Fine arts might not be the focus of New Year's Eve parties this year, but we're pretty sure you'll be able to find some to appreciate from our guide to events on Friday. Your last chance to see some of 2010's exciting exhibitions ends in the first days of 2011. Details after the jump.
1. Exit Through the Gift Shop and 2. Catfish. The year's most intriguing movies both presented nonfiction stories that invited healthy skepticism about how people can manipulate others through technology. In the endlessly entertaining and surprising Exit Through the Gift Shop, guerilla artist Banksy introduced us to an art fan turned outsider artist who may not be what he appears, but any possible deceptions only deepened the film's ideas. Catfish turned a Facebook-based long-distance romance into a twisty mystery story that should be required viewing for high schoolers about how people on-line can trick you. Having the bad luck to come out the same year as seemingly bogus docs like Gift Shop, Catfish's filmmakers faced critics who doubted their veracity (although I find their account of events reasonably persuasive), and the film ends on a note of reconciliation that contradicts the accusations of cynicism.
Two approaches to marketing a film outside the mainstream.
#1 James Franco creates a viral video on Funny or Die with his grandmother, mocking those who are squeamish about the arm amputation sequence in 127 Hours.
#2 Then there's Kevin Smith, who following a critical shallacking for his gun-for-hire comedy the (aptly titled?) Cop Out, is on a crusade (right now, as this is being typed!) on Twitter against critics. He is vowing that henceforth, every one who wants to see his film must pay. No more special free advance critics screenings.
I can't decide whether year end lists are a blessing, or a curse.
On the one hand, the lists generate discussion and dialogue around movies, music, cultural events, sports plays, tweets, or whatever. This is (almost) always a good thing.
In the case of films and music, it allows the critical establishment draw attention to works deserving of notice—often elevating a sleeper hit into "must-see" status. Among this year's nominees for critical-end-of-year-list-darling category are MacGruber, Let Me In, I am Love and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. (Interestingly, SPvW is experiencing backlash for receiving too much love by some.)
On the other, lists provide critics another chance to bitch and complain, to wax superior, and to make readers feel stupid for not having recognized the genius of their selection of overlooked masterpieces. (Reverse Shot, whose column begins, "Any critic who could, with a straight face, populate a ten-best list either primarily or exclusively with American films released in one of the worst years in recent memory for homegrown filmmaking at all levels either wasn’t watching enough movies or watching movies well enough" is guilty of this.
Read this list at your own peril.
What follows is a list of some of the favorite lists I've read these past few days as 2010 wanes.
And, for the sake of symmetry, they may not all be "Top 10s." Nor will there be 10 of them.
The group of about ten Atlanta-based poets has been popping up at events around the city, offering to write poems for anyone who asks. We caught up with founding member Jimmy Lo earlier this week to ask him a few questions about the group.
How did the project come about?
The Atlanta version of Free Poems started at the Decatur Book Festival in September, 2010. I did something similar in Tucson, Arizona in 2003, with some friends at the University of Arizona (Dawn Pendergast, Aaron Zaritzky, Michael Rerick, and others). I thought that the idea would work great in Atlanta too, and some of my friends were more than happy to help: Jon Ciliberto, Zac Denton, Jeff Dahlgren, Robin Bernat, John Selvidge, and others.
The basic idea: we set up a table and people come up to request poems on any topic. Then they wait—usually about 5 minutes—and when the poem is done, we read it aloud and give it to them. We wanted a way to cut through the staid poetry publishing process that usually makes people think of stuffy metaphors and iambic pentameter. We wanted something immediate, free, and relevant to people's lives. Also, it was very important that the poetry was written on the spot, and in one draft, so that it at once becomes a challenge, a performance, and a form of spontaneous communication between poet and reader.
Reception has been really positive. People are always surprised to find that the poems are free, and that they are one-of-a-kind custom-written for them. It seems to run counter to the trend of cookie-cutter commercialization they are used to. The first event was so successful that we decided to do it again at East Atlanta Village Strut, Chomp & Stomp, Earball at Eyedrum, and the Free Market at CouchCouch Theater. All past events are documented on our website freepoemsatl.org.
On Dec. 26, at around 7:15 p.m., police were dispatched to a home on Rosedale Road in Va-Hi when they received a call that someone could be heard screaming within. A woman answered the door and told the officers she'd just been raped. According to the woman, she was in the process of moving into the home, and was making several trips in and out. When she brought a last load of belongings in, there was a man standing inside the doorway. He put something up to her temple and threatened that if she screamed, he'd shoot her.
According to the woman's account of what happened — as documented in a police narrative — she attempted to give him her purse, but he didn't accept it. Then she made a break for the back door, but he grabbed her and held her in a chokehold until she nearly passed out. She was then made to disrobe at knifepoint (he'd grabbed a knife from a block in the kitchen) and the man sexually assaulted her.
The suspect (composite sketch shown) is described as a black male in his late 40s with little hair. According to the AJC, a neighbor said they saw the man leaving with a blanket which might indicate that he's homeless.
It wasn't exactly summer on Summer Crossing this day.
On Monday, the Atlanta City Council will revisit what's normally a ho-hum issue that's generated a bit of controversy: The renamings of Cone and Harris streets to honor African-American broadcaster Xernona Clayton and local architect and developer John Portman.
Some downtown residents have attempted to stage an intervention about Council's addiction to renaming streets to honor everyone under the sun. (We agree with them.) The residents, who say there are more lasting ways to honor people — for example, a park or even a plaque — held a press conference yesterday to echo their opposition to the move. Via 11Alive:
Council has sometimes exempted itself from provisions in the street renaming ordinance — as it's done in this case. One resident, attorney Wright Mitchell told WABE's Jim Burress and the AJC's Steve Visser that Council's antics could open itself up to litigation.
Interesting tidbit that borders on inside baseball: This issue was supposed to be decided by Council at the meeting prior to its holiday break. But Councilman C.T. Martin, who's pushing for Cone Street to be renamed in honor of Xernona Clayton, offered to delay the vote. Councilman Kwanza Hall, who represents the neighborhoods opposed to the renaming, was absent that day. He'll be in a slightly uncomfortable position come Monday. He says he'll try to convince councilmembers to postpone the vote so residents, the city and committees tasked with honoring Clayton and Portman can strike a compromise.
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I listen to you every morning..great show..love it