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Archive for November, 2012

Culture notes: New Plaza Theatre owner plans renovation; Roswell mounts ‘Nutcracker’

New era for 1939 Plaza Theatre
The Plaza Theatre, Atlanta’s longest continuously opeating movie theater, has a new owner. Jonathan and Gayle Rej, who have run the 1939 Ponce de Leon Avenue cinema in 2006, turning it into a not-for-profit in 2010, have announced that Michael Furlinger will take over on Dec. 27. Furlinger, who has booked films and been a theater owner/operator for 30 years, plans to strengthen feature film bookings while retaining popular presentations such as “The Silver Scream Spookshow,” according to the Rejs, who added that the new owner plans “substantial renovations.” He’s expected to add digital projection, new seats and concessions enhancements. Information: HOWARD POUSNER

Sugarplums in Roswell

In its 34th season, the Roswell Dance Theatre has plenty of experience staging “The Nutcracker,” which it opens Friday at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center for a run through Dec. 2. The 300 cast members, drawn from Roswell Dance …

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Culture notes: ‘Ghost Brothers’ soundtrack set for March release; Young Blood Gallery kisses goodbye; holiday music, exhibits

Almost a year after “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County” premiered at the Alliance Theatre, the soundtrack to the Stephen King-John Mellencamp-T Bone Burnett collaboration will see the light of day.

Hear Music/Concord Music Group will release the recording on March 19. It’s an all-star affair featuring Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Neko Case, Taj Mahal, Ryan Bingham, Kris Kristofferson, Matthew McConaughey, Samantha Mathis and Meg Ryan, and a deluxe version will also feature King’s complete libretto.

The musical’s April debut at the Alliance was met with mostly good reviews – particularly Mellencamp’s rootsy, rustic songs – though most critics noted that King’s book needed some tweaking.

That could be why a new story about “Ghost Brothers” calls the Atlanta production a “version of the show,” and later notes that a recent table reading in New York for possible investors ended without any plans to bring the dark musical to Broadway.

In Atlanta, …

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Culture notes: Spivey decks the halls; Slotin folk art auction results; new leaders in Gwinnett, Cobb

By Howard Pousner

Spivey decks the halls
Spivey Hall, on the Clayton State University campus in Morrow, has announced a diverse slate of performances, most well suited for families, this holiday season, notably including a concert by Michael Londra from Broadway’s “Riverdance.”

The schedule at Spivey, the elegant 392-seat recital hall that will be decorated with Christmas trees and wreaths, garlands and colorful lighting:

  • 11:15 a.m. Monday: Carols and holiday tunes from the Mercer Singers and the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings Orchestra.
  • 7 p.m. Dec. 7: Spivey Hall Young Artists and Spivey Hall Children’s Choir in the first of three concerts showcasing the 170-member Spivey Hall Children’s Choir Program (with plenty of free cookies, too).
  • 3 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9: Spivey Hall Children’s Choir and Spivey Hall Tour Choir.
  • 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9: the Atlanta Singers performing modern interpretations of Christmas anthems, carols and spirituals.
  • 8:15 p.m. Dec. 15: …

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Have photos will travel: Gallery owner takes show to High for test drive

By Howard Pousner

Atlanta gallery owner Jennifer Schwartz, who will participate in a High Museum of Art Holiday Art Market from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, is a photography matchmaker.

Meaning: She wants to hook you up with the photograph of your dreams. The only problem is you may not yet know the photo of your dreams or even have the urge to collect art. She intends to fix that. Her mission: to cultivate a bumper crop of new photography collectors.

That’s why Schwartz launched a “Crusade for Collecting” in which she plan a whirlwind American tour next year in a van that will proffer photos much the way a food truck dishes up gourmet burritos.

She launched a funding drive for her gallery-on-wheels last October on Kickstarter, and a month-and-a-half later 214 backers had contributed $16,125, exceeding the $15,000 goal.

Preparing to roll on a cross-country tour with an itinerary that is still being worked out, Schwartz will appear on the High’s Sifly Piazza along with …

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Culture notes: Two chances Thursday night to support local art

The art of supporting artists

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia offers a chance Thursday night to acquire an original work of art from a roster of emerging and established Atlanta artists while supporting the artists and the Buckhead institution hosting the “Off-the-Wall Pin-Up Show and Sale 2012.” The 6-9 p.m. sale is of works no larger than 12 inches by 16 inches and priced under $500, with all proceeds going the artist. Admission is the cost of a MOCA GA membership ($30 year or $15 for one month; $12.50 year artists or students). 75 Bennett St., Atlanta. 404-367-8700, HOWARD POUSNER

Little works, big show
The Swan Coach House Gallery’s holiday exhibition “Little Things Mean a Lot” really does mean a lot: The annual exhibit has become the gallery’s most popular show. The 13th edition, featuring more than 300 small-scale original works perfect for gift giving by 114 mostly metro artists, opens with a free reception 6-9 p.m. Thursday. Through …

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Disinvited from Jewish Book Festival, author Beinart gains support

By Rosalind Bentley

Let him speak.

