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Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Vote for Atlanta’s best festival on Best of the Big A blog!

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If you've got a favorite festival around Atlanta, whether it celebrates a vegetable or local history, time to nominate it for the Best Festival on Best of the big A. AJC file photo

Nevermind the weather forecast, here’s just one more sign that spring has arrived: the AJC’s Best of the Big A blog is asking you to pick the best festival around Atlanta. After all the festivals and fairs we’ve discussed on this blog, I know you’ve got opinions on the matter. It could be books, chili, rides, crafts, flowers, animals, music or a certain neighborhood that gets you to vote — as long as it comes in the form of a festival.

Here’s how it works: voters nominate their favorites in the Best of the Big A blog comments. One week later, we tally the top vote-getters and ask you to pick among the top 5. Finally, we’ll announce the winner one week after that.

Keep an eye out — I’ll have another big announcement involving Best of the Big A later this week, too!

For instant updates, follow

Continue reading Vote for Atlanta’s best festival on Best of the Big A blog! »

POLL: Do you want Freaknik back in Atlanta?

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Freaknikers from Southern Illinois University danced around Five Points in downtown Atlanta in 1996. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he doesn't expect the party to return to Atlanta.

That illustrious, verifiable source we know as The Internet says that Freaknic (sic) is coming back. “The Official Atlanta Freaknic Site” says it’ll be April 16-18 in Washington Park. It also says that the 2010 theme is “Super Freak,” and that “Freaknic is a private event for members only. You must register on this site and pledge to not break the law.” It adds, “There are no nude pictures on this Web site.”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says no way. Or rather, “I don’t believe it will materialize and it’s not my intention for the city to be supportive of it.” He points out that nobody has filed for a permit. It’s not clear who the organizers of the Web site are.

Do you want Freaknik to return to Atlanta?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes, but only if safety and traffic issues are resolved first.

View …

Continue reading POLL: Do you want Freaknik back in Atlanta? »

2010 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival winners and encores

jewishfilmThe Atlanta Jewish Film Festival had a big year, drawing a  record 20,145 filmgoers, a 17 percent attendance jump over 2009.

If you missed it, the festival’s Audience Award Winners will each get an encore screening on March 14 at Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station, 261 19th St., Atlanta. Tickets to the screenings are $10 and available at www.ajff.org.

Here’s the winners and their scheduled encores:

Best Documentary Film:Where I Stand: The Hank Greenspun Story” tells the story of a Vegas mob associate/newspaperman and is narrated by Anthony Hopkins. 4 p.m. March 14.

Best Narrative Film:Who Do You Love” tells the story of Leonard Chess, a Polish Jewish nightclub owner who establishes Chess Records. The film is directed by Jerry Zaks, and made its U.S. premiere at AJFF. 7 p.m. March 14.

Did you see these films? What were your favorites at this year’s festival? Share in the comments!

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

Continue reading 2010 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival winners and encores »

LBGT entertainment options earn Atlanta ‘gayest city’ title!

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A rainbow flag moves down Peachtree Street in Atlanta during the 2007 Pride Parade. The Advocate recently named Atlanta the Gayest City in America, mostly, it seems because of how much fun we have. AJC file photo

Well, well, well, Atlanta, not to boast, but once again, our reputation for fun has put us atop  a random list by an out-of-town publication using arbitrary rankings. We win!

This time, it’s The Advocate — yep, the AJC and others reported this already, but I’ve been busy — and it says we’re the gayest city. Rounding out the top 5: Burlington, Vt., Iowa City, Bloomington, Ind. and Madison, Wis. The Advocate explains that their list covers ” a slew of secondary cities are becoming gay epicenters,” all the places where gay people moved after taking over San Francisco, South Beach and entire sections of New York.

Based on numbers of gay bars, elected officials and Netflix queues, among other stats, Atlanta is, indeed, “much more pink than you might think.”

The specifics …

Continue reading LBGT entertainment options earn Atlanta ‘gayest city’ title! »

New Winter Beer Carnival tickets go on sale this week

Spotted on the Atlanta Music Guide blog: there’s yet another boozefest coming to Atlanta, the Winter Beer Carnival.

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The Atlanta Brewing Company's Red Brick Blonde. Mmm. AJC file photo

This event promises DJs, food and, to keep with the theme, carnival games. Regular admission will get you five game tickets, VIP admission gets you 10, and both get you all the samples you can safely drink. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Jan. 22 through Ticket Alternative.

