John Lemley

Host of City Café, The Stargazer's Journal and Performance Today

Since Groundhog Day 2009, John Lemley has served up a “plateful of classics and variety of sides” each weekday at noon on the public radio program, City Café (90.1 FM, WABE and wabe.org).  John is host of the Atlanta-based broadcast, which presents classical, film and musical theatre selections in a popular and accessible style.   On City Café, John also welcomes a seemingly endless roster of interview guests onto the one-hour show, as they discuss everything from arts and culture to history and upcoming events. As midday is, for many, the only opportunity to catch up on the world around us, City Café is also Atlanta’s lunchtime place for NPR and BBC news headlines, sports, traffic and weather. Following City Café each Monday through Friday, John remains in the host chair for two additional hours of traditional classical fare on Performance Today, which also includes the very latest news, traffic and weather, along with a nighttime sky-watching preview on the Stargazer’s Journal.

John is a Musical Theatre Performance graduate of Birmingham-Southern College. The Oneonta, Alabama native joined the staff of Public Broadcasting Atlanta in June 1997 after serving for five years as music director and afternoon classical music/news host at WBHM, Birmingham’s public radio station.  Between 2005 and 2009, John took a hiatus from his music hosting duties to take on the role of news anchor on WABE’s afternoon drive program, All Things Considered.  For his work on that program, John was named in 2008 as “Best Drive-Time DJ” by the staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 2010, Atlanta Magazine picked John and City Café as one of their “Best of the Dial” selections. John lives in Decatur with his partner, Mike Selk, and their two furry “children,” Jeffrey (a Chinese Shar-Pei) and Lexie (a white and grey feline).

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Books
12:15 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Author Events: David Laskin, Jan Karon & More

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

Daren Wang of the AJC-Decatur Book Festival drops by WABE studios to fill us in on the week in metro Atlanta literary events. 

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City Café
12:46 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

City Café on Atlanta Symphony Contract Negotiations

Credit Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has less than two weeks before the deadline on contract negotiations between the Symphony and the ASO Players’ Association. Those negotiations have been going on for over eight months now and in that time, several musicians have retired and some have taken positions with other orchestras. As all this is happening, the memory of 2012’s labor dispute is still fresh in many people’s minds. Jenny Jarvie wrote about the situation for Arts ATL and joined us to talk about the situation.

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Books
12:15 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

The AJC-Decatur Book Festival: Director's Picks

The Decatur Book Festival in 2011.
Credit Flickr user TimothyJ flickr.com/photos/tjc/

  The AJC-Decatur Book Festival is coming up this weekend. And in its ninth year, it will be featuring more than 600 author lectures and signings. The festival's director Daren Wang sat down with City Cafe host John Lemley to discuss the three authors whom he's most excited about.

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Technology
12:46 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

'Like Yelp for Police:' A Conversation About Teen-Developed Watchdog App

Although its release coincides with events surrounding the shooting death of Michael Brown, it was personal experience that spurred the teens to begin developing Five-O months ago.
Credit YouTube

There’s no doubt new technology follows the trends, and a smart phone app released this week is no different: It allows users to rate their experiences with police officers, and it’s created by a group of teenagers from Stone Mountain.

Five-O was developed by Ima, Asha, Caleb, and Joshua Christian—and its release coincides with demonstrations, violence and police action in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting death of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown. Those events have seized the nation’s attention and raised questions about racial profiling and police brutality.

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Health & Science
1:08 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

City Cafe on Ebola Patients' Discharge

Dr. Kent Brantly (center) hugs members of his healthcare team at Emory University Hospital at a press conference on Thursday.
Credit Jim Burress/WABE

  The two U.S. patients who were treated for Ebola have been discharged from Emory University Hospital. They had been in an isolation ward since returning from Liberia early this month and are the first patients treated for Ebola on American soil.

Emory held a press conference Thursday morning announcing the release of Dr. Kent Brantly and the previous discharge of Nancy Writebol. WABE's Jim Burress was there and joined us by phone from Emory University Hospital.

