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Cutlure

Culture


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  string(3473) "Southerners John Tindel and Michi Meko have a shared history. They're roughly the same age, both grew up and went to college in Alabama, and they now both live and make art in Atlanta. Under the name TindelMichi, they share the canvas, too, together mining the visual and symbolic lexicon of Southern history. In Baptism by Fire, their current show of paintings and sculpture at Barbara Archer Gallery, the duo presents a revised vision of Southern heritage, unwilling to pander to the either/or extremisms of Dixie-cratic patriotism or cloying Civil Rights depictions.

Images alternately hide in the corner of their paintings or splash across the middle, overwhelming the viewer with visions of plantations, lawn jockeys, and riverboats. Iconic symbols — catfish, gourds, cotton, and crows — bear weight in the paintings, blending into a larger narrative. The assault of imagery in the paintings nicely mimics the billboard culture of the car-centric American South.

Graffiti-like phrases such as "envy," "slop surrealism," and "cotton belt route" further accentuate the superimposed quality of the works. Some are scribbled on top of the painting, almost narrating it. Often they even title the work, such as in "Date Night," where the phrase is emblazoned in pink underneath a light-skinned woman with an elaborate coif. Others are more descriptive and carefully designed, such as the 3-D clip-art aesthetic in "Dixie Playboy." In this font, the words "what wondrous love is this" are scrawled above the intricate geometry of a stylized catfish.

A few of TindelMichi's busy, symbolism-laden paintings feature the disembodied heads of African-American figures reminiscent of the plethora of Martin Luther King Jr.'s statues and murals found around Atlanta in which his bust looms like a beneficent Big Brother. "Detritivores of a System" edges close to cliché, showing the face of a black man in the right-hand corner and, on the other side, the torso of a young black kid whose lower half dissipates into a giant cotton flower. The potential lameness of glorifying anonymous men and women reduced to a representation of their race is tempered, though, by placing them among the swirling symbolism and groundless atmosphere in the heavily decorated paintings.

The artists reset the pace of the show from this modern, urban context with their sculptures made of wood and metal. Like something found propped in a barn, "M. Dixon" is a massive work in which slats made of dresser drawers and window shutters are flanked by rusted tin. A portrait of a black man in uniform, modeled as a Civil War tintype, appears on a wooden plank, seen through a dangling chain that also obscures a pair of white doves. Birds reappear in the two other sculptures as creatures who make a home wherever they can, with crude nests made in plows. But in "The Bird Kachina," feathers emerge from a glass bottle filled with what appears to be bird bones — almost like a warning to those who have found freedom.

John Tindel and Michi Meko, a white man and a black man, circumvent the textbook versions of slavery studied in school, which glaze over its cultural implications to emphasize only that we ended it, and the often saccharine abbreviations of Civil Rights imagery. Rather than thinking of these intrinsic facts of Southern heritage as something that happened long ago, that we can only reflect upon, TindelMichi reintroduces it as a cultural weight carried into the present. "
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Images alternately hide in the corner of their paintings or splash across the middle, overwhelming the viewer with visions of plantations, lawn jockeys, and riverboats. Iconic symbols — catfish, gourds, cotton, and crows — bear weight in the paintings, blending into a larger narrative. The assault of imagery in the paintings nicely mimics the billboard culture of the car-centric American South.

Graffiti-like phrases such as "envy," "slop surrealism," and "cotton belt route" further accentuate the superimposed quality of the works. Some are scribbled on top of the painting, almost narrating it. Often they even title the work, such as in "Date Night," where the phrase is emblazoned in pink underneath a light-skinned woman with an elaborate coif. Others are more descriptive and carefully designed, such as the 3-D clip-art aesthetic in "Dixie Playboy." In this font, the words "what wondrous love is this" are scrawled above the intricate geometry of a stylized catfish.

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The artists reset the pace of the show from this modern, urban context with their sculptures made of wood and metal. Like something found propped in a barn, "M. Dixon" is a massive work in which slats made of dresser drawers and window shutters are flanked by rusted tin. A portrait of a black man in uniform, modeled as a Civil War tintype, appears on a wooden plank, seen through a dangling chain that also obscures a pair of white doves. Birds reappear in the two other sculptures as creatures who make a home wherever they can, with crude nests made in plows. But in "The Bird Kachina," feathers emerge from a glass bottle filled with what appears to be bird bones — almost like a warning to those who have found freedom.

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Images alternately hide in the corner of their paintings or splash across the middle, overwhelming the viewer with visions of plantations, lawn jockeys, and riverboats. Iconic symbols — catfish, gourds, cotton, and crows — bear weight in the paintings, blending into a larger narrative. The assault of imagery in the paintings nicely mimics the billboard culture of the car-centric American South.

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The artists reset the pace of the show from this modern, urban context with their sculptures made of wood and metal. Like something found propped in a barn, "M. Dixon" is a massive work in which slats made of dresser drawers and window shutters are flanked by rusted tin. A portrait of a black man in uniform, modeled as a Civil War tintype, appears on a wooden plank, seen through a dangling chain that also obscures a pair of white doves. Birds reappear in the two other sculptures as creatures who make a home wherever they can, with crude nests made in plows. But in "The Bird Kachina," feathers emerge from a glass bottle filled with what appears to be bird bones — almost like a warning to those who have found freedom.

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Tuesday December 18, 2012 08:20 am EST
The collaborative duo has no use for Southern cliche in this Barbara Archer exhibition | more...
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*Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs
*A sculpture created by Ayokunle Odeleye on Hank Aaron Drive


Famed sculptor and Kennesaw State University professor,  Ayokunle Odeleye, will be giving an artist talk tonight at MOCA GA in conjunction with his retrospective show covering the last 32 years of his extensive career. The artist talk starts at 6:30 p.m. and is free to the public. More art after the jump in this weekend arts agenda."
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*Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs
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Famed sculptor and Kennesaw State University professor,  [http://www.odeleyesculpturestudios.com/|Ayokunle Odeleye], will be giving an artist talk tonight at [http://www.mocaga.org/|MOCA GA] in conjunction with his retrospective show covering the last 32 years of his extensive career. The artist talk starts at 6:30 p.m. and is free to the public. More art after the jump in this weekend arts agenda."
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Friday December 14, 2012 09:00 am EST

  • Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs
  • A sculpture created by Ayokunle Odeleye on Hank Aaron Drive



Famed sculptor and Kennesaw State University professor, Ayokunle Odeleye, will be giving an artist talk tonight at MOCA GA in conjunction with his retrospective show covering the last 32 years of his extensive career. The artist talk starts at 6:30 p.m. and is free to the public. More art after...

| more...
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In his office in a Los Angeles skyscraper, Donny tells his half-brother Tommy (Brad Culver) and a pair of fetching femmes fatales (Corryn Cummins and Shelby Hofer) that he's received a pornographic email featuring his beloved daughter Joanna. Only it might not really be his daughter, since the clip appears to be from the future. Also, the women seem more like extensions of his anxieties than real people, since their names, "Dawn" and "Adana," sound suspiciously similar to "Donny." Oh, and he may have murdered Tommy at some point in the past.

Such an enigmatic, elliptical narrative risks leaving audiences bewildered but not edified. The Black Glass' mystique instead casts a definite spell over its spectators. Analogous to such David Lynch psychological thrillers as Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, the knotty work by playwright Guy Zimmerman takes an off-kilter perspective on such hot-button topics as pornography and corporatism and leaves the audience feeling unquestionably haunted.

"It's not a story or a drama so much as a single image," the characters repeat, referring to a tableau of two men standing in Donny's office overlooking the Los Angeles skyline. Donny reflects on his past successes and envisions futures of tragic failures that include being crippled, cuckolded, and complicit in his daughter's sexual exploitation. At one point Dawn says, "She's been making us all rich with her incessant fucking, we'll pretend." It's as if his imagination runs away with him until he snaps back to the initial image in the office, like his mind resetting itself.

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Habeger tells the audience that The Black Glass is still a work in progress in anticipation of PushPush touring the show in Los Angeles and Berlin in early 2013. Despite its baffling narrative, it feels like a complete work. The four actors prove so accomplished and make such specific choices that they clearly know whom their characters are and what they're doing, even though the audience may only have a vague idea.

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Habeger tells the audience that ''The Black Glass'' is still a work in progress in anticipation of PushPush touring the show in Los Angeles and Berlin in early 2013. Despite its baffling narrative, it feels like a complete work. The four actors prove so accomplished and make such specific choices that they clearly know whom their characters are and what they're doing, even though the audience may only have a vague idea.

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Such an enigmatic, elliptical narrative risks leaving audiences bewildered but not edified. The Black Glass' mystique instead casts a definite spell over its spectators. Analogous to such David Lynch psychological thrillers as Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, the knotty work by playwright Guy Zimmerman takes an off-kilter perspective on such hot-button topics as pornography and corporatism and leaves the audience feeling unquestionably haunted.

"It's not a story or a drama so much as a single image," the characters repeat, referring to a tableau of two men standing in Donny's office overlooking the Los Angeles skyline. Donny reflects on his past successes and envisions futures of tragic failures that include being crippled, cuckolded, and complicit in his daughter's sexual exploitation. At one point Dawn says, "She's been making us all rich with her incessant fucking, we'll pretend." It's as if his imagination runs away with him until he snaps back to the initial image in the office, like his mind resetting itself.

The play touches on the power of pornography to drive technological progress and alter the human psyche. Effectively integrating video projection into the action, The Black Glass includes in its second half a series of close-up clips of Joanna wearing fewer and fewer clothes. Donny's visible anguish and the other actors' poetic speeches ("This is the betrayer's confession") significantly undercut the titillation factor.

Habeger tells the audience that The Black Glass is still a work in progress in anticipation of PushPush touring the show in Los Angeles and Berlin in early 2013. Despite its baffling narrative, it feels like a complete work. The four actors prove so accomplished and make such specific choices that they clearly know whom their characters are and what they're doing, even though the audience may only have a vague idea.

The Black Glass is PushPush Theater's first production since the company gave up its space at Decatur's New Street Arts. Apart from two nights at Nelson Street Gallery, it unfolds at the Goat Farm's Warhorse Café, a tavern-like, book-lined brick venue that's as cozy as the play's fictional setting represents corporate sterility. Different sections of the space are designated as the past, the present, and the future, with the audience encouraged to switch seating at the 70-minute mid-point. For fans of unconventional theater with ambiguous presentation but some pointed real-world commentary, The Black Glass can make itself comfortable in the future.             13071632 7076714                          Theater Review - PushPush's enigmatic The Black Glass deconstructs 21st-century obsessions "
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Article

Wednesday December 12, 2012 09:20 am EST
Haunting production views corporatism and pornography through a kaleidoscope | more...

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  string(3131) "Jennifer Cawley's encaustic and mixed-media paintings play with the natural tension that arises when child-like innocence collides with the dark and daunting realities of the adult word. She counts among her influences authors Roald Dahl and Lewis Carroll, who similarly conveyed senses of wonder and imagination in their works.

Internal struggles manifest as off-kilter mental maps in You Can't Get There From Here, her current exhibit on view at Emily Amy Gallery. In her artist statement, Cawley explains how mental processes follow disjointed, nonlinear paths: "When the brain does not follow expected sequences to problem solve or synthesize information, the result is an alternate perception." This phenomenon can occur in situations as mundane as a visit to a crowded mall or as devastating as dealing with death.

After earning her BFA at the Atlanta College of Art, Cawley studied bookbinding in England. Her works feature youthful storybook elements such as hot-pink silhouettes of pigs, words like "fortune" and "gift" scrawled into the wax with a finger, and peppy primary colors. Paper cutouts, scribbles, amoeba-like splotches of paint, and dictionary pages patch together a subconscious landscape with little spatial logic. Opaque wax encases the collages and distorts the paintings, as if viewing them through a sheer white curtain. In some works, strokes of slick-looking paint sit thickly on top of the wax.

Several paintings have the fresh-looking paint formed into rows of serpentine dashes. In "Amble," the lines loop around parasitic imagery that looks like worms writhing in the holes of a tree. A simple illustration of a man and woman eating at a nearly bare table heightens the painting's melancholy undertone. Red dashes curl atop an inky blue bloom of dyed wax and transform into a loose bouquet of flower petals in "Gift." The sinuous lines escort the eye through the works, effectively conjuring the show's title, You Can't Get There From Here.

Cawley's ideas about sensory processing often manifest literally. In "Comfort Level," a stairwell fills the silhouette of a head, out of which comes a speech bubble made from a dictionary page. But Cawley's work is more successful when it has a sketchier, more ambiguous feel. "Hotdog" and "Perhaps," for instance, have more in common with the bold abstractions of a Cy Twombly painting than a page from a children's book. In both cases, the bright hues that dominate most of her paintings are used sparingly to enliven the muted, earth-toned backgrounds. "Perhaps" is particularly whimsical, with a derby hat, a row of disembodied teeth, an encyclopedia cutout of dancing feet, and her signature dots and dashes of paint.

Maybe Cawley intended to have the viewer contemplate the brain's complexities by creating an atmosphere of sensory overload. Her eye-catching symbols and the colorful webs that connect them capture imagination, but might not hold one's attention. Allowing her paintings room to breathe lets her ideas move through the work like a fishing line. Not every one will catch, but there's a soothing rhythm in their capture and release."
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Internal struggles manifest as off-kilter mental maps in ''You Can't Get There From Here'', her current exhibit on view at Emily Amy Gallery. In her artist statement, Cawley explains how mental processes follow disjointed, nonlinear paths: "When the brain does not follow expected sequences to problem solve or synthesize information, the result is an alternate perception." This phenomenon can occur in situations as mundane as a visit to a crowded mall or as devastating as dealing with death.

After earning her BFA at the Atlanta College of Art, Cawley studied bookbinding in England. Her works feature youthful storybook elements such as hot-pink silhouettes of pigs, words like "fortune" and "gift" scrawled into the wax with a finger, and peppy primary colors. Paper cutouts, scribbles, amoeba-like splotches of paint, and dictionary pages patch together a subconscious landscape with little spatial logic. Opaque wax encases the collages and distorts the paintings, as if viewing them through a sheer white curtain. In some works, strokes of slick-looking paint sit thickly on top of the wax.

Several paintings have the fresh-looking paint formed into rows of serpentine dashes. In "Amble," the lines loop around parasitic imagery that looks like worms writhing in the holes of a tree. A simple illustration of a man and woman eating at a nearly bare table heightens the painting's melancholy undertone. Red dashes curl atop an inky blue bloom of dyed wax and transform into a loose bouquet of flower petals in "Gift." The sinuous lines escort the eye through the works, effectively conjuring the show's title, ''You Can't Get There From Here''.

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Several paintings have the fresh-looking paint formed into rows of serpentine dashes. In "Amble," the lines loop around parasitic imagery that looks like worms writhing in the holes of a tree. A simple illustration of a man and woman eating at a nearly bare table heightens the painting's melancholy undertone. Red dashes curl atop an inky blue bloom of dyed wax and transform into a loose bouquet of flower petals in "Gift." The sinuous lines escort the eye through the works, effectively conjuring the show's title, You Can't Get There From Here.

Cawley's ideas about sensory processing often manifest literally. In "Comfort Level," a stairwell fills the silhouette of a head, out of which comes a speech bubble made from a dictionary page. But Cawley's work is more successful when it has a sketchier, more ambiguous feel. "Hotdog" and "Perhaps," for instance, have more in common with the bold abstractions of a Cy Twombly painting than a page from a children's book. In both cases, the bright hues that dominate most of her paintings are used sparingly to enliven the muted, earth-toned backgrounds. "Perhaps" is particularly whimsical, with a derby hat, a row of disembodied teeth, an encyclopedia cutout of dancing feet, and her signature dots and dashes of paint.

Maybe Cawley intended to have the viewer contemplate the brain's complexities by creating an atmosphere of sensory overload. Her eye-catching symbols and the colorful webs that connect them capture imagination, but might not hold one's attention. Allowing her paintings room to breathe lets her ideas move through the work like a fishing line. Not every one will catch, but there's a soothing rhythm in their capture and release.             13071616 7070810                          Jennifer Cawley paints alternate realities "
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Tuesday December 11, 2012 11:00 am EST
Cawley leaves a memorable mental note at Emily Amy Gallery | more...
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*Vinnie Sherfield
*The painting "Voter Suppression" was displayed in the airport's T Gallery as part of a group exhibition
An artist whose work was displayed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is crying censorship after his work was removed by the air hub's officials.

Vinnie Sherfield submitted two paintings as part of a group exhibition sponsored by the National Arts Program in the airport's T Gallery. Both works were approved by airport officials, he says. One week later, however, he says he was told that one of the works would have to be taken down and replaced with a different painting.

The piece, titled "Voter Suppression," depicts a prison-cell scene in which a shackled, blindfolded man tries to cast a ballot that's clutched between his teeth in a voting box out of his reach. Above him hangs the blade of a guillotine. Rays of light shine on the man from a small barred window. A large American flag is painted on the opposite wall and bleeds on to the floor. The work, Sherfield tells CL, is a "visual representation documenting the Cost of Freedom and those who paid the price for it."

The Douglasville-based artist says he's worked with "countless numbers of young adults who were oblivious to the struggles and sacrifices that have been made throughout history for the right to vote - and how important it is to continue to exercise that right." He says voter suppression is real.

Sherfield says "numerous airport employees and Transportation Security Administration workers" told him when he took down the painting that they were "outraged and even saddened" that the artwork was being removed.

"I was very disappointed to know that the world's largest airport that sees thousands and thousands of people on a daily basis would remove a painting from an art exhibit because one or two people made a negative comment about it," he tells CL. "I find it ironic that a painting about voter suppression is being suppressed in a country where one of our fundamental rights is freedom of speech. If freedom of speech exists in America, it certainly does not exist at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport."

An airport spokesman this morning offered the following comment: "The Airport Art Program staff, who have complete discretion regarding works displayed in the National Arts Program Employee Art Exhibit,  made the decision to replace Sherfield's painting with another of his works after complaints from passengers that the first piece was disturbing.  The staff discussed the decision with Sherfield, who agreed to give them an alternative piece.""
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*Vinnie Sherfield
*The painting "Voter Suppression" was displayed in the airport's T Gallery as part of a group exhibition
An artist whose work was displayed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is crying censorship after his work was removed by the air hub's officials.

Vinnie Sherfield submitted two paintings as part of a group exhibition sponsored by the [http://www.nationalartsprogram.org/|National Arts Program] in the airport's T Gallery. Both works were approved by airport officials, he says. One week later, however, he says he was told that one of the works would have to be taken down and replaced with a different painting.

The piece, titled "Voter Suppression," depicts a prison-cell scene in which a shackled, blindfolded man tries to cast a ballot that's clutched between his teeth in a voting box out of his reach. Above him hangs the blade of a guillotine. Rays of light shine on the man from a small barred window. A large American flag is painted on the opposite wall and bleeds on to the floor. The work, Sherfield tells ''CL'', is a "visual representation documenting the Cost of Freedom and those who paid the price for it."

The Douglasville-based artist says he's worked with "countless numbers of young adults who were oblivious to the struggles and sacrifices that have been made throughout history for the right to vote - and how important it is to continue to exercise that right." He says voter suppression is real.

Sherfield says "numerous airport employees and [Transportation Security Administration] workers" told him when he took down the painting that they were "outraged and even saddened" that the artwork was being removed.

"I was very disappointed to know that the world's largest airport that sees thousands and thousands of people on a daily basis would remove a painting from an art exhibit because one or two people made a negative comment about it," he tells ''CL''. "I find it ironic that a painting about voter suppression is being suppressed in a country where one of our fundamental rights is freedom of speech. If freedom of speech exists in America, it certainly does not exist at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport."

An airport spokesman this morning offered the following comment: "The Airport Art Program staff, who have complete discretion regarding works displayed in the National Arts Program Employee Art Exhibit,  made the decision to replace Sherfield's painting with another of his works after complaints from passengers that the first piece was disturbing.  The staff discussed the decision with Sherfield, who agreed to give them an alternative piece.""
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*Vinnie Sherfield
*The painting "Voter Suppression" was displayed in the airport's T Gallery as part of a group exhibition
An artist whose work was displayed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is crying censorship after his work was removed by the air hub's officials.

Vinnie Sherfield submitted two paintings as part of a group exhibition sponsored by the National Arts Program in the airport's T Gallery. Both works were approved by airport officials, he says. One week later, however, he says he was told that one of the works would have to be taken down and replaced with a different painting.

The piece, titled "Voter Suppression," depicts a prison-cell scene in which a shackled, blindfolded man tries to cast a ballot that's clutched between his teeth in a voting box out of his reach. Above him hangs the blade of a guillotine. Rays of light shine on the man from a small barred window. A large American flag is painted on the opposite wall and bleeds on to the floor. The work, Sherfield tells CL, is a "visual representation documenting the Cost of Freedom and those who paid the price for it."

The Douglasville-based artist says he's worked with "countless numbers of young adults who were oblivious to the struggles and sacrifices that have been made throughout history for the right to vote - and how important it is to continue to exercise that right." He says voter suppression is real.

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Monday December 10, 2012 09:13 am EST

  • Vinnie Sherfield
  • The painting "Voter Suppression" was displayed in the airport's T Gallery as part of a group exhibition

An artist whose work was displayed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is crying censorship after his work was removed by the air hub's officials.

Vinnie Sherfield submitted two paintings as part of a group exhibition sponsored by the National Arts Program...

| more...
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*Dustin Chambers
*French artist Pierre Roti's mural along University Avenue sparked intense debate in surrounding communities
Get a peek at what's left of French artist Pierre Roti's mural along University Avenue in southwest Atlanta while you can. The Georgia Department of Transportation says the controversial Living Walls mural near the Pittsburgh neighborhood will be painted over as early as next week. 

The 240-foot mural, which depicts a grandiose fantasy scene of an urban machine producing a man with a crocodile head, was painted earlier this summer during Living Walls Concepts, the year-round version of the annual summer street art conference hosted by the nonprofit public art organization of the same name. 

But on Nov. 9, a small group of Pittsburgh residents haphazardly painted over the piece, which some members of the predominantly African-American community said featured "demonic imagery." An intense debate erupted over what role the community should play in deciding public art and City Hall's policies regarding murals on private property. 

In a Nov. 21 email to GDOT, city attorney Robin Shahar advised the state agency that Living Walls did not follow the proper procedure for approving a mural on private property. However, she added that the decision on what to do with the mural was GDOT's to make."
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*[http://clatl.com/atlanta/ImageArchives?by=1306421|Dustin Chambers]
*French artist Pierre Roti's mural along University Avenue sparked intense debate in surrounding communities
Get a peek at what's left of French artist Pierre Roti's mural along University Avenue in southwest Atlanta while you can. The Georgia Department of Transportation says the controversial [http://clatl.com/atlanta/living-walls-reconnects-atlantans-with-their-city-one-wall-at-a-time/Content?oid=6125415|Living Walls] mural near the Pittsburgh neighborhood will be painted over as early as next week. 

The 240-foot mural, which depicts a grandiose fantasy scene of an urban machine producing a man with a crocodile head, was painted earlier this summer during Living Walls Concepts, the year-round version of the annual summer street art conference hosted by the nonprofit public art organization of the same name. 

But on Nov. 9, a small group of Pittsburgh residents haphazardly painted over the piece, which some members of the predominantly African-American community said featured "demonic imagery." An [http://clatl.com/atlanta/living-walls-splits-community/Content?oid=6881308|intense debate erupted] over what role the community should play in deciding public art and City Hall's policies regarding murals on private property. 

In a Nov. 21 email to GDOT, city attorney Robin Shahar advised the state agency that Living Walls did not follow the proper procedure for approving a mural on private property. However, she added that the decision on what to do with the mural was GDOT's to make."
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*Dustin Chambers
*French artist Pierre Roti's mural along University Avenue sparked intense debate in surrounding communities
Get a peek at what's left of French artist Pierre Roti's mural along University Avenue in southwest Atlanta while you can. The Georgia Department of Transportation says the controversial Living Walls mural near the Pittsburgh neighborhood will be painted over as early as next week. 

