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Cutlure

Culture


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  string(3148) "Unrefined clay sculpture and computer-generated imagery recall the relatively tech-deficient cultures of eras past. Movies such as 1987's A Claymation Christmas Celebration and even Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, released in 1999, now seem kitschy because of their animation's crude feel. For the photo illustrations in Suellen Parker's current show at Whitespace, Letting Go, the artist embraces such rudimentary techniques, photographing clay figures against intentionally amateurish computer-animated backgrounds. Parker's simple presentation reveals a calm joy in each of her characters.

Modern art is riddled with desperate, lonely, and imbalanced figures. It's difficult to authentically portray someone in a moment of joy without going sickeningly sweet or turning it into an overwrought display of emotion. But the cartoonish qualities of Parker's clay figures counter the realism that might have made these portraits cloying, had they been shot with real people. Parker's settings serve as symbols of the characters' states of mind, with figures perched atop rocky cliffs or lying nude on a beach. Others are in more personalized spaces, such as the grandmother sitting near her many knickknacks in "Moments of Pleasure." Clearly they're in their respective happy places, which gives the viewer an easy entrée into the characters' personal lives.

The characters also appear to be seeking an escape from social expectations such as beauty or popularity. Many of the figures are gender nonspecific, lumpy, and/or bald. Each is seen alone, reposing during a calm moment. As Parker explains, "My characters are attempting to find a sacred space, a place of vulnerability, a place where they allow themselves to be really seen. By quieting one's life, even momentarily, an opportunity is presented to learn truths about oneself."

Some of Parker's works seem like a snapshot of a stolen few minutes in which the figure drops its social roles. Take "Dressing's" androgynous person, who is outfitted in the classic male uniform of jeans and a white T-shirt. The dresser in the background, however, overflows with bright blue floral dresses and a pink polka dot shirt. A classical portrait of a woman, reminiscent of a Renoir painting, is reflected in the mirror. The woman in the painting gazes at the scene, faintly smiling, perhaps representing the alter ego of "Dressing's" subject.

Other characters unabashedly embrace their quirks. In "Twirling," a particularly clumsily sculpted little girl, hairless and awkward, lets her girly pink dress float gracefully around her knees as she spins atop a coffee table. Her complete ease is similar to that of the businessperson in "The Tie That Binds." Also ambiguously gendered, this person crosses one socked foot over a knee while kicking back in the office. A record player, a portrait of a Tibetan monk, and a delicate picture of ballet slippers are nestled into a series of cubbyholes.

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Modern art is riddled with desperate, lonely, and imbalanced figures. It's difficult to authentically portray someone in a moment of joy without going sickeningly sweet or turning it into an overwrought display of emotion. But the cartoonish qualities of Parker's clay figures counter the realism that might have made these portraits cloying, had they been shot with real people. Parker's settings serve as symbols of the characters' states of mind, with figures perched atop rocky cliffs or lying nude on a beach. Others are in more personalized spaces, such as the grandmother sitting near her many knickknacks in "Moments of Pleasure." Clearly they're in their respective happy places, which gives the viewer an easy entrée into the characters' personal lives.

The characters also appear to be seeking an escape from social expectations such as beauty or popularity. Many of the figures are gender nonspecific, lumpy, and/or bald. Each is seen alone, reposing during a calm moment. As Parker explains, "My characters are attempting to find a sacred space, a place of vulnerability, a place where they allow themselves to be really seen. By quieting one's life, even momentarily, an opportunity is presented to learn truths about oneself."

Some of Parker's works seem like a snapshot of a stolen few minutes in which the figure drops its social roles. Take "Dressing's" androgynous person, who is outfitted in the classic male uniform of jeans and a white T-shirt. The dresser in the background, however, overflows with bright blue floral dresses and a pink polka dot shirt. A classical portrait of a woman, reminiscent of a Renoir painting, is reflected in the mirror. The woman in the painting gazes at the scene, faintly smiling, perhaps representing the alter ego of "Dressing's" subject.

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''Letting Go'' fondly points out the primitive aspects of elementary CGI and claymation. The sentimentality is unironic, which opens the door to an elegant study of small joys and self-fulfillment. "
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Modern art is riddled with desperate, lonely, and imbalanced figures. It's difficult to authentically portray someone in a moment of joy without going sickeningly sweet or turning it into an overwrought display of emotion. But the cartoonish qualities of Parker's clay figures counter the realism that might have made these portraits cloying, had they been shot with real people. Parker's settings serve as symbols of the characters' states of mind, with figures perched atop rocky cliffs or lying nude on a beach. Others are in more personalized spaces, such as the grandmother sitting near her many knickknacks in "Moments of Pleasure." Clearly they're in their respective happy places, which gives the viewer an easy entrée into the characters' personal lives.

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Some of Parker's works seem like a snapshot of a stolen few minutes in which the figure drops its social roles. Take "Dressing's" androgynous person, who is outfitted in the classic male uniform of jeans and a white T-shirt. The dresser in the background, however, overflows with bright blue floral dresses and a pink polka dot shirt. A classical portrait of a woman, reminiscent of a Renoir painting, is reflected in the mirror. The woman in the painting gazes at the scene, faintly smiling, perhaps representing the alter ego of "Dressing's" subject.

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Letting Go fondly points out the primitive aspects of elementary CGI and claymation. The sentimentality is unironic, which opens the door to an elegant study of small joys and self-fulfillment.              13071242 6874465                          Suellen Parker's claymation figures break the mold "
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Tuesday November 13, 2012 03:33 pm EST
Artist's subjects find their happy places in Parker's Whitespace exhibit Letting Go | more...
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*Image courtesy of the artist
*A sculpture created by Ayokunle Odeleye in Wilmington, North Carolina.


Famed master sculptor and public artist Ayokunle Odeleye, has been creating work in the public sphere for 32 years. His work appears in cities across the nation, and now MOCA GA has an exhibit honoring this Stone Mountain resident's lifetime body of work. The exhibition features photos, models, drawings and other artifacts commemorating his thirty plus year career, the opening reception will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. More art after the jump in the weekend art's agenda."
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*[http://clatl.com/atlanta/ImageArchives?by=6209103|Image courtesy of the artist]
*A sculpture created by Ayokunle Odeleye in Wilmington, North Carolina.


Famed master sculptor and public artist [http://www.odeleyesculpturestudios.com/|Ayokunle Odeleye,] has been creating work in the public sphere for 32 years. His work appears in cities across the nation, and now MOCA GA has an exhibit honoring this Stone Mountain resident's lifetime body of work. The [http://mocaga.org/AyokunleOdeleye.htm|exhibition] features photos, models, drawings and other artifacts commemorating his thirty plus year career, the opening reception will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. More art after the jump in the weekend art's agenda."
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Famed master sculptor and public artist Ayokunle Odeleye, has been creating work in the public sphere for 32 years. His work appears in cities across the nation, and now MOCA GA has an exhibit honoring this Stone Mountain resident's lifetime body of work. The exhibition features photos, models, drawings and other artifacts commemorating his thirty plus year career, the opening reception will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. More art after the jump in the weekend art's agenda.             13071186 6848908                          Weekend Arts Agenda: Ayokunle Odeleye, 32 Years of Public Art November 09 2012 "
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Friday November 9, 2012 10:09 am EST

  • Image courtesy of the artist
  • A sculpture created by Ayokunle Odeleye in Wilmington, North Carolina.



Famed master sculptor and public artist Ayokunle Odeleye, has been creating work in the public sphere for 32 years. His work appears in cities across the nation, and now MOCA GA has an exhibit honoring this Stone Mountain resident's lifetime body of work. The exhibition features photos,...

| more...
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  string(886) "Early in Synchronicity Theatre's The Minotaur, a young woman wonders, "What do you think I should do with my life? I have so many options!" She's asking the wrong person. In fact, she's not even asking a person: Ariadne (Rachel Frawley) is addressing a monster (Tony Larkin), a half-man, half-bull who happens to be her brother. The Minotaur shows little sympathy for her uncertainty, as he's imprisoned in an inescapable labyrinth, doomed by his nature to be a ravenous cannibal, and fated by the gods to be slain by a hero. The Minotaur's options are few.

A joint world premiere with Washington, D.C.'s Rorschach Theatre, The Minotaur joins seemingly countless other new plays that revisit classic myths and fairy tales through the prism of contemporary lifestyles. Where a show like Georgia Shakespeare's <a href="http://clatl.com/atlanta/nectar-of-the-gods/Content?oid=1261011" "
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  string(3581) "Early in Synchronicity Theatre's ''The Minotaur'', a young woman wonders, "What do you think I should do with my life? I have so many options!" She's asking the wrong person. In fact, she's not even asking a person: Ariadne (Rachel Frawley) is addressing a monster (Tony Larkin), a half-man, half-bull who happens to be her brother. The Minotaur shows little sympathy for her uncertainty, as he's imprisoned in an inescapable labyrinth, doomed by his nature to be a ravenous cannibal, and fated by the gods to be slain by a hero. The Minotaur's options are few.

A joint world premiere with Washington, D.C.'s Rorschach Theatre, ''The Minotaur'' joins seemingly countless other new plays that revisit classic myths and fairy tales through the prism of contemporary lifestyles. Where a show like Georgia Shakespeare's ''Metamorphoses'' (which gets a remount next summer) hews close to the basics of the original tales, playwright Anna Ziegler injects modern-day humor and millennial references into an archetypal legend, with mixed results. But Synchronicity's ''Minotaur'', directed by Rachel May, builds to a powerful, surprising take on destiny and free will that proves relevant for today's audiences.

As a substitute for a Greek chorus, the play presents a rabbi, a priest, and a lawyer (Suehyla El-Attar, Nicholas Tecosky, and Anthony Goolsby, respectively) who not only provide the background to the myth of Ariadne and the Minotaur, but also insert wry commentary. When they mention that Ariadne's father, the king of Minos, wanted to sacrifice a heaven-sent bull to show his devotion to the gods, the chorus adds that "re-gifting" didn't used to be a social faux pas. The trio provides some bawdy slapstick as well, such as sequence in which the king's wife (Tecosky) hides in a hilariously fake wooden cow to seduce the divine bull and, later, spawn the Minotaur.

As the Minotaur's sister, Ariadne's not just a lovelorn princess, but also a restless young woman with an Internet connection. "We met in an online chat room for royals," she says of hero Theseus (Brandon Partrick), the man of action fated to kill the monster and whisk Ariadne away. Frawley makes Ariadne a likably self-conscious heroine worthy of a good romantic comedy, although bookended sequences with Theseus and Ariadne writing letters to each other bring the action to a halt.

Ariadne and the Minotaur have a strange Beauty and the Beast-style friendship that involves playing Connect Four in the labyrinth, but she's willing to sacrifice her monstrous brother to escape from her home and find love. Greek myths seldom go for "happily ever after" endings, however, and ''The Minotaur'' explores the idea of whether people really have choices or simply follow the same cycles of mistakes.

Wearing human clothes and a horned mask that leaves most of his face unobstructed, Larkin gives a fascinating performance as the Minotaur, poisonously bitter yet more perceptive about human nature than the show's other characters. When the Minotaur describes how he fell in love with one of his prospective victims yet found himself unable to overcome his savage nature, the angry character takes on a tragic dimension. With this sequence, Ziegler's play seems to break through the frivolousness of the chorus' humor and the young lovers' romance to find a deeper level of meaning and emotional connection. Synchronicity's ''The Minotaur'' turns out to be no bum steer."
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  string(1253) "    New play finds contemporary relevance in Greek mythology   2012-11-05T18:40:00+00:00 Theater Review - Synchronicity Theatre takes the bull by the horns with The Minotaur   Curt Holman Curt Holman 2012-11-05T18:40:00+00:00  Early in Synchronicity Theatre's The Minotaur, a young woman wonders, "What do you think I should do with my life? I have so many options!" She's asking the wrong person. In fact, she's not even asking a person: Ariadne (Rachel Frawley) is addressing a monster (Tony Larkin), a half-man, half-bull who happens to be her brother. The Minotaur shows little sympathy for her uncertainty, as he's imprisoned in an inescapable labyrinth, doomed by his nature to be a ravenous cannibal, and fated by the gods to be slain by a hero. The Minotaur's options are few.

A joint world premiere with Washington, D.C.'s Rorschach Theatre, The Minotaur joins seemingly countless other new plays that revisit classic myths and fairy tales through the prism of contemporary lifestyles. Where a show like Georgia Shakespeare's <a href="http://clatl.com/atlanta/nectar-of-the-gods/Content?oid=1261011"              13071129 6821652                          Theater Review - Synchronicity Theatre takes the bull by the horns with The Minotaur "
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Monday November 5, 2012 01:40 pm EST
New play finds contemporary relevance in Greek mythology | more...

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  string(2854) "All truth is hard truth.

That's the word from Alabama artist Thornton Dial, whose current exhibit at the High Museum, Hard Truths, represents the largest retrospective of his work ever assembled. Dial, now 85, has endured rural poverty, a life of manual labor, the segregated South, and, in recent years, the death of his wife, hernia surgery, pneumonia, a stroke, and heart problems. Now using a wheelchair but still making art every day, Dial is patient with questions, but speaks little about his work. "Ain't no need for me to tell you too much about it," he says modestly.

The self-taught and illiterate Dial has often been classified as a "folk" or "outsider" artist, especially when he first started to gain national attention in the late '80s and early '90s. But the work resists such simple classification. His canvases and sculptural assemblages are richly layered with paint and found objects, such as tree branches, metal, clothing, paint, dolls, broom heads, ironing boards, barbed wire, and twisted fencing. The artwork takes on monumental questions of identity, American history, contemporary politics, power, oppression, the individual, and the natural world. His textured visual language demands prolonged or repeated attention to appreciate its astounding complexity.

"One of the interesting things abut this exhibition is that from the very beginning, we didn't talk about Dial as a folk, self-taught, or even as an African-American artist," says Joanne Cubbs, curator of the show, which arrives in Atlanta after enormously successful runs in Indianapolis, Charlotte, and New Orleans "We talked about him as a contemporary artist or an American artist. It's where the world will end up, but it's where Mr. Dial has always been."

The show and Dial have been the subject of major profiles in the New York Times, Time, and the Wall Street Journal, with many prominent art critics proclaiming the exhibition one of the most significant shows in years, and placing it alongside blockbuster exhibits of Degas and Kandinsky in their annual top 10 lists. "We went from starting at about 10 miles an hour to about 100 miles an hour in no time," says Cubbs of the sudden flurry of national attention.

When asked about the title of his exhibition, Dial says, "Well, life is hard. You know it's the truth. Things have been rough for Negroes. It ain't nothing easy now." And then, indicating the more than 20 years of work in the gallery around him, he adds, "None of this stuff you see down in here was easy ... Anything you go do — I don't care if it's just building a house — it's hard. You just start. You have to do it because life is hard ... When you finish something, that's when the enjoyment comes. You look at something and say, 'That's a nice piece.' You always know it when you're finished because you were working for that." "
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  string(3101) "All truth is hard truth.

That's the word from Alabama artist Thornton Dial, whose current exhibit at the High Museum, ''Hard Truths'', represents the largest retrospective of his work ever assembled. Dial, now 85, has endured rural poverty, a life of manual labor, the segregated South, and, in recent years, the death of his wife, hernia surgery, pneumonia, a stroke, and heart problems. Now using a wheelchair but still making art every day, Dial is patient with questions, but speaks little about his work. "Ain't no need for me to tell you too much about it," he says modestly.

The self-taught and illiterate Dial has often been classified as a "folk" or "outsider" artist, especially when he first started to gain national attention in the late '80s and early '90s. But the work resists such simple classification. His canvases and sculptural assemblages are richly layered with paint and found objects, such as tree branches, metal, clothing, paint, dolls, broom heads, ironing boards, barbed wire, and twisted fencing. The artwork takes on monumental questions of identity, American history, contemporary politics, power, oppression, the individual, and the natural world. His textured visual language demands prolonged or repeated attention to appreciate its astounding complexity.

"One of the interesting things abut this exhibition is that from the very beginning, we didn't talk about Dial as a folk, self-taught, or even as an African-American artist," says Joanne Cubbs, curator of the show, which arrives in Atlanta after enormously successful runs in Indianapolis, Charlotte, and New Orleans "We talked about him as a contemporary artist or an American artist. It's where the world will end up, but it's where Mr. Dial has always been."

The show and Dial have been the subject of major profiles in the ''[http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/arts/design/20dial.html?pagewanted=all|New York Times]'', ''[http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2056700,00.html|Time]'', and the ''[http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703551304576260752078927400.html|Wall Street Journal]'', with many prominent art critics proclaiming the exhibition one of the most significant shows in years, and placing it alongside blockbuster exhibits of Degas and Kandinsky in their annual top 10 lists. "We went from starting at about 10 miles an hour to about 100 miles an hour in no time," says Cubbs of the sudden flurry of national attention.

When asked about the title of his exhibition, Dial says, "Well, ''life'' is hard. You know it's the truth. Things have been rough for Negroes. It ain't nothing easy now." And then, indicating the more than 20 years of work in the gallery around him, he adds, "None of this stuff you see down in here was easy ... Anything you go do — I don't care if it's just building a house — it's hard. You just start. You have to do it because ''life'' is hard ... When you finish something, that's when the enjoyment comes. You look at something and say, 'That's a nice piece.' You always know it when you're finished because you were working for that." "
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  string(3158) "    Alabama artist's high-profile retrospective opens at the High Museum   2012-11-05T18:05:00+00:00 Artist Thornton Dial confronts the Hard Truths   Andrew Alexander 1223508 2012-11-05T18:05:00+00:00  All truth is hard truth.

That's the word from Alabama artist Thornton Dial, whose current exhibit at the High Museum, Hard Truths, represents the largest retrospective of his work ever assembled. Dial, now 85, has endured rural poverty, a life of manual labor, the segregated South, and, in recent years, the death of his wife, hernia surgery, pneumonia, a stroke, and heart problems. Now using a wheelchair but still making art every day, Dial is patient with questions, but speaks little about his work. "Ain't no need for me to tell you too much about it," he says modestly.

The self-taught and illiterate Dial has often been classified as a "folk" or "outsider" artist, especially when he first started to gain national attention in the late '80s and early '90s. But the work resists such simple classification. His canvases and sculptural assemblages are richly layered with paint and found objects, such as tree branches, metal, clothing, paint, dolls, broom heads, ironing boards, barbed wire, and twisted fencing. The artwork takes on monumental questions of identity, American history, contemporary politics, power, oppression, the individual, and the natural world. His textured visual language demands prolonged or repeated attention to appreciate its astounding complexity.

"One of the interesting things abut this exhibition is that from the very beginning, we didn't talk about Dial as a folk, self-taught, or even as an African-American artist," says Joanne Cubbs, curator of the show, which arrives in Atlanta after enormously successful runs in Indianapolis, Charlotte, and New Orleans "We talked about him as a contemporary artist or an American artist. It's where the world will end up, but it's where Mr. Dial has always been."

The show and Dial have been the subject of major profiles in the New York Times, Time, and the Wall Street Journal, with many prominent art critics proclaiming the exhibition one of the most significant shows in years, and placing it alongside blockbuster exhibits of Degas and Kandinsky in their annual top 10 lists. "We went from starting at about 10 miles an hour to about 100 miles an hour in no time," says Cubbs of the sudden flurry of national attention.

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Monday November 5, 2012 01:05 pm EST
Alabama artist's high-profile retrospective opens at the High Museum | more...
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*Young Blood Gallery
*Artists pay homage to the dead at Young Blood


While Halloween may have come and gone, our neighbors to the South in Mexico are gearing up to celebrate 'La Dia de los Muertos' or 'The Day of the Dead.' In observance of this holiday honoring those who have passed, Young Blood Gallery has created a show where artists use miniature coffins as canvases, with an opening reception Saturday night from 7-10 p.m. This and more after the jump in the weekend arts agenda."
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*[http://clatl.com/atlanta/ImageArchives?by=1289341|Young Blood Gallery]
*Artists pay homage to the dead at Young Blood


While Halloween may have come and gone, our neighbors to the South in Mexico are gearing up to celebrate [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead|'La Dia de los Muertos' ]or 'The Day of the Dead.' In observance of this holiday honoring those who have passed, [http://youngbloodgallery.com/current-art-show/6958/|Young Blood Gallery] has created a show where artists use miniature coffins as canvases, with an opening reception Saturday night from 7-10 p.m. This and more after the jump in the weekend arts agenda."
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*Young Blood Gallery
*Artists pay homage to the dead at Young Blood


While Halloween may have come and gone, our neighbors to the South in Mexico are gearing up to celebrate 'La Dia de los Muertos' or 'The Day of the Dead.' In observance of this holiday honoring those who have passed, Young Blood Gallery has created a show where artists use miniature coffins as canvases, with an opening reception Saturday night from 7-10 p.m. This and more after the jump in the weekend arts agenda.             13071097 6803584                          Weekend Arts Agenda: Day of the Dead at Young Blood November 02 2012 "
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Friday November 2, 2012 10:10 am EDT

  • Young Blood Gallery
  • Artists pay homage to the dead at Young Blood



While Halloween may have come and gone, our neighbors to the South in Mexico are gearing up to celebrate 'La Dia de los Muertos' or 'The Day of the Dead.' In observance of this holiday honoring those who have passed, Young Blood Gallery has created a show where artists use miniature coffins as canvases, with an opening...

| more...
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  string(3551) "Laurel Nakadate: Photographs, Video & Performances, now on view at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, highlights the well-established artist's recent work. In the last three years alone, Nakadate has shown a 10-year retrospective of her work at MoMA PS1, earned an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival for her feature-length film Stay the Same Never Change, and another film, The Wolf Knife, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.

Nakadate's art focuses on voyeuristic tendencies, particularly those aimed toward young women. While stating that women are frequently objectified is not novel or shocking, it is undeniably relevant, particularly in this heated election season. The overwhelming scope of women's issues often transfers into artwork quite clumsily, the themes too broad and blatant, the tone generally admonishing. Nakadate's movies and photographs, however, are portraits of vulnerability that thoughtfully consider the scrutiny and sexualization women experience in their lives.

A broad collection of photos and videos comprise the ACAC exhibit. Some works are excerpts from past series, such as 365: A Catalogue of Tears, in which Nakadate photographed herself crying once a day for a year. Though these images are the show's least intellectually stimulating, the concept's simplicity effectively translates the cerebral artist's fascination with intimacy and the nature of performance.

Taking up the gallery's large, central room, the 365 series creates a foundation for the more esoteric works that border the room like peepshow booths in the back of a sex shop. In the three-minute film "Say you Love Me," a middle-aged man sits on a bed, looking out of sliding glass doors toward a glimmering body of water. A few seconds in, Nakadate walks into view on the balcony, looks at the man through the glass, and lifts her dress up as the words to Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" kick in. She poses and sways as the man orchestrates her movements, raising and lowering his hand like a puppeteer to indicate that she do the same with her dress.

Adjacent to "Say You Love Me," the film "Good Morning Sunshine" shows the artist rousing teenage girls from their beds. From behind her handheld camera, Nakadate sweetly persuades each of them to strip. Nakadate makes her requests for a sock or shirt to be removed sound like trivial, unassuming favors. As she coos, "You know you're the prettiest girl, right?" over and over, followed by, "Just let me look at you," the girls' resistance crumbles until they're left in their bras and underwear. It's devastating to see how well the lame lines work: First, because all women have heard some variation of this "C'mon, it's not that big a deal" shtick from men, and second, because watching the film quickly becomes an act of voyeurism, making the viewer feel that the girls are disrobing for his or her benefit.

Feminist art of the '90s, such as Kiki Smith's sculptures of practically faceless ladies with their internal organs exposed, tended to simplify individuals into a representation of all womankind. Nakadate represents a generational shift in female artists who prefer to explore pathos over politics. Her subjects, both male and female, are humanized to a point that would seem pathetic, if not for the extreme isolation of the worlds Nakadate creates. Within these small scenes, she effectively constructs an aversion to the watchful gaze cast on women. And instead of being punished for it, we are asked to watch and to empathize. "
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Nakadate's art focuses on voyeuristic tendencies, particularly those aimed toward young women. While stating that women are frequently objectified is not novel or shocking, it is undeniably relevant, particularly in this heated election season. The overwhelming scope of women's issues often transfers into artwork quite clumsily, the themes too broad and blatant, the tone generally admonishing. Nakadate's movies and photographs, however, are portraits of vulnerability that thoughtfully consider the scrutiny and sexualization women experience in their lives.

