Friday, July 15, 2011

What to read during life after Harry Potter?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 5:03 PM

  • Beach Lane Books
After the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, how will readers and filmgoers fill the Hagrid-sized void in their hearts? J.K. Rowling promises to offer free Wizarding-related content through her new website Pottermore, but fans might be ready to immerse themselves in new fantastical landscapes. If you haven't read Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy by now, it's excellent by any measure. Here are some more recommendations for kids, teens and adults:

Pals in Peril: The early Harry Potter books won over children and adults alike partly through J.K. Rowling’s engaging wit, which followed the lead of fellow British writers such as Roald Dahl and Douglas Adams. For a kid-friendly series with comparable adult appeal, consider the M.T. Anderson’s cheeky Pals in Peril series. Beginning with Whales on Stilts, M.T. Anderson gently spoofs earlier Young Adult publishing traditions through the adventures of three friends: Jasper Dash, a Tom Swift imitator with an antiquated way of talking and clunky high-tech gizmos; Katie Mulligan, a tween monster-fighting heroine worthy of the old Goosebumps books; and Lily Gefelty, an ordinary middle-schooler.

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Photo of the day: gloATL at the Lindbergh MARTA

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 4:29 PM

There's a fine line between genius and insanity. Last night, commuters at the Lindbergh Center MARTA station were confused as to which they were witnessing when, for about an hour, the station became a stage for the dance group gloATL. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, dancers suddenly started performing in the plaza outside the station. Their performance then moved inside the MARTA station, where they surprised and delighted evening commuters. The odd juxtapositions that revealed themselves were as entertaining to watch as the dancers themselves. Some passers-by reacted with shock, disbelief and joy, while others ignored the dancers and walked quickly past. People's reactions to the dancers became part of the show itself. The piece ended with the group running down the street into the night.

The Lindbergh Center MARTA station will never be the same.

Check out more photos from gloATL's Lindbergh Center MARTA performance

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gloATL performs at Lindbergh MARTA

Photos from gloATL's second performace in its installation series

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 3:44 PM

At a MARTA station, one oddly dressed person moving erratically, smiling, mouthing incomprehensible phrases, twitching, crouching, beckoning, would probably be ignored. Twenty people doing it synchronously are not so easily disregarded. Commuters passing through the Lindbergh Center MARTA station last evening, July 14, encountered the dancers of gloATL quietly assembling on a plaza outside, beginning the second performance in their series of five installations occurring in public places around the city throughout the month of July.

People snapped pictures with their cell phones or stopped to ask what was going on. Various answers were attempted: “Modern dance.” “Performance art.” “Flash mob.” Observers still seemed puzzled, though most were clearly pleased that something was happening. The dancers assembled and dispersed, assembled and dispersed, sending out little exploratory tendrils, until the whole group poured down a side street, eventually lining up single file in front of a turnstile at an entrance to the station, waiting for a MARTA cop to let them in. A mother tried to pull her little daughter past the scene, but the girl stayed put, and they both stopped to watch. “Look at what people are doing,” another kid said, as if these adults were unfairly getting away with something fun but prohibited.

The group explored the interior of the station for a while, motioning through bars and windows to spectators outside or peeling off to move alone through the space's odd utilitarian shapes and multiple levels. Eventually, the dancers lined up again at a turnstile and returned to the plaza. Atlanta residents may not know that the weird little nonstreet that passes over and bisects the Lindbergh Center MARTA Station is actually called “Main Street.” Toward the end of the performance, one of the dancers lagged behind as the others departed, stretching herself momentarily over a phony-antique brass street sign placed there in the concrete: Main Street it is.

In the end, the evening produced some apt advice: Look at what people are doing. The group's next performance in the series will be tonight, July 15, in the store windows of various shops in Little Five Points from 6-9 pm. Next weekend, Friday and Saturday, July 22-23, at 7:30 p.m. both evenings, the group will be at the corner of 15th and Peachtree streets.

Check out a gallery of photos gloATL at the Lindbergh Center MARTA Station

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Stranger than Fiction: Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon and his King of Kong obsession

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM

From Keys to Quarters
  • Christopher Campbell (Spout Blog)
  • From "Keys" to Quarters

Making the transition from non-fiction to narrative can be a bumpy ride for a director.

Just ask Michael Moore (Canadian Bacon) and Joe Berlinger (Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2).

Others, like Werner Herzog, flow back and forth between fiction and docs effortlessly.

Seth Gordon, who cut his teeth with the competitive video game documentary King of Kong, may be on his way to becoming the next Judd Apatow thanks to his deft direction of the new hit comedy Horrible Bosses, remains obsessed with the Kong doc.

Consider this:

#1 News that he's following up Bosses with a "mock-u-mentary" remake of King of Kong:

Here’s Gordon trying to justify the pitch, in an interview with The Playlist: “There’s a few different avenues [the film can take]. I’ve done some work on "Modern Family" and "The Office" and have worked in this doc style, and so that inspired me to say, instead of doing a traditional narrative feature script, what if we did the remake in the doc style? What doors what that open? What opportunities? What additional story could we tell? And that’s essentially the approach we took.”

