Deck home and garden with festive hollies

By: Lela Martin

Bearing green leaves during the dead of winter, evergreen holly is the subject of pagan beliefs and European folklore as well as traditional English carols. Think of “deck the halls with boughs of holly” and “The Holly and the Ivy.” English Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is the plant these songs celebrate. When the new world settlers saw American holly (Ilex opaca), they embraced its... READ MORE

Virginia Rep presents hits on two stages

By: Catherine Brown

It’s an old adage that God laughs when man (or woman) plans. That is certainly the experience of Sister Act’s Mother Superior, played with depth and gravitas by veteran Virginia Rep actress Andrea Rivette. Keenly aware of her church’s dire financial situation and impending sale to a couple of antique salesmen, Mother Superior prays for a solution. Little does she know the solution... READ MORE

Transforming steel into art

By: Carol Berkower

It has been 12 years since the metal sculptor David Aaron Friedheim returned to Baltimore from San Francisco with his wife, ceramic artist Trisha Kyner, and on this day he is in a reflective mood. “I wake up not knowing whether I’ve been an incredible success or an abject failure,” said the 59-year-old New York native and alumnus of Maryland Institute College of Art. “How could I ... READ MORE

On the question of disciplining grandkids

By: Sandrzej

Family reunions in crowded restaurants are usually happy affairs. Cousins catch up with each other. New spouses get to know one another. Memories and jokes fly. Smiles abound. Except when a 5-year-old boy decides that he’s not having fun. The issue: Who should discipline that child if he misbehaves? The parents only? Or can grandparents leap in? The boy was sitting near... READ MORE

Cicely Tyson wins first (honorary) Oscar

By: Lindsey Bahr

Cicely Tyson received her first and only Oscar nomination in 1972. It was for best actress for her work in Sounder, which she thinks of as her first major role. She wasn’t called to the stage that year — Liza Minnelli was for Cabaret — but now 45 years later, Tyson is finally getting her Oscar. “It is an emotionally wrenching matter to me,” Tyson said. Tyson, 93, is no... READ MORE

Entertainer says it all started with Santa

By: Martha Steger

Were you in Richmond for Christmas between 1971 and 1991? If so, Donna Strother Deekens is probably part of your holiday memories, whether you know it or not. If you were a child, parent or perhaps very young grandparent who made the trek to see Santa in downtown Richmond, or read about Santaland in the local newspapers, then you probably saw Deekens as the Snow Queen — Santa’s... READ MORE