The AJC reports that a public “listening session” on the renaming of Confederate Avenue and East Confederate Avenue in Grant Park brought both support and derision from about 30 people in attendance. The name change is part of an effort to remove symbols of the Confederacy, seen by many as holdovers of white supremacy and the Jim Crow era. The general consensus by residents is to change the name of the streets to “United,” but some current and former residents said the move was tantamount to erasing history.the The City Utilities Committee will hold a public hearing on the matter at Atlanta City Hall on Sept. 25 at 9:30 a.m. in Committee Room #1. The name changes are expected to go before the City Council in October.
Buckhead representatives Howard Shook and J.P. Matzigkeit introduced a resolution supporting the installation of cameras in Fulton County courtrooms at Monday’s meeting of the Atlanta City Council. The resolution states that cameras in Magistrate and Superior Court would allow for the “live-streaming of select court proceedings for the benefit of the public.” The legislation was prompted by a surge in crime that in turn has raised questions and concerns about the judicial process, including a murder committed after a controversial early-release, and the release on a signature bond of an individual charged with 17 counts, including felonies with a handgun. “We need a better understanding of our judicial system,” said Council member Shook. “The public should be able to see and hear what goes on in our courtrooms, just as it can now observe live or recorded Council activities.”
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has appointed Gary Brantley as Chief Information Officer for the City of Atlanta. Brantley is currently the Chief Information Officer for DeKalb County Schools, a position he has held since 2011. Prior to his position in DeKalb, Brantley was Vice President of Information Technology for the Ohio Department of Aging. Brantley’s appointment is effective Oct. 8.
Peach Bowl, Inc. and Mercedes-Benz Stadium have signed a new eight-year contract ensuring all Chick-fil-A Peach Bowls and Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games will be played in the facility through 2025. The length of the agreement will include eight Chick-fil-A Peach Bowls and at least 10 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games. Since its opening in August 2017, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has already hosted three sold out Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games and one sold out Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl totaling 292,649 fans.
A new rendering of the Atlanta Dairies project (Courtesy Paces Properties)
Paces Properties has announced the fourth tenant to join the Atlanta Dairies redevelopment on Memorial Drive, Three Taverns Imaginarium.
Set to open summer of 2019, the Imaginarium, an extension of Decatur’s Three Taverns Brewery, will be, according to a media statement, equal parts laboratory, brewery, and tasting room inspired by an “ancient cabinet of curiosities.”
“We are thrilled to have Three Taverns Imaginarium join the Atlanta Dairies tenant mix,” said Merritt Lancaster, Principal of Paces Properties. “As a well-known Georgia brewery and with a successful flagship location in Decatur, Three Taverns has grown to become a prominent Atlanta brand. We are confident the Imaginarium will be welcomed with open arms by the surrounding neighborhoods and beyond.”
“The historical significance of the Dairies location and the short walk both from the [Atlanta BeltLine] Eastside Trail are key parts of our desire to join Dairies. Equally as exciting is the vision for Dairies location itself as a mix of living, shopping, dining, live music, and entertainment all connected by a communal gathering space right outside our brewery doors,” said Three Taverns Imaginarium Owner Brian Purcell. “With one of the few open container licenses in the city, the Dairies location offers the opportunity for customers to carry our beer freely throughout the complex, making our beer a complete part of the Dairies experience.”
The Imaginarium will invent and concoct beers with exotic flavor profiles while also serving up fan favorites. It plans to have four to five of its core beers on tap, followed by a rotating list of 20 to 25 experimental beers. In keeping with the Dairies theme, the Imaginarium will use lactose in some of their beers to craft styles like milk stouts, fruit and cream sours and milkshake IPAs. There will also be small food plates from rotating kiosks or pop-up stations.
The space, being designed by Square Feet Studios, will draw inspiration from the scientific world of centuries past: laboratories, apothecaries, and cabinets of curiosities, where collectors would proudly put their experiments and discoveries on display.
