Collisions, Chaos, and Collaborations

Warren Ellis on nearly 30 years with Nick Cave: “I’m there for him, whatever he wants”

As their new film hits cinemas, we dig into one of music’s most singular duos

Collaborations are really curious things,” says Warren Ellis, the multi-instrumentalist, author, composer and – most potently – yin to Nick Cave’s yang. “Because you don’t have to question them if they’re working. There’s something about the very nature of me and Nick getting into a room that leads to something. It may not always be good, but it always leads to something.” After almost three decades together, theirs is one of rock music’s most indelible – and unbreakable – partnerships. “We’re both still curious about the process,” he adds. “These collisions that happen.”

“Collisions” is a beautiful way to describe the Ellis/Cave musical rapport, one that’s flourished since Ellis became an increasingly prominent member of Aussie rockers The Bad Seeds. If Cave brings the poetry and the front-man flamboyance, his fellow Australian is like the backroom engine, scooting around stage with all the energy of a whirling dervish. Ellis’ mesmerizing abilities with a vast array of instruments (accordion, flute, mandolin, to name but three) has seen him gain a reputation as one of the most soulful and skillful musicians on the planet.

“When me and Nick get into a room, it always leads to something”

We’re speaking over Zoom, Ellis ensconced in his studio in Paris, where he lives with his wife and son. In the background, Stanley Kubrick’s masterful period epic Barry Lyndon is playing on a flat screen, the strains of the main theme – Handel’s ‘Sarabande’ – tinkling away. “It’s such a great [movie] and the soundtrack is fabulous to work out too as well!” Ellis enthuses. “If you need your cardio, you’ve always got the requiem to keep you in check. A good ‘Sarabande’ and a harpsichord beats around the head when you’re flagging round the corner!”

The idea of Ellis jogging to the 18th century composer is an amusing one, particularly given his wild-man appearance (long streaks of silver-grey hair and an untamable beard). “I realize I’ve still got my lockdown look,” he chuckles. “But I had that a long time before anyone! I patented that.” Sprouting from his chin like an unruly ferret, his distinct facial hair is “probably at record length” now after two years of not performing live. In the ‘Before Times’, it could “cause problems” on stage, snagging in the strings of his beloved violin. “It gets stuck, and I have to pull it out,” he chuckles, “but the show must go on!”

Warren Ellis
CREDIT: Charlie Gray

Like every other musician, the pandemic meant cancelled tours for Ellis, with the extraordinary 2019 Bad Seeds album ‘Ghosteen’ a victim of closed venues. Yet rather than sulk, the affable Aussie kept fiercely busy. He released his first book, Nina Simone’s Gum, wryly recounting what happened after he nicked the titular singer’s chewing gum when she performed at the Cave-curated Meltdown Festival in London in 1999. He collaborated with his dear friend Marianne Faithfull – more of which later – and dug back into his hard drive to pull together The Bad Seeds’ ‘B-Sides & Rarities Part II‘, released last October.

Unsurprisingly, it’s his ever-evolving relationship with Cave that really came to the fore in lockdown. The two chipped away at the music for the just-released snow leopard documentary The Velvet Queen and Andrew Dominik’s upcoming Marilyn Monroe movie Blonde. They also knocked out ‘Carnage’, their first studio work as a duo (aside from the various soundtracks they’ve collaborated on). It’s this eight-song LP and ‘Ghosteen’ that form the basis of Dominik’s other new movie – and the reason we’re chatting today – This Much I Know To Be True.

Warren Ellis
Cave and Ellis at the piano. CREDIT: Charlie Gray

Part-documentary, part performance-piece, it’s a dazzling look at Cave and Ellis’ creative process, and their on-stage fusion. Dominik stages the songs in a church-like warehouse space, his camera circling the musicians as they deliver truly electric versions of ‘Hand of God’, ‘White Elephant’, ‘Albuquerque’ and others. “It’s kind of operatic, the way everything moves in sync with the music and the lights,” says Ellis. “The way this film looks is so extraordinary. I’m not a fan of musicals… but it seems like a musical you can actually watch!”

