2013 in review: January, February, March

Before we leap into 2014, let’s take a walk and relive 2013 for old time’s sake. We begin with January through March. It started with some optimism and ended with…James Franco?

The year began with our mother-in-residence choosing her 2013 theme to make it the best year for her and her family. We then looked forward in anticipation to the beginning of the VCU Men’s Basketball team season before VCU beat Dayton in the Rams’ A-10 opener.

Bow-Tie Cinemas opened their indie film theater, Criterion Cinemas, with The Comedy, a film featuring a Richmond director and a Richmond actress. Speaking of films, we spoke with Richmonder Michael Gottwald, who co-produced the Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild (which you should definitely see).

In civic news, we chatted with State Senator Chap Petersen about his bill to curb the dooring of Virginia bicyclists (unfortunately, his bill got doored by the General Assembly). Bicyclists weren’t totally deterred as they also came out to support share-the-road laws. We also heard from the main organizer of TEDxRVA about his plan to bring people from RVA and around the country to the Shockoe Flood Wall to talk creativity.

On the restaurant front, we spoke to the owners of two new restaurants, Saison and Lunch. We also swung by Boo’s Brown Bag, which (sadly) didn’t make it through the year.

Trees were an unlikely centerpiece of controversy when many that weren’t supposed to be cut down were cut down at the then-yet-complete Washington Redskins training center (Update #9). More controversy emerged when Virginia Republicans snuck through a major redistricting measure, which stoked the ire of Virginians. Republican House Speaker William Howell would later kill the measure. Anyone still left fuming about the redistricting idea or the razed trees was soon put at ease by a lovely snowfall. Before it completely melted, we spoke with video game innovator (and Roger Ebert debater) Kellee Santiago ahead of her return home.

February rolled in with news that the manslaughter trial involving Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe began in Prague (Update #21). In other music news, we learned the producers of Innsbrook After Hours, who were with the concert series for 10 years, dissolved their relationship with it. However, organizers were able to keep the series running into its 27th year.

In more food news, we learned about the Richmond Food Cooperative, which launched a membership campaign with a sweet kickoff event at Hardywood. Richmond celebrated the best in its restaurant scene with the 2013 Elby’s, which named Deco Ristorante as the best new restaurant and Lemaire as best fine dining restaurant.

Two people who can now afford a lot of fine dining are Dave and Nancy Honeywell, who claimed a $217 Powerball jackpot. Dave purchased the ticket at Richmond International Airport.

While the couple received fantastic news, singer Chris Brown and the Richmond Police Department most definitely did not. That’s because Los Angeles prosecutors said the singer’s community service hours, which he served in town, weren’t properly carried out by the RPD. That news plunged police chief Bryan Norwood into hot water. Within two weeks, Mayor Dwight Jones ousted Norwood from his position.

In March, Randy Blythe was acquitted of manslaughter charges in Prague (Update #27). For of St. Patrick’s Day, we did a chartsandgraphs analysis of RVA’s boozy geography.

Many were bummed after learning that Cous Cous was closing (the restaurant would later become The Well). But many were stoked to eat at Rappahannock, a new restaurant owned by two cousins and oyster farmers (and all around nice guys).

In VCU basketball news, DJ Haley bid adieu to the program, Shaka Smart received a new contract, and we geared up for VCU’s appearance in the NCAA tournament.

We took another look at Virginia’s Unclaimed Property program to see how much money it’d given back (spoiler: it’s a lot). After Shamrock the Block, video of RPD police officers using force to subdue a concert goer was uploaded to YouTube. Speaking of enforcement, Virginia became a “no texting while driving” state. We looked at what the new law meant for Virginia drivers.

We ended March by looking forward to the second RVA Street Art Fest and being (pleasantly) surprised by James Franco’s performance in Spring Breakers.

2013 was just getting warmed up, people! Check back tomorrow as we reminisce April, May, and June.

photo by Rachel Yeatts

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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