I didn’t realize just how seriously Atlantans celebrate their adults beverages until last October, when people were scrambling for tickets to the Decatur Beer Festival, and everybody was making weekend trips to Helen. Then there was the Decatur Wine Festival, another tough-to-get ticket, and Taste of Atlanta, with its Wine and Beer Experience tent.

Naturally, the Winter Beer Carnival is for people ages 21 and older. Still, by the end of it, the competition on the midway could be hilarious.

Want to go? Winter Beer Carnival. 3-7 …

Continue reading New Winter Beer Carnival tickets go on sale this week »

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. »

Best Event of 2009: Paul McCartney at Piedmont Park

After tallying your nominations and analyzing your votes, the clear winner for Atlanta’s Best Event of 2009 was The Green Concert at Piedmont Park with Sir Paul McCartney.

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Paul McCartney's Green Concert at Piedmont Park was voted Atlanta's Best Event of 2009. AJC file photo

Why, despite the huge crowd, rough weather and ticketing troubles? Just check out this user-submitted photo gallery.

Or consider what one commenter wrote: “Paul McCartney at Piedmont Park reminded us all of what an amazing feeling you get when you join with thousands of other people to experience the performance of a musical legend and master communicator.”

Indeed, much of Atlanta seems to be celebrating Piedmont Park — now drought-free, three of the five most popular events were held there.

Of course, all the finalists drew big crowds, and I hope we’ll see all those festivals and events grow and get more creative. More fun=better Atlanta.

Here are the other events that filled out your Top 5 Atlanta Events …

Continue reading Best Event of 2009: Paul McCartney at Piedmont Park »

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival tickets on sale now

Tickets went on sale today for the 10th Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, which runs Jan. 13-24. You can check out the full schedule of films and buy those tickets at www.ajff.org. To see some descriptions and highlights, check out this handy AJC story by Howard Pousner, “Jewish Film Festival announces 10th annual slate.

It’s the largest film festival in Atlanta — it drew 17,000 last year — and the second largest Jewish film festival in the United States, and for its 10th year, they’ve got some fun events planned.

  • For the AJFF  Gala Concert, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will perform music from Jewish film scores, including selections from “Schindler’s List”,”Driving Miss Daisy”,”Yentl”,”Life is Beautiful”,”The Ten Commandments” and more. 8 p.m. Jan. 4. $18-$250.  Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St., N.E., Atlanta.
  • Opening night includes a reception at Strip restaurant and screening of “Berlin ‘36.” 5:30-10:30 p.m. Jan. 13.  $36. Regal Cinemas in Atlantic Station, 261 …

Continue reading Atlanta Jewish Film Festival tickets on sale now »

Sip wisely at this weekend’s Decatur Wine Festival

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Leona Davis and Carl Black visited the 2004 Decatur Wine Festival. The festival returns Nov. 7. AJC file photo

I went to a wine tasting at Tiny Bistro the other night, before I remembered how little I know about grapes, noses and oak barrels. My occasional wine purchases are usually made by selecting bottles with bicycles on the labels because, hey, I ride a bike, too!

It felt a like a Tupperware party where you leave a little warmer than you came. A grand time was had chatting with our table neighbors and sipping on whatever was put in front of us, but I left wondering what guidance I could possibly offer you for this weekend’s Decatur Wine Festival.

There’s the obvious stuff: it’s a fund-raiser for the Decatur Arts Alliance, and in its eighth year, it’ll feature more than 350 wines and food from local restaurants. Organizers recommend you use MARTA — just hop off at the Decatur station stop, and you’re there.

But for the real wine info, I direct you toward the Random …

Continue reading Sip wisely at this weekend’s Decatur Wine Festival »

Pride Festival back in Piedmont: How did it go?

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Ralph Hickman shoots a photo of Mickey Gonzalez and her partner, Jodi Walker, at the Atlanta Pride Festival on Sunday. AJC/Vino Wong

Atlanta’s Pride Festival was back in Piedmont Park this weekend, a gray, rainy Saturday turned into a sunny, beautiful Sunday. Excellent recovery, Mother Nature.

Here are more AJC photos from the Pride Parade, and a ton more photos from Southern Voice’s photo galleries. To see the photos shot in the Faces of Pride photobooth above, check out the Faces of Pride Facebook page. We’ve also got photos of the Blake Lewis show in the Atlanta Music Scene blog.

The 2010 Pride dates weren’t to be announced until after this weekend, but the city gave the nod last week that copious rain meant all  major festival would move back into Piedmont Park next year.

So how did it go? Was it good to be back in Piedmont Park, even in a different season? Or will it not feel quite right till it’s back in its usual location at its usual time in June? Share your …

Continue reading Pride Festival back in Piedmont: How did it go? »