No doubt about it – NO BS! has owned the local music scene this year. The release of their sixth album, “RVA ALL DAY” has put them in a class by themselves and it’s so well deserved. NPR and Time.com have posted stories about their music and a few days ago NPR.org released their Tiny Desk Concert. I know I’m a little late (it was released last week) but I’m a huge fan of their work and am very proud of their recognition. Click the photo or the link to jump over to NPR.
What were we up to? Stay tuned…and prepare yourself. #MonumentAvenue #WESEEIT
My friend Jason Lefton has a BIG thing for lasers. And he has manifested his fascination with lasers into a very creative business called BIG SECRET, located at 308 N. Adams Street, in Jackson Ward. I’ve gotten to know Jason over the last year from his improv work at the Coalition Theater. Jason is helping to transform RVA’s creative culture with his unique approach to design, his desire (and willingness) to collaborate with other RVA businesses, and the unlimited potential of his laser. I sat down with Jason last week to talk about his laser-etching business, and the changing creative culture of RVA.
What’s the best thing about BIG SECRET?
I would say the best thing about BIG SECRET is how easy it is to get people excited about what we are doing. As soon as someone sees our work, it clicks that we are using a beam of light to disintegrate material – to etch it, or cut it, or mark it. They are instantly hooked. It makes it very easy to get people excited and I love sharing the excitement of what we are doing. Most people are not exposed to this type of work on a daily basis.
What’s the deal with you and lasers?
I fell in love with lasers about two and a half years ago when I took my own laptop to be lasered. I took it to someone who didn’t normally laser laptops, but had a laser, and I convinced them to let me put my laptop in their laser. And as soon as I saw it start to work, I realized that I had to research lasers. I had to find out how much they cost and what they are capable of doing. And something clicked, as far as being able to use this tool in a creative way. I thought this would be a cool tool to bring to people in the creative industry that might not have access to one or who have never heard of a laser before. After that, I did so research and saved (money) for about 6 months and bought a laser. It was really on a whim.
When you explain to people the capability of lasers, what is the most surprising response that you hear?
The most surprising, or random, response is the objects people ask me have I tried to put in my laser. For example, have you ever tried to put any of your body parts in the laser – have you tried to laser your own flesh? The answer is no, but I have seen youtube videos (don’t try it at home). And that is part of what excites me about lasers, the wide variety of material that you can experiment with. When you screen-print, you are putting ink on paper or ink on fabric. You can put ink on other things but when using a laser you can use such a wide variety of material: wood, paper, glass, metals, plastics, cardboard, and lots of non-traditional materials: leaves, food, grip tape , etc. And it’s in those experimental stages that I really love figuring out what’s next, what else is this machine capable of doing. There is a very short list of things that you cannot laser.
What’s the one thing that you haven’t lasered yet that you are dying to laser?
I’m really excited to laser a cake. I’m doing it this summer for a nearby gallery called Candela (Books and Gallery).
It’s an edible cake?
It’s an edible sheet cake. And lasering food is perfectly safe. People do it a lot: grill lines on a steak or their name in chocolate. I’m excited about it. I’ve never done it before. It’s for a fundraising event they are doing in August called, “Unbound!”
You moved to the Arts District (Jackson Ward) in October of 2012, what is it about being in Richmond, Jackson Ward, and the Arts District, that gets you excited?
Being here gets me excited because change seems to be happening virtually every week. Art 180 just moved in down the street. There is a new restaurant and bar coming directly across the street owned by the owner of Tarrant’s Cafe. The neighborhood has Gallery 5, 1708 Gallery, Quirk Gallery, Candella, ADA, all within walking distance. And we are right in the middle of First Fridays, which we want to be more involved with in the future. Everything is moving so fast and it feels great to be located right in the middle of it. The other major thing is the new Coalition Theater is opening later this month. That is such an awesome project to be a part of, both as someone who does improv and being involved in the new branding. The new Coalition Theater will be a half a block away.
The new Coalition Theater is schedule to open later this month, a block away from BIG SECRET
When you’re not putting things in your laser and running your own business, how do you like to spend your time in RVA?
I use improv as a big extracurricular activity to unwind from a business day. It’s a lot of fun. The Coalition Theater is where I started taking classes. They have taught me everything I know about improv and I love performing with them. Other than that, my wife Bird and I love to go to the movies, in particular the new Criterion Theater to see independent films. We eat out in town a lot. My wife just started a new food website: Block and Bar. It’s a fantastic site and it’s received a great response so far.
