VOL. 25, NO. 5 FREE
YEARS! 5 2 G N I T ELEBRA
Holiday Guide Top Events and Attractions, NYE, Gift Guides and more!
All performances live with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra
December 9 – 24, 2016 at the Fox Theatre
GIVE THE GIFT OF ADVENTURE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON! Tickets on Sale Now!
Buy a gift membership or find the perfect present in the Museum Store.
Visit atlantaballet.com/nutcracker Groups of 10 or more, call 404.873.5811 x207.
Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs
Coco Mathieson. All photos by Charlie McCullers.
Terrific Holiday Special
Freshwater Cultured Pearl Set Necklace, Bracelet and Earrings QSET - 10391
A L E X A N D E R S O FAT L A N TA . C O M
2891 NORTH DRUID HILLS ROAD, TOCO HILL SHOPPING CENTER PG 2 • December 2016 • insiteatlanta.com
CONTENTS • DECEMBER 2016 • VOLUME 25, NO. 5
R AT I N G
INTERVIEWS 07 Tone Bell 08 Santaland Diaries 16 Meiko 16 Dead to Me
FEATURES 06 Holiday Dining 08 Universal Orlando 08 09 Holiday Gift Guide 10 Holiday Events 11 Holiday Lights 13 Holiday Movies 15 Disney Orlando 17 Our Favorite Things 18 Naughty Gift Guide 15
VISIT OUR NEW DULUTH LOCATION! 2175 Pleasant Hill Road 770-623-1552
ROSWELL 10800 Alpharetta Hwy At Mansell Road 770-518-3300
CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK! CD WAREHOUSE ATLANTA
AFTER CHRISTMAS SALE
COLUMNS 04 05 12 14 15 18
TOWN CENTER 50 Barrett Parkway at Bells Ferry Road next to Barnes & Noble 770-425-3472
After Christmas Sale!
Around Town Under The Lights Movie Reviews Album Reviews New Releases Station Control
Best Thrift Store
Monday, December 26 & Tuesday, December 27 10a.m. to 7 p.m.
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VOL. 25, NO. 5 FREE
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Check out our Holiday Guides throughout the issue!
Holiday Top Events and Attrac tions, NYE, Gift Guides and more!
Gently used merchandise, including designer clothing, household items, toys, books, jewelry & furniture. Proceeds from the store benefit the Atlanta non-profit community. Toco Hill Shopping Center 2927 North Druid Hills Road • Atlanta, GA 30329 404-355-3547 • nearlynewshopatl.org insiteatlanta.com • December 2016 • PG 3
Events and Performances taking place this Month
DECEMBER 1, 8 & 15
DECEMBER 6 - 24
Tennessee Aquarium IMAX
Atlanta Bicycle Barn on the Beltline
All Three Metro Area Baldinos Locations
Janke Glassblowing Studios presents its annual “Winter Glass Fest” on Dec. 10 from Noon to 6pm. There will be a glassblowing show, flame working demos, live music, kids craft corner, refreshments, open artist studios and an artist market. This year due to construction the event has been moved to 151 Sampson St NE, Atlanta 30312. Free admission and street parking. Find out more at JankeStudios.com or by calling 404.584.0305.
In the spirit of the season, Baldinos is opening its doors this Christmas Eve December 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and giving away complimentary subs and beverages to all. Be advised to arrive early as last year and estimated 300 plus people came out. Visit baldinos.us for more information.
Decatur Terrific Thursdays
The Polar Express 3D
During the first three Thursdays this month shops all around Decatur are offering special holiday deals. Get in the holiday spirit with their tree lighting, Santa sightings and bonfire on the square. Learn more at VisitDecaturGA.com
DECEMBER 3, 10 & 17 Holly Jolly Film Fest Fernbank Museum
On Saturdays through December 17, Fernbank Museum will celebrate the season of good cheer with the Holly Jolly Film Fest, featuring holiday favorites such as “Frozen”, “Frosty’s Winter Wonderland” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Visit FernbankMuseum.org for Holly Jolly Film Fest schedule and show times.
DECEMBER 3 - 31
Madeline’s Christmas Horizon Theatre
Join Madeline and friends for a magical musical adaption of Ludwig Bemelmans’ classic children’s tale. Featuring 24 local girls performing alongside professional actors in collaboration with The Atlanta Children’s Theatre Company, this merry production is a holiday classic for all. Visit HorizonTheatre.com or 404.584.7450.
Special screenings of the newly remastered The Polar Express 3D begin at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater on December 6 and will continue through Christmas Eve. Many families make seeing The Polar Express 3D part of their holiday traditions. This heart-warming adventure, takes audiences on an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole. Visit tnaqua.org.
DECEMBER 9 & 10
DECEMBER 17 & 18
World Salsa Championships Atlanta Marriott Marquis
Atlanta is to host for the first time, the 5th World Salsa Championships. Come and see the best of best dancers from five continents at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis December 9 & 10. Dance enthusiasts are invited to witness the spectacle of international salsa finalists competing for the title of world’s best. Attendees also will enjoy daily salsa lessons from world renowned dance instructors and live concerts. Tickets at Eventbrite.com and Worldsalsachampionships.com.
Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
Open the door to reveal mesmerizing worlds of unforgettable Disney moments and grand illusions with “Disney Live! Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic.” Join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the comical duo of Donald and Goofy as 25 of your favorite Disney characters surprise and captivate at every turn. Tickets available at CobbEnergyCentre.com.
Fo u n d C
THROUGH JANUARY 7 Fantasy in Lights Callaway Gardens
Fantasy In Lights is a spectacular light and sound show, with 8 million lights, 15 displays, a Christmas village, and Santa Claus at Callaway Gardens. Woodland displays depict such holiday scenes as the March of the Toy Soldiers while two beach scenes with moving lights tell the stories of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and the Nativity. Visit callawaygardens.com.
THROUGH FEBRUARY 28 Snow Mountain
Stone Mountain Park
Spend a fun-filled day playing in the snow. Zoom down the 400-foot hill in family-sized tubes or go it alone as a single rider. Enjoy snowman building and hot cocoa at the Snow Zone. Visit stonemountainpark.com
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PG Decatur-INsite-magazine-dec-2016.indd 4 • December 2016 • insiteatlanta.com 1
11/29/16 12:42 PM
Under The Lights ON STAGE THIS MONTH
Join the Alliance Theatre for one of Atlanta’s most treasured holiday traditions. A Christmas Carol, the most heartwarming story of the season comes to life with holiday carols, stunning stage magic and your favorite Atlanta actors. This tale of redemption takes place on Christmas Eve as wealthy miser Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by ghosts offering him a chance at a better future—his old partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future—who teach him it is never too late to change. Celebrate the holidays with the beloved Dickens classic in this Broadway-scale production with beautiful live music and an all-star Atlanta cast.
Now Through 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 out-ofwork writer, Sedaris, being besieged by bratty kids with overzealous parents. While donning a humiliating costume, he finds that his cynical self and his elfin alter ego, "Crumpet," are not exactly compatible. His remedy for the saccharine overdose he endures in his never-endingly exuberant job is to tell all – giving us a backstage pass to the secret lives of Santas and elves.
Now Through December 24 Alliance Theatre (404) 733-5000 AllianceTheatre.org/cabaret Based on her popular one-woman cabaret show Courtenay’s Cabaret: Home for the Holidays by Courtenay Collins, with director Susan V. Booth, is a new holiday cabaret that will include music, stories, surprises, cookies, crafts, and Courtenay’s signature charm and good humor. Set in her home, Courtenay will entertain audiences night after night with a mix of scripted and improvised holiday cheer. Accompanied by a live band, Courtenay will sing holiday classics and new favorites with the wit and Southern charm that has won her fans from Atlanta to New York. She will also welcome and interview a mix of mystery guests each night including notable local celebrities, musicians, mascots, characters, and maybe even a politician or two. No two performances will be the same.
LIVE ON STAGE!
Jessica Grovè as Ariel and Alan Mingo, Jr. as Sebastian. Photo by Bruce Bennett
Now Through December 24 Alliance Theatre (404) 733-5000 AllianceTheatre.org/christmas
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
ONLY 5 PERFORMANCES!
JANUARY 12 - 15
THE LITTLE MERMAID
FoxTheatre.org/Mermaid • 855-285-8499
January 12 - 15 (5 Shows Only) The Fox Theatre (855) 285-8499 FoxTheatre.org/mermaid Based on the Disney animated film and hit Broadway musical, Disney’s The Little Mermaid will return to Atlanta’s Fox Theatre for five performances only. This funfilled, timeless tale centers on Ariel, the little mermaid who is tired of flipping her fins and longs to be part of the fascinating world on dry land. Joining her are Sebastian, Ariel’s crabby sidekick; Ursula, the evil sea witch; Triton, King of the Sea and the handsome and human Prince Eric. The show features all of the favorite songs like “Under The Sea” and “Part of Your World” as well as new songs written by Oscar-winning Disney composer Alan Menken, the mastermind behind productions such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas.
ATLANTA’S RED-HOT HOLIDAY SENSATION! The
BEST HOLIDAY SHOW! -ATLANTA THEATRE FANS
BY DAVID SEDARIS
18 TH SMAS YEARH !
COBB ENERGY PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE
THRU1 DEC 3
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404.584.7450 • HORIZONTHEATRE.COM 404.584.74
DisneyLive.com insiteatlanta.com • December 2016 • PG 5
Catering, Private Parties and Great Holiday Fare at Atlanta Restaurants Agave
242 Boulevard 404.588.0006 agaverestaurant.com
Recognized as one of the “Top 100” restaurants in Atlanta and the “Best Southwestern Cuisine” Agave is where to celebrate with friends and family over the holidays. Agave has two beautiful dining rooms as well as an enclosed heated patio. The rooms can accommodate parties from 6 guests to 100 and are available for private party bookings. Now for the holidays they are offering a free $100 Gift Card with $200 Gift Card Purchase. Gift cards may be purchased online at agaverestaurant.com.
313 N. Highland Ave 404.523.6678 sottosottorestaurant.com
This cozy award winning Italian restaurant in historic Inman Park has been voted best in Atlanta by too many publications to mention. Their kitchen strives to create authentic Italian food flavors developed from centuries of Italian culinary traditions. Sotto Sotto offers an intimate dining room perfect for the holidays. Their celebrated menu is accompanied by an inspiring all-Italian wine list. Call ahead for reservations.
3652 Roswell Rd. 404.816.9090 landmarkdiner.com
Atlanta’s favorite diner offers a wide selection of dishes and cuisines 24 hours a day. This holiday season the
Buckhead location is offering three course dinners for just $16.99 which includes entree, soup & dessert. Last year the Punchline Comedy Club moved from their Sandy Springs location into Landmark Diner’s Buckhead restaurant. Visit them this holiday season to have dinner and see a show all under one roof!
The Flying Biscuit Cafe’
Candler Park 404.687.8888 Midtown 404.874.8887 flyingbiscuit.com Catering 404.849.2283
The Flying Biscuit’s Midtown and Candler Park (original) locations is ready for the holidays with new dinner and catering menus. Their one of a kind award winning biscuits are the perfect addition to any holiday function. Stop in for breakfast, lunch and dinner or call the catering hotline or visit their website to order for your holiday event.
3887 Peachtree Rd. 404.816.2229 & Multiple Locations chinchinga.com
Voted Atlanta’s favorite Chinese restaurant again in 2016, Chin Chin offers fine dining that won’t break the bank. They have several locations around metro Atlanta, each with the same great flavor, healthy portions and elegant décor. Chin Chin is available for private parties and their menu can accommodate catering orders large and small.
Tacos and Tequilas
Tacos & Tequilas is a family-owned authentic Mexican restaurant offering traditional recipes passed down through generations. Here you’ll find all your Mexican favorites – tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, burritos, quesadillas and more. Even the drink menu is authentic and includes 100 different brands of tequila. All locations offer private dining rooms for holiday parties as well as full catering menu.
