GOArts is short for Georgia Open Arts Month which takes place each October.
It's a collective campaign to raise awareness about arts in our area.

Last October, I took up a challenge to see 31 shows in 31 days and blog about it... in the end, I saw 41.
Sure, it was a bit tiring but it was also an amazing opportunity.

The column on the left is a linked schedule of everything I saw.
For a more logical read of this blog o'adventures, scroll down to the first entry and start reading there.

I'm not a reviewer, nor am I an art critic.
I aim to raise public awareness about the great tapestry of arts & culture in our area and inspire you to get out there and enjoy it.
x ~ Here's a special thanks to the folks who provided me comps to some of these events! ~

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Μήδεια (Event #41)

Tonight, my October GOArts Challenge ends where western civilization's theater arts begin -- the Greek drama. 

The Theatre Arts Guild of Georgia Perimeter College will present Medea at the Cole Auditorium.

"What do you do if you discover you're not really you" (Event #40)

"...Or more to the point, that there may be a lot more of you than you could ever have imagined?"  My friend and I are on our way over to the Little Theatre in Pearce Auditorium to see A Number, a play written by Caryl Churchill in 2002.  The performance is part of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance's (GTA) Discovery Series.  These small scale performances are usually free and are frequently the capstone projects of GTA seniors.  Sometimes they include guest performers and directors.

Gainesville Theatre Alliance is a collaboration between Gainesville State College, Brenau University, Theatre Wings and the Professional Company along with the Northeast Georgia community.  This year, the GTA is celebrating its 30th Anniversary Season and their next mainstage production will be The Wedding Singer November 10-21.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Handel's Nightmare (Prelude to Event #39)

You know that Halloween can't be too far off when a well-respected, well-traveled Baroque organization plays a concert with nightmare-ish music.  Tonight's concert, Handel's Nightmare, will feature mezzo-soprano Tijana Grujic in selections from some of Handel's most popular operas. Also featured are sonatas for violin and continuo by Biber, Corelli and Tartini, including Corelli's "La Folia" and Tartini's "The Devil's Trill.

The concert will be performed by Atlanta's acclaimed New Trinity Baroque Early Music Ensemble at 8pm tonight in St. Bartolomew's Episcopal Church.
(The New Trinity Baroque Early Music Ensemble.  Photo credit Richard Calmes)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monkey Business -- LIVEBLOGGING (Event #38)

Ten minutes til' Dress Rehearsal begins (at 9pm)...  What are you doing online?  C'mon over to the show.  Company member Cathy Poley, the Who of "who's there?" says "We have so much fun doing this show."  She's right. In the run-up to this rehearsal they were really having a great time with one another.  Also, the Chromatics are here performing live.

Let me introduce you to Aaron Gotlieb, Co-Executive Producer of  Dancing Monkey Cabaret (DMC),  who is a puppeteer and actor and my host for the evening.
Ok, so we're getting ready to put this whole thing together for the first time. All the pieces have been rehearsed but it's always exciting to see it all at once! I'll try to come back and chat throughout, but it all depends on what unexpected little wrinkles pop up. When you guys get out here tomorrow it'll all be smooth sailing! -- Aaron
And now... it's show time!

Dancing with the Stars like you've never seen it before... and maybe you'd like to see.
Cathy's Horrible House of Horrors... oh soooo scary.
The Chromatics and Kristina Baade do a little Spooky for us
Rise & Shine morning show... turnabout is fairplay!
The loveable and affiable Scarface takes a sacrificial virgin from the audience to Skullcrusher Mountain
The Undead Stand-up Comedian... oh soooo funny.
And now, for the CULTURAL portion of this performance... Poe's The Raven
Company member Enisha Brewster knows Where I've Been

. . . . . ~ INTERMISSION ~  the cast is Trick or Treating for YouthPride... pony-up, folks!
Dancing Monkey Cathy Here - This is such a fun show to be in. My main character throughout is based on my life in high school. I thought I was cool and goth, but really I was way too happy to be goth. The show has surprises. At one point Aaron is supposed to scare me by pulling out an object and it is different each night., So I never know if it will be a rubber bat or a severed hand!
Aaron Here - Well, keeps her on her toes! In fact, tomorrow, it might be a bag of toes, who knows. So Act one zoomed by, we're collecting for YouthPride right now as people have their treats out in the lobby. Act two has plenty of surprises left!

Second Act begins and The Chromatics swing us back in...  Kristina is back now, too. Together, they rock us with a bit of Heart and Magic Man.
Aaron thanks the Dancing Monkey Sponsors and Supporters
The Dating Game - Frank, Casper and Edward (yeah, that Edward)
Cathy tries again to be Scary...real life scary, and tells why It's Hard to be Goth When You're Happy
Next skit - THEREMIN - the sound that makes it scary.
Aaron, Harry and Walter by Topher Payne
The Dancing Monkey Electric Chair is used to conjure spirits... guess who they bring back?!!

. . . . . ~ That's a wrap! ~  Come out and see all this Monkey Business for yourself! Enjoy!

