Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Retail strip that includes Smith's Olde Bar up for sale, venue given 60-day notice to vacate

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 4:30 PM

  • Courtesy Smith's Olde Bar
July has been a hard month for Atlanta’s music venues. Smith’s Olde Bar, which has hosted countless bands and fans near the corner of Monroe Drive and Piedmont Avenue since 1993, could soon have to vacate the space as part of a proposed sale of the retail strip it calls home.

On Aug. 28, the more than 27,000 square-foot property and commercial strip dubbed the “Morningside Strip Center” will be sold at auction. A trust owns the circa 1925 building that includes Smith’s, an antique shop, and a now vacant hair salon after its longtime owner died, according to Tim Holdroyd of City Realty, which is managing the sale.

According to CR’s “property package” about the strip, Smith’s is currently a “tenant at will” and has been given a 60-day notice to vacate the premises. Smith’s is disputing that notice to vacate its longtime home, CR's document says, and “ownership is working to resolve this ongoing issue.” A venue spokesman said Smith’s Olde Bar management declined to comment on the matter.

According to Greg Land at the Fulton Daily Report (free reg. req'd.) two filings in Fulton County Superior Court indicate the trust "have demanded that club's owner, Nolan-Reeves Music, vacate the premises after demanding more rent and increased insurance coverage for the space." Nolen-Reeves have asked to stay put until at least the end of the year, the report says.  

The antique shop’s space will be vacant when its lease ends after Sept. 30, 2015. The summary notes that the property’s prime location near heavily trafficked areas such as Piedmont Park, Morningside, and Ansley Mall. It is also only a few hundred yards from a portion of the Atlanta Beltline.

The document, which was first noticed by Tomorrow's News Today, says nine retail spaces — five of which are leased to Smith’s — are up for sale. Fans of Cowtippers, the steak and spirit joint that is located on the strip’s northern edge, or the El-Gant alterations shop to the south, need not worry — they're not part of the auction. The giant billboard looming over the center is also not included in the deal.

It’s up to the new owners to decide if they want to continue leasing to Smith’s or do something else with the space and the property, Holdroyd says. He says a number of parties are interested in the Morningside property. Holdroyd expects to close the sale by the end of the year.

The news comes on the heels of a developer’s plan to repurpose the longtime home of the Masquerade and build a 228-unit mixed-use development on the Music Park and two adjacent parcels. Management of the nearly 25-year-old Old Fourth Ward music venue says they will continue booking events until 2016 and won’t leave the city.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Field Experiment winner makes music of rush-hour frustrations

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 9:15 AM

Jam-D-Jam! is your winner for the Goat Farm Arts Center and Hambidge Center's Field Experiment. The project from the Jam-D-Jam! team is attempting to tackle the bane of every Atlantans existence — rush hour traffic. Created by Mel Chin and Severn Eaton (EMCs), encourages people to call in from their vehicles while stuck in traffic. Their unscripted words or noises of frustration, boredom, happiness, etc. are then transformed into a musical invention that is played back over the airways. So now that lovely string of expletives you've been muttering under your breath while stuck on I-85 can be turned into something exponentially better than the Honda Civic bumper you've been staring at for the past hour.

Throughout the project, EMCs will be working with a diverse set of Atlanta music makers and producers to turn highly improvisational recordings into composed sound. “We are grateful to be selected and are excited to have the opportunity to create music with the entire city of Atlanta (of course, only those stuck in traffic). This will be an interactive experiment that pushes the creativity of producers, performers, and broadcast radio," the EMC's said in a statement.

The Jam-D-Jam! team will receive $20,000, a two-week residency at Hambidge, with the final project to be unveiled in the fall.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Atlanta Symphony calls for composers

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 2:40 PM

ASO Music Director Robert Spano will judge the finalists in this years Rapido! Composition Contest.
  • Jennifer Taylor
  • ASO Music Director Robert Spano will judge the finalists in this year's Rapido! Composition Contest.
Do you have the melody of the world's next great chamber piece buzzing around in your head? Can you write it down really, really quickly?

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has announced its third annual Rapido! Composition Contest, designed to promote new chamber music and encourage new compositions by underrepresented composers of all levels of experience. The winner will receive a commission for a full orchestral work to be premiered by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in spring of 2014. More about the contest after the jump.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Atlanta composer Alvin Singleton premieres new work with the ASO

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Atlanta composer Alvin Singleton's new work Different River will have its world premiere this weekend as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra debuts the piece under the baton of Music Director Robert Spano at Symphony Hall. Scored for full orchestra with extra percussion, the one-movement 25-minute work is a commission by Spano and the ASO.