Chicago’s Nancy’s Pizza
Midtown 265 Ponce De Leon 404.254.5103 nancyspizza.com
Chicago’s Nancy’s Midtown is a favorite stop during the holidays. In addition to their famous deep dish pizza, they offer a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, salads and new Rustic Crust Italiano Pizza. Nancy’s Midtown offers table seating inside and on their patio. They recently completed a major renovation doubling in size while added seating for 200. The new room is perfect for private functions and events while takeout, delivery and catering are available.
Baldinos Giant Jersey Subs
80 Powers Ferry Rd. 770.321.1177 5697 Buford Hwy. 770.455.8570 12890 Highway 9 678.580.0434 baldinos.us
Let Baldinos Giant Jersey Subs take the stress out of catering your holiday party. They have something for everyone from their assortment of famous subs to deli salads by the pound, cookies by the dozen and iced-tea by the gallon. Throw a great event that won’t break the bank. “It’s always a party when you invite Baldinos.”
Little Five Points 404.523.0500 Avondale Estates 404.299.5799 SavagePizza.com
Ponce 678.705.5955 Buckhead 404.705.8225 Cumming 678.456.8237 Buford 770.614.9916 TTATL.com
This eclectic neighborhood restaurant is a favorite hang-
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3400 Around Lenox Dr, Buckhead, GA 30326 Shops Around Lenox Next to Crate & Barrel™
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BEST SUBS IN ATLANTA 11 STRAIGHT YEARS! PG 6 • December 2016 • insiteatlanta.com
out among residents of Little 5 and Avondale Estates. Both locations offer ample table seating. On their menu you'll find a wide variety of salads, subs, calzones and of course pizzas to choose from. Savage serves both lunch and dinner and is a great place to visit when out doing your holiday shopping. Savage offers catering and delivery to the area. Give them a call and stop in this holiday season.
Bhojanic Indian Restaurant
Buckhead 404.841.8472 bhojanic.com Emory 404.633.9233 Catering 404.702.8301
Bhojanic serves authentic Indian fare and offers full service holiday catering including the food, quality paper dinnerware, tablecloths, serving supplies, and HotBox (to keep your food hot for hours). Bhojanic has a standalone catering business so they can accommodate any function. For those looking to book a holiday party or for private dining, visit them in Buckhead at Shops Around Lenox next to Crate & Barrel or Bhojanic’s newest location at Emory Cox Hall.
N. Decatur Plaza 404.320.0101; Midtown 404.917.1100; East Cobb 678.996.0045; Athens 706.543.5000 mediterraneangrill.com
Recently voted Best Mediterranean cuisine again in 2016, Mediterranean Grill is the place in Atlanta for
authentic Mediterranean food. For more than a decade their loyal customers have continued to flock to this family/chef-owned and operated restaurant. Here you will find regional dishes like gyros, falafel and kabob sandwiches that are perfect for holiday parties large and small. Mediterranean Grill has a special catering menu that can be found on their website or at their restaurants.
Fat Matt’s Rib Shack
1811 Piedmont Ave. 404.607.1622 fatmattsribshack.net
Atlanta’s favorite barbecue makes for great catering over the holidays. Barbecue lends itself perfectly for parties and where better to go than Fat Matt’s voted as having the Best Ribs in Atlanta in 2016. They can accommodate parties of up to 50 or more. Call their Catering Hotline 678-457-0275.
Johnny’s Pizza & Subs
Multiple Metro Area Locations 404.874.8304 johnnyspizza.com
Johnny’s Pizza Is the perfect place to bring the family over the holidays. Their menu is affordable and specializes in NY Style pizza, which is thin in the middle and thick around the edges. Johnny’s offers plenty of specialty pizzas plus subs, salads, sandwiches and other popular Italian dishes including calzones, strombolis and lasagna. Go to their website to find the location nearest you.
Your Neighborhood Pizzeria!
Atlanta’s Favorite Pizza! Multiple Atlanta Locations: JohnnysPizza.com
RING THE BELL
Decatur-born Comic/Actor/Writer Comes Home for the Holidays
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
LTHOUGH BORN IN DECATUR, Tone Bell made his debut in the tough clubs of the Dallas comedy scene. He eventually made his way to Los Angeles and began a successful career as an actor with roles on “Whitney,” “Bad Judge,” “Truth Be Told” and “The Flash.” This year he’s been busy on road as a stand-up headlining shows across the country, prepping a new hour special and honing new material. INsite caught up with Bell by phone in L.A. as he began work on “Disjointed,” a new Netflix series from producer Chuck Lorre (Big Bang Theory, Roseanne).
And the theme is certainly popular. Well yeah, if nothing else, the show is about pot. So I think there’ll be a builtin audience. Now that people have seen your half-hour special from last year, do you feel pressure to have all-new material for this year? You know, a while back I noticed things that normally killed weren’t getting the same reactions. So I started asking people about it. They said, “It’s funny, but we had just watched the show to see if we wanted to come see you live.” So I got rid of 30 or 40 minutes of that material and now basically I’m doing a brand new hour from last year. I’ve got a buddy who’s been on the road with me for a year, Roho Perez. We just go into the towns and power through and really push each other.
On last year’s “Truth Be Told” you had a great cast and producer (Will Packer) but you’ve upped the ante this time, with Kathy Bates and Chuck Lorre. Will he be with you for the I’d had a few projects December shows at the heating up, but after Laughing Skull? “Truth Be Told,” the head Well, I was just there in DECEMBER 22 & 23 of Warner Brothers had August and I did six or The Laughing Skull been telling me, “As soon as seven shows while I was you’re free, we want to get laughingskulllounge.com there, plus some shows you back over here.” And around town. I don’t want they made it happen, man. to force another hour on I went to read for Chuck and I think the people during the holidays so I’m going only person in place was Kathy when I got to be doing something different this time. the call. She’s playing the lead and it’s set at I’ll do about a twenty-minute “best of” set a pot dispensary. It’s a real multi-cam show up top and then some of my friends from with a live audience. Atlanta and the surrounding areas are gonna be on the show and then they’ll all What’s it like working with Chuck? He’s a do twenty minutes apiece. I’m gonna make powerhouse of television. it the show I’d want to see if I were coming He’s probably the biggest TV producer to watch it. It’ll be a lot of the guys who I’ve ever worked with. The dude is serious, came from Atlanta and are now just doing man. He comes in with a team and he’s like, great. The list is still subject to change walking out in front, with them behind because of everyone’s schedules around the him. It’s like a power lawyer team and it’s holidays but I’ve talked to most of them pretty intimidating but it’s great. Nobody about hopping on the show. Basically it’ll be questions the comedy. I think I’ve probably a showcase of touring comics who are now got a little more lee-way because of my doing great on TV and all. stand-up and I’m free to trust my instincts more when it comes to something It’s a great time for comics on TV. funny. And Kathy Bates has been Definitely. Remember in the late great. I’m the only one, besides ‘80s and early ‘90s when comics her, in the cast who has done built these stories about their a multi-cam show before, so own narrative? They’d have the it’s cool to watch them grow comic in the center and they’d into the delivery for the live surround them with great audience. actors to make them look good. And Since it’s for Netflix, the then in the ‘90s a shooting schedule and lot of those roles air dates are much went to really great different than network. comic actors, Oh yeah, we are but who weren’t shooting the first stand-ups. I ten episodes now think that’s when through March comedy really and then we’ll take a took a hit. But break and do ten more now it’s different for Season One. And and they’re really the first set of ten won’t trusting comics again to even be premiering until carry those roles. I think July. It takes a while. My storytelling is back and character has a unique people like Kevin Hart, spin. He’s former military Louis C.K., Sebastian with mild PTSD and and Bill Burr have really issues and when you upped the game on see him, it cuts away to keeping people’s attention animation so you can spans. It’s definitely not see what’s going on in just one-liners anymore. his head.
insiteatlanta.com • December 2016 • PG 7
SANTALAND DIARIES Of Christmas and Commerce
UNIVERSAL ORLANDO Making Holiday Memories!
During their holiday experience, guests can also enjoy some of the world’s most exciting EGINNING DEC. 3 AND and innovative theme park experiences – running daily through Jan. 1, families including and The Wizarding World of can celebrate the most wonderful time Harry Potter-Diagon at Universal Studios of the year at Universal Orlando Resort’s and Alley The Wizarding World of Harry Holidays celebration. Adults and children alike Potter-Hogsmeade found at Islands of will marvel at majestic balloons Adventure. In early summer in the 15th anniversary of Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular 2017, Universal Orlando will Macy’s Holiday Parade, open its third park, Universal’s discover the holiday cheer Volcano Bay – an entirely new of Who-ville at Grinchmas water theme park experience. and hear electrifying holiday Guests with Park-to-Park classics performed by renowned admission can journey between Christmas sensation Mannheim both lands aboard the Hogwarts Steamroller. Express, the iconic At Universal Studios Macy’s Holiday steam locomotive from Parade Florida, the larger-thanthe Harry Potter books life balloons as seen and films. in the famous Macy’s The holidays wouldn’t Thanksgiving DayParade be complete without a in New York City will spectacular New Year’s fill the streets during the Eve party. Guests can 15th anniversary Macy’s ring in the New Year at Holiday Parade. New Universal CityWalk’s to this year’s parade is electrifying New Year’s the “Virginia” balloon Eve celebration featuring depicting the 8-year old Orlando’s largest girl from the famed Yes, dance floor, endless Virginia there is a Santa entertainment and allClaus newspaper editorial you-can-eat gourmet of the late 1800s, as well cuisine. Information about as the “Mother Ginger” Eve event tickets will be special character fromThe released at a later date. Nutcracker, which will join Universal’s on-site resort the many popular balloons hotels, Loews Portofino Bay in the Macy’s Holiday Parade Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, including “Big Man Santa” Loews Royal Pacific Resort, and the “Wiggleworm.” Guests Hogwarts Express Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach will also enjoy colorful holiday Resort and the all-new Loews characters, fantasy-filled floats Sapphire Falls Resort, are destinations and a tree-lighting ceremony by Santa Claus. unto themselves. Its entertainment At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, guests complex, Universal CityWalk, offers dining will come face-to-face with the mean, green and entertainment for every member of one himself and be filled with holiday cheer the family. as Grinchmas comes to life throughout Seuss Universal Orlando Resort has unveiled Landing. Guests can discover the true meaning more than 20 new guest experiences since of Christmas in a heartwarming live show, 2010 – powerful attractions, incredible “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular,” featuring dining opportunities and dramatically the Whos from Who-ville, or join the Grinch themed hotels. Now open is Skull Island: and friends for a delicious holiday breakfast Reign of Kong, a groundbreaking attraction buffet on select dates. in Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk’s On select nights, the masters of modern newest, unique dining experience, The Christmas music Mannheim Steamroller return Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory with the sweet sounds of the holiday season at Feast Kitchen. Universal Studios Florida. Performances will take place on the Music Plaza Stage on Dec. 3, 4, For more information about the Holidays 10, 11, 17 and 18. Access to Universal Orlando’s at Universal Orlando, ticket offers and Holidays festivities is included in regular vacation packages, visit UniversalOrlando. admission to the theme parks. com/holidays.
