Noelle Parent shares her Gifts with RVA

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“The gift is in the giving” is a sweet sentiment, and although it feels great to see someone’s face light up when you give them something from the heart, the process of picking out those gifts can be grueling and time-consuming. Gifted RVA, a new business headed by Noelle Parent, aims to take the guess-work out of this process.

I first heard of this business from a friend of mine who works at Think 804, a local advertising agency that assisted Parent in the branding of her business. There was a launch party celebrating the establishment of Gifted, and I am never one to miss a party with free hors d’ouvres. A few of the snacks provided were local products featured in the boxes, like Capital Chips and Gunther’s Salsa Fresca. Attendees got to sneak a peek at some of the new boxes and meet a few local business owners, and I found myself really impressed at the amount of local products being utilized and supported. So, I reached out to Noelle to hear a little bit more about her business.

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I’m the cutie with the silver flamingo in hand.

Parent has been working in the hospitality business for over thirteen years. Most recently, she worked at Quirk Hotel. 

People asked me all the time to help me with their welcome bags and gift baskets,” Parent told me. “They specifically wanted products from local businesses. I realized there was a demand for it.” 

What is it that’s important in a gift? Almost everyone wants to get something that shows that someone was thinking of them. Something personal and thoughtful. “For me, I like something that’s meaningful and useful. I hate getting something that I’m just gonna put on a shelf or re-gift,” Parent said. “If it has special meaning, that’s important. It’s always great if they have an inside joke. One man gave his wife the Good Morning Box because her nickname for him was Pancake.”

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Handpicking the right local products was a learning experience for Parent. Not only should it be a product that her clients will enjoy, but she has to make sure the business is fully established, so the product is consistently available. They have to be willing and able to provide a product in large qualities. Additionally they have to find things to fit a theme. For their Unicorn Box, they had to find all unicorn products, in the thin pool of Richmond businesses.

We got really lucky and found Gypsy Stars RVA, I found them on Etsy and they are all made by people with autism. The woman who runs it is very high-functioning, but some of the people she works with are not so high-functioning, so it’s nice that she provides this for them.” 

Their top-selling box is the Chic Box, which features all woman-owned businesses. “It’s nice to be able to call these local businesses and say, ‘hey I need fifty orders of your product.’ It was great to make such a huge order to a local business,” Noelle told me.

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One of the most glaring traits of Richmond is how supportive its residents are about supporting local businesses. Be it coffee, food, clothes, or hot sauce, we Richmonders tend to lean towards our own. Gifted RVA not only helps people buy gift boxes using primarily local products, but also helps to expand awareness and revenue to great lesser-known small RVA businesses.

Gifted RVA is as much about giving back to the community as it is giving to a loved one. Their Give Back Box does just that. Every product featured in the box gives some portion of its profits to a charity. Each stoneware mug in the box, from Mudlove RVA (a family branch from a business in Ohio, handmade) gives back to Water For Good, which gives clean water to people from the Central African Republic. Each mug is named after different extraordinary people who are working with the recipients in Africa to better their lives. There’s a business called Doo Bead Dooby Doo which makes aromatherapy bracelets, this box features a bracelet that gives ten percent of its profits to the Yeshua House, a transitional home for women and children in Petersburg. Each product of the box gives back in this way.

With every purchase of the Give Back Box, Gifted RVA provides a care package to Safe Harbor, who support the survivors of sexual and domestic violence. 

Noelle has really proven that the gift is in the giving, because her business helps people give love to their friends and family, give to local businesses, and give back to their community. And that, truly, is something I can get behind.

Feel free to check them out!

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*This article is NOT sponsored, I got no money or gifts for this article, but I am totally open to selling out in the future if someone wants to pay me~


Cool events: 1/17 – 1/24

The Shining at The Byrd

Face your winter cabin fever fears with this Stephen King classic showing at the Byrd Theater this Wednesday at 7:15 PM.

 2908 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221

Writing Richmond: A Conversation with Authors

Fountain Bookstore is hosting poet Ryan Kent and novelist Clay Blancett in a panel, discussing what it is about Richmond that makes for such a rich and diverse literary culture. Anyone who is interested in writing and publishing or local history should consider attending! Thursday, 6:30-7:30 PM.

1312 E Cary St, Richmond, Virginia 23219

A Birthday Party for Edgar Allan Poe!

Chris Semtner, curator of the Poe Museum, and Chop Suey Books are teaming up to celebrate the 209th birthday of Richmond’s local macabre poet! Dress up in your favorite Poe inspired ensemble and be ready to discuss your favorite spooky stories. For a small fee, you can get your tarot cards read, the proceeds going to The Poe Museum. Otherwise, the event is completely free! Friday, 6-8PM

2913 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221

RVA: Krish Mohan & Andrew Frank’s Nationwide Comedy Takeover!

This Friday Garden Grove Brewery is having a night of socially conscious comedy, hosted by local comedian James Isiah Munoz! Comedians Krish Mohan and Andrew Frank will be laying on the jokes, and best of all it’s FREE! Friday, 8PM.

