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Archive for September, 2009

PHOTOS: Carter Presidential Library & Museum renovations


Tom Stimpson works on installing exhibits at the Carter Presidential Museum and Library. The newly renovated space is scheduled to open Oct. 1. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

With about a week to go before it opens, the newly renovated Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is a beautiful mess of construction equipment, unmounted artifacts and cutting-edge museum technology. Overnight, bare floors are carpeted; piles of wood and electronics become exhibits. Dozens of curators, managers, installers and staffers are there all day and night to aim LED lights, hang banners and put together the pieces of a $10 million, 5-month update.


Carter visited the museum as renovations began in May. AJC file photo

“Before, the museum was a ‘Don’t Touch’ museum,” director Jay Hakes said. No more.

As we walked through the 25,000-square foot space on Tuesday, we saw an interactive map table coming together, and the narrative of the president’s life emerging in the museum’s colors and form. Blank …

Continue reading PHOTOS: Carter Presidential Library & Museum renovations »

To do list: September 23

Books: Decatur author Amanda C. Gable discusses and signs “The Confederate General Rides North,” 7:15 p.m., Blue Elephant Book Shop, Decatur. FREE.

For families: Author Pseudonymous Bosch signs “The Name of This Book is Secret”,”If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” and “This Book Is Not Good For You,” 4 p.m., Little Shop of Stories, Decatur. FREE.

Movies: “The Wizard of Oz” high-def 70th anniversary screenings, 7 p.m., various Georgia theaters.

Music: Roy Ayers and and Mike Phillips perform for Wednesday WindDown, 5:30-8 p.m., Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta. FREE.

Sports: Atlanta Thrashers vs. Nashville Predators, 7 p.m., Philips Arena, Atlanta.

Stage: “Walking with Dinosaurs” opens, 7 p.m., Gwinnett Arena, Duluth.

Got an event, venue, restaurant or performance in and around Atlanta? Add it to the calendar.

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

Continue reading To do list: September 23 »

Breast Cancer Awareness Month events around Atlanta


Breast cancer survivor balloon release at Turner Field on Sept. 19. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but already we’re seeing walks, run, parties and fund-raisers to support research and awareness. Last weekend, I swung by the Breast Cancer Awareness reception at Turner Field and heard some pretty amazing stories from two- and three-time breast cancer survivors.

Before the Braves played (and won!), survivors released pink balloons from the field. It wasn’t the only time the crowd was on its feet that night, but it was the best time.

With weeks to go, there are already dozens of breast cancer awareness events listed on Access

If you know of other events going on, add them to the calendar by clicking the “+ Add A Listing” button to the top right. (Yep, it’s free.)

Meanwhile, here’s a look of the variety of events going on in the next few weeks.

Continue reading Breast Cancer Awareness Month events around Atlanta »

‘Thriller’ dance record goes to Mexico, not Dragon*Con


Dragon*Con's Sept. 6 "Thriller" dance didn't get the world record designation. Photo by Brenda Smith

Word is spreading, and Dragon*Con-goers are not happy: the Guinness World Record for the largest “Thriller” dance went to Mexico, where 13,597 danced to the Michael Jackson song on Aug. 29.

Dragon*Con dancers hoped to break the record on Sept. 6, when they gathered 903 dancers  here in Atlanta. Organizers say they followed Guinness rules meticulously — selecting the correct version of the song, collecting participants’ info and recording the dance. They’ve praised the Mexico dance, but still say it didn’t follow the Guinness rules and shouldn’t be considered for the record. They’re working through a lawyer to make their case to Guinness, suggesting perhaps two separate records.

The previous record was held by 242 students at William & Mary, but Jackson’s death in June and his birthday in August spurred more to dance.

“While we may be discouraged for just a moment by …

Continue reading ‘Thriller’ dance record goes to Mexico, not Dragon*Con »

What are the best fall activities around Atlanta?


A corn maze in Canton in 2007. Is this among the best of what an Atlanta autumn has to offer? AJC file photo

I’m willing to accept that summer is over, that flip-flops and patio furniture are done, that the azaleas are really not coming back. In their place, we get parades, festivals, beer tents and corn mazes galore. Yea! (Also, endless downpours, school cancellations and impassable roads. Boooooo, and not in the haunted-house-kinda-way.)

For the first day of fall, I want to see your favorite activities around Atlanta for this breezy period before the Season that Shall Not Be Named. In the comments, say your favorite festivals, haunted houses, parades, sports shopping, eateries, hikes, trips or traditions. I’ll try and get the story behind some of them, or keep an eye out for them on future to-do lists!

Time to share: what’s your can’t-miss fall activity around Atlanta?

Continue reading What are the best fall activities around Atlanta? »

To do list: September 22

Books: Former CNN VP John Baker discusses and signs “Chicken Noodle News: A CNN Whodunit,” 7 p.m., Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum and Library, Atlanta. FREE.

