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Archive for June, 2010

Atlanta Film Festival director Wardell departing

Gabe Wardell, executive director of the Atlanta Film Festival, is leaving the job after four years.

A statement from the board of directors of parent organization ATL Film 365 said only that it had “elected to pursue a re-focused leadership and operational strategy.”

Tom Karsh, a former Turner Broadcasting executive and a co-chair of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival’s selection committee, will run the Atlanta Film Festival temporarily, with Wardell staying on during an unspecified period of  transition.

The board said it would undertake a nationwide search for Wardell’s replacement.

Founded by IMAGE, the festival has championed independent films and filmmakers since 1977. It has grown under Wardell’s watch to present year-round programs, including screenings, discussions, panels and educational outreach.

Continue reading Atlanta Film Festival director Wardell departing »

High Museum chief Michael Shapiro assesses ‘Allure’ as its run nears end

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The High Museum of Art’s design exhibit “Allure of the Automobile” closes Sunday, and looking in the rear view, it appears to be an experiment that succeeded.

The show of “rolling sculpture” – 18 rare custom-made cars from the 1930s to the mid-1960s, including “masterpieces in metal” by Bugatti, Duesenberg, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Ferrari – was something a little bit different for the Midtown museum.

“Allure” drew well and brought in many guests who’d never before stepped foot in the High, racking up attendance of 130,186 over 14 weeks (through June 20). It even proved more popular than the museum’s major exhibit last summer, “Monet Water Lilies,” which attracted 91,106 over 11 weeks.

The High added some fun programming with the auto exhibit, including specialty car convoys down Peachtree, an outdoor screening of “American Graffiti” and “Hoods Up” events during which motorheads could ogle the engines of some of the rare autos on …

Continue reading High Museum chief Michael Shapiro assesses ‘Allure’ as its run nears end »

UGA Performing Arts Center Series shows changes for 15th season

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The University of Georgia’s Performing Arts Center in Athens is making a number of changes for its 2010-11 season, the 15th for the center and first under George C. Foreman, who became director in January.

A number of series have been renamed, refocused or replaced. The center also will partner with Athens’ Classic Center in showcasing well-known pop entertainers in a new series called Celebrity Evenings (Tony Bennett and Doc Severinsen are booked; Lyle Lovett may be added).

Here’s the lineup, broken down by series:

CELEBRITY EVENINGS
Tony Bennett (Oct. 6)
Doc Severinsen and El Ritmo de la Vida (May 12)

MASTERWORKS
Diavolo (Sept. 24 & 25)
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (Oct. 31)
Thomas Hampson, Baritone (Feb. 18)
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with Dawn Upshaw, Soprano (March 27)

CLASSICS
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with Emanuel Ax, Piano (Oct. 3)
BBC Concert Orchestra with Keith Lockhart, Conductor (Nov. 14)
Opole Philharmonic of Poland …

Continue reading UGA Performing Arts Center Series shows changes for 15th season »

Kennesaw State University gets grant to stage Bill T. Jones dance

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Kennesaw State University associate professor of dance Ivan Pulinkala recently received a $15,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant to help fund a fall production of “D-Man in the Waters” — a dance examining race, faith and political issues — choreographed by recent Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones.

With KSU kicking in an additional $15,000, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company[CQ] artists will conduct a three-week residency at KSU, including lectures, workshops and master classes.

“D-Man” will be performed in November, and a community lecture series titled “Diversity in Dance” will be offered.

Continue reading Kennesaw State University gets grant to stage Bill T. Jones dance »

Individual donors loom large on arts-funding horizon

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

When the e-mail arrived from Horizon Theatre Company in early May seeking donations for a “I Heart Horizon” fund-raising campaign to “close its budget gap,” you could almost feel hearts sinking across the city.

In its 26th year, Horizon is one of Atlanta’s oldest troupes and among its best regarded. Woe upon our burg and its suffering arts scene if Horizon’s future, like so many less-established groups, has been imperiled by an unforgiving economy.

But those reading a little deeper quickly got set straight: The e-mail wasn’t an SOS. There was no threat that the Little 5 Points theater, which has only finished one of 25 years in the red, would close its doors. Horizon was simply being transparent in seeking to raise $100,000 to finish fiscal year 26 in the black.