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Books
12:05 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Author Events: James Rollins & Nimrod Frazer

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

The AJC-Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang stopped by WABE studios to preview the week in Atlanta literary events. He started by telling City Cafe host John Lemley about James Rollins, author of best-selling suspense thrillers, including a bit of suspenseful music from Rollins's website to set the scene.

James Rollins will sign copies of his new book, "The Sixth Extinction," at Eagle Eye Books on August 19. Find more details here.

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Development
12:15 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Could Explosive Growth Lead To A Southern Megalopolis?

Close up of "Charlanta."
Adam Terando

Some say it'd be "Charlanta." Others think it should be "Atlanteigh." Whatever you end up calling it, the Southern megalopolis predicted by a recent study certainly sounds daunting. 

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and North Carolina State University found that if urbanization in the Southeast continues as it has over the past several decades, we could have a "Southern megalopolis" stretching from Atlanta to Raleigh by 2060.

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Local
12:30 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

The Ever-Changing Cultural Meaning of Atlanta's Cyclorama

The Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama
Credit Katie King for Atlanta PlanIt

As many already know, the city's Cyclorama could be moving from its longtime home in Grant Park to a new facility at the Atlanta History Center. The move--part of a deal announced by Mayor Kasim Reed last month--now awaits the approval of the City Council.

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Art Around Town
12:15 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

This Year's Living Walls is More than Murals

Artist Caroline Caldwell, in front of her mural-in-progress on Edgewood and Hilliard Avenue in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward
Credit Joshua Gwyn / Living Walls

 Today is the first day of the Living Walls 2014 Conference. The annual five-day event invites local and international artists to come paint the town, creating street art in neighborhoods all over the city. This year's event features 18 murals. But this year, the conference is also enlarging its focus.

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Curbed Atlanta
12:15 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Curbed Atlanta on the City's Top 10 Most Iconic Signs

Credit Atlanta History Center: https://flic.kr/p/d9SEgG

Curbed Atlanta recently released a list of the 15 Most Iconic Signs in Atlanta, and it covers many familiar and historic icons throughout the city.

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City Café
12:15 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Author Events: Joe Cook, Carolyn Dingman & More

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

The AJC - Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang stops by to tell us about the week's literary events in metro Atlanta. He begins with a new guide to Atlanta's nearby river.  

This Tuesday, you can hear Carolyn Dingman discuss her new novel, "Cancel the Wedding" at FoxTale Book Shoppe. Check out the full event here.

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Development
12:49 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

What Do You Do With a Broken Suburb?

Woodstock's retrofitted historic downtown
http://www.woodstockga.gov/

More and more Americans are leaving the suburbs behind in favor of urban spaces. As we’ve discussed in past stories, this national trend holds true here in Atlanta, too.

But what happens to those empty suburban spaces—the strip malls, office parks and sprawling parking lots

  —left behind by this mass urban migration? And can we improve upon those spaces  for the folks who still choose to live there?

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Books
12:22 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Author Events: Stephen Carter, Tom Hughes & More

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

The AJC - Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang stops by to tell us about the week's literary events in metro Atlanta. He started by telling City Cafe host John Lemley about Stephen Carter and his new historical thriller. 

Stephen Carter discusses his newest book, "Back Channel," at the Decatur Library Tuesday August 5th.

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Development
12:50 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Clearing Up Where Atlanta Stands on Sprawl. No, Really.

Darin Givens: "A map from [a] 1952 [Atlanta planning] document that shows a suggested neighborhood design.
Courtesy of the GSU Library Planning Atlanta collection

Sprawl. It’s nothing new to car-centric Atlanta. But all those those reports we hear on the state of sprawl can get confusing, especially when they seem to contradict one another outright.

