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Art & The Creative Economy Conference Begins Tuesday

The Art & the Creative Economy Begins Tuesday

The Art & the Creative Economy kicks of tomorrow with the first of three days jammed-packed with speakers and workshops on harnessing the arts to stimulate the economy.


Keynote speaker is Charleston, S.C. Mayor Joseph Riley, who has presided over the world-famous Spoleto Festival there for decades (see related story).
Pop-folk star Suzanne Vega (“Luka,” “Tom’s Diner”) plays a Wednesday night concert, followed by a Thursday morning workshop on creative writing and social networking. (See related story.)
The sessions will be followed by a brief bus tour of local arts highlights, such as the Parsons-Bruce Art Gallery and the Convergence Art Guild.
Tickets are available to the whole conference or selected separate events.
For information, see or call 572-8339.
Ongoing at The Prizery is the biennial Parsons-Bruce Art Association Art Show and Sale, which opened this past weekend with the work of more than 60 artists, 20 of them new to the show. The free exhibit is open through Oct. 23.
To add to the week’s excitement, Molasses Grill in Halifax hosts Lawson Creek Grass, playing bluegrass, on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday night gives a complimentary dessert to diners with Suzanne Vega tickets. Wednesday night’s Molasses menu: a fixed-price dinner on the theme Food As Art by Chef Steven Schopen.
Bistro 1888 in South Boston hosts local-man-made-good bluesman Hugh Vaughan (he’s played with B.B. King and Bonnie Raitt) after the Suzanne Vega show on Wednesday night. Also Wednesday night, the Convergence Art Guild in Halifax offers a wine tasting at 4 p.m. and a film screening at 6 p.m.
The celebratory week doesn’t wrap up until Sunday afternoon, when bluegrass sweetheart Rhonda Vincent plays The Prizery at 3 p.m. Decades in the business have earned Vincent a loyal following, passionate about her beautiful voice and her fidelity to the music.
Suzanne Vega brings Greenwich Village
to Prizery
Time was, young people in small Southern towns could don black berets, light clove cigarettes, crank some Suzanne Vega and find themselves transported to Greenwich Village.
Endearingly Bohemian, Vega was on every English major’s stereo: philosophical, confident, poetic, smart. If Madonna was the Material Girl, Vega was the Ethereal Girl, quipped one newsmagazine of the era.
Her international hit “Luka” dealt, improbably, with child abuse. Its toe-tapping, cheery melody kept it from being a bummer. The pre-Starbucks “Tom’s Diner” was originally an a cappella snapshot of a lunch counter until a British band gave it a groovy backbeat.
In “Marlene on the Wall,” love affairs parade themselves beneath the gaze of Marlene Dietrich’s poster. The confines of a cold interior world preoccupy the speaker of “Small Blue Thing.”
As Elvis Costello is credited with observing, writing about music is like dancing about architecture, so often adoring critics have turned to the dimpled artist herself:
Trumpeted the Washington Post: “a brilliant songwriter – one of the best of her generation.”
Vega “both meets and exceeds the stereotypes. Her music is moody, dappled with shadows, austere and stringent. Her wardrobe is dark,” observed Spin magazine back in 1987.
“Part folk angel, part Greenwich Village bohemian, at 46 she still looks like the girl most likely to steal your boyfriend,” wrote the Times of London more recently.
Of course, Vega is no longer the Village waif. She is 50, the mother of a teenager, and an international star who travels the globe: Budapest, Milan, Moscow and Tel Aviv this year alone. (After The Prizery, she ends her tour in Boston and Montreal.)
Said Prizery Executive Director Chris Jones, “Suzanne Vega has played all over the world, and now she comes to the Chastain Theatre at The Prizery, a great place to hear her amazing voice deliver those famous songs, ‘My Name is Luka’ and ‘Tom’s Diner.’ Suzanne is a New York City girl.  It will be fun to host her here and celebrate her with some good Southern hospitality and share our wonderful venue with her.”
If hearing her live isn’t enough, fans may also want to attend her workshop the following morning on creative writing and social networking as part of the Art & the Creative Economy conference, priced separately at $30, or $25 for students.
The show – tickets are $49 – is sponsored by Timmons Group, Glerin Business Resources, Jeff Reed and Blair Construction. The Prizery is supported by the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
For tickets to either, call 572-8339 or visit