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From day one (April 2005) we set out to lend voice to a subdued creative class of Richmond. RVA has succeeded in creating a brand that searches out the best artists, ideas, events, bands, photographers and culture-jammers Richmond has to offer and gives them a platform for exhibition that "gets" them.
Access to talented and creative people is to modern business what access to coal and iron ore was to steelmaking. --Richard Florida, economist and author
In a city best known for it's role in the Civil War (insert eye-rolling here,) the battle to be bigger than our past has been formidable. For generations, city leaders have banked on the faded silver of dubious honors - Capital of the Confederacy etc, and ignored the 21st (and 20th) centuries.
With world-class schools such as VCU growing organically on their own record of excellence, media giants like the Martin Agency cementing their footprint in our cobblestones, and Fortune 100 companies relocating to attract the hordes of creatives emerging here, Richmond is exploding. New construction and development is rampant in heretofore decaying downtown retail and nightlife centers.
City government has aligned itself to a more liberal, open-minded culture of inclusion and exploration. Much like Brooklyn in the late nineties and Silverlake/Echo Park in the early aughties, entire neighborhoods are being overhauled to keep up with the influx of wealthy young professionals with entertainment and fashion needs. Lofts, marinas, from-scratch entertainment districts, clubs, music venues and galleries have been sprouting like weeds, offering the promise of a sustainable population more likely to relocate to New York or Los Angeles in years past. Cultural optimism is at a high and only growing more intense.
Greetings from Richmond, where the Dirty South begins! Listen as Dave Brockie broods on the suckery of Fed Ex field, read dispatches from the Obama victory party at Grant Park, and treat yourself to music interviews with the likes of Broken Social Scene and our town’s very own Hot Lava. Peruse the down-home photography of Kevin Hennessey, paintings of Amanda Wachob, and get your a Skull A Day with Noah Scalin. Everything you’d want in a family vacation destination!
GAA! WTF? With Halloweek a dark silhouette on the horizon, RVA brings you The Misfits, chain smoking lobsters and other unsettling sculptures by Johnston Foster, and a Halloween mix by music junkie Lauren Vincelli. Ian Graham discusses the more disturbing aspects of Democratic party politics, Pulp Tones tackles the socialization of pop, and we all blush as Richmond gets an enema. Come on in children, we won’t hurt you…
Ahh, the sweet smell of teargas in the morning. Get your vicarious revolution on as we report from the violent storm of rubber bullets at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, discuss which politicians and Supreme Court justices need a blow job, and call America an idiot. There’s also a veritable art explosion for the quiet destruction of your cerebral cortex, featuring the inimitable robot world of Nick Kuszyk, Chris Milk Hulbert’s ever evolving “canvas”, and a whole rack of creative minds down with consciousness dropping Hamiltons for Art 180. On the music front, Bio Ritmo makes you shake your ass, hard, and Julie Karr preaches the evangel of making a damn good song. On a sadder note, we wipe our eyes and bid farewell to Fashion Editor, mover, shaker, and all around Badass Christian Detres. We’ll miss you buddy. Check out his last RVA fashion spread, Paper Dolls, and try to refrain from getting all emo about how the genius behind it has moved on to the brutal pastures of NYC.
Is you a boy or is you a girl? You’ll have plenty of time to figure it out as we bring the artistic androgyny and weirdly haunting portraits of painters Tim Harriss and Jamie Pocklington straight from the walls of the Eric Schindler Gallery. Then we take you deep into the vortex of uncertainty: tag along as we experiment with sanity, fire, and mushroom “porridge” in the lost city of Mysteria, and return with no idea what the fuck just happened. When the walls stop moving we report on finding things to look at other than half-nekkid tweens at the Vans Warped Tour, and some bands that were there too. Sell out (or maybe not) with a fresh cup of Pulp Tones, and have a civilized conversation with The Riot Before. Watch in astonishment as Chris Bopst does unholy things to the late Jesse Helms’ much touted God! See the amazing antics of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus! And we dare you, no double dog dare you, to stop staring at the fashion spread. BTW, anyone have that model’s phone number?!?
What’s sexier than Gogol Bordello whipping Toad’s Place into a gypsy-punk dance frenzy? You gazing longingly at the photographs we got at the show. We all start wearing purple and grapple with Murphy’s Law and the urge to swoon in our interview with front man Eugene Hutz. Stomp your feet to the folk-transcendent jams of Hoots and Hellmouth, then pop your genre clutch right into the tour diary of Municipal Waste. With Best Friends Day right around the proverbial corner, we provide you, dear reader, with a rundown of the festivities to come, including an interview with Hadad’s Lake owner Ron Hadad, and a feature on the bands scheduled to wreck your eardrums. Almost famous local artist Adam Juresko pastes angry felines and handguns all over our sweet and innocent little pages, and the discreet Mr. Bopst discusses colostitutes. Also: Hasil Adkins, Lamb of God’s Walk With Me In Hell video, some opinions, and people in bikinis.
