You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Richmond Architecture’ category.

I can’t tell you all the quirky offerings that will be on this Friday, March 15th’s tour, RVA Ink: Imprint & Impact, that we’ll debut in Richmond’s Downtown Arts District 12:30-3:30 p.m., but I’m perfectly fine with dropping a few tidbits to entice you.

It’s all about cool, artsy things going on downtown and includes lunch at Pasture. We start at Ghostprint Gallery and meet the co-owner and tattoo artist extraordinaire, Thea Duskin. Tattoos welcomed, but not necessary! Then we head to Art 180 which does amazing things with kids and art, then pop into Big Secret, a biz that does wild laser cutting and engraving, then lunch, then head  to Richmond Times-Dispatch, Library of Virginia for a special look at old newspapers and end at the Valentine to see their RVA tattoo exhibit before it closes at the end of the month. Ink in many forms. Creativity everywhere we turn. And I haven’t even mentioned the murals!
Pasture is creativity we can eat!

Pasture is creativity we can eat!

It’s quirky and creative, so it would be so fun if you could come! I’ll be leading it. Here’s the link for  RVA Ink. Should be good weather Friday, unlike today!

 

Advertisements

and here is some of what I thought of it from an online piece for Richmond Magazine: Lincoln Premieres in RVA I’ll tell you more if you come on our Lincoln Legs: Brunch & Brushes with History tour tomorrow, Nov. 11th at 12:30 and we’ll brunch at LuLu’s in between following in Lincoln’s footsteps. I’ll also bring Dixie Donuts. I think Abe would approve. It is my dream to refight the Civil War using donuts, Dixie Donuts vs. Philly’s Federal Donuts. It is the only time I’d want the south to prevail. We’ll run Lincoln Legs again Nov. 25th, brunching at Arcadia then.

Lincoln is loved in VA

Going to be showing off Richmond’s riverfront (even that phrase seems almost funny as I write it–Richmond hasn’t had a riverfront so much as a river in the backyard) with Off the Eatin’ Path: Richmond’s Riverfront starting this Sunday, May 6th at noon. We’ll start in Shockoe Slip and wander around the canals and Brown’s Island and wind up at Canal Bistro at Off the Hookah for lunch. 1.5-2 hours of art, architecture, adventure and me blabbing in between bites! The RVA Street Art Festival sure spiced up one section of our route with the fun (and possibly ephemeral if a buyer buys the Hydroelectric Plant and wants them removed) multiple murals that live there now. Get down there to see them one way or another, please!

see what's behind the scaffolding...

You know I’ll season the tour with lots of James River Park System info, ways to get out and enjoy the river and the creatures who frequent it–not all of them fitness-crazed people yelling “Hoo-rah!”–and several lesser known historical tidbits. It should be a relaxing yet exhilarating tour. The high school group who were my guinea pigs for this tour in March said I saved their lives by taking them on the tour. I don’t recall pulling any of them out of the rapids, but maybe I was so engrossed by RVA’s riches that I didn’t notice that part of the tour….

All Aboard!

On our typical food tours, I push the river as worthy of a visit all sorts of ways. I’m glad that on this route the James will get to speak for itself.

a flood of interest in the James these days...

Monument Avenue is back in the news–for the always exciting Ukrop’s 10k (presented by Martins) this past Saturday that featured 80, 000+ feet going forward on 40,000+ competitors–and possibly 1 giant step backward if Art 180’s legally permitted exhibit What Do You Stand For? is bullied off the block by April 6th instead of being allowed to stay through May 4th as agreed to originally. Apparently complaints from a few well-placed Monument Avenue residents, one of whom called Art 180’s vibrant and colorful and moving exhibit disgraceful, have triggered a revocation of their permit. Wow. That guy can’t see the grace in this exhibit for the dis in his own eye.