Better yet, This Much I Know To Be True is an illuminating, incisive look at Ellis and Cave’s friendship. “I’m there for Nick, whatever he wants,” says the 57-year-old Ellis, who is seven years Cave’s junior. “Our collaboration feels, to me, to be codependent. We each do something that the other doesn’t. I don’t know much about words. I can get in there and make a mess of music and then Nick can order me. That was interesting watching the film – I realized how chaotic I am. Andrew amazingly chopped it together – this absolute chaos that seemed to be around me. And then Nick is so ordered. I’d never really thought about that, until I saw it.”

Courtesy of NME Magazine.

Read the full interview from NME here.
Catch the global cinema event at The Paramount Theater on Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30PM.

Get a Piece of This

Look no further, we have your Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day) gift covered.

In honor of our 90th Anniversary, there are two new additions to our Paramount merchandise catalog: A 520 piece puzzle and some fun Blade socks!

Stop by our Box Office to check them out and pick one up for yourself.

Bonus: See our latest reel featuring our 90th Anniversary puzzle and follow us on Instagram @theparamounttheater for more updates like this!

A Labor of Love

Did you know?
April is National Volunteer Month!

If you’ve ever been to an event at The Paramount, you’ve seen the friendly faces, white shirts, and little name badges of our all-star volunteers, an enthusiastic and caring group essential to the Theater. From guiding guests to their seats to leading our free historical backstage tours, each volunteer gives their time and energy to making anyone’s visit a great experience. 

John Crawford recently stepped into the spotlight to discuss what being a volunteer is like for The Paramount’s weekly spot on NBC 29’s Community Conversations. Check it out here:


We are incredibly grateful for all our volunteers do for the community, especially in supporting the Theater’s mission. The next time you see a volunteer at The Paramount, feel free to share the love and thank them for all their hard work!

Are you interested in becoming a Paramount volunteer? Contact Volunteer Coordinator Malcolm Dyson at or visit us at the Theater for more information!

The 11th Annual Grand Marquee Gala is Back!

On Saturday, April 9, at 7PM, The “Teatro La Paramount” welcomes you Venetian style with a wide array of amazing food and drink, a silent auction, entertainment, and dancing on the extended(!) stage. The Gala committee and Paramount staff have been working hard all week transforming the Theater to bring the magic of Venice to life.

This year is particularly remarkable because we are honoring two very special Signoras:
The Paramount Theater, as she celebrates her 90th birthday, and
Chris Eure, The Theater’s Executive Director as she heads toward retirement.

The Grand Marquee Gala serves as the main fundraising event for the nonprofit Paramount Theater. Proceeds from the event support the dynamic programming, arts education opportunities, and access to the arts for everyone in our community.

We’ll see you soon – Ciao!

All Ears


Since its launch in 1997, The Moth has presented thousands of stories told live and without notes.

Moth shows are renowned for the great range of human experience they showcase. Each show starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience.

The Moth was founded by the novelist George Dawes Green, who wanted to recreate in New York the feeling of sultry summer evenings in his native Georgia, when moths were attracted to the light on the porch where he and his friends would gather to spin spellbinding tales. The first New York Moth event was held in George’s living room and the story events quickly spread to larger venues throughout the city.

Led by longtime Artistic Director, Catherine Burns and Executive Director, Sarah Haberman, The Moth conducts eight ongoing programs: The Moth Mainstage, which tours internationally; The Moth StorySLAM program, which conducts open-mic storytelling competitions in 28 cities; The Moth Community Program, which offers storytelling workshops and performance opportunities to adults who are too often overlooked by the mainstream media; The Moth Education Program, which brings the thrill of personal storytelling to high schools and colleges in New York, and educators around the world; The Moth Global Community Program, which develops and elevates true, personal stories from extraordinary individuals in the global south; The Moth Podcast—the 2020 Webby People’s Voice Award Winner for Best Podcast Series—which is downloaded more than 90 million times a year; MothWorks, which uses the essential elements of Moth storytelling at work and other unexpected places; and the Peabody Award-winning The Moth Radio Hour which, produced by Jay Allison at Atlantic Public Media and presented by PRX, The Public Radio Exchange, airs weekly on over 570 public radio stations nationwide. (Courtesy of The Moth.)

