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Tony Bennett swinging into Richmond this March

Ninety years old and going strong, Tony Bennett has been awarded nineteen Grammy Awards.

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Press Release:

TONY BENNETT, the 19-time Grammy Award-winning musician whose music spans over six decades, is coming to Richmond Saturday, March 17 at Altria Theater. Tickets range from $55 to $115, and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8 through the Altria Theater and Dominion Energy Center box offices, (800) 514-3849 or online at etix.com. 

With worldwide record sales in the millions, and dozens of platinum and gold albums to his credit, TONY BENNETT is a musician who touches the hearts and souls of audiences with his legendary vocals and charming stage presence. His long list of achievements, spanning over 60 years, includes nineteen Grammy Awards, including the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, making this artist a true international treasure.  His signature tunes, such as “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” and “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” form part of the fabric of American music culture.  Often billed as the world’s most boyish octogenarian, TONY BENNETT is a vital musical artist at the peak of his powers.

Celebrating his 90th birthday in August of 2016, the milestone was marked by the presentation of TONY BENNETT CELEBRATES 90: The Best is Yet To Come, a two-hour prime time special that aired in December. A companion CD of the same name was released simultaneously.  Last fall also saw the release of Bennett’s fifth book, JUST GETTING STARTED, which he co-authored with journalist Scott Simon. Bennett’s 85th birthday in 2011 marked the release of “Duets II” and made music history by making Tony the oldest artist to ever have a #1 CD on the Billboard album charts.  “Duets II,” followed up “Tony Bennett Duets: An American Classic” CD, released in 2006. 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the singer’s signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”  as well as the release of a new documentary film, THE ZEN OF BENNETT, created and conceived by Tony’s son and manager Danny Bennett.  Bennett also authored his fourth book, LIFE IS A GIFT, released in 2012 and entered the NY Times Best Seller list. In 2014, Tony Bennett released a collaborative album with Lady Gaga, CHEEK TO CHEEK featuring these two legendary artists performing jazz standards. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Album charts making Bennett the oldest musical artist, at the age of 88, to have an album top the Billboard 200 and won the Grammy Award in the Best Traditional Pop Album category. Tony Bennett is a Kennedy Center Honoree, an NEA Jazz Master and a recipient of the United Nation’s Humanitarian and Citizen of the World honors.  Celebrating his 90th birthday in August of 2016, the milestone was marked by the presentation of TONY BENNETT CELEBRATES 90: The Best is Yet To Come a two-hour prime time special that aired in December.  A companion CD of the same name was released simultaneously.  Last fall also saw the release of Bennett’s fifth book, JUST GETTING STARTED, which he co-authored with journalist Scott Simon.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Arts & Entertainment

Photos: Faces of a Parade

We took some traditional parade photos but have decided to go a little more intimate and focus on the faces you see during the Dominion Christmas Parade.

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The Nutcracker Returns

Richmond Ballet and its beloved holiday tradition The Nutcracker return to Dominion Energy Center December 11-23, with the Richmond Symphony playing Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score.

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Richmond Ballet and its beloved holiday tradition The Nutcracker return to Dominion Energy Center December 11-23, with the Richmond Symphony playing Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score. Clara, her adoring Nutcracker, the glittering butterfly, and the dancing Russian bear will once again charm audience members of all ages.

Choreographed by Artistic Director Stoner Winslett, the Richmond Ballet holiday classic has been heralded as “one of the country’s most perfect [Nutcracker productions]” by The New York Times, and this season will mark the final year to celebrate the current production as updated costumes and dazzling new sets will premiere in December of 2022.

“The Nutcracker is a multigenerational experience, with parents, grandparents, and children alike entranced by the magical story. We were heartbroken to not have been able to bring the live theatre experience to the community last year” notes Winslett. “We look forward to welcoming audiences back to Dominion Energy Center this December where the holiday tradition will carry on and new memories will be created.”

Tickets to The Nutcracker start at $25. Tickets may be purchased online at etix.com, by phone at 804.344.0906 x224 or in person at the Richmond Ballet Box Office, 407 East Canal Street, Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 6:00pm.

