This week! Chris and Laura bring you the best of what’s around, including Waterside’s new-name-same-as-the-old-name, more garbage from Virginia Wesleyan, Selden making it anyway it can, the answer to the eternal question (whether you can taste things with your butt, obvs), and of course, the SwiftyBeat!
A great way to deal with unfavorable publicity is to change your name. That way, people will still be talking about how so-and-so screwed them over, and you’ll be all like, “Man, who are those guys?”
So on that note, the Baltimore-based Cordish Companies unveiled the new name of Waterside, I mean Waterside Live!, I mean, the Waterside District. And with it, a plan to demolish one third of the building, along with the possibility of future residential development. Exactly what we all thought we were getting, right?
Just kidding, not so much. In fact, as Norfolk’s Planning Commission Vice Chairman Martin Thomas Jr put it in the article, “I don’t know why it is being demolished. I think we have been kept in the dark on this one.” Neat!
Cordish’s plan is modeled around similar mixed-use districts it has built in Kansas City and St. Louis, two cities that are exactly the same as Norfolk (right?). No word on how the proposed residential component would impact public access to the waterfront, but I’m sure Cordish will be sensitive to the citizens of Norfolk, since they are sharing tax revenue with the City from the site, right?
Have no fear, though, turns out Mayor Fraim is on the case. According to Fraim, Cordish had already proposed residential units at Waterside, and Norfolk put the kibosh on that. Probably. Maybe. Or, well, at least they’ll probably need to come back and talk to someone before they do that. Someone like the Planning Commission, but maybe not the Planning Commission, because the first they get told about these things seems to come from Cordish Co press briefings.
You see what’s going on here, right? Another part of our Downtown is being chipped away and given to an outside group so they can come in and make it the same as all the other cities they’ve milked. I don’t blame Cordish—they are here to make a profit and return it to their shareholders. And boy will they, since the terms of their deal with Norfolk allow them to recoup 80% of their investment ($32 million) through those tax revenues I talked about. And what does Norfolk get out of it? We finally get to have the same kind of vibrant downtown as Kansas City.
No, Cordish isn’t the problem, really. The problem is leaders who believe so little in Norfolk’s inherent value and uniqueness that they will do almost anything, give away almost anything, to get validation of it as a “real” city. Convention hotels make a “real city,” right? So spend a ton of money to get one built. Mixed-use waterfront developments make a “real city,” right? Quick, find someone who can build one of those right away! Outlet malls, those are things, right? Build it! This isn’t the vision of a city that is true to itself. It might play well at nationwide mayors’ or city managers’ meetings, but when the cost is paid in subpar schools, sinking roads and drowning homes, and a woefully inadequate park system, it’s just not worth it.
Following up the shitstorm from Virginia Wesleyan’s request for the woman who is currently suing them over the handling of the rape she reported on campus to hand over the names of every sexual partner she’s ever had, the college is taking the “No, guys, listen, it’s totally cool” defense.
In a recent statement, Virginia Wesleyan noted it wanted “to be clear that we have no intention of arguing Jane Doe is of unchaste character and therefore must have done something wrong.”
They’re still asking for the names of anyone she’s ever been involved with, though.
Even if you insist, like Virginia Wesleyan seems to, that Jane Doe somehow brought this investigation upon herself, let’s keep in mind that it isn’t just Doe’s sexual and relationship history that will be under the microscope—everyone she’s ever been involved with in any capacity will also be questioned. Did any of them ask for it, too?
My Monday IYRTP colleague Mike Rau did a masterful write-up yesterday, so I won’t spend a bunch of time echoing what he said. Except, it’s Conspiracy Tuesday and I feel like I need to point out one part of it: the local artists who have called the d’Art Center home for years have been out of that home since April, and we’re at real risk of losing some of them because the City is not working fast enough to get the space repaired. The explosion happened in April and repair work only kicked off in July? I’d like to see the Pilot dig into this more, instead of mentioning things like this backhandedly in an article about the affected artists.
But speaking of, at least one of them indicates in the article that the delays are causing her to consider relocating out of the area. And empty studio space means empty space, and once you start talking about that, and then all of a sudden the room starts smelling like cigars and old scotch. But seriously, didn’t I already say something like this last week?
Whenever Geraldo Rivera used to come on TV, my grandma (God rest her soul) would change the channel and say, “If I wanted to hear an asshole speak, I’d fart.” As it turns out, she wasn’t that far off on the physiology—we have taste receptors in our butts. Testicles too, if you have them! (This is the kind of stuff I wish they’d teach in Sex Ed. I feel like a classroom of 10-year-olds would really run with this information.)
