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.
Earlier this year, a sixteen students and two teachers from Tandem painted a large mural on the wall of Richmond Camera, on High Street next to Jak ‘n Jil. (You can see photos on the camera shop’s website.) But the business, despite having approached Tandem in the first place, never applied for any permits to cover one wall of their building in signage. So now the city has told them that the sign is illegal, Courteney Stuart writes in The Hook, and must be removed by the end of the month. The city spokesman points out that Richmond Camera can appeal their decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals, which may well give them permission to keep the sign, but it’s a step that they’ve got to take if they don’t intend to comply with the law.
It’s a great-looking mural that’s definitely more art than advertisement—here’s hoping the BZA lets it stay—but Richmond Camera deserves no sympathy for failing to get a permit. The Tandem kids, on the other hand, ought to be upset and disappointed if their work gets erased. The owner of Richmond Camera owed them better treatment than this. Now it’s up the city to make that right.
05/13 Update: A spokesman for the city tells me that Neighborhood Development Services figures that this mural is art, not signage, and thus that they have no say in whether it should be there. He points out, too, that the store owner has been very cooperative, but that he’s still got to pare down his three signs to the limit of two for an entrance corridor. The colorful mural will stay, everybody’s happy, the end.
Greenbrier residents really love the ArtInPlace sculpture at the corner of Dairy and 250, the 28-foot-wide wooden whale tail, so it’s not surprising that they got pretty upset when its sculptor was entertaining an offer to move to move the work to a Vienna botanical garden. Seth Rosen reports in today’s Progress that the whale tale isn’t going anywhere — the city has bought it. They’ll lease it for $3,000/year for the next five years, so long as the sculpture holds up.
The Virginia Film Festival announced this year’s theme a few days ago, when I wasn’t looking: “kin flicks.” Film Fest director Richard Herskowitz made it known on his blog, and Jeremy Borden provides details in the Progress. It seems anything pertaining to family is up for grabs, which Herskowitz says was motivated both by a desire to get more families to attend and continue the discussion that began with last year’s gay marriage amendment. If you’ve got suggestions for films, Herskowitz is soliciting them as comments to his blog entry.
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