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Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Know before you go: Atlanta Arts Festival, September 12-13


The Atlanta Arts Festival features more than 200 artists and runs Sept. 12-13 this year. AJC file photo

I expect most of us will let out a sigh of relief this Saturday when we set foot in Piedmont Park for the Atlanta Arts Festival. After festivals were kicked off the grassy lawns because of drought, that space is not to be taken for granted. The Atlanta Arts Festival continues there on Saturday, when it will open with more than 200 artists, live music and art creation stations. It’s a newer festival than the city’s beloved Dogwood Festival, which features about 250 artists, and draws a smaller, less intimidating crowd, too. But in three years, has established itself among the city’s favorite free fall activities.

Here’s what you should know before you go.


Atlanta Arts Festival, 2008. AJC file photo

It’s fine art, less craft. The artists here are painters, sculptors, woodworkers, photographers and jewelry makers. They’re selling their work, much like the crafters and artists …

Continue reading Know before you go: Atlanta Arts Festival, September 12-13 »

Know before you go: Yellow Daisy Festival, September 10-13

Pretty! Yellow Daisy Festival Shoppers checked out a tent at the 2007 festival. AJC file photo

Pretty and simple though it sounds, the Yellow Daisy Festival is a huge event. Pretty, indeed, but not simple. Some 200,000 people will come to Stone Mountain Park to see and buy the wares of more than 500 crafters from around the United States. This is the 41st year for the show, and admission is free, so it draws shoppers from far away, too.

There’s some good news to add: for the first time, festival organizers made a program that lists artists’ names and booth numbers, plus space to take notes.

Here’s what else you should know before you go! As always,  tips and ideas from experienced Yellow Daisy Festival-goers and questions from newbies are welcome in the comments section!

Prepare a shopping list: First, the arts and crafts categories — accessories, artist’s prints, artwork, clothing, clay functional (like ceramics and pottery) and clay nonfunctional (decorative pieces), dolls, …

Continue reading Know before you go: Yellow Daisy Festival, September 10-13 »

Dragon*Con ‘Thriller’ dancers might break world record

"Thriller" dancers at Dragon*Con 2009. Photo by Brenda Smith.

Now that we’re all back to work and school, let’s check in on one of the great moments in Labor Day fun, shall we?

I mentioned last week that a group of Dragon*Con attendees in Atlanta would try to break the world record for the number of people dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The standing record is at College of William & Mary, where 242 people danced (and recorded it to Guinness’ specifications) in April 2009.

Well, 903 danced to the ghoulish theme at Dragon*Con on Sunday, down slightly from an earlier count of 905. (In costume! That doesn’t do anything for the record, but it does make for solid entertainment.)

Here’s a video, shot by the AJC’s Elissa Eubanks. Note the giant Michael Jackson glove around 3:13.

Here’s some rehearsal video. I’ll post the official view when organizers are done editing, hopefully later today!

Of course, 903 is impressive, but it doesn’t mean the Dragon*Con dancers broke the …

Continue reading Dragon*Con ‘Thriller’ dancers might break world record »

PHOTOS: 2009 Decatur Book Festival closing day

Skippyjon Jones: a big deal. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

I spent the day wandering the Decatur Book Festival, heading from reading to signing to launch to meeting to, well, Raging Burrito, to trivia to concert to picnic. Here were a few of the things I saw. Share your favorite book festival moments in the comments!

Bookzilla shoes! AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Sweet AlizAbeth performed during the closing picnic. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Brigid Choi of The Wren's Nest Publishing Co. launched its magazine and drew people in to a literary salon with free food, live music and readings. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Will Pearson, president of Mental Floss, asked Miriam Sokolow, 16, to name whether a quote came from Angelina Jolie or Gandhi. It's tougher than you think. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Not old enough to read? No problem — there were a lot of balloons and bubbles. Here, 2-year-old Benjamin Reynolds caught a few. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Continue reading PHOTOS: 2009 Decatur Book Festival closing day »

PHOTOS: Dragon*Con Parade takes over Peachtree Street

Cinderella's wicked step-sisters sing to the crowd during the Dragon*Con parade on Saturday. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

Here’s what I saw this morning at the Dragon*Con parade up Peachtree Street in Atlanta:

  • Dozens of gleeful children dressed as Stormtroopers, shooting at their enemies.
  • More Ghostbusters than I realize pop culture allowed.
  • Faeries offering starry-pointed wands to little boys, who seemed happy to have them.

Puss in Boots! AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

  • A sword fight in front of Brooks Brothers.
  • A serious pirate ship, towed by a truck, but plenty large enough to float on the Chattahoochee…
  • An all-female Quidditch team chanting, “We are the Harpies, mighty, mighty Harpies!”
  • A bunch of Spartans, and not in an athletic-team kinda way.
  • Confused Virginia Tech and Alabama fans.

Stylish. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

  • Hotter boots than I ever see on Peachtree Street when everybody is dressed normally.
  • Frankenstein and his bride, in a convertible decked out with a “Just Married” sign.
  • The …

Continue reading PHOTOS: Dragon*Con Parade takes over Peachtree Street »

Harold Evans opens Decatur Book Festival with love for print

Sir Harold Evans opened the Decatur Book Festival on Friday by declaring how much he loves newspapers, loves books, loves his Kindle and his computer, too, but not like he loves the printed word. When he turns a page, he knows right where he is.

