a rollicking good time: fridays on the square.

I love a stand-up bass and a drummer decked out in a mini-skirt and cowgirl boots.

It was Friday on the Square in Harrisonburg–a downtown outdoor film and music event presented by Citizens for Downtown and Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and (this particular week) sponsored by Alexiou Hearing and Sinus Center and Davenport Windows and Doors. We were stoked to get outside and see the Judy Chops perform: the week had been nauseatingly hot. On this breezy, beautiful evening, the heat finally broke and the city itself exhaled in relief.
We’d gotten to the courthouse early and set up our chairs and blankets so we wouldn’t have to carry them as we walked to Cat’s Cradle–which we featured on the blog a couple weeks ago (you can find that post here). Ducking into The Corner for a quick snack and drink, we noticed some portentous clouds rolling in and remembered all our stuff sitting on the square. Then some chugging and gobbling occurred, and six sets of feet scurried up the sidewalk to the barren courthouse lawn. Everyone else, including the band, had moved to Turner Pavilion (home of the Harrisonburg Farmers Market) and made themselves at home. As the band warmed up, we set up camp: chairs, blankets, lunchbox dinners, crayons, markers, and the like.

Brandy got into her human tripod position and I settled into my chair with my notebook. Among the couple hundred folks in attendance, I saw familiar downtown faces, like Anne Juarez, Mariana Bowling and Chris Howdyshell with their two cuties, Steve McClay from No Strings Attached with his family, the always-fun Sarah Murphy and legendary sound guru, Dave Beaver.

The band started playing. The Judy Chops are a six-piece band out of Staunton who perform in the Burg pretty regularly. They feature a drummer, an upright-bass player, and several guitar strummers/banjo pickers/fiddle pluckers and what have you, and they encourage (literally–by suggesting so, and figuratively through their mirthful demeanor) foot-stompin’ and dancin’ and sangin’ and howlin’ and whistlin’ and clappin’ and cluckin’ and hootin’. Yes, everyone was sitting in chairs at the start of the show, but it didn’t take the Judy Chops long to inspire some movement in the crowd. And you know? It’s always the older generation that starts the dancing. They’ve finally reached the nirvana of “oh, what the hell!” And so a couple of folks started to dance, and a few more joined in, and Sarah Murphy roped three of our kids into dancing with her (God bless that woman!)… they were linking arms and kicking up their feet, smiling and laughing, spinning in a large circle. It must be the Harrisonburg dance because I got swept up in it at The Little Grill Open Mic Night back in September. Wheeee! Needless to say, everyone was completely entertained by the band.
Meanwhile, in the grassy lot, kids were running wild. This is another reason I love my Burg: kids are so comfy hanging out here. They were playing tag and frisbee and throwing baseballs, they were climbing trees and dancing and spinning… there was giggling and (mild) taunting and hugging and stick swords… In fact, Ella got a little miffed at my son, and when Brandy asked her about it, she said “Cal thinks tagging people is stabbing them in the stomach with a stick.” :( Ooooch. Sorry! <cringe>

Parents rotated in and out of the grassy lot, taking turns supervising the youngsters. We all felt a collective responsibility for the kids, no matter whom they belonged to, and I really love that about this town. Not that I would ever let my kids get too far away from me, but I appreciate being able to take the kids places and not worry about their safety the whole time. We look out for each other here. It’s what we do.
This coming Friday on the Square, you can catch films from the 2011 SuperGr8 Film Festival. These three-and-a-half minute films made by local residents might just inspire you to pick up a super 8 camera and start rolling for this year’s festival, which will take place in November. There were more than 40 films last fall, and because Friday’s viewing is only one night, there’s not time for them all. The folks at SuperGr8 carefully selected a balance of color and black and white films for your enjoyment. They are as follows:

Black and White
1. Overcome by Ernie Didot (Winner of best Black and White Film)
2. The Park Bench by Elwood S. Madison III
3. Raveler by Brandy Somers (Winner of best B/W Actress)
4. A Year of Dying by Jeremiah Knupp & Holly Marcus (Winner of Best B/W Cinematography)
5. The Wrestler of Casus by Michael Trocchia
6. Noir Justice by The Brothers Sedeen
7. Drew by Brent Finnegan (Winner of Audience Choice for Best B/W Film)
8. Chasing Shadows by Nicole Martorana
9. Myddfai by Martin Rees
10. My Love is Blind by Tim Estep & April Sedeen Estep (Winner of Best Color Film)
11. You Go To My Head by Lynda Bostrom
12. How To Reinvent Yourself by Jay Zehr (Winner of Best Color Cinematography)
13. Something Else by Chris Whitmore (Winner of Best of the Festival)
14. The Ride by Elliott Downs

The show starts at sundown on the courthouse lawn. See you there!