"Villainous Vaudeville and Creepy Cabaret" (Prelude to Event #38)

Tonight, I am going to attend the dress rehearsal for Night of the Living Monkeys, the October installmnet of the Dancing Monkey Cabaret (DMC)Known for their Vaudevillian variety shows, DMC is a resident company of The Academy Theatre.  Here is how they describe the Dancing Monkey experience:
"Blending the best of classic American Vaudeville and Burlesque with the European Music Hall and Cabaret traditions, Dancing Monkey Cabaret creates a vibrant new experience. Each evening, a themed performance is created from an eclectic mix of acts and artists. These acts might include (among others) musicians (both classical and popular), dancers, comedians, puppeteers, magicians, impersonators, acrobats, one-act plays or scenes from plays, athletes, lecturing celebrities, clowns and short films. No other genre brings the same degree of artsy eccentricity, which provides a reason for audiences to come back again and again."
Night of the Living Monkeys will take place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at The Academy Theatre Added Bonus: The skeletons come out of the closet to fundraise for YouthPride in Dancing Monkey Cabaret's first 'Ghoul Pride' celebration!  (Image from Dancing Monkey Cabaret website.)   Food: My left-overs from Il Mee... yes, a Korean noodle dish from last Saturday.

Canadian rhubarb pie: It's not celery!!! (Event #29)

Priscilla's in the kitchen and and she cooked up the title of this post for me!  Actually, six word memoirs about food motivated the artistic production that Priscilla danced in on Saturday morning.  Here's D. Patton White, Artistic Director of  Beacon Dance to explain:
Hey Keif! Thanks so much for carving out some time to come see A Bountiful Feast: A Moveable Feast!  Just a bit of background for at least a portion of the performance. My sister recently gave me a book of Six-Word Memoirs put together by the people from Smith magazine. So we took this idea and each of the cast members created 6 six-word memoirs of food or food related stories. We shared them during the performance and then asked the audience to share some with us. We will use those shared by the audience when we return to the Land Trust this evening for a twilight performance at 6:15 PM on the playground area. (Images of Beacon Dance's A Bountiful Feast: A Moveable Feast. Lou the Emu watches, too -- top left picture between fence and pond.)

My six word contribution at the event -- what else -- i love to eat with friends .

Not Forgot (Event #28)

They zipped into and out of town, leaving The Ferst Center audience on their feet in steady applause. Parsons Dance teamed up with the East Village Opera Company for their production of REMEMBER METhis union reflects a trend among recent dance performances here in Atlanta -- an integration of dancers, musicians, singers, & multi-media.  It's a theme currently being discussed within the local dance community.  For the Atlanta premier of REMEMBER ME, there is unanimous consensus among my circle of peers that this was a successful integration where nothing distracted from the other--the visual images and video helped set the tone and gave us a sense of place, the dancers and singers were inseparable in the creation of a character and both gave high energy performances.  (Web image of Parsons Dance REMEMBER ME)

The Ferst Center has a really strong season of performances this year with something that is sure to appeal to you.  Here are the rest of the dance companies they have booked for this year: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez, Pilobolus, and Rasta Thomas' Bad Boys of DanceIn addition to these great performers, a few of our own will take the stage at the Ferst Center for holiday entertainment. Ballethnic returns with their annual Urban Nutcracker Nov 19-22.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Embarrassing Thing About Going Out of Business -- (Event #27)

Everything goes.... No... ANYTHING goes!  So yeah, I went to The Dad's Garage Going Out of Business Show and afterward took the opportunity to check in with the cast. Let me recreate the experience for you...

Me: "Hey man, how are you doin'? It's been awhile, huh?"
Him: "Hi, fine.  Yeah, the baby is three, now.  What have you been up to?"
[We greet with a mutual hug and I give him a kiss on the cheek]
Me: I answer his question with yada yada about my big adventures and recent escapades. "Wow, having a Daddy as a comedian, I hasten to think what comes out of your little one's mouth."
Him: "Oh yeah!"
[We chat for about 10 minutes and share what we've been doing for the past two or three years and what we have planned for the near future.  He gets the cast together for a post show group shot.]
Me: on my way out and saying goodbye, "Well hey, is your wife still doing photography?"
Him:  "Uh.... you're thinking of Matt Stanton."

Chris Blair is my new best friend! BFF

Ok, ok... so Chris and Matt kinda' look alike and both are actors who share a similar physicality and fashion sense. But what is really pitiful here is that I thought Chris Blair was Matt Horgan who I thought was Matt Stanton.  Um... maybe I need glasses.

Halloween Night @ Dad's Garage -- WangDoodle variety show | the Great Humpkin dance party | Costume Contest. (Pictured above are strange bedfellows: Chris Blair, Gina Rickicki, Jon Carr, Stacey Melich and Matt Horgan at Dad's Garage)

British Farce Fun -- guest blogger Lost in Yonkers (Event #30)

Again, due to keif, I attended another event of many on her list.

Location: I live in Marietta and never went further than E Piedmont on Sandy Plains Rd. It was a surprise to see The Art Place - Mountain View located next to Mountain View Public Library along with the Mountain View Aquatics Center across the street. The building itself held photographs as well as bowls, urns, and other art work which was interesting to look over before the play, during intermission and after the play. It was a nice, intimate stage setting.

The play:  Wife Begins at 40 presented by CenterStage North.  The cast was an international group (Brits, Aussies, and Yankees). I'm bad at picking up accents and dialects but needless to say I couldn't tell the difference. If you are into British comedies, this is for you. There are the dry sense of humor, innuendos aplenty and endless hilarity. The absent minded grandfather who sums up the entire play in one line...I'll let you figure that out for yourselves. They even had the cutest miniature poodle in the play!

