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Archive for November, 2011

Culture notes: 7 Stages gets $350,000 renovation grant; Def Jam talk at High on Wednesday; MOCA GA leader honored

THEATER
7 Stages renovation
The Lettie Pate Evans Foundation has made a $350,000 grant to 7 Stages, enabling the Little Five Points theater troupe to begin building renovations that will include a new roof, a new HVAC system and new bathrooms. The Atlanta foundation supported 7 Stages’ campaign in the 1990s that helped the company purchase its Euclid Avenue building, which also serves as a performance space for a number of “homeless” Atlanta performing arts groups. 7 Stages continues to raise funds toward its its renovation goal of $873,885. “This recent decision by Lettie Pate Evans Foundation to support our effort to improve and make our facility green is a challenge to folks in our community to step up and support 7 Stages,” artistic director Del Hamiton said. Information: www.7stages.org. HOWARD POUSNER

BOOKS
Def Jam at High Museum

In conjunction with the recent publication of the Rizzoli coffee-table book “Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record …

Continue reading Culture notes: 7 Stages gets $350,000 renovation grant; Def Jam talk at High on Wednesday; MOCA GA leader honored »

Culture notes: Puppetry Arts center racking up awards; Christmas on Peachtree coming to old downtown Macy’s

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The Center for Puppetry Arts received some serious props at last week’s Suzi Bass Awards, Atlanta’s version of the Tonys, when it was honored with the 2011 Spirit of Suzi Award. The annual prize acknowledges long-term commitment to Atlanta’s theater scene, a motion anyone familiar with the city’s cultural infrastructure would second.

In fact, the Suzi statue is one in a string of honors this year for the center, founded in 1978 by Vincent Anthony, still its executive director:

  • The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration recently recognized the puppetry center as winner of the 2010-11 Pinnacle Award, the fourth consecutive year the Midtown institution has been so honored.

The award is presented to organizations for K-12 standards-based interactive videoconferencing programs. Via www.cilc.org, the center offers offer nationwide Distance Learning programs to students as well as professional development workshops for educators. Its …

Continue reading Culture notes: Puppetry Arts center racking up awards; Christmas on Peachtree coming to old downtown Macy’s »

Shuler Hensley to lead King-Mellencamp ‘Ghost Brothers’ cast at Alliance

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Broadway favorite and Marietta native Shuler Hensley and Emily Skinner (a Tony nominee for “Side Show”) will lead the cast of the Stephen King-John Mellencamp musical “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” the Alliance Theatre announced Wednesday.

Also cast: blues musician/film actor Jake La Botz, former Atlantan and “American Idol” runnerup Justin Guarini, country music singer Dale Watson, actor-writer Lucas Kavner; actor-songwriter Kate Ferber (”One Child Born: the Music of Laura Nyro”) and stage-screen actor Christopher Morgan.

Additional cast members include Peter Albrink, Kylie Brown, Lori Beth Edgeman, Gwen Hughes, Joe Jung, Joe Knezevich, Rob Lawhon, Royce Mann and Travis Smith.

Performances of the world premiere, directed by Alliance artistic director Susan V. Booth and with music direction by T Bone Burnett, begin April 4.

At an Alliance season announcement event in May, King described “Ghost Brothers’” plot as being about two teen …

Continue reading Shuler Hensley to lead King-Mellencamp ‘Ghost Brothers’ cast at Alliance »

Things look up for longtime troupe Horizon at Suzi Awards, Atlanta’s Tonys

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Longtime Atlanta theater troupes have commanded headlines in recent months by making emergency appeals for cash to keep their doors open. But the 2011 Suzi Bass Awards, held Monday night at Oglethorpe University’s Conant Performing Arts Center, was about focusing the spotlight where directors, actors and crews would prefer it: the work.

On a glittery evening in which prizes for 25 categories for 2010-11 season plays and musicals were handed out, plus for four special categories, the veteran Little Five Points troupe Horizon Theatre Company gathered the most star-shaped trophies, with 10.

It was a big night for the midsize Atlanta troupe co-founded by Lisa and Jeff Adler in 1983. In its 27th season, it operates with a budget of less than $1 million in a no-frills performance space in a schoolhouse-turned-community center. Going into the awards, the troupe had 13 nominations for “Avenue Q,” the puppet-loving, coming-of-age Broadway musical …

Continue reading Things look up for longtime troupe Horizon at Suzi Awards, Atlanta’s Tonys »

New York Times praises ASO’s ‘brilliant performances’ at Carnegie Hall

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s program last Saturday at Carnegie Hall drew a positive review from The New York Times.

Under music director Robert Spano, the ASO program included Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “Nyx” (given its U.S. premiere in Atlanta in late October), Scriabin’s “Poem of Ecstasy” Symphony No. 4 and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concert No. 3, featuring pianist Garrick Ohlsson.

Times critic Anthony Tommasini noted that, on paper, the program “looked like a curious selection of pieces,” but that Spano “knew what he was doing. The surprising musical resonances among these diverse scores came through vibrantly in three brilliant performances.”

