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).

Pages

Local
12:30 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Roswell Memorial Remembers Area's Cherokee History

One of the boulders at Riverside Park.
Dylan Fagan WABE

This year marks the 175th anniversary of the Trail of Tears, which was the forced relocation of Native Americans from their land. Before their removal, many of the Cherokee people lived in what is now Roswell, Georgia. The story of the Cherokees in the area is one that author Cindi Crane is trying to bring to light.

Read more
Local History
12:30 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

From Inter-Town Rivalries To Chain Gangs: The History Behind The Dixie Highway

Dixie Highway Arch
Courtesy of Tammy Ingram

Today, you can get just about anywhere in the U.S. by hopping on an interstate. But back in the early 1900s, the idea of traveling across the country by road was nearly inconceivable. Many people, especially those in the South, had access to little more than dirt roads that extended just as far as the nearest town. 

Read more
Books
12:20 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Author Events: Bill Roorbach & George Weinstein

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

Daren Wang of the AJC-Decatur Book Festival dropped by to share this week's upcoming literary events.

He highlighted readings with Bill Roorbach and George Weinstein and also pointed out that this weekend is Small Business Saturday.

Read more
Photography
12:15 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Gordon Parks' Photographs Tell a 'Segregation Story' at The High

Outside Looking In, Mobile, Alabama, 1956.
Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation.

A new photography exhibition opened at the High Museum of Art this week. It’s called Segregation Story, and the photos are by Gordon Parks. He was the first African-American staff photographer for Life Magazine in the early 1950’s. At the time, Life was read by over 20 million people, and they regularly covered the day’s social issues.

Read more
Books
12:15 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Author Events: Ron Rash, Maureen Corrigan & More

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

The AJC-Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang stopped by WABE studios to tell us about upcoming literary events in Atlanta. This week, he highlighted events with Ron Rash, Maureen Corrigan and Christina Stevens. 

Miss anything?

Ron Rash will be at the Margaret Mitchell House tonight discussing his latest release, "Something Rich And Strange." Learn more here

Read more
Author Interviews
12:30 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Author Martin Goldsmith on Following in 'Alex's Wake'

Martin Goldsmith.
Credit Amy Roach

Martin Goldsmith is the former host of the show Performance Today, but he is also a writer of non-fiction. For his latest book, Alex’s Wake, Goldsmith headed to Europe to retrace the journey of his grandfather and his uncle, both passengers on the ill-fated S.S. St. Louis.

Read more
Books
12:28 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Author Events: Rick Bragg, Dan Harris & More

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

The AJC-Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang stopped by WABE studios to highlight some of the literary events happening around metro Atlanta. This week, Daren shared events with authors Edward E. Baptist, Rick Bragg and Dan Harris. 

   

Miss anything?

Edward E. Baptist will be discussing his new book at Charis Books on Thursday Nov. 13. Find more details here.

Read more
City Café
1:01 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Judith Ivey on Steel Magnolias, the Universal Southern Story

Photo of Zoë Winters (from left), Mary Pat Gleason, Sarah Stiles, Beth Broderick, Deirdre Lovejoy, and Becky Ann Baker in the Alliance Theatre’s 2014/15 production of Steel Magnolias.
Greg Mooney Alliance Theatre

Atlanta's own Alliance Theatre is currently home to a revival of a new American classic — Robert Harling's "Steel Magnolias." 

The play first opened in 1987 to nearly immediate success. Only two years later, Hollywood released its first film adaptation.

Read more
City Café
1:37 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

City Cafe on WABE Ebola Documentary

Hazardous material cleaners remove objects in the apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient who traveled from Liberia to Dallas, stayed.
Credit LM Otero / Associated Press

  Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m., the WABE newsroom will be presenting their documentary The Ebola Outbreak: Atlanta’s Response.

This special presentation will look at the ways in which Atlanta has played a role in dealing with this deadly health crisis which reaches from Africa to the United States.

We were joined by WABE reporter Michell Eloy.