Keep up the good work and will attend next season!  Upcoming shows Dec 11 -Dec-20, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

“It All Began with a Picture” (Prelude to Event #37)

So stated C.S. Lewis when asked what motivated his famous first-published book of The Chronicles of Narnia.  The Rose of Athens Theatre brings Lewis' notable work, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, to the stage today through Saturday.  I'm going to the Wednesday matinee held at Seney-Stovall Chapel in Athens Georgia.  Be there!
(Company members Carole Kaboya and J. Thomas Wynne, III from The Rose of Athens Theatre production of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.  Photo credit Becca Woolbright.)

"Where they most breed and haunt..." (Prelude to Event #35)

... is over at the New American Shakespeare Tavern where the Atlanta Shakespeare Company is performing a limited run of Macbeth.   I'm attending a student matinee that will be Sign Language InterpretedThis is going to be good!  Here's a shout-out to the students from the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf who I'll be seeing the show with tomorrow. (Image from Atlanta Shakespeare Company's production of Macbeth, from their webpage.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lend Me An Ear -- LIVE BLOGGING (Event #34)

***Be sure to check out Doug Kaye's comment to this post for more perspective about Lend Me An Ear.***

7:30pm Karen Beyer opens the shows
7:35pm Bill Tush, special guest, plays Vic in this first work: Vic & Sade circa 1938
7:40pm "Baseball is just a game... right?"
7:45pm "Kick a Home Run?"
Tonight's Foley Artist (readers of this blog already know what a Foley Artist is thanks to the ARTC) is Henry Howard. crreeeeeeeaaak-SLAM!   Brad Weage is on the Keyboard(s) tonight.
7:50pm Edith Ivey (via the magic of audio engineering) introduces this next work: Whispering Streets (Episode #1467) from 1958.   Edith noted how she performed on this particular radio show for three years.
7:55pm Ms. Veronica is about to do something drastic... dramatic music from Brad... commercial break.
All the performers look great and are dressed up... suits, ties, skirts, jackets and... a white feather boa! Martha Knighton (with the boa wrapped around her neck, plays Millie, the retired burlesque strip-teaser) garners applause... no... not stripping... its her humor, her humor.
8:05pm Doug Kaye steps up to the microphone as Eric and delivers...well... Shakespeare (what else?!!) to his old flame in the show.  And not just any ol' Shakespeare... no, not the friar... he's reciting Romeo's lines.
8:15pm Jerry Immel is spot-on as The Announcer... close your eyes and he takes you right back in time.

8:17pm Next performance is Dick Tracy in B flat (a 1943 show) -- fun fun lyrics and zingers
8:20pm 10 actors on stage singing for Dick's wedding
8:21pm Leaving Tess Trueheart, Yolander Asher, at the alter to solve a crime
8:24pm Flattop, Jon Kohler, aims his gun low in DT's back and vows to "blow his brains out"
8:28pm William Colquitt, as Vitamin Flintheart, tries to sing us a song.
8:35pm Rivka Levin, Snowflake, sings "Somewhere Over a Barrel."
8:38pm Barry Stoltze, the Cheif, just won't let these two get married... he constant calls with interruptions.
8:40pm Henry Howard, sound effects man, does a great sound effect of crashing sounds ending with a gumball rolling around the rim of a metal bowl... when the gumball stops, he it and everyone cheers.

INTERMISSION: time for the Tavern's famous Apple Crisps... (too bad, Su!)

9:00pm everyone sings Happy Birthday (in four part harmony) to Deborah Calloway Duke (who is performing on stage tonight) and she says "I love you all and there ain't a damn thing you can do about it!"

And here's a news scoop, Marc Gowan totals up all the ticket sales (140 of us). Everyone here has helped raise over $1900, which translates to more than $10,000 in buying power for the Atlanta Community Food Bank.  Congrats to all the volunteers who pulled this together and those who performed.  Thanks to everyone sitting in the audience with me for coming out to the show for this great cause AND great entertainment.

9:08pm Barry Stoltze, is knockin' us out with the corniest one liners on earth as Joe Penner in The Baker's Broadcast with Joe Penner circa 1934.

9:20pm now... a murder mystery solved by misfits... Mr. & Mrs. North "The Opera Murder" from 1950.
9:25pm uh, oh.. something strange is going on... the North's arrive at their host's home and he's not there. Yep, he's dead.
9: 30pm who's dun it? Helen Ingebristen and Jon Hayden play the clever couple. Elizabeth Whitfield, Sally, is accused of the crime... caught almost red-handed... but Mrs. North thinks she is innocent cuz' she's a terrible liar. Her brother, Dick, played by Tim Peek, fesses up to the murder.... he's lying, too.
9:40pm Mrs. Stephano, Debra Nelson, is accused now. But it ain't her.
9:45pm Lt. Weigand, Clayton Landey, the tough cop sets Sally up for a confession convinced that she's guilty. Mrs. North shows the cops what a sleuth she is.  She's convinced of Sally's innocence
9:47pm Mr. Stephano, Bob Bost, was done in by his best friend and business acquaintance, Spire, played by Tom Thon-- Spire gave Stephano the proverbial Stab.

