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Festival events have French accents

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Even if you’re not among the 200 million people worldwide conversant in French, you may find the free and ticketed cultural programs being presented during the 14th Francophonie Festival,  March 16 through March 25, of interest.

Held at Alliance Francaise in Midtown, the fest includes film showings, a lecture and a friendship brunch. Highlights:

  • Screening of “Incendies,” a 2011 Oscar nominee for best foreign language film. The Canadian drama from director Deniscq Villeneuve follows a twin brother and sister who attempt to unravel the mystery of their mother’s life on a journey to the Middle East. 7 p.m. March 19. Free.
  • Screening of the kid-friendly “A Cat in Paris,” a 2012 Academy Award nominee for best animated feature, an artfully drawn caper about a Parisian kitty who leads a double life. 2:30 p.m. March 23 (5 p.m. showing sold out). Free.
  • The Francophonie Friendship Brunch, 12:30-2:30 p.m. March 24 at Violette Restaurant, gives Atlanta’s diverse French-speaking community a chance to break bread. $35; $18 ages 11-16; free 10 and under (reservations required by March 22). 2948 Clairmont Road N.E., Atlanta.
  • Belgian illustrator Pascal Lemaitre, who has collaborated with Toni Morrison and author and concentration camp survivor Stephane Hessel, discusses his career at 7 p.m. March 25. Free.

Alliance Francaise (Colony Square’s Plaza level, 1197 Peachtree St., Suite 561, Atlanta) offers free validated parking in Colony Square. Details and reservations: www.francophonieatlanta.org

OPERA
Modern take on ‘Secret Agent’

Founded in 1983 to help Atlanta-area classically trained singers establish their careers, Capitol City Opera Company will stage an ambitious world premiere March 15 through 17.

“The Secret Agent,” with music by Atlanta composer Curtis Bryant and libretto by New York forensic psychiatrist Allen Reichman, will be presented at at Oglethorpe University’s Conant Performing Arts Center. It is based on Joseph Conrad’s 1907 novel of the same name.

On his website, Bryant notes that The New York Times Book Review has described Conrad’s book as “the classic novel for the post 9/11 age.” The composer calls his opera, completed in 2007, “a modern music drama that hits home in an era fraught with fears of terrorism and political dissent.”

CCOC artistic director Michael Nutter is staging “Secret Agent,” with musical direction by Catherine Giel. Michael Giel will conduct a 17-member orchestra.

Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. March 17. $30; $25 students, seniors, military. 4484 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta. 678-301-8013, www.ccityopera.org.

VISUAL ART
Kai Lin to open second location

While several long-time Atlanta galleries have shut their doors over the last two years, Buckhead’s Kai Lin Art has announced it is opening a second location on the Westside on March 22.

Opening with a public reception, 7-10 p.m., will be the dual solo shows “Cloud Bouncing” by Nathaniel Galka and “Avalanche” by Kent Knowles. They run through May 2.

The new space at 999 Brady Ave, Suite 7, Atlanta, is part of a complex at the corner of 10th Street and Brady that includes Miller Union, Verde Home and Fabrefaction Theatre Company. Information: www.kailinart.com

EVENT
Present-tense look at Civil War

The Atlanta History Center’s will present “Citizens and Soldiers,” a family-friendly free program, March 16 in commemoration of the Civil War sesquicentennial.

The 11 a.m.-4 p.m. event is part of Bank of America Free Admission Weekends, offering free History Center entry on the third weekend of each month through June.

Among the highlights: Meet the Past presentations will feature actors as Civil War characters, illuminating trials and triumphs of citizens and soldiers, in the museum and at the 1860s Smith Family Farm. There will be firing demonstrations and enlisting and marching activities representing Union and Confederate soldiers, presented by the Armory Guard. Included among the talks, author-genealogist Brad Quinlin will discuss the United States Colored Troops (USCT) buried in the Marietta National Cemetery (noon, Kennedy Theater). Kids can dress up in clothing representing the 1860s.

Senior military historian Gordon Jones will offer guided tours of the permanent exhibit “Turning Point: The American Civil War.” Guests can also view the touring exhibit “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: How the Word is Passed Down.” 130 W. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. 404-814-4000, atlantahistorycenter.com.

VISUAL ART
MODA’s 2013 exhibit schedule

The Museum of Design Atlanta has announced the remainder of its 2013 schedule, starting with “Eero Saarinen: A Reputation for Innovation,” a retrospective of the Finnish architect, April 14 through June 30. Mina Marefat, architect, architectural historian and Georgetown University professor, will curate. Upcoming:

  • “XXO: Alternative Voices in Game Design,” highlighting women’s work as video game designers and artists, July 14-Sept. 1.
  • “Barrique: Wine, Design and Social Change” a look at an Italian project that merges recycling, furniture-making and social change, Sept. 15-Oct. 13.
  • “Paul Rand: The Language of Form,” examining his iconic logo designs including those for IBM, Westinghouse, UPS and ABC, Oct. 27-Jan. 26, 2014.

Information: www.museumofdesign.org.

BOOKS
Decatur books a programmer

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival has named Alison Law, an Atlanta-based writer and marketing consultant, as assistant program director. Last year, Law launched SouthernSpines.com, an online community dedicated to celebrating and promoting Southern writers, songwriters, poets and “Books with Backbone.” She will assist DBF program director Philip Rafshoon, who was appointed in December.

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