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Archive for January, 2011

Atlanta Opera’s ‘11-’12 season: ‘Lucia,’ ‘Golden Ticket,’ ‘Giovanni’

By Pierre Ruhe
For the AJC

The magical chocolate maker Willy Wonka, the demonic sexual predator Don Giovanni and a homicidal bride named Lucia are the stars of the Atlanta Opera’s 2011-2012 season, announced Thursday amid news that the 31-year-old company is starting to edge back from the financial brink.

“We’re making great headway toward stability,” said opera general director Dennis Hanthorn. “Last year’s decision to cut back to three productions [down from four annually] was tough and painful, but it ensures the viability of this organization.”

Still, the opera has never had an endowment and has recently burned through its cash reserves. Donations and ticket sales remain sluggish this season, with a “La Boheme,” in October, falling short of income projections.

“If we have one mistake, it’s over,” Hanthorn said this week. “That’s how close we are. I’m honest about it, I’m being transparent: we need to raise more money.”

Promisingly, for the first time since 2008, the opera …

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Georgia Museum of Art in Athens reopens after $20 million expansion

Howard Pousner

Stegeman Coliseum isn’t the only major improvement on the University of Georgia campus in Athens.

The Georgia Museum of Art reopens to the public today after a two-year, $20 million expansion and renovation that has added 16,000 square feet of gallery space, a sculpture garden, an expanded lobby and more.

Five big exhibits will greet visitors, including the 153-work “The American Scene on Paper: Prints and Drawings from the Schoen Collection” and “Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art.” Outdoors, in the Jane and Harry Willson Sculpture Garden, a space dedicated to female sculptors, will be “Horizons,” 12 life-size cast iron figures by Icelandic artist Steinunn Porarinsdottir.

Information: 706-542-4662,

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‘Zap! Pow! Bam!’ comic show returns to Breman Museum

‘Superhero’ encore

“Zap! Pow! Bam! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950″ has returned to the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum after a long national tour. On view through April 24, the exhibit explores the creation of pop culture icons such as Superman, Batman, Captain America by young, mostly Jewish artists and the way they helped shape American popular opinion. It includes vintage artwork and books, multimedia presentations and interactive displays. Emory University film studies lecturer Eddy Von Mueller lectures at 2 p.m. Sunday.[1/30] 1440 Spring St., Atlanta. 404-870-7684, HOWARD POUSNER

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Stone Mountain Village gets creative with art stroll Saturday

By Howard Pousner

Stone Mountain Village will be alive with creative expressions 7-9 Saturday night[1/22] during an art stroll in which three scattered ART Station galleries and four studios will be open in the small downtown.

Debuting at ART Station’s headquarters galleries (5384 Manor Drive) will be “Choosing Joy,” paintings by Cartersville folk artist Bailey Jack, and metal works by Buford sculptor Dennis Primm.

The stroll is free, but tickets must be picked up at one of the ART Station galleries. 770-469-1105,

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Culture notes: Opera supporters have ‘Heart’; Hudgens winner lectures Sat.; Tellus draws 400,000th visitor

Opera scores

The Atlanta Opera eclipsed the goal for its “Heart of the Opera” fund-raising campaign launched in late October[2110] to raise $112,000 in 112 days. The company received nearly $125,000 from 434 donors, more than matching an $112,000 gift from an anonymous donor. It will announce its 2011-12 season on Thursday and opens “Porgy & Bess” on Feb. 26. HOWARD POUSNER

Expressing identity

Gyun Hur, the recent winner of the $50,000 Hudgens Prize, will give a free artist’s lecture at 11 a.m. today[1/22] at the Hudgens Center for the Arts. With a slide show, the South Korea-born artist will speak about the influences and evolution of her work, which explores geographical and cultural identity. An exhibit of five prize finalists continues through Feb. 19 at the Hudgens, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-623-6002, HOWARD POUSNER


– Number of visitors to Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, a milestone crossed …

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Culture notes: Booth Museum extends Ansel Adams show; Coretta Scott King Book Awards

