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Woody Allen's 'Irrational' new film

Director's latest release feels like a rehashing of characters and narratives from past projects

In its compelling opening scenes, Woody Allen's new film Irrational Man seems to be going the Blue Jasmine route. We settle in for an absorbing story of a flawed character in crisis. In Jasmine, it was Cate Blanchett as the mentally fragile, fallen New York socialite Jasmine arriving on her sister's doorstep. In Irrational Man, we have Joaquin Phoenix as Abe, a brilliant but profoundly burned-out philosophy professor arriving in a small college town to start work as a visiting professor.

??
Inexpressive, joyless despair isn't an easy thing to make appealing — or even interesting — on screen, but Phoenix gives the existentially depressed character a quiet, soulful uneasiness, a weird halo of alienation that's compellingly recognizable. The aging Abe and his melancholy prove irresistibly attractive (What'd you expect? It's a Woody Allen film.) to both his young student Jill (Emma Stone) and to his sexed-up colleague in the chemistry department, Rita (Parker Posey), who begin positioning themselves to gain his attention.

??
The whole thing picks up even more narrative energy when the lethargic Abe decides to take action by murdering a stranger, a powerful someone who makes life miserable for others. Allen is brilliant with his use of music, and here the recurring use of Billy Page's jazz classic "The In Crowd" gives the planning and enacting scenes a jolt of jaunty energy and lively sense of purpose.

??
After spurring himself into action, Abe undergoes a transformation, experiencing a renewed interest in life and all it has to offer. It's a comic-strip simple turn of events for a well-rounded character, and even more disappointing is that the narrative likewise begins to utilize a well-worn, conventional sort of suspense: Will he be caught or won't he? We find we were more interested in Abe depressed and ordinary than we are in him chipper and hiding a secret. Worst of all is the ridiculously unbelievable ending, one that makes the whole endeavor feel like a feather-light retelling of Allen's much better 2005 tale of murder and the vagaries of chance, Match Point. Irrational Man is also narrated by Stone's character (it's something that's easy to forget as it's a conceit that fades in and out), so we're unfortunately left at the end with that character's bland, unrevealing reflections about Abe's fate.

??
It's become a matter of course to expect that Allen will revisit some of the themes and situations from his earlier work in new films. Though it initially seems to be staking out some new territory with an interesting actor depicting a compelling character à la Blue Jasmine, in the end, Irrational Man retreads too much familiar ground. If you've seen Crimes and Misdemeanors and Match Point, you've already seen Irrational Man, only better. (2 out of 5 stars)



More By This Writer

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  string(3716) ""I've had my head digitized," is the first thing we hear Marlon Brando say in Listen to Me Marlon, a new documentary about the famously reclusive and enigmatic actor. A moment later, the screen shifts from blank to the results of that digitization. An eerie, monochrome, computerized head, as somber and uncanny as a death mask, appears and runs through a number of different actorly expressions — from happy to angry to sad — before speaking a few lines of Shakespeare. This is just one example of a scene in a documentary that takes an unusual approach to an extraordinary subject.

??
For the film, British documentarian Steven Riley had access to the hundreds of hours of audiotape that Brando made throughout his life, long monologues spoken into a microphone as a form of diary and therapy. Instead of using a narrator or title cards as a typical documentary might, Riley allows Brando to narrate his own life, to tell his own story. The audio is paired with archival film and photographs, much of it never seen before. The result of this simple technique is an immersive, surprisingly dreamlike, surreal atmosphere, one that seems miles away from the straight-forward, "just-the-facts" approach of a typical documentary. (The digitized head, which appears briefly throughout the film, certainly adds to the "surreal" aspect). Brando's head, we discover, was a complicated thing.

??
Brando was born and raised in rural Nebraska by two alcoholic parents. The shadow of abuse and neglect from his brutal, difficult father is something that haunted him throughout his troubled life. In one scene, we see Brando as a young man enjoying the first years of his success: he's on one of those This Is Your Life-type TV shows, and they've also invited his father. The atmosphere is genial but tense, and at one point, Brando jokes about no longer being afraid of his father because he's able to beat him up. It's seemingly a typical "I can take down the ol' man now" joke, but it's easy to read the years of sublimated rage, monumental tension, and fear in both of their faces. "Show, don't tell," is famous advice to creatives, and it's clearly a tip that director Riley took to heart.

??
We examine many of the significant aspects of Brando's life in a similar vein: his apprenticeship with famed acting teacher Stella Adler and his early unprecedented success as Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire. The film also explores his womanizing, a growing discomfort with fame, and the terrible violent tragedies that befell his son and daughter in spite of his best efforts to protect them from the sort of domestic savagery he experienced under his own father. It's captivating stuff.

??
Riley fills in gaps with reenactments. When Brando describes his home life, there's no way for the audience to know if the black-and-white-filmed shots of the people we're seeing in the home are archival or recreations. Is it his actual home in Nebraska or a stand-in in the Hollywood hills? It's a common 21st-century technique, a blending of fictive and actual elements, but one that may stick in the craw of some viewers and make them feel slightly disoriented and distrustful of other scenes. And the film moves chronologically, but in the long, busy, eventful life we often gloss over nuts-and-bolts biographical details that would help us understand how and why things unfolded exactly as they did.

