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Best of Atlanta 2017 Index

Poets Critics Dolls Main Large





2017 Index of Winners




Best local promoter

Glenn Goodhand of Iris Presents

Best patron for the arts

Kebbi Williams
KEBBI WILLIAMS has spent a lifetime immersed in music. Spending decades traversing the late-night music scene, and landing a gig playing sax for the Grammy-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band seems more than worthy of earning a lifetime achievement award. And sure, when he rolls up to Kevin Scott's Tuesdaymore...
KEBBI WILLIAMS has spent a lifetime immersed in music. Spending decades traversing the late-night music scene, and landing a gig playing sax for the Grammy-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band seems more than worthy of earning a lifetime achievement award. And sure, when he rolls up to Kevin Scott's Tuesday night jam sessions at Elliott Street Deli & Pub, the city's finest players turn their heads in awe. But Williams' work on the ground level truly makes a difference. As one of the proprietors of Gallery 992, he's created an outpost for the arts, music, yoga and education in the West End. His annual Music in the Park blowouts in Howell Park place young students and professional musicians on a level playing field, and engage them all with music. After watching music education programs being stripped from public schools throughout the city, Williams has worked with more than 5,100 students and more than 300 professional musicians to crowds of more than 15,000 people. Now seven years deep, and still free for all to attend, Williams has done more than his share of heavy lifting for the arts; changing hearts and minds every step of the way. www.musicintheparkatl.org/gallery-992. less...

Best sound guy

Andrew Wiggins
Since taking over Johnny Rhum's role as production manager at the Earl in August 2016, guitarist and noise specialist ANDREW WIGGINS (Caesium Mine, ex-HAWKS) has brought his high level of expertise and professionalism to sound quality and production show after show. A tech at Acorn Amplifiers by day,more...
Since taking over Johnny Rhum's role as production manager at the Earl in August 2016, guitarist and noise specialist ANDREW WIGGINS (Caesium Mine, ex-HAWKS) has brought his high level of expertise and professionalism to sound quality and production show after show. A tech at Acorn Amplifiers by day, Wiggins' sound production stands out due to his personal touches to the Earl's sound setup, such as his mid-1970s Echoplex EP-3 he sometimes chooses to run through vocals. Having learned under Rhum and Curt Wells in his earlier days as sound guy around town, Wiggins maintains the reputation the two established at the Earl, continuously braving the impairments of tinnitus and bringing his insight and meticulousness of sound to bands' performances. His expertise and service of producing consistently impeccable-sounding shows with the attention and care he takes to make artists sound their best make him a standout favorite among Best local and touring bands and an asset in the Atlanta music scene. less...

Best act to kick footwork into the future

Charolastra
In February, when Peter Roglin released CHAROLASTRA's debut cassette, God Help Us, the project appeared to be a one-man operation: Roglin kept on track by producers Anthony Nolan and Tito Mazzetta. Throughout God Help Us, songs such as "Top of the World," "Microdream" and "Is Everything as It Seems"more...
In February, when Peter Roglin released CHAROLASTRA's debut cassette, God Help Us, the project appeared to be a one-man operation: Roglin kept on track by producers Anthony Nolan and Tito Mazzetta. Throughout God Help Us, songs such as "Top of the World," "Microdream" and "Is Everything as It Seems" make fine intros to Roglin's early obsessions with hip-hop, drum and bass, Chicago footwork and spacey ambient production. But when performing live on stage, Charolastra opens up dramatically. These days Roglin hesitates to even talk about the project without diverting attention to the band he has assembled, featuring guitarist Speros Kokenes, bass player Alex Pound, saxophone player Marquinn Mason and drummer Dylan Banks. On stage, the group takes a headlong dive into cosmic jazz excursions, bookended by Mason's towering presence walking the frontline of long, sustained moments of improv and beat-driven structures. Roglin lays low in the background, twisting knobs and watching over his devices with stoic presence, as the group digs into rhythms grooves and textures that transcend the instincts and temperament of modern musical trends. This is music that forges its own adventurous path from the group's collective conscious into the colorful outer regions of modern Atlanta music. www.charolastra.bandcamp.com. less...



Best mural

Hosea Williams by Fabian Williams (at Studioplex)

Best museum

High Museum of Art High Museum of Art

Best play

Invasion: Christmas Carol Dad's Garage Theatre

Best film made in Atlanta

Baby Driver

www.babydriver-movie.com

photo by: Wilson Webb

Best curator

Karen Comer Lowe Chastain Arts Center
KAREN COMER LOWE, director of the Chastain Arts Center, has been putting in great work for years, but she made major waves this summer when she curated a buzz-worthy exhibition for celebrated artist Hebru Brantley. With the show, titled Clay Pigeons, Lowe was able to coax the Chicago-based Clark Atlantamore...