9:50pm "Now it is time for dimensions in Time and Space told in Future Tense!" This is the final act of the night, a piece from 1950 call "A Logic Named Joe" from Dimension X
9:56pm As you might expect... there are lots of Sci-Fi sound effects in this one.
9:58pm Karen Beyer plays THE brat... does she do this professionally?
10:00pm 17 actors on the stage doing this piece. Littering the stage with scripts when they toss them aside as they finish reading them.
10:10pm big saloon scene with the cast making great crowd noises
10:15pm OK... these Logics are too smart for OUR own good.
10:20pm I think Moe Ralston is about to make Doug Kaye malfunction and blow up

Will Perform Humorous Skits for Food (Prelude to Event #34)

Tonight I'm told to expect an evening of live old-time radio re-creations, complete with on-stage sound effects, presented by members of Atlanta's professional acting unions: the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and  Actors Equity Association.  Technical support will be provided by the technicians of The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company.
I'm attending the 6th Annual Lend Me An Ear! benefit performance, this year titled: "A Six-Pack to Go" held at the New American Shakespeare Tavern. All proceeds go to Atlanta Community Food Bank.  The doors open at 6:15 pm so that you may partake of food and beverages before the show.  The actual performance begins at 7:30 pm.  Come on out for the camaraderie, the entertainment and a really good cause.  (Atlanta BookPALs, Martha Knighton [left] and Doug Kaye [right]. Images from the Atlanta Chapter of the Screen Actors Guild BookPALs website.)

Contemporary Visual Art and Artists (Event #25)

In conjunction with National Arts and Humanities Month the faculty of Emory's Visual Arts Department hosted public screenings for each new segment of the PBS series Art:21--Art in the 21st Century , now in its fifth season. Screenings take place simultaneously at over 300 galleries, museums, universities, schools, libraries, art spaces, and community centers and is organized in collaboration with Americans for the Arts

Of the four segments new to this season, I was very much looking forward to seeing Art:21 - Systems which claimed:
Whether through acts of appropriation, repetition, or accumulation, the artists in this episode realize projects both vast in scope and beyond comprehension.

You can get in on discussions about topics viewed in the film by following http://blog.art21.org/

You have one more chance to get in on a screening, too.  On October 29, The Contemporary will screen Episode 3 and 4.  Episode 3, Transformation, features Yinka Shonibare MBE, Cindy Sherman, and Paul McCarthy, all of whom capture the sensibilities of our age while at times inhabiting the characters they have created. Episode 4, Systems, includes Julie Mehretu, John Baldessari, Kimsooja, and Allan McCollum.

After the screening, I took the time to enjoy Joel Leivick: In the Garden – An Exhibition of Photography in the Emory Visual Arts Gallery.  Mr. Leivick's work will be on display until November 20.  This exhibit is part of a year-long series of exhibitions that strive to consider key issues in contemporary photograph.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Hold On To Your Seat" (Event #24)

...that's what Corey said.  He and Danielle had never been to a theater before except to see the Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker performance at the Fox while they where in high school.  Well, now they have been to Marietta's Theatre in the Square along with me and some other friends to see The Woman in Black.  In my prelude to this performance, I mentioned that the two of them liked to watch horror movies on TV... well, Danielle does.  Neither Corey nor I like horror movies. Both of them enjoyed the tension and suspense that defined this live performance, though.  They remarked about how connected they felt to the action and how much their imaginations took off with all of the elements (like the sound design) used to transport us to a lonely bog of decades ago.  The action was all around us, not on some two dimensional surface in a box.

Now, here is what one of my other friends had to say about our outing:
I live in Marietta and always wanted to attend a production at Theatre in the Square. It took keif to finally get me there. Let me say that the Theatre is a cozy, intimate setting. Also as a Marietta resident don't be discouraged by the lack of easy parking in the area. This just means you need to get there a little bit earlier!

Now to the production of  The Woman in Black. Loved it. The intimacy of the space enhanced all the sound effects. Even the train passing through the square added to the tension in the play. The two actors, Gil Brady and David Milford, were awesome. I would really like to hear Mr. Milford's "normal" speaking voice. Watching the play and meeting keif's friends who are having a new theater experience reminded me of my first live theater experience. It was Death Trap, another thriller.
For dinner before the show, we all met up at the Big Chicken (it's a KFC).

All The Way From Tallahassee, Florida (Event #23)

I believe it was the Maclay School that traveled all the way from Florida to see Théâtre du Réve (TdR) perform Vive La Fontaine! this past Tuesday at the Horizon Theatre.  There were quite a few school groups at that matinee performance.  The children from Towns Elementary School were also there... calling out the names, in French, printed on each placard announcing the next act.  Impressive.   

Jean de La Fontaine's fables, like The Tortoise and the Hare, transcend language and culture with their universality. Trusting that we share a common understanding of these fables, the very creative, musically-inclined, bilingual actors of TdR are limited only by their imaginations as to how they present each fable in this hyper-visual Suzi Award-winning show.  The performance was as captivating to the sharp, smart, French-speaking students as it was to this theater-loving adult.
Théâtre du Réve will perform again in the new year at Emory University, January 14 through the 24 with their production of L'Acteur Sacrifiant by the French-Swiss playwright, Valère Novarina.  (Pictured above, Chris Kayser, Carolyn Cook and Park Krausen from TdR website)

Oh yeah... the food... quoi encore? -- an international meal in the cafeteria of Your DeKalb Farmers MarketDélicieux!

Fanfare & Tall Tales (Prelude to Events #32 & #33)

In a very short while I will make my way over to the Roswell United Methodist Church to hear the Michael O'Neil Singers (MOS) perform a concert of contemporary works.  The 135 members symphonic choral will perform alongside the 26 member chamber ensemble today to present Fanfare For A New DayThe program is meant to remind us that "choral music is an art form constantly reinventing itself!"  Fun Factoid: The multi-talented Dr. Michael O'Neil, pictured left, not only founded and leads the MOS, but his solo career has included opera and oratorio performances in Italy and Belgium and appearances on National Public Radio and the Armed Forces Radio Network.  According to their website, tickets to this 3pm performance are available at the door.