3445 W Cary St, Richmond, Virginia 23221

Be Bad Weekend 2018

This weekend Strange Matter is hosting two nights celebrating all things femme, punk, and hardcore.

On Friday DJs from Ice Cream Support Group, a local queer POC art collective, will perform followed by performances by: Doll Baby, Kenneka Cook, VV, Listless, Wabeya, Magnus Lush, Madison Turner, and Talk Me Off.

On Saturday there will be performances by DJ DogpantsHaircutSerqetGummingDazeasesLocker RoomLui LightItsy Bitsy, and Butt.

Both nights the doors open at 7PM and the music starts at 8PM. The cover is $10.

929 W Grace St, Richmond, Virginia 23220

Poe’s Birthday Bash!

Join the Poe Museum for the world’s largest celebration of Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday with an entire day of music, performances, tours, and birthday cake! Toast to Poe in the Shrine at midnight!

Live Music Line Up:
12pm – THE FOLLY
7pm – League of Space Pirates
10:15pm – Charming Disaster

Tickets are $8, free for kids ages 6 & under and members.

1914-16 E Main St, Richmond, Virginia 23223

Flexibility + Conditioning Workshop

This Saturday, the Yoga Dojo is hosting a workshop that will teach exercises and movements that can be done at home daily.

Students will walk away with exercises to improve back bends such as wheel, camel, bow, and scorpion, along with exercises to improve shoulder flexibility and splits postures such as flipped grip bow, pigeon, standing splits, and dancer, and exercises to work towards lotus and leg behind the head postures.

It is an all-levels workshop. Proceeds will be donated to USA Yoga. Cost is $30.

Saturday, 12-2PM

1219 Highpoint Ave, Richmond, Virginia 23230

Beat Night Double Bill

Saturday night the Visual Arts Center is hosting the James River Film Society and RVA Environmental Film Festival who will present a double bill:

At 6 pm, the RVA Environmental Film Festival will be screening the 1970 cult eco-disaster film, No Blade of Grass directed by Cornel Wilde–in anticipation of their upcoming
annual week-long festival in February.
FREE admission.

At 8 pm by Beat Night–a celebration of the Beat movement and the 60th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road– a screening of Pull My Daisy (1958) directed by Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie with Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Larry Rivers, Alice Neel, Peter Orlovsky written and narrated by Keroauc himself, as well as other Beat-related shorts, oft-described as plotless, featuring Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Shirley Clarke and others!
Admission $6 at door.
FREE popcorn, cash bar available.

My Goodbye Letter To You – Ashley Loth – Art Gallery

Saturday night,  Ashley Loth‘s project of Sound Snap Photography.
A 5 Year progression project, displaying photography and poetry.
Full Gallery and Video Documentary by The Humble Collective
Live, at Fresh Richmond. This is an 18+ event with libations and appetizers.

FREE admission.

213 E Broad St, Richmond, Virginia 23219

Bolshoi Ballet Broadcast, “Romeo and Juliet”

This Sunday, The Modlin Center for the Arts, in partnership with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, will broadcast the fourth consecutive season of Pathe Live’s Bolshoi Ballet, featuring ballet productions direct from the grand Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia. Audiences will enjoy these outstanding performances with the Bolshoi principals, soloists, and corps de ballet. Each production will feature behind-the-scenes programming, including interviews with the cast and creative teams, either prior to the start of the production, or during intermission. Sunday, 12:55-4PM

Tickets are $14 for adults, $13 for seniors, $12 for UR employees, $10 for UR students, $7 for kids.

50 Crenshaw Way, Richmond, Virginia 23173

RVArts – Hearing is Seeing – Paige Goodpasture + Chioke Ianson

Tuesday the 23rd, RVArts is hosting Paige Goodpasture, the Co-founder of the new arts and culture publication LookSEE in conversation with Chioke Ianson, Assistant Professor of African American Studies at VCU and the new “voice” of National Public Radio. Tuesday, 6-7PM.

VCUarts Depot, 814 W Broad St, Richmond, Virginia 23284.


a note on grief


Grief is one of those experiences you really can’t mentally prepare for. There’s no way of knowing how it’s going to hit you or how it will change you. My grief hit me so hard, it knocked the wind out of me. If it wasn’t for my friends and family, I don’t know how I would have survived these past few months.

There’s a lot I still don’t know about my dad, and I’ll probably never know. What I do know is that he grew up in a predominately Jewish neighborhood in Yonkers, New York. He was the youngest of three children, a sensitive and attention-hungry boy. He’s regaled me with many tales of pranks, weird neighborhood friends, his stern but kind fourth grade teacher, the time he beat up a bully and became a hero at boy scout camp, and sneaking Manischewitz wine at his friend’s bar mitzvah.

He loved rock music, played in a fairly popular rock band for a while, and was a self-proclaimed hippie. He told me about how he and his friends were spat on when they protested the Vietnam War. He told me about how he was drafted, but the war ended the day he was supposed to show up for duty. He told me about his friend Squirrel who returned from the war and was really fun, but if someone said the wrong word to him he’d go “nuts” and beat the person up. He was full of those kinds of stories.

