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Archive for September, 2011

Culture notes: A benefit in honor of Lowery’s 90th birthday, membership deal at the Contemporary

Celebrating Lowery’s 90th birthday
About to celebrate a big-numbered birthday, 90, the Rev. Joseph Lowery will be feted with a big celebration. “His Words — Our Gift,” a star-studded musical and theatrical production, is planned for 6 p.m. Oct. 9 in Symphony Hall. Hosted by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, the celebration will include performances by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Jennifer Holliday, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Cicely Tyson, Tramaine Hawkins, Peabo Bryson, Dawnn Lewis and others. The event benefits the Joseph E. Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights, which educates about nonviolence advocacy. Tickets, $50-$100, are available at the Woodruff Arts Center box office or 404-733-5000, HOWARD POUSNER

Deal at Contemporary for students, artists

The Atlanta foundation Possible Futures has announced a second challenge grant to encourage student and artist participation at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. Through October, …

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‘The Reservoir’ By John Milliken Thompson

Book Review
“The Reservoir”
By John Milliken Thompson
Other Press; 368 pages; $15.95

By Gina Webb

ThompsonA sensational trial. A tragic love triangle. An unsolved mystery. Deeply buried childhood secrets. Combine, dredge in period details and roll in post-Civil War imagery, and the result is John Milliken Thompson’s virtuoso first novel.

Meticulously researched and set in the former Confederate capital of Richmond, 30 years after the end of the war, “The Reservoir” offers the kind of engrossing time-travel that hooks us from the first page. Thompson, a North Carolina native, found inspiration for his story in a true case he unearthed while doing historical research.

On a chilly morning in March 1885, the body of a young woman was found floating in the Marshall Reservoir on the east side of the city. Because she was eight months pregnant, Lillian Madison’s death was at first assumed to be a suicide. But evidence of a struggle convinced police of foul play, and within days an …

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Chattahoochee Nature Center goes ‘batty’ on Saturday

By Howard Pousner

Roswell’s Chattahoochee Nature Center celebrates the opening of a new Discovery Center Museum permanent exhibit on bats Oct. 1 with a “Goin’ Batty” event. The exhibit is funded by the family of Cobb County educator and bat lover Lee Bibb Lindsley. In her memory is a 10-foot-tall “tree” depicting bats found in our backyard and around the world. Guests are encouraged to match the bats to their home country.

The opening ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Bat expert Vicky Beckham Smith of A-Z Animals will do a presentation with live bats (a Mexican Free-tailed, a Southeastern Myotis and four Egyptian tomb bats) at 1 p.m. At 2 p.m., there’s a showing of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “Go Wild — Bats.” Members of the Georgia Bat Working Group will also be on hand to answer questions, and there will be bat crafts and bat storytime throughout the day. Children are encouraged to come costumed with bat wings and ears.

“Many myths exist …

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Culture notes: DeKalb Symphony season debut; Chagall at Oglethorpe; call out for performing artists

DeKalb Symphony launches season
The DeKalb Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 2011-12 season at 8 p.m. Sept. 27 with a concert featuring violinist and Atlanta Opera Orchestra concertmaster Peter Ciaschini, performing Kabalevsky’s Violin Concerto and Chausson’s “Poeme.” Also on the program: works by Mussorgsky, Franck and Rachmaninov. In Georgia Perimeter College’s Marvin Cole Auditorium, 555 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston. The DeKalb Symphony presents concerts of traditional and contemporary symphonic repertoire. It’s a largely volunteer orchestra. More season details: 678-891-3565, HOWARD POUSNER

Early impressions of Marc Chagall

Oglethorpe University Museum of Art has opened an exhibit of 65 etchings and aquatints by the Russian-born painter and printmaker Marc Chagall. The show is focused on early pieces Chagall created after moving to Paris following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Though deeply affected by …

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Culture notes: Moulthrops showcased at Marietta/Cobb; History Center CEO to retire in March

Exhibiting a legacy in woodturning
In “Moulthrop: A Southern Legacy, Three Generations of Woodturning,” opening with a 6-8 p.m. Saturday reception at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, it’s easy to see how works by the late grandfather Ed, father Philip and grandson share the language of graceful form while reflecting individual approaches and techniques.

