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Arts & Entertainment

Friday Cheers Release 2022 Artists

It’s rainy and grey but here’s a ray of sunshine for your musical heart. This year’s Friday Cheers is out and you have something to look forward to this spring.



Presented by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Friday Cheers celebrates its 37th anniversary as the longest-running concert series in Richmond. The 2022 Friday Cheers season will showcase some of the nation’s hottest touring bands and all-time regional favorites like Japanese Breakfast, Cory Wong, Matthew E. White and many more! You’ve got two options for tickets, the season pass for $50 which you can get here. It’s a bargain but if you only want to catch a couple of acts buy individual tickets for $10 in advance here. The price will be $15 at the door.

May 6th – Japanese Breakfast with Abby Huston

Japanese Breakfast

A solo moniker for Philadelphia musician Michelle Zauner, Japanese Breakfast is known for her artfully experimental, deeply intimate brand of indie pop. Taking a break from her band Little Big League, she debuted in 2013 with the melodically lo-fi cassette release June. Along with further work with Little Big League, she has continued to expand her sonic palette, weaving in atmospheric synths, electric guitars, and electronics on 2016’s Psychopomp and 2017’s Soft Sounds from Another Planet. In 2021, Zauner hit number two on the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list with her memoir, Crying in H Mart, which found her exploring her Korean heritage in the wake of her mother’s death from cancer. On the heels of her memoir, Japanese Breakfast released a companion album, Jubilee. Also that year, she supplied the score to the video game Sable. – Matt Collar

Songs to Check Out: Be Sweet

​If you like Talking Heads, Arcade Fire, St. Vincent, you’ll like Japanese Breakfast

Abby Huston

Abby Huston is an interdisciplinary artist based in Richmond, VA. They began playing the Richmond circuit when they were 19, debuting songs from what became the collaborative album Rich, which featured different instrumentalists from their favorite local bands on each track. Since their first release in 2018, they have been honored to open for acts like SALES, Crumb and Kate Bollinger. They are deeply pulled and moved by vocalists of all kinds, and as of 2020 has been an in-studio writer for some of their favorite local vocalists. In 2021, they were signed to Egghunt Records, original label of local legend Lucy Dacus. That year they released their first record to vinyl, the album AH HA, featuring the latest and greatest Richmond legend, and fellow Friday Cheers artist, Benét and their producer Not Kevin.

Songs to Check Out: L Train

​If you like Crumb, Raveena, Corrine Bailey Rae, you’ll like Abby Huston

May 13th – Cory Wong with Pharaoh Sistare

Cory Wong

Recognized for his high-speed improvisational skills, fun-loving performance spirit, and a flexible right wrist, guitarist Cory Wong had a multifaceted music career in his base of Minneapolis, Minnesota before becoming better known for regular guest spots as rhythm guitarist for Ann Arbor R&B/funk outfit Vulfpeck in the mid-2010s. Often incorporating intricate, percussive picking into his rhythm playing, his style merges acoustic and electric techniques gleaned from years invested in both. Wong’s second solo LP, a set of lighthearted jazz-funk titled The Optimist, debuted in the Top 20 of the Billboard Jazz Albums chart upon its release in 2018. He picked up a Grammy-nomination for his 2020 collaboration with Jon Batiste, Meditations, and returned in 2021 with another collaboration, Golden Hour, with saxophonist Dave Koz. – Marcy Donelson

Songs to Check Out: Golden

​If you like Vulfpeck, Snarky Puppy, Dave Koz, you’ll like Cory Wong

Pharaoh Sistare

Pharaoh Sistare grew up in Richmond, Virginia, surrounded by influences that would directly impact his sound. You can feel the power of the greats like Michael Jackson, Prince, and James Brown in his vintage laced songs, but his love of Golden Age movies and dancers like Fred Astaire and Bob Fosse brings another dimension to his music and style. Sistare took to music production fast, but after spending his time creating beats for other artists, he stepped into his own path. The stellar production on his songs instantly hooks you. While you can quickly sense the nostalgic inspiration, there’s so much going on in each track. His music transports you to a specific place and time, whether that’s a beach party in the 60s, a disco dance floor, or an enchanted forest. Sistare says, “I like taking myself to such places in my imagination when I make beats or hear music from artists like Esquivel. He’s a big inspiration in that area.” He creates worlds around each song. At the core of each track is that danceable element. He says, “I think people should dance more. I want to make music that makes you want to dance and feel good.” With only four singles out yet, he’s amassed over 30k streams on Spotify. Sistare is showing off his prowess as a young artist, only going up from here. He plans on releasing a video for “Strobe Light” in April before releasing his debut EP “Once Upon a Groove.” – EARMILK