Paces Properties has previously announced that Collier’s Department Store, Thrive Farmers and a music venue from the owners of Variety Playhouse will also be part of the mixed-use development.
Roy Gullane has been performing with the Tannahill Weavers for almost fifty years. The band is currently on its 50th anniversary tour, which will bring them to the Red Light Cafe on Sunday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m.
He says the group began in 1968 in the town of Paisley, Scotland. Folk music was resurgent in the United States and he and his friends were inspired by Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger and the Weavers. They took part of their name from the American group and the other part from the Scottish poet Robert Tannahill.
Tannahill is less well known than Robert Burns, but the two were contemporaries. The Industrial Revolution had come to Scotland and the Scottish highlanders were moving to the industrial towns for work and mixing with the lowlanders who were of a different background and sentiment. Tannahill, a frail man, was apprenticed by his father as a weaver. He wrote in both Scots and English but was not well known in his day. Later he was called “the weaver poet” and his work now features prominently in Scottish literature.
The group moved from playing pubs to music festivals. Gullane says he knew they had something when they played at a festival in Tubingen, Germany in a castle courtyard. They had a marvelous reception there and have been touring the world ever since. To mark their 50th anniversary they are again on tour with a new album called “Orach,” the Celtic word for gold.
Gullane who sings and plays guitar is joined by Phil Smillie who plays flute, bodhran and whistles, John Martin on fiddle, viola and cello and Lorne MacDougall who has been named three times by BBC Scotland as the young traditional musician of the year, plays bagpipes. The quartet will be in concert this Sunday night at the Red Light Cafe.
For tickets and information, visit http://redlightcafe.com.
Tannahill Weavers: The Geese In The Bog Set Live at the National Piping Centre - YouTube
Art on the Atlanta BeltLine is back and bigger than ever, with sculptures, murals, special exhibitions, live entertainment and the annual Lantern Parade.
Since it’s beginning in 2010, Art on the BeltLine has become the largest temporary outdoor art exhibition in the south that is completely free to the public.
The exhibition includes “Inertia,” the sculpture component of this year’s festival featuring large and small creations by local and nationally-known artists, while “BeltLine Walls” showcases colorful, thought-provoking murals painted along the trails. “Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944-1968,” curated by historian Karcheik Sims-Alvarado, is an exhibition of photos of the era across four miles of the Eastside and Westside Trails.
There will also be special live events by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Alliance Theatre, The Atlanta Opera and more.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. the Old Fourth Ward Fall Fest will be held along the Eastside Trail with live music, food, kid’s play area and an opportunity to make a lantern for that evening’s Lantern Parade.
The Lantern Parade, which grew to a whopping 70,000 participants and viewers last year, lines up at 7:15 p.m. where the Eastside Trail crosses at Irwin Street and will continue on to Piedmont Park. Participants are encouraged to make colorful lanterns and dress in costumes.
One of Kusama’s Infinity Rooms (Courtesy Hirshorn)
As expected, all advance tickets for the “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” exhibition at the High Museum are sold out.
If you missed your chance to get advance tickets, approximately 100 tickets will be available for walk-up purchase each day of the exhibition beginning on Nov. 18. Those tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and will be valid for that date only.
Those who scored tickets will be taken on a once-in-a-lifetime journey through more than 60 years of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s creative genius, focusing on the evolution of her iconic kaleidoscopic environments called Infinity Mirror Rooms.
“Infinity Mirrors” runs Nov. 18 through Feb. 17. For more information, visit www.high.org/kusama.
The City Springs Theatre Company is presenting the legendary musical “42nd Street,” running through Septl 23 at the brand new Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center.
The crown jewel of the City Springs development is the beautiful 1070-seat Byers Theatre. The background of how this performance venue came to be is a story by itself, and you may research it. I’ll just mention that the company’s Executive/Artistic Director is Brandt Blocker (who also directs “42nd Street”), the Associate Artistic Director is the Tony-winning Shuler Hensley (who plays a lead in the show), and the Managing Director is Natalie Barrow. Hats off to these three and to all who have given Atlanta an incredible new theatre.
