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Best Of Atlanta 2008 Poets Madmen Large


Poets, Artists & Madmen

Atlanta artists fight the good fight. In the past year they've responded to the national call for public art in A (new) Genre Landscape, crossed cultural divides with the Atlanta Ballet's big and remained committed to the cause of a Tony Award-caliber theater scene at the Alliance. Never ones to sit idly by, our poets, artists and madmen are always looking to the future, ready to rethink tradition. Denise Lira-Ratinoff's obscure and wondrous photography exhibit in a 16th Street loading dock; Haverty Marionettes' sublime performance of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying; and the Plaza Theatre's transformation from movie house to arts and entertainment center all illuminate a community never satisfied with the status quo. The high level of participation in Best of Atlanta voting and official CL exit polls reveals a diverse support base for the arts that insists on having its voice heard. And thank goodness for that, because otherwise the terrorists would win.

– Debbie Michaud

Best Advocate for the Arts BOA Award Winner

Lisa Cremin
When it comes to standing up for the arts in Atlanta, the key is putting your money where your mouth is. No one is in a better position to do that than LISA CREMIN, founding director of the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund. Supporters cite her uncanny ability to target specific needs among specific artsmore...
When it comes to standing up for the arts in Atlanta, the key is putting your money where your mouth is. No one is in a better position to do that than LISA CREMIN, founding director of the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund. Supporters cite her uncanny ability to target specific needs among specific arts organizations – more often in the small to midsize range – to prevent an arts community polarized into the haves and the have-nots. The feather in the cap: As a board member of the national Grantmakers in the Arts, Cremin was instrumental in helping bring the organization's annual convention to Atlanta in mid-October. Throw in MAAF's doling out $4.1 million to more than 60 Atlanta arts groups, and you have a true advocate for the arts. www.metroatlantaartsfund.org. less...

Best Changing of the Guard BOA Award Winner

Spruill Gallery & Gift Shop
Though we'll miss former Spruill Art Center exhibitions director Julia Fenton, we're excited to ring in the reign HOPE COHN. We love that she pulled together last spring's Breaking New Ground in a matter of weeks, assembling artists and ideas at a moment's notice, even having a new room built onto themore...
Though we'll miss former Spruill Art Center exhibitions director Julia Fenton, we're excited to ring in the reign HOPE COHN. We love that she pulled together last spring's Breaking New Ground in a matter of weeks, assembling artists and ideas at a moment's notice, even having a new room built onto the facility to house some of the works. We're also looking forward to the construction due to begin on Cohn's watch, which will expand the organization's facilities by several thousand square feet. These are exciting times for the out-of-the-way space. And no, we didn't miss the apt symbolism of Sarah Emerson's new mural gracing the gallery grounds – a cresting wave in a bright sea. less...

Best Dance Performance BOA Award Winner

Transformotion (Alliance Theatre)

Best Film Series BOA Award Winner

Splatter Cinema

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kajjers/2461078958/
More so than the average big Southern city, we've shown an increasing appreciation for the slasher movie, where buckets of blood bring bundles of entertainment. SPLATTER CINEMA recognizes the allure of gore, which makes the occasional film series so vital to the cultural scene. And these ain't just any movies from back in the day: Splatter goes after original and spruced-up 35 mm prints of such classics as Demons, I Drink Your Blood, Suspiria and The Thing, educating younger audiences while offering a stiff dose of nostalgia for the old school. www.myspace.com/splattercinema.

Best Passing of the Poet Gene BOA Award Winner

Theresa Davis
There's no shortage of appreciation for Alice Lovelace in Atlanta. She first made her mark on the city in the '70s and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Writers' Association. Following in her footsteps as an arts and human rights advocate through poetry, Lovelace's daughter THERESAmore...
There's no shortage of appreciation for Alice Lovelace in Atlanta. She first made her mark on the city in the '70s and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Writers' Association. Following in her footsteps as an arts and human rights advocate through poetry, Lovelace's daughter THERESA DAVIS is also making a name for herself. A socially aware poet who's also part of the party circuit, Davis is in demand at poetry slams, spoken-word nights and as an MC for community-awareness gatherings such as Eyedrum's Concrete Pandemonium. Thanks to Lovelace and Davis, the Atlanta poetry scene's become a family affair. www.theresa-davis.com. less...

