Cultivate RVA


Keeping tabs on cultural developments in Richmond, Va.

Activity: Synchronized Swimming

From water ballet, to synchronized swimming as a sport, to splash mobs (a watery take on flash mobs) — the art of group-choreographed swim routines has transformed, and as of last summer, Richmond now boasts its own community-based water ballet team: The River City Magnolias.

All of the team’s performances are free, but donations are accepted. This summer, the group has also started taking donations of children’s’ goggles. “One of the things we thought was important for us to start doing is to give back to the public pools we use,” Erin Reichhardt says, one of the Magnolia swimmers. Each pair of goggles donated is given to a child at one of the pools where the team regularly swims.

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Histories for various Richmond neighborhoods



I’ve got these neighborhood histories scattered across of sites, I’m posting this to bring everything together in one place.

Oakwood/Chimborazo was the first of these that I put together back in 2009, the Ginter Park profile is the most recent from October of last year.

The top list links…

Film: “Turn,” AMC’s new Revolutionary War-themed series filming in RVA

"Turn" films at Shirley Plantation in Charles City. (Photo by Antony Platt/AMC)

Local warehouses, plantations, tow truck operators, restaurants and hardware stores have seen an influx of business from the filming of “Turn,” AMC’s new Revolutionary War-themed series being produced in the area.

“Turn” has made parts of Richmond and Central Virginia to look like Long Island, N.Y., during the Revolutionary War, where the story is set.

According to AMC, “Turn” is a spy thriller about a Long Island farmer who goes behind enemy lines to help George Washington’s army. It is based on the book “Washington’s Spies” by Alexander Rose and premieres April 6.

The crews first arrived in town to film the show’s pilot in April 2013 and started filming the first season in November.

“Turn” filmed on location at Scotchtown, Patrick Henry’s onetime home in Hanover County.

Food trucks are sent to filming locations on occasion to treat the cast and crew. So far, they’ve included Alchemy Coffee, Monique’s Crepes and Paris Creperie, AMC said.

The production department orders lunch out every day for an average of 20 to 30 people, AMC said. Locally, they’ve eaten food from 8 1/2 Cafe, 821 Cafe, Anokha Indian Cuisine, Cafe Rustica, Garnett’s Cafe, Greek Cuisine/Basilis, the Hill Cafe, Kitchen 64, Lamplighter, Lunch, AM, Mellow Mushroom, the Mill, Olio in the Fan, Pad Thai, Panera and Elephant Thai.

The Virginia Film Office estimates that 500 small businesses in Virginia will get new customers because of “Turn.” About 200 full-time jobs are expected to be created during filming, from costuming to construction, Edmunds said.

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Food: DC-based Graffiato coming to RVA

Chef Mike Isabella is still planted firmly in expansion mode. Next up: the chef will open another one of his Graffiato restaurants in Richmond, Virginia.

The restaurant is set to open this spring at 123 W. Broad Street (formerly Popkin Tavern). The restaurant will be nearly 7,000 square feet in size. The building’s an iconic one in the Virginia city, having been a furniture showroom back as far as 1909.

Isabella will add a wood-burning oven to the premises, which have high ceilings and big picture windows. He says he will make the place “accessible to college students and everyone downtown.” Expect a similar menu to D.C.’s Graffiato, with homemade pasta, pizzas and roasted vegetables, all with a local emphasis. Naturally, there will be Prosecco on tap, too. Taha Ismail will oversee the cocktail program (he’s the beverage director for all of the chef’s places).

On the business side of the equation: Rappahannock Oyster Co.’s Travis Croxton and Hilda Staples are partners in the project.
· All Previous Graffiato Coverage [-EDC-]

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NO BS Brassband with DJ Dakkula at Balliceaux Tonight!



