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Discover your inner elf. TickeTasS
“A SPLASHY, PEPPY, SUGAR-SPRINKLED HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT!”
TM & © New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. Illustration by Hugh Syme.
“FUNNY, CHEERFUL & HEARTWARMING!”
Santa Claus is public enemy #1. By Arlen konoPAki and kevin Gillese | directed By kevin Gillese
ON SALE NOW
December 2-6 • FoxTheatre.org/Elf
November 27–December 19 Tickets @ 404.733.5000 // alliancetheatre.org/dadsgarage Plan a wild holiday party! Groups of 10+ save @ 404.733.4690
Series on the Hertz Stage
PG 2 • November 2015 • insiteatlanta.com
CONTENTS • NOVEMBER 2015 • VOLUME 24, NO. 4
INTERVIEWS 10 Cinderella 10 Merry %#!*ing Christmas 15 Kevin Nealon 18 Josh McDermitt 19 Anton Fig 21 Granville Automatic
FEATURES 08 Best of Atlanta 22 NBA Preview
COLUMNS 18 LOCA
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with our 30 Days of Shopping guide, Terrific Thursdays in November and December, and Small Business Saturday (and Sunday!) on the square, Nov. 28 and 29. Learn more at visitdecaturga.com and thedecaturminute.com.
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Around Town NOVEMBER 5, 12, 19
Decatur Terrific Thursdays Downtown Decatur
Each Thursday this month except on Thanksgiving, shops all around Decatur will be offering special holiday deals. Get in the holiday spirit with their tree lighting, Santa sightings and bonfire on the square. Learn more at visitdecaturgeorgia.com
NOVEMBER 7 - JANUARY 3 Stone Mountain Christmas Stone Mountain Park
Events and Performances taking place this Month
petition series, will launch its first ever all-stars tour will be making a stop in Atlanta on November 7 at the Cobb Energy Centre. Talent appearing including Season 8’s favorite comedian, Taylor Williamson, Season 9’s powerhouse performer Emily West, Season 8’s comedic hand balancing duo The KriStef Brothers. Visit cobbenergycentre.com
restaurants. The festival features nearly 500 wines at 70 tables for you to taste. Proceeds benefit the Decatur Arts Alliance, which produces the Decatur Arts Festival and many other arts events, free to the community each year. Visit decaturwinefestival.org
NOVEMBER 12 - 13
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Center for Puppetry Arts
NOVEMBER 27 & 28
Stars Wars and More
Paco Peña: Flamencura
Atlanta Symphony Woodruff Arts Center
Rialto Center for the Arts
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas at Stone Mountain Park, where the true magic of the season is in the air. Enjoy the glow of more than two million lights, festive music and visits from some your favorite holiday characters. Start a new tradition and create memories that will last a lifetime. Named by USA Today as one of the ten best places in the country to catch Santa Claus. Visit stonemountainpark.com
Paco Peña is to flamenco guitar what Pelé was to futbol – his name is synonymous with the art form. Ever the innovator, Peña returns to the Rialto by popular demand to push boundaries with his new piece Flamencura, in which Peña and his fellow performers pursue “duende”: that inexplicable, elusive moment of magic that joins artist and audience together in transcendence. Tickets available at rialto.gsu.edu
America’s Got Talent Live
America’s Got Talent Live: The All-Stars Tour featuring some of the most popular performers from the hit NBC variety com-
Cobb Energy Centre
Decatur Wine Festival Sip wines from around the globe while sampling delicious food from Decatur-area
Rudolph soars back into town for this faithful adaptation of the wonderful holiday film that speaks to the misfit in all of us. Based on the beloved 1964 stop-motion animated special, Rudolph and his friends Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius, the Abominable Snow Monster and all the other merry misfits join Santa for an unforgettable holiday adventure. Puppet.org
NOVEMBER 14 - JANUARY 9
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights Atlanta Botanical Garden
This contemporary holiday light show features more than 1.5 million energy-efficient LED lights. Explore new features like the massive Tunnel of Light along with favorites such as the Orchestral Orbs, Glittering Galaxy, Radiant Rainforest, and Model Trains that continue to make the exhibition a must-see holiday tradition. On
A L E X A N D E R S O FAT L A N TA . C O M
IN TOCO HILL SHOPPING CENTER
Thank you for voting us Number 1 for the third consecutive year. PG 4 • November 2015 • insiteatlanta.com
the Great Lawn colored lights dance to a new selection of holiday music and choreography. Visit atlantabotanicalgarden.org
In addition to the Star Wars movies, John Williams has scored dozens of films including Superman, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic Park, and War Horse. Come hear Principal Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski lead the Orchestra in an exciting journey of Williams’ music. Three performances take place at Atlanta Symphony Hall. Visit atlantasymphony.org for tickets.
Cobb Energy Centre
Craig Ferguson entered the world of late night comedy following a diverse and eclectic career that encompasses film, television and the stage. He took the helm of CBS’s “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” in 2005, the show set an all-time viewer record for the nine year run. Now he can be found performing the syndicated game show “Celebrity Name Game”. See him in person. Tickets at cobbenergycentre.com
On Tap this Month MAJOR EVENTS COMING TO ATLANTA
November 20 & 21: The Fox Theatre
Joe Bonamassa is an American blues rock legend. He opened for B.B. King when he was only 12 years old and in the last 13 years Bonamassa has put out 15 solo albums. Eleven of his solo albums have reached #1 on the Billboard Blues charts. Backed by a stellar band of Blues musicians including Anton Fig (drums), Michael Rhodes (bass), Reese Wynans (piano), Lee ornburg (trumpet) and more. Tickets at Foxtheatre.org
November 25 & 27: The Fox Theatre
CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE
Ring in the holiday season with 20 acts and 30 performers from 12 countries showcasing heart-pounding and gravity- defying feats. Experience gingerbread men ﬂipping mid air, toy soldiers marching on thin wires along with snowmen, icemen and penguins, balancing, jumping and spinning in disbelief. Performers twirl, bounce and soar thru the air to original music and seasonal favorites. Tickets at Foxtheatre.org
November 26: Lenox Square Mall
MACY’S TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY Experience the magic of the holiday season as so many generations of Atlantans have with the lighting of the Macy’s Great Tree. e lighting of Atlanta’s most beloved and recognized Christmas tree will take place at Macy’s at Lenox Square Mall on anksgiving night, ursday, November 26, 2015. e Great Tree remains one of Atlanta’s most beloved and historic holiday traditions. Visit Simon.com
Best Performance Venue We Hope to See You Soon! 3110 Roswell Road Atlanta, GA 30305 Thebuckheadtheatre.com Tickets available at And Box Ofﬁce 404.891.6168
November 28: The Fox Theatre
THE HIP HOP NUTCRACKER e Hip Hop Nutcracker is performed by a dozen allstar dancers, DJ and violinist. rough the spells cast by the mysterious Drosselmeyer, Maria-Clara and her prince, Myron, travel back in time to the moment when her parents ﬁrst meet in a nightclub. Digital scenery transforms E.T.A. Hoﬀmann’s story of a palace of sugarplums into a romance set in 1980s Brooklyn on New Year’s Eve. Visit Foxtheatre.org for tickets.
November 29: Cobb Energy Centre
e work of Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox has been viewed on the ensemble’s YouTube channel well over a hundred million times. He began his career as a pop-cultural provocateur of ragtime medley of classic rock songs. “Not much has changed,” he says of the lyrical content of pop music. “In the 1920s, in the ’60s and ’70s, today – it’s still about love and drinking and dancing.” Go to Cobbenergycentre.com for tickets.