Monument Avenue has gorgeous architecture along it–including the amazing Branch House, The Virginia Center for Architecture–a wide median with trees, and those durned statues. Those statues are symbols of  a Richmond set in its way, stuck in the past, standing still, looking backward, clinging to an unjust past. I much prefer an avenue with actual people and dogs out there walking and running, doing a yoga flash mob, painting plein air, being enlightened and inspired by the art and words of these young artists. This exhibit,exquisitely well-timed to include the Monument Ave 10k and Easter on Parade, gives the artists taught by Art 180 staff the chance to have their powerful, vibrant, and meaningful art showcased for thousands of people. This is where the new Richmond–artful, creative, vibrant, all-embracing–is on display.

Can you say juxtaposition?

From a Close Up on Monument Ave. on p. 159 in Insiders’ Guide to Richmond–written by yours truly:

“And then there are those six statues, of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, J.E. B. Stuart, Jefferson Davis, Matthew Fontaine Maury, and Arthur Ashe. What started as a way to memorialize the Confederate past while jump-starting development to the west of town  in the late 19th and early 20th centuries took on a life of its own, mythologizing the Lost Cause. For the record, the vast majority of people in and around Richmond do not venerate those dead Confederate guys. We mostly joke about them or ignore them and the no left turn signs at some of their intersections. It is no joke that they represent a painful past that Richmond and the rest of the country is still coming to grips with. They do add focal points and drama to the avenue, and sometimes even a protest or two. In 1968, Helen Marie Taylor took a stand against a paving machine that would have covered the original Belgian blocks on the road. She jump-started the movement to preserve and protect the Avenue’s unique character.”

Protests and advocacy got Arthur Ashe’s statue added in 1996. Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. there’s an art walk scheduled to start at the Lee Monument to celebrate Art 180’s exhibit.

Wow. More of this--not less!

It’s an exciting, art-filled time in Richmond with the G40 murals going up downtown now, the Street Festival mural project coming up April 12-14th and What Do You Stand For? in the middle of Monument Ave. I stand for it staying and for more creative and all-embracing uses of Monument Ave. to make it a place that celebrates all Richmonders. That’s a cause worth fighting for.

One of my favorite parts of running Real Richmond with my pal, Susan Winiecki, is coming up with fun places to start off the food tours. Sometimes, because of the time constraints (and our  learned by doing more than that once) 1.5 mile limit, we start at one of the restaurants we sample at, or on the Cathedral steps for a bit of value-added grandeur, but mostly we start in local bookstores or galleries. I REALLY want people to spend their time and money in these places. If you’ve gotten sucked into the chain thing, give ’em up for Lent and try going local. You will be amazed at how much fun you can have in these joints.

GO!

For the Fan of the Food tour, we start at Black Swan Books on W. Main St. For Carytown/Museum District, it’s Chop Suey Books, and for our Shockoe Slip: Capital of Cuisine tour, it’s none other than Fountain Bookstore. For Both SIdes of Broad we often start at Quirk Gallery, which is both a huge treat and temptation. We also love to sneak in a visit to a theater or special space if we can make it happen. We’ve treated people to mini-tours of The Empire/November Theatre, The Hippodrome, Anderson Gallery, Glave/Kocen Gallery and more. And lately, we’re able to incorporate a visit to the Virginia St. Gallery on the Slip tour and have vendors there with samples for our tour-goers. Lucky us!

Some kids break bad. I don’t mean to brag, but mine break good.

See?

Getting it done

This same gentleman tore off paneling in another room one year he was in high school, inspired partly by a class on architecture. I guess he’s a little bored now, which works for me. And how handy that this little project that I’ve had little to do with other than breathe in lots of dust will provide fodder for a couple of more columns in RHome. And yes, those non-existent purple polka dots were my idea, several Super Bowl Sundays ago, in cahoots with my daughter. The stencil sizes were inspired by a piece of cardboard leftover from a box from some other project–think it held light fixture parts and it was a done deal. Or so I thought. Turns out there’s never a done deal around here….