What’s the one Richmond restaurant you can’t live without?
If I could only go to one restaurant in Richmond for the rest of my life, I would be content with going to Edo’s Squid (411 N. Harrison Street, RVA). It’s an old standby for me. I love their Italian food, and I’ve been all over Italy. Edo’s Squid does it right.
What about music, what is the one CD you can’t live without?
You’d Prefer An Astronaut by HUM.
I just want to take a minute to Thank the entire family for “EVERYTHING.” For the love and support of The Cheats Movement Blog, the special projects, the live music events, just EVERYTHING. This has been an amazing year so far and it’s only going to get better this summer. The blog is only a reflection of RVA’s diversity and community. If the community is doing well – if the family is doing well – the blog reflects that. And RVA…We are doing great. I have to blink sometimes and think to myself…is this Richmond.
If you’re working to support RVA’s diversity and community – then you are family. This year alone, I’ve met so many new friends that read The Cheats Movement and it’s awesome, Thank you. And to the readers that have been their since the start…all I can say is, Wow…right. Nothing would be happening if it wasn’t for you. I’m so happy about what’s happening in RVA. And with that said….please believe that I’m still hungry to cover it all. No time for rest…my goal is to have the best blog in Richmond. I’m going back on the grind this summer. Cheats Movement Family Photo Coming Soon! Here is the thing…I’m easy to find. Hit me up: CheatsMWC@gmail.com. Twitter: CheatsMWC Facebook – I’m on. WE SEE IT THIS IS OUR RICHMOND!
Since day one, YFD Clothing has been on the grind. Much love and respect for their hustle. They just released (Part I) of their Summer 2013 release at West Coat Kix (S/O Ollie, Erika, Laci, and Ben). Visit the website and get some of that YFD gear. #WESEEIT More photos on the Cheats Movement Facebook Page. Follow us!
Congrats to the fam, Adrienne Cole and DJ Prolific on the success of Wine Down at C’est Le Vin. They celebrated their 2nd Anniversary last night and Zo! was in the building! Events like Wine Down fill a unique void in RVA. There are only a handful of events that are geared to young professionals with an emphasize on urban culture. Keep up the great work…WE SEE IT! Click HERE to see all of the Cheats Movement Photos from last night. Make sure you follow The Cheats Movement of Facebook!
Every once in a while I leave RVA. Yes, that’s right, I leave the boroughs of Richmond for some get away time. This time, lead by my wonderful wife (to be), we headed to her stomping grounds of C-Ville to visit some vineyards and take some time off. We searched for somewhere peaceful to stay and ran across Milton Cottage. Let me just say, Milton Cottage was the best part of the trip. It’s was so peaceful and just everything we wanted. It was small, quiet, had wireless internet and a ihome for tune, and it really gave you the feel that you were away from it all.
The inside of the Cottage
I could have stayed in the cottage all weekend and really enjoyed myself. You should bring snacks and there is no television (which was really great for us)…it’s a magical place.
I could have done sat in that chair all day
You can tell by the headline that we went on a number of wine tastings. Aria went on five to be exact, I made four (a brother had to drive). While I don’t have photos of every place I will list them all for you here:
Our first was Blenheim Vineyards: Since I know nothing about wine, I can only say that the view and atmosphere at Blenheim was exactly what I wanted. You could sit on the deck overlooking the vineyard and enjoy wine and snacks. The employees were very nice and it was a great time. S/O to Blenheim owner Dave Matthews…Good look Dave (ha).
So I need to be clear, Blenheim was our only stop on Thursday. After overnight at the cottage, we attacked Friday starting at Veritas Vineyard. Again, I know nothing about wine so if you’re looking for a description on wine, I’m sorry; I can’t help you. However, Veritas was great. Great view and a great tasting.
Devils Backbone tasting during lunch.
Okay by this time I had to stop drinking, it was just too much. Our last stop Aria had to do it alone – she was game. Our last stop on Friday was a King Family Vineyard. King Family was awesome…great scenery and I’m told some of the best wine in VA.
King Family Vineyard View
Inside of King Family Vineyard’s tasting room.
After a hard fought game of Scrabble (I will not announce who won but I will say that the game was played and remains under protest), it was time for bed and our last stops on Saturday before heading back home.
