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Archive for December, 2009

Connect the dots at Contemporary’s ‘More Mergers & Acquisitions’

Who Are Parents (detail), a 1997 mixed media on canvas and linen by Team SHaG (Amy Sillman. David Humphrey, Elliot Green)

Who Are Parents (detail), a 1997 mixed media on canvas and linen by Team SHaG (Amy Sillman. David Humphrey, Elliot Green)

Gallery review
“More Mergers & Acquisitions”

Through Feb. 14, 2010. $5, adults; $3, students and seniors; free for members and children 12 and younger. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; noon-5 p.m. Sundays. The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. 535 Means St. 404-688-1970. www.thecontemporary.com
Bottom line: A delight.

By Catherine Fox
The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center closes out the year on a high note. “More Mergers & Acquisitions” is smart, witty and a pleasure to look at.
Artistic director Stuart Horodner is adept at making connections, both with people and art. As with its predecessor show (“Mergers and Acquisitions,” December, 2008), this one benefits from his relationships with collectors and artists, from whom he borrowed the works on view.
On the art side of things, he organizes and juxtaposes works of disparate styles, media and periods to …

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Ruby Dee takes “Gift of Love” to Rialto

Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee

Theater preview
“A Gift of Love: The Ultimate Love Story”

8 p.m. Dec. 18. Additional showtimes are 3 and 8 p.m. Dec. 19-20. $45-$110. Rialto Center for the Arts, 80 Forsyth St., N.W., Atlanta.  404-413-9800, www.rialtocenter.org.

By Adrianne Murchison
Ruby Dee has a gift for landing the perfect role. Her part in the 2007 film “American Gangster,” in which she played the mother of a real-life gangster portrayed by Denzel Washington, was set in Harlem, where she grew up. It was the backdrop for police riots and brutality that shaped the stage and screen actress’ consciousness and made her an activist in the civil rights movement.
Dee’s most recent role is as an African storyteller, Ya Ya, in the play “A Gift of Love: The Ultimate Love Story.” It opens today and runs through Sunday at the Rialto Center for the Arts. The song and dance production is co-hosted by actress Vivica Fox and gospel radio personality KD Bowe, and benefits the B-Moe Positive foundation for at-risk …

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Top 20 events to while away the winter in 2010

Jay-Z

Jay-Z

By Suzanne Van Atten

What better way to pass the cold, dreary days of winter than inside a climate-controlled venue where the likes of Jay-Z, Cinderella or Mahler are sure to heat things up. Here are the AJC’s recommendations for 20 fun things to do this season.

1.  Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 18 with the ASO. Robert Levin, a Harvard professor and scholar of classical-era music, is the guest artist. ASO principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles also leads Aaron Jay Kernis’ “Musica Celestis” and Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony No. 6. Jan. 7, 9-10. Symphony Hall. www.atlantasymphony.org.

2. Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Fifty films will be screened, including “Camera Obscura,” a 2008 Argentinean film about a woman rejected for her lack of conventional beauty until a visiting surrealist photographer sees her in a different light. Jan. 13-24. Multiple venues. www.ajff.org.

3. “Good Boys and True” at Actor’s Express. A sex scandal involving a videotape at a …

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Augusten Burroughs tells a different kind of Christmas story

burroughs

By Suzanne Van Atten

“Running with Scissors” author Augusten Burroughs has made a career of writing about the horrific events of his life — the sexual abuse, the abandonment, the crackpot therapist, the alcoholism, the death of a lover. But he manages to do it with such humor and a surprising amount of optimism. And all his topics aren’t grim. He’s also chronicled his long-term relationship with his boyfriend Dennis and their idyllic home in rural Massachusetts with their beloved dogs. In his new book, “You Better Not Cry” (St. Martin’s Press, $21.99), Burroughs recalls his life-long desire for the perfect Christmas, from his childhood memory of eating the wax face off a life-sized stuffed Santa to a drunken one-night stand with a department-store St. Nick. He recently spoke to the AJC about his quest and what he’s learned along the way.

What is it about Christmas that is so fraught with emotions?