??
Still, Listen to Me Marlon is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of one of the greatest, and most private actors of all time. "Actors don't act," Brando tells us at one point. "The audience does the acting, the audience does the feeling." To watch Listen to Me Marlon is to feel the truth of that. (4 out of 5 stars)"
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??
For the film, British documentarian Steven Riley had access to the hundreds of hours of audiotape that Brando made throughout his life, long monologues spoken into a microphone as a form of diary and therapy. Instead of using a narrator or title cards as a typical documentary might, Riley allows Brando to narrate his own life, to tell his own story. The audio is paired with archival film and photographs, much of it never seen before. The result of this simple technique is an immersive, surprisingly dreamlike, surreal atmosphere, one that seems miles away from the straight-forward, "just-the-facts" approach of a typical documentary. (The digitized head, which appears briefly throughout the film, certainly adds to the "surreal" aspect). Brando's head, we discover, was a complicated thing.

??
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??
We examine many of the significant aspects of Brando's life in a similar vein: his apprenticeship with famed acting teacher Stella Adler and his early unprecedented success as Stanley in ''A Streetcar Named Desire''. The film also explores his womanizing, a growing discomfort with fame, and the terrible violent tragedies that befell his son and daughter in spite of his best efforts to protect them from the sort of domestic savagery he experienced under his own father. It's captivating stuff.

??
Riley fills in gaps with reenactments. When Brando describes his home life, there's no way for the audience to know if the black-and-white-filmed shots of the people we're seeing in the home are archival or recreations. Is it his actual home in Nebraska or a stand-in in the Hollywood hills? It's a common 21st-century technique, a blending of fictive and actual elements, but one that may stick in the craw of some viewers and make them feel slightly disoriented and distrustful of other scenes. And the film moves chronologically, but in the long, busy, eventful life we often gloss over nuts-and-bolts biographical details that would help us understand how and why things unfolded exactly as they did.

??
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??
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??
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??
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??
Riley fills in gaps with reenactments. When Brando describes his home life, there's no way for the audience to know if the black-and-white-filmed shots of the people we're seeing in the home are archival or recreations. Is it his actual home in Nebraska or a stand-in in the Hollywood hills? It's a common 21st-century technique, a blending of fictive and actual elements, but one that may stick in the craw of some viewers and make them feel slightly disoriented and distrustful of other scenes. And the film moves chronologically, but in the long, busy, eventful life we often gloss over nuts-and-bolts biographical details that would help us understand how and why things unfolded exactly as they did.

??
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Article

Monday August 17, 2015 04:00 am EDT
Director Stevan Riley combines new technology with archival footage and audio to tell actor's story | more...
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  string(3128) "For his second documentary, The Look of Silence, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer returns to the subject of his Oscar-nominated first, The Act of Killing. Both films bring to light the nightmarish atrocities of the anti-communist purge in Indonesia in the mid-1960s. But as the title might suggest, the new film is a much quieter, more contemplative one than its 2012 predecessor, which conveyed the horror and absurdity of those events by having the perpetrators reenact their deeds for the camera, a task they took on with surreal vigor.

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In The Look of Silence, we instead follow the story of Adi Rukun and his family as they look into the circumstances around his brother's death during Indonesia's bloody past. In some of the film's most excruciating scenes, Adi watches video recordings of interviews with his brother's killers, who are casually remorseless on camera about their methods.

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Though the anti-communist furor in Indonesia was fanned by the military, the atrocities were in many cases carried out by local vigilante groups. Killers and victims were — and in many cases still are — neighbors. Adi discovers that his older brother's killers live just down the road, and one by one, he confronts them in his plainspoken, patient way, seeking to understand if they're capable of expressing remorse. It slowly becomes clear that Adi, a gentle optometrist with a young family who visits the killers under the guise of testing their vision for new glasses, doesn't want revenge or confrontation, but an opportunity to understand and even forgive.

??
The focus in both of Oppenheimer's films is not so much on the banality of evil (though that is present in abundance), but on the sheer, enduring arrogance of it, and its seeming triumph and lack of self-recrimination. If there's remorse, it seems self-indulgent, even meaningless. "You ask too many questions," Adi is told again and again by the perpetrators, who all share the smug confidence of power, money, and position. "The past is past" is the phrase they use to dismiss him; some even threaten that the trouble could come again to those who ask too many questions. You can note in the closing credits how many of the people who participated in making the film wanted, understandably, to remain anonymous.

??
The film departs from Oppenheimer's earlier documentary in a moving way, by focusing on the permanent devastation that violence brings to victims' families. In one of the film's most touching scenes, Adi's mother bathes the body of his emaciated, centenarian father. There and throughout the film, it's possible to see the pain of the loss of the family's eldest son still written on their faces and bodies.

??
The Look of Silence offers a bleak, crystal-clear look at an incomprehensible, unspeakable subject. Devastatingly, nothing boils down to an easy, uplifting, or hopeful message here. As in The Act of Killing, Oppenheimer opens a window to a world many of us would prefer not to see. It's a world where the past can be buried, the innocent suffer, the guilty triumph, and everyone must live together side by side. (4 out of 5 stars)"
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  string(3405) "For his second documentary, ''[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3521134/|The Look of Silence]'', filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer returns to the subject of his Oscar-nominated first, ''The Act of Killing''. Both films bring to light the nightmarish atrocities of the [http://www.npr.org/2012/04/09/150149910/exposing-indonesias-cold-war-communist-purge|anti-communist purge] in Indonesia in the mid-1960s. But as the title might suggest, the new film is a much quieter, more contemplative one than its 2012 predecessor, which conveyed the horror and absurdity of those events by having the perpetrators reenact their deeds for the camera, a task they took on with surreal vigor.