The The game is under protest…but I take credit for most of the 2 letter words…hahaha go me.
As we bid farewell to Milton Cottage, we headed out to the Jefferson Vineyards tasting room . Saturday wine tastings are different than Thursday or Friday…on Saturday there are just a lot more people. And this was a holiday weekend so you could imagine the crowd. Note: If your goal is to relax and have personal time at the vineyard…avoid Saturdays. With that said, I like the view at Jefferson. We had a great time. Check the cover photo. Our last stop was not planned. Driving around we passed a sign that said scenic views at the Carter Mountain Apple Orchard. We made a quick stop for the view and ended up doing our final tasting of Prince Michel Wine.
So in summary, we had a great trip and it doesn’t begin to cover the vast amount of gems in the C-ville region. For a really quick list of places we went:
Words and Photos by Cheats
So far, Stone Soul 2013 has to be the best RVA music event of the year. It was a lights out show from top to bottom. A Radio One collaboration between iPower, Kiss FM and Praise, the show featured diversity across urban music like no other event this year. And not only diversity we are talking star power to the max. Heavy hitter in hip hop: B.o.B, French Montana, Yo Gotti, and Future.
B.o.B rocked the stage with crazy energy.
R&B took center stage with Raheem DeVaughn, SWV, BBD, and Fantasia. If you thought acts like SWV, BBD or even Fantasia would be rusty…you were mistaken. They brought their A-games from start to finish and showed why so many fans love their work.
Future was a crowd favorite at Stone Soul 2013.
There were so many highs and not many lows, I will mention only a few:
1. I was skeptical about the venue change from Brown’s Island to the RIR amphitheater bu let me just say this change was the single best change of the event. No need for lawn chairs – the food vendors are a much better walk, and the venue is covered. The stage, sound and security were amazing and it really made for a great day. Not to mention some of the best weather of the year.
2. The show was the smoothest that I have seen in a long time. There were very little delays between acts and when there were delays King Tutt jumped in a DJ’ed to keep the crowd moving. The varies radio host keep it fun and the show rolled on with major act after major act.
3. While the no curse word rule may have stiffed Webby and Yo Gotti, it made the show very family friendly. And I’m glad all of the acts did their best to respect the rule. Great work Webby (I know it was tough).
4. The award for most body guards goes to Yo Gotti. The best part of this is if you know anything about Yo Gotti – you would not mess with Yo Gotti. Yo Gotti is no joke. But nevertheless he had his crew with him.
There were a lot of brothers with CMG shirts…but no one would or should ever mess with Yo Gotti
5. Fantasia is the real deal. Say what you will about American Idol and reality shows, Fantasia is the modern day Patti LaBelle and is well worth the price of admission. She looked and sounded amazing. She was a worthy headliner.
CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL OF THE CHEATS MOVEMENT PHOTOS FROM STONE SOUL 2013!
Thanks to Community Clovia for always show love to the Cheats Movement Blog and RVA. Follow The Cheats Movement of Facebook and Twitter. The most diverse blog in RVA – WE SEE IT.
Congrats to my friend Andrew Cothern. His blog RVA Playlist just celebrated 3 years. His music blog is one of the best in RVA and Andrew has become a major player within the RVA music community. His passion for local music is always on display, his blog covers all genres, and often introduces new bands to RVA. Rightfully so, a large crowd came out Wednesday night to show their support for Andrew’s work. I’m certain he will have many more great years to come. Shout out to Anousheh, Long Arms, Horsehead, and James Ward for keep the crowd moving. CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL OF THE CHEATS MOVEMENT PHOTOS OF THIS GREAT NIGHT.
Anousheh is quickly becoming one of my favorite bands in RVA.
Andrew with Anousheh
A large crowd came out on a Wednesday night for RVA Playlist
Long Arms ripped the stage. First time hearing them…they killed it.
Andrew with Horsehead
Horsehead closed out the night! CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL OF THE PHOTOS FROM THIS NIGHT
I have to admit, it took me a while to feel comfortable posting about Dominion Riverrock 2013. As you know, one bad actor can ruin an otherwise awesome event. In this case, the “bad actor – clown – hater…etc.” really marred the headlines on an amazing weekend. Most people know this but I have to write, the embarrassment that happened in no way reflects this area, this festival, or the amazing people that worked so hard to make Riverrocks 2013 and awesome weekend. And it was an awesome weekend.