So I am late to this party, but it should count that I’ve been stewing about it for weeks, nay, months, nay centuries. Must I say again how tired I am of Richmond being highlighted in the year of 2012 as the capital of the Confederacy when the Civil War has nothing to do with the issue at hand? Long time ago. It’s been the capital of Virginia for well over 300 years–for good and ill when the legislature is in session. It’s been on a beautiful river forever.

I especially cringe at it when a writer or correspondent leads with the C of C when the rest of the story has absolutely nothing to do with history. One of my favorites of late was the real estate segment on The Today Show that shows what homes are listing for around the country. Here is the Richmond.com version. On Jan. 12th, a house from my part of town made the grade, and the lead-in was: “Richmond is the state capital and was also the capital of the confederacy during the Civil War. This home is nestled on a private cul de sac lot within walking distance of the James River….”

Wow.  That is some truly bad writing. The confederacy reference is hysterical. And lazy. And irrelevant. Now if the home were on Monument Avenue or in Jackson Ward or was a grand estate built just pre- or post-Civil War by all means, lay on the C of C as much as you’d like, but a tri-level in Stratford Hills? Unless the house is sitting on the grave of Robert E. Lee, I think it’s just a tad off point. At least walking distance to the James gets in there–which is what will sell that house. Even if there’e no statue of Traveller getting a drink from the James at Pony Pasture.

Worth talking about

I think I’ll do some writing for the next real estate segment. “Boston is the state capital and is where Brits shot a black man at the Boston Massacre. This home is tucked in a suburb nowhere near anything I’ve just mentioned. Dallas is in Texas, which is frightening enough already, but it is also where JFK was shot in 1963. Here’s a lovely house miles from the grassy knoll.”

Within a week or so of the Today Show bit, we were treated to a piece about Richmond as the most under-rated city in the U.S. from the Huffington Post that also led with “As the former capitol (sic–oy vey, these people can’t even spell) of the Confederacy….”  No matter how many complimentary (and often vapid) things the writer says afterwards, I am not amused. I do not deny that Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy for four years. But that doesn’t say what people think it says about Richmond. It was a complicated and fascinating place before, during, and after.  

Doth the lady protest too much? Don’t think so.

Continuing my Twitter RVA Holiday Gift Guide from an earlier post:

Holidays#rva Gift Guide #13 Cool books and jewelry from@Va_Architecture What will those architects think of next?http://twitpic.com/7svsli

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #14 Chocolates from @GearhartsRVA@LibbieGrove See the gingerbread house, too! The sum is yum!http://twitpic.com/7t7uoa

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #15 A stay at a @HistoricRicInns Lovely B&BS that are getaways in the middle of go-to places!http://twitpic.com/7tnalt

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #16 Dreaming of a Light Christmas?Take someone to @lewisginter GardenFest of Lights MT @rvanewshttp://rvanews.com/features/gardenfest-of-lights-in-beautiful-pictures/54263

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #17 Insiders’ Guide to Richmond available at @FountainBkstore & Chop Suey Books Read it & leap!http://twitpic.com/7ulq1e

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #18 @vmfa membership so no one will have blue Christmas–Elvis will be in the bldg Dec. 24-March 18, FYI.

Holiday RVA Guide #19 Hanukkah candy: pretty sight-a better bite! Easy to buy @ For the Love of Chocolate in @Carytownhttp://twitpic.com/7vk72c

Holiday RVA Gift Guide # 20 Hatch Show Print Posters from@LibraryofVA Letterpress Love!http://www.thevirginiashop.org/search.aspx?find=Hatch

Holiday RVA Gift Guide #21 Built by Blacks. Book or pamphlet. Fascinating guide. Buy @ Black History @Va_Architecturehttp://twitpic.com/7welwr

# 22 will be sending you to Virginia Street Gallery in Shockoe Slip for goodies of food, art, and handmade cool things. It’s open 11-8 today through Christmas Eve. 