??
In ''The Look of Silence'', we instead follow the story of [http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/aug/28/the-look-of-silence-gets-venice-talking-but-verdict-from-indonesia-still-pending|Adi Rukun] and his family as they look into the circumstances around his brother's death during Indonesia's bloody past. In some of the film's most excruciating scenes, Adi watches video recordings of interviews with his brother's killers, who are casually remorseless on camera about their methods.

??
Though the anti-communist furor in Indonesia was fanned by the military, the atrocities were in many cases carried out by local vigilante groups. Killers and victims were — and in many cases still are — neighbors. Adi discovers that his older brother's killers live just down the road, and one by one, he confronts them in his plainspoken, patient way, seeking to understand if they're capable of expressing remorse. It slowly becomes clear that Adi, a gentle optometrist with a young family who visits the killers under the guise of testing their vision for new glasses, doesn't want revenge or confrontation, but an opportunity to understand and even forgive.

??
The focus in both of Oppenheimer's films is not so much on the banality of evil (though that is present in abundance), but on the sheer, enduring arrogance of it, and its seeming triumph and lack of self-recrimination. If there's remorse, it seems self-indulgent, even meaningless. "You ask too many questions," Adi is told again and again by the perpetrators, who all share the smug confidence of power, money, and position. "The past is past" is the phrase they use to dismiss him; some even threaten that the trouble could come again to those who ask too many questions. You can note in the closing credits how many of the people who participated in making the film wanted, understandably, to remain anonymous.

??
The film departs from Oppenheimer's earlier documentary in a moving way, by focusing on the permanent devastation that violence brings to victims' families. In one of the film's most touching scenes, Adi's mother bathes the body of his emaciated, centenarian father. There and throughout the film, it's possible to see the pain of the loss of the family's eldest son still written on their faces and bodies.

??
''The Look of Silence'' offers a bleak, crystal-clear look at an incomprehensible, unspeakable subject. Devastatingly, nothing boils down to an easy, uplifting, or hopeful message here. As in ''The Act of Killing'', Oppenheimer opens a window to a world many of us would prefer not to see. It's a world where the past can be buried, the innocent suffer, the guilty triumph, and everyone must live together side by side. __(4 out of 5 stars)__"
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  string(3465) "    Joshua Oppenheimer's follow-up to The Act of Killing is both contemplative and bleak   2015-08-06T08:00:00+00:00 'The Look of Silence' delivers heart-wrenching rawness   Andrew Alexander 1223508 2015-08-06T08:00:00+00:00  For his second documentary, The Look of Silence, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer returns to the subject of his Oscar-nominated first, The Act of Killing. Both films bring to light the nightmarish atrocities of the anti-communist purge in Indonesia in the mid-1960s. But as the title might suggest, the new film is a much quieter, more contemplative one than its 2012 predecessor, which conveyed the horror and absurdity of those events by having the perpetrators reenact their deeds for the camera, a task they took on with surreal vigor.

??
In The Look of Silence, we instead follow the story of Adi Rukun and his family as they look into the circumstances around his brother's death during Indonesia's bloody past. In some of the film's most excruciating scenes, Adi watches video recordings of interviews with his brother's killers, who are casually remorseless on camera about their methods.

??
Though the anti-communist furor in Indonesia was fanned by the military, the atrocities were in many cases carried out by local vigilante groups. Killers and victims were — and in many cases still are — neighbors. Adi discovers that his older brother's killers live just down the road, and one by one, he confronts them in his plainspoken, patient way, seeking to understand if they're capable of expressing remorse. It slowly becomes clear that Adi, a gentle optometrist with a young family who visits the killers under the guise of testing their vision for new glasses, doesn't want revenge or confrontation, but an opportunity to understand and even forgive.

??
The focus in both of Oppenheimer's films is not so much on the banality of evil (though that is present in abundance), but on the sheer, enduring arrogance of it, and its seeming triumph and lack of self-recrimination. If there's remorse, it seems self-indulgent, even meaningless. "You ask too many questions," Adi is told again and again by the perpetrators, who all share the smug confidence of power, money, and position. "The past is past" is the phrase they use to dismiss him; some even threaten that the trouble could come again to those who ask too many questions. You can note in the closing credits how many of the people who participated in making the film wanted, understandably, to remain anonymous.

??
The film departs from Oppenheimer's earlier documentary in a moving way, by focusing on the permanent devastation that violence brings to victims' families. In one of the film's most touching scenes, Adi's mother bathes the body of his emaciated, centenarian father. There and throughout the film, it's possible to see the pain of the loss of the family's eldest son still written on their faces and bodies.