Songs to Check Out: Strobe Light

​If you like Michael Jackson, Prince, James Brown, you’ll like Pharaoh Sistare

May 27th – RVA Music Night with Matthew E. White, Benét and The Last Real Circus

Matthew E. White

Drawing from a deep well of regional influences like Randy Newman, Allen Toussaint, and Alan Lomax, Richmond, Virginia-based singer/songwriter/arranger Matthew E. White specializes in a meticulously crafted blend of reggae-infused folk-gospel, Tropicalia, swirling indie pop, and Stax-era R&B. The founder of the Spacebomb label and management group, White has collaborated with like-minded artists such as Megafaun, Sharon Van Etten, the Mountain Goats, Ken Vandermark, and Justin Vernon, as well as toured and recorded as the leader of avant-garde jazz band Fight the Big Bull. He made his solo debut with the innovative Big Inner in 2012 and saw U.K. chart success with 2015’s Fresh Blood. He issued his third solo effort, the reliably eclectic K Bay, in 2021, and has released full-lengths with Flo Morrissey (2017’s Gentlewoman, Ruby Man) and Lonnie Holley (2021’s Broken Mirror: A Selfie Reflection). – James Christopher Monger

Songs to Check Out: Look at What the Light Did Now

​If you like Sly & the Family Stone, Carol King, King Tubby, you’ll like Matthew E. White


From a young age, Benét was drawn to creative means of expression, immersing themselves in their local scene and dipping their toes in mediums across the board. Fast forward to 21 years old, Benét is acutely aware of the ways their upbringing, both in Virginia and on the Internet have impacted their music. Social media has not only informed the way they create, but who they create with. Connecting with artists online has allowed them to expand their musical bounds, and make friends along the way. Previous releases from Benét include “Stan Account” a double single released last year with Richmond-imprint Citrus City.

Songs to Check Out: Funny

​If you like Cautious Clay, Omar Apollo, Faye Webster, you’ll like Benét

The Last Real Circus

The Last Real Circus are an Indie rock band based out of Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Members include: Jason Farlow (Lead Vocals, Guitar) Ian Atchison (Piano & Synthesizer/Sound Engineer, Kevin Vorhis (Drums & Percussion/Sound Engineer), John Liebenthal (Bass), Michael Lamp (Lead Guitar). The band has quickly gained a big following with loyal fans from all over, with their soulful heartbeat singles, “Chaplin’s Life,” and “Nottoway.” With the addition of their new originals “Diana (Ooh La La)”, “Hard Times“ and “Stoned (On A Different Kind of Love)” to the set list, The Last Real Circus are coming into their own as an act! Currently, The Last Real Circus are coming off of last year’s tour, along with adding some additional members to the band during the break. They are known for their energetic stage presence, storytelling and overall musicianship.

Songs to Check Out: Nottoway

​If you like The Lumineers, Shovels and Rope, Kings of Leon, you’ll like The Last Real Circus

June 3rd – Bombino with Pachyman


Meditative and earthy, Niger-based musician Bombino conjures the expansiveness of the Sahara landscape with his dazzling guitar work and entrancing vocals. Championed by the Rolling Stones before he’d even released an album, he embraced the nomadic nature of his Tuareg roots and throughout the 2010s recorded a series of critically lauded albums in various locations around the world including Nashville, Niger, New York, and Morocco. Infusing his mesmeric desert blues with hints of psychedelia and American traditions, Bombino continued to build his reputation with albums like Nomad and Deran, the latter of which earned him a 2019 Grammy nomination. He released his first live outing in 2020. – Chrysta Cherrie

Songs to Check Out: Tamiditine

​If you like Tinariwen, Songoy Blues, Mdou Moctar, you’ll like Bombino


Under the name Pachyman, Puerto Rican singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Pachy García crafts rugged, old-school dub, dancehall, and roots reggae in the tradition of pioneers like Scientist and Lee “Scratch” Perry. Based in Los Angeles, Pachyman issued a pair of independent records in 2019 and 2020 before signing with ATO Records, which released The Return of Pachyman the following year. – Timothy Monger

Songs to Check Out: Guy Goodwin

​If you like Scientist, Sly & Robbie, King Tubby, you’ll like Pachyman

June 10th – Goth Babe with Kenneka Cook

Goth Babe

Goth Babe is Griff Washburn enjoying himself. Originally from Tennessee, Griff currently lives in a Tiny House with his pup Sadie in the mountains of Washington. When not on the road touring, Griff and Sadie are off enjoying the outdoors in the great Pacific Northwest. Snow, surf, and trails are plenty to occupy them in their offseason. Griff has seemed to have picked up on the brighter parts of life. Parting ways with social status and relevance, he’s discovered how wonderful living day by day is. Making music to Griff is less a climb to the top, as it is a form of free thinking and enjoyment.