Given its world premiere in February in Paris, “Nyx” was co-commissioned by the ASO, Finnish Radio Symphony, Radio France, Carnegie Hall and London’s Barbican Centre. Finnish-born composer Salonen has acknowledged that he named the composition for the “shadowy” and “nebulous” figure in Greek mythology, but …

Continue reading New York Times praises ASO’s ‘brilliant performances’ at Carnegie Hall »

National Black Arts Festival leader Barclay resigns

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Neil Barclay has resigned as chief executive officer and president of the National Black Arts Festival, the NBAF has announced.

A statement issued late Friday said that Barclay had already left the NBAF to ” to actively pursue other professional opportunities,” but would consult with the arts organization until a replacement was found.

NBAF board chair Evern Cooper Epps said of Barclay: “We are grateful for his leadership, creativity and insights, particularly in such a challenging economic environment as we have faced over the past few years.”

Barclay, who had led led the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh, including overseeing the design and construction of its $39.5 million signature building, came to the NBAF prepared to cut.

The once-sprawling festival, which typically operates with an annual budget of more than $2 million, was struggling for funding amid the recession. Hired to replace long-time NBAF …

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(Kids) Culture notes: To the moon at Tellus on Nov. 11; ‘Wimpy Kid’ author (and snow!) in Decatur on Nov. 19; Pink Pig encores

EVENT
Moon-eyed at Tellus

Space is the final frontier as Tellus Science Center hosts Family Science Night on Nov. 11. The Cartersville attraction will present a 7 p.m. talk by Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden and display a moon rock gathered during that mission. Special hands-on projects and demonstrations related to space will be set up throughout the museum.

Tellus’ observatory also will be open for solar viewing, and, after dark, the telescope will be aimed at the Moon or Jupiter. Events are free with Tellus admission. 100 Tellus Drive (Exit 293 off I-75), Cartersville.770-606-5700, www.tellusmuseum.org. HOWARD POUSNER

BOOKS
‘Wimpy Kid’ with snow

Jeff Kinney, author of the ultra-popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” children’s book series will be bringing some snow with him (in keeping with the theme of the new installment, “Cabin Fever”) when he appears at the Decatur Square on Nov. 19. Amid machine-made white stuff, which kids can play in starting at 11 a.m., Kinney will give a …

Continue reading (Kids) Culture notes: To the moon at Tellus on Nov. 11; ‘Wimpy Kid’ author (and snow!) in Decatur on Nov. 19; Pink Pig encores »

Seven metro artists get $45,000 in Artadia Awards 2011 Atlanta

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Atlanta artists Jason Kofke and Rocío Rodriguez each are recipients of $15,000 Artadia Awards announced Wednesday. Five additional metro artists received $3,000 awards: Sarah Hobbs, Gyun Hur, the John Q collective, Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier and Micah Stansell. The juried prizes are given every other year by Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue, a New York-based nonprofit that provides support to visual artists in San Francisco, Boston, Houston, Chicago and, since 2009, Atlanta.

In October, three jurors conducted 45-minute studio visits with each of 15 finalists, chosen from nearly 200 metro applicants. The jurors were Bonnie Clearwater, director and chief curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; Julie Rodrigues Widholm, associate curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Atlanta art critic Cinqué Hicks.

“It was a pleasure for me to see Atlanta for the first time through the wide range of artists working there,” juror Widholm …

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Culture notes: Stone Mountain Park Indian Fest opens Thursday; new name, leader for Jewish theater

EVENT
Pow-Wow at the Rock

Stone Mountain Park’s Indian Festival & Pow-Wow, billed as the largest Native American gathering in Georgia, will be held Thursday through Sunday. Inter-tribal dance and drum competitions, an East Meets West Encampment comparing/contrasting the lives of Southeastern and Plains Indians, demonstrations of skills such as flint-knapping and bow making and an artists’ marketplace are among the offerings. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. $12; children under 3 free (plus parking fee). 770-498-5690, http://festivals.stonemountainpark.com.  HOWARD POUSNER

THEATER
New Jewish troupe

The Marcus Atlanta Jewish Community Center is launching a new theater troupe, Company J at the MJCCA, with Brian Kimmel (who directed “Rent” and “West Side Story” there) as producing artistic director. A just-announced four-play season at the AJCC, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody, kicks off Dec. 8-18 with “The Producers.” Single tickets …

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Culture notes: gloATL gets $50,000 challenge; party, symposium as Atlanta art book is published

ARTS
In glow of $50,000 challenge

The Atlanta foundation Possible Futures has awarded a $50,000 challenge grant to the performance group gloATL, which has performed in public spaces as varied as Lenox Square mall, the High Museum of Art’s plaza and the streets of Castleberry Hill. The gift marks gloATL’s first public fund-raising drive since its 2009 founding. “They have taken innovative performance work directly to the people and literally into the streets, transforming not just our public spaces but our sense of what role art can play in our city,” Possible Futures founder LouisCorrigan said in a statement. www.gloATL.com. HOWARD POUSNER

VISUAL ART
Essaying Atlanta’s scene

>The Atlanta foundation Possible Futures will celebrate the publication of “Noplaceness: Art in a Post-Urban Landscape,” the first book in a planned “Atlanta Art Now” biennial series about contemporary art in Atlanta, with a party on Nov. 8. The “creative black tie affair” will be 7-11 p.m. at Poem88 …

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