Arts by the numbers 

10 kick-ass cultural choices this season


If there's an interactive theater company in this town, it would probably be Out of Hand Theater, which does only a few productions and does them very well, with a lot of imagination. But this particular fundraiser takes interactivity to a new level, blending "The Amazing Race" with "Secret Agent Man" to form a citywide game where even you're never sure who's who. This is the kind of treasure hunt to get everyone a little closer to Atlanta in general and its culture in particular. This third rendition expects as many as 400 participants. (Look for its next theatrical production, Meds, Oct. 26-Nov. 18, at PushPush Theater.) Register on the website. $25. 11 a.m. PushPush Theater, 121 New St.

– David Lee Simmons


Music from Puccini's legendary opera, part of the "Paris in Woodruff" series, provides the setting for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's season opener. The tale of passionate love, friendship and emotions between Parisian bohemians also inspired the Broadway musical Rent, and is one of the composer's most loved works. With the Louvre's Royal Collections closed and The Ancient World preparing to open, the opera is the perfect way to remember the City of Light. Opens Sept. 27, 8 p.m.; Sept. 29, 8 p.m.; Sept. 30, 3 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000.

– Selena Lawson


It was always a head-throbbing chore to keep up with when the ever-changing Castleberry Hill Art Stroll would happen. The happening-est of art districts just couldn't get in a groove. But now some genius-type has decided to take out the guesswork and schedule the art stroll at the same time each month beginning Sept. 28. And with more and more restaurants opening in the formerly fringy area, the only headache left will be questions like, "Sushi or Mexican?" Fourth Friday of every month, 7-10 p.m. Castleberry Hill. 404-399-7320.

– Felicia Feaster


Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire earned attention for such sharp, slightly bratty comedies as Fuddy Meers, but moved up in the ranks of American dramatists with this year's Pulitzer Prize for drama. Tyne Daley and Tony winner Cynthia Nixon starred in the Broadway run, which combines wit and grief as a couple copes with the death of their child in a car accident. For the Theatre in the Square production, Susan Reid directs a cast that includes Charles Horton, Antonia Fairchild, Marianne Fraulo, Kate Donadio and Matthew Judd. $15-$33. 11 Whitlock Ave., Marietta. 770-422-8369.

– Curt Holman


There's nothing like a fresh war to remind you of how little things change. Fletcher, a Portland, Ore.-based artist, uses images from the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City to look at the Vietnam War from the vantage of the people whose country it consumed. Something to think about as our own "American War: The Sequel" lingers on. In a continuation of the war motif at the Contemporary, Massachusetts-based photographer Nubar Alexanian will exhibit his images of the making of the forthcoming Errol Morris documentary, S.O.P.: Standard Operating Procedure, about the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. Both artists testify to the importance of bearing witness. Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, 35 Means St. 404-688-1970.

– Felicia Feaster


The celebrated Minneapolis photographer and winner of the 2003 Santa Fe Prize for Photography will deliver a talk about his work including the projects NIAGRA (centered on romance and the notion of Happily Ever After epitomized by that honeymoon destination) and Sleeping by the Mississippi (a tender, humane document of the people and places Soth encountered on his multiyear road trip through states defined by that mighty river). "Lucid dreaming" is how Soth has described his photographic reveries inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman and photographer Robert Frank's influential The Americans through the eccentric and often sad landscape of America. 7 p.m. High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4400.

– Felicia Feaster


Arguably theater's greatest, juiciest villain is Richard III, Shakespeare's hunchbacked usurper to the English crown with a flair for deceit and manipulation. After playing the lead roles in Georgia Shakespeare's Loot and Pericles this summer, Joe Knezevich takes on the heavyweight role in a sure-to-be vivid production directed by Richard Garner. Warm up for it by checking out the Laurence Olivier and Ian McKellen versions on film, as well as Al Pacino's documentary Looking for Richard. $15-$40. Conant Performing Arts Center, 4484 Peachtree Road. 404-264-0020.

– Curt Holman


Entering its 16th season, the book festival highlights some of the best in Jewish authors, literature, art and culture with a combination of author appearances, panel discussions and storytelling. Legal expert Alan Dershowitz will serve as the keynote speaker, with appearances by such noted authors as Naomi Ragen (The Saturday Wife), Marcus Zusak (The Book Thief) and Atlanta's own Hank Klibanoff (The Race Beat) and Melissa Fay Greene (There Is No Me Without You), among others. Tickets TBA. 770-396-3250, ext. 345.

– David Lee Simmons


Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, a playwright from Mobile, Ala., dramatizes 50 years of African-American life, from the Great Depression through the Civil Rights era, in a drama at Theatrical Outfit. The play dramatizes the stories of the African-American women behind the famous Quilts of Gee's Bend, which took the artistic world by storm following an exhibit at New York's Whitney Museum in 2002. Alabama Shakespeare Festival's world premiere production of Gee's Bend was a hit with critics and audiences alike in 2006. Call for tickets. Theatrical Outfit. The Balzer Theater at Herren's, 84 Luckie St. 404-577-5257.

– Curt Holman


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