Take two recent studies: one from Georgetown University declares that “Atlanta is no longer the king of 

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Books
12:15 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Author Events: Eric Litwin and Bill Morris

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

The AJC - Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang stops by to tell us about the week's literary events in metro Atlanta. He begins with Eric Litwin, a local children's books author, who is well-known for his sing-along songs for kids. 

Eric Litwin will be at the First Baptist Church of Decatur in an event from Little Shop of Stories Tuesday July 29 at 7 p.m. Find more info here.

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Local
12:30 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

More Details on Cyclorama Move

Credit Katie King for Atlanta PlanIt

Yesterday, Mayor Kasim Reed announced that the Cyclorama would be relocated from its current home in Atlanta's Grant Park to an as yet unbuilt facility at the Atlanta History Center. We talked with the History Center's Senior Military Historian and Curator Gordon Jones about the move and what it entails:

How will the History Center move the painting?

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Atlanta History
1:35 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

City Cafe on Cyclorama Move

Design concept for the new Cyclorama building. View of the Cyclorama addition from the corner of West Paces Ferry Road and Slaton Drive
Credit Atlanta History Center

You may have heard our story yesterday on little-known facts about Atlanta’s Cyclorama—the panoramic painting of the Battle of Atlanta on display in Grant Park. Here’s a fact which is becoming well-known as the news broke this morning: The Cyclorama will be leaving its home and moving to the Atlanta History Center. WABE’s Myke Johns joined us live with more on that story.

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Local
12:20 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Eight Things You May Not Know About Atlanta's Cyclorama

Credit Katie King for Atlanta PlanIt

Update: On July 23, Mayor Kasim Reed announced that the Cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta will be relocated from its current home in Grant Park to the Atlanta History Center, where it will be housed in a soon-to-be-built new facility. The move is expected to take two years. Learn more at the History Center's website.

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Theater
1:04 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

City Cafe on Dad's Garage's Plans for Move

Dad's Garage Theatre may be moving to this church on Ezzard Street in the Old Fourth Ward.
Credit Google Street View

Earlier in July, Dad’s Garage Theatre Company announced they were raising funds to move into a new space. Late last week, Lisa George from the WABE newsroom reported that  they are under contract for a new home. The almost 20-year-old improv theatre has its sights set on a church on Ezzard Street in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward. City Café producer Myke Johns is following the story and joined host John Lemley for a conversation.

Find WABE's previous reporting on this story in the related links below.

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City Café
12:15 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Author Events: Clay Risen, Lori Rush and Laurel-Ann Dooley

Credit Bob AuBuchon/flickr.com/bobaubuchon

Daren Wang of the AJC-Decatur Book Festival talked with City Cafe host John Lemley about the upcoming literary events happening around Atlanta. As Daren starts by pointing out, two of the authors coming to town this week take a close a look at Atlanta history, but come up with very different stories. 

Laurel-Ann Dooley at the Decatur Library with her book "Wicked Atlanta: The Sordid Side of Peach City History"

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History
12:21 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

New App Explores Battle of Atlanta Sites

The Battle of Atlanta app from Emory University's Center for Digital Scholarship
Credit Dave Barasoain/WABE

    

With the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta right around the corner, the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship has created a new online resource for residents and visitors looking to learn more about the Civil War fight that played out around the city.

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Transportation
1:04 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Coming Soon: An Atlanta with Cooperating Transit?

MARTA's not the only game in town when it comes to Atlanta's transit puzzle. A new website attempts to piece it all together.
Credit WABE

 Just how realistic is the prospect of an Atlanta with cooperating transit?

Maybe a little more realistic now, with the advent of a new website. ATLTransit.org seeks to make getting around on metro Atlanta’s multiple transit systems easier, by serving as a one-stop hub for planning trips that span MARTA, Cobb Community Transit, and Gwinnett County Transit systems.

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Local
12:08 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Local Performer Wins Best Actress At National High School Musical Awards

Photo Credit: Vii Tanner

A local high school student is getting national attention for her talents in singing and performing.