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Friday December 7, 2012 04:53 pm EST

  • Dustin Chambers
  • French artist Pierre Roti's mural along University Avenue sparked intense debate in surrounding communities

Get a peek at what's left of French artist Pierre Roti's mural along University Avenue in southwest Atlanta while you can. The Georgia Department of Transportation says the controversial Living Walls mural near the Pittsburgh neighborhood will be painted over as early...

| more...
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Kevin McDonald, member of Canadian sketch comedy group The Kids in the Hall, will be performing at the Laughing Skull in Midtown all weekend. There will be two performances on Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10:30 p.m., and a final 7:00 p.m. show on Sunday night. More art after the jump.             13071576 7043883                          Weekend Arts Agenda: Kevin McDonald at Laughing Skull December 07 2012 "
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Friday December 7, 2012 09:00 am EST



Kevin McDonald, member of Canadian sketch comedy group The Kids in the Hall, will be performing at the Laughing Skull in Midtown all weekend. There will be two performances on Friday and Saturday at 8 and 10:30 p.m., and a final 7:00 p.m. show on Sunday night. More art after the jump.

| more...
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  string(3639) "Eve Krueger dislikes Charles Dickens and doesn't consider herself much of a Christmas person. Nevertheless, the actress has played nearly every female character in A Christmas Carol, including Ebenezer Scrooge's old girlfriend Belle, Bob Cratchit's wife, Mrs. Fezziwig, and the Ghost of Christmas Past — who also happened to be rock singer Stevie Nicks.

Wait, what? Since 2008, the veteran improviser has acted in the ensemble of Dad's Garage Theatre's annual production of Invasion: Christmas Carol, which drops a new interloper into the classic tale for each performance. This year, Krueger directs the partially improvised send-up of the Scrooge story.

Krueger's Invasion: Christmas Carol stars Rene Dellefont as Scrooge along with Harriss Callahan, Karen Cassady, Jan Lefrancois-Gijzen, Megan Leahy, and Clint Sowell. Every night also features an additional performer, the "invader," whose presence can turn Dickens' tale of midwinter redemption upside down, requiring the ensemble to accommodate the new continuity on the fly. Before curtain, the audience gets to vote on which of two characters the invader will play ahead of time. "On opening night, Lucky Yates was going to play either a Victorian-era street pimp or Elmo from 'Sesame Street,'" says Krueger. "The vote was close, about 34 to 30, but he invaded as Elmo. It got a little dirty."

Directing Invasion: Christmas Carol can be an exercise in controlled chaos. Krueger wants her performers to find the funniest possibilities in a given night's premise, without having the show fly completely off the rails. While some of the productions enforce clearly defined rules about when and where the performers will improvise, "The second year we did it there were no rules," she says. "During one of the later rehearsals we had one invader, and things devolved so quickly and so horribly, we only got through the first act."

Part of Krueger's job is to develop this year's script for Invasion: Christmas Carol. "The first 10 minutes of the show are basically the same every night, and most of the lines in the play that aren't improvised come from Dickens," she says. "Every night the invader makes his first appearance in Scrooge's counting house, and after that, a couple of scenes must remain the same. Marley and Scrooge have information they need to set up, for instance. If the invader is very invasive and changes scenes from the beginning, the show can be 80 percent improvised. If we have a more laid-back invader, it's more like 60 percent improvised."

While not a Dickens fan, Krueger wants her version of Invasion: Christmas Carol to reflect the original book's bleakness and social commentary. "When I think of the time Dickens was writing in, things were terrible," she says. "If you look at the etchings in the books, there's the illustration in the center and darkness at the edges. We have a darker sense of humor about things in this show. It's still funny and it's still happy at the end, but it's a darker show."

Krueger acknowledges that Invasion: Christmas Carol, which has featured such guests as the A-Team and a detective named No Shit Sherlock, may not be a holiday show for the whole family. "I've thought a lot about this over the past five years," she says. "It really depends on how good your sense of humor is, and who the invader is on a given night. Because on some nights, things are totally destroyed. Saturday night, Tiny Tim was a murderer and the show ended with his assassination right after he said, 'God bless us, every one.' If someone's a purist and can't deal with it, they should go to the Alliance Theatre's Christmas Carol.""
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Wait, what? Since 2008, the veteran improviser has acted in the ensemble of Dad's Garage Theatre's annual production of ''[http://clatl.com/atlanta/characters-stage-sneak-attacks-during-invasion-christmas-carol-at-dads-garage/Content?oid=1276577|Invasion: Christmas Carol]'', which drops a new interloper into the classic tale for each performance. This year, Krueger directs the partially improvised send-up of the Scrooge story.

Krueger's ''Invasion: Christmas Carol'' stars Rene Dellefont as Scrooge along with Harriss Callahan, Karen Cassady, Jan Lefrancois-Gijzen, Megan Leahy, and Clint Sowell. Every night also features an additional performer, the "invader," whose presence can turn Dickens' tale of midwinter redemption upside down, requiring the ensemble to accommodate the new continuity on the fly. Before curtain, the audience gets to vote on which of two characters the invader will play ahead of time. "On opening night, Lucky Yates was going to play either a Victorian-era street pimp or Elmo from 'Sesame Street,'" says Krueger. "The vote was close, about 34 to 30, but he invaded as Elmo. It got a little dirty."

Directing ''Invasion: Christmas Carol'' can be an exercise in controlled chaos. Krueger wants her performers to find the funniest possibilities in a given night's premise, without having the show fly completely off the rails. While some of the productions enforce clearly defined rules about when and where the performers will improvise, "The second year we did it there were no rules," she says. "During one of the later rehearsals we had one invader, and things devolved so quickly and so horribly, we only got through the first act."

Part of Krueger's job is to develop this year's script for ''Invasion: Christmas Carol''. "The first 10 minutes of the show are basically the same every night, and most of the lines in the play that aren't improvised come from Dickens," she says. "Every night the invader makes his first appearance in Scrooge's counting house, and after that, a couple of scenes must remain the same. Marley and Scrooge have information they need to set up, for instance. If the invader is very invasive and changes scenes from the beginning, the show can be 80 percent improvised. If we have a more laid-back invader, it's more like 60 percent improvised."

While not a Dickens fan, Krueger wants her version of ''Invasion: Christmas Carol'' to reflect the original book's bleakness and social commentary. "When I think of the time Dickens was writing in, things were terrible," she says. "If you look at the etchings in the books, there's the illustration in the center and darkness at the edges. We have a darker sense of humor about things in this show. It's still funny and it's still happy at the end, but it's a darker show."

Krueger acknowledges that ''Invasion: Christmas Carol'', which has featured such guests as the A-Team and a detective named No Shit Sherlock, may not be a holiday show for the whole family. "I've thought a lot about this over the past five years," she says. "It really depends on how good your sense of humor is, and who the invader is on a given night. Because on some nights, things are totally destroyed. Saturday night, Tiny Tim was a murderer and the show ended with his assassination right after he said, 'God bless us, every one.' If someone's a purist and can't deal with it, they should go to the Alliance Theatre's ''Christmas Carol''.""
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Part of Krueger's job is to develop this year's script for Invasion: Christmas Carol. "The first 10 minutes of the show are basically the same every night, and most of the lines in the play that aren't improvised come from Dickens," she says. "Every night the invader makes his first appearance in Scrooge's counting house, and after that, a couple of scenes must remain the same. Marley and Scrooge have information they need to set up, for instance. If the invader is very invasive and changes scenes from the beginning, the show can be 80 percent improvised. If we have a more laid-back invader, it's more like 60 percent improvised."

While not a Dickens fan, Krueger wants her version of Invasion: Christmas Carol to reflect the original book's bleakness and social commentary. "When I think of the time Dickens was writing in, things were terrible," she says. "If you look at the etchings in the books, there's the illustration in the center and darkness at the edges. We have a darker sense of humor about things in this show. It's still funny and it's still happy at the end, but it's a darker show."

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Friday November 30, 2012 02:00 pm EST
Dad's Garage sends up Dickens' Christmas classic with annual improv adaptation | more...
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*Emily Amy Gallery
*'Follow/Forget' Jennifer Cawley


Atlanta-based SCAD MFA candidate Jennifer Cawley will be hosted by Emily Amy Gallery for her collection of recent paintings, prints, and books titled You Can't Get There From Here. Her work, which touches on a surrealist aesthetic, explores the feeling of limbo while working to the completion of a rigorous degree and will be accompanied by some work from her peers. An opening reception will celebrate these students' hard work from 7-10 p.m. tonight at Emily Amy. More art this weekend after the jump."
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*[http://clatl.com/atlanta/ImageArchives?by=3170993|Emily Amy Gallery]
*'Follow/Forget' Jennifer Cawley


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*Emily Amy Gallery
*'Follow/Forget' Jennifer Cawley


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Article

Friday November 30, 2012 10:23 am EST

  • Emily Amy Gallery
  • 'Follow/Forget' Jennifer Cawley



Atlanta-based SCAD MFA candidate Jennifer Cawley will be hosted by Emily Amy Gallery for her collection of recent paintings, prints, and books titled You Can't Get There From Here. Her work, which touches on a surrealist aesthetic, explores the feeling of limbo while working to the completion of a rigorous degree and will be accompanied by...

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Thursday November 29, 2012 04:10 am EST
From the city's new DIY lit scene to the U.S. Poet Laureate, Atlanta is home to a diverse - and growing - literary culture | more...
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  string(11407) "In August, Natasha Trethewey recited selected poems from her latest collection, Thrall, at Emory University's Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. She was giving the Decatur Book Festival's keynote speech — her first public appearance since the Library of Congress named her the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate in June. Utter stillness engulfed the center's sold-out 800-seat theater as Trethewey rolled through her verses in a soft, melancholy lilt. The delivery was powerful and confident, and her voice contained only the slightest hint of a Southern accent.

Speaking on Emory's campus, where she's worked as a professor for more than a decade and now serves as the Creative Writing Program's director, Trethewey made her debut as the nation's preeminent poetry ambassador in front of a hometown audience. The late August evening represented a culminating moment for the Decaturite, the first Southerner to hold the position since Robert Penn Warren in 1986 and the first African-American poet laureate since Rita Dove in 1993.

The importance of Southernness and of race in Trethewey's life cannot be understated. They have come to define the biracial, Mississippi-born poet on both personal and artistic levels.

"I've always been aware that the South made me," she says. "I am the product of this place, as well as anyone from this place."

Much of Trethewey's poetry explores her personal experiences living below the Mason-Dixon line within the context of the South's overarching, historical narrative. She's immersed herself in understanding the region, and for better or worse, claimed the South as her own.

"It is my homeland and my native land," she says. "If I don't claim it, if I allow the people who ought to say that it is not really 'my place' because of race or something like that, then it renders me homeless. I'd have no homeland. I love the South because it is mine."

Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Miss., on April 26, 1966. Her mother, an African-American social worker, and father, a white Nova Scotian poet and professor, had married at a time when interracial marriages were still illegal in more than 20 states, including Mississippi. In a coincidental twist of fate, Trethewey's birth occurred on the centennial anniversary of Confederate Memorial Day. It's the kind of biographical tidbit that's impossible to make up, yet futile to ignore.

"To me, it seems like one of those great ironies that help to produce a writer, being born 100 years to the day that they first celebrated Confederate Memorial Day," she says.

When she was 6 years old, Trethewey moved from Gulfport to Atlanta, eventually settling in Decatur. She attended DeKalb public schools and lived with her mother and abusive black stepfather, who ostracized her for being biracial and regularly looked through her diary. Her mother divorced him after 10 harrowing years in an effort to escape the violent relationship.

But the torment didn't end. Following the relationship's demise, Trethewey's former stepfather unsuccessfully attempted to take her mother's life after beating her and repeatedly injecting her with a syringe full of battery acid. He spent one year in jail before being released, and, in June 1985, tried to kill her a second time. He was successful.

Trethewey was asleep when it happened, as she would later describe in her sorrowful ode, "Myth":

I was asleep while you were dying.

It's as if you slipped through some rift, a hollow

I make between my slumber and my waking,

the Erebus I keep you in, still trying

not to let go. You'll be dead again tomorrow,

but in dreams you live. So I try taking

you back into morning. Sleep-heavy, turning,

my eyes open, I find you do not follow.

Again and again, this constant forsaking.

At the time, she was living 65 miles away in Athens, Ga., and attending the University of Georgia. She vowed never to return to Atlanta.

"When my mother died, I was 19, and I said to myself that I would never come back," she said in a 2010 interview with Emory's Southern Spaces. "I never thought that I'd want to come back, that I would come back."

It took Trethewey more than 15 years to return to Decatur. When she finally did, she was an established poet and professor. Her debut collection, 2000's Domestic Work, had been honored with the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and her follow-up, Bellocq's Ophelia, was already slated for publication. In 2001, she accepted a position as a Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University.

Coming back, however, wasn't easy. Trethewey moved within walking distance of the courthouse where her former stepfather was sentenced for shooting her mother to death. She not only had to re-familiarize herself with the city, but she also had come to grips with the psychological terrain of decades past.

pageimage-1
image-2"I moved that close to the place that I had left behind," she recalled in the Southern Spaces interview, "but it was completely different."

Soon, though, Trethewey started to feel at home again, as she became reacquainted with a city that, like her, had undergone vast changes.

"Atlanta had transformed a lot in the time since I had gone away and come back, of course because of the Olympics primarily," she says. "Downtown Decatur was an area I had been very familiar with when I was a child growing up. It had transformed into the lovely, quaint little town it is now with great restaurants, shops, and bookstores."

A literary scene had also sprouted, emerging alongside the Decatur Book Festival. First held in 2006, the event has since become the nation's largest independent book festival. The growth of the town as a budding literary hotbed helped attract writers and poets from outside the South, including three of Trethewey's favorites — Amber Dermont, Kevin Young, and Chelsea Rathburn — who all moved to Decatur after growing up outside the region.

"That was a really big difference, and I think the literary scene with the Decatur Book Festival — that just seems like something remarkable that helped to transform the culture of the place," she says.

The flourishing community allowed Trethewey to find her place, and as a poet, helped her finally tackle the looming subject of her mother's tragic murder. For nearly 20 years, Trethewey had attempted to write about her life-altering trauma. It wasn't until she started working at Emory, however, that she found herself able to convey the experience. Those poems became part of her Pulitzer Prize–winning collection, 2006's Native Guard.

In "Pastoral," one of the collection's finest poems, she vividly dreams that Robert Penn Warren and other Fugitive Poets inquire: "You don't hate the South? They ask. You don't hate it?" Trethewey evokes Atlanta's skyline as the poem's backdrop, which, like the rest of Native Guard, has enabled her to understand her personal experiences within the ever-evolving, yet complex, South.

"It's always been a love-hate relationship. It's the only home I have," she says. "I'm more interested in recovering parts of our shared history as Southerners and Americans that have been overlooked and telling a fuller version of American history."

This reconciliation has empowered Trethewey to staunchly claim her native land despite its historical blemishes. While she admires the South, Trethewey doesn't blindly defend it. Instead, she's worked to reclaim the area's tradition, which she believes skims over certain "erased" memories. As a result, she's taken it upon herself to depict some of the lesser-known stories, such as the all-black Union regiment that inspired her Pulitzer Prize–winning collection's title.

Georgia's former state flag, which incorporated the Confederate flag in its design from 1956 to 2001, was another point of interest for the poet upon her return to Atlanta.

"There was a lot of controversy over the Confederate flag in the parts of the Georgia flag," she recalls. "There was a letter to the editor of a newspaper that read: 'all true Southerners love that flag.' In just one sentence, the letter writer could say that, if you didn't love the Confederate flag, you weren't really a true Southerner."

"I refused to accept that," she says. "I thought this is just as much mine as it is theirs. I love the South, but I also want the American flag to fly over it."

In Thrall, Trethewey further investigates her biracial identity while challenging preconceived societal classifications, both in the South and beyond. In "Help, 1968," she recalls her mother being mistaken for her maid. In that poem — inspired by a Robert Frank photograph from his 1958 book, The Americans — she writes:

when my mother took me for walks,

she was mistaken again and again

for my maid. Year later she told me

she'd say I was her daughter, and each time

strangers would stare in disbelief, then

empty the change from their pockets.

Trethewey also elaborates on her relationship with her father, a longtime poet that has written about her for years. Thrall's opening poem, "Elegy," describes their intimate, and at times divisive, relationship. Another work, "Enlightenment," reveals the ways in which her white father would rationalize the inherent contradictions in Thomas Jefferson's beliefs about liberty while owning slaves.

In her first published collection as the U.S. Poet Laureate, Trethewey doesn't directly speak to her Atlanta experience. Nevertheless, she continues to address the same issues that have permeated her entire life, which has been informed by her time in this city.

"I think that there are ways that you can maintain a strong awareness of Southern history and Southern culture without being mired in what is bad about the past and what we need to leave behind about it," she says. "I also hate its violent history and some of its ongoing blindness and racism. And yet, to love a place like this is to want to make a place better."

pageimage-3
Trethewey's unshakable Southern resolve has appeared throughout her first five collections and will likely remain prevalent in her future work. In January, Trethewey will temporarily leave her beloved South behind as she heads north to take up residence in the nation's capital. She'll be the first-ever U.S. Poet Laureate to take advantage of the Library of Congress' dedicated office for the honorary position. By doing so, she hopes to approach the opportunity "differently than had been done before."

"I'm actually in this situation to take up residency," she explains. "I'll be able to hold office hours for the public during the weeks that I'm there."

It'll be her first time living outside of the South in some time, but she isn't worried about missing the region as she fulfills her Laureateship's duties.

"I have fond memories of working on my last book, Native Guard, doing research in the library and then spending some time writing in the reading room there," she says. "I feel like D.C.'s not that far away, that I won't still feel a little of the flavor of South while I'm there. It doesn't feel so remote and removed from the South."

Regardless of how far she travels from here and how long she stays away, her Southernness will remain with her, as an inextricable part of her identity.

"It's the best kind of thing," she says, "to feel that history and write about the South, as a native daughter. It's what I was destined to do." "
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  string(11744) "In August, Natasha Trethewey recited selected poems from her latest collection, ''Thrall'', at Emory University's Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. She was giving the Decatur Book Festival's keynote speech — her first public appearance since the Library of Congress named her the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate in June. Utter stillness engulfed the center's sold-out 800-seat theater as Trethewey rolled through her verses in a soft, melancholy lilt. The delivery was powerful and confident, and her voice contained only the slightest hint of a Southern accent.

Speaking on Emory's campus, where she's worked as a professor for more than a decade and now serves as the Creative Writing Program's director, Trethewey made her debut as the nation's preeminent poetry ambassador in front of a hometown audience. The late August evening represented a culminating moment for the Decaturite, the first Southerner to hold the position since Robert Penn Warren in 1986 and the first African-American poet laureate since Rita Dove in 1993.

The importance of Southernness and of race in Trethewey's life cannot be understated. They have come to define the biracial, Mississippi-born poet on both personal and artistic levels.

"I've always been aware that the South made me," she says. "I am the product of this place, as well as anyone from this place."

Much of Trethewey's poetry explores her personal experiences living below the Mason-Dixon line within the context of the South's overarching, historical narrative. She's immersed herself in understanding the region, and for better or worse, claimed the South as her own.

"It is my homeland and my native land," she says. "If I don't claim it, if I allow the people who ought to say that it is not really 'my place' because of race or something like that, then it renders me homeless. I'd have no homeland. I love the South because it is ''mine''."

Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Miss., on April 26, 1966. Her mother, an African-American social worker, and father, a white Nova Scotian poet and professor, had married at a time when interracial marriages were still illegal in more than 20 states, including Mississippi. In a coincidental twist of fate, Trethewey's birth occurred on the centennial anniversary of Confederate Memorial Day. It's the kind of biographical tidbit that's impossible to make up, yet futile to ignore.

"To me, it seems like one of those great ironies that help to produce a writer, being born 100 years to the day that they first celebrated [Confederate Memorial Day]," she says.

When she was 6 years old, Trethewey moved from Gulfport to Atlanta, eventually settling in Decatur. She attended DeKalb public schools and lived with her mother and abusive black stepfather, who ostracized her for being biracial and regularly looked through her diary. Her mother divorced him after 10 harrowing years in an effort to escape the violent relationship.

But the torment didn't end. Following the relationship's demise, Trethewey's former stepfather unsuccessfully attempted to take her mother's life after beating her and repeatedly injecting her with a syringe full of battery acid. He spent one year in jail before being released, and, in June 1985, tried to kill her a second time. He was successful.

Trethewey was asleep when it happened, as she would later describe in her sorrowful ode, "Myth":

''I was asleep while you were dying.''

''It's as if you slipped through some rift, a hollow''

''I make between my slumber and my waking,''

''the Erebus I keep you in, still trying''

''not to let go. You'll be dead again tomorrow,''

''but in dreams you live. So I try taking''

''you back into morning. Sleep-heavy, turning,''

''my eyes open, I find you do not follow.''

''Again and again, this constant forsaking.''

At the time, she was living 65 miles away in Athens, Ga., and attending the University of Georgia. She vowed never to return to Atlanta.

"When my mother died, I was 19, and I said to myself that I would never come back," she said in [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU90-kagDsE&feature=plcp|a 2010 interview with Emory's ''Southern Spaces'']. "I never thought that I'd want to come back, that I would come back."

It took Trethewey more than 15 years to return to Decatur. When she finally did, she was an established poet and professor. Her debut collection, 2000's ''Domestic Work'', had been honored with the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and her follow-up, ''Bellocq's Ophelia'', was already slated for publication. In 2001, she accepted a position as a Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University.

Coming back, however, wasn't easy. Trethewey moved within walking distance of the courthouse where her former stepfather was sentenced for shooting her mother to death. She not only had to re-familiarize herself with the city, but she also had come to grips with the psychological terrain of decades past.

[page][image-1]
[image-2]"I moved ''that'' close to the place that I had left behind," she recalled in the Southern Spaces interview, "but it was completely different."

Soon, though, Trethewey started to feel at home again, as she became reacquainted with a city that, like her, had undergone vast changes.

"Atlanta had transformed a lot in the time since I had gone away and come back, of course because of the Olympics primarily," she says. "Downtown Decatur was an area I had been very familiar with when I was a child growing up. It had transformed into the lovely, quaint little town it is now with great restaurants, shops, and bookstores."

A literary scene had also sprouted, emerging alongside the Decatur Book Festival. First held in 2006, the event has since become the nation's largest independent book festival. The growth of the town as a budding literary hotbed helped attract writers and poets from outside the South, including three of Trethewey's favorites — Amber Dermont, Kevin Young, and Chelsea Rathburn — who all moved to Decatur after growing up outside the region.

"That was a really big difference, and I think the literary scene with the Decatur Book Festival — that just seems like something remarkable that helped to transform the culture of the place," she says.

The flourishing community allowed Trethewey to find her place, and as a poet, helped her finally tackle the looming subject of her mother's tragic murder. For nearly 20 years, Trethewey had attempted to write about her life-altering trauma. It wasn't until she started working at Emory, however, that she found herself able to convey the experience. Those poems became part of her Pulitzer Prize–winning collection, 2006's ''Native Guard''.

In "Pastoral," one of the collection's finest poems, she vividly dreams that Robert Penn Warren and other [http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/speccol/vrr/fa_bios.shtml|Fugitive Poets] inquire: ''"You don't hate the South?'' They ask. ''You don't hate it?''" Trethewey evokes Atlanta's skyline as the poem's backdrop, which, like the rest of ''Native Guard'', has enabled her to understand her personal experiences within the ever-evolving, yet complex, South.

"It's always been a love-hate relationship. It's the only home I have," she says. "I'm more interested in recovering parts of our shared history as Southerners and Americans that have been overlooked and telling a fuller version of American history."

This reconciliation has empowered Trethewey to staunchly claim her native land despite its historical blemishes. While she admires the South, Trethewey doesn't blindly defend it. Instead, she's worked to reclaim the area's tradition, which she believes skims over certain "erased" memories. As a result, she's taken it upon herself to depict some of the lesser-known stories, such as the all-black Union regiment that inspired her Pulitzer Prize–winning collection's title.

Georgia's former state flag, which incorporated the Confederate flag in its design from 1956 to 2001, was another point of interest for the poet upon her return to Atlanta.

"There was a lot of controversy over the Confederate flag in the parts of the Georgia flag," she recalls. "There was a letter to the editor of a newspaper that read: 'all true Southerners love that flag.' In just one sentence, the letter writer could say that, if you didn't love the Confederate flag, you weren't really a true Southerner."

"I refused to accept that," she says. "[I thought] this is just as much mine as it is theirs. I love the South, but I also want the American flag to fly over it."