Songs to Check Out: Weekend Friend

​If you like Hippo Campus, MGMT, Louis the Child, you’ll like Goth Babe

Kenneka Cook

Growing up in Richmond, VA, she was obsessed with the moon, staring out her window at the night sky in awe of its mystery. Her debut record Moonchild (2018 on American Paradox) is both a product of her intense connection with the cosmos, as well as a tribute to the embracing of celestial feminine energy. Musically, Cook bridges the gap between beat-driven sonics and melodic jazz in a brazenly colorful debut album. Cook’s early training took place in church choir and school chorus. Her tastes eventually shifted towards heavyweights like Billie Holiday, Erykah Badu, and The Cardigans, informing her confidently playful, harmony-heavy, atmospheric style. Initially she was making acapella songs with a microphone and laptop in college out of necessity, describing her voice as “the only instrument I truly had access to” at the time. She discovered live looping through Reggie Watts and honed her looping skills by arranging old jazz standards. From there, she began to fully explore writing and creating music, welcoming a variety of live players into the fold to flush out and widen her solo arrangements. Moonchild is a glimpse through Cook’s lens, exhibiting heartfelt lyrics and melodic themes on spirituality, technology, and social interaction.

Songs to Check Out: Don’t Ask Me

​If you like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Moses Sumney, you’ll like Kenneka Cook

June 17th – Cory Henry with Shormey

Cory Henry

Brooklyn born Cory Henry is a R&B/soul artist, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and producer who, as a child prodigy, began playing the piano and organ at the age of 2. At the age of 6, her made his debut at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. In 2012, he joined the experimental jazz and funk ensemble Snarky Puppy, with whom he won a 2014 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance and a 2015 Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. He left the group in 2018 to pursue his solo career; his debut independent album, Art of Love, was released that same year, followed by his sophomore effort Something to Say in October 2020.

Songs to Check Out: Happy Days

​If you like Snarky Puppy, Tank & the Bangas, Jacob Collier, you’ll like Cory Henry


Shormey is the recording project of Virginia native Shormey Adumuah. She frequently draws inspiration from the sonic influences of 70’s disco, soul, and psychedelic music. It’s all exemplified in The Boogie Tape Vol. 1, Shormey’s first cassette project released via Citrus City Records. Staying true to the relaxed and carefree vibes of the tape, Shormey recorded the entire project within the confines of her bedroom. This tape is a testament to her desire to create music that doesn’t put any pressure on the listener to feel any one particular feeling, but to just enjoy it as an upbeat experience.

Songs to Check Out: Boogie Island

​If you like Toro y Moi, Crumb, Washed Out, you’ll like Shormey

June 24th – 49 Winchester with Cassidy Snider & The Wranglers

49 Winchester

Alt-country soul from the heart of Appalachia in Russell County, VA. 49 Winchester delivers the poetically straightforward songs of singer/guitarist Isaac Gibson in a soulful electric live show. Rock & roll with roots planted firmly in the traditions of mountain music. “Gibson and his compatriots have made it a point to keep to the basics, be it a blazing combination of drive and defiance, or tears-in-their-beers balladry flush with seething emotion. That’s especially true on the band’s latest outing III, a confident collection that gives voice to the band’s pure, unfettered intents.” – American Songwriter

Songs to Check Out: Everlasting Lover

​If you like Tyler Childers, Sturgil Simpson, Margo Price, you’ll like 49 Winchester

Cassidy Snider & The Wranglers

Cassidy Snider & The Wranglers is a band with roots firmly planted in the riverbank soil of Richmond, Virginia. Led by the traveling troubadour, Cassidy Snider, this folk outlet is a grassy assortment of her wanderlust-filled soul with sounds of the New Orleans bayou, the blue ridge mountains, and every accent between. From dive bar corners to venue bright lights, each song kicks dirt off the dance floor with story-filled twang. Blending genres, yet always tinged in Cassidy’s blues, they have developed a unique sound that morphs the musical styles of the American past with a voicing that can only be sung by this band’s bright future.

Songs to Check Out: Devil Tracks

​If you like JJ Cale, Wanda Jackson, Etta James, you’ll like Cassidy Snider & The Wranglers

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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.

Arts & Entertainment

12th annual Richmond Bluegrass Jam set for April 22nd benefitting military veterans and families

The free, family-friendly event features 20 of the region’s best bluegrass and Americana bands playing on multiple stages for nine straight hours, all to raise money for military veterans and their families through two local organizations.