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Thursday November 1, 2012 04:00 am EDT
The well-established artist explores the sexualization of femininity with photos and video | more...
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*Rob Dunalewicz
*Atlanta-raised artist Hense takes on an entire building in this year's Elevate in downtown.


Artists converge on the areas of downtown surrounding Underground Atlanta to add life and color to the city's visual landscape in this year's Elevate Art Above Underground. Including contributions from Atlanta's own, HENSE. Mural madness and more after the jump."
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*Rob Dunalewicz
*Atlanta-raised artist Hense takes on an entire building in this year's Elevate in downtown.


Artists converge on the areas of downtown surrounding Underground Atlanta to add life and color to the city's visual landscape in this year's [http://www.ocaatlanta.com/ElevateAtlanta|Elevate] Art Above Underground. Including contributions from Atlanta's own, [http://clatl.com/atlanta/stop-making-hense/Content?oid=6349193|HENSE]. Mural madness and more after the jump."
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*Rob Dunalewicz
*Atlanta-raised artist Hense takes on an entire building in this year's Elevate in downtown.


Artists converge on the areas of downtown surrounding Underground Atlanta to add life and color to the city's visual landscape in this year's Elevate Art Above Underground. Including contributions from Atlanta's own, HENSE. Mural madness and more after the jump.       0,0,10      13070998 6756576                          Weekend Arts Agenda: Elevate Atlanta October 26 2012 "
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Friday October 26, 2012 10:05 am EDT


  • Rob Dunalewicz
  • Atlanta-raised artist Hense takes on an entire building in this year's Elevate in downtown.



Artists converge on the areas of downtown surrounding Underground Atlanta to add life and color to the city's visual landscape in this year's Elevate Art Above Underground. Including contributions from Atlanta's own, HENSE. Mural madness and more after the jump.

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*Image courtesy of Emily Amy
*Joshua Dudley Greer in Shared Southern Stories at Emily Amy Gallery


A collection of nine artists who have spent some part of their lives living in the South, explores the concept of home at Emily Amy Gallery's exhibition, Shared Southern Stories. The opening reception is Friday at 7 p.m., this and more after the jump in the weekend arts agenda."
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Friday October 19, 2012 09:00 am EDT

  • Image courtesy of Emily Amy
  • Joshua Dudley Greer in Shared Southern Stories at Emily Amy Gallery



A collection of nine artists who have spent some part of their lives living in the South, explores the concept of home at Emily Amy Gallery's exhibition, Shared Southern Stories. The opening reception is Friday at 7 p.m., this and more after the jump in the weekend arts agenda.

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  string(22993) "It's Friday night and I'm en route to a swingers club for the first time ever. The night's theme is feet. I hate feet. "What does that even mean?" a girlfriend asks. "I have no idea. Foot-rubbing orgies?" I laugh.

It's a nervous laughter. I've acted as though this will be no big deal. I'm all "RIOT GRRL!!!" until the moment of truth arrives. I'm so nervous, I could yack. Is this dress sex club worthy? Should I have waxed instead of shaved? What if I run into someone I know? *Gasp!* What if they want to have sex with me? I raise one hand off the steering wheel. It's shaking.

My first glimpse of a swingers club was on HBO's "Real Sex" while in junior high. The details of the episode have since faded, but the memory of the feelings I felt while watching it have not. Everyone seemed free. The club looked glamorous, like Eyes Wide Shut, without the creepy masks and music. I knew instantly: I want to go there.

Still, I was aware I should not divulge my fascination to friends, family, or romantic partners. "Would you like to go to the movies?" is what normal people say. "Would you like to go to a sex club?" is what freaks say. I determined it was best to keep my inner freak in the closet, lest I be ostracized or deemed non-girlfriend material. But still, the allure of a swingers club remained in the shadows of my subconscious, like a monster under a child's bed waiting for the lights to go out so it could come out and play.

Aside from my expressed interest in them, I decided to visit an Atlanta swingers club because of a 2001 Creative Loafing cover story about the local swingers scene, one of our top online stories more than a decade after it was published. There's something to be said, or at least, interpreted, by the popularity of the story: Atlantans are really curious about swinging.

I pick up my date, a gentleman with a handsome face and an even sweeter ass, whose looks even leave my straight guy friends in awe. "The women are going to eat you alive," I tell him. He laughs. Before we leave his house I tell him he has to change his selected attire. "There's a dress code at Trapeze," I say. "No jeans, no sneakers." He puts on a button-down long-sleeve shirt with dress pants and shoes.

It might sound unusual, but someone who is handsome, clean, and well-dressed is not completely out of place at swingers club — they resemble a cross-section of the city more than you may think. Granted, it is hard to determine what percentage of the American population swings. One reason is basic semantics; the other is fear or suppression based on socially constructed norms. A swinger is a person who is emotionally monogamous, but rejects sexual exclusivity. While swinging implies a lifestyle, a person or couple who participate in a threesome can be considered swingers, although they may not necessarily identify themselves as such. It may be something a person does not actively seek out, or what the lifestyle calls an "opportunistic swinger." Whether a person identifies as a swinger or not, chances are his or her way of life is something that will not be openly discussed, for obvious reasons, such as rejection by friends, family, partners, or the risk of it negatively affecting his or her job, and thus financial security.

According to a 2009 research study published in the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, it is estimated that 2 percent to 4 percent of adult Americans are swinging couples, with at least 25 percent of U.S. married couples having engaged in swinging at least once (76 percent in the survey were male, 24 percent were female). On average, the swingers were mostly middle- to upper-middle class white married couples in their late 30s who attend church on a regular basis, are more likely to identify politically as moderates or conservatives, and showed a more progressive attitude toward topics such as sexuality, divorce, pornography, homosexuality, premarital sex, and abortion.

These stats made me feel comfortable that I could actually go to a club, have a good time, and report back to those who are curious just what has (or hasn't) changed in the decade-plus since CL visited the sex club scene. But being comfortable with statistics is a whole lot different than taking your clothes off around strangers. Trust me.

Atlanta has three reputable swingers clubs, according to a former club member: Trapeze, Little Wings, and Club Venus.

Activities involving such clubs fall under two categories: "on-premise" refers to sexual activities conducted on-site; "off-premise" means the venue is used as a place to facilitate the meeting of other swingers, but sexual activities are conducted elsewhere.

The difference between the reputable clubs and others has to do with honesty and safety. The members belonging to the reputable clubs are dominated by consenting couples. Clubs like Trapeze offer nominal "Single Male" nights to minimize the potential for creepsters and offer couples and single women a safe environment.

Many swingers meet their playmates off-premise, such as online swingers forums like swinglifestyle.com, sdc.com, fetlife.com, or lifestyletonight.com, before eventually taking it to the club. On average, swingers clubs do not offer members STD screenings or background checks, which is why responsible swingers take it upon themselves to do the necessary research to ensure their safety. At the very least, condoms and a desire to quiz your potential partner about his or her sexual history are necessary.

A swingers club is no different than your standard nightclub where you hope to find a partner — sexual, romantic, or otherwise. For many of them, it's a slow process that involves taking the conversation outside the Internet, eventually progressing to telephone, then perhaps coffee or dinner dates. Once everyone feels comfortable, educated about each other's histories, and the ground rules have been established, the sexual play can commence. The process can take months.


On average, swingers clubs do not offer an economical entry price. At Trapeze, a two-month membership for couples is $50, plus nightly fees: $40 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays; $70 on Fridays; and $80 on Saturday, its busiest night of the week, which sometimes can bring in as many as 400 people. Single female membership costs $50 for a three-month membership, with a $15 nightly fee. The club also offers deals, depending on the evening's theme, such as free entry on Service Industry Night (SIN). For single males, in particular, the rates are inflated. At Trapeze, a one-month membership costs $100 and a two-month membership is $150. Nightly fees are $45 (Thursdays) and $75 (Wednesdays and Fridays). The remainder of the week, only couples and single females are allowed.

Throughout the evening, Trapeze employees will walk the grounds to make sure everyone is playing fair. Voyeurism is not frowned upon, but the rule is for the person doing the looking to ask the persons at play if they are OK and comfortable with them viewing. If comfortable, those doing the playing will consent. They might even ask the person to join. There is, however, no guarantee that if one goes to a swingers club, either as a single male or female, or as a couple, that sexual relations with any other club members will be had. Relations are reserved to be determined by those at play. If a club employee notices a person creeping too close, or notices anyone who appears uncomfortable or objects, the creepster is ejected from the club, along with the surrendering of the person's membership.

At one less reputable club, according to a former patron who commented on condition of anonymity, the game is manipulated by the owners to ensure a return in their clients, single males in particular. "During the week Tuesday and Thursdays around lunch time known as the %22Afternoon Delight Party%22, the single men are charged a fee to come to the club," says the former club patron. "The two paid ladies act at hostesses," he continues, "but their job is to lure the single men in to be repeat customers because single men are charged a lot more to attend any party."

"During regular party nights Friday and Saturday nights," he says, "the ladies are supposed to mingle with the crowd, but make sure that the single men don't go home unhappy *wink* if they strike out with meeting and hooking up with a couple or single lady."

"The ladies are paid 50 percent of the day's door fee for single men, with a $300 minimum for three hours or more of 'socializing.' On the night parties, they are paid a set fee somewhere around $50 to $75 to show up, depending on the crowd and party type."

"Some people know and don't care," he says. "Others don't come back when they find out, but the married single men usually will sneak a day party in to get laid." He discontinued his membership and club visits after he discovered this piece of information.

File this under: Things you need to know when fucking at a swingers club.

Part of the former patron's concern, aside from the deception and health risk of unknowing club members, is the environment created. Normally, he says, swingers clubs are safe for women, as they play a heavy role in the lifestyle rules and actions. Conversely, in this type of facility, he found it created hostility from the men, and thus put women at risk because the men expected sex. When a woman, presumably a real swinger and not a paid player, denied a single male member, there was resentment. Acts conducted by these men with legit female swingers also appeared to be more aggressive in nature, and not in the way that a consenting BDSM fetishist would participate with a female of similar sexual preferences.

My date and I drive to Club Trapeze, Westbound on I-20 to Commerce Drive by the airport. In an effort to calm my nerves, he gently pushes my long dark hair behind my right ear to better kiss my neck, his hands wandering as he lifts my skirt to massage my thighs. "You're going to make me crash," I tell him without making any real attempt to stop his motions. As we approach our destination, I spot a fit brunette dressed in black by the valet attendant. I look at my date and raise my eyebrows. "This is going to be good," I tell him.

Turns out she's the hottest person we see that night. Also: a bartender.

Inside, we register at a computer, pay the behind-the-counter person, who hands me a laminated name-free member ID card with my assigned number and barcode. In a few weeks they will switch to a digital security system, complete with a fingerprint scanner. Behind us is a white couple in their 40s. The silver-haired man's plaid shirt is tucked into his dress pants. He looks unassuming, like an elementary school teacher. I am told there's a very famous Georgia church official in addition to a high-ranking executive in state government who frequent the club.

I hand the woman my bottle of whiskey, which she slaps a sticker on with my member number. "Give the bartenders your ID, and they'll pour you a drink," the woman says. Trapeze is a BYOB club, with a bar of complimentary mixers.

I turn around and give my date a schoolgirl squeal: "Eep!" He smiles, hands in pocket. He's playing it cool, but I can tell he's as nervous as I am. As we enter, Britney Spears' "I'm a Slave 4 U" plays on the speakers. There's a dance floor and stripper pole, an area with leather couches, and a bar with a small dining area for the complimentary buffet. Dinner until midnight, then it switches to breakfast. Doors close at 5 a.m.

We are given a tour of the facilities. We should arrive earlier, according to our tour guide. It's nearly midnight. "What's your suggested arrival time?" I ask him. "Nine or 10 p.m., at the latest," he says. "They clean throughout the evening, but it's cleaner the earlier you get here." And here I thought we were being fashionably late. I felt like a bad journalist. And a pervert. "Also," he adds, "after midnight is when a lot of the blacks get here." I hard blink and stare quietly back. Our guide is black. "We're not talking white or even blue-collared," he continues, "We're talking ghetto. They come here after the strip clubs. The environment changes. It becomes a lot more testosterone heavy."

Couples sit together at the bar and on couches, but the dance floor is empty. There's a blend of white and black couples, most look to be in their 40s. Some are preppy, some have outfits I can't help but furrow my eyebrows at (where's Joan Rivers when you need her?), and others sport towels. There are flat-screen TVs on the walls playing foot fetish-related porn movies. On one screen, a woman is giving a man a footjob. "Ew," I think. My date is quiet. I can't tell if he's turned off or being polite.

Our pack heads toward the back of the club, where the magic happens, and where clothes are not allowed, only a towel. There is a co-ed locker room where you can leave your clothes and belongings, but we keep ours on for the tour. We pass bodies concealed in the nooks of the hallway's darkness. I don't want to look. I know I can, but I feel invasive, which makes me feel stupid given the circumstance.

There are private rooms, our tour guide explains, along with a couples-only room. We cut through an empty dim-lit room with the faintest blue light, just enough to see what's going on, but not expose a person's physical imperfections. The room has elevated platforms, like mock beds, with what looks like wrestling mats on top. As we turn the corner on our way to the pool and hot tub area, the other room's white light hits the mat and there I see it: WET. Visions of female and male ejaculate flood my mind. I cringe. Patrons are supposed to clean up after themselves with the provided disinfectant wipes. I think of when I go to the gym and the person before me fails to disinfect the seat on a weight machine. I immediately determine I will not be having sex with my handsome gentleman at the facilities tonight.

In the back room, men in their 20s and 30s swim naked in the pool. All three hot tubs are occupied with people relaxing and talking. At the foremost region of the room is a bar, cabana beds, and a billiards table. I'm not all that impressed with the main room, although it's not skuzzy-looking, more like it reminds me of a South Florida Cuban restaurant with the addition of leather couches. But the hot tub area looks like a legit spa or New York City bathhouse.

After our tour, we all reconvene at the dining area, where we talk and trade life stories, no different than any regular bar. I sip my whiskey, wary of getting drunk because of the 30-minute drive back to the city. Women come up and touch my date as if he's a leashed pet at the dog park. Some ask if he wants to play. He politely passes. After nearly two hours of talking, our tour guide and his wife get in their limousine and head home. My date and I are left alone to our own perversions.

We talk for another 30 minutes or so when he points at one of the TV screens. A woman is deep-throating a man. "Do you want to be her?" he asks me. "Honestly," I respond, "I'm not turned on at all." He nods. "Honestly, neither am I," he says, "but I tried." We leave and head back to his house where he plays Sam Cooke on vinyl. I like his music selection. Certainly much sexier than Britney Spears. I drape my legs across his on the couch as we talk and reminisce about our evening before transferring to his bedroom. He seems entertained yet unsettled from our adventure. At night I dream I'm walking up the sloped driveway of a swingers club when I slip and fall. Every time I try and stand up, I slip and fall again.

I return to the club a few days later with a couple of friends who are dating. Her boyfriend assigns them their pseudonyms: Cherry and Damien. To be clear, she is Damien. He is Cherry. "Didn't think I'd flip that on you," she tells him with a laugh. Like myself, they were curious about swingers clubs for years. We sit in the dining area. To the left of me is a white, female sex slave in a leather studded corset that goes up to her rib cage, leaving her petite A-cup breasts exposed. She's eating breakfast with her male date. My friends head to the back. "Are you coming?" she asks. "Nah, I'm good," I tell her.

It's a Tuesday night and the club is mostly dead, just some light customer traffic. I head to the bar to talk to one of the good-looking bartenders. He's younger than me. He's cute. I like him immediately. He strikes me as sincerely sweet and nonjudgmental. Bartenders aside, I don't find the people at the club attractive. But then I am reminded how a person's personality and character can make or break them. Pro tip: If people think they're going to walk into a swingers club and encounter a sea of Stacey Dash and Michael Fassbender-caliber look-alikes, they're in for a surprise.

As I speak with the bartender, several people approach me. "Do you have a man?" asks one. I consider his approach lackluster. I lie. "Yes," I tell him. I forget it's a swingers club. Having a partner means nothing here. "Do you guys want to play?" he continues. I politely decline and he and his date walk away. A black woman puts her hand up my dress and squeezes my ass. I jump, startled. "Sorry," she says, noticing my discomfort.

I continue talking with the cute bartender. "The women here are attractive," he offers, "but they're much older than me — MILFs, which isn't really my thing." He's worked here long enough where nudity doesn't faze him anymore. "The girls I date get upset with me," he confesses, "because they'll get naked and I won't even look at their body, I just stare straight at their face."

What surprises him most about the environment is the level of intimacy. "Sometimes you'll see a woman having sex with a man while she and her husband stare deep into each others eyes as he caresses her face and tells her he loves her." I ask him if he is interested in the swinger lifestyle. "Not really," he says, "I'd be too jealous."

I ask him what's the wildest thing he's ever seen. "There's a female bodybuilder, and the line for the gangbang will wrap around the room entrance," he says, "and you'll overhear the men leaving the room talk about how tight she was. There were at least 10 or 20 men there before him. How can she be tight?" he laughs. "I'm not judging," he clarifies, "I'm just saying."

I pay Trapeze a third visit, this time with a smokin' SoCal surfer-looking friend. It's a Sunday night. Specifically, my last night in Atlanta before I move to Las Vegas. In the back of my mind, I know this is the last chance I have to play at a swingers club. At least, in Atlanta. At least, for a while. I'm wearing a polka-dot dress with black Mary Jane heels. I feel sexy as hell.

I meet my date at Noni's for drinks. There's something about his hair, all dirty-blonde and wild, that makes me want to run my fingers through it. I feel carnal. My nerves are heightened, but not like the first time I went to the club. I'm walking straight and with a swing in my step, shoulders back. I feel starved; my hunger demands satisfaction. We talk for a while about nothing in particular, laugh about nothing in particular, before we head to the club. He's down to play, but worries people will find out. I forget about the whole under-the-radar aspect. It's a strange occupational hazard, to bring others into the mix. I reassure him no one will find out.

We merge onto the highway and head to the club when R. Kelly's "Ignition" comes on my car stereo. We make waves through the air with our hands, windows down. We're singing the lyrics out loud. "I'm about to take my key and stick it in the ignition." The summer heat is on its deathbed, and the night air feels cool. We are all smiles. I feel free. Like what I thought it would feel when I first saw that "Real Sex" episode.

At the club, we lubricate our nerves and build the tension over a couple of drinks before we head to the back area. I take his guiding hand like a child at Disney in line to Space Mountain, unsure what the end of the hallway's darkness has in store for me. We don't swing, neither of us is ready for that, but we do make it to the locker room. Our clothes come off quick, as if they're to blame for the static in our touch. I wrap the towel around my chest, when a light bulb goes off in my head. I undo it and wrap it around my waist. "You have beautiful breasts," he says. "Thanks," I reply with a big smile and an even bigger kiss, mouth open, tongue wet, a light nibble that ensures I mean business.

We remove our towels and climb into the hot tub, naked. There's no one around. It's the allure of the taboo, without the prying eyes and bodies of others. Even under the Jacuzzi area's less-than-forgiving white light, I forget all my physical insecurities and dunk the back of my head in the warm water like I'm in some kind of Victoria's Secret swimsuit video campaign. His stare is gentle, but ambitious; determined. Even before he pulls me closer, I can feel his touch.

We begin to make out before he grabs my hand and we head to one of the private couples room, along with some complimentary condoms provided by the club. The room is small, but has enough space to hold a twin-sized bed and two bodies, maybe three — or four. Soon we're switching positions without exchanging words, just the reading and guiding of our bodies.

Between the moaning and dirty talking and hair pulling, I mercilessly consign to oblivion. Consumed in our revelry, my exclamations are a reflection of each other forgoing all sense of time and space, as others overhear and begin to peek their heads in, curious as to the details of our festivities. We stop only when the door opens. We forgot to lock it. "Sorry," a woman says softly, "just looking." We freeze in our tracks and stare at the door. The lighting is dim. We can't see her. The door remains slightly open for a few seconds before she closes it. It happens several more times. We never lock it.

A few hours later, we step out of the room, back into our clothes, and sit in the dining area with the goofiest of satisfied smiles on our faces. We eat a warm, much-needed meal as we talk literature and life for another hour or so before we leave around 4 a.m. I'm pretty sure at that point that I will return to a swingers club someday. Swingers clubs are like tattoos: you end up wanting more. Then again, I don't have any tattoos. And that tongue ring I got in high school was a short-lived phase. Sometimes once is enough to satisfy our curiosity.

My dirty-blonde surfer dude texts me a few days later. "Thoughts of us interlocked in a sweaty tangle still pop up in my mind and make me feel tingles." I smile. I know exactly how he feels.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to accurately reflect the differences between certain local swingers clubs."
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  string(23914) "It's Friday night and I'm en route to a swingers club for the first time ever. The night's theme is feet. I hate feet. "What does that even mean?" a girlfriend asks. "I have no idea. Foot-rubbing orgies?" I laugh.

It's a nervous laughter. I've acted as though this will be no big deal. I'm all "RIOT GRRL!!!" until the moment of truth arrives. I'm so nervous, I could yack. ''Is this dress sex club worthy? Should I have waxed instead of shaved? What if I run into someone I know?'' *Gasp!* ''What if they want to have sex with me?'' I raise one hand off the steering wheel. It's shaking.

My first glimpse of a swingers club was on HBO's "[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Sex|Real Sex]" while in junior high. The details of the episode have since faded, but the memory of the feelings I felt while watching it have not. Everyone seemed free. The club looked glamorous, like ''Eyes Wide Shut'', without the creepy masks and music. I knew instantly: I want to go there.

Still, I was aware I should not divulge my fascination to friends, family, or romantic partners. "Would you like to go to the movies?" is what normal people say. "Would you like to go to a sex club?" is what freaks say. I determined it was best to keep my inner freak in the closet, lest I be ostracized or deemed non-girlfriend material. But still, the allure of a swingers club remained in the shadows of my subconscious, like a monster under a child's bed waiting for the lights to go out so it could come out and play.

Aside from my expressed interest in them, I decided to visit an Atlanta swingers club because of a [http://clatl.com/atlanta/this-aint-your-fathers-swingers-club/Content?oid=1231608|2001 ''Creative Loafing'' cover story about the local swingers scene], one of our top online stories more than a decade after it was published. There's something to be said, or at least, interpreted, by the popularity of the story: Atlantans are really curious about swinging.

I pick up my date, [http://clatl.com/atlanta/im-not-going-to-have-sex-with-you/Content?oid=5711115|a gentleman with a handsome face and an even sweeter ass], whose looks even leave my straight guy friends in awe. "The women are going to eat you alive," I tell him. He laughs. Before we leave his house I tell him he has to change his selected attire. "There's a dress code at [http://clatl.com/atlanta/trapeze/Location?oid=3987479|Trapeze]," I say. "No jeans, no sneakers." He puts on a button-down long-sleeve shirt with dress pants and shoes.

It might sound unusual, but someone who is handsome, clean, and well-dressed is not ''completely'' out of place at swingers club — they resemble a cross-section of the city more than you may think. Granted, it is hard to determine what percentage of the American population swings. One reason is basic semantics; the other is fear or suppression based on socially constructed norms. A swinger is a person who is emotionally monogamous, but rejects sexual exclusivity. While swinging implies a lifestyle, a person or couple who participate in a threesome can be considered swingers, although they may not necessarily identify themselves as such. It may be something a person does not actively seek out, or what the lifestyle calls an "opportunistic swinger." Whether a person identifies as a swinger or not, chances are his or her way of life is something that will not be openly discussed, for obvious reasons, such as rejection by friends, family, partners, or the risk of it negatively affecting his or her job, and thus financial security.

