A few months ago, I interviewed artist Sonya Clark in the September/October issue of R•Home mag (read the Q&A here). In our interview, she told me about her exhibit Material Reflex at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles and about her upcoming show in Richmond, The Hair Craft Project, which is on display now at 1708 Gallery. I stopped by 1708 the other day to check out the exhibit, which runs through March 8.
The exhibit is a collaboration with Clark, African American hair stylists, photographers, and the VCU art community. Local hair stylists styled Clark’s hair in an African American weave, it was photographed with the hair stylist, and then the hair stylists created the same hair style on a stretched canvas. The exhibit is an ongoing exploration where Clark uses hair, the most primordial fiber, in her artwork to address how identity, race, economics and culture are intertwined. “Hairstyle is how we speak about culture and identity,” Clark said to me during our interview. Our conversation and the exhibit opened my eyes to African American hairstyle and the time, effort and beauty that goes into making it part of identity, culture and tradition.
In the January/February issue of R•Home magazine I wrote a travel story about Colonial Williamsburg with an interior design focus. Check out the story here.
Also, I wrote about Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg Lodge, Spa of Colonial Williamsburg and the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club for Forbes Travel Guide back in the fall. Click here to read my reviews.
And during these trips, I took an amateur photo essay while bumming around. Click here for that.
I hope to head back soon for play! Let me know what you love about Colonial Williamsburg so I can make it part of my visit next time. cheers, marissa
One of the last projects I worked on as associate editor at Richmond magazine was helping put together the travel package “Weekend Escapes” for the March issue. I wrote about an outdoor adventure I took to Bath County, Virginia, where I spent a few days mountain biking, fly fishing, kayaking, canoeing and relaxing at Natural Retreat’s Meadow Lane properties. I was excited to see that my travel story made the cut for the cover. What a great image of beautiful Bath County! Grab a copy from newsstands! cheers, marissa
A few months ago I heard about a group called Beer + Design that meets up every few months in Richmond to talk about … beer and design. It’s a group of professionals and students who are involved in some niche of the design industry — interiors, architecture, graphics, advertising, art, tattoo, craft, photography and video, etc. The events usually are focused around a topic of discussion and a few people are chosen to speak and present about what they do.
This time around, the event was at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, my new place of work. (I just started working as their communications manager four weeks ago after leaving my job as managing editor of R•Home mag/associate editor of Richmond mag.) This event was a great way for me to see old friends and work acquaintances in my new milieu, while also getting introduced to a whole new group of folks. The topic of lecture was “Tall Tales” and the speakers were tattoo artist Amy Black, photographer Briget Ganske, and brand expert and VCU advertising professor Kelly O’Keefe. Beer master was Harrisonburg’s Three Brothers Brewing, tapping their saison and IPA.
Beer + Design was uplifting. There were three totally different people with three totally different stories and ways of telling their stories. There was laughter, tears, music, photography, and words. I left the event with my mind and heart full. We are so lucky to be part of such an strong, loving arts community. Thanks for the great event, Beer + Design and speakers. Richmond is lucky to have you! xo, marissa
Hidden in a strip mall behind Regency Mall is Boka Truck‘s brick-and-mortar restaurant Boka Katina. The restaurant opened this past summer, and like the truck, offers the same delicious fusion “takos for your mouf” — and other gastronomical comforts.
For lunch we started out sharing the ”cheese fries,” which are in fact not fries, but tater tots drizzled with honey truffle oil, a spicy mayo and topped with farm cheese and greens ($7). For those who think Sticky Rice has amazing tots, try these. These are tot-notch. My partner ordered The Gauntlet, Boka’s most popular dish, which is a trio of tacos for $10. The sampler gives you a taste of all meats and flavors — Asian beef, Mexican chicken and American pork. I ended up ordering three tacos off the premium menu, because I’m a premium kinda gal. Pork belly with apples and white cheddar ($5), shrimp and grits with caramelized onions and white cheddar ($6) and white fish garnished with pomegranate seeds ($5). Holy smokes, these tacos were filled to the brim. Could. not. finish. I made it through one and a half and had to bring the rest home for a snack. (And trust me, I can stomach a lot.) The three gut-busting premium tacos were hands down the best tacos I have ever had. And, the shrimp and grits taco was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. The deep south explodes out of this little taco shell into your mouth.