Late last month, 15-year-old Jai’len Josey of TriCities high school in East Point was named Best Actress at the 2014 National High School Musical Theater Awards. She won the chance to compete after being recognized for her performance as “Effie White” in her school's production of Dreamgirls.

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Local
12:08 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Author Events: Amanda Lindhout, Jo Baker & More

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

  The AJC - Decatur Book Festival’s Daren Wang drops by to tell us about the week’s literary events, which include visits from journalist and philanthropist Amanda Lindhout and also author Jo Baker. 

Amanda Lindhout at the Atlanta History Center

Laura Lane McNeal Book Signing at A Cappella Books

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Faith & Politics
12:06 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Randall Balmer on Jimmy Carter's Evangelism

President Jimmy Carter

President Jimmy Carter was known to have struggled during his time in the White House, serving only one term as our 39th Commander-in-Chief. Author Randall Balmer writes that Carter "was catapulted to the nation’s highest office by an electorate weary of political corruption, and enamored, however briefly of Carter’s evangelical rectitude." Balmer is the author of Redeemer, which looks at Carter’s faith and how it played into his politics and affected his presidency.

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The Lighter Side of Sports
12:53 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Atlanta's Newest Soccer Star

The Atlanta Silverbacks, for one brief, shining moment in July 2011. John Lemley is in the front row, fifth from the left.

With the United States soccer team playing against Germany in the World Cup today, we thought it would be a good time to really think about what it takes to be a soccer player. 

But since we couldn’t visit with the US team, we did the next best thing. We called on the Atlanta Silverbacks.  This is actually an encore of a story we produced back in the summer of 2011. The day began at Silverbacks Stadium, where team director Rodrigo Rios told me what to expect. 

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Theater
12:55 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Serenbe Playhouse on the Shores of "Ten Mile Lake"

The dock on Serenbe Playhouse's "Ten Mile Lake"
Credit Dan Raby / WABE

Normally when we talk about theatrical productions, we fall back on phrases like “on-stage now…” Well, not quite so with this story. Serenbe Playhouse’s current show is a world premier called Ten Mile Lake and the entire show is set on a dock on a lake. So Serenbe Playhouse staged the show on a dock on a lake. We spoke with Serenbe’s Artistic Director Brian Clowdus and to the playwright Tira Palmquist about this confluence of theatre and reality.

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Theater
12:48 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

C.S. Lewis, Writer and "Friend:" Actor Tom Key on His 37-Year Role

Tom Key in "C.S. Lewis On Stage" at Theatrical Outfit
Credit Theatrical Outfit

This week, actor Tom Key takes the stage in a role that has long deeply absorbed him—even before he first performed it in 1977, at the age of 26.

The part is that of writer C.S. Lewis. Lewis is most widely known as the author of the classic children’s series The Chronicles of Narnia. But he also penned serious theological essays, poetry, and novels like The Screwtape Letters

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Books
1:21 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

City Cafe on Decatur Book Festival 2014 Program Announcement

The AJC Decatur Book Festival staff unveils this year's poster at their launch party at Eddie's Attic, June 17, 2014
Credit Dan Raby / WABE

The AJC Decatur Book Festival is going into its ninth year this Labor Day Weekend, and on June 17, they officially announced their plans for 2014’s program. WABE’s Myke Johns was there for the announcements and joined host John Lemley for a look at this year's offerings.

Among their many offerings this year, including a reading track curated by author Pat Conroy and an art|DBF program including over fifty artists and organizations, the big news is the festival's keynote speaker.

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Art Around Town
12:40 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Building Regionalism Through...Photography?

A previous year's "My Atlanta" exhibit at Piedmont Park Community Center
Credit Atlanta Celebrates Photography

  For eleven years, the nonprofit group Atlanta Celebrates Photography has put on a festival that’s grown to be one of the largest in the United States.

For one exhibit, the group annually puts out the call both to amateurs and professionals to submit photographs representing their impressions of life in Atlanta. The “My Atlanta” exhibit has rarely been themed—but this year, they're doing something different.

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