According to a [http://www.ejhs.org/Volume12/Swinging2.htm|2009 research study published in the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality], it is estimated that 2 percent to 4 percent of adult Americans are swinging couples, with at least 25 percent of U.S. married couples having engaged in swinging at least once (76 percent in the survey were male, 24 percent were female). On average, the swingers were mostly middle- to upper-middle class white married couples in their late 30s who attend church on a regular basis, are more likely to identify politically as moderates or conservatives, and showed a more progressive attitude toward topics such as sexuality, divorce, pornography, homosexuality, premarital sex, and abortion.

These stats made me feel comfortable that I could actually go to a club, have a good time, and report back to those who are curious just what has (or hasn't) changed in the decade-plus since ''CL'' visited the sex club scene. But being comfortable with statistics is a whole lot different than taking your clothes off around strangers. Trust me.

__Atlanta has three__ reputable swingers clubs, according to a former club member: [http://clatl.com/atlanta/trapeze/Location?oid=3987479|Trapeze], [http://clatl.com/atlanta/little-wings/Location?oid=1298299|Little Wings], and [https://www.tuscl.net/stripclub.php?DID=2827|Club Venus].

Activities involving such clubs fall under two categories: "on-premise" refers to sexual activities conducted on-site; "off-premise" means the venue is used as a place to facilitate the meeting of other swingers, but sexual activities are conducted elsewhere.

The difference between the reputable clubs and others has to do with honesty and safety. The members belonging to the reputable clubs are dominated by consenting couples. Clubs like Trapeze offer nominal "Single Male" nights to minimize the potential for creepsters and offer couples and single women a safe environment.

Many swingers meet their playmates off-premise, such as online swingers forums like [http://swinglifestyle.com/|swinglifestyle.com], [http://sdc.com/|sdc.com], [http://fetlife.com/|fetlife.com], or [http://lifestyletonight.com/|lifestyletonight.com], before eventually taking it to the club. On average, swingers clubs do not offer members STD screenings or background checks, which is why responsible swingers take it upon themselves to do the necessary research to ensure their safety. At the very least, condoms and a desire to quiz your potential partner about his or her sexual history are necessary.

A swingers club is no different than your standard nightclub where you hope to find a partner — sexual, romantic, or otherwise. For many of them, it's a slow process that involves taking the conversation outside the Internet, eventually progressing to telephone, then perhaps coffee or dinner dates. Once everyone feels comfortable, educated about each other's histories, and the ground rules have been established, the sexual play can commence. The process can take months.

{img src="http://posting.clatl.com/images/blogimages/2012/10/17/1350499103-atlanta-swinger-clubs-1.jpg"}
On average, swingers clubs do not offer an economical entry price. At Trapeze, a two-month membership for couples is $50, plus nightly fees: $40 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays; $70 on Fridays; and $80 on Saturday, its busiest night of the week, which sometimes can bring in as many as 400 people. Single female membership costs $50 for a three-month membership, with a $15 nightly fee. The club also offers deals, depending on the evening's theme, such as free entry on Service Industry Night (SIN). For single males, in particular, the rates are inflated. At Trapeze, a one-month membership costs $100 and a two-month membership is $150. Nightly fees are $45 (Thursdays) and $75 (Wednesdays and Fridays). The remainder of the week, only couples and single females are allowed.

Throughout the evening, Trapeze employees will walk the grounds to make sure everyone is playing fair. Voyeurism is not frowned upon, but the rule is for the person doing the looking to ask the persons at play if they are OK and comfortable with them viewing. If comfortable, those doing the playing will consent. They might even ask the person to join. There is, however, no guarantee that if one goes to a swingers club, either as a single male or female, or as a couple, that sexual relations with any other club members will be had. Relations are reserved to be determined by those at play. If a club employee notices a person creeping too close, or notices anyone who appears uncomfortable or objects, the creepster is ejected from the club, along with the surrendering of the person's membership.

At one less reputable club, according to a former patron who commented on condition of anonymity, the game is manipulated by the owners to ensure a return in their clients, single males in particular. "During the week [[Tuesday and Thursdays] around lunch time [[known as the "Afternoon Delight Party"], the single men are charged a fee to come to the club," says the former club patron. "The two paid ladies act at hostesses," he continues, "but their job is to lure the single men in to be repeat customers because single men are charged a lot more to attend any party."

"During regular party nights [[Friday and Saturday nights]," he says, "the ladies are supposed to mingle with the crowd, but make sure that the single men don't go home unhappy [[*wink*] if they strike out with meeting and hooking up with a couple or single lady."

"The ladies are paid 50 percent of the day's door fee for single men, with a $300 minimum for three hours or more of 'socializing.' On the night parties, they are paid a set fee somewhere around $50 to $75 to show up, depending on the crowd and party type."

"Some people know and don't care," he says. "Others don't come back when they find out, but the married single men usually will sneak a day party in to get laid." He discontinued his membership and club visits after he discovered this piece of information.

File this under: Things you need to know when fucking at a swingers club.

Part of the former patron's concern, aside from the deception and health risk of unknowing club members, is the environment created. Normally, he says, swingers clubs are safe for women, as they play a heavy role in the lifestyle rules and actions. Conversely, in this type of facility, he found it created hostility from the men, and thus put women at risk because the men expected sex. When a woman, presumably a real swinger and not a paid player, denied a single male member, there was resentment. Acts conducted by these men with legit female swingers also appeared to be more aggressive in nature, and not in the way that a consenting BDSM fetishist would participate with a female of similar sexual preferences.

__My date and I drive__ to Club Trapeze, Westbound on I-20 to Commerce Drive by the airport. In an effort to calm my nerves, he gently pushes my long dark hair behind my right ear to better kiss my neck, his hands wandering as he lifts my skirt to massage my thighs. "You're going to make me crash," I tell him without making any real attempt to stop his motions. As we approach our destination, I spot a fit brunette dressed in black by the valet attendant. I look at my date and raise my eyebrows. "This is going to be good," I tell him.

Turns out she's the hottest person we see that night. Also: a bartender.

Inside, we register at a computer, pay the behind-the-counter person, who hands me a laminated name-free member ID card with my assigned number and barcode. In a few weeks they will switch to a digital security system, complete with a fingerprint scanner. Behind us is a white couple in their 40s. The silver-haired man's plaid shirt is tucked into his dress pants. He looks unassuming, like an elementary school teacher. I am told there's a very famous Georgia church official in addition to a high-ranking executive in state government who frequent the club.

I hand the woman my bottle of whiskey, which she slaps a sticker on with my member number. "Give the bartenders your ID, and they'll pour you a drink," the woman says. Trapeze is a BYOB club, with a bar of complimentary mixers.

I turn around and give my date a schoolgirl squeal: "Eep!" He smiles, hands in pocket. He's playing it cool, but I can tell he's as nervous as I am. As we enter, Britney Spears' "I'm a Slave 4 U" plays on the speakers. There's a dance floor and stripper pole, an area with leather couches, and a bar with a small dining area for the complimentary buffet. Dinner until midnight, then it switches to breakfast. Doors close at 5 a.m.

We are given a tour of the facilities. We should arrive earlier, according to our tour guide. It's nearly midnight. "What's your suggested arrival time?" I ask him. "Nine or 10 p.m., at the latest," he says. "They clean throughout the evening, but it's cleaner the earlier you get here." And here I thought we were being fashionably late. I felt like a bad journalist. And a pervert. "Also," he adds, "after midnight is when a lot of the blacks get here." I hard blink and stare quietly back. Our guide is black. "We're not talking white or even blue-collared," he continues, "We're talking ghetto. They come here after the strip clubs. The environment changes. It becomes a lot more testosterone heavy."

Couples sit together at the bar and on couches, but the dance floor is empty. There's a blend of white and black couples, most look to be in their 40s. Some are preppy, some have outfits I can't help but furrow my eyebrows at (where's Joan Rivers when you need her?), and others sport towels. There are flat-screen TVs on the walls playing foot fetish-related porn movies. On one screen, a woman is giving a man a footjob. "Ew," I think. My date is quiet. I can't tell if he's turned off or being polite.

Our pack heads toward the back of the club, where the magic happens, and where clothes are not allowed, only a towel. There is a co-ed locker room where you can leave your clothes and belongings, but we keep ours on for the tour. We pass bodies concealed in the nooks of the hallway's darkness. I don't want to look. I know I can, but I feel invasive, which makes me feel stupid given the circumstance.

There are private rooms, our tour guide explains, along with a couples-only room. We cut through an empty dim-lit room with the faintest blue light, just enough to see what's going on, but not expose a person's physical imperfections. The room has elevated platforms, like mock beds, with what looks like wrestling mats on top. As we turn the corner on our way to the pool and hot tub area, the other room's white light hits the mat and there I see it: WET. Visions of female and male ejaculate flood my mind. I cringe. Patrons are supposed to clean up after themselves with the provided disinfectant wipes. I think of when I go to the gym and the person before me fails to disinfect the seat on a weight machine. I immediately determine I will not be having sex with my handsome gentleman at the facilities tonight.

In the back room, men in their 20s and 30s swim naked in the pool. All three hot tubs are occupied with people relaxing and talking. At the foremost region of the room is a bar, cabana beds, and a billiards table. I'm not all that impressed with the main room, although it's not skuzzy-looking, more like it reminds me of a South Florida Cuban restaurant with the addition of leather couches. But the hot tub area looks like a legit spa or New York City bathhouse.

After our tour, we all reconvene at the dining area, where we talk and trade life stories, no different than any regular bar. I sip my whiskey, wary of getting drunk because of the 30-minute drive back to the city. Women come up and touch my date as if he's a leashed pet at the dog park. Some ask if he wants to play. He politely passes. After nearly two hours of talking, our tour guide and his wife get in their limousine and head home. My date and I are left alone to our own perversions.

We talk for another 30 minutes or so when he points at one of the TV screens. A woman is deep-throating a man. "Do you want to be her?" he asks me. "Honestly," I respond, "I'm not turned on at all." He nods. "Honestly, neither am I," he says, "but I tried." We leave and head back to his house where he plays Sam Cooke on vinyl. I like his music selection. Certainly much sexier than Britney Spears. I drape my legs across his on the couch as we talk and reminisce about our evening before transferring to his bedroom. He seems entertained yet unsettled from our adventure. At night I dream I'm walking up the sloped driveway of a swingers club when I slip and fall. Every time I try and stand up, I slip and fall again.

__I return to the club__ a few days later with a couple of friends who are dating. Her boyfriend assigns them their pseudonyms: Cherry and Damien. To be clear, she is Damien. He is Cherry. "Didn't think I'd flip that on you," she tells him with a laugh. Like myself, they were curious about swingers clubs for years. We sit in the dining area. {img src="http://posting.clatl.com/images/blogimages/2012/10/17/1350500141-atlanta-sex-clubs-2.jpg"}To the left of me is a white, female sex slave in a leather studded corset that goes up to her rib cage, leaving her petite A-cup breasts exposed. She's eating breakfast with her male date. My friends head to the back. "Are you coming?" she asks. "Nah, I'm good," I tell her.

It's a Tuesday night and the club is mostly dead, just some light customer traffic. I head to the bar to talk to one of the good-looking bartenders. He's younger than me. He's cute. I like him immediately. He strikes me as sincerely sweet and nonjudgmental. Bartenders aside, I don't find the people at the club attractive. But then I am reminded how a person's personality and character can make or break them. Pro tip: If people think they're going to walk into a swingers club and encounter a sea of Stacey Dash and Michael Fassbender-caliber look-alikes, they're in for a surprise.

As I speak with the bartender, several people approach me. "Do you have a man?" asks one. I consider his approach lackluster. I lie. "Yes," I tell him. I forget it's a swingers club. Having a partner means nothing here. "Do you guys want to play?" he continues. I politely decline and he and his date walk away. A black woman puts her hand up my dress and squeezes my ass. I jump, startled. "Sorry," she says, noticing my discomfort.

I continue talking with the cute bartender. "The women here are attractive," he offers, "but they're much older than me — MILFs, which isn't really my thing." He's worked here long enough where nudity doesn't faze him anymore. "The girls I date get upset with me," he confesses, "because they'll get naked and I won't even look at their body, I just stare straight at their face."

What surprises him most about the environment is the level of intimacy. "Sometimes you'll see a woman having sex with a man while she and her husband stare deep into each others eyes as he caresses her face and tells her he loves her." I ask him if he is interested in the swinger lifestyle. "Not really," he says, "I'd be too jealous."

I ask him what's the wildest thing he's ever seen. "There's a female bodybuilder, and the line for the gangbang will wrap around the room entrance," he says, "and you'll overhear the men leaving the room talk about how tight she was. There were at least 10 or 20 men there before him. How can she be tight?" he laughs. "I'm not judging," he clarifies, "I'm just saying."{img src="http://posting.clatl.com/images/blogimages/2012/10/17/1350500350-atlanta-swingers-3.jpg"}

I pay Trapeze a third visit, this time with a smokin' SoCal surfer-looking friend. It's a Sunday night. Specifically, my last night in Atlanta before I move to Las Vegas. In the back of my mind, I know this is the last chance I have to play at a swingers club. At least, in Atlanta. At least, for a while. I'm wearing a polka-dot dress with black Mary Jane heels. I feel sexy as hell.

I meet my date at Noni's for drinks. There's something about his hair, all dirty-blonde and wild, that makes me want to run my fingers through it. I feel carnal. My nerves are heightened, but not like the first time I went to the club. I'm walking straight and with a swing in my step, shoulders back. I feel starved; my hunger demands satisfaction. We talk for a while about nothing in particular, laugh about nothing in particular, before we head to the club. He's down to play, but worries people will find out. I forget about the whole under-the-radar aspect. It's a strange occupational hazard, to bring others into the mix. I reassure him no one will find out.

We merge onto the highway and head to the club when R. Kelly's "Ignition" comes on my car stereo. We make waves through the air with our hands, windows down. We're singing the lyrics out loud. "I'm about to take my key and stick it in the ignition." The summer heat is on its deathbed, and the night air feels cool. We are all smiles. I feel free. Like what I thought it would feel when I first saw that "Real Sex" episode.

At the club, we lubricate our nerves and build the tension over a couple of drinks before we head to the back area. I take his guiding hand like a child at Disney in line to Space Mountain, unsure what the end of the hallway's darkness has in store for me. We don't swing, neither of us is ready for that, but we do make it to the locker room. Our clothes come off quick, as if they're to blame for the static in our touch. I wrap the towel around my chest, when a light bulb goes off in my head. I undo it and wrap it around my waist. "You have beautiful breasts," he says. "Thanks," I reply with a big smile and an even bigger kiss, mouth open, tongue wet, a light nibble that ensures I mean business.

We remove our towels and climb into the hot tub, naked. There's no one around. It's the allure of the taboo, without the prying eyes and bodies of others. Even under the Jacuzzi area's less-than-forgiving white light, I forget all my physical insecurities and dunk the back of my head in the warm water like I'm in some kind of Victoria's Secret swimsuit video campaign. His stare is gentle, but ambitious; determined. Even before he pulls me closer, I can feel his touch.

We begin to make out before he grabs my hand and we head to one of the private couples room, along with some complimentary condoms provided by the club. The room is small, but has enough space to hold a twin-sized bed and two bodies, maybe three — or four. Soon we're switching positions without exchanging words, just the reading and guiding of our bodies.

Between the moaning and dirty talking and hair pulling, I mercilessly consign to oblivion. Consumed in our revelry, my exclamations are a reflection of each other forgoing all sense of time and space, as others overhear and begin to peek their heads in, curious as to the details of our festivities. We stop only when the door opens. We forgot to lock it. "Sorry," a woman says softly, "just looking." We freeze in our tracks and stare at the door. The lighting is dim. We can't see her. The door remains slightly open for a few seconds before she closes it. It happens several more times. We never lock it.

A few hours later, we step out of the room, back into our clothes, and sit in the dining area with the goofiest of satisfied smiles on our faces. We eat a warm, much-needed meal as we talk literature and life for another hour or so before we leave around 4 a.m. I'm pretty sure at that point that I will return to a swingers club someday. Swingers clubs are like tattoos: you end up wanting more. Then again, I don't have any tattoos. And that tongue ring I got in high school was a short-lived phase. Sometimes once is enough to satisfy our curiosity.

My dirty-blonde surfer dude texts me a few days later. "Thoughts of us interlocked in a sweaty tangle still pop up in my mind and make me feel tingles." I smile. I know exactly how he feels.

''EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to accurately reflect the differences between certain local swingers clubs.''"
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  string(24695) " Sexclub Cover H  2018-03-08T01:05:58+00:00 sexclub-cover-h.jpg   I really enjoyed reading your article, although rather long it was a fun and informative read. My husband and I are into swinging, and we really enjoy the lifestyle. But I understand it's not for everyone, although I am glad you enjoyed it. If people were more open to different things I'm sure they would live a much happier life. The swinger lifestyle for us is great for meeting new friends and it's great for getting out and about, and experiencing new things. Swingers clubs are like tattoos. Well thats the strangest comparison I've heard for a sex club in awhile. If you are interested in fat people and want to find bbw on bbw dating sites, the best one is: http://www.fatfetish.org/. It is specialized for fat people and fat lovers. What’s more, it is free to join now. Wow you are very judgmental and should never ever do something this open again .. and ur obviously the whites .. I can sense the privilege how you sensed the testosterone .. ugh [https://www.madridescort.net|escorts madrid]
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[https://www.madridescort.net|madrid escort]  Our sex columnist says goodbye to Atlanta, but not before visiting a swingers club 3389  2012-10-18T08:05:00+00:00 I had sex at a swingers club and liked it ben.eason@creativeloafing.com Ben Eason Melysa Martinez 2021595 2012-10-18T08:05:00+00:00  It's Friday night and I'm en route to a swingers club for the first time ever. The night's theme is feet. I hate feet. "What does that even mean?" a girlfriend asks. "I have no idea. Foot-rubbing orgies?" I laugh.

It's a nervous laughter. I've acted as though this will be no big deal. I'm all "RIOT GRRL!!!" until the moment of truth arrives. I'm so nervous, I could yack. Is this dress sex club worthy? Should I have waxed instead of shaved? What if I run into someone I know? *Gasp!* What if they want to have sex with me? I raise one hand off the steering wheel. It's shaking.

My first glimpse of a swingers club was on HBO's "Real Sex" while in junior high. The details of the episode have since faded, but the memory of the feelings I felt while watching it have not. Everyone seemed free. The club looked glamorous, like Eyes Wide Shut, without the creepy masks and music. I knew instantly: I want to go there.

Still, I was aware I should not divulge my fascination to friends, family, or romantic partners. "Would you like to go to the movies?" is what normal people say. "Would you like to go to a sex club?" is what freaks say. I determined it was best to keep my inner freak in the closet, lest I be ostracized or deemed non-girlfriend material. But still, the allure of a swingers club remained in the shadows of my subconscious, like a monster under a child's bed waiting for the lights to go out so it could come out and play.

Aside from my expressed interest in them, I decided to visit an Atlanta swingers club because of a 2001 Creative Loafing cover story about the local swingers scene, one of our top online stories more than a decade after it was published. There's something to be said, or at least, interpreted, by the popularity of the story: Atlantans are really curious about swinging.

I pick up my date, a gentleman with a handsome face and an even sweeter ass, whose looks even leave my straight guy friends in awe. "The women are going to eat you alive," I tell him. He laughs. Before we leave his house I tell him he has to change his selected attire. "There's a dress code at Trapeze," I say. "No jeans, no sneakers." He puts on a button-down long-sleeve shirt with dress pants and shoes.

It might sound unusual, but someone who is handsome, clean, and well-dressed is not completely out of place at swingers club — they resemble a cross-section of the city more than you may think. Granted, it is hard to determine what percentage of the American population swings. One reason is basic semantics; the other is fear or suppression based on socially constructed norms. A swinger is a person who is emotionally monogamous, but rejects sexual exclusivity. While swinging implies a lifestyle, a person or couple who participate in a threesome can be considered swingers, although they may not necessarily identify themselves as such. It may be something a person does not actively seek out, or what the lifestyle calls an "opportunistic swinger." Whether a person identifies as a swinger or not, chances are his or her way of life is something that will not be openly discussed, for obvious reasons, such as rejection by friends, family, partners, or the risk of it negatively affecting his or her job, and thus financial security.

According to a 2009 research study published in the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, it is estimated that 2 percent to 4 percent of adult Americans are swinging couples, with at least 25 percent of U.S. married couples having engaged in swinging at least once (76 percent in the survey were male, 24 percent were female). On average, the swingers were mostly middle- to upper-middle class white married couples in their late 30s who attend church on a regular basis, are more likely to identify politically as moderates or conservatives, and showed a more progressive attitude toward topics such as sexuality, divorce, pornography, homosexuality, premarital sex, and abortion.

These stats made me feel comfortable that I could actually go to a club, have a good time, and report back to those who are curious just what has (or hasn't) changed in the decade-plus since CL visited the sex club scene. But being comfortable with statistics is a whole lot different than taking your clothes off around strangers. Trust me.

Atlanta has three reputable swingers clubs, according to a former club member: Trapeze, Little Wings, and Club Venus.

Activities involving such clubs fall under two categories: "on-premise" refers to sexual activities conducted on-site; "off-premise" means the venue is used as a place to facilitate the meeting of other swingers, but sexual activities are conducted elsewhere.

The difference between the reputable clubs and others has to do with honesty and safety. The members belonging to the reputable clubs are dominated by consenting couples. Clubs like Trapeze offer nominal "Single Male" nights to minimize the potential for creepsters and offer couples and single women a safe environment.

Many swingers meet their playmates off-premise, such as online swingers forums like swinglifestyle.com, sdc.com, fetlife.com, or lifestyletonight.com, before eventually taking it to the club. On average, swingers clubs do not offer members STD screenings or background checks, which is why responsible swingers take it upon themselves to do the necessary research to ensure their safety. At the very least, condoms and a desire to quiz your potential partner about his or her sexual history are necessary.

A swingers club is no different than your standard nightclub where you hope to find a partner — sexual, romantic, or otherwise. For many of them, it's a slow process that involves taking the conversation outside the Internet, eventually progressing to telephone, then perhaps coffee or dinner dates. Once everyone feels comfortable, educated about each other's histories, and the ground rules have been established, the sexual play can commence. The process can take months.


On average, swingers clubs do not offer an economical entry price. At Trapeze, a two-month membership for couples is $50, plus nightly fees: $40 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays; $70 on Fridays; and $80 on Saturday, its busiest night of the week, which sometimes can bring in as many as 400 people. Single female membership costs $50 for a three-month membership, with a $15 nightly fee. The club also offers deals, depending on the evening's theme, such as free entry on Service Industry Night (SIN). For single males, in particular, the rates are inflated. At Trapeze, a one-month membership costs $100 and a two-month membership is $150. Nightly fees are $45 (Thursdays) and $75 (Wednesdays and Fridays). The remainder of the week, only couples and single females are allowed.

Throughout the evening, Trapeze employees will walk the grounds to make sure everyone is playing fair. Voyeurism is not frowned upon, but the rule is for the person doing the looking to ask the persons at play if they are OK and comfortable with them viewing. If comfortable, those doing the playing will consent. They might even ask the person to join. There is, however, no guarantee that if one goes to a swingers club, either as a single male or female, or as a couple, that sexual relations with any other club members will be had. Relations are reserved to be determined by those at play. If a club employee notices a person creeping too close, or notices anyone who appears uncomfortable or objects, the creepster is ejected from the club, along with the surrendering of the person's membership.

At one less reputable club, according to a former patron who commented on condition of anonymity, the game is manipulated by the owners to ensure a return in their clients, single males in particular. "During the week Tuesday and Thursdays around lunch time known as the %22Afternoon Delight Party%22, the single men are charged a fee to come to the club," says the former club patron. "The two paid ladies act at hostesses," he continues, "but their job is to lure the single men in to be repeat customers because single men are charged a lot more to attend any party."

"During regular party nights Friday and Saturday nights," he says, "the ladies are supposed to mingle with the crowd, but make sure that the single men don't go home unhappy *wink* if they strike out with meeting and hooking up with a couple or single lady."

