Arts

City Lights
1:55 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

Atlanta's New High Museum Director Eager To Learn, Listen

Randall Suffolk has been director of Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art since 2007.
Credit Courtesy of Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Okla.

 

On Wednesday, the High Museum of Art announced it had hired Randall Suffolk, director of the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as its new director.

He will succeed Michael Shapiro, who is retiring Friday after nearly 15 years as the director of the High and after 20 years of service with the Atlanta museum.

“City Lights” executive producer Noel Morris spoke with Suffolk about his new appointment, what he has in mind for the High Museum and the challenges of engaging art audiences in the digital age.

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City Lights
3:23 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

Decades Later, Charlie Chaplin’s Film ‘City Lights’ Endures

Charlie Chaplin and Virgina Cherrill, who plays a blind girl in his 1931 masterpiece “City Lights.”
Credit AP Photo

 

One of the first megastars of the cinema made perhaps the biggest name for himself in a film that defied its time.

In 1931, Charlie Chaplin wrote, directed, starred in and composed the music for “City Lights,” an homage to the silent film genre that was fading as “talkies” were starting to dominate Hollywood studios.

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City Lights
10:07 am
Thu July 30, 2015

The Critic Who Taught Chad Radford To Write Without Fear

Music writer Chad Radford says Lester Bangs ''had such a singular voice and he had such a fearlessness, and that fearlessness was really inspirational.''
Credit Kate Sweeney / WABE

Chad Radford knows the importance of developing a thick skin. Creative Loafing Atlanta’s music editor has spent some 15 years covering – and critiquing – the city’s ever-changing rock, rap and electronic music scenes, and he knows well the sting of reader criticism in response to his work. It’s the sort of scrutiny that could lead a less self-assured writer to call it a day.

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Arts
5:16 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

High Museum Of Art Names Randall Suffolk As New Director

Atlanta's High Museum of Art has announced Randall Suffolk will be the organization's new director.
Credit Timothy Hursley / Courtesy of High Museum of Art

 

Just two days before Michael Shapiro steps down as the Nancy and Holcombe T. Green Jr. director of the High Museum of Art, his successor was announced.

Randall Suffolk, currently the director of the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was selected after what museum officials described as an “international search” by its board.

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City Lights
4:17 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

The Art Of ‘Placewriting’ In Crafting The Southern Novel

''It's more important to write in such a way that the town itself seems familiar to anyone who comes from any small Southern town,'' Joshilyn Jackson says.
Credit Brent Moore / flickr.com/brent_nashville

 

Decatur writer Joshilyn Jackson is in the process of writing her next novel, which she has tentatively titled “Origin Story.”

In this installment of her “Reader to Writer” series for “City Lights,” she describes how she creates a sense of place, based in the small-town South.

She says it’s important “to write in such a way that the town itself seems familiar to anyone who comes from any small Southern town.”

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City Lights
1:52 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

New Yorker Cartoonist Releases Book For Smart, Attractive People

Matthew Diffee is one of the cartoonists at The New Yorker. He just released a new book called “Hand Drawn Jokes For Smart, Attractive People.”
Credit Wikimedia Commons

In 1998, Matthew Diffee was a comic and fine arts painter, and that year, The New Yorker was having a cartoon contest.

Diffee combined his two skills — being funny and making pictures — and won the contest. The cartoon editor, the famed Bob Mancoff, encouraged Diffee to continue submitting to the magazine. Since then, he's become one of their staff cartoonists.

The New Yorker rejects about 90 percent of the cartoon staff's work. As dire as that sounds, Diffee said, “Ninety percent means you’re doing great.”

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24 FPS
10:48 am
Wed July 29, 2015

Atlanta Filmmaker Explores The Mind Of A Female Sociopath

Jennifer Kim plays the sociopathic Phoebe in Jiyoung Lee's film “Female Pervert.”
Credit Jiyoung Lee

Some of the most cherished characters in fiction are sociopaths.

Take Jay Gatsby, Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes or Dean from "On The Road.” They are not exactly pillars of empathy.

Local filmmaker Jiyoung Lee created her own sociopath in her recent film "Female Pervert." It played at the Atlanta Film Festival in March.

It follows the bizarre dating life of a woman named Phoebe, played by Jennifer Kim, who hasn't quite figured out how to behave appropriately towards anyone.

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City Lights
3:40 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Photographer Captures A Magical Age In ‘At Twelve’ Series

Sally Mann, ''Untitled'' from the ''At Twelve'' Series (Lithe and the Birthday Cake), 1983-1985
Image copyright of the artist and courtesy of Gagosian Gallery and Jackson Fine Art

When photographer Sally Mann first published her series titled “Immediate Family” in the early '90s, it caused a stir in the art world. Her black-and-white photographs of her young children, often nude, were immediately praised, but also criticized by those who claimed the photos sexualized her children.