??
The Look of Silence offers a bleak, crystal-clear look at an incomprehensible, unspeakable subject. Devastatingly, nothing boils down to an easy, uplifting, or hopeful message here. As in The Act of Killing, Oppenheimer opens a window to a world many of us would prefer not to see. It's a world where the past can be buried, the innocent suffer, the guilty triumph, and everyone must live together side by side. (4 out of 5 stars)             13084110 15005727                          'The Look of Silence' delivers heart-wrenching rawness "
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Thursday August 6, 2015 04:00 am EDT
Joshua Oppenheimer's follow-up to The Act of Killing is both contemplative and bleak | more...
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?     Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is probably most familiar to American audiences for his film roles including his Oscar-nominated performance as Solomon Northup in 2013's 12 Years a Slave. But Ejiofor is also a hugely accomplished stage actor in his home country of England. Atlanta audiences can easily catch a glimpse of this side of Ejiofor when the National Theatre of Great Britain does a cinema broadcast of its current production Everyman, at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. ?

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?  National Theatre Live: Everyman. $15. 11 a.m. Sun., Aug. 2. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Dr. N.E. 404-879-0160. landmarktheatres.com.?

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?     Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is probably most familiar to American audiences for his film roles including his Oscar-nominated performance as Solomon Northup in 2013's 12 Years a Slave. But Ejiofor is also a hugely accomplished stage actor in his home country of England. Atlanta audiences can easily catch a glimpse of this side of Ejiofor when the National Theatre of Great Britain does a cinema broadcast of its current production Everyman, at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. ?

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Wednesday July 29, 2015 10:35 am EDT

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? Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is probably most familiar to American audiences for his film roles including his Oscar-nominated performance as Solomon Northup in 2013's 12 Years a Slave. But Ejiofor is also a hugely accomplished stage actor in his home country of England. Atlanta audiences can easily catch a glimpse of this side of Ejiofor when the National Theatre of Great Britain does...