This evening, I believe there will be much ado about all the ghosts the folks at the Art Station have found to be haunting the area.  I'm going to find out for myself and take A Tour of Southern Ghosts.  Click on this link to see video that might have you convinced that you should come along and take the tour with me or sometime this week since Halloween is not too far away!  These tours take place in Stone Mountain Park.
(A real Cajun storyteller, pictured right, telling scary tales to folks at the Tour of Southern Ghosts. Photo Art Station.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Marriage Gone Stale? (Prelude to Event #30)

I'll be at the 2pm matinee of Wife Begins at 40 a British comical farce presented by CenterStage North and written by the reknown English playwright and actor, Ray Cloony.
The play is performed at The Art Place - Mountain View in Marietta and there will be one more performance at 8pm tonight.   See ya' there.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dance this Weekend (Prelude to Events #28, #29 & #31)

The dance performances I'll be attending this weekend cover a range: styles & techniques, site specificity, size of company, local/touring, budgets, fundamentals, presentation, etc.  How fortunate we are to have a spectrum of choices regarding dance in the Metro area.

Tonight, David Parsons tours into town and teams up his company, Parsons Dance, with the East Village Opera Company for a production with contemporary dance, aerial dance, video and visual effects. Their goal is to present a "modern telling of a tragic love triangle" in their Atlanta premier of REMEMBER ME.  George Thompson, Director of the The Ferst Center, has been enthusiastically promoting this one-night-only performance on the Ferst Center's Facebook page.  It will be fun to catch up with him this evening and tap into his excitement... I believe has a background in dance.  Zoetic Dance Ensemble, on the scene in Atlanta for 10 years now, will lead the Pre-Show Lecture tonight.  Get there early (7-ish) and meet others from the local dance scene as we show up for our peers.  After the performance, you'll have a chance to meet the dancers at a post-performance discussion. (Web image of Parsons Dance from Ferst Center for the Arts website)

Saturday morning at 11am D. Patton White and company Beacon Dance take to the environs to do that for which they are regarded -- site specific work.  Recall The Mapping Project: Celebrating the Natural Environment in DeKalb County.  This was a twelve month public arts performance tour of DeKalb County Parks through site-specific performance.  As I write this, I am eagerly awaiting the flyer announcing the location.  This is an interesting component of Patton's approach -- he intentionally gets audience members to be aware of the space, as are the performers, while in the act of getting to and discovering the place.  I'll post specific details when I get them (or after I return from the show, tonight) so that you can join us.  BTW: refreshments and wine always put the period to a Beacon Dance performance.

UPDATE: Here it is... A Bountiful Feast: A Movable Feast at the Lake Claire Community Land Trust (near Chandler Park).  Performances are at 11:00am (free) and 6:15pm ($5 donation to the Land Trust).  This is a great location filled with gardens, out buildings, a pond, chickens, goats and an Emu, an a strong sense of community. This weekend is their Peace, Love & Art Festival - expect family fun, music, entertainment, "dinner under the stars," raffles, costumes, a parade.  Nice choice, Patton!

Lastly, on Saturday evening I'll join friends and colleagues for The Georgia Ballet's performance of A Sleepy Hollow Story. The curtain goes up at 7:30pm and I think we will be treated to two works before beforehand: Paquita and Enigmatic Tangos, a new work by Janusz Mazon.  Mazon is the Ballet Master & Choreographer for The Georgia Ballet, an organization now celebrating its 50th Anniversary. He was featured in an interview with John Lemley today on WABE's City CafeHere is the link to that interview.  The performances take place this weekend at the Cobb County Civic Center and tickets are still available.  (Web image of the Georgia Ballet's A Sleepy Hollow Story from the Georgia Ballet website)

Barring any unforeseen circumstances,  A Sleepy Hollow Story will be the 31st performance/event that I will attend during National Arts & Humanities Month allowing me to meet the challenge of attending 31 Shows in 31 Days (with one week to spare... Hello, Phileas Fogg!) as part of GOArts: Georgia Open Arts Month.  It will be fun to acknowledge that and celebrate with friends and peers after the performance.  I am very grateful to everyone who has been so enthusiastic and supportive along the way.  I am so grateful to all of you who've opened your doors and made it possible for me to see all of these shows.  For real, you have my deepest gratitude.

I still have a week's worth of shows to attend (I'm hoping to get to 40 by the end of the month) and there's the likely chance that the essence of the original challenge and this blog will take on a life of it's own beyond October.  Weigh in on the idea and let me know what you think. Until then -- See ya' at the show.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cream of the Crop (Event #22)

Well, I’m not one bit surprised that the young people in the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony (AYWS) would undeniably impress me!  They are so very talented and their hard work shows. Click on this link, listen to a few of their recordings and decide for yourself. This was the first performance I have ever attended in the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts concert hall--it is beautiful, I was pleased with the acoustics, and I could easily see the entire symphony. Having played percussion, myself, I particularly enjoyed watching the eight young men and women in the percussion section really hustle to do their job, especially during John Mackey's Turbine... showing their skills, they all hopped between a number of different instruments without missing a beat and that's an understatement! Though it was free, the cost of a ticket would have been money well spent.
The AWYS performs again on December 14th with the Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. (Image of the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony from their website)