BY MARCI MILLER
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
Leaver: Well that’s the thing, we don’t want to fall to the level of mean-spiritedness. The HAT BEGAN AS A show itself is very careful to not pander to humorous essay has turned either side of things, but at the same time, into a yearly holiday tradition. to try and find what people think is funny Originally read by its author on NPR in the in there. It’s kinda tricky, but it’s not a play early ‘90s, “Santaland Diaries” was David that sets out to change the world or the Sedaris’ darkly humorous remembrance of way people think necessarily. It’s more of his brief stint as a department store Santa Claus. A few years later it found a home as a “am I really focusing on what’s important right now?” It’s about kids and loving and theatrical piece in NYC. sometimes we lose sight of that in the way For the past two we’ve been seduced by decades, the comical the consumerist attitude tale of Christmas and in life. I don’t know if it’ll commerce has been change people forever, expanded and adapted but it does bring about by ambitious theater Through December 31 some change about groups across the what’s happening right Horizon Theatre country. Now in its now. 18th year in Atlanta, horizontheatre.com veteran actor Harold And the Crumpet Leaver returns as lovably character is a good acerbic elf Crumpet with solid support from conduit for that attitude. fellow players Lala Cochran, now in her Leaver: He’s sarcastic for sure, but fourth year, and Enoch King, a staple of the ultimately he’s got a very optimistic point of production for the past 10 years. INsite caught up with Leaver and Cochran view. And that’s something I try to tap into as well. We have to laugh and we can’t sit on - appropriately enough - Black Friday, still in what we think could be the worst of as they decked the halls for an evening times. We can be very inspired by laughter, I performance of the popular show. think. This is a guy who says sarcastic things and he sounds bitter - but he’s trying not to Will today’s climate of cultural upheaval and social commentary criticism affect the be. He’s just a guy who’s able to maybe see funny stuff where maybe other people can’t. production? When the world starts throwing things his Harold Leaver: You know, I think back way that tells him he’s supposed to be bitter, to post-9/11 in 2001. There was a lot of how does his inner person deal with that? talk about irony being dead and comedy will suffer or people aren’t in the mood to If you can make people stop and think for a laugh. But that’s the year that Santaland minute, then you’ve done your job. really took off. I think there’ll always be a Leaver: People come up to me after market for things like this, because we need the show and they’ve been crying! I’m coping mechanisms. thinking, “Oh my God, it’s just a play,” but Lala Cochran: Definitely, people are at the same time, I’m thinking, “Ok, this hungry for it. The holidays can be a difficult is why I do it, this is why I keep coming time. With all that’s going on now, it might back.” It’s my holiday tradition now. I’m be why we are getting laughs in places we haven’t gotten them before. Sometimes we’ll really blessed to be able to talk to people and tell them a really funny, elongated go off stage and we’ll go, “What? That got a story. And that people are moved by it, laugh?” But people need it and I’m glad we makes it doubly special. can give it six nights a week. I think we’ve pulled back on mean-spirited stuff and the When a cast has been in the same roles show has gotten kinder and better over for so many years, there has to be an the years. We can pull out stuff that maybe unspoken vocabulary. worked five years ago, but just doesn’t now. Leaver: There is and it’s definitely my family for two months of the year. And There’s a gently subversive theme – the Horizon does a great job of keeping combined with humor - in the show.
THE SANTALAND DIARIES
PG 8 • December 2016 • insiteatlanta.com
it fresh. It keeps me coming back and it keeps the people who’ve seen it the past coming back. I see it as a gift to myself that I’m able to share with everyone. So many people have contacted me on Facebook and all, saying they were looking for the laughs this year. And I sure hope they get em! Cochran: This is the first year that I’ve felt on a completely even footing with the guys. Even last year, I felt like I was kind of earning my stripes with them. We do have a sort of shorthand, both onstage and off. We’ve managed to make this year even better than it’s been because we’re each bringing a different set of comedic skills. With all the familiarity and repeat patrons, is it a challenge to keep it fresh
and still retain that snarky Sedaris edge? Cochran: This year we’ve got a couple of little political jokes woven in, but I think we’ve kept it even. We have a nod to both sides and it’s fun for us to hear the different reactions. Leaver: Ultimately I think the show does still have a little bite to it. It reminds me of a regular we used to have named “Captain Christmas” and I don’t know what happened to him, he just stopped coming to the show. But he used to always come on Christmas Eve and he’d have front row seats. He’d bring goodies for the people backstage. One of the things he liked to make was cayenne pepper brownies. I know, right? But I think that’s kinda what we are. We are cayenne pepper brownies. And they were delicious, by the way.
Holiday Gift Guide
VisitDecaturGA.com Make downtown Decatur your one stop for all of your holiday gifting. Join in on the jolly on Terrific Thursdays in December and enjoy refreshments, special deals and extended hours at 30+ participating shops. Be on the hunt for artsy octopi placed in shops around Decatur, each one decorated by an artist from around Atlanta or around the world. If you are lucky enough to find an octopus, it’s yours! Get a sneak peek, or share your find, at #octopidecatur. Get the details at Visitdecaturga.com.
ALEXANDER’S OF ATLANTA
Toco Hills 404.634.3197 • AlexandersofAtlanta.com Alexander’s of Atlanta continues our stellar reputation of providing the finest quality jewelry and warm customer service by offering this exclusive gift idea. Purchase this beautiful Freshwater Cultured Pearl Set including a Necklace, Bracelet and Earrings for only $99.95. Voted “Best of Atlanta” for 4 years running and proudly serving our community for over 50 years. #shoplocal
FernbankMuseum.org/Holidays • 404.929.6340 For those searching for the perfect holiday gift, Fernbank’s Museum Store offers a variety of options including, dinosaur merchandise, jewelry, science kits, games, toys, ornaments and more for anyone who enjoys a bit of science-y fun. Gift memberships and gift certificates are also available. A 15% off Holiday Membership Sale in December is to be announced. Visit fernbankmuseum.org/ membership for more information.
NEARLY NEW SHOP
2927 N. Druid Hills Rd. (Toco Hills Shopping Center) 404.355.3547 • NearlyNewShopATL.org The Nearly New Shop offers gently used merchandise including designer clothing, household items, toys, books, jewelry and furniture. Check out their After Christmas Sale to receive 50% Off. It takes place Monday, December 26 and Tuesday, December 27 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Proceeds from the store benefit the Atlanta non-profit community.
VISIT OUR NEW DULUTH LOCATION! AFTER CHRISTMAS SALE Pleasant After Christmas 2175 Sale! 50%Hill Road OFF! 770-623-1552 Dec. 26th and 27th
TOWN CENTER 50 Barrett Parkway at Bells Ferry Road next to Barnes & Noble 770-425-3472
ROSWELL 10800 Alpharetta Hwy At Mansell Road 770-518-3300
CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK! CD WAREHOUSE ATLANTA
Gently used merchandise, including designer clothing, household items, toys, books, jewelry & furniture. Proceeds from the store benefit the Atlanta non-profit community.
Toco Hill Shopping Center • 2927 North Druid Hills Road • Atlanta, GA 30329
404-355-3547 • nearlynewshopatl.org
Roswell 770.518.3300 Duluth 770.623.1552 Town Center 770.425.3472 CD Warehouse buys and sells Blu-ray, Video Games, DVD’s, CD’s and Vinyl. They offer a great selection of hard to find and new releases like John Legend Darkness and Light. With over 10,000 CD’s you should find what you’re looking for. If not, they will order it for you.
659 Auburn Ave. Studioplex 404.584.0305 • Jankestudios.com Hand Blown Glass & Art Gallery located at Studioplex. Here you will find one of a kind hand blown glassware, custom lighting and gifts. They have special items like heirloom ornaments for the holidays as well as glassware gift certificates available. Visit their WinterGlassFest event on Saturday, December 10 at their new location at the Atlanta Bicycle Barn on the Beltline. Visit JankeStudios.com for details.
insiteatlanta.com • December 2016 • PG 9
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Peach Drop 2017
Underground Atlanta December 31; 11AM until 3AM Free Admission; Underground Atlanta Peachdrop.com
Beers Eve on December 31 at Front Page News and Tijuana Garage in Little 5 Points. This is an all-inclusive event with appetizer buffet, well liquor, house wine, and over 40 beer options. Live music and DJ. Tickets are $70 advance, $80 after Dec. 23, and $95 day of. All details and tickets can be found at AtlantaBeerFestivals.com
IRIS NYE Experience The 28th annual Peach Drop offers a full day of family fun and an evening of topnotch entertainment. Festivities will continue well into the morning with a variety of live performances, followed by the descent of the 800 pound Peach and a spectacular firework display. Packed full of excitement, the Peach Drop is Atlanta’s favorite way of ringing in the New Year!
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Georgia Dome December 31 at 7:30PM cfapb.com
The Chick-fil-A Bowl will hold its annual New Year’s Eve game again this year at the Georgia Dome. This year the road to the N a t i o n a l Championship comes through Atlanta. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will host its first College Football Playoff Semifinal on Dec. 31, 2016, when either the #1 vs. #4 or #2 vs. #3 teams in the country face off in Atlanta.
Hyatt Regency Atlanta December 31 8:30 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. DowntownCountdownATL.com
For the 13th consecutive year, Atlanta's marquee New Year's Eve party is returning to the Hyatt Regency on Peachtree Street. Party your way into 2017, by rocking out to 3 DJ’s, a live party band, 4 comedians and more for one low price. With four huge party areas, the Downtown Countdown will have something for everyone. This is the hottest all-inclusive party ticket in town. Want tickets to this year’s College Football Semifinal Playoff game? Downtown Countdown Atlanta presents the “Super VIP NYE Package”. This limited package includes a 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl game ticket to the 88-person Super Suite at the Georgia Dome, a FanFest ticket and a VIP ticket to the 13th Annual Downtown Countdown New Year’s Eve Party.
New Beers Eve
Front Page News & Tijuana Garage L5P December 31, 9pm - 1am atlantabeerfestivals.com
Atlanta Beer Festivals hosts the 5th New
PG 10 • December 2016 • insiteatlanta.com
2715 Buford Hwy. (770) 240-0377 December 31, 10pm - 4:00am irispresents.com
The number one EDM New Year's Eve event in the Southeast returns, for its 6th sold out year, with Live Performances by RUSKO (LIVE), FYER Live; SKRILLEX brother, Leah Culver (MK Ultra); plus a massive super jam session. Special guest support by Ployd, Eddie Gold, Stranger Candy & over 15 DJs spinning in four different atmospheres filled with Atlanta's best sound, lighting, and laser system. Home of the $2500 balloon drop, free champagne toast and tons of NYE swag, noise makers, cash & prizes. Come see why IRIS is the most anticipated NYE event that stands out from all the rest. Book tickets early as this event sells out every year!
Dropping of the Edelweiss The Festhalle in Helen, GA
1074 Edelweiss Strasse 706.878.1908 HelenChamber.com
Celebrate New Year’s Eve this year in the mountains of beautiful Helen, GA. The 4th annual Dropping of the Edelweiss rings in the New Year with heavy hors d'oeuvres, a live band, dancing, music and fun. At midnight countdown the Edelweiss drop followed by a champagne toast. Doors open at 8 for this family friendly NYE event. $15 per person; $25 per couple; kids under 6 free; ages 6-12 half price. Tickets available at HelenChamber.com.
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker Fabulous Fox Theatre
December 9 thru Dec. 24 atlantaballet.com/Nutcracker
Live with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra! Witness the magic unfold as our young heroine Marya faces off in an epic battle with the Nutcracker against the Rat King before embarking on an astonishing jour-
ney to a world of dazzling delights. Make the season merry and bright for your family with this holiday treat beloved by audiences of all ages. Tickets start at just $25. Surprise your loved ones and get your tickets at atlantaballet.com/nutcracker. Groups of 10+, call 404.873.5811 x207.
Fernbank Museum Thru January 8 FernbankMuseum.org
The seventh annual Winter Wonderland exhibition features two floors of festive trees decorated by cultural partners to reflect traditions and holidays celebrated around the world. Twinkling with lights, glimmering with color and shining with a variety of cultural objects, the displays will recognize cultural traditions in North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. All Winter Wonderland activities and holiday programming are included with Museum admission and are free for members. The celebration will continue with Fernbank’s annual Noon Year’s Eve event on December 31 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 pm. This is a jubilant way to ring in the new year for families. This festive event features a massive balloon drop at noon, B98.5’s Tripp West playing kidfriendly tunes, and fun activities to kick off 2017 well before bedtime.
Christmas with the ASO Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
December 9 at 8pm; Dec. 10 2pm & 8pm atlantasymphony.org (404) 733-4200
Begun many years ago by the beloved Music Director Robert Shaw, this concert has become a staple for Atlanta families during the holiday season. No one can resist everyone's favorite Christmas carols and hymns sung by the Chorus and special guests, the Gwinnett Young Singers. And you'll thrill when the Morehouse College Glee Club sings their holiday signature piece, Betelehemu.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Center for Puppetry Arts Thru Dec. 31 Puppet.org (404) 873-3391
Directed by Jon Ludwig and based on the stop-motion animated television special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a timeless tale of acceptance that rings in the most wonderful time of the year. Through the use of rod and body puppets, Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius, the Abominable Snow Monster and all the other merry misfits join Rudolph and Santa for an unforgettable holiday adventure.
HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAYS GARDEN LIGHTS, HOLIDAY NIGHTS
Atlanta Botanical Garden Through January 7 Atlantabotanicalgarden.org Atlanta’s greenest holiday celebration brightens the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s 30 acres with nearly 2 million colorful, energy-efficient LED light bulbs. The popular Midtown attraction was named one of the nation’s Top 10 Holiday Lights Displays by USA Today. Garden Lights, Holiday Nights showcases botanical themes that accentuate the natural beauty of the gardens while adding a uniquely festive holiday twist. Favorite returning features include Santa Mantis and her Brilliant Bugs fluttering through rows of corn in the Edible Garden; the Ice Goddess’ shimmering locks and the glistening Ice Storm Trees; and the glowing Orchestral Orbs, which dance with color and light to the sounds of festive holiday tunes. Pass by giant snowflakes, massive Christmas trees and beautiful Chihuly glass sculptures while listening to strolling carolers and sipping hot cocoa or tea. Six years in, it’s become one of Atlanta’s most beloved holiday traditions.
CHINESE LANTERN FESTIVAL
Centennial Olympic Park December 9 Through January 15 Centennialpark.com Continuing the celebration of Centennial Olympic Park’s 20th anniversary, the Southeast’s first-ever Chinese Lantern Festival kicks off Dec. 9 and runs through Jan. 15, from 6p.m. -11p.m. each night. South Park will be illuminated with 25 decorative lanterns, handcrafted giant flowers, a three-story pagoda and a 200-footlong Chinese dragon. All of the colorful creations featured in the Chinese Lantern Festival are constructed by artisans from China. Craftsmen will be stationed at booths throughout the Park to create items ranging from edible sugar dragons to Chinese paintings. The festival also promises nightly live entertainment, including acrobatics, dancers, theatre, and more. In addition to the radiant displays of the Chinese Lantern Festival, attendees are invited to explore other Park and nearby attractions such as the Centennial Olympic Park Ice Rink and Holiday in Lights display, award-winning dining options, and the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel.
STONE MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS
Stone Mountain Park Through Jan 4 Stonemountainpark.com Atlanta’s most popular tourist attraction is also home to one of the city’s most beloved holiday traditions. During the day you’ll want to visit Snow Mountain, in which the park’s great lawn is transformed into a snowy wonderland where kids of all ages can go sledding, build igloos and snowmen, have snowball fights and more. As the evening sun fades, Crossroads Village sparkles with over 2 million lights and a gigantic outdoor Christmas tree, while Georgia’s most Stone Mountain Christmas
Atlanta Botanical Garden
famous mountainside is lit up by a holidaythemed laser show. There are also sing-along train rides, storytelling with Mrs. Claus, meet & greets with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, live children’s shows including The Littlest Christmas Tree, A Christmas Carol and more. Rudolph The Red-Nosed-Reindeer 4-D! is new to their 4D theatre this year. Also new this year is Skylights Spectacular: A Musical Walk-through Experience. Feast your eyes on thousands of lights, projections, special effects and photo opportunities. Kids can visit the Snow Angel in her Snow Palace at Memorial Hall, and pose for pictures with Santa and/or Mrs. Claus. Whatever you do, don’t miss the nightly Christmas parade (which features special appearances by the Snow Angel and the Clauses) as well as the snowfall and fireworks display that will close out the nightly celebration.
MAGICAL NIGHTS OF LIGHTS
Lake Lanier Islands Through January 1 Lakelanierislands.com Taking over Lake Lanier Islands, Magical Nights of Lights starts off with a scenic 7-mile drive through some of the most extravagant light displays you can imagine, including themed sections such as “The 12 Days of Christmas” and “Teddy Bear Lane.” Their expanded Christmas village is filled with carnival rides such as a Ferris wheel and old-fashioned carousel, games, pony rides and blazing bonfires for roasting marshmallows. St. Nick still holds court inside Santa’s Workshop, where you can grab a bite to eat after posing for family photos with jolly ol’ elf himself.
COME TO THE MOUNTAINS,
NEW YEARS IN HELEN, GA! ood F , c i s u M ! Dancing
Full Cash Hors D’oe Bar uvres
HOLIDAY LIGHT SPECTACULAR
Atlanta Motor Speedway Through Dec 30 Atlantamotorspeedway.com Formerly known as Gift of Lights, Atlanta Motor Speedway is transformed into a magical winter wonderland filled with flying reindeer, dancing light tunnels and dozens of moving displays. The experience begins with a 2-mile drive-through journey leading to Santa’s Village, where kids can pose for pics with St. Nick while their parents squeeze in some holiday shopping. There’s also a carnival featuring popular rides, prize-winning games and food.
LIGHTS OF LIFE
Life University, Marietta Through December 31 Life.edu Lights of LIFE is an annual holiday tradition that was started by Life University and dates back to 1989. The 65 foot tall rendition of Santa and his sleigh is the tallest display 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.
gne a p m Cha st! Toa Live ! Music Doors open at 8pm • $15 per person/ $25 per couple Family Friendly! Kids under 6 , FREE, 6-12 Half Price For info, call the Helen Chamber at 706-878-1908
1074 Edelweiss Strasse • The Festhalle Oktoberfest helenchamber.com Festhalle Friends
insiteatlanta.com • December 2016 • PG 11
Movie Reviews BY STEVE WARREN
They do make ‘em like they used to, but with R-rated sex, language and violence. At least they try to. Allied succeeds better than most. Hitchcock could have made a suspense classic from the plot but Robert Zemeckis opts to emphasize the romance, trying for a latterday Casablanca. Set between 1942 and 1944, it borrows some elements from the BogieBergman classic, including the location of the opening act. That’s where Canadian Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) and French Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard) are assigned to pose as a married couple in order to assassinate the German ambassador. Everything works and soon they’re a real married couple in London with a year-old daughter born during an air raid. Almost halfway through comes the twist revealed in the trailer: Marianne is suspected of being a German spy and if it’s true, Max will have to kill her. Although you can’t please everyone, I think the ending successfully splits the difference between how it would have been done in the ‘40s and how a more cutting-edge director would have done it today. With the stars making you believe rumors about Cotillard being a homewrecker, Allied should make allies of most viewers, especially TCM watchers. - Steve Warren
BAD SANTA 2 (R)
In the 13 years since the first Bad Santa the average American has matured about a week and a half, so they should be ready for Bad Santa 2. If your idea of comedy is a torrent of filthy language, regardless of context, you can get your jollies by hanging around a schoolyard or seeing this movie. The former is likely to get more than your development arrested, so Bad Santa 2 is the safer (if less entertaining) choice. The first movie seemed fresh and funny; the second is a desperate hope that lightning will strike twice. Willie Soke’s (Billy Bob Thornton) life hasn’t improved any, so he reluctantly rejoins his little friend Marcus (Tony Cox) and his own mother (who knew he had a mother?), Sunny (Kathy Bates), to rob a Chicago charity. That means getting back in the Santa suit while waiting to crack the safe on Christmas Eve. The charity’s head (Ryan Hansen) would skim most of the money off the top anyway, and his wife (Christina Hendricks) is so unsatisfied even Willie looks good to her. There’s also a developmentally challenged 21-year-old (Brett Kelly) who considers Willie his father, so there are plenty of elements of sappy, Christmasy schmaltz to leave you feeling as warm as if you burned your penis on a yule log. - Steve Warren
THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (G)
While you’re waiting for Atlanta’s annual snowfall you can enjoy the snow-covered steppes of Mongolia’s Altai Mountains and a good story about another breakthrough for feminism. It’s traditional in this region for nomadic people to employ golden eagles in hunting prey to use for their food and clothing. The job has been passed down from father to son for more than a millennium; but recently a 13-year-old girl, Aisholpan, decided to follow in her father’s footsteps. A photo of her that had gone viral caught the eye of documentary filmmaker Otto Bell, who arrived just in time to shoot her catching and training an eaglet, competing with it in the annual Eagle Festival, and using it to capture her first fox. Not everyone is as progressive as her parents, so we hear a lot of dismissive comments about a woman’s place, etc. We’re told early on that eagles are released back into the wild after seven years of service, and see more detail of a release than we do of the suffering the birds endure being captured and trained. Our sympathies are supposed to be with Aisholpan, not the birds; so Aish – you go, girl! - Steve Warren
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (PG-13)
After four Harry Potter films, director David Yates must know J.K. Rowling’s mind and how to bring it to the screen better than anyone. He succeeds again with this Potter prequel, reportedly the first of five in a new series. The effects, especially in 3D, are more fantastic than the beasts, as the canvas expands from Hogwarts to New York City. Most of the characters are not as immediately likable as the Potter kids, and a lot of people and ideas are introduced to lay the groundwork for episodes to come. In 1926 Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arrives in New York with a case full of magical creatures he’s trying to “rescue, nurture and protect” while educating his fellow wizards about them. He switches bags with a No-Maj (American for Muggle), baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), to whom he’s joined at the hip for the rest of the movie. Besides wizards and non-wizards, there are also anti-wizards led by Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton. Johnny Depp cameos as a dark wizard who will apparently be a major villain in the sequels. The most fun character is Queenie (Alison Sudol), a mindreading flapper who’s attracted to Jacob. Rowling wrote the screenplay – her first, spinning off from her book of the same name, which showcased the beasts but lacked humans and a plot. She’s done a decent job on the difficult task of establishing a universe that’s new, albeit Potter-adjacent. It
BAD SANTA 2 may take a little longer to warm to, but I wouldn’t bet against its success. - Steve Warren
Before she was Jackie O she was Jackie Oh no! The new film, which makes Natalie Portman an Oscar frontrunner in the title role, turns a spotlight on the widow Kennedy in the worst week of her life, following her husband’s assassination. Within the framework of an interview by a journalist (Billy Crudup) are snippets of history, restaged clips from the first lady’s 1961 televised tour of the White House, and intimate scenes as she plans the funeral, cares for her two children, talks to a priest (John Hurt) and prepares to move out of the White House. (As she leaves, Lady Bird Johnson (Beth Grant) is looking at upholstery swatches.) While our sympathy is naturally with the young widow, Noah Oppenheim’s screenplay is no hagiography. He makes it clear Jackie could also be a controlling bitch, sometimes for the sake of her late husband’s legacy but sometimes for her own vanity. It’s a role any actress would kill for, but so far nothing has been proved against Portman. I have two minor quibbles: I didn’t like Mica Levi’s Philip Glass-y minimalist score, and in the final ten minutes the film has more endings than Lord of the Rings. But everything leading up to that part puts Chilean director Pablo Larrain firmly on Hollywood’s A-list. - Steve Warren