Curated byCarr McCuiston of Signature Shop & Gallery, the exhibit through Dec. 18 is drawn from top Southern collections. 30 Atlanta St., Marietta. 770-528-1444, HOWARD POUSNER

Atlanta History Center CEO to retire

Atlanta History Center president and CEO Salvatore (Sal) G. Cilella Jr. has announced that he will retire after a 42-year museum career. An executive search committee has been formed, with hopes of hiring a successor by the time of Cilella’s March 2012 departure.

AHC board chairman Bill Shearer praised Cilella’s work since his 2006 arrival in establishing the Buckhead …

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No more free High tickets for Smithsonian Museum Day

By Howard Pousner

Atlantans who hoped to visit the High Museum of Art for free as part of Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day on Saturday … not so fast.

The High pulled itself off of the Museum Day Web site after 2,000 tickets (good for two people each) were printed.

“We had to limit the downloads to manage possible overcapacity issues,” High spokeswoman Cassandra Streich said. “Last year we had no limits, and more tickets were downloaded than we could accommodate in one day.”

A full list of other participating metro museums can be found at HOWARD POUSNER

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20-plus metro cultural groups share promotional push

By Howard Pousner

More than 20 metro Atlanta arts organizations have launched a $20,000 collaborative promotional campaign to increase recognition of metro cultural offerings.

Atlantans can look out for six billboards going up at the end of September with the messages: “Atlanta Art Lives Here” and “You Are Where the Art Is” and information about one of the 20-plus participants. The billboards will be followed by a series of radio spots and print advertisements. The campaign was organized by, a service of Public Broadcasting Atlanta.

Declines in funding, attendance and media coverage and a public sentiment that there’s not enough to do in Atlanta “make it necessary for each organization to find unique ways to minimize costs while maximizing impact,” Atlanta PlanIt editor Nicole Jones said. “This collaboration is working to shirk those sentiments.”

Particpating  groups include: Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, Arts at Emory, Michael C. Carlos …

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Theatre in Square, on ‘brink of financial disaster,’ launches drive

By Howard Pousner

Theatre in the Square issued an SOS to supporters Monday afternoon in which producing director Palmer Wells said it is “on the brink of financial disaster.”

The 30-year-old troupe is launching a campaign to “sell” each of its 225 main stage seats for $1,000 between now and Oct. 15 to try to pay down $187,000 in debt. It’s separately trying to raise $550,000 this fiscal year to support operations that have been hurt by cutbacks in contributions from all sources, said managing director Raye Varney.

Last year, Varney said she thought Theatre in the Square was turning “a significant corner” after the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund awarded it a $75,000 grant. The Marietta company had undertaken a $1.5 million capital campaign to renovate its front facade and lobby right before the recession hit, and Varney said then that the improvements had “cannibalized” diminishing gifts that otherwise might have supported operations.

This May, the company …

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Georgia Ballet announces four Cobb celebs to dance ‘Nutcracker’

Cobb celebs in “Nutcracker”
The Georgia Ballet has announced the names of the community leaders appearing with the Marietta company in its annual “celebrity” fundraising performance of “The Nutcracker”: David Connell of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, Earl Reece of the Earl Smith Strand Theatre, Holly Comer of YWCA of Northwest Georgia and Kim Gresh of S.A. White Oil Company. The 7 p.m. Dec. 3 performance, at the Cobb Civic Center’s Jennie T. Anderson Theatre (where the professional troupe will also dance four regular “Nutcrackers”), will benefit the YWCA of Northwest Georgia. 770-528-0881, HOWARD POUSNER

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Title, site announced for ‘Cavalia’ return starting Dec. 7

By Howard Pousner

The previously announced second presentation from the creator of “Cavalia,” the highly produced equine/acrobatics show that drew large crowds here in fall 2009, now has a title, “Odysseo,” and a confirmed Midtown site for its performances starting Dec. 7.  The U.S. premiere will be held under a white tent more than twice as large as the original, to be raised at 8th and Spring streets.

The show, which comes to Atlanta immediately after its world premiere in Montreal, will feature 69 horses and 55 artists.

Explaining the title, creator Normand Latourelle,cq one of the original forces behind Cirque du Soleil. said in a statement, “The horse is a powerful and natural wonder. This animal enabled mankind to build bridges between cultures, to create alliances amongst people and thus freely roam the planet. He has been one of the most important instruments in the evolution of humanity.”

The production employs advanced multimedia technology to …

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