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Archive for January, 2012

Culture notes: Trethewey named Miss. poet laureate; Carapace to spin stories about endings

LITERATURE
Honor for Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey, poet and Emory University professor of English and creative writing, has been appointed Mississippi’s poet laureate. “It’s an honor to have been named poet laureate of my native state — the place that made me a writer — and I am delighted to serve the citizens of Mississippi by promoting our rich and ongoing cultural and literary traditions,” Trethewey told the Biloxi Sun Herald. The state of Georgia is expected to announce its own poet laureate soon. HOWARD POUSNER

STORYTELLING
Going out with a bang

Some have predicted nothing short of an apocalypse on Dec. 21, based on the end of the Maya’s “Long Count” calendar, while others have dismissed suggestions of the end of the world as we know it. The Atlanta group Carapace plans to tread lightly at its monthly storytelling event, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24, which will focus on the theme of endings.

Participants are encouraged to bring five-minute tales “of conclusion, of expiry, of …

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‘Holy Ghost Girl’ by Donna Johnson

Book Review
Nonfiction
“Holy Ghost Girl”
Donna Johnson
Gotham Books, $26, 278 pages

By Gina Webb

Holy-Ghost-GirlWhether you count yourself as a nonbeliever or one of the faithful, the first line of Donna Johnson’s memoir hooks like no other: “Donna, I don’t know if you’re coming to the funeral, but I heard Daddy’s gonna try to raise Randall from the dead.”

I’m with Johnson’s husband, who says, “We’re going, right?”

In “Holy Ghost Girl, ” her story of growing up in a tent-revival family, Johnson eventually takes us to her half-brother’s funeral. But by the time she does, you’ll long since have forgotten about it, since even a resurrection pales beside the rest of this book’s sideshow acts, where the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk and tumors the size of watermelons vanish in front of your eyes.

Johnson was 3 years old when her mother debuted as an organist in the ministry of Brother David Terrell, one of the last of the Bible-thumping, fire-and-brimstone revivalist preachers who …

Continue reading ‘Holy Ghost Girl’ by Donna Johnson »

‘The Tarball Chronicles: A Journey Beyond the Oiled Pelican and Into the Heart of the Gulf Oil Spill’ By David Gessner

Book Review
Nonfiction
“The Tarball Chronicles: A Journey Beyond the Oiled Pelican and Into the Heart of the Gulf Oil Spill”
By David Gessner
Milkweed Editions, 272 pages, $24

By Gina Webb

Tarball_ChroniclesBy June 2010, about two months into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, millions of gallons of crude oil were still gushing into the ocean from a leak 5,000 feet deep.

Environmental writer David Gessner was a thousand miles away in North Carolina when a friend suggested he travel to the Gulf and cover the spill. At first, Gessner couldn’t really see the point.

An associate professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and the author of eight books, Gessner (”My Green Manifesto, ” “Return of the Osprey”) didn’t see himself as the right person to cover the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. “This is not the kind of nature you write about, ” he told himself. “You write about birds and the coast, and you are not a journalist who chases stories.”

But he …

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The Unchained Tour at Manuel’s Tavern

The Unchained Tour of traveling storytellers and musicians led by George Dawes Green, novelist and founder of The Moth storytelling event and podcast, reaches Atlanta Feb. 11-12 at Manuel’s Tavern, where raconteurs from the local Carapace storytelling group will share the stage with visiting entertainers each night.

Randy Osborne, director of Carapace, wrote about Green’s recent visit to Atlanta and Green’s ideas about storytelling at http://www.randyosborne.com/Unchained.html

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7 Stages juggles lineup due to renovation of L5P facility

THEATER
7 Stages juggles

7 Stages, the long-time Little 5 Points theater, has announced that it will reschedule two shows from the current season to accommodate ongoing building renovations.

Teo Castellanos’ new work of social commentary, “Fat Boy” (originally scheduled for Feb. 2-12), and the season-closing “Dracula: The Rock Opera” (originally April 19-May 13), will both move to the 2012-13 season so that a new roof and a HVAC system can be installed in the spring. As a result, current season tickets will be honored through December.

“We want to produce shows, not build roofs,” 7 Stages artistic director Del Hamilton said in a statement. “But we realize these facility improvements will only help us grow as an organization.”

The world premiere of “Hidden Man,” a drama based on the friendship between gay artist Robert Sherer and his mentor, famed folk artist the Rev. Howard Finster, will be presented March 8-25, as previously announced. 404-523-7647, www.7stages.org. HOWARD …

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25-act lineup announced for first Atlanta Fringe Festival in May

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The Atlanta Fringe Festival, intended to be similar to nontraditional performing arts fests that have popped up worldwide since the original fringe fest launched in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland, has announced 25 eclectic acts for its inaugural event, May 9-13.