Tomorrow, Friday March 25 at 7:00PM, The Moth Mainstage comes to our very own Paramount Theater in Charlottesville featuring stories told by Hannah H. Smith Brennan, Muneesh Jain, Julia Lancaster, Devan Sandiford, and Dame Wilburn, hosted by Jon Goode. We can’t say for sure what experiences these storytellers will bring, but one thing is certain: We’re all ears.

“Not Just My Story”

En Español: A Musical Melting Pot, Mavericks Style



On August 21, The Mavericks officially launched that adventure with the debut of their first-ever, all-Spanish album, released on the band’s own Mono Mundo label. Entitled simply En Español, it is produced by Malo and the band’s long-time collaborator Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Prince, Sheryl Crow). The line-up includes Malo’s fellow Miamian and charter bandmember, Paul Deakin on drums and vibraphone, as well as veteran Jerry Dale McFadden, who joined in 1993. Eddie Perez, a Mexican American guitarist from Los Angeles, is the band’s youngest and newest member, becoming a Maverick in 2003. Like the band’s entire body of music, this one album cannot be boxed into a single category. The songs are as diverse as Latin America itself, and as cohesive as the ideal of the American melting pot. To season this rich musical paella, The Mavericks add their signature country/rock/Tex-Mex flavors and a refreshing spontaneity to the mix.

En Español flips the band’s usual fusion formula, which adds a striking assortment of genres – salsa, ska, norteño, mariachi, and much more – to its sturdy rock/country base. Now, the foundation is solidly Latin with streaks of irreverent rock and twangy guitars running through it, all branded with the unmistakable Mavericks style.

“This album, to me, celebrates all those cultures that are so beautiful and so vibrant,” says Malo, who was part of the diverse ensemble known as Los Super Seven in the early 2000s. “I’m proud of this record for that. I think it’s a very inclusive record. Because this story is not just my story, it’s the story of a lot of Latinos.”

The inspiration for this labor of love is rooted in the immigrant experience of the band’s founder. He was christened Raúl Francisco Martínez-Malo Jr., the son of Cuban exiles who was born and raised in the stimulating immigrant environment of Miami’s Little Havana.

His parents, Raul Sr. and Norma, both came to the United States in the early 60s, fleeing Fidel Castro’s communist revolution. They met after arriving in Miami, got married and bought a home in the shadow of the old Orange Bowl, west of downtown. The hub of the growing clan was the abode of Malo’s maternal grandfather, who himself had immigrated from Spain to Cuba, later bringing his family to Florida.

As Malo entered adolescence in the 1970s, the Latin music industry was flourishing in the United States. Pop and folk music from many countries flooded Latin communities. Recordings from many countries were distributed domestically by major labels, sold in neighborhood discotecas, and broadcast on television and radio via a booming network of Spanish-language media.

Malo’s musical milieu was a mind-expanding cultural mashup.  At home, there was a family piano to play at family gatherings, and his grandfather regaled guests with his “beautiful baritone,” Malo recalls.  And there was a stream of music always in the air. Songs by Cuba’s venerable Omara Portuondo, Mexico’s romantic Trio Los Panchos, and brash mariachi superstar Vicente Fernandez. But his father also loved Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, while his mother exposed him to the refined art of opera and classical music. 

The budding musician soaked in the sounds, unlike many first-generation teenagers who reject their parents’ music as corny or old-fashioned.
“I was never one of those kids who were like, ‘Ah, I hate that music,’” says Malo. “I liked it all, and I would take it all in. To me, it was just part of the vocabulary, part of the DNA.”

