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Archive for November, 2009

Identity and media messages meet in Pecou’s ‘Whirl Trade’

"Role Model Citizen" by Fahamu Pecou

"Role Model Citizen" by Fahamu Pecou

Visual Arts Review
“Fahamu Pecou: Whirl Trade”

Through Jan. 9. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays. Get This! Gallery, 662 11th St. 678-596-4451, www.getthisgallery.com.
The bottom line: Fahamu Pecou has got the goods. An Atlanta artist to watch.

By Catherine Fox

A few years ago, Fahamu Pecou made a grand entrance posing as a preening hip-hop archetype in bravura performances.
The Atlanta artist featured his testosterone-oozing persona in his paintings of faux covers of real art magazines. The target: the stereotypes of black masculinity and the role of branding and media hype in fomenting them.
The distorted media characterizations and crippling self-image of the African-American male have engaged artists and thinkers for generations. Nevertheless, Pecou has found his own distinctive approach.
The paintings effectively commingle slick and street. Pecou offsets the technical skills evident in his portraiture and painterly touch with a …

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Gags and men in drag light up ‘Tuna Christmas’

Theater review
“A Tuna Christmas”

Grade: C
8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Check schedule for 2 p.m. matinees. Through Jan. 3. $20-$35. Theatre in the Square, Alley Stage, 11 Whitlock Ave., Marietta. 770-422-8369, theatreinthesquare.com

By Wendell Brock
Life sure is lopsided in Tuna, the “third smallest town” in the second largest state in the union. Beginning with 1981’s “Greater Tuna,” the series of plays about a fictional community of Texas eccentrics has entertained audiences with its assortment of outsize characters, all played by a pair of quick-changing, cross-dressing actors.
Created by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard, Tuna is an oddly exaggerated, broadly satirical town of animal lovers and taxidermists, KKK sympathizers and “smut snatchers,” big-haired waitresses and UFologists. Imagine John Waters re-writing “Mama’s Family,” and you get the idea of the kind of low-brow, corn-pone tomfoolery that fuels the crowd-pleasing Tuna franchise.
In “A Tuna Christmas,” …

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Actions speak louder than words in ‘Hominid’

Emma Yarbrough and Chris Kayser in "Hominid."

Theater review
“Hominid”

Grade: B-
Through Nov. 22. 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. 2 p.m. Sunday. $6-$18. Theater Emory and Out of Hand Theater co-production, 605 Asbury Circle (the Dobbs University Center on the Emory campus). 404-727-5050; outofhandtheater.com, theater.emory.edu.
Bottom line: Actions speak louder than words

By Bert Osborne
You could mistake the setting for a country club. Dressed in fashionable white Polo sweaters or tennis skirts, the characters roam a manicured lawn of grass and other brightly painted greenery – the costumes and set are by the multifaceted Leslie Taylor (whose last design was a dingy South African slum in “Blood Knot”) – replete with nice furniture, and a conspicuous jungle gym in a back corner of the stage.
Their typical afternoon includes playful physical activity and liberal quoting of Shakespeare. You expect them to serve tea at any moment, but something isn’t quite right with this picture.
Maybe it’s the way they often sniff each other …

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Daniels’ forceful debut in Atlanta Opera’s ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’

David Daniels and  Katherine Whyte in Atlanta Opera's "Orfeo & Euridice."

David Daniels and Katherine Whyte in Atlanta Opera's "Orfeo & Euridice."

Opera review
Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice”

Atlanta Opera. 8 p.m. Nov. 20 and 3 p.m. Nov. 22. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway. 404-881-8885, www.atlantaopera.org.

By Pierre Ruhe
A few years ago, soon after countertenor supremo David Daniels moved into a condo on Peachtree Street, the Atlanta Opera jumped at the first chance to book the star singer for its own stage. He has starred at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, along with most of the important opera houses in the world, and has sold out Atlanta’s Spivey Hall, proof of a devoted local following.
He is all but unmatched in the heroic countertenor repertoire, and landing him was a major next step in the development of the Atlanta Opera as it moves from local to regional to, one day, a national presence.
Daniels’ debut in Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice,” in a compelling and often beautiful production, counts as a milestone for the …

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Lawyers in love in “Fair Use” at Actor’s Express

John Bensinger and Rachel Garner in "Fair Use"

John Bensinger and Rachel Garner in "Fair Use"

Theater review
“Fair Use”

Grade: B+
Through Dec. 5. 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays (no show on Nov. 26), 5 p.m. Sundays (Nov. 15 and Nov. 29), 2 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 22). $25-$30. Actor’s Express, 887 W. Marietta St. N.W. 404-607-7469, actorsexpress.com.
Bottom line: A smart and funny comedy that may sound vaguely familiar, with Park Krausen as you’ve never seen her before.

