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Westover Hills is the New Home for Rage

Destruction in a safe and controlled manner could be just what your mental health needs.

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The current mystery on everybody’s mind is what will be going into the former Ireland Cleaners at the corner of Forest Hill Avenue and Westover Hills Boulevard. Well, that mystery is solved thanks to some incredible detective work (I opened Facebook and read a post) by yours truly.

It will be the new location of Rage RVA. A spot where you can get your aggression out without harming anyone or destroying any of your precious tchotchkes. In the safe confines of a room, with all the proper protection you can go full Office Space on a printer.

Image from Rage RVA Facebook

That’s not all. If your expression tends to the more creative side there will also be Splatter RVA on site. Which will, you guessed it, splatter or spray paint to your art’s content.

Posted on Facebook by Nicole Michelau 

It isn’t common neighborhood knowledge, but back in 2019 my family and I launched RageRVA out of our garage in Forest Hill. If you’re not familiar, a rage room is a space to safely get your emotions out through breaking glass, dishes, electronics or cars. However, don’t let the word rage confuse you – most of our customers aren’t raging, they’re celebrating!

We’ve hosted bachelor, bachelorette, wedding, birthday and divorce parties. While we quickly realized it was going to need its own space, Forest Hill remains very special to us, so I’m delighted to let you be the first to know that we’re coming back. We have signed a lease on the former Ireland Cleaners and plan to open in early August.

In addition to our RageRVA experience we’re also launching our latest entertainment – Splatter RVA – to share the space. Have an event or enjoy your birthday with us, throwing or spraying neon paint in our blacklight paint room to create a one of a kind masterpiece on a canvas you get to take home! We’ll begin booking fall birthday celebrations in our new party room shortly.

I believe we’ll be a great neighbor as the majority of our guests travel to RageRVA from outside of Richmond then stay in the area to enjoy a meal. We’ve had guests travel from as far as Boston to experience a session with us, and I hope you’ll consider us for your next special occasion.

I plan to have a socially distant grand opening once we’ve had a chance to settle in, stay tuned!

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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

Institute for Contemporary Art and VPM launch community media center

Chioke I’Anson, an assistant professor of African American Studies at VCU, will serve as the center’s inaugural director of community media.

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The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University and VPM, Virginia’s home for public media, are creating a media center inside the ICA for the production of audio content by VCU students, local community members and VPM professionals.

The VPM+ICA Community Media Center will create new opportunities for storytelling, train and educate the next generation of audio producers, and amplify voices often missing from traditional media.

Under the leadership of Chioke I’Anson, Ph.D., inaugural director of community media, the center will launch this fall with community and student podcasting workshops, training sessions and a special performance — all of which are expected to begin virtually due to COVID-19. The VPM+ICA Community Media Center is slated to open in spring 2021.

l’Anson will serve as director of community media at the new VPM+ICA Community Media Center. (Photo by Amaya Zaslow)
l’Anson will serve as director of community media at the new VPM+ICA Community Media Center. (Photo by Amaya Zaslow)

“Over the past several years, we’ve witnessed the rise of podcasting as a new genre of narrative and documentary arts,” said Dominic Willsdon, executive director of the ICA. “With that in mind, the ICA — as an institution responsive to new currents in public culture — sought to partner with VPM and launch an initiative that supports audio storytelling by, for and about our communities, especially those that have suffered historical inequity. We plan to grow this over time to include audio, video and community media-making more broadly. Beginning in 2021, our new community media center will provide the space, tools and support for this.”

Through this innovative partnership, the ICA and VPM also will launch a multiyear educational and media-making program comprising VCU academic seminars, youth media programs and public seminars, workshops and symposia.

“The VPM+ICA Community Media Center is a unique opportunity for public media to play a role in engaging a new generation of diverse content makers,” said Jayme Swain, CEO of the Virginia Foundation for Public Media and president of VPM. “We are honored to partner with the ICA and Dr. I’Anson to provide a creative space for students and the community to learn how to harness the power of media to tell their stories.”

The ICA’s second-floor Murry DePillars Learning Lab will house the media center, complete with two recording booths and workspace for conceptualizing, editing and producing podcasts and other audio programs.

The project reflects the ICA’s continued engagement with VCU students and faculty to develop new ways of thinking about and utilizing its space, a precedent that’s been in place since the ICA’s conception and has actively shaped its building design and programming.

“Everyone in Richmond has a story that only they can tell, or a perspective only they can share,” said I’Anson, an assistant professor of African American Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences at VCU and underwriting announcer at NPR. “The VPM+ICA Community Media Center is the lab where anyone with something to say or a desire to create can get the technical skills to share their vision. The media center will be an arts and storytelling focal point, serving the city of Richmond and helping deliver its stories to the rest of the world.”