The Richmond Bluegrass Jam will return for its twelfth year on April 22, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., at American Legion Post 354, on the banks of the James River in Midlothian, Va. This is the second year the Jam is being held at the American Legion Post after a previous multi-year run at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen.

The free, family-friendly event features 20 of the region’s best bluegrass and Americana bands playing on multiple stages for nine straight hours, all to raise money for military veterans and their families through two local organizations: the Richmond Fisher House, a home away from home for the families of veterans and active-duty soldiers recuperating at Richmond’s McGuire Veterans Medical Center; and Liberation Veteran Services, which provides housing and care for veterans in crisis.

Fans are strongly encouraged to make tax-deductible donations to the Richmond Fisher House and Liberation Veteran Services at the event or online at Over the past eleven years, the event has raised more than $204,000 for the families of military men and women.

The bands—all of which play at no charge in support of the Richmond Fisher House and Liberation Veteran Services—include Tara Mills Band, Cary Street Ramblers, Josh Grigsby and County Line, Cook County Bluegrass, Slack Family Bluegrass Band, and more.

The event also will feature local craft beverages and Richmond’s food trucks.

“We’re excited to bring the Richmond Bluegrass Jam back to American Legion Post 354 after a successful event last year,” says Tim Gundlach, president of RVA Bluegrass Jam, Inc., the event’s organizer. “This new location along the James River is not only inspiring, but also further connects the Jam with our military community. This year, we’re expanding our support of our military veterans and their families by raising money for both the Richmond Fisher House and Liberation Veteran Services. We’re proud to partner with these two extraordinary organizations.”

In addition to listening to the scheduled bands, attendees are encouraged to bring their own instruments. Several open jam areas will be available, as well as an instrument check station.

American Legion Post 354 is located in Midlothian, Va. Parking will be available at nearby James River High School, 3700 James River Rd., with free shuttles running throughout the day.

More information at and on Facebook at

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Arts & Entertainment

Husband-and-wife duo bringing new restaurant concept to former Mill on MacArthur space

The deal closed Monday for an undisclosed amount. Sperity Real Estate Ventures’ Nathan Hughes worked the deal.



From Richmond BizSense:

Barely a month after its closure, The Mill on MacArthur restaurant space in the Bellevue neighborhood is set to be reborn.

Husband-and-wife duo Rawleigh and Jaya Easley purchased The Mill’s lease at 4023 MacArthur Ave. and its equipment and are planning to open a new restaurant in its place called Neighbor.

The deal closed Monday for an undisclosed amount. Sperity Real Estate Ventures’ Nathan Hughes worked the deal.

Continue reading here.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Arts & Entertainment

Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU’s bevy of spring exhibitions run the gamut

An international group exhibition studying abstraction and a monumental new public artwork by Navine G. Dossos for ICA’s iconic facade kick off the 2023 spring season



The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University (ICA at VCU) has announced its Spring 2023 season, featuring a group exhibition and corresponding public art installation, both organized by ICA Senior Curator and Director of Programs, Sarah Rifky, as well as hybrid performances as part of the Test Pattern series. Additionally, Misread Unread Read Reread Misread Unread Reread (MURRMUR), an ongoing research framework that opened in Fall 2022 with the self-publishing pavillion by Rafael Domenech, will continue through 2023 with further iterations and programs by artists and educators.

Installed across the ICA’s multiple galleries and spaces, So it appears, runs through July 16, 2023. The exhibition features nineteen artists from around the world whose works appear inscrutable at first glance—but upon closer examination, tangible, acutely urgent narratives begin to emerge. Grappling with the paradox of how to represent the unrepresentable, the collected artists have surfaced abstraction as a visual strategy—a tactic for encoding, encrypting, and indexing otherwise invisible realities and disasters, as well as speculative futures. Formal abstraction, color fields and conceptual minimalism act as repositories for stories of carcerality, injustice, enslavement, the invisibility of migrants, environmental racism, and sonic warfare, among other realities.

Though created at different times (from 2004 to the present) and in vastly disparate contexts across fourteen different countries, the works presented in So it appears reveal surprising affinities in their approaches, subtleties and associations. Seen together, they invite visitors to reflect on the interconnectedness of the manifold global crises.

Featured artists include Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Monira Al Qadiri, Alexander Apóstol, Navine G. Dossos, Torkwase Dyson, Basmah Felemban, Žilvinas Kempinas, Agnieszka Kurant, Dinh Q. Lê, Jeewi Lee, John Menick, Novo (Reynier Leyva Novo), Trevor Paglen, Walid Raad, Tomás Saraceno, Pak Sheung-Chuen, and Levester Williams. Tasmania-based artist Tricky Walsh and New York–based audio artist and producer Sharon Mashihi will also be in residence throughout the exhibition’s run and will produce new works to be presented on April 21st on the occasion of the ICA’s fifth anniversary.