"It's about an ever-changing perspective on a river that is always moving," explains Singleton. "Each time you step in you're at a different place." Although Singleton's compositions have been premiered and performed by major orchestras around the world, the composer has long maintained especially strong ties to Atlanta and the ASO.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dean and Britta make the Most Beautiful music for Warhol

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Dean Wareham (left) and Britta Phillips
Dean Wareham admits that being asked to score 13 of Pop Art icon Andy Warhol’s screen tests was intimidating. In 2008, the Andy Warhol Museum and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust commissioned Wareham and his wife Britta Phillips, aka indie pop duo Dean and Britta, to put music to 13 of Warhol’s “stillies” featuring Factory regulars such as Dennis Hopper, Lou Reed, and Edie Sedgwick, for the 2008 Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. The result is The 13 Most Beautiful… Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests, a guitar-and-keyboard soundtrack of original works created specifically for the short films, save a few older Dean & Britta songs, a cover of Reed’s “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore” for the Velvet Underground frontman and a Bob Dylan cover ("I'll Keep it With Mine”) for Nico. The project led to the first DVD release of Warhol’s works. Dean and Britta come to Atlanta to perform The 13 Most Beautiful… at Symphony Hall as part of the High’s Culture Shock event series. The exhibit Picasso to Warhol: 14 Modern Masters remains on view at the High through April 29.

Would you explain Warhol's screen test films?
Warhol made 472 of these films between 1964 and 1966. They are short, silent, black-and-white portraits. Before he was doing this he was doing photo booth portraits, which he called “stillies,” so this kind of grew out of that – it was the next step when he bought a Bolex and decided that he was moving into making film. He didn’t really know how to edit film I guess; he didn’t have to edit film. He’d just load a reel of film, which is about three minutes in length, and he would sit someone against a white background or a black background and just let the film roll and tell them to stare straight into the camera and do as little as possible. Then he would play these films back at a slower speed, at a silent film speed instead of the sound film speed, so they’re all kind of stretched out. So, they play back and they were just over four minutes each and that’s what kind of gives them a slightly spooky quality. If you slow down someone’s face you can kind of see things flicker across them that you really wouldn’t otherwise notice. The first part of our assignment was to pick 13 of these films.

What drew you to these 13?
We started reading about the Factory in this period; it’s called the Silver Factory. It was the one that was painted silver and it was a former hat factory on East 47th Street. After this period he moved to Union Square, which is where everything changed. It’s where he got shot. I know a little bit about Warhol and the Velvet Underground and the people that were around them, but I didn’t really know much about them at all until I started researching this and the more we learned the more we decided to focus on the people that were there everyday, like Billy Name who was Warhol’s assistant and even Dennis Hopper who was an important early champion of Warhol’s work when he went out to the West Coast. This is at a point where Warhol wasn’t selling anything at all and Dennis Hopper was blacklisted from Hollywood, he wasn’t doing much at all either – this was before Easy Rider — he was blacklisted for the first time because he was too difficult to work with, I think. Hopper was one of the first people to buy a soup can painting.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dancer by day, Musician by night

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 9:31 PM

Dancer Jesse Tyler with fellow Atlanta Ballet principal dancer Alessa Rogers
  • Charlie McCullers
  • Dancer Jesse Tyler with fellow Atlanta Ballet principal dancer Alessa Rogers
Like almost any musician in the early stages of his career, Jesse Tyler has a day job. Unlike most musicians, his "day job" involves a lot of grand jetés, entrechats, and arabesques.

While ballet audiences probably remember Tyler as the Snow King in The Nutcracker, Renfield in Dracula, or as one of the comic goblins in The Princess and the Goblin, they may not realize that for the past couple years, after rehearsals and between performances, Tyler, now in his fifth year as a principal dancer with the Atlanta Ballet, has also been performing his music around Atlanta and steadily establishing a name for himself on the city's singer-songwriter scene.

"I kind of just slid into both, not really knowing it," says Tyler of his affinity for both dance and music.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ASO premieres the work of "Atlanta School" composer Adam Schoenberg

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Composer Adam Schoenberg
  • Aleigh Lewis
  • Composer Adam Schoenberg
Composer Adam Schoenberg will see the world premiere of his new piece La Luna Azul performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in a series of concerts this weekend. We caught up with the 31-year-old, LA-based composer to ask him a few questions about the experience.

