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Archive for November, 2010

Joseph Skibell’s ‘A Curable Romantic’

Book Review
Fiction
“A Curable Romantic”
By Joseph Skibell
Algonquin, $26.95, 608 pages

Meet the author
Joseph Skibell
10 a.m. Thurs., Nov. 11. Marcus Jewish Community Center Book Festival. Free.
Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. 678-812-4005, www.atlantajcc.org/bookfestival.

SkibellBy Gina Webb

Toward the end of “A Curable Romantic, ” Dr. Jakob Sammelsohn finds himself back where he started in the book’s opening pages: lusting after a beautiful, unobtainable woman through a pair of binoculars, dressed in an outfit that doesn’t belong to him. What a fool he is!

Sammelsohn blames his failure to learn from experience on the cruel punishments his father doled out when Jakob was just a child: “He’d broken something deep within me. Thanks to that brokenness, I’d lurched through my life with a crooked gait, listing to the side, never quite arriving where I intended, and the more I attempted to straighten myself, the crookeder I became.”

This may be true, but it’s an endearing, …

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13 metro groups receive $500,000 in Atlanta Arts Fund grants

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Thirteen small and midsized metro Atlanta arts groups have received grants  totaling $500,000 from the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, bestowed as general operating support amid a tough economic climate.

The big grantees are Georgia Shakespeare and Horizon Theatre ($75,000 each),  but several suburban groups also scored grants, including Arts Clayton ($45,000), Cobb Symphony Orchestra ($50,000), Conyers-Rockdale Council for the Arts ($22,500), Gwinnett Ballet Theatre ($46,000) and Johns Creek Arts Center ($42,000).

Last year, as the recession significantly reduced corporate, foundation and governmental arts funding, the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund launched the Atlanta Arts Recovery initiative, adding a second round of grants that doubled its annual giving to $1 million.

The grants announced this week are the second round of what was to be the final year of the initiative. But Arts Fund director Lisa Cremin said $1 million will be granted …

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Alliance Theatre, suburban troupes come up big at Suzi Awards

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The Alliance Theatre, metro Atlanta’s largest troupe in terms of budget and reach, dominated the 2010 Suzi Bass Awards, but several groups went home happy with multiple star-shaped trophies at the local version of the Tony Awards.

Coming in a year in which theater companies have had one hand extended for donations to pay down deficits while trimming budgets with the other, Monday night’s glossy ceremony at Oglethorpe University’s Conant Performing Arts Center felt positively celebratory and hardly competitive.

Still, there were prizes for 25 categories for 2009-10 season plays and musicals to be handed out, and Midtown’s Alliance hauled in seven. Suburban theaters fared particularly well, with Lawrenceville’s Aurora Theatre, Marietta’s Theatre in the Square and Marietta’s Atlanta Lyric Theatre tied for second after the Alliance, along with downtown Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit and westside’s Actor’s Express. Each earned three Suzis, while …

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Culture notes: SCAD’s studio sale, Ga. Ballet’s celeb ‘Nutcracker’ dancers

VISUAL ART
SCAD opens studios
Attention holiday shoppers of the arty type: The Savannah College of Art and Design will host an Open Studio Night, 7-9 p.m. Nov. 11, featuring more than 200 original works by SCAD students, faculty and alumni. In addition viewing the paintings, photography, illustration, printmaking and sculpture for sale, guests can tour all of SCAD’s studio spaces and check out hands-on demonstrations by students. Free. 1600 Peachtree St., Atlanta. www.scad.edu. HOWARD POUSNER

DANCE
‘Nutcracker’ celebs
The Georgia Ballet has announced the local notables who will dance in a benefit performance of “The Nutcracker” at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Cobb Civic Center. Appearing as Christmas Eve guests with the Silverhaus family will be Fred Sanderson, Cobb County School District superintendent; Emily Lembeck, Marietta City Schools superintendent; Rob Garcia, Cobb Chamber of Commerce chairman; and Sandy Miller, Cobb Executive Women chairwoman. Proceeds from tickets, …

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Culture briefs: Dali’s ‘Persistence,’ ‘Laramie’ arrive early

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

VISUAL ART
Dali’s early arrival

Salvador Dali’s famed melting-watches painting “The Persistence of Memory” will go on view at the High Museum of Art on Friday,[10/12] four days earlier than originally announced. “Persistence” is now joining the exhibit “Salvador Dali: The Late Work” in time to help the High celebrate the fifth anniversary of its expansion. There will be free admission from 5 to 10 that night, free cupcakes for the first 500 visitors and museum shop and membership discounts. 404-733-4444, www.high.org.