In 1933, when America was in the depths of the Great Depression, Hollywood produced a miraculous movie musical called “”42nd Street.” I say “miraculous” because putting songs like “We’re in the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” and “Young and Healthy” in a film to be shown to a downtrodden country with mass poverty and bread lines sounded crazy to many. But “42nd Street’s” creators (Michael Stewart, Mark Bramble, book; Harry Warren, music; Al Dubin, lyrics) thought otherwise. So did the legendary choreographer Busby Berkeley. They were right; America loved it. And a showbiz backstage story for the ages was born.
In 1980 Broadway produced a spectacular revival of the show that ran for years. Even though another backstage musical called “A Chorus Line” was packing them in, New York audiences found room in their hearts and pocketbooks for the old chestnut.
Let’s face it: The storyline of “42nd Street” trods some well-worn paths. A young girl named Peggy Sawyer (Leigh Ellen Jones) with stars in her eyes comes to the big city to make it in show business. A show called “Pretty Lady” is about to go into rehearsal. She’s too late. But the young lead named Billy Lawlor (Benjamin Taylor Davis) likes her and gets her a chance. The formidable leading lady, Dorothy Brock (Deborah Bowman) views any new girl as a potential threat. But somehow the show’s director, Julian Marsh (Shuler Hensley), desperate for a hit, smells talent—big time. He’s right.
The show’s opening is breathtaking—a big stage full of people tap dancing their hearts out—and they are good! The outstanding choreography is by Cindy Mora Reiser. The music director is Judy Cole. It occurs to me that almost everything about “42nd Street” is big: the very fine cast (over 30), the live pit orchestra (conducted by Brandt Blocker), and most of all the talent and joie de vivre of actor/singer/dancers. One gets the feeling that everyone has a sense of occasion about this inaugural show, and everyone is thrilled to be here. That feeling spills over to the audience, sitting in the big, beautiful theatre.
I’m not going to reveal the show’s creaky plot, but there is backstage intrigue aplenty, with romance, large egos, opening night catastrophes which turn to triumphs, and friendships made and broken. The performers are stellar, starting with Leigh Ellen Jones as Peggy, the original small-town-girl-makes-good. Ms. Jones is so good she’s scary: dancing, singing, acting. It’s a joy to discover her.
Shuler Hensley’s Julian anchors the show, and when he finally gets to use his famous singing voice in “Lullaby of Broadway” there are audible sighs of pleasure in the audience. Those great ladies of the stage, Deborah Bowman and Marcie Millard, are in fine form—and can they sing! I cannot mention everyone in this very large cast, but here are some standouts: Benjamin Taylor Davis, Google Uterhardt, Steve Hornibrook, Jody Woodruff, Michael Persson, Lauren Brooke Tatum, Kiley Washington, Summer Balkwill, and many others.
Betty Johnson and Amanda Edgerton West are the costume coordinators, and they are lovely.
I notice that City Springs is doing “South Pacific” and “Billy Elliot” this season; I eagerly await them. They are more dramatically compelling than “42nd Street,” although everyone has his/her favorites.
I’m not sure why, but “42nd Street” is only running two weeks; it could be that shows of this size and scope are very expensive. Be that as it may, this show is big, beautiful, and splashy and will show you a really good time.
The annual Kirkwood Wine Stroll is on Friday, Sept. 21, from 7 to 10 p.m. in Historic Kirkwood.
There will be 43 participating locations, each pouring a sample of red and white wines. Great live music by amazing local bands performing on three stages – jazz, acoustic and electric stages.
Dining options include tapas type portions of small plates available for purchase through local food vendors like Urban Pie, Kirkyard Public House, Dish Dive, Sun in My Belly, Poppa Corns: Gourmet Popcorn, Poor Hendrix and My Coffee Shop. There will also be non-alcoholic beverages, local craft beer selections from Eventide Brewing and Second Self Beer Company.