Now what that soapbox speech out of the way, on the the awesomeness of Riverrocks. It was a weekend of great events, food, friends and music. My favorite being Toots and the Maytals (I’m a huge fan), Photosyntheziers (Fam to the core), and the slackline event (I just love it).
Love is the name of the game people. Thanks to everyone that made Riverrock 2013 great.
Normally I have a lot of trouble singling out where to be in RVA; there is just too much going on in the boroughs to name one event. But this weekend is different because Dominion Riverrock is in town. If you’ve never been…I suggest you take the trip to Brown’s Island and bring your camera. River Rocks is a photographers dream. Last year, I was introduced to the slack line (pictured above), taking photos of that competition alone is worth the trip. But there is more – tons of extreme sport competitions, food, and live music. Galactic killed the stage last year…this year it’s the reggae legends Toots and the Maytals headlining the free concert Saturday night. River Rocks starts Friday and runs through Sunday. And I just go word that my family Photosynthesizers will be hitting the stage Sunday. It’s clearly where to be this weekend.
Brand new from the homie Chance Fischer directed by Soul Live Media AKA Smoothmatic AKA Rob Roby. I haven’t posted too much hip hop on the blog recently but I couldn’t let this video slide. Every time I see Chance Fischer on the mic, I am impressed with his ability to draw his audience closer to him and his style. He can do it all: rhyme, write, perform, you name it. And don’t get me started on the body of work Rob Roby is putting together in the RVA hip hop community. He gets the job done. Check out the RVA images in the video. I think shooting at the Cathedral was perfect for Chance. Also the B-Roll shots on Monument Avenue were a great selection for the duo. I hope they continue to work together in the future. There is no telling how far they can push the envelope in RVA’s hip hop community.
“I told em….didn’t I tell em…Those young boys ain’t got nothing on me. I’m old school.” Those were the words coming from the victorious point guard who’d just hit the game winning jumper to the dismay of his younger, high school age, opponents. His King’s Speech seemed to be directed to anyone who would listen, pretty much a general declaration of victory. Lucky for him, there was a fairly large audience for him to preach to.
On the outside of the basketball court, a line of African American senior citizens played music and sold Gatorade to the ballers. There was another set of sounds coming from the tennis courts,”Good stop….play up…..coming behind,” those where the songs coming from the bike polo players who were dominating the once tennis courts now bike polo arena.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in Jackson Ward shooting a music video from the group HaBits. And while I thought I had a good understanding of Jackson Ward and Abner Clay Park, I’ve been absolutely floored by the positive energy, diversity and harmony that seems to happen every Sunday in Abner Clay.
It’s not just the basketball players – playing some of the best pick-up games in the city. It’s not just the bike polo players, with skills I could only dream to own. What impressed me is the balance of the Ward….the balance of old and new, hipster and hoops, old Ward merging with the change of gentrification. It’s not lost on me that Abner Clay sets across the street from the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. I’m sure some of the older gentleman on the side of the court knew the Ward as a far different place. A place where the community thrived with Black Owned Business and legendary entertainment centers and hotels. They see a different Ward now – is just the latest in a long line of examples of change. It’s not lost on me that the Jackson Ward Neighborhood Association doesn’t necessarily want the bike polo players there (this according to some of the local players) and that it has little or nothing to do with history. Bike polo seems to be new version of skateboarding. Until it gets accepted there will certainly be detractors.
However, in face of those who may not want them there – they are there. Every Sunday afternoon building a new community of harmony and diversity. Centered around sports and backed with music and a grill, Jackson Ward is a special place. And it seems to be getting better one day at a time.
Last night at First Fridays, Art 180 introduced the Wheel of Kindness to the world. It was amazing! The wheel is the final product of our amazing Art 180 class. Check out some of the photos from last night. Please support Art 180. It is an amazing program and stay tuned for much more from my sister in crime Patience Salgado AKA Kindness Girl. #WESEEIT
So What is the Wheel of Kindenss? Well, a person spins the wheel and it lands on a color. You then receive the color of the balloon selected. You can either play with the balloon or pop it. When your balloon pops – there is a message or “Kindness task” inside. You then have to complete the task. Awesome right.