| more...
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? Following up on the success of the 2013 exhibition Drawing Inside the Perimeter, the High Museum's Sprawl! Drawing Outside the Lines focuses on work by contemporary Atlanta-based artists. The new show expands the concept by featuring over 100 recently-acquired works by more than 75 artists (both ITP and OTP), including a title wall designed by Atlanta muralist Paper Frank. CL caught up with the High's Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Michael Rooks to chat about picking the works to represent Atlanta in the show.
?  
?  Tell me about the process of selecting work for Sprawl!.
?  I visit artists' studios with Atlanta art consultant Marianne Lambert and art patron Susan Antinori. We call ourselves the "Three Amigos." We do studio visits every Thursday, about five or six of them. From those visits, I follow up with artists whose place in their career seems very serious and mature.
?  
?  But how do you hear about an artist before a visit?
?  I ask artists to recommend other artists. I've always respected artists' recommendations about anyone else. When I visit with people and we make a connection, I'll ask if they know anyone else worth meeting and taking a look at.
?   image-1 
? When you go to a studio and consider work, what are you looking for?
?  I arrange studio visits with people whose work interests me. I don't go with the specific goal of buying something or acquiring something. It's not a transactional thing. It's about me meeting artists who are interesting and serious and who have a studio practice that's growing and evolving.
?  
?  Whose studio was the most unusual or surprising?
?  I guess that would be Frank Dunson. He works out of his apartment. His day job is being Paper Frank. He works across the country doing big mural projects. He lives in a little one-bedroom apartment, and it's full of art. His walls are covered in painted images. What he does extends off of the paper and canvas and onto the walls. It's this environment that's just incredible.
?  
?    The work in the show seems really varied, but would you say that there's some sort of approach or style that these artists all share that's identifiably "Atlanta"?
?  I don't know if I can say "identifiably Atlanta," but there are certain strands of influence that are perhaps unique to Atlanta. One of them is this sort of underground approach. There is now an underground here that's really vibrant and that's self-sustaining. It's like Chicago in the '60s. The underground there became known as the Chicago Imagists. They were doing something against the grain, figurative work that no one else was doing. Here, the underground consists of artists who are sometimes untrained, who also often work in the commercial realm — illustration, tattoo, murals, and graphic design — so those influences of commercial art are very strong. They're very comfortable crossing over, very ambidextrous.
?  
?  Do you have any advice for people who haven't really collected art before but might be interested in exploring this realm and buying some work by Atlanta artists?
?  Be receptive to learning about what artists are up to and what the work is about. Go to galleries. Pay attention to the gallery system we have here in the city. It's small, but it's really vibrant and there are great things. I would say go to the Sprawl exhibition site where we have hyperlinks for all the artists in the show. Go to their websites and check them out. They're amazing, but they're a fraction of the number of people in the city making great work. Take a chance on buying something that may not be immediately appealing to you. Something that's immediately appealing may be just decorative, and you'll lose interest in it after a couple weeks. A really powerful work of art is something you can look at every day. I personally collect. My apartment here is full of art from Atlanta. I have things sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall in every room. I love coming home at the end of the week. I just sit there and have a cocktail and look at them. I don't have a TV so that's my TV. I just never get tired of coming home and looking at these things.
"
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? Following up on the success of the 2013 exhibition [http://clatl.com/atlanta/the-high-draws-a-portrait-of-atlanta/Content?oid=8637030|''Drawing Inside the Perimeter''], the High Museum's ''[https://www.high.org/Art/Exhibitions/Sprawl-Drawing-Outside-the-Lines.aspx|Sprawl! Drawing Outside the Lines]'' focuses on work by contemporary Atlanta-based artists. The new show expands the concept by featuring over 100 recently-acquired works by more than 75 artists (both ITP and OTP), including a title wall designed by Atlanta muralist [http://clatl.com/atlanta/paper-franks-beautiful-twisted-reality/Content?oid=9059029|Paper Frank]. ''CL ''caught up with the High's Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art [http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2015/03/27/the-highs-michael-rooks-to-receive-the-nexus-award|Michael Rooks] to chat about picking the works to represent Atlanta in the show.
?  
?  __Tell me about the process of selecting work for ''Sprawl!''.__
?  I visit artists' studios with [Atlanta art consultant] Marianne Lambert and [art patron] Susan Antinori. We call ourselves the "Three Amigos." We do studio visits every Thursday, about five or six of them. From those visits, I follow up with artists whose place in their career seems very serious and mature.
?  
?  __But how do you hear about an artist before a visit?__
?  I ask artists to recommend other artists. I've always respected artists' recommendations about anyone else. When I visit with people and we make a connection, I'll ask if they know anyone else worth meeting and taking a look at.
?   [image-1] ____
__? When you go to a studio and consider work, what are you looking for?__
?  I arrange studio visits with people whose work interests me. I don't go with the specific goal of buying something or acquiring something. It's not a transactional thing. It's about me meeting artists who are interesting and serious and who have a studio practice that's growing and evolving.
?  
?  __Whose studio was the most unusual or surprising?__
?  I guess that would be Frank Dunson. He works out of his apartment. His day job is being Paper Frank. He works across the country doing big mural projects. He lives in a little one-bedroom apartment, and it's full of art. His walls are covered in painted images. What he does extends off of the paper and canvas and onto the walls. It's this environment that's just incredible.
?  
?    __The work in the show seems really varied, but would you say that there's some sort of approach or style that these artists all share that's identifiably "Atlanta"?__
?  I don't know if I can say "identifiably Atlanta," but there are certain strands of influence that are perhaps unique to Atlanta. One of them is this sort of underground approach. There is now an underground here that's really vibrant and that's self-sustaining. It's like Chicago in the '60s. The underground there became known as the [http://hyperallergic.com/126627/chicago-imagists-art-historys-overlooked-chapter-now-on-film/|Chicago Imagists]. They were doing something against the grain, figurative work that no one else was doing. Here, the underground consists of artists who are sometimes untrained, who also often work in the commercial realm — illustration, tattoo, murals, and graphic design — so those influences of commercial art are very strong. They're very comfortable crossing over, very ambidextrous.
?  
?  __Do you have any advice for people who haven't really collected art before but might be interested in exploring this realm and buying some work by Atlanta artists?__
?  Be receptive to learning about what artists are up to and what the work is about. Go to galleries. Pay attention to the gallery system we have here in the city. It's small, but it's really vibrant and there are great things. I would say go to the ''Sprawl ''exhibition site where we have hyperlinks for all the artists in the show. Go to their websites and check them out. They're amazing, but they're a fraction of the number of people in the city making great work. Take a chance on buying something that may not be immediately appealing to you. Something that's immediately appealing may be just decorative, and you'll lose interest in it after a couple weeks. A really powerful work of art is something you can look at every day. I personally collect. My apartment here is full of art from Atlanta. I have things sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall in every room. I love coming home at the end of the week. I just sit there and have a cocktail and look at them. I don't have a TV so that's my TV. I just never get tired of coming home and looking at these things.
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  string(4411) "       2015-07-22T14:15:00+00:00 Critic's Notebook: Curating the High's 'Sprawl!'   Andrew Alexander 1223508 2015-07-22T14:15:00+00:00  image-2 
? Following up on the success of the 2013 exhibition Drawing Inside the Perimeter, the High Museum's Sprawl! Drawing Outside the Lines focuses on work by contemporary Atlanta-based artists. The new show expands the concept by featuring over 100 recently-acquired works by more than 75 artists (both ITP and OTP), including a title wall designed by Atlanta muralist Paper Frank. CL caught up with the High's Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Michael Rooks to chat about picking the works to represent Atlanta in the show.
?  
?  Tell me about the process of selecting work for Sprawl!.
?  I visit artists' studios with Atlanta art consultant Marianne Lambert and art patron Susan Antinori. We call ourselves the "Three Amigos." We do studio visits every Thursday, about five or six of them. From those visits, I follow up with artists whose place in their career seems very serious and mature.
?  
?  But how do you hear about an artist before a visit?
?  I ask artists to recommend other artists. I've always respected artists' recommendations about anyone else. When I visit with people and we make a connection, I'll ask if they know anyone else worth meeting and taking a look at.
?   image-1 
? When you go to a studio and consider work, what are you looking for?
?  I arrange studio visits with people whose work interests me. I don't go with the specific goal of buying something or acquiring something. It's not a transactional thing. It's about me meeting artists who are interesting and serious and who have a studio practice that's growing and evolving.
?  
?  Whose studio was the most unusual or surprising?
?  I guess that would be Frank Dunson. He works out of his apartment. His day job is being Paper Frank. He works across the country doing big mural projects. He lives in a little one-bedroom apartment, and it's full of art. His walls are covered in painted images. What he does extends off of the paper and canvas and onto the walls. It's this environment that's just incredible.
?  
?    The work in the show seems really varied, but would you say that there's some sort of approach or style that these artists all share that's identifiably "Atlanta"?
?  I don't know if I can say "identifiably Atlanta," but there are certain strands of influence that are perhaps unique to Atlanta. One of them is this sort of underground approach. There is now an underground here that's really vibrant and that's self-sustaining. It's like Chicago in the '60s. The underground there became known as the Chicago Imagists. They were doing something against the grain, figurative work that no one else was doing. Here, the underground consists of artists who are sometimes untrained, who also often work in the commercial realm — illustration, tattoo, murals, and graphic design — so those influences of commercial art are very strong. They're very comfortable crossing over, very ambidextrous.
?  
?  Do you have any advice for people who haven't really collected art before but might be interested in exploring this realm and buying some work by Atlanta artists?
?  Be receptive to learning about what artists are up to and what the work is about. Go to galleries. Pay attention to the gallery system we have here in the city. It's small, but it's really vibrant and there are great things. I would say go to the Sprawl exhibition site where we have hyperlinks for all the artists in the show. Go to their websites and check them out. They're amazing, but they're a fraction of the number of people in the city making great work. Take a chance on buying something that may not be immediately appealing to you. Something that's immediately appealing may be just decorative, and you'll lose interest in it after a couple weeks. A really powerful work of art is something you can look at every day. I personally collect. My apartment here is full of art from Atlanta. I have things sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall in every room. I love coming home at the end of the week. I just sit there and have a cocktail and look at them. I don't have a TV so that's my TV. I just never get tired of coming home and looking at these things.
             13083791 14928410                          Critic's Notebook: Curating the High's 'Sprawl!' "
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Article