"The ladies are paid 50 percent of the day's door fee for single men, with a $300 minimum for three hours or more of 'socializing.' On the night parties, they are paid a set fee somewhere around $50 to $75 to show up, depending on the crowd and party type."

"Some people know and don't care," he says. "Others don't come back when they find out, but the married single men usually will sneak a day party in to get laid." He discontinued his membership and club visits after he discovered this piece of information.

File this under: Things you need to know when fucking at a swingers club.

Part of the former patron's concern, aside from the deception and health risk of unknowing club members, is the environment created. Normally, he says, swingers clubs are safe for women, as they play a heavy role in the lifestyle rules and actions. Conversely, in this type of facility, he found it created hostility from the men, and thus put women at risk because the men expected sex. When a woman, presumably a real swinger and not a paid player, denied a single male member, there was resentment. Acts conducted by these men with legit female swingers also appeared to be more aggressive in nature, and not in the way that a consenting BDSM fetishist would participate with a female of similar sexual preferences.

My date and I drive to Club Trapeze, Westbound on I-20 to Commerce Drive by the airport. In an effort to calm my nerves, he gently pushes my long dark hair behind my right ear to better kiss my neck, his hands wandering as he lifts my skirt to massage my thighs. "You're going to make me crash," I tell him without making any real attempt to stop his motions. As we approach our destination, I spot a fit brunette dressed in black by the valet attendant. I look at my date and raise my eyebrows. "This is going to be good," I tell him.

Turns out she's the hottest person we see that night. Also: a bartender.

Inside, we register at a computer, pay the behind-the-counter person, who hands me a laminated name-free member ID card with my assigned number and barcode. In a few weeks they will switch to a digital security system, complete with a fingerprint scanner. Behind us is a white couple in their 40s. The silver-haired man's plaid shirt is tucked into his dress pants. He looks unassuming, like an elementary school teacher. I am told there's a very famous Georgia church official in addition to a high-ranking executive in state government who frequent the club.

I hand the woman my bottle of whiskey, which she slaps a sticker on with my member number. "Give the bartenders your ID, and they'll pour you a drink," the woman says. Trapeze is a BYOB club, with a bar of complimentary mixers.

I turn around and give my date a schoolgirl squeal: "Eep!" He smiles, hands in pocket. He's playing it cool, but I can tell he's as nervous as I am. As we enter, Britney Spears' "I'm a Slave 4 U" plays on the speakers. There's a dance floor and stripper pole, an area with leather couches, and a bar with a small dining area for the complimentary buffet. Dinner until midnight, then it switches to breakfast. Doors close at 5 a.m.

We are given a tour of the facilities. We should arrive earlier, according to our tour guide. It's nearly midnight. "What's your suggested arrival time?" I ask him. "Nine or 10 p.m., at the latest," he says. "They clean throughout the evening, but it's cleaner the earlier you get here." And here I thought we were being fashionably late. I felt like a bad journalist. And a pervert. "Also," he adds, "after midnight is when a lot of the blacks get here." I hard blink and stare quietly back. Our guide is black. "We're not talking white or even blue-collared," he continues, "We're talking ghetto. They come here after the strip clubs. The environment changes. It becomes a lot more testosterone heavy."

Couples sit together at the bar and on couches, but the dance floor is empty. There's a blend of white and black couples, most look to be in their 40s. Some are preppy, some have outfits I can't help but furrow my eyebrows at (where's Joan Rivers when you need her?), and others sport towels. There are flat-screen TVs on the walls playing foot fetish-related porn movies. On one screen, a woman is giving a man a footjob. "Ew," I think. My date is quiet. I can't tell if he's turned off or being polite.

Our pack heads toward the back of the club, where the magic happens, and where clothes are not allowed, only a towel. There is a co-ed locker room where you can leave your clothes and belongings, but we keep ours on for the tour. We pass bodies concealed in the nooks of the hallway's darkness. I don't want to look. I know I can, but I feel invasive, which makes me feel stupid given the circumstance.

There are private rooms, our tour guide explains, along with a couples-only room. We cut through an empty dim-lit room with the faintest blue light, just enough to see what's going on, but not expose a person's physical imperfections. The room has elevated platforms, like mock beds, with what looks like wrestling mats on top. As we turn the corner on our way to the pool and hot tub area, the other room's white light hits the mat and there I see it: WET. Visions of female and male ejaculate flood my mind. I cringe. Patrons are supposed to clean up after themselves with the provided disinfectant wipes. I think of when I go to the gym and the person before me fails to disinfect the seat on a weight machine. I immediately determine I will not be having sex with my handsome gentleman at the facilities tonight.

In the back room, men in their 20s and 30s swim naked in the pool. All three hot tubs are occupied with people relaxing and talking. At the foremost region of the room is a bar, cabana beds, and a billiards table. I'm not all that impressed with the main room, although it's not skuzzy-looking, more like it reminds me of a South Florida Cuban restaurant with the addition of leather couches. But the hot tub area looks like a legit spa or New York City bathhouse.

After our tour, we all reconvene at the dining area, where we talk and trade life stories, no different than any regular bar. I sip my whiskey, wary of getting drunk because of the 30-minute drive back to the city. Women come up and touch my date as if he's a leashed pet at the dog park. Some ask if he wants to play. He politely passes. After nearly two hours of talking, our tour guide and his wife get in their limousine and head home. My date and I are left alone to our own perversions.

We talk for another 30 minutes or so when he points at one of the TV screens. A woman is deep-throating a man. "Do you want to be her?" he asks me. "Honestly," I respond, "I'm not turned on at all." He nods. "Honestly, neither am I," he says, "but I tried." We leave and head back to his house where he plays Sam Cooke on vinyl. I like his music selection. Certainly much sexier than Britney Spears. I drape my legs across his on the couch as we talk and reminisce about our evening before transferring to his bedroom. He seems entertained yet unsettled from our adventure. At night I dream I'm walking up the sloped driveway of a swingers club when I slip and fall. Every time I try and stand up, I slip and fall again.

I return to the club a few days later with a couple of friends who are dating. Her boyfriend assigns them their pseudonyms: Cherry and Damien. To be clear, she is Damien. He is Cherry. "Didn't think I'd flip that on you," she tells him with a laugh. Like myself, they were curious about swingers clubs for years. We sit in the dining area. To the left of me is a white, female sex slave in a leather studded corset that goes up to her rib cage, leaving her petite A-cup breasts exposed. She's eating breakfast with her male date. My friends head to the back. "Are you coming?" she asks. "Nah, I'm good," I tell her.

It's a Tuesday night and the club is mostly dead, just some light customer traffic. I head to the bar to talk to one of the good-looking bartenders. He's younger than me. He's cute. I like him immediately. He strikes me as sincerely sweet and nonjudgmental. Bartenders aside, I don't find the people at the club attractive. But then I am reminded how a person's personality and character can make or break them. Pro tip: If people think they're going to walk into a swingers club and encounter a sea of Stacey Dash and Michael Fassbender-caliber look-alikes, they're in for a surprise.

As I speak with the bartender, several people approach me. "Do you have a man?" asks one. I consider his approach lackluster. I lie. "Yes," I tell him. I forget it's a swingers club. Having a partner means nothing here. "Do you guys want to play?" he continues. I politely decline and he and his date walk away. A black woman puts her hand up my dress and squeezes my ass. I jump, startled. "Sorry," she says, noticing my discomfort.

I continue talking with the cute bartender. "The women here are attractive," he offers, "but they're much older than me — MILFs, which isn't really my thing." He's worked here long enough where nudity doesn't faze him anymore. "The girls I date get upset with me," he confesses, "because they'll get naked and I won't even look at their body, I just stare straight at their face."

What surprises him most about the environment is the level of intimacy. "Sometimes you'll see a woman having sex with a man while she and her husband stare deep into each others eyes as he caresses her face and tells her he loves her." I ask him if he is interested in the swinger lifestyle. "Not really," he says, "I'd be too jealous."

I ask him what's the wildest thing he's ever seen. "There's a female bodybuilder, and the line for the gangbang will wrap around the room entrance," he says, "and you'll overhear the men leaving the room talk about how tight she was. There were at least 10 or 20 men there before him. How can she be tight?" he laughs. "I'm not judging," he clarifies, "I'm just saying."

I pay Trapeze a third visit, this time with a smokin' SoCal surfer-looking friend. It's a Sunday night. Specifically, my last night in Atlanta before I move to Las Vegas. In the back of my mind, I know this is the last chance I have to play at a swingers club. At least, in Atlanta. At least, for a while. I'm wearing a polka-dot dress with black Mary Jane heels. I feel sexy as hell.

I meet my date at Noni's for drinks. There's something about his hair, all dirty-blonde and wild, that makes me want to run my fingers through it. I feel carnal. My nerves are heightened, but not like the first time I went to the club. I'm walking straight and with a swing in my step, shoulders back. I feel starved; my hunger demands satisfaction. We talk for a while about nothing in particular, laugh about nothing in particular, before we head to the club. He's down to play, but worries people will find out. I forget about the whole under-the-radar aspect. It's a strange occupational hazard, to bring others into the mix. I reassure him no one will find out.

We merge onto the highway and head to the club when R. Kelly's "Ignition" comes on my car stereo. We make waves through the air with our hands, windows down. We're singing the lyrics out loud. "I'm about to take my key and stick it in the ignition." The summer heat is on its deathbed, and the night air feels cool. We are all smiles. I feel free. Like what I thought it would feel when I first saw that "Real Sex" episode.

At the club, we lubricate our nerves and build the tension over a couple of drinks before we head to the back area. I take his guiding hand like a child at Disney in line to Space Mountain, unsure what the end of the hallway's darkness has in store for me. We don't swing, neither of us is ready for that, but we do make it to the locker room. Our clothes come off quick, as if they're to blame for the static in our touch. I wrap the towel around my chest, when a light bulb goes off in my head. I undo it and wrap it around my waist. "You have beautiful breasts," he says. "Thanks," I reply with a big smile and an even bigger kiss, mouth open, tongue wet, a light nibble that ensures I mean business.

We remove our towels and climb into the hot tub, naked. There's no one around. It's the allure of the taboo, without the prying eyes and bodies of others. Even under the Jacuzzi area's less-than-forgiving white light, I forget all my physical insecurities and dunk the back of my head in the warm water like I'm in some kind of Victoria's Secret swimsuit video campaign. His stare is gentle, but ambitious; determined. Even before he pulls me closer, I can feel his touch.

We begin to make out before he grabs my hand and we head to one of the private couples room, along with some complimentary condoms provided by the club. The room is small, but has enough space to hold a twin-sized bed and two bodies, maybe three — or four. Soon we're switching positions without exchanging words, just the reading and guiding of our bodies.

Between the moaning and dirty talking and hair pulling, I mercilessly consign to oblivion. Consumed in our revelry, my exclamations are a reflection of each other forgoing all sense of time and space, as others overhear and begin to peek their heads in, curious as to the details of our festivities. We stop only when the door opens. We forgot to lock it. "Sorry," a woman says softly, "just looking." We freeze in our tracks and stare at the door. The lighting is dim. We can't see her. The door remains slightly open for a few seconds before she closes it. It happens several more times. We never lock it.

A few hours later, we step out of the room, back into our clothes, and sit in the dining area with the goofiest of satisfied smiles on our faces. We eat a warm, much-needed meal as we talk literature and life for another hour or so before we leave around 4 a.m. I'm pretty sure at that point that I will return to a swingers club someday. Swingers clubs are like tattoos: you end up wanting more. Then again, I don't have any tattoos. And that tongue ring I got in high school was a short-lived phase. Sometimes once is enough to satisfy our curiosity.

My dirty-blonde surfer dude texts me a few days later. "Thoughts of us interlocked in a sweaty tangle still pop up in my mind and make me feel tingles." I smile. I know exactly how he feels.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to accurately reflect the differences between certain local swingers clubs.    Illustration by Brandon Sadler/www.Risingredlotus.com/@RisingRedLotus         13070863 6683316                          I had sex at a swingers club and liked it "
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Thursday October 18, 2012 04:05 am EDT
Our sex columnist says goodbye to Atlanta, but not before visiting a swingers club | more...
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  string(5210) "There are a lot of places you could catch a show by Pierre Rigal. The much sought-after French dancer/choreographer and his compagnie dernière minute have performed in prestigious venues all around the world, from Australia's Sydney Opera House to New York's Baryshnikov Arts Center, from Frankfurt's state-of-the-art Künstlerhaus Mousonturm to Rome's sleek, ultra-modern Auditorium Parco della Musica. But it's fair to say that there's only one place in the world where a Rigal performance might be punctuated by the squawk of a turkey, the rumble of a passing train, or the bleat of baby goats.

Unique among venues, Atlanta's Goat Farm Arts Center has experienced a renaissance over the past three years, transforming from a sleepy, tucked-away urban artists' retreat into one of Atlanta's central arts institutions. This year the Goat Farm will host its first-ever full season of contemporary dance, Tanz Farm. Beginning with Rigal's performance on Oct. 29, Tanz Farm will draw cutting-edge performers from around the world to the former cotton gin, a home to artists and their studios, as well as goats, chickens, dogs, turkeys, and the occasional possum.

"I know it's a special space," says Rigal in a phone call from Toulouse, France, where his company is based. Rigal has never performed at the Goat Farm, but his solo work "Standing Man" will open the season in the spacious Goodson Yard warehouse. "I just know there is a very good, interesting energy not only because of the architecture, but also because of the people working in the space."

In addition to Rigal's work, Tanz Farm's four-part (fall, winter, spring, and summer) season also includes a three-week residency by Seattle-based multimedia performance duo zoe|juniper in December; Germany's Pretty Ugly Dance Company founder Amanda K. Miller will create a new work with Decatur's CORE Performance Company in May; and a world premiere collaboration between gloATL, visual artist Gyun Hur, Georgia Tech's Sonic Generator Music Ensemble, and the Atlanta Opera.

"All the activity happens at Goodson," says gloATL founder Lauri Stallings, Tanz Farm's creator and curator. "We have an inaugural season full of artists who will respond to Goodson Yard as the ultimate material. For a moving artist, the material is the space. I'm optimistic that each of these individuals will walk into Goodson and it will conjure new things out of them. The ends are open there, and it's full of electricity. I think this group of artists is going to get that."

Tanz Farm takes its first name from the German word for dance, especially as used in the term tanztheater to describe the boundary-blurring work of German choreographers such as the late Pina Bausch. Combining tanz with farm seemed an especially appropriate name, Stallings says. "We're all living on a farm, We all have to bend down and dig in the dirt, no matter what ... 'Tanz Farm' immediately felt like a wholesome garden."

As with January's Stallings-curated performance series at the Rialto Theatre, Off the EDGE, Tanz Farm will include a number of free initiatives — workshops, conversations, and works-in-progress performances — alongside the ticketed events. "Through dialogue and through action, the world is at our feet for all of us here in Atlanta," says Stallings. "We are all passionate about this city that is showing extraordinary signs of effort to be heard, to have an identity. Tanz Farm and its initiatives speak to that a lot."

The Goat Farm's transformation, including the addition of the Tanz Farm season, has happened under the stewardship of property owners Anthony Harper and Chris Melhouse, who purchased the 12-acre compound in 2008. "We want to develop a 'cultural badge' that Atlantans can boast of," says Harper. "The Tanz platform allows a multidisciplinary network of performers to explore new combinatory methods with one another."

Rigal's appearance in Atlanta is sponsored by the French Consulate, which will also present Rigal in more traditional settings during his visit, including the Rialto on Oct. 28 and at the public art event Elevate on Oct. 27, all under the umbrella of the annual France-Atlanta cultural conference. Rigal's "Standing Man" is a demanding solo involving lots of technically precise sound, video, and lighting effects that may be difficult to execute at the Goat Farm. "It's a challenge but I'm very happy to take this challenge," says Rigal. "Technically it will be quite difficult. But for me it's a good thing to perform in a place where there is artistic and creative desire, and also perhaps a special audience ... I know I will be able to meet people, and I like that. It's not always possible when I travel, but I know it will be possible in Atlanta, to meet dancers, to meet all the people creating there."

"The space continues to be inside the dialogue and ties it all together," agrees Stallings. "That's the hope. Not every artist wants their work to be presented in a space where their performance can be interrupted by a train every seven minutes. The tendencies there are encouraging artists who allow for those interruptions. Ultimately, Tanz Farm will have a dialogue that expresses that the first year.""
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Unique among venues, Atlanta's [http://clatl.com/atlanta/best-place-to-witness-the-local-arts-renaissance/BestOf?oid=6257633|Goat Farm Arts Center] has experienced a renaissance over the past three years, transforming from a sleepy, tucked-away urban artists' retreat into one of Atlanta's central arts institutions. This year the Goat Farm will host its first-ever full season of contemporary dance, ''Tanz Farm''. Beginning with Rigal's performance on Oct. 29, ''Tanz Farm'' will draw cutting-edge performers from around the world to the former cotton gin, a home to artists and their studios, as well as goats, chickens, dogs, turkeys, and the occasional possum.

"I know it's a special space," says Rigal in a phone call from Toulouse, France, where his company is based. Rigal has never performed at the Goat Farm, but his solo work "Standing Man" will open the season in the spacious Goodson Yard warehouse. "I just know there is a very good, interesting energy not only because of the architecture, but also because of the people working in the space."

In addition to Rigal's work, ''Tanz Farm'''s four-part (fall, winter, spring, and summer) season also includes a three-week residency by Seattle-based multimedia performance duo zoe|juniper in December; Germany's Pretty Ugly Dance Company founder Amanda K. Miller will create a new work with Decatur's CORE Performance Company in May; and a world premiere collaboration between [http://clatl.com/atlanta/gloatl-at-the-lindbergh-center-marta-station/Slideshow?oid=3583800|gloATL], visual artist [http://clatl.com/atlanta/an-interview-with-hudgens-prize-winner-gyun-hur/Content?oid=2449259|Gyun Hur], Georgia Tech's [http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2011/06/22/sonic-generator-presents-marathon-of-modern-music-at-the-woodruff|Sonic Generator Music Ensemble], and the Atlanta Opera.

"All the activity happens at Goodson," says gloATL founder [http://clatl.com/atlanta/lauri-stallings-the-choreographer/Content?oid=4482342|Lauri Stallings], ''Tanz Farm'''s creator and curator. "We have an inaugural season full of artists who will respond to Goodson Yard as the ultimate material. For a moving artist, the material ''is'' the space. I'm optimistic that each of these individuals will walk into Goodson and it will conjure new things out of them. The ends are open there, and it's full of electricity. I think this group of artists is going to get that."

''Tanz Farm'' takes its first name from the German word for dance, especially as used in the term ''tanztheater'' to describe the boundary-blurring work of German choreographers such as the late Pina Bausch. Combining tanz with farm seemed an especially appropriate name, Stallings says. "We're all living on a farm, We all have to bend down and dig in the dirt, no matter what ... 'Tanz Farm' immediately felt like a wholesome garden."

As with January's Stallings-curated performance series at the Rialto Theatre, ''[http://clatl.com/atlanta/atlanta-goes-off-the-edge-with-new-dance-fest/Content?oid=4603036|Off the EDGE]'', ''Tanz Farm'' will include a number of free initiatives — workshops, conversations, and works-in-progress performances — alongside the ticketed events. "Through dialogue and through action, the world is at our feet for all of us here in Atlanta," says Stallings. "We are all passionate about this city that is showing extraordinary signs of effort to be heard, to have an identity. ''Tanz Farm'' and its initiatives speak to that a lot."

The Goat Farm's transformation, including the addition of the ''Tanz Farm'' season, has happened under the stewardship of property owners Anthony Harper and Chris Melhouse, who purchased the 12-acre compound in 2008. "We want to develop a 'cultural badge' that Atlantans can boast of," says Harper. "The ''Tanz'' platform allows a multidisciplinary network of performers to explore new combinatory methods with one another."

Rigal's appearance in Atlanta is sponsored by the French Consulate, which will also present Rigal in more traditional settings during his visit, including the Rialto on Oct. 28 and at the public art event ''[http://clatl.com/atlanta/city-seeks-to-transform-troubled-downtown-through-art/Content?oid=6672959|Elevate]'' on Oct. 27, all under the umbrella of the annual France-Atlanta cultural conference. Rigal's "Standing Man" is a demanding solo involving lots of technically precise sound, video, and lighting effects that may be difficult to execute at the Goat Farm. "It's a challenge but I'm very happy to take this challenge," says Rigal. "Technically it will be quite difficult. But for me it's a good thing to perform in a place where there is artistic and creative desire, and also perhaps a special audience ... I know I will be able to meet people, and I like that. It's not always possible when I travel, but I know it will be possible in Atlanta, to meet dancers, to meet all the people creating there."

"The space continues to be inside the dialogue and ties it all together," agrees Stallings. "That's the hope. Not every artist wants their work to be presented in a space where their performance can be interrupted by a train every seven minutes. The tendencies there are encouraging artists who allow for those interruptions. Ultimately, ''Tanz Farm'' will have a dialogue that expresses that the first year.""
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  string(5461) "    The Goat Farm launches new season of contemporary dance Tanz Farm   2012-10-18T08:00:00+00:00 An invitation to Tanz   Andrew Alexander 1223508 2012-10-18T08:00:00+00:00  There are a lot of places you could catch a show by Pierre Rigal. The much sought-after French dancer/choreographer and his compagnie dernière minute have performed in prestigious venues all around the world, from Australia's Sydney Opera House to New York's Baryshnikov Arts Center, from Frankfurt's state-of-the-art Künstlerhaus Mousonturm to Rome's sleek, ultra-modern Auditorium Parco della Musica. But it's fair to say that there's only one place in the world where a Rigal performance might be punctuated by the squawk of a turkey, the rumble of a passing train, or the bleat of baby goats.

Unique among venues, Atlanta's Goat Farm Arts Center has experienced a renaissance over the past three years, transforming from a sleepy, tucked-away urban artists' retreat into one of Atlanta's central arts institutions. This year the Goat Farm will host its first-ever full season of contemporary dance, Tanz Farm. Beginning with Rigal's performance on Oct. 29, Tanz Farm will draw cutting-edge performers from around the world to the former cotton gin, a home to artists and their studios, as well as goats, chickens, dogs, turkeys, and the occasional possum.

"I know it's a special space," says Rigal in a phone call from Toulouse, France, where his company is based. Rigal has never performed at the Goat Farm, but his solo work "Standing Man" will open the season in the spacious Goodson Yard warehouse. "I just know there is a very good, interesting energy not only because of the architecture, but also because of the people working in the space."

In addition to Rigal's work, Tanz Farm's four-part (fall, winter, spring, and summer) season also includes a three-week residency by Seattle-based multimedia performance duo zoe|juniper in December; Germany's Pretty Ugly Dance Company founder Amanda K. Miller will create a new work with Decatur's CORE Performance Company in May; and a world premiere collaboration between gloATL, visual artist Gyun Hur, Georgia Tech's Sonic Generator Music Ensemble, and the Atlanta Opera.

"All the activity happens at Goodson," says gloATL founder Lauri Stallings, Tanz Farm's creator and curator. "We have an inaugural season full of artists who will respond to Goodson Yard as the ultimate material. For a moving artist, the material is the space. I'm optimistic that each of these individuals will walk into Goodson and it will conjure new things out of them. The ends are open there, and it's full of electricity. I think this group of artists is going to get that."

Tanz Farm takes its first name from the German word for dance, especially as used in the term tanztheater to describe the boundary-blurring work of German choreographers such as the late Pina Bausch. Combining tanz with farm seemed an especially appropriate name, Stallings says. "We're all living on a farm, We all have to bend down and dig in the dirt, no matter what ... 'Tanz Farm' immediately felt like a wholesome garden."

As with January's Stallings-curated performance series at the Rialto Theatre, Off the EDGE, Tanz Farm will include a number of free initiatives — workshops, conversations, and works-in-progress performances — alongside the ticketed events. "Through dialogue and through action, the world is at our feet for all of us here in Atlanta," says Stallings. "We are all passionate about this city that is showing extraordinary signs of effort to be heard, to have an identity. Tanz Farm and its initiatives speak to that a lot."

