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Best of Atlanta 2012 Index

Best Of Atlanta Main Photo (large)


2012 Index of Winners

Best art space worth the drive BOA Award Winner

What art-related business could you possibly have in rural northwest Georgia, you ask? We'll tell ya: Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens. Located about an hour and a half northwest of Atlanta, Paradise Gardens is the stuff-filled 2.5-acre legacy of late folk artist, banjo picker, and bicycle handymanmore...
What art-related business could you possibly have in rural northwest Georgia, you ask? We'll tell ya: Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens. Located about an hour and a half northwest of Atlanta, Paradise Gardens is the stuff-filled 2.5-acre legacy of late folk artist, banjo picker, and bicycle handyman Howard Finster. Finster bought the swampy lot in 1961, drained it himself, and, by decree of The Lord, filled the grounds over the next 40 years with thousands of works in his manic and pious style, including a maze-like mosaic garden, and the property's crowning glory, the World's Folk Art Chapel. After Finster's death in 2001, ownership changed hands multiple times and the property fell into disrepair as valuable artworks were lost, sold, or destroyed by the elements. But last December, Chattooga County bought the property for $125,000, founded the Paradise Garden Foundation, and initiated a revitalization effort. In April, Paradise Gardens was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Two months later it was awarded a $445,000 grant from ArtPlace. The outdoor museum reopened in May after an intense cleanup and beautification effort that has transformed the property, an effort that foundation executive director Jordan Poole hopes will also translate into a boost for the local economy. less...

Best Barbershop BOA Award Winner

Rooster's

More info:


gillesdeleuzecommittedsuicideandsowilldrphil.com @blakebutler


Blake Butler reads at Roll the Dice: A Night of Literary Heresy at WonderRoot, 2010.

Best comedian BOA Award Winner

Evan Fowler
Many young comedians treat Atlanta as a proving ground to build their stand-up chops before moving to New York or Los Angeles. Catch Evan Fowler while you can: Although the lanky, blond 30-year-old started his stand-up comedy career only three years ago, he's quickly become a polished joke-teller withmore...
Many young comedians treat Atlanta as a proving ground to build their stand-up chops before moving to New York or Los Angeles. Catch Evan Fowler while you can: Although the lanky, blond 30-year-old started his stand-up comedy career only three years ago, he's quickly become a polished joke-teller with bad-boy charisma to spare. Like many of his peers, Fowler adeptly cracks jokes about pop culture and drugs, both on stage and via Twitter: "Just had the very distinct odor of meth waft by me while standing outside of a Taco Bell. It was like Conyers saying, 'Welcome back.'" But he can also launch into outlandish personal stories about getting fired from Chili's or crashing fancy auctions that make him sound like a pothead Huckleberry Finn for the 21st century. <i>www.twitter.com/ThatEvanFowler. less...

Best dance performance BOA Award Winner

Maa

Best dancer BOA Award Winner

Blake Beckham
When we saw American Muscle, we knew she had some great moves. When we saw PLOT, we knew she could build a dizzying sense of drama and mystery in her work. And when we saw Threshold, we knew she could realize even the most elaborate visions in a challenging dance environment. But beyond all this, Blakemore...
When we saw American Muscle, we knew she had some great moves. When we saw PLOT, we knew she could build a dizzying sense of drama and mystery in her work. And when we saw Threshold, we knew she could realize even the most elaborate visions in a challenging dance environment. But beyond all this, Blake Beckham has consistently shown a strong commitment to creating community and opportunities for other artists. It's not always about her, and that's just one more reason we're all about her. www.bdancing.com. less...

Best event to drive Atlanta over the edge BOA Award Winner

Curated by gloATL founder Lauri Stallings and sponsored by a grant from the Loridans Foundation, the Rialto Center for the Art's inaugural Off the Edge dance festival brought renowned visiting artists such as Lar Lubovitch, Keigwin + Company, and Gallim Dance to the stage for two nights of performances.more...
Curated by gloATL founder Lauri Stallings and sponsored by a grant from the Loridans Foundation, the Rialto Center for the Art's inaugural Off the Edge dance festival brought renowned visiting artists such as Lar Lubovitch, Keigwin + Company, and Gallim Dance to the stage for two nights of performances. The visitors stuck around to partner with local companies and schools for residencies: Israeli dance legend Rina Schenfeld led dance classes at Kennesaw State University, while Atlanta's Zoetic Dance Ensemble hosted Seattle-based zoe|juniper, and Spelman worked with Los Angeles' BodyTraffic. Two nights of free public performances, panel discussions, and artist exchanges ensured Atlanta's first Off the Edge had a defining sense of purpose and character. less...

