The cancellation of February's First Friday Art walk because of the weekly weekend storm meant that it didn't take much to get me gallery-hopping tonight.
Adding in a few other activities, I planned an evening that began in Carytown, swung through the Fan then up to Church Hill and ended back a half mile from my house.
Any good Friday evening starts with a wine tasting and tonight River City Cellars was also doing a (Gearhart's) chocolate tasting in honor of St. Valentine's Day.
The place was packed, but I needed a bottle of wine for an upcoming dinner, so it wasn't just about quaffing wine and scarfing good chocolate.
Okay, it was mostly about that, but they were pouring, among others, the Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato, which paired divinely with the dark chocolate.
I got the wine I came for and a little of those heavenly Charlottesville-made chocolates.
At Chop Suey, I checked out Adam Juresko's latest show, "Flight of the Rat."
As an added attraction, Adam had also painted a mural on the wall of the staircase leading up to the second floor, which added some personality to the trip upstairs.
I already own one of his works and I was curious to see how the new work differed from what I had.
As always, he'd found fresh imagery to use throughout his collages; he may be eccentric, but the work is always interesting.
And then for something completely different, I went to Glave-Kocen Gallery on Main Street to see the "Click" Invitation Photography exhibit, showcasing local photographers like Scott Elmquist, Jay Paul and Ash Daniel.
The problem was navigating the gallery: clearly this was a see-and-be-seen event and chatty, well-dressed cliques impeded the progress of those of us there to actually see the photographs, some of which were well worth seeing.
By the time I'd finished looking at everything, I couldn't wait to escape that crowd.
Starving by now, I stopped at Pie for pizza and was greeted by the owner.
My first choice, the Cured Meat pie (garlic, Fontina, mozzarella and soprasetta) was sold out, so I ordered it with sausage instead of soprasetta.
There was some mis-communication, though, because I got a red, not white pizza, but the red sauce was so thinly spread that even I couldn't object.
The thickly sliced sausage was excellent and more than made up for the tomato presence.
And best of all, a nearby table was discussing a local food blogger's rants. Delicious!
Then I drove up the big hill to Eric Schindler Gallery for "z-black series," acrylic paintings by Scott Phillips.
The man wields paint densely and color lavishly.
There was a sense of vibrancy in his brushstrokes that made every object, every sky, everything undulate, almost van Gogh-like.
I fell particularly hard for probably the least colorful painting in the show, but unfortunately, although well-priced, it just wasn't in my budget.
My final stop of the evening was at Ipanema for some wine and girl talk; my friend had suggested I come by so that we could dish about her work life (crushing at the moment) and my social life (having a really good time lately).
She kindly pointed out that it was way more satisfying to hear about what I was up to face to face rather than just reading it on the blog, especially for the edited material.
And lest I make it sound like all we did was gab, we did discuss my local art collection; like me, she appreciates how much talent there is in this town.
So it wasn't a true First Friday since there was driving involved and I'd never have seen that Glave-Kocen crowd in J-Ward, but tonight had all the components of an art-driven evening with enough wine, food and conversation to keep me from complete art immersion.
Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but a Friday night calls for considerably more, especially for us innocent bystander types.