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Archive for April, 2010

Annette Gates and Pandra Williams at Kiang Gallery

Review
“In Significance.”
Through May 29. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; noon-5 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment. Kiang Gallery. 1011 A Marietta St. 404-892-5477. www.kiang-gallery.com
Bottom line: Annette Gates and Pandra Williams share Kiang Gallery in an inspired pairing and knock-out exhibition.

"Radicis, " installation by Pandra Williams

"Radicis, " installation by Pandra Williams

By Catherine Fox

Annette Gates and Pandra Williams share a fascination with the wonder, complexity and metaphorical possibilities of the natural world. Both proceed from a deep understanding of biological phenomena. Yet, the way these talented Georgia artists pursue their similar interests is deliciously individual.

Williams merges her clay sculpture, installation practice and environmental advocacy in the magical “Radicis, ” an installation of abstracted natural forms that glows strange and wonderful like the landscape in “Avatar’s” Pandora.

A luminous tube of translucent laminated mulberry paper snakes across two walls of a darkened …

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Funding for Georgia Humanities Council clears big hurdle

The Georgia Council for the Arts isn’t the only cultural agency positioned for an 11th-hour funding reprieve from the Legislature.

The Georgia Humanities Council, whose state funding was slated for elimination in Gov. Sonny Perdue’s proposed fiscal 2011 budget, is now prepared to get $50,000 from the state. That’s a pebble in the pond of the state’s $17.8 billion budget, but it allows the private, nonprofit Humanities Council to leverage state funds with federal and private dollars.

The council’s 2010 budget is $1.4 million, 67 percent of it coming from the National Endowment for the Humanities and other federal sources. After its $139,000 appropriation for this year was amended, it’s is receiving $104,237 from the state. The $50,000 in funding for 2011 approved by a conference committee of House and Senate members Thursday represents a cut of more than half from Georgia in one year.

Still, council president Jamil S. Zainaldin called the support “a victory, as the prospect …

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Kathryn Stockett wins Townsend Prize

help

Kathryn Stockett, author of “The Help” (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam), was named winner of the 2010 Townsend Prize at the Margaret Mitchell House Thursday. The literary prize is awarded to a Georgia novelist biennially by Georgia Perimeter College. Published in February 2009, “The Help” has been on the New York Times best-seller list for 54 weeks and counting. Set in Jackson, Miss., in 1962, the debut novel follows the exploits of recent college graduate and budding writer Eugenia Skeeter Phelan as she chronicles the racial divide in her hometown. A native of Jackson, Stockett lives in Atlanta.

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‘Dead Certain’ at ART Station

Theater review
“Dead Certain”
Grade: B-
Through May 15. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays; 10:30 a.m. Wednesday (April 28). $22-$27. ART Station, 5384 Manor Drive in Stone Mountain. 770-469-1105. www.artstation.org.
Bottom line: Too much talk and not enough action, but Elizabeth Wells Berkes shines.

Bryan Brendle and Elizabeth Wells Berkes. Photo: ART Station

Bryan Brendle and Elizabeth Wells Berkes. Photo: ART Station

By Bert Osborne

With one of the two characters confined to a wheelchair, Marcus Lloyd’s “Dead Certain” isn’t the kind of psychological thriller that plays out with a lot of physical activity. It’s the kind that mainly talks about everything.

Most of the startling revelations about Elizabeth (a former ballerina) and Michael (a struggling actor) and the possibly obsessive or lecherous past deeds that unite them aren’t shown as much as told.

In a movie, no doubt, we’d see a flashback to the car crash that crippled Elizabeth. On stage, it’s not quite so exciting to hear her recounting it after the fact.

Still, in …

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‘The Storytelling Ability of a Boy’ at the Aurora Theatre

Theater review
“The Storytelling Ability of a Boy”
Grade: D+
8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Through May 2. $15. Aurora Theatre, 128 Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222, www.auroratheatre.com

Suehyla El-Attar, Nick Arapoglou & Bethany Anne Lind. Photo: James Helms

Suehyla El-Attar, Nick Arapoglou & Bethany Anne Lind. Photo: James Helms

By Wendell Brock

You have to admire Aurora Theatre for putting its black box to good use. While many playhouses are virtually eliminating the alternative offerings of their secondary spaces (see Theatre in the Square’s Alley Stage), the Lawrenceville theater has launched its Georgia Gwinnett College Lab Series, which seeks to engage the under-30 crowd with provocative new work.