In ''Thrall'', Trethewey further investigates her biracial identity while challenging preconceived societal classifications, both in the South and beyond. In "Help, 1968," she recalls her mother being mistaken for her maid. In that poem — inspired by a [http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/reviews/lawrence/lawrence4-7-09_detail.asp?picnum=9|Robert Frank photograph] from his 1958 book, ''The Americans'' — she writes:

''when my mother took me for walks,''

''she was mistaken again and again''

''for my maid. Year later she told me''

''she'd say I was her daughter, and each time''

''strangers would stare in disbelief, then''

''empty the change from their pockets.''

Trethewey also elaborates on her relationship with her father, a longtime poet that has written about her for years. ''Thrall'''s opening poem, "Elegy," describes their intimate, and at times divisive, relationship. Another work, "Enlightenment," reveals the ways in which her white father would rationalize the inherent contradictions in Thomas Jefferson's beliefs about liberty while owning slaves.

In her first published collection as the U.S. Poet Laureate, Trethewey doesn't directly speak to her Atlanta experience. Nevertheless, she continues to address the same issues that have permeated her entire life, which has been informed by her time in this city.

"I think that there are ways that you can maintain a strong awareness of Southern history and Southern culture without being mired in what is bad about the past and what we need to leave behind about it," she says. "I also hate its violent history and some of its ongoing blindness and racism. And yet, to love a place like this is to want to make a place better."

[page][image-3]
Trethewey's unshakable Southern resolve has appeared throughout her first five collections and will likely remain prevalent in her future work. In January, Trethewey will temporarily leave her beloved South behind as she heads north to take up residence in the nation's capital. She'll be the first-ever U.S. Poet Laureate to take advantage of the Library of Congress' dedicated office for the honorary position. By doing so, she hopes to approach the opportunity "differently than had been done before."

"I'm actually in this situation to take up residency," she explains. "I'll be able to hold office hours for the public during the weeks that I'm there."

It'll be her first time living outside of the South in some time, but she isn't worried about missing the region as she fulfills her Laureateship's duties.

"I have fond memories of working on my last book, ''Native Guard'', doing research in the library and then spending some time writing in the reading room there," she says. "I feel like D.C.'s not that far away, that I won't still feel a little of the flavor of South while I'm there. It doesn't feel so remote and removed from the South."

Regardless of how far she travels from here and how long she stays away, her Southernness will remain with her, as an inextricable part of her identity.

"It's the best kind of thing," she says, "to feel that history and write about the South, as a native daughter. It's what I was destined to do." "
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  string(11745) "    I love the South because it is mine.'   2012-11-29T09:08:00+00:00 U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey explains her undying obsession with the South   Max Blau Max Blau 2012-11-29T09:08:00+00:00  In August, Natasha Trethewey recited selected poems from her latest collection, Thrall, at Emory University's Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. She was giving the Decatur Book Festival's keynote speech — her first public appearance since the Library of Congress named her the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate in June. Utter stillness engulfed the center's sold-out 800-seat theater as Trethewey rolled through her verses in a soft, melancholy lilt. The delivery was powerful and confident, and her voice contained only the slightest hint of a Southern accent.

Speaking on Emory's campus, where she's worked as a professor for more than a decade and now serves as the Creative Writing Program's director, Trethewey made her debut as the nation's preeminent poetry ambassador in front of a hometown audience. The late August evening represented a culminating moment for the Decaturite, the first Southerner to hold the position since Robert Penn Warren in 1986 and the first African-American poet laureate since Rita Dove in 1993.

The importance of Southernness and of race in Trethewey's life cannot be understated. They have come to define the biracial, Mississippi-born poet on both personal and artistic levels.

"I've always been aware that the South made me," she says. "I am the product of this place, as well as anyone from this place."

Much of Trethewey's poetry explores her personal experiences living below the Mason-Dixon line within the context of the South's overarching, historical narrative. She's immersed herself in understanding the region, and for better or worse, claimed the South as her own.

"It is my homeland and my native land," she says. "If I don't claim it, if I allow the people who ought to say that it is not really 'my place' because of race or something like that, then it renders me homeless. I'd have no homeland. I love the South because it is mine."

Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Miss., on April 26, 1966. Her mother, an African-American social worker, and father, a white Nova Scotian poet and professor, had married at a time when interracial marriages were still illegal in more than 20 states, including Mississippi. In a coincidental twist of fate, Trethewey's birth occurred on the centennial anniversary of Confederate Memorial Day. It's the kind of biographical tidbit that's impossible to make up, yet futile to ignore.

"To me, it seems like one of those great ironies that help to produce a writer, being born 100 years to the day that they first celebrated Confederate Memorial Day," she says.

When she was 6 years old, Trethewey moved from Gulfport to Atlanta, eventually settling in Decatur. She attended DeKalb public schools and lived with her mother and abusive black stepfather, who ostracized her for being biracial and regularly looked through her diary. Her mother divorced him after 10 harrowing years in an effort to escape the violent relationship.

But the torment didn't end. Following the relationship's demise, Trethewey's former stepfather unsuccessfully attempted to take her mother's life after beating her and repeatedly injecting her with a syringe full of battery acid. He spent one year in jail before being released, and, in June 1985, tried to kill her a second time. He was successful.

Trethewey was asleep when it happened, as she would later describe in her sorrowful ode, "Myth":

I was asleep while you were dying.

It's as if you slipped through some rift, a hollow

I make between my slumber and my waking,

the Erebus I keep you in, still trying

not to let go. You'll be dead again tomorrow,

but in dreams you live. So I try taking

you back into morning. Sleep-heavy, turning,

my eyes open, I find you do not follow.

Again and again, this constant forsaking.

At the time, she was living 65 miles away in Athens, Ga., and attending the University of Georgia. She vowed never to return to Atlanta.

"When my mother died, I was 19, and I said to myself that I would never come back," she said in a 2010 interview with Emory's Southern Spaces. "I never thought that I'd want to come back, that I would come back."

It took Trethewey more than 15 years to return to Decatur. When she finally did, she was an established poet and professor. Her debut collection, 2000's Domestic Work, had been honored with the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and her follow-up, Bellocq's Ophelia, was already slated for publication. In 2001, she accepted a position as a Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University.

Coming back, however, wasn't easy. Trethewey moved within walking distance of the courthouse where her former stepfather was sentenced for shooting her mother to death. She not only had to re-familiarize herself with the city, but she also had come to grips with the psychological terrain of decades past.

pageimage-1
image-2"I moved that close to the place that I had left behind," she recalled in the Southern Spaces interview, "but it was completely different."

Soon, though, Trethewey started to feel at home again, as she became reacquainted with a city that, like her, had undergone vast changes.

"Atlanta had transformed a lot in the time since I had gone away and come back, of course because of the Olympics primarily," she says. "Downtown Decatur was an area I had been very familiar with when I was a child growing up. It had transformed into the lovely, quaint little town it is now with great restaurants, shops, and bookstores."

A literary scene had also sprouted, emerging alongside the Decatur Book Festival. First held in 2006, the event has since become the nation's largest independent book festival. The growth of the town as a budding literary hotbed helped attract writers and poets from outside the South, including three of Trethewey's favorites — Amber Dermont, Kevin Young, and Chelsea Rathburn — who all moved to Decatur after growing up outside the region.

"That was a really big difference, and I think the literary scene with the Decatur Book Festival — that just seems like something remarkable that helped to transform the culture of the place," she says.

The flourishing community allowed Trethewey to find her place, and as a poet, helped her finally tackle the looming subject of her mother's tragic murder. For nearly 20 years, Trethewey had attempted to write about her life-altering trauma. It wasn't until she started working at Emory, however, that she found herself able to convey the experience. Those poems became part of her Pulitzer Prize–winning collection, 2006's Native Guard.

In "Pastoral," one of the collection's finest poems, she vividly dreams that Robert Penn Warren and other Fugitive Poets inquire: "You don't hate the South? They ask. You don't hate it?" Trethewey evokes Atlanta's skyline as the poem's backdrop, which, like the rest of Native Guard, has enabled her to understand her personal experiences within the ever-evolving, yet complex, South.

"It's always been a love-hate relationship. It's the only home I have," she says. "I'm more interested in recovering parts of our shared history as Southerners and Americans that have been overlooked and telling a fuller version of American history."

This reconciliation has empowered Trethewey to staunchly claim her native land despite its historical blemishes. While she admires the South, Trethewey doesn't blindly defend it. Instead, she's worked to reclaim the area's tradition, which she believes skims over certain "erased" memories. As a result, she's taken it upon herself to depict some of the lesser-known stories, such as the all-black Union regiment that inspired her Pulitzer Prize–winning collection's title.

Georgia's former state flag, which incorporated the Confederate flag in its design from 1956 to 2001, was another point of interest for the poet upon her return to Atlanta.

"There was a lot of controversy over the Confederate flag in the parts of the Georgia flag," she recalls. "There was a letter to the editor of a newspaper that read: 'all true Southerners love that flag.' In just one sentence, the letter writer could say that, if you didn't love the Confederate flag, you weren't really a true Southerner."

"I refused to accept that," she says. "I thought this is just as much mine as it is theirs. I love the South, but I also want the American flag to fly over it."

In Thrall, Trethewey further investigates her biracial identity while challenging preconceived societal classifications, both in the South and beyond. In "Help, 1968," she recalls her mother being mistaken for her maid. In that poem — inspired by a Robert Frank photograph from his 1958 book, The Americans — she writes:

when my mother took me for walks,

she was mistaken again and again

for my maid. Year later she told me

she'd say I was her daughter, and each time

strangers would stare in disbelief, then

empty the change from their pockets.

Trethewey also elaborates on her relationship with her father, a longtime poet that has written about her for years. Thrall's opening poem, "Elegy," describes their intimate, and at times divisive, relationship. Another work, "Enlightenment," reveals the ways in which her white father would rationalize the inherent contradictions in Thomas Jefferson's beliefs about liberty while owning slaves.

In her first published collection as the U.S. Poet Laureate, Trethewey doesn't directly speak to her Atlanta experience. Nevertheless, she continues to address the same issues that have permeated her entire life, which has been informed by her time in this city.

"I think that there are ways that you can maintain a strong awareness of Southern history and Southern culture without being mired in what is bad about the past and what we need to leave behind about it," she says. "I also hate its violent history and some of its ongoing blindness and racism. And yet, to love a place like this is to want to make a place better."

pageimage-3
Trethewey's unshakable Southern resolve has appeared throughout her first five collections and will likely remain prevalent in her future work. In January, Trethewey will temporarily leave her beloved South behind as she heads north to take up residence in the nation's capital. She'll be the first-ever U.S. Poet Laureate to take advantage of the Library of Congress' dedicated office for the honorary position. By doing so, she hopes to approach the opportunity "differently than had been done before."

"I'm actually in this situation to take up residency," she explains. "I'll be able to hold office hours for the public during the weeks that I'm there."

It'll be her first time living outside of the South in some time, but she isn't worried about missing the region as she fulfills her Laureateship's duties.

"I have fond memories of working on my last book, Native Guard, doing research in the library and then spending some time writing in the reading room there," she says. "I feel like D.C.'s not that far away, that I won't still feel a little of the flavor of South while I'm there. It doesn't feel so remote and removed from the South."

Regardless of how far she travels from here and how long she stays away, her Southernness will remain with her, as an inextricable part of her identity.

"It's the best kind of thing," she says, "to feel that history and write about the South, as a native daughter. It's what I was destined to do."              13071430 6962341                          U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey explains her undying obsession with the South "
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Thursday November 29, 2012 04:08 am EST
I love the South because it is mine.' | more...
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  string(7400) "It looks like your average Friday night in the Old Fourth Ward. In the Music Room, an underground club on Edgewood Avenue, a packed crowd stands at attention, PBR tall boys in hand, as drag queen Lavonia Elberton, a ghoulish Southern vision in gingham and stark white face paint, takes the stage.

Appearances aside, this isn't some lavish indie rock production. The host introduces Jayne O'Connor, who proceeds to spin an incisive account of image-obsessed teen girls and that patron she-devil of slumber parties, Bloody Mary. The crowd's respectful silence gives way to guffaws, which escalate into shrieks of laughter a few minutes later as Julian Modugno recounts the hilarious and twisted fable of a pair of teens with hooks for appendages whose hormone-heavy make-out session is terrorized by a bogeyman with actual human hands.

This bawdy and irreverent evening called "Urban Legends" was staged by O'Connor's zine Hyde ATL, and is part of a rising wave of informal Atlanta literary events offering an antidote to the reading event as a staid, whisper-quiet gathering, or "Something dull, attended by fops," as Write Club's Myke Johns puts it.

A DIY spirit has possessed Atlanta's writers and readers, who are taking literature out of the stuffy confines of the library and into coffeehouses, bars, galleries, and event spaces. The effect is decidedly egalitarian: Series like Solar Anus and Lost in the Letters spotlight under-the-radar talents, while groups like Kill Your Darlings ATL and Eyedrum's Writers Exchange provide forums for authors to workshop their material with other writers. Write Club Atlanta's head-to-head matchups and loud music stir up a literary whirlwind somewhere between "WrestleMania" and a rock concert; Hyde ATL produces brash and brainy romps; and Vouched Atlanta, an online champion of small-press literature, sets up guerilla bookstores at area events and stages its own readings. There's also Carapace, True Story, and Stories on the Square, which place less emphasis on reading, but share audiences and performers with their storytelling brethren.

"There's a commonality in that it's all about the story," says Daren Wang, executive director of the Decatur Book Festival, publisher of the audio literary magazine Verb, and producer of two radio programs about writing.

That common ground extends to the audiences, which seem hungry to listen to and interact with writers up close.

"These are the warmest crowds I've ever performed for," says Jason Mallory, a writer, podcaster, and stand-up comic who has participated in True Story and Write Club. "They're ready to hear good writing. They want to hear what you have to say. You could not ask for a better audience than a roomful of people who are already predisposed to listen to you."

Atlanta and literature are hardly strange bedfellows; the city was the home to Margaret Mitchell, Joel Chandler Harris, James Dickey, and Lewis Grizzard, and, more recently, of Salman Rushdie's archive at Emory University, where the author became a Distinguished Writer in Residence in 2007, as well as recently crowned 2012-13 U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey 

And no discussion of this bookish landscape can ignore the Decatur Book Festival, which has played a significant role in raising Atlanta's literary profile over the last seven years through its Labor Day weekend extravaganza, literary events, and support for educational programs.

"The Decatur Book Festival has done a great deal to transform the metro area's literary scene," says Kate Sweeney, host of True Story. "The number of writers who take part in True Story who turn out to have just moved to Decatur in the last five years is just silly."

The festival, along with other ventures like SCAD Atlanta's writing program, has helped attract new writers to the city. Still, as recently as four years ago, area storytellers were experiencing a distinct lack of showcases for their work, especially in comparison to the city's vibrant poetry scene, which boasts such names as Collin Kelley and Kodac Harrison, and a rich history of slam poetry.

"There weren't these kinds of events going on in Atlanta," says Jamie Iredell, who co-founded Solar Anus with Amy McDaniel and Blake Butler in 2008. "Atlanta was really not a literary city for a city of its size."

"When we started, we knew of no other outlets, outside of series run by universities, for visiting indie writers to read their work aloud and sell their books," says McDaniel. "So we changed that."

Sweeney, who enjoyed a "tight literature community" while attending the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, felt that same lack when she moved back to Atlanta in early 2009, leading her to start True Story with Dionne Irving in October of that year.

Things snowballed after that. In February 2010, Randy Osborne and Joyce Mitchell started MothUP Atlanta, an affiliate of the New York-based Moth storytelling organization (it later shed that affiliation and became Carapace). Kill Your Darlings ATL cranked up in June, acting as an online community for writers and a hub of information about literary events. Eyedrum kicked off its Writers Exchange forum in July. A year later, Vouched Atlanta and Write Club Atlanta debuted in July 2011.

"When the time is right for certain discoveries to be made," says Osborne, "you'll find them taking place almost simultaneously in widely spaced locations."

If the emergence of Solar Anus, True Story, and Carapace marked the birth of a new, self-sufficient literary movement, the arrival of Write Club Atlanta can be seen as the moment that infant began to walk, talk, and discover the joys of throwing its toys on the floor. Johns recalls that first show with the fondness of a parent who has just bronzed baby's first shoes.

"It was awesome," he says, "like we'd been given this gift of a show that people already loved. The room was pretty full that first night, and they were into it and the power nearly went out and the whole affair was like an underground punk gig."

Traces of that punk-rock spirit can be seen in every corner of Atlanta's new literary terrain, from the DIY ethos of Solar Anus and Vouched to the unabashed bawdiness of Hyde ATL, and the inclusive atmosphere of Carapace and Stories on the Square, where everyone is invited to participate.

And more events are popping up all the time. Lost in the Letters debuted in September, and the writer's group 10 Days Before... held its first event on Nov. 9.

"Apart from the shows themselves, there is some sort of vibe around them that I think people have picked up on," says Johns. "The recognition that something is happening."

So why now? There are as many different theories for that as there are stories waiting to be told.

"I think there was a ripeness or readiness," Osborne says. "I'd say that people, almost all at once, have rebelled inwardly at our separation from each other, at our bovine willingness to sit, night after night, in front of computer screens."

"This is a commuter city that's been trying to grow a coherent center forever," says Write Club's Nick Tecosky. "Atlanta's naturally going to cultivate a stronger arts scene as it grows."

Whatever the answer, "I'm really happy to see a lot of literature events in the city," says Lost in the Letters' Scott Daughtridge. "I'd love to see a reading event coming out every night of the week." "
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Appearances aside, this isn't some lavish indie rock production. The host introduces Jayne O'Connor, who proceeds to spin an incisive account of image-obsessed teen girls and that patron she-devil of slumber parties, Bloody Mary. The crowd's respectful silence gives way to guffaws, which escalate into shrieks of laughter a few minutes later as Julian Modugno recounts the hilarious and twisted fable of a pair of teens with hooks for appendages whose hormone-heavy make-out session is terrorized by a bogeyman with actual human hands.

This bawdy and irreverent evening called "Urban Legends" was staged by O'Connor's zine ''Hyde ATL'', and is part of a rising wave of informal Atlanta literary events offering an antidote to the reading event as a staid, whisper-quiet gathering, or "Something dull, attended by fops," as [http://clatl.com/atlanta/best-reinvention-of-the-reading-series/BestOf?oid=6296771|Write Club]'s Myke Johns puts it.

A DIY spirit has possessed Atlanta's writers and readers, who are taking literature out of the stuffy confines of the library and into coffeehouses, bars, galleries, and event spaces. The effect is decidedly egalitarian: Series like Solar Anus and Lost in the Letters spotlight under-the-radar talents, while groups like Kill Your Darlings ATL and Eyedrum's Writers Exchange provide forums for authors to workshop their material with other writers. Write Club Atlanta's head-to-head matchups and loud music stir up a literary whirlwind somewhere between "WrestleMania" and a rock concert; ''Hyde ATL'' produces brash and brainy romps; and Vouched Atlanta, an online champion of small-press literature, sets up guerilla bookstores at area events and stages its own readings. There's also Carapace, True Story, and Stories on the Square, which place less emphasis on reading, but share audiences and performers with their storytelling brethren.

"There's a commonality in that it's all about the story," says Daren Wang, executive director of the [http://clatl.com/atlanta/clusterfest-2012-decatur-book-festival/Content?oid=6247202|Decatur Book Festival], publisher of the audio literary magazine ''Verb'', and producer of two radio programs about writing.

That common ground extends to the audiences, which seem hungry to listen to and interact with writers up close.

"These are the warmest crowds I've ever performed for," says Jason Mallory, a writer, podcaster, and stand-up comic who has participated in True Story and Write Club. "They're ready to hear good writing. They want to hear what you have to say. You could not ask for a better audience than a roomful of people who are already predisposed to listen to you."

Atlanta and literature are hardly strange bedfellows; the city was the home to Margaret Mitchell, Joel Chandler Harris, James Dickey, and Lewis Grizzard, and, more recently, of Salman Rushdie's archive at Emory University, where the author became a Distinguished Writer in Residence in 2007, as well as recently crowned 2012-13 [http://clatl.com/atlanta/best-local-poet/BestOf?oid=6296726|U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey] 

And no discussion of this bookish landscape can ignore the Decatur Book Festival, which has played a significant role in raising Atlanta's literary profile over the last seven years through its Labor Day weekend extravaganza, literary events, and support for educational programs.

"The Decatur Book Festival has done a great deal to transform the metro area's literary scene," says Kate Sweeney, host of True Story. "The number of writers who take part in True Story who turn out to have just moved to Decatur in the last five years is just ''silly''."

The festival, along with other ventures like SCAD Atlanta's writing program, has helped attract new writers to the city. Still, as recently as four years ago, area storytellers were experiencing a distinct lack of showcases for their work, especially in comparison to the city's vibrant poetry scene, which boasts such names as Collin Kelley and Kodac Harrison, and a rich history of slam poetry.

"There weren't these kinds of events going on in Atlanta," says [http://clatl.com/atlanta/jamie-iredell-bends-his-prose-poems-into-a-novelistic-arc/Content?oid=1286212|Jamie Iredell], who co-founded [http://clatl.com/atlanta/jamie-iredell-amy-mcdaniel-and-blake-butler-are-anal-in-all-the-right-ways/Content?oid=2056599|Solar Anus] with Amy McDaniel and [http://clatl.com/atlanta/author-blake-butler-young-blogger/Content?oid=3130519|Blake Butler] in 2008. "Atlanta was really not a literary city for a city of its size."

"When we started, we knew of no other outlets, outside of series run by universities, for visiting indie writers to read their work aloud and sell their books," says McDaniel. "So we changed that."

Sweeney, who enjoyed a "tight literature community" while attending the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, felt that same lack when she moved back to Atlanta in early 2009, leading her to start True Story with Dionne Irving in October of that year.

Things snowballed after that. In February 2010, Randy Osborne and Joyce Mitchell started [http://clatl.com/atlanta/raconteurs-wing-it-on-the-unchained-tour-of-georgia/Content?oid=2260542|MothUP Atlanta], an affiliate of the New York-based Moth storytelling organization (it later shed that affiliation and became Carapace). Kill Your Darlings ATL cranked up in June, acting as an online community for writers and a hub of information about literary events. Eyedrum kicked off its Writers Exchange forum in July. A year later, Vouched Atlanta and Write Club Atlanta debuted in July 2011.

"When the time is right for certain discoveries to be made," says Osborne, "you'll find them taking place almost simultaneously in widely spaced locations."

If the emergence of Solar Anus, True Story, and Carapace marked the birth of a new, self-sufficient literary movement, the arrival of Write Club Atlanta can be seen as the moment that infant began to walk, talk, and discover the joys of throwing its toys on the floor. Johns recalls that first show with the fondness of a parent who has just bronzed baby's first shoes.

"It was awesome," he says, "like we'd been given this gift of a show that people already loved. The room was pretty full that first night, and they were into it and the power nearly went out and the whole affair was like an underground punk gig."

Traces of that punk-rock spirit can be seen in every corner of Atlanta's new literary terrain, from the DIY ethos of Solar Anus and Vouched to the unabashed bawdiness of ''Hyde ATL'', and the inclusive atmosphere of Carapace and Stories on the Square, where everyone is invited to participate.

And more events are popping up all the time. Lost in the Letters debuted in September, and the writer's group 10 Days Before... held its first event on Nov. 9.

"Apart from the shows themselves, there is some sort of vibe around them that I think people have picked up on," says Johns. "The recognition that ''something is happening''."

So why now? There are as many different theories for that as there are stories waiting to be told.

"I think there was a ripeness or readiness," Osborne says. "I'd say that people, almost all at once, have rebelled inwardly at our separation from each other, at our bovine willingness to sit, night after night, in front of computer screens."

"This is a commuter city that's been trying to grow a coherent center forever," says Write Club's Nick Tecosky. "Atlanta's naturally going to cultivate a stronger arts scene as it grows."

Whatever the answer, "I'm really happy to see a lot of literature events in the city," says Lost in the Letters' Scott Daughtridge. "I'd love to see a reading event coming out every night of the week." "
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  string(7649) "    Behind the rise of the city's new DIY literary scene   2012-11-29T09:07:00+00:00 Atlanta gets its write on   Kevin Forest Moreau 1223849 2012-11-29T09:07:00+00:00  It looks like your average Friday night in the Old Fourth Ward. In the Music Room, an underground club on Edgewood Avenue, a packed crowd stands at attention, PBR tall boys in hand, as drag queen Lavonia Elberton, a ghoulish Southern vision in gingham and stark white face paint, takes the stage.

