Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tanz Farm line-up changes due to severe weather

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 5:59 PM

A recent feature in Creative Loafing reported on Tanz Farm, the new contemporary dance platform at the Goat Farm Arts Center. Unfortunately, severe weather in the Northeast has forced some last-minute schedule changes to the line-up. One of the most anticipated acts in the first series, Sidra Bell Dance NY, is currently unable to come down to Atlanta for scheduled performances November 1 and 3.

Fortunately, like all good farmers, the creators of Tanz Farm have come up with an alternate plan. It affords Atlanta audiences the opportunity to see the theatrical version of Atlanta-based filmmaker Micah Stansell's much talked-about work from 2009's Le Flash festival, Presynaptic Potential, and Atlanta's Zoetic Dance Ensemble premiering new work. Theater group Théâtre du Rêve and singer Eliza Rickman will perform as planned.

Pre-paid tickets can also apply to another performance series or receive a refund. New schedule after the jump:

Continue reading »

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Atlanta airport to start offering free Wi-Fi next year, 1 million angels sing

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Why should travelers sleep or be bored at the airport when they can surf... THE INTERNET?
  • Joeff Davis/CL File
  • Why should travelers sleep or be bored at the airport when they can surf... THE INTERNET?
Starting next year, travelers at the world's busiest airport will no longer being asked to hand over cash to use Wi-Fi.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport officials today said that, starting tomorrow, daily Wi-Fi rates will be lowered to $4.95 and will be eliminated altogether "as early as fall 2013." Airport honchos say in a press release:

Starting November 1, Hartsfield-Jackson will offer Wi-Fi services at a reduced daily rate of $4.95; the new, lower rate will remain in effect until the fees are eliminated in 2013. With these changes, the Airport moves away from intermediary wireless Internet service providers and begins fully operating and maintaining its wireless system.

“I am pleased to announce that Hartsfield-Jackson is one step closer to offering truly free Wi-Fi,” said Aviation General Manager Louis Miller. “This initiative builds upon our commitment to improving the overall Airport experience for all customers. As a global aviation hub, Hartsfield-Jackson connects hundreds of thousands of passengers with communities worldwide every day. Free Wi-Fi will make it easier for these passengers to conduct their professional and personal business during their time at the Airport.”

Next step: Get rid of those giant ants crawling on the ceiling in the baggage claim, which scare the hell out of at least 14 jet-lagged people every hour. And that photo of the kids wearing diapers in Centennial Olympic Park's fountain.

Kidding! Love you, never change.

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Charges of 'institutional racism,' possible grade changing fuels North Atlanta High School drama (Update)

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Over the past month, Erroll Davis has taken plenty of flak over what's happened at North Atlanta High School. The Atlanta Public Schools interim superintendent, who swiftly replaced the Buckhead school's leadership without any initial explanation, has been scolded by parents and students throughout the community. The APS board even postponed deciding whether his contract should be extended until December.

But as more and more details emerge, it's beginning to seem like a good idea to look into the school.

The Buckhead Reporter recently obtained an anonymous letter suggesting that the high school's rigorous International Baccalaureate program "promoted institutional racism." Specifically: that black students received lower grades than white counterparts for equal work and that some of the teachers in the high school's college prep office — called the "College Zone" — were racists.

The letter's newsworthy because Mark Mygrant, the former NAHS interim principal, publicly suggested he was fired because of allegations that he hired two racist employees. However, when asked if those rumors played into the firing of Mygrant and other school officials, an APS spokesman told CBS Atlanta that Davis made the moves so that "the new principal, Dr. Howard Taylor, [could] choose his own team."

Mygrant, who has denied wrongdoing and promised that he wouldn't ride off quietly into the sunset, has since hired our favorite Buckhead attorney Glenn Delk to uncover the truth about his dismissal as well as the racism claims.

Continue reading »

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Mayor, City Council members deserve pay raises, commission says

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Atlanta City Hall
  • Caronsmc/Wikimedia Commons
  • Atlanta City Hall
A blue-ribbon commission is expected today to tell an Atlanta City Council committee that they, their colleagues, and the mayor deserve hefty bumps in pay. Which must be a very nice thing to hear!

