You can do better than Chinese takeout and New Year's Rockin' Eve with Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest.
From concerts to clubs to restaurants, here are CL's picks for doing New Year's right.
New Year's Eve can be so generic â the cover bands, the crowds, the corporate parties, and those damn rubber band hats. Why wake up to '08 with a souvenir party favor when you could relish an authentic Atlanta experience? The Star Bar's Atlanta garage-rock barrage features the FORTY-FIVES, GRINGO STAR, THE BOOZE, EL CAPITAN & THE SCALLYWAGS, and GRINDER NOVA. In a year when some local rockers were worshipped as gods, it's cool to shine a little light on the ones (Forty-Fives, Gringo Star) who helped export the DIY touring machine responsible for launching the recent homegrown sound. Meanwhile, Lenny's Bar fÃªtes the Peach State's street-conscious rap scene with the 5 DOLLA HOLLA, featuring Athens-based ISHUES, DRES THA BEATNIK, DROPBOMBZ, RISINGSONS, MR. SOS, and party-DJ duo TECHNOLOJESUS. Star Bar: $10. 11 p.m. 437 Moreland Ave. 404-681-9018. www.starbar.net. Lenny's: $5. 11:30 p.m. 486 Decatur St. 404-577-7721. www.lennysbar.com.
â Rodney Carmichael
Wes Bentleyâs Blackheart in Ghost Rider and Ben Fosterâs Charlie Prince in 3:10 to Yuma. Nothing can energize an action movie like a good villain, or leech its entertainment value like a bad one. Bentley phones in your standard issue, blandly mean supernatural villain, but Foster, as a trigger-happy Western psycho, overacts a storm like he thinks heâs as charismatic as Marlon Brando. In both films, your heart sinks when you realize youâre stuck with these douche bags for the duration.
Morgan Freeman as God in Evan Almighty. Freemanâs saintly
Demi Moore's rich cop in Mr. Brooks. In a film that has Kevin Costner as a suburban serial killer, William Hurt as a demonic fantasy figure and Dane Cook as a voyeuristic blackmailer, Moore somehow manages to provide the least believable and most irritating portrayal as a gum-chewing multimillionaire police detective who, incidentally, looks like Demi Moore. Yeah, I can totally identify with someone like that.
Quentin Tarantino in Planet Terror. In the Death Proof half of Grindhouse, Tarantino gives himself a relatively painless cameo as a bartender. In Planet Terror, however, he has a longer, agonizing role as a sleazy rapist that may be the worst of his many bad movie performances. When will he realize he can never be a badass? At least Kevin Smith plays to type in his predictable hippie/hacker roles (in Catch and Release and Live Free or Die Hard).
The Atlanta Civic Center has a big New Year's weekend planned. CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER headlines Sat., DEC. 29, with additional performances from fellow comedian Jay Lamont and music from â70s R&B notable Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. Maze and Beverly return to the stage New Year's Eve, alongside 2008 Grammy nominee Chaka Khan, with Bruce Bruce providing the funny. Saturday: $76-$96. 8 p.m. Monday: $81-$101. 8 p.m. 395 Piedmont Ave. 404-523-6275. www.atlantaciviccenter.com.
Unfortunately, Sandra Bernhard was forced to cancel this weekend's two-night stand at the 14th Street Playhouse when the promoter of the event, RC Searfoss, fell ill.
The official word came today from a publicist with Project Publicity, who said: "I wanted to personally make sure you were aware of this as well as thank you for your time and support for Sandra. We greatly appreciate it and hope we can work with you again when the show is rescheduled in 2008. We hope you are having a spectacular holiday season and look forward to seeing you in 2008. Thank you again."
Fans can get ticket refunds from the point of purchase, publicist Kenneth Hartung said.
(Courtesy Marcia Wood Gallery)
Marcia Wood Gallery just informed us that Kate Javens will return to Atlanta for Solo Exhibition of Paintings, which runs from March 6 to April 12. Here's the main text of the press release:
A solo exhibition of transcendental paintings of animals from the Named For series, by New York artist Kate Javens, at Marcia Wood Gallery.
Included in the exhibit will be new works made especially for the Marcia Wood Gallery exhibit as well as works direct from Javen's blockbuster museum exhibition, American Beasts, currently on view at the Blanden Art Museum, Fort Dodge, Iowa, through February 16, 2008.