Best Theatrical Closing BOA Award Winner

Peachtree Battle
It's difficult to envision an Atlanta theater scene without PEACHTREE BATTLE in it. Premiering Sept. 7, 2001, the comedy about a Buckhead socialite's son getting hitched to a Hooters waitress became the longest-running play in Atlanta history, leaving Driving Miss Daisy in the dust over a total of sevenmore...
It's difficult to envision an Atlanta theater scene without PEACHTREE BATTLE in it. Premiering Sept. 7, 2001, the comedy about a Buckhead socialite's son getting hitched to a Hooters waitress became the longest-running play in Atlanta history, leaving Driving Miss Daisy in the dust over a total of seven years, 44 extensions and more than 120,000 patrons at the Ansley Park Playhouse. Having established such a successful, frequently updated crowd-pleaser, playwrights John Gibson and Anthony Morris retired the show earlier this month to focus on the potential big-screen version, as well as their long-awaited next show, A Sunday Afternoon at Loehmann's. After the battle, they deserve a salute. www.peachtreebattle.net. less...

Best Local Author BOA Award Winner

Hollis Gillespie

Best Local Filmmaker BOA Award Winner

Rainforest Films
Giving Tyler Perry all due respect as a phenomenally successful filmmaker, king of all media and coveted employer, is it too much to ask that his films be better? Atlanta-based RAINFOREST FILMS beat Tyler Perry at his own game with This Christmas, an African-American family story with a terrific castmore...
Giving Tyler Perry all due respect as a phenomenally successful filmmaker, king of all media and coveted employer, is it too much to ask that his films be better? Atlanta-based RAINFOREST FILMS beat Tyler Perry at his own game with This Christmas, an African-American family story with a terrific cast (including Delroy Lindo, Regina King and Idris Elba) and an agreeable moral message that avoided preaching at its audience. Director Rob Hardy and producer Will Packer founded Rainforest Films in 1994. It's grown beyond the early days of guerilla marketing and low-budget erotic thrillers such as Trois to produce recent success stories such as The Gospel and Stomp the Yard. less...

Best Local Playwright BOA Award Winner

Steve Yockey

Best Opening BOA Award Winner

Damn Dirty Ape

Best Place to Hear Spoken Word BOA Award Winner

Java Monkey
Some are quibbling that Atlanta's poetry scene is dead. They must not have checked the vibe at JAVA MONKEY lately. Special slams held on the patio at the convenient price of free (donations widely smiled upon) and poetry nights every Sunday give this spot a name among Atlanta's elite artists of the word.more...
Some are quibbling that Atlanta's poetry scene is dead. They must not have checked the vibe at JAVA MONKEY lately. Special slams held on the patio at the convenient price of free (donations widely smiled upon) and poetry nights every Sunday give this spot a name among Atlanta's elite artists of the word. Audiences can be heard snapping, clapping and laughing from a block away, even amid downtown Decatur's busy nightlife. less...

Best Place to See a Movie BOA Award Winner

Starlight Drive-In Theatre and Flea Market
What better way to celebrate the nation's 75th anniversary of the drive-in movie theater than to honor the STARLIGHT SIX DRIVE-IN? Once considered a dinosaur, the drive-in has undergone a mild renaissance in recent years as fans have grown weary of overpriced tickets, mall parking and smaller screens.more...
What better way to celebrate the nation's 75th anniversary of the drive-in movie theater than to honor the STARLIGHT SIX DRIVE-IN? Once considered a dinosaur, the drive-in has undergone a mild renaissance in recent years as fans have grown weary of overpriced tickets, mall parking and smaller screens. The Starlight not only alleviates all of these headaches, but also offers a variety of movie-watching opportunities, best exemplified in the summer-standout events Monster Bash and Drive-Invasion. While we fret that increasing gas prices might make film fans retreat to their home-entertainment systems and Netflix subscriptions, we have faith that we'll never, as Danny Zucco once lamented, feel stranded at the drive-in. less...