1/2 A journey of a thousand miles begins and ends with a single train ride for five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar). He ends up in another part of India, where they speak Bengali, not Hindi. He doesn’t remember the name of his hometown so a search for his family is fruitless. After two months on the street he’s taken to an orphanage, from which he’s adopted by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman, David Wenham), who raise him in Tasmania. After 25 years someone tells Saroo (now played by Dev Patel) about Google Earth. (Based on a true story, the movie can be seen as a two-hour infomercial for the app.) At this point the film takes some wrong turns, slowing to a crawl (and coming to a screeching halt for Kidman to deliver her Oscar-bait monologue) when it should be racing to its joyous ending. Saroo becomes obsessive, making an elaborate map with dozens of pins and shutting out his family and friends, including girlfriend Rooney Mara. Eventually he mines his memories for clues and finds his home via Google Earth. With about 15 minutes cut, Lion (you have to read the epilogue to find out what the title means) could have made my Ten Best list. As it is it’s a terrific story but a near-miss in the telling. - Steve Warren
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (R)
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM PG 12 • December 2016 • insiteatlanta.com
If you have too much holiday cheer, Manchester by the Sea will bring you down. It’s so well written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan and
acted by his cast, that you can’t help but feel for the characters, especially Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck). Divorced after an unhappy marriage (to Michelle Williams) that produced three children, Lee is a loner – more asocial than antisocial – who’s incapable of making conversation. He takes the grace out of social graces. When he’s appointed guardian of his 16-year-old nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges) after his brother’s (Kyle Chandler) death, Lee is torn. He’s living 90 minutes away, near Boston, and has too many bad memories to move back to Manchesterby-the-Sea (the hyphens are dropped in the title); but Patrick has too many friends and activities to leave. (We’re not supposed to notice that only one of his two girlfriends attends his father’s funeral.) Flashbacks – disconcerting at first because they’re dropped in without warning – fill in Lee’s backstory, which is as sad as his present. Affleck is touted as an Oscar favorite for his affecting performance. When the camera focuses on his face he convinces you there’s no one behind his eyes. If it weren’t for the flashbacks you’d feel like you have him under surveillance. If the joy of seeing a really good film outweighs the depressing nature of its content, you should see Manchester by the Sea. - Steve Warren
Not all Disney princesses are meant to live in a castle with a handsome prince or a hideous beast. Some, like Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho), have missions to accomplish, as well as new worlds to open for viewers. The introduction, a Pacific Islands creation myth, will go over most heads, but the essentials are repeated frequently as Moana is chosen by the ocean to defy her father, an island chief, and set sail to restore order to the region. She needs the help, not only of the ocean (made an actual character by the animators), but also Maui (Dwayne Johnson), the shapeshifting trickster who caused the trouble a thousand years ago by stealing the heart of Te Fiti, the earth mother goddess who created the islands and their people. Moana and Maui have many adventures to endure on the way to their ultimate victory, including confrontations with the fiery demon Te Kā; and many songs to sing, written with the aid of the king of Broadway, Lin-Manuel Miranda, which strive for more authenticity than South Pacific. Female empowerment may be just another myth in Hollywood (the film’s top creatives are all male) but the Disney animators bring it to glorious life. - Steve Warren
RULES DON’T APPLY (PG-13)
Although the legendary Howard Hughes is a major character, Rules Don’t Apply is less a sequel to The Aviator than another boy-meetsgirl-in-Hollywood story to fill the gap between Hail, Caesar! and La La Land. It’s set in the late ‘50s-early ‘60s, when Donald Trump’s attitude toward women was still the movie industry’s modus operandi. (There are too many HughesTrump parallels here to be coincidental.) Hughes
(writer-producer-director Warren Beatty) has a more expensive casting couch than most and uses it to bed every wannabe starlet within reach. He keeps a virtual harem under contract, some of whom never see a movie set. The latest addition is Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins), a Virginia virgin who arrives chaperoned by her mother (Annette Bening). Another newly-arrived innocent, Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) is assigned to drive Marla, and there’s instant chemistry between them; but drivers must behave like harem eunuchs to keep their jobs. The story flashes back from 1964, when the reclusive, ice cream-eating, airplane-flying billionaire is at risk of losing everything because of rumors he suffers from dementia. As events develop from 1959 to that point, his eccentricity indeed seems to be morphing into madness; but most things that seem obvious in Beatty’s script don’t lead where you think they’re going, so the movie gets better as it goes along. Hell, the rules never have applied to Beatty anyway. - Steve Warren
SKY ON FIRE (NR)
I’ve never seen as much glass shatter in a movie (including Shattered Glass) as in Sky on Fire. It’s writer-director Ringo Lam’s fallback method of keeping you on edge, besides having speeding cars crash into things, including each other. To his credit he uses real stunts wherever possible, with minimal CG effects; but most of the stunts and fights aren’t very impressive. The plot is simple, yet nearly impossible to follow. Everyone is after some “ex-stem cells” which a Big Pharma company plans to use in a cure for cancer. Most in need of the cure is Jane (Amber Kuo), who is near death with the disease. Her adopted brother, Jiu (Joseph Chang) will break any law to get it for her; they’re too working-class to obtain it legally. While Jane and Jiu could be mistaken for siblings with benefits, she finds a possible romantic interest in Ziwan (Zhang Ruoyun), whose late father developed the cure. Tinbo (Daniel Wu) is head of security for the company but his loyalty wanders when he realizes how ruthless they are. A lot of other people are involved in gunfights but it’s not always clear whose side they’re on and why. “Sky” refers to the Sky One building, where the company is headquartered. It towers over the Hong Kong skyline and as the title implies, will become a towering inferno at the end. - Steve Warren
THINGS TO COME (NR)
1/2 The title can be read as an omen by female viewers, with three generations in one family illustrating what they have to look forward to: post-partem depression for the youngest, senility and death for the oldest, and being left by a husband in middle age. Things to Come isn’t as depressing as that makes it sound. Just don’t make the mistake I did of watching this French film with American expectations. Near the end Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert) lectures her philosophy class on the idea that we derive happiness from our fantasies of what might be rather than the reality of what is. From that perspective Nathalie can be happy, despite problems with her children, her attentionstarved mother, her cheating husband, her students, her publisher, the cat she’s allergic to, etc. The only positive thing we see in Nathalie’s life is the friendship of a former student, Fabien (Roman Kolinka), a hottie half her age. Americans, especially fans of TV Land’s Younger, will make assumptions about where the story’s going that may not prove correct. Huppert gives an excellent performance (though this isn’t the one being touted for an Oscar nomination – that’s Elle) as a woman of a certain age who keeps soldiering on despite changes in her life. Writerdirector Mia Hansen-Love balances the soapy aspects with more intelligence than we usually see on screen and maintains an unhurried pace despite a plethora of plotlines. - Steve Warren
GOING ROGUE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Besides the New Star Wars, December Offers a Wide Variety of Intriguing Cinematic Fare
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
HEATRICAL MOVIES HAVE MORE competition than ever for attention and box office success. As millions binge watch a myriad of enticing productions at home or on the go, the allure of the grand old walk-in movie palace has faded a bit. Luckily for the industry, December is a traditional time for a trek to the cinema for a night or afternoon with a big screen presentation. This year the megahit will be “Rogue One” the latest Star Wars episode, but Insite is proud to present 10 other new releases for the month of December.
It wouldn’t be a holiday season without a broad, low-brow comedy for pure holiday escapism. This year, “Office Christmas Party” fills the bill. The film, shot in Georgia, stars Jennifer Aniston as a CEO who attempts to close her brother’s office. T.J. Miller co-stars as her brash, party-prone sibling. Together with Chief Technical Officer Jason Bateman, the crew plot to throw an epic Christmas bash in order to woo a valuable client - and save their jobs. Directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon, the R-rated comedy co-stars a number of comedic vets including Olivia Munn, Vanessa Bayer, Courtney B. Vance, Atlanta’s own Lynne Ashe and Kate McKinnon. For the more serious-minded movie-goer, “Miss Sloane” is a sobering, adult drama centered on a Washington, D.C. lobbyist played by the always enjoyable Jessica Chastain. Recalling the high-stakes intrigue of Jason Reitman’s “Thank You for Smoking” a decade ago with the added “modern” touch of the feminism debate and power politics. The core of the story is the battle over gun control - shown here from within the world of the politicians and influence gurus who determine legislation that shapes the country.
Right smack in the middle of the month, the marketing geniuses at Disney unleash “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Another piece of the ever-expanding space odyssey, the story (if it even matters at this point) centers on a group of unlikely heroes in peril of course. They band together to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s weapon of really mass destruction. Felicity Jones, Forest Whittaker Diego Luna and Ben Mendelsohn star in the adventure, set in a galaxy far away and shortly before the events in the first Star Wars film from 1977. Competing for attention on planet earth, the musical drama “La La Land” tells the story of an aspiring actress, played by the radiant Emma
ROGUE ONE: A STARS WARS STORY
OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY Stone, and a dedicated jazz musician, ably portrayed by Ryan Gosling. They face the usual uphill struggles as they try to make ends meet in the mecca of dream chasing and soul-crushing, Los Angeles. The gorgeously shot film co-stars John Legend and Rosemarie DeWitt and is perfect holiday fare for dreamers of all ages. Alternately, “Collateral Beauty” finds Will Smith contemplating life’s rich pageant after enduring an unsettling tragedy. Taking a break from life, he seeks awareness by writing letters to the intangible essence of Love, Time and Death. The notes begin to attract attention as he learns to deal with his own life and mental well-being. A stellar cast including Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren elevate the story from preachy to inspirational.
As Christmas nears, the fantasy films arrive and “Sing” is the best of the bunch. In a world of talking and singing animals, Matthew McConaughey voices an optimistic koala who presides over a theater that has definitely seen better days. Intent to preserve it, he hatches the idea for is billed as the “world’s greatest singing competition.” With a bustling soundtrack of over 65 songs, McConaughey is joined by Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly and Tori Kelly. Look for cameos by a few yellow minions and pop culture references for the whole family. Bio-pic aficionados take note: “Jackie” centers on one of the most important and tragic moments in American history. As seen through the eyes of the First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Natalie Portman’s portrayal is a stunningly accurate look at the iconic FLOTUS as she deals with her husband’s
assassination. Great support from Greta Gerwig, Peter Sarsgaard (as JFK), Billy Crudup, Richard E. Grant and John Hurt – along with todays’ tumultuous current events surrounding the presidency, mark this as a must-see for history buffs. It wouldn’t be a major movie season without Jennifer Lawrence. She’s joined by Chris Pratt in “Passengers,” an exciting action-thriller about travelers on a 120-year journey to another planet. Seems plausible enough, right? Well when their hibernation pods wake them 90 years early, they’re forced to fix the malfunction, with the lives of thousands of their fellow passengers hanging in the balance.
