireworks programs can forgo the big explosions and still deliver a stunning show. The hope is that softer celebrations mean less stress for noise-sensitive children, veterans, older people, pets and wildlife.

“We’ve seen more competitors in the last decade or so,” said Rino Sampieri, a senior display manager at Fantastic Fireworks, a company based in England that started selling a quiet fireworks package 30 years ago. “Today, quiet fireworks are part of everybody’s inventory.”

Quiet fireworks are not a new invention. In fact, they are used routinely in classic firework shows as visual effects to accompany the loud bangs. Think of the “comet tail,” which shoots into the sky with a trail of sparkles before quietly fizzling out. Or the “flying fish,” which features tiny tadpole embers scattering away from a silent burst.

What is new is the emergence of a genre of low-key, quiet fireworks displays for audiences that want the fanfare of fireworks without the auditory disturbance.

In addition, there is more development being done on ‘green fireworks’ that do not dump as much heavy metal residue as regular ones. Still, there are a lot of compelling reasons to just not do fireworks altogether. Perhaps the City leaders can take more responsibility and promote better alternatives. Laser light shows, for example, are becoming increasingly sophisticated and crowd pleasing.