City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

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


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

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To do list: March 9

Art: “Cycle Through” arts how continues, noon-8 p.m., Young Blood Gallery, Atlanta.

For kids: Target Free Second Tuesdays, 1-7 p.m., Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, Atlanta. FREE.

Music: Eric Clapton performs with Roger Daltrey, 7:30 p.m., Gwinnett Arena, Duluth.

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

Stage: “Spring Awakening” opens, 8 p.m., The Fox Theatre, Atlanta.

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

For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.

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To do list: March 8

Books: “Wrapped in Rainbows” author Valarie Boyd finishes The Big Read events with a discussion of Zora Neale Hurston, 7 p.m., Margaret Mitchell House, Atlanta. FREE.

Books: Author Lee Smith discusses and signs “Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger,” 7:15 p.m., Decatur Library, Decatur. FREE.

Comedy: Anton Dahlen performs “From Russia With Love,” 8 p.m., The Punchline, Atlanta.

Music: Over the Rhine performs, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Eddie’s Attic, Decatur.

For families:African Children’s Choir” performs “Journey of Hope,” 7 p.m., Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Atlanta.

Sports: Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Cincinnati Cyclones, 7 p.m., Gwinnett Arena, Duluth.

Have 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: March 8 »

PHOTOS: Atlanta ‘Twilight’ convention March 6-7

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Actor Christopher Heyerdahl, who plays Marcus in the "Twilight" series movies, spoke at a conference dedicated to them in Atlanta on March 6. It continues through the weekend. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

It’s thousands of people and a parade short of Dragon*Con, but the mood at a “Twilight” convention going on this weekend at the Westin in Buckhead felt very much the same: curious and companionable.

Visiting actors including Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle Cullen), Daniel Cudmore (Felix), Gil Birmingham (Billy Black) and Christopher Heyerdahl (Marcus) faced questions like Who was most interesting to hang out with? Why doesn’t your character wear shoes?, What’s your nationality? and What’s your pet peeve?

Yes, the audience was mostly teen girls, but there were sections, too, like the TwilightMOMS panel, where women who’ve escaped high school were able to get together and say, “Hey! I’m not the only one in her 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, who thinks this is great!”

Rebecca Dewalk, Tiffany Murphy, Lynn Milton and Erin Fisk talk about other vampire and romance series during the Twilight Moms panel.

North Georgia Twilight …

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Cartersville museums added to free BoA program

Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum and The Booth Western Art Museum both are free to Bank of America customers who visit this weekend.

The Cartersville museums were both added to the bank’s Museums on Us program, which offers free admission to customers one weekend a month. Upcoming weekends include March 6-7, April 3-4 and May 1-2.

The program already allows free admission to the Atlanta History Center, High Museum of Art and Millennium Gate Museum, three fewer than had been offered in 2009.

Tellus and the Booth are great additions to this program, though, especially for folks who want to explore something further to the north. Here are posts I did from the Booth art museum, and from Tellus.

There are more free and and discounted days or events at museums, too, like Fulton Free Saturdays at the High Museum of Art, Target Free Second Tuesdays at Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta and Phoenix Flies events at The Wren’s Nest, The Center for Puppetry Arts and …

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Last weekend to see Zoo Atlanta lion cubs; more baby news


Remember these kids, Small, Medium and Large? (OK, they were later dubbed Christos, Mikalos and Athanaisi.) Zoo Atlanta's lion cubs will soon move to Africam Safari, a zoo in Mexico. They're not the only zoo babies making news lately, though. AJC file photos

One more sign of spring: there’s a lot of baby news coming out of Zoo Atlanta these days. Most pressing is that this is the last weekend to see Zoo Atlanta’s lion cubs before they move to their new home at Africam Safari in Puebla, Mexico.

They’re not as tiny as they were in the above photo from 2008, but they’re Atlanta babies none the less.

In other baby news:


There could be another baby orangutan, like little Dumadi, shown here in 2007. Zoo Atlanta has a pregnant mama.