Best local trend in the arts BOA Award Winner

Immersive art exhibits
A subconscious tendency emerged among a handful of artists, gallerists, and curators this year for producing immersive art exhibits. In particular, shows at Get This! and Beep Beep galleries, and another by Dashboard Co-op in a vacant Summerhill bungalow, looked to installations to transform familiarmore...
A subconscious tendency emerged among a handful of artists, gallerists, and curators this year for producing immersive art exhibits. In particular, shows at Get This! and Beep Beep galleries, and another by Dashboard Co-op in a vacant Summerhill bungalow, looked to installations to transform familiar spaces into moody set pieces. Ben Roosevelt's The Blue Flame, a physical manifestation of a dream Roosevelt had about Iggy Pop, Samuel Coleridge, Dante, and conceptual artist Joseph Beuys, converted Get This! Gallery into a faux dive bar reminiscent of the one in "Twin Peaks," complete with wood paneling and live karaoke. At Beep Beep Gallery, Jason Kofke and Chris Chambers collaborated on The Ends, an ode to the analog, the transience of technology, and the fear mongering that pervades our collective modern psyche. An '80s-era Pontiac Fiero was wedged into the small gallery space and surrounded with digital ephemera (old MacBooks, a video yearbook) and references to 1986's Challenger shuttle disaster. Dashboard Co-op curated Nathan Sharratt's Come. Inside Me., a compelling performance-based installation about family, home, sense memory, and the circle of life. In all three cases, the risk-taking paid off to create some of the year's most spectacular and transportive experiences. less...

Best neighborhood art walk BOA Award Winner

Castleberry Hill

Best new trend in the arts BOA Award Winner

Free Art Friday

Best reason to hole up in a cardboard box BOA Award Winner

Threshold
Even creating the sparest of shows in the humblest of venues can be a financial and logistical challenge for many Atlanta dance companies, so it was especially impressive to see the Lucky Penny produce Threshold in August. Blake Beckham's ambitious vision included a performance for three dancers in amore...
Even creating the sparest of shows in the humblest of venues can be a financial and logistical challenge for many Atlanta dance companies, so it was especially impressive to see the Lucky Penny produce Threshold in August. Blake Beckham's ambitious vision included a performance for three dancers in a structurally sound two-story house made entirely of cardboard. The innovative dream team of architects Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam designed the house, and more than 100 visual artists, designers, and volunteers helped realize the project with more than 50,000 square feet of paper products. The cardboard architecture provided a fascinating, dreamlike setting for Beckham's primal and visceral contemplation of interior and exterior spaces. The show unequivocally raised the bar for what's possible for independent dance in Atlanta. www.theluckypennyatl.blogspot.com. less...

Best run of the show BOA Award Winner

Theatre in the Square
In March, the board of directors of Theatre in the Square voted to close the cash-strapped playhouse against the wishes of its founder and producing director Palmer Wells. Even in less acrimonious circumstances, the loss of the Marietta-based playhouse would have been a painful blow. In 1982, Wells andmore...
In March, the board of directors of Theatre in the Square voted to close the cash-strapped playhouse against the wishes of its founder and producing director Palmer Wells. Even in less acrimonious circumstances, the loss of the Marietta-based playhouse would have been a painful blow. In 1982, Wells and partner Michael Horne launched the theater, which quickly seemed to find the ideal balance between audience-pleasing chestnuts like the oft-remounted musical Smoke on the Mountain and provocative new works, including Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane and Richard Greenburg's Take Me Out. Despite a 1993 dispute with the Cobb County Commission, which withdrew its funding for all arts over the theater's production of the gay-themed Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Theatre in the Square was clearly a home away from home for its subscribers and long-time model for small local theaters. less...

