In 2009, The New York Times named The Camel Richmond's "premier venue" for "up-and-coming Southern rock and bluegrass bands, acoustic singer-songwriters, and jazz and funk musicians." So far, nothing's changed: The Camel still hosts local and nationally touring acts such as Ben Kweller and James McCartney, who, unlike his father, has never toured with a band named after icky bugs. But even though it's lauded for providing live music seven nights a week, The Camel makes a space for all art, including occasional film screenings.
Like its entertainment lineup, The Camel's cuisine is an eclectic mix of American flavors. The culinary team, lead by executive chef Xavier Beverly, whips up gourmet vegan risottos, grills fresh seafood, and tops flatbreads with spinach, mushrooms, and hummus. But they also keep things casual with finger foods such as the popular sausage stars and housemade beef burgers crowned with horseradish mayo. Served until 2 a.m. nightly, each dish can be paired with local or craft beers, which fill the 28 taps lining The Camel's exposed brick wall.
The Camel is open for lunch Monday through Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.
Located in the historic Shockoe Bottom district, longtime venue Hat Factory plays host to an extensive variety of live entertainment. For 13 days in October, the club morphs into Fear Factory, a ghoulishly gleeful haunted house spotlighting themed events every night. Scare-seekers may glimpse the spirit of clown Thurman "Laughing Man" Ray, whose undeadness adds a chilling layer to a seemingly innocent profession. The eerie extravaganza commences on Tuesday, October 19 with a special Halloween edition of the club's popular RVAlution with Dave Nada, a study in social interaction co-chaired by live performers and professional DJs. The Massacre-ade Ball on Saturday, October 30 provides the perfect excuse to wear that plainclothes police officer costume you've been storing all these years. The visually inclined can experience the spine-tingling Fear Factory teaser video here.
Originally built in the 1760s, the 645-acre Belvedere Plantation hosts the yearly Harvest Festival each October, filling weekends with family-fun attractions ranging from pumpkin patches to hayrides. Eight acres of cornfield are sculpted into a NASA-themed maze, inspiring brave farmstronauts to venture into uncharted territory. Adrenaline pumps through the veins of onlookers observing pig races, and turbo-charged pedal tractors thrill speed seekers. A double slide stretches out to 100 feet, whisking human missiles through space and time as amiable goats, chickens, pigs, and turkeys look on with a been-there, done-that nonchalance.
Barksdale Theatre has staged professional productions of groundbreaking plays—including world premieres and Broadway musicals—for nearly 60 years. Lauded by critics, Steven Dietz’s play Becky's New Car uses witty dialogue to plunge viewers into a woman's midlife crisis. When a millionaire mistakes Becky for a widow during a moment of flirtation, she doesn't correct him, sparking an accidental extramarital affair that grants her access to an opulent, unfamiliar world. Throughout the play, Becky engages the audience by soliciting opinions or enlisting their help.
Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as a singer who "takes the stage as if it belongs to her and belts out the blues like a force of nature," Sandra Reaves-Phillips dishes out a medley of jazz, blues, and soul honed through a lifetime on the stage. Reaves-Phillips has lent her pipes and dramatic skills to both the acclaimed 1986 jazz drama 'Round Midnight and 1989's Lean On Me, for which she sang the title track. During a show that barrels along on laughter and playful banter, her clear vibrato turns into a brassy growl as she uses standards such as "Let the Good Times Roll" to explore the heights and depths of her range. Her slower, sensual tunes seethe with swagger and knowing glances, building up to energetic versions of blues classics. Showstoppers from past performances include renditions of "Me and My Shadow," "St. Louis Blues," and "Two Wrongs," a country-blues ballad that confirms the conventional wisdom that two wrongs make one long civil lawsuit.