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Archive for November, 2011

Culture notes: ASO launches month of holiday music; carols in Marietta; new Atlanta Opera board chief

CLASSICAL MUSIC
Deck Symphony Hall

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra kicks into holiday high gear starting Thursday, presenting six performances over four days: Handel’s “Messiah” and Bach’s “Magnificat” at 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday; Atlanta Symphony Gospel Christmas at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday; and Atlanta Symphony Kid’s Christmas (featuring the Youth Orchestra and guests) at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Launching a month of holiday music, these programs are conducted by Norman Mackenzie, ChelseaTipton II and Jere Flint, respectively. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-5000, www.atlantasymphony.org. HOWARD POUSNER

MUSIC
Carols in Marietta

The 110-voice Georgia Festival Chorus presents its 21st annual “Carols by Candlelight” Christmas concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday  at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. FrankBoggs conducts the chorus, accompanied by a 35-piece orchestra plus pianist Cathy Adams and organists John Innes and John Shaw. The chorus will sing arrangements …

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‘Pulphead’ By John Jeremiah Sullivan

Book review
“Pulphead”
By John  Jeremiah Sullivan
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16, 384 pages

Meet the author
John Jeremiah Sullivan will be reading at the True Story! Reading Series at 8 p.m. Dec. 9 at Kavarna, 707 E. Lake Drive, Decatur. 404-371-1113, http://truestoryga.blogspot.com. Admission is free.

By Gina Webb

SullivanWherever John Jeremiah Sullivan goes, enlightenment and epiphanies follow. Not the churchy kind, though. His particular brand of reverence comes from a deep-seated belief that meaning and miracles lurk beneath the surface of anything from prehistoric cave paintings to the highs and lows in the life of former Guns n’ Roses frontman Axl Rose.

The award-winning critic and journalist shares his revelations in “Pulphead,” a collection of essays about American culture that include profiles of pop icons Rose and Michael Jackson, a reminiscence about the author’s brother, a portrait of Southern literary lion Andrew Lytle, cave paintings in Tennessee, a glimpse of …

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‘When She Woke’ By Hillary Jordan

Book Review
Fiction
“When She Woke”
By Hillary Jordan
Algonquin; 352 pages; $24.95

By Gina Webb

JordanOne look at the cover — the deep crimson profile of a beautiful young woman, half cloaked against an ink-black background — and you know the second novel by Hillary Jordan is tilted toward the fantastic.

No, it’s not about vampires. The title refers to the opening pages, with their tantalizing first words:

“When she woke, she was red. Not flushed, not sunburned, but the solid, declarative red of a stop sign — the color of newly shed blood.”

In this 21st-century version of “The Scarlet Letter, ” a young woman has committed a crime in a puritanical futuristic society where, in the equivalent of Hester Prynne’s scarlet “A, ” she is melachromed: injected with a virus that turns her skin red for a period of 16 years.

Jordan, who wrote about racism in “Mudbound, ” her award-winning first novel set in a rural community in post-World War II Mississippi, now expands the issue into a broader …

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Georgia Shakespeare makes progress on $500,000 fund drive, solidifies board, management

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The “Save Georgia Shakespeare” campaign launched in late September is getting closer to its $500,000 goal, with 1,200 donors contributing more than $405,000, and the long-time troupe is planning a performance fund-raiser to goose it along.

“Cocoa & Carols,” 7 p.m. Dec. 16-17 at Oglethorpe University’s Conant Performing Arts Center, will be a family-friendly holiday cabaret featuring associate artists Joe Knezevich, Courtney Patterson, Brad Sherrill, Carolyn Cook and others ($35, $15 under 12. 404-504-1473, www.gashakespeare.org/save_gs_events).

Meanwhile, in addition to welcomiing Lauren Morris from California’s Long Beach Playhouse as its managing director (a job unfilled for more than three years), Georgia Shakespeare also has announced the election of three new trustees:

  • Pam Driesell, senior pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church
  • Wendell Franklin, associate attorney with Weinberg, Wheeler, Hudgins, Gunn & Dial
  • Kyle Tibbs Jones, …

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Culture notes: Early Ringling Bros’ deal; wave bye (at least for now) to Big Apple Circus

ENTERTAINMENT
Ringling Bros. deal

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, bringing its “Fully Charged!” show to Philips Arena on Feb. 15-20 and to Gwinnett Arena on Feb. 23-26, is offering an incentive for those who purchase tickets early. Through Dec. 2, $15 tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com by entering code FULLY12 or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Also, infants under a year old will be admitted free and offered a free, personalized “Baby’s First Circus” certificate, printable online (details: www.ringling.com). HOWARD POUSNER

Bye, Big Apple
Big Apple Circus, a February fixture at Stone Mountain Park until this year, won’t be coming to Atlanta in 2012 either. That means Atlantans will miss the farewell tour of ever-popular Grandma, the star clown played by 29-year troupe member Barry Lubin, who plans to move to Sweden. Big Apple spokesman Joel Dein attributed the skipping of the metro area in 2012 to the same reason as this year — “financial reasons” — and …