My father loved cheesy sci-fi shows and movies, he was a big fan of toilet humor in Saturday morning cartoons, and would lose his mind laughing at Seinfeld or The Office. He would go on so many tangents about World War II and Nazi Germany (I think this may be a Jewish Dad thing), we’d end up talking about it for hours. That may be why I ended up a History and Film major.

He was raised Jewish, but actually has converted a few times. Once to Catholicism, then to Islam, and then to Presbyterianism. He was never a very religious man, but he was very spiritual.

But despite this knowledge there is still so much I don’t know. Once of the hardest things about losing him was the realization that there will never be any new revelations or experiences. This is it. This is all I get with my dad. I always thought eventually we would have this beautiful moment in which we came to an understanding and we had a long talk about his life and my childhood and we said “I love you” to each other.  Unfortunately, he passed away so suddenly I didn’t even get the chance to say “goodbye.”

I didn’t realize until he was gone how badly I wanted his approval. I wanted to hear him say that he was proud of me. I wanted to graduate and see the joy and pride on his face and hear him say, “That’s my kid! I knew you could do it!” I’ll never get that and whenever I think about it my throat feels like it’s going to close. And family members will say, “he was proud of you, he’ll be watching, he believed in you, etc.” But that really doesn’t make me feel better. Because I wanted to hear it from him so, so, so badly.

Another thing about grief I did not foresee is how hard it would be to accept being happy. For a long time, whenever I caught myself genuinely having fun or laughing, I would internally reprimand myself. How dare you be happy right now when Dad just died. How can you laugh when Dad is gone? What is wrong with you??? I think allowing myself to have fun and laugh felt like I was letting go. And letting go felt like throwing Dad away as if he didn’t matter. I was so deeply depressed and I wasn’t allowing myself a moment of joy out of guilt. This is not a healthy way of thinking, and I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I am allowed to be happy and grieving at the same time. My Dad would have wanted us all to move on and be happy.

After this, I really plunged myself into my school work and would distract myself for a couple weeks until some trigger — maybe a song he liked, or a conversation about him, or wanting to talk to him about something and realizing I can’t — would run me over and leave me paralyzed for weeks. I wouldn’t get out of bed, I wouldn’t go to class, I wouldn’t talk to anyone. It was bad. And then I’d get so angry at myself for not being able to “pull myself together”. When it got to the point that I had to withdraw from classes, I had a panic attack and fell into one of my worst depressive episodes ever. The whole time I was thinking, I’m letting Dad down, I’m a horrible daughter. 

I am so thankful for my family for being understanding and for my friends for being there for me, because otherwise I don’t know where I would be. My grief is far from over, but by now I’ve started to become familiar with the monster and I have hope of taming it. To anyone out there who is battling grief or depression, it’s okay to not be okay. Give yourself time, let yourself fail, and remember that the person you loved and the people who love you want you to be happy and healthy.

Thanks for reading!




Guide for a Cheap Halloween Weekend


It’s that special spooky time of year again~!

I am a personal lover of all things eerie and macabre. Halloween is the most magical time of the year! There’s a mysterious, dark, and glittering energy in the air…the feeling like anything could happen. It’s one of the few holidays that never lost its magic for me.

If you are anything like me, you are getting in the mood to be someone (or something) else for the night and take in all sorts of thrills. If you are also anything like me, you are totally broke. Here is my guide to all things ~SPOOOOOKY~ to do in Richmond this weekend for FREE:

Hollywood Cemetery


Tucked away in Churchill, Hollywood Cemetery is a must-see in Richmond. Not only is it completely breathtaking (ha ha ha) but it is rich in local history.

Official tours cost $$, but it is perfectly fine to explore on your own. My suggestion would be to pack a lunch, bring a copy of your favorite eerie literature (Dracula? Maybe some Edgar Allan Poe??), and have a picnic, taking in the gorgeous view of the James River.


Outdoor Horror Movie Nights at the Veil Brewing Company


Veil Brewing Company has been hosting free horror movie nights! This Friday the 27th at 8pm they are screening The 6th Sense and there will be popcorn provided by River City Kettle Corn. With the money you save, you can get yourself some beer or hard cider!

My personal favorite is the Blanchard’s Coffee Stout. Coffee is my weak spot.

The FB Event Page

1301 Roseneath Rd, Richmond, Virginia 23230


A Thriller of A Time: An 80s Halloween Dance Party


Later that night, Flora is hosting an 80s Halloween Dance Party from 10pm to 1am with no cover charge! You can get all (possessed) dolled up and dance your still hearts out to the Ghost Busters theme, Somebody’s Watching Me, and (of course) Thriller! Flora never disappoints me so it’s sure to be a good time!

Here’s the event

203 N Lombardy Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220


13th Annual Richmond Zombie Walk


Nothing quite says Halloween like ~zombies~! This year is the 13th Annual Richmond Zombie Walk. Participants are asked to donate $5 a piece, benefiting the American Cancer Society, although donations are not required. It’s fun just to watch as well! All the zombies stay completely in character and people get really creative.

