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PHOTOS: 5 things to love about Le Flash in Castleberry Hill

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Melanie Turner dances a sequence in "Dollhouse" inside the Dance Truck at Le Flash 2009. The truck served as the stage, with CNN Center and the rest of downtown as the backdrop. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht.

I didn’t see the inaugural Le Flash event last year, and arrived in Castleberry Hill last night expecting something like a raucous gallery walk.

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Gyun Hur created a piece on Walker Street with a headlamp as guide.

Organizers call Le Flash “a yearly ephemeral arts celebration that would deepen the significance of contemporary art Atlanta,” which can meananything. Some key characteristics drew me to it: art, performances, outdoors, all-night and free.

The only thing it had in common with a gallery walk, though, was that my feet hurt after wandering the neighborhood so long. A gallery walk usually requires active participation — the decision to walk in, look around, have a cookie, maybe buy something. For an organized event, Le Flash looked and felt like something spontaneous was happening all around us, something you can’t buy and take home. I chose to be there, but some clearly stumbled into the all-over art project while driving through or having dinner.

For me, everything about art (dance, especially) becomes more relevant when it’s dropped into an everyday space. No tickets, no assigned seats, no boundaries that decide who gets the best view or the most meaningful experience. I loved this, and as Le Flash works toward becoming a non-profit, I look forward to what the organizers produce next, and to the rest of Atlanta Celebrates Photography.

Here’s why I loved it:

1. All of Castleberry Hill seemed into it.
I imagine some residents turned on white noise machines and pulled pillows over their heads, but windows were open, people wandered and almost every business had the lights on. The event map showed installations, shows and activities throughout the neighborhood, and the reality seemed even more alive.

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An exhibit inside The Art House Gallery on Peters Street in Castleberry Hill.

2. Everyone took the “light” theme and ran like mad.
Human fireflies. Projections on walls. Photography murals. Wearable light. Safety lights. Balls of light. Light from police cars, Turner Field fireworks, street lights, camera flashes. More glow sticks than I’ve seen since elementary school roller skating parties. Some of this light-based artwork was curated by Le Flash creators, but I suspect just as much came from people who showed up with something to add, whether it was the blinking of the light on their bicycle or a glowing costume. (Speaking of camera flashes, here are more photos from Creative Loafing’s Joeff Davis.)

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Passers-by checked out View-Masters with photos for "N Yo' Face," by Fahamu Pecou and Michael Reese.

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"Fructose Fantasy" by Diana Ascarrunz and Kari Lennox. So it IS a candy necklace!

3. Art was unexplained, but everywhere.
I won’t pretend to understand most of it. I have no explanation for a group of dancers  that rubber stamped a dog in the crowd, or the projections on the side of the storage facility or the glowing candy-necklace-looking installation. I loved, though, that we seemed to get sucked into a parade or a performance or a shared experience every time we crossed a street.

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"Pour" by Lauri Stallings and gloATL. The dance works around the crowd.

4. Streetlife matters.
It’s not just that art was everywhere — it’s that it was public. Art is already a constant in Castleberry Hill. The  galleries, restaurants, stores and living spaces are living examples of contemporary art. But this was individual and group art in common spaces, with no need to walk through a door or pay in advance. It was on the sidewalks, on the road, in alleys, on buildings and pedestrian bridges. It was literally moving down the street, in gloATL’s “Pour” performance, and a number of other impromptu parades and traveling works. Atlanta feels like an entirely different city when so many people share a public space for a shared, public sensation.

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"Pour" by Lauri Stallings and gloATL. The 40-minute ballet wound through the Castleberry Hill Streets twice last night.

5. It was a perfect night to be outside in Atlanta.
Early October in North Georgia=win.

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One last gloATL dancer under "Fiat Luxe" by Jason Butcher, Scott Carter and Mario.

What did you think? Share your  opinion in the comments!

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[...] 1) Le Flash in Castleberry Hill In its second year, this one-night event took over an entire neighborhood with art, dance, planned events and spontaneous displays of inspiration. It’s rare to see such plentiful street life in Atlanta — all those people out enjoying unfamiliar experiences with more curiosity than fear. I hope we see more of this event, and more events with the same philosophy. Read more. [...]

[...] that fits into spaces we already know, or think we know — the Woodruff Arts Center lawn, the streets of Castleberry Hill and this time, the Robinson Atrium inside the High Museum of Art. Stages and auditoriums are [...]

[...] See the blog post and photos: 5 things to love about ‘Le Flash’ in Castleberry Hill [...]