For this year's Fall A&E Guide, we turned to the tarot cards to suss out the upcoming cultural season. And to borrow a poker phrase, we're flush with excitement -- not just with the events themselves, but also with the emerging artists driving them. Whether it's film, music, theater, visual arts, dance or books, culture is falling all over Atlanta. Herewith, a sneak peek ...
1) The Departed
It sounds like a can't-miss proposition: Director Martin Scorsese returns to Mean Streets/Goodfellas territory for this twisty thriller that casts Gangs of New York star Leonardo DiCaprio as an undercover cop infiltrating boss Jack Nicholson's criminal empire, and Matt Damon as a criminal working as a well-placed mole within the Boston police force. It's based on the terrific Hong Kong flick Infernal Affairs, which you should see no matter how good The Departed turns out to be.
Opens Oct. 6. thedeparted.warnerbros.com.
2. Paste magazine's Rock'n'Reel Festival
In Decatur, the Paste magazine headquarters has been busy. Not only does it crank out a national music magazine that recently upgraded from a bimonthly to monthly, but it produces streaming Internet radio, a podcast and highly coveted CD and DVD compilations. This year's Rock'n'Reel Festival ain't nothing to sneeze at, either. From Sept. 15-24, Americana, indie-rock and folk artists swarm various venues around town -- including the outdoor stages at the East Atlanta Strut -- in the name of Paste. Just of a few of the headliners include Band of Horses, Magnolia Electric Co., Sufjan Stevens, Beirut, José González, and the Wrens. Tickets can be purchased for an individual show or as part of the VIP package.
3. Chris Tucker
Hollywood might have taken him away, but Chris Tucker is coming back home to Atlanta on Sept. 15 for a one-night-only performance at the Fox Theatre. Best known for his hilarious roles in Friday, and both Rush Hour movies (with a third on the way), Tucker's roots actually stem from the stand-up stage, not the silver screen. As a talented jokester with a distinct vocal pitch and interesting dance moves, Tucker is a joy to watch.
$45-$85. 660 Peachtree St. 404-881-2100. www.foxtheatre.org.
4. Democratic Republic of the Congo: Forgotten War
Vicious ongoing wars have become the unpleasant norm in Africa, but in Congo, an enduring conflict has boasted the highest death toll since World War II. The Atlanta Photography Gallery plays host to what should be a not-to-be-missed international touring exhibition of documentary photographs in Democratic Republic of the Congo: Forgotten War. The images were taken by five members of the renowned VII Photo Agency, who documented the chaos while traveling with Doctors Without Borders.
Sept. 16-Oct. 7. Atlanta Photography Group Gallery, Tula Art Center, 75 Bennett St., Space B-1. 404-605-0605. www.atlantaphotographygroup.org.
5. Demetri Martin
"Swimming is a confusing sport because sometimes you do it for fun, and other times you do it to not die." That is but one of the many clever one-liners that fuel comedian and sometime "The Daily Show" contributor Demetri Martin's routine. With abnormally sharp material and a delivery dryer than the desert air, Martin's act is anything but typical. The 33-year-old writes poems in the form of elongated palindromes, projects drawings on an overhead to drive home punch lines and even sings songs. The only predictable part of his act is humorous intelligence.
$29.75. Oct. 19. Roxy Theatre, 3110 Roswell Road. 404-233-7699. www.ticketmaster.com.
6. Corazón Abriendo ("Heart Opening")
In collaboration with Susan M. Prins of Teatro en la Selva, Several Dancers Core's Sue Schroeder presents this multimedia dance with sculpture, video, and originally composed, live-performed music. The work was inspired by the Mayan culture and by the highlands and rainforests of Chiapas, Mexico, where the company went for several immersion residencies.
$15-$18. Nov. 10-12. 7 Stages, 1105 Euclid Ave. 404-373-4154. www.severaldancerscore.org.
7. The Pillowman
Expect equally high levels of dread and testosterone in this production of Oscar-winner Martin McDonagh's scorching Broadway hit, in which an author of children's books -- who happens to be a potential murderer -- faces interrogation in an unnamed police state. Actor's Express artistic director Jasson Minadakis directs Daniel May, Jeff Feldman, John Benzinger and Mark Kincaid, who are all practiced at playing the bad-boy roles of McDonagh's specialty in such plays as A Skull in Connemara. It will be a bittersweet run for The Pillowman. It marks the swan song for Minadakis, who leaves to become artistic director for the San Francisco Bay Area's Marin Theatre Company on Oct. 1.
$21.50-$27. Sept. 14-Oct. 14. Actor's Express, 887 W. Marietta St., Suite J-107. 404-607-SHOW. www.actors-express.com.
8. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and Eagles of Death Metal
Joan Jett still loves rock 'n' roll, and she owned it this summer. In June came Sinner -- her first U.S. release with original material in a decade -- a hard-rockin' album that questions sexuality. The sinewy Jett and her Blackhearts were the highlight of the last Vans Warped Tour, but anyone who skipped the bloated summer bill can make up for it now. Eagles of Death Metal love rock 'n' roll, too, and the title of their April release, Death by Sexy, sums up what they're all about. Recently, Eagles' frontman Jesse Hughes had the crowd at the Variety hanging on his every pelvic thrust, making the normally shocking Peaches seem somewhat dull.
$25. Nov. 18. Roxy Theatre, 3110 Roswell Road. 404-233-7699. www.ticketmaster.com.
9. 1906 Atlanta Race Riots commemorations
Sept. 22 marks the anniversary of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riots, and several local artists and galleries are commemorating the event in visual-arts exhibitions. Over four days, 25 blacks were murdered and countless black businesses destroyed. Mobs of whites were enraged over sensational accounts in local newspapers of black men raping white women. Several arts venues are remembering this ugly but significant turn in local history: Spruill Gallery will feature local artist Stan Woodard's installation I see no one, no one sees me (Sept. 21-Nov. 4); Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery hosts What Color the Dawn? (Aug. 19-Sept. 30); and Lisa Tuttle's public art work "Fence" (Sept. 3-Jan. 27) appears at Agnes Scott's Dalton Gallery. Also providing a historical perspective will be the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site, which will feature Red Was the Midnight (Sept. 21-Aug. 30, 2007).
A doubleheader kicks off the Atlanta Opera's fall season with Ruggiero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, a comedy within a drama starring a creepy killer clown. Christopher Mattaliano directs, Joseph Rescigno conducts, with Mel Ulrich, Emily Pulley, Jay Hunter-Morris and Gordon Hawkins making their Atlanta Opera debuts. It's a comparatively brief production, so afterward, the band plays on with Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, based on a collection of bawdy poems written by 13th-century clergy.
Oct. 5, 7-8. Atlanta Civic Center, 395 Piedmont Ave. 404-881-8885. www.atlantaopera.org.
Contributed by Thomas Bell, Felicia Feaster, Noah Gardenswartz, Curt Holman, Heather Kuldell, David Lee Simmons
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