Time Warp (Events #20 & #21)

Two Shakespeare productions back to back… and murderous ones, at that!   Julius Ceasar and Richard III are showing now at Georgia Shakespeare and the Shakespeare Tavern, respectively.  You can expect a great show at both places.  Here’s the point I would like to emphasize having seen these two performance one right after the other---It is pretty damn cool that we can see productions of Shakespeare's work run the gamut in AtlantaWhat do you mean, keif?  Well, what I mean is that you go to the Tavern and see Shakespeare done in Original Practice on a stage reminiscent of the Globe Theatre and then you go out to Georgia Shakespeare and see contemporary and innovative interpretations of the Bard’s work.  That we can see Shakespeare’s work excellently performed across a spectrum right here in town (and on the same day if you choose to do so) is quite an amazing thing.  I believe that both styles of presentation inform and enhance our appreciation and understanding of Shakespeare’s work and the relevancy it still has today.

Brutus, meet Richard.  Richard, Brutus.
(Images Neal Ghant as Marcus Brutus, courtesy Georgia Shakespeare.  Drew Reeves as Richard III, courtesy Atlanta Shakespeare Company)

Across Town and Around the World -- guest blogger Su (Event #19)

I had thought our mad dash from the Woodruff to L5P was a feat, but this past Saturday we hoofed it (metaphorically anyway) from the east side of the perimeter to Downtown for Theatrical Outfit’s Around the World in 80 Days. Metro-Atlanta epitomizes sprawl for many new urbanists. For the rest of us, that sprawl means a trip across town can seem as far and as exhausting as, ahem, a trip around the world…

In reality, however, nothing in the metro area is that far away. Take the trip.

The versatile, talented actors under Clint Thorton’s deft, seamless direction made their “80 day” trip look effortless and our trip entirely worthwhile. I am not here to write a review and, full disclosure, my company performs at The Balzer Theater—BUT this show was terrific. Theater, at its best, is about the actors, the director, the designers, the audience, and their collective imagination converging on a well-written script. I can appreciate the talents behind expensive, beautiful productions but will always prefer simple stagings where the heart of a show and the creative talents behind it shine through. This production surely shines with its five member cast portraying over 30 characters in a fully-realized world (complete with elephant!) brought to life with hotel luggage carts and a handful of smartly chosen props. I promise you’ll be entertained by its creativity and hilarity.

A postscript to keep up with keif’s food motif: Since an errand took us to the east side of the perimeter, we stopped at Bambinelli’s for the tasty manicotti. Bonnie Bambinelli’s personality is as warm and welcoming as her grandmother’s amazing red sauce (gravy?), and her accent makes me feel at home due to all the Italian-Americans I grew up around in New Jersey. Yummm… comfort food.

Home-Grown Talent -- guest blogger Kristyn

Sunday I ventured out to see Dance and Shout, a variety show covering hit songs and shows from the 1940’s through the present, performed by the ComPAny of Pebblebrook High School, a component of the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts at Pebblebrook High School.

Atlanta is very fortunate to have a wealth of opportunities to see excellent performances. We have many strong professional companies and host touring companies from around the world. It is all too easy to overlook the up and coming talent of our city, the future of the performing arts. And what a bright future it looks to be.

I’ve seen several shows put on by these talented teens and they never fail to disappoint. They work hard at their craft, both in school and through the extra rehearsals required for each performance, as well as through outside study. Their dedication shows through in the crispness of their performance. The end result is a delightful blend of talent and enthusiasm. These students still love what they are doing with the joyful abandon of the newly converted. They’ve fallen in love with their calling and that love is infectious. They are also polished enough to deliver an edge of comedy to their presentation, gleefully poking fun at themselves and their song choices, hamming up the competition-styled choreography, and generally inviting the audience to step back into their own youth and revel in the fun.

There is something magical about seeing these shows that professional performances often lack. It isn’t the glitz of the sets and costumes (though they put many small-budget pro shows to shame). Its realizing that many of these performers are on the cusp of an incredible career. Pebblebrook boasts some big names in their alumni listing and its apparent there are more than a few big names still to come. Seeing all of that talent before it is polished to perfection is fascinating and isn’t an experience to be missed. They put on several shows a year at the Cobb County Civic Center and I encourage you to check them out. Here’s hoping we keep some of that homegrown talent local!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hillarity Ensues (Prelude to Event #27)

OMG... is it already Thursday?  This week is zooming by.  Tonight I will join my fellow ALMA classmates (Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta Class of 2009) at Dad's Garage for their "laugh liquidation sale" and "comedy clearance."  The current state of the economy has spawned The Dad's Garage Going Out of Business Show.  Tickets can be purchased online, by phone or at the door.  There are plenty of places to eat right there in the vicinity of the theater, some are quite notable eating establishments (like 4 or 5 star dining, I'm told.  I wouldn't know.  See Waffle House in previous post!).

(Image swiped from Dad's Garage website.  Pictured here are Chris Blair, Jon Carr, Matt Horgan, Stacy Melich, Gina Rickicki... I think?)

Hear Ye? Hear Ye! (Event #26)

It's close to 6pm and I'm about to make my way over to the The Academy Theatre for the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's final rehearsal of The Call of Cthulhu. I'm going to attempt to live blog the rehearsal if I can to give you the blow by blow behind the scenes action of just how they make all those sound effects.  But hey, there's really no need to rely upon my reporting...  You should come see the show for yourself.