That has been the steady message directed at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta since it disinvited author Peter Beinart, former editor of The New Republic magazine, to its festival almost two weeks ago.

The story of center’s decision to rescind its invitation to Beinart, author of the provocative book “The Crisis of Zionism,” has generated considerable protest within some sectors of Atlanta’s Jewish community.

In an open letter to the Atlanta Jewish community written by Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University, Wolpe likened the center’s decision to censorship.

“Though Peter Beinart sits towards one end of the spectrum of Jewish political opinion about Israel, he is well within the boundaries of reasonable dialogue,” Wolpe wrote. “Disagree with him, argue with him, criticize his facts or points – but do not ban him, do not invite and then disinvite him, and for heaven’s sake do not …

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Review: Atlanta Opera’s ‘Carmen’ seduces

In her Atlanta Opera debut, María José Montiel is everything a “Carmen” should be. Flirtatious. Coquettish. Sexy. Fierce. The brilliant mezzo-soprano from Spain beguiles and seduces in the company’s season-opening production the audience at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

It has been six years since Atlanta Opera last staged “Carmen,” the popular tragedy of the gypsy in Seville who woos men according to her whimsy by Georges Bizet.

Given such a well-known piece filled with some of the most reconizable music in the genre, director Jeffery Marc Buchman uses clever flashback scenes to recount the story through an imprisoned Don Jose, Carmen’s soldier lover and murderer portrayed by tenor Fernando de la Mora.

While this modernizing offers a change of perspective, the production remains production gives a backdrop for Montiel, whose interpretation of the character includes a “Habanera” filled with luscious vocal trills and turns, which she accompanied with floreo, those …

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Culture notes: Athens takes a gallery stroll; Kenny Leon’s Broadway plans; different ‘Christmas Carols’

By Howard Pousner

From Westside to Marietta Square, the metro area boasts several popular monthly gallery tours. Now Athens has launched one of its own that should be of interest to Atlanta art followers, too.

The monthly “Third Thursday” event links a half-dozen art venues dotting the Classic City: the Georgia Museum of Art and the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia; the Lyndon House Arts Center, GlassCube & Gallery at Hotel Indigo and Ciné in downtown Athens; and the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (ATHICA) in the Chase Park Warehouses near the Boulevard neighborhood.

The six spaces are open 6-9 p.m. every third Thursday. The final free and informal tours of the year will be held Nov. 15 and Dec. 20.

Launched in September, “Third Thursday” is the brainchild of Michael Lachowski, a former member of the Athens band Pylon who is a photographer-artist and Georgia Museum of Art public relations manager.

“The event is mainly to inspire …

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High Museum offers discounted Election Day admission

By Howard Pousner

The High Museum of Art hopes to score an Election Day victory of its own on Tuesday with a special offer that should encourage metro Atlantans to visit.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Midtown museum will offer ”Pay As You Wish” admission. With many metro schools closed for polling, the High is encouraging folks to spend part of the day getting cultured (after voting, of course).

The High even has an exhibition on view that fits the election theme. “Choose Me: Arthur Grace’s Portraits of a Presidential Race” features images by the Los Angeles photojournalist of candidates in the 1988 campaign, including George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore and Michael Dukakis. 

Last weekend, the High also opened a major exhibit that examines many political and social issues of American life, “Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial.” It’s a provacative display of 59 wall-mounted, found-object assemblages, free-standing sculptures and drawings created …

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A sampler of upcoming metro ‘Nutcrackers’

By Howard Pousner

Now that the Halloween princess costumes have been put up, it can only mean that it’s time for “The Nutcracker” princess costumes to come out.

If you think it’s grossly too early to be talking “Nutcracker,” you must not believe in the power (and box-office potential) of the Sugar Plum Fairy. In fact, the metro area’s first major “Nutcracker” of the season, Ballethnic Dance Company’s “Urban Nutcracker,” opens Nov. 15. Before the month is out at least three other biggies make their bow, with the city’s biggest, Atlanta Ballet’s, holding out until early December.

Here’s an at-a-glance rundown to some of the bigger productions for those marking calendars with fairy dust:

  • Ballethnic Dance Company’s “Urban Nutcracker,” the troupe’s 19th staging, runs Nov. 15-18 at Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts. Waverly T. Lucas II, co-artistic director, of the city’s first and only African-American-founded classically trained professional ballet …

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