The Cheats Movement Blog got some serious love in Style Weekly’s 12th Annual Music Issue. Since I spend most of my time covering music and events, it is very cool to be interviewed and have the blog recognized in this way. I do consider it an honor and motivation to keep the blog going in its current form. I have to take a moment to S/O Andrew Cothern AKA RVA Playlist. Andrew has always giving love to The Cheats Movement Blog from day 1 and being a music blogger himself – he didn’t have to do that. RVA Playlist is one of my favorite music blogs and Andrew is really at the top of his game right now. S/O to Patience Salgado AKA Kindness Girl for the photo used in Style. The multi-talented kindness worker has so much going on – and with that she takes some of the most soulful photos that I have ever seen. I also want to S/O Sounds of RVA and One Way Richmond – I read their blogs as much as I can and it’s very awesome to read their interviews in Style.
The thing about press in general – like everything else in 2013 – it is really about momentum: one day you’re hot – the next day you are not. I understand that Style Weekly or any other “press” type situation may not be there next week let alone next year but that doesn’t mean that the city stops moving forward. The goal is to take in good press – in the spirit that it’s meant to be – and use it to push forward. So the blog moves forward – the grind moves forward – the family moves forward – we are already working on what’s next. To every person that reads the blog and supports what’s happening on the blog and around the city — all I can say is Thank you & of course #WESEEIT!
Anthony Bourdain at the Landmark Theater in RVA last night.
Art 180 are my people. Go out and chalk something with Love, Peace and Kindness. This is Our Richmond!
Last Sunday, I stopped by the Silent Music Revival at Gallery 5. The night featured one of my favorite RVA bands: Wolf//Goat; the movie was Charlie Chaplin’s THE KID (1921). It was a great night. Make sure you check out a Silent Music Revival. Jameson Price does such a great job with this event.
Shout out to the homie Brian McDaniel. When I started The Cheats Movement, Brian was one of the first people willing to meet up and chat about blogging in RVA – that was about three years ago. Since that time, I’ve watched him, and his projects, grow to unbelievable heights. His Tumblr Dirty Richmond killed the game for over two years – then he made the move to Ledbury to further his passion for art, fashion, and creativity. His Tumblr: BRIAN MCDINOSAUR is definitely a weekly read. And he just recently drop his first featured Ledbury video: Renovating Richmond: 14th Street Showroom. #WESEEIT
I’m so grateful to Kendra for giving me the opportunity to bring The Cheats Movement vibe to Ipanema Cafe last night. A huge thanks to Allen for working with me through all of the planning and S/O to PJ for the dope poster and photographing the night. Sam Reed has been family for a minute and I never take that for granted. Many more projects coming from her in the near future. I’ve been a fan of The Low Branches for about a year and even more so now – so much love for them. I can’t wait to see what they have planned of this summer.
We did it again Richmond. It is a true family vibe. Bringing RVA together to enjoy music – enjoy each other and build community. It sounds a bit unrealistic – but if you were there last night – I bet you felt the family vibe. If you missed it – I challenge you to come out to the next Cheats Movement Blog event (don’t know what that is yet…but I’ll think of something). For those that did come out last night: THANK YOU! #WESEEIT
Sam’s B-Boy Stance – S/O Brother Manifest and Blasco
WE SEE IT!
Check out this KickStarter video from my family at the Richmond Comedy Coalition. If you have followed The Cheats Movement Blog than you know the RCC is very special to me and to the new wave of positivity happening in Greater Richmond. They have worked very hard since their debut in 2009 to present a platform of improv comedy that had almost completely faded away in RVA. In addition to the amazing shows they create, they teach classes for inspiring improver (like myself), host workshops, and partner with other positive movements in RVA to foster a new wave of community. Check out the video and please do what you can to help them move into their brand new home in the Arts District. Click HERE to check out the Kickstarter.
What guy? The guy that will hit up my cell phone next week and say, “Ah Cheats, I heard the show Saturday at Ipanema was great. I wish I had come out” or the guy that I run into next week and says, “RVA is just so boring, there is nothing to do.”
Trust me on this..there is something to do this Saturday night (10 PM) and it’s FREE. Come out to Live at Ipanema Cafe. The show is featuring great music by The Low Branches and Sam Reed. Bring a friend (or two or six), hang out with the blog family, be apart of the positive, diverse culture that is connecting RVA as family. RSVP for the show HERE – Get there early because it may fill up – then I’m sure to hear, “Man, I tried to get in but it was full.” Even though that one I understand. #WESEEIT
Poster by PJ Sykes