Friday, November 30, 2007

More Felicia Feaster on cool artists ...

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2007 at 11:00 PM

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(Photo by Joeff Davis)

But wait, there are more cool artists interviewed by Felicia Feaster giving talks tomorrow. Check out Scott Ingram on Saturday morning at 11 a.m., discussing Building Futures, his current show at Solomon Projects. And here's him telling Felicia what he digs the most.

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Fiction Contest: Y'all are messed up

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2007 at 10:41 PM

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Well, we've heard from you loud and clear, and we here at CL would like to make one humble suggestion to our blossoming literary scene: Get help.

Seriously, y'all are messed up. That's as simple as we can put it, judging from the entries to our seventh annual Fiction Contest — the (extended) deadline of which passed on Wednesday. The theme is "scratch," and let's just say the entrants took the notion and ran with it in every manner possible. There's the scratching of the itch (with images too vivid to recount here), Old Scratch (a particular favorite), scratching on the eight ball in pool, scratch as in money. Now, I didn't read all of them — thank you, thank you, thank you, CL staff — but I don't recall it being used in the racetrack vernacular (as in scratching, or removing, a horse from a race), although I'm sure every other angle was covered. And this stuff was so gothic, so dark, so supernatural, so ... icky ... we just wonder if we've opened some wounds with this one.

Best of all, from rudimentary research, we've learned our submission total of 240 is an all-time best. And our apologies for any confusion caused by the extended deadline, which resulted in a FLOOD of extra entries. Now comes the judging phase; and as we mentioned in a previous PopSmart post, we've got an impressive lineup: Fiona Zedde, Joshilyn Jackson and David Fulmer.

Now, onto the next phase: the party! We're scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 10, at Eyedrum. We're working furiously to set up the appropriate musical and other ambient moods, and of course there will be refreshments aplenty. Mark it on your calendar; it'll be the first cool literary event of the new year, so don't scratch it off your list ...

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Walker and Talk

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2007 at 10:03 PM

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Celebrated Atlanta artist Larry Walker (and father of superstar Kara) will give an Artist Talk this Sunday, Dec. 2, 2 p.m. at Mason Murer Fine Art. Check out my 2004 interview with the always-revealing Walker here.

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Movies of 2007: Playing catch-up

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2007 at 9:03 PM

Someone once said that December is for film critics what April is for accountants. That is,

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crunch time. In addition to watching the usual movie selections that open in a given week, we enter Best-of-the-Year awards season, catching up on titles we missed earlier in the year while seeing early screenings for films that may not open locally until well into 2008 but have token New York/Los Angeles releases for Oscar and other award consideration. Recently I saw a few I missed the first time:

Breach and The Hoax. I suspect that neither of these spring releases got their due, but they’re underrated, solid entertainments with common themes of deception in Ame

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rican institutions, and possibly the American dream itself. Breach offers a terse, unglamorous espionage drama about the pursuit of FBI agent – and Russian spy – Robert Hansson (Chris Cooper), while The Hoax spins satirical comedy about novelist Clifford Irving (Richard Gere) and his record-breaking sale of Howard Hughes’ autobiography – although the book is an elaborate con predicated on the belief that Hughes, a nutty billionaire hermit, would never emerge from seclusion to contest it.

Continue reading »

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Waiting for those Redacted protests

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2007 at 4:45 PM

If you’re driving near Midtown Promenade this weekend, be on the lookout for protesters holding signs saying, “Support Our Troops.” You may have to look really hard. Why? Because Landmark Midtown Art Cinema will be showing Brian De Palma’s Iraq war drama Redacted, a fictionalized account of the rape and murder of Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi in Iraq in 2006. Orwellian Big Brother Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has singled out Redacted for picketing for "inciting hatred against the United States."