It’s part of the new math of arts survival, in which groups — while reeling from cuts by corporations, foundations and governmental entities — are trying to reel in more individual …

Continue reading Individual donors loom large on arts-funding horizon »

Theatre in the Square to begin fall season with real locomotion

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Marietta’s Theatre in the Square will open its 2010-11 season, its 29th, with a world premiere about some history that touches close to home.
Phillip DePoy’s “Stealing Dixie,” Aug. 4-Sept. 12, will dramatize the story behind the Great Locomotive Chase.
Andrews’ Raiders, a band of Union soldiers and sympathizers, plotted to steal the Confederate locomotive the General in what is now known as the Kennesaw House, near Theatre in the Square.
Jessica Phelps West will direct, and DePoy will provide music direction for “Stealing Dixie,” which will feature Civil War-era music.
The General is one of the prime attractions of the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in nearby Kennesaw.
Also in Theatre in the Square’s recently announced 2010-11 Main Stage lineup:
>Leonard Gross’ “Conversations With My Wife,” a world premiere directed by Heidi Cline, Sept. 29-Oct. 31.
>“The 39 Steps,” adapted by Patrick Barlow and directed by Clint …

Continue reading Theatre in the Square to begin fall season with real locomotion »

Halle Berry to appear in Kenny Leon-directed ‘Mountaintop’ on Broadway?

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Rumors were running rife Friday that Kenny Leon’s next Broadway casting coup will be Halle Berry.

Several Broadway blogs parroted the New York Post’s report that Berry would join Samuel L. Jackson in “The Mountaintop,” American playwright Katori Hall’s Olivier Award-winning drama about Martin Luther King Jr. on the night before he was assassinated.

Berry would play a hotel maid who turns out to be an angel that God sent, as Leon himself said in New York last week, “to bring Dr. King to the other side.” Anika Noni Rose, who won a Tony for “Caroline, or Change,” is also said to be in the mix for the maid/angel part.

Leon, who is apparently vacationing, did not respond to AJC e-mails on Friday.

Jackson, who attended Morehouse College, read for the lead role in New York with Leon and producers in late May.

Berry has been in New York lately attending Broadway shows reportedly including the Leon-directed revival of August Wilson’s “Fences.”

A …

Continue reading Halle Berry to appear in Kenny Leon-directed ‘Mountaintop’ on Broadway? »

Read about Jamil Zainaldin of the Georgia Humanities Council

There’s a nice profile of Jamil Zainaldin, chief of the Georgia Humanities Council, in the current issue of Humanities  magazine, including this passage:

The council has a budget of about $1.3 million a year, which, he points out, averages out to about thirteen cents for every man, woman, and child in Georgia. “There is a lot of opportunity, and a lot of need,” he says, pointing out that the state is still the lowest in high school graduation rates and forty-ninth out of fifty in public expenditures per capita. Still, he says, “this is a state that wants to move forward.” …

There’s a lot of territory to cover—Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi—but also a lot of material to work with. Says, Zainaldin, “The very ground we are walking on has secrets hidden from public view. If we really believe it’s important to live an authentic life, we must be aware that someone stood on this ground before us. We must preserve the Georgia stories that are in danger of …

Continue reading Read about Jamil Zainaldin of the Georgia Humanities Council »

Museum of Design Atlanta has designs on site across from High Museum

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The Museum of Design Atlanta will move in January from its longtime home inside Peachtree Center downtown, where it has received limited foot traffic, to the ground floor of a Midtown building across from the High Museum of Art.
Executive director Brenda Galina believes the higher-profile location and potential synergy with the High, which is currently showing two strong design shows (on contemporary European style and vintage luxury automobiles), could usher in a new era for MODA. It is the Southeast’s only museum devoted to the study and celebration of all things design.
“It’s a  new day and an exciting time for us, and it will present so many wonderful opportunities,” Galina said. “Being in the Midtown arts district, it’s going to be a whole different feeling.”
The building at Peachtree and 16th streets is being renovated for the architectural firm Perkins + Will. The firm’s president, Phil Harrison, and one of its architects, Bruce …

Continue reading Museum of Design Atlanta has designs on site across from High Museum »

True Colors, Theatrical Outfit announce 2010-11 season lineups

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company will get a boost of Tony Award momentum from its artistic director, and Theatrical Outfit will be fueled by Pulitzer power, during the troupes’ just-announced 2010-11 seasons.

Leon, whose Broadway mounting of “Fences” won the Tony for best revival of a play on Sunday, will direct the regional premiere of Nathan Louis Jackson’s comic drama “Broke-ology,” Jan. 28.-Feb. 20 at Southwest Arts Center.

Another play that promises to make a splash in True Colors’ season is the opener, a world premiere of David Bell’s “Gut Bucket Blues ‚ì The Legendary Bessie Smith,” Oct. 1-Nov. 7. Bell, who was associate artistic director at the Alliance Theatre when Leon ran Atlanta’s biggest stage company, will direct his own script in a production to be performed at Balzer Theater at Herren’s. The musical explores how Smith’s raucous life informed her raucous blues music as well as the social and personal indignities the …

Continue reading True Colors, Theatrical Outfit announce 2010-11 season lineups »