By Aliviah Jones
Plenty of unemployed college graduates pack up and head for sunny California. Richmond native Emlyn Crenshaw, 26, moved to Los Angeles in 2016 after graduating from Georgetown University. A year later — one that Crenshaw described as “a yearlong panic attack” — her connections helped her land a job as a showrunner assistant on the Netflix series “Raising Dion,” which debuted in October.
“When you come from somewhere like Virginia, working in TV seems like pie in the sky,” Crenshaw said. “It doesn’t seem like a real job that you can actually have.”
“Raising Dion” was created by showrunner Carol Barbee who adapted the series from the original superhero comic of the same name by Dennis Liu.
The sci-fi show tells the story of a widowed mom trying to solve the mystery surrounding her husband’s death and her young son’s emerging superpowers, while keeping his extraordinary gifts under wraps. Michael B. Jordan, known for his film roles in “Fruitvale Station,” “Creed” and “Black Panther,” is the executive producer of the show and plays Dion’s father.
Dion is played by Ja’Siah Young in his first lead role, while his mom is portrayed by Alisha Wainwright.
The series highlights diversity and representation as Dion explores his newly discovered powers. He is struggling to fit in at a new Atlanta elementary school where he is one of two black students, while also grappling with the loss of his father. He learns emotional strength from his best friend, Esperanza, who is in a wheelchair, and his mentor Pat, played by Jason Ritter.
Crenshaw was involved in all stages of production, especially in the writer’s room where she pitched ideas to writers, something Crenshaw said was rare for someone at an assistant level position.
“It was a really special show on screen but also behind the screen,” Crenshaw said. “It was really diverse and thoughtful.”
Before moving to LA, Crenshaw was heavily involved in Richmond’s theater scene. She attended the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community, also known as SPARC. After years of performing on stage, Crenshaw began to learn more about production and said she gravitated toward the behind the scenes aspect.
While attending Georgetown University, Crenshaw was involved with comedy and the improv team but said she never saw it as a viable career. She didn’t study theater, but majored in justice and peace studies, and minored in sociology.
After her freshman year, Crenshaw and four of her high school friends started the Richmond-based Full Circle Theater Project. The production company formed as a way for the friend group to work on creative projects together again after going to different schools across the country.
The five-member group produced the play “From Up Here” with Crenshaw directing and casting the show. The group did everything from fundraising, marketing, and stage design to costume design, casting and stage direction.
“I think that experience always stuck out in my head as like, in a perfect world I would be doing something like this,” Crenshaw said.
Allison Gilman, who grew up performing at SPARC with Crenshaw, said the theater company was a culmination of their years performing together.
“We grew up doing theater together, but we were never the ones producing it and doing all of the behind the scenes stuff,” Gilman said.
Crenshaw began working for a nonprofit after graduating from Georgetown University but realized she yearned to do something more creative, so she moved to LA to fully pursue a career in television writing.
“It still took me another eight months, maybe, not to be terrified of saying that I wanted to write,” Crenshaw said.
The cast and crew of “Raising Dion” are still waiting to hear about a second season. All nine episodes of season one are available for streaming on Netflix.
Axe-throwing chain set to open near The Circuit Arcade Bar in Scott’s Addition
The venue will open in the former Nicholson Sprinkler Corp. building at 3100 W. Leigh Street in the heart of the neighborhood.
From Richmond BizSense:
After its first attempt to get into the Richmond market fell flat, a Canadian axe-throwing bar is back with a location coming to Scott’s Addition.
Bad Axe Throwing is preparing to open at 3100 W. Leigh St. in a 5,000-square-foot space in the old Nicholson Sprinkler Corp. building.
Based in Ontario, Bad Axe has nearly 50 locations throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. In 2018, it began planning a Richmond location on West Broad Street, across from the forthcoming Whole Foods in Sauer Center.
But those plans fell through last spring. Bad Axe owner Mario Zelaya said there was an issue about the amount of parking available at that location, which caused them to scrap the plans.
Nine-acre Elks Lodge property near Innsbrook slated to be transformed into mixed use development
Highwoods Properties paid $3.3 million for the nine-acre Elks Lodge near Innsbrook After Hours and plans to mull over mixed-use, high density options for the site.
From Richmond BizSense:
One of the biggest landlords in Innsbrook has amassed more land in the area, this time snagging a block of acreage next to the site where the Innsbrook After Hours concert series is held.
Highwoods Properties last month bought the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks Lodge No. 45 property at 10022 Elks Pass Lane in Henrico. It paid $3.3 million for the 9-acre assemblage, which adds to another 12 adjacent and largely undeveloped acres the company already owns.
Jane DuFrane, Highwoods’ vice president and local market lead, said the company still is mulling options for the Elks land and adjacent sites, including developing a “walkable community with a mix of uses.”
“The Elks Lodge property’s contiguous proximity to our other land holdings and existing office buildings made it a natural fit for our portfolio,” DuFrane said in an email.
Container Store, Chase Bank taking over two adjacent properties at Short Pump Town Center
The former hhgregg appliances and electronics store and neighboring Matchbox restaurant are being transformed into two new-to-Richmond brands.
Two neighboring properties at the entrance of Short Pump Town Center are set to be transformed into homes for two new-to-Richmond brands – both as reported by Richmond BizSense.
The former Matchbox Restaurant on W. Broad Street is currently being eyed for a new Chase Bank, BizSense says. Plans have been filed to transform the two-story building into a bank and drive-thru. Read more about the plans here.
Across the road, the former hhgregg appliance and electronics store – originally built as a Circuit City – is being rehabbed into a new location for The Container Store, which sells home organization and storage solutions. Check out progress of the transformation here.