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Literature
12:15 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Author M.O. Walsh On What Steers Southern Gothic’s Popularity

Author M.O. Walsh asks and attempts to answer the question, “Why is Southern gothic literature so popular across the globe?”
Credit Sam Gregory Photography

There’s a bold assertion in a recent headline in the Guardian newspaper; it reads: “Why Southern gothic rules the world.”

In it, New Orleans-based author M.O. Walsh breaks down Southern literature, comparing its component parts to that of a bicycle and taking examples from the works of William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Zora Neale Hurston and other well-known authors known to have a bit of a twang to their prose.

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Podcasts
10:06 am
Tue July 28, 2015

Seth Lind On The Rise Of Podcasts, Future Of Storytelling

Seth Lind, who works with the radio program “This American Life” and the podcast “Serial,” brings “Cast Party,” a celebration of five different podcasts, to theaters around the nation on Tuesday.
Credit Courtesy of Seth Lind

It’s likely, if you’re reading this, that you have a favorite podcast or two. Few can dispute that the podcast is experiencing a big cultural moment. Last month, President Barack Obama chose to be interviewed on comedian Marc Maron’s popular podcast, and last year, the podcast "Serial" hit some 40 million downloads around the world.

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City Lights
3:12 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

Political Fixer Probes Dakota Case In ‘House Rivals’

Credit Gregory Wake / flickr.com/gregwake

 

Joe DeMarco, an old pro at smoothing the path for his boss, a congressman and former House speaker, is dispatched from Washington to the Northern Plains to repay on old favor.

DeMarco’s character is at the heart of the 10th installment in a series of Mike Lawson novels about political mystery and intrigue, this one entitled “House Rivals.”

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City Lights
1:59 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

So Bad It’s Good: 'The Room' Still Resonates As Cult Film

Actor Greg Sestero's memoir of his experiences with the critically panned movie ''The Room'' has led to a forthcoming film.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

 

In 2003, an independent film titled "The Room" premiered at a Los Angeles theater. The film's budget was $6 million – all in personal cash – and the movie made a grand total of $1,800 at the box office.

By those numbers alone, the movie should have faded into obscurity, and the reviews should have solidified that fate. "The Room," with a plot revolving around a contrived love triangle, has been called "The 'Citizen Kane' of bad movies."

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City Lights
2:05 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

Atlanta Author Recalls Italian Baseball-Playing Honeymoon

Atlanta author and novelist Charles McNair is the books editor for Paste magazine.
Credit Courtesy of charlesmcnairauthor.com

 

Charles McNair is an Atlanta-based author whose 1994 novel, “Land O’Goshen,” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

His penchant for storytelling took a most creative turn when he recounted an incident on his 1979 honeymoon that had him playing for an Italian baseball team.

In this installment of "Storytellers" for “City Lights,” McNair unfolds the tale of his time with the Verona Arsenal club – his “baseball band of brothers” who played the game with “amore.”

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Design
12:33 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

Ancient Myths Come To Life At Atlanta Video Game Studio

A screenshot from the video game SMITE which is developed in Atlanta.
Credit Hi-Rez Studios

Most people know how movies and records are made ─ or have a good understanding. But that doesn’t always hold true for the design of video games.  

One company, just north of Atlanta, is Hi-Rez Studios. They produce a free, online game called SMITE, which ─ at any one time ─ could have millions of people playing it simultaneously. We stopped by their studios to see how a video game comes together.

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City Light
12:05 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

National Black Arts Festival To Screen 'Stormy Weather'

Morehouse professor Stephane Dunn curates the National Black Arts Festival's film series. The first in the lineup is ''Stormy Weather.''
Credit Courtesy of the National Black Arts Festival

The 1943 musical “Stormy Weather” is one of the few films Hollywood made with a full African-American cast.

It starred some of the biggest African-American talents of the time, including Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, Cab Calloway and Fats Waller. 

The National Black Arts Festival will be screening “Stormy Weather” at 3 p.m. Sunday as a part of its dance film series at the Center For Civil and Human Rights.

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City Lights
10:25 am
Fri July 24, 2015

Atlanta WWII Veterans To Be Honored In Portrait Series

Richard Frederick enlisted in the U.S. Navy on his 17th birthday. He served in the Southwest Pacific during World War II.
Tom Sanders http://www.tomsandersphoto.com

 

In a small room at the Belmont Village retirement home in Buckhead, photographer Tom Sanders adjusts the lighting to match the height of one of the residents, Richard Frederick, dressed in a navy peacoat.