Wednesday July 22, 2015 10:15 am EDT

image-2
? Following up on the success of the 2013 exhibition Drawing Inside the Perimeter, the High Museum's Sprawl! Drawing Outside the Lines focuses on work by contemporary Atlanta-based artists. The new show expands the concept by featuring over 100 recently-acquired works by more than 75 artists (both ITP and OTP), including a title wall designed by Atlanta muralist Paper Frank. CL caught...

| more...
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  string(5536) "image-1 Savion Glover brings his legendary tap dancing to Atlanta's http://rialto.gsu.edu/event/savion-glover-sole-sanctuary/9905Rialto Center for the Arts this weekend for a performance of his meditative new work SoLe Sanctuary, one of the centerpiece performances of the National Black Arts Festival. CL caught up with Glover to chat about the show, his mentors in dance and the everyday (non)-routine of a tap dancer.
?      ?
?        Tell me about the show. I was interested to learn that it involves a shrine and a meditator on stage throughout the performance.
?        SoLe Sanctuary is a production that allows me to give the audience the opportunity to witness my respect and gratitude for some of my mentors and educators in dance. I have pictures of some of these mentors; they're hanging around the stage. I don't know if you would consider it a shrine or not. I have a meditator upstage to give people the perspective that dance is a meditative state of mind, or can be a meditative state of mind. It allows the audience to see that whatever your approach to meditation is, this is just an additional approach, meditating to the sounds of tap dance or to the rhythms and the vibes of tap dance. It pays homage to my mentors, teachers, educators, and other contributors.
?

????     ?
?        You draw a comparison between dance and meditation. Is that how would you describe your experience of dancing onstage to someone who doesn't dance, as meditation?
?        Your approach to anything can take you to a groove, a place of meditation. Cooking, exercising, riding a bike, whatever. They're different approaches to meditation. One of my approaches is to reach that point through tap dancing. Once we're able to distinguish between performing just for the sake of the audience and dancing or being in action that will reach a higher state of being, once you're able to do that, you can manifest or meditate to whatever your obsession is. That's what tap dancing does for me in this production.  ?

?     ?
?        Could you name some of your mentors from the show and describe what they taught you?
?        The main dancers that we have in this production are Steve Condos, Lon Chaney, Chuck Crain, Buster Brown Sammy Davis, Jr., Jimmy Slyde, and Gregory Hines. These were some of my closest mentors in dance. There are several others, but we chose these few to highlight. We pay tribute to them all. Why? Because they've given so much to me through their generosity in art, in sharing information in dance. I just took the opportunity to highlight them in this production.  ?

?     ??    image-2I was interested to read in a New York Times review of SoLe Sanctuary that the critic noted your biography in the program just said "Censored."
?  The New York Times is so fickle. I change my biography from time to time depending on the venue. I have a situation with the Joyce in New York. The time before last I mentioned something in my bio that they took offense to. The next time I didn't put in anything. It has nothing to do with the show. I don't pay much attention to bios. Those are just jokes to me.   ?
?        It's been a while since you've performed in Atlanta ...
?        Yeah. I haven't been down there in a while. The last time I remember performing in Atlanta was at the Rialto in 2004, but we also did a production of Noise/Funk in the very early stages of the tour in 1998.  ?