Appearances aside, this isn't some lavish indie rock production. The host introduces Jayne O'Connor, who proceeds to spin an incisive account of image-obsessed teen girls and that patron she-devil of slumber parties, Bloody Mary. The crowd's respectful silence gives way to guffaws, which escalate into shrieks of laughter a few minutes later as Julian Modugno recounts the hilarious and twisted fable of a pair of teens with hooks for appendages whose hormone-heavy make-out session is terrorized by a bogeyman with actual human hands.

This bawdy and irreverent evening called "Urban Legends" was staged by O'Connor's zine Hyde ATL, and is part of a rising wave of informal Atlanta literary events offering an antidote to the reading event as a staid, whisper-quiet gathering, or "Something dull, attended by fops," as Write Club's Myke Johns puts it.

A DIY spirit has possessed Atlanta's writers and readers, who are taking literature out of the stuffy confines of the library and into coffeehouses, bars, galleries, and event spaces. The effect is decidedly egalitarian: Series like Solar Anus and Lost in the Letters spotlight under-the-radar talents, while groups like Kill Your Darlings ATL and Eyedrum's Writers Exchange provide forums for authors to workshop their material with other writers. Write Club Atlanta's head-to-head matchups and loud music stir up a literary whirlwind somewhere between "WrestleMania" and a rock concert; Hyde ATL produces brash and brainy romps; and Vouched Atlanta, an online champion of small-press literature, sets up guerilla bookstores at area events and stages its own readings. There's also Carapace, True Story, and Stories on the Square, which place less emphasis on reading, but share audiences and performers with their storytelling brethren.

"There's a commonality in that it's all about the story," says Daren Wang, executive director of the Decatur Book Festival, publisher of the audio literary magazine Verb, and producer of two radio programs about writing.

That common ground extends to the audiences, which seem hungry to listen to and interact with writers up close.

"These are the warmest crowds I've ever performed for," says Jason Mallory, a writer, podcaster, and stand-up comic who has participated in True Story and Write Club. "They're ready to hear good writing. They want to hear what you have to say. You could not ask for a better audience than a roomful of people who are already predisposed to listen to you."

Atlanta and literature are hardly strange bedfellows; the city was the home to Margaret Mitchell, Joel Chandler Harris, James Dickey, and Lewis Grizzard, and, more recently, of Salman Rushdie's archive at Emory University, where the author became a Distinguished Writer in Residence in 2007, as well as recently crowned 2012-13 U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey 

And no discussion of this bookish landscape can ignore the Decatur Book Festival, which has played a significant role in raising Atlanta's literary profile over the last seven years through its Labor Day weekend extravaganza, literary events, and support for educational programs.

"The Decatur Book Festival has done a great deal to transform the metro area's literary scene," says Kate Sweeney, host of True Story. "The number of writers who take part in True Story who turn out to have just moved to Decatur in the last five years is just silly."

The festival, along with other ventures like SCAD Atlanta's writing program, has helped attract new writers to the city. Still, as recently as four years ago, area storytellers were experiencing a distinct lack of showcases for their work, especially in comparison to the city's vibrant poetry scene, which boasts such names as Collin Kelley and Kodac Harrison, and a rich history of slam poetry.

"There weren't these kinds of events going on in Atlanta," says Jamie Iredell, who co-founded Solar Anus with Amy McDaniel and Blake Butler in 2008. "Atlanta was really not a literary city for a city of its size."

"When we started, we knew of no other outlets, outside of series run by universities, for visiting indie writers to read their work aloud and sell their books," says McDaniel. "So we changed that."

Sweeney, who enjoyed a "tight literature community" while attending the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, felt that same lack when she moved back to Atlanta in early 2009, leading her to start True Story with Dionne Irving in October of that year.

Things snowballed after that. In February 2010, Randy Osborne and Joyce Mitchell started MothUP Atlanta, an affiliate of the New York-based Moth storytelling organization (it later shed that affiliation and became Carapace). Kill Your Darlings ATL cranked up in June, acting as an online community for writers and a hub of information about literary events. Eyedrum kicked off its Writers Exchange forum in July. A year later, Vouched Atlanta and Write Club Atlanta debuted in July 2011.

"When the time is right for certain discoveries to be made," says Osborne, "you'll find them taking place almost simultaneously in widely spaced locations."

If the emergence of Solar Anus, True Story, and Carapace marked the birth of a new, self-sufficient literary movement, the arrival of Write Club Atlanta can be seen as the moment that infant began to walk, talk, and discover the joys of throwing its toys on the floor. Johns recalls that first show with the fondness of a parent who has just bronzed baby's first shoes.

"It was awesome," he says, "like we'd been given this gift of a show that people already loved. The room was pretty full that first night, and they were into it and the power nearly went out and the whole affair was like an underground punk gig."

Traces of that punk-rock spirit can be seen in every corner of Atlanta's new literary terrain, from the DIY ethos of Solar Anus and Vouched to the unabashed bawdiness of Hyde ATL, and the inclusive atmosphere of Carapace and Stories on the Square, where everyone is invited to participate.

And more events are popping up all the time. Lost in the Letters debuted in September, and the writer's group 10 Days Before... held its first event on Nov. 9.

"Apart from the shows themselves, there is some sort of vibe around them that I think people have picked up on," says Johns. "The recognition that something is happening."

So why now? There are as many different theories for that as there are stories waiting to be told.

"I think there was a ripeness or readiness," Osborne says. "I'd say that people, almost all at once, have rebelled inwardly at our separation from each other, at our bovine willingness to sit, night after night, in front of computer screens."

"This is a commuter city that's been trying to grow a coherent center forever," says Write Club's Nick Tecosky. "Atlanta's naturally going to cultivate a stronger arts scene as it grows."

Whatever the answer, "I'm really happy to see a lot of literature events in the city," says Lost in the Letters' Scott Daughtridge. "I'd love to see a reading event coming out every night of the week."              13071428 6962293                          Atlanta gets its write on "
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Article

Thursday November 29, 2012 04:07 am EST
Behind the rise of the city's new DIY literary scene | more...

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  string(5931) "Carapace

This monthly storytelling event, co-founded by Randy Osborne and Joyce Mitchell, originally launched in February 2010 as MothUP Atlanta, an affiliate of the New York-based Moth storytelling organization. Having shed that association more than a year ago, Carapace meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month at Manuel's Tavern, where hopeful storytellers put their names in a hat for the chance to spin a tale, without written notes, on a pre-selected theme in front of a packed house. 602 N. Highland Ave. 415-328-7323. www.carapacestories.com.

---
Hyde ATL

A double-sided zine that features two opposing or complementary ideas, "like hot mess versus cool kids or lovers versus exes," says driving force Jayne O'Connor, and themed readings. Hyde ATL will host the female-centric "lit/rock/performance" show Bad Bitches 2012: apocaBITCH on Dec. 20, and Holiday Hangover, presented in conjunction with Team Luis and Vouched Atlanta, in January. www.hydeatl.com.

---
Kill Your Darlings Atl

Founded by former Creative Loafing sex columnist Melysa Martinez in 2010, Kill Your Darlings ATL is an online community for writers and readers. Now overseen by Kory Calico, Kill Your Darlings hosts writing workshops, maintains a calendar of readings and other literary happenings, conducts interviews with writers, poets, and other local figures, posts videos of readings, and also books and promotes its own events. The writing workshops take place every other week at Park Grounds in Reynoldstown. 142 Flat Shoals Ave. www.killyourdarlingsatl.com.

---
Lost in the Letters

Launched in September, this reading series showcases known and on-the-cusp writers from Atlanta and elsewhere. In addition to a piece of fiction or nonfiction, each guest is asked to share something unpublished, such as an experiment, a personal journal entry, or something that was not accepted for publication. "It creates a unique experience for the reader and for the audience, a kind of one-time opportunity," says creator Scott Daughtridge. Lost in the Letters takes place monthly at the Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge. 644 N. Highland Ave. www.lostintheletters.wordpress.com.

---
Solar Anus

Founded in 2008, Solar Anus — which takes its name from a surrealist text by French author Georges Bataille — exists to shine a light on visiting independent and small-press writers of prose (both fiction and nonfiction) and poetry. Readings have "no production value to speak of," says co-founder Amy McDaniel. Events aren't scheduled regularly, but occur at Beep Beep Gallery when writers come to town "and we like their work and we think other people in Atlanta would, too." 696 Charles Allen Drive. www.beepbeepgallery.com.

---
Stories on the Square

This monthly open-mic event welcomes novice and seasoned storytellers alike, but please, no stand-up routines, music, political rants, or tirades against ex-lovers. "I really want to grow this genre because it's something that we as people have gotten away from, the ability to communicate," says host Shannon McNeal. "When you sit and listen to other people's stories, you really learn how similar we are, and you learn to love people you might completely disagree with." Formerly at Eddie's Attic, Stories on the Square plans to return in a new location in February 2013. www.stories-on-the-square.com.

---
True Story

As described by host Kate Sweeney, True Story is "a night of tantalizingly true tales told by rogue writers and nervy journalists." In addition to a nonfiction piece (personal essays, first-person articles, book chapters, etc.), each participant shares an artifact from his or her past — "love letters never sent, replies from Shaun Cassidy's fan club" — and relates the story behind it. The Dec. 7 event features journalist Justin Heckert, writer and television producer Rob Weintraub, and novelist Joshilyn Jackson. True Story takes place every other month at Kavarna Bar & Coffeeshop. 707 E. Lake Drive, Decatur. www.truestoryga.com.

---
Vouched Atlanta

Vouched Books bangs the drum for independent publishers "who are taking risks publishing creative, original work from relatively unknown authors we really believe in," according to Laura Straub, the lady in charge (and a CL contributor). Founded in July 2011, Vouched Atlanta (there's another branch in Indianapolis) sets up tables at literary events and touts itself as the place "where literature goes to shake its ass." Vouched also stages its own readings, which it treats like rock shows, Starub says: "These authors and readers are rock stars and should be treated accordingly." www.vouchedbooks.com.

---
Write Club Atlanta

An offshoot of the original Write Club in Chicago, Write Club Atlanta is "fueled by bravado," says consigliere Myke Johns. "And liquor. It's meant to be a kick-ass show with the loud music and the shouting and the hype." A 2012 CL Critics Pick for "Best Reinvention of the Reading Series," Write Club has spawned its own offspring: Syllabus, which follows a college-lecture motif (currently on sabbatical, it will return in 2013); and Naked City, the literary open-mic event presented as a "cable access, burlesque and punk-rock variety show." Naked City takes place the first Wednesday of the month; Write Club the second Wednesday; and Syllabus the last Wednesday. Write Club Atlanta is currently settling into its new digs at the Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge. 644 N. Highland Ave. www.writeclubatlanta.com.

---
Writers Exchange

Hosted by ArtsATL.com writer Ed Hall, this monthly forum allows writers to read their work aloud and receive audience feedback. Launched by Eyedrum in July 2010, the event is largely "story- and narrative-driven," Hall says, although participants "have read everything from biographical essays to screenplays to poetry of all sorts." Third Tuesday of the month at the Warhorse Café at the Goat Farm Arts Center. 1200 Foster St. www.eyedrum.org."
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  string(6390) "__Carapace__

This monthly storytelling event, co-founded by Randy Osborne and Joyce Mitchell, originally launched in February 2010 as MothUP Atlanta, an affiliate of the New York-based Moth storytelling organization. Having shed that association more than a year ago, Carapace meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month at Manuel's Tavern, where hopeful storytellers put their names in a hat for the chance to spin a tale, without written notes, on a pre-selected theme in front of a packed house. ''602 N. Highland Ave. 415-328-7323. [http://www.carapacestories.com/|www.carapacestories.com].''

---
__Hyde ATL__

A double-sided zine that features two opposing or complementary ideas, "like hot mess versus cool kids or lovers versus exes," says driving force Jayne O'Connor, and themed readings. ''Hyde ATL'' will host the female-centric "lit/rock/performance" show Bad Bitches 2012: apocaBITCH on Dec. 20, and Holiday Hangover, presented in conjunction with Team Luis and Vouched Atlanta, in January. ''[http://www.hydeatl.com/|www.hydeatl.com].''

---
__Kill Your Darlings Atl__

Founded by former ''Creative Loafing'' sex columnist Melysa Martinez in 2010, Kill Your Darlings ATL is an online community for writers and readers. Now overseen by Kory Calico, Kill Your Darlings hosts writing workshops, maintains a calendar of readings and other literary happenings, conducts interviews with writers, poets, and other local figures, posts videos of readings, and also books and promotes its own events. The writing workshops take place every other week at Park Grounds in Reynoldstown. ''142 Flat Shoals Ave. [http://www.killyourdarlingsatl.com/|www.killyourdarlingsatl.com].''

---
__Lost in the Letters__

Launched in September, this reading series showcases known and on-the-cusp writers from Atlanta and elsewhere. In addition to a piece of fiction or nonfiction, each guest is asked to share something unpublished, such as an experiment, a personal journal entry, or something that was not accepted for publication. "It creates a unique experience for the reader and for the audience, a kind of one-time opportunity," says creator Scott Daughtridge. Lost in the Letters takes place monthly at the Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge. ''644 N. Highland Ave. [http://www.lostintheletters.wordpress.com/|www.lostintheletters.wordpress.com].''

---
__Solar Anus__

Founded in 2008, Solar Anus — which takes its name from a surrealist text by French author Georges Bataille — exists to shine a light on visiting independent and small-press writers of prose (both fiction and nonfiction) and poetry. Readings have "no production value to speak of," says co-founder Amy McDaniel. Events aren't scheduled regularly, but occur at Beep Beep Gallery when writers come to town "and we like their work and we think other people in Atlanta would, too." ''696 Charles Allen Drive. [http://www.beepbeepgallery.com/|www.beepbeepgallery.com].''

---
__Stories on the Square__

This monthly open-mic event welcomes novice and seasoned storytellers alike, but please, no stand-up routines, music, political rants, or tirades against ex-lovers. "I really want to grow this genre because it's something that we as people have gotten away from, the ability to communicate," says host Shannon McNeal. "When you sit and listen to other people's stories, you really learn how similar we are, and you learn to love people you might completely disagree with." Formerly at Eddie's Attic, Stories on the Square plans to return in a new location in February 2013. ''[http://www.stories-on-the-square.com/|www.stories-on-the-square.com].''

---
__True Story__

As described by host Kate Sweeney, True Story is "a night of tantalizingly true tales told by rogue writers and nervy journalists." In addition to a nonfiction piece (personal essays, first-person articles, book chapters, etc.), each participant shares an artifact from his or her past — "love letters never sent, replies from Shaun Cassidy's fan club" — and relates the story behind it. The Dec. 7 event features journalist Justin Heckert, writer and television producer Rob Weintraub, and novelist Joshilyn Jackson. True Story takes place every other month at Kavarna Bar & Coffeeshop. ''707 E. Lake Drive, Decatur. [http://www.truestoryga.com/|www.truestoryga.com].''

---
__Vouched Atlanta__

Vouched Books bangs the drum for independent publishers "who are taking risks publishing creative, original work from relatively unknown authors we really believe in," according to Laura Straub, the lady in charge (and a ''CL'' contributor). Founded in July 2011, Vouched Atlanta (there's another branch in Indianapolis) sets up tables at literary events and touts itself as the place "where literature goes to shake its ass." Vouched also stages its own readings, which it treats like rock shows, Starub says: "These authors and readers are rock stars and should be treated accordingly." ''[http://www.vouchedbooks.com/|www.vouchedbooks.com].''

---
__Write Club Atlanta__

An offshoot of the original Write Club in Chicago, Write Club Atlanta is "fueled by bravado," says consigliere Myke Johns. "And liquor. It's meant to be a kick-ass show with the loud music and the shouting and the hype." A 2012 ''CL'' Critics Pick for "Best Reinvention of the Reading Series," Write Club has spawned its own offspring: Syllabus, which follows a college-lecture motif (currently on sabbatical, it will return in 2013); and Naked City, the literary open-mic event presented as a "cable access, burlesque [and] punk-rock variety show." Naked City takes place the first Wednesday of the month; Write Club the second Wednesday; and Syllabus the last Wednesday. Write Club Atlanta is currently settling into its new digs at the Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge. ''644 N. Highland Ave. [http://www.writeclubatlanta.com/|www.writeclubatlanta.com].''

---
__Writers Exchange__

Hosted by [http://artsatl.com/|ArtsATL.com] writer Ed Hall, this monthly forum allows writers to read their work aloud and receive audience feedback. Launched by Eyedrum in July 2010, the event is largely "story- and narrative-driven," Hall says, although participants "have read everything from biographical essays to screenplays to poetry of all sorts." Third Tuesday of the month at the Warhorse Café at the Goat Farm Arts Center. ''1200 Foster St. [http://www.eyedrum.org/|www.eyedrum.org].''"
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  string(6246) "    The who, what, where and when of Carapace, Write Club, True Story and more   2012-11-29T09:06:00+00:00 10 ATL lit groups and events worth checking out   Kevin Forest Moreau 1223849 2012-11-29T09:06:00+00:00  Carapace

This monthly storytelling event, co-founded by Randy Osborne and Joyce Mitchell, originally launched in February 2010 as MothUP Atlanta, an affiliate of the New York-based Moth storytelling organization. Having shed that association more than a year ago, Carapace meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month at Manuel's Tavern, where hopeful storytellers put their names in a hat for the chance to spin a tale, without written notes, on a pre-selected theme in front of a packed house. 602 N. Highland Ave. 415-328-7323. www.carapacestories.com.

---
Hyde ATL

A double-sided zine that features two opposing or complementary ideas, "like hot mess versus cool kids or lovers versus exes," says driving force Jayne O'Connor, and themed readings. Hyde ATL will host the female-centric "lit/rock/performance" show Bad Bitches 2012: apocaBITCH on Dec. 20, and Holiday Hangover, presented in conjunction with Team Luis and Vouched Atlanta, in January. www.hydeatl.com.

---
Kill Your Darlings Atl

Founded by former Creative Loafing sex columnist Melysa Martinez in 2010, Kill Your Darlings ATL is an online community for writers and readers. Now overseen by Kory Calico, Kill Your Darlings hosts writing workshops, maintains a calendar of readings and other literary happenings, conducts interviews with writers, poets, and other local figures, posts videos of readings, and also books and promotes its own events. The writing workshops take place every other week at Park Grounds in Reynoldstown. 142 Flat Shoals Ave. www.killyourdarlingsatl.com.

---
Lost in the Letters

Launched in September, this reading series showcases known and on-the-cusp writers from Atlanta and elsewhere. In addition to a piece of fiction or nonfiction, each guest is asked to share something unpublished, such as an experiment, a personal journal entry, or something that was not accepted for publication. "It creates a unique experience for the reader and for the audience, a kind of one-time opportunity," says creator Scott Daughtridge. Lost in the Letters takes place monthly at the Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge. 644 N. Highland Ave. www.lostintheletters.wordpress.com.

---
Solar Anus

Founded in 2008, Solar Anus — which takes its name from a surrealist text by French author Georges Bataille — exists to shine a light on visiting independent and small-press writers of prose (both fiction and nonfiction) and poetry. Readings have "no production value to speak of," says co-founder Amy McDaniel. Events aren't scheduled regularly, but occur at Beep Beep Gallery when writers come to town "and we like their work and we think other people in Atlanta would, too." 696 Charles Allen Drive. www.beepbeepgallery.com.

---
Stories on the Square

This monthly open-mic event welcomes novice and seasoned storytellers alike, but please, no stand-up routines, music, political rants, or tirades against ex-lovers. "I really want to grow this genre because it's something that we as people have gotten away from, the ability to communicate," says host Shannon McNeal. "When you sit and listen to other people's stories, you really learn how similar we are, and you learn to love people you might completely disagree with." Formerly at Eddie's Attic, Stories on the Square plans to return in a new location in February 2013. www.stories-on-the-square.com.

---
True Story

As described by host Kate Sweeney, True Story is "a night of tantalizingly true tales told by rogue writers and nervy journalists." In addition to a nonfiction piece (personal essays, first-person articles, book chapters, etc.), each participant shares an artifact from his or her past — "love letters never sent, replies from Shaun Cassidy's fan club" — and relates the story behind it. The Dec. 7 event features journalist Justin Heckert, writer and television producer Rob Weintraub, and novelist Joshilyn Jackson. True Story takes place every other month at Kavarna Bar & Coffeeshop. 707 E. Lake Drive, Decatur. www.truestoryga.com.

---
Vouched Atlanta

Vouched Books bangs the drum for independent publishers "who are taking risks publishing creative, original work from relatively unknown authors we really believe in," according to Laura Straub, the lady in charge (and a CL contributor). Founded in July 2011, Vouched Atlanta (there's another branch in Indianapolis) sets up tables at literary events and touts itself as the place "where literature goes to shake its ass." Vouched also stages its own readings, which it treats like rock shows, Starub says: "These authors and readers are rock stars and should be treated accordingly." www.vouchedbooks.com.

---
Write Club Atlanta

An offshoot of the original Write Club in Chicago, Write Club Atlanta is "fueled by bravado," says consigliere Myke Johns. "And liquor. It's meant to be a kick-ass show with the loud music and the shouting and the hype." A 2012 CL Critics Pick for "Best Reinvention of the Reading Series," Write Club has spawned its own offspring: Syllabus, which follows a college-lecture motif (currently on sabbatical, it will return in 2013); and Naked City, the literary open-mic event presented as a "cable access, burlesque and punk-rock variety show." Naked City takes place the first Wednesday of the month; Write Club the second Wednesday; and Syllabus the last Wednesday. Write Club Atlanta is currently settling into its new digs at the Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge. 644 N. Highland Ave. www.writeclubatlanta.com.

---
Writers Exchange

Hosted by ArtsATL.com writer Ed Hall, this monthly forum allows writers to read their work aloud and receive audience feedback. Launched by Eyedrum in July 2010, the event is largely "story- and narrative-driven," Hall says, although participants "have read everything from biographical essays to screenplays to poetry of all sorts." Third Tuesday of the month at the Warhorse Café at the Goat Farm Arts Center. 1200 Foster St. www.eyedrum.org.             13071429 6962313                          10 ATL lit groups and events worth checking out "
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Article

Thursday November 29, 2012 04:06 am EST
The who, what, where and when of Carapace, Write Club, True Story and more | more...
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  string(68) "'I've found Atlanta seeping into my work, frequently, in small ways'"
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  string(1601) "When poet Gina Myers moved from Michigan to Atlanta in the summer of 2011, she immediately dove into the local literature scene. Myers began contributing to Emory Poetry Council's "What's New in Poetry" reading series, helping series curator Bruce Covey with promotions, setup, and recordings. The accomplished young poet says Atlanta's writing scene is a major motivator: "I think it has inspired me to write more. There are a lot of opportunities here for people to show and share their work. I'm hoping that the commitment and genuine enjoyment of writing I see in others here continues to rub off on me."

Myers' environment has always heavily influenced her work. Her first two collections, A Model Year and False Spring, both focused on her home state of Michigan. Her third collection of poetry is slated for publication this spring by Coconut Books, and the Gate City is slowly having an effect. "I've found Atlanta seeping into my work, frequently, in small ways, such as the mention of dogwood," she says. "I think the more Atlanta feels like home, the bigger part of my work it will become."

Gina often takes her words on the road, and recently returned from a cross-country road trip that involved a number of readings. The experience gave her some perspective on her new city. "Atlanta is seriously one of the best scenes I've encountered," she says. "Here, fiction writers, journalists, artists, dancers, and musicians are just as likely to show up to a poetry reading. It reminds me a lot of the Baltimore scene, which I have always found to be super supportive whenever I've visited.""
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  string(1829) "When poet Gina Myers moved from Michigan to Atlanta in the summer of 2011, she immediately dove into the local literature scene. Myers began contributing to [http://www.poetrycouncil.campuslifetech.org/|Emory Poetry Council]'s "[http://www.poetrycouncil.campuslifetech.org/the-whats-new-in-poetry-reading-series|What's New in Poetry]" reading series, helping series curator Bruce Covey with promotions, setup, and [https://itunes.apple.com/itunes-u/whats-new-in-poetry-readings/id422858760?mt=10#ls=1|recordings]. The accomplished young poet says Atlanta's writing scene is a major motivator: "I think it has inspired me to write more. There are a lot of opportunities here for people to show and share their work. I'm hoping that the commitment and genuine enjoyment of writing I see in others here continues to rub off on me."