Just when you thought the economy was having a great time, chatting everyone up and buying rounds for strangers, it starts to stumble and vomit all over it’s own shoes. We rehash the drama like begrudging friends who had to sling it’s drunk ass over our shoulders and haul it out of the bar. Then we have a talk with a much more suave Big Daddy Kane, ask Wheelbite 21 questions, and have a shared moment with Denali. Drawing Blood brings the extra-epidermal work of tattoo artists to Ghostprint Gallery, and the Squirrelly Girls put the outdoors in the gallery for Squirrel-O-Rama. Pulp Tones gets a little lonely this time around, effectively begging the question: Do we listen to pop music because we’re miserable, or are we miserable because we listen to pop music? Chris Bopst discusses fornicating nuns, and we’re still trying to figure out what the hell Scientology actually is.
Read it. Not now, but right now.
The lawmakers are poised to strike Salvia Divinorum from the list of legal psychonautical avenues, crushing thousands of years of spiritual utilization under the same heavy boot that landed on the roach of our forefathers. Watch as we document Richmond’s last legal forays into the realms of the unknown with the Diviner’s Sage. We also cough out a trippy and disturbing cloud of art and music, including a good hard look at the infamous GWAR, and an exploration of the horrifying carnival that is Mickael Broth’s imagery. Pulp Tones explores the delicate and shifting lines between genius, madness, and the assholes who can’t tell the difference, and we round out our psychological terror storm with the first installment of an investigation into Scientology. For those of you who prefer a closer mental proximity with the ground, we have provided a preview of the upcoming Richmond Illustrator’s Club show, as well as a collection of work by skateboarders from around the country. Also: CD Reviews, an NYC music mix, and the reconstructed fashion of Mandate of Heaven.
No matter how much you love Richmond, at some point you’ve got to get the fuck out. For our third anniversary we hit the road, entertain ourselves with the aromas of different rivers, and return with something to talk about other than the mysterious perma-scabs you get from swimming in the James. Follow Books On Wheels in their mission to fix bikes and distribute literature to the masses in Pensacola, New Orleans, and Austin. Join us (but skip the long-ass flight) as we ponder human rights, sun drenched beaches, spirituality, and Vodka in Israel. Music for the ride includes the Drive By Truckers, Ann Beretta, Girl Talk, and Prabir And The Substitutes share some images of their own trip. We mark time with the best tattoo artists in RVA, and talk with Ed Trask about living in our fair city, because eventually, you’ll be back. They all come back.
Coming soon to a coffee shop, barstool, or dirty Fan apartment near you! Colors, lights, and eyes: Dalek paints the inner gears and cosmos of the new art world, which is possibly analogous to the psychological landscape of Daniel Johnston, who we take a rather intimate look at in this, the last issue of our third volume. Macrock slams it’s head against Harrisonburg for the XI time, we have a learning experience with Clutch, and then forget it all over again with beer-soaked performance-rockers, Monotonix. Soulpower dons bell bottoms and brings Richmond into an international community of booty shakers, and The James River and French Film Festivals double team your latent cinemaphillic tendencies. Slaughterama 5 comes to Hell’s Isle, so now might be a good time to invest in health insurance. And PBR. Lots of PBR.
We’re mad as hell, and we’re not gonna take it anymore! City hall asks for the people’s opinion on the Downtown Master Plan, and then promptly ignores it when it isn’t profitable enough for developers. Read all about the bureaucratic foot-stomping and political fellatio that runs this town. If that weren’t cause enough for celebration, local art gallery/sweet clothing store Nonesuch closes it’s doors, and we’ve got the elegy for you! Speaking of the disenfranchised, the annual political art show, Repressed comes back to Gallery 5, we academically examine the role of graffiti in society, and street artists Josh McPhee, Klutch and friends go aerosol on the Ghostprint Gallery. Then read our enlightening expose on the plight of undocumented immigrants. Don’t worry, The Big Picture isn’t entirely about enraged ineffectuality. We’ve got the DL on new print space/art gallery Studio 23 (help us give em’ a hot and sticky Richmond welcoming), interviews with Caugh (not related to swine flu) and the Dillinger Escape Plan, and a talk with prolific Richmond based illustrator Sterling Hundly. We also welcome to our pages the first installment of Pulp Tones, which we’re pretty confident will be a new addition to your ever growing list of addictions.