Courtesy of Read the full article here.

Bring your dancing shoes and prepare to groove!
See The Mavericks LIVE on stage at The Paramount this Sunday, March 13 at 7:30PM.



This Friday, March 4 at 8PM is the screening of The Big Lebowski at The Paramount!

Charlottesville’s Little Lebowski Urban Achievers is throwing their annual costume contest/White Russian fest/movie viewing to celebrate the Coen brothers’ cult classic.

In honor of “The Dude,” The Paramount will be serving White Russians in addition to our full concession options. The Nice Marmot Imperial Stout, available at Rockfish Brewery this week, will also be served. Be sure to check out our box office window, which features The Big Lebowski trophy engraved with the names of previous winners of the pre-show costume contest. Show up as your favorite character or wear your best Big Lebowski paraphernalia and your name could be on it!

Break out those jellies and put on your cardigans, you won’t want to miss this.

The 2022 Oscar Nominated Shorts Are Here!

Ah, the short film. An art form that tells a story and captivates an audience in under 40 minutes. In a modern world where movies can run well over two hours, whittling a narrative into these compact but powerful pieces can be a challenge, but it allows for precision, experimentation, and style. Names like Walt Disney, The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Jim Henson have found this to be the case for many live action and animated nominations over the years. Since the addition of the Oscar Shorts category to the Academy Awards in 1932 (which, fun fact, was a year after The Paramount Theater first opened its doors), it is recognized as a significant part of the filmmaking industry by producers, directors, animators, actors, and film fans alike.

The award category was originally called ‘best short subject’ and was separated by comedy and novelty. This later became one-reel and two-reel, in reference to the length of the films. Today, the nominations are compiled and divided into three categories: live action, animation, and documentary, each of which include entries from all over the world. 

The films go into theaters shortly after nominations are announced and are then, a few days before the Oscars®, also made available via on demand platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Vimeo on Demand. The theatrical release of the nominated short films each year is the world’s largest commercial release of short films on the planet, delighting audiences and giving filmmakers unprecedented opportunity to entertain short film fans.

In recent years, the Oscar® Nominated Short Films have been released in over 700 theaters across the US and Canada, garnering reviews in every major news outlet, from The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Deadline to The New York Times and the Huffington Post. The films have also been released annually in a growing number of theaters around the world, including the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, South Africa, Mexico, Chile, China and Australia among others, making it a truly international release. (courtesy of ShortsTV)

Beginning February 25, you can see each of these categories on the big screen this weekend at The Paramount Theater!

Live Action – Friday, February 25 at 7:00PM
Documentary – Saturday, February 26 at 7:00PM
Animation – Sunday, February 26 at 2:00PM




Ala Kachuu – Take and Run – Maria Brendle and Nadine Lüchinger (Kyrgyzstan/Switzerland, 38 min.)
The Dress – Tadeusz Łysiak and Maciej Ślesicki (Poland, 30 min.)
The Long Goodbye – Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed (UK/Netherlands, 12 min.)
On My Mind – Martin Strange-Hansen and Kim Magnusson (Denmark, 18 min.)
Please Hold – K.D. Dávila and Levin Menekse (USA, 19 min.)


Audible – Matt Ogens and Geoff McLean (USA, 39 min.)
Lead Me Home – Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk (USA, 39 min.)
The Queen of Basketball – Ben Proudfoot (USA, 22 min.)
Three Songs for Benazir – Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei (Afghanistan, 22 min.)
When We Were Bullies – Jay Rosenblatt (USA/Germany, 36 min.)


Affairs of the Art – Joanna Quinn and Les Mills (UK/Canada, 16 min.)
Bestia – Hugo Covarrubias and Tevo Díaz (Chile, 15 min.)
Boxballet – Anton Dyakov (Russia, 15 min.)
Robin Robin – Dan Ojari and Mikey Please (UK, 32 min.)
The Windshield Wiper – Alberto Mielgo and Leo Sanchez (USA/Spain, 14 min.)