By Bert Osborne
Sarah Gubbins’ “Fair Use” takes place at a Chicago law firm, where Sy, a clever lesbian lawyer, and Chris, a dim male colleague, both fall for the same woman, Madi, another attorney who’s assisting them on a big case.
Madi rejects Sy’s advances, Chris makes a move, and before you know it, Sy’s writing the love letters that Madi thinks are coming from Chris.
That synopsis may make the comedy sound like little more than a rip-off of “Cyrano de Bergerac” — but it’s part of the joke. Does this “expression of a similar idea” make Gubbins a plagiarist? …

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Second City skewers sacred cows in “Peach Drop, Stop and Roll”

PeachDrop_760xhoriz

THEATER REVIEW
“The Second City: Peach Drop, Stop and Roll”

Grade: B
8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. 2:30 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. 7:30 p.m.
Sundays. Through Dec. 13. $30-$40. Alliance Theatre, Hertz Stage, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Midtown. 404-733-5000, alliancetheatre.org

By Wendell Brock

Celebrity chef Richard Blais “admits he has no culinary knowledge whatsoever” and that he got all his recipes at Chick-fil-A. A segway tour guide chirpily concludes that downtown has become a cluster of abandoned buildings sitting next to “non-operational fountains.”
Three cheers for “The Second City: Peach Drop, Stop and Roll,” which dares to utter what we’ve all been thinking about some of our town’s sacred institutions. For the second year in a row, the Alliance Theatre has invited Chicago’s famed Second City to drag Atlanta through the brier-patch of past and present embarrassments. A follow-up to last fall’s “Too Busy to Hate… Too Hard to Commute,” the show sticks to the same format of …

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Water, water everywhere at Dalton Gallery’s “Still Water”

Jeff Rich's "Rail Bridge, Smith Mill Creek, Asheville, North Carolina" January, 2006

Gallery review
“Still Water.”

Through Nov. 22. 10 A.M.-4 P.M., weekdays; noon-4 p.m, weekends. Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College, Dana Fine Art Building, 141 E. College Ave. 404-471-5361. daltongallery.agnesscott.edu
The Bottom Line: A thoughtful and engaging mix of artwork by local and national artists.

By Catherine Fox

Kathryn Kolb celebrates the serenity and pristine beauty of the marsh in a lyrical photograph taken at Sapelo Island.
Linda Gass’s gorgeous, intricately stitched quilt depicts an aerial view of an oil refinery guilty of polluting the San Francisco Bay.
Patricia Tinajero creates an eco-fountain of sorts, using recycled containers to construct a low-tech instrument to purify rainwater.
As these three artworks suggest, Lisa Alembik cast a wide net in assembling “Still Water,” an ambitious and engaging group exhibition on display both in Dalton Gallery and around the campus of Agnes Scott College.
Alembik, the gallery’s director, clearly worked hard to …

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“Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant” a comic look at contemporary life

Megan Gogerty in her one-woman show, "Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant."

THEATER REVIEW
“Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant”

Grade: B+
8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays. 7 p.m. Sundays. Through Nov. 22. $18-$23. 7 Stages, Back Stage Theatre, 1105 Euclid Ave., Atlanta. 404-484-8636, www.synchrotheatre.com

By Wendell Brock

Former first lady gets Iowa writer pregnant.

Megan Gogerty — the playwright who once rankled the nerves of Atlanta protesters with a musical that appeared sympathetic to a child molester — has come back with a deliciously funny one-woman piece about her ongoing platonic relationship with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

With a title that teasingly riffs on the real-life tabloid scandals of Bill Clinton and the turkey-baster methods some women prefer, “Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant” is a smartly written, wonderfully performed half-true confessional by a young mother who measures her own emotional growth against the fateful twists and turns of recent American politics.

Gogerty, author of Actor’s Express’ controversial 2006 musical “Love Jerry,” has …

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Full premiere of Marsalis symphony delayed again

By PIERRE RUHE

The world premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ “Blues Symphony,” scheduled for performances Nov. 19-22 by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, has been postponed.

Again. For the third time.

The reason? Marsalis continues to blow his deadline. He has completed just four of the planned seven movements — and sent them to ASO music director Robert Spano — but the rest hasn’t been put on paper.

For the Nov. 19-22 concerts, the ASO will perform at least two movements, which are polished and ready to go. The other two movements may or may not be ready to perform.

The new date for the completed work is now penciled in as January 14, 2010, part of the ASO’s annual “A King Celebration” concert at Morehourse College, the yearly commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Those concerts are typically recorded by public radio’s “Performance Today” and broadcast nationally on the King holiday.

Two years ago, the jazz trumpeter, bandleader, educator and Pulitzer Prize-winning …

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“Large Animal Games” is Yockey’s most realistic play to date

Whittney Milsap and Joe Sykes in "Large Animal Games"

Theater review
“Large Animal Games”

Grade: B-
Through Nov. 29. 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. 8 p.m. Sundays (Nov. 22 and Nov. 29 only). 8 p.m. Mondays. $13-$18. Dad’s Garage, 280 Elizabeth St. 404-523-3141. dadsgarage.com.
Bottom line: Local playwright Steve Yockey’s most naturalistic work to date, and also his least distinctive.

By Bert Osborne

If you haven’t been following the work of Atlanta playwright Steve Yockey, that’s your loss.
If you have, you’ll already know that his plays tend to be slight, but just in the sense that they’re over and done with in a brief 70 or 80 minutes. This was as it should be in the case of Yockey’s inspired “Cartoon” (produced by Out of Hand in 2006), a dark satire about violence conceived in the style and spirit of a Saturday morning TV show, where a shorter attention span somehow went with the territory.
At other times, however, Yockey leaves you wanting more. When things were really getting good in “Skin” (at Dad’s Garage in 2007), his …

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