Whenever the Plaza Theatre hosts the monthly Silver Scream Spook Show, I always like to post one of the vintage trailers of the films in question, because they can be highly entertaining in and of themselves. I couldn't find one for House of Wax, an old-school 3-D presentation of the Vincent Price revenge flick from 1953, to be presented at 1 and 10 p.m. Sat., Dec. 29. But I found something that might be even better. Sweeney Todd director Tim Burton hosted a special broadcast of House of Wax on Atlanta's TNT in the early 1990s, and YouTube has the interview segments. It offers a preview of the film while revealing its influences on the audiences and filmmakers of later generations.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/6rm-mNKMCb0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
After touring with the socially conscious hip-hop group Arrested Development in its mid-'90s heyday, singer/dancer/choreographer Terrie Ajile Axam settled in Atlanta and formed Total Dance Company. Every year now for the past 11, Total Dance has performed its Kwanzaa tribute FUSION: FROM AFRICA TO HIP-HOP. The production, co-written by Axam and Arrested Development frontman Speech, traces African dance's historical and cultural evolution to the beat of master drummer Greyling Oginga Love Fri.-Sun., DEC. 28-30. $15-$25. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.: TheatreSouth Atlanta, 5355 Hunter Road. Sunday: Booker T. Washington High School Theater, 45 White House Drive. 404-745-9699. www.dancical.net.
(Â© Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos/Photo: Mike Jensen)
In 2007 every dude with "Mom" tattooed on his bicep thinks he's a badass. It's nice to be reminded that, once upon a time, there were actual outcasts who lived on society's margins who didn't need to flaunt their renegade status. Photographer Susan Meiselas documented the grimy last dregs of the freak-show circuit in her "Carnival Strippers" series of tired-looking women continuing the cooch dance's ignoble tradition (pictured). Like Meiselas, many of the photographers in STREET LIFE: AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE 1960S AND '70S at the High Museum continuing today, Dec. 27, went deep undercover, living among and befriending their subjects. Dennis Carlyle Darling and Danny Lyon both followed bikers, Lyon spending four years with the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. Garry Winogrand was committed to photographing public street life, including New York's women in his "Women Are Beautiful" series. Through April 20. $18. Tues.-Wed. and Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4444. www.high.org.
What was your worst cinematic experience of 2007? Did you suffer through an out-and-out dreadful movie? Was a potentially decent one ruined by audience misbehavior or cineplex mismanagement? Trashing a bad movie is sometimes your only recompense.
Painful though it may be to remember some of these, the following are my least favorite films of 2007, starting with the worst and "working up," so to speak:
1) Epic Movie
2) Wild Hogs
4) Rush Hour 3
5) Evan Almighty
If I've forgotten anything, be sure to let me know.
(Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures)
The year in movies was good enough that my top 10 list actually goes up to 15. Here's the rest:
11-13) Knocked Up, Superbad and Juno. Taken together, these three smart, raunchy comedies make a de facto trilogy about young people grappling with sexuality and maturity, with actor Seth Rogen appearing in both Knocked Up and Superbad (which he co-wrote), and Michael Cera starring in both Superbad and Juno. Despite some overly hip dialogue, Juno turns out to be the warmest of the threesome (with a terrific starring performance from Ellen Page), Superbad the funniest and Knocked Up the most accomplished, but all three make you feel good about the future of screen comedy.
14) In the Shadow of the Moon. For the yearâs most inspirational film, director David Sington interviews all the surviving Apollo astronauts (except for the reclusive Neil Armstrong) for a stirring history of Americaâs trips to the moon. Improving on the snarky tone of The Right Stuff, Sington finds archival gems and lets the astronauts speak for themselves (especially the charmingly candid Mike Collins). The documentary has a bittersweet quality as it pays fitting tribute to NASAâs accomplishment while making us wonder if mankind will ever exceed its potential again.
15) Before the Devil Knows Youâre Dead. Affirming that no actor today is better than Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Oscar winnerâs conniving turn as a manipulative, cuckolded brother elevates an already strong script to the level of a noir classic. Octogenarian director Sidney Lumet finds new life in crime film conventions and turns Before the Devil Knows Youâre Dead into one of the darkest family dramas youâll ever see.
But wait! There's more! Special mention must go to three of my favorite film experiences of 2007. Seeing Grindhouse at the Plaza Theatre packed with hollering movie geeks was the exactly right venue and audience for appreciating Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's homage to schlock cinema. (Arguably Nicolas Cage's best screen performance in 2007 was his cameo in the faux trailer for "Werewolf Women of the SS.") Similarly, the digital 3-D experience (complete with glasses) of Meet the Robinsons and Beowulf enhanced both films significantly and proved to be a real hoot. Movies should always be so fun.
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