More What’s Booming RVA: Feb. 1 to 8

By Annie Tobey | February 1st, 2024

A week of events, announcements, and future goings-on

: Tesia Kwarteng and Laquita Mitchell as Harriet Eglin and Charlotte Giles escaping enslavement by pretending to attend the funeral of their fictional family member, Aunt Abigail. Image by Dave Pearson.

Wrap your week in visual and performing arts, celebrations, and educational events honoring Black history. Plus pair ice cream for breakfast, laughs in space, Mozart and The Beatles, and more. What’s Booming in Richmond, Virginia, February 1 to 8, 2024.

Check out the Boomer Top 5 picks in RVA, browse the week ahead below, or go to our updated events page  for Down the Road happenings and ongoing exhibitions and performances, and an extended list of Black History Month events below.

February 1 to 8

Thursday, February 1 

Rev250: Getting to Know James Lafayette. Did he ask to be a spy, or was he asked to be a spy? Through historical reenactment, Stephen Seals of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation tells of James Armistead Lafayette, an enslaved spy during the American Revolution. The opening act features educator Thea Paul singing her original composition, “The Black History Song.” Feb. 1, 6 to 7 p.m., at North Courthouse Road Library, Chesterfield.

Virtual Book Talk: “Without Concealment, Without Compromise: The Courageous Lives of Black Civil War Surgeons.” Author Jill Newmark discusses the 14 proud, patriotic Black men who fought racism and discrimination to attend medical school and serve with the U.S. military. FREE. Hosted by The American Civil War Museum. Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m., online.

“Cotton.” Virginia Opera presents Damien Geter’s powerful song cycle, a fusion of music and poetry inspired by the photography of John Dowell’s exploration of African American life and ancestral journey through the lens of the cotton industry. Dowell’s photographs inspired renowned African American poets, whose poems became the basis of the music. FREE, reservations required. Feb. 1, 7 p.m., at Concert Hall at VCU, Richmond.

Petersburg Civil War Roundtable: The Tale of Two Brothers. Historian and NPS park ranger Emmanuel Dabney shares the story of brothers James and Robert Roantree’s Civil War Experiences. Feb. 1, 7 to 8 p.m., at Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, Petersburg.

Nils. The contemporary jazz musician brings his smooth, exhilarating music to the stage. Feb. 1, 8 p.m., at The Tin Pan, Richmond.

East Coast Premiere of “Born with Teeth.” Richmond Shakespeare debuts Liz Duffy Adams’ vision of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe discussing politics and theatre in a tavern. Through Feb. 11, at Dominion Energy Center’s Gottwald Playhouse, Richmond.

Friday, February 2 

RVA First Fridays. Stroll the art galleries along and around Broad Street, plus restaurants, shops, and other organizations. Presenting live music, special events, tastings, and more. Feb. 2, beginning at 5 p.m. – times vary at the many venues around downtown Richmond.

First Fridays for the Whole Family. Free museum admission, family-friendly activities, and café specials. Feb. 2, 5 to 8 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond.

First Fridays: Rhythms of West Africa with Ifasola Osunponmile Favemi. Visitors will learn about vibrant traditions from West Africa from priest of Ifa, Ifasola Osunponmile Fayemi. Dancers and drummers will perform demonstrations to celebrate the region’s rich cultural heritage. FREE. Feb. 2, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

Laughs in Space Comedy Show. Comedians and great craft beer, a perfect Friday night pairing. FREE. Feb. 2, 7 p.m., at Final Gravity Brewing, Richmond.

Saturday, February 3 

Banana French Toast ice cream from Jenny's Scoop Shops

Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. See Boomer’s Top 5 Picks.

ChinaFest: Year of the Wood Dragon. Celebrate the Lunar New Year through Chinese art activities, collaborative projects, films, artist demonstrations, and performances. FREE. Feb. 3, 10 a.m., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

“African Americans and the Arts” Kick-Off Event. Marking a month exploring the talent and heritage of Black Americans and their contributions to the arts. Music from Curv Appeal and DJ Chuck Stone, Break it Down RVA line dancing. FREE, registration required. Feb. 3, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Virginia State University Gateway Dining Center, Petersburg.

“Ersatz in the Confederacy.” Due to shortages of common household items during the Civil War, people found substitutions for coffee, tooth powder, ink, paper. The substitutions may surprise you. Go to to sign up. For more information, call 804-748-1498. FREE. Feb. 3, noon, at Magnolia Grange House Museum, Chesterfield.