KAREN COMER LOWE, director of the Chastain Arts Center, has been putting in great work for years, but she made major waves this summer when she curated a buzz-worthy exhibition for celebrated artist Hebru Brantley. With the show, titled Clay Pigeons, Lowe was able to coax the Chicago-based Clark Atlanta University graduate to mount his first solo exhibit in the ATL in four years — one that tackled social issues like police brutality and racism in ways he’d never displayed before. But helming Clay Pigeons was just the latest major move for Lowe, who’s built a career on throwing shine to super-talented artists — such as Yanique Norman, Fabian Williams and Fahamu Pecou — early in their artistic development. And with a lauded new collection featuring the work of Cosmo Whyte currently hanging at the Center, she shows no signs of slowing down or changing course. www.ocaatlanta.com/chastain.

art by Hebru Brantley

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best comic book writer

Van Jensen
VAN JENSEN started out his career in comics nearly 10 years ago writing off-kilter indie comics, but it didn’t take long for him to snag assignments writing big-time superhero comics for the mainstream publishers. This year, however, he made a return to his offbeat roots with a handful of choice gigsmore...
VAN JENSEN started out his career in comics nearly 10 years ago writing off-kilter indie comics, but it didn’t take long for him to snag assignments writing big-time superhero comics for the mainstream publishers. This year, however, he made a return to his offbeat roots with a handful of choice gigs from a gaggle of comic houses: the science fiction series Fallen Suns (out this month), a graphic novel adaptation of the James Bond classic Casino Royale (to be released in October), and the Deep South crime thriller Two Dead he’s creating with March illustrator Nate Powell (coming in 2018), among other projects. He also carved out time to direct his first short film, titled Pisser, about a guy’s mission to take a spatter-free, well, piss. And, on top of all that, the guy even works with local schools, teaching kids how to make their own comics. So, while he may not being writing about spandex-clad heroes at the moment, he’s banging out a superhuman-level workload — and we’re all better as a result. www.twitter.com/van_jensen. less...

Best brunch

Atlanta Breakfast Club

Best Indian

Masala Indian Cuisine

Best Mexican

Nuevo Laredo Cantina Nuevo Laredo Cantina

Best pizza

Antico Pizza

Best OTP newcomer

Spring
Praise be the OTP restaurant that makes intowners (not to mention out-of-towners) jealous. Marietta’s SPRING is such a place. Chef Brian So, formerly of Sobban, crafts elegantly simple compositions — like a recent sweet corn risotto with charred padróns and a scattering of local chanterelles —more...
Praise be the OTP restaurant that makes intowners (not to mention out-of-towners) jealous. Marietta’s SPRING is such a place. Chef Brian So, formerly of Sobban, crafts elegantly simple compositions — like a recent sweet corn risotto with charred padróns and a scattering of local chanterelles — that showcase our region’s bounty as well as any farm-driven ITP mainstay does. The rustic dining room, converted from an old train depot, makes good use of exposed brick and old wood beams, reminding you that you’re in the heart of a place with history — a feeling that’s increasingly hard to find among Midtown’s construction cranes. But be warned: Bon Appétit recently selected Spring as one of the 50 best new restaurants in the U.S., which will surely spur visits from well beyond Marietta’s bounds. 83 Church St., Marietta. 678-540-2777. www.springmarietta.com. less...

Best career move

Michael Hendricks Staplehouse
Chef and home cooks alike used to arrive early to Peachtree Road Farmers Market to get first dibs on forager MICHAEL HENDRICKS’ found edibles. This year, however, after nine years of working closely with Staplehouse’s Ryan Smith, Hendricks took a forager’s dream job, searching through the woodsmore...
Chef and home cooks alike used to arrive early to Peachtree Road Farmers Market to get first dibs on forager MICHAEL HENDRICKS’ found edibles. This year, however, after nine years of working closely with Staplehouse’s Ryan Smith, Hendricks took a forager’s dream job, searching through the woods full-time for chef Smith’s award-winning restaurant. Besides mushrooms, he brings in ramps, daylily shoots and buds, wood sorrel, Japanese knotweed and violet leaves. That dreamy chicken liver tart recently came tweezered with Hendricks’ golden chanterelles, and marrying their skills together is the basis Staplehouse was born upon: “health, happiness, and longevity through what we eat,” as Hendricks puts it. He can take a little credit for that edible flower in your cocktail, too, as he also cares for the herb garden out back. Staplehouse, 541 Edgewood Ave. S.E. 404-524-5005. www.staplehouse.com. less...