?     ?
?        For audiences who haven't see you in so long, how would you describe your style as having changed?
?        My style is whatever I am at that particular point in my life. At one point, my style was very aggressive, sort of very much a part of my generation at the time. That was my approach to tap dance. Now that I've grown past that, my approach is quite different, whether that's in my spacial connection or in my relationship with different areas of music or sound. As I continue to grow and mature and evolve as a person so will my approach to dance. I can tell you my style today, but tomorrow it will be different because something will happen. My style is just on-going.  ?

?     ?
?        What is the daily routine for a tap dancer?
?        I don't know what a daily routine for a tap dancer is. I just live my life. I don't really have a daily routine. It's summertime so I may go swimming with my son or grab my ATV or do something like that, play basketball and chill out. There's no daily regimin or routine associated with all tap dancers.  ?

?     ?
?        But don't you get into the studio everyday?
?        Not at all. Not everyday. Only when I have something coming up. One day this week I'm gonna get in there with Marshall co-performer Marshall Davis Jr. because we have to prepare for this production so we have to remind ourselves of the direction we want to go in. If we have productions coming up, we get in and have conversations and we get on our feet and do something, but I don't go everyday for rehearsal.  ?

?     ?
?        Your schedule in Atlanta involves a master class. What do those sorts of classes involve?
?        In the little time I have with students I try to cover the history of the dance, allowing them to see what it means to move past the combination to really express themselves. I'll be sharing with them little gems and tools that they can hopefully carry with them beyond the class.  ?

?     ?
?        Savion Glover performs SoLe Sanctuary. $20-$30. 6 p.m. Sun., July 19. Rialto Center for the Arts, 80 Forsyth St. N.W. 404-413-9849.  ?

? 
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?      ?
?        __Tell me about the show. I was interested to learn that it involves a shrine and a meditator on stage throughout the performance.__
__?        __''SoLe Sanctuary'' is a production that allows me to give the audience the opportunity to witness my respect and gratitude for some of my mentors and educators in dance. I have pictures of some of these mentors; they're hanging around the stage. I don't know if you would consider it a shrine or not. I have a meditator upstage to give people the perspective that dance is a meditative state of mind, or can be a meditative state of mind. It allows the audience to see that whatever your approach to meditation is, this is just an additional approach, meditating to the sounds of tap dance or to the rhythms and the vibes of tap dance. It pays homage to my mentors, teachers, educators, and other contributors.
?

????     ?
?        __You draw a comparison between dance and meditation. Is that how would you describe your experience of dancing onstage to someone who doesn't dance, as meditation?__
__?        __Your approach to anything can take you to a groove, a place of meditation. Cooking, exercising, riding a bike, whatever. They're different approaches to meditation. One of my approaches is to reach that point through tap dancing. Once we're able to distinguish between performing just for the sake of the audience and dancing or being in action that will reach a higher state of being, once you're able to do that, you can manifest or meditate to whatever your obsession is. That's what tap dancing does for me in this production.  ?

?     ?
?        __Could you name some of your mentors from the show and describe what they taught you?__
__?        __The main dancers that we have in this production are Steve Condos, Lon Chaney, Chuck Crain, Buster Brown Sammy Davis, Jr., Jimmy Slyde, and Gregory Hines. These were some of my closest mentors in dance. There are several others, but we chose these few to highlight. We pay tribute to them all. Why? Because they've given so much to me through their generosity in art, in sharing information in dance. I just took the opportunity to highlight them in this production.  ?

?     ??    [image-2]__I was interested to read in a__ ''__New York Times__''__ review of __''SoLe Sanctuary''__ that the critic noted your biography in the program just said "Censored."__
?  The ''New York Times'' is so fickle. I change my biography from time to time depending on the venue. I have a situation with the [http://www.joyce.org/|Joyce] [in New York]. The time before last I mentioned something in my bio that they took offense to. The next time I didn't put in anything. It has nothing to do with the show. I don't pay much attention to bios. Those are just jokes to me.   ?
?        __It's been a while since you've performed in Atlanta ...__
__?        __Yeah. I haven't been down there in a while. The last time I remember performing in Atlanta was at the Rialto [in 2004], but we also did a production of ''[http://www.ibdb.com/production.php?id=4789|Noise/Funk]'' in the very early stages of the tour [in 1998].  ?

?     ?
?        __For audiences who haven't see you in so long, how would you describe your style as having changed?__
__?        __My style is whatever I am at that particular point in my life. At one point, my style was very aggressive, sort of very much a part of my generation at the time. That was my approach to tap dance. Now that I've grown past that, my approach is quite different, whether that's in my spacial connection or in my relationship with different areas of music or sound. As I continue to grow and mature and evolve as a person so will my approach to dance. I can tell you my style today, but tomorrow it will be different because something will happen. My style is just on-going.  ?

?     ?
?        __What is the daily routine for a tap dancer?__
__?        __I don't know what a daily routine for a tap dancer is. I just live my life. I don't really have a daily routine. It's summertime so I may go swimming with my son or grab my ATV or do something like that, play basketball and chill out. There's no daily regimin or routine associated with all tap dancers.  ?

?     ?
?        __But don't you get into the studio everyday?__
__?        __Not at all. Not everyday. Only when I have something coming up. One day this week I'm gonna get in there with Marshall [co-performer Marshall Davis Jr.] because we have to prepare for this production so we have to remind ourselves of the direction we want to go in. If we have productions coming up, we get in and have conversations and we get on our feet and do something, but I don't go everyday for rehearsal.  ?