Myers' environment has always heavily influenced her work. Her first two collections, ''A Model Year'' and ''False Spring'', both focused on her home state of Michigan. Her third collection of poetry is slated for publication this spring by Coconut Books, and the Gate City is slowly having an effect. "I've found Atlanta seeping into my work, frequently, in small ways, such as the mention of dogwood," she says. "I think the more Atlanta feels like home, the bigger part of my work it will become."

Gina often takes her words on the road, and recently returned from a cross-country road trip that involved a number of readings. The experience gave her some perspective on her new city. "Atlanta is seriously one of the best scenes I've encountered," she says. "Here, fiction writers, journalists, artists, dancers, and musicians are just as likely to show up to a poetry reading. It reminds me a lot of the Baltimore scene, which I have always found to be super supportive whenever I've visited.""
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  string(1863) "    'I've found Atlanta seeping into my work, frequently, in small ways'   2012-11-29T09:05:00+00:00 Author to Watch: Gina Myers   Laura Straub 6738978 2012-11-29T09:05:00+00:00  When poet Gina Myers moved from Michigan to Atlanta in the summer of 2011, she immediately dove into the local literature scene. Myers began contributing to Emory Poetry Council's "What's New in Poetry" reading series, helping series curator Bruce Covey with promotions, setup, and recordings. The accomplished young poet says Atlanta's writing scene is a major motivator: "I think it has inspired me to write more. There are a lot of opportunities here for people to show and share their work. I'm hoping that the commitment and genuine enjoyment of writing I see in others here continues to rub off on me."

Myers' environment has always heavily influenced her work. Her first two collections, A Model Year and False Spring, both focused on her home state of Michigan. Her third collection of poetry is slated for publication this spring by Coconut Books, and the Gate City is slowly having an effect. "I've found Atlanta seeping into my work, frequently, in small ways, such as the mention of dogwood," she says. "I think the more Atlanta feels like home, the bigger part of my work it will become."

Gina often takes her words on the road, and recently returned from a cross-country road trip that involved a number of readings. The experience gave her some perspective on her new city. "Atlanta is seriously one of the best scenes I've encountered," she says. "Here, fiction writers, journalists, artists, dancers, and musicians are just as likely to show up to a poetry reading. It reminds me a lot of the Baltimore scene, which I have always found to be super supportive whenever I've visited."             13071431 6962356                          Author to Watch: Gina Myers "
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Thursday November 29, 2012 04:05 am EST
'I've found Atlanta seeping into my work, frequently, in small ways' | more...
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Somehow, in the middle of all this, Drago found the time for Executive Privilege, a new book he co-authored with E.C. Crandall. Published this September under the pen names Dale Vigor (Drago) and Teri Dee Strung (Crandall), Executive Privilege focuses on the raucous lives of two executives of feuding aerobics companies in the early 1980s. It's equal parts pulp novel and loving homage to queer melodrama. Drago lovingly refers to it as "their little Fifty Shades of Gay."

"We started off writing a certain type of pulp novel," he says. "But as we considered the history of LGBTQ literature and what we wanted our contribution to be, the book became a meditation on genre fiction, queer melodrama, the value of the humanities, and the pitfalls of commercial art — in addition to being a book about luxury helicopters and gowns and cliff-hangers and catfights."

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Thursday November 29, 2012 04:03 am EST
'Luxury helicopters and gowns and cliff-hangers and catfights' | more...
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Thursday November 29, 2012 04:01 am EST
'The concrete illuminates the abstractions we can't quite touch' | more...
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In November 2011, after countless Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight screenings, showcases of gory horror films, and glimpses at independent films, Plaza Theatre owners Jonathan and Gayle Rej announced they were looking to sell Atlanta's oldest cinema.

After six years, the husband-and-wife team decided it was time to bid farewell to the storied Poncey-Highland repertory house, citing the high cost of converting from film to digital projectors. One year later, they've found a buyer.

Last week, the Rejs said that they'll hand over the keys on Dec. 27 to Michael Furlinger, a 30-year veteran of the cinema business who recently turned around Charleston, S.C.'s Terrace Theatre. In an interview with CL, Furlinger says he plans a major restoration of the theater and to aggressively compete with nearby cinemas to screen first-run movies, giving film lovers a chance to enjoy new releases in what he calls one of the finest auditoriums he's ever seen.

"There are so few theaters left with character," Furlinger says of the 1939 showhouse. "That marquee is priceless."

The Long Island native's a cinephile who started working in movie theaters when he was 15 years old in New York and eventually worked his way up to managing the Odeon Cineplex's Manhattan and Brooklyn theaters. In 2007, Furlinger purchased the Terrace Theatre and, according to the Charleston City Paper, revamped the concession stand menu and fixed up the building while maintaining the theater's independent edge. He sold the Terrace in 2010 to focus on another Charleston theater he opened, which he also sold last year.

Furlinger plans to keep the current special events and "staples" — Rocky Horror, the Silver Scream Spookshow, Splatter Cinema, Taboo-La-La, The Room, and WonderRoot's Local Film Night — and the Atlanta Film Festival will still call the building home. But Furlinger also plans to tap the relationships he's made over 30 years in the cinema business to compete aggressively with other national theaters and get his hands on first-run "sophisticated" Hollywood films, such as Lincoln and The Master. He says large cinema companies have squeezed out the Plaza and other independent theaters by flouting an industry rule not to show new films within so many miles of each other.

"The Plaza is already playing those kinds of pictures. But they play them too late. They play them 10 weeks after they've been out of the theaters. The goal is to add some of that in when they first open," says Furlinger.

He also plans "substantial renovations," including gourmet concessions and brand-new screens, seats, and carpeting. But, he adds, the theater will be "kept in the time period it should be." The upstairs screen will continue to show independent movies, which Furlinger calls one of the theater's strengths.

Though the Plaza will continue screening 35mm films, which are slowly being phased out, starting around January 10 the theater will begin its much-needed conversion to digital projectors. "That's what you need these days to survive," Furlinger says.

The new owner's had his eyes on the theater for many years, he says, and almost bought the cinema when was it on the market six years ago, but the Rejs beat him to it.

Around 2006, Jonathan, a video producer, noticed the city changing for the worse as small, locally owned businesses were shuttering their doors and newer, larger shopping centers catering to national brands started popping up. One day he noticed that George LeFont, Atlanta's art house pioneer, had placed the theater, then one of America's many fading showhouses, on the market. The Rejs mortgaged their home to purchase the cinema in hopes of preserving it.

"The building just seemed too important to let it go away or become a chain store," Rej told CL at the time. "The uniqueness of a city is what gives it the character, not how close you are to a Bed Bath & Beyond."

Still, competing with megaplexes, one of the state's two remaining drive-in theaters located less than five miles away, Netflix, and pirated films wasn't easy. In 2009, the Rejs created the nonprofit Plaza Theatre Foundation to, in Jonathan's words, keep the "doors open, the film rolling, and the popcorn popping."

The Rejs are talking with ATLFF and Furlinger about what role that nonprofit, the Plaza Theatre Foundation, will play moving forward. "For now memberships and passes will continue be honored under new ownership," the Rejs said in the Nov. 20 letter to supporters announcing the sale.

In closing, the Rejs write: "It has been our honor to be a part of the Plaza's history and we hope you feel the same way. We've accomplished what we originally set out to do which was to save the Plaza from becoming a drug store or something else and we couldn't have done it without you all. We wish Michael the best of luck and we hope you all will continue to be supporters of the Plaza. We can't wait to see Atlanta's oldest cinema not just survive, but thrive!" "
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In November 2011, after countless ''Rocky Horror Picture Show'' midnight screenings, showcases of gory horror films, and glimpses at independent films, [http://plazaatlanta.com|Plaza Theatre] owners Jonathan and Gayle Rej [http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2011/11/15/plaza-theatre-seeks-new-owners-but-wont-close|announced they were looking to sell] Atlanta's oldest cinema.

After six years, the husband-and-wife team decided it was time to bid farewell to the storied Poncey-Highland repertory house, citing the high cost of converting from film to digital projectors. One year later, they've found a buyer.

Last week, the Rejs said that they'll hand over the keys on Dec. 27 to Michael Furlinger, a 30-year veteran of the cinema business who recently turned around Charleston, S.C.'s Terrace Theatre. In an interview with ''CL'', Furlinger says he plans a major restoration of the theater and to aggressively compete with nearby cinemas to screen first-run movies, giving film lovers a chance to enjoy new releases in what he calls one of the finest auditoriums he's ever seen.

"There are so few theaters left with character," Furlinger says of the 1939 showhouse. "That marquee is priceless."

The Long Island native's a cinephile who started working in movie theaters when he was 15 years old in New York and eventually worked his way up to managing the Odeon Cineplex's Manhattan and Brooklyn theaters. In 2007, Furlinger purchased the Terrace Theatre and, [http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/michael-furlinger/Content?oid=1111260|according to the ''Charleston City Paper''], revamped the concession stand menu and fixed up the building while maintaining the theater's independent edge. He sold the Terrace in 2010 to focus on another Charleston theater he opened, which he [http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20110106/PC05/301069905|also sold last year].

Furlinger plans to keep the current special events and "staples" — ''Rocky Horror'', the Silver Scream Spookshow, Splatter Cinema, Taboo-La-La, ''The Room'', and WonderRoot's Local Film Night — and [http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2012/03/26/atlanta-film-festival-takes-over-operations-at-plaza-theatre|the Atlanta Film Festival will still call the building home]. But Furlinger also plans to tap the relationships he's made over 30 years in the cinema business to compete aggressively with other national theaters and get his hands on first-run "sophisticated" Hollywood films, such as ''Lincoln'' and ''The Master''. He says large cinema companies have squeezed out the Plaza and other independent theaters by flouting an industry rule not to show new films within so many miles of each other.

"The Plaza is already playing those kinds of pictures. But they play them too late. They play them 10 weeks after they've been out of the theaters. The goal is to add some of that in when they first open," says Furlinger.

He also plans "substantial renovations," including gourmet concessions and brand-new screens, seats, and carpeting. But, he adds, the theater will be "kept in the time period it should be." The upstairs screen will continue to show independent movies, which Furlinger calls one of the theater's strengths.

Though the Plaza will continue screening 35mm films, [http://clatl.com/atlanta/will-the-death-of-film-bring-down-independent-cinemas-like-atlantas-plaza-theatre/Content?oid=4276951|which are slowly being phased out], starting around January 10 the theater will begin its much-needed conversion to digital projectors. "That's what you need these days to survive," Furlinger says.

The new owner's had his eyes on the theater for many years, he says, and almost bought the cinema when was it on the market six years ago, but the Rejs beat him to it.

Around 2006, Jonathan, a video producer, noticed the city changing for the worse as small, locally owned businesses were shuttering their doors and newer, larger shopping centers catering to national brands started popping up. One day he noticed that George LeFont, Atlanta's art house pioneer, had placed the theater, then one of America's many fading showhouses, on the market. The Rejs mortgaged their home to purchase the cinema in hopes of preserving it.

"The building just seemed too important to let it go away or become a chain store," [http://clatl.com/atlanta/jonathan-and-gayle-rej/Content?oid=1263073|Rej told ''CL'' at the time]. "The uniqueness of a city is what gives it the character, not how close you are to a Bed Bath & Beyond."

Still, competing with megaplexes, one of the state's two remaining drive-in theaters located less than five miles away, Netflix, and pirated films wasn't easy. In 2009, the Rejs created the nonprofit Plaza Theatre Foundation to, in Jonathan's words, keep the "doors open, the film rolling, and the popcorn popping."

The Rejs are talking with ATLFF and Furlinger about what role that nonprofit, the Plaza Theatre Foundation, will play moving forward. "For now memberships and passes will continue be honored under new ownership," the Rejs said in the Nov. 20 letter to supporters announcing the sale.

In closing, the Rejs write: "It has been our honor to be a part of the Plaza's history and we hope you feel the same way. We've accomplished what we originally set out to do which was to save the Plaza from becoming a drug store or something else and we couldn't have done it without you all. We wish Michael the best of luck and we hope you all will continue to be supporters of the Plaza. We can't wait to see Atlanta's oldest cinema not just survive, but thrive!" "
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In November 2011, after countless Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight screenings, showcases of gory horror films, and glimpses at independent films, Plaza Theatre owners Jonathan and Gayle Rej announced they were looking to sell Atlanta's oldest cinema.

After six years, the husband-and-wife team decided it was time to bid farewell to the storied Poncey-Highland repertory house, citing the high cost of converting from film to digital projectors. One year later, they've found a buyer.

Last week, the Rejs said that they'll hand over the keys on Dec. 27 to Michael Furlinger, a 30-year veteran of the cinema business who recently turned around Charleston, S.C.'s Terrace Theatre. In an interview with CL, Furlinger says he plans a major restoration of the theater and to aggressively compete with nearby cinemas to screen first-run movies, giving film lovers a chance to enjoy new releases in what he calls one of the finest auditoriums he's ever seen.

"There are so few theaters left with character," Furlinger says of the 1939 showhouse. "That marquee is priceless."

The Long Island native's a cinephile who started working in movie theaters when he was 15 years old in New York and eventually worked his way up to managing the Odeon Cineplex's Manhattan and Brooklyn theaters. In 2007, Furlinger purchased the Terrace Theatre and, according to the Charleston City Paper, revamped the concession stand menu and fixed up the building while maintaining the theater's independent edge. He sold the Terrace in 2010 to focus on another Charleston theater he opened, which he also sold last year.

Furlinger plans to keep the current special events and "staples" — Rocky Horror, the Silver Scream Spookshow, Splatter Cinema, Taboo-La-La, The Room, and WonderRoot's Local Film Night — and the Atlanta Film Festival will still call the building home. But Furlinger also plans to tap the relationships he's made over 30 years in the cinema business to compete aggressively with other national theaters and get his hands on first-run "sophisticated" Hollywood films, such as Lincoln and The Master. He says large cinema companies have squeezed out the Plaza and other independent theaters by flouting an industry rule not to show new films within so many miles of each other.

"The Plaza is already playing those kinds of pictures. But they play them too late. They play them 10 weeks after they've been out of the theaters. The goal is to add some of that in when they first open," says Furlinger.

He also plans "substantial renovations," including gourmet concessions and brand-new screens, seats, and carpeting. But, he adds, the theater will be "kept in the time period it should be." The upstairs screen will continue to show independent movies, which Furlinger calls one of the theater's strengths.

Though the Plaza will continue screening 35mm films, which are slowly being phased out, starting around January 10 the theater will begin its much-needed conversion to digital projectors. "That's what you need these days to survive," Furlinger says.

The new owner's had his eyes on the theater for many years, he says, and almost bought the cinema when was it on the market six years ago, but the Rejs beat him to it.

Around 2006, Jonathan, a video producer, noticed the city changing for the worse as small, locally owned businesses were shuttering their doors and newer, larger shopping centers catering to national brands started popping up. One day he noticed that George LeFont, Atlanta's art house pioneer, had placed the theater, then one of America's many fading showhouses, on the market. The Rejs mortgaged their home to purchase the cinema in hopes of preserving it.

"The building just seemed too important to let it go away or become a chain store," Rej told CL at the time. "The uniqueness of a city is what gives it the character, not how close you are to a Bed Bath & Beyond."

Still, competing with megaplexes, one of the state's two remaining drive-in theaters located less than five miles away, Netflix, and pirated films wasn't easy. In 2009, the Rejs created the nonprofit Plaza Theatre Foundation to, in Jonathan's words, keep the "doors open, the film rolling, and the popcorn popping."

The Rejs are talking with ATLFF and Furlinger about what role that nonprofit, the Plaza Theatre Foundation, will play moving forward. "For now memberships and passes will continue be honored under new ownership," the Rejs said in the Nov. 20 letter to supporters announcing the sale.

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Wednesday November 28, 2012 04:00 am EST
New owner, a film buff and veteran, plans major renovations, first-run features | more...
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*Courtesy C4 Atlanta
*Lobby of C4 Atlanta's new Arts Entrepreneurship Center
Local arts organization C4 Atlanta, a nonprofit that assists artists in the business of being creative, has announced the opening of an "Arts Entrepreneurship Center" in downtown Atlanta. The center, which will be located in the M. Rich Building at Peachtree Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, will host C4's professional development classes and be available to C4 members on a tiered basis.

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*Courtesy C4 Atlanta
*Lobby of C4 Atlanta's new Arts Entrepreneurship Center
[http://c4atlanta.org/|Local arts organization C4 Atlanta], a nonprofit that assists artists in the business of being creative, has announced the opening of an "Arts Entrepreneurship Center" in downtown Atlanta. The center, which will be located in the M. Rich Building at Peachtree Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, will host C4's professional development classes and be available to C4 members on a tiered basis.

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More photos of the space after the jump."
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  string(2009) "       2012-11-27T18:00:00+00:00 Arts center opens in old Rich's building downtown   Debbie Michaud 1223919 2012-11-27T18:00:00+00:00  
*Courtesy C4 Atlanta
*Lobby of C4 Atlanta's new Arts Entrepreneurship Center
Local arts organization C4 Atlanta, a nonprofit that assists artists in the business of being creative, has announced the opening of an "Arts Entrepreneurship Center" in downtown Atlanta. The center, which will be located in the M. Rich Building at Peachtree Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, will host C4's professional development classes and be available to C4 members on a tiered basis.

"Top tier members have dedicated work spaces, 24 hour access, some storage, utilities, printing/copying and they can host classes or events here. Lower level tiers offer a space for members to bring a laptop and work during the day. In the future, we will offer other equipment for creative workers to use while in the space. Our goal is not just affordable space, but space that offers a ton of amenities and the opportunity for individuals to collaborate, share overhead, create, and even earn income. Everyone gets coffee," says C4 Atlanta executive director Jessyca Holland.

According to Holland, C4 was able to move into the space because of in-kind support provided by the Creations Group, the Australian property investment firm that owns the building. It's offered the arts organization a flexible leasing plan that includes a graduated lease agreement for up to 12 months, after which C4 "will assume the full cost of the lease at a fair market level."
 
"We're very excited to have C4 Atlanta as an anchor tenant in the M. Rich Building," Collin Brown, spokesman for the Creations Group, said in a press release. "We see downtown Atlanta as a new creative center for the region, where arts and technology flourish together under one roof."

More photos of the space after the jump.             13071415 6960666                          Arts center opens in old Rich's building downtown "
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Tuesday November 27, 2012 01:00 pm EST

  • Courtesy C4 Atlanta
  • Lobby of C4 Atlanta's new Arts Entrepreneurship Center

Local arts organization C4 Atlanta, a nonprofit that assists artists in the business of being creative, has announced the opening of an "Arts Entrepreneurship Center" in downtown Atlanta. The center, which will be located in the M. Rich Building at Peachtree Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, will host C4's...

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*Image courtesy of the artist
*Atlanta painter Chris Hammer will be giving a painting workshop at the HIGH today.


The HIGH Museum invites Atlanta to come out of its turkey-induced comas and enjoy a day of art and activities at the museum from noon to 5 p.m. Local artists (like painter Chris Hammer featured above) will be giving workshops all day at the museum, covering mediums like ceramics, photography, illustration and even a ballet ensemble from the Atlanta Ballet Centre. These artists will all focus on discussing how the mediums and materials they use have changed over the years, stop by for an opportunity to meet and speak with talented, local artists all in one place. More art after the jump in this weekend arts agenda."
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*[http://clatl.com/atlanta/ImageArchives?by=6209103|Image courtesy of the artist]
*Atlanta painter Chris Hammer will be giving a painting workshop at the HIGH today.


The [http://www.high.org/Programs/Programs/Events/2012-Events/Family Program/Day-After-Thanksgiving.aspx|HIGH Museum] invites Atlanta to come out of its turkey-induced comas and enjoy a day of art and activities at the museum from noon to 5 p.m. Local artists (like painter Chris Hammer featured above) will be giving workshops all day at the museum, covering mediums like ceramics, photography, illustration and even a ballet ensemble from the Atlanta Ballet Centre. These artists will all focus on discussing how the mediums and materials they use have changed over the years, stop by for an opportunity to meet and speak with talented, local artists all in one place. More art after the jump in this weekend arts agenda."
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*Image courtesy of the artist
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Friday November 23, 2012 11:20 am EST

  • Image courtesy of the artist
  • Atlanta painter Chris Hammer will be giving a painting workshop at the HIGH today.



The HIGH Museum invites Atlanta to come out of its turkey-induced comas and enjoy a day of art and activities at the museum from noon to 5 p.m. Local artists (like painter Chris Hammer featured above) will be giving workshops all day at the museum, covering mediums like ceramics,...

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A primitive motif runs through some images, expressing a connection with an unearthly realm summoned by death alone. Like flashes of a dream, figures symbolic of death and dying are cast into black shadows surrounded by a haze of gray. In "Untitled — Phantasm series," (all of the show's images are untitled) a hooded black figure carrying a child in a white bodysuit emerges from a gray background. The white form glows against the shadows, articulating a stark contrast between light and dark.

Animal imagery also conveys notions of ritual sacrifice and pagan spirituality. One image shows a man's arm extended, a dismembered deer hoof balancing on his forearm. Other works visualize a peaceful spirituality associated with the afterlife, where a monument or person seems to be lifted into the sky: In one, a woman levitates above the tree line. In another, a rudimentary ladder leans against an empty bed, suggesting an ascent from a deathbed into heaven.

Many of the photographs are rendered fuzzy or unfocused, their snowy textures lending them an authenticity, as though lucky snapshots of rare, otherworldly occurrences. The show's largest work, a 12-foot-by-12-foot wheatpaste print, depicts a grainy black void with a blurry set of vampire-like teeth floating in the expanse. Other times, Nease sharpens part of an image to focus on an object. One image depicts a pair of socks against an oriental rug. Each sock has a clearly defined woolen texture. The image's realism is unhinged by the appearance of the empty socks standing on tiptoe, as is if there were feet arched inside of them. The commingling of the mundane and the supernatural here suggests that the earthly and spiritual realms are accessible and interconnected.

In some cases, the symbolism is too obvious, such as one work depitcing a dome encircled with astrological signs. Nease's photographs are like scary camp stories everyone's heard, but retold by a good storyteller. And when his pictures capture only a moment of an otherworldly atmosphere, the supernatural feels thrillingly intimate. "
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Many of the photographs are rendered fuzzy or unfocused, their snowy textures lending them an authenticity, as though lucky snapshots of rare, otherworldly occurrences. The show's largest work, a 12-foot-by-12-foot wheatpaste print, depicts a grainy black void with a blurry set of vampire-like teeth floating in the expanse. Other times, Nease sharpens part of an image to focus on an object. One image depicts a pair of socks against an oriental rug. Each sock has a clearly defined woolen texture. The image's realism is unhinged by the appearance of the empty socks standing on tiptoe, as is if there were feet arched inside of them. The commingling of the mundane and the supernatural here suggests that the earthly and spiritual realms are accessible and interconnected.

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A primitive motif runs through some images, expressing a connection with an unearthly realm summoned by death alone. Like flashes of a dream, figures symbolic of death and dying are cast into black shadows surrounded by a haze of gray. In "Untitled — Phantasm series," (all of the show's images are untitled) a hooded black figure carrying a child in a white bodysuit emerges from a gray background. The white form glows against the shadows, articulating a stark contrast between light and dark.

Animal imagery also conveys notions of ritual sacrifice and pagan spirituality. One image shows a man's arm extended, a dismembered deer hoof balancing on his forearm. Other works visualize a peaceful spirituality associated with the afterlife, where a monument or person seems to be lifted into the sky: In one, a woman levitates above the tree line. In another, a rudimentary ladder leans against an empty bed, suggesting an ascent from a deathbed into heaven.

Many of the photographs are rendered fuzzy or unfocused, their snowy textures lending them an authenticity, as though lucky snapshots of rare, otherworldly occurrences. The show's largest work, a 12-foot-by-12-foot wheatpaste print, depicts a grainy black void with a blurry set of vampire-like teeth floating in the expanse. Other times, Nease sharpens part of an image to focus on an object. One image depicts a pair of socks against an oriental rug. Each sock has a clearly defined woolen texture. The image's realism is unhinged by the appearance of the empty socks standing on tiptoe, as is if there were feet arched inside of them. The commingling of the mundane and the supernatural here suggests that the earthly and spiritual realms are accessible and interconnected.