December 5: The Georgia Dome
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
e SEC’s Eastern and Western Division winners will meet in the Georgia Dome for the 22nd consecutive year to battle for the league championship. e game matches the teams with the best overall SEC winning percentage in each division. e title game has provided SEC fans plenty of memories and has catapulted teams to national championships in eight of the past nine years. Visit GAdome.com insiteatlanta.com • November 2015 • PG 5
Sunday, November 8
FREE FAMILY FESTIVAL
EVENTS HAPPENING FOR SMALL CHANGE IN ATLANTA
Know of a low cost event happening? Event@AtlantaOnADime.com By Marci Miller
November 5 - 22
MJCCA BOOK FESTIVAL
Starting at $10 Center at Zaban Park atlantajcc.org
Saturday & Sunday Nov. 7 & 8
CHASTAIN PARK ARTS FESTIVAL
Free to Attend Chastain Park e 24th annual Book Festival of the chastainparkartsfestival.com
MJCCA takes place this month and will feature works from this year’s most sought-after and talked-about authors, celebrities, and inﬂuencers. More than 10,000 visitors will enjoy engaging speaker programs, author meet-and-greets, book signings, panel discussions, and more. Most events held at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta.
Saturday, November 7
CHOMP AND STOMP
is event will feature up to 185 ﬁne painters, photographers, sculptors, leather and metal craft persons, glass blowers, jewelers and more. e festival will also oﬀer visitors the opportunity to view artist demonstrations, enjoy live entertainment, participate in hands-on arts activities, and enjoy festival foods and beverages. e Festival beneﬁts a scholarship fund for local artists administered by the Georgia Foundation for Public Spaces.
Free to Attend Cabbagetown chompandstomp.com
Sunday, November 8
is festival honors Cabbagetown’s past where music and food have always deﬁned the neighborhood’s spirit. Chomp and Stomp will feature a chili cook-oﬀ including individual and restaurant chilis, 5K run, artist market, live bluegrass music, beer and more. e 5K race begins at 8:00 a.m. while the festival starts at 11:00 a.m. and runs through 6:00 p.m. e event is free to attend with $5 tasting spoon.
Free to Attend Candler Park clatl.com/atlanta/CraftsDrafts2015
Free High Museum Woodruff Arts Center high.org Discover world class family artistic experiences for free in a creative festival atmosphere. Families are invited to explore select featured works of art presented by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Alliance eatre.
Saturday, November 21
ATLANTIC STATION TREE LIGHTING Free Atlantic Station atlanticstation.com
Kick oﬀ the holiday season at Atlantic Station’s annual tree lighting celebration. is family-friendly event will feature live musical entertainment, a kids’ activity area, live reindeer, the Seed N’ Feed Pa-
rade and more. e night will culminate with Santa’s arrival, a Holiday Jubilee performance, the tree lighting with more than 250,000 lights, a “snow show” and ﬁreworks. e lighting of the Christmas Tree in Central Park takes place at approximately 8:30 p.m. followed by ﬁreworks.
November 26 - December 31
LIGHTS OF LIFE
$5 per car Mon - Thu; $10 Fri/Sat/Sun Life University, Marietta life.edu Lights of LIFE is an annual holiday tradition that was started by Life University and dates back to 1989. It has grown to be the most aﬀordable holiday light show in the Southeast. It is a visual treat that the whole family will enjoy. Concessions are available seven days a week. Additional activities will be available during the weekends for a small fee including petting zoo, train rides, pony rides and photos with Santa.
CRAFTS AND DRAFTS
Crafts & Drafts is a curated exhibition and sale of local handmade arts and crafts. In addition to fancy crafts, the fest will also showcase a tasty selection of local craft beers. is family friendly event takes place on Sunday, November 8th from 1 - 6 p.m. in Candler Park so bring the kids!
CHOMP and STOMP Free to Attend Cabbagetown chompandstomp.com
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PG 6 • November 2015 • insiteatlanta.com
Under The Lights
Family SerieS recommended
ON STAGE THIS MONTH
9+ ier e m e r P d worl
TELL ME MY DREAM
October 30 - November 8 Alliance Theatre (404) 733-5000 AllianceTheatre.org/dream There was a not so long ago moment when making music and making history were part of the same Atlanta dream. In 1910, that dream became a music festival that made history and changed the lives of two unsuspecting middle school time travelers forever. Take a trip back to the time before Instagram and ear buds when friendship could build a bridge to freedom. This play was especially written for Middle Schoolers and their families by playwright Pearl Cleage.
November 3 - 8 The Fox Theatre Tickets (855) 285-8499 FoxTheatre.org/cinderella
This production of Cinderella is a fresh new take on the beloved tale of a young woman who is transformed from a chambermaid into a princess. It has the story's classic elements – glass slippers, pumpkin, and a beautiful ball along with some surprising twists. More than just a pretty face with the right shoe size, this Cinderella is a contemporary figure living in a fairytale setting. She fights for her dreams while forcing the prince to open his eyes to the world around him.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
November 19 - December 27 Alliance Theatre (404) 733-5000 AllianceTheatre.org/christmas A Christmas Carol, the most heartwarming story of the season comes to life with holiday carols, stunning stage magic and your favorite Atlanta actors. In this tale of redemption, Ebenezer Scrooge goes to sleep on Christmas Eve as a miserly, stonehearted man and awakens on Christmas Day with a compassionate and benevolent heart after his encounter with three ghosts. Celebrate this magnificent staging of
Charles Dickens's classic Christmas tale and Ebenezer Scrooge’s eye-opening Christmas Eve journey.
November 20 - December 31 Horizon Theatre (404) 584-7450 HorizonTheatre.com Horizon Theatre Company is in holiday cheer as it reprises its popular production of The Santaland Diaries by awardwinning satirist David Sedaris. Adapted from David Sedaris’ best-selling book Holidays on Ice, the play borrows from tales during his stint as a Macy’s Department Store elf named Crumpet. This rebel without a Clause recounts in hilarious fashion the true-life story of an out-of-work writer as a Macy’s Department Store elf.
MERRY %#*!ING CHRISTMAS
November 27 - December 19 Alliance Theatre (404) 733-5000 AllianceTheatre.org/dadsgarage When Santa's giftgiving mania destabilizes the world economy, and global warming threatens to reduce Frosty to a puddle, an unlikely duo must team up to save Christmas: Ebenezer Scrooge and a single dad in an ugly sweater. This December Dad's Garage brings you an epic holiday mash-up full of split second character changes, live music, and their trademark irreverent humor. So if you think Santa's consumerism might be the death of us all, or that Frosty may be the only one who's motivated enough to tackle climate change, or that Scrooge probably did master the art of time travel, then come on down to the Alliance this season and laugh until it Hertz.
ATLANTA’S RED-HOT HOLIDAY SENSATION! The
BEST HOLIDAY SHOW -ATLANTA THEATRE FANS
s T e k C i T w as as lo
BY DAVID SEDARIS
17 TH SMAS YEARH !
Take a trip back to the time when friendship could build a bridge to freedom. Written especially for middle schoolers by Pearl Cleage directed by roSemary NewCott
October 30–November 8
0NOV 231, DEC 15 20
Tickets @ 404.733.5000
alliancetheatre.org/dream | Groups 404.733.4690 EUCLID & AUSTIN AVES. IN LITTLE FIVE POINTS
404.584.7450 • HORIZONTHEATRE.COM
Family series on the alliance stage
insiteatlanta.com • November 2015 • PG 7
BEST BURGER Cheeseburger Bobby’s
Buckhead 678.732.9531; Sandy Springs 404.600.2484; Marietta 770.919.9110 cheeseburgerbobbys.com Cheeseburger Bobby's offers gourmet hamburgers with a wide variety of freshly prepared toppings with which to prepare your own Best Burger. Bobby’s uses only fresh, never frozen 100% U.S. beef, seared on a grill after you order it and served on a lightly buttered, toasted bun. The rest is up to you. 10 metro area locations.
BEST BURRITO Willy’s Mexicana Grill
See the Full List of Best Of Categories online at INsiteAtlanta.com
BEST BAGELS Emerald City Bagels Ordering 404.245.7446 emeraldcitybagels.com
Emerald City Bagels has taken Atlanta by storm. The mother and daughter team from Long Island, NY has been perfecting their recipe over the past two years and now offers the best bagels in the city. They don’t have a stand along store location but can be found at your favorite coffee shops, breakfast places, Farmer’s Markets and Pop-up locations around town.
BEST BARBECUE Pig-N-Chik pignchik.net
Sandy Springs 404.255.6368 Brookhaven 770.451.1112 Emory Area 404.474.9444 Voted Best Barbecue for the third year in a row, Pig-N-Chik ribs are St. Louis cut and
cooked until they show a pink smoke ring. This makes them nice and tender with just the right smoky flavor. They come naked (without the sauce) as owner Jim Graddy feels ribs should stand on their own. But should you want, there are homemade Pig-N-Chik sauces on the tables. You will also find great barbecue pork, turkey, beef brisket, chicken wings, smoked salmon along with a variety of sides, and salads.
BEST BREAKFAST The Flying Biscuit
25 Area Locations Catering 404.422.7107 willys.com
Atlanta’s original burrito chain is celebrating 20 years! Willy’s award winning California-style burritos keep the concept of freshness true. Their rice and beans are cooked daily using no lard or animal products. Willy’s restaurants are vegetarian friendly offering grilled tofu and veggie burritos. Order a Willy’s truck to come to your event by calling their Catering Hotline.
BEST CAJUN Copeland’s
Cumberland 770.612.3311 Kennesaw 770.919.9612 copelandsatlanta.com
Candler Park 404.687.8888 Midtown 404.874.8887 flyingbiscuit.com The Flying Biscuit serves great breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner seven days a week starting at 7 am. They are known for their mouthwatering biscuits and affordable menu items. Their signature dish is The Flying Biscuit Breakfast. It is served with two large farm-fresh eggs, free-range chicken and sage breakfast sausage. The Flying Biscuit offers an organic-friendly menu and bakery.
Copeland's Famous New Orleans Restaurant and Bar offers great Cajun cuisine in a French Quarter inspired setting. You will feel like your back in the Bayou when tasting their Shrimp Etouffee, Fried Catfish Creole or Crawfish Po-Boy. Don’t miss their famous brunch buffet. Spice up the holidays with a Copeland’s Famous Fried Turkey dinner for parties large and small. Call store locations for details, visit their website and order online or call their catering hotline (404) 455-5561.
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PG 8 • November 2015 • insiteatlanta.com
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Atlanta’s Best Burgers! 5975 Roswell Rd. Sandy Springs, GA 30328 404.600.2484
125 Barrett Parkway Marietta, GA 30066 770.919.9110
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10 Metro Area Locations Check Website for a Cheeseburger Bobby’s nearest you!
Includes Burger, Fresh Cut Fries & Med. Drink Expires 12/31/15. Valid at Buckhead, Marietta & Sandy Springs locations.
BEST CHINESE Chin Chin
3887 Peachtree Rd. 404.816.2229 and other area locations chinchinga.com From prawns to whole fish, Chin Chin offers fine dining that won’t break the bank. Chin Chin has several locations around Metro Atlanta, each with the same great flavor, healthy portions and elegant décor. A perennial Best Of winner!
BEST CUBAN Havana Restaurant
2905 Buford Hwy. at N. Druid Hills 3979 Buford Hwy at Clairmont havanaatlanta.com After loosing the original location at Buford Hwy. and N. Druid Hills Rd. to fire a few years ago, they opened a new location up the road. Now the original location has reopened and Havana’s great Cuban cuisine can be found at both locations along Buford Hwy. and their authentic Cuban dishes are as good as ever!
BEST DELI Goldberg’s
6 Restaurants + 3 Airport goldbergbagels.com Goldberg’s is Atlanta’s favorite deli for dine
in or takeout. Here you will find the freshest bagels and finest kosher meats and dishes. All Goldberg’s Atlanta locations offer full table seating. Follow them on Facebook for weekday takeout specials.
BEST DESSERTS Macaron Queen
Lenox Square; Perimeter Mall 908.867.8336 macaronqueen.com Macaron Queen desserts offers French pastries that are delicious, delectable and with less calories, a guilt-free slice of heaven! Madame Macaron’s menu varies from individual desserts, cakes, Macarons, parfaits, and cookies all with the finest ingredients and exquisite taste.
BEST DINER Landmark Diner
BUCKHEAD • DUNWOODY • WEST PACES • EAST COBB • AVALON • TOCO HILLS
AtlAntA’s Best tApAs RestAuRAnt
3652 Roswell Rd. 404.816.9090 landmarkdiner.com A landmark of great meals 24 hours a day! Whether you crave a 2 a.m. breakfast or an 8 a.m. steak, the dishes at Landmark Diner will hit the spot. The Buckhead location is now offering three-course dinners for just $15.99 including dinner entree, soup & dessert. Deal offered from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily.
Now Booking Atlanta’s Most Festive Holiday Parties! 4505 AshfoRd dunwoody Rd. 678.205.5862 764 MiAMi CiRCle 404.846.0449 eclipsediluna.com
GIVE H C N U L
Thanks for voting us BEST BURRITO in Atlanta! insiteatlanta.com • November 2015 • PG 9
EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF CINDERELLA! W BY MARCI MILLER
ITH ITS FRESH NEW TAKE on the beloved tale of a young woman who is transformed from a chambermaid into a princess, this hilarious and romantic Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella combines the story’s classic elements – glass slippers, pumpkin, and a beautiful ball along with some surprising twists. More than just a pretty face with the right shoe size, this Cinderella is a contemporary figure living in a fairytale setting. She is a spirited young woman with savvy and soul who doesn’t let her rags or her gowns trip her up in her quest for kindness, compassion and forgiveness. She longs to escape the drudgery of her work at home and instead work to make the world a better place. She not only fights for her own dreams,
but forces the prince to open his eyes to the world around him and realize his dreams too. We recently spoke with Kaitlyn Davidson who steps into the glass slippers in the title role of Cinderella, which she also understudied in the Broadway production.
well! Their story has more layers. There are references and jokes in the script that are contemporary but never take you out of the style of the show.
How did it feel when you found out you got the role of Cinderella? Had you always dreamed of playing a princess? What makes this production of Cinderella I actually went into a little bit of shock. different than others I kept asking my agent done before it? on the phone, “Really? Our Rodgers and REALLY?!!” I was Hammerstein’s Cinderella dumbfounded for a November 3 – 8 is the same fairytale you bit, then I was really The Fox Theatre know and love but with giddy. I’ve been playing some really fun twists! I FoxTheatre.org/Cinderella Cinderella for about love how clever, hilarious, two weeks now, and it romantic and genuinely still feels surreal. I was heartwarming our show is! Our story reveals absolutely one of those little girls who some new characters as well as fleshes out wanted to BE a princess. Now to be playing the journey of those you already know. one? I’m beside myself. There are many beloved interpretations of this story, and I think ours is incredibly Other famous stars who have played witty and uplifting. Cinderella in the Rodgers & Hammerstein version of the show include Julie Andrews, The description of the show says it’s Lesley Ann Warren and Brandy….how “surprisingly contemporary”….can you much pressure to you feel to live up to these give us a hint of what audiences may other performers? experience? I admire those women greatly! Each their We have a wonderful new script by own radiant Cinderella. We have amazing Douglas Carter Beane and he seamlessly producers and an incredible creative team, marries the style of “In a Kingdom very far and I have never been made to feel I needed away” with our 21st century sensibilities. to recreate someone else’s performance (not Ella (Cinderella) is not only kind, but is that I could if I tried!). We’re telling such a also intelligent and brave. She is a great beautiful story, and I simply have to trust role model for young girls. The Prince is that I’m sharing it to the best of my ability. on his own journey of self-discovery, as
What is your favorite production number which you perform in? I love the waltz in “Ten Minutes Ago” at the ball. I’m a hopeless romantic, and I love dancing. It’s personally one of the more challenging numbers for me, but ultimately that makes it the most rewarding in my book!
Does the show play well to all audiences? How has the reaction been each night? This show is for EVERYONE. My friends and family who have seen the show are always so surprised at how funny it is! You’re laughing one minute and holding your breath the next. The audiences have been lovely in every city. I love the connection we make with them! Why do people love the story of Cinderella as much as they do? Well, I’m not sure I can speak for everyone, but I love the story because I find it incredibly satisfying to see someone who starts with so little achieve so much, and I’m not talking about material things or ball gowns! Ella is kind to all, even when they are not kind to her. The compassion she shows, the genuine interest she takes in the wellbeing of others and the world she lives in is contagious. She learns to believe in herself and her worth, and her courage to be kind lifts her out of a life of misery and into a new one, where she loves and is loved. Who doesn’t want a Happily Ever After? And magic. Lots of magic.
FROM THE GARAGE TO THE ALLIANCE
Dad’s Garage Director Brings Naughty Tidings of Joy in Merry %#!*ing Christmas
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
REGARIOUS KEVIN GILLESE is a mass of kinetic energy. Artistic Director of Dad’s Garage since January 2010, Canadian-born comic/writer/director has been an integral figure in the expansion and the outreach of the popular theater. This fall in addition to overseeing Thankskilling: The Musical and TheatreSports at Dad’s Garage, he’s writer and director of Merry %#!*ing Christmas a holiday-themed musical comedy premiering this month at the Alliance. Written with Arlen Konopaki, his creative partner of more than a decade, the play deftly skewers the sacred mainstays of traditional holiday fare. We caught up with Gillese as he worked on last-minute changes to the ribald production. Tell us about the writing process for a show like this one. We’re still writing it right now! We’re gonna be writing up until the first day we start rehearsal. And then the writing process will continue in the rehearsal hall. Then if it’s not good we’re going to say, “Ok who’s got a better angle?” Then we’ll change it again. So it’ll be as current as you can possibly make it. It’s so current it’s not even finished yet! I’ll say that to the Alliance the next time they ask about it. “Guys, this is so cutting-edge, it’s still a work in progress. I don’t want a script that’s ‘so last week’!” PG 10 • November 2015 • insiteatlanta.com
You and co-writer Arlen Konopaki go way back. Before I came to Dad’s, we toured as an improv duo called Scratch through Australia and New Zealand and then all across Europe and Canada. So in the process we’ve developed a sort of twin-speak language that’s just between the two of us. And because our improv shows were in long form - which means we were improvising full narratives every night instead of just one-off bits - we started keeping notebooks full of our characters’ best moments and our favorite jokes and scenes. After we’d done that for a few years, we had several notebooks full of material. That’s when we started to create written material from all the improv history we’d saved. This is your fourth full-length play. You’re tackling Christmas now but what were the others about? Well, first there was “Revengeance,” which was like a big summer blockbuster kind of thing, and then we created “F’ed Up Fairytales,” and that was the darker side of all the old fairytales. Like, with three little pigs, each of them had a vice. That kind of thing. Our third one was a sci-fi mash-up and now we’re working on a Christmas story. The holidays are perfect to plunder with all the usual clichés and characters. Oh yes! In this one we’ve got Scrooge and Santa and a little orphan and a single dad who’s
suicidal, kind of like in “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Oh and we’ve got Frosty The Snowperson. And I say “snow person” because we make it clear in the script that since he’s not been given any snow genitalia he is decidedly androgynous. Because of that he has some gender identity issues, as you might expect. Tell us about the actors. Did you dip into the Dad’s Garage stash for the casting? For this show it’s exclusively Dad’s Garage people. Atlanta has so many great actors and comics but we’re only featuring the Dad’s improvisors for this one.
Since Dad’s Garage is known for improv shows, how do you keep the show consistently focused and on-track? Or is there some built-in room for going off-script if they so desire? It’s mostly scripted. It really is a 95 to 5 kind of situation. We all created and discovered our comedic voices through improv and throughout the rehearsal process for the show we’ll definitely use improv to flush out ideas and explore something new. Maybe even develop the characters a bit more. But for this show’s run at the Alliance we definitely want the consistency of a set script. Who are the stars of the show? We have Taylor Dooley and Mark Kendall and they totally get it, they’re on the beam. And some other Dad’s folks like Karen Cassidy, she’s so funny. Chris Blair, who’s one of the most veteran guys we have; he’s been around like day
one of Dad’s Garage. He’s playing Scrooge. And Chris Rittelmeyer, his secret weapon is he has the voice of an angel. You’d never know it just to look at him. He’s like a regular guy, a big guy with a big beard. A big Southern dude. But my God, he has the voice of an angel! So I knew I wanted Santa to do some songs And you’ll have live music in the show. Yes. We’ve always enjoyed using live music but over the last couple of shows we started getting into the full band component and it is really taking it up a notch. We love the power of music and the comedic way to use a song as a punchline. The world premiere of Merry %#!*ing Christmas runs November 27 – December 19 at the Alliance Theater. The production is recommended for ages 18 and up. Visit dadsgarage.com or AllianceTheatre.org for showtimes and tickets.
Best Of Continued from Page 9
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Havanaatlanta.com insiteatlanta.com • November 2015 • PG 11
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PG 12 • November 2015 • insiteatlanta.com
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Multiple Atlanta Locations: JohnnysPizza.com insiteatlanta.com • November 2015 • PG 13
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Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre has quickly become the favorite music venue in Atlanta. Set on 45 acres of beautifullylandscaped wooded land in Alpharetta, the 12,000-seat Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park provides an incredible setting for a concert. Highlights from this past summer include: Zac Brown Band, Rod Stewart and O.A.R.
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Whether it be Brazilian Jiujitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing or Mixed Martial Arts you know you are being instructed by the best. The staff is comprised of World Champion martial artists who have competed at the highest levels. Their gym offers free weights, machines, and cardio equipment. Best Of Continues on Page 16
The Only Thing We Over Look is the Park!
Atlanta’s Best Patio! 1/2 Off Sushi Nightly from 10pm–Midnight Wine Wednesday – 1/2 Priced Bottles of Wine
When It rains We Pour $1 Drafts! • parktavern.com PG 14 • November 2015 • insiteatlanta.com
TOO COOL FOR OLD SCHOOL Comic Kevin Nealon Lives in the Moment
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
URRENTLY HE’S KNOWN FOR a series of offbeat commercials, but affable performer Kevin Nealon has a long history of comedic roles in television, films and clubs. After a nine-year stint during arguably the best period of Saturday Night Live’s sporadic history, Nealon was a featured player in the quirky ensemble of Weeds. His work in Adam Sandler’s films, including last year’s “Blended,” consistently transcend the material. His specials and book confirm his mastery of traditional stand-up but Nealon continues to hone and redefine his craft for modern audiences. On a recent early morning Nealon spoke with INsite about comedy trends and the tour that brings him back to Atlanta this month. Besides being a bit of spokesman for atrial fibrillation on the Xarelto commercials, your recent “Hans and Franz” revival ads for State Farm were really clever. Do you enjoy revisiting those characters? Well State Farm wanted to resurrect classic characters from SNL including Hans and Franz. So it’s fun to put on those padded muscle suits. On the show we just got some grey sweatsuits and stuffed them. It was great to be back working with Dana [Carvey] again. Those two characters are so pathetic and sad they made us laugh more than anything else we did.
…I WANT TO STAY UP ON MUSIC AND I WANT TO STAY UP ON TECHNOLOGY SO I’M NOT THE OLD FOGEY DAD.
There was a “Hans and Franz” movie in the works at one time, correct? We wrote a movie back in the ‘90s with Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel. We were co-producing it with Arnold Schwarzenegger and he was going to costar in it with us. It turned out really good and it actually turned into a musical which is really funny in itself. But I guess Arnold got cold feet after parodying himself in “Last Action Hero,” and he kind of balked on it.
And when you play these alternative rooms, do you change your act to fit their mindset? You have to work on it. These alternative rooms have been around for like 20 years. But I remember the first time I first started going to them in Los Angeles, I’d see guys like Taylor Negron and Patton Oswalt. When I got up there I felt like I’d never done stand-up before, like it was my first time on stage.
How do you describe the differences in that kind of comedy and NOVEMBER 12-14 the so-called oldschool comedy? Improv It’s a lot of attitude and venting and improvatlanta.com obscure observations. I think it’s more about storytelling. It’s not a set-up with a punchline or misdirection it’s just an observational attitude. It’s like, “How You’ve been a comedy writer and absurd that I was in this situation today at performer since the early ‘80s. Where the cleaners. I’m like, this guy’s thinking do you fit in within the grand scheme of that and I’m thinking this. And do we comedy at this point? Do the changes in really need to have that?” It’s like that. modern comedy styles force you to revise your own material? You’re in the middle of these new comics I’m not sure where I’m at now but with your “New Material” nights at The something stands out in my mind about Laugh Factory in L.A. Do you still do that very thing. I think about 10 years ago those shows? I played at a college and one of the girls Oh yeah. Since I have an eight-year-old, from the board was driving me back to I want to stay up on music and I want to the airport the next morning. She said, stay up on technology so I’m not the old “I really liked your act.” Then she paused and she goes, “Old school.” I cringed when fogey dad. And it’s the same with comedy. So once a month I do this “new material” I heard that! So I’ve been going to these night and host and interview the comics. “alternative” comedy rooms to see what’s I didn’t know who the new comics were going on and perform there so I won’t and what they were doing, so it’s kind of a become that old-time comic that I saw window for me to see what’s going on out when I was growing up. there in the clubs.
Any plans to resurrect it? We’re planning to remake it as a cartoon like for Adult Swim or something and we’re excited about that. I think it will be a great cartoon because you can do a lot of things with it.
insiteatlanta.com • November 2015 • PG 15
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TRASH IS THE NEW ART BY BENJAMIN CARR
RITER-PRODUCERS OF THE bygone era whose names were synonymous with quality television: Norman Lear (All in the Family), James L. Brooks (The Simpsons, Mary Tyler Moore), Stephen Bochco (L.A. Law, NYPD Blue), David E. Kelley (Picket Fences, Ally McBeal), David Simon (Homicide, The Wire) and David Chase (The Sopranos) have been replaced with the likes of Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy. With today’s producers, what we get in terms of quality feels more like grand trash than great art. But the most addictive, reliable TV has always been that. Rhimes powerhouse hits are long in the tooth but still watchable even though they killed McDreamy Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, one of the most fun shows on TV. Murphy has been churning out lots of mostly hit shows since Nip/Tuck. His shows are generally oversexed, musical, nutty affairs that concentrate on style and shock first, logic and plot almost never. Shows like Nip/Tuck and Glee are usually good for a season or two, then they spectacularly implode or just go completely off the rails, but never stop. His current offerings are Scream Queens on Fox and the continuing anthology American Horror Story: Hotel. Scream Queens is a hoot, the best new show of the fall season. It stars Emma Roberts as the fasttalking, wonderful Chanel, the president of the most evil sorority, and Jamie Lee Curtis as the dean who wants the sorority to fall. In the midst of their struggle, a serial killer dressed as The Sales Rep:Red Devil hacks up one character a week, generally in Final Visual HMN an amusing fashion. So far, Hotel is something of a mess. This is the first season without usual star Jessica Lange, who
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insiteatlanta.com • November 2015 • PG 17
Movie Reviews BRIDGE OF SPIES (PG-13)
1/2 There are movies and there are Spielberg movies. Bridge of Spies is a Spielberg movie. The director combines the best of the masters who inspired him and the young filmmakers he’s inspired. Bridge of Spies brings a chunk of history that’s remembered vaguely, if at all, to entertaining life. It’s suspenseful and dramatic, yet funnier than many comedies, probably thanks to the Coen Brothers’ retooling of the original script. Tom Hanks stars as James Donovan, a former Nuremberg prosecutor turned borderline-sleazy insurance lawyer, who in 1957 is virtually drafted to defend accused Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), who’s been captured in New York. It was meant to be a charade to show that everyone gets a fair trial in America, but no one counted on Donovan’s integrity. (They didn’t know he’d be played by Tom Hanks one day.) Abel avoids the death penalty when Donovan, with amazing prescience, persuades the judge he might be useful one day in an exchange for one of our spies. That day comes quickly when Air Force pilot Francis Gary Powers is shot down in a spy plane, and Donovan is sent to East Germany to negotiate the deal because the government can’t appear to be involved. Now that we’re in another “cold war” with the Soviets it’s wise to brush up on what happened in the last one, and this is a great way to do it. –Steve Warren
CRIMSON PEAK (R)
At his best (Pan’s Labyrinth), Guillermo del Toro makes horror movies that are more eerie and spooky than bloody and terrifying. Crimson Peak finds him at his second-best, still more classy than commercial, teasing with a ghost or two but telling a Gothic romance akin to Gaslight. It’s visually superb with magnificent production design. If not for some new-fangled horseless carriages it could be set in the 19th century. Edith (Mia Wasikowska) sees dead people. Her mother’s ghost first visited her when she was ten. Now she’s 24 and wants to be a writer. She’s written “not a ghost story, but a story with a ghost in it.” Hmmm, could be this one. Living in Buffalo with her self-made-millionaire father, she meets cash-poor Brit Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and is easily wooed. When daddy tries to keep them from marrying he is brutally murdered. Soon Edith’s living with Thomas and his sinister sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) in a gorgeous but crumbling mansion in England that sits atop potentially valuable blood-red clay. Thomas obviously married Edith for her money. The mystery is whether he actually loves her enough to keep her alive. There’s a lot of clayred blood and the ghosts add another visual layer without enhancing the narrative. The plot will be familiar to Turner Classic Movies viewers who have seen it told better – many times – but have never seen it look better. –Steve Warren
1/2 Georgia plays host to monsters again, this time in a family-friendly tribute to the oeuvre of R.L. Stine. The author is played by Jack Black, who’s a relative straight man here. Straighter yet is the movie’s teen hero, Zach (Dylan Minnette), who moves into the house next door in Madison, Delaware (played by Madison, Georgia), with his widowed mom (Amy Ryan). Zach acquires an instant sidekick, Champ (Ryan Lee, who scores the film’s biggest laughs), on the first day of PG 18 • November 2015 • insiteatlanta.com
#1 WITH A MULLET
The Walking Dead’s Josh McDermitt on Eugene, Georgia & an Epic Season 6 BY BRET LOVE
F CRIMSON PEAK school; and a potential girlfriend, Stine’s daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush), at home. But homeschooled Hannah is kept a prisoner, Rapunzellike, by her dad. The trouble starts when Zach opens a book and releases the Abominable Snowman. Other monsters from Stine’s other books (e.g., a werewolf, a giant mantis, a robot army) soon follow, led by the author’s alter ego, the ventriloquist dummy Slappy. The mechanics are a little fuzzy. Opening the books both releases the monsters and sucks them back in, depending on what the plot requires. It all leads to the scariest high school dance since Carrie’s prom. For a horror comedy, Goosebumps doesn’t offer much for grownups to laugh at or be afraid of; but the effects are decent and the characters affable (if they’re supposed to be), and it’s safe to bring (or better yet, send) the kids. –Steve Warren
STEVE JOBS (R)
Computers are like sausages: we’d rather not know what goes into them. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who was apparently a genius and a dick, has had his name in more film titles than Jesus in the last few years, but few have gone to see them. Being the best of the lot hasn’t seemed to help this Danny Boyle-directed biopic break that losing streak, despite Aaron Sorkin’s sizzling, rapid-fire dialogue. Sorkin’s script coyly crowds the most dramatic conversations of Jobs’ (Michael Fassbender) life into the moments leading up to new product launches in 1984, 1988 and 1998. There are just those three scenes, plus occasional flashbacks within them and transitional montages between them. We watch Jobs gradually become a father to the daughter he initially refuses to acknowledge, letting her mother go on welfare while his company is worth over $400 million. He also feuds amiably with former partner Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), who begs Jobs to acknowledge the efforts of his original team; and jousts with John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), who fires Jobs after Jobs hires him as Apple’s first CEO. The action is refereed by Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), Apple’s marketing manager who also serves here as Jobs’ personal assistant. She’s Polish but Winslet doesn’t make her accent a priority. I enjoyed most of it but perhaps my favorite moment was the opening clip (undated) of Arthur C. Clarke predicting the ubiquity of computers by 2001. I also loved when Jobs essentially mocks the script’s structure: “It’s like five minutes before every launch, everybody goes to a bar and gets drunk and tells me what they really think of me.” How can you hate a movie that’s so self-aware? –Steve Warren See the rest of our movie reviews at insiteatlanta.com/movies.asp
OR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T watched cable’s #1 show (which draws around 14 million viewers a week), Josh McDermitt plays Eugene, a mullet-wearing former science teacher who crafted “a top-shelf lie to which a person with strength and heroism could apply their talents.” In short, he tricked his traveling companions into believing he was a brilliant scientist who could reverse the effects of the airborne virus and save the world, all so that the survivors would protect him from deathby-zombie. Needless to say, Eugene probably doesn’t rank on most people’s list of favorite Walking Dead characters. But both the original comic book and the TV show’s stunning Season 6 premiere episode suggest that he may be on his way to redemption before the Grim Reaper comes a-calling. Whether that will be sooner or later is anyone’s guess. We go a chance to talk with McDermitt, a former standup comedian, about his hardcore Walking Dead fandom, his take on what makes Eugene tick, and what Season 6 has in store.
is why he’s been able to keep living for so long. I hope that Eugene has many more years ahead in this apocalypse, but we’ll see. Anyone can go at any moment on this show which keeps things exciting. How do you feel about the way fans feel about Eugene? Fans didn’t love Eugene at first, but they’ve come around. They’re like, “He’s such a horrible person,” yet they don’t care that Rick bit the neck out of some guy and killed him! But I love the fans and I’m a fan myself.
You got your start doing improv comedy in L.A. and you were a contestant on Last Comic Standing. So your career was headed in a a fan, do you like the fact THE PEOPLE OF As different direction before The that the show runners are GEORGIA ARE taking their own creative Walking Dead? Yeah, I was strictly a TERRIFIC AND direction and not seeing comedian. I was on a sitcom. comic’s storyline as a HAVE WELCOMED the Every commercial I booked definitive path? was comedic. But I always Absolutely. I like that it THIS ENTIRE knew I could do drama. keeps us on our toes. There are SHOW WITH When I told my agent to things you can do on the show OPEN ARMS. that you can’t do in the comic, start booking me for drama auditions, The Walking Dead and vice versa. Rick, in the was the first thing that I went out for. comics, is missing one hand. They can’t do that to Andrew Lincoln on the TV show because it Were you a fan of the show at that point? would make everything harder to film. Daryl I was a HUGE fan. My friends and family is not even in the comic. Andrea is alive in the would all get together on Sunday nights and comic, but dead on the show. Carol’s made it watch the show. It was definitely one of my much farther than she did in the comic. But it favorite shows, Mad Men was another, and I all goes back to how much people care about ended up booking a recurring role on that as this show. This is the fans’ show. well. I only want to work on shows that I’m a fan of. You’re attending the Walker-Stalker Con at the end of October. What’s it like to be How did you get the role on The Walking surrounded by TWD fans? Dead? It’s super incredible! The thing I like about I did a straight-up audition. They don’t tell them is that they’re very fan-centric. There you who the character is and they give you are people I meet at different Walker-Stalker material that’s not from the script. It was all Cons who become friends while standing in very secretive because they don’t want the line, or because they had adjoining rooms information to get out, and I didn’t know in the hotel. You end up seeing people who I was reading for. It’s cool that they do dressed as you and people dressed as other that because it protects the show. characters. It’s this family-style atmosphere, and it’s so much fun. How did you get a handle on Eugene’s character? What are your thoughts about my native What I love about him is that he’s the state of Georgia? I know you spend a lot of most unlikely of survivors. Daryl, Michonne time here. and Abraham are ripe for survival in this The people of Georgia are terrific and world, but the fact that this guy relies on have welcomed this entire show with open other people to survive from day-to-day arms. We’ve infiltrated their neighborhoods is fascinating to me. I usually play dumb and displaced people so we could shoot characters who like to screw off so this was this stupid little zombie show and everyone opposite of anything I’ve done before, which couldn’t have been more accommodating. It drew me to the role. Eugene felt like his doesn’t matter where we go out in Georgia only way to survive was to manipulate and the fans have been incredible and we lie. He’s an extremely intelligent guy which love them.
BERET AND THE BEAT
Late Night’s Anton Fig Begins a New Chapter of his Musical Life basically the starting point for everything. Once I had all the songs together then I had to see about recording them separately. It was a long time coming because it’s the sum of all my influences and people that I’ve worked with.
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
N THREE DECADES AS THE PULSE of David Letterman’s sidekick bands, first on Late Night and then on Late Show, drummer Anton Fig became one of the most-heard drummers of all-time. Now that the Letterman dynasty is done, the Every song is different and each track South African-born and New York-based features a completely different line-up of drummer and songwriter is players. continuing his journeyman Right. I figure as long as I’m status that began in the ‘70s. playing drums and producing After years of playing on it all seems unified because great records by KISS, Ace of that commonality. With Frehley, Cyndi Lauper and NOV. 20 & 21 the digital age it’s all about many others, the beretFox Theatre playlists so in a way this is a topped musician has finally playlist record. foxtheatre.org issued an album under his own name. The recently Do you think you’ll ever do reissued Figments is a selfan all-star band and lead from behind the produced and released sound collage with drums like Ringo? a myriad of special guests including Brian That would be great and I have thought Wilson and Fig’s former bandleader Paul about it but I’ve never really considered it Shaffer. Now that he’s not anchored to a so much as a touring thing, just more of daily grind at the Ed Sullivan Theater, his a studio album. There’s so many logistics current travels bring him to Atlanta on an involved in trying to get everyone together. international tour with blues genius Joe At the moment I’m on the road myself, Bonamassa. Fig spoke with INsite from his playing with Joe and I’m selling the record at home studio in NYC. the shows.
This album has been a long time coming in several ways. Well, when you have a steady job like I had with Letterman it takes a while. I had collected a bunch of songs and that was
How does it feel to be out on tour after being based in New York City for so long? It’s much different than I’m used to, being in town all the time and coming home for dinner and then going out to play at a
club or just doing sessions in the day. But I thought it might be nice to try something like this with people I know
How’s it going so far? We just finished our “Three Kings” tour, celebrating the music of BB, Albert and Freddy. It’s been really fun. Joe’s great and it’s a really cool organization. The tour has been amazing. We played Red Rocks and DVD’d the last show of the tour at The Greek. We’ve played some fairly large places so in the fall I think it’ll be indoor theaters and it should be really, really nice. Dave’s final show was in May. What was it like from the inside? It was pretty surreal. I couldn’t really wrap my head around what was happening even though I knew it was coming. They’d told us about a year out that he was going to retire, but it didn’t seem real until maybe the last month. Even then it was a parade of people coming by to say goodbye and all that. It was just kind of hard. After the show there was a party, and you just couldn’t go up to everyone. I went up to Letterman, shook his hand and said thank you. It was sort of like a death in the fact that it was this living organism made up of people. And those people will never come back together again. It was almost too big to grasp the whole enormity of it. There’s a great clip on YouTube shot from
behind your kit. Yeah, I took my camera on stage and I decided I was just gonna shoot it right when the show was done. It looks like everyone’s just in a daze, the audience is in a daze. It’s almost like it’s in slow-motion. They told us we had to get our stuff out of there and so by 10 in the morning the next day, my drums were gone and the studio was pretty much flattened. It was completely over. So what’s next for you? Right now, I’m just touring and playing live in a successful operation and it feels like a really good thing to be doing. I just want to keep going and getting better as a musician and as a person.
JOE BONAMASSA FRIDAY, TH NOV 20
SATURDAY, ST NOV 21
THE FOX THEATRE BOX OFFICE OR CALL 855-285-8499 insiteatlanta.com • November 2015 • PG 19
NEW RELEASES THE LATEST DVD, BLU RAY & VOD RELEASES BY BRET LOVE AND JOHN MOORE
Mr Warmth! Don Rickles: The Ultimate TV Collection For a generation that only knows him as Mr. Potato Head from Toy Story, this 8-disc DVD set is a warm reminder of the golden age of comedy and the man who turned roasting into an art form. The collection includes all 37 episodes of Rickles’ ‘70s sitcom, CPO Sharkey, as well as four classic TV specials featuring his famous friends (see: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bob Newhart, John Wayne, etc.). At age 89, Rickles is still touring and killing ‘em with cutting quips. There will never be another like him. Mad Men: The Final Season, Part 2 With all due respect to Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, AMC owes much of its relevance to Mad Men. In 2007, this show about a 1960s ad agency proved that television could be just as important as movies. By the 7th season it had lost some of its luster, thanks to long breaks between seasons and the decision to divide the final season into two parts. But the show ends on a brilliant, trippy note that seems wholly appropriate for the era as well as the personality of the enigmatic Don Draper. Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special
Looking back, it’s surreal that this wackadoodle show ever made it on network TV. It had cast members (including Phil Hartman and Laurence Fishburne) culled from The Groundlings comedy troupe, psychedelic set design that looked like the bastard child of Salvador Dali and Keith Haring, and oddball music from Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo. This Xmas special is just as wacky as you’d expect, with kitschy celebs like Charo, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Little Richard and Grace Jones dropping in… as they do.
The Saint: Seasons 1 & 2 Years before Roger Moore succeeded Sean Connery as James Bond, he became famous for playing a different secret agent man, Simon Templar. Based on the novels written by Leslie Charteris between 1928 and 1963, the show cast Moore as a debonair, mysterious modern-day Robin Hood who steals from criminals and keeps the spoils for himself. The first two seasons are in black and white, and notable for early use of breaking the fourth wall. Wild and witty, the show remains a fun action-adventure romp 007 fans will enjoy. Soul Boys of the Western World A documentary about Spandau Ballet (part of the early ‘80s New Romantic movement alongside Duran Duran and OMD) seems like an odd sell on the surface. The band generated Beatles-like hysteria around the world for a brief period, thanks to their enduring 1983 earworm “True.” This doc covers their breakup in 1990 and ends with their reconciliation in 2009. Though no one was really clamoring for a Spandeau Ballet film, Soul Boys is impressive thanks to its loose feel and frank interviews.
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REVIEWS BY BRET LOVE, LEE VALENTINE SMITH AND JOHN B. MOORE
BEN FOLDS So There
(New West) For a generation who came of age in the ‘90s, Ben Folds is every bit as iconic as piano-pop elder statesmen like Joe Jackson, Elton John and Billy Joel. The North Carolina native may have started as an alt-rock prankster who billed the Ben Folds Five as “punk rock for sissies,” but the snark and sarcasm behind tunes like “Underground” belied a serious songwriting talent with classical music training (he actually attended University of Miami on a percussion scholarship). His post-BFF career has seen plenty of zigs and zags, from mainstream-accessible solo work (see: Rockin’ the Suburbs) and bizarro collaborations (see: Weird Al, William Shatner, author Nick Hornby) to movie soundtracks and a cappella music (see: judging NBC’s The Sing-Off ). So this album, which finds him going into full-on orchestral pop mode, doesn’t seem as much like a surprise as it does the continuation of a 20-year musical career whose sole unifying principle is constant reinvention via experimentation. The album is essentially divided into two parts: The first 8 songs find him working with New York chamber group yMusic Ensemble, the last three consist of his “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra,” which was cocommissioned by the Nashville Symphony, Nashville Ballet and Minnesota Orchestra. Though the 3-movement, 21-minute epic is intriguing, blending elements of classical music, pop and jazz like a modern-day Aaron Copland or Leonard Bernstein, it’s the work with yMusic that brings out Ben’s best. The opening track, “Capable of Anything,” is one of Folds’ finest in years: As the lyrics muse on a failed relationship and the best and worst elements humanity has to offer, flutes flit and flutter above, strings add a dramatic undercurrent and the piano provides syncopated counterpoint to the melancholy melody. On the gorgeously romantic waltz balladry of “Not A Fan,” he questions whether cultural differences will ultimately tear his relationship apart. Not everything here is so serious: On the infectiously poppy “Phone in a Pool” he channels ELO while joking/not joking about his romantic failures, while “F10-D-A” is a willfully crude musical pun (“f ’d in the a with a big fat d”) that reduces the orchestral ensemble to childlike giggles. But it’s somber, contemplative songs like“I’m Not the Man” that seem truest to the man— and the songwriter– Ben Folds has grown to be: Older, wiser, bruised by four divorces, and trying to remain hopeful about the future while mourning his past. The album (like the man) isn’t perfect, but it’s better than anything his piano-pop peers have released in years. –Bret Love
The Dash Between the Dates
(Eone Music) It’s impressive enough just to mention a few 10/22/15 2:34 PM
of the artists who’ve recorded songs written by talented Maia Sharp. The includes Cher, the Dixie Chicks, Keb Mo, Crystal Bowersox, Lisa Loeb, Trisha Yearwood, Paul Carrack, Kathy Mattea, Edwin McCain and Mindy Smith. She has also produced recordings for Bowersox, McCain and Art Garfunkel. But her sixth solo album follows what she’s called a “crisis of passion” in several recent interviews. In lesser hands that would mean a possible career-derailing case of writer’s block but the fertile imagination of Sharp whittled it into a wedge of creativity. The initial result was “Phoenix,” the secondbest song on the disc. Evocative of Dan Fogelberg’s song of the same name from 1979, this track also evokes personal rebirth while heralding universal victory over defeat. The best moment of the album is the first single, the charmingly disarming “Nothing But The Radio.” In another era this could have scored as an inescapable hit record but in today’s overwhelmed climate it’ll likely remain a well-received staple of Sharp’s low-key live show. For the fortunate listeners who’ll discover the album, it’ll stand as a memorable highlight among a strong cache of melodic folk-rock, including the gentle prod of “You Know Where I’ll Be,” “I Don’t Want Anything To Change” and “Little Bottles.” Guests include Dave Stewart, co-author of “Maybe Tonight” and fellow singer-songwriter Gabe Dixon, offering predictably serviceable backing on “Underneath.” Definitely worth seeing out for fans of melodic, ‘70s-influenced pop vocalists. –Lee Valentine Smith
The Burbank Sessions
(Purple Heart Recordings) Active in the music industry since the mid‘60s, Bruce Sudano is best known for being on the sidelines of many majorlabel successes. Even as leader of Brooklyn Dreams in the ‘70s, he was overshadowed by his contributions to his wife Donna Summer’s catalog of hits and her overall Detroit soul-meets-Brooklyn grit sound that he helped popularize. The 2000’s have been a prolific yet turbulent time for the talented singer-songwriter as he returned to recording solo albums and survived the loss of his beloved spouse. The Burbank Sessions, the follow-up to 2013’s introspective With Angels On A Carousel, represents a bit of a creative catharsis in which Sudano roams free across a number of challenging genres. Fleshing out the sonic sketches that Life and the Romantic (2009) exhibited, his mastery of Americana roots rock is at the core of the essential set. As usual, he liberally mixes jazz and blues into the pot in the tradition of Randy Newman or Joe South, but the real winning tracks on the collection are led by the defiant jubilance of “Why Aren’t You Here.” It’s appropriately bookended by the shifting personal perspectives of “One Beautiful Life” and the emotive insight of “Alone.” –Lee Valentine Smith
For a full list of our album reviews, please visit insiteatlanta.com
BY BRET LOVE
K, AN U ! TH YONTA LA AT
IGGY MARLEY ONCE SANG, “If you don’t know your past, you don’t know your future.” If that’s true, the ladies of Atlanta alt-country act Granville Automatic could prove to be sage prognosticators. Named after a 19th century typewriter, the duo– Elizabeth Elkins and Vanessa Olivarez– came together in 2009. Vocalist Olivarez, an American Idol finalist who went on to co-write songs for Sugarland, was looking to start a country band. Guitarist Elkins, who divided her time between fronting Atlanta rock band The Swear and songwriting sessions in Nashville, proved the perfect partner. Within a year they’d written over 100 songs, with a sound that recalls iconic artists like Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. But while Granville Automatic’s music draws its influences from classic country traditions, their lyrics are rooted in true stories culled from American history. The band’s second album, An Army Without Music, finds them delving deeper into stories from the Civil War South. We recently spoke to the duo in depth about the excellent album’s inspiration.
We love to dig for stories people haven’t heard yet. Elizabeth: We didn’t want to write general war songs. The new record has songs sung from the perspective of a little girl, a sideboard, a doctor, a ghost… Somehow these stories just make their way to us, and sometimes it’s just about listening when you’re in a new place. But they’re all personal stories.
When did you start taking an interest in Civil War history? Elizabeth: When we first started writing, Tell me about the field recordings you’ve we knew we wanted to tell stories through been doing on battlefields for our songs. I think it was Vanessa who first said that we IT’S THE CIVIL the Civil War Trust project. Elizabeth: We’ve been making should write an album based WAR… WITH field recordings recorded on the Civil War. The first song live at these historic sites, to BOOBS! we wrote about it was “The capture the background noise Groundskeeper,” which is on our and everything. So not only will you have first album and based on a ghost encounter different arrangements of the songs, but we we had at a Civil War site in Nashville. I’ve want the background noise to make people always been a huge history buff, but I hadn’t really paid attention to the land I was driving question why there’s now an interstate where this horrific battle took place. The wind has over every day here in Atlanta. When I been following us everywhere we go, but started looking at old map and new maps we really wanting to get the atmosphere overlaid, I realized that this whole Little 5 everywhere we go to record. But video Points/East Atlanta/Reynoldstown area was is so important now– you’ve got to have the site of the Battle of Atlanta, and how different it was today. That triggered the idea a YouTube presence– and we’ve got this filmmaker from L.A. named Abby Linne who for the song “Copenhill,” which was also on volunteered to help us. She’s been a lifesaver our first record. We both realized that we’ve always wanted to tell stories that would help to this project. We’ve done four now, and plan to do three more. people remember the past. How did the idea for the new album come about? Elizabeth: The opportunity came up to do a residency program in Florida called “Escape to Create.” When we’re on tour we go to see lots of historic sites, including Civil War battlefields. So many of them have been covered up by interstates and WalMarts. So we pitched the people who run this residency program an idea to write an album about these places where this terribly tragic history happened. They loved it, so we spent a month in Seaside, Florida writing the album. What is it about history that makes for such fertile songwriting? Vanessa: The cool thing about history is that you never run out of source material. It’s kind of like shopping at Goodwill, where you have to really dig to find the good stuff:
SO ERT N
Granville Automatic Sing Stories of the Civil War South
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Why do you think people have taken more interest in early Americana in recent years? Elizabeth: I think people want a sense of belonging to something. My family is made up of military veterans as far back as I can go on either side, so I was raised with this idea of remembering and honoring those that came before. We wanted to write these songs to help people remember their history. Vanessa: In our modern world of cell phones and tablets, when nobody talks to each other anymore, I feel like people really do long for a sense of tradition. I think we provide that in an unconventional way that’s not like reading from a dry history book. I think it allows people to connect to the past more easily. Elizabeth: I think people are intrigued by the fact that it’s done by two girls, who are younger. We’re like a gateway drug to history. Vanessa: It’s the Civil War… with boobs!
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insiteatlanta.com • November 2015 • PG 21
2014-15 NBA PREVIEW
BY DEMARCO WILLIAMS
1. SAN ANTONIO
While the Tim-Duncan-to-LaMarcus-Aldridge torch passing ceremony is touching, opposing teams know that it’s Kawhi Leonard who’s really the handful.
As much as the King, Kyrie and Kevin are headliners, it may be role players like Iman Shumpert and Mo Williams who ensure the city’s first championship parade in half a century.
2. GOLDEN STATE
Twelve of the 15 players from last year’s thrilling, NBA title-winning squad return, none more vital than League MVP Stephen Curry.
The Heat are loaded with regressing stars (Dwyane Wade, Amar’e Stoudemire), returning studs (Chris Bosh) and really good supporters (Hassan Whitesite, Goran Dragic).
3. OKLAHOMA CITY
Thunder Nation had better hoped that Kevin Durant, who’s approaching free agency, can deal with new coach Bill Donovan’s game plans and Russell Westbrook’s temperamental game.
Though DeMarre Carroll’s feistiness will be missed, getting a healthy Thabo Sefolosha and Kyle Korver back should be enough to prove that the 60-win season was no aberration.
4. L.A. CLIPPERS
The Clips heard your chuckles about their playoff futility. That’s why they went out and got the smack-talking Paul Pierce to put up a better fight.
Carroll joins a Raptors team that has the playmakers (DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry); it just needed someone to deliver the defensive haymakers.
While the Ty Lawson addition helps, James Harden and Co. are still missing that competitive muscle for May.
We feel that Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah will turn back the clock to 2010... but then again, we had the same thought a year ago.
Like a Bruce Willis flick in the early 90s, you know what you’re getting with the Grizzlies — lots of action, scrappiness and a slow death towards the end.
Ball wizard John Wall will need a cauldron of Bradley Beal’s intensity and Otto Porter’s athleticism for another magical postseason run.
In signing Monta Ellis and getting Paul George back, Indiana is on pace to return to prominence very soon.
If you were building an All-Underrated Team, Suns guard Eric Bledsoe would be a unanimous starter.
8. NEW ORLEANS
Even with his nearly eight-foot wingspan, burgeoning superstar Anthony Davis won’t be able to lift these Pelicans out of the first round.
If the parts come together — Jabari Parker must trust his heeled knee; Greg Monroe has to listen to coach Jason Kidd — the young Bucks might fight for a six seed.
When healthy, Chandler Parsons has a smooth, Dirk Nowitzki-like game. Since he’s no longer in pressure-packed Brooklyn, Deron Williams should find his game.
Sixth-man Isaiah Thomas will put up starterworthy numbers for a Celtics squad that has some in New England starting to take notice.
While the Playoffs might be out the question for the identity-seeking Hornets, the talents of Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson and rookie Frank Kaminsky are unquestioned.
We like Rajon Rondo a lot more than most. We love DeMarcus Cousins as much as everyone else.
After the Spurs, we can’t think of a trio of bigs (Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert) we’d rather have.
Since the frontcourt of Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor is still a few years from dominating, it’s again back of the bus for the Sixers.
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BY BRET LOVE
With head coach Flip Saunders’ death coming a few days before season’s tip, the young T-Wolves (Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins) will play inspired basketball all season.
Andre Drummond is the backbone to a boring roster that collectively reads like one big shoulder shrug.
14. L.A. LAKERS
Brook Lopez deserves better. Unfortunately, for that to happen, he’ll have to leave a Big Apple bunch that’s rotten to the core.
I’m frugal by nature, but gourmet coffee’s my fave indulgence. Connoisseurs will adore A&E COFFEE ROASTERY’S (aeroastery.com) Coffee World Tour, available in 3, 6 or 12-month packages. Ours included citrusy Norma Lara Octepeque from Honduras, sweet NH Morning, and a wonderfully intense Kenya Kiangothe with lush, fruity notes… Brooklyn’s DRIFT AWAY COFFEE (DriftAway.coffee) offers 2-12 month gift plans, with fresh-roasted bags delivered every two weeks. The first contains a tasting kit of four different coffees (ours had Brazilian, Colombian, Ethiopian and Papua New Guinea varietals), allowing you to choose your favorites.
15. NEW YORK
We know Kenneth Faried is a monster, but since college-skipping guard Emmanuel Mudiay only played sparingly for China last year, we only know what scouts tell us.
It’s not that the Lakers are terrible. It’s just that we can’t trust Kobe Bryant’s ankles or D’Angelo Russell’s assist-to-turnover ratio right now.
Damon Lillard will need a colossal campaign to keep Trail Blazer fans’ minds off the massive rebuilding inside the Moda Center. PG 22 • November 2015 • insiteatlanta.com
The nucleus of Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic is only two years away from blowing up in the East.
Carmelo Anthony’s knee may be improving but his roster of teammates is as wobbly as ever.
NBA Finals: San Antonio over Cleveland, 4-3
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Atlanta's Entertainment Monthly featuring our annual Best of Atlanta feature as voted on by our readers. Categories include, dining, nightli...