WAGA says the City Council's Finance and Executive Committee will be told by a commission that looked into "fair compensation for Atlanta's elected officials" that the elected officials — who are expected to work part-time but will tell you the job quickly overtakes their lives — should earn more than $60,000. Currently they're paid around $39,000, WAGA says. And according to the group, the the City Council president's salary should increase from $41,000 to $62,000, WXIA says.

The commission, which includes an attorney, a financial executive and several community advocates, also thinks the mayor should see his or her salary increase from $143,000 to more than $180,000.

Councilmembers would vote on the proposal, which WAGA says would take effect in 2014.

Personally, I'm a bit divided on the issue. When I look at the Georgia General Assembly's members, nearly all of whom are considered part-time and earn around $17,000 each year for their service, I often think higher pay would attract a better, more serious crop of candidates for the job.

But I also understand the argument that policymakers should be a part of the community so they can view problems from a citizens' perspective rather than a City Hall insider. And $60,000 seems like it'd make things much easier for councilmembers to quit their day jobs and become professional politicians.

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'Vegas' Season 1, Episode 5 Recap

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Up to anything? No, were not up to anything ...
  • CBS
  • Up to anything? No, we're not up to anything ...

It struck me last night that where "Vegas" has gone right and the quickly cancelled "Pan Am" and "Playboy Club" went wrong is in the presentation of its period detail. "Vegas," like "Mad Men," allows the sounds and styles of the 1960s to wash over viewers in a way where the time period is obvious but isn't directly pointed out. There aren't winks about pregnant women smoking or comments about constant drinking (Savino does drink more or less constantly, but few others do, and there's no attention brought to it). Most refreshingly, there are no pseudo-clever jokes made with historical hindsight. In "Vegas," the 1960s are a backdrop, not a reason for existence.

This week, "Vegas" shook up its procedural aspect in "Solid Citizens," which was also a relief from the last few weeks of "if Ralph looks you square in the eye you will confess all!" The twists were minimal, focusing instead on the relationship among the Lamb family (my favorite aspect of the show) and the arrival of Savino's wife (Vinessa Shaw, who starred in Hocus Pocus — Happy Halloween!) while Savino is trying to shake Milwaukee's scent on his murder of Cornaro.

Another high-point for "Vegas" is how elements from its Cases of the Week pop back up in latter episodes. Though we won't hear any more about Estelle and her murder, the connection to Milwaukee, the strike, and the Tumbleweed spilled over into "Solid Citizens," with a strange character called Jones entering the scene to follow-up on Cornaro's murder.

Continue reading »

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First Slice 10/31/12: Clayton County write-in candidate could win sheriff's race

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Garland, you'll almost certainly fair better than ol Vic.
  • CL File
  • Garland, you'll almost certainly fair better than ol' Vic.

1. Garland Watkins, chief deputy at the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, is trying to win the sheriff's race as a write-in candidate. Until recently, Victor Hill — who faces 30-plus felony charges from his previous three-year stint as the county's sheriff — was running unopposed.

2. Disney acquired LucasFilm yesterday for just over $4 billion, and will likely earn a decent portion of that back from some new Star Wars films, which will reportedly be released "every two to three years."

3. Close to 200 people protested on Monday against Jeff Fuqua's proposed development along Glenwood Avenue. The Atlanta developer has faced plenty of opposition over the last few months for both his Glenwood Park and Buckhead developments.

4. According to Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza, Atlanta has “a pretty bare-bones budget for a city of our size.”

5. Ludacris celebrated Halloween this weekend by dressing up as Anthony Davis. While the CL staff will generally steer clear of unibrows this year, we do encourage you to check out one of these events.

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5 things to do: Primus 3-D and more

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 7:00 AM

5 things to do in Atlanta today

1. Primus 3-D at the Tabernacle

2. Georgia A-Scary-Um at the Aquarium

3. Day of the Dead Festival at the Atlanta History Center

4. Honky Tonk Halloween Party at Smith's Olde Bar

5. Shpongle at Terminal West

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New lawsuit calls charter schools amendment ballot language into question

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Vincent Fort speaks out against the proposed charter school amendment.
  • Max Blau
  • Vincent Fort speaks out against the proposed charter school amendment.
Next Tuesday, Georgia voters across the state will cast a ballot on amendment one, which asks the question: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?”

