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The Byrd Theatre takes its virtual series local with filmmaker Teddy Leinbach

The Byrd Theatre’s popular filmmaker series is going virtual. Teddy Leinbach, a local filmmaker, will make his documentary film, 50 Over, available for rent June 12th-June 21st and host a virtual Q&A session June 17th.

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The Byrd Theatre’s popular filmmaker series is going virtual. Teddy Leinbach, a local filmmaker, will make his documentary film, 50 Over, available for rent June 12th-June 21st and host a virtual Q&A session June 17th.

When the series is available in person, a filmmaker shares their experience with the film and then the audience is invited to ask questions and have a dialogue. Leinbach’s program was originally scheduled for April, and the Byrd Theatre is thrilled to host the event for patrons virtually. “Bringing filmmakers, especially local filmmakers, to our community to share their films and experiences, is so important to our mission and we are excited to partner with Teddy to do this virtually” said Ted Haynes, Byrd Theatre Foundation board president.

50 Over is a documentary film that follows 4 friends as they travel to all 50 states, in 50 days, stopping in each state to play a round of golf. From Maine to Florida, from Florida to the Midwest, from the midwest through the four corners, the pacific northwest, even Alaska and Hawaii, this film explores the beauty and diversity of this country through the lens of public golf. The conflict of driving a ’91 Dodge camper van, the constant mystery of the next night’s accommodations, and a schedule that many deemed impossible, the narrative certainly does not lack drama. However, apart from the inevitable ups and downs of such a journey, this film explores much more. Golf is a game that for so long has carried with it a reputation. Golf has come to be synonymous with terms such as elitism, upper class, and the country club. This is not an unfair assessment, however, golf has another side. By playing public, inexpensive courses, talking with course owners and the wide variety of people who frequent the tattered fairways of this country, this film paints a picture of golf, away from the country club and at the courses that have helped shape the lives of so many.

Rental cost for the film is $10. Leinbach is donating $5 of the ticket price to the Byrd Theatre and $5 of the ticket price to SwingPals, an organization based in Durham, NC that’s mission is to build a foundation of health and strong character in children facing adversity by using golf as a medium through which students develop mindfulness and self-regulation skills, empowering them to pursue their passion and fulfill their potential to create positive change in their community. Leinbach shared, ”We are living in a time where we are seeing the bridge between technology and activism.  I am privileged to be able to commit my time to making movies and it is my ultimate goal with any film, to support and empower the stories, characters, and ideas that I communicate”

Get information on renting the film and signing up to attend the filmmaker Q&A session on the Byrd Theatre’s website.

Teddy Leinbach, a filmmaker living in Richmond, VA, has spent the past four years immersing himself in documentary filmmaking since graduating from VCU in 2016.  He has worked as a freelance cinematographer, editor, animator, and graphics specialist for independent filmmakers, businesses, and production companies, such as Markay Media, the team behind the Emmy award winning series, A Chef’s Life.  Teddy has also produced his own work, directing several short films as well as two feature length documentaries, 50 Over and Sisyphean, which were both completed in 2019.  Also in 2019, he launched thisisrva.com, a web-based interview series based around uniquely influential people in Richmond, VA.  His work has screened at film festivals nation-wide and has taken him across the world from courtside at Madison Square Garden to the square of Maidan in Ukraine.  His work tends to explore sports as a microcosm for all the complexities of what it means to be human.

The Byrd Theatre launched the Virtual Screening Room in March and has been looking for interesting films to share with its patrons. The screening room allows people to rent the films, view from the comfort of their own home during Virginia’s Stay at Home order, and help the Byrd Theatre monetarily.

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Explore Virginia’s natural beauty with new exhibition at Virginia Museum of History & Culture

Celebrate the efforts in preservation and horticulture made by the Garden Club of Virginia (GCV) during its 100-year history with a new exhibition at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, “A Landscape Saved: The Garden Club of Virginia at 100.”

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Celebrate the efforts in preservation and horticulture made by the Garden Club of Virginia (GCV) during its 100-year history with a new exhibition at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, “A Landscape Saved: The Garden Club of Virginia at 100.”

Featuring photographs and objects from the past century of the organization’s history, this exhibition highlights the work of the GCV and its dedicated members in advancing the appreciation of horticulture and the advocacy for land preservation, particularly regarding the formation of the state parks system.

“As the first conservation organization in Virginia, the achievements of GCV have bettered the lives of all who live in or travel through the Commonwealth,” the VMHC said in a release.

The Garden Club of Virginia is now a partnership of 3,400 community and civic leaders active in 48 garden clubs across the state.

Learn more about the exhibition here.

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The Byrd Theatre hires first ever Executive Director amid COVID-19 pandemic

Stacy Shaw, the new Executive Director, as of July 1, 2020, comes to the Byrd Theatre with 30 years experience as an arts administrator having worked for 2 other historic theaters in her past, The Wells Theatre in Norfolk, VA and The National Theatre in DC.

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Closure due to COVID-19 isn’t stopping the Byrd Theatre from continuing to focus on the strategic plan and its long-term future. When closure happened in Mid-March, the Byrd Theatre Foundation was already well into a national search for the first Executive Director to lead the non-profit theatre as part of the Phase 2 Strategic Plan. Thanks to the more than $1,100,000 raised in early lead gifts toward a second phase of the Strategic Plan, funds have been earmarked for both capital improvements and restorations as well as opportunity funds to finance this leadership position at the theatre.

