ABOUT TOWN: Mirth and merriment
Wrapping up the year in style
We’ll get to our monthly rundown of recommended arts and culture activities in a minute, but first, a few bits of news:
The Georgia Film Academy has received an award from 100 Black Men of North Metro Atlanta for hosting dozens of children, ages 11 to 18, during a hands-on learning experience in the film, television and esports industries earlier this year at its Fayetteville campus. “It is an honor to partner with 100 Black Men of North Metro Atlanta to bring industry-aligned entertainment arts training to our youth,” said Scott Votaw, executive director of GFA.
Voting is underway for the 2023 BroadwayWorld Atlanta Awards Nominations, and will continue until Dec. 31. The 2022 Regional Awards honor regional productions, and touring shows which had their first performance between October 2022 through September 2023. Winners will be announced in January. You can vote here.
Underground Atlanta has hired two new creative directors, Marina Skye and Mike Stasny, to bring large scale art installations and smaller scale “art moments” to the downtown destination. Skye, a nationally known set designer who’s worked with Jimmy Kimmel, the BBC and SZA, and Stasny, a Rust Belt born artist, musician and Underground gallery owner who works in sculpture, will be joining forces to “help curate better arts experiences at Underground, both for the property itself and through large scale installations, small moments and partnerships,” a press release stated.
The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra announced in mid- November the death of Maestro J. Wayne Baughman, the founder of JCSO and pioneer of the cultural arts in the Johns Creek community. Baughman came to Atlanta in 1974, where he joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. For 25 years, he was a frequent vocal soloist, chorus member, and rehearsal conductor under the guidance of the late Robert Shaw.
See below for a rundown of cool things to see and do in the coming weeks, for both adults and children:
Duet: Meghann Riepenhoff & Richard Misrach’‘, Jackson Fine Art —__ Meghann Riepenhoff and her longtime mentor, Richard Misrach, have teamed up to present a photography show that “encourages the viewer to reflect on our relationship to the natural environment,” says Coco Conroy, director of Jackson Fine Art. The goal, according to Misrach, is “making the familiar unfamiliar to force us into a deeper awareness of our world and surroundings, as well as our own actions.” Misrach is mostly associated with the American West and is known to focus on sites where human impact on the environment has resulted in a greater sense of existential uncertainty, a press release explained. Riepenhoff, an Atlanta native, worked with Misrach during the early years of her career in San Francisco, and this exhibition “celebrates the harmonious creative relationship between the two artists.”
Also on view at the gallery is a selection of newly released silver gelatin prints from Yamamoto Masao’s ongoing Tomosu series, as well as unique ambrotypes-wet collodion plates varnished and floated within handmade frames. The Japanese word Tomosu means “to put a little light in the darkness.”
Free entry. Jackson Fine Art, 3122 East Shadowlawn Avenue, Atlanta 30305. jacksonfineart.com
A Christmas Story, Balzer Theater — Jean Shepherd’s collection of semi-autobiographical short stories, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, originally published by Playboy in the 1960s, inspired the 1983 movie A Christmas Story, which in turn led to this stage play adaptation by Philip Grecian in 2000. “Nine-year-old Ralphie Parker takes us on a hysterical, hijinks-filled avalanche of adventure filled with all the trappings of a perfect family holiday,” a press blurb would have us believe. Throw in the mix an exploding furnace, a wet tongue on a cold lamppost, a Red Ryder range bb gun with a compass in the stock, and a wild rash of theatrical fantasies. “Shepherd tapped into our core memories of what it was like to be a child at Christmas time,” says Artistic Director Matt Torney: “The longing for a specific gift, the navigating of last-minute school assignments, the pain of wearing thirteen layers to go out in the snow.” The cast features Robin Bloodworth as The Old Man, Maria Rodriguez-Sager as Mother, and Max Walls as Ralphie; Tom Key returns to Theatrical Outfit as Ralph, and direction is by Rosemary Newcott.
$15-25-45 Theatrical Outfit, The Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie Street, Atlanta 30303. 678-528-1500 theatricaloutfit.org
Allure: A Group Exhibition with Lela Brunet, Cameron Bliss, Patrick Heagney, Krista Grecco and Spencer Herr, Kai Lin Art — Kai Lin’s seventh exhibition this year features the work of five intriguing artists: Brunet is known for large-scale murals and street art throughout the Southeast; Bliss says his art “has always been a way for me to make sense of the world around me in the same way that dreams help us uncover what is hidden beneath the obvious surface;” Heaghney describes his body of work as “a romanticized visual representation of dissociation: zoning out, mental escape, not being present;” Herr employs nostalgia sourced from children’s books, advertisements and art history, while Grecco is drawn to objects that have a history and a story to tell. “At home and in the studio, I surround myself with bits of nature, curiosities, and nostalgic trinkets,” he says.