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Morning Afternoon Newsdome: LGBT history in academia

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM

  • Creative Common

>> During today’s news conference, President Barack Obama urged for action and said he would move forward with his debt reduction plan, that includes a tax increase and spending cuts. Meanwhile, administration officials warned to not raise the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2 could cause a default. (CNN)

>> If a debt-limit increase is not approved, the U.S. Treasury will have to choose among 80 million monthly payments and prioritize which programs are funded and which ones are not. Which programs would you choose to pay? Make your choice online. (Washington Post)

>> California became the first U.S. state to require that public schools and textbooks include the historical contributions made by the LGBT community. “This bill revises existing laws that prohibit discrimination in education and ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books,” said Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed the bill. (MSNBC)

>> Rupert Murdoch and his son James they will appear before a parliamentary panel for questioning on Tuesday. The News Corp. chairman and chief executive at first declined to appear. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also opened a probe to see if News Corp. employees might have hacked into private homes, including 9/11 victims and their families. (WSJ)

>> According to a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, the increasing growth of Latinos in the U.S is no longer driven by immigration, but births, chiefly by Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. (WSJ)

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Biz community tries to distance self from Beverly Hall

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 11:20 AM

The about-face PR campaign has begun.

Today's Atlanta Business Chronicle (Subscription needed) carries an apologia of sorts in the form of an article by Maria Saporta, who says interviews with business leaders reveal "a far more complex, and much less sinister, picture" of the business community's involvement in the APS cheating scandal.

I'll bet they do.

For the record, Saporta is a top-notch business columnist, but she didn't earn that status by trashing her sources, so it's no surprise that the Chamber crowd would look to her when attempting this delicate CYA maneuver.

Why would a PR offensive be necessary? Saporta herself sums up the situation quite nicely:

Business leaders have been accused of supporting former Superintendent Beverly Hall unconditionally, for believing in the extraordinary academic improvements under way at the Atlanta Public Schools, for having direct business interests in the school system’s affairs, for orchestrating the community’s response to the investigation before all the results were known, and for caring more about Atlanta’s brand and reputation than students.

Yeah, that's about the size of it. What's the saying? Oh, yes: "You break it, you bought it."

But now, in Saporta's article, certain Chamber designees are claiming that they tried to get Hall — who the Chamber recruited, supported, feted and lavished with praise and foundation grants — to address the cheating scandal in a more transparent, decisive manner. Jim Bostic, a retired Georgia-Pacific executive, says he and John Rice, vice chairman of General Electric, told Hall that she should fire the 12 principals who'd been ID'd as bad eggs by the so-called "Blue Ribbon Commission." Instead, she merely reassigned them.

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Director Stephen Bannon talks Sarah Palin's Undefeated

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Ms. Tea
  • Victory Films
  • Ms. Tea

It's not often that a documentary makes news.

With a few notable exceptions—Michael Moore or Davis Guggenheim whose Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman inspired national debates about climate change and U.S. schools—opening a new documentary usually garners as much coverage as the Metrodome in a blizzard.

Which is why the opening of The Undefeated is so interesting.

More than Atlas Shrugged, people can't stop talking about this curiously titled documentary of the rise (and fall? and rise?) of Sarah Palin.

In the coming months, muckraking rabble-rouser Nick Broomfield (Kurt & Courtney, Biggie & Tupac, Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam, Aileen Wuornos: Portrait of a Serial Killer) will offer his take on the politician turned reality show subject.

For now we have the chance to see right-leaning filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon's (Battle for America, Fire from the Heartland) spin in a new doc inspired by Palin's book "Going Rogue: An American Life."

While I believe it won't change anyone's opinion about political lightning rod/left-wing whipping post/tea party patron saint Sarah Palin—if anything it'll further solidify whatever position you currently hold—you kind of can't help but watch as he chronicles the tempest in hopes of stirring the teapot.

What drew you to this subject?

I observed Governor Palin for over a year as I made my two 'tea party' films Generation Zero and Fire from the Heartland. Besides her obvious charisma, I noticed someone of real substance who had a real connection with the Tea Party. As I studied her background, I realized no one had ever told the real story of her rise from total obscurity to prominence. The reality was so different than the meme that I felt compelled to tell it.

Given Sarah Palin's well documented mistrust of mainstream media, how did you get access? What were some of the challenges of this shoot? Was she a willing participant? What does she think of the film?

I turned down making a series of short Youtube videos that her PAC asked me to do because I wanted to do a feature film...and do it my way with no involvement from the Palin camp. The story of her governorship has not been told—how she battled a corrupt political class and took on Big Oil.

And I was determined to tell it.

We shot in secret in Alaska and 'masked' our requests for archival footage so the stations would not get suspicious. As much as she is covered in Alaska we didn't want anyone to know we were making the definitive story about her career.

Steve Bannon

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Weekend Arts Agenda: Material Deposits

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Seana Reilly, TippingPoint, 2011
  • Seana Reilly, "TippingPoint," 2011

Two new exhibitions at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, the Westside stroll, and more. Details after the jump.

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5 things today: Harry Potter, Kid Cedak

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 opens today
  • Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 opens today

1. OMG OMG The Last Harry Potter movie ever
2. Kid Cedak steps over to the Graveyard Tavern
3. Material Deposits opens at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
4. gloATL performs in Little Five Points as part of Liquid Culture
5. Gentleman Jesse and His Men, The Biters, and others play the Die Slaughterhaus anniversary party at the Earl


5 things today: Harry Potter, Kid Cedak

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 opens today
  • Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 opens today

1. OMG OMG The Last Harry Potter movie ever
2. Kid Cedak steps over to the Graveyard Tavern
3. Material Deposits opens at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
4. gloATL performs in Little Five Points as part of Liquid Culture
5. Gentleman Jesse and His Men, The Biters, and others play the Die Slaughterhaus anniversary party at the Earl

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Restaurant Review: Bread & Butterfly
Restaurant Review: Bread & Butterfly

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