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Archive for February, 2011

‘Miracles, Inc.’ by T.J. Forrester

Book Review.
Fiction
Miracles, Inc.
T.J. Forrester
Simon & Schuster, 272 pages, $15

ForresterGina Webb / For the AJC

Noir meets Holy Roller in T.J. Forrester’s fast-paced, hard-boiled debut novel, the story of a young carnival worker whose brush with religious greatness lands him in the biggest limbo of all: a 6-by-10 on death row in Florida, where he’s awaiting execution.

Not for tax fraud or sexual misconduct, but for murder.

Flashback to 1997: Born-overnight-but-not-again, Vernon Oliver makes a living as a slacker stagehand for a two-bit traveling tent show where he learns the tricks of the trade — including how to usher the sick far from the stage so the trained actors can be healed. Despite his high I.Q. and off-the-chart SAT scores, 20-year-old Vernon is content with the job, saving up for the day he and his girlfriend, Rickie, can buy the Harley he wants and a beach house for the two of them.

Until the night his glamorous boss taps Vernon for a shot at greatness: “Televangelism, …

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Culture notes: Symphony, High Museum get $1.5 million donations; $1 million to Millennium Gate Museum

ARTS
Opera benefactor remembers ASO, High as well
The Atlanta Opera announced last week that the late Barbara Stewart left it $9 million, but, it turns out, the late Atlantan’s arts patronage did not end there.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Art will jointly announced Friday that each arts institution has received a $1.5 million bequest from Stewart, founder of the insurance consulting firm Stewart Economics Inc. Per Stewart’s request, the funds are unrestricted.
“Every city should be so fortunate to have a champion such as Barbara Stewart,” ASO president Stanley Romanstein said in a prepared statement. “The legacy she is leaving the Atlanta Opera is remarkable, and to extend her enthusiasm and her generosity to the orchestra and High Museum only reinforces [Atlanta’s] thriving arts scene.”
A Pittsburgh native who worked for years in New York before moving to Atlanta in 1992, Stewart was an ASO subscriber and High member who contributed to both routinely …

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Atlanta Symphony’s first CD on own label now available

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s first CD on its own label, ASO Media, became available in stores and online this week.

The inaugural release features music director Robert Spano leading the ASO in Jennifer Higdon’s new concerto “On a Wire,” including the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird. The recording also includes Michael Gandolfi’s “Q.E.D.: Engaging Richard Feynman,” highlighting the ASO Chorus.

Both works were commissioned by the ASO and given world-premiere performances at Symphony Hall in June 2010. Higdon and Gandolfi are members of the Atlanta School of Composers,  an ASO program through which contemporary compositions are  nurtured, commissioned and recorded.

Two more ASO Media recordings, also  distributed by Tennessee-based Naxos of America, will be released in 2011: Christopher Theofanidis’s “Symphony” in spring, and a fall release that includes pianist Garrick Ohlsson playing Rachmaninov.

The ASO’s long-time label Telarc …

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Culture notes: Satiric twist on Peanuts, more ‘Peter Pan’

THEATER
A twist on Peanuts

Fabrefaction Theatre Company, a former summer community troupe now in its first full season, inaugurates its 80-seat black box theater with Thursday night’s[2/24] opening of “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead.” Bert V. Royal’s drama is an unauthorized parody about characters from the Peanuts comic strip who’ve matured into hormonal teens facing life issues. Running through March 13, the play is for mature audiences. 999 Brady Ave. (on Atlanta’s Westside). 404-876-9468, www.fabrefaction.org. HOWARD POUSNER

DANCE
Hooked on ‘Pan’

While the London-launched, special-effects-driven production of “Peter Pan” continues in a tent beside the World of Coca-Cola downtown through March 20, plans for another “Pan” are taking wing. Ruth Mitchell Dance Theatre, with original choreography by Shelley S. Grames and special flying effects by Hall Associates Flying Effects, will perform “Peter Pan” at Cobb County Civic Center from March 11 to 13. …

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High to restore, exhibit famed Hale Woodruff murals

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Hale Woodruff’s impact on Atlanta’s visual arts scene endures, and the High Museum of Art plans to salute the late artist and educator by restoring and exhibiting a series of six monumental murals that are considered among most his most significant works.

The High announced on Wednesday that it is launching a two-year project to restore, research and exhibit Woodruff’s murals commissioned in 1938 to commemorate the 1867 founding and continued success of Alabama’s Talladega College.

Ranging in size from 6-by-10-feet to 6-by-20-feet, the Talladega murals will be exhibited at the High starting in June 2012. Three of the murals depict the story of the slave ship La Amistad, with the companion murals showing themes of the Underground Railroad, Talladega’s founding and the construction of its Savery Library.