Who needs words when Jamie Betts’ photos from Virginia Special Olympics’ Over the Edge extreme fundraiser are here?! My second time rappelling down a 24-28-storey building, depending how  you count, just about 400 feet high, was more eventful than last year’s trip because the wind was gusting 20-30 miles an hour.

Nutzy, Kate Hall and I

Nutzy isn’t the only one who is nuts, but once you’re up on the top of the SunTrust Building in Shockoe Slip, the view is so spectacular, it’s easy to forget why you’re there.  Ostensibly it’s to raise funds and awareness of Special Olympics Virginia and the good work they do year-round. I’m all for that, but let’s face it–there are some of us who like doing  something that most people wouldn’t consider doing. As we were waiting our turns, Kate Hall, of RichmondMom.com asked if we could look over the edge before we rappelled. We were of course, tethered in, but kneeling near the lip of the building and looking down was the only thing that made my innards get all wobbly. There was no ground in sight. Even Paul Woody, who went ahead of me and who wasn’t that far gone, was out of sight. I backed away right quickly. Once it was time to do the deed, I was nervous only about making a better start than I had the year before when my quads froze and I had to sit  on my rear to push off from the building. Not my finest momemt, but there was no photographer to witness it, so why am I telling you now?

All went well this time around, and I even have the photo to prove it.

Hanging out in Richmond

DaVinci Does Cadiz

Zoom with a View

This summer while I was visiting Cadiz, Spain I went to Torre Tavira, the tallest point in Cadiz. It’s a tourist attraction for the views from the top of the tower and for the camera obscura guided exhibit that costs 5 euros.The 20 minute visit with the camera obscura show was entertaining and a great way to get one’s bearings. 

http://www.torretavira.com/en/camaraobscura.php  The youtube video gives a sense of what you’re looking at. They limit the tour to 18 people at a time and run it several times a day.

Basically, using mirrors and lenses and a concave viewing area in a darkened room, we were able to see what was going on at street level and rooftop level 360 degrees around. Our guide could swivel the camera and zoom in and out and we had an amazingly clear view of the entire city. He pointed out architecture, historic spots, natural features, and people walking on the street that moment. It really had a magical feel to it. Our guide conducted the tour in several languages, which was entertaining as well. We saw a lot for just standing still.
Here in RVA, City Hall has the viewing platform already but it is woefully inadequate as a tourist site as is. With the addition of the camera obscura, a guide could tell the whole story–the then and the now of Richmond. The rapids and rocks, Native American history, Christopher Newport, colonization, Patrick Henry, Gabriel, liberty and slavery, TJ’s Capitol, Civil War, Elizabeth Van Lew, Jackson Ward, Maggie Walker, VCU, Monumental Church, CenterStage, on and on, all the way to RIR .  Zoom in on former tobacco warehouses now with pools on top, zoom in on Hollywood Cemetery. The juxtapositions could be dizzying.
Since DaVinci was one of the major forces behind the development of the camera obscura and given that VCU has a DaVinci program that brings together their engineering and art schools, I think there might be a way to get some funding from them. It could be a good way for VCU to show its creative and technical sides in a new way downtown.
It’s a remarkably simple concept–see what’s going on all around you in one place–but with the right guide and tour, there was quite a wow factor. Leading food tours walking around Richmond with Real Richmond , I see how hungry people are for cool things to do in town. People want to learn more, want it to be easy to see what the city has to offer, and don’t want to have to figure everything out on their own. This could be one-stop gawking. I don’t know what height building suits a camera obscura, the cost, or if there would be a better choice than City Hall, but I think it’s something Richmond ought to look into it, so to speak. We’ll see if the Mayor’s Tourism Commission, of which I’m a member, has any interest….

There is such a thing as seeing too much

RealRichmond Tweets!

Archives

Categories

Advertisements