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Critic's Notebook: The free art events of Elevate invite Atlantans to rise up

Everybody, rise!

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  • Courtesy La Passante
  • RAIN CHECK: French company La Passante is just one of the groups performing at Elevate, which brings a week of free art events to downtown Atlanta. Check out some critic's picks for the best of the fest below.

This week, we're all about trying to rise up out of the ashes, and there's no better event to help Atlanta do just that than Elevate, which begins this Fri., Oct. 17, and continues through Thurs., Oct. 23.

The free festival of public art events sponsored by the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs takes place in and around downtown Atlanta. It's a tough area to get some people excited about, but fortunately past Elevates have been a blast, and the office has lined up some great events this year. Elevate's website has a complete schedule, as well as a GPS map of the projects and installations, but we thought we'd offer some critic's picks for highlights of the busy week. Check it:

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—Did you know that the Five Points Marta Station in downtown Atlanta has an amphitheater on top? Neither did we. But Elevate organizer Courtney Hammond tells CL Culture Editor Gavin Godfrey about it in an interview in this week's Creative Loafing. Check out Atlanta's newly rediscovered amphitheater during the free performances scheduled there on Wed., Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. The acts, including aerial dance, acrobatics, circus, and comedy, will be curated by the Atlanta Fringe Festival.

—We love French films, and we also love watching cinema outdoors, so we're especially curious about the screening of eight short classic silent films by Max Linder (sort of the French answer to Charlie Chaplin) taking place on Sun., Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. in Woodruff Park. There will be live performances from music ensemble Chamber Cartel and the visual artwork of Elevate will be on view throughout the evening. (If you notice that Elevate has sort of a French flair this year, it's because the event is partnering with France-Atlanta, a series of events designed to foster cooperation between France and the US.)

—Before the movie, Atlantans on two wheels may want to check out the Atlanta Streets Alive Bike Tour which will take participants around downtown to the various installations and murals of Elevate, including the 20’ floral sculpture "Calibrate" by artist Romy Maloon. CL writer Muriel Vega has the story about how Maloon created the piece with the help of Atlanta-based knitting cirlces. The bike tour starts at Woodruff Park at 4 p.m. Sun., Oct. 19.

—If sitting in the car is more your thing, you're actually in luck. Elevate is offering chauffeured art tours of downtown in brand new cars! It's sponsored by Ford, so I'm guessing your chauffeur will give you a spiel about how awesome driving a Ford is. (Bring earplugs). Tours leave from Gallery 72 at 72 Marietta Street, between 2 and 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 19.

—Renowned French artist Joanie Lemercier will create a "sculptural light performance" as part of Elevate. The show takes place Tues., Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. at 55 Marietta Street. The video at left shows Lemercier unveiling a work at the Grand Palais in Paris.

—We're especially curious about French performance company La Passante which will perform its piece "Rue Des Dames" (pictured above) an afternoon performance on Mon., Oct. 20. The piece involves female figures in shrouded umbrellas: viewers are given the opportunity to step inside the umbrella with the performer for a brief one-on-one spoken word experience. France, meet Atlanta. Atlanta, meet France.

—The entire week of events is free and the whole thing kicks off with a block party on Fri., Oct. 17, in Fairlie-Poplar, and it all comes to a close next Thursday night with performances from Dance Truck, Atlanta's homegrown contemporary dance presenters who use the back of a parked flat bed truck as a sort of portable stage. In the Dance Truck lineup this time are performances from Atlanta artists DENSE, Natalie Eggert, Corian Ellisor, Hez Stalcup and Makoto Hirano from Philadelphia, PA and tunes for a post-performance dance party from DJ Santiago Páramo.

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  • JOHN TRAVIS
  • KEEP ON TRUCKING: Elevate closes with performances on the Dance Truck on Thursday evening, Oct. 23.