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

PURRsonal ads: cat’s cradle.

This past Friday Brandy and I decided to take the kids to Fridays on the Square. The Judy Chops (post forthcoming!!) were scheduled to play at seven, and as a spur of the moment addition to the evening, we stopped by Cat’s Cradle before the show. It seems like every time I walk by that place with my kids, we have to stop and admire the cuties in the front windows. I mean, what kid doesn’t like cute animals?? So on this evening we finally went inside. The kids were sooooo excited.

It happened to be a good time to visit. We met Suzanne Auckerman and Matt Chan who, with the help of several volunteers, run the place, and they told us how warm weather brings more cats to the shelter and fewer folks to adopt them. In addition, they happen to be in a special situation right now… if they can raise $40,000 by the end of July, they’ll receive a significant bonus from one of their donors: $20,000. In hopes of increasing donations in time to get this bonus, they’ve created a promotion through the end of July, which I’ll describe in a bit. Regardless of whether you’re in the market for a new pet, please consider making a donation to Cat’s Cradle as soon as you can. You can donate through Facebook, their website, by mail, or in person. Brandy and I felt we needed to get this post up as fast as we could, not only to spread the word about the need for immediate donations, but also to show off their gorgeous inventory. :)

With that said, I’d like you to meet your potential life-long and loyal companions. Ahem:

First up: Checkers, a three-year-old female. Sporting a perfect pink nose and exquisite markings, she enjoys smooth surfaces and napping with tiny pillows. Her relaxed demeanor will make you feel less lazy when you’re having one of those “I-just-can’t-get-moving” days.

This is Checkers.

* * * * *
Next, warm up with some Coal, a two-year-old male with luxurious gray fur. He’s so regal I half-expected him to start speaking, like Aslan from Narnia. If he could speak, he would say, “Take me home. Love me. I will keep your feet warm at night and purr melodically until you drift off to sleep.”

Coal’s the name.

* * * * *
Meet Cricket–a white-chested “teblico.” At two years of age, she’s settled into her unassuming cuteness. She promises to be neat and tidy… she does, after all, wear her bib everyday. And she’ll try not to hypnotize you with her stunning green eyes, unless of course you’re into that sorta thing. If you’re nice, she’ll let you count her stripes and freckles.

hi, Cricket!

* * * * *
HELLO, his name is MOHAWK. This fluffy fellow is not as fierce as he looks. In fact, underneath that unruly mane, he’s quite calm and contemplative, the philosopher of the place… the old Zen Master. At peace with himself and his surroundings, he enjoys the company of his feline roommates while transcending the drama of the cat house. Oh, and he likes to be brushed by candlelight.

I am MOHAWK. That is all.

* * * * *
Next is Precious, and that she certainly is. At eleven years young, this spunky golden girl looks forward to spending her best years yet with a family to love. Her immaculate white fur is silky soft. She enjoys rubbing against your leg while your pour your first cup of coffee each morning and sleeping in a little sliver of sunlight shining through a winter window.

She’s Precious!

* * * * *
Meet Tuzi–a curious two-year-old female. This mackerel tabby boasts gorgeous markings and velvety fur. She’s social and playful and happy to explore new surroundings. She enjoys chasing whatever you dangle in front of her, and she might have been a tight-rope walker in a previous life.

She is something’ Tuzi! (ha!)

* * * * *
Lastly, this is Reesee. This little calico charmer is ready to shower your lucky family with unending love and cuteness. Her sweet face and glowing eyes can only be matched by her satin fur and those white paws (!). At nine years, she’s content to flop down with you and gaze at you with her sparkling emerald eyes.

sweet Reesee.

So, here’s the promotion: The PURRsuit of Happiness. Between now and July 31, all adoption fees are waived in lieu of a donation. Why is this an advantage for you? Because your donation is tax deductible; adoption fees are not. This means that you can feel good about donating more than the adoption fee of $100. Another reason you might consider donating more is because Cat’s Cradle shells out an average of $300 just to make the cat available to you. For example, all their cats are spayed or neutered ($50); they have all their shots and tests and have been de-wormed ($70); they’re all outfitted with microchip technology ($15); and the shelter must, on top of all that, pay qualified people to perform these services. So the fee Cat’s Cradle charges you to adopt the cat is nowhere near the cost they incurred. Plus we really want them to get that $20,000 bonus, so please spread the word about this unique opportunity.

Now we were just in there on Friday (June 22), and already Gabana, Riley, and Piccalo (pictured below) have been adopted!

Congratulations, Piccalo!

Awesome news! And it’ll be equally awesome when some of you visit Cat’s Cradle this week and take home the rest of these darlings. We all need a little more love in our lives, right?

Cat’s Cradle is located in downtown Harrisonburg at 124 South Main St. They open at 11am each day.

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.