Best visiting artist BOA Award Winner

The Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre won another feather for its cap when novelist Stephen King and roots rocker John Mellencamp chose the Atlanta playhouse for the world premiere of their new musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. When Ghost Brothers made its long-awaited debut in April, themore...
The Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre won another feather for its cap when novelist Stephen King and roots rocker John Mellencamp chose the Atlanta playhouse for the world premiere of their new musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. When Ghost Brothers made its long-awaited debut in April, the show's MVP proved to be T Bone Burnett as music director. Thanks to the legendary music producer and his sound design team, Ghost Brothers' tale of intergenerational family secrets sounded like a dream, with possibly the richest instrumentation and most crystalline audio clarity the Alliance Theatre has ever delivered. Burnett ensured that Ghost Brothers became a kind of sonic spectacle, from its hammering, world-shaking blues numbers to rollicking country-and-Western tunes to its supernatural sound effects. Now how can we get him back? less...

Best burlesque troupe BOA Award Winner

Blast-Off Burlesque

Best cover band BOA Award Winner

Yacht Rock Revue

Best DJ for a drunken sing-along BOA Award Winner

Sofa King Evil
Sofa King Evil's idea of a killer transition: segueing from Lil Wayne's Sir Mix-A-Lot reference in "The Motto" ("Oh my God, Becky/look at her butt") to the original track, "Baby Got Back," itself. His idea of a last-call sing-along: spinning '90s middle-school dance fodder. Two Saturdays each month,more...
Sofa King Evil's idea of a killer transition: segueing from Lil Wayne's Sir Mix-A-Lot reference in "The Motto" ("Oh my God, Becky/look at her butt") to the original track, "Baby Got Back," itself. His idea of a last-call sing-along: spinning '90s middle-school dance fodder. Two Saturdays each month, he loosens up the MJQ crowd with his sense of humor and shamelessness. And when he cues up "Wannabe" by Spice Girls, even dudes can't resist chiming in. www.soundcloud.com/sofakingevil. less...

Best drag queen BOA Award Winner

DAX exclamationpoint

Best experimental act BOA Award Winner

Faun and a Pan Flute
Best known for orchestrating layers of winding and bucolic rhythms that evoke equal parts Can's hypnotic rhythms and the Grateful Dead's hippie-dippie ways, Faun and a Pan Flute is the most engaging act of the last year to spring from Atlanta's esoteric rock underbelly. With a lineup that generally settlesmore...
Best known for orchestrating layers of winding and bucolic rhythms that evoke equal parts Can's hypnotic rhythms and the Grateful Dead's hippie-dippie ways, Faun and a Pan Flute is the most engaging act of the last year to spring from Atlanta's esoteric rock underbelly. With a lineup that generally settles in at around nine players, the group has transformed from a ragtag math rock band into a much larger ensemble that knows no musical bounds. Since former Street Violence vocalist Suzanne Baker joined the group, her voice has become a calming agent that has redirected the Fauns to explore a nuanced kaleidoscope of sound where every horn, guitar, and drum arrangement is an essential component to the whole. Don't let the saxophone and long hair fool you, there's nothing jammy about Faun and a Pan Flute. Every note, every crashing melody, and every breath this group takes contributes to an unorthodox musical method that is distinct and deliberate. www.faunandapanflute.bandcamp.com. less...

Best local DJ BOA Award Winner

DJ Snellvillain

Best local folk act BOA Award Winner

Under White Pines

Best local mixtape BOA Award Winner

Capt. Mudfish's Breaking Bad
captmudfish.tumblr.com

Best local promoter BOA Award Winner

Iris Promotions

Best local R&B/soul act BOA Award Winner

Ruby Velle & the Soulphonics

Best local rock act BOA Award Winner

The Sexual Side Effects

Best local vocalist BOA Award Winner

Sonia Leigh

Best nightlife event BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Bass Wars

Best place to play pool BOA Award Winner

The Independent

Best bizarro news story BOA Award Winner

A drunken day gone wrong at the Piedmont Driving Club's East Point golf course
In a year that included stories about a man allegedly beating his girlfriend with her dead dog, Bishop Eddie Long being crowned a king by a visiting rabbi, and a brave woman fighting a flesh-eating bacteria, it was the ribald tales of a drunken day gone wrong at the Piedmont Driving Club's East Pointmore...
In a year that included stories about a man allegedly beating his girlfriend with her dead dog, Bishop Eddie Long being crowned a king by a visiting rabbi, and a brave woman fighting a flesh-eating bacteria, it was the ribald tales of a drunken day gone wrong at the Piedmont Driving Club's East Point golf course that blew our minds the most. Naked golf. Drunk men slapping passed-out buddies in the face with their penises. Picking up golf balls from pristine, members-only greens with one's butt cheeks. And that's just a sampling. These Caddyshack-type exploits weren't allegedly committed by frat boys freeloading on dad's membership account, but by grown men. The story, which went viral thanks to a leaked, tell-all letter by a shocked - shocked! - member of the historic private club for Atlanta's elite, had it all: intoxicated debauchery, rich people behaving badly, and the closed-lip, we'll-take-care-of-this treatment of the entire affair by the club. less...

