¿Dónde está la fiesta? The metro Richmond area is full of diverse options for entertainment. I have a special place in my heart for Latin culture, so I’m always on the lookout for venues that showcase Latin music, dance, food, and culture. Whether you’re looking to embrace your own Latin roots, or you want to explore the vibrant culture that Richmond has to offer, I’ll be showcasing some of those options… starting here! If you’ve got the Sunday blues because your weekend is almost over, I have discovered the perfect way to extend it. Champion Brewing (@ChampionRVA) at 401 E. Grace Street gives you RVA Bachata Sunday, with Latin music from 4-8pm. The night starts off with free dance lessons at 4pm, and DJ Ruddy Rivera kicks off the music (salsa, bachata, and merengue) at 4:45pm. No partners are necessary, and all ages are welcome! It’s a great opportunity to learn something new, while sneaking in one more weekend activity. Although there is a quieter space upstairs, I was perfectly content to people-watch from the bar and enjoy a pint of one of their craft brews. You can also order from their menu of elevated pub fare – I had the Fried Chicken Sandwich, which is a delicious hand-breaded chicken breast with a pickled carrot and beet slaw and house pub mustard on a brioche bun. I did finally give in – despite my full tummy – and dance a few bachata songs. It’s easy – even if you have never done it, and so much fun!
The Latin Ballet of Virginia is partnering with The Edgar Allan Poe Museum (1914 E. Main Street, Richmond) to interpret the life and influence of Poe for the education and enjoyment of an international audience. After touring the US and beyond for the past two years, they return to Richmond with La Pasión de Poe. “The life and poetry of Poe represented in dance is very powerful,” says Ana Inés King, founder and Creative Director of the Latin Ballet. “We have worked closely with the museum directors to make this production as authentic as possible.” Chris Semtner, curator of The Edgar Allan Poe Museum, is also the author of The Poe Shrine: Building the World’s Finest Edgar Allan Poe Collection, and an award-winning visual artist. La Pasión de Poe has been based on the Poe’s life and work, including El Dorado, To Helen, The Raven, To One in Paradise and Annabel Lee. Tickets are available for performances March 28-31, 2019 at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen (2880 Mountain Road, Glen Allen). See latinballet.com/la-pasion-de-poe-event for ticket sales.
As a musician, I often hear of local open mic nights, and as a singer / songwriter who spent a decade in Nashville, I have performed in more than my share of them. But Tuesday Verses, an open mic night in its 17th year, is unlike any I have ever participated in. Although its founder, Lorna Pinckney, passed in 2017, it continues on with a rotation of artists who host the event weekly. Addis Ethiopian Restaurant (9 N. 17th St., Richmond), which overlooks the revitalized 17th Street Farmer’s Market area, hosts the event. I knew two things as soon as I stepped in the front door. First, it was a packed house, but they were all listening intently to the performer. As a musician, I have long ago gotten over being offended by those who come to a live music performance, yet talk loudly the whole time. So the proverbial angels sang, being in this place where I got the true “listening room experience” more commonplace in Nashville than in Richmond. Secondly, although I walked in as a stranger, each person I talked to was eager to help and enthusiastic about this “family.” In fact, Marcus EShadd, one of the rotating hosts, tells me that “Verses is a room full of love, and the family members you have yet to meet.” I watched as dancers, poets, emcees, and singers crossed the stage – backed by a talent-packed house band. Everyone had a voice, and every voice was appreciated. If you’re searching for an uncensored platform for sharing your diversity, creativity, and talent – come out to Addis every Tuesday from 8pm – midnight. 21+ / $7 cover.
That wraps up this edition of Life After Dark! As always, my live music schedule is on my website (karismithmusic.com) with this month’s featured venue being Rare Olde Times (10602 Patterson Avenue, Henrico). I’ll be there on March 10 and April 7, with live music on both Sundays from 6-9pm.