Contributors: Amy Poulter, Matthew Korfhage, Ben Swenson, Victoria Bourne, Clay Barbour
Gifts of the Magpie
If you enjoyed meeting scrap artist Sam Hundley in the August/September issue, you’ll want to get your hands on his new book, Gifts of the Magpie. Due out in March, the kids book tells the story of a big-hearted bird who loves to find things and loves to help. Unfortunately, its confusion over homonyms leads to some interesting gifts.
The book, put out by Capstone Publishing, features original story and artwork by Hundley. The 62-year-old artist spent almost three decades at The Virginian-Pilot. These days the happy retiree spends his time working on his art in a cozy workshop behind his Ocean View home.
You can pre-order his book now
Given that we are all spending more time at home these days, the Distinction team thought it might be a good idea to offer our readers some suggestions for shows and podcasts worth checking out. Here are a few you might like.
What We Do in the Shadows – This little comedic gem is a TV-version of the movie of the same name, made by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. Shot mockumentary style, it follows the life of four vampires who have lived together for hundreds of years in Staten Island. One particularly clever twist in this version is addition of the energy vampire Colin Robinson, a Dilbert-looking character who feeds on people by alternately boring and aggravating them. The episode where he goes to a city council meeting is a modern classic.
Mercy Street – Set in Alexandria, Virginia, this PBS original series tells the story of doctors and nurses in a piece of the Union-occupied South during the Civil War. Filmed on location, the show is based on real people and real events.
The Living and the Dead – If you like your supernatural horror shows set in Victorian-era England then this creepy ghost story about a young psychologist named Nathan Appleby is for you. Appleby returns to his family’s estate in rural Somerset with his beloved wife, Charlotte, and the specter of a family tragedy on his heels. It’s beautifully shot, full of danger and malevolent spirits, love and sorrow, with a little interdimensional intrigue thrown in for good measure. And with only six episodes, it’s totally bingeable through Amazon.
Been staring too long at a screen? Don’t worry, we have some podcasts for you, too.
Spectacular Failures – Narrated by rollicking host Lauren Ober, this podcast dissects some of the biggest boneheaded moves in business history.
Criminal – Like its name indicates, this one focuses on true crime. The twist? It chronicles what happens when the wrong side of the law turns bizarre.
Armchair Expert – Dax Shepard is known mostly for dumb comedies and wife Kristen Bell, but he and actress/producer Monica Padman have created a popular podcast in which they interview celebrities, journalists and academics. Shepard is a surprisingly deft interviewer who seems genuinely curious about his guests and often gets them to open up in ways other shows can’t.
Looking for some new music to follow during your seclusion? Check out Canaan Smith. The country singer-songwriter, who grew up in Williamsburg, released the single “Colder Than You” over the summer.
A story in The Virginian-Pilot describes the song as “a playfully written jab at a hard-hearted ex-lover that showcases the Williamsburg singer’s honey-and-bourbon-drenched southern drawl.”
The approach is a departure for Smith, who was known for a pop-country sound. Nope. Not interested. We prefer anything drenched in bourbon.
We all scream for ice cream
The high-end ice cream boom in Virginia Beach continues with Gerald’s Ice Cream Bar, a new small-batch ice cream shop in Hilltop from one of the founders of fine-dining restaurant Terrapin.
Gerald Einhorn has been making ice cream at home for more than a decade — since even before he and his son, chef Rodney Einhorn, decided to open Terrapin. He developed his recipes at Gerald’s with the help of an internationally known expert in ice cream, Tim Brown, a teacher at Johnson & Wales culinary school in Providence, Rhode Island, who has competed four times on the United States team in the Gelato World Cup in Italy.
The ice cream he’s making at the Hilltop shop is an eggy custard-based ice cream frozen quickly with liquid nitrogen so that it’s both dense and smooth. Einhorn says he makes each of his 39 flavors from scratch in small batches, scooped from a tub just like an old-fashioned ice cream house.
Early accolades for Glass Light
The Glass Light Hotel & Gallery was recently awarded the AAA Four Diamond Award, making it only the third in the area to snag the honor. It joins The Cavalier in Virginia Beach and Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg. The region’s only Five Diamond Award winner is The Williamsburg Inn, which has earned the award three years in a row.
We’re not going to break our arms patting ourselves on the back or anything, but Distinction has brought you stories on three of the four winners, including a big spread on the Glass Light in our June/July issue.
The hotel, a member of the Marriott’s Autograph Collection of independent hotels, is as much of an art gallery as it is a place to stay. According to the story by Denise M. Watson, “Every element is meant to appeal to travelers with an eye for art and creativity, from the clean lines of the leather dining furniture, to menus inspired by local flavors, to the handcrafted glass carrots in each of the 113 guest rooms.”
New brew in Williamsburg
The Brass Tap craft-beer bar opened in Williamsburg this summer. The restaurant seats 100, but it’s limiting its capacity in keeping with coronavirus restrictions. In addition to 150 cans and bottles, The Brass Tap features 60 taps – including four nitros and two ciders – and a selection that veers from national craft brands to international beers from Belgium and Germany to England.
Revamped museums open
A teapot that once belonged to the last royal governor of Virginia. Remnants of a Cherokee tobacco pipe. A warming machine that heated Virginia’s Capitol building during the Colonial era. These are just a few of the artifacts on display at the new and improved Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.
Several exhibits opened this summer at both the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum following the completion of a three-year, $41.7 million expansion project that added 65,000 square feet of space.
Among the new or expanded exhibitions are Early American Faces, a collection of paintings that share the stories of diverse early Americans, The Art of Edward Hicks, a collection of 20 works by one of the most famed folk painters, and American Folk Pottery: Art and Tradition.
Colonial Williamsburg rotates art exhibits frequently, adding a handful of new ones each year to keep things fresh for its guests.
Neon is d’home for d’Art in 2021
The d’Art Center will move to a larger location within the Neon Arts District in January. The new center, at 740 Boush St., will offer a wide range of opportunities for staff, artists, gallery visitors and patrons. “Our new home … will serve the community and patrons of the arts on a much larger scale,” says Tricia Hudson, d’Art Center’s executive director.
The new space will be in a completely renovated state-of-the-art building with a 2,200-square-foot gallery. It will host nine juried national exhibitions and have increased residential artist studio space, as well as a full event catering kitchen, free visitor and patron parking, technology and ceramic studios, multipurpose class/ meeting rooms, an artist lounge, solo artist gallery available for rent and retail space featuring work of the d’Art Center artists and local vendors.