In some cases, the symbolism is too obvious, such as one work depitcing a dome encircled with astrological signs. Nease's photographs are like scary camp stories everyone's heard, but retold by a good storyteller. And when his pictures capture only a moment of an otherworldly atmosphere, the supernatural feels thrillingly intimate.              13071340 6916365                          Tommy Nease conjures spirits in Phantasm "
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  string(3393) "Comedian Jake Head took the name of his new CD, You Are Not Doing Well, from a disastrous gig at the Comedy Zone in Jacksonville, Fla. "It was a horrible, horrible show — a terrible crowd with awful energy," Head says. The comedian opted to ignore his spectators' indifference and act as if they were bestowing big laughs. "I decided to do terrible impressions and character work, and respond as if I had a cruise ship audience," he says. "Then this lady sitting stage right, speaking for the crowd, said, 'You are not doing well! Why do you feel good about yourself?' It was such a poignant heckle. It cut to the bone."

Head, 23, has learned how to manage his interplay with his audiences: "It's like I'm a sailor, and they're the ocean," he says. "You know they're a terrible crowd, and part of them knows they're a terrible crowd. Sometimes it helps if you just go out, smile, and acknowledge it. 'You guys a hot crowd?' And they might realize, 'Wait, no, we're not a good crowd,' and make more of an effort."

Head moved to Atlanta from Jacksonville a year ago, and finds the city to be closer to comedy nirvana. "In Atlanta I never really have an awful crowd. Sometimes I get a stuck-up Midtown crowd — 'We paid $25 for this?' — But it doesn't compare to the disgusting beach-bar crowds I started with."

Head launched his stand-up career after unenthusiastically attending a Jacksonville junior college. Local comedian Jarrod Harris encouraged him to move to Atlanta. "In Jacksonville, there wasn't anywhere to go. Atlanta has opportunities as long as you stay here," he says. "When Jarrod was telling me I should move here, he said, 'You're going to get white rednecks, black folks, all these people in this huge city. You can see what different groups of people think of your act.' I want to be able to flow in all of them."

I first saw Head in 2011, when he did a short warm-up set for the movie-mockery show Cineprov! at the Relapse Theatre. Most of the comedian's routine featured witty, self-contained one-liners such as, "Every zoo is a petting zoo if you're determined." He's broadened his material since then. "When I started out, I did a lot of short, non-sequitur jokes, along the lines of Mitch Hedberg or Demetri Martin. It was solid, but kind of limiting. If you only do one-liners, it's weird if you want to do a bit that's not a one-liner. I wanted to do more of a Bill Burr or Louis C.K. thing — you're telling stories about yourself that should be funny."

Currently Head works a flexible day job delivering Jimmy John's sandwiches in downtown Atlanta, while touring frequently in the Southeast. Sometimes he drives from his home in East Atlanta to gigs in Knoxville and Chattanooga and then back again the same night to save on motel rooms. "I get on stage five to seven times a week, but I always take Wednesday off just to be a person. If you don't live your life, all of your jokes end up being about comedy." His regular local appearances usually include the Star Bar (Mondays, 9:30 p.m.), the Five Spot (Tuesdays, 8:00 p.m.), and the Relapse Theatre (Thursdays, 10 p.m.).

Head considers You Are Not Doing Well to be a kind of time capsule of jokes he's gradually phasing out of his act. "I feel so much better about the jokes I'm doing in my act now. Before, I was doing things I thought could be funny. Right now, I'm doing things I think are funny." "
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Head, 23, has learned how to manage his interplay with his audiences: "It's like I'm a sailor, and they're the ocean," he says. "''You'' know they're a terrible crowd, and part of them knows they're a terrible crowd. Sometimes it helps if you just go out, smile, and acknowledge it. 'You guys a hot crowd?' And they might realize, 'Wait, no, we're not a good crowd,' and make more of an effort."

Head moved to Atlanta from Jacksonville a year ago, and finds the city to be closer to comedy nirvana. "In Atlanta I never really have an awful crowd. Sometimes I get a stuck-up Midtown crowd — 'We paid $25 for this?' — But it doesn't compare to the disgusting beach-bar crowds I started with."

Head launched his stand-up career after unenthusiastically attending a Jacksonville junior college. Local comedian [http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2011/04/06/jarrod-harris-returns-to-atlanta-with-comedy-gold|Jarrod Harris] encouraged him to move to Atlanta. "In Jacksonville, there wasn't anywhere to go. Atlanta has opportunities as long as you stay here," he says. "When Jarrod was telling me I should move here, he said, 'You're going to get white rednecks, black folks, all these people in this huge city. You can see what different groups of people think of your act.' I want to be able to flow in all of them."

I first saw Head in 2011, when he did a short warm-up set for the movie-mockery show [http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2011/05/20/cineprov-rounds-up-stragglers|Cineprov!] at the Relapse Theatre. Most of the comedian's routine featured witty, self-contained one-liners such as, "Every zoo is a petting zoo if you're determined." He's broadened his material since then. "When I started out, I did a lot of short, non-sequitur jokes, along the lines of Mitch Hedberg or Demetri Martin. It was solid, but kind of limiting. If you only do one-liners, it's weird if you want to do a bit that's ''not'' a one-liner. I wanted to do more of a Bill Burr or Louis C.K. thing — you're telling stories about yourself that should be funny."

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Head considers ''You Are Not Doing Well'' to be a kind of time capsule of jokes he's gradually phasing out of his act. "I feel so much better about the jokes I'm doing in my act now. Before, I was doing things I thought ''could'' be funny. Right now, I'm doing things I think are funny." "
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Friday November 16, 2012 03:12 pm EST
Comedian evolves from one-liners to more personal stories | more...
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Get an early jump on holiday present shopping this weekend at the Holiday Indie Craft Experience, featuring nearly 100 local and regional crafters and artists selling everything from jewelry, art, clothing, home decor, and other crafts. The Good Food truck will be on site serving up favorites to hungry shoppers, and it would be wise to come early since the first 250 attendees this Saturday and Sunday will be given a 'swag bag' that features samples, stickers, little presents, and swag from the vendors at the event. Doors open at 11 a.m. at Ambient Plus Studio on Sat. and Sun., where you can shop, til you have to stop at 6 p.m. More after the jump in this Weekend Arts Agenda."
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Get an early jump on holiday present shopping this weekend at the Holiday [http://www.ice-atlanta.com/vendors/|Indie Craft Experience], featuring nearly 100 local and regional crafters and artists selling everything from jewelry, art, clothing, home decor, and other crafts. The [http://goodfoodtruckatl.com/|Good Food truck] will be on site serving up favorites to hungry shoppers, and it would be wise to come early since the first 250 attendees this Saturday and Sunday will be given a 'swag bag' that features samples, stickers, little presents, and swag from the vendors at the event. Doors open at 11 a.m. at [http://www.ambientplusstudio.com/|Ambient Plus Studio] on Sat. and Sun., where you can shop, til you have to stop at 6 p.m. More after the jump in this Weekend Arts Agenda."
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Get an early jump on holiday present shopping this weekend at the Holiday Indie Craft Experience, featuring nearly 100 local and regional crafters and artists selling everything from jewelry, art, clothing, home decor, and other crafts. The Good Food truck will be on site serving up favorites to hungry shoppers, and it would be wise to come early since the first 250 attendees this Saturday and Sunday will be given a 'swag bag' that features samples, stickers, little presents, and swag from the vendors at the event. Doors open at 11 a.m. at Ambient Plus Studio on Sat. and Sun., where you can shop, til you have to stop at 6 p.m. More after the jump in this Weekend Arts Agenda.             13071289 6895832                          Weekend Arts Agenda: Indie Craft Experience November 16 2012 "
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Article

Friday November 16, 2012 10:56 am EST

  • LeahandMark.com



Get an early jump on holiday present shopping this weekend at the Holiday Indie Craft Experience, featuring nearly 100 local and regional crafters and artists selling everything from jewelry, art, clothing, home decor, and other crafts. The Good Food truck will be on site serving up favorites to hungry shoppers, and it would be wise to come early since the first 250...

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  ["title"]=>
  string(23) "Cover Story - Being MLK"
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  string(108) "The Mountaintop and Lincoln raise questions about the risks and rewards of bringing history's heroes to life"
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  string(15836) "If I could somehow meet Abraham Lincoln face-to-face, I wouldn't have the nerve to ask him if he was gay.

For one thing, the Great Emancipator would misunderstand the contemporary connotation of the word "gay." He'd probably respond that presiding over the United States during the devastating Civil War was a major bummer, but sure, he enjoyed moments of merriment.

I'd have to be more specific, and mention how such scholars as C.A. Tripp speculate that young Lincoln was a roommate, bedmate, and possibly more than friends with Joshua Speed and other contemporaries. Even if he was candid about it — and I'd expect no less from Honest Abe — I can't imagine looking at that craggy, Uncle Sam face and quizzing America's greatest president about his sex life. I'd probably stammer out a question about whether he was enjoying Our American Cousin before John Wilkes Booth cut the show short.

In the absence of such awkward posthumous interviews, the impulse to know more about history's major figures endures. The disciplines of history, biography, and much of narrative drama seek to reveal what makes great people tick. Historically informed art and entertainment give present-day people the chance to raise personal questions and consider possible answers. Would Angels in America author Tony Kushner, who scripted Steven Spielberg's new Lincoln film, explore his private life as a kind of Brokeback Abraham?

At best, biopics and historical dramas can seize the popular imagination and improve the odds for winning acting awards, with Oscar honorees ranging from Charles Laughton's Henry VIII to Ben Kingsley's Gandhi to Meryl Streep's Margaret Thatcher. Bad historical re-creations can explode in the artist's face, however. There's nothing more predictable than a one-man theatrical show that follows a famous person from cradle to grave, and nothing less convincing than bad make-up or accents in an ill-conceived biopic. Last year's J. Edgar offers a recent warning.

This week, True Colors Theatre Company's Martin Luther King Jr. play The Mountaintop opens in Atlanta simultaneously with the nationwide release of Spielberg's Lincoln. The film and play illustrate the challenges faced by artistic attempts to compress the life of a single person, particularly a shaper of history, into a couple of hours.

Should a dramatist attempt a greatest-hits kind of career-spanning story, or focus more narrowly on an incident or period that illuminates a personality? Accounts of historical role models like the Founding Fathers or human rights martyrs raise the stakes even further. Can you celebrate mighty deeds without creating a plaster saint, or acknowledge personal foibles without resorting to gossip and guesswork? The Mountaintop and Lincoln suggest that larger-than-life portrayals may not be as effective as the ones that are actual size.

Since August of 2011, a 30-foot likeness of Martin Luther King Jr. has towered over passers-by on the Washington, D.C., National Mall. As an indomitable force and resounding voice in the Civil Rights Movement, King unquestionably deserves such a monument, even though it seems like an incomplete portrait. Rendered in white granite, King maintains a stern expression and folded arms, as if the embodiment of the song lyric "We shall not be moved." The statue almost resembles one of the colossal effigies of Egyptian pharaohs, which seems ironic given King's command of Old Testament scripture and moral authority.

The King memorial also provides an example of the pitfalls of editing history. The "Stone of Hope" that provides the statue's base quotes King as saying, "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness." In fact, that's a much-criticized paraphrase from King's sermon "The Drum Major Instinct," delivered in Atlanta in 1968: "If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter." The paraphrase sounds more like something King would declare at a job interview.

In September of 2011, one month after the opening of the memorial, Katori Hall's play The Mountaintop made its Broadway premiere, and provided a conveniently timed counterbalance. Instead of a granite giant, The Mountaintop portrays King as a weary, flesh-and-blood human with his defenses down. Hall draws on the viewers' knowledge of history to offer an audience with King on the eve of his assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

Over about 90 minutes of real time in Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, King talks to — and flirts with — a young African-American maid named Camae shortly after delivering a speech that seemed to presage his own death: "I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land."

page
True Colors Theatre artistic director Kenny Leon directed Samuel L. Jackson as King and Angela Bassett as Camae on Broadway. For The Mountaintop's premiere in King's hometown, Jasmine Guy casts Danny Johnson and Demetria McKinney in the production. As a New York resident, Johnson saw Jackson's performance in The Mountaintop but never expected that he'd step into MLK's shoes, which the play suggests have obtrusive odor issues.

Johnson, 50, was raised in one of the few middle-class African-American families in Lafayette, Ind. As a tavern-keeper, Johnson's father was one of the area's few black businessmen, and Johnson grew up keenly aware of the influence King and the Civil Rights Movement had on his life. "King was a hero in my family," he recalls. "I grew up in one of those families where you had those church fans that made their way into your house. My mother had this big buffet, and the Martin Luther King fan was always there. I have faint memories of his death and watching his funeral on television."

Johnson feels a strong sense of responsibility to get King right, particularly because he's playing a world-renowned figure in his birthplace. "It's different when you're playing someone who actually lived and worked and talked in the town you're playing him," says Johnson, whose currently staying in the Old Fourth Ward, in walking distance from King's former haunts. "King is an icon globally, and here in Atlanta, it's a whole other level, really almost deity status. People will come to the play who may have been members of his church or members of his family. So there's definitely a sense of responsibility."

As a two-person, one-room play, The Mountaintop doesn't call for Johnson to emulate King as an orator, with the cadences and ringing tones of the pulpit. Johnson finds that imitating a character's most famous speeches or recordings can be a trap. "I want to capture the tone and timbre of the voice, but one of the easiest things to do is butcher his accent or make everything sound like the drum major sermon," says Johnson. "It's hard to play a guy that everybody knows and not tip your hat to the way everyone knows he speaks."

The Mountaintop shows King engage in conversational code-switching, or tailoring his speech pattern to his audience. "When the play opens, and through the course of it, we're seeing King at his least guarded and most vulnerable," says Johnson. "He's much more conversational in the Southern, black American style of the time period. He speaks, knowing who he's with, at a level that's relatable for her. He doesn't necessarily use those oratorical flourishes we know from speeches and interviews."

Taller, less round-faced, and 10 years older than King in 1968, Johnson feels relief that theater doesn't require an actor have as much of a physical resemblance to a historical subject as film. "We're not making a movie, so it's not like every minute they see King, the audience has to think, 'That's MLK,'" he says. "Theater is more illuminating, and comes with a suspension of disbelief. We're signing a contract with the audience. They're going to pretend, and I'm going to pretend."

King's candid conversation with Camae as they share Pall Malls touches on topics from nonviolent resistance to King's relationship with his wife (and contains an unexpected twist). Johnson credits Hall for finding a fresh angle on King that acknowledges some of his personal flaws. "I think that strengthens our understanding of him as a person," he says. "All of that stuff is more interesting to me as a consumer of art. People can look at King and say, 'By the time King was 27 or 28 years old, he had all these accomplishments in his life. He became this nationally known figure in the United States, who put us on a better path to realize the things the Constitution set forth. How did he do that? He must be some kind of higher person, to reach a height I could never reach.'"

The actor thinks that a more humanized King serves as a more effective role model for people who might follow his example. In The Mountaintop, he says, "You see a guy who's not afraid to have a drink, who smokes a cigarette when he has anxiety, who has smelly feet like everyone else. You can see him and think, 'I guess he's not that different from me. Maybe I can make choices to make things better for those around me, too."

image-1As a crusader for freedom and a brilliant communicator, Martin Luther King Jr. qualifies as Abraham Lincoln's spiritual heir. Lincoln expunged America's original sin of institutional slavery, four score and seven years after the founding of the Union. One hundred years later, King demanded America make good on its promise of African-American enfranchisement. Spielberg and Kushner put the 16th president's political fight to end slavery at the heart of Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

page
Many biopics offer historical pageants that follow famous people from their childhood to their deathbeds. Lincoln doesn't match the real-time focus of The Mountaintop, but nevertheless limits its chronicle to the year 1865 and the last four months of Lincoln's life.

The major events of Lincoln's presidency, from the death throes of the Civil War to his stormy marriage to Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field), inform and provide a backdrop to the fight to ratify the 13th Amendment, and give the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation the force of law. Based partly on Doris Kearns Goodwin's book Team of Rivals, Kushner's dense script suggests a 19th-century version of "The West Wing," or the musical 1776 without the songs. And no, it does not involve Lincoln having gay relationships, or killing vampires for that matter.

A Time magazine story about Lincoln called Day-Lewis "the greatest living actor," but one of his performance choices counteracts today's perception of the president. Lincoln's powerful rhetoric and patriarchal features seem to call for the kind of baritone Day-Lewis used as There Will Be Blood's Daniel Plainview or Gang of New York's Bill the Butcher. Instead, in keeping with historical accounts, his Lincoln speaks in an unexpectedly high, reedy register. Uncharitable online commentators described the voice as "whiny" and "goatlike" after the debut of the first trailer.

In an audience Q&A following a Manhattan screening in October, Day-Lewis explained the combination of historical research and creative supposition behind the voice. "You begin with the places that would have made a huge difference in his life. Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, and the counties that he came from. There are no contemporary recordings — lucky for me — so no one can say positively that it's not what he sounded like," Day-Lewis said. "There are also a number of contemporary accounts about the quality of his voice. I'm inclined to think that having had a voice that was intended to be in the higher register, tended to be placed more in the head tones, helped him reach a greater number of people in his public speaking. Stump speaking was such a huge part of their lives; they spoke sometimes for two hours or more without notes. And beyond that, I suppose it really was just an act of imagination."

If initially off-putting, the voice effectively fits Lincoln's savvy take on his folksy public persona in the film. The film's Lincoln clearly relishes playing the part of a country lawyer, despite his position as Commander-in-Chief during the nation's bloodiest conflict. Using his signature stovepipe hat as a public prop and an arsenal of homespun anecdotes to disarm hostile audiences, Lincoln comes across as a masterful custodian of his image. In one scene, young union soldiers quote passages of the Gettysburg Address back to him like star-struck fanboys, illustrating Lincoln's immense celebrity at the time.

In contrast with the savage willfulness of his signature roles, Day-Lewis invests his good-hearted Lincoln with a fascinating combination of moral urgency and political savvy. When he justifies to his cabinet the need to pass the 13th Amendment before both the war and the current congressional term come to an end, he demonstrates an extraordinary command of the competing legal issues, war-time necessities, and public opinion. This Lincoln isn't just a brilliant orator and moral exemplar determined to free the slaves, but a cunning politician who knows how to count votes, twist arms, and generally get the sausage made in Washington, D.C. It's a feat comparable to running through raindrops without getting wet.

Lincoln illustrates the architecture of the 13th Amendment as a team effort, with players ranging from blood-and-thunder abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) to a trio of Washington rascals (James Spader, John Hawkes, and Tim Blake Nelson) gathering the necessary votes by dubious means. Spielberg doesn't always come across as the ideal director for this story, and sets a stately pace when it should be snappy. But he's still able to build suspense around big events, even though we already know their outcomes. The film makes a compelling case that the 13th Amendment was Lincoln's greatest accomplishment, even if his goals of American equality took another 100 years to be achieved.

Biographical art doesn't take place in a vacuum, and Obama-era politics inevitably inform how we view Lincoln and The Mountaintop. Lincoln offers a striking parallel to the partisanship and race-inflected politics of contemporary Washington, despite some drastic changes in the Democratic and Republican parties.

Johnson hopes that The Mountaintop's imaginary notion of the hotel conversation will point audiences toward the future as well as the past: "I think this is going to illuminate the fullness of the guy and everything he's overcome — and the sense that we're not done here. I think the play will hopefully spark in people the questions, 'What can I do? Where is my moment?'"

Both works share the ethos of award-winning playwright/screenwriter Peter Morgan, whose scripts for Frost/Nixon, The Queen, and other takes on contemporary history zero in on specific incidents and relationships, like Queen Elizabeth's response to the death of Princess Diana, as a means of capturing important individuals during social tipping points. In the best dramatizations, personal details make history seem like a living thing, as opposed to a list of facts.

Ultimately, such indispensable figures as Lincoln and King will loom larger in history than any narrative re-creation, no matter how powerful or relevant it may be. Even the best-intentioned actors, playwrights, and directors may find themselves echoing the words of the Gettysburg Address: "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."

image-2"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(16417) "If I could somehow meet Abraham Lincoln face-to-face, I wouldn't have the nerve to ask him if he was gay.

For one thing, the Great Emancipator would misunderstand the contemporary connotation of the word "gay." He'd probably respond that presiding over the United States during the devastating Civil War was a major bummer, but sure, he enjoyed moments of merriment.

I'd have to be more specific, and mention how such scholars as C.A. Tripp speculate that young Lincoln was a roommate, bedmate, and possibly more than friends with Joshua Speed and other contemporaries. Even if he was candid about it — and I'd expect no less from Honest Abe — I can't imagine looking at that craggy, Uncle Sam face and quizzing America's greatest president about his sex life. I'd probably stammer out a question about whether he was enjoying ''Our American Cousin'' before John Wilkes Booth cut the show short.

In the absence of such awkward posthumous interviews, the impulse to know more about history's major figures endures. The disciplines of history, biography, and much of narrative drama seek to reveal what makes great people tick. Historically informed art and entertainment give present-day people the chance to raise personal questions and consider possible answers. Would ''Angels in America'' author Tony Kushner, who scripted Steven Spielberg's new ''Lincoln'' film, explore his private life as a kind of ''Brokeback Abraham''?

At best, biopics and historical dramas can seize the popular imagination and improve the odds for winning acting awards, with Oscar honorees ranging from Charles Laughton's Henry VIII to Ben Kingsley's Gandhi to Meryl Streep's Margaret Thatcher. Bad historical re-creations can explode in the artist's face, however. There's nothing more predictable than a one-man theatrical show that follows a famous person from cradle to grave, and nothing less convincing than bad make-up or accents in an ill-conceived biopic. Last year's ''[http://clatl.com/atlanta/j-edgar-hoovers-up-the-dirt-on-fbi-director/Content?oid=4237234|J. Edgar]'' offers a recent warning.

This week, True Colors Theatre Company's Martin Luther King Jr. play ''The Mountaintop'' opens in Atlanta simultaneously with the nationwide release of Spielberg's ''Lincoln''. The film and play illustrate the challenges faced by artistic attempts to compress the life of a single person, particularly a shaper of history, into a couple of hours.

Should a dramatist attempt a greatest-hits kind of career-spanning story, or focus more narrowly on an incident or period that illuminates a personality? Accounts of historical role models like the Founding Fathers or human rights martyrs raise the stakes even further. Can you celebrate mighty deeds without creating a plaster saint, or acknowledge personal foibles without resorting to gossip and guesswork? ''The Mountaintop'' and ''Lincoln'' suggest that larger-than-life portrayals may not be as effective as the ones that are actual size.

__Since August of 2011__, a 30-foot likeness of Martin Luther King Jr. has towered over passers-by on the Washington, D.C., National Mall. As an indomitable force and resounding voice in the Civil Rights Movement, King unquestionably deserves such a monument, even though it seems like an incomplete portrait. Rendered in white granite, King maintains a stern expression and folded arms, as if the embodiment of the song lyric "We shall not be moved." The statue almost resembles one of the colossal effigies of Egyptian pharaohs, which seems ironic given King's command of Old Testament scripture and moral authority.

The King memorial also provides an example of the pitfalls of editing history. The "Stone of Hope" that provides the statue's base quotes King as saying, "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness." In fact, that's a much-criticized paraphrase from King's sermon "[http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_the_drum_major_instinct|The Drum Major Instinct]," delivered in Atlanta in 1968: "If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter." The paraphrase sounds more like something King would declare at a job interview.

In September of 2011, one month after the opening of the memorial, Katori Hall's play ''The Mountaintop'' made its Broadway premiere, and provided a conveniently timed counterbalance. Instead of a granite giant, ''The Mountaintop'' portrays King as a weary, flesh-and-blood human with his defenses down. Hall draws on the viewers' knowledge of history to offer an audience with King on the eve of his assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

Over about 90 minutes of real time in Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, King talks to — and flirts with — a young African-American maid named Camae shortly after delivering a speech that seemed to presage his own death: "I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land."

[page]
True Colors Theatre artistic director Kenny Leon directed Samuel L. Jackson as King and Angela Bassett as Camae on Broadway. For ''The Mountaintop'''s premiere in King's hometown, Jasmine Guy casts Danny Johnson and Demetria McKinney in the production. As a New York resident, Johnson saw Jackson's performance in ''The Mountaintop'' but never expected that he'd step into MLK's shoes, which the play suggests have obtrusive odor issues.