Booth extends Adams show
Having drawn more than 20,000 visitors since the “Ansel Adams: A Legacy” retrospective opened in late September, the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville is extending the exhibit through March 13. However, after the original closing date of Feb. 20, the show will shrink a bit, from 130 photos to more than 90. That is in order to make room for the exhibit “Ed Mell: New West Visionary,” opening March 10 in conjuction with the 8th Annual Southeastern Cowboy Gathering. 770-387-1300, HOWARD POUSNER
Coretta Scott King honors
The American Library Association recently announced annual winners of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, recognizing outstanding books for young adults and children by African-American authors and illustrators that reflect the African-American experience. The winning author for 2011 is Rita Williams-Garcia for “One Crazy Summer” (Amistad, $15.99). The prize-winning illustrator is Bryan …

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Dalí fifth best-attended exhibit in High Museum history

By Howard Pousner

Atlantans clearly hated to say goodbye to Dalí.

The High Museum of Art’s “Dalí: The Late Work” exhibition drew 20,214 during an open-for-31-hours-straight grand finale, raising overall attendance to more than 270,000.

That makes it the fifth best-attended exhibit in High history. But considered in context, the numbers are more impressive: Three of the top-five shows were from the Atlanta museum’s extended partnership with Paris’ Louvre museum and ran for nearly a year each. The Dalí exhibit, by contrast, was up for 22 weeks.

“I certainly hoped the exhibit would be a big draw. To actually see the volumes of people was beyond my expectations,” “Dalí” curator Elliott King said in an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A Dali scholar who lectures at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the University of Denver, King said he was originally optimistic that the exhibit would strike a popular chord. That instinct …

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ASO receives $1.85 million donation to endowment

By Howard Pousner

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has received a $1.85 million endowment gift from the Atlanta-based Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

Calling it an “extraordinary gift,” ASO board Chairman Ben Johnson said the donation “adds to the future financial security” of the Southeast’s largest arts organization, whose endowment is worth roughly $70 million.

The ASO will establish the Mabel Dorn Reeder Honorary Chair in honor of the late Atlanta music lover, who died in 2007. A musician who demonstrates excellence in musical artistry, leadership, collegiality and community engagement will for five years occupy the chair, which comes with a one-time $10,000 stipend.

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Fort Wayne Ballet auditioning students for summer program in Atlanta on Sunday

By Howard Pousner

Fort Wayne Ballet, an academy and dance company in northern Indiana, will hold auditions for its summer intensive program and trainee postions on Sunday[1/16] at the Atlanta Ballet’s new Westside studios, 1695 Marietta Blvd. N.W.

The summer intensive program, June 12-July 2, features an international faculty. Curriculum includes ballet, pointe, repertoire, variations, pas de deux, modern jazz and topic-specific seminars.

An audition class for students 12 and older will be taught by Fort Wayne Ballet’s artistic/executive director Karen Gibbons-Brown . Registration 1 p.m. ($20); class, 1:30-3 p.m.

More information: 260-484-9646,

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Live from London (sort of), ‘Fela!’ in Macon on Sunday

By Howard Pousner

 Couldn’t make it to Broadway to see “Fela!” starring former Atlantan and Tony Award nominee Sahr Ngaujah? Well, here’s an unexpected option: At 4 p.m. Sunday,[1/16] Macon’s historic Douglass Theatre will show the musical drama about Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti as part of its series of productions from London’s National Theatre.

The show is being broadcast live on Thursday night[1/13] then being shown on a tape-delayed basis by the Douglass on Sunday afternoon. It’s the only theater in Georgia showing National Theatre Live screenings.

Coming up at the Douglass as the series of London stagings continues: Donmar Warehouse’s “King Lear,” Feb. 6; “Frankenstein,” March 17; “The Cherry Orchard,” June 30.

Tickets: $20; $15 seniors, students. 478-742-2000,

Continue reading Live from London (sort of), ‘Fela!’ in Macon on Sunday »