LIVE BLOGGING the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company (ARTC) rehearsal

7:00pm Bill has been here since before 6pm running wires and setting up the equipment.  The rest of the cast & crew are starting to file in, look over the scripts and set up additional equipment. 
Here is a fun bit of  Info:
Bill told me that audience members are welcome to take pictures during ARTC's performances and capture those magic moments of radio theater in the making.  Who else is going to let you do that?  Huh?
7:20pm Alton and Bill are sync'ing their computers with sound effect software they use in addition to the made-made sound effects.  Bill explained that they have a sound effects library online with very specific effects like an engine sound of a specific make and model of automobile.
7:30pm Sonya sets up the Sound Effects table (I think she is one of the crazy sound masters)
7:35pm Brad is playing the musical accompaniment... it sounds like big long medieval trumpets right now.
7:45pm Twenty-five company members are here to make this happen and are having a pow-wow right now.

8:25pm rehearsal begins for Night Call by Brian Phillips (a member of the company).
8:35pm This is a short story you can certainly relate to... it's madness you'll recognize!

8:45pm  The WORST Good Woman in the World by Kelley S. Ceccato
8:56pm  10 performers on stage doing the voices, two Foley actors (those are the "Theater Divas" of the company and sound effects extraordinaires for this evening-- Tennile and Sonya).  Foley Actor's are named for the man who created the role--the actor who makes the sound effects.  This is Tennile's first go at it.
8:59pm  WOW... "down a hole" and it sounds great! Clever story and great use of this medium.
9:13pm ohhh... now that's scary. cool voices trick! [yeah, I said that right! voices.]

9:30pm break for the actors, tech getting ready for the next story, its almost time to rehearse  The Call of Cthulhu by H. P. Lovecraft and adapted for audio by Ron N. Butler.
9:35pm ok...lots of gunshots around here... good thing, i guess, given that there is something mightily big roaring nearby.  Make that Hugely, mightily big.  I think it's Cthulhu warming up.
9:51pm Rehearsal begins for the second act, really intricate with lots of overlay, voices, sounds and sound effects.  Lots of sound engineering going on here and Bill is still making adjustments and tweaking the equipment.
10:30pm Cthuhu is a terrifying creature and only being able to see him in your mind's eye given just the sound effects is really cool... and, ohhh yeah, you'll see him.
10:40pm  director's notes.
[Want to know who all of these performers & actors are?  Read the comments section for names provided by Bill.]

There is a lot that goes into a production like this, a lot of timing and a lot of concentration by everyone in the company about the action that is going on--literally and in our collective imagination.  Close your eyes and listen, and the show is totally satisfying.  Open your eyes and watch them do it, and you've got the icing on the cake!  Performances are Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2:30pm at The Academy Theatre. Tickets are 10 bucks, parking is free.  

Food: Concessions in the theater and lots of options within a block of the theater--discounts at Savage Pizza around the corner, bangers & mash (and a number of brews) at the James Joyce Irish Pub just a block from here past Skip's Vienna Sausages, meat & three at Our Way Cafe and the Avondale Pizza is next door to that along with a Subway.  Across the street is Coyote's Mexican Restaurant and a Waffle House... WAFFLE HOUSE... 24 hours of food.

This is a really going to be an affordable outing and great fun for anyone.  But here is a special message for all you duds and couch potatoes out there--you can redeem yourself to your loved one and still be a cheap-skate.  You can take that special someone out for cheap eats and a unique show and totally wow them.  Put on a nice dress shirt with those flip flops and you'll earn enough brownie points that you may not have to go visit the in-laws at Thanksgiving.  But don't mistake this for a low-brow event... members of the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company are very committed to their craft and they do a first class presentation. Their art-form is very accessible.  So for all you high-brows out there... throw on some flip-flops with that dress shirt, come out to the theater, sit back and enjoy.

Film Screening (Prelude to Event #25)

I'll be out the door within the next 30 minutes to head over to Emory University for a screening Art:21 - Systems.  This is one segment of the PBS special Art in the 21st Century which is now in its fifth season.  Screenings of each segment are taking place simultaneously at galleries, museums, universities, etc., across the country during October as part of National Arts and Humanities Month.   Today's screening at Visual Arts Building, Rm 145 as a project of the Emory Visual Arts Dept.  You can get in on discussions about topics viewed in the film by following http://blog.art21.org/

Monday, October 19, 2009

J'aime Les Arts (Prelude to Events #23 & #24)

I'm am so excited to finally get to see a production by Théâtre du Réve.  I speak not a word of French [I got a little help from Google Translator for this post] but am not deterred---au contraire!  Like the opera, super/sub titles are available but I am looking forward to just enjoying the experience and letting the art and acting speak, so-to-say, for itself.  I'll see their award-winning Vive La Fontaine! performed at the Horizon Theatre at today's matinee.

For the evening, I am especially looking forward to seeing Theatre in the Square's production of The Woman in Black.  One reason I'm excited about attending is because two friends on mine who have not attended live theater (except for the Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker while they where in high school) will come along with me to the performance courtesy of Raye Varney.  They enjoy watching scary horror movies on TV so I can hardly wait to see what they think of a live presentation of this particularly suspenseful play.

Je vais vous voir au théâtre!

