High-fiving the arts 

10 easy steps toward a more cultural summer

Where the visual arts and theater are concerned, summertime can often slow down and take on a languorous, syrupy rhythm in keeping with Atlanta's hothouse humidity and hellfire mercury.

Galleries may scale down to reflect the summer plans of owners and visitors, but museums rev up to anticipate the tourist rush, and theater serves up a passel of plays and festivals.


This Kenyan-born, New York-based artist is one of the contemporary art world's rising talents. His mixed-media collages culled from fashion magazines and National Geographic explore race, gender, Africa and the West and have been featured at the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum and London's Saatchi Gallery. May 9-June 24. Atlanta College of Art Gallery at SCAD. ACA Gallery, Woodruff Arts Center. 404-815-2931. www.scad.edu/scadatlanta.


With a more prominent location for its fifth hip and crafty show at Centennial Olympic Park, the Indie Craft Experience will feature the usual varied litany of crafts for sale, plus live music, craft workshops organized by local blog star Garth Johnson (www.extremecraft.com) and a clothing swap. Sat., June 2, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 65 Park Ave. West. www.ice-atlanta.com.


The Modern Atlanta Dance Festival features some of the area's top choreographers as selected by judging process. The festival is sponsored by Full Radius Dance -- which supports dance programming for those with disabilities -- in partnership with Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta's "Live at the J." Selected works this year will come from Nicole Wesley, Ivan Pulinkala, Duende Dance Theatre's Amanda Exley Lower, Good Moves Moving on, Susan Eldridge, and Full Radius' own performance. General admission: $15 adults, $12 children; MJCCA members: $13 adults, $9 children. June 2-3. Morris & Rae Frank Theatre at Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. 770-395-2654. www.fullradiusdance.org.


The call to artists for this intriguingly pissy exhibition asks "Does love really make the world go 'round? Or is it now another, darker emotion? Is anger the motor that really turns the planet?" Questions certainly worth asking in this group show devoted to the mood that seems to underpin most of America's foreign policy and popular culture. June 23-Aug. 1. Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery, 290 MLK Jr. Drive, Suite 8. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org.


After about a decade of staging world and regional premiere plays in January, Essential Theatre moves its Power Plays Festival to June and July at 7 Stages' Backstage Theatre. This year's winner of the Essential Theatre Playwriting Award is Fix Me So I Can Stand, Jean Sterrett's drama inspired by a true story about an African-American falsely convicted of a double homicide in 1970s-era Georgia. The three-play repertory also includes Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge by the darkly comic Christopher Durang and Nine Travels, an evening of short original pieces about women's dreams by such writers as Karen Wurl, Ellen McQueen and Charlotte Fleck. Call for tickets. June 29-July 22. 1105 Euclid Ave. 404-212-0815. www.essentialtheatre.com.


Dad's Garage Theatre's play takes place in the world of roller derby in the 1950s, but you needn't flash back to Starlight Express' actors on roller skates. Obie-winning playwright Rolin Jones specifies that no real skates be involved, so director Kate Warner and her cast will have to use creative choreography instead. As Jack Lovington, Tim Stoltenberg plays a confused Catholic torn between his fiancee and his love of the derby. The cast includes Randy Havens, Luis Hernandez, Enoch King, Megan Leahy, Matt Myers, Tiffany Morgan, Theroun Patterson and Sloane Warren. June 8-July 14. $18-424. 280 Elizabeth St., Suite C-101. 404-523-3141www.dadsgarage.come.


Brooklyn-based musician and artist Froberg's drawings suggest old comic-book art, vintage New Yorker cartoons mashed up with a salty, modern sensibility. Like much that turns up at Get This! Gallery, Froberg's work is subcultural and hard-to-classify but cool and intriguing. June 8-July 14. 322 Peters St. 678-596-4451. www.getthisgallery.com.


Before writing Beloved and winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, Toni Morrison began her literary career with the poetic debut novel The Bluest Eye in 1970. Horizon Theatre presents Lydia Diamond's stage version of The Bluest Eye (July 13-Aug. 19), directed by Atlanta theater vet Thomas W. Jones II, which depicts how 11-year-old Pecola prays for blue eyes, believing that will secure her the love of family and schoolmates. $20-$25. 1083 Austin Ave. 404-584-7450. www.horizontheatre.com.


Actor's Express' new artistic director, Bill Fennelly, begins his first full season of provocative plays with Dark Play or Stories for Boys (Aug. 9-Oct. 6) by Chicago's Carlos Murillo. A discovery from the Actors Theatre's Humana Festival of New American Plays, Dark Play explores how a teenage boy creates a fictional identity on the Internet, only to discover that his seemingly harmless game has serious consequences in the real world. Actor's Express mainstay Freddie Ashley directs the show, which features an audience advisory for "adult content, nudity and strong language." 887 W. Marietta St., Suite J-107. 404-875-1606. www.actors-express.com.


The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (the Contemporary) is adopting a democratic attitude this summer with an exhibition devoted to talented folk mostly from the Atlanta area, including a display of work by senior citizens from the art studio at the Jewish Tower Retirement Community. June 8-Aug. 12. 535 Means St. 404-688-1970. www.thecontemporary.org.

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