Free entry. Thu.-Sat., 12-5 p.m. & by appointment. Kai Lin Art, 999 Brady Avenue, Suite 7, Atlanta 30318. 404-408- 4248 email@example.com kailinart.com/news/allure
Winter Lantern Festival, Gwinnett County Fairgrounds — Here’s something bright and cheerful for the holidays: 1,000 handmade lanterns of painted silk cloth draped over frames filled with LED lights, spread across six acres in Gwinnett County, inspired by Chinese myths, legends, and zodiacs. Making its Georgia debut following successful runs in New York and Washington D.C., the festival depicts an animal kingdom, a sea world, and a theme park. There will be “majestic creatures including mammoths, polar bears, penguins, and a 50-foot-tall lantern display of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King,” a press release says. Kids will also be able to ride illuminated swings and seesaws. The whole tour takes a couple of hours. Sounds lovely.
$17.99 (children) $21.99 (adults). 5 p.m.-9 p.m. daily. Gwinnett County Fairgrounds, 2405 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville 30045 winterlanternfestival.com feverup.com
Ghosts of Segregation, Photographs by Rich Frishman, CDC Museum — Seattle-based photographer Rich Frishman’s one-man show delves into the legacy of racial injustice in the United States as seen in the vernacular landscape: segregated schools, theater entrances and restrooms, plus lynching sites, juke joints, jails, eateries, hotels and bus stations. “These troubling specters are as alive today as they ever were, often cloaked in (a) different manner, but as much current events as history,” Frishman says on his website. He is the author of the book Ghosts of Segregation: American Racism Hidden in Plain Sight, to be published by Macmillan in February 2024.
Free entry. Open weekdays 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. (Wednesdays 9 a.m.-7 p.m.) Closed weekends and federal holidays. David J. Sencer CDC Museum, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta 30329. 404-639-0830 firstname.lastname@example.org cdc.gov/museum Frishphoto.com ghostsofsegregation.com
It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Stage Door Theatre — When it first came out in 1947, the movie It’s A Wonderful Life was poorly received and considered a flop, and director Frank Capra lost more than half a million bucks as a result. It only started to gain acclaim in 1974 after a filing error reportedly caused the copyright to lapse, thus making it available for television stations to show without paying a fee. The long-forgotten sob story quickly became a holiday staple on the small screen. Written by Joe Landry and directed by Candy McLellan, this play is a faithful recreation of a classic radio broadcast from the 1940s.
$15-$20-$28 Stage Door Theatre, 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody 30338. 770-396-1726 email@example.com stagedoortheatrega.org ci.ovationtix.com
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Atlanta Symphony Hall — Comprising 15 top-notch soloists and ensemble players, the JLCO spends over a third of the year on tour across the world, in collaboration with symphony orchestras, ballet troupes, and a roster of stellar guest artists. Under Music Director Wynton Marsalis, they perform a vast repertoire, including compositions and arrangements by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman and Charles Mingus. The band has released more than 30 albums since 1992. The ASO gig is likely to include tracks from the LP Big Band Holidays’’ and its sequel.
$49.50-$220.25. 8 p.m. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree Street, Atlanta 30309. 404-733-4800 aso.org
Il Divo, Fox Theatre — The mightily successful crossover foursome comes to the Fox in the company of Mexican-American vocalist Steven Labrie, its newest and youngest member. Labrie replaces Spanish baritone Carlos Marin, who died in 2021 from the effects of COVID-19. Tenors Urs Bühler from Switzerland, Sébastian Izambard from France, and David Miller, a San Diego native, make up the rest of the group. The set will be replete with holiday ditties as well as songs from their ample catalog, all rendered in multiple languages.
$55+ 7:30 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree Street, Atlanta 30308. 855-285-8499 foxtheatre.org
Cinderella: Atlanta’s First Holiday Panto, Academy Theatre — What is a Panto, you ask? Well, it’s short for Pantomime, a theatrical form first developed in England eons ago that mixes songs, gags, slapstick comedy, dancing and other hijinks, performed by cross-dressing thespians with the participation of the audience. And no, it has nothing to do with traditional mime. The Aris Theatre’s Cinderella’’ was written by Karl Palmer and Jon Ammerman directs the new production. “This is a rare opportunity for Atlanta to experience the kind of theater that a Panto brings,” Ammerman wrote in an email. “It has a rich combination of musical comedy, vaudeville, outrageous characters, audience sing-a-longs, dancing, and plenty of laughter under a fairy tale plot that everyone is familiar with.” Established local actors Spencer Stevens, Jordan Mitchell, Kaley Pharr, Demmarie Boreland and Brant Adams are among the cast.
$15-$65 Academy Theatre, 599 North Central Avenue, Hapeville 30354 simpletix.com
New Year’s Bubble Bash, Children’s Museum of Atlanta — Kids need something fun to do on New Year’s Eve, and this is one of them. The annual Bubble Bash at the museum allows youngsters to cavort all over the place, blow bubbles, pop bubble wrap, dance to a DJ, play games, make lots of noise and generally have one heck of a good time.
Tickets are currently $10 for members and $25 for non-members. Ticket prices will increase Dec. 26 to $15 for members and $30 for non-members. Advanced tickets are required; none will be sold at the door.
Children’s Museum of Atlanta, 275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive, Atlanta 30313. 404-659-5437 childrensmuseumatlanta.org