The Nutcracker – December 11-23, 2021 | Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Energy Center, 600 E Grace St, Richmond, VA 23219

  • Saturday, December 11th, 2021 2:00pm and 7:00pm
  • Sunday, December 12th, 2021 1:00pm and 4:30pm
  • Saturday, December 18th, 2021 2:00pm and 7:00pm
  • Sunday, December 19th, 2021 1:00pm and 4:30pm
  • Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021 7:00pm
  • Thursday, December 23rd, 2021 2:00pm

Health & Safety Protocols
Upon entering the theatre, all audience members ages 12 and above are required to show printed or digital proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or of a professionally-administered negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the performance. Patrons ages 18 and above will also need to show a photo ID. All patrons ages 2 and above are required to wear a mask at all times while in Dominion Energy Center, except when eating and drinking in specified locations. Please note that proof of vaccination or of a negative COVID test is not required for children under the age of 12.

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VMFA acquires work by abstract painter Alma Thomas

Painting complements works by African American and women artists and artists of the Washington Color School.

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) recently acquired Forsythia and Pussy Willows Begin Spring (1970), a painting by African American artist Alma Thomas (1891–1978).

“We are delighted that Forsythia and Pussy Willows Begin Spring has joined VMFA’s Modern and Contemporary art holdings,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “Alma Thomas was a major contributor to 20th-century art. Her nature-based paintings significantly influenced artists who came after her, and her vibrantly colored canvases resonate with viewers today.”

Born in Columbus, Georgia, during the Jim Crow Era, Alma Woodsey Thomas and her family moved to Washington D.C., where more educational and economic opportunities were available for African Americans. By 1921, Thomas enrolled in art instruction courses at Howard University and, by 1924, became the program’s first graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in fine arts. After receiving her Master of Arts degree in education from Columbia University in the 1930s, Thomas taught at Shaw Junior High School in Washington D.C. for 35 years before retiring in 1960 and devoting herself to painting full time.

Thomas had earlier eschewed abstract art in favor of figurative and still life painting. By the 1960s however, when studying at American University in Washington D.C., she admired and responded to the abstract paintings created by Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and other contemporaries in the Washington Color School. This loosely affiliated group of painters applied luminous colorful hues by staining and soaking their raw canvases with thinned oil or acrylic paint.

In 1972, Thomas became the first African American woman artist to have a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. She was also the first African American woman artist to have her work acquired and displayed in the White House after former First Lady Michelle Obama selected two paintings, Watusi (Hard Edge) and Sky Light, installed on loan to the White House in 2009, before the landmark acquisition in 2015 of Thomas’s 1966 painting Resurrection. Thomas’s works are featured in many museum collections including the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art. Her work is the subject of the current nationally touring retrospective entitled Alma Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful.

“Acquiring a painting by Alma Thomas has long been a priority for the museum. We patiently waited for an iconic work and are delighted to bring this vibrant visual echo of Thomas’ garden into our collection,” said Valerie Cassel Oliver, VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “Forsythia and Pussy Willows Begin Spring will complement VMFA’s existing holdings of work by African American and women artists, artists of the Washington Color School, as well as the canon’s celebrated masters of abstraction Norman Lewis, Henri Matisse and Wassily Kandinsky, whom Thomas noted as significant influences.”

The painting, from Thomas’s Earth series, is a classic example of the unique painting style she developed after encountering the work of the Washington Color School. Her technique of placing precise dabs of vibrant color in a succession of vertical, hyphenated stripes conveys the beauty of a colorful flower garden. The palette of warm browns, fresh greens, bright blues and sunny yellows evokes the blooming flowers, petals, grass, tree trunks and clear skies the artist could see from her bay window, which overlooked the garden at her home at 1530 Fifteenth Street in Washington D.C.

“Alma Thomas applied her radiant colors in a series of vertical, staccato brushstrokes in Forsythia and Pussy Willows Begin Spring to capture, in abstract terms, the beauty and rhythms of the natural world, including the flowers in her garden,” said Dr. Michael Taylor, VMFA’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education. “The white gesso ground that breaks up both the lines and bold touches of color not only helps to organize the composition’s rendering of the diverse shapes and colors of the natural environment, but also illuminates the scene and suggests sunlight peeking through the flowers and leaves. We believe that this joyful painting will be a landmark purchase for VMFA and an iconic work for our visitors to see and enjoy.”

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