Best long-awaited recognition

Steven Satterfield Miller Union
Root to leaf to medal: After five consecutive years of nominations for one of the restaurant industry’s highest honors, Miller Union’s STEVEN SATTERFIELD was finally named Best Chef: Southeast of 2017 by the James Beard Foundation. In a ceremony last spring in Chicago, fellow titleholder Anne Quatranomore...

Root to leaf to medal: After five consecutive years of nominations for one of the restaurant industry’s highest honors, Miller Union’s STEVEN SATTERFIELD was finally named Best Chef: Southeast of 2017 by the James Beard Foundation. In a ceremony last spring in Chicago, fellow titleholder Anne Quatrano placed the coveted and well-deserved medal around Satterfield’s neck. And collectively, we in Atlanta cheered because Satterfield has long been a dedicated champion of both our local farmers and our bellies, churning out seasonal, veggie-focused food (not to mention an impeccably curated wine list, which was also nominated this year) at eight-year-old Atlanta gem Miller Union. You earned it, chef. Miller Union, 999 Brady Ave. N.W. 678-733-8550. www.millerunion.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best food spectacle

Gunshow Gunshow
Get your tickets to the GUNSHOW because there is no place quite like it. Kevin Gillespie’s Glenwood Park hot spot is the rare collision of cool concept meets exceptional food. There are no menus with set courses; rather, dishes audition for your choosing as chefs come to the table and present itemsmore...
Get your tickets to the GUNSHOW because there is no place quite like it. Kevin Gillespie’s Glenwood Park hot spot is the rare collision of cool concept meets exceptional food. There are no menus with set courses; rather, dishes audition for your choosing as chefs come to the table and present items both homey and exotic. A mashup of dim sum and Brazilian churrascaria, where a wide-open kitchen sets the stage for maximum chef-diner interaction, Gunshow is never the same place twice. Executive chef Joey Ward carefully curates a scene of clever, heartfelt and playful food. Cocktails come by way of a rolling cart, where your conductor, Mercedes O’Brien, mixes and stirs right in front of you. 924 Garrett St., Suite C. 404-380-1886. www.gunshowatl.com. less...

Best little chocolate factory in Atlanta

XOCOLATL
Nestled inside Krog Street Market sits the tiniest chocolate factory in Atlanta — and maybe the nation. Husband and wife team Elaine Read and Matt Weyandt opened XOCOLATL back in 2014 and have been steadily churning chocolate bars (and their highly addictive drinking chocolate — hot in the wintermore...
Nestled inside Krog Street Market sits the tiniest chocolate factory in Atlanta — and maybe the nation. Husband and wife team Elaine Read and Matt Weyandt opened XOCOLATL back in 2014 and have been steadily churning chocolate bars (and their highly addictive drinking chocolate — hot in the winter and frozen in the summer) out of their miniscule 250-something-square-foot space ever since. The couple is serious about ingredients and sourcing. All bars are single origin and start with a base of just cane sugar and pure cacao from South and Central America. Be sure to try their latest offering: Love & Happiness, made with Peruvian cacao beans, fresh raspberry and blood orange. 99 Krog St. N.E. 404-604-9642. www.xocolatlchocolate.com less...

Best beer festival

Decatur Craft Beer Festival

Best service

Atlanta Breakfast Club

Best Chinese

Golden Buddha Restaurant

Best Italian

Bambinelli's

Best Middle Eastern

Imperial Fez

Best playground

Noguchi Playscape Piedmont Park

Best hiking trail

Chattahoochee River trails

Best weed warrior

Allen Peake
A handful of politicos pushed pot policy reforms this year, but only one of those efforts bore fruit. State Rep. ALLEN PEAKE passed legislation that expanded the list of ailments a person must have to be eligible for a medical cannabis oil prescription. The THC limit is still capped at 5 percent, somore...

A handful of politicos pushed pot policy reforms this year, but only one of those efforts bore fruit. State Rep. ALLEN PEAKE passed legislation that expanded the list of ailments a person must have to be eligible for a medical cannabis oil prescription. The THC limit is still capped at 5 percent, so patients aren’t exactly getting stoned just yet. But Peake is also a proponent of establishing an in-state cultivation model, so Georgia could start regulating its own bud market. We’ll have to wait until the next legislative session to see how that shakes out. Meantime, state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, and Councilman Kwanza Hall are driving local efforts to relax weed laws in Atlanta. Stay tuned. www.allenpeake.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

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