The walk will take place on Saturday, October 28th, at 2:30pm across the street from the Byrd Theatre in Carytown.

For more information and how to participate: Zombie Walk Event Page

2901 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221


Halloween Dance Party


Flora is hosting another free Halloween Dance Party Saturday, October 28 from 10pm to 1am. Flora is great because there is usually never a cover charge, which is a chance to let loose without feeling guilty about how much money you spent.

Dance until your legs rot off! Maybe meet a sexy ghoul to bewitch!

Event Page

203 N Lombardy Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220



Movie Club: Killer Klowns from Outer Space / Release / 80s Party


If you haven’t heard of MOVIE CLUB Richmond, it is an amazing (FREE) event that screens cult classics at Strange Matter on Sunday nights.

This Sunday, October 29 at 7pm, they are screening Killer Klowns from Outer Space. The event page described the 1988 film as:

“A late ’80s pop-horror classic! A small town is invaded by aliens from outer space that capture and kill the townspeople. But no one takes them seriously. Why? The aliens all look like circus clowns! A group of teenagers realize the danger posed by these Killer Klowns, but of course no one in town believes them. Armed only with an ice cream truck, these acid-washed heroes try and rescue their friends from the Klowns’ circus-tent mothership.”

Now if that doesn’t sound like a wild ride, I don’t know what does. I’ve always wanted to see this movie because I’m a sucker for campy horror, so you better believe I’ll be there.

Following the film, they’ll be screening an episode of LIVE FROM SPACE, featuring the theme from “Killer Klowns from Outer Space,” as performed by League of Space Pirates.

Then they will premiere Flashlight Tag‘s new video, “Unicorn Slayer.”

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! After the screenings there’s an ’80s-themed Halloween Dance Party with DJ Rev. Noah from WRIR! ALL FOR FREE!

This is all in celebration of the new split 7″ from League of Space Pirates and Flashlight Tag, available to buy at the screening.

Event Page

929 W Grace St, Richmond, Virginia 23220


Richmond 12th Annual Halloween Parade 2017



Richmond’s 12th Annual Halloween Parade presented by ALL THE SAINTS THEATER COMPANY is Tuesday, October 31 at 7pm!

Dress up in a costume, make your own giant puppets or flags, or just watch from your porch if you live nearby.

Costumes, puppets, art, dancing, and music shall take the streets this Halloween in a celebration of the spookiest day of the year.

The march starts at 7pm sharp at the corner of Main St. and Laurel, close to VCU.

“We celebrate and honor the dead. We will march with a massive skeleton horse and other day of the dead style massive puppets! And it is our honor to host (all the way back from the dead) confederate used horses against the statues! Also, a huge animal contingent of “Animals Against Racist Humans” (A.A.R.H.). 
A Funeral March for the Confederacy! 

We will be introducing a brand new beautiful statue of Harriet Tubman, and also a large contingent of skeleton butterflies with Mother Earth who will present her massive monarch wings and devote her power to protecting DACA! Our stilters will be our Angel Messengers of the Manifesto of Tomorrow, our owning and denouncing of the truths of the past and our collective intention for a future that says sorry, and that devotes all actions to a future without racists and fascists, where we all stand together against an Imperial Presidency!” 

Event Page

Oregon Hill; Main St. & Laurel


Halloween Costume Karaoke with Smitty!


Strange Matter is hosting a creepy karaoke night on Halloween at 9pm with spooky drink specials and a costume contest.

It’s FREE if you come in costume, so be festive and howl to the moon~

Event Page

929 W Grace St, Richmond, Virginia 23220


Being broke doesn’t have to ruin your Halloween weekend!

Stay spooky my friends and Happy Halloween from Becks~!








Pik Nik Opens in the Fan!


Seared tuna (Photo found on Pik Nik’s Facebook Page)

Last Wednesday I had the distinct pleasure of attending the soft opening of Pik Nik, a craft cocktail bar and small plate seafood restaurant in the Fan. Owned by the same people who run My Noodle & Bar and Mom’s Siam, this place delivers on good eats!

I got a chance to try various menu items for free and I am still fondly reminiscing about the halibut ceviche (with pineapple and spiced banana chips!!). Other favorites were the seared tuna with sweet corn, roasted cauliflower, and red beets (pictured above) and the grilled rockfish with curried creme fraiche and caviar (the fish just melts in your mouth~!).

The cocktails are expensive, but no more expensive than other restaurants charge. They run from $8-$11 and they are pretty damn good.




This is the Brown’s Island: Kentucky Bourbon infused with black peppercorn, fresh rosemary, clove, anise, orange zest, cinnamon, & local Honey Barrel aged with lemon hibiscus tea. YUP. (Photo found on Pik Nik’s Facebook Page)


I’m the dork in the middle.

Like its sister restaurants, Pik Nik will have DJ dance nights and other fun events in the future, so keep your eyes peeled. I had a lovely time at the opening and got to meet some great people!