From Triboulet to Rigoletto: A look into theater’s “greatest creation”


Rigoletto was Verdi’s “Eroica,” marking the beginning of the composer’s middle period and clearly surpassing in originality and achievement all of his previous work. At its 1851 premiere and throughout the ensuing 13-performance run at Venice’s Teatro La Fenice, Rigoletto was an enormous success, and it traveled quickly from there. By 1855, the opera had been produced throughout Italy, across Europe, andas far afield as New York, Havana, and Montevideo, Uruguay. This international success, combined with the premieres of Il Trovatore and La Traviata which followed close on Rigoletto’s heels in 1853—put to rest any remaining doubt regarding Verdi’s operatic primacy. But despite Rigoletto’s eventual success, it was very nearly killed before its birth, needing something of a political miracle just to see the light of day.

After receiving the commission from La Fenice, Verdi—an ardent humanist, democrat, and patriot who longed for Italy to be free from the autocratic rule of France and Austria—turned to an uncomfortable source of inspiration: a play by Victor Hugo called Le Roi s’Amuse (The King Amuses Himself ). Scathing and bleak, it centers on the amorous exploits of the historical French king François I and the downfall of his physically deformed and morally corrupt jester Triboulet, who encourages and makes light of the king’s lechery. The hunchbacked antihero ultimately reaps the poisonous crop he has sown when François discovers and rapes his sheltered daughter, whom he has hidden away from the corruption of the court. Worse yet, in a botched attempt to arrange the king’s murder in revenge, Triboulet causes instead the death of his own daughter.

Naturally, Austrian censors (who had jurisdiction over northern Italy, most of which was a province of the Habsburg Empire at the time) were not impressed with Verdi and librettist Francesco Maria Piave’s work. Three months before the scheduled premiere, the administration of La Fenice received a letter from the authorities expressing the regional governor’s disappointment that Verdi and Piave “should not have chosen a more worthy vehicle to display their talents than the revolting immorality and obscene triviality of La Maledizione [The Curse, Rigoletto’s original title].” The letter communicated that any performance of the opera was absolutely forbidden and instructed that no one’s time be wasted with protestations or appeals. Luckily, this last directive was ignored, and after extensive revisions to the work’s setting and its characters’ identities—the scene moved from the French court to Mantua, King François became the local duke, Triboulet became Rigoletto, and so on—the newly titled Rigoletto won its approval for performance from a censor who, by a crucial twist of fate, was an opera lover and an admirer of Verdi’s work.

Though the play’s political bent surely played its part in attracting Verdi’s attention, it was the emotional, psychological, and narrative power of Le Rois’ Amuse, and the depth and inherent contradiction of Triboulet’s character, that most appealed to Verdi, an intensely intellectual and extremely well-read man for whom literature, poetry, and drama held as much significance as music. (The collection of authors on whose work he based his operas reads like a crosssection of history’s great writers: Hugo, Byron, Schiller, Voltaire, and most of all, Shakespeare, a formative influence and continual source of inspiration for Verdi, who claimed to have read and re-read the playwright’s works since childhood.) It is therefore hard to overestimate the composer’s level of admiration for Hugo’s play, which he described in a letter to Piave as “one of the greatest creations of modern theatre. The story is great, immense, and includes a character who is one of the greatest creations that the theatres of all nations and all times will boast… Triboulet is a creation worthy of Shakespeare.”

Excerpt from Jay Goodwin’s Program Note in the January 29, 2022 production of Rigoletto.

National Popcorn Day – January 19, 2022

Popcorn is For Sharing

We sure did with folks on the downtown mall who stopped by for a snack around lunchtime. The smell of freshly popped corn wafting through the air is certainly hard to resist!

Catch us next year under The Marquee!



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