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Archive for August, 2011

Culture notes: Micah Stansell exhibit opens at MOCA GA tonight, and high school students can get free tour Sept. 27; 3-for-2 deal at puppet center

VISUAL ARTS
High schoolers and art

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Buckhead will offer a series of free Cafe MOCA workshops this fall for high school students considering studies and careers in the visual arts. Atlanta artist Larry Walker kicks off the series with a talk at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7. The 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27 program features Micah Stansell giving a tour of his exhibit “The Water and the Blood,” a video and sound installation that opens with a public reception 6:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 26. 75 Bennett St., Suite A2, Atlanta. 404-367-8700, www.mocaga.org. HOWARD POUSNER

THEATER
Puppetry center deal

Celebrating its 33rd year, the Center for Puppetry Arts in Midtown is offering 33 percent off three tickets (three tickets for the price of two) to fall Family Series shows. The deal applies to “The Ugly Duckling” (through Sept. 18), “Old Man and the Monkeys & Other Chinese Tales” (Sept. 21-Oct. 2), “La Cucarachita Martina” (Oct. 5-16) and “The Headless Horseman of Silly …

Continue reading Culture notes: Micah Stansell exhibit opens at MOCA GA tonight, and high school students can get free tour Sept. 27; 3-for-2 deal at puppet center »

Culture notes: Design museum gets $50,000 grant toward construction; High to host Tweetup on 9/1

MUSEUMS
Grant helps pay down MODA construction

The Museum of Design Atlanta has received a $50,000 grant to help pay for the build-out of its new Midtown space across Peachtree Street from the High Museum of Art. The grant was given by the David, Helen and Marian Woodward Fund of Atlanta.

The Atlanta architectural firm Perkins+Will, which owns the six-story building at Peachtree and 16th streets, contributed more than $1 million to design and construct MODA’s street-level galleries and offices. But there were $75,000 in additional costs, debt that the Woodward Fund gift will significantly reduce.

“To say that we are thrilled is an understatement,” MODA executive director Brenda Galina said in a statement, pointing out that the grant will allow the museum to focus funds and attention on its design exhibits and related programming.

MODA’s current show, “Water Dream: The Art of Bathroom Design” closes Sept. 17, and will be followed by a trio of exhibits opening Oct. 2, …

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‘I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl’ By Kelle Groom

Book Review
Nonfiction
“I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl”
By Kelle Groom
Free Press; 224 pages; $23

Gina Webb / For the AJC

Groom“Part of the deal of having a soul, ” writer Charles Baxter said, “includes the requirement that you go through several dark nights.”

For Florida poet Kelle Groom, several would be an understatement.

Halfway into her ravishing mosaic of a memoir, it’s easy to lose count of the dark nights. It’s even easier to lose sight of Groom, whose life force flickers throughout her book like a genie trapped in a bottle.

The 32 poetic, loosely chronological vignettes in “I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl” tell how she came to end up there, after having a baby at 19 and giving it up for adoption to her aunt and uncle, never realizing she had much of a choice.

A year later, her child died of leukemia.

Forbidden to visit her son or attend his funeral, Groom hid her grief, kept her questions to herself, unable to demand answers. None of this was new: By then, …

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‘The Great Night’ By Chris Adrian

Book Review
Fiction
The Great Night
By Chris Adrian
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux; 304 pages; $26

1:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Sat. Sept. 3, free talk and signing, Decatur Conference Center Stage (Ballroom A), 130 Clairemont Ave., Decatur, 866-539-0036, http://www.decaturbookfestival.com/2011/index.php

Chris Adrian shares his work, and what went into its creation, and performers from Georgia Shakespeare demonstrate a few scenes from the real “Midsummer Night’s Dream”!

By Gina Webb

great-night-coverOne mid-June night in 2008, in a park in San Francisco, something much stranger than the usual is taking place: “At the top of the hill, just beyond the threshold of ordinary senses, a door was opening in the earth …”

So begins Chris Adrian’s third novel, which, like its setting, contains one world on the surface and another buried deep inside, the two as intricately overlapped as a palimpsest, two stories written back to back. On one side, the history is terrible; on the other, beautiful. Or is it …

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Culture notes: Musical ‘Duckling’ takes wing at Puppetry Center; High Museum will mount turn of century ‘Elegance’

THEATER
Harmonic emergence

Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling,” the story of a homely bird who finds his wings with the help of forest sprites, gets a music-enhanced telling at the Center for Puppetry Arts through Sept. 18. Our little hero’s journey, just right for the youngest theatergoers, is highlighted a landscape of instruments planted by Atlanta composer and multi-instrumentalistKlimchak. 1404 Spring St., Atlanta. 404-873-3391, www.puppet.org. HOWARD POUSNER

VISUAL ART
Turn of century ‘Elegance’

“Embracing Elegance, 1885–1920: American Art from the Huber Family Collection” will be on view at the High Museum of Art this fall, the museum has announced.