Bryan Cranston stars as an overprotective dad in “Why Him?” Visiting his daughter at college, he meets her socially awkward, but rich, boyfriend, played with vulgar gusto by James Franco. Straight-laced dad thinks he’s a wildly inappropriate match for his daughter in this variation on the tired ol’ snobs versus slobs comedy. The banality is saved by the talented cast, including Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally and Keegan-Michael Key. Christmas Day means big box office and as some head for the third or fourth screening of “Rogue One,” savvy film fans can avoid those lines and catch the amazingly true story of the heroines of “Hidden Figures.” NASA employees Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) were the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. The historic moment bonded the country, aided the Space Race, and challenged the roles of women in general. Worth the price of admission for the reliable Henson alone, but support from Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst and Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons blasts it into Oscar orbit. Denzel Washington’s “Fences,” adapted from a screenplay by August Wilson from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play stars Washington, Viola Davis, Jovan Adepo, Stephen McKinley Henderson and Russell Hornsby. The finelydetailed character study is set in the gritty urban Pittsburgh of the ‘50s. The story centers on a former Negro League player, now earning a meager existence as a garbage collector as he struggles to understand his place in life. Not exactly “It’s A Wonderful Life,” but it’s a great think-piece and a very likely candidate for multiple Academy Award nominations. Unless, of course, “Office Christmas Party” scoops up every available trophy. insiteatlanta.com • December 2016 • PG 13
REVIEWS BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH AND JOHN B. MOORE
Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings
(Stax / Concord Records) Many consider Otis Redding’s incendiary performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967 as the defining moment he became a superstar. With the release of Live At The Whisky A Go-Go, the overwhelming proof is he hit that mark in April of ’66. The new six-CD collection offers all of Redding’s performances from a three-night stand at the counterculture meltingpot venue located in the heart of then-turbulent Sunset Strip. Seven sets are included from the original April 8 -10 engagement in front of an appreciative audience of his West Coast fans and peers. The sheer amount of information in the wonderfully illustrated package is almost overkill but the resulting presentation renders the original 38-minute release from 1968 permanently obsolete. Though he’d soon team up with Booker T and MGs, on this tour he has able backing from a Revue featuring James Young (guitar), Ralph Stewart (bass) and Elbert Woodson (drums) with a fully loaded horn section. Touring in support of the Otis Blue album, the shows feature material from that record with choice covers thrown in as a nod to The Soul Album, released just a few days before the gigs. With atmospheric betweensong banter and the proper amount of crowd reactions, the remixed and remastered highlights include “Respect,” “Good To Me,” “Mr. Pitiful,” and “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.” The posthumously-lauded performer has been honored in many ways since his untimely death, but the raw and real moments of this essential set are the crowning glory to his legacy and an entirely fitting way to mark the 50th anniversary of the recordings as well as Redding’s 75th birthday. –LVS
Peace Trail (Reprise)
Every Neil Young album may not be a masterpiece, but each new record from the now 71-year-old singer-songwriter is certainly interesting. Still an active recording artist, Peace Trail, his 37th solo studio effort, comes just six months after Earth, a sprawling and jagged landscape of previous eco-conscious compositions, brightly colored with bursts of electric guitars and experimental effects. Peace Trail looks back to the classic early ‘70s After The Gold Rush and especially Harvest eras for sonic reference points, featuring Young’s plaintive vocals, guitar and harmonica tastefully augmented by veteran session cats Jim Keltner (drums) and Paul Bushnell (bass). Young coproduced the LP at Rick Rubin’s Shangrila Studios and the result is a very laid-back acoustic set of socially conscious ruminations offered with his usual freewheeling, stream-ofconsciousness delivery. Besides the evocative title track, highlights include “Indian Givers,” which mirrors the PG 14 • December 2016 • insiteatlanta.com
Dakota Pipeline protests and the quirky “My Pledge,” with bold washes of spoken word verses, eerie and altered backing vocals, all layered over shifting, skeletal rhythms. “Show Me” slyly evokes the sepia-toned longing of his best-known acoustic tracks while the bilious “Terrorist Suicide Hang Gliders” is an angular jab at racism circa 2016. Album closer “My New Robot” will surely be the first (and last) Neil Young song about ordering a robot from Amazon.com. Seriously. It’s a loopy and hilarious close to one of the best records of his impressively prolific decade. –LVS
The Studio Albums 2000-2011
(Saddle Creek Records) The word “wunderkind” gets tossed around a lot in music journalism (along with “genius” and “icon”), but few would argue that the term was not tailor-made Midwest singer-songwriter Conor Oberst who was just 18 when he released the first 20 tracks under the Bright Eyes moniker. The songs were earnest without being sappy and showed a depth of emotion few had been able to match in the indie pop world up to that point. The music was not overly complicated, but still impressive and lyrically, Oberst was writing poetry. Nowhere is that more obvious than on this collection of studio albums re-released by Saddle Creek, the Omaha-based label cofounded by Oberst’s brother. The half dozen studio albums by Bright Eyes, all remastered, oddly does not include every Bright Eye’s record – handpicking just about half from the catalogue - but does include some of their best (the only other album that is really missed here is the impressive sophomore effort, Letting Off the Happiness). The set does, however, include Fevers and Mirrors; Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground; I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning; Digital Ash in a Digital Urn; Cassadaga and The People’s Key. In the years since that first collection of songs came out under the Bright Eyes moniker, Oberst has been wildly prolific (challenging Willie Nelson and Ryan Adams for the “hardest working” title), putting out 10 Bright Eyes records, six solo works, one with Park Ave., four with Desaparecidos and one record with Monsters of Folk. The Bright Eyes re-releases come out on CD and vinyl. The latter is on colored vinyl and Digital Urn includes a D-side etching. They also include an essay by Nathaniel Krenkel and twelve 8x10 photo prints by Butch Hogan, digital downloads for all 6 albums and are limited to only 5,000 copies. The CD box set contains 6 CDs housed in a foil stamped linen coated board slip and are limited to 1,000 copies. –JM
Tender Souls (4L Entertainment)
With a booming voice that could put the Crash Test Dummies’ Brad Roberts to shame, Pete RG turns in another solid solo record with “Tender Souls,” his second full length after a number of EPs. Combining influences as
varied as The National and classic U2, he delivers a lush soundscape that is big on swirling guitars and keyboards. But it’s RG’s voice that really makes the music, punctuating the lyrics with a sound that would come off as too earnest from just about anyone else. The only downside is that the songs tend to blend into one another after a while with each sounding pretty familiar to the one before it, with a few exceptions. Pete RG (born Peter Argyropoulos) fronted the band Last December before going solo. He’s also produced a number of other groups and founded his own label. –JM
studio album because like most punk rock, it’s built for the road. Among the highlights, are “Drove Up From Pedro,” “Piss-bottle Man”the Vedder-lead “Habit” and the anthemic antianthem “Against the ‘70s,” which is begging for an Against the ‘80s update. Record labels have been slammed (rightfully so in many cases) for putting out some ridiculously inexcusable carp on vinyl simply because they found it in their vaults (Lullaby Renditions of the Grateful Dead anyone?), but this is one of those times when the re-release is worth the hype. –JM
Curse of Lono
The Sides And In Between
Curse of Lono EP [12”]
(Submarine Cat Records) Don’t be worried that their band name sounds like the title of an Adult Swim show, Curse of Lono have just turned in a shockingly sweet debut that is equal parts Teenage Fanclub and a gothic Big Star. Together for just a year, the London-based five piece put out a dark, smart soundscape that seems like a soundtrack to a Tom Waits’ dream. In fact, the four-songs on this self-titled EP are actually the backing music to a short film directed by Alex Walker. The four tracks move seamlessly from one to another for a perfect, dreamy collection of Americana. Their label is putting this one out as a download or 12” vinyl. Leave it to a British collective to turn in one of the year’s best collections of Southern gothic tunes. –JM
“Ring Spiel” Tour ’95
(Legacy/Columbia) Mike Watt has always been a musician’s musician. The go-toguy who’s always namechecked in discussions on old punk rock influences. Thanks to his groundbreaking work with the Minutemen, fIREHOSE and eventual his solo stuff, he managed to built up a strong cult following as well, but he never really got much attention in the mainstream until his first solo album, the stellar Ball Hog or Tugboat in 1995. It certainly helped that the band he created to back him up read like a best of ‘90s alt rock list, including Dave Grohl on drums, Eddie Vedder, Evan Dando, Henry Rollins, J Mascus, Frank Black, Mike D and many others. There was no way that pubs like Rolling Stone and Spin could ignore a guest list like this one, so, at least for the moment, he was on everyone’s radar. And the album was pure Watt: sloppy, raucous, unpolished and absolutely great from start to finish. Later that year, Watt packed up the van and took some of those same folks out on the road for one of the best tours of the mid-‘90s (if not decade). Those on board for the shows included Vedder, Grohl and Pat Smear. A show at one of the stops, the famed Metro in Chicago, is being released for the first time on CD and double LP (it’s also out on digital, but where’s the fun in that?). The 16 tracks here manage to be even better than the
(Nevado Music) Atlanta Indie rockers Gringo Star – amazing band name aside – have not always been the easiest to get into on first listen. But with patience, it soon becomes clear why this band has been able to snag fans from all corners of the country. And their latest, The Sides And In Between, is no exception. The songs, though most at least coming off decent right off the bat, don’t really sink in until you spend time with them. Like the psychedelicbraised “Still Alive,” it has it charms in a quirky way, but after repeated listens the appeal becomes that much stronger. The same goes for the trippy “Going Home,” complete with a whistled solo. It’s oddly likeable, but after some time with the record, it becomes one of the first songs you go to again and again. Much like their peers in Elf Power and The Apples In Stereo, Gringo Star is never going to play the type of music that will have instant mass appeal, but an album like The Sides And In Between is tailor made for longtime devotees. –JM
Self-Titled (Don Giovanni)
Bands like Bratmobile were among some of the most exciting things to happen to punk rock in the early ‘90s, bringing a much-need female perspective to the somewhat stale genre via the Riot Grrrl movement. As Bratmobile’s singer, Allison Wolfe helped remind folks that bands like The Slits, The Plasmatics and X-Ray Spex were just as important as the Sex Pistols and The Damned in helping to scare the shit out of the status quo. It’s no surprise then that Wolfe, now fronting Sex Stains, is continuing to carry on that tradition of unapologetic, genre-busting music. The band’s 12-songs self-titled debut careens from post punk (“Land of La La”) to reggae (“Cutie Pie”) adding in plenty of pop hooks here and there for good measure. Along with Wolfe, Sex Stains brings together Pachy Garcia, Mecca Vazie Andrews, Warpaint’s David Orlando and Sharif Dumani. The band’s jerky, frantic style is absolutely addictive, sounding less like a band trying to cultivate a soundtrack to fit into a scene, and more like a group of friends just out to record music that makes them dance. –JM
WALT DISNEY WORLD SPARKLES FOR HOLIDAYS! T HERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO celebrate the holidays then a trip to Orlando to Walt Disney World Resort. This year’s festive celebration rings in new entertainment offerings as well as seasonal favorites.
MAGIC KINGDOM PARK
DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM
Guests can now encounter the wonders of nature with rare animals both day and night. From the Tree of Life ‘awakening’ as the sun goes down, to taking an after-dark ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris, to soaking in the fun aboard Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest both day and night, there’s more to experience than ever before.
No place celebrates the season better as guests are welcomed to a gigantic Christmas tree as they enter Main Street, U.S.A. and festive DISNEY SPRINGS décor sparkles throughout the park. “Mickey’s With its multi-year makeover nearly Very Merry Christmas Party” is back on select complete, Disney Springs the shopping, dining nights this month and entertainment district of Walt Disney through Dec. 22. World Resort, will be unwrapping its very Holidays Around the World This spectacular first full-on holidays gala. For the first time, show includes the just-expanded district will be filled with medleys of festive decorations, the merriest of special delightful holiday events, songs both classic and fun for Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam and contemporary, the whole along with special family. Also effects and magical this month, Mickey’s Once Upon a Time projections. guests at Christmastime Parade Guests with tickets to Disney this special, after-hours Springs will event can enjoy an get a chance evening filled with to see Disney and all the magic and Intel exploring wintry wonderment remarkable of the season, new complete with technology Disney Springs complimentary as hundreds Julianne and Derek hot cocoa of lighted Hough and cookies, show drones One Upon a Time snow flurries take to the Cinderella Castle falling on Main nighttime sky Street, U.S.A., in “Starbright a jolly parade, Holidays – An Intel Collaboration.” a breathtaking The twice-nightly experience fireworks show is a first-of-its-kind light show and much more. Twice during party featuring 300 Intel® Shooting nights, guests can enjoy “Mickey’s StarTM show drones. The Once Upon A Christmastime synchronized choreography of Parade” and watch as more than the new Intel Shooting Star drones is set to a 160 performers, 12 floats and catchy Christmas specially orchestrated arrangement of classic music fill the streets of Magic Kingdom. holiday music. Parades bring the holidays to life at 8:30p.m. and 10:30p.m. each night of the party. Finally, CHRISTMAS – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25 the ‘Once Upon a Time’ nighttime spectacular “The Disney Parks’ Magical Christmas illuminates Cinderella Castle and immerses Celebration” will air on the ABC Television guests in some of the most beloved Disney Network (10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST; stories in an all-new projection show. airtimes vary, check listings) and on the ABC and Disney Channel apps. This Christmas, EPCOT Disney Parks celebrate the joy of the holiday The spirit of the holidays comes to life around season as hosts Julianne and Derek Hough World Showcase with new “Holidays Around take viewers on a magical ride down Main the World” marketplaces offering tasty bites Street and beyond. and beverages, the Candlelight Processional with celebrity narrators sharing the Christmas With so many new attractions and story, and larger-than-life holiday decorations experiences to discover at each of the four throughout the park. Explore what the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, “Holidays Around the World” at Epcot taste there has never been a better time to plan a like around the globe at five new marketplaces: visit to Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s indulge in duck confit and dumplings from the Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Alpine Haus Marketplace, celebrate with the Kingdom, and a new special ticket offer, the 4 shredded beef tamale from the Three Kings Park Magic Ticket, gives guests the chance to Feast Marketplace, toast with Williams Punch experience the distinctive magic in each park from the Germany Marketplace, and more. for only $70 per day plus tax. For a limited time, guests will be able to purchase the new DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS 4 Park Magic Ticket, which provides one New this holiday season, guests can experience admission to each of the four theme parks on the jolliest new nighttime spectacular, “Jingle Bell, four separate days. This special ticket is being Jingle BAM!” Each evening through Dec. 31, the offered through May 26, 2017, with block out night is lit up with stunning projections, dazzling dates including Dec. 17, 2016 – Jan. 2, 2017 fireworks and state-of-the-art special effects that and April 10 – 21, 2017. tell the story of Disney animated characters on a spirited yuletide adventure to get Santa back to For more information, visit Disneyworld.com the North Pole in time for Christmas Eve. or the MyDisneyExperience mobile app.