“When’s the last time you had that jacket on?” Sanders asks.  

“Oh that was 1944,” Frederick answers with a laugh.

Frederick is a veteran of the second World War. He’s getting his photo taken as part of a portrait series, titled “American Heroes,” organized by Belmont Village Senior Living.

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Arts & Humanities
4:00 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Project REVEAL Unveils The Private Pages Of Famous Writers

The collection includes two of the poet Edward Lear's letters to August “Gussie” Bethell, which have self-caricatures on first and third pages, from Dec. 12, 1881.
Credit Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Fans of English and American literature have a lot of new material to read. Though when we say "new," there is a bit of a caveat there.

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas spent the last year digitizing some of their collections and making them available online in what they call "Project REVEAL." The collections contain thousands of pages of original source material from many well-known authors such as L Frank Baum, Oscar Wilde and Joseph Conrad to name just a few.

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City Lights
3:10 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Refurbished Plaza Theatre Screening Summer Film Series

The Plaza Theatre, which first opened in 1939, has all-new seats, carpeting screens and sound system.
Credit Keizers / Wikipedia

 

Three films that epitomize summer movies will be part of an upcoming summer film series at the Plaza Theatre.

“Clueless,” “Friday” and “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” will be shown from July 29 to Aug. 12, but the venerable theater itself is also part of the attraction.

As “City Lights” contributor Matthew Bernstein explains, the 75-year-old Atlanta cinema has recently undergone major renovations. A new owner has installed new seats and carpeting and has upgraded the viewing screens and sound system.

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City Lights
12:28 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Atlanta Artists Bring Sprawling Exhibit To High Museum

On display at Atlanta's High Museum, Fabian Williams' drawing is based on the Norman Rockwell painting ''The Gossips.''
Credit High Museum of Art

Atlanta artists are once again on display at the High Museum of Art -- lots of them, in fact.

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City Lights
5:25 pm
Wed July 22, 2015

Atlanta Creative Gathering Mixes Inspiration With Breakfast

A guest and a robot pose at a Creative Mornings Atlanta event in May.
Credit Courtesy of Creative Mornings Atlanta

 

Each month for the last four years, a growing number of creative professionals in the Atlanta area has met for breakfast.

But CreativeMornings Atlanta goes beyond the usual networking and professional development functions of these types of events.

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City Lights
3:43 pm
Wed July 22, 2015

Novelist Drawing Character Inspirations From Faulkner, Bible

Author, Joshilyn Jackson, left, is drawing inspiration from author William Faulkner's story ''A Rose for Emily.''
Credit joshilynjackson.com; Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Van Vechten Collection

 

In the new “City Lights” series called “Writer to Reader,” Decatur novelist Joshilyn Jackson is sharing how she’s putting together her latest book.

“Origin Story” is the tentative title of the novel-in-progress, as Jackson explained in the first segment of the series.

In this installment, Jackson, a New York Times bestselling author, details how initial inspirations transform into concrete characters with lives of their own.

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City Lights
1:53 pm
Wed July 22, 2015

'House Of Cards' Composer Deconstructs Show’s Tense Theme

Composer Jeff Beal has written scores for “House of Cards,” “Pollock,” and “Blackfish,” among many others.
Credit Courtesy of Jeff Beal

While you might not know Jeff Beal, you’ve definitely heard Jeff Beal.

He was in the Atlanta area about a week ago. He was the special guest at the Art Over Dinner series presented by Serenbe Film. 

And Beal is the composer behind shows like “Monk” and “Rome,” and he wrote the zippy 12-second theme from “Ugly Betty.”

In his career, however, he’s probably best known for the theme song on “House of Cards.”

“I never expected this show to be as successful as it is,” said Beal.

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City Lights
4:46 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

Atlanta Program Looks To Build Community Over Public Art

Atlanta muralist Sean Schwab donated his time to compose a tribute to civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis on an Auburn Avenue loft building.
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE

 

A visit to Philadelphia inspired Atlanta-area civic leaders to start a public art campaign that they hope will reflect the region’s many communities and its diverse history.

On “City Lights,” Gregory Burbidge, a senior program specialist with the Atlanta Regional Commission, detailed the Atlanta Regional Public Art Program to host Lois Reitzes.

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City Lights
12:39 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

Questions Remain Week After 'Go Set A Watchman' Publication

Atticus Finch impersonator Eric Richardson reads “Go Set A Watchman” in the old Monroe County Courthouse on the afternoon of the book's release.

  It’s been one week since the release of Harper Lee's novel "Go Set A Watchman." 