Ticket are $50 online or at the door. This is a 21-year and older event and photo ID is required. For tickets and information, visit kirkwoodwinestroll.com.
Proceeds from the Wine Stroll are used to enhance the downtown business district and help fund other Kirkwood nonprofit organizations and events.
Athena Parker speaks about conditions at The Darlington apartments at a Sept. 17 rally. (Photo by Evelyn Andrews)
Residents at Buckhead’s Darlington apartments rallied Sept. 17 to voice concerns about deteriorating conditions and their struggles to find new housing after the complex owner notified all residents they had 60 days to vacate.
In August, renters at the Darlington, one of the few affordable apartment complexes in Buckhead, said they were surprised with a letter left at their doors that said they had to vacate their units by Oct. 17. Varden Capital Properties, the developer that purchased the building about a year ago, plans to renovate the complex, but has released few details and has not responded to requests for comment.
Participants at the rally spoke about conditions at the apartment while holding signs that said “people before profit” and “housing is human right.” They later walked to the sidewalk at Peachtree Road and chanted as cars drove by.
Residents complained the air conditioning was broken for three weeks. Once that was fixed, the hot water stopped working, they said. Most at the rally said they are not trying to stay at the apartment and don’t plan to return once the renovations are done, but want more moving assistance from the owner.
The apartment complex, located at 2025 Peachtree Road, is famous for its “Atlanta Population Now” sign, which has been tracking the population since 1965. TriBridge Residential sold the property to Varden for $30 million in April 2017, according to Fulton County property records.
The Sandy Springs-based developer is known for renovating affordable complexes into “luxury” units. Varden has purchased and renovated approximately 18,000 units in the Southeast since 2012, according to its website, but the Darlington is the only unit it currently owns in Georgia. The rents at the Darlington range from $600 to $1,000 per month, according to the website.
Athena Parker, who said she has lived at the Darlington since moving to Atlanta eight years ago, said she believes the owners are forcing residents out because they want to make more money on a property in a prime location.
“I think they’re doing because they’re greedy,” she said.
She said she is afraid the only affordable options available to her may be in a dangerous area.
“This is my home. These people are my family,” Parker said. “I’m scared. Am I going to become homeless?”
Rainey Shane and Maureen Meulen discuss unconventional ideas about artifact relocations at Pullman Yard.
The transformation of Pullman Yard into a mixed-use development has taken another step forward with the selection of real estate development company JLL to lead the project under its adaptive reuse division lead by Rainey Shane.
Atomic Entertainment, which purchased the 27-acre site in the Kirkwood neighborhood last year, plans to turn the parcel of 13 freestanding buildings into film soundstages, a residential component, restaurants, retail, a boutique hotel and creative offices. The site, which has become a favorite filming location for movies like “The Hunger Games,” was originally built in 1904 as a fertilizer plant and later became a train repair facility for the Pullman Rail Company.
Shane is no stranger to big adaptive reuse projects: she was a development and construction manger for Ponce City Market.
“Our objective was to identify an expert in the marketplace who possessed the requisite skill set to handle a unique adaptive reuse project,” said Maureen Meulen, partner at Atomic Entertainment. “Rainey’s combined expertise in both commercial real estate development and the arts and entertainment industry made her the obvious choice for our team, and we’re pleased to work with JLL’s new team of adaptive reuse experts to bring our vision for Pullman Yards to life.”
Shane said developers like Atomic Entertainment, have adjusted their focus to include the preservation and revitalization of abandoned project sites.
“With so much existing building stock in Atlanta ripe for restoration, the establishment of a dedicated adaptive reuse team enables us to deliver the specialized knowledge needed to successfully restore these buildings while maintaining the city’s original character and historical integrity,” said Shane. “Breathing new life into an existing space is a challenging and rewarding experience, and I’m excited for the opportunity to lead this effort.”