For months, opponents have claimed that the ballot measure’s language — written Gov. Nathan Deal, along with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, and Secretary of State Brian Kemp — misleads voters. Yesterday, a Dalton teacher and an Atlanta pastor continued to press the issue, filing a lawsuit against those three officials over the wording.

Both plaintiffs, Beverly Hedges and Rev. Timothy McDonald, have essentially requested that the Fulton County Superior Court ignore the amendment. Gerry Weber, the attorney representing Hedges and McDonald, says that his clients won't see the amendment as legitimate — even if Georgians vote yes on the referendum.

“What the ballot should do is give a balanced presentation of the content of the constitutional amendment,” Weber, the former legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, told the AJC yesterday.

In addition to the ballot question, a brief preamble describes the constitutional amendment as a measure that "provides for improving student achievement and parental involvement through more public school options.”

Jane Langley, spokeswoman for the anti-amendment group Vote Smart Georgia, has argued for moths that both the ballot question and preamble are “terribly misleading.”

"There’s nothing in the law that provides for better student achievement or parental involvement,” she says.

Continue reading »

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Mayor sics lawyer on gossip website

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Mayor Kasim Reed
Mayor Kasim Reed, frustrated over scandalous rumors on a gossip website that he says aren't true, dispatched a high-powered Atlanta lawyer to get the comments taken down. But the website, Lipstick Alley, has balked at the request.

In an Oct. 8 letter to Phoenix NAP (PDF), which hosted Lipstick Alley's servers at the time, McKenna Long & Aldridge partner — and well-connected lawyer with GOP ties — Randy Evans demanded the company remove anonymous posts on the website's message board alleging he's had relationships with multiple women, some of whom work in his administration.

"The statements, representations, and false light published by Lipstick Alley are categorically false," Evans wrote. "There is no factual basis for them. Instead the facts establish that they are not true."

Failure to comply would leave Evans no other choice but to recommend the mayor pursue legal action, he said.

Paul Alan Levy, an attorney with Washington, D.C.-based public-interest law firm Public Citizen, told Evans (PDF) that his demands reflect a "woeful ignorance of the facts and law."

Levy says that Phoenix NAP temporarily pulled Lipstick Alley offline but reinstated it on the condition that the mayor and the website could reach a compromise. Rather than do that, Levy said, Lipstick Alley, found another hosting service. He added that the website was "not willing to conduct any discussions with you in response to your meritless demand" and said the comments would be left online "in perpetuity."

According to the Fulton Daily Report's ATLAWblog, Evans on Friday said he plans to pursue the website and other hosting services until the rumors are removed. He tells the Report's Greg Land:

“It’s been like whack-a-mole,” he said. “We went after one and they took them down, now another one has, and we’re going after a third.” Reed, he said, “has just had enough of these false allegations; he’s committed to this idea [that] he’s not going to take it anymore. It’s all false, everybody agrees it’s completely untrue, and we want to get to the original source. We’ll find out who it is, and that person will be held accountable.”

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First Slice 10/30/12: Hurricane Sandy causes major damage in the Northeast

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 8:22 AM

Its like Atlanta.

1. Hurricane Sandy shut down much of the East Coast yesterday after landing ashore in New Jersey. Atlanta obviously wasn't in the direct path of the superstorm, but it still had a local impact on weather, flight delays, and more.

2. According to Georgia Department of Driver Services records, less than two drivers per day are caught texting while driving. As WSB suggests, everyone else may be "checking a map," which is a likely excuse.

3. Savannah city planners are proposing to build a double decker highway to combat traffic congestion. As one commuter described her current 25-minute, eight mile commute during rush hour: "It's like Atlanta."

4. The Wall Street Journal Magazine has named Atlanta as one of the 25 most innovative cities in the world. Apparently, we are a city "where people, passion and ingenuity are shaping the world for many years to come."

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