The Goat Farm's transformation, including the addition of the Tanz Farm season, has happened under the stewardship of property owners Anthony Harper and Chris Melhouse, who purchased the 12-acre compound in 2008. "We want to develop a 'cultural badge' that Atlantans can boast of," says Harper. "The Tanz platform allows a multidisciplinary network of performers to explore new combinatory methods with one another."

Rigal's appearance in Atlanta is sponsored by the French Consulate, which will also present Rigal in more traditional settings during his visit, including the Rialto on Oct. 28 and at the public art event Elevate on Oct. 27, all under the umbrella of the annual France-Atlanta cultural conference. Rigal's "Standing Man" is a demanding solo involving lots of technically precise sound, video, and lighting effects that may be difficult to execute at the Goat Farm. "It's a challenge but I'm very happy to take this challenge," says Rigal. "Technically it will be quite difficult. But for me it's a good thing to perform in a place where there is artistic and creative desire, and also perhaps a special audience ... I know I will be able to meet people, and I like that. It's not always possible when I travel, but I know it will be possible in Atlanta, to meet dancers, to meet all the people creating there."

"The space continues to be inside the dialogue and ties it all together," agrees Stallings. "That's the hope. Not every artist wants their work to be presented in a space where their performance can be interrupted by a train every seven minutes. The tendencies there are encouraging artists who allow for those interruptions. Ultimately, Tanz Farm will have a dialogue that expresses that the first year."             13070855 6681786                          An invitation to Tanz "
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Article

Thursday October 18, 2012 04:00 am EDT
The Goat Farm launches new season of contemporary dance Tanz Farm | more...
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  string(3248) "S. Patricia Patterson's latest body of work and first major solo show, Back to the Future, is the result of her 2012 Emerging Artist Award. The Forward Arts Foundation gifted Patterson with a $10,000 grant, which she used to continue the motifs of youth, memory, and nostalgia she often employs in her multimedia works. Patterson mixes watercolor, screen-printing, and bold geometric patterns in scenes that recreate an idealism found both in childhood and a certain kind of consumer-based American patriotism.

"Trigger Keeper" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy" make the best use of what Patterson describes in her artist's statement as a "confluence of hazily recollected childhood astonishment and mid-century collective ambition." Patterson tempers the preciousness of nostalgia with a series of off-putting cultural references.

In "Trigger Keeper," a pair of young boys, presumably brothers, wear matching flannel shirts and John Deere caps. Guns in hand, they stand in front of a T-Top Trans Am Firebird parked at a 45-degree angle, the familiar muscle car pose, echoed in the dark turquoise chevron stripes covering the ground. This self-consciously masculine branding seems too adult, as if they are emulating the uniform of a working-class man.

It might seem like an innocently romanticized portrait of male youth, but Patterson's soft watercolors and the mauve of the boys' shirts clash with the image's machismo. The guns hang flaccid in their small arms. Already incongruous, the scene becomes absurd when the connection is made between the chevron pattern and eerie cult TV show "Twin Peaks." (The Red Room at the Black Lodge featured similar flooring.) With "Trigger Keeper," Patterson is pointing out both the illusory qualities of memory and the bizarreness of indoctrinating children into gender politics at such a young age.

Patterson takes a similar approach to female conditioning in "Yankee Doodle Dandy." A wide-eyed girl in a red leotard, tap shoes, and an Uncle Sam-style top hat poses on a tabletop. She stands with her hands on hips and smile fixed, a precursor to the "Toddlers & Tiaras" version of over-the-top child pageantry. She has no audience to appreciate her efforts; the office chairs that surround the table are unoccupied. Despite the room's emptiness, the painting feels claustrophobic, as if the tabletop and ceiling are moving in to crush her. The pattern covering the walls mimics Hicks' hexagon, the same design on the hotel carpet in The Shining. The reference recalls the film's murdered twin girls that famously ask Danny to play with them.

When Patterson layers glimpses of childhood fun with the serious implications of adulthood, the works take on a complex, nightmarish quality. A few paintings are left wanting, however, feeling less like strange dreams than straightforward portraits. "A Good Man is Hard to Find," in which a family is pictured taking a break from a road trip, is sweet but lacks the intellectual depth of something like "Trigger Keeper." The same goes for "Santa's Little Helpers," a simple depiction of two kids on Santa's lap. Although some works can veer toward Hallmark card-style reminiscence, Patterson's tender visual rendering is captivating when imbued with darker themes. "
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  string(3355) "[http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2011/04/13/3069212-a-few-questions-with-s-patricia-patterson|S. Patricia Patterson]'s latest body of work and first major solo show, ''Back to the Future'', is the result of her 2012 Emerging Artist Award. The Forward Arts Foundation gifted Patterson with a $10,000 grant, which she used to continue the motifs of youth, memory, and nostalgia she often employs in her multimedia works. Patterson mixes watercolor, screen-printing, and bold geometric patterns in scenes that recreate an idealism found both in childhood and a certain kind of consumer-based American patriotism.

"Trigger Keeper" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy" make the best use of what Patterson describes in her artist's statement as a "confluence of hazily recollected childhood astonishment and mid-century collective ambition." Patterson tempers the preciousness of nostalgia with a series of off-putting cultural references.

In "Trigger Keeper," a pair of young boys, presumably brothers, wear matching flannel shirts and John Deere caps. Guns in hand, they stand in front of a T-Top Trans Am Firebird parked at a 45-degree angle, the familiar muscle car pose, echoed in the dark turquoise chevron stripes covering the ground. This self-consciously masculine branding seems too adult, as if they are emulating the uniform of a working-class man.

It might seem like an innocently romanticized portrait of male youth, but Patterson's soft watercolors and the mauve of the boys' shirts clash with the image's machismo. The guns hang flaccid in their small arms. Already incongruous, the scene becomes absurd when the connection is made between the chevron pattern and eerie cult TV show "Twin Peaks." (The Red Room at the Black Lodge featured similar flooring.) With "Trigger Keeper," Patterson is pointing out both the illusory qualities of memory and the bizarreness of indoctrinating children into gender politics at such a young age.

Patterson takes a similar approach to female conditioning in "Yankee Doodle Dandy." A wide-eyed girl in a red leotard, tap shoes, and an Uncle Sam-style top hat poses on a tabletop. She stands with her hands on hips and smile fixed, a precursor to the "Toddlers & Tiaras" version of over-the-top child pageantry. She has no audience to appreciate her efforts; the office chairs that surround the table are unoccupied. Despite the room's emptiness, the painting feels claustrophobic, as if the tabletop and ceiling are moving in to crush her. The pattern covering the walls mimics Hicks' hexagon, the same design on the hotel carpet in ''The Shining''. The reference recalls the film's murdered twin girls that famously ask Danny to play with them.

When Patterson layers glimpses of childhood fun with the serious implications of adulthood, the works take on a complex, nightmarish quality. A few paintings are left wanting, however, feeling less like strange dreams than straightforward portraits. "A Good Man is Hard to Find," in which a family is pictured taking a break from a road trip, is sweet but lacks the intellectual depth of something like "Trigger Keeper." The same goes for "Santa's Little Helpers," a simple depiction of two kids on Santa's lap. Although some works can veer toward Hallmark card-style reminiscence, Patterson's tender visual rendering is captivating when imbued with darker themes. "
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  string(3623) "    Forward Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award winner's vision has a nightmarish twist   2012-10-17T08:00:00+00:00 S. Patricia Patterson re-imagines the American Dream in Back to the Future   Grace Thornton 5672689 2012-10-17T08:00:00+00:00  S. Patricia Patterson's latest body of work and first major solo show, Back to the Future, is the result of her 2012 Emerging Artist Award. The Forward Arts Foundation gifted Patterson with a $10,000 grant, which she used to continue the motifs of youth, memory, and nostalgia she often employs in her multimedia works. Patterson mixes watercolor, screen-printing, and bold geometric patterns in scenes that recreate an idealism found both in childhood and a certain kind of consumer-based American patriotism.

"Trigger Keeper" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy" make the best use of what Patterson describes in her artist's statement as a "confluence of hazily recollected childhood astonishment and mid-century collective ambition." Patterson tempers the preciousness of nostalgia with a series of off-putting cultural references.

In "Trigger Keeper," a pair of young boys, presumably brothers, wear matching flannel shirts and John Deere caps. Guns in hand, they stand in front of a T-Top Trans Am Firebird parked at a 45-degree angle, the familiar muscle car pose, echoed in the dark turquoise chevron stripes covering the ground. This self-consciously masculine branding seems too adult, as if they are emulating the uniform of a working-class man.

It might seem like an innocently romanticized portrait of male youth, but Patterson's soft watercolors and the mauve of the boys' shirts clash with the image's machismo. The guns hang flaccid in their small arms. Already incongruous, the scene becomes absurd when the connection is made between the chevron pattern and eerie cult TV show "Twin Peaks." (The Red Room at the Black Lodge featured similar flooring.) With "Trigger Keeper," Patterson is pointing out both the illusory qualities of memory and the bizarreness of indoctrinating children into gender politics at such a young age.

Patterson takes a similar approach to female conditioning in "Yankee Doodle Dandy." A wide-eyed girl in a red leotard, tap shoes, and an Uncle Sam-style top hat poses on a tabletop. She stands with her hands on hips and smile fixed, a precursor to the "Toddlers & Tiaras" version of over-the-top child pageantry. She has no audience to appreciate her efforts; the office chairs that surround the table are unoccupied. Despite the room's emptiness, the painting feels claustrophobic, as if the tabletop and ceiling are moving in to crush her. The pattern covering the walls mimics Hicks' hexagon, the same design on the hotel carpet in The Shining. The reference recalls the film's murdered twin girls that famously ask Danny to play with them.

When Patterson layers glimpses of childhood fun with the serious implications of adulthood, the works take on a complex, nightmarish quality. A few paintings are left wanting, however, feeling less like strange dreams than straightforward portraits. "A Good Man is Hard to Find," in which a family is pictured taking a break from a road trip, is sweet but lacks the intellectual depth of something like "Trigger Keeper." The same goes for "Santa's Little Helpers," a simple depiction of two kids on Santa's lap. Although some works can veer toward Hallmark card-style reminiscence, Patterson's tender visual rendering is captivating when imbued with darker themes.              13070850 6674293                          S. Patricia Patterson re-imagines the American Dream in Back to the Future "
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Wednesday October 17, 2012 04:00 am EDT
Forward Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award winner's vision has a nightmarish twist | more...
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  string(3230) "Is it possible to transform bleak and abandoned blocks of downtown Atlanta through public art? That's the question city officials have been contemplating lately, and they're taking the possibility seriously enough to fund a second year of what was originally planned as a one-time arts event called Elevate.

"One art piece has the potential to transform a building that's been a problem for years," says Courtney Hammond, project coordinator in the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, which oversees Elevate. The event takes place this year from Oct. 19-27 and brings large-scale public artworks to downtown Atlanta in the hopes of revitalizing the area.

The 2011 pilot event, Elevate: Art Above Underground, was a 66-day, 26-project public art exhibition at Underground Atlanta designed to draw the public's attention to the space with art. According to Hammond, more than 100 publications wrote about downtown Atlanta as a result. "It got really far," she says. "The Office of Cultural Affairs decided it was an important program they should continue doing."

This year, there's more funding and a tighter focus. There will be fewer projects, but they'll all be executed on a larger-scale. And the event has been condensed into a more manageable nine days, with events occurring nightly instead of being concentrated on opening night. OCA sought out projects it felt could impact the downtown landscape and draw visitors, with proposals coming from all over but with most of the accepted projects coming from Atlanta-based artists. The projects will include a wooden façade installation by Adrian Barzaga at the abandoned building at 143 Alabama St., a fiber installation by artist Randy Walker at Woodruff Park's fountain, and a mixed-media quilt laden with LED lights by Lillian Blades at Hardy Ivy Park's Carnegie Education Pavilion.

Perhaps most notably this year, the one-block area on South Broad Street between MLK Drive and Mitchell Street will be the location of one of the event's most ambitious projects. "That block has been a problem for a while," Hammond says. "All of the buildings are vacant except two or three." The city has commissioned five street muralists — Hense, Sever, Born, Push, and Tilt — to reimagine the street, giving each of them an entire building to paint throughout the week. "We think it's going to lay nicely across the landscape and really change the entire city block," says Hammond, who thinks the murals may even have the potential to transform the dreary block into a tourist destination.

Each of the commissioned artworks will be given a performance night, and the exhibition Imaginary Million at 200 Peachtree St. (the old Macy's building), showcasing the work of 100 artists curated by WonderRoot, Kennesaw State University, and MOCA-GA. The city is offering free daily tours of all the projects, leaving from Peachtree Center Plaza at noon Monday to Friday and on Thursday night at 6 p.m.

"I work down here and it's really beautiful at night," says Hammond, who says she hopes the projects of Elevate will continue to draw people's attention to the potential of the underutilized area. "I'm always shocked when I see there aren't enough people experiencing it.""
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  string(3827) "Is it possible to transform [http://clatl.com/atlanta/south-downtown-must-be-fixed-for-atlanta-to-thrive/Content?oid=4208789|bleak and abandoned blocks of downtown Atlanta] through public art? That's the question city officials have been contemplating lately, and they're taking the possibility seriously enough to fund a second year of what was originally planned as a one-time arts event called ''Elevate''.

"One art piece has the potential to transform a building that's been a problem for years," says Courtney Hammond, project coordinator in the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, which oversees ''Elevate''. The event takes place this year from Oct. 19-27 and brings large-scale public artworks to downtown Atlanta in the hopes of revitalizing the area.

The 2011 pilot event, [http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2011/08/25/elevate-rises-above-underground-atlanta-tomorrow|''Elevate: Art Above Underground''], was a 66-day, 26-project public art exhibition at Underground Atlanta designed to draw the public's attention to the space with art. According to Hammond, more than 100 publications wrote about downtown Atlanta as a result. "It got really far," she says. "The Office of Cultural Affairs decided it was an important program they should continue doing."

This year, there's more funding and a tighter focus. There will be fewer projects, but they'll all be executed on a larger-scale. And the event has been condensed into a more manageable nine days, with events occurring nightly instead of being concentrated on opening night. OCA sought out projects it felt could impact the downtown landscape and draw visitors, with proposals coming from all over but with most of the accepted projects coming from Atlanta-based artists. The projects will include a wooden façade installation by Adrian Barzaga at the abandoned building at 143 Alabama St., a fiber installation by artist Randy Walker at Woodruff Park's fountain, and a mixed-media quilt laden with LED lights by Lillian Blades at Hardy Ivy Park's Carnegie Education Pavilion.

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Each of the commissioned artworks will be given a performance night, and the exhibition ''Imaginary Million'' at 200 Peachtree St. (the old Macy's building), showcasing the work of 100 artists curated by [http://clatl.com/atlanta/the-rise-of-wonderroot-and-atlantas-new-grassroots-art-movement/Content?oid=1432699|WonderRoot], [http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2012/03/28/3-million-and-9200-square-foot-ksu-museum-expansion-gets-the-ok|Kennesaw State University], and [http://clatl.com/atlanta/moca-ga-preserves-regions-visual-arts-legacy/Content?oid=1275385|MOCA-GA]. The city is offering free daily tours of all the projects, leaving from Peachtree Center Plaza at noon Monday to Friday and on Thursday night at 6 p.m.

"I work down here and it's really beautiful at night," says Hammond, who says she hopes the projects of ''Elevate'' will continue to draw people's attention to the potential of the underutilized area. "I'm always shocked when I see there aren't enough people experiencing it.""
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  string(3555) "    Can Elevate raise the prospects of some of Atlanta's blighted blocks?   2012-10-16T16:01:00+00:00 City seeks to transform troubled downtown through art   Andrew Alexander 1223508 2012-10-16T16:01:00+00:00  Is it possible to transform bleak and abandoned blocks of downtown Atlanta through public art? That's the question city officials have been contemplating lately, and they're taking the possibility seriously enough to fund a second year of what was originally planned as a one-time arts event called Elevate.

"One art piece has the potential to transform a building that's been a problem for years," says Courtney Hammond, project coordinator in the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, which oversees Elevate. The event takes place this year from Oct. 19-27 and brings large-scale public artworks to downtown Atlanta in the hopes of revitalizing the area.

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Tuesday October 16, 2012 12:01 pm EDT
Can Elevate raise the prospects of some of Atlanta's blighted blocks? | more...

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*MICHAEL SCHMELLING
*Shot of a Decatur houseparty from Schmelling's photo book Atlanta


Jennifer Schwartz Gallery hosts photographer Michael Schmelling for one night only. Plus, Culture Shock at the High, a final showing of MINT Gallery's Leap Year artists, a Star Wars vs. Star Trek showdown off Memorial Drive and we let our event recommendations trickle out into next week, because it's OK to have fun on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, too."
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*[http://clatl.com/atlanta/ImageArchives?by=1290320|MICHAEL SCHMELLING]
*Shot of a Decatur houseparty from Schmelling's photo book ''Atlanta''


Jennifer Schwartz Gallery hosts photographer Michael Schmelling for one night only. Plus, Culture Shock at the High, a final showing of MINT Gallery's Leap Year artists, a Star Wars vs. Star Trek showdown off Memorial Drive and we let our event recommendations trickle out into next week, because it's OK to have fun on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, too."
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  string(711) "       2012-10-12T16:21:00+00:00 Weekend Arts Agenda: Michael Schmelling's Atlanta October 12 2012   Debbie Michaud 1223919 2012-10-12T16:21:00+00:00  
*MICHAEL SCHMELLING
*Shot of a Decatur houseparty from Schmelling's photo book Atlanta


Jennifer Schwartz Gallery hosts photographer Michael Schmelling for one night only. Plus, Culture Shock at the High, a final showing of MINT Gallery's Leap Year artists, a Star Wars vs. Star Trek showdown off Memorial Drive and we let our event recommendations trickle out into next week, because it's OK to have fun on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, too.             13070786 6634758                          Weekend Arts Agenda: Michael Schmelling's Atlanta October 12 2012 "
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Friday October 12, 2012 12:21 pm EDT

  • MICHAEL SCHMELLING
  • Shot of a Decatur houseparty from Schmelling's photo book Atlanta



Jennifer Schwartz Gallery hosts photographer Michael Schmelling for one night only. Plus, Culture Shock at the High, a final showing of MINT Gallery's Leap Year artists, a Star Wars vs. Star Trek showdown off Memorial Drive and we let our event recommendations trickle out into next week, because it's OK to...

| more...
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"12 n 12," in partnership with Moonshine Pictures and the GTRI Georgia Tech Research Institute Center at Georgia Tech, is a two-day workshop to create animated promo spots, giving participants a chance to understand client goals and production pipelines.

With so many technical innovations making animation affordable for average people and the proliferation of commercial outlets to showcase animation, what is the next frontier?

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Tuesday October 9, 2012 01:40 pm EDT
ASIFA-Atlanta President Fatimah Abdullah readies for the Southeast's annual ode to animation | more...
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  string(2633) "About three years ago, Atlanta artist Fabian Williams read a blog post on an Ebony/Jet-run site about the depiction of African-American men in the work of Fahamu Pecou. A fellow Atlanta artist, Pecou often satirizes male hip-hop culture in his large-scale paintings. Williams responded to comments by a woman about irresponsible behavior from black men, saying that she should date "some nice guys." Soon after, another artist joined the fray, pelting Williams with questions about his artistic merit. What ensued led to the makings of his next creative move.

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So Williams founded the World Wide Arts Federation and began hosting art battles, wildly theatrical confrontations between artists that put race and gender politics at the fore. (The WWAF was [http://clatl.com/atlanta/best-local-art-beef/BestOf?oid=3986668|''CL'''s 2011 Critics Pick for Best Local Art Beef]). WWAF art battles are as much about the paint as they are about the pageantry. Originally held at Stuart McClean Gallery in the Old Fourth Ward, past showdowns have included "The Art of the War of Art" and "Composition of Chaos" in which competitors channeled influences ranging from the ostentatiousness of wrestler Ric Flair to the sublime cool of painter Bob Ross.

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  string(2976) "    Beef spells relief for Fabian Williams, aka the Occasional Superstar   2012-10-08T15:00:00+00:00 World Wide Arts Federation gets political with art battle No. 6   Shannon Barbour 1699889 2012-10-08T15:00:00+00:00  About three years ago, Atlanta artist Fabian Williams read a blog post on an Ebony/Jet-run site about the depiction of African-American men in the work of Fahamu Pecou. A fellow Atlanta artist, Pecou often satirizes male hip-hop culture in his large-scale paintings. Williams responded to comments by a woman about irresponsible behavior from black men, saying that she should date "some nice guys." Soon after, another artist joined the fray, pelting Williams with questions about his artistic merit. What ensued led to the makings of his next creative move.

"I challenged her to an art battle," he says. "If you're gonna attack me academically or artistically, then we've got a major beef." Williams backed away from his potential opponent so as not seem like a bully and decided to channel the energy elsewhere. "That felt good to talk shit like that," he says with a laugh.

So Williams founded the World Wide Arts Federation and began hosting art battles, wildly theatrical confrontations between artists that put race and gender politics at the fore. (The WWAF was CL's 2011 Critics Pick for Best Local Art Beef). WWAF art battles are as much about the paint as they are about the pageantry. Originally held at Stuart McClean Gallery in the Old Fourth Ward, past showdowns have included "The Art of the War of Art" and "Composition of Chaos" in which competitors channeled influences ranging from the ostentatiousness of wrestler Ric Flair to the sublime cool of painter Bob Ross.

This time, the battle is political. Williams, aka the Occasional Superstar, decided to capitalize on Decision 2012 with "The Election of the First President" of the WWAF. Pecou will provide commentary and participants will vote for a representative from one of three competing parties: the conservative Renaissancecan, the forward-thinking Contemporaricrat, or the independent/libertarian-inclined Urbatarian.

Unlike a campaign, proceeds for this election won't fund any particular candidate. Instead, they'll go toward the Grace Kisa Donation Fund. Kisa, an Atlanta-based visual artist and participant in previous shows, recently suffered a stroke. Williams wanted to rally his peers to assist in her recovery. "She's a beautiful person and we want her back on her feet," he said on his Facebook page.

For the election battle, Williams wanted to go deeper. "I thought it would be a cool way to address politics and our weird political system; how nasty it can be sometimes," he says. "It's getting bigger than the artist-on-artist dis. It's about the institutions that each artist represents; the system that creates the conflict."       0,0,10      13070720 6602427                          World Wide Arts Federation gets political with art battle No. 6 "
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Article

Monday October 8, 2012 11:00 am EDT
Beef spells relief for Fabian Williams, aka the Occasional Superstar | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(42) "Cover Story - V/H/S' schlockbuster success"
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  string(103) "Indie horror continues to coagulate in and around Atlanta with the release of the latest local thriller"
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  string(19051) "In the chill of last January, a terrifying incident in David Bruckner's career as a film director also provided a crowning achievement for special effects artist Blake Myers.

Bruckner directs one of six segments in V/H/S, a horror anthology film with five tales and a framing story that each draw on the "found footage" narrative style. Each terrifying tale unfolds from the point of view of a different video camera, a technique popularized by The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, and countless others since the turn of the new century. Bruckner and his Atlanta-based collaborators crafted the movie's first full segment, "Amateur Night," in which three young jerks go trolling for women, not realizing that their would-be conquest has an unearthly agenda.

"In every horror film in the 1980s someone falls, and we thought it would be fun to do that from the POV perspective," Bruckner says. At one point, the main character (Drew Sawyer), wearing eyeglasses with a hidden video camera, flees from a motel room turned charnel house and falls ass-over-teakettle down a flight of stairs, snapping one of his arms. As the special effects supervisor, Myers designed the segment's gore effects, including the prosthetic arm break that used silicone make-up and a pair of broken drumsticks for the snapped bones. Although originally filmed with Sawyer, Bruckner says that the angle of the break didn't look right in post-production. Since the director and Sawyer have similar body types, Myers and Bruckner reshot the grisly close-up using the director's own arm.