Running Sept. 24-Nov. 27, the exhibit will showcase turn-of-the-century American art collected by Atlantans Russell and Jack Huber over 25 years.

The 35 paintings, pastels and drawings, reflecting an apolitical art for art’s sake approach, will include works by Cecilia Beaux, Frank W. Benson, Thomas Wilmer …

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‘The Stranger You Seek’ and ‘You Believers’ explore good and evil

Book Review
Fiction
“The Stranger You Seek”
Amanda Kyle Williams
Bantam; 304 pages; $25

“You Believers”
Jane Bradley
Unbridled Books; 416 pages; $25.95

By Gina Webb

Meet profiler and Chinese-American Keye Street: “I am a dry alcoholic, a passionate believer in Krystal cheeseburgers and Krispy Kreme doughnuts and a former behavioral analyst for the FBI.”

And Tennessee-born “searcher” Shelby Waters: “I’m the one you call when someone goes missing. Yes, of course you call the cops first, and you should. But once the cop is gone with his report and you’ve got nothing left but worry and waiting for the phone to ring, you call me.”

In two new books that explore the nature of good and evil and all the messy area in between, these are voices we could definitely get used to.

williamsStreet is the heroine of Amanda Kyle Williams’ debut thriller, “The Stranger You Seek.” With rehab behind her, a loft on the tenth floor of the Georgian Terrace and a cat named White Trash, she’s slowly rebuilding …

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Culture notes: Decatur Book Fest offers toasts to literacy, Johns Creek Symphony announces season

BOOKS
Decatur Book Fest offers toasts to literacy

You can share libations and some liquid conversation with top authors appearing at the AJC Decatur Book Festival as part of a new fund-raising effort being launched by the Labor Day weekend fest. Bidding is underway on eBay for drinks and hour-long chats with seven writers including Mary Kay Andrews, Joshilyn Jackson, Hal Needham and Clyde Edgerton. It’s a benefit for Decatur Education Foundation’s youth literacy efforts. Go to www.decatureducationfoundation.org for links to the auctions. HOWARD POUSNER

CLASSICAL MUSIC
Johns Creek Symphony’s season

The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra, a professional part-time orchestra performing at various venues in North Fulton county, has announced its 2011-12 season, its fifth:

* “Masterworks!” Oct. 29. Featuring principal cellist Meghan McGuire performing Haydn’s Concerto in C Major.

* Christmas Gala & Holiday Pops Concert. Dec. 3. Guest soloists and choirs join the JCSO.

* “All …

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Culture notes: Buzz Party previews ‘12 Atlanta Fringe Festival; Georgia Ballet’s ‘11-12 season

ARTS
Party on the Fringe

A new Atlanta group has ambitious plans to put on the first Atlanta Fringe Festival in May 2012, similar to fringe festivals that have popped up worldwide since the original launched in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

But first the group is organizing events “to raise friends and funds,” said festival executive director Diana Brown. The next one is the Big Summer Buzz Party, 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Aug. 27 at the Melvin Gallery, 684 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. (in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood).

The Buzz Party features a free sampling of the sort of independent and underground performance artists that will be featured during the Fringe Festival, which Brown is planning with sponsor Twinhead Theatre and a growing list of creative partners. Party makers include circus acts Thimblerig Circus and the Imperial Opa, burlesque by Minette Magnifique, bands including Wowser Bowser and Lily and the Tigers, puppets, comedy, DJs, food trucks and more.

Details: …

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Culture notes: WSB to air ‘Hensley Awards’ special Friday

THEATER
‘Hensley Awards’ to air

WSB will air the third annual “Shuler Hensley Awards,” honoring excellence in Atlanta high school music theater, at 8 p.m. Friday. Channel 2 taped the event, an initiative of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre educational outreach program ArtsBridge, in April. Forty one schools competed, with West Forsyth High School leading with four prizes and the Paideia School scoring three. The show included an appearance by Marietta-born Broadway star Hensley. Channel 2 Action News anchors Jovita Moore and Fred Blankenship hosted. HOWARD POUSNER

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‘If You Knew Then What I Know Now’ By Ryan Van Meter

Book Review
Nonfiction
“If You Knew Then What I Know Now” By Ryan Van Meter
Sarabande Books, $15.95; 176 pages

By Gina Webb

VanMeterThere’s a moment in Ryan Van Meter’s gloriously tender account of growing up gay in suburban Missouri, “If You Knew Then What I Know Now, ” when the author, age 8, rummages idly through a closet at his grandmother’s house, hoping to unearth some old toys or games that once belonged to his father. He thinks back to what’s in his bedroom closet at home: “Hand puppets, Candyland, my potholder loom.”

His father’s discarded playthings are more traditionally masculine — “a metal car with doors that open and a glass jar packed with plastic soldiers” — but the real find of the day is a girl’s blue satin dress he discovers wrapped up inside a box.

He wastes no time slipping into it, twirling in front of the mirror the way he’s seen the ladies do on “Little House on the Prairie.” When his grandmother allows him to wear it to help her set the table, then warns him …

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