This being a book festival, he fit right in.

Evans' new book, out in November.

Addiction to print, he explained, is much different from addiction to reading. (His background — newspaper, magazine and book editor, reporter and author, husband to Tina Brown — suggests he’s got a long history with both.) He savors the design of letter. He misses the lead-and-tin smell of printing presses. The first thing he does in the morning is check out his wife’s Web site, The Daily Beast. The second thing he does is read newspapers, four or five of them.

Evans seems to live by the idea that news is what somebody, somewhere wants to suppress. (Sept. 11, 2001 he argued, wouldn’t have caught us by surprise had someone investigated and reported …

Continue reading Harold Evans opens Decatur Book Festival with love for print »

INTERVIEW: Starlight Drive-In manager Jim Stacey prepares for theater’s Drive-Invasion and 60th anniversary party

Cars lined up to get into the drive-in theater in 2000. AJC file photo

When I turn 60, I want a party something like Starlight Six Drive-in’s birthday bash: live music, B-movies, tons of food, all kinds of relaxed, fun people having a relaxed, fun time.

Sunday’s Drive-Invasion — Starlight Six’s 10th such celebration — will have all that, plus the knowledge that everyone can use the Labor Day holiday to recover.

I talked with Jim Stacey, the drive-in’s general manager, to get a sense of where the movie lot has been, where it’s headed and how it has survived so long. Stacey saw movies there as a kid, loved coming back as an adult and has worked there for 10 years now. These days, he does everything you expect a theater manager to do, plus lawn care.

Want to go? Starlight Six Drive-Invasion, 11 a.m. Sept. 6 at the drive-in, 2000 Moreland Ave., Atlanta. $28, children ages 9 and younger are $5. 404-627-5786, Ticket info.

Sneaking a kiss during "Girl Happy" …

Continue reading INTERVIEW: Starlight Drive-In manager Jim Stacey prepares for theater’s Drive-Invasion and 60th anniversary party »

What to know before you go: Dragon*Con

Dragon*Con Parade, 2008. AJC file photo

Dragon*Con is just amazing — it’s a pop culture convention where Star Trek and Star Wars get along, where pirates, Spidermen, goth kids, comic book readers, artists, filmmakers, costumers, families and singles and everyone you think you know gets together to hang out and explore the sci-fi side of themselves. It started in 1987 with 1,400 people at the Piedmont Plaza Hotel, and this Sept. 4-7, it welcomes more than 30,000 people to four downtown Atlanta hotels.

The conference includes some 35 topics fleshed out enough enough to be a sub-conference, more than 500 featured guests, contests, shopping, a film festival, a blood drive. But for such a large, boisterous event, it doesn’t get in the way of normal operations. You’ll be able to tell the office workers from the conference-goers, but downtown Atlanta certainly won’t shut down to those not wearing pirate hats.

Here’s a guide to help you through the weekend, but Dragon*Con regulars: …

Continue reading What to know before you go: Dragon*Con »

What to know before you go: AJC Decatur Book Festival

Book shopping during DBF 2007. Expect a bigger crowd this year. AJC file photo

In four years, the AJC Decatur Book Festival has grown into one of the largest gatherings of lit lovers in the United States. Some 70,000 people attended last year and with more scheduled authors and events at this weekend’s festival, expect even more.

The whole operation runs on the passion of readers and logistical wizardry, which means it’s easy to be overwhelmed, whether you’re dropping by to get a book signed or moving in Friday to stay the whole weekend. Use this guide to help you get started. Meanwhile, if any DBF veterans in the crowd have tips or recommendations, share in the comments!

Bookzilla attacks!

Here’s a printable map of the Decatur Book Festival stages, street fair and activities, plus a list of exhibitors.

There are so many readings, signings, performances fashion shows, cooking demos, wrestling matches, the DBF is best enjoyed with a little planning …

Continue reading What to know before you go: AJC Decatur Book Festival »

‘Like the Dogwood,’ but for local artists: new Chastain Park Arts Festival to run Oct. 17-18

The Chastain Park Arts Festival, a new juried art market announced yesterday, will debut in October. It will be like the Dogwood or Atlanta Arts festivals, one founder told me yesterday, but more focused on local artists.

The problem as Randall Fox, a vice president of The Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces, saw it: artists from metro Atlanta compete with hundreds of local and national artists for a spot in the city’s most famous and long-running art festivals, and can’t always get in, even with good work. Meanwhile, Piedmont Park has become the home-base for fine arts festivals, despite the traffic and parking troubles in Midtown.

Fox and his partner, Patrick Dennis, decided to create a new art festival, one created explicitly to showcase the work of artists around metro Atlanta and Georgia, and to highlight another part of Fulton County. Chastain Park, Fox points out, has plenty of parking.

A festival might have happened sooner at this park of many personalities — it’s a …

Continue reading ‘Like the Dogwood,’ but for local artists: new Chastain Park Arts Festival to run Oct. 17-18 »