The prestigious Sundance Film Festival tapped V/H/S for its 2012 event in Park City, Utah, last January. During "Amateur Night," the stair fall and arm break literally sickened some audience members. "A guy felt nauseous and dizzy," Bruckner recalls. "He wandered to the edge of the theater and fainted, and his girlfriend threw up shortly after. It was really scary. We had to call an ambulance."

As an expert in blood spatters and gore effects, Myers couldn't have been more flattered: "Making people throw up at Sundance was one of my best credits ever."

Bruckner hastens to point out that the Sundance screenings provide an atypical movie-going experience. "It's a high-altitude location, and they'd been drinking. It is a shaky-cam experience, though. Part of disorienting the viewer is to create a visceral reaction. For some people, it's too much; they can't watch it. Others love it."

A fainting spectator delivers the kind of free publicity that horror movie producers crave, harking back to the 1950s and 1960s, when B-movie thriller maven William Castle would offer audiences insurance policies in case they died of fright. Not that V/H/S needed hype after its Sundance premiere. Magnolia Pictures picked up the film for distribution, and the film has garnered praise from the likes of Rolling Stone and the Atlantic, which put it on its list of "20 Movies to See This Oscar Season." While V/H/S pays homage to the lo-fi pleasures of videotape, the anthology was digitally released Aug. 31 On Demand via cable TV and the Internet. On Oct. 12, the provocative, low-budget scarefest opens a theatrical run at Atlanta's Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.

Macabre movie fans should expect occult output from a city Atlanta magazine and the New York Times have deemed "the zombie capital of the world." Georgia continues to enjoy its increasing success as a film production mecca, jolted to life by a tax incentive for film production passed by the state in 2008. In the 2012 fiscal year, the state earned $880 million — up from $690 million the year before — from 333 films, television shows, commercials, and music videos. If Atlanta and the rest of the state have realized a dream of showbiz achievement, the horror production scene simmers like the darker corners of the subconscious.

"It's almost hard to make a film here that's not horror-related," says Atlanta-based director Bret Wood as he prepares to commence production on the lesbian vampire tale Carmilla, an adaptation of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's 19th-century novel. Our homegrown horror fare includes the satirical Blood Car, the ambitious, apocalyptic The Signal, and the grindhouse throwback Dear God, No!, suggesting that the Atlanta area provides a regional hub for grisly film fantasies. The release of V/H/S captures the genre's bloody, unnerving present while pointing to a fresh direction for things to come.

In 1998, a handful of filmmakers entered the Maryland woods and emerged the following week with a movie phenomenon. On its face, The Blair Witch Project provides a modest but effectively creepy campfire story as a trio of would-be documentarians fall prey to occult forces that defy rational explanation. The concept behind the film, that we're watching footage recovered after the fact, holds an unexpectedly enduring power, particularly as the quasi-documentary style makes the supernatural terrors seem all the more real.

pageimage-1
Filmed for less than $1 million, The Blair Witch Project earned more than $100 million after its 1999 release, making it one of the most profitable films ever. In 2007, the first Paranormal Activity provided a similarly huge return on investment. Hollywood can't resist such a potential payoff. Thanks to Blair Witch, we've seen more than a decade of found-footage films shot intentionally poorly, including outlandish variations like the coffin-cam of Buried, the astronaut capsule-cam of Apollo 18, and the about-to-be-stomped-by-a-monster-cam of Cloverfield.

Just when the found-footage concept seemed exhausted, Brad Miska, editor-in-chief of the horror news website Bloody-Disgusting.com, decided to shake up the genre with an anthology movie helmed by a diverse group of filmmakers. Nicholas Tecosky, Bruckner's writing partner, finds V/H/S to be an ideal vehicle for the approach. "I think found footage is a format that can get tired in a full-length feature," he says. "What's exciting is that it's very visceral, and what's exciting in an anthology is that you can experience that visceral quality multiple times."

Bruckner and Tecosky wanted to use their V/H/S segment to explore a particular outgrowth of contemporary communications technology. "We wanted to make a story about pornography," says Bruckner. "We simply took the assignment of 'found footage POV tape' and thought, 'No one has done a found footage movie about a sex tape.' But think of the pervasiveness of Internet pornography, especially for young men — it's a ripe area for anxiety. That's a very uncomfortable place, making it ideal for when things to start to get horrible and blood spurts onto the camera lens."

The pair seems to have superficially contrasting personalities, with Tecosky, 33, coming across as a scruffy, rambunctious literature fan and Bruckner, 34, a clean-cut, controlled movie buff. But they share a creative sensibility that hinges on the darkest humor imaginable. Tecosky says, "I remember writing the treatment for 'Amateur Night,' taking turns at the computer, and we got to the point we were laughing at the over-the-top things we wrote: 'We can't put this in, can we?' And we had the justification, 'Oh, nobody's going to see it.' The fact that the script passed muster kind of surprised us. Some of the most violent things in it started as jokes about what we couldn't get away with."

Shot at the Aloha Motel on Memorial Drive, as well as the Star Bar and Eastside Lounge, "Amateur Night" captures a boozy, boisterous night of Atlanta bar crawling, only one that ends with a bloodbath. Mike Donlan and Joe Sykes play the douche bag friends of reluctant Clint (Sawyer), who wears the video spyglasses and makes a connection with an intense, enigmatic beauty (Hannah Fierman), who accompanies them back to the motel. The guys' sexist intentions go horrifically wrong, as Fierman, who required four hours of makeup from Myers, reveals herself to be more than just an out-of-towner, and possibly not even human.

"Amateur Night" partly comes across as a 20-minute rejoinder to today's spate of tame PG-13 horror films squeamish about nudity and bloodshed. The filmmakers take pains to provide a commentary on exploitation without simply being exploitative. Just when the female nudity feels voyeuristic, the film turns the tables and makes one of the men a vulnerable victim, cowering naked in the bathroom with a fanged marauder at the door. Bruckner says, "I think if we hadn't done full-frontal male ..."

"... we would've been hoisted on our petards," finishes Tecosky, who credits the women on the crew for helping them find a non-sexist balance. "Our producer, Linda Burns, was a very strong female presence, and helped guide us through some of these aspects."

Bruckner jokes that the male nude scene has one drawback: "It may not have as much effect in Atlanta, because who hasn't seen Joe Sykes naked?" referring to the actor's Full Monty exhibitionism at local stage plays such as 2007's Skin at Dad's Garage Theatre.

V/H/S' filmmakers worked independently, but their segments nonetheless feature a great deal of thematic overlap. "I think that the topic of sex and the male gaze is in all of the chapters in V/H/S. We thought we were the ones making the sick and depraved one!" says Bruckner.

"Then we got in the same room with the others and realized, 'Oh, we're all screwed up in the same way,'" adds Tecosky.

As a whole, V/H/S hangs together effectively, like a Tales From the Crypt for the iPhone generation. Adam Wingard's framing story, "Tape 56," shows three petty criminals hired to find a videotape in a sinister house, and the disorienting camerawork and rapid editing captures the drugged-up antiheroes' addled perceptions and attention spans. "Amateur Night's" showcase of blood and skin effectively segues to the slow burn of Ti West's "Second Honeymoon," in which a young couple on a road trip discovers they're being stalked by a mysterious figure.

pageimage-2
The weakest segment, "Tuesday the 17th," struggles as a riff on the Friday the 13th formula with flat dialogue and acting. To its credit, it features an ingenious, disturbing special effect, and may be the chapter that could best support expansion to feature length. Director Joe Swanberg, leader in the mumblecore movement of low-budget, doggedly realistic movies, helms a skin-crawling, technically brilliant segment, using a picture-in-picture Skype-type program, about a worried young woman telling her long-distance boyfriend about poltergeist-type activity. Halloween hauntings cut loose in the final segment, "10/31/98," but here a group of partying young bros makes a selfless, heroic choice. V/H/S ends holding out the thinnest sliver of hope for humanity amid a world of near-constant supernatural menace.

At nearly a full two hours, V/H/S feels one segment too long, but the short film format makes the recurring themes of compromised technology more overt than if the film only told one story. The anthology could provide the last word in found-footage movies, but Bruckner doesn't think the you-are-the-camera approach is going anywhere. "Found footage is going to be around for a while. People will view it as a stylistic choice and less as a gimmick. I'd like to see found footage put in other genres than horror," he says.

Five years to the month before Bruckner accompanied his fellow V/H/S filmmakers to Sundance, he debuted another horror film there, the entirely homegrown The Signal. Directed in three parts by Bruckner as well as Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry, The Signal explores a transmission that turns city dwellers into crazed berserkers, and alternates between different narrative techniques, from disgusting slapstick to contemplative, apocalyptic atmospherics.

A cult film since its 2007 release, The Signal announced Atlanta's emergence as a vibrant horror community. Three years later, AMC's "The Walking Dead" cemented the city's spooky reputation with episodes that featured hordes of zombies ravaging downtown Atlanta. Why does the Georgia capital provide such a believable backdrop for Armageddon? For anyone stuck in the city's rush hour, the idea of Atlantans turning feral and attacking each other in the streets is not a stretch.

Shows like the "The Walking Dead" and "The Vampire Diaries" provide steady paychecks for horror enthusiasts like Myers, who works a day job as a set dresser for the zombie show's set decorating department. "Our job is to make the apocalypse. Sometimes I have to build a pile of garbage that I can pick up and move as one piece, or a barricade that's on wheels, so we can move it out. Every once in a while I get to bring out my blood spatters." He finds it to be far more entertaining than decorating the sets of conventional films and TV shows. "Normally it's 'Stain these curtains. Clean this floor.' On 'The Walking Dead,' it's 'Smash that. Make that look like shit.' It's a lot of fun," he says.

That anarchic idea of fun suggests one of the reasons that a community of would-be horror mavens has coalesced around Atlanta. "Not only are the locations abundant, the talent top notch, and the pool of production companies growing, but the beer is cheaper than in L.A., which matters," remarks Deadhead Films' Eric Hollinshead, director of the upcoming horror-comedy Hell Hole. Hollinshead may be speaking tongue-in-cheek, but he conveys the esprit de gore of many first-time scary moviemakers and their vibe of "Let's make a movie in the backyard, only one NSFW."

Youth may even provide an advantage to filmmakers working in horror, compared to other genres. "If you're 25 years old trying to make a domestic drama, no one's going to pay attention to what you have to say about marriage. But I think people look to young voices specifically about horror," says Tecosky.

Overall, if Atlanta has a high quantity of film production, it stands to reason that a significant percentage would be a genre as popular as horror. "Horror has always been popular among indie filmmakers in every community, because it is the most upwardly mobile, narrative genre — the least dependent upon big budgets and major stars," says Wood.

"I would guess that Atlanta produces more than its share of low-budget horror films because the city has become such a major subcultural hub. A rising filmmaker can't help but be influenced by the energy surrounding 'The Walking Dead,' Zombieland, Scary Movie 5 — not to mention such wildly popular events as Dragon*Con, Netherworld, and the Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse."

Horror may be hot, but the frightful film genres still face the same challenges as any cinematic venture. Local director Deronte Smith and his production company Solaris Filmwerks have shot the scary tale Prosper, about a 300-year-old witch who sustains eternal youth by preying on young people every few decades. While Smith and his crew have finished the film's principal photography, he's now struggling to raise money to complete post-production.

pageimage-3
Smith points out that despite Atlanta's ample pool of strong actors, "There is a finite number of working professional crew with the expertise necessary to take a production to the next level. Indie filmmakers are left to the mercy of the schedules of people who are paid handsomely by studio projects coming into town. Often the quality of a production may suffer or it can simply come unraveled in post-production, which is the most difficult and tedious part of the entire moviemaking process." Smith has launched an Indiegogo account to raise $15,000 for visual effects, post-sound, and post-mixing to complete Prosper.

Prosper's example indicates that the influx of better-paying Hollywood productions can siphon resources from local filmmakers' projects. "When people get involved in the films of others, they don't have time to make their own," says Myers, who provides a showcase for local and national horror movies as director of the Buried Alive Film Festival, scheduled this year for Nov. 9-11.

Myers tries to use the festival to expand the Atlanta audience's genre expectations. "Every city has its own horror film festival, and we don't want to confine ourselves to horror. We want to show Atlanta the most demented, weird, and fucked-up cinema in the world," he says. Myers will book bizarro films from around the world, but last year's Buried Alive Film Festival included a program of "Georgia Fever Dreams," featuring such horrific shorts as Andrew Shearer's Freddy Krueger parody "A Wet Dream on Elm Street" and Chris Ethridge's "Survivor Type," an adaptation of a seemingly unfilmable Stephen King short story involving self-cannibalization.

As a designer of violent visions in his own right — Bruckner calls him "the dark prince himself" — Myers belongs to Atlanta's brotherhood of gore effects experts, including puppeteer Chris Brown, Silver Scream Spook Show host Shane Morton, and creature creator Toby Sells. Thanks to their ghastly labors of love, the city will never run short of homicidal clowns, charismatic ghouls, and other graveyard escapees.

Sometimes it seems as though you can't swing a dead cat in this town without hitting the undead in various states of decomposition. Charles Judson, head of programming for the Atlanta Film Festival, wishes local filmmakers would take more advantage of the Southeast's sinister storytelling traditions. "What better place to have a strong Gothic horror story, between the number of mansions, the number of abandoned farms, and all the other secret family legacies? If you hear 'There's been a curse on my family for 200 years ...' in the South, you believe it."

"I don't have a clear vision for where horror should go," Bruckner says. "While we were making The Signal and then V/H/S, we were never talking about the state of horror." Bruckner's interest in science-fiction horror, however, provides a means for the genre to keep pace with societal changes. Bruckner and Tecosky are currently working on a chiller involving social media.

V/H/S provides a signpost for another possible direction for scary fare through West's "Second Honeymoon." "Second Honeymoon" at first subtly conveys the emotional distance between its young couple, and then their tourist activities become increasingly colored by suspicion and dread. As a filmmaker, West leads the quietly compelling "alt-horror" subgenre, and his films such as the 1980s throwback House of the Devil minimize gross-outs and cheap jolts in favor of atmosphere and subtle characterizations.

At times, the overall Atlanta horror scene seems to put too much of a premium on gore, as if there's a constant competition to see who can engineer the most outlandish kill or stomach-churning zombie prosthetic. West sets an example that horror can establish multidimensional characters and believable situations, then open the floodgates of fake blood. You can have your believable, well-rounded characters and eat them, too. And in V/H/S, "Amateur Night" serves the dessert first. "
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Bruckner directs one of six segments in ''V/H/S'', a horror anthology film with five tales and a framing story that each draw on the "found footage" narrative style. Each terrifying tale unfolds from the point of view of a different video camera, a technique popularized by ''The Blair Witch Project'', ''Paranormal Activity'', and countless others since the turn of the new century. Bruckner and his Atlanta-based collaborators crafted the movie's first full segment, "Amateur Night," in which three young jerks go trolling for women, not realizing that their would-be conquest has an unearthly agenda.

"In every horror film in the 1980s someone falls, and we thought it would be fun to do that from the POV perspective," Bruckner says. At one point, the main character (Drew Sawyer), wearing eyeglasses with a hidden video camera, flees from a motel room turned charnel house and falls ass-over-teakettle down a flight of stairs, snapping one of his arms. As the special effects supervisor, Myers designed the segment's gore effects, including the prosthetic arm break that used silicone make-up and a pair of broken drumsticks for the snapped bones. Although originally filmed with Sawyer, Bruckner says that the angle of the break didn't look right in post-production. Since the director and Sawyer have similar body types, Myers and Bruckner reshot the grisly close-up using the director's own arm.

The prestigious Sundance Film Festival tapped ''V/H/S'' for its 2012 event in Park City, Utah, last January. During "Amateur Night," the stair fall and arm break literally [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2094187/V-H-S-horror-movie-Sundance-Film-Festivals-graphic-scenes-audiences-SICK.html|sickened some audience members]. "A guy felt nauseous and dizzy," Bruckner recalls. "He wandered to the edge of the theater and fainted, and his girlfriend threw up shortly after. It was really scary. We had to call an ambulance."

As an expert in blood spatters and gore effects, Myers couldn't have been more flattered: "Making people throw up at Sundance was one of my best credits ever."

Bruckner hastens to point out that the Sundance screenings provide an atypical movie-going experience. "It's a high-altitude location, and they'd been drinking. It ''is'' a shaky-cam experience, though. Part of disorienting the viewer is to create a visceral reaction. For some people, it's too much; they can't watch it. Others love it."

A fainting spectator delivers the kind of free publicity that horror movie producers crave, harking back to the 1950s and 1960s, when B-movie thriller maven William Castle would offer audiences insurance policies in case they died of fright. Not that ''V/H/S'' needed hype after its Sundance premiere. Magnolia Pictures picked up the film for distribution, and the film has garnered praise from the likes of ''Rolling Stone'' and the ''[http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/08/fall-movie-preview-20-movies-to-see-this-oscar-season/261538/#slide4|Atlantic]'', which put it on its list of "20 Movies to See This Oscar Season." While ''V/H/S'' pays homage to the lo-fi pleasures of videotape, the anthology was digitally released Aug. 31 On Demand via cable TV and the Internet. On Oct. 12, the provocative, low-budget scarefest opens a theatrical run at Atlanta's Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.

Macabre movie fans should expect occult output from a city [http://www.atlantamagazine.com/features/Story.aspx?ID=1531559|''Atlanta'' magazine] and the ''[http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/19/us/zombie-apocalypse-in-atlanta.html?_r=0|New York Times]'' have deemed "the zombie capital of the world." [http://clatl.com/atlanta/hollywood-comes-to-atlanta/Content?oid=2298123|Georgia continues to enjoy its increasing success as a film production mecca], jolted to life by a tax incentive for film production passed by the state in 2008. In the 2012 fiscal year, the [http://www.ajc.com/news/business/georgia-film-tv-production-up-nearly-200m-since-la/nSKns/|state earned $880 million] — up from $690 million the year before — from 333 films, television shows, commercials, and music videos. If Atlanta and the rest of the state have realized a dream of showbiz achievement, the horror production scene simmers like the darker corners of the subconscious.

"It's almost hard to make a film here that's ''not'' horror-related," says Atlanta-based director Bret Wood as he prepares to commence production on the lesbian vampire tale ''Carmilla'', an adaptation of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's 19th-century novel. Our homegrown horror fare includes the satirical ''Blood Car'', the ambitious, apocalyptic ''[http://clatl.com/atlanta/done-deal/Content?oid=1265449|The Signal]'', and the grindhouse throwback ''Dear God, No!'', suggesting that the Atlanta area provides a regional hub for grisly film fantasies. The release of ''V/H/S'' captures the genre's bloody, unnerving present while pointing to a fresh direction for things to come.

__In 1998, a handful of__ filmmakers entered the Maryland woods and emerged the following week with a movie phenomenon. On its face, ''The Blair Witch Project'' provides a modest but effectively creepy campfire story as a trio of would-be documentarians fall prey to occult forces that defy rational explanation. The concept behind the film, that we're watching footage recovered after the fact, holds an unexpectedly enduring power, particularly as the quasi-documentary style makes the supernatural terrors seem all the more real.

[page][image-1]
Filmed for less than $1 million, ''The Blair Witch Project'' earned more than $100 million after its 1999 release, making it one of the most profitable films ever. In 2007, the first ''Paranormal Activity'' provided a similarly huge return on investment. Hollywood can't resist such a potential payoff. Thanks to ''Blair Witch'', we've seen more than a decade of found-footage films shot intentionally poorly, including outlandish variations like the coffin-cam of ''Buried'', the astronaut capsule-cam of ''Apollo 18,'' and the about-to-be-stomped-by-a-monster-cam of ''Cloverfield''.

Just when the found-footage concept seemed exhausted, Brad Miska, editor-in-chief of the horror news website [http://bloody-disgusting.com/|Bloody-Disgusting.com], decided to shake up the genre with an anthology movie helmed by a diverse group of filmmakers. Nicholas Tecosky, Bruckner's writing partner, finds ''V/H/S'' to be an ideal vehicle for the approach. "I think found footage is a format that can get tired in a full-length feature," he says. "What's exciting is that it's very visceral, and what's exciting in an anthology is that you can experience that visceral quality multiple times."

Bruckner and Tecosky wanted to use their ''V/H/S'' segment to explore a particular outgrowth of contemporary communications technology. "We wanted to make a story about pornography," says Bruckner. "We simply took the assignment of 'found footage POV tape' and thought, 'No one has done a found footage movie about a sex tape.' But think of the pervasiveness of Internet pornography, especially for young men — it's a ripe area for anxiety. That's a very uncomfortable place, making it ideal for when things to start to get horrible and blood spurts onto the camera lens."

The pair seems to have superficially contrasting personalities, with Tecosky, 33, coming across as a scruffy, rambunctious literature fan and Bruckner, 34, a clean-cut, controlled movie buff. But they share a creative sensibility that hinges on the darkest humor imaginable. Tecosky says, "I remember writing the treatment for 'Amateur Night,' taking turns at the computer, and we got to the point we were laughing at the over-the-top things we wrote: 'We can't put this in, can we?' And we had the justification, 'Oh, nobody's going to see it.' The fact that the script passed muster kind of surprised us. Some of the most violent things in it started as jokes about what we couldn't get away with."

Shot at the Aloha Motel on Memorial Drive, as well as the Star Bar and Eastside Lounge, "Amateur Night" captures a boozy, boisterous night of Atlanta bar crawling, only one that ends with a bloodbath. Mike Donlan and Joe Sykes play the douche bag friends of reluctant Clint (Sawyer), who wears the video spyglasses and makes a connection with an intense, enigmatic beauty (Hannah Fierman), who accompanies them back to the motel. The guys' sexist intentions go horrifically wrong, as Fierman, who required four hours of makeup from Myers, reveals herself to be more than just an out-of-towner, and possibly not even human.

"Amateur Night" partly comes across as a 20-minute rejoinder to today's spate of tame PG-13 horror films squeamish about nudity and bloodshed. The filmmakers take pains to provide a commentary on exploitation without simply being exploitative. Just when the female nudity feels voyeuristic, the film turns the tables and makes one of the men a vulnerable victim, cowering naked in the bathroom with a fanged marauder at the door. Bruckner says, "I think if we hadn't done full-frontal male ..."

"... we would've been hoisted on our petards," finishes Tecosky, who credits the women on the crew for helping them find a non-sexist balance. "Our producer, Linda Burns, was a very strong female presence, and helped guide us through some of these aspects."

Bruckner jokes that the male nude scene has one drawback: "It may not have as much effect in Atlanta, because who ''hasn't'' seen Joe Sykes naked?" referring to the actor's Full Monty exhibitionism at local stage plays such as 2007's ''Skin'' at Dad's Garage Theatre.

''V/H/S''' filmmakers worked independently, but their segments nonetheless feature a great deal of thematic overlap. "I think that the topic of sex and the male gaze is in all of the chapters in ''V/H/S''. We thought ''we'' were the ones making the sick and depraved one!" says Bruckner.

"Then we got in the same room with the others and realized, 'Oh, we're all screwed up in the same way,'" adds Tecosky.

As a whole, ''V/H/S'' hangs together effectively, like a ''Tales From the Crypt'' for the iPhone generation. Adam Wingard's framing story, "Tape 56," shows three petty criminals hired to find a videotape in a sinister house, and the disorienting camerawork and rapid editing captures the drugged-up antiheroes' addled perceptions and attention spans. "Amateur Night's" showcase of blood and skin effectively segues to the slow burn of Ti West's "Second Honeymoon," in which a young couple on a road trip discovers they're being stalked by a mysterious figure.

[page][image-2]
The weakest segment, "Tuesday the 17th," struggles as a riff on the ''Friday the 13th'' formula with flat dialogue and acting. To its credit, it features an ingenious, disturbing special effect, and may be the chapter that could best support expansion to feature length. Director Joe Swanberg, leader in the mumblecore movement of low-budget, doggedly realistic movies, helms a skin-crawling, technically brilliant segment, using a picture-in-picture Skype-type program, about a worried young woman telling her long-distance boyfriend about poltergeist-type activity. Halloween hauntings cut loose in the final segment, "10/31/98," but here a group of partying young bros makes a selfless, heroic choice. ''V/H/S'' ends holding out the thinnest sliver of hope for humanity amid a world of near-constant supernatural menace.

