A group of six University of Virginia Students, artists mostly, banded together in 1996 and signed the lease on an off-campus house on Wertland Street near Charlottesville's "Corner" District. The house was picked for its stately charm, its good condition, and its proximity to the University, which lies within easy walking distance.
The Dynashack (this is an old picture; the big tree has been replaced with a small redbud).
The student residents living in the Dynashack are as follows:
upstairsThe original residents of the Dynshack also included a non-student who disappeared into Texas. His first floor room, the least desirable room in the house, was taken over by The Gus, a 28 year old non-student who was employed but homeless in Charlottesville. The Gus was introduced into the Dynashack community by Elizabeth. At the time, the two were engaged in a torrid affair. The Gus keeps a very untidy room and sleeps all day since he works at night. He drinks to excess and entertains friends who are typically ten years younger than himself. His musical interests includes mostly low-fi "alternative" bands, metal, and a small amount of punk rock.
- Elizabeth - the only female resident is a third year art major from Northern Virginia. She has an interest in cheesy Christian junk, PJ Harvey, Tom Waites, photographs of bizzare arrangements, and marijuana. She's allergic to most kinds of foods. Her biggest accomplishment while at the Dynashack was quitting smoking.
- Penley - having Chinese parents gives Penley's cooking style a decidedly unconventional bouquet. Elizabeth dislikes the way the kitchen smells when Penley is cooking. Penley is a talented artist, but he lives rather enigmatically, keeping his door locked and most of his food in his room. Though attempts have been made to create scandalous gossip about Penley, he lives an unsullied life, free of most of the conventional collegiate excesses.
- John - John is the goofiest member of the Dynashack. It's that loveable kind of straight-faced goofiness that dignifies that eccentric that lives in every sleepy southern town. John is from Saltville, Virginia, and if you give him enough Bourbon, his accent will thicken up like mollasses left out in the garage on a Christmas morning. His paintings have a similar funkiness to those of Ches', though they are funkier to the forms of the objects, whereas Ches' funkiness more concerns the details.
- Steve - Steve sticks out a little from the general scene of the Dynashack because he:
Steve has a great sense of humour, though at times he can manifest typically a typically Capricorn desire for predictability and order.
- listens mostly to Pavement (a low fi band), not Techno
- likes to watch sports on television
- has a steady girlfriend (named Shelly)
- does not paint pictures
- Ches - his room is laid out like an opium den, and he can often be seen napping with the door open, listening to classical music. Ches has a wonderfully wry sense of humour that can turn on a single amusing phrase. His paintings have a funky chaos that can at times show frightening new insights.
- Andrew - as an Echol's Scholar, Andrew keeps pretty busy with his studies, which are wide and free ranging like the chicken that is served at Two Moons Burritos. He digests subjects thoroughly as intellectual excercises before putting the ideas into practice. Known to fall suddenly in love at the slightest provocation, Andrew has at times been grist for the rumour mills. On the weekends, he can be found partying as hard as anyone. He enjoys both attending and planning dance parties. Andrew's music of choice (like most residents of the Dynashack) is Techno. He's not just a passive consumer, however; he also aspires to master the techniques of creating it.
The Dynashack is home to much socializing and occasional raucous parties, such as the famous Space Party of early September, 1996. At that party, hundreds attended and many interesting crazinesses took place. The Dynashack has two separate social scenes that frequent it. One is comprised of the more socially active and eccentric students, mostly in the University Art Department. The other is a contingent of dissolute young adults who come to visit the Gus. There is a trickle of cross communication between these two groups, but not nearly as much as the Gus would like to see. Andrew is well connected with Charlottesville's raver scene, which contains many non-students such as Stroud and Ian, and some of these people are friends or acquaintances of individuals in both of the major Dynashack social scenes.
There are a number of drawbacks to the Dynashack, of course. Directly behind it, blocking foot traffic to the nearby 11th Street-and-Main intersection, is a massive low building called "The Facility" by Dynashack residents. It loudly hums all night and day and emits such strong radio noise that it makes for bad AM radio reception in all the adjacent houses. What exactly goes on within "The Facility" is a mystery, but supposedly Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging is one of the things happening behind its austere brick facade. Employees of "The Facility" sneak through the Dynashack yard to go to work and sit on the back stoop of their building to smoke cigarettes. At night, the tables are turned and drunken Dynashack Residents can at times be found flinging angry bottles against the building, or, more benignly, decorating the "smoker's stoop" with helium balloons.
Another drawback to living in the Dynashack is the proximity to a high-crime area in the vicinity of 10th Street. Two bicycles have been stolen from the Dynashack's front porch, and one time an attempt was even made to steal the Dynashack mascot, a huge mock polar bear. This latter theft was thwarted by Vanna the Increasingly Gothic Punk Rock Girl and Morgan Anarchy.
The landlord of the Dynashack is also an an occasional annoyance. The Dynashack, you see, is owned by Wade Apartments, a local student housing baron. Wade is never pleased with the acts of creativity perpetrated by the members of the Dynashack, and at times has complained about porch clutter, a space probe that sat for awhile in the front yard, and decorations placed by Elizabeth in the redbud.
To find the Dynashack easily, use this handy map (a modified MapQuest Map).
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