You're a member of the Atlanta School of Composers. Can you tell us what that involves?
The Atlanta School of Composers is a term that [ASO Music Director] Robert Spano coined. It's basically a long-term partnership with the Atlanta Symphony. None of the composers actually reside in Atlanta. It's people he's believed in and wants to champion. He will take someone on and perform their music and commission them for new work. The piece that will premiere this week is my first big commission with the symphony. He personally commissioned it. He's the type of conductor a composer can actually approach, and he'll listen to what you have to say. We hit it off when we first met in January of 2009, and I handed him some of my music. A few weeks later I got a phone call from him saying that he wanted to program some of my work. I was 29 then, and it's an extraordinary thing to realize that you're going to get a piece performed by the Atlanta Symphony. One of the great things that's part of the Atlanta School: When Robert commissions a work, he brings the composer back before the premiere to do a reading of the piece in progress. This is a very rare thing which few orchestras do. Usually you just show up the week of the premiere and you have three rehearsals and that's it. If you want to make changes to the piece, you have to pull an all-nighter in your hotel room, trying to make changes. So for Robert to give a reading, you then have a couple weeks to revise the piece. That is one of the greatest gifts any composer can have.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review: Bernadette Peters keeps it short and sweet at ASO Gala

Posted By on Sun, Feb 19, 2012 at 1:48 PM

  • Firooz Zahedi
Bernadette Peters performed a short set at Atlanta's Symphony Hall on Feb. 18 as part of the ASO's annual gala that raises funds for music education. The operative word is short: The show, though strong, consisted of about an hour of music with one encore.

The show began with an overture, and Peters made a star's entrance with "Let Me Entertain You." In a fitting, sequined purple gown, she looked incredible. It's especially hard to believe the AJC preview article, which pointed out that Peters will celebrate her 64th birthday at the end of February.

Unfortunately, the quality of the amplification was not so good, and the sound suffered especially on big boisterous numbers like "Let Me Entertain You." The sound quality varies greatly depending on where you sit in Symphony Hall — it's one of the space's perennial problems — and unfortunately from where I was sitting, it was pretty awful: unbalanced, echoey, hollow, and undetailed. It was even hard to understand the between-song patter.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Broadway Baby Bernadette Peters joins the ASO for Gala Fundraiser

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Bernadette Peters, fresh off her huge success in the recent revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies on Broadway and guest-starring on the new NBC drama "Smash," will perform with the Atlanta Symphony this weekend at Symphony Hall on Saturday, Feb. 18.

The preternaturally youthful singer will perform classics from her career on stage and screen including “Losing My Mind” and other hits by Sondheim, as well as standards from the Rodgers & Hammerstein songbook, Peggy Lee’s “Fever”, and “When You Wish Upon a Star.” The Broadway star appears in honor of the symphony’s second annual gala, a fundraiser for the orchestra's music education programs.

Individual tickets for the show start at $35 and special packages, which include a cocktail reception and a black-tie gala dinner, start at $500 per person. For more information, visit the ASO or call 404-733-4900.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Johannes Moser brings on the "melancholia" of Elgar's Cello Concerto

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Cellist Johannes Moser will explore the melancholia of Elgars Cello Concerto with the ASO this weekend.
  • Manfred Esser/hansslerCLASSIC
  • Cellist Johannes Moser will explore the melancholia of Elgar's Cello Concerto with the ASO this weekend.
German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser has been called “one of today's finest young virtuosos” by Gramophone magazine, and he makes his Atlanta Symphony debut this weekend with Elgar's Cello Concerto. We caught up with the musician to discuss Elgar's melancholia, Moser's YouTube addiction, and the best way to travel with a priceless Guarneri instrument.

You've said that Elgar's Cello Concerto is one of your favorite pieces. What aspect of it most appeals to you?
I love this piece because it's pure emotion. It's an extremely emotionally charged concerto because Elgar wrote it at the end of the first world war. He was in his 60s at the time, and he had just come home from being hospitalized. Everything inside and outside was shattered, so to speak. The Old Europe he related to was gone. Then he decided to write a cello concerto. The theme came to him the first time he came home from the hospital. It has a huge melancholia. The whole set is very sad, and I'm a happy person so I'm exploring feelings and a life situation that aren't really mine. I find it extremely challenging, but sort of rewarding to live through the eyes of the composer. The way he writes his music you can absolutely relate to his life situation, which I think is exceptional.

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