Creative Loafing Atlanta is looking for a visual arts writer with the knowledge, wit and point-of-view to become Atlantaâs next great arts critic. We want someone whoâs engaged in a variety of local scenes, can spot trends before they become trendy, and write intelligently about a variety of concepts with authority and personality. Depending on the circumstances, this could be structured as either a freelance or staff position.
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Hereâs todayâs Air Loaf featuring Ken Edelstein and Curt Holman discussing two one-woman shows currently playing: The Belle of Amherst (Theatre in the Square, through April 20) and When Something Wonderful Ends (Actor's Express, through April 12).
Air Loaf is broadcast weekdays on 1690 WMLB-AM.
(Photo courtesy Turner Classic Movies)
OK, so we know by now that Turner Classic Movies is trying to broaden its viewership with a range of ideas, most notably by taking last fallâs Guest Programmer Month and having different types of celebrities show off their love of film. Itâs a savvy idea, and should appeal to the non-film geek types (read: the rest of America) TCM wants to lure into the cult. Solid.
Tonight represents one of the bolder choices for a guest programmer: Former boxing champ and beloved Atlantan Evander Holyfield. I have to say, I love only one of Holyfieldâs choices: 1975âs Cooley High, which makes its TCM premiere. The movie is a rare attempt at authenticity at exploring the lives of inner-city high school kids in Chicago. The film is directed by Michael Schulz, a black director who went on to helm other black-themed works in the 1970s (Car Wash, Greased Lightning, Which Way Is Up? and Bustinâ Loose) before settling into his current gig of directing TV shows.
(Photo George Lange Photograph)
If anyone was wondering â or didnât listen to my podcast interview with her in this weekâs issue â Paula Poundstone is still funny (and a bit crazy) after all these years. Iâve become fascinated with how the public perceives comedians like Poundstone, who became a very big deal in the 1980s, scored critically acclaimed comedy-gig specials on HBO and then â¦ what? Faded off into the sunset? Became a victim of fickle tastes or substance abuse?
For Poundstone, it could have been a little bit of the two latter effects; thereâs such a glut of comics these days, ever since cable opened the floodgates in the mid-1990s, really, that itâs very hard to find and appreciate those who actually apply a certain craft to it all. Plus, Poundstone became a little too in love with the bottle, and her 2001 arrest was related to alcohol abuse, which she has since dealt with.
But while sheâll perhaps never equal the success of her 1980s and â90s period, Poundstone still retains a remarkable gift for observational humor that almost rivals the master of the form, Jerry Seinfeld, as she proved Saturday night at the Ferst Center for the Arts.
But first, about the Ferst â¦
Tomorrow is April Fool's Day, so be on guard. The current issue of Slate has "recycled" a story from 2007 called "The April Fools' Day defense kit," which offers smart tips for spotting media hoaxes and offers links to past pranks that make for amusing reading. Here's an example:
Beware strange animals. If a story whiffs even remotely of the hotheaded naked ice borer, it's likely to be a hoax. Technology Review hoaxed its readers with an April Fools' story in 1985 titled "Retrobreeding the Woolly Mammoth." In 1984, the Orlando Sentinel did the same with a piece about the cockroach-devouring Tasmanian mock walrus. In 1994, London's Daily Star sports pages reported that invading superworms might destroy the Wimbledon green.
PopSmart can't speak for any of its sister blogs or publications, but rather than take part in tomorrow's pranking, PopSmart instead plans to keep an eye out for the hoaxes in other media, and inform the reader when we find them. Alert readers who spot other pranks should let us know, too.
That's not to say, of course, that we haven't been above a little pranking in the past.
Atlanta seems to be running out of landmarks in the frenzy to demolish and redo. Thankfully, denizens of the Westside can navigate by a charming new landmark. Artist Mark Leibert's 14-foot-tall, roughly 700-pound PERCH on the roof of Sandler Hudson Gallery has become a beacon of homey sweetness amid the industrial boom. In the works since July, Leibert's anthropomorphic beacon continues Mon., MARCH 31, and is crafted from an artificial tree cradling a tiny wooden house with a stained-glass window. The work originated with his desire to create an exhibition room on the gallery's roof, but that urge slowly transformed into the current storybook house form â a beguiling, homespun juxtaposition to the skyscrapers and cranes visible on the horizon. Through June 7. Free. Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., noon-5 p.m. and by appointment. Sandler Hudson Gallery, 1009-A Marietta St. 404-817-3300. www.sandlerhudson.com.
1) ING Marathon and Half Marathon at various metro locations
2) Audra McDonald at Ferst Center for the Arts
3) Avenue Q at the Fox
4) Writers Festival at Agnes Scott
5) Atlanta Braves season opener at Turner Field tomorrow
1) The Great Urban Race at Front Page News
2) Turn out your lights for Earth Hour 2008!
4)Â High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction at Atlantic Station
5) Mike Doughty's Band at Variety Playhouse
Photo by Spark St. Jude
The current re-mount of Menopause, The Musical (which was originally staged at the 14th Street Playhouse back in 2005 â I reviewed it here) will be extended through May 11. That date happens to be Mother's Day and represents the savvy marketing that has made the "change of life musical" such a runaway hit. The cast features the same actresses from the prior production, and to quote from the press release:
Menopause The Musical features an outstanding cast of actresses, all returning from the original Atlanta production with Gainesvilleâs Ingrid Cole as Earth Mother, Atlantaâs Mary Kathryn Kaye (Suzi Bass Award nominee for Respect) as Iowa Housewife, Scottdaleâs Valerie Payton (Suzi Bass Award nominee for Romeo & Juliet) as Professional Woman, and Jonesboroâs Lynna Schmidt as Soap Star (pictured).
Incidentally, I saw this anecdote on a blog belonging to a friend of mine, a theater professional in Alaska, which illustrates the gender gap between the musical's male and female audiences:
I was House Managing again tonight.
A couple arrived almost 2 hours early and were sitting in the lobby having drinks.
As the lobby began to fill up with other patrons, the husband called over my Usher Captain.
"Why," asked the husband innocently, "are there so many more women than men here tonight?"
"Well, I'd say it's because this is Menopause, the Musical," replies my Usher Captain, and he proceeds to explain to the husband what the show is about.
"Really!?!? My wife told me it was about Minneapolis!" exclaims the husband. "No wonder she wanted me to have this beer."
Somehow I don't think Minneapolis, The Musical would draw the same crowds in Atlanta, of either gender.
Image courtesy of Alliance Theatre
1. First, the best possible reason: itâs the finest play currently running in Atlanta. Playwright Sarah Ruhl's contemporary take on the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, running through April 13 on the Alliance Hertz Stage, is a lovely, luminous experience, and my review will run in next week's Creative Loafing. (I should acknowledge that I haven't seen the beloved Avenue Q, playing through this weekend, but to me, national tours don't "count.")
2. Itâs not "difficult." The title may look forbidding, but itâs easy to pronounce: âYou-rid-a-see.â Ruhl and the Alliance Hertz production give Eurydice a familiar, loosely contemporary setting, even though itâs based on the ancient Greek myth about two lovers separated by death.
3. It's funny. True, it's a bittersweet experience with its themes of love, loss and treasuring life, but Eurydice also features plenty of big laughs, especially due to Andrew Benator who plays dual roles, "A Nasty Interesting Man" and "Lord of the Underworld," both of whom are sinister figures but also awkward, childish and dressed in preposterous red outfits.
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