No BS! Brass takes the New Orleans brass band into uncharted territory, fearlessly combining elements of James Brown, John Coltrane, Michael Jackson, and Led Zeppelin into their fiercely original sound. Trained in the conservatory and hardened in the garage, No BS! Brass has performed at the…


Still another 60’s skyline


Still another 60’s skyline

A grad student in Urban Planning at VCU has a plan for the triangle at Brook Adams and Broad.
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A grad student in Urban Planning at VCU has a plan for the triangle at Brook Adams and Broad.

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Jackson Ward: Sweetopia, a new bakery

Sweetopia is set to open Jan. 24 at 221 E. Clay St. (Photos by Michael Thompson)

Jamyce Vinson plans to open Sweetopia on Jan. 24 at 221 E. Clay St. Vinson in July signed a two-year lease for the 1,500-square-foot space.

“I had always wanted to start my own bakery,” Vinson said. “When I got laid off from my last job, I said ‘this is the time to do it.’”

Sweetopia will serve bread, pastries and cakes, most of which will be vegan and gluten free.

“A lot depends on what the demand is,” Vinson said. “From what I hear, there is a bigger demand for gluten free.”

Jackson Ward has seen other culinary activity recently: Max’s on Broad and Lucy’s opened late 2013, and the Rogue Gentlemen is slated to open Jan. 24.

Sweetopia will serve coffee from Sefton Coffee Co., a downtown cafe that roasts its own beans, and Sefton will sell Sweetopia cookies. Vinson said she worked with Montana Gold Bread Co., a Carytown bakery, to order her first batch of ingredients, and she plans eventually to serve sandwiches. Sweetopia will hire about five employees, and Vinson will be the primary baker.

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Food: New Grocery Stores in the Fan and Church Hill

The Fan

Inside the new Harvest Grocery and Supply at 1531 W. Main St. (Photos by Michael Thompson)

Hunter Hopcroft on Jan. 22 opened Harvest Grocery and Supply at 1531 W. Main St. The grocery store got its ABC license a day later.

The Fan store sells fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and other foods. Some of the local businesses represented on Harvest’s shelves include Manakintowne Specialty Growers in Powhatan, Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley, Milton’s Local Harvest in Richmond, McClellan’s Meats and Eggs in Baskerville and Local Food Hub in Charlottesville.

Hopcroft said that possible expansion plans include serving coffee and prepared sandwiches but that he wanted Harvest to remain a grocery store first. Hopcroft plans to host monthly classes at the shop. The first class, planned for February, will deal with backyard chicken farming.


Church Hill

Inside the new Union Market.

Gillian Field, Hunter Robertson and Shawn Tunstall on Jan. 21 opened Union Market at 2306 Jefferson St. 

At Union Market, shoppers can pick up their groceries, take a load off at the bar and grab a bite to eat.

Union has eight tap handles for Virginia beer and three tap handles for Virginia kombucha. Brews include batches from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Strangeways Brewing Co. and Midnight Brewery, and the kombucha comes by way of Barefoot Bucha, based out of Nelson County.

Local brands featured at Union Market include Pickled Silly, Bombolini Pasta, Pizza Tonight, Hispania Bakery, Black Hand Coffee Company and Lamplighter Roasting Company.

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Jackson Ward: Cocktails on tap at The Rogue Gentlemen

The Rogue Gentleman had its grand opening Jan. 24. (Photos by Michael Thompson)

The Rogue Gentlemen had its grand opening Jan. 24 at 618 N. First St. With no beer on tap, Jackson Ward’s latest restaurant gives its cocktails center stage.

“I’m kind of opposed to offering 100 different things to make sure every single person is happy,” owner John Maher said. “The way I see it, if you’re a beer guy, you’re going to go to Mekong or the Southern Railway Taphouse. If you want cocktails, then you come to us.”

The drink menu includes cocktails on tap and cocktails that have spent at least 20 days inside used bourbon barrels donated by the Reservoir Distillery in Richmond. Maher said the spirits are stored in barrels that do not exceed the two-liter limit set by the Virginia ABC.

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