There’s no doubt that Norfolk has come a long way. There is a reason it keeps popping up in the press as one of Virginia’s most intrepid cities. With a bustling art, music, activist, and cultural scene, Norfolk has been on the forward edge of what’s real in Virginia for some time. Even though cultural institutions like Work Release (RIP) have given way to more mediocre city settings like Waterside and the The Main, the energy and vibe that was created by pioneers Charles Rasputin and Careyann Weinberg continues to live on. Look no further than this summer’s brilliant Art of Burning Man exhibition held at the Hermitage Museum. The exhibition, a multi-media pageant that curated original art pieces from Burning Man, costumed characters, and music by Richmond favorites Gull and Party Liberation Front, was a one of a kind event.
And there’s still more to come.
As the official Art of Burning Man exhibit draws to a close on October 14, Thursdays at the Hermitage Museum have been branded as Burning Man Nights. While each Thursday consists of live performances, this week’s party will be a standout event even among the normal clutch of standout events planned by Rasputin and Weinberg. Known simply as the Time Travelers’ Ball, the party, according to Charles Rasputin, “…takes another turn of the weird when musical Virginia icons Sunny & Gabe, one of the most recognizable and respected creators and composers throw a listening party.”
Who are Sunny & Gabe? For those who might not know, Sunny & Gabe along with Hampton rapper DRAM, are ushering in the next generation of national hip-hop acts to break huge from Hampton Roads, joining an august group that includes The Clipse, Pharrell, Timbaland, and Missy Elliott. Just to further dish credit where it is deserved, Gabe also produced “ChaCha” by DRAM.
“The Art of Burning Man has been a huge first for Virginia and the rest of the world,” said Rasputin in an interview with RVA Mag. But that “first” is not just about art, it is also about accessibility which, according to Rasputin, is part of the exhibit’s magic and was “the purpose of creating the Art of Burning Man in the first place.” He finished by saying, “Sunny & Gabe are the perfect ambassadors to expand that audience even more and the backdrop of the Art of Burning Man is the perfect place to experience their new music for the first time.”
The party will also double as a listening party for the Hampton Roads duo to debut new material. The lineup also includes a pantheon of rap, funk, and soul staples like DJ Bee from Fresh Radio, Lord Ryan Thomas of 7 Cities Soul Club, and Jus Battle of Rebel E – all of which is shrouded in the guise of historical time travel – with party people encouraged to dress from whatever time period throughout the epochs they most identify with (which, for RVA Mag, is clearly Victorian era England, while for GayRVA, it’s 70’s London punk).
Thursday in Norfolk is going to be sacred fire. No matter where you are in Virginia, if you are looking to party, head to Norfolk for the Time Travelers’ Ball and dig on Sunny and Gabe’s new music while dressed as a Roman Centurion.