Chatting with Chuck Tingle


Chuck Tingle is not just a man. He is many things. He is an erotic author. He is a Tae Kwon Do grandmaster (almost blackbelt). He is a doctor of holistic massage. He is a father. He is a prominent “flavor rights activist”. He is a politician. But more than anything, he is the greatest voice of our generation.

Chuck has written “tinglers”, named after the tingling sensation they evoke in their readers, on everything from sexy unicorns, sensual raptors, passionate bigfoot monsters, and even randy inanimate objects. Sex may be the subject matter, but the overarching message has always been the same: love is real.

I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Chuck two years ago for INK MAGAZINE (read the article here:

Since I interviewed him two years ago, Chuck has exploded. He’s been featured on various media platforms from the New York Times to Comedy Central. I caught up with him to see how success has shaped him and what he has on the horizon.

*I left his answers as he wrote them…

How do you think you have grown in the past two years, both personally and in your writing?
past two years have been a very exciting way i have GOTTEN SO MANY FANS AND THEY ARE SO KIND TO ME they like to message me as online buds nothing weird just a bud to bud chat so then we talk and i LAUGH so that is a good way. once i was the best author in billings and now i am the best author in the world. also i have learned that ted cobbler i even more of a soundrel than i thought and i hope he falls in a snake pit. thanks
How is Jon doing?
jon is doing so good he is SO HANDSOME everyone in the neighborhood thinks he is a good man and i want to be just like him someday. he has been working out with his buds and calves look great but also he is ENGAGED to ladybuck name of clowy i am so happy for them and clowy is nice sometimes she takes me on trips to the library and sometimes we even drive to town name of HELENA for THE BIG LADYBUCK TROT that was a good way.
Please tell me about your nonprofit Flavor Rights Advocacy group, Allow All Flavors. What are the goals of the group and why was it created?
allow all flavors was made to oppose all unfair flavor laws this was a big part of the campaign for the buckaroo party in the last election we would like to make it so that all flavors are legal not just chocolate vanilla and strawberry. so that is a very important POLITICAL WAY
Tell me all about your news site, Buttbart. Why did you decide to become a journalist in addition to a bestselling novelist?
yes speaking of a political way this is a diretion i have gone in to battle the devils as part of my own buckaroo lifestyle. this is just the way of the buck, when you think about buckaroos of the past out on the open range you realize that they would battle devils all the time mostly their own inner devils telling them to go trot in a circle screaming or maybe even shake and drool by the fire out of their own lonesome way. but now the BUCKAROO LIFESTYLE is about fighting real devils like scoundrel ted cobbler or VOIDMAN TROMP (who is of The Void). so then i decided to start my own website with real news not the fake stuff.
What exactly is your Alternative Facts Warehouse? Why do you think it is important to donate to Planned Parenthood?
alternative fact warehouse is a part of BUTTBART where you can buy alternative facts from other timelines. in other layers there are many versions of reality and DOMALD TROMP uses this to his advantage in many ways i think it is only fair that buckaroos can use these alternative realities too. there are many fun facts to choose from you can just donated to planned parenthood and live in a world where handsome jom hamm is your online bud! important to donated to planned parenthood so they can keep ladybucks healthy!
Tell me about The Buckaroo Party. Are you a politician now? You wear so many hats!
yes i was offical VICEMAN for buckaroo party in this election i ran with HANDSOME CHANNING TATUM but we did not win this was very unfortunate but probably for the better because now i can focus on being the worlds greatest author again.
What are your views on Donald Trump, what exactly is The Void, and how many timelines are you aware about?
Dom Tromp is a creature of The Void that is actually multiple creatures in the skin of a sagging human (it is easy to see thorgh once you know what to look for) inside he is actually mostly bubbling tar and screaming piles of void crabs that form a collective way. The Void is a place outside of the layers of the tingleverse full of cosmic horror best place to think about it is to imagine that the layers of the tingleverse are in a stack like ininate pancakes. there is a top and a bottom and between are all the layers and the timelines, but outside of the stack you have THE VOID.
If you had to choose between making love to a unicorn, bigfoot, a living object, or a dinosaur, which would you choose and why?
well i would probably not choose. it is important to my way that they choose making love to me not the other way around i would have to talk to them first and maybe share a glass of chocolate milk so that i knew our ways were good for eathother
Why do you think the message that “love is real” is so important?
love is real is important message because it is one reality that is true across ALL TIMELINES. it is very importanant to remember because sometimes devils can say there is another way and that the only reality is a scoundrel reality but this is not true. in the long term scoundrels always lose BECAUSE love is real, so it is a message of hope but also a message of truth. even if eveils try to argue with it it is still true. also important to keep in mind that we can ALL PROVE LOVE every day. love is real but you can also go out there and PROVE IT every day this is just being active and thinking i am going to go out in the world and make choices that prove love like maybe helping someone carry their bags or maybe donating money to my library these are small things but they all prove love.
Any new projects on the horizon?
there are always lots of new projects but nothing to really talk on yet just writing new tinglers and remembering to prove love.
Do you have any love interests? Is Ted Cobbler still giving you trouble?
love interest is sweet barbara but she is gone forever at the bottom of the frozen lake that is all id like to say about that. ted cobbler is more trouble then every he is a disgrace to the neighborhood.
If you want to know more about Chuck Tingle, and I highly suggest you do, check out: Website:

Swamp Fest: Where Punk Rock and Safe Spaces Coexist



The Great Dismal has brought back Swamp Fest, a DIY celebration with a focus on heavy music. This year the bands are gonna rock harder and be more vocal about their politics.

