The grand opening of the Robinson Theater is Saturday, but things really get going on Friday when the newly renovated theater will be hosting local jazz legends-in-the-making Fight the Big Bull (with special guest Steven Bernstein) and Richmond’s own No BS Brass Band. Check’em out Friday and again on Saturday at the Camel at RVAjazzfest 2009.
As part of an ongoing relationship, lauded New York musician Steven Bernstein will be in town for just over a week prepping and recording an album with Fight the Big Bull. This coming weekend, he will be playing the two shows in Richmond.
This is more than just a few shows, though — this weekend is a tangible symbol of What Richmond is Becoming and what sorts of things it still takes to make interesting things happen in this city. Matt White of Fight the Big Bull has a piece at RVA News where he delves into what it took to get this show and RVAjazzfest 2009 together:
Top-down artistic growth is bogus. No one can point me to a city emanating relevant artistic output and give me the phone number of the city planner so I can pick his brains about how he created such a place. Never has happened, never will. […] Unfortunately, I’m scared that Richmond wants, encourages, and participates in this latter kind of planning. For months and months I have been trying to find funding/press for Steven’s visit. A visit that marks a landmark in the growth of the Richmond music community and adds mountains of legitimacy to the growing national opinion that Richmond’s jazz community is far more than respectable and is a community that is outpacing most others in the world. Maybe you missed the comment over at PopMatters.com, an international webzine of cultural criticism who’s monthly readership exceeds a million, about Richmond’s burgeoning jazz community – “Richmond is the new Brooklyn? Why not?” It is a small wonder then that despite a growing national sentiment towards us, the major of the funding for this landmark visit is being provided by”¦
1. a small East End church”¦.and by East End I mean Q street.
2. a college student who is taking on a guarantee that rivals a semester of tuition
This is not only a source of civic embarrassment but equally the genesis of much pride.