In support of her high-decibel new album, Rihanna kicks off her hotly anticipated LOUD tour with emphatic gusto and a sizzling roster of special guests. Like an art show at a sundae bar, the LOUD tour floods the senses, enchanting audiences with lavishly designed sets, myriad costume changes, move-busting dancers, and Rihanna's songbook of Grammy magnets. Crooner Cee Lo Green augments the songful offerings with his own vocal talents, and Roc Nation rapper and rhythm scientist J. Cole further helps resuscitate ear drums traumatized by the outside world's blaring car horns and shrill howler monkeys.
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.
Hampton Ballroom, which first opened its floors 20 years ago, houses a team of instructors passionate about helping students become well versed in a wide variety of dances. The expert teachers lead group classes to get feet sashaying to styles such as salsa, foxtrot, rumba, cha-cha, and tango, and also offer one-on-one private lessons. Wall-to-wall mirrors flank the wood-floor studios, allowing participants to keep an eye on their moves and to scope out any vampires in disguise.
Competitive dancer Amy Hontos brings more than 30 years of experience to the education of aspiring dancers. Trafficking in styles such as merengue, night-club two-step, and salsa, instructors can teach newbies their first moves, guide a couple through a wedding dance and synchronized cake-twirling performance, or help experienced students earn DVIDA certification to become ballroom dance instructors themselves. During frequent social dances, sparkling lights spin across the studio's 4,700-square-foot dance floor as students glide through the sequences they've learned.
Since opening in 1974, The Jewish Mother Backstage has hosted the likes of Dave Matthews, Hootie & the Blowfish, and Ice Cube. But despite its famous visitors and the media frenzy surrounding Ice Cube's melting accident, the New York–style deli still maintains a neighborhood atmosphere. Local and regional music acts fill the stage with groovy tunes, and the menu of hearty comfort fare is rooted in tradition, inspired by the owner's own Jewish mother. More than a dozen delicatessen sandwiches boast family names such as the Mother's Son reuben and the Mother's Sailor Friend, a split knockwurst with gooey swiss cheese and pastrami. Aromas of meatloaf fill the eatery at dinner, and breakfast service sates guests' early-morning hunger and desire to crow onstage.
The fun vibe in Mambo Room’s dance classes and weekly socials isn’t a coincidence. The studio’s instructors hope that by sharing cultural dance in a pressure-free environment they will create a community that genuinely loves to bust a move without feeling self-conscious. With these passionate teachers at the helm, students hone fancy footwork in classes that range from salsa and bachata to Afro-Cuban to Zumba. At weekly socials, students can showcase their newly acquired moves to get comfortable leading and following with partners of all skill levels, giving their poor broom a well-deserved night off.