?     ?
?        __Your schedule in Atlanta involves a master class. What do those sorts of classes involve?__
__?        __In the little time I have with students I try to cover the history of the dance, allowing them to see what it means to move past the combination to really express themselves. I'll be sharing with them little gems and tools that they can hopefully carry with them beyond the class.  ?

?     ?
?        ''[http://rialto.gsu.edu/event/savion-glover-sole-sanctuary/|Savion Glover performs SoLe Sanctuary. $20-$30. 6 p.m. Sun., July 19. Rialto Center for the Arts, 80 Forsyth St. N.W. 404-413-9849. ]'' ?

? 
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?      ?
?        Tell me about the show. I was interested to learn that it involves a shrine and a meditator on stage throughout the performance.
?        SoLe Sanctuary is a production that allows me to give the audience the opportunity to witness my respect and gratitude for some of my mentors and educators in dance. I have pictures of some of these mentors; they're hanging around the stage. I don't know if you would consider it a shrine or not. I have a meditator upstage to give people the perspective that dance is a meditative state of mind, or can be a meditative state of mind. It allows the audience to see that whatever your approach to meditation is, this is just an additional approach, meditating to the sounds of tap dance or to the rhythms and the vibes of tap dance. It pays homage to my mentors, teachers, educators, and other contributors.
?

????     ?
?        You draw a comparison between dance and meditation. Is that how would you describe your experience of dancing onstage to someone who doesn't dance, as meditation?
?        Your approach to anything can take you to a groove, a place of meditation. Cooking, exercising, riding a bike, whatever. They're different approaches to meditation. One of my approaches is to reach that point through tap dancing. Once we're able to distinguish between performing just for the sake of the audience and dancing or being in action that will reach a higher state of being, once you're able to do that, you can manifest or meditate to whatever your obsession is. That's what tap dancing does for me in this production.  ?

?     ?
?        Could you name some of your mentors from the show and describe what they taught you?
?        The main dancers that we have in this production are Steve Condos, Lon Chaney, Chuck Crain, Buster Brown Sammy Davis, Jr., Jimmy Slyde, and Gregory Hines. These were some of my closest mentors in dance. There are several others, but we chose these few to highlight. We pay tribute to them all. Why? Because they've given so much to me through their generosity in art, in sharing information in dance. I just took the opportunity to highlight them in this production.  ?

?     ??    image-2I was interested to read in a New York Times review of SoLe Sanctuary that the critic noted your biography in the program just said "Censored."
?  The New York Times is so fickle. I change my biography from time to time depending on the venue. I have a situation with the Joyce in New York. The time before last I mentioned something in my bio that they took offense to. The next time I didn't put in anything. It has nothing to do with the show. I don't pay much attention to bios. Those are just jokes to me.   ?
?        It's been a while since you've performed in Atlanta ...
?        Yeah. I haven't been down there in a while. The last time I remember performing in Atlanta was at the Rialto in 2004, but we also did a production of Noise/Funk in the very early stages of the tour in 1998.  ?

?     ?
?        For audiences who haven't see you in so long, how would you describe your style as having changed?
?        My style is whatever I am at that particular point in my life. At one point, my style was very aggressive, sort of very much a part of my generation at the time. That was my approach to tap dance. Now that I've grown past that, my approach is quite different, whether that's in my spacial connection or in my relationship with different areas of music or sound. As I continue to grow and mature and evolve as a person so will my approach to dance. I can tell you my style today, but tomorrow it will be different because something will happen. My style is just on-going.  ?

?     ?
?        What is the daily routine for a tap dancer?
?        I don't know what a daily routine for a tap dancer is. I just live my life. I don't really have a daily routine. It's summertime so I may go swimming with my son or grab my ATV or do something like that, play basketball and chill out. There's no daily regimin or routine associated with all tap dancers.  ?

?     ?
?        But don't you get into the studio everyday?
?        Not at all. Not everyday. Only when I have something coming up. One day this week I'm gonna get in there with Marshall co-performer Marshall Davis Jr. because we have to prepare for this production so we have to remind ourselves of the direction we want to go in. If we have productions coming up, we get in and have conversations and we get on our feet and do something, but I don't go everyday for rehearsal.  ?

?     ?
?        Your schedule in Atlanta involves a master class. What do those sorts of classes involve?
?        In the little time I have with students I try to cover the history of the dance, allowing them to see what it means to move past the combination to really express themselves. I'll be sharing with them little gems and tools that they can hopefully carry with them beyond the class.  ?

?     ?
?        Savion Glover performs SoLe Sanctuary. $20-$30. 6 p.m. Sun., July 19. Rialto Center for the Arts, 80 Forsyth St. N.W. 404-413-9849.  ?

? 
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Article

Wednesday July 15, 2015 10:09 am EDT
image-1 Savion Glover brings his legendary tap dancing to Atlanta's http://rialto.gsu.edu/event/savion-glover-sole-sanctuary/9905Rialto Center for the Arts this weekend for a performance of his meditative new work SoLe Sanctuary, one of the centerpiece performances of the National Black Arts Festival. CL caught up with Glover to chat about the show, his mentors in dance and the everyday... | more...
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