Frankly, I suspect that any fervor for or against Redacted cooled off over Thanksgiving, with more pop-culture interest focusing on the return of "Project Runway" and whether you can see anyone’s CGI naughty bits in Beowulf. Thanks to the Internet Wayback Machine, however, we can recall the Redacted feud of early November. Primarily it involved volleying insults between Redacted producer/Dallas Mavericks owner/Internet zillionaire Mark Cuban and O’Reilly, who went after Cuban on “The O’Reilly Factor" Nov. 12. Incidentally, note the way an O’Reilly producer uses yellow-journalism tactics along the lines of “Are you still beating your wife?” in the segment. Imagine what they don’t actually put on the air.

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In response, Cuban articulated an answer to O’Reilly and a defense of Redacted on his blog ("Bill O'Reilly just a wonderful, confused guy"), while MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann derided O’Reilly’s fulminations on "Countdown" Nov. 13:

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I have my own criticisms of Redacted and, at any rate, suspect that the conservative protesting bloc is getting more wound up about the anti-religious content in the upcoming fantasy epic The Golden Compass. The fact that O'Reilly is so much more concerned with a low-budget indie film about the Iraq war inciting hatred against America than he is about, you know, the actual Iraq war inciting hatred against America is an irony that will be lost on no one capable of experiencing irony.

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See & Do: Bhagavan Das

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2007 at 8:00 AM

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(Courtesy Kashi Atlanta)

BHAGAVAN DAS, formerly Mike Riggs of Southern California, traded American suburbia for spiritual enlightenment long ago. A published author and prolific musician, Bhagavan Das is a master Kirtan artist (ecstatic yoga chanting) and world-music innovator. He infuses sacred Indian chanting with rock 'n' roll and worked with the Beastie Boys' Mike D on his most recent album, Now. Bhagavan Das performs at Kashi Atlanta tonight and leads a Naad yoga workshop Saturday. Performance: $30. 8 p.m. Workshop: $60. 4-7 p.m. 1681 McLendon Ave. 404-687-3353. www.kashiatlanta.org.

Here's a little taste of what to expect ...

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

At the risk of repeating myself, 2: Badass Bible verses

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2007 at 10:18 PM

I'm reluctant to refer back to one of my blog posts from earlier this week, a habit that can seem like a self-referential hall of mirrors, but this is something I had to share. Monday I posted "PopSmart's fave lists: The 5 best lists from Cracked.com." Then, wouldn't you know, the satirical website (and former long-running humor magazine) goes and publishes probably the funniest list it's ever done, "The 9 Most Badass Bible Verses." Everyone I show it to completely loses it with laughter, so I feel compelled to pass it along. The article deserves attention for no other reason than providing the actual scriptural justification for this:

 

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At the risk of repeating myself, 1: Holiday plays

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2007 at 10:08 PM

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(Photo courtesy Dad's Garage Theatre)

The trouble with the holidays is that Atlanta-area theaters tend to program the same plays every year. The good thing is, I can just run the same review every time!

No no no, of course I cannot and would not do any such thing. However, some of the previews, interviews and maybe even a review or two I wrote in prior years still have relevance if you're deciding what to do during the holiday season, so consider this a supplement to the theater preview from our current holiday guide:

A Christmas Carol (Alliance Theatre and many, many others): Last year I wrote a roundup of the different Christmas Carol productions, and most of the same theaters are remounting it this year (although the cast and crew may be entirely different): the Alliance, the Shakespeare Tavern, the Renaissance Project and ART Station’s A Broadway Christmas Carol (with the Atlanta Lyric Theatre staging The 1940s Radio Hour, with a Scrooge centerpiece). In addition, Aurora Theatre, Kudzu Playhouse and Towne Lake Arts Center are also doing A Christmas Carol, with Theatre Decatur doing A Queer Carol. With so many versions of the show afoot, this Off Script column on "Scrooges for all seasons" probably still holds up.