Richmond Symphony Presents Resurrection Mixtape. A transformative exploration of life, death, legacy, struggle, and triumph, Steve Hackman’s Resurrection Mixtape fuses the classic music of Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur with Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony. Feb. 3, 8 p.m., at Dominion Energy Center, Richmond.

Sunday, February 4 

Open Studio Sunday: RVA Community Makers 2024. Join artist Hamilton Glass for hands-on collaborative creation of this year’s public art project, a quilt-inspired paper collage on a large-scale panel. Visual representations of your story (historical event, your family name, your personal story or values, etc.) are welcome. Feb. 4, 1 to 3 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

Paul Hanson Piano Concert. The University of Richmond faculty member traces Arnold Schoenberg’s compositional journey as seen through his piano works. FREE. Feb. 4, 3 p.m., at Perkinson Recital Hall, University of Richmond.

Monday, February 5 

Alex Tatarsky Visiting Artist Lecture. Called “a hilarious, finely tuned absurdist” (Theatre Jones), Alex Tatarsky makes performances in the uncomfortable in-between zone of comedy, dance, theater, performance art, and deluded rant, sometimes with songs. Presented by VCU Arts. FREE. Feb. 5, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., at Grace Street Theater, Richmond.

Tuesday, February 6 

Gallery Program, 3 in 30 – Predicaments: Africa. VMFA’s Curator of African Art Dr. Ndubuisi Ezeluomba talks about the exploitative politics that continue to affect many nations of Africa and the resilience and candor with which many cultures face tribulations. Virtual presentation on Feb. 8, 11 to 11:30 a.m. – FREE, registration required. In-person on Feb. 6, 11 to 11:30 a.m. – FREE, registration required – at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

GRIVA German Genealogical Virtual Event. Resume a tour of Germany and German records, with a visit to Bavaria / Bayern. Hosted by GRIVA, the Genealogical Institute of Virginia. FREE, registration required. Feb. 6, 7 p.m., online.

Wednesday, February 7 

The Story of Maggie Walker. Theresa Gee tells the story of Maggie L. Walker, a Richmond businesswoman who served as the nation’s first black female bank president. FREE. Feb. 7, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., at Stonebridge Recreation Center

“The Queen of Sugar Hill” with ReShonda Tate. A novel portraying the life of Hattie McDaniel, the first African American woman to win an Academy Award, and the challenges that followed her achievement. Feb. 7, 6 to 7:30 p.m., at Sam Miller’s Restaurant, Richmond.

C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band. See Boomer’s Top 5 Picks.

“Memories of Overdevelopment.” See Boomer’s Top 5 Picks.

“Visions of Progress” and “Stolen Lives, Dreamed Lives” Special Pop-Up Exhibition. See Boomer’s Top 5 Picks.

Thursday, February 8

Racial Reconciliation in Modern Richmond. Richmond was a national leader in racial reconciliation efforts after the civil rights movement of the 1960s. This lecture with Dr. Marvin T. Chiles is based on his first book, “The Struggle for Change.” In-person and virtual on Feb. 8, 6 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, Richmond.

Mozart Meets The Beatles in Music at Hardywood. See Boomer’s Top 5 Picks.

More Black History Month events

“Sanctuary Road.” Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec’s opera based on the experiences of William Still, abolitionist, historian, and conductor for the Underground Railroad. Virginia Opera accompanied by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 11, 2:30 p.m., at Dominion Energy Center at Carpenter Theatre, Richmond.

FEATURE IMAGE CAPTION, TOP OF PAGE, from “Sanctuary Road”: Tesia Kwarteng and Laquita Mitchell as Harriet Eglin and Charlotte Giles escaping enslavement by pretending to attend the funeral of their fictional family member, Aunt Abigail. Image by Dave Pearson.

A Conversation on Racial Healing. A panel discussion with Rev. Dr. Lance Watson of Saint Paul’s Baptist Church, The Rev. Ben Campbell of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and Ms. Kristen Green, author of “The Devil’s Half Acre.” FREE. Feb. 10, noon to 2 p.m., at River Road Church, Richmond.