The book has sold over one million copies, but it has also elicited criticism and speculation from reviewers and "To Kill A Mockingbird" fans.

The novel, which is a sequel to "Mockingbird," portrays the character Atticus Finch as a racist. Essential plot points from “Mockingbird” have changed.

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City Lights
12:07 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

Film Screening In Atlanta Pays Homage To Six Horror Periods

For their film “Solitude,” Taylor Olson and Livingston Oden travel through six horror time periods. This image represents the 1980s segment – a homage to slasher films.
Credit Courtesy of Taylor Olson and Livingston Oden

For the past 75 years, a mysterious evil has killed several generations of a family – haunting a forest on their property. 

That's the plot of “Solitude,” a horror film by Taylor Olson and Atlanta-based Livingston Oden. 

Shot in Minnesota, the film travels through six horror time periods. It pays homage to the campy monster movies of the 1930s, the Hitchcockian psychological style of the 1960s, the supernatural horror films of the 1970s, the slasher films of the 1980s, the found footage style – think "The Blair Witch Project" – of the 1990s and modern day horror.

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City Lights
4:28 pm
Mon July 20, 2015

'Betrayal Is Everywhere' In Yorkshire Detective Tale

Author David Mark has written his fourth novel in a series featuring police officer Aector McAvoy as the lead character.
Credit Nicola East / Penguin Random House

Aector McAvoy is back for more.

The lead character of David Mark’s latest novel, “Taking Pity,” is a Scotsman working as a police officer in Hull, England. His size and seriousness hide a vulnerable and tender core, which he usually feels comfortable showing only around his family.

In this installment, McAvoy is living apart from his wife and young son for safety reasons. As “City Lights” contributor Michele Ross explains in her review, McAvoy is given what’s supposed to be an easy cold case to confirm, but nothing is what it seems and betrayal is everywhere.

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City Lights
3:07 pm
Mon July 20, 2015

Essential Theatre Festival Kicks Off With Black Church Drama

Lemond Hayes, Cheryl Booker, Lydia Frempong, Sundiata Rush, Sharan Mansfield, Jimmica Collins and James Gerald Smith are cast members in the professional world premiere of ''The Old Ship of Zion.''
Credit Safaa Sammander

 

Natalia Naman first began write a play about a small African-American church in the South for her senior thesis project at Princeton University.

A native of Columbus, Georgia, Naman needed a few more years to get her first full-length play to the stage.

On Friday, “The Old Ship of Zion” begins the 17th Essential Theatre Festival at the West End Performing Arts Center.

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Arts
11:40 am
Mon July 20, 2015

‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’ Creators Talk Cancellation, Weirdness

Master Shake (Dana Snyder) attempts to get his driver's license at the DMV in a scene from the final season of ''Aqua Teen Hunger Force Forever'' premiering Sunday at midnight (ET, PT) on Adult Swim.
Credit Adult Swim

"Aqua Teen Hunger Force" is the longest-running original cartoon on Adult Swim, the decidedly child-unfriendly block of evening programming on the Cartoon Network. "Aqua Teen" is distinguished by its bizarre humor and the fact that its main characters are a talking milkshake, french fries and a wad of meat.

The show is in its 11th and final season, and WABE’s Myke Johns sat down with co-creators Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis to talk about the show’s end and about where it began.

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Arts
2:39 pm
Fri July 17, 2015

Atlanta-Area Poets Step Up To The Mic At Java Monkey Speaks

Kodac Harrison has been the emcee of Java Monkey’s weekly open mic poetry night for the past 14 years.
Credit Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

There’s something about coffeehouses that inspires artists. Maybe it’s the lighting; maybe it’s the background noise; maybe it’s the caffeine. It’s probably the caffeine. But at Java Monkey in downtown Decatur, Georgia, the inspiration lies with the regulars. 

Kodac Harrison has been doing the same thing almost every Sunday night for the past 14 years: Java Monkey Speaks, an open mic poetry night. 

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City Lights
2:03 pm
Fri July 17, 2015

Atlanta Slam Poet On The Moment She Decided To ‘Be Visible’

Slam poet Theresa Davis went from performing open mics to winning the Women of the World Poetry Slam Championship in 2011.
Credit Louisa McCullough

Today, Theresa Davis is a World Poetry Slam Champion and a published author.

With her poetry, she's toured with bands like Rising Appalachia, has given a TedX talk and was the 2012 McEver Visiting Chair in Writing at Georgia Tech.

Thirteen years ago, however, Davis was a middle school teacher, devoted to education but stuck in a deep depression.

Then tragedy struck her family. “My father passed away suddenly,” she said. “And one of the last conversations I had with him was how I wasn’t living up to my potential.”

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