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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ten things to know about Flux

Atlantas night of free public art takes place this Friday, September 30, in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood. The event kicks off with a lantern parade by the Krew of Grateful Gluttons.
  • Derek Bambach
  • Atlanta's night of free public art takes place this Friday, September 30, in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood. The event kicks off with a lantern parade by the Krew of Grateful Gluttons.
Flux, Atlanta's free public art throwdown, takes place in the downtown neighborhood of Castleberry Hill this Friday, September 30 from 8 p.m. to midnight. The annual event is slowly but surely becoming one of the city's absolutely-do-not-miss events. Here's the gist of what you need to know:

1. It is only one night: Friday, September 30
If you miss it, you miss it. People tend to talk about this awesome shindig all year long, and it's only getting bigger and better. And it's a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with Atlanta's art offerings on a beautiful evening in early fall. Don't miss it.

2. It is free.
That's right. Free. Gratis. No cost. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Free. Four hours of pure art and what does Flux want from you in return? Your firstborn child? Seven thousand dollars? A basket of puppies? None of these. Flux asks nothing of you. It is free. Accept the gift of Flux.

3. Learn how to get there.
“Castleberry Hill” sounds like it would be in a far-off land, but it isn't. It's right downtown. Centennial Park and the Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola are all within walking distance so if you can get to those, you'll be very close. Here's a pdf map. The event kicks off at 8 with a lantern parade by the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons.

4. It's smarta with MARTA
We wish the city would bring back that advertising campaign with posters that read: “It's smarta with MARTA” because that's true. It is smarta with MARTA. Much smarta. The Flux district is a short walk from the Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center MARTA stop on the East-West line. There is also bike valet for those on two wheels. Nearby parking lots and decks will be open for Flux visitors, and there is some limited surface street parking. For more about the nuts and bolts of visiting the event, visit the Flux info page.

Zoetic Dance Ensembles Occupied
  • Zoetic Dance Ensemble's "Occupied"
5. Don't miss these works.
Once you arrive in the Flux district you'll be surrounded by art—dance, installations, performances, puppetry, music, light displays, projections, visual art—and you'll no doubt pick your own favorites. That's what these events are for, but there are a couple works we're thinking of as "don't miss." You'll certainly want to fit in one of the performances by dance company gloATL. Although most of the Flux performances will be on-going throughout the night, glo is only performing twice so be sure to squeeze one in: There's a performance at 8:30 and another at 10:30 beginning at the Peters Street Bridge. Also don't miss Monica Cook's sound-activated animation piece “Volley” and Zoetic Dance Ensemble occupying a vacant lot for “Occupied.” Micah and Whitney Stansell will be showing their film work “The Water and the Blood,” as well. For a complete list of the more than 30 public art projects, visit Flux.

6. Try to check out something you wouldn't normally see.
Step outside your comfort zone. One of the great things about Flux is that you can be surprised by a work you weren't expecting to like in a genre you're not normally exposed to. If you're a visual arts buff, take the time to follow some dance. If you're just into movies and music, take a few quiet minutes and contemplate one of the installations. And if you're a fan of fireworks made of molten iron, there's no hope for you to ever develop an interest in anything else, you freak: Your best bet is to simply wait until the very end when the evening caps off with molten iron throw fireworks outside the Elliott Street Pub at midnight.

7. Wear comfortable shoes.
You'll be walking a lot, and many of the events—such as the opening parade and gloATL's migrating dance performance—will involve following the show around. Leave those stiletto heels and platform boots at home and wear something sensible.

8. The pubs and restaurants of Castleberry Hill will be open.
Looking at art can build up a powerful thirst and appetite. Fortunately the bars and restaurants of Castleberry Hill will be open during the event. There will also be a fleet of Atlanta's favorite food trucks parked on Walker Street. And the arts organization Dance Truck will be celebrating their second birthday at the Castleberry Hill art space Sous Whisky Marin during Flux, so if you've enjoyed Dance Truck performances during their first two years, do stop in during the evening, refresh yourself with some sweet treats from Sugar Coated Radical, and wish the Truckers a Happy Birthday.

Mr Nice Guy: Guy Debord
  • Mr Nice Guy: Guy Debord
9. Get to know this Guy.
French theorist Guy Debord won't be appearing at Flux: He foreclosed that possibility when he committed suicide in 1994. However, we think his thoughts and theories hang over the evening and its sense of purpose in some way. (gloATL's performance “Livers” takes its name from Debord's famous proclamation “We are all livers.” Debord wasn't insulting us by calling us all internal organs: he was saying that we are those who live, who experience, who have agency over our lives. Indeed.) Don't let his Frenchness or hasty exit from the world intimidate you. Debord was one of the good Guys, and learning about his take on art is a fascinating way to think about the Flux event.

10. Enjoy.
Free art, beautiful evening, great neighborhood. It's hard to go wrong. So enjoy it.

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