The Santaland Diaries (Horizon Theatre): Harold Leaver has played the David Sedaris/Crumpet character every year at Horizon: I interviewed him about the role in 2004. The Horizon website has a video clip. (To my chagrin, I noticed that over the years, we've previewed Santaland Diaries using every elf pun you can imagine: "Elf Help," "Elf Esteem," "Elf Improvement," etc. We'll have to put a stop to that.)

A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant (Dad’s Garage Theatre): In addition to my new interview with director Mary Claire Dunn in the current issue, I reviewed the original Dad’s Garage production last year. The cast and director are identical in both shows.

Chick & Boozy’s Holiday Cruise (Dad’s Garage Theatre). Washed-up 1970s celebrity Chick Starley and his alcohol-fueled hallucination magical friend Boozy the Imp (pictured) have frequently staged kitschy Christmas shows at Dad’s Garage, and this year they return for loose-sounding late-night programs in the Top Shelf space. I interviewed the twosome in 2004. They have the strangest resemblance to Chris Blair and Matt "Lucky" Yates.

The Wiz (True Colors Theatre Company). Also in 2004, I reviewed the inaugural production that launched Kenny Leon’s annual tradition of an all-child version of The Wiz. Although the musical and the kid-casting concept remains the same, the production may have changed dramatically, so take these comments with a significant grain of salt.

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TCM: What you do to me

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2007 at 8:00 PM

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(Amazon.com)

One of the best things about Atlanta-based Turner Classic Movies is its innovative programming approach, from which we could all learn a few things. Take this month’s “Guest Programmer” series, in which well-known (and not-so-well-known) folks take over the control board and screen some of their favorite flicks. (Talk about a personal fantasy!)

I just threw a random dart on this month's calendar of programs and hit tonight’s guest programmer, Mark Mothersbaugh (how hip!). Check out the Devo co-founder and go-to Wes Anderson film composer’s personal viewing menu: Inherit the Wind (8 p.m.), A Face in the Crowd (10:15 p.m.), Juliet of the Spirits (12:30 a.m. Friday) and Hot Rods to Hell (3 a.m.). Nice little mix, eh?

I’m a particular fan of 1957's A Face in the Crowd, which, for its satire of the power of TV and our frequent submission to demagoguery and the cult of personality, was the Network of its day. While it’s truly amazing that it got snubbed by the Academy Awards, it did have the misfortune of being released the same year as The Bridge on the River Kwai (the winner), Peyton Place, 12 Angry Men, Sayonara and Witness for the Prosecution. (And yes, if you’re wondering if I think they don’t make ’em like they used to, your suspicions are confirmed.) Still, you can’t convince me that Andy Griffith, making his big-screen debut, wasn’t better than Anthony Franciosa in A Hatful of Rain. (The two were co-stars, btw, in Face.)

If memory serves, while A Face in the Crowd drew critical praise, some thought Elia Kazan was more than a little broad in his satire (he never really was much for subtlety, which in his case I consider a gift and not a flaw). Indeed, you know where he’s coming from, as this incredibly prescient scene clearly shows.

I could think of about 2,000 or so to program if I had the chance, but here's four right off the top of my head: Panic in the Streets (more Kazan!), Local Hero, Trouble in Paradise and Planet of the Apes. Not sure if they're all in the TCM vault, though; they should be.

What would be your four movies to program if you had the chance?

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Holiday Guide ’07: Value added!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2007 at 3:57 PM

If you've got a copy of this week's print edition of Creative Loafing, you'll notice a tidy little Holiday Guide "themed" issue that includes our cover package as well as related items in our Vibes, Flicks, Arts and Food & Drink sections. Please enjoy!

But for all you hip, savvy readers online, there's lagniappe aplenty, including expanded versions of the top five events of the season in music, the arts and movies. Hell to the holiday yeah. One thing we're particularly proud of is our podcasts, and in the expanded coverage of the holiday-movie season is a preview podcast from film critics Felicia Feaster and Curt Holman. View on ...

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