At nearly a full two hours, ''V/H/S'' feels one segment too long, but the short film format makes the recurring themes of compromised technology more overt than if the film only told one story. The anthology could provide the last word in found-footage movies, but Bruckner doesn't think the you-are-the-camera approach is going anywhere. "Found footage is going to be around for a while. People will view it as a stylistic choice and less as a gimmick. I'd like to see found footage put in other genres than horror," he says.

__Five years to the month__ before Bruckner accompanied his fellow ''V/H/S'' filmmakers to Sundance, he debuted another horror film there, the entirely homegrown ''The Signal''. Directed in three parts by Bruckner as well as Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry, ''The Signal'' explores a transmission that turns city dwellers into crazed berserkers, and alternates between different narrative techniques, from disgusting slapstick to contemplative, apocalyptic atmospherics.

A cult film since its 2007 release, ''The Signal'' announced Atlanta's emergence as a vibrant horror community. Three years later, AMC's "The Walking Dead" cemented the city's spooky reputation with episodes that featured hordes of zombies ravaging downtown Atlanta. Why does the Georgia capital provide such a believable backdrop for Armageddon? For anyone stuck in the city's rush hour, the idea of Atlantans turning feral and attacking each other in the streets is not a stretch.

Shows like the "The Walking Dead" and "The Vampire Diaries" provide steady paychecks for horror enthusiasts like Myers, who works a day job as a set dresser for the zombie show's set decorating department. "Our job is to make the apocalypse. Sometimes I have to build a pile of garbage that I can pick up and move as one piece, or a barricade that's on wheels, so we can move it out. Every once in a while I get to bring out my blood spatters." He finds it to be far more entertaining than decorating the sets of conventional films and TV shows. "Normally it's 'Stain these curtains. Clean this floor.' On 'The Walking Dead,' it's 'Smash that. Make that look like shit.' It's a lot of fun," he says.

That anarchic idea of fun suggests one of the reasons that a community of would-be horror mavens has coalesced around Atlanta. "Not only are the locations abundant, the talent top notch, and the pool of production companies growing, but the beer is cheaper than in L.A., which matters," remarks Deadhead Films' Eric Hollinshead, director of the upcoming horror-comedy ''Hell Hole''. Hollinshead may be speaking tongue-in-cheek, but he conveys the ''esprit de gore'' of many first-time scary moviemakers and their vibe of "Let's make a movie in the backyard, only one NSFW."

Youth may even provide an advantage to filmmakers working in horror, compared to other genres. "If you're 25 years old trying to make a domestic drama, no one's going to pay attention to what you have to say about marriage. But I think people look to young voices specifically about horror," says Tecosky.

Overall, if Atlanta has a high quantity of film production, it stands to reason that a significant percentage would be a genre as popular as horror. "Horror has always been popular among indie filmmakers in every community, because it is the most upwardly mobile, narrative genre — the least dependent upon big budgets and major stars," says Wood.

"I would guess that Atlanta produces more than its share of low-budget horror films because the city has become such a major subcultural hub. A rising filmmaker can't help but be influenced by the energy surrounding 'The Walking Dead,' ''Zombieland'', ''Scary Movie 5'' — not to mention such wildly popular events as Dragon*Con, Netherworld, and the Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse."

Horror may be hot, but the frightful film genres still face the same challenges as any cinematic venture. Local director Deronte Smith and his production company Solaris Filmwerks have shot the scary tale ''Prosper'', about a 300-year-old witch who sustains eternal youth by preying on young people every few decades. While Smith and his crew have finished the film's principal photography, he's now struggling to raise money to complete post-production.

[page][image-3]
Smith points out that despite Atlanta's ample pool of strong actors, "There is a finite number of working professional crew with the expertise necessary to take a production to the next level. Indie filmmakers are left to the mercy of the schedules of people who are paid handsomely by studio projects coming into town. Often the quality of a production may suffer or it can simply come unraveled in post-production, which is the most difficult and tedious part of the entire moviemaking process." [http://www.indiegogo.com/ProsperHorrorMovie?a=44412|Smith has launched an Indiegogo account] to raise $15,000 for visual effects, post-sound, and post-mixing to complete ''Prosper''.

''Prosper'''s example indicates that the influx of better-paying Hollywood productions can siphon resources from local filmmakers' projects. "When people get involved in the films of others, they don't have time to make their own," says Myers, who provides a showcase for local and national horror movies as director of the Buried Alive Film Festival, scheduled this year for Nov. 9-11.

Myers tries to use the festival to expand the Atlanta audience's genre expectations. "Every city has its own horror film festival, and we don't want to confine ourselves to horror. We want to show Atlanta the most demented, weird, and fucked-up cinema in the world," he says. Myers will book bizarro films from around the world, but last year's Buried Alive Film Festival included a program of "Georgia Fever Dreams," featuring such horrific shorts as Andrew Shearer's Freddy Krueger parody "A Wet Dream on Elm Street" and Chris Ethridge's "Survivor Type," an adaptation of a seemingly unfilmable Stephen King short story involving self-cannibalization.

As a designer of violent visions in his own right — Bruckner calls him "the dark prince himself" — Myers belongs to Atlanta's brotherhood of gore effects experts, including puppeteer Chris Brown, Silver Scream Spook Show host Shane Morton, and creature creator Toby Sells. Thanks to their ghastly labors of love, the city will never run short of homicidal clowns, charismatic ghouls, and other graveyard escapees.

__Sometimes it seems__ as though you can't swing a dead cat in this town without hitting the undead in various states of decomposition. Charles Judson, head of programming for the Atlanta Film Festival, wishes local filmmakers would take more advantage of the Southeast's sinister storytelling traditions. "What better place to have a strong Gothic horror story, between the number of mansions, the number of abandoned farms, and all the other secret family legacies? If you hear 'There's been a curse on my family for 200 years ...' in the South, you ''believe'' it."

"I don't have a clear vision for where horror should go," Bruckner says. "While we were making ''The Signal'' and then ''V/H/S'', we were never talking about the state of horror." Bruckner's interest in science-fiction horror, however, provides a means for the genre to keep pace with societal changes. Bruckner and Tecosky are currently working on a chiller involving social media.

''V/H/S'' provides a signpost for another possible direction for scary fare through West's "Second Honeymoon." "Second Honeymoon" at first subtly conveys the emotional distance between its young couple, and then their tourist activities become increasingly colored by suspicion and dread. As a filmmaker, West leads the quietly compelling "alt-horror" subgenre, and his films such as the 1980s throwback ''House of the Devil'' minimize gross-outs and cheap jolts in favor of atmosphere and subtle characterizations.

At times, the overall Atlanta horror scene seems to put too much of a premium on gore, as if there's a constant competition to see who can engineer the most outlandish kill or stomach-churning zombie prosthetic. West sets an example that horror can establish multidimensional characters and believable situations, ''then'' open the floodgates of fake blood. You can have your believable, well-rounded characters and eat them, too. And in ''V/H/S'', "Amateur Night" serves the dessert first. "
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  string(19381) "    Indie horror continues to coagulate in and around Atlanta with the release of the latest local thriller   2012-10-04T08:00:00+00:00 Cover Story - V/H/S' schlockbuster success   Curt Holman Curt Holman 2012-10-04T08:00:00+00:00  In the chill of last January, a terrifying incident in David Bruckner's career as a film director also provided a crowning achievement for special effects artist Blake Myers.

Bruckner directs one of six segments in V/H/S, a horror anthology film with five tales and a framing story that each draw on the "found footage" narrative style. Each terrifying tale unfolds from the point of view of a different video camera, a technique popularized by The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, and countless others since the turn of the new century. Bruckner and his Atlanta-based collaborators crafted the movie's first full segment, "Amateur Night," in which three young jerks go trolling for women, not realizing that their would-be conquest has an unearthly agenda.

"In every horror film in the 1980s someone falls, and we thought it would be fun to do that from the POV perspective," Bruckner says. At one point, the main character (Drew Sawyer), wearing eyeglasses with a hidden video camera, flees from a motel room turned charnel house and falls ass-over-teakettle down a flight of stairs, snapping one of his arms. As the special effects supervisor, Myers designed the segment's gore effects, including the prosthetic arm break that used silicone make-up and a pair of broken drumsticks for the snapped bones. Although originally filmed with Sawyer, Bruckner says that the angle of the break didn't look right in post-production. Since the director and Sawyer have similar body types, Myers and Bruckner reshot the grisly close-up using the director's own arm.

The prestigious Sundance Film Festival tapped V/H/S for its 2012 event in Park City, Utah, last January. During "Amateur Night," the stair fall and arm break literally sickened some audience members. "A guy felt nauseous and dizzy," Bruckner recalls. "He wandered to the edge of the theater and fainted, and his girlfriend threw up shortly after. It was really scary. We had to call an ambulance."

As an expert in blood spatters and gore effects, Myers couldn't have been more flattered: "Making people throw up at Sundance was one of my best credits ever."

Bruckner hastens to point out that the Sundance screenings provide an atypical movie-going experience. "It's a high-altitude location, and they'd been drinking. It is a shaky-cam experience, though. Part of disorienting the viewer is to create a visceral reaction. For some people, it's too much; they can't watch it. Others love it."

A fainting spectator delivers the kind of free publicity that horror movie producers crave, harking back to the 1950s and 1960s, when B-movie thriller maven William Castle would offer audiences insurance policies in case they died of fright. Not that V/H/S needed hype after its Sundance premiere. Magnolia Pictures picked up the film for distribution, and the film has garnered praise from the likes of Rolling Stone and the Atlantic, which put it on its list of "20 Movies to See This Oscar Season." While V/H/S pays homage to the lo-fi pleasures of videotape, the anthology was digitally released Aug. 31 On Demand via cable TV and the Internet. On Oct. 12, the provocative, low-budget scarefest opens a theatrical run at Atlanta's Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.

Macabre movie fans should expect occult output from a city Atlanta magazine and the New York Times have deemed "the zombie capital of the world." Georgia continues to enjoy its increasing success as a film production mecca, jolted to life by a tax incentive for film production passed by the state in 2008. In the 2012 fiscal year, the state earned $880 million — up from $690 million the year before — from 333 films, television shows, commercials, and music videos. If Atlanta and the rest of the state have realized a dream of showbiz achievement, the horror production scene simmers like the darker corners of the subconscious.

"It's almost hard to make a film here that's not horror-related," says Atlanta-based director Bret Wood as he prepares to commence production on the lesbian vampire tale Carmilla, an adaptation of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's 19th-century novel. Our homegrown horror fare includes the satirical Blood Car, the ambitious, apocalyptic The Signal, and the grindhouse throwback Dear God, No!, suggesting that the Atlanta area provides a regional hub for grisly film fantasies. The release of V/H/S captures the genre's bloody, unnerving present while pointing to a fresh direction for things to come.

In 1998, a handful of filmmakers entered the Maryland woods and emerged the following week with a movie phenomenon. On its face, The Blair Witch Project provides a modest but effectively creepy campfire story as a trio of would-be documentarians fall prey to occult forces that defy rational explanation. The concept behind the film, that we're watching footage recovered after the fact, holds an unexpectedly enduring power, particularly as the quasi-documentary style makes the supernatural terrors seem all the more real.

pageimage-1
Filmed for less than $1 million, The Blair Witch Project earned more than $100 million after its 1999 release, making it one of the most profitable films ever. In 2007, the first Paranormal Activity provided a similarly huge return on investment. Hollywood can't resist such a potential payoff. Thanks to Blair Witch, we've seen more than a decade of found-footage films shot intentionally poorly, including outlandish variations like the coffin-cam of Buried, the astronaut capsule-cam of Apollo 18, and the about-to-be-stomped-by-a-monster-cam of Cloverfield.

Just when the found-footage concept seemed exhausted, Brad Miska, editor-in-chief of the horror news website Bloody-Disgusting.com, decided to shake up the genre with an anthology movie helmed by a diverse group of filmmakers. Nicholas Tecosky, Bruckner's writing partner, finds V/H/S to be an ideal vehicle for the approach. "I think found footage is a format that can get tired in a full-length feature," he says. "What's exciting is that it's very visceral, and what's exciting in an anthology is that you can experience that visceral quality multiple times."

Bruckner and Tecosky wanted to use their V/H/S segment to explore a particular outgrowth of contemporary communications technology. "We wanted to make a story about pornography," says Bruckner. "We simply took the assignment of 'found footage POV tape' and thought, 'No one has done a found footage movie about a sex tape.' But think of the pervasiveness of Internet pornography, especially for young men — it's a ripe area for anxiety. That's a very uncomfortable place, making it ideal for when things to start to get horrible and blood spurts onto the camera lens."

The pair seems to have superficially contrasting personalities, with Tecosky, 33, coming across as a scruffy, rambunctious literature fan and Bruckner, 34, a clean-cut, controlled movie buff. But they share a creative sensibility that hinges on the darkest humor imaginable. Tecosky says, "I remember writing the treatment for 'Amateur Night,' taking turns at the computer, and we got to the point we were laughing at the over-the-top things we wrote: 'We can't put this in, can we?' And we had the justification, 'Oh, nobody's going to see it.' The fact that the script passed muster kind of surprised us. Some of the most violent things in it started as jokes about what we couldn't get away with."

Shot at the Aloha Motel on Memorial Drive, as well as the Star Bar and Eastside Lounge, "Amateur Night" captures a boozy, boisterous night of Atlanta bar crawling, only one that ends with a bloodbath. Mike Donlan and Joe Sykes play the douche bag friends of reluctant Clint (Sawyer), who wears the video spyglasses and makes a connection with an intense, enigmatic beauty (Hannah Fierman), who accompanies them back to the motel. The guys' sexist intentions go horrifically wrong, as Fierman, who required four hours of makeup from Myers, reveals herself to be more than just an out-of-towner, and possibly not even human.

"Amateur Night" partly comes across as a 20-minute rejoinder to today's spate of tame PG-13 horror films squeamish about nudity and bloodshed. The filmmakers take pains to provide a commentary on exploitation without simply being exploitative. Just when the female nudity feels voyeuristic, the film turns the tables and makes one of the men a vulnerable victim, cowering naked in the bathroom with a fanged marauder at the door. Bruckner says, "I think if we hadn't done full-frontal male ..."

"... we would've been hoisted on our petards," finishes Tecosky, who credits the women on the crew for helping them find a non-sexist balance. "Our producer, Linda Burns, was a very strong female presence, and helped guide us through some of these aspects."

Bruckner jokes that the male nude scene has one drawback: "It may not have as much effect in Atlanta, because who hasn't seen Joe Sykes naked?" referring to the actor's Full Monty exhibitionism at local stage plays such as 2007's Skin at Dad's Garage Theatre.

V/H/S' filmmakers worked independently, but their segments nonetheless feature a great deal of thematic overlap. "I think that the topic of sex and the male gaze is in all of the chapters in V/H/S. We thought we were the ones making the sick and depraved one!" says Bruckner.

"Then we got in the same room with the others and realized, 'Oh, we're all screwed up in the same way,'" adds Tecosky.

As a whole, V/H/S hangs together effectively, like a Tales From the Crypt for the iPhone generation. Adam Wingard's framing story, "Tape 56," shows three petty criminals hired to find a videotape in a sinister house, and the disorienting camerawork and rapid editing captures the drugged-up antiheroes' addled perceptions and attention spans. "Amateur Night's" showcase of blood and skin effectively segues to the slow burn of Ti West's "Second Honeymoon," in which a young couple on a road trip discovers they're being stalked by a mysterious figure.

pageimage-2
The weakest segment, "Tuesday the 17th," struggles as a riff on the Friday the 13th formula with flat dialogue and acting. To its credit, it features an ingenious, disturbing special effect, and may be the chapter that could best support expansion to feature length. Director Joe Swanberg, leader in the mumblecore movement of low-budget, doggedly realistic movies, helms a skin-crawling, technically brilliant segment, using a picture-in-picture Skype-type program, about a worried young woman telling her long-distance boyfriend about poltergeist-type activity. Halloween hauntings cut loose in the final segment, "10/31/98," but here a group of partying young bros makes a selfless, heroic choice. V/H/S ends holding out the thinnest sliver of hope for humanity amid a world of near-constant supernatural menace.

At nearly a full two hours, V/H/S feels one segment too long, but the short film format makes the recurring themes of compromised technology more overt than if the film only told one story. The anthology could provide the last word in found-footage movies, but Bruckner doesn't think the you-are-the-camera approach is going anywhere. "Found footage is going to be around for a while. People will view it as a stylistic choice and less as a gimmick. I'd like to see found footage put in other genres than horror," he says.

Five years to the month before Bruckner accompanied his fellow V/H/S filmmakers to Sundance, he debuted another horror film there, the entirely homegrown The Signal. Directed in three parts by Bruckner as well as Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry, The Signal explores a transmission that turns city dwellers into crazed berserkers, and alternates between different narrative techniques, from disgusting slapstick to contemplative, apocalyptic atmospherics.

A cult film since its 2007 release, The Signal announced Atlanta's emergence as a vibrant horror community. Three years later, AMC's "The Walking Dead" cemented the city's spooky reputation with episodes that featured hordes of zombies ravaging downtown Atlanta. Why does the Georgia capital provide such a believable backdrop for Armageddon? For anyone stuck in the city's rush hour, the idea of Atlantans turning feral and attacking each other in the streets is not a stretch.

Shows like the "The Walking Dead" and "The Vampire Diaries" provide steady paychecks for horror enthusiasts like Myers, who works a day job as a set dresser for the zombie show's set decorating department. "Our job is to make the apocalypse. Sometimes I have to build a pile of garbage that I can pick up and move as one piece, or a barricade that's on wheels, so we can move it out. Every once in a while I get to bring out my blood spatters." He finds it to be far more entertaining than decorating the sets of conventional films and TV shows. "Normally it's 'Stain these curtains. Clean this floor.' On 'The Walking Dead,' it's 'Smash that. Make that look like shit.' It's a lot of fun," he says.

That anarchic idea of fun suggests one of the reasons that a community of would-be horror mavens has coalesced around Atlanta. "Not only are the locations abundant, the talent top notch, and the pool of production companies growing, but the beer is cheaper than in L.A., which matters," remarks Deadhead Films' Eric Hollinshead, director of the upcoming horror-comedy Hell Hole. Hollinshead may be speaking tongue-in-cheek, but he conveys the esprit de gore of many first-time scary moviemakers and their vibe of "Let's make a movie in the backyard, only one NSFW."

Youth may even provide an advantage to filmmakers working in horror, compared to other genres. "If you're 25 years old trying to make a domestic drama, no one's going to pay attention to what you have to say about marriage. But I think people look to young voices specifically about horror," says Tecosky.

Overall, if Atlanta has a high quantity of film production, it stands to reason that a significant percentage would be a genre as popular as horror. "Horror has always been popular among indie filmmakers in every community, because it is the most upwardly mobile, narrative genre — the least dependent upon big budgets and major stars," says Wood.

"I would guess that Atlanta produces more than its share of low-budget horror films because the city has become such a major subcultural hub. A rising filmmaker can't help but be influenced by the energy surrounding 'The Walking Dead,' Zombieland, Scary Movie 5 — not to mention such wildly popular events as Dragon*Con, Netherworld, and the Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse."

Horror may be hot, but the frightful film genres still face the same challenges as any cinematic venture. Local director Deronte Smith and his production company Solaris Filmwerks have shot the scary tale Prosper, about a 300-year-old witch who sustains eternal youth by preying on young people every few decades. While Smith and his crew have finished the film's principal photography, he's now struggling to raise money to complete post-production.

pageimage-3
Smith points out that despite Atlanta's ample pool of strong actors, "There is a finite number of working professional crew with the expertise necessary to take a production to the next level. Indie filmmakers are left to the mercy of the schedules of people who are paid handsomely by studio projects coming into town. Often the quality of a production may suffer or it can simply come unraveled in post-production, which is the most difficult and tedious part of the entire moviemaking process." Smith has launched an Indiegogo account to raise $15,000 for visual effects, post-sound, and post-mixing to complete Prosper.

Prosper's example indicates that the influx of better-paying Hollywood productions can siphon resources from local filmmakers' projects. "When people get involved in the films of others, they don't have time to make their own," says Myers, who provides a showcase for local and national horror movies as director of the Buried Alive Film Festival, scheduled this year for Nov. 9-11.

Myers tries to use the festival to expand the Atlanta audience's genre expectations. "Every city has its own horror film festival, and we don't want to confine ourselves to horror. We want to show Atlanta the most demented, weird, and fucked-up cinema in the world," he says. Myers will book bizarro films from around the world, but last year's Buried Alive Film Festival included a program of "Georgia Fever Dreams," featuring such horrific shorts as Andrew Shearer's Freddy Krueger parody "A Wet Dream on Elm Street" and Chris Ethridge's "Survivor Type," an adaptation of a seemingly unfilmable Stephen King short story involving self-cannibalization.

As a designer of violent visions in his own right — Bruckner calls him "the dark prince himself" — Myers belongs to Atlanta's brotherhood of gore effects experts, including puppeteer Chris Brown, Silver Scream Spook Show host Shane Morton, and creature creator Toby Sells. Thanks to their ghastly labors of love, the city will never run short of homicidal clowns, charismatic ghouls, and other graveyard escapees.

Sometimes it seems as though you can't swing a dead cat in this town without hitting the undead in various states of decomposition. Charles Judson, head of programming for the Atlanta Film Festival, wishes local filmmakers would take more advantage of the Southeast's sinister storytelling traditions. "What better place to have a strong Gothic horror story, between the number of mansions, the number of abandoned farms, and all the other secret family legacies? If you hear 'There's been a curse on my family for 200 years ...' in the South, you believe it."

"I don't have a clear vision for where horror should go," Bruckner says. "While we were making The Signal and then V/H/S, we were never talking about the state of horror." Bruckner's interest in science-fiction horror, however, provides a means for the genre to keep pace with societal changes. Bruckner and Tecosky are currently working on a chiller involving social media.

V/H/S provides a signpost for another possible direction for scary fare through West's "Second Honeymoon." "Second Honeymoon" at first subtly conveys the emotional distance between its young couple, and then their tourist activities become increasingly colored by suspicion and dread. As a filmmaker, West leads the quietly compelling "alt-horror" subgenre, and his films such as the 1980s throwback House of the Devil minimize gross-outs and cheap jolts in favor of atmosphere and subtle characterizations.

At times, the overall Atlanta horror scene seems to put too much of a premium on gore, as if there's a constant competition to see who can engineer the most outlandish kill or stomach-churning zombie prosthetic. West sets an example that horror can establish multidimensional characters and believable situations, then open the floodgates of fake blood. You can have your believable, well-rounded characters and eat them, too. And in V/H/S, "Amateur Night" serves the dessert first.              13070668 6550669                          Cover Story - V/H/S' schlockbuster success "
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Thursday October 4, 2012 04:00 am EDT
Indie horror continues to coagulate in and around Atlanta with the release of the latest local thriller | more...
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  string(3051) "The neighbors on Nicole Livieratos' quiet cul-de-sac in Decatur probably have been whispering lately. She's been out in the street a lot, making chalk marks on the pavement, instructing a small group of regular visitors to run full force into brick walls, drink from empty glasses, and bounce around with physio-balls strapped to themselves.

It's a strange sight, but there's a simple explanation. Livieratos and her six dancers are among the artists preparing work for Flux Night in Castleberry Hill on October 6. The free annual event brings installations, projections, music, dance, and performance art to the downtown neighborhood for one busy, vibrant evening of outdoor public art. This year, in addition to Livieratos' piece, there'll be performances from Atlanta dance company gloATL, a New Orleans-style jazz funeral parade by the Krewe of Grateful Gluttons, art scavenger hunts by street artists Evereman and Catlanta, an interactive "sound forest" by art collective Aphidoidea, and more.