It’s a music-oriented festival, but it’s more than that. It’s a hardcore punk music fest based around community and bringing together people who are doing the same kind of thing in different scenes. They can check each other out, build their contacts, and have a really good time. 

It is very similar to something that was big in the 90’s hardcore scene, which was also the time that a lot of people credit as being the birth of screamo.

“There were a lot of festivals like that. I travelled in 1999 to Columbus, Ohio for The More the Music Festival and that was a very political festival.” Drew Necci, Great Dismal member, explained. “They did workshops during the day before the bands would start and had a focus groups and affinity groups and all this stuff happening. It was supposed to increase the political consciousness of the scene and also bring people together. People came from all over the country, there were festivals of all kinds back in the 90’s that were of that type.”

These days you still have them, but they are a much more corporate thing. Like Riot Fest or Fuck Yeah Fest, which is now FYF Fest because they can’t be Fuck Yeah anymore. Or just The Fest, down in Gainesville, Florida which is probably the most still punk of them all, featuring a lot of DIY bands. But The Fest is more like a South by Southwest experience, a bunch of shows happening all over town at once. You’re running back and forth and you can maybe catch a quarter of the bands if you’re lucky.

“Swamp Fest is more like what people used to do in 1997, where there’d be one place, you’d go, and there’d be bands all day for three days at that once place. It could easily be a Richmond-centric thing, just because there’s a lot of kids involved in the scene here, but I think last year they kind of had to throw it together on the fly.” Necci said. “It ended up being much more a focus on the out of town scene and the bands that knew each other from the internet, all coming together at one place. It had not even a geographic community thing, but a community of like minds, which was really inspiring to me.”

In a lot of ways, The Great Dismal wanted Swamp Fest to be a thing that spreads the word to people who care about this kind of music, that there is a scene beyond their town and there are other bands, so if they feel like they’re a lone voice screaming in the wilderness, they’re not.


In addition to three days of music, The Great Dismal has also created a 64-page zine. There will be a section that will be a write-up of who these bands are and where you can listen to them. Then there’s going to be longer interviews with three of the bands, which are Coma Regalia, Weak Wrists, and This Land is Now Dead. Everyone except for the bass player of This Land is Now Dead lives in Haunted Mansion, a house show venue, and they’re in the middle of that scene here in town.

“Coma Regalia are from Indiana, and who knows what version of the band will show up this year. Last year, Shawn Decker showed up with a guitar player and he played drums and sang and that was Coma Regalia. There’ve been all sorts of different line ups of them, but at the end of the day it’s Shawn.” Necci said. “He’s been in the scene in Indiana forever, and he’s an example of somebody who has kept it going for a long time and has a strong DIY ethic. He runs Middle Man Records and he’s just a right on dude and a good voice to have in the zine.” The third interview is with Weak Wrists, from North Carolina.

“We think they’re a good example of both a band getting better and more can’t miss musically, but also have a lot of political and social-political ideas in their lyrics and their music that we want to spotlight.” said Necci. In addition to interviews, Jake Cunningham is doing a 16-page photo spread with his best photos from last year’s Swamp Fest.

The biggest and most important statement of the zine is that The Great Dismal is a politically-motivated crew of kids and they want to have voices from our community talking about things that are important to them politically. There will be political essays on safe spaces, which is something they are super concerned about as a group of people.

“It’s important to create that non-intimidating environment, because punk can be pretty fucking intimidating. And when everybody seems like they’re putting a premium on violence and aggression and this kind of macho power thing, it’s kind of intimidating to people who are not traditionally in those spots. People who are not straight white men. We do not want that for our community.” Necci explained. “A lot of us are not straight white men, and we don’t want to go to shows and see nothing but straight white men. So safe spaces are important to us to make other people feel welcome, to remind them that this is a style of music we like, not a way of acting that we like.”

The goal overall is to create climate in which everyone feels safe and people feel okay to talk about potentially intense issues.

I think punk rock is more about playing music, it’s about being politically conscious, it’s about giving a shit, and that’s what I want this fest to be about.” Mitchie Shue, organizer, said. “It’s about shaking the tough guy stigma, this is our answer to things like that. I love heavy music, I love cathartic, aggressive music, but it doesn’t have to be about beating each other up. It can be about a lot more.”

Pre-show is Friday, August 12 at 25 Watt. Fest is Saturday, August 13 & Sunday, August 14 at Strange Matter. Zine will be available for purchase before and during the fest.

