Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Ancient Art of Bowhunting

Here's a past epic just making its way online -- my Virginia Living Magazine feature on the ancient art of Bowhunting.

As with my stories on quilts, hot rods, candy making, and moonshine cooking,  I started off not knowing one whit about archery or hunting wild game with a bow, and ended up fairly fascinated with not only the difficult mechanics of the sport, but also the respectful code of conduct that the hunters shared. These are hardly Ted Nugent-like yahoos just out to kill stuff.

In the end, I'm proud of the results, titled "Me and My Arrow." Read it here at the Virginia Living Magazine website. The article ran in the mag's October 2015 issue, so note that the stats, fees and such were correct up to that time (I never know when they are going to put these up, folks).

The photos are by the mighty Adam Ewing! I mean it, Adam. You scored a bullseye here.Thanks!

Interview with Carlene Carter

Singer-songwriter Carlene Carter comes from country music royalty.

She’s the granddaughter of Mother Maybelle Carter of the legendary Carter Family; the daughter of June Carter Cash and her first husband, country singer Carl Smith; and the stepdaughter of Johnny Cash.

Carlene, 62, was the rebel of the clan. With and without her now ex-husband Nick Lowe, she made new wave country-rock, scandalizing the Nashville tastemakers. "I think they thought I was being a little bitch and running off to England of all places, but it wasn’t some master plan that I had, it just sort of happened..."

My interview with the fascinating Ms. Carter can be found at the Richmond Magazine website by going right here.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Jamming Out with Orbital Music Park

Welcome to Orbital Music Park, a place where RVA musicians of all technical abilities can participate in organized jam sessions and song swaps

“We host people to play music,” drummer Morgan Huff says. “And give them a friendly environment with enough surprises to make it interesting, but with enough of a guard rail so that people feel safe.”

For the past two years, Huff and longtime musical partner Tom Illmensee have been facilitating “pop-up” musical jams under the Orbital banner,. “At first, we wanted to set up kind of a dating site for musicians, but instead of romance, it was bongos,” Illmensee says. “We soon realized that it had to be a face-to-face thing, a place where people can relax and kind of hang out.”

Orbital now have a permanent home where they can make noise. My latest feature for Richmond Magazine tells you all about it. Get in tune with Orbital Music Park by going right here.

(Photos by the mighty Greg Montalto!)

Scary Business: The Changing World of Halloween


Halloween is now second only to Christmas in holiday sales, according to a report from the National Retail Federation. How big has it become? Last year, consumers spent more than $440 million just dressing up their pets.

So why are some local brick and mortar costume shops going out of business, or reporting sales decreases?

Just in time for the big fright, my cover feature on the selling of Halloween -- and the future of brick and mortar costume shops. It's now online at the CoVa Biz website.

Grab a clove of garlic and read "Scary Business" by clicking here….... IF YOU DARE!!

(Photo by the mighty David Uhrin)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Virginia Music Hall of Fame: Making The Case

Alabama has a state music museum, as does Rhode Island. The neighbors in North Carolina too. Oklahoma not only has a music hall of fame, it has an Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Virginia's musical legacies arguably run wider and deeper than any of those places.

In the September issue of Richmond Magazine, I make the case for why the time is long overdue for a real, honest-to-goodness, diverse, lively Virginia Music Hall of Fame and Museum. And not just something on the side of the road with a bunch of old instruments but an institution that would pay ongoing tribute to homegrown legends, and maybe make some new music history.

I'm just scribbling ideas on napkins here. Read my argument by clicking this spot.

And go here and read the details on what such an institution would look like, and what it could do. 

(Illustration by the mighty Bob Scott!)

Evergreen Cemetery: Community Conversations

My September piece for Richmond magazine about the planned restoration of Evergreen Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia's most prestigious African-American grave site, is now online. It's been updated to include news of specific community conversations happening around the planned overhaul, which is being administered by the Enrichmond Foundation.

These public gatherings will help to determine how best to proceed with battling years of neglect at Evergreen, and how to restore it to its former glory. "We want people to get involved," says Rev. Creed Taylor. "Churches, social groups, students, family members, everybody, we need your help."

Read about all the effort by going here.

The article is an update to my earlier piece about Evergreen's dogged volunteers, and another about the concerns of descendants and stakeholders of Evergreen and neighboring East End Cemetery. Read those reports here and here.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Death Drive: The Colonial Parkway Murders

Colonial Parkway connects the southern edge of Jamestown to Yorktown via a winding 23-mile route that cuts through Williamsburg like a scenic scar.

Unfortunately, this bucolic thoroughfare will be forever associated with a brutal series of unsolved killings that occurred thirty years ago.

My latest Coastal Virginia Magazine story takes a look at the lingering questions and mysteries behind the Colonial Parkway murders. Among those I talked with were Victoria Hester and Blaine Pardoe, authors of A Special Kind of Evil: The Colonial Parkway Serial Killings, the first-ever book-length account of these four notorious double homicides.

Read the article at the Coastal Virginia Magazine website.

For more on A Special Kind of Evil, go right here

To learn more about the cases, and to share tips, visit Bill Thomas' Facebook page by clicking here.

The victims of the Colonial Parkway murders were, at top: Rebecca Dowski, Robin Edwards, Keith Call, Annamaria Phelps. At bottom: Cathy Thomas, David Knobling, Cassandra Hailey and Daniel Lauer.