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Archive for January, 2010

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Atlanta

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Martin Luther King Jr. during his "I Have A Dream" speech on Aug. 28, 1963. File photo

Here are Martin Luther King Jr. Day events around Atlanta, and more activities today.

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

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Plaza Theatre, Atlanta’s oldest moviehouse, turns 70

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The Plaza Theatre celebrated its 70th anniversary on Jan. 15, 2010. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

I was greeted at the door of the Plaza Theatre last night by Scarlett and Rhett. Dorothy and Toto showed up later, and Glinda and the Wicked Witch were hawking raffle tickets somewhere nearby.

What do they have in common? 1939, the year all of them debuted. (Check out more of its history in this week’s Access Point.)

The Plaza celebrated its 70th anniversary last night with a screening of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” another 1939 delight, and a party/raffle/silent auction to kick off its fund-raising campaign. The Plaza recently became a non-profit, and now wants to be sure it will stay open for years to come. Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne was there, surrounded by police groups of movie geeks who wanted a photo with him.

Here are photos from last night’s celebration. There are a lot more opportunities to celebrate, with the series of 1939 films they’re showing for …

Continue reading Plaza Theatre, Atlanta’s oldest moviehouse, turns 70 »

NBAF benefit concert for Haiti earthquake victims Jan. 17

One of the best places to spend Sunday night might be Churchill Grounds, where the National Black Arts Festival will hold Love: Haiti, a benefit concert to help the country rocked by an earthquake this week.

The concert will feature Joi, Mausiki Scales and Common Ground Collective, Chanda McKnight, Russell Gunn, Big Rube, Avery Sunshine, Ken Ford, Vix, DJ Vando, Luis Carreras and others, and donations will go to UNICEF.

To see how more Atlanta non-profits, businesses and individuals are helping after the earthquake in Haiti, check out the AJC’s Atlanta Responds blog.

If you know of other benefit concerts or events, please share them in the comments, or add them to the AccessAtlanta.com calendar. We’re happy to help spread the word.

Want to go? Love: Haiti, a night of music to support Haiti. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17. $15 minimum donation, $25 recommended donation, which will go to UNICEF. Churchill Grounds Jazz Club, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. www.nbaf.org.

Continue reading NBAF benefit concert for Haiti earthquake victims Jan. 17 »

‘Breaking Upwards’ opens AJFF series for young adults

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Audience members found their seats before an Atlanta Jewish Film Festival screening of "Breaking Upwards" at Atlantic Station. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

When I wandered into Strip last night to pick up my ticket for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival “Breaking Upwards” screening, I might have wandered into a class reunion. The crowd was young, boisterous and everybody there seemed to know each other in that I-haven’t-seen-you-in-years-except-on-Facebook kind of way.

This was the opening night of the festival’s young-adult-oriented ‘Scene & Be Seen‘ selections, and it delivered — good mood, big crowd, lovely film. I went alone, and might’ve felt lonely had I not bumped into some people I haven’t seen in about five years except on Facebook.

Other films in the series are are “Ajami”, “Leaving the Fold”,  “Lost Islands”,  “Mary and Max“, “A Matter of Size”, and “Seven Minutes in Heaven.” As they say, “this is not your bubbe’s film festival.”

I loved “Breaking Upwards,” even if it’s not …

Continue reading ‘Breaking Upwards’ opens AJFF series for young adults »

PHOTOS: Happy birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Chistine King Farris reads "My Brother Martin" to children at the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

People all over the world will commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s 81st birthday this weekend with ceremony and service, but only in Atlanta can dozens of kids celebrate with birthday cake and a story read by King’s older sister, Christine King Farris.

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King Farris reads from "My Brother Martin," filling in details between the words on the page.

Kids from pre-school to third grade gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site  this morning to see a puppet show about how life has changed for black children since King was a boy, and to hear “My Brother Martin.” (Teachers went home with free copies of the book for their classrooms or libraries, too.)

The kids asked a lot of questions that remind how time and history look different when you’re a kid: What happened to Martin Luther King Jr.’s parents? Do his kids live with his sister? Was he a …

Continue reading PHOTOS: Happy birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. »

Big plans for Valentine’s Day? How about a 15-minute, $200 wedding at Rhodes Hall, the castle on Peachtree Street

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Stanley Johnson and Christie Koerwer smooch after their 15-minute wedding at Rhodes Hall on Valentine's Day, 2009. The race for romance returns to the castle this year. AJC file photo

You read that headline. We are talking about the ultimate in romance efficiency — a combined Valentine’s Day and wedding day, all rolled up into 15 minutes that ends with cupcakes for two.