NEW RELEASES THE LATEST DVD, BLU RAY & VOD RELEASES By John Moore
THE IT CROWD: THE COMPLETE SERIES (MPI Home Video) Thankfully, the U.S. version of the cult British sitcom The IT Crowd never actually made it on the air here. The decidedly British show – dark and at times gleefully odd in its humor – would have been ruined by a bastardized, watered-down version for U.S. audiences. Instead, the shows entire run, 10 -and-a-half hours spread out over 5 discs, is finally available on DVD. The show revolves around three characters, a pre-Bridesmaids Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson as three inept IT workers (Parkinson with zero tech experience) working in the lonely basement of a London office tower. The show, which ran from 2006-2008, with a one-off special in 2013, is laugh-out loud funny for any person who has ever had to work in an office. In fact, it’s right up there with that other British sitcom, the original version of The Office, for being one of the most consistently funny comedies about work. KIX – CAN’T STOP THE SHOW: THE RETURN OF KIX (Loud & Proud Records) Kix broke up in the mid- ‘90s, but reunited in 2003 and has continued to play in clubs and theaters across the globe. The documentary, Can’t Stop the Show, documents the hard rock
band’s attempt at a new studio album in 2014, their first studio album in almost 20 years. While not compelling enough to attract many who aren’t already fans of the band (let’s be honest, recording an album is likely one of the most boring things a rock band actually does), the DVD is sure to appeal to those who have been following the group since their early hits. Along with talking to members of the band and producer, Can’t Stop the Show includes plenty of flattering interviews with fellow rockers like Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), Jeff LaBar (Cinderella) and Shannon Larkin (Godsmack), among others.
BAD MOMS (Universal) In concept, Bad Moms really should work; its’s about a few notso-perfect mothers - stressed with running their jobs, their house, dealing with the kids and dopey husbands who decide to strike out against the seemingly perfect PTA moms who run the school. The cast is great; Mila Kunas, Kristen Bell and the always hilarious Kathryn Hahn. But the writers and director have tried way too hard to make this movie yet another raunchy adult comedy in the vein of Bridesmaids and Hangover, but in the end, it just doesn’t hold up as well as the movies it is obviously trying to follow and comes off like a bad carbon copy. You can see just about every single gag coming before they happen, including the well-worn drinking montage in slow motion (funny the first dozen times it’s appeared in a movie, but a cliché in 2016). A great idea that never quiet gets off the group. insiteatlanta.com • December 2016 • PG 15
DEAD TO ME
Meiko has a Return to Southern Roots Very Much Alive on New EP water. That’s how I grew up. He was a single dad so it was just me and my sister and him for a long time.
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
INGER-SONGWRITER-GUITARIST Meiko is from the tiny mid-Georgia town of Roberta. Unlike so many Was a music a big part of your life Southern-born artists, she didn’t gravitate back then? to the predictable and often dead-end Oh yeah, my dad plays guitar and he’d spirals of the Decatur and Athens music play music on the back porch - lots of scenes. Instead, she did it her own way and Allman Brothers and Marshall Tucker Band. moved out to the west coast to find her I kinda grew up on the classic rock vibe. niche, quickly settling into the hip Hotel So he was an early encouragement for you. Café circle of HollywoodYeah, I was always really based artists. Her plan shy and he’d push me to be worked and since 2007 more comfortable and play December 22 she’s released a string of in front of people. He had a critically acclaimed albums City Winery big issue with stage fright and and enjoyed a stint on citywinery.com/atlanta I think he was kind of living internationally-distributed vicariously through me. He Concord Records. was always like, “Ok, you can do it!” Then Lately her life has been in a total state of I learned about Fleming and John, Patty transition. Last year she got married and Griffin and Bjork and Sade. I saw some of moved back across the country to a new the jam bands from Athens, because it was home in Nashville. Then this past June, amazing to watch those guitar players. But I she issued her latest album Moving Day never really played any shows in Georgia. I independently. A couple of weeks later, she never played there until I was living in L.A. gave birth to her first child. This month, she’s gearing up for three live So the Los Angeles scene motivated your shows: at The Basement in Nashville, from live shows? her laptop on Stage It and at City Winery I moved there when I was 19 and I was in Atlanta. She recently spoke with INsite still pretty green. I didn’t start playing by phone from her home studio as her baby shows until I was 23. I was a small-town girl slept nearby. but I knew that was my time to experiment.
Where is Roberta, Georgia? It’s about 20 minutes west of Macon, in the middle of nowhere. What was your life like down in Roberta? Well I had a huge imagination which is what you need in order to survive in a small town. I actually lived in the middle of the woods. My dad found this spot which was a little outside of town. And “town” means a grocery store and a gas station! He found a place near a really gorgeous creek and he built a log cabin by himself. It took nearly four years and the only help he had was on the roof. He was just an old hippie and he wanted to be “survivor man” for a while. We had a wood burning stove and used well-
Coming from such a small town, were you overwhelmed by the sheer expanse of California? I hated it and I loved it at the same time. It took me a while to step out of my stage freight comfort zone but when I did, I really loved it. I found a little pocket of musicians at this little place called the Hotel Café. It was good for the soul and I got more comfortable playing out. I blossomed from there, really and it was really cool to come back to Georgia to play and that’s when I played Eddies Attic and the Red Clay. I never played in Roberta, but I did play in Macon. And that was cool, my family came to see me play. My grandma got to see play at Mercer. I felt like I was being a bit of a role model for the kids who were still in high school and had big dreams of leaving town. How does that compare to the move to Nashville? That was almost a bigger culture shock to me, really. In L.A., I never had my own yard or my own washing machine, so it’s been a huge upgrade for me! Now I have a house and a yard and trees and I live next to a park. And I have some friends here who also moved from L.A. so it’s a good little circle. It’s nice to be back in the south and around fried chicken again. Being offered sweet tea when you go to someone’s house, I missed that! As a touring performer, having baby must be a huge challenge. Yeah, I had a good nine months to think about all of that and try to figure it all out! I knew I’d be on “mom duty” for a while so I wanted to put an album out around the same time to keep me afloat and keep me a little relevant. So hopefully by the time people wonder, “Whatever happened to Meiko?” I’ll be ready to get back in the studio.
PG 16 • December 2016 • insiteatlanta.com
BY JOHN B. MOORE
My psychotic break was at the very end HOUGH IT WAS NEVER of a few years long drug and alcohol binge, officially discussed among the band basically. I wouldn’t attribute it exclusively members, 2011’s Moscow Penny Ante to my using opiates. I see my using as a poor could have very likely been Dead To Me’s attempt at treating underlying depression swan song. issues. Getting high gives me very temporary “We didn’t really ‘decide to get back relief from the depression, but it actually together’ so much as we never broke up,” causes even more depressive emotional states says bassist/vocalist, Chicken, a founding so it’s a vicious cycle that pretty hard to get out member of the brilliant San Francisco-based of. Something had to give and it did. punk band Dead To Me. “I was struggling with my sobriety and having a really hard Any advice for someone time staying clean. Things got looking to get clean or MY SOBRIETY HAS pretty terrible and I wasn’t struggling with mental really talking to any of my ACTUALLY BEEN health issues? friends and family.” My first piece of advice INSANELY GOOD Despite the downward spiral would be to simply ask FOR MY CREATIVE he was on, the band never anyone for help. PRODUCTIVITY. I WRITE some, got together to talk about There’s an increasing EVERY DAY AND AM amount of options for ending things. “There was never a thought CONSTANTLY WORKING people suffering with drug like ‘we don’t want to the band and alcohol addiction, as ON NEW MUSIC. anymore.’ In fact, it was the well as help for people opposite,” Chicken says. “We dealing with mental health all really wanted to keep going but I was issues. For better or worse it’s quite rare for non-functional with my using so it wasn’t an someone not to know of at least one person option. The other guys in the band were just that is dealing with or has dealt with one waiting for me to get myself together. It took of the two. If you have a friend or family a few years unfortunately.” member that you can trust and you feel After a harrowing experience with opiates safe talking to, mention it to them and ask and alcohol, Chicken is now sober and as for support. If you’re reading this and don’t a result, Dead To Me are back with a new know anyone, now you do cuz I have been three-song 7”, I Wanna Die in Los Angeles. in your shoes and will gladly help. You can Once again, Fat Wreck Chords is putting track me down on Twitter @deadtomesf or out the release. The songs are an amazing email the band at email@example.com testament to the band, coming off as and I’ll help you find support in your area. recharged and with something to prove. You have a 3-song 7” coming out. When did On the Fat Wreck website, you describe you write and record those? bottoming out on opiates. First off, I’m glad Those are songs I’ve had laying around for you made it. Did you approach these new a minute that I really wanted to get recorded. songs as a way of starting over for you? My sobriety has actually been insanely good Thank you, I’m glad I made it too! On the for my creative productivity. I write every FAT site I mentioned bottoming out on day and am constantly working on new opiates and alcohol and then withdrawing music. We recorded them in late July of from both. That sucked. Playing music has this year. always been about working through what’s going on in my life. After I had a little over Are there plans for an LP? a year clean, I was ready to go record new Yes, absolutely, we plan on recording at the songs. I didn’t want onto rush it right after end of December/beginning of January. getting clean when I only had a few months, I’ve done that before and it didn’t work. I had Those are all the questions I had. Anything to provide myself a solid sober foundation else you wanted to cover? before doing and Dead To Me stuff. For me, Nah, but I’ll just remind people that if you being creative and writing music is always do have mental health and addiction issues about making a new beginning. to please, please, please just reach out to someone. Don’t be ashamed. In my opinion You also describe a mental breakdown - for the most courageous people around are the lack of a better phrase. was that attributes ones that can admit they are feeling weak to the opiates? and ask for some support.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS – 2016 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE BY BRET LOVE
he Holidays are finally here! Here’s our guide to some 40 different gift ideas for everyone on your “Nice” list:
FOR THE CHRISTMAS FANATIC…
Our family is truly crazy for Christmas. So it’s no surprise FESTIFIED (Festified.com) is a favorite brand, with their celebration of “tacky” Christmas sweaters, leggings, etc. Their Elf Narwhal Ugly Sweater is the best kind of Blue Christmas, featuring a memorable scene from Will Ferrell’s holiday classic… For pajamas/loungewear, P.J. SALVAGE (PJSalvage.com) boasts a great seasonal Verona’s Gift line balancing style and Baskets comfort. Their Nordic Snowflake pants and “The Snuggle is Real” top are fashionable enough to go from sleep to street. And their Nordic Fairisle Robe is a real gem: With its super-soft plush, red/white reindeer and snowflake pattern and Santa-style hoodie, it’s perfect for cozy Christmas cuddles… For Christmas gifts that give back, check out GREEN GLOBAL TRAVEL FAIR TRADE BOUTIQUE (shop. GreenGlobalTravel.com). Their Indian Elephant ornaments, Haitian hand-painted Angels, and Palestinian Olive wood nativity sets are all Fair Trade certified, with 10% of profits donated to conservation charities.
FOR THE GOURMAND…
What do you get someone who has everything? The Grand Gatherings Holiday Gourmet Gift Basket from VERONA’S GIFT BASKETS (VeronasGiftBaskets. com) makes an impactful impression. The willow basket is filled with everything from Lobster Paté, Smoked Alaskan Salmon, Beef Summer Sausage and myriad crackers to a ton of cookies, truffles and other sweet treats. Their Home Capresso & Hearth Fireside Holiday Hamper is smaller and $50 cheaper, but still lovely and packed in a perfect picnic carrying case… The Loose Leaf Tea Advent Calendar from TEANZO (Teanzo.com) is one of our family’s holiday favorites: It comes with 24 delectable teas in flavors such as Christmas Chai, Apple Cinnamon and Peppermint Rose. and … The Festive Holiday Microbrews set from BEER GIFTS (BeerGifts.com) is a great way to spread a little boozy Christmas cheer. Each beautifully boxed set comes with six seasonal microbrews from Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Anchor Brewing and others, along with 3 colorful cookies to soak up the hops.