I’Anson will teach a podcasting seminar each semester for students in the Department of African American Studies and will work with a managing team comprising VCU students to plan and create a series of community events and youth programs.

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RTD has the History of Nickel aka Boulevard Bridge

Learn more about our favorite bridge (that we can use) across the James. Mayo is a close second for those keeping track.

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Living only a few blocks from the historic bridge means it has a special spot in my heart. I’ve crossed it countless times both on foot and in the car. I’ve seen bald eagles, osprey, kayaks, rafts, inner tubes, and a fair share of questionable driving. With it be such a prominent part of my life it was fascinating to get more details on the bridge from RTD.

They’ve provided a nice timeline and photos. My favorite bit of new information:

Jan. 5, 1925 — Thousands of motorists availed themselves of the decided moderation in temperature, combined with the fact that yesterday was the last day that motorists and others were allowed to cross the structure free of toll charges, and “tried out” the Boulevard Bridge.

Hundreds of automobiles, from the flivver to the more pretentious high-powered car, crossed the bridge during the day. At times there were so many of the gasoline-propelled cars on the structure that progress was made only at a snail’s pace.

An attache of the Boulevard Bridge Corp. essayed to keep a tally of the cars crossing the structure and succeeded fairly well until he had counted 5,000. At that juncture, however, they were coming so fast and so thickly that he got lost in the mathematical jungle and gave up in despair.

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Arts & Entertainment

2nd Street Festival: A Virtual Celebration!

The 2nd Street Festival commemorates its 32nd anniversary October 3-4 with a virtual event celebrating downtown’s Jackson Ward community.

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The 2nd Street Festival commemorates its 32nd anniversary October 3-4 with a virtual event celebrating downtown’s Jackson Ward community. Venture Richmond Events will present new musical performances, favorite artists from past festivals, cooking demonstrations, virtual tours, neighborhood testimonials, fun family activities, and so much more!

VIRTUAL EVENT DETAILS

Date: October 3-4, 2020

Ways to watch: Visit this webpage or the 2nd Street Festival Facebook page to livestream the event on Oct. 3-4

Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 from 6:00-7:15pm, and Sunday, Oct. 4 from 5:00-6:15pm

Featured Festival Artists & more!

This year’s virtual festival is a great opportunity for families to plan gatherings and watch parties at home in a safe, fun and responsible way! Here are a few of our featured artists.

Legacy Band: Saturday, October 3

Don’t miss this 2nd Street Festival performance by one of Richmond’s favorite bands playing top hits with a mix of soul, R&B, funk, gogo and jazz. The band was originally formed by guitarist Jose Pomier and vocalist Kaila Valdez.

Desirée Roots: Sunday, October 4

Known for showcasing her triple-threat talents of singing, acting and dancing, Desiree performs some of her favorite jazz selections for the 2nd Street Festival. A beloved Richmond performer who grew up in a musical family, Desiree is comfortable singing everything from opera to R&B, but her true favorites are classical, gospel and jazz.

Remembrance of Debo Dabney: Sunday, October 4

Listen in as local musicians and friends Plunky Branch, Glennroy Bailey, Desiree Roots and others share their reflections of Herbert A. Dabney, III, a dynamic and animated pianist who passed away earlier this year. Affectionately known as “Debo,” he was a beloved friend of the festival and an all-around fan favorite. His repertoire ranged from jazz, gospel, R&B, swing, blues and children’s classics. Debo performed for 31 of the festival’s 32 years.

Culinary Demos

Viewers should prepare their kitchens for culinary demonstrations by popular Jackson Ward restaurants Croaker’s Spot and Soul Taco, live-streamed directly into homes to capture the same delicious food that we’ve all come to expect from the 2nd Street Festival.

Kid’s Activity Corner

Families will enjoy Candice Smith with NBC12 News reading a book especially for children, a balloon twisting demonstration by festival favorite Eddie Cook with Balloons By Extreme, and a special activity by the Children’s Museum of Richmond.

A Spotlight on Jackson Ward

Gary Flowers of the Historic Jackson Ward Society will highlight community sites in the neighborhood for all to enjoy, and viewers will hear testimonials from longtime residents and business owners of the Jackson Ward neighborhood during the live stream event.

The 2020 Poster

This year’s official 2nd Street Festival poster was commissioned to Richmond native, Unicia Buster. Ms. Buster was a fine arts major in photography at Cornell University and she will design a quilt for the festival and use her graphic design skills to transform it into the official festival poster.

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