Yes, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is bringing back its Cupid at the Castle event, a non-stop run of 15-minute, $200 weddings inside historic Rhodes Hall on Peachtree Street. They tried it for the first time last year, with great success. I broke down the intense 15-minute production line wedding schedule in this story from last year, “Castle plays Cupid to couples.”

Here’s how it works: Couples bring the marriage license and up to 20 guests. Each gets 15 minutes for the wedding, commitment ceremony or vow renewal, and a choice between the front porch or the Victorian-styled Reception Hall. …

Continue reading Big plans for Valentine’s Day? How about a 15-minute, $200 wedding at Rhodes Hall, the castle on Peachtree Street »

Access Points 22: Plaza Theatre in Poncey-Highland

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Did you recognize this week's Access Point? It's the Plaza Theatre in Poncey-Highland, shown here in 1983. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

If I’d posted a color picture of this week’s Access Point, I don’t think there would have been any question. It’s not The Varsity, nor Chuck E. Cheese, but the more popular choice: The Plaza Theatre on Ponce de Leon Avenue. The first commenter to guess correctly is two-time Access Points winner Lain Shakespeare.

Easy to see why so many of you guessed the photo correctly. The sign and marquee stand out on that stretch of Ponce, and they’ve been there a long time, 70 years, in fact. Theater owners Jonathan and Gayle Rej will celebrate this Friday by partying with Robert Osbourne of Turner Classic Movies and screening of the 1939 hit, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” plus more 1939 films the rest of the month. This will also kick off the fund-raising campaign for the Plaza Theatre Foundation, the new non-profit that runs the theater.

A quick history:

  • The …

Continue reading Access Points 22: Plaza Theatre in Poncey-Highland »

Shen Yun Chinese dancers at Cobb Energy Centre

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A dancer performs with Shen Yun, a Chinese music and dance troupe that comes to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre this week.

Shen Yun Performing Art, a troupe of Chinese dancers and musicians, has been to Atlanta before, but only this time are they going for the mass market.

But a scathing opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun calls the production “creepy” and the backdrops “garish,” but mostly seems to have a problem with the show’s politics.

I haven’t seen it, but for those who’ve seen it in the past: is it as much spectacle as it the ubiquitous billboards say it is? Did the message matter more than the music and dance?

Here’s a promo video:

Want to go? Shen Yun performs. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16, 2 p.m. Jan. 17. $39-$12o. Cobb Energy Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 770-916-2800, www.cobbenergycentre.com.

For instant update, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

Continue reading Shen Yun Chinese dancers at Cobb Energy Centre »

To do list: January 14

Art: SCAD-Atlanta Gallery Hop, 6 p.m., SCAD galleries, Atlanta. FREE.

For kids:Curious George: Let’s Get Curious” exhibition enters its final days, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, Atlanta.

Sports: Atlanta Thrashers vs. Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m., Philips Arena, Atlanta.

Stage: Good Boys & True” opens, 8 p.m., Actors Express Theatre, Atlanta.

Stage: “Tranced” opens, 8 p.m., Aurora Theatre, Lawrenceville.

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

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

Continue reading To do list: January 14 »

Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend to do list: January 15-18

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Thousands of Hands On Atlanta-coordinated service projects, like this one at Atlanta Charter Middle School, are planned to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. They're among dozens of King-inspired events this weekend.

A suggestion before you make your weekend plans: Friday would be Martin Luther King Jr.’s 81st birthday. Many of us will celebrate Monday with a day off work. There are a lot of fun things going on the next few days, but some of the very best honor King through art and community building. I encourage you to check out this list of major Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations around Atlanta, from Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performances to puppet shows to public art unveiling to service projects. More events are listed below,  and in the AccessAtlanta.com calendar.

If you’re looking for more info about live music, check out the Atlanta Music Scene blog. As always, more ideas for fun stuff to do around Atlanta are welcome in the comments.

Have a wonderful …

Continue reading Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend to do list: January 15-18 »