For the full line up and tickets:

The Facebook Event:

Jake Cunningham’s work:

photos in this article by Jake Cunningham




The Great Southern Returns

the great southern

It is happening again. The Great Southern, that is. Last April, Richmond saw its first Twin Peaks festival, presented by Video Fan, Movie Club Richmond, and Makeout Creek. This year it’s back with even more bands, more films, and more special guests! That’s right, David Lynch fans–time to get pumped.

The event kicks off this Sunday, June 5 at 7pm with a Preview Show at Strange Matter. There will be a screening of Lynch’s 1986 film, Blue Velvet, followed by live performances from Christi and Lady God. Blue Velvet centers around a young man’s discovery of a severed human ear in a field which leads him into a thrilling investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of hedonistic criminals who have kidnapped her child. It was David Lynch’s project immediately before Twin Peaks.

It’s about the darkness that lives in a small town, so there’s some thematic links.” said Andrew Blossom, the man behind the festival.  “So much of the cast went on to be on Twin Peaks, so there’s just some natural connections that make it kind of a jumping off point for the series and for the festival.”

Then, on Thursday, June 9 there is the Happy Generations Happy Hour starting at 4pm at Ipanema Cafe (my favorite RVA bar). DJs Sister Golden Haze and Greg Darden will be spinning and there will be happy hour specials. Immediately following the happy hour, there will be a Twin Peaks inspired art show at Mojo’s Philadeli starting at 7pm. After that, the celebration moves to Gallery 5 at 8pm with a Concert for Agent Jeffries in honor of the late David Bowie. There will be live music from Life on Mars and Gull and an Agent Jeffries costume contest!

agent jeffries

You know, the guy who scared the crap out of you in Fire Walk With Me?

Friday, June 10 starts off at 1pm with a Twin Peaks Listening Party at Steady Sounds. Free music, coffee and doughnuts?! Sounds like a dream to me. Then starting at 4pm the Byrd Theatre is screening short films in the spirit of Twin Peaks. Then at 6:30pm you just cross the street and head over to Chop Suey Books  where Charlotte Stewart (Betty Briggs on Twin Peaks, also starred in Eraserhead, Tremors, Human Highway, ect.) will be reading and signing her new memoir, “Little House in the Hollywood Hills”.

Charlotte is such a wonderful person.” Blossom said. “Last year, while she was here she was talking about writing this book. So it’s so nice to be able to have her back and to hear her read from it a year later.” The book was only just published this week, and this will be one of the first readings Stewart does. Following the reading, there will be a panel of people who write, blog, and podcast about Twin Peaks, including Stewart and Brad Dukes, author of “Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks”. It should be fascinating to hear so many viewpoints and interpretations on the show! This will be one of the events that I can’t miss.

Dinamo will be hosting the Damn Fine (Pizza) Pie Brunch at 11am on Saturday, June 11. Then at 2pm is Big Ed’s Craft Farm at Hardywood Craft Brewery, an arts and craft fair organized & presented by Curio Market. Hardywood will be selling Twin Peaks-inspired craft beers. But what I am most excited about is the panel discussion on the mythology of Twin Peaks with Scott Ryan (host of the Red Room Podcast), David Bushman & Arthur Smith (authors of “Twin Peaks FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About a Place Both Wonderful & Strange”), Brad Dukes, and John Thorne (creator of Wrapped in Plastic). There are so many ways to interpret the wildly bizarre show, and I am super pumped to hear what these guys think. Yesterday’s Heroes will screen 1944 film, Laura at 8pm. Laura is a noir film about a detective who falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating. I don’t think I need to explain the connection to Twin Peaks. Then starting at 10pm, Don’t Look Back will be hosting food and drink specials and tarot card readings!


The Great Southern will close things out with An Afternoon Both Wonderful and Strange Sunday, June 12 at Hardywood starting at noon. The event will feature live music from Big No, Lodro, Ghastly City Sleep, and Little Black Rainclouds with Kimmy Robertson (Lucy from Twin Peaks). There will be a Twin Peaks costume contest, judged by celebrity guests, a trivia contest, signings, and (of course) craft beer!

wonderful and strange

So, if you consider yourself a Twin Peaks and David Lynch fanatic, you gotta get out there and join in the festivities. If not, then now is the time to start marathoning it on Netflix!

It should be a damn fine time.

For more info:

March First Friday 2k16


Here’s your update on the latest exhibits:

“New Year” byAdam Shecter at 1708

There was on one wall, this looped video of what seemed to be animated jellyfish. 

On another wall there was a neon animated video of a kooky arcade. But the main event was his ~30 minute long film, New Year. It was cartoony and comic-like with sci-fi vibes. It follows characters A and J in separate scenes that bleed into each other like a vivid dream.

It was entrancing. Visually stunning and super relaxing. I couldn’t look away. It was so calming, that I was noticeably more relaxed after viewing it. It was like dreaming.


The film is chronological, it is supposed to pass over the time of a year. It features a robot parade, a movie theater that may or may not exist, dogs racing in a meadow of tall grass, a space shuttle, and a motorbike riding over a bridge.