UPDATE Tuesday morning:
Liz Hartnett said...
So great to meet you on Sunday at GA Shakes, Keif! Sorry I can't be there to hear what you think of our show, but I always love to hear non-French speakers' responses to TdR shows! Keep up the good theatre-going!
REPLY Tuesday afternoon:
keif says...
Bonjour Liz. J'ai eu tellement de plaisir. Le spectacle était très divertissant et la musique est très agréable. Je pensais que la manière dont vous l'ai dit la fable de l'agneau et le loup a été brillamment conçu en utilisant uniquement les yeux. Hourra pour le Théâtre du Rêve!

My Favorite Way to Watch a Show -- guest blogger Kristyn (Event #18)

I mentioned in my prelude to this performance that colleagues from my dance company would join me for the performance.  I thought you might be interested to read a dancer/choreographer's experience of the event.  Allow me, then, to share with you Kristyn McGeehan's perspective:

I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t seen a performance by the Atlanta Ballet in years. As a dancer in this city that’s an awful thing to admit. Its even worse now that I realize what I’ve been missing all this time.

Friday night I attended Mozart's Magic Flute  along with the pre-show lecture by choreographer Mark Godden. I love pre-show talks, getting to know what was going through the choreographer’s mind, how the work made it from their brain to the stage. All of that intrigues me. In this instance I found it to not merely be entertaining, but nearly essential. I’d heard the score for the Magic Flute before but knew nothing of the opera’s tale. Without the pre-show information I fear the nuances Godden brought to piece when he translated it to a ballet would have eluded me.

Godden’s work reminded me why I fell in love with ballet as a child.  Mozart's Magic Flute was whimsical and magical, with a hefty dose of humor. The story was compelling and beautifully expressed through the movement. The dancers themselves portrayed the roles exquisitely, but what impressed me was that the individual movements were able to tell the tale instead of relying solely upon the dancers’ acting to convey the story. Far too often choreographers create beautiful movement that is incidental to the story. They trust to facial expressions and liner notes to keep the audience up to speed. Godden instead created a rich vocabulary that allowed the dancers to truly live in their roles. I think the highest praise I can give as a dancer is that I wanted to be in those movements. It was difficult to sit still, but that’s my favorite way to watch a show – at the edge of my seat, yearning to be up on the stage.

There are two more performances of Mozart's Magic Flute this Friday and Saturday evening at 8pm
at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center.  Tickets are available online and in person through the Atlanta Ballet.  Discounted tickets will be available on the day of each show thru AtlanTIX.

Honors Program for Talented Young Musicians (Prelude to event #22)

Tonight I'm going over to Emory University to see the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony perform their first concert of the 2009-2010 season. This symphony began as the honor wind ensemble for high school youth in the Atlanta metropolitan area... that was in 1988. Now with two decades behind them, this organization has established its presence "to provide a positive musical experience in an artistic environment for advanced instrumentalists in wind and percussion performance."

This will be the second time I've attended a wind symphony concert during GOArts Month, just last Sunday, I saw the Atlanta Wind Symphony perform. Content wise, the performances seem quiet different so I'm looking forward to hearing the youth organization's repertoire which is noted to include Folk Dances by Dmitri Shostakovich, Sketches on a Tudor Psalm by Fisher Tull, and Turbine by John Mackey.  This free concert will begin at 8pm at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Parking is free in the adjacent parking deck.  There are a number of dining opportunities in the Emory Village just a few blocks away.  See ya' at the show!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Double Dose of Shakespeare (Prelude to Events #20 and #21)

I really like Shakespeare.  I'll pick up the matinee for Julius Caesar presented by Georgia Shakespeare and performed at the Conant Performing Arts Center on the campus of Oglethorpe University.  Afterward, I'll zip over to midtown to the Shakespeare Tavern to see Richard III performed by the Atlanta Shakespeare Company.  I plan to eat over at the Tavern. (Image from Georgia Shakespeare website)

Ask (Events #16 and #17)

Thursday night I was asked questions at both events I attended.  TATS: the experience lets us know up front that we shouldn’t make assumptions about one’s motives for having tattoos.  The performance revolves around questions and Mattie, the central character of the piece, leaves us where we began with the question, "So, what do you want to know?" 

Earlier in the evening, I attended a Salon hosted by Several Dancers Core in their studio.   D. Patton White led the salon first with video footage of CORE Performance Company's recent in situ work and then company members performed excerpts of that ongoing work.  Patton asked all of us in attendance specific questions regarding the imagery in the video and sought additional input.  The next Salon will be November 12.  Both the Salon and Lunchtime in the Studio (on-going for 10 years, now) are free and open to anyone who is interested in sharing their impressions of the work-in-progress with the company.

And the food... oh yeah, Pharm House catered the food for SDC's Salon and it was delicious.  The grilled veggies were great.

Feeling Like Phileas Fogg (Prelude to Event #19)

If you think that traveling around the Atlanta area to see 31 shows in 31 days is quite an adventure,  you're right!  Imagine, though, how extraordinary and exciting a journey around the globe in 80 days would be, other than the fact that your fortunes would be at stake should you not complete the terms of the challenge.

Yeah, Phileas Fogg makes me look like an amateur as he embarks on an "Amazing Race."  Tonight I'll be following him at Theatrical Outfit's production of Around the World in 80 Days performed at The Balzer Theater.  For those of you inclined to do a little homework before seeing the show, check this out: Les Voyages Extraordinaires, The Works of Jules Gabriel Verne, 8 Feb 1828 to 24 Mar 1905. (Paul Hester, Tom Key and Bill Murphey in Around the World in 80 Days. Photo courtesy of  Theatrical Outfit)