The Downtown Regal is being seriously overhauled, Graelyn Brashear writes in C-Ville Weekly. It will no longer be a Regal, and its owner and her new business partner are going to add a restaurant and cocktails. The owner of Violet Crown Cinema in Austin (it gets 4 stars on Yelp) wants to make this the second location in what he hopes will become a nationwide chain of such places. Regal’s 15-year lease recently ran out, not long after they managed to drive Vinegar Hill out of business by moving to showing mostly independent films. The new facility is slated to open by November.
President Obama and French President François Hollande will visit Monticello on Monday, The Hill reports. That’s just one day before Hollande’s state visit to the White House. In a statement, the White House said that “the residence of Thomas Jefferson, one of the United States’ earliest envoys to France, Monticello reflects Jefferson’s affection for the people of France, the long-standing relations between our two democracies, and the shared values we hold dear: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” There is no reason to think that this will be a public event.
LexisNexis has sold their downtown Charlottesville building, the Daily Progress reports. A holding company bought the property for $9.3M. Lexis built the structure 22 years ago to replace their facility on Market Street (rechristened the Old Michie Building by Gabe Silverman). Lexis has slowly laid off hundreds of employees over the course of years, and they’re now down to just 175 people. They’re leasing back space in the building from the new owner, and claim that they have no plans to shut down the Charlottesville office.
On The DTM, proprietor Dave McNair interviews the two men accused of a gleeful, random attack on the Downtown Mall last month, and the picture that the accused paint of themselves is rather opposite of the one painted of them by the thousands of angry racists who descended on C-Ville Weekly’s website to post vile comments.
For starters, Malcolm Stevenson (25) and Richard Spears (23) are both openly gay. Stevenson is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and is a manager at Eppie’s. Spears is a soft-spoken, full-time student of the Virginia School of Massage, where he’s studying to be a massage therapist. Their police records are minimal: Stevenson has a few traffic violations, Spears was once charged with swearing in public and intoxication. Although these facts in no way demonstrate that they are or are not guilty of the attacks, these men certainly are nowhere close to fitting the gangbanger stereotype that Matt Drudge and his followers presented them as.
The two men say that they’d been drinking, and admit to a physical altercation with Marc Adams and his girlfriend, Jeanne Doucette. But they accuse the two of being drunk, and having started the altercation, saying that Doucette called them “black faggots” and that Adams aggressively pursued Stevenson. They say that a third man—a stranger—stepped in, trying to break it up, and that it was he who punched Adams in the face.
Stevenson tells McNair that he understands that he’s going to be charged with something—that’s what happens after a fight—but that “if I’m going to be held accountable for my actions, then they need to be held accountable for theirs.”
After two men turned themselves in for assaulting two people downtown last month, Dave McNair (formally of The Hook) writes on The DTM that a more complicated narrative is emerging. I hope more information comes out about this soon, because this story—what it says about and how it influences race relations in Charlottesville—is important, and potentially powerful.