Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds will be playing an acoustic concert at the downtown amphitheater, Red Light Management announced in a press release this morning. The performance will be on Saturday, August 20. All proceeds will support charities, via an online service that allows ticket buyers to direct their payment to nearly any 501(c)3 in the country. The duo last performed together in Charlottesville at the Jefferson Theater in 1994. Tickets go on sale at 10 AM on August 5th, via the amphitheater’s website.
WTJU station manager Burr Beard has resigned, Tyler McGill writes on the WTJU In Crisis blog. Citing “family concerns,” his resignation is apparently effective immediately. Beard’s planned overhaul of the station’s format led to a public rebellion by long-time volunteers, leading to some backpedaling on the university’s part, but without a clear path forward for the station. Presumably now the path is even less clear.
The saga of Jim Baldi’s noisy Belmont restaurant is ending not with a bang, but a whimper. Bel Rio’s landlord, Jeff Easter, has told them to be quiet, Rachana Dixit writes for the Daily Progress. Easter says that his lease limited them to jazz performances, not traditionally known for being loud, and Baldi’s move to having DJs spinning thumpy music just isn’t permitted. There’s a twist, too—Bel Rio is shut down, a sign on the door saying it’s only temporary, but it’s not clear why or when—or if—it’s reopening. Council is set to consider lowering the noise ordinance further on Monday, just to deal with Bel Rio, but I imagine they’ll put that off for a future meeting, since it’s entirely possible that this is the end of the matter. Until it comes up again in 5-10 years, the next time somebody opens a noisy venue in a residential area.
WTJU’s internal debate over its future has gone public, Dave McNair writes for The Hook. Long-time station manager Chuck Taylor recently retired, and brand-new manager Burr Beard has been told by UVA that he’s got to make WTJU relevant, or it may simply be shut down. (With 7,500 weekly listeners, the station is perhaps better loved than actually listened to.) Long-time DJs—all volunteers—are none too thrilled by Beard’s plans, which are to move to a format closer to commercial radio and to scale back on the eclectica. Though many seem to be OK with change in concept, having this new guy stroll in and immediately start making changes without volunteer buy-in isn’t being received well. One twenty-year veteran has resigned rather than wait to be booted. DJ Tyler Magill has started a blog documenting and objecting to the proposed changes. But if Beard really has the dire mission that’s been described, he may basically have license to do as he likes.
UVA has agreed to postpone any changes until fall, Brian McNeill writes in the Progress, and WTJU is about to launch a blog on their website, in an apparent effort to move the online discussion from Magill’s website to their own.
In the mid-nineties, I had a bi-weekly rock show on WTJU (with an inherited, classically useless WTJU title: “The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging”), and for some years I co-hosted Rock and Folk Marathon shows dedicated to Dave Matthews Band, R.E.M., Elvis Costello, Liz Phair, and others. Fifteen years later, I still have WTJU preset on my car radio, but it’s increasingly a sympathy button. Easily a third of the time that I flip to it, I’m greeted by silence, either because they broadcast at such a low level (sure, yeah, it provides greater fidelity, but it’s too quiet to be heard) or because a long, awkward pause is underway. No more than one time in twenty is anything that I want to listen to being broadcast. The schedule is impossible for any normal person to remember, and even when read, doesn’t seem wholly logical. (Jazz at 9 AM? No thank you.) The show titles are of no help to understanding what you’re going to hear, and the descriptions often don’t help much, either. All of which is to say that WTJU certainly has its problems, which even a long-time fan like me can see, and I can’t see that anybody would argue otherwise. It remains to be seen whether the cure will be worse than the disease.
There’s a YouTube trend of filming so-bad-they’re-good self-parodying hip-hop homages to one’s hometown. (See Arlington: The Rap, which I think was the first one, or River City.) They’re all done in the style of Lazy Sunday (Chronicles of Narnia), the crazy-popular SNL short that convinced NBC to put stuff online. With that essential context establish: Emily Bolecek and Arin Noble are tossing Charlottesville into the mix with five minutes of props to the Downtown Mall.