Liveratos' own work, titled Turn the Page, examines the absurdity of humankind's inability to change destructive behavior related to energy consumption. Viewers will follow six dancers down Nelson Street as the performers move through six surreal Alice in Wonderland-like installations, trying to complete an absurd task in each one: They'll struggle to climb out of closets, attempting every solution except walking through the open door in front of them; they'll try on shirt after shirt, smoothing out wrinkles that they only make worse by tossing the rejected shirts back into a crumpled pile; and they'll take turns shifting in an easy chair suspended above the street, seeking a comfortable position in an unchangingly precarious situation.

"It's dealing with our propensity to resist change," Livieratos says of the inspiration behind the work. "It's not like we don't have options, we just don't use them. I'm kind of seeing if laughing at ourselves might make a difference."

Although Livieratos has been an important fixture on the Atlanta dance scene since the mid-'90s, and Flux is now in its third year, this is the first time the two have come together. "I had this idea of doing this work about energy consumption, and I felt like Flux would be a great setting for it," she says. "It's the kind of outdoor performance work they support so well. It seemed like a great match."

Turn the Page is probably an appropriate title for the work in many senses: Livieratos recently disbanded her small Decatur-based dance company, Gardenhouse Dance, to return to more performance-based work as an independent artist. The new large-scale public work also marks a departure from her recent smaller pieces, which are often set in quiet, intimate places. "Change is scary to us all," she says, "It's not only about energy consumption. ... Flux is a huge event. It's outdoors, it's a mass of people. The challenge for me is to create an authentic experience in that setting. ... We'll see. It's all going to be kind of a wild card no matter what." "
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It's a strange sight, but there's a simple explanation. Livieratos and her six dancers are among the artists preparing work for Flux Night in Castleberry Hill on October 6. The free annual event brings installations, projections, music, dance, and performance art to the downtown neighborhood for one busy, vibrant evening of outdoor public art. This year, in addition to Livieratos' piece, there'll be performances from Atlanta dance company gloATL, a New Orleans-style jazz funeral parade by the Krewe of Grateful Gluttons, art scavenger hunts by street artists Evereman and Catlanta, an interactive "sound forest" by art collective Aphidoidea, and more.

Liveratos' own work, titled ''Turn the Page'', examines the absurdity of humankind's inability to change destructive behavior related to energy consumption. Viewers will follow six dancers down Nelson Street as the performers move through six surreal ''Alice in Wonderland''-like installations, trying to complete an absurd task in each one: They'll struggle to climb out of closets, attempting every solution except walking through the open door in front of them; they'll try on shirt after shirt, smoothing out wrinkles that they only make worse by tossing the rejected shirts back into a crumpled pile; and they'll take turns shifting in an easy chair suspended above the street, seeking a comfortable position in an unchangingly precarious situation.

"It's dealing with our propensity to resist change," Livieratos says of the inspiration behind the work. "It's not like we don't have options, we just don't use them. I'm kind of seeing if laughing at ourselves might make a difference."

Although Livieratos has been an important fixture on the Atlanta dance scene since the mid-'90s, and Flux is now in its third year, this is the first time the two have come together. "I had this idea of doing this work about energy consumption, and I felt like Flux would be a great setting for it," she says. "It's the kind of outdoor performance work they support so well. It seemed like a great match."

''Turn the Page'' is probably an appropriate title for the work in many senses: Livieratos recently disbanded her small Decatur-based dance company, Gardenhouse Dance, to return to more performance-based work as an independent artist. The new large-scale public work also marks a departure from her recent smaller pieces, which are often set in quiet, intimate places. "Change is scary to us all," she says, "It's not only about energy consumption. ... Flux is a huge event. It's outdoors, it's a mass of people. The challenge for me is to create an authentic experience in that setting. ... We'll see. It's all going to be kind of a wild card no matter what." "
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It's a strange sight, but there's a simple explanation. Livieratos and her six dancers are among the artists preparing work for Flux Night in Castleberry Hill on October 6. The free annual event brings installations, projections, music, dance, and performance art to the downtown neighborhood for one busy, vibrant evening of outdoor public art. This year, in addition to Livieratos' piece, there'll be performances from Atlanta dance company gloATL, a New Orleans-style jazz funeral parade by the Krewe of Grateful Gluttons, art scavenger hunts by street artists Evereman and Catlanta, an interactive "sound forest" by art collective Aphidoidea, and more.

Liveratos' own work, titled Turn the Page, examines the absurdity of humankind's inability to change destructive behavior related to energy consumption. Viewers will follow six dancers down Nelson Street as the performers move through six surreal Alice in Wonderland-like installations, trying to complete an absurd task in each one: They'll struggle to climb out of closets, attempting every solution except walking through the open door in front of them; they'll try on shirt after shirt, smoothing out wrinkles that they only make worse by tossing the rejected shirts back into a crumpled pile; and they'll take turns shifting in an easy chair suspended above the street, seeking a comfortable position in an unchangingly precarious situation.

"It's dealing with our propensity to resist change," Livieratos says of the inspiration behind the work. "It's not like we don't have options, we just don't use them. I'm kind of seeing if laughing at ourselves might make a difference."

Although Livieratos has been an important fixture on the Atlanta dance scene since the mid-'90s, and Flux is now in its third year, this is the first time the two have come together. "I had this idea of doing this work about energy consumption, and I felt like Flux would be a great setting for it," she says. "It's the kind of outdoor performance work they support so well. It seemed like a great match."

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Wednesday October 3, 2012 09:00 am EDT
New dance work makes its debut at Castleberry's night of public art | more...
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  string(34) "Young Blood turns the big one-five"
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  string(4978) "Three locations and more than 1,000 artists after its humble beginnings in a West End house, Young Blood Gallery & Boutique will celebrate its 15-year anniversary this weekend. Here, co-owners/founders Kelly Teasley and Maggie White discuss the house parties that helped shape an underground art movement in the late '90s and early 2000s and continue to inform the newest generations of emerging Atlanta artists and gallerists. For the The 15 Year Anniversary Retrospective, opening Sat., Oct. 6, 7-10 p.m., White and Teasley reached out to the artists they've done major shows with since 1997 and will be exhibiting 95 of them.

What were the origins of Young Blood?

Maggie White: Well we lived in the historic West End and we had found a house that was a three-bedroom, three-bathroom house, and it had a cathedral ceiling living room and we were inspired by the DIY music culture that we were a very much a part of in the early '90s. We went to a lot of house shows — you know bands were tired of trying to get major venues to host their shows so they decided to start hosting them themselves and at their friends' houses. It occurred to us that we could do with art what bands were doing with music and house shows.

Kelly Teasley: We did it for a couple years and then we literally had to move all our furniture from our living room and dining room into our garage. We took everything out, and did that every two or three months and it just got to the point where it was kind of a pain to do that.

Were your first artists friends?

MW: No, we did an open call. We really didn't know anyone. It's funny to think about how everyone we know now is more or less from Young Blood.

KT: We just made flyers and put them mostly in art supply stores and around some of the schools. Our first couple shows were like that, where we were just like bring whatever and people brought whatever. After we did a few, we started to meet some people and actually started seeing work that we liked so we could feature artists and start coming up with themes.

So how long did it take for you guys to move out of the house?

KT: Two years. We started to notice there was a lot of response and a lot of artists and people coming in, so we needed to find a space that we could fit more people in and kind of be more permanent — where we didn't have to move our furniture — so we looked around and found this old TV repair shop in Grant Park.

MW: That definitely dates us. And that was around the time the whole indie craft movement was gaining popularity. That was a whole new concept at that time and people really believed in it, even as a political way of life, so we primarily wanted to support these indie crafters because we started to think maybe we could make a business out of this. It is interesting to see how much an artist can grow when given an opportunity. That was our mission from the beginning. We were fine from the beginning with being a stepping-stone gallery; we don't rep artists and we encourage them to show with other galleries and pursue their personal art career.

Now it sounds like you might want to have that shift.

MW: There are challenges to doing shows with only emerging artists. And we've changed and grown. We are interested in working with artists who want to change and grow. We absolutely want to continue to show local emerging artists' work, but with artists who take their art seriously and who want to possibly make a living at it. And we are excited about the idea of bringing in some better known artists — even nationally if we can — and having a local artist be like the opening band and show on a smaller wall.

KT: I feel like we're filling another hole like we did in the past, which is showing kind of contemporary work that is different, that has a big following with a younger crowd, and is in kind of the same genre that we've dealt with before as far as street work and graffiti, more raw skateboard culture. A lot of people our age have grown up and now they have the money to spend on work that they want to collect. They're in a position now that they can do that and we want to be in a position where we can show it to them.

What are some of the biggest shifts you've seen in the arts in Atlanta over the last 15 years?

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MW: The professionalism that the newer independent art organizations have is really impressive to me. WonderRoot and Mint Gallery have really established themselves as serious art advocates and I've seen already how much it's changed the perception of art from within and outside of the art community.

Did you ever have a "Come-to-Jesus" moment where you were like, this might not work at all?

MW & KT: Every day."
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__What were the origins of Young Blood?__

__Maggie White__: Well we lived in the historic West End and we had found a house that was a three-bedroom, three-bathroom house, and it had a cathedral ceiling living room and we were inspired by the DIY music culture that we were a very much a part of in the early '90s. We went to a lot of house shows — you know bands were tired of trying to get major venues to host their shows so they decided to start hosting them themselves and at their friends' houses. It occurred to us that we could do with art what bands were doing with music and house shows.

__Kelly Teasley__: We did it for a couple years and then we literally had to move all our furniture from our living room and dining room into our garage. We took everything out, and did that every two or three months and it just got to the point where it was kind of a pain to do that.

__Were your first artists friends?__

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__KT__: We just made flyers and put them mostly in art supply stores and around some of the schools. Our first couple shows were like that, where we were just like bring whatever and people brought whatever. After we did a few, we started to meet some people and actually started seeing work that we liked so we could feature artists and start coming up with themes.

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__KT__: Two years. We started to notice there was a lot of response and a lot of artists and people coming in, so we needed to find a space that we could fit more people in and kind of be more permanent — where we didn't have to move our furniture — so we looked around and found this old TV repair shop in Grant Park.

__MW__: That definitely dates us. And that was around the time the whole indie craft movement was gaining popularity. That was a whole new concept at that time and people really believed in it, even as a political way of life, so we primarily wanted to support these indie crafters because we started to think maybe we could make a business out of this. It is interesting to see how much an artist can grow when given an opportunity. That was our mission from the beginning. We were fine from the beginning with being a stepping-stone gallery; we don't rep artists and we encourage them to show with other galleries and pursue their personal art career.

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__KT__: I think a lot of it is the Internet. When we started, that didn't exist and there was no way to reach out to anyone besides people that you physically saw, so you kinda had to go out a lot and go to other spaces and other shows to meet artists.

__MW__: The professionalism that the newer independent art organizations have is really impressive to me. WonderRoot and Mint Gallery have really established themselves as serious art advocates and I've seen already how much it's changed the perception of art from within and outside of the art community.

__Did you ever have a "Come-to-Jesus" moment where you were like, this might not work at all?__

__MW & KT__: Every day."
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  string(5301) "    Indie art space celebrates 15 years in Atlanta with a retrospective exhibit   2012-10-02T20:42:00+00:00 Young Blood turns the big one-five ben.eason@creativeloafing.com Ben Eason Debbie Michaud 1223919 2012-10-02T20:42:00+00:00  Three locations and more than 1,000 artists after its humble beginnings in a West End house, Young Blood Gallery & Boutique will celebrate its 15-year anniversary this weekend. Here, co-owners/founders Kelly Teasley and Maggie White discuss the house parties that helped shape an underground art movement in the late '90s and early 2000s and continue to inform the newest generations of emerging Atlanta artists and gallerists. For the The 15 Year Anniversary Retrospective, opening Sat., Oct. 6, 7-10 p.m., White and Teasley reached out to the artists they've done major shows with since 1997 and will be exhibiting 95 of them.

What were the origins of Young Blood?

Maggie White: Well we lived in the historic West End and we had found a house that was a three-bedroom, three-bathroom house, and it had a cathedral ceiling living room and we were inspired by the DIY music culture that we were a very much a part of in the early '90s. We went to a lot of house shows — you know bands were tired of trying to get major venues to host their shows so they decided to start hosting them themselves and at their friends' houses. It occurred to us that we could do with art what bands were doing with music and house shows.

Kelly Teasley: We did it for a couple years and then we literally had to move all our furniture from our living room and dining room into our garage. We took everything out, and did that every two or three months and it just got to the point where it was kind of a pain to do that.

Were your first artists friends?

MW: No, we did an open call. We really didn't know anyone. It's funny to think about how everyone we know now is more or less from Young Blood.

KT: We just made flyers and put them mostly in art supply stores and around some of the schools. Our first couple shows were like that, where we were just like bring whatever and people brought whatever. After we did a few, we started to meet some people and actually started seeing work that we liked so we could feature artists and start coming up with themes.

So how long did it take for you guys to move out of the house?

KT: Two years. We started to notice there was a lot of response and a lot of artists and people coming in, so we needed to find a space that we could fit more people in and kind of be more permanent — where we didn't have to move our furniture — so we looked around and found this old TV repair shop in Grant Park.

MW: That definitely dates us. And that was around the time the whole indie craft movement was gaining popularity. That was a whole new concept at that time and people really believed in it, even as a political way of life, so we primarily wanted to support these indie crafters because we started to think maybe we could make a business out of this. It is interesting to see how much an artist can grow when given an opportunity. That was our mission from the beginning. We were fine from the beginning with being a stepping-stone gallery; we don't rep artists and we encourage them to show with other galleries and pursue their personal art career.

Now it sounds like you might want to have that shift.

MW: There are challenges to doing shows with only emerging artists. And we've changed and grown. We are interested in working with artists who want to change and grow. We absolutely want to continue to show local emerging artists' work, but with artists who take their art seriously and who want to possibly make a living at it. And we are excited about the idea of bringing in some better known artists — even nationally if we can — and having a local artist be like the opening band and show on a smaller wall.

KT: I feel like we're filling another hole like we did in the past, which is showing kind of contemporary work that is different, that has a big following with a younger crowd, and is in kind of the same genre that we've dealt with before as far as street work and graffiti, more raw skateboard culture. A lot of people our age have grown up and now they have the money to spend on work that they want to collect. They're in a position now that they can do that and we want to be in a position where we can show it to them.

What are some of the biggest shifts you've seen in the arts in Atlanta over the last 15 years?

KT: I think a lot of it is the Internet. When we started, that didn't exist and there was no way to reach out to anyone besides people that you physically saw, so you kinda had to go out a lot and go to other spaces and other shows to meet artists.

MW: The professionalism that the newer independent art organizations have is really impressive to me. WonderRoot and Mint Gallery have really established themselves as serious art advocates and I've seen already how much it's changed the perception of art from within and outside of the art community.

Did you ever have a "Come-to-Jesus" moment where you were like, this might not work at all?

MW & KT: Every day.             13070656 6542084                          Young Blood turns the big one-five "
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Tuesday October 2, 2012 04:42 pm EDT
Indie art space celebrates 15 years in Atlanta with a retrospective exhibit | more...
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  string(3093) "Toni Henson says you can call it what you want — inspiration, the divine, God — but the idea for an Atlanta Black Theatre Festival just suddenly came to her in the middle of the night. The idea seemed so intuitive, so simple, and so solid that she was almost sure that someone else had already thought of it. "I immediately got up out of bed and I started Googling," she says. "I thought for sure there already was one."

Nothing came up, and the more she thought about it, the more Henson, an experienced Atlanta marketer with a background in theater, realized what a crucial space a festival devoted to African-American theater could fill. The response from others as she's spent the past year building on her vision has been outrageously enthusiastic, she says. "The theater community has just embraced this concept. It's beyond my wildest dreams."

The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, running from Oct. 4-7, will bring together more than 200 artists from 18 states and three countries to showcase 40 plays in four days at the 14th Street Playhouse. The idea is to present the broadest range of live theater possible, from hard-hitting dramas in the style of August Wilson to urban comedies in the Tyler Perry mold, and more.

Henson and her board sought out plays among the many submissions that they felt would receive a strong and enthusiastic response, the type of show that gets audiences laughing, crying, talking, and cheering. Actress Zuhairah McGill will perform in her powerful one-woman show Sojourner as the historical figure Sojourner Truth (Oct. 4-5, 8 p.m.); Disco/gospel diva and "Oprah legend" Melba Moore sings and tells her own life story in a one-woman show Still Standing (Oct. 7, 4 p.m.); Atlanta playwright Pearl Cleage's A Song for Coretta (Oct. 6-7, 4 p.m.) will be produced by the Marietta-based New African Grove Theatre Company; Soul on Fire (Oct. 6-7, 6 p.m.), a new musical featuring renowned R&B singer Shirley Murdock and author Tyrone Stanley; and Susan Batson directs Ryan Jillian, who will embody trailblazing star Lena Horne in the biographical play Notes from a Horne (Oct. 5, 8 p.m.; Oct. 6, 10 p.m.).

Keeping ticket costs low was important to Henson. The most expensive ticket at the festival is $20, with many show prices in the $10 range or even less. In addition, the festival is offering a large selection of free events, most of them centered at the Loews host hotel: an author's alley, vendor's market, opening party, staged readings, and workshops on acting and writing all come at no cost and are open to the public.

In creating the festival, Henson looked to the biennial National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C,, and the D.C. Black Theatre Festival as models. Though the Atlanta venue is smaller, 40 plays in four days is still a bigger concept than either of those festivals, so it's still a risky undertaking for the fledgling event. "I think Atlanta is a major market," Henson says confidently. "I keep hearing people say this is so needed. If Winston-Salem can get 60,000 people, Atlanta can certainly get 5,000.""
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Nothing came up, and the more she thought about it, the more Henson, an experienced Atlanta marketer with a background in theater, realized what a crucial space a festival devoted to African-American theater could fill. The response from others as she's spent the past year building on her vision has been outrageously enthusiastic, she says. "The theater community has just embraced this concept. It's beyond my wildest dreams."

The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, running from Oct. 4-7, will bring together more than 200 artists from 18 states and three countries to showcase 40 plays in four days at the 14th Street Playhouse. The idea is to present the broadest range of live theater possible, from hard-hitting dramas in the style of August Wilson to urban comedies in the Tyler Perry mold, and more.

Henson and her board sought out plays among the many submissions that they felt would receive a strong and enthusiastic response, the type of show that gets audiences laughing, crying, talking, and cheering. Actress Zuhairah McGill will perform in her powerful one-woman show __''Sojourner''__ as the historical figure Sojourner Truth __(Oct. 4-5, 8 p.m.)__; Disco/gospel diva and "Oprah legend" Melba Moore sings and tells her own life story in a one-woman show __''Still Standing'' (Oct. 7, 4 p.m.)__; Atlanta playwright Pearl Cleage's __''A Song for Coretta'' (Oct. 6-7, 4 p.m.)__ will be produced by the Marietta-based New African Grove Theatre Company; __''Soul on Fire'' (Oct. 6-7, 6 p.m.)__, a new musical featuring renowned R&B singer Shirley Murdock and author Tyrone Stanley; and Susan Batson directs Ryan Jillian, who will embody trailblazing star Lena Horne in the biographical play __''Notes from a Horne'' (Oct. 5, 8 p.m.; Oct. 6, 10 p.m.)__.

Keeping ticket costs low was important to Henson. The most expensive ticket at the festival is $20, with many show prices in the $10 range or even less. In addition, the festival is offering a large selection of free events, most of them centered at the Loews host hotel: an author's alley, vendor's market, opening party, staged readings, and workshops on acting and writing all come at no cost and are open to the public.

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Nothing came up, and the more she thought about it, the more Henson, an experienced Atlanta marketer with a background in theater, realized what a crucial space a festival devoted to African-American theater could fill. The response from others as she's spent the past year building on her vision has been outrageously enthusiastic, she says. "The theater community has just embraced this concept. It's beyond my wildest dreams."

The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, running from Oct. 4-7, will bring together more than 200 artists from 18 states and three countries to showcase 40 plays in four days at the 14th Street Playhouse. The idea is to present the broadest range of live theater possible, from hard-hitting dramas in the style of August Wilson to urban comedies in the Tyler Perry mold, and more.

Henson and her board sought out plays among the many submissions that they felt would receive a strong and enthusiastic response, the type of show that gets audiences laughing, crying, talking, and cheering. Actress Zuhairah McGill will perform in her powerful one-woman show Sojourner as the historical figure Sojourner Truth (Oct. 4-5, 8 p.m.); Disco/gospel diva and "Oprah legend" Melba Moore sings and tells her own life story in a one-woman show Still Standing (Oct. 7, 4 p.m.); Atlanta playwright Pearl Cleage's A Song for Coretta (Oct. 6-7, 4 p.m.) will be produced by the Marietta-based New African Grove Theatre Company; Soul on Fire (Oct. 6-7, 6 p.m.), a new musical featuring renowned R&B singer Shirley Murdock and author Tyrone Stanley; and Susan Batson directs Ryan Jillian, who will embody trailblazing star Lena Horne in the biographical play Notes from a Horne (Oct. 5, 8 p.m.; Oct. 6, 10 p.m.).

Keeping ticket costs low was important to Henson. The most expensive ticket at the festival is $20, with many show prices in the $10 range or even less. In addition, the festival is offering a large selection of free events, most of them centered at the Loews host hotel: an author's alley, vendor's market, opening party, staged readings, and workshops on acting and writing all come at no cost and are open to the public.

In creating the festival, Henson looked to the biennial National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C,, and the D.C. Black Theatre Festival as models. Though the Atlanta venue is smaller, 40 plays in four days is still a bigger concept than either of those festivals, so it's still a risky undertaking for the fledgling event. "I think Atlanta is a major market," Henson says confidently. "I keep hearing people say this is so needed. If Winston-Salem can get 60,000 people, Atlanta can certainly get 5,000."             13070621 6530771                          Theater Review - Inaugural Black Theatre Fest serves up ambitious program "
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Monday September 24, 2012 11:33 am EDT
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Wednesday September 19, 2012 06:55 pm EDT
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It's been five months since the board of Atlanta-based international contemporary art publication ART PAPERS announced the departure of editor/executive director of eight years Sylvie Fortin. (Full disclosure: I interned at the Little Five Points-based pub a decade ago.) The subtext of the personnel shift was that the board was looking to nurture a stronger rapport with the local art community. Former CL contributor and ART PAPERS board member Cinque Hicks was immediately appointed interim editor. While the magazine got a new executive director (the board split up the dual position with Fortin's departure) this summer in Saskia Benjamin, previously of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, it finds itself again without an editor now that Hicks' contract has run out. 

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It's been five months since the board of Atlanta-based international contemporary art publication ''[http://www.artpapers.org/index.html|ART PAPERS]'' announced the [http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2012/04/25/sylvie-fortin-out-cinque-hicks-in-at-art-papers|departure of editor/executive director of eight years Sylvie Fortin]. (Full disclosure: I interned at the Little Five Points-based pub a decade ago.) The [http://www.artsatl.com/2012/04/breaking-news-art-papers-editor-sylvie-fortin-steps/|subtext of the personnel shift] was that the board was looking to nurture a stronger rapport with the local art community. Former ''CL'' contributor and ''ART PAPERS'' board member Cinque Hicks was immediately appointed interim editor. While the magazine got a new executive director (the board split up the dual position with Fortin's departure) this summer in Saskia Benjamin, previously of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, it finds itself again without an editor now that Hicks' contract has run out. 

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Tuesday September 18, 2012 02:28 pm EDT



It's been five months since the board of Atlanta-based international contemporary art publication ART PAPERS announced the departure of editor/executive director of eight years Sylvie Fortin. (Full disclosure: I interned at the Little Five Points-based pub a decade ago.) The subtext of the personnel shift was that the board was looking to nurture a stronger rapport with the local art...

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Thursday September 13, 2012 04:05 am EDT
From graphic novels to rock operas, ATL likes its vampires Vlad to the bone | more...
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Thursday September 13, 2012 04:00 am EDT
Modern interpretations that give the character a transfusion of fresh creativity | more...