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Culture notes: Guy to star in Alliance ‘Carnage’; Kenny Leon’s Broadway doubleheader; Horizon to encore ‘Avenue Q’

THEATER
Guy leads ‘Carnage’

The Alliance Theatre has announced that Jasmine Guy will star in Yasmina Reza’s “God of Carnage,” the 2009 Tony Award winner for best play that opens  Jan. 11. Guy will play the role of Veronica Novak, one of four parents coming to terms with a violent playground incident between their two sons. It’s the role for which Marcia Gay Harden won a best actress Tony. Directed by former Alliance associate artistic director Kent Gash and featuring an all-African-American cast for the first time, “Carnage” will run through Jan. 29. Also cast: Keith Randolph Smith as Michael Novak, Crystal Fox as Annette Raleigh, and Geoffrey Darnell Williams as Alan Raleigh. 404-733-5000, www.alliancetheatre.org/carnage. HOWARD POUSNER

Leon X 2 on Broadway
With “Stick Fly” in previews at the Cort Theatre, Atlanta director Kenny Leon now has two plays running simultaneously on Broadway, a rare feat. With an ensemble cast including Dule Hill, Tracie Thoms and Mekhi Phifer, …

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Culture notes: New exec director for Gay Men’s Chorus; African artmaking show at Hammonds House

MUSIC
Men’s Chorus’ new leader

Crystal Anderson has been named executive director of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus. Anderson most recently worked as senior vice president of programs for StandU for Kids, a nonprofit that serves homeless and at-risk youth. She joins artistic director Kevin Robison, who is in his fifth season leading the 100-voice AGMC.

Anderson said her first objective is to help the 30-year-old chorus build a stronger infrastructure. “I also hope to help the AGMC be an even more visible leader in the LGBTQ community,” she said, “as we let our voices break down the walls of hatred and fear and continue to build a stronger, more unified Atlanta area.”

Next up for the chorus is its annual holiday concert, “Bells in Boyland,” Dec. 9-10 at the the Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead, with guests including the Atlanta Concert Ringers and baritone soloist W. Dwight Coleman. More information: www.agmchorus.org. HOWARD POUSNER

VISUAL ART
African art in Atlanta

Hammonds …

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Atlantan Jerry Davis wins top prizes at BronzeLens Film Festival

By Melissa Ruggieri
mruggieri@ajc.com

Atlantan Jerry Allen Davis has much to celebrate after the BronzeLens Film Festival last weekend since his entry, “The Shanghai Hotel,” was crowned best overall film and best feature film.

Davis co-produced, directed and wrote the film about Yin Yin, a young woman who buys her way into the U.S. from communist China hoping for a better life for herself and her family. Instead of a job in the technology industry – as she was led to believe before leaving China – Yin Yin is sold into the sex slave trade.

Also among the producers of “Shanghai” is Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino. This summer, Marino told the Miami Herald that while he has no personal ties to the human trafficking issue, he has two adopted daughters from China, which made the story resonate more.

“They are beautiful little girls, and I am not sure it relates at all to the movie, but at the same time there is a special feeling there,” he told the newspaper.

Other …

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‘Salvage the Bones’ By Jesmyn Ward

Book Review
Fiction
“Salvage the Bones”
By Jesmyn Ward
Bloomsbury, 272 pages, $24

Jesmyn Ward, a former Stegner fellow at Stanford, is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of South Alabama. Her book “Salvage the Bones” is a finalist for the National Book Award.

By Gina Webb

wardImagine a movie camera, one that stays focused on a poor family in coastal Mississippi, Claude Batiste and his four children — Randall, Skeetah, Junior and their sister, Esch — in late August 2005. Now imagine that the camera follows them everywhere for 12 days, that it never looks away.

It records the poverty and the daily squalor in stark black and white, documenting each scene with gritty realism. The camera finds the youngest child eating uncooked ramen noodles, and captures the father, shambling home drunk, as he tries to pick a fight with his older sons. It zooms in when the family pit bull gives birth in a filthy shed, and it follows the pregnant 15-year-old daughter …

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Culture notes: Artist Grade explores water with environmental sculpture at Emory; ‘Hans Christian Andersen’ returns

VISUAL ART
Water art at Emory

As an Emory University artist in residence through Saturday, Seattle environmental artist John Grade is creating two sculptural installations, one aloft in tree branches on the main quad and the other floating on Cander Lake in Lullwater Preserve, both out of melted water and soda plastic bottles. The “Piedmont Divide” project, intended to spark a community dialogue about environmental awareness, is part of an Emory Center for Creativity & Arts campus-wide exploration of the connection between water and humanity during the current academic year. In addition to volunteering on the installation, Atlantans can hear Grade discuss ideas behind his project at two free events this week: a “Creativity Conversation” at the Carlos Museum, 5 p.m. Wednesday; and an informal dinner and panel discussion 6:30 p.m. Thursday, “The Intersection of Art, Science and Sustainability,” at the Emory Visual Arts Gallery. Full details: www.visualarts.emory.edu. HOWARD …

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