The murals have been on view in the library’s lobby since their installation, and will be leaving the school for the first time. Their …

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Culture notes: Miss Lillian to be honored; Rushdie presents Emory film series

WOMEN
Miss Lillian to be honored

Lillian Carter, the late mother of former President Jimmy Carter, will be honored by Georgia Women of Achievement during the orgainzation’s 20th anniversary induction ceremony, March 10 at Wesleyan College in Macon. “Miss Lillian’s” daughter-in-law, Rosalynn Carter, who was instrumental in the group’s founding, will give the keynote speech. Also being honored: the late May duBignon Stiles Howard, a Savannah leader in women’s education and health, and the late Mary Francis Hill Coley, an Albany midwife. 770-633-4202, www.georgiawomen.org. HOWARD POUSNER

FILM
Rushdie presents

Salman Rushdie, an Emory University writer in residence, has curated a series of four films from great works of fiction that he will introduce starting with Monday night’s[2/21] 7:30 screening of Satyajit Ray’s “Pather Panchali,” from the autobiographical novel by Bengali writer Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay. Other free screenings to be introduced by Rushdie (at …

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Arts, humanities facing cuts in congress and under Gold Dome

There may be small signs of the economy improving, but for arts and culture both nationally and in Georgia, it appears there is still plenty of funding struggle ahead.

This week, the Obama Administration released its FY 2012 budget request to Congress, calling for a cut to the National Endowment for the Arts, from $167.5 million this year to $146 million. Some in Congress prefer deeper cuts than that.

In Georgia, the picture is not that encouraging. Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposed appropriation for the Georgia Council for the Arts, the state’s official arts agency, is $566,730. As recently as 2002, the state funded the GCA at $4.2 million. During a recent Arts Advocacy Day under the Gold Dome, GCA supporters pointed out that the governor’s proposal puts at risk more than $300,000 in matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, which had designated $878,300 for the GCA for 2011.

Meanwhile, the National Endowment for the Humanities faces a proposed $22.5 million cut …

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Culture notes: Art shows at Bloomie’s, the real ‘Gnomeo’ at Shakespeare Tavern

VISUAL ART
Bloomingdale’s exhibit

Celebrating Black History Month, the National Black Arts Festival is showing the work of noted Atlanta painter Louis Delsarte in two unexpected places: Bloomingdale’s stores at Perimeter Mall and Lenox Square. NBAF will host a reception for Delsarte, who has major murals on view at Brooklyn’s Church Avenue subway station and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site here, 6-8 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Lenox store. The free exhibits remain on view all month at Perimeter (level 1 men’s store, next to cosmetics) and Lenox (level 1 men’s store escalator landing, level 2 elevator next to cosmetics, level 3 at dresses). 404-495-2886, www.nbaf.org. HOWARD POUSNER

THEATER
Old school ‘Gnomeo’

If Valentine’s Day has your mind still on love, or if you were one of the moviegoers who helped the animated “Gnomeo and Juliet” debut with earnings of more than $25 million over the weekend, it bears mention that the New American Shakespeare …

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3 things to do this weekend: Jewish Film Fest, RAD Studio Cruise, Chinese concert at Emory

MOVIES
Jewish Film’s opening weekend

An impressive number of screenings have already sold out for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival’s first full weekend. A choice for teen viewers among the fest’s 66 films (with tickets still available at press time) is “The Trotsky,” a comedy in which a Jewish teen living in Montreal believes he’s the reincarnation of the Russian revolutionary. It’s showing at 4:35 p.m. Sunday[12/13] at the Georgia Theatre Co.’s Merchants Walk 12 in Marietta, with two more showings before the fest ends Feb. 27. Full schedule: www.ajff.org. HOWARD POUSNER

VISUAL ART
Rail Arts District sale

The 4th RAD (Rail Arts District) Studio Cruise in the Avondale-Decatur-Scottsdale area on Saturday[12/12] has grown beyond artist spaces such as Little Tree Studios and galleries such as MudFire[CQ] Clayworks to include a host of area retail, including Kudzu Antiques and the Little Wine Shop, that will also host exhibits. Several gourmet food trucks will also be …

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Cultural notes: Welty photos, Paper Museum tour, Holocaust talks

VISUAL ART
Welty photos
Eudora Welty’s storytelling ability was not limited to fiction. The just-opened Atlanta History Center exhibit “Eudora Welty: Exposures and Reflectons” shows the narrative skills of the late Pulitizer Prize-winning author at work in her Works Progress Administration photographs from Mississippi. Through May 8. 404-814-4000, www.atlantahistorycenter.com. HOWARD POUSNER

MUSEUM
Papermaking tour
The Robert C. Williams Paper Museum on Georgia Tech’s campus is offering a new guided group tour, “Paper in Our World,” in which visitors learn about the papermaking process as well as issues such as recycling and global warming. Each guest on the tour, which includes a new permanent exhibit of the same title, makes a sheet of paper from cotton pulp. Ideal for students grades 1-12 and adults. 500 10th St.N.W., Atlanta. To reserve ($5.50-$8.50): 404-894-5726. www.ipst.gatech.edu/amp. HOWARD POUSNER

MUSEUM
Holocaust talks The Breman Jewish Heritage and …

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