Other menu items and daily specials that caught my eye were the seared scallops with crab and spinach stuffing drizzled with sage maple brown butter ($8) and the pumpkin taco with caramelized onions, sage and crema topped with pumpernickel croutons and farm cheese ($4). Desserts like crispy apple dumplings and Mexican tiramisu with hazelnut liqueur, cinnamon, espresso and chocolate (both $6) sounded surprising and intriguing. I unfortunately couldn’t stomach any more though, and am not one for sweets, so we skipped dessert.
Overall, a great experience at Boka Kantina. We are definitely going back (hopefully soon!). For those who don’t want to follow Boka Truck’s Twitter account to track down where they are throughout the week, this is the place for you. Next up, I need to try Boka’s new venture, Grate Pizza.
The weekends were made for day trips — quick jaunts out of town where you can clear your mind and gain a new perspective. When living in Charlottesville, we were surrounded by plenty of scenic hiking trails, historic properties and quaint mountain towns that were perfect for day trips. Now that we are in Richmond, naturally our day trips are changing. We are closer to Williamsburg, Jamestown and the Northern Neck’s waterfront towns. One of my favorite jaunts from our Charlottesville days (that is still a short driving distance from Richmond) is James Madison’s home, Montpelier. Just an hour and 20 minutes from Richmond (head west on I-64 and take exit 136 for US-15 to Gordonsville/Palmyra), it’s a delightful day trip for you to freshen up on your Virginia and U.S. history. Also, Madison’s home is located on a lush estate with beautifully manicured grounds and views of the Blue Ridge.
Guided tours of the house are $18 for adults ($7 for kids), and you’ll learn about Madison’s childhood, education, marriage to Dolly, as well as his role in state politics and time as the fourth President of the United States. After the house tour, you can roam the cellar, re-constructed slave quarters, garden, cemetery and trails.
My favorite part of Montpelier is the Annie duPont Formal Garden. When William duPont purchased Montpelier in 1901 his wife transformed James Madison’s two-acre formal garden, restoring terraces and adding new plantings, brick walls, ornaments and gates. Later, Annie duPont’s daughter Marion duPont Scott hired noted landscape and garden designer Charles Gillette to transform the gardens.
After touring the Montpelier’s mansion and grounds, if you are still up for another adventure, head to Barboursville Vineyards for wine or to Ruckersville for antiquing. Barboursville is just 10 minutes south on VA-20. Ruckersville is another 10 minutes (VA-20 to US-33) from Barboursville. You’ll find a handful of antique shops on the corner of US-33 and US-29 with everything from distressed farm tables to vintage cookware. It’s a fun day trip of history, nature, antiques and wine. Plan this day trip for March or April when it starts warming up and you can spend more time enjoying the great outdoors.
I ate quite a few memorable meals in Richmond this past year. Here’s a list of the great things I’ve savored and digested in 2013. I’d love it if RVA readers could give me a list of restaurants to visit and dishes to try. I’m still getting to know Richmond’s expansive (and expanding) food scene.
Fish tacos at En Su Boca
Shrimp chimis at Jorge’s Cantina
Shrimp ‘n’ grits tacos at Boka Kantina
Bacon-wrapped scallops and butternut squash purée at The Savory Grain
Crab cake at C Street
Rockfish over mushroom risotto at Pearl Oyster Bar
Gorgonzola and peas over fettuccine at Bacchus
Truffle fries at Postbellum
Pork belly at Heritage (seen above)
Bayou Breakfast at Black Sheep
Doughnuts from Mrs. Yoder’s food truck
Pimiento Benny at Heritage (seen above)
BBQ Plater, 2 meats + 3 sides, at The Alamo (seen above)
Doro Dulet at The Nile
Massaman Curry at Ginger Thai
Beef pho at Pho So 1