THEATER
‘Laramie’ moves up

Following the suicide of gay Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi in late September and a series of headline-grabbing bullying incidents, the Sandy Springs youth and community theater Act 3 Productions has decided to move up its production of “The Laramie Project.” Act 3 had originally scheduled the drama about the reaction to the 1998 murder of gay University of Wyoming …

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Emory’s Johnson Medals to honor civil, human rights leaders on Monday

On Nov. 8, Emory University’s James Weldon Johnson Institute will award the 2010 James Weldon Johnson Medals to seven individuals “whose achievements and service reflect a deep and unwavering commitment to civil and human rights,” according to an Emory release.

The medals will be presented at 7 p.m. at the Carter Center. The medals honor the legacy of Johnson, a writer, journalist, civil rights leader, musician and humanitarian.

The 2010 Johnson Medalists are (profiles provided by Emory):
Lucy Cline Huie, for humanitarian service. An Emory alum, Huie is co-founder of HOPE, a civil rights project whose purpose was to desegregate public schools in Jonesboro, Ga., in the 1940s and 50s. Huie courageously defied the white supremacists of Jonesboro and Clayton County. Her archive documenting this period in Georgia’s civil rights history is in Emory’s Manuscript, Archive and Rare Book Library.  

 
Deborah E. Lipstadt, for humanitarian service. Lipstadt is …

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Discounts memberships for artists, students at MOCA GA

Seeking to increase support for the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) in Buckhead, the Atlanta-based foundation Possible Futures is offering a membership challenge grant. Through Nov. 30, Possible Futures will cover half the cost of annual MOCA GA memberships purchased by artists and students. Discounted memberships are $12.50 (good for free general admission and opening receptions). Details: www.mocaga.org. HOWARD POUSNER

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‘Lincoln’ and a dance show this weekend, but not together

EXHIBIT

Lincoln show ending

The Library of Congress exhibit ”With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition” ends its two-month Atlanta run this weekend, and the Atlanta History Center has planned a family-friendly closing celebration, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Highlights include a performance of Civil War-era music, lectures, a play, a film, tours, even a Lincoln funeral gun salute. 404-814-4000, www.atlantahistorycenter.com. HOWARD POUSNER

DANCE

A full Canvas

Dance Canvas, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the 14th Street Playhouse, promises to be an overflowing sampler platter of movement. The third annual fall event will feature more than 50 metro Atlanta dancers performing the work of 10 emerging choreographers from the local and national scene. Expect jazz, ballet, modern, hip-hop and even some tap. $25. 404-733-5000, http://dancecanvas.com. HOWARD POUSNER

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Creator puts own moves into Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Ovo’

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Amazing but true: Before Deborah Colker was recruited to create “Ovo,” she had never seen a performance of Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal-based juggernaut that has transformed not only the circus world but also performing arts around the world since launching in 1984.

Admittedly, the Rio de Janeiro choreographer has been a little busy. Since 1994, she’s run her own contemporary dance company, Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker, which has toured South America, Europe and Asia and concluded a run at Washington’s Kennedy Center on Saturday.

In fact, it was the sometimes gravity-defying physicality and overt passion of her troupe’s work that led Gilles Ste-Croix, Cirque’s vice president of creation, to approach Colker after seeing it perform at London’s Barbican in 2006. The choreographer was astonished but game, signing on to become the first woman to create a Cirque show in the company’s 25-year history.

“Ovo” (Portuguese …

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Tom Franklin’s ‘Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter’

Book Review
Fiction
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Tom Franklin
William Morrow, $24.99, 320 pages

FranklinBy Gina Webb

It’s been a busy week in rural Chabot, Miss. A teenage girl has gone missing and the police have a “person of interest.” The badly decomposed body of a local drug dealer surfaces in a swamp. A diamondback rattler turns up in somebody’s mailbox, not by accident. There’s a killer on the loose, too, last seen wearing a Halloween zombie mask.

On the whole, not much excitement for Alabama author Tom Franklin compared to his previous books, where nonstop carnage has been the norm.

His first story collection, “Poachers” (2000), acquainted us with a cast of manly deer hunters, fishermen and hard drinkers, either on the brink of bloodshed or at least out to cheat each other blind. The murderous posse in “Hell at the Breech” (2003) blasted from one savage killing to another as a deadly feud gripped a post-Civil War hamlet. The eponymous antihero in “Smonk” (2007), a syphilitic, …

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