Read more
Local
12:30 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

No More Moonshine: Meet Atlanta's First Legal Distillery Since Prohibition

Craig and Jeff Moore, founders of OId Fourth Distillery.
Credit Stephannie Stokes/WABE

  In the early 1900s, as the temperance movement took hold in Georgia, Atlanta's last distillery, R. M. Rose Co., packed up and left the city. Now, more than a century later, Atlantans may finally be able to taste a locally produced spirit again. 

And that's because the newly built Old Fourth Distillery, located on Edgewood Ave, is set to start producing its first batch of vodka. 

Read more
Books
12:15 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Author Events: Mike Stobbe, Edward J. Larson & More

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

The AJC-Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang stopped by WABE studios to fill us in on the literary events happening around Atlanta. This week, he highlighted events with Mike Stobbe and Edward J. Larson, as well as the Marcus Jewish Community Center Book Festival happening over the weekend. Learn more in the interview below.

Miss anything?

Mike Stobbe will be at Eagle Eye Bookshop on Tuesday Oct. 28. Find more details here.

Read more
Arts
12:30 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

City Cafe on Atlanta Celebrates Photography and The Bitter Southerner

  Every October, the city welcomes Atlanta Celebrates Photography - or ACP, as it is often called. To find out more about the festival, City Cafe host John Lemley recently sat down with Public Broadcasting Atlanta's Jason Parker.

Jason interviewed The Bitter Southerner’s Creative Director, Dave Whitling about their ACP event that's coming up this Friday. They started off by discussing what Atlanta Celebrates photography is all about.

Read more
City Café
12:20 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Author Events: Edward Humes, Jodi Picoult & More

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

The AJC-Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang dropped by WABE studios to fill us in on the week in metro Atlanta literary events. This week, you can catch readings from Edward Humes, Jodi Picoult and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Daren tells us more in the interview below.

Miss anything?

Jodi Picoult will be at the Atlanta History Center on Wednesday Oct. 22. More details here.

Read more
Art
12:45 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

PBA30 Tells A Tale of Two Murals

Credit Trevor Keller / PBA30

Public art has become more prominent in Atlanta in the last several years, thanks especially to the work of Living Walls—an annual street art conference centered around murals painted by local and international artists. A new documentary out this week looks into the controversy started by two of those works of art. A Tale Of Two Murals was directed by PBA30’s Trevor Keller…and he sat down with WABE’s John Lemley to talk about it.

Read more
Music
12:30 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Singer Francine Reed on Her Career and Recognition

Francine Reed
Credit Georgia Department of Economic Development

This weekend, singer Francine Reed will be inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. At 67, Reed has had a successful career as both a solo artist and as the singing partner of country musician, Lyle Lovett.

She grew up in Kankakee, Illinois, and comes from a large musical family. Her older sister Margo is also a singer, but as she recently told host John Lemley, she wasn’t always sure that she’d be a singer as well.

The 36th Annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards ceremony will take place this Saturday, October 11th at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Read more
Books
12:17 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Author Events: Gary Shteyngart, Pamela Druckerman & More

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

Daren Wang of the AJC-Decatur Book Festival dropped by WABE studios to tell us about some of the literary events happening around Atlanta. This week's authors include Gary Shteyngart, Pamela Druckerman, and Linda Tirado. Listen to the interview below to learn more.

Miss anything?

Gary Shteyngart will be at the Highland Inn Ballroom on Thursday Oct. 9. Learn more about the event here.

Read more
Film
12:42 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Instant Family: Alec Mapa's "Baby Daddy" at Out on Film

Director Andrea James and Alec Mapa speaking to WABE's John Lemley
Credit Myke Johns / WABE

Audiences may recognize the name Alec Mapa for his work as a stand-up comedian or his recurring roles on TV’s Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty or from the film Marley & Me. Since 2010, another role that Mapa has conquered is that of “father.” Alec and his husband adopted a five-year-old African American boy  and the story of that life-changing event is at the center of Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy, screening this weekend at Out on Film, an LGBT film festival in Atlanta.

Read more
Art Around Town
12:32 pm
Wed September 24, 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.