“Current: A Descendant’s Journey for Truth.” Preview Virginia portions of the documentary and participate in a discussion with the producer, director, and other team members. In the film, Smith follows rivers and pathways that carried enslaved people to Virginia and other places of bondage and resistance. It includes commentary by Virginia artists, teachers, students, historians, family history researchers, faith leaders, social justice advocates, and others. FREE, registration required. Feb. 23, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Library of Virginia.

In Chesterfield County

African Americans and the Arts: Black History Month. Virginia State University and Chesterfield County present a variety of programs for all ages to explore the rich, diverse heritage of African Americans and their contributions to our communities and nation. Events include educational presentations, inspiring stories, jazz, ballet, vendor fair, and a trivia competition. Feb. 1 to 27 at locations throughout Chesterfield County.

At Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Settlement from Africa to Virginia theater. Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation photo
Jamestown Settlement from Africa to Virginia theater. Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation photo


2024 Black Artist Showcase & “After Angelo.” Art exhibition runs Feb. 1 to 29, guided by the theme “the beauty of our lives,” 22 Virginia-based artists present original interpretations and reflections of family, faith, music, and social justice. Opening reception (Feb. 3., registration required) features live music by Akeylah Simone, spoken-word performance by Clayton Singleton, and reflections on the fourth year of the showcase from artist Austin “Auz” Miles. “After Angelo” (Feb. 24) highlights one of the first African women in Jamestown’s historical record, celebrating modern African American life and culture through art, performance, and conversation. Jamestown Settlement, Jamestown.

At the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Dawoud Bey: Elegy. Forty-two photographs and two film installations create three interwoven looks at tragedies of the Virginia slave trail, Louisiana plantations, and Ohio’s Underground Railroad. Designed to deepen the viewer’s understanding of African American experiences through the realities of history. Includes Bey’s recent series of Richmond photographs. Through Feb. 25, 2024 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

Soundings: Collaborations with Dawoud Bey. Curator Valerie Cassel Oliver leads a discussion highlighting photographer and film installation artist Dawoud Bey’s collaborations with composer and vocalist Imani Uzuri and dance scholar Dr. Gaynell Sherrod. Feb. 9, 6:30 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

Art After Hours: Trilogy. The museum-wide event features art, culture, music, dancing, food, and cocktails, hosted by Kelli Lemon with music by DJ Lonnie B. Event tickets include admission to Dawoud Bey: Elegy. Feb. 10, 7 to 11 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

2024 RVA Community Makers Award Program and Public Art Unveiling.VMFA’s sixth annual recognition event commemorates Black History Month with an art installation that brings together local artists and the community to honor individuals who positively impact the metro Richmond community. FREE. Feb. 15, 6 to 7 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

Art: A Platform for Change. Moderator Donzell ‘Ackshun’ Jackson and panelists Chris Visions, Hamilton Glass, Silly Genius, and Keena Carson talk about ways to support and promote Black artists in Richmond, plus art as a platform for social justice, an engine of economic development, and a source of beauty and meaning in urban spaces. FREE. Feb. 15, 7:15 to 8:30 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

2024 RVA Community Makers Art Exhibit. The collaborative public artwork made with Hamilton Glass as part of VMFA’s 2024 RVA Community Makers program will be on view along with textile-based artworks celebrating the honorees by local artist Unicia Buster. FREE. Feb. 16 to March 18, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

Dance After Work. Kula Voncille’s hip-hop cabaret offers a lively fusion of ʼ90s music and empowering stories. Feb. 16, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

African American Read-In. Notable figures from the greater Richmond community, including current and former VMFA trustees, read prose and poetry throughout the galleries. FREE. Feb. 22, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

News worth knowing

Ghostly sell out, meaningful run

ghostly figure raggedstonedesign Dreamstime. For humorous article on mysteriously disappearing clothes

Paranormal Investigation. Commonwealth Researchers of the Paranormal (C.R.O.P.) lead an investigation of Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier. Previous events have sold out early. March 2 at 6 p.m. through March 3 at 2 a.m. at Pamplin Historical Park, Petersburg.

Wood River Run Registration Opens. The 5k run celebrates nature, community, and the memory of Christian Wood, a young man who loved the James River Park. Well-behaved leashed dogs and strollers are welcome. The event benefits the park. April 27, 9 a.m., at Pony Pasture Park, Richmond.

Anticipation … ! Click here to make plans with this list of events to come and ongoing exhibitions and performances.

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