5 Things

O, May-Thirteenth-Through-Fifteenth! Might you be tempted to stay forever, gracing us with your five most glorious things, until we cry, “Peace, peace, you many-hued jewel,” and beg that our sleepy lives be returned?

O, May-Thirteenth-Through-Fifteenth! Your museums are full of energizing exhibits, your festivals are full of exotic food, your theatres are full of swanky people, and your The National is full of beach balls. Might you be tempted to stay forever, gracing us with your five most glorious things, until we cry, “Peace, peace, you many-hued jewel,” and beg that our sleepy lives be returned?

1. Lebanese Food Festival

Every year, talented cooks from Saint Anthony Maronite Church assemble in their parking lot to ply us with an array of fragrant, Lebanese delicacies. And it’s so damn good! Lebanese food kicks the ass of so many other foods (contact me for a list), and this festival is famous for hitting a delicious nail right on its tasty head. You can choose to dine right then and there, feasting on zalabia while learning new dance steps, or you place a take-out order for a feast at home where you’ll make up your own dance steps (or else).

  • Fri. May 13 and Sat. May 14, 10am to 10pm, and Sun. May 15, 10am to 8pm
  • 4611 Sadler Road, Glen Allen
  • Menu prices vary

2. The Mystery of Picasso at the VMFA

Picasso! What a mystery! OK maybe not, since it’s all Richmonders talk about these days. If you’ve got some catching up to do, get tickets now for the 1956 film The Mystery of Picasso and get the inside scoop on the painter’s creative process. Then, catch the exhibit before it leaves the VMFA forever (last day is this Sunday, May 15), and use your newfound knowledge to wow the person standing next to you with some truly pithy comments about art.

  • Fri. May 13, • 6:30pm • (Picasso exhibit runs through May 15)
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Boulevard and Grove
  • $7 ($5 for members)

3. When Dinosaurs Ruled the Byrd (Jurassic Park at the Byrd Theatre)

Nobody asked me to name this event, but name it I did, because the idea of showing JURASSIC PARK, one of the 1990s’ best movies, at the Byrd Theatre is just so…awesome. All ticket sales (and that’s not just “all proceeds,” literally every dollar) will go to the The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in support of Julie Matthews’s Woman of the Year Campaign. Read about Julie’s journey, and then pony up $7 so that T. rex will once again roar SO LOUDLY that you will instantly channel your early 90s self and wet your freaking pants. Yessir, it’s events like this that remind me how lucky we are to be alive…in Spielberg’s lifetime! (I also must point out that the flyer reminds moviegoers that there’s “Jurassic Parking” behind the theatre).

  • Sat. May 14, Doors open at 1pm, movie begins at 1.30pm
  • The Byrd Theatre, Carytown
  • $7

4. The Fire Ball

The Firehouse Theatre, I can say in all honesty, is a little gleaming gem. And without it, our fair city’s arts scene would be significantly dimmed. Every year, the good Firehouse folks put on The Fire Ball, where supporters of the arts dance it up, drink it up, and eat it up. You can bid on auction packages that appeal to a local (like the Carytown shopping spree) or the most seasoned jetsetter (vacations in Maine, Italy, or Mexico). Cough up that ticket cost — it’s a benefit after all — and try not to make too many, “I’m-a Mario! I throw fireballs like this all the time!” jokes.

  • Sat. May 14, 7.30pm – 11pm
  • Firehouse Theatre, 1609 W. Broad St.
  • $50

5. Flaming Lips at The National

Gone are the days when shaggy noodlers indulged themselves onstage between needle-sharing binges on the tourbus. Even if those days are still around (poor ticketholding suckers), The Flaming Lips famously refuse to put on an unsatisfying show. These gracefully aging gents don incredible costumes, incorporate unforgettable props, and of course, perform quirky yet solid music. It’s all for the fans, new and old, so make a vow to end your weekend on the highest possible note, and track down tickets to the Lips right this very second.

  • Sun. May 15, 8.00pm
  • The National, 708 E. Broad St.
  • Whatever you can get on Craigslist or at the National’s box office (if you’re lucky)
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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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