Read more
Georgia History
1:11 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Georgia History: The Hurt Building

The Hurt Building entrance.
Wikimedia

The area around 5 Points is home to some of Atlanta’s oldest skyscrapers. Though they may seem diminutive next to today’s glass and steel giants, the Flatiron Building, the Candler Building, and the Hurt Building were engineering marvels in their day. That last one—the Hurt Building—faces Edgewood Avenue and has a distinctive “V” shape to it. We went downtown to learn more about this piece of early-20th-century history with Dr. Tim Crimmins, Director of the Center for Neighborhood and Metropolitan Studies at Georgia State University.

Read more
Author Interview
12:30 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

The Story of President Carter and Middle East Leaders in 'September'

Sadat, Begin and Carter at Camp David.
Credit Moshe Milner

The state of Israel was created in 1948, and was immediately at war with its neighbors. Egypt was seen as its greatest threat. In 1978, newly elected President Jimmy Carter invited Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to meet at the President’s country residence, Camp David.

Read more
City Café
12:45 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

City Café on Zesto Closure

Credit John Lorinc / WABE

An Atlanta institution is shutting its doors for good this weekend. 

The Zesto restaurant on Ponce de Leon Avenue was sold to North Carolina-based restaurant Cook-Out. 

WABE's John Lorinc reported on the closure, speaking to long-time employees about their memories of working at the 60-year-old diner, and their plans for the future. Lorinc joined City Cafe host John Lemley to talk about the story.

 

Read more
Books
3:22 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Author Events: Charles Lewis, Tavis Smiley & More

Credit Bob AuBuchon / flickr.com/bobaubuchon

The AJC-Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang dropped by WABE studios to tell us about the week in metro Atlanta book Events. He started by telling City Cafe host John Lemley about Chris Guillebeau and his new book the "Happiness of Pursuit."

Chris Guillebeau will be at A Capella Books tomorrow. Find full details here.

Charles Lewis will be at the Carter Center on Thursday. Check out that event here.

Read more
City Café
2:02 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

City Cafe on Cultural Experience Project's 10th Year

(L to R) APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen, Office of Cultural Affairs Exec. Director Camille Russell Love and Ceasar Mitchell, City of Atlanta City Council President
Credit Myke Johns / WABE

The Cultural Experience Project celebrated its 10th year of bringing arts to Atlanta students. A partnership between the City of Atlanta Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs and Atlanta Public Schools, the program aims to give every student from pre-K to 12th grade a chance to experience the art the city has to offer. CEP held an event at The Rialto Center for the Arts this morning. WABE’s Myke Johns was there and joined us for a conversation about what the program is all about.

Read more
ASO Lockout
12:45 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

City Cafe on Atlanta Symphony Lockout

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Credit Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra are currently locked out of Symphony Hall. Musicians and the management of the orchestra have spent eight months in collective bargaining negotiations and this past Saturday at midnight, the deadline came and went with no agreement in place.

ArtsATL has been following this story and their Deputy Editor Scott Freeman joined us to talk about the ongoing labor dispute.

Read more
City Café
12:49 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Joan Rivers on City Cafe

With her plastic surgery, vulgar jokes and red-carpet gossip in-tow, America's original comic "queen of mean" is in Atlanta tonight. Joan Rivers is bringing her audacious one-woman show to Atlanta Symphony Hall.

In advance of her Atlanta appearance, host John Lemley was able to catch the comedienne at her publicist's office in New York for a quick phone chat. He began by discussing just how many people she idolized at the beginning of her career.

Read more
Civil War History
12:06 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

The History of Atlanta's Battlefield Preservation, or Lack Thereof

Soldiers in Atlanta during the Civil War.
Credit George Barnard

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the surrender of Atlanta during the Civil War, and while many battles took place inside of the city, you might not be able to tell by just looking around.  That’s because of all the sites of major Civil War engagements, Atlanta is the only one without its battlefields preserved.

Read more
History
12:56 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

The History Behind The Mary Gay House

Outside the Mary Gay House in Decatur.
Evan Changhwan Jang WABE

Not far from where Trinity Place meets Ponce De Leon Avenue in Decatur is a small white house. And if you take a chance to read the historical marker in its yard, you'll quickly learn that it isn't your ordinary home.

It was from inside that house that a woman named Mary Gay witnessed the civil war and its effects on civilian life in the South--experiences which she would one day document in an 1897 book titled, "Life in Dixie during the War."

Read more
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. 

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more

Pages