  • Xi Lan, the panda cub, is a big boy, all weaned from his mom and living alone. (Mei Lan, Zoo Atlanta’s first panda cub, is already back in China. Here’s a great Q&A with the keeper who traveled there with her.) The AJC reported this week Zoo Atlanta …

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Phoenix Flies showcases hidden historic sites in Atlanta


Hidden inside Grady Memorial Hospital is a historic chapel designed by local architect Philip Shutze. It was recently refurbished and will be on display during the Atlanta Preservation Center's Phoenix Flies event. AJC file photo

Starting this weekend, there are dozens of events that teach something new about Atlanta. Usually, you’d have to pay for them, but for these few weeks, they’re free. In some cases, there wouldn’t be a usually because you’d never get this kind of access to them.

It’s the Atlanta Preservation Center’s seventh Phoenix Flies; it coordinates the city’s historic sites and schedules free tours and events there from March 6-22. It’s two weeks to refute the idea that there’s no history left in Atlanta, to point out that it’s not too late — those sites and stories don’t have to be forgotten.

“Many people don’t think of Atlanta as having historic sites,” explains Rebecca Roberts, the Preservation Center’s director of programs. “They may know about the History …

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‘Free To Be…You And Me’ in books, music, TV and on stage

This is the last weekend of Synchronicity Theatre’s production of “Free To Be…You And Me,” and all the memories of the 1970s kiddie phenom came flooding back. (I was a child of the 1980s, but the material lasted.) Here’s a look back at “Free To Be…” in multimedia, including the stage show.

The book: “Free To Be…You And Me” by Marlo Thomas and friends appeared in 1972. A 35th anniversary edition was published in 2008. Here’s a sweet story by Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing about an extremely pleasant transaction over


Free To Be, the album

The album: Here’s how I remember “Free To Be…You And Me”: Working on art projects in my third-grade classroom in Warren, Mich. — that was the year of the swirly, metallic Crayolas — with a record on in the background, when the teacher asked us to set everything down and really pay attention to the song “It’s All Right To Cry.” I didn’t know who (Georgia-born!) Rosey Grier was, and it would be years before I knew his name …

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‘Alice in Wonderland’ in the movies, on Atlanta stages


Helena Bonham Carter is the Red Queen in the new "Alice in Wonderland" film.

I expect to see Disney’s new “Alice in Wonderland” film among the top moneymakers this weekend. The theater was packed when I saw a preview this week, the audience all too gleeful to put on 3D glasses, to sign and laugh at the right moments, to applaud at the end.

The film, which opens today, is a little of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” a little “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There,” a bit too much Disney and a lot Tim Burton. I have an extreme fondness for rabbits and loyal dogs, but the Red Queen is an unusually great villain. She’s evil in every way, but still worth our sympathy; she’s clearly hurt and insecure.  Unfortunately for everyone else, her only coping skill is beheading dissenters.


"Lookingglass Alice" opens at Alliance on March 31.

But that’s far from the only Alice you’ll see around Atlanta this month. Gwinnett Ballet Theatre will present the …

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Access Points 27: Staircase carving at SCAD’s Ivy Hall


Maybe the ivy carving in this week's Access Point will look familiar when you see it on this staircase at Ivy Hall. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

If you’ve ever set foot inside Ivy Hall, reached out to grab the rail and stepped up the staircase, you’ve touched this week’s Access Point. The 1883 home of one of Atlanta’s founding families remains one of Atlanta’s best examples of Queen Anne Victorian architecture, and yet another place to find fun things to do in the city.

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SCAD's Ivy Hall. Photo by Chia Chong.

Several commenters recognized this week’s image — the first was Chris P. who said it was part of The Mansion on Peachtree. Indeed, this space was a restaurant for decades before it was restored. Commenter Sandy was the first to point out that it is now part of the staircase in Ivy Hall, an academic and cultural center for SCAD Atlanta.

The ivy on the main staircase of the Peters family home was one of many original details painstakingly restored, and documented in the Georgia Public …

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