Johnson, 50, was raised in one of the few middle-class African-American families in Lafayette, Ind. As a tavern-keeper, Johnson's father was one of the area's few black businessmen, and Johnson grew up keenly aware of the influence King and the Civil Rights Movement had on his life. "King was a hero in my family," he recalls. "I grew up in one of those families where you had those church fans that made their way into your house. My mother had this big buffet, and the Martin Luther King fan was always there. I have faint memories of his death and watching his funeral on television."

Johnson feels a strong sense of responsibility to get King right, particularly because he's playing a world-renowned figure in his birthplace. "It's different when you're playing someone who actually lived and worked and talked in the town you're playing him," says Johnson, whose currently staying in the Old Fourth Ward, in walking distance from King's former haunts. "King is an icon globally, and here in Atlanta, it's a whole other level, really almost deity status. People will come to the play who may have been members of his church or members of his family. So there's definitely a sense of responsibility."

As a two-person, one-room play, ''The Mountaintop'' doesn't call for Johnson to emulate King as an orator, with the cadences and ringing tones of the pulpit. Johnson finds that imitating a character's most famous speeches or recordings can be a trap. "I want to capture the tone and timbre of the voice, but one of the easiest things to do is butcher his accent or make everything sound like the drum major sermon," says Johnson. "It's hard to play a guy that everybody knows and not tip your hat to the way everyone knows he speaks."

''The Mountaintop'' shows King engage in conversational code-switching, or tailoring his speech pattern to his audience. "When the play opens, and through the course of it, we're seeing King at his least guarded and most vulnerable," says Johnson. "He's much more conversational in the Southern, black American style of the time period. He speaks, knowing who he's with, at a level that's relatable for ''her''. He doesn't necessarily use those oratorical flourishes we know from speeches and interviews."

Taller, less round-faced, and 10 years older than King in 1968, Johnson feels relief that theater doesn't require an actor have as much of a physical resemblance to a historical subject as film. "We're not making a movie, so it's not like every minute they see King, the audience has to think, 'That's MLK,'" he says. "Theater is more illuminating, and comes with a suspension of disbelief. We're signing a contract with the audience. They're going to pretend, and I'm going to pretend."

King's candid conversation with Camae as they share Pall Malls touches on topics from nonviolent resistance to King's relationship with his wife (and contains an unexpected twist). Johnson credits Hall for finding a fresh angle on King that acknowledges some of his personal flaws. "I think that strengthens our understanding of him as a person," he says. "All of that stuff is more interesting to me as a consumer of art. People can look at King and say, 'By the time King was 27 or 28 years old, he had all these accomplishments in his life. He became this nationally known figure in the United States, who put us on a better path to realize the things the Constitution set forth. How did he do that? He must be some kind of higher person, to reach a height I could never reach.'"

The actor thinks that a more humanized King serves as a more effective role model for people who might follow his example. In ''The Mountaintop'', he says, "You see a guy who's not afraid to have a drink, who smokes a cigarette when he has anxiety, who has smelly feet like everyone else. You can see him and think, 'I guess he's not ''that'' different from me. Maybe I can make choices to make things better for those around me, too."

[image-1]__As a crusader for freedom__ and a brilliant communicator, Martin Luther King Jr. qualifies as Abraham Lincoln's spiritual heir. Lincoln expunged America's original sin of institutional slavery, four score and seven years after the founding of the Union. One hundred years later, King demanded America make good on its promise of African-American enfranchisement. Spielberg and Kushner put the 16th president's political fight to end slavery at the heart of ''Lincoln'', starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

[page]
Many biopics offer historical pageants that follow famous people from their childhood to their deathbeds. ''Lincoln'' doesn't match the real-time focus of ''The Mountaintop'', but nevertheless limits its chronicle to the year 1865 and the last four months of Lincoln's life.

The major events of Lincoln's presidency, from the death throes of the Civil War to his stormy marriage to Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field), inform and provide a backdrop to the fight to ratify the 13th Amendment, and give the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation the force of law. Based partly on Doris Kearns Goodwin's book ''Team of Rivals'', Kushner's dense script suggests a 19th-century version of "The West Wing," or the musical ''1776'' without the songs. And no, it does not involve Lincoln having gay relationships, or killing vampires for that matter.

[http://entertainment.time.com/2012/10/25/daniel-day-lewis-in-lincoln-hail-to-the-chief/|A ''Time'' magazine story] about ''Lincoln'' called Day-Lewis "the greatest living actor," but one of his performance choices counteracts today's perception of the president. Lincoln's powerful rhetoric and patriarchal features seem to call for the kind of baritone Day-Lewis used as ''There Will Be Blood'''s Daniel Plainview or ''Gang of New York'''s Bill the Butcher. Instead, in keeping with historical accounts, his Lincoln speaks in an unexpectedly high, reedy register. Uncharitable online commentators described the voice as "whiny" and "goatlike" after the debut of the first trailer.

In an audience Q&A following a Manhattan screening in October, Day-Lewis explained the combination of historical research and creative supposition behind the voice. "You begin with the places that would have made a huge difference in his life. Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, and the counties that he came from. There are no contemporary recordings — lucky for me — so no one can say positively that it's not what he sounded like," Day-Lewis said. "There are also a number of contemporary accounts about the quality of his voice. I'm inclined to think that having had a voice that was intended to be in the higher register, tended to be placed more in the head tones, helped him reach a greater number of people in his public speaking. Stump speaking was such a huge part of their lives; they spoke sometimes for two hours or more without notes. And beyond that, I suppose it really was just an act of imagination."

If initially off-putting, the voice effectively fits Lincoln's savvy take on his folksy public persona in the film. The film's Lincoln clearly relishes playing the part of a country lawyer, despite his position as Commander-in-Chief during the nation's bloodiest conflict. Using his signature stovepipe hat as a public prop and an arsenal of homespun anecdotes to disarm hostile audiences, Lincoln comes across as a masterful custodian of his image. In one scene, young union soldiers quote passages of the Gettysburg Address back to him like star-struck fanboys, illustrating Lincoln's immense celebrity at the time.

In contrast with the savage willfulness of his signature roles, Day-Lewis invests his good-hearted Lincoln with a fascinating combination of moral urgency and political savvy. When he justifies to his cabinet the need to pass the 13th Amendment before both the war and the current congressional term come to an end, he demonstrates an extraordinary command of the competing legal issues, war-time necessities, and public opinion. This Lincoln isn't just a brilliant orator and moral exemplar determined to free the slaves, but a cunning politician who knows how to count votes, twist arms, and generally get the sausage made in Washington, D.C. It's a feat comparable to running through raindrops without getting wet.

''Lincoln'' illustrates the architecture of the 13th Amendment as a team effort, with players ranging from blood-and-thunder abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) to a trio of Washington rascals (James Spader, John Hawkes, and Tim Blake Nelson) gathering the necessary votes by dubious means. Spielberg doesn't always come across as the ideal director for this story, and sets a stately pace when it should be snappy. But he's still able to build suspense around big events, even though we already know their outcomes. The film makes a compelling case that the 13th Amendment was Lincoln's greatest accomplishment, even if his goals of American equality took another 100 years to be achieved.

__Biographical art__ doesn't take place in a vacuum, and Obama-era politics inevitably inform how we view ''Lincoln'' and ''The Mountaintop''. ''Lincoln'' offers a striking parallel to the partisanship and race-inflected politics of contemporary Washington, despite some drastic changes in the Democratic and Republican parties.

Johnson hopes that ''The Mountaintop'''s imaginary notion of the hotel conversation will point audiences toward the future as well as the past: "I think this is going to illuminate the fullness of the guy and everything he's overcome — and the sense that we're not done here. I think the play will hopefully spark in people the questions, 'What can I do? Where is my moment?'"

Both works share the ethos of award-winning playwright/screenwriter Peter Morgan, whose scripts for ''[http://clatl.com/atlanta/frostnixon-puts-tricky-dick-in-the-hot-seat/Content?oid=1276674|Frost/Nixon]'', ''[http://clatl.com/atlanta/royal-flush/Content?oid=1263460|The Queen]'', and other takes on contemporary history zero in on specific incidents and relationships, like Queen Elizabeth's response to the death of Princess Diana, as a means of capturing important individuals during social tipping points. In the best dramatizations, personal details make history seem like a living thing, as opposed to a list of facts.

Ultimately, such indispensable figures as Lincoln and King will loom larger in history than any narrative re-creation, no matter how powerful or relevant it may be. Even the best-intentioned actors, playwrights, and directors may find themselves echoing the words of the Gettysburg Address: "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."

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  string(16133) "    The Mountaintop and Lincoln raise questions about the risks and rewards of bringing history's heroes to life   2012-11-15T09:05:00+00:00 Cover Story - Being MLK   Curt Holman Curt Holman 2012-11-15T09:05:00+00:00  If I could somehow meet Abraham Lincoln face-to-face, I wouldn't have the nerve to ask him if he was gay.

For one thing, the Great Emancipator would misunderstand the contemporary connotation of the word "gay." He'd probably respond that presiding over the United States during the devastating Civil War was a major bummer, but sure, he enjoyed moments of merriment.

I'd have to be more specific, and mention how such scholars as C.A. Tripp speculate that young Lincoln was a roommate, bedmate, and possibly more than friends with Joshua Speed and other contemporaries. Even if he was candid about it — and I'd expect no less from Honest Abe — I can't imagine looking at that craggy, Uncle Sam face and quizzing America's greatest president about his sex life. I'd probably stammer out a question about whether he was enjoying Our American Cousin before John Wilkes Booth cut the show short.

In the absence of such awkward posthumous interviews, the impulse to know more about history's major figures endures. The disciplines of history, biography, and much of narrative drama seek to reveal what makes great people tick. Historically informed art and entertainment give present-day people the chance to raise personal questions and consider possible answers. Would Angels in America author Tony Kushner, who scripted Steven Spielberg's new Lincoln film, explore his private life as a kind of Brokeback Abraham?

At best, biopics and historical dramas can seize the popular imagination and improve the odds for winning acting awards, with Oscar honorees ranging from Charles Laughton's Henry VIII to Ben Kingsley's Gandhi to Meryl Streep's Margaret Thatcher. Bad historical re-creations can explode in the artist's face, however. There's nothing more predictable than a one-man theatrical show that follows a famous person from cradle to grave, and nothing less convincing than bad make-up or accents in an ill-conceived biopic. Last year's J. Edgar offers a recent warning.

This week, True Colors Theatre Company's Martin Luther King Jr. play The Mountaintop opens in Atlanta simultaneously with the nationwide release of Spielberg's Lincoln. The film and play illustrate the challenges faced by artistic attempts to compress the life of a single person, particularly a shaper of history, into a couple of hours.

Should a dramatist attempt a greatest-hits kind of career-spanning story, or focus more narrowly on an incident or period that illuminates a personality? Accounts of historical role models like the Founding Fathers or human rights martyrs raise the stakes even further. Can you celebrate mighty deeds without creating a plaster saint, or acknowledge personal foibles without resorting to gossip and guesswork? The Mountaintop and Lincoln suggest that larger-than-life portrayals may not be as effective as the ones that are actual size.

Since August of 2011, a 30-foot likeness of Martin Luther King Jr. has towered over passers-by on the Washington, D.C., National Mall. As an indomitable force and resounding voice in the Civil Rights Movement, King unquestionably deserves such a monument, even though it seems like an incomplete portrait. Rendered in white granite, King maintains a stern expression and folded arms, as if the embodiment of the song lyric "We shall not be moved." The statue almost resembles one of the colossal effigies of Egyptian pharaohs, which seems ironic given King's command of Old Testament scripture and moral authority.

The King memorial also provides an example of the pitfalls of editing history. The "Stone of Hope" that provides the statue's base quotes King as saying, "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness." In fact, that's a much-criticized paraphrase from King's sermon "The Drum Major Instinct," delivered in Atlanta in 1968: "If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter." The paraphrase sounds more like something King would declare at a job interview.

In September of 2011, one month after the opening of the memorial, Katori Hall's play The Mountaintop made its Broadway premiere, and provided a conveniently timed counterbalance. Instead of a granite giant, The Mountaintop portrays King as a weary, flesh-and-blood human with his defenses down. Hall draws on the viewers' knowledge of history to offer an audience with King on the eve of his assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

Over about 90 minutes of real time in Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, King talks to — and flirts with — a young African-American maid named Camae shortly after delivering a speech that seemed to presage his own death: "I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land."

page
True Colors Theatre artistic director Kenny Leon directed Samuel L. Jackson as King and Angela Bassett as Camae on Broadway. For The Mountaintop's premiere in King's hometown, Jasmine Guy casts Danny Johnson and Demetria McKinney in the production. As a New York resident, Johnson saw Jackson's performance in The Mountaintop but never expected that he'd step into MLK's shoes, which the play suggests have obtrusive odor issues.

Johnson, 50, was raised in one of the few middle-class African-American families in Lafayette, Ind. As a tavern-keeper, Johnson's father was one of the area's few black businessmen, and Johnson grew up keenly aware of the influence King and the Civil Rights Movement had on his life. "King was a hero in my family," he recalls. "I grew up in one of those families where you had those church fans that made their way into your house. My mother had this big buffet, and the Martin Luther King fan was always there. I have faint memories of his death and watching his funeral on television."

Johnson feels a strong sense of responsibility to get King right, particularly because he's playing a world-renowned figure in his birthplace. "It's different when you're playing someone who actually lived and worked and talked in the town you're playing him," says Johnson, whose currently staying in the Old Fourth Ward, in walking distance from King's former haunts. "King is an icon globally, and here in Atlanta, it's a whole other level, really almost deity status. People will come to the play who may have been members of his church or members of his family. So there's definitely a sense of responsibility."

As a two-person, one-room play, The Mountaintop doesn't call for Johnson to emulate King as an orator, with the cadences and ringing tones of the pulpit. Johnson finds that imitating a character's most famous speeches or recordings can be a trap. "I want to capture the tone and timbre of the voice, but one of the easiest things to do is butcher his accent or make everything sound like the drum major sermon," says Johnson. "It's hard to play a guy that everybody knows and not tip your hat to the way everyone knows he speaks."

The Mountaintop shows King engage in conversational code-switching, or tailoring his speech pattern to his audience. "When the play opens, and through the course of it, we're seeing King at his least guarded and most vulnerable," says Johnson. "He's much more conversational in the Southern, black American style of the time period. He speaks, knowing who he's with, at a level that's relatable for her. He doesn't necessarily use those oratorical flourishes we know from speeches and interviews."

Taller, less round-faced, and 10 years older than King in 1968, Johnson feels relief that theater doesn't require an actor have as much of a physical resemblance to a historical subject as film. "We're not making a movie, so it's not like every minute they see King, the audience has to think, 'That's MLK,'" he says. "Theater is more illuminating, and comes with a suspension of disbelief. We're signing a contract with the audience. They're going to pretend, and I'm going to pretend."

King's candid conversation with Camae as they share Pall Malls touches on topics from nonviolent resistance to King's relationship with his wife (and contains an unexpected twist). Johnson credits Hall for finding a fresh angle on King that acknowledges some of his personal flaws. "I think that strengthens our understanding of him as a person," he says. "All of that stuff is more interesting to me as a consumer of art. People can look at King and say, 'By the time King was 27 or 28 years old, he had all these accomplishments in his life. He became this nationally known figure in the United States, who put us on a better path to realize the things the Constitution set forth. How did he do that? He must be some kind of higher person, to reach a height I could never reach.'"

The actor thinks that a more humanized King serves as a more effective role model for people who might follow his example. In The Mountaintop, he says, "You see a guy who's not afraid to have a drink, who smokes a cigarette when he has anxiety, who has smelly feet like everyone else. You can see him and think, 'I guess he's not that different from me. Maybe I can make choices to make things better for those around me, too."

image-1As a crusader for freedom and a brilliant communicator, Martin Luther King Jr. qualifies as Abraham Lincoln's spiritual heir. Lincoln expunged America's original sin of institutional slavery, four score and seven years after the founding of the Union. One hundred years later, King demanded America make good on its promise of African-American enfranchisement. Spielberg and Kushner put the 16th president's political fight to end slavery at the heart of Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

page
Many biopics offer historical pageants that follow famous people from their childhood to their deathbeds. Lincoln doesn't match the real-time focus of The Mountaintop, but nevertheless limits its chronicle to the year 1865 and the last four months of Lincoln's life.

The major events of Lincoln's presidency, from the death throes of the Civil War to his stormy marriage to Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field), inform and provide a backdrop to the fight to ratify the 13th Amendment, and give the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation the force of law. Based partly on Doris Kearns Goodwin's book Team of Rivals, Kushner's dense script suggests a 19th-century version of "The West Wing," or the musical 1776 without the songs. And no, it does not involve Lincoln having gay relationships, or killing vampires for that matter.

A Time magazine story about Lincoln called Day-Lewis "the greatest living actor," but one of his performance choices counteracts today's perception of the president. Lincoln's powerful rhetoric and patriarchal features seem to call for the kind of baritone Day-Lewis used as There Will Be Blood's Daniel Plainview or Gang of New York's Bill the Butcher. Instead, in keeping with historical accounts, his Lincoln speaks in an unexpectedly high, reedy register. Uncharitable online commentators described the voice as "whiny" and "goatlike" after the debut of the first trailer.

In an audience Q&A following a Manhattan screening in October, Day-Lewis explained the combination of historical research and creative supposition behind the voice. "You begin with the places that would have made a huge difference in his life. Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, and the counties that he came from. There are no contemporary recordings — lucky for me — so no one can say positively that it's not what he sounded like," Day-Lewis said. "There are also a number of contemporary accounts about the quality of his voice. I'm inclined to think that having had a voice that was intended to be in the higher register, tended to be placed more in the head tones, helped him reach a greater number of people in his public speaking. Stump speaking was such a huge part of their lives; they spoke sometimes for two hours or more without notes. And beyond that, I suppose it really was just an act of imagination."

If initially off-putting, the voice effectively fits Lincoln's savvy take on his folksy public persona in the film. The film's Lincoln clearly relishes playing the part of a country lawyer, despite his position as Commander-in-Chief during the nation's bloodiest conflict. Using his signature stovepipe hat as a public prop and an arsenal of homespun anecdotes to disarm hostile audiences, Lincoln comes across as a masterful custodian of his image. In one scene, young union soldiers quote passages of the Gettysburg Address back to him like star-struck fanboys, illustrating Lincoln's immense celebrity at the time.

In contrast with the savage willfulness of his signature roles, Day-Lewis invests his good-hearted Lincoln with a fascinating combination of moral urgency and political savvy. When he justifies to his cabinet the need to pass the 13th Amendment before both the war and the current congressional term come to an end, he demonstrates an extraordinary command of the competing legal issues, war-time necessities, and public opinion. This Lincoln isn't just a brilliant orator and moral exemplar determined to free the slaves, but a cunning politician who knows how to count votes, twist arms, and generally get the sausage made in Washington, D.C. It's a feat comparable to running through raindrops without getting wet.

Lincoln illustrates the architecture of the 13th Amendment as a team effort, with players ranging from blood-and-thunder abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) to a trio of Washington rascals (James Spader, John Hawkes, and Tim Blake Nelson) gathering the necessary votes by dubious means. Spielberg doesn't always come across as the ideal director for this story, and sets a stately pace when it should be snappy. But he's still able to build suspense around big events, even though we already know their outcomes. The film makes a compelling case that the 13th Amendment was Lincoln's greatest accomplishment, even if his goals of American equality took another 100 years to be achieved.

Biographical art doesn't take place in a vacuum, and Obama-era politics inevitably inform how we view Lincoln and The Mountaintop. Lincoln offers a striking parallel to the partisanship and race-inflected politics of contemporary Washington, despite some drastic changes in the Democratic and Republican parties.

Johnson hopes that The Mountaintop's imaginary notion of the hotel conversation will point audiences toward the future as well as the past: "I think this is going to illuminate the fullness of the guy and everything he's overcome — and the sense that we're not done here. I think the play will hopefully spark in people the questions, 'What can I do? Where is my moment?'"

Both works share the ethos of award-winning playwright/screenwriter Peter Morgan, whose scripts for Frost/Nixon, The Queen, and other takes on contemporary history zero in on specific incidents and relationships, like Queen Elizabeth's response to the death of Princess Diana, as a means of capturing important individuals during social tipping points. In the best dramatizations, personal details make history seem like a living thing, as opposed to a list of facts.

Ultimately, such indispensable figures as Lincoln and King will loom larger in history than any narrative re-creation, no matter how powerful or relevant it may be. Even the best-intentioned actors, playwrights, and directors may find themselves echoing the words of the Gettysburg Address: "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."

image-2             13071254 6875031                          Cover Story - Being MLK "
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Thursday November 15, 2012 04:05 am EST
The Mountaintop and Lincoln raise questions about the risks and rewards of bringing history's heroes to life | more...
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  string(54) "Chasing ghosts underneath a full moon in North Georgia"
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  string(8094) "To say I'm a hiker would be a politician's lie. I've hiked, but I think it's best, when trying to get from one place to another, to use some "mode" of transport: a car, plane, train, bike, escalator. Even a horse or a mule. It just makes sense. But, on occasion, I lace up a pair of hiking boots and hit the trail for a casual walkabout.

On Oct. 29, my boots and I headed north to Tallulah Gorge.

I've hiked Tallulah Gorge before. It's not a casual walkabout. Two separate trails along the rim and a suspension bridge straddling the canyon provide incredible views of the cascading waterfalls and rock-jagged rapids that make up this two-mile stretch of the Tallulah River. Hikers, possessed by the need to go ever deeper, can cross the bridge and make their way down even further into the abyss that supports several fragile ecosystems. It's all achieved by way of an extensive series of well-built, deck-style wooden steps that snake up and down the gorge's steep inclines. By my estimate, there are about 12 to 15 million steps into and out of the gorge, though the park rangers insist the number is more like 1,000.

Camping area excluded, Tallulah Gorge State Park closes at dark. But the evening I visited was an exception. It was one of the special Full Moon Hike nights, and I was joined by just over a dozen other people, including a small group of excitable campers and college students, two middle-aged love birds out for a romantic stroll, and a few retired travelers. We were on a quest in search of the Blood Moon.

September brings the Harvest Moon, a bright, full moon that provides farmers with enough light to gather their crops well into the night.

October's moon is the Blood Moon.

Also referred to as the "Hunter's Moon" by the Cherokee, the Blood Moon's bright illumination gave Native American hunters ample nighttime hunting opportunities as they stockpiled for the winter. It glows red shortly after it rises each night, a spectacle caused by a lunar eclipse and earth's atmospheric conditions.

The sun's rays, filtered through debris found in the earth's atmosphere, ranging from normal levels of dust to floating ash from volcanic eruptions, combine with the earth's million-mile long shadow cast onto the full moon to bathe the lunar surface in a red hue.

Each fall, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the staff at Tallulah Gorge State Park host Full Moon Hikes for anyone willing to part with $5 for the privilege of walking down into the Southeast's deepest gorge, only to climb back up to the opposite ridge. It's about a two- or three-hour trek. In the dark. In the woods.

When famed tightrope walker Karl Wallenda crossed the gorge in July 1970, he took a more direct route. The fact that he was on a tightrope suspended over the gorge was no big deal, at least to him. Today, the steel anchor tower that held his tightrope taut from the north ridge can still be seen, lying on its side, rusting in the brush, and marked with a plaque commemorating the feat.

Back on the nocturnal trail, the group heads down the steps and soon spreads out enough that, once voices have faded away, I find myself completely alone with the darkness closing in around me.

Before long, I began to feel a part of the environment, connected to the ageless, primeval wonder in which I was immersed. After a few minutes of adjusting to the darkness, I could smell the river floating up in a mist from the falls. The white noise of Hurricane Falls drew me downward in a steep descent toward the suspension bridge.

As I made my way down the steps, ever mindful of my footing, my ears filled with the gradual crescendo of the falls until their roar drowned the sounds of my footsteps on the bridge. From the bridge, the ghostly image of white water tumbling appeared as a foggy blur.

Standing there, watching the haunting specter and hearing nothing but the roar, I was transfixed. I could have remained there the entire night. I could have unrolled a sleeping bag right on that gently swaying wooden bridge suspended 80 feet over the rapids cutting through the gorge floor below, and been lulled to sleep by the loud, soothing sound of Hurricane Falls.

As I caught up with the group, I began to understand how the gorge got its name, Tallulah. Well, at least how it came to be interpreted so many different ways.

Most agree the Native American word has no direct translation to English. The Choctaw are believed to have meant "leaping water" when saying Tallulah, though the Cherokee may have meant "loud waters."