Best Theater Premiere BOA Award Winner

As I Lay Dying
For sheer gonzo creativity, combined with an impressive grounding in American literature and Southern culture, AS I LAY DYING revealed a more fertile imagination than any 10 other stage plays. The inaugural production of Haverty Marionettes, Michael Haverty's puppet-based adaptation of William Faulkner'smore...
For sheer gonzo creativity, combined with an impressive grounding in American literature and Southern culture, AS I LAY DYING revealed a more fertile imagination than any 10 other stage plays. The inaugural production of Haverty Marionettes, Michael Haverty's puppet-based adaptation of William Faulkner's classic novel drew influences from sources as diverse as folk art, carnival games and old-timey music. As I Lay Dying offered a unique prism for reviewing Faulkner's stream-of-consciousness tale of 1930s Mississippi, and established Haverty Marionettes as an intriguing company to watch in the future. www.havertymarionettes.org. less...

Best Theatrical Eulogy BOA Award Winner

A Song for Coretta
When Atlanta playwright/novelist Pearl Cleage paid theatrical tribute to the late Coretta Scott King, she chose to focus on the Civil Rights leader's legacy rather than the details of her life. Cleage's play A SONG FOR CORETTA, staged last winter at 7 Stages, presented five African-American women standingmore...
When Atlanta playwright/novelist Pearl Cleage paid theatrical tribute to the late Coretta Scott King, she chose to focus on the Civil Rights leader's legacy rather than the details of her life. Cleage's play A SONG FOR CORETTA, staged last winter at 7 Stages, presented five African-American women standing in line outside Ebenezer Baptist Church to pay their final respects to King. Their subsequent conversation and conflicts shed light on the successes of the Civil Rights Movement as well as its unfinished business, and made A Song for Coretta far more thoughtful and knotty than the kind of safe, standard biographical drama we could have expected. www.pearlcleage.net. less...

Best Touring Play BOA Award Winner

Avenue Q

Best Use of a Screen BOA Award Winner

Plaza Theatre
PLAZA THEATRE co-owners Jonathan and Gayle Rej often find themselves squeezed out of the market when it comes to booking current top-notch indie films. So in a brilliant case of lemons to lemonade, the owners have turned the Plaza into a multidisciplinary pop-culture facility. There's the Silver Screammore...
PLAZA THEATRE co-owners Jonathan and Gayle Rej often find themselves squeezed out of the market when it comes to booking current top-notch indie films. So in a brilliant case of lemons to lemonade, the owners have turned the Plaza into a multidisciplinary pop-culture facility. There's the Silver Scream Spook Show, with campy performances announcing monster/sci-fi thrillers; the Art and Movie Series, with local artists exhibiting works tied to film screenings; Summer Camp, with special screenings of cult classics such as Xanadu; and special events like hosting actor Crispin Glover and his new movie It Is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE last August. In doing so, the Plaza remains the hippest and most diverse movie theater in town. less...

FAVORITE SON: Best Dance Performance BOA Award Winner

big
Before it even hit the stage, the Atlanta Ballet's season-closing production of big, featuring OutKast's Big Boi, was the subject of a New York Times article. But you don't give a dance performance high marks because of national press or celebrity collaborators. You do, however, honor it for the audacitymore...
Before it even hit the stage, the Atlanta Ballet's season-closing production of big, featuring OutKast's Big Boi, was the subject of a New York Times article. But you don't give a dance performance high marks because of national press or celebrity collaborators. You do, however, honor it for the audacity of saying to the world that ballet needs to continue to grow and challenge itself, even if it forces people to question whether it's ballet at all (or, as some suggested with big, modern dance). A palpable energy crackled from the sometimes turbulent (and uneven) marriage of ballet and hip-hop, but the impact that both forms have had on Atlanta's cultural scene over the years makes the combination long overdue. Kudos to our very own Mr. Big, Atlanta Ballet artistic director John McFall, and resident choreographer Lauri Stallings for stepping up to the plate (and the mic). www.atlantaballet.com. less...
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