Stacy Shaw, the new Executive Director, as of July 1, 2020, comes to the Byrd Theatre with 30 years experience as an arts administrator having worked for 2 other historic theaters in her past, The Wells Theatre in Norfolk, VA and The National Theatre in DC. She spent the last 6 years at The National Theatre as the Director of Institutional Advancement establishing corporate, capital, endowment, and major donor campaigns while expanding foundation and government support. She lives in Petersburg, VA with her wife who teaches at Virginia State University.

“We are so thrilled to have someone with Stacy’s experience and expertise join the Byrd. We are confident in her ability to lead the organization through the current times and into a successful future.” Said, Ted Haynes, Byrd Theatre Foundation President.

“In my experience, Stacy Shaw is a talented arts administrator who brings an amazing amount of knowledge, passion, and heart to everything she undertakes.  I have no doubt that she will bring that same energy to the Byrd Theatre and its mission.“ Sarah Chaplin, former Executive Director of The National Theatre and current President and CEO of The State Theatre of New Jersey.

While the Governor’s Phase 3 opening date is July 1st, the Byrd Theatre will remain closed for now. Shaw has worked with the Board of Directors to make the decision to remain closed and focus internally on updating cleaning and seating protocols to meet COVID-19 standards. This is a difficult financial decision, continued closure means operating funds are slim, but the increased cost to open and operate the theatre under the COVID-19 standards make the margins challenging. The Theatre was fortunate to get a PPP loan early on that allowed the Theatre to continue paying the primarily part-time staff until mid-June when the funds ran out.

Stacy Shaw said, “We have already reached out to our wonderful patrons for their input to make sure they feel confident about their attendance at the Byrd as well as following updates on cleaning protocols. We are particularly fortunate that the Byrd has a large seating area that social distancing is easily accomplished when compared to the movie theatres of today. Meanwhile, we are utilizing this time to do as much cleaning, updating, and capital improvements as possible. One of the most exciting projects has been the completion of a total renovation of the Wurlitzer Piano in the upper left balcony!”

There are capital funds earmarked for Phase Two capital improvements that will begin to happen late summer and into 2021.

Planned Phase Two Capital Improvements include, but are not limited to:

  • Renovation of the women’s restroom
  • Concession area improvements
  • Replacement of the carpet and expansion of the seat replacements
  • A range of replacements of various systems: lighting, mechanicals, PA system
  • Replacement of rear doors
  • A range of front of stage improvements
  • Further care of the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ and Wurlitizer Piano

Stacy Shaw said, “I am excited to be part of the organization and to be joining at such a pivotal moment in time.” With Phase Two fundraising underway, Shaw also said, “We looking forward to the next multi-year phase of restoration and growth. The Foundation will be expanding its philanthropic efforts to meet the estimated goal of $2.4 million and to offer donors a range of unique naming and commemorative options.”

Phase One projects replaced the roof as well as heating and cooling systems; installed a digital server and state-of-the-art 4K projector; organ repairs; restored historic plasterwork and center seats; and created a wheelchair accessible seating area and ADA family restroom.

While closed, the Byrd Theatre is not bringing in operating funds, therefore, the theatre is actively looking for creative ways to bring film out into the community. Look for the Byrd Theatre to partner with different organizations and spaces for drive-in and other movie night type events throughout the summer and fall. The Virtual Screening Room will remain up and active as well, bringing new films not able to be seen on the big screen to your living room. Renting a film from the Byrd Theatre Virtual Screening Room supports the theatre while you enjoy a film!

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Well known local tattoo artist auctioning off mural of George Floyd adorning Carytown shop

“I didn’t really want to board up my business, but it was recommended so we decided to follow suit,” he says. “After we put it up, I thought, there’s a surface that needs to be decorated. I didn’t want to just write ‘Black Lives Matter’ all over everything. I wanted to create something that was more impactful.”

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The City of Richmond has remained an apex of the evolving Black Lives Matter movement. The city is known for its statues and monuments honoring leaders from the Civil War era, but also its prolific and progressive artist community who have come together to deploy a series of creative and uplifting responses during the past month. This includes the owner of Loose Screw Tattoo, Jesse Smith.

When the rest of his Carytown business neighbors boarded up their storefronts in anticipation of predicted riots and looting, Smith followed recommendations and added plywood to the front of his tattoo shop.

“I didn’t really want to board up my business, but it was recommended so we decided to follow suit,” he says. “After we put it up, I thought, there’s a surface that needs to be decorated. I didn’t want to just write ‘Black Lives Matter’ all over everything. I wanted to create something that was more impactful.”

Smith snagged up a couple of cans of spray paint he had laying around in his garage and headed over to his shop. The mural took four hours in total to complete. His George Floyd portrait is one of many new murals related to the Black Lives Matter movement in Richmond. Other mural artists who have added color to the city include Hamilton Glass, Nico Cathcart, Nils Westergard, Emily Herr, and many other artists who have come together to be a part of the Mending Walls Project. Artists around the country have also marked buildings and landmarks with designs, words, and other calls to action.

Smith’s mural will be up for auction to benefit Mutual Aid Disaster Relief – Richmond (MAD RVA) starting July 7. The network launched in 2018 in response to needs associated with public housing.

“We operate collectively and are primarily functioning as a supply delivery for folks who cannot access medicine, food, cleaning supplies, and other life necessities,” says member Tamanna Sohal.

MAD RVA also has a mini-grants program that provides communty members with direct financial aid of up to $125, prioritizing Richmonders who are Black, brown, queer, trans, immuno-compromised, elderly, pregnant, and/or have several people in their household. All funds raised are redistributed through items for their supply drive and mini-grants.

The auction is presented by the Giving Arts Foundation (GAF), founded by Smith. The mission of GAF is to unite the arts community to support urgent and meaningful causes locally and internationally.

Learn more about MAD RVA here.

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