Books: Author Margaret Fenton signs “Little Lamb Lost,” 7:15 p.m., Blue Elephant Book Shop, Decatur. FREE.

For kids: “Bunnicula” by Synchronicity Performance Group opens, 10:30 a.m., Alliance Theatre Hertz Stage, Atlanta.

Music: Ingrid Michaelson performs, 8:30 p.m., The Loft, Atlanta. INTERVIEW.

Presentations: Animal Planet host Jeff Corwin visits, 3-5 p.m., Georgia State University Student Center, Atlanta.

Stage: “Redwing” opens, 8 p.m., Kennesaw State University’s Black Box Theater, Kennesaw.

Got an event, venue, restaurant or performance in and around Atlanta? Add it to the calendar.

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

Continue reading To do list: September 22 »

To do list: September 21

Hey folks, it’s my mom’s 50th birthday, and since I can’t be in Michigan to celebrate with her, I thought I’d try to dry off after a wet, eventful weekend by staying in my pajamas, cuddling with my dogs and noshing on leftover cupcakes all day. You know, it’s what she’d want me to do. So happy birthday mom, and for the rest of you: a few fun things to do around Atlanta today. Back tomorrow!  Jamie G.

Books: Author Philippa Gregory discusses and signs “The White Queen” and “The Other Boleyn Girl,” 7:30 p.m., Agnes Scott College’s Presser Hall, Decatur. FREE.

Books: Final week for “A Keeping of Records: The Life and Art of Alice Walker,” Emory University’s Woodruff Library, Atlanta. FREE.

Comedy: Hollis Gillespie performs, 8 p.m., Laughing Skull Lounge, Atlanta.

Food: Cobb County Restaurant Week continues through Sept. 26.

Sports: Atlanta Thrashers vs. Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m., Philips Arena, Atlanta.

Got an event, venue, restaurant or performance in and around Atlanta? Add …

Continue reading To do list: September 21 »

PHOTOS: Girls Rock Camp bands play the East Atlanta Strut


Julia Denniss, 12, and Leslie Lang, 13, are members of Quothe the Canary, a Girl Rock Camp band. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

The East Atlanta Strut was a soggy show this year with small crowds huddled under umbrellas. The mid-day exception was inside Earthshaking Music, where bands from Girls Rock Camp played a 45-minute set in front of a standing-room only audience.


Natalie Spruell, 13, sings for the band 500. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

I wrote about Girls Rock Camp Atlanta this summer, when the not-for-profit day camp held its week-long session.

The camp teaches girls the history of women in rock, basic music skills and what it means to be in a band. Some girls have had enough by the time camp closes. Even if they loved it, the rock star life isn’t for everybody.

But some of those bands stayed together, brought in new members, wrote new songs, took lessons on their instruments, continued to practice together.

I didn’t have a microphone on me, but they sounded great. Here, at least, is a …

Continue reading PHOTOS: Girls Rock Camp bands play the East Atlanta Strut »

Rainy weekend: Atlanta area cancellations, continuations


Rain or shine, the Seed and Feed Marching Abominable is in for a parade. This time, it was the (very damp) East Atlanta Strut on Saturday. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

UGH. I love rain like I love my alarm clock. It’s needed, it serves an important purpose, but does it have to do its thing right now?!

Indeed, our forecast for this weekend, and the next several days, is no fun at all. If you hear of an outdoor event delayed, canceled or postponed, or one that is still going on through the rain, let me know in the comments, on Twitter @insideaccess or via e-mail,

And remember, there are plenty of good indoor events this weekend, too, from museums and libraries to For Sisters Only to a lot of events and shows on the Weekend To-Do List.


Continue reading Rainy weekend: Atlanta area cancellations, continuations »

Happy birthday, Zoo Atlanta pandas! Enjoy the (ice) cake!


Mei Lan enjoyed an ice cake for her second birthday in September, 2008. AJC file photo

The panda birthday bash at Zoo Atlanta this weekend will surely draw a crowd, and not just the kind the kind angling to get a corner piece of birthday cake.

Mei Lan fans want to celebrate the Atlanta-born panda’s 3rd birthday before she departs for China in mid-February. Zoo Atlanta is still trying to raise $500,000 to keep the other giant pandas here, but has raised only about $120,000 so far, according to the AJC story, “A panda party, parting.”


Kate Roca and Heather Roberts add bamboo to an ice cake on Sept. 16, 2009. AJC/Elissa Eubanks

You wouldn’t want to eat panda cake, anyway.

As in the past, Zoo Atlanta staffers put together ice cakes for their black-and-white beauties. The recipe changes a little every year, but giant panda keeper JT Svoke provided a list of ingredients and a details about what they’ll look like when, um, baked.

Note: I provide this information because it’s …

Continue reading Happy birthday, Zoo Atlanta pandas! Enjoy the (ice) cake! »