Best child care center BOA Award Winner

Primrose School
And other Metro Atlanta locations.

Best conservative columnist BOA Award Winner

Charlie Harper
A healthy media diet should consist of hearty servings of views with which you disagree. And sometimes you'll be surprised to find yourself saying the person has a point. That's the way we feel about Charlie Harper of Peach Pundit and Dublin's Courier-Herald fame. The Fayette County native and currentmore...
A healthy media diet should consist of hearty servings of views with which you disagree. And sometimes you'll be surprised to find yourself saying the person has a point. That's the way we feel about Charlie Harper of Peach Pundit and Dublin's Courier-Herald fame. The Fayette County native and current Cobb County resident first caught political observers' eyes as Icarus, the nom de plume he used on Peach Pundit, the mostly conservative blog covering Georgia politics. The witty gent proved himself to be a wordsmith who didn't fall into the same traps filled with both conservative and liberal pundits who simply parroted talking points and shouted ideology. He soon dropped the anonymity, took over the reins of Peach Pundit, and picked up a daily political column in Dublin's Courier-Herald, which also runs on the blog. Since then he's called for ethics reform, decried plans to publicly finance a new Atlanta Falcons stadium, and - in a refreshing change for a conservative columnist - urged increased MARTA funding from state lawmakers. We don't always agree. In fact, we rarely do. But Harper's voice adds some intellect and common-sense conservatism to the debate. Both are sorely needed. less...

Best local blogger BOA Award Winner

Cameron Adams
atlantastreetfashion.blogspot.com

Best local sports radio show BOA Award Winner

680 the Fan (WCNN-AM)

Best local TV anchor BOA Award Winner

Monica Pearson

Best middle school BOA Award Winner

Inman Middle School

Best new thing about Atlanta BOA Award Winner

The Beltline

Best person you hate to love BOA Award Winner

NeNe Leakes
twitter.com/NeNeLeakes

Best place to people-watch BOA Award Winner

Little Five Points
little5points.wordpress.com

Best reaction to vandalism BOA Award Winner

Early in the morning on June 9, a band of ne'er-do-wells broke into Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium and proceeded to trash the Old Fourth Ward bar. Front windows were smashed, liquor bottles were broken. Adding insult to injury: the beer taps were left to run so the kegsmore...
Early in the morning on June 9, a band of ne'er-do-wells broke into Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium and proceeded to trash the Old Fourth Ward bar. Front windows were smashed, liquor bottles were broken. Adding insult to injury: the beer taps were left to run so the kegs poured dry. (Oddly enough, bar owner Grant Henry's artwork on the walls - and the cash in the register - were left untouched.) Friends and neighbors of the Edgewood Avenue bar sprang into action and helped sweep up the glass, mop up the mess, and replace the broken windows. That evening, Henry threw open the doors to loyal fans angered over the vandalism and eager to feast on Ruffles and French onion dip, guzzle stiff drinks, and play table tennis in the quirky bar's second floor. "If it wasn't the top Saturday night we've ever had," Henry told CL the following Monday, "it was the second top night." less...

Best sign Atlanta's intown revival still has a pulse BOA Award Winner

A crane or two
Scan the Midtown skyline and you'll see a crane or two. And if developers actually follow through on what they've pitched to neighborhood groups and journalists, they'll start popping up along Juniper Street. And on Ponce de Leon Avenue. And then who knows where else. These towering beasts, which formore...
Scan the Midtown skyline and you'll see a crane or two. And if developers actually follow through on what they've pitched to neighborhood groups and journalists, they'll start popping up along Juniper Street. And on Ponce de Leon Avenue. And then who knows where else. These towering beasts, which for the last four years have been a rare sight in a metro region that for decades was about nothing but construction, have slowly been flowing back to Atlanta, into the dense urban core, where they should have been years ago. Unlike developers' previous fascination with condos, this go-round they're erecting apartments, where young people and empty nesters can snag a home high above Atlanta, overlooking a city that, one hopes, keeps growing steadily. If there wasn't a feeling that's the case, we wouldn't be seeing them. less...


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