Concurrently, artist Navine G. Dossos will present a public work, McLean (2023), on ICA at VCU’s iconic N. Belvidere facade, on view for one year, February 24, 2023 – January 7, 2024. For this visually spectacular work, the artist adapted one hundred gouache paintings she created between 2018 and 2020, each panel in response to a news article published in the wake of the heinous murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi—a resident of McLean, Virginia—in October 2019.

Through this series, Dossos has developed a lexicon of symbols that stand in for the absent picturing of the case. The work is rendered in Dossos’ double take on Islamic and geometric arts, yet instead of lines and shapes, Dossos composes her intricate work through graphic icons, a representation of the narrative thread, encompassing multiple forms of technology, different individuals, nation-states, law enforcement agencies and human rights organizations. McLean is developed from Dossos’ project No Such Organization (2020) and which will be shown as part of So it appears.

Continuing from the 2022 Fall season is Misread Unread Read Re-read Misread Unread Re-read (MURRMUR), a ten-month curatorial framework and publishing program committed to expanding how we think about exhibitions and what it means to read, publish and distribute art, books and ideas. Developed in conversation with participating artists and educators, MURRMUR seeks to break down, massage, map and circulate information through experiments, improvisations and alternative curriculums. MURRMUR is organized by Senior Curator and Director of Programs, Sarah Rifky, and Assistant Curator of Commerce and Publications, Egbert Vongmalaithong.

MURRMUR presents two new programs in April 2023 and one new installation of research, references and a materials library designed by Sam Taylor in February 2023, organized by Egbert Vongmalaithong, ICA Assistant Curator of Commerce and Publications. On view February 24–July 16, 2023, in the ICA Shop + Cafe, Taylor’s installation provides objects that can be activated with a tap of your phone to reveal media and texts, providing insight on MURRMUR and the upcoming iterations.

One of the new programs is between a book and a soft place, a new commission by new media artist and design educator nicole killian. Designed as a playful learning environment, visitors are invited into this play-space to consider various ways for language to be carried out, embodied, and “queered”: we wear the language, we dance the language and we hold it in our hands. An intervention on the ICA’s 2nd floor, between a book and a soft place, can be considered a study on killian’s research questions around queering design education.

MURRMUR also presents SIT(UATION), a mutable seating and display system by artist Riley Hooker in collaboration with architect Nick Meehan. The project grows from a desire to center the body in the act of reading and the structure can be understood as plasmatic—resisting fixed linearity and promoting intellectual promiscuity. The design pulls from 1960s radical architecture, post-modern seating design a-la Peter Opsvik and Terje Ekstrøm, educational methods developed for neurodivergent students, embodiment and mindfulness practices, and anarchic political theories. The research and process behind these programs will be presented in February 2023 and on view from April 21–July 16, 2023.

In September 2022, MURRMUR opened with The Medium is the Massage, a new commission by artist Rafael Domenech. Visitors to The Medium is the Massage can become authors, readers, editors, and publishers when they enter this continuously transforming publication-pavilion. The living space turns the art gallery from a site of passive reception into a site of active production, right up until it closes on July 16, 2023, when the public will be invited to take the project’s remains out of the gallery and into their homes.


Curated by ICA Assistant Curator and Producer David Riley, Test Pattern is a hybrid performance series inspired by the legacy of visionary public-access TV programs and alternative video movements in the US. The series invites artists to turn the ICA auditorium into an experimental production studio for week-long residencies, during which they collaborate with members of the local community to create a live performance and internet broadcast. Launched in March 2022, past Test Pattern performers include DeForrest Brown Jr., madison moore, SHAWNÉ MICHAELAIN HOLLOWAY, Moor Mother, jaamil olawale kosoko, Kinlaw and Dorian Wood.

Test Pattern returns to the ICA auditorium on Friday, April 7, with a performance by vocalist, composer, and performance artist Holland Andrews. Their work focuses on the abstraction of operatic and extended-technique voice to build cathartic and dissonant soundscapes. Andrews arranges music for voice, clarinet and electronics and frequently highlights themes surrounding vulnerability and healing. In addition to creating solo work, Andrews develops and performs soundscapes for dance, theater and film. Their work has toured nationally and internationally with artists such as Bill T. Jones, Dorothee Munyaneza, Will Rawls and poet Demian Dinéyazhi.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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