The performing groups, including 15 from across the country and Italy and 10 from Atlanta-Athens, will be in all manner of fringe-y theatrical styles, from the physical theater of Fish and Bicycle Theatre Company of New York to the cabaret of Tennessee’s Beth Marshall Presents. Produced by Atlanta’s Twinhead Theatre, it will unfold at multiple metro venues.

Tickets, $10 per show with a one-time purchase of a $3 Fringe button, go on sale in March. www.atlantafringe.org.

Here’s the full announcement from the producer …

Atlanta Fringe announces lineup for inaugural festival

(Atlanta) January 16, 2012 – The first annual Atlanta Fringe Festival, scheduled for May 9-13, will be a five-day …

Continue reading 25-act lineup announced for first Atlanta Fringe Festival in May »

2012 Townsend Prize for Fiction nominees announced

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The Georgia Center for the Book, the Southern Academy for Literary Arts and Scholarly Research at Georgia Perimeter College and the Chattahoochee Review have announced 10 finalists for the 2012 Townsend Prize for Fiction. Selected by a jury of the sponsoring organizations, the panel considered more than 40 books published by Georgia writers in the past two years.

The Townsend Prize is awarded biennially to an outstanding novel or short-story collection published by a Georgia writer during those two years. The prize-winner will receive  a $2,000 award and a silver commemorative tray.

The 2012 finalists are:

  • Daniel Black for “Perfect Peace,” St Martin’s Press
  • Lynn Cullen for “Reign Of Madness,” G.P. Putnam’s Sons
  • Ann Hite for “Ghost on Black Mountain,” Gallery Books
  • Joshilyn Jackson for “Backseat Saints,” Grand Central Publishing
  • Collin Kelley for “Remain In Light,” Vanilla Heart Publishing
  • Thomas Mullen for “The Many Deaths of the …

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Culture notes: Two architecture exhibits have designs on Atlanta viewers

ARCHITECTURE
Design, art on view

Two exhibits offering divergent takes on the art of architecture and architects are newly opened for viewing this weekend:

  • The Museum of Design Atlanta has just opened the “Emerging Voices 11” exhibit, honoring, according to the museum, “early-career individuals and firms with distinct ‘voices’ that demonstrate the potential to influence architecture and design within the Atlanta community.”

This year’s honorees are Perkins+Will urban designer Ryan Gravel, whose 1999 Georgia Tech master’s thesis seeded the idea of the Atlanta Beltline and who is now on the team designing the project; and Tristan Al-Haddad, a Georgia Tech School of Architecture assistant professor and founder of Formations Studio. Reception: 7-10 p.m. Friday. Through Jan. 22. 1315 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-979-6455, www.museumofdesign.org.

  • Al-Haddad is one of 27 architects exhibiting in “Architects as Artists” at the Swan Coach House Gallery. Curator Marianne …

Continue reading Culture notes: Two architecture exhibits have designs on Atlanta viewers »

Culture notes: Contemporary opens two exhibits about work on Friday; Fox announces two-show international series

VISUAL ART
Creative looks at work

The 19 Georgia artists showing in two exhibits opening Friday1/13 at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center work out some serious workplace issues:

  • “Day Job: Georgia” examines the artist’s relationship to a “real job” and investigates its effect on artistic practice — whether the works were created in resistance to the labor, inspired by it or even while on the time clock.
  • “100,000 Cubicle Hours” is an installation that evokes the office space and how creative types adapt it to maintain equilibrium.

The 7-10 p.m. Friday opening reception features a collaboration between the Good Food Truck and Dance Truck, the itinerant dance presenters known for using trucks as platforms for performances. Also, curators and artists give a talk at 11 a.m. Saturday.1/14

Both shows continue through March 24. 535 Means St. N.W., Atlanta. Admission: $5, $3 students and seniors, free under 12 and on Thursdays. 404-688-1970, www.thecontemporary.org. HOWARD …

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High Museum presenting Kahlo-Rivera exhibit in 2013

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

In the decade since the hit film biography ‘Frida” was released, the High Museum of Art has received many requests for an exhibit of Frida Kahlo and her partner in brilliance and tumult, Diego Rivera.

That wish will be realized in early 2013 when the High opens the exhibition “Frida & Diego,” organized in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario, both museums announced Wednesday. The only U.S. venue for the 75-work exhibit, the High will present the exhibit of the key Mexican modernists Feb. 16-May 12, 2013, after its premiere in Ontario in October.

“Frida & Diego” is being drawn mainly from the collection of Mexico City’s Museo Dolores Olmedo as well as the private Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of Mexican Art.  The Gelmans were friends of Kahlo and Rivera who spent lavishly on art from a fortune made in Mexican film production.

The exhibit will spotlight Kahlo and Rivera’s lives together and apart, their politics …

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