Anyway, scientists found all this out while studying fertility in rats. They also realized that without the taste receptors, rats are totally sterile. That’s like God’s ultimate round of “Would You Rather,” isn’t it? Would you rather be infertile, or taste things with your butthole?
The ball/butt receptors aren’t nearly as powerful as the ones in our mouths, though, which is why you aren’t actually tasting things with them, and I’m sorry if you’re the kind of person that sort of news might disappoint. If it makes you feel any better, someone once told me that the skin in our mouths is identical to the one in our butts, but that might have just been a cruel ploy to get people to do a touch test.
The General Assembly was in special session this week to handle redrawing the lines of Virginia’s Congressional districts, following a ruling in June that the Third District was gerrymandered to include too many African-Americans, thus diluting their influence in surrounding districts. Instead of addressing this time-sensitive issue (the judges issuing the ruling gave Virginia until September 1), lawmakers spent the session on something completely different: attempting to overrule Governor MacAuliffe’s appointment of Judge Jane Marum Roush to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court. Since the GOP controls both chambers, it seemed like they would get their way and replace Roush with their pick, Judge Rossie Alston Jr, until Sen. John Watkins (R-Powhatan) joined the 19 Democrats in the Senate voting against Alston, allowing Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam to cast the deciding vote. But it wasn’t just Democrats holding their nose at this GOP stinker—24 past presidents of the Virginia Bar Association said that removing Roush would “make a mockery” of Virginia’s judicial system. After wrapping up this piece of non-business, both houses adjourned the special session without taking up the purpose of the special session, fixing the Third District before the September 1 deadline. Just like at the national level, GOP campaign promises of less government actually seem like a recipe for government doing less of its job. But don’t worry, the bill to the taxpayer is still the same, that part won’t change.
Did Shakespeare smoke dope? There’s some evidence he did, like Sonnet 76, which makes a reference to “compounds strange,” “a noted weed,” and “smokin strains that levitate me like David Blaine.” Researchers also found evidence of cannabis from pipes excavated from Shakespeare’s garden, as well as a Half Baked DVD, a Phish poster, and black light fragments.
Tonight, the Naro is continuing their “Exhibition On Screen” series with The Impressionists—And the Man Who Made Them. I have had a deep and abiding soft spot for Impressionism since I was introduced to it as an impressionable (see what I did there?) teenager, and I love spending time in the Impressionist gallery in our very own Chrysler Museum. This film takes the viewers through a powerful new exhibition sponsored by four of the world’s top galleries: the Musée du Luxembourg and Musée D’orsay Paris, the National Gallery London, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Introducing the film will be the Chrysler’s own Alex Mann, curator of American Art, who will also discuss their upcoming exhibition of American Impressionists, “The Artist’s View.”
And then on Wednesday, the “New Non-fiction Series” continues with Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, Alex Gibney’s frank portrayal of the life and career of Steve Jobs. Post-show discussion will be led by ODU’s D.E. Wittkower, a philosopher of technology who writes and teaches on political philosophy and new media. Both films show at 7:15 on their respective nights.
And finally on the Swiftybeat, Tay Tay’s loyal boyfriend Calvin Harris is in a #twitterfight with former One Direction-er Zayn Malik, who retweeted super dumb comparison of Swifty and Miley Cyrus. If you remember, Taylor has been extremely vocal about music services paying artists fairly; Miley said she wants to release her next album for free. (“the difference is astounding”, noted Twitter user @MileysKoi. Indeed it is, @MileysKoi!)
Anyway, Calvin and Zayn tossed a bunch of fuckwords back and forth to each other. It was all very tense, as these things often are. But Calvin, who is allergic to cats, has to prove his worth somehow.
Man, the Swift Empire is racking up enemies quickly. Will Miley and Taylor settle their feud? And what happened to the alleged diss track Katy Perry was penning about Tay Tay? As Shakespeare once said, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown / pass the kouchie on the left hand side.”
Long ago, a prophesy foretold of two great ones who would alter the course of history with their unmatched witticisms about the world around them. But until they arrive, Chris O’ Brien and Laura Watkins are filling in. Sharing a love of tacos, cats, justice, as well as an overarching ambition to perform history’s greatest karaoke duet of “Lightning Crashes,” and last but not least, a common ancestor in Charlemagne, Chris and Laura excel at beer drinking, trivia, and giving the Price side-eye to the patriarchy. They’re also pretty sure they were orphaned Russian siblings in another life, but that’s a story for another time.