Pausing on the bridge to impart some wisdom, as he often did during the hike, our guide said that many believe the Cherokee were speaking of a terrible place when they referenced Tallulah. They believed that evil spirits inhabited the gorge and only bad things came from being in or even near the gorge. As beautiful as it was, the muscles in my legs were starting to agree with the Cherokee.

The Cherokee tribes that inhabited this part of the country, long before European settlers moved in, didn't have much use for the gorge. It may have been an interesting site to behold, especially when the then-untamed river surged through it. (In the early 1900s Georgia Power began damming the Tallulah River to provide generator power for North Georgia.) But to the Cherokee, it was just a big hole that wasn't conducive to farming or even hunting. After all, if you killed something down there, you had to drag it out.

At its highest point, it's a drop of more than 1,000 feet and the heavy foliage and thick forest that blanket the ridges could mean suddenly being on the edge of certain death.

One legend speaks of a young, white girl living in an early settlement in the area whose family was killed by warring Cherokee. Another tribe found her and raised her. As she grew up, she became an expert tracker, even tracking for other tribes during hunting season.

One day, hunters from a neighboring tribe came to ask her to lead a hunt. She agreed and then realized the hunters were the very warriors who had killed her family years before.

She led them toward the gorge and, as they approached the high ridge, she began dancing about with excitement as she told them that the deer they sought were just beyond some heavy brush, but that they must run to catch them. The hunters did as she said and rushed the heavy foliage, only to run straight over the edge of the gorge to their deaths 1,000 feet below.

According to the legend the girl then leapt over the edge, yelling, "Revenge is sweeeeeeeet!"

Back on the trail of steps, I was beginning to wonder about ever seeing the Blood Moon. It was, thanks to the far away churning of Hurricane Sandy, becoming more and more overcast.

The group paused on the suspension bridge — the right place at the right time to see the rise of the Blood Moon — but the clouds were too thick.

Our guide padded for time, in case a sort of atmospheric Moses appeared to part the clouds, but to no avail. So, we continued on until we were finally on the gorge floor.

We stopped to rest on a large wooden deck with bench seats. I leaned against the railing and peered into the night, the water rushing into a dark oblivion, the sky blank from cloud cover. I could barely see the ridges above.

I wondered how many brave, yet, superstitious Cherokee made it down this far on a dark night in order to tempt the evil spirits and maybe even prove their own fortitude to themselves and the others of their tribe.

I wondered if the legend of the young white girl was true or just another "Lover's Leap" story passed down around campfires back up on the ridgeline somewhere.

I thought about the time that has passed, the millions and millions of years that this old canyon has witnessed the world changing and has received the curious, the adventurous, and the romantic.

I never saw the rise of the Blood Moon over the ridgeline that night, which means that I'll have to come back. But that's not a bad thing. I'm sure I'll discover other spirits haunting the gorge in the night, though I doubt they're evil. "
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I've hiked Tallulah Gorge before. It's not a casual walkabout. Two separate trails along the rim and a suspension bridge straddling the canyon provide incredible views of the cascading waterfalls and rock-jagged rapids that make up this two-mile stretch of the Tallulah River. Hikers, possessed by the need to go ever deeper, can cross the bridge and make their way down even further into the abyss that supports several fragile ecosystems. It's all achieved by way of an extensive series of well-built, deck-style wooden steps that snake up and down the gorge's steep inclines. By my estimate, there are about 12 to 15 million steps into and out of the gorge, though the park rangers insist the number is more like 1,000.

Camping area excluded, Tallulah Gorge State Park closes at dark. But the evening I visited was an exception. It was one of the special Full Moon Hike nights, and I was joined by just over a dozen other people, including a small group of excitable campers and college students, two middle-aged love birds out for a romantic stroll, and a few retired travelers. We were on a quest in search of the Blood Moon.

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Also referred to as the "Hunter's Moon" by the Cherokee, the Blood Moon's bright illumination gave Native American hunters ample nighttime hunting opportunities as they stockpiled for the winter. It glows red shortly after it rises each night, a spectacle caused by a lunar eclipse and earth's atmospheric conditions.

The sun's rays, filtered through debris found in the earth's atmosphere, ranging from normal levels of dust to floating ash from volcanic eruptions, combine with the earth's million-mile long shadow cast onto the full moon to bathe the lunar surface in a red hue.

Each fall, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the staff at Tallulah Gorge State Park host Full Moon Hikes for anyone willing to part with $5 for the privilege of walking down into the Southeast's deepest gorge, only to climb back up to the opposite ridge. It's about a two- or three-hour trek. In the dark. In the woods.

When famed tightrope walker Karl Wallenda crossed the gorge in July 1970, he took a more direct route. The fact that he was on a tightrope suspended over the gorge was no big deal, at least to him. Today, the steel anchor tower that held his tightrope taut from the north ridge can still be seen, lying on its side, rusting in the brush, and marked with a plaque commemorating the feat.

__Back on the nocturnal trail,__ the group heads down the steps and soon spreads out enough that, once voices have faded away, I find myself completely alone with the darkness closing in around me.

Before long, I began to feel a part of the environment, connected to the ageless, primeval wonder in which I was immersed. After a few minutes of adjusting to the darkness, I could smell the river floating up in a mist from the falls. The white noise of Hurricane Falls drew me downward in a steep descent toward the suspension bridge.

As I made my way down the steps, ever mindful of my footing, my ears filled with the gradual crescendo of the falls until their roar drowned the sounds of my footsteps on the bridge. From the bridge, the ghostly image of white water tumbling appeared as a foggy blur.

Standing there, watching the haunting specter and hearing nothing but the roar, I was transfixed. I could have remained there the entire night. I could have unrolled a sleeping bag right on that gently swaying wooden bridge suspended 80 feet over the rapids cutting through the gorge floor below, and been lulled to sleep by the loud, soothing sound of Hurricane Falls.

As I caught up with the group, I began to understand how the gorge got its name, Tallulah. Well, at least how it came to be interpreted so many different ways.

Most agree the Native American word has no direct translation to English. The Choctaw are believed to have meant "leaping water" when saying Tallulah, though the Cherokee may have meant "loud waters."

Pausing on the bridge to impart some wisdom, as he often did during the hike, our guide said that many believe the Cherokee were speaking of a terrible place when they referenced Tallulah. They believed that evil spirits inhabited the gorge and only bad things came from being in or even near the gorge. As beautiful as it was, the muscles in my legs were starting to agree with the Cherokee.

The Cherokee tribes that inhabited this part of the country, long before European settlers moved in, didn't have much use for the gorge. It may have been an interesting site to behold, especially when the then-untamed river surged through it. (In the early 1900s Georgia Power began damming the Tallulah River to provide generator power for North Georgia.) But to the Cherokee, it was just a big hole that wasn't conducive to farming or even hunting. After all, if you killed something down there, you had to drag it out.

At its highest point, it's a drop of more than 1,000 feet and the heavy foliage and thick forest that blanket the ridges could mean suddenly being on the edge of certain death.

One legend speaks of a young, white girl living in an early settlement in the area whose family was killed by warring Cherokee. Another tribe found her and raised her. As she grew up, she became an expert tracker, even tracking for other tribes during hunting season.

One day, hunters from a neighboring tribe came to ask her to lead a hunt. She agreed and then realized the hunters were the very warriors who had killed her family years before.

She led them toward the gorge and, as they approached the high ridge, she began dancing about with excitement as she told them that the deer they sought were just beyond some heavy brush, but that they must run to catch them. The hunters did as she said and rushed the heavy foliage, only to run straight over the edge of the gorge to their deaths 1,000 feet below.

According to the legend the girl then leapt over the edge, yelling, "Revenge is sweeeeeeeet!"

__Back on the trail of steps,__ I was beginning to wonder about ever seeing the Blood Moon. It was, thanks to the far away churning of Hurricane Sandy, becoming more and more overcast.

The group paused on the suspension bridge — the right place at the right time to see the rise of the Blood Moon — but the clouds were too thick.

Our guide padded for time, in case a sort of atmospheric Moses appeared to part the clouds, but to no avail. So, we continued on until we were finally on the gorge floor.

We stopped to rest on a large wooden deck with bench seats. I leaned against the railing and peered into the night, the water rushing into a dark oblivion, the sky blank from cloud cover. I could barely see the ridges above.

I wondered how many brave, yet, superstitious Cherokee made it down this far on a dark night in order to tempt the evil spirits and maybe even prove their own fortitude to themselves and the others of their tribe.

I wondered if the legend of the young white girl was true or just another "Lover's Leap" story passed down around campfires back up on the ridgeline somewhere.

I thought about the time that has passed, the millions and millions of years that this old canyon has witnessed the world changing and has received the curious, the adventurous, and the romantic.

I never saw the rise of the Blood Moon over the ridgeline that night, which means that I'll have to come back. But that's not a bad thing. I'm sure I'll discover other spirits haunting the gorge in the night, though I doubt they're evil. "
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  string(8381) "    Chasing ghosts underneath a full moon in North Georgia   2012-11-14T09:02:00+00:00 The search for the Blood Moon at Tallulah Gorge   Randy Wyles 2710149 2012-11-14T09:02:00+00:00  To say I'm a hiker would be a politician's lie. I've hiked, but I think it's best, when trying to get from one place to another, to use some "mode" of transport: a car, plane, train, bike, escalator. Even a horse or a mule. It just makes sense. But, on occasion, I lace up a pair of hiking boots and hit the trail for a casual walkabout.

On Oct. 29, my boots and I headed north to Tallulah Gorge.

I've hiked Tallulah Gorge before. It's not a casual walkabout. Two separate trails along the rim and a suspension bridge straddling the canyon provide incredible views of the cascading waterfalls and rock-jagged rapids that make up this two-mile stretch of the Tallulah River. Hikers, possessed by the need to go ever deeper, can cross the bridge and make their way down even further into the abyss that supports several fragile ecosystems. It's all achieved by way of an extensive series of well-built, deck-style wooden steps that snake up and down the gorge's steep inclines. By my estimate, there are about 12 to 15 million steps into and out of the gorge, though the park rangers insist the number is more like 1,000.

Camping area excluded, Tallulah Gorge State Park closes at dark. But the evening I visited was an exception. It was one of the special Full Moon Hike nights, and I was joined by just over a dozen other people, including a small group of excitable campers and college students, two middle-aged love birds out for a romantic stroll, and a few retired travelers. We were on a quest in search of the Blood Moon.

September brings the Harvest Moon, a bright, full moon that provides farmers with enough light to gather their crops well into the night.

October's moon is the Blood Moon.

Also referred to as the "Hunter's Moon" by the Cherokee, the Blood Moon's bright illumination gave Native American hunters ample nighttime hunting opportunities as they stockpiled for the winter. It glows red shortly after it rises each night, a spectacle caused by a lunar eclipse and earth's atmospheric conditions.

The sun's rays, filtered through debris found in the earth's atmosphere, ranging from normal levels of dust to floating ash from volcanic eruptions, combine with the earth's million-mile long shadow cast onto the full moon to bathe the lunar surface in a red hue.

Each fall, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the staff at Tallulah Gorge State Park host Full Moon Hikes for anyone willing to part with $5 for the privilege of walking down into the Southeast's deepest gorge, only to climb back up to the opposite ridge. It's about a two- or three-hour trek. In the dark. In the woods.

When famed tightrope walker Karl Wallenda crossed the gorge in July 1970, he took a more direct route. The fact that he was on a tightrope suspended over the gorge was no big deal, at least to him. Today, the steel anchor tower that held his tightrope taut from the north ridge can still be seen, lying on its side, rusting in the brush, and marked with a plaque commemorating the feat.

Back on the nocturnal trail, the group heads down the steps and soon spreads out enough that, once voices have faded away, I find myself completely alone with the darkness closing in around me.

Before long, I began to feel a part of the environment, connected to the ageless, primeval wonder in which I was immersed. After a few minutes of adjusting to the darkness, I could smell the river floating up in a mist from the falls. The white noise of Hurricane Falls drew me downward in a steep descent toward the suspension bridge.

As I made my way down the steps, ever mindful of my footing, my ears filled with the gradual crescendo of the falls until their roar drowned the sounds of my footsteps on the bridge. From the bridge, the ghostly image of white water tumbling appeared as a foggy blur.

Standing there, watching the haunting specter and hearing nothing but the roar, I was transfixed. I could have remained there the entire night. I could have unrolled a sleeping bag right on that gently swaying wooden bridge suspended 80 feet over the rapids cutting through the gorge floor below, and been lulled to sleep by the loud, soothing sound of Hurricane Falls.

As I caught up with the group, I began to understand how the gorge got its name, Tallulah. Well, at least how it came to be interpreted so many different ways.

Most agree the Native American word has no direct translation to English. The Choctaw are believed to have meant "leaping water" when saying Tallulah, though the Cherokee may have meant "loud waters."

Pausing on the bridge to impart some wisdom, as he often did during the hike, our guide said that many believe the Cherokee were speaking of a terrible place when they referenced Tallulah. They believed that evil spirits inhabited the gorge and only bad things came from being in or even near the gorge. As beautiful as it was, the muscles in my legs were starting to agree with the Cherokee.

The Cherokee tribes that inhabited this part of the country, long before European settlers moved in, didn't have much use for the gorge. It may have been an interesting site to behold, especially when the then-untamed river surged through it. (In the early 1900s Georgia Power began damming the Tallulah River to provide generator power for North Georgia.) But to the Cherokee, it was just a big hole that wasn't conducive to farming or even hunting. After all, if you killed something down there, you had to drag it out.

At its highest point, it's a drop of more than 1,000 feet and the heavy foliage and thick forest that blanket the ridges could mean suddenly being on the edge of certain death.

One legend speaks of a young, white girl living in an early settlement in the area whose family was killed by warring Cherokee. Another tribe found her and raised her. As she grew up, she became an expert tracker, even tracking for other tribes during hunting season.

One day, hunters from a neighboring tribe came to ask her to lead a hunt. She agreed and then realized the hunters were the very warriors who had killed her family years before.

She led them toward the gorge and, as they approached the high ridge, she began dancing about with excitement as she told them that the deer they sought were just beyond some heavy brush, but that they must run to catch them. The hunters did as she said and rushed the heavy foliage, only to run straight over the edge of the gorge to their deaths 1,000 feet below.

According to the legend the girl then leapt over the edge, yelling, "Revenge is sweeeeeeeet!"

Back on the trail of steps, I was beginning to wonder about ever seeing the Blood Moon. It was, thanks to the far away churning of Hurricane Sandy, becoming more and more overcast.

The group paused on the suspension bridge — the right place at the right time to see the rise of the Blood Moon — but the clouds were too thick.

Our guide padded for time, in case a sort of atmospheric Moses appeared to part the clouds, but to no avail. So, we continued on until we were finally on the gorge floor.

We stopped to rest on a large wooden deck with bench seats. I leaned against the railing and peered into the night, the water rushing into a dark oblivion, the sky blank from cloud cover. I could barely see the ridges above.

I wondered how many brave, yet, superstitious Cherokee made it down this far on a dark night in order to tempt the evil spirits and maybe even prove their own fortitude to themselves and the others of their tribe.

I wondered if the legend of the young white girl was true or just another "Lover's Leap" story passed down around campfires back up on the ridgeline somewhere.

I thought about the time that has passed, the millions and millions of years that this old canyon has witnessed the world changing and has received the curious, the adventurous, and the romantic.

I never saw the rise of the Blood Moon over the ridgeline that night, which means that I'll have to come back. But that's not a bad thing. I'm sure I'll discover other spirits haunting the gorge in the night, though I doubt they're evil.              13071247 6874701                          The search for the Blood Moon at Tallulah Gorge "
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Article

Wednesday November 14, 2012 04:02 am EST
Chasing ghosts underneath a full moon in North Georgia | more...
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  string(3171) "A kind of alchemy occurs whenever actor Joe Sykes appears in the work of playwright Steve Yockey. Over nearly a decade of collaboration, Sykes reliably discovers the deepest levels of meaning and implication in Yockey's scripts, from a cheerful, gay shopkeeper in Dad's Garage's Large Animal Games to a swaggering, lethally cool character appropriately called "Rockstar" in Out of Hand Theater's Cartoon. That old black magic between performer and written word returns with Wolves, Yockey's latest world premiere at Actor's Express.

An Atlanta native now based in Los Angeles, Yockey draws loosely on a personal experience for Wolves' premise. Clifton Guterman and Brian Crawford play Ben and Jack, lovers who've broken up, yet still awkwardly share a tiny apartment in an unnamed New York City. Audiences with long memories will recall that Guterman and Crawford played the gay teens who fell in love in the Actor's Express production of Beautiful Thing a decade ago. Although the still-boyish actors play drastically different roles, Wolves' casting suggests that the pair got together and failed to live happily ever after.

Ben finds the city increasingly threatening and is turning into a shut-in, something we learn from the perky, omniscient narrator, played by Kate Donadio with the devil-may-care abandon of a "Mad Men"-era party hostess. When Jack tries to go out one evening in the hope of finding some company, Ben waylays him, pointing out the risks of random hook-ups. Like Yockey's previous Actor's Express premiere, the hit Octopus, the playwright uses imagery of monsters in urban environments to represent more ordinary anxieties. But when Ben literally speaks of the city as a "forest" and the potential predators as "wolves," and other characters share in the storybook affectation, it feels as if the audience isn't being trusted to connect the metaphorical dots.

Jack brings someone home whom he addresses as "Wolf" (Sykes), either to needle Ben, live out some rough role-play, or both. But Wolf isn't his real name and the lupine label doesn't fit his personality. Sykes affectingly captures the stranger as a lonely guy who feels disillusioned with the singles scene and is reluctant to become part of the roommates' drama. In a surprisingly brief period, Sykes captures an original, three-dimensional personality, where least expected.

As per the narrator's foreshadowing, things go very wrong in the apartment over the course of the evening. Director Melissa Foulger helms some ingenious violence effects so powerful they overbalance the remainder of the play. When the characters grapple with the consequences of some shocking actions, the dark comedy tips the scales away from the weightier themes, as if the action has shifted to a madcap "Kids in the Hall" sketch.

At a brisk 70 minutes, Wolves is the rare production that I wish were longer. Wolves leaves the audience more moved by its Grand Guignol imagery than the choices and ultimate fates of its characters. Wolves' stark simplicity can cut viewers to the quick, but its personalities could support a deeper exploration. Sykes and company would certainly be up for the challenge. "
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  string(3349) "A kind of alchemy occurs whenever actor Joe Sykes appears in the work of playwright Steve Yockey. Over nearly a decade of collaboration, Sykes reliably discovers the deepest levels of meaning and implication in Yockey's scripts, from a cheerful, gay shopkeeper in Dad's Garage's ''Large Animal Games'' to a swaggering, lethally cool character appropriately called "Rockstar" in Out of Hand Theater's ''Cartoon''. That old black magic between performer and written word returns with ''Wolves'', Yockey's latest world premiere at Actor's Express.

An Atlanta native now based in Los Angeles, Yockey draws loosely on a personal experience for ''Wolves''' premise. Clifton Guterman and Brian Crawford play Ben and Jack, lovers who've broken up, yet still awkwardly share a tiny apartment in an unnamed New York City. Audiences with long memories will recall that Guterman and Crawford played the gay teens who fell in love in the Actor's Express production of ''[http://clatl.com/atlanta/queer-as-folk/Content?oid=1237304|Beautiful Thing]'' a decade ago. Although the still-boyish actors play drastically different roles, ''Wolves''' casting suggests that the pair got together and failed to live happily ever after.

Ben finds the city increasingly threatening and is turning into a shut-in, something we learn from the perky, omniscient narrator, played by Kate Donadio with the devil-may-care abandon of a "Mad Men"-era party hostess. When Jack tries to go out one evening in the hope of finding some company, Ben waylays him, pointing out the risks of random hook-ups. Like Yockey's previous Actor's Express premiere, the hit ''[http://clatl.com/atlanta/octopus-what-lies-beneath/Content?oid=1271918|Octopus]'', the playwright uses imagery of monsters in urban environments to represent more ordinary anxieties. But when Ben literally speaks of the city as a "forest" and the potential predators as "wolves," and other characters share in the storybook affectation, it feels as if the audience isn't being trusted to connect the metaphorical dots.

Jack brings someone home whom he addresses as "Wolf" (Sykes), either to needle Ben, live out some rough role-play, or both. But Wolf isn't his real name and the lupine label doesn't fit his personality. Sykes affectingly captures the stranger as a lonely guy who feels disillusioned with the singles scene and is reluctant to become part of the roommates' drama. In a surprisingly brief period, Sykes captures an original, three-dimensional personality, where least expected.

As per the narrator's foreshadowing, things go very wrong in the apartment over the course of the evening. Director Melissa Foulger helms some ingenious violence effects so powerful they overbalance the remainder of the play. When the characters grapple with the consequences of some shocking actions, the dark comedy tips the scales away from the weightier themes, as if the action has shifted to a madcap "Kids in the Hall" sketch.

At a brisk 70 minutes, ''Wolves'' is the rare production that I wish were longer. ''Wolves'' leaves the audience more moved by its ''Grand Guignol'' imagery than the choices and ultimate fates of its characters. ''Wolves''' stark simplicity can cut viewers to the quick, but its personalities could support a deeper exploration. Sykes and company would certainly be up for the challenge. "
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  string(3518) "    Playwright Steve Yockey uses fairytale imagery as cutting commentary   2012-11-14T09:00:00+00:00 Theater Review - Wolves delivers shocking effects at Actor's Express   Curt Holman Curt Holman 2012-11-14T09:00:00+00:00  A kind of alchemy occurs whenever actor Joe Sykes appears in the work of playwright Steve Yockey. Over nearly a decade of collaboration, Sykes reliably discovers the deepest levels of meaning and implication in Yockey's scripts, from a cheerful, gay shopkeeper in Dad's Garage's Large Animal Games to a swaggering, lethally cool character appropriately called "Rockstar" in Out of Hand Theater's Cartoon. That old black magic between performer and written word returns with Wolves, Yockey's latest world premiere at Actor's Express.

An Atlanta native now based in Los Angeles, Yockey draws loosely on a personal experience for Wolves' premise. Clifton Guterman and Brian Crawford play Ben and Jack, lovers who've broken up, yet still awkwardly share a tiny apartment in an unnamed New York City. Audiences with long memories will recall that Guterman and Crawford played the gay teens who fell in love in the Actor's Express production of Beautiful Thing a decade ago. Although the still-boyish actors play drastically different roles, Wolves' casting suggests that the pair got together and failed to live happily ever after.

Ben finds the city increasingly threatening and is turning into a shut-in, something we learn from the perky, omniscient narrator, played by Kate Donadio with the devil-may-care abandon of a "Mad Men"-era party hostess. When Jack tries to go out one evening in the hope of finding some company, Ben waylays him, pointing out the risks of random hook-ups. Like Yockey's previous Actor's Express premiere, the hit Octopus, the playwright uses imagery of monsters in urban environments to represent more ordinary anxieties. But when Ben literally speaks of the city as a "forest" and the potential predators as "wolves," and other characters share in the storybook affectation, it feels as if the audience isn't being trusted to connect the metaphorical dots.

Jack brings someone home whom he addresses as "Wolf" (Sykes), either to needle Ben, live out some rough role-play, or both. But Wolf isn't his real name and the lupine label doesn't fit his personality. Sykes affectingly captures the stranger as a lonely guy who feels disillusioned with the singles scene and is reluctant to become part of the roommates' drama. In a surprisingly brief period, Sykes captures an original, three-dimensional personality, where least expected.

As per the narrator's foreshadowing, things go very wrong in the apartment over the course of the evening. Director Melissa Foulger helms some ingenious violence effects so powerful they overbalance the remainder of the play. When the characters grapple with the consequences of some shocking actions, the dark comedy tips the scales away from the weightier themes, as if the action has shifted to a madcap "Kids in the Hall" sketch.

At a brisk 70 minutes, Wolves is the rare production that I wish were longer. Wolves leaves the audience more moved by its Grand Guignol imagery than the choices and ultimate fates of its characters. Wolves' stark simplicity can cut viewers to the quick, but its personalities could support a deeper exploration. Sykes and company would certainly be up for the challenge.              13071245 6874686                          Theater Review - Wolves delivers shocking effects at Actor's Express "
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Article

Wednesday November 14, 2012 04:00 am EST
Playwright Steve Yockey uses fairytale imagery as cutting commentary | more...