But Carter W. Lewis’ “The Storytelling Ability of a Boy” — which describes a weird love triangle among a high school teacher and a pair of precocious, sexually confused students — is a perplexing choice. A bruising account of adolescent angst that packs a ridiculous array of issues, buried secrets and violent episodes (not to …

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Atlanta Opera opens ‘Flute’ on Saturday; looks to future

Dennis Hanthorn decided several months ago to shorten the Atlanta Opera’s 2010-11 season, which starts this fall, from four to three productions. But the hard choices haven’t stopped there for the general director, whose company closes its current season with a production of a puppet-enhanced “The Magic Flute” starting Saturday at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

“You plan a year in advance but then work month by month, and it’s a day-in, day-out effort,” Hanthorn said. “And there’s a large host of people to make this happen and keep the Atlanta Opera alive.”

“Magic Flute” is an example of economic thinking: It’s a unique co-production between the professional opera company and a university, Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where “Magic Flute” premiered. Indiana professor C. David Higgins designed the sets and costumes, using student talent, working with Atlanta Opera stage director Tomer Zvulun.

Q: You’re soliciting donations on the opera’s home page, making …

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‘The Colony’ By Jillian Weise

Book Review
Fiction
“The Colony”
By Jillian Weise
Soft Skull Press, 338 pages, $15.95

colonyBy Soyia Ellison

You know those long lists of terrifying side effects that actors recite at top speed and low voice at the end of prescription-drug commercials? The ones that warn that the cure could be worse than the disease? How do you suppose the drug companies discover those side effects?

Guinea pigs.

The human kind.

And that is what “The Colony’s” Anne Hatley is. It’s 2015, and the charmingly caustic high school teacher, born with a gene mutation, has volunteered to take part in an experimental research project that could grow her missing leg. Mostly she’s in it for the money. That and the chance to make a break from her devoted but dull boyfriend.

“Once you get familiar with someone, ” Anne muses, “new games have to be introduced. This is why Cleopatra spoke thirteen languages and the Hustler adult-toy store was invented.”

Anne is funny, self-destructive and a little mean — a fearless …

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Georgia arts funding restored

Slated for elimination by the Georgia House last week, the Georgia Council for the Arts had its funding restored by a Senate panel todayTuesday.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $17.8 billion budget that includes money the House had stripped from the arts council. The council’s budget will receive a steep cut from the $2.52 million it received in fiscal 2010, but the agency will not be eliminated, as the House had intended.

Elimination of the council could have meant the loss of $878,300 in federal National Endowment for the Arts grants for Georgia.

House leaders wanted to replace the GCA with a new agency, the Georgia Arts Alliance, which was created by legislation in 2008 to “foster public-private partnership for support of the arts” and to support arts education. The Georgia Arts Alliance would have worked in concert with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, where the House voted to move $250,000 in arts granting funds.

But National Endowment for the …

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Hundreds rally to protest arts funding cuts

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Ismail ibn Conner gets protesters at the Georgia Capitol talks to the crowd about proposed cuts to arts funding on April 19, 2010. AJC photo by Phil Skinner.

Check out this AJC gallery of photos from the rally.

The Capitol steps erupted with activity Monday when musicians, actors and puppeteers gathered to protest arts funding cuts and the elimination of the Georgia Council for the Arts.

Hundreds of arts supporters chanted “art equals jobs” and carried signs that read “Look up, an artist created the gold dome,” and “How could you be so art-less?”  Drummers kept the beat while a violinist played along with chants, and dancers performed in circles around a statue of politician Thomas E. Watson.

A $17.8 billion state budget passed by the Georgia House last week would wipe out the arts council, which supports the arts statewide, administers grants and maintains the State Art Collection. Before the House voted to eliminate the arts agency, Gov. Sonny Perdue’s fiscal 2011 budget cut …

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‘Alley Pat: The Music Is Recorded’ tells story of pioneering DJ James ‘Alley Pat’ Patrick

Movie preview
“Alley Pat: The Music Is Recorded”
2:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema as part of the Atlanta Film Festival. www.atlantafilmfestival.com

James "Alley Pat" Patrick

James "Alley Pat" Patrick

By Lynn Peisner

Disc jockey James “Alley Pat” Patrick broadcast big, loud rhythm-and-blues radio shows out of Auburn Avenue’s Prince Hall Masonic Lodge in the epicenter of the civil rights movement in the 1950s.

Like an ever-present “Zelig” figure, he calls himself a “background person” but is connected to civil rights breakthroughs, whether using his show as an activist’s bullhorn or springing demonstrators in later years when he became a bail bondsman. Yet he’ll be the last guy to romanticize the movement’s leaders. His career is celebrated in a new documentary, “Alley Pat: The Music Is Recorded, ” screening tonight at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema.

Patrick remembers the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “as a plain, old ordinary Joe” who would ask Patrick to mix up a scotch and …

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