You know what I think it is? We learn of the Christmas myth. Santa Claus lives …

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Bio captures Horton Foote’s passion for front-porch gossip

hortonfoote1206b

Book review
“Horton Foote: America’s Storyteller”

By Wilborn Hampton
Free Press, 293 pages. $28

By Gina Webb

The lives of playwrights usually yield some pretty juicy biographical material. There’s Eugene O’Neill, married three times, who disinherited his daughter and had one son commit suicide while the other became a drug addict. Or Tennessee Williams, whose sister was schizophrenic and whose father called him “Miss Nancy,” possibly the cause of his decades-long addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol. Or Arthur Miller, who, in 1956, married Marilyn Monroe — a biography in itself.
And then there’s Horton Foote, playwright and screenwriter, who grew up in sleepy little Wharton, Texas, stayed happily married to the same woman all his life, had three children who adored him, and died this past March at age 92 without a single scandal to his name.
Fortunately, even though Foote had no skeletons in his own closet, he had something even better — hundreds of relatives back in …

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Mental disorders inform Hobbs’ show at Solomon Projects

Gallery review
“Sarah Hobbs: Emotional Management”

Through Jan. 9. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays. Solomon Projects. 1037 Monroe Drive. 404-875-7100. www.solomonprojects.com
The bottom line: Sarah Hobbs gets into her head and ours in these perceptive and imaginative photographs.

By Catherine Fox

Some artists who aim to evoke human emotions depict parallels in nature, say, or a budding tree to symbolize hope. Others rely on the music of abstract visual language, suggesting moods through color and shape. Sarah Hobbs finds her metaphors around the house.
To put a finer point on it, the Atlanta artist stages scenes in her home to make the perceptive photographs now at Solomon Projects that somehow merge empathy, comedy and the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM).
Shot to suggest the graphic aplomb of a spread in House Beautiful, each photo frames an identifiable space — the bathroom, the dining room — which is bright, well-kept and nicely appointed.  …

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Choreographer dances to beat of a different drum with ‘Crea’

Dance preview

“Crea” by gloATL

8 p.m. Dec. 10. $25-$100. High Museum of Art’s Robinson Atrium, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. 404-733-5000, www.gloATL.com.

By Pierre Ruhe

An ambitious choreographer and her pioneering dancers are dynamiting the rusty old silos of Atlanta’s arts scene.

Founded this year by dance maker Lauri Stallings, the troupe is called gloATL. In July, it performed “Rapt,” a site-specific dance performed outside on the Woodruff Arts Center’s plaza and lawn. Dramatic lighting, Monet’s “Water Lilies” and other images were projected on the white walls of architect Richard Meier’s modernist High Museum of Art and on Renzo Piano’s more recent additions. The music covered the gamut of styles, as historic as Vivaldi and as in-the-moment as OutKast.

On Dec. 10, the 13-member gloATL company returns to the arts center — indoors, this time — for “Crea.” For the first time, they’ll dance to live music, performed by Sonic Generator, the Georgia Tech ensemble-in-residence that is …

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Writers share the playlists that inspired their books

Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter

Shelby Lynne

Shelby Lynne

By Gina Webb

Ever wonder what quarterback Joe Montana has in common with Irma Thomas’ “Ruler of My Heart” played by guitarist David Tronzo?
Chances are, you’ve never paced around a backyard in Marietta, desperate to find the right tone for a 5,000-word article for Esquire magazine.
And if you can’t imagine the connection between “Ode to Billy Joe,” “The Planets, Opus 32” and “Astral Weeks,” maybe you haven’t been at your desk lately, writing a book about growing up in the Middle Georgia town of Warner Robins in the ’70s.
When writers look to music for inspiration, strange combinations can get the wheels turning.
Take a look as some Atlanta writers reveal what’s on their playlists, past and present.

Susan Rebecca White
(“Bound South”)
Music serves as a sort of transitional space that takes me from my normal life to my world on the page. When I was finishing “Bound South,” I listened to Yo La Tengo’s “Black Flowers” every day as I drove to my office. …

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Authors and bands celebrate 20 years at A Cappella Books

Frank Reiss

Frank Reiss

Weekend of 20 Authors
A Cappella Books 20th anniversary

Noon-5 p.m. Dec. 5-6. Free. 484-C Moreland Ave. N.E., Little Five Points. 404-681-5128, www.acappellabooks.com.

By Bob Townsend

A Cappella Books in Little Five Points celebrates 20 years of business with a festival Dec. 5-6 featuring Atlanta authors and musicians.
Atlanta native and University of Georgia grad Frank Reiss opened the full service new, used and rare book store Dec. 1, 1989, in a narrow storefront on Euclid Avenue. After managing Acorn Books in San Francisco for five years, Reiss returned home to create his version of the beloved antiquarian book shop.
“It was just me and a few old friends who chipped in to build the shelves and help stock them,” Reiss recalled in a recent interview.
Two decades and three neighborhood locations on, A Cappella has become a literary landmark in its own right — sponsoring readings with the likes of Salman Rushdie and Pat Conroy, spawning a small imprint, Everthemore …

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