“Nutrisystem” by Jimmy Trotter at Ada Gallery


This isn’t the first time Trotter’s pop culture saturated work has been featured at Ada. I absolutely love his fun and chaotic works. They feature bright, cartoony drawings that bring back memories of Saturday morning cartoons.


A lot of these kooky cartoons are paired with some inappropriate messages scrawled in pen. The piece above has cartoons paired with text like “lubricants” and “if heaven was a pharmacy.”

This may be a stretch, but it seems to me that the theme of this exhibit is subliminal messages in the media and how susceptible children are to them. Even the title,Nutrisystem, refers to an infomercial.


In edition to the drawings, there was also pieces made from found objects.


I really like this one, because you can derive a lot of symbolism in it. It s supposed to be a Christmas tree, and the base is surrounded by a white picket fence, and sports-related objects. A plastic tower of American culture. Or at least traditional white Christian American culture.


It’s even topped with a Nixon mask. Don’t forget the pretend money. I feel like this connects to the theme of television being fake and having subliminal messages. Politicians often use flashy imagery of the all-American, picket fence, Christian, sports-loving person to appeal to the public. Their political ads will feature them playing catch with their kids in the front yard.

They’re just like you! They care about what YOU care about! But all that flashy talk, all those images of pure American suburbia, it’s just a mask.

Is that a stretch? I blame IB English class.


There were also these creepy little statues that had glitter all over their eyes. Does it represent how television blinds and brainwashes children?!

Whatever meaning you get out of this exhibit, it is a ton of fun.

“Subject to Change” at Candela Books and Gallery

“The notion of objects having a soul is an old one and is perhaps a bit romantic. But the intangible presence which objects possess is nearly inarguable. Imperfections can signal appreciation or neglect, unusual provenance, or even historical import. Just how does an artist respond to a given object–with emotion or with intellect or with intuition?” (Candela)

These are the ideas examined in this exhibition.


These vintage photos printed by Kris Sanford, feature different same sex couples.


“Forget–Me–Knot” by Lisa Kokin, a sewn found photo collage.


“1979″ by Tarrah Krajnak


3-D vintage photo encaustics on birch panel by Rachel Phillips. There were 3-D glasses provided. Pretty cool!


And, of course CMYK: Arrangements by Randy Toy at Quirk Gallery


Chatting with Randy Toy



Ahhhh, springtime. It’s time to take off our winter coats and whip out our allergy medicine. The birds are chirping cheerfully, the bees are buzzing busily, and the flowers are blooming beautifully.

It’s hard to miss the new pansies and daffodils that have sprung up lately, decorating our fair city with a much needed dose of nature.

Some lovely florals have also sprung up in Quirk Gallery. Richmond based artist Randy Toy introduced his newest exhibition, “CMYK: Arrangements” on this past First Friday. His “reverse paintings” are fun, poppy takes on the classic floral painting.

I recently got a chance to sit down and chat with Toy about his process in making these works.  His inspirations ranged from nature to Matisse, and pop artists like Tom Wesselman.

My first question was of course, what does CMYK stand for? Cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The four colors in printing and they’re also the four primary colors Toy uses to make all the colors in his paintings. It is a nod to Toy’s experience in printmaking. In fact, he approached these paintings very much in the same way he approached his prints.

Toy used the technique of backwards painting.

“It’s a really backwards way to make something–literally.” Toy said with a laugh. He showed me a sample piece of the PVC, a transparent plastic sheet, that he paints on. It has a palette sample, various shades of purple, on it. This is how the painting comes together: he does all the painting on the back and then when it’s done he turns it around and you have it on the front. All the brushstrokes are on the back, so on the front you get that sort of cool, almost MS paint effect.

“Originally the images start on an ipad; I draw them there. And then I enlarge them in photoshop and then I flip them around to make a mirror image because I want to reproduce the image on the ipad.” Toy explained.

So he flips it around, and then he starts the painting on PVC.

“And this is a very unforgiving medium. Once you start laying it down, you can’t pull anything back, you can’t correct any mistakes. You get one shot, basically.” Toy continues. “So you have to really think about how you’re laying color down, and what goes on top of what because some colors are more transparent and more opaque.”

In that regard, it’s akin to printmaking. The process is sort of similar to making a lithograph where you have a finished image, and you’re dissecting and pulling it apart, trying to figure out how to reassemble it to make your image in the end. That’s pretty much how these paintings are done too. You gotta have your finished image, you pull it apart, and figure out how to put it back together.

“A lot of times when I’m in the studio, there’s lots of different avenues the work can go down.” Toy said. “Generally, it will either be conceptually based or process based. I don’t really feel like I’m married to one particular style or particular medium, so when I start a project, it’s sort of like taking a trip. I know I’m gonna go somewhere–and that’s exciting–but I don’t know exactly where I’m gonna end up, you know? I’m always open to doing something new.”

Great things happen when artists think outside the box and challenge themselves. I highly suggest you step into Quirk Gallery, grab an iced chai latte at the cafe, and peruse the art. Sounds like a perfect spring day to me.

CMYK: Arrangements is running until April 3.

Randy Toy’s website:

Quirk Gallery’s website: