Friday, February 26, 2016

Beacon Revived

The Beacon Theatre, a beautifully-restored movie house built in 1928, has been renovated and expanded with a state-of-the-art sound system. The Hopewell, Virginia landmark is currently trying to find its legs as a city-run popular music venue. 

But if you restore it, will they come?

My recent feature for Richmond Magazine shines a light on this out-of-the-way gem. Read "Beacon Revived" by clicking right here. 

(Photo of promoters Susan and Laurin Willis by the mighty Jay Paul!)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Standardized Testing: Rethinking the Standards

For public school students, testing time approaches. But many parents and politicians are pushing back against standardized testing.

A new Federal law (the Every Student Succeeds Act) may or may not fix the identified problems, which include educators teaching to the test, classroom stress, and shifting standards.There's now a growing "assessment reform movement" of organizations and community groups urging parents to opt their kids out of testing.

My Coastal Virginia Magazine article on the changing face of standardized testing in public schools, and the emerging "Opt Out" movement in Virginia, is now online. The print headline is "Rethinking the Standards." Read it here.

(Photo illustration by the mighty David Uhrin!)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Fresh Voices: The Afrikana Film Festival

"Fresh Voices," my feature article on Richmond's Afrikana Independent Film Festival, is online at the Richmond Magazine website.

The grassroots Afrikana produces a floating series of events called "Noir Cinema," which brings up-and-coming African-American filmmakers to different venues around town. The non-profit's founder, Enjoli Moon, says that it's "a series dedicated to exploring the genre of short indie films by and about people of color from across the globe."

Read "Fresh Voices" by clicking right here.

For more on the Afrikana Film Festival, go here.

Photo by the mighty Jay Paul!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Virginia Gospel History at the Google Cultural Institute

I'm proud to be one of the content providers for a new online exhibit created by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, in partnership with the Google Cultural Institute, that celebrates African-American history in Virginia.

The special web exhibit focuses on Virginia gospel artists, and my liner notes for Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes' Live in Richmond CD are included, along with music clips, bios and other information on the Paschall Brothers and Charlie McClendon.

A huge shoutout to the VFH's Jon Lohman for putting this together. Check it out by going here.  

For more on the Google Cultural Institute's celebration of African-American history, prepare to spend a lot of time here.

For more on the great work that the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities does, and especially its Virginia Folklife Program, go to this spot.

Photo of Maggie Ingram by the mighty Pat Jarrett / Virginia Folklife Program.