FOR THE HOME CHEF…
My wife and I enjoy entertaining, especially around the holidays. We also love great coffee. The Café PRO from CAPRESSO (Capresso. com) allows us to combine these two passions, brewing two espresso, cappuccino and/ or lattés at a time. The commercial-quality machine is stylish (stainless steel) and simple to use, with a double spout filter, state-ofthe-art boiler and 15-bar pump for that foam
you get from professional baristas… Dairy is on my no-no list, but I love ice cream. So I’m really digging YONANAS (Yonanas.com), which converts frozen fruit into a healthy soft-serve treat. The Elite version (one of Oprah’s favorite things) comes with 130 decadent recipes, most of which use only 2-3 ingredients… My favorite kitchen gadget this year is my new 5-Tray Dehydrator from EXCALIBUR (ExcaliburDehydrator.com). With 8 sq ft of drying space, 105-165ºF adjustable thermostat, and a 26-hour timer, it’s easy to make delicious dried jerky, fruit roll-ups, pet treats, granola and other healthy snacks.
with Body Butter, Body Skin Authority Mist, Body Polish and Body Wash packaged in a beautiful box tied with a bow. My lady loves the Rainforest scent, which has a subtle Sandalwood aroma that reminds us of the Hawaiian forest… The Beauty Infusion Gift Set from SKIN AUTHORITY (SkinAuthority.com) is an impressive botanicalthemed package tailor-made for travelers like us. You first prep your face with a swipe of one of the 50 Instant Perfect Peel Pads, then add a few drops from the 1-oz sized bottles of AntiAging, Brightening, Clarifying and Hydrating drops. It’s a simple way to maintain a beauty regimen even when you’re Wendy Mignot traveling the world.
chocolate Marblehead Mints, dark chocolate and orange crunch Sweet Shells, and more… CACAO & CARDAMOM (CacaoandCardamom.com) turns chocolate-making into an art. Their 3-Tier Dozen Collection looks like a display of priceless gems, and each colorful truffle is infused with rich flavors ranging from Blueberry Lime and Guava Tamarind to Garam Masala Pistachio and Szechuan Peppercorn.
FOR THE POP CULTURE FANATIC…
The holiday season usually brings out the year’s best boxed sets, and this year is no exception. Fans of classic TV will love the 6-DVD “Vault Series” collection FOR THE of previously unreleased FOR THE SKI BUNNY/ FASHIONISTA… episodes of The Tonight One of our coolest travel SKI BUM… experiences was diving Georgia may not get Show With Johnny Carson, for pearls in Tahiti. So it’s much snow, but some styles Thanks for the Memories: no surprise my lady loves work just as well on streets The Bob Hope Specials (13 the jewelry of WENDY as slopes. Take the Now classic specials spanning MIGNOT (WendyMignot. 3 shoes from ICEBUG 5 decades) and Star Trek com). Her Rain Four (Icebug.com), for example: 50th Anniversary TV Freshwater Necklace is a Their eye-catching design, & Movie Collection (30 beauty: With four dropwater repellency and Blu-Rays featuring the shaped pearls in white, rose fleece-lined comfort are original show and films, and peach dangling from a brown leather cord, perfect for the city. But strap on a BUGweb the animated series, a new documentary it’s an ultra-feminine combination of regal and outsole (sold separately), and the 6 carbideand 20+ hours of bonus content). If you dig rugged… We’re a family full tip studs provide excellent cult favorites, there’s Freaks & Geeks: The of shoe fanatics. My wife traction on snow and Complete Series (every episode of the Paul Holden digs the sturdy waterproof ice… The Cumulus Down Feig/Judd Apatow comedy, plus tons of bonus Outerwear leather and cozy sweater Jacket from HOLDEN features); the Twin Peaks collection (every fleece lining of the Fremont (HoldenOuterwear.com) episode of the David Lynch classic, plus Lace Tall Boot from is similarly versatile. It’s Fire Walk With Me and The Missing Pieces); KEEN (KeenFootwear. ultra-light, stylish and Dexter: The Complete Series (all 8 seasons com); while I’m crazy for comfortable enough for plus special features), and the Labyrinth 30th the comfy interior and daily wear, but the durable, Anniversary Collector’s Edition (including striking silver gold stitching waterproof ripstop exterior 4K restoration, a “Henson Legacy” featurette of my Chocolate Taurus and 700-Fill Power Down and a Q&A with Brian Henson, Dave Goelz Shoulder Boots from Feather make it feel like and others). For music lovers, there are TONY LAMA (TonyLama. you’re walking around impressive sets from The Cars (the 6-CD com). My daughter is with a cozy sleeping bag Elektra Years 1978-1987), The Replacements more the CONVERSE (Converse.com) type, on your back… The VOLT RESISTANCE (the limited edition 4-LP version of The Sire rocking her black Chuck Taylor All Star low (VoltHeat.com) brand was born to battle the Years), and The Monkees’ Classic Album tops daily… Anyone cold. Their Titan 7V Men’s Collection, an epic 10-CD Jacques Torres who knows me knows Leather Heated Gloves are set spanning their career. Chocolates I’m rarely seen without waterproof and designed my shades. MOSCOT to keep fingers and hands FOR THE GADGET (Moscot.com), an NYC warm and toasty, with GUY… institution since 1915, a 4-level controller that In the early ‘80s I got an offers an array of cool provides heat for 3-12 Atari 2600 for Christmas, styles, from the smart, hours, depending on the which launched my lifelong sophisticated Klug Sun setting used. love of video games. Now, to the classic style of 35 years later, the Ultimate the Travis. Portable Game Player from FOR THE CHOCOLATE ATARI FLASHBACK LOVER… (ATGames.net) packs 60 There may be women in FOR THE BEAUTY classic titles– Asteroids, the world who don’t like QUEEN… chocolate, but I’ve never met any. The 50-piece Centipede, Frogger, Space Invaders, Yar’s Brazilian company TEADORA Revenge, etc.– onto a USB-charged pocket Bon Bon Assortment from JACQUES (TeadoraBeauty.com) uses Amazon rainforest device for nostalgic button-smashing fun… TORRES CHOCOLATES (MrChocolate. ingredients (antioxidant Açaí, vitamin With iPhone 7 eliminating headphone jacks, com) makes a powerful statement: The lovely A-rich Buriti, etc.) to craft the soaps in the AK XB10 Bluetooth Smartphone DAC 2-tiered box includes an array of fresh flavors, their Exfoliating & Toning Bar Gift Set. from ASTELL & KERN (us.AstellnKern. including caramels, pralines, fruits, wine, The exotic, earthy scents are matched by exotic teas, all hand-selected com) helps music lovers access their jams practical function: The wirelessly. It allows you to control playback by the French-born, NYCtoning bars moisturize Atari Flashback remotely without touching your phone, and based artisan chocolatier… and hydrate, while the also allows for voice calling via its built-in The 32-piece Gold Star exfoliating bars help to Assortment from HARBOR mic…We take a lot of photos and videos, remove dead skin and leave which eat up a ton of space on our hard SWEETS (HarborSweets. it smooth and supple… drive. The DROBO 5C (DroboStore.com) com) is an impressive OLA APOTHECARY is the world’s first self-managing USB-C collection for chocoholics (HawaiianBody Products. storage solution, with 5 bays that make it who also love the ocean. com) has been one of our The beautiful packaging family’s favorite bath and 10x faster and offer 32x data capacity of their contains their signature beauty lines for years. Their original model at about 2/3 the price. It’s almond buttercrunch Ola Spa Deluxe makes a quick to set up and easy to use, compatible wonderful holiday gift, toffee Sweet Sloops, dark with both PC and Macs.
insiteatlanta.com • December 2016 • PG 17
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FAMILY CONNECTION BY BENJAMIN CARR
HIS TIME OF YEAR, MANY OF US gather together with family and just hope for the best. We spend our holidays sitting across the dinner table, hoping nobody brings up the election, all the celebrities who died in 2016 or any other subject that might bum us out. If you are very lucky, though, there comes that one moment where you’re reminded of what good things connect you.
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(Netflix) Netflix, in a rather savvy marketing move, dropped Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on us over the Thanksgiving holidays to capitalize on family dysfunction. The original Gilmore Girls centered upon single mom Lorelai Gilmore (played by Lauren Graham) and her hyperintelligent daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel). When the show started, they were 32 and 16 - living on their own in the nuttiest small town since Mayberry. The two of them were best friends, speaking in rapid-fire bon mots like characters in a 1940s screwball comedy. But circumstance drove them to reconnect with Lorelai’s estranged parents, two upper-crust blue-bloods that never forgave Lorelai for her pregnancy. Reuniting the cast and creators of the classic WB show nine years after it was canceled; the Netflix reboot was intended to give creator Amy Sherman-Palladino - who left the original series after a contract dispute - a chance to end the show the way she always intended. ShermanPalladino famously wanted to end the show with the “final four words” between two characters, but viewers never learned what those words were. The four-episode reboot, for the most part, is excellent. The vibe of the show remains the same. The characters are just as chatty and clever as they were in the show’s heyday. And we get the “final four words.” If you are a fan, they will floor you.
SPEECHLESS (ABC )
ABC has also dropped a winning sitcom about a quirky, dysfunctional family on us this season. Speechless, starring Minnie Driver and The Big Bang Theory’s John Ross Bowie as parents of a disabled son and two other children, is very funny and touching. It puts a disabled character at its center - JJ, a mute teenager with cerebral palsy played by Micah Fowler. JJ uses a wheelchair and requires an assistant, who serves as his voice and provides for his needs. The premise of the show involves Maya Dimeo
NAUGHTY Holiday Gift Guide SMOKE 911
4 Locations: Roswell, Sandy Springs, Acworth & Woodstock shopsmoke911.com Smoke 911 has all the latest products in stock this holiday season. Like the Pax Vaporizer considered by many as the best rechargeable portable vaporizer on the market. It’s design and technology represent the great advances of the past few years. It is small enough to fit in your pocket, Pax heats, never burns your tobacco, releasing a delicious, satisfying vapor. It’s the world’s most pocketable, premium loose-leaf vaporizer. PG 18 • December 2016 • insiteatlanta.com
2205 Cheshire Bridge Rd. • 404.728.0701 snvonline.com Southern Nights offers the largest selection of Adult merchandise in Atlanta. They have all the newest toys and gifts for the holidays like the Celesse Personal Massager from Intimina. It features a specially curved massage point for focused internal stimulation. Southern Nights has a huge DVD and Blu-ray selection available for rent or purchase plus a 62 Channel Hi-Def Video Arcade. They are open 24/7.
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(Driver), who always fiercely advocates for JJ, learning to loosen the apron strings on her boy, who is now 16 and craves independence. He receives it through his new assistant Kenneth, played by the excellent Cedric Yarbrough. Kenneth has a cool voice and a no-nonsense approach, but he has no formal training. Many of the episodes center on clashes between Maya and Kenneth. But Speechless is otherwise rich. The other Dimeo kids - played by Mason Cook and Kyla Kenedy - are rich, quirky characters. And the family is portrayed not as idyllic, but as messy, weirdo loner jerks who live in a brokendown house and shun society. As the show continues, they will have to learn how to relate to others and heal the massive issues they have.
THE CROWN (Netflix)
Of course, if you’re looking for the mother of all dysfunctional families, Netflix has also provided us with the new show The Crown, which centers on the Windsors and how Princess Elizabeth came to rule Britain for the majority of the 20th century. The Crown is another project from Peter Morgan, who previously explored Elizabeth’s life and impact in the Helen Mirren movie The Queen, as well as in other projects. This show stars Claire Foy and Doctor Who’s Matt Smith as Elizabeth and Philip, who begin the series as newlyweds unaware of how their life will soon be affected by duty. Jared Harris plays Bertie, the chain smoking, stuttering King of England who is about to leave his daughter in the most dire of situations. The Crown carries with it a tremendous pedigree and a potential for high drama. With a sense for the detached British aristocracy, it feels a bit more like Downton Abbey than a historical re-enactment, and that is to its credit. To paraphrase Tolstoy, all happy families are alike. And all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way. But viewers should be able to connect to these quirky families in some way this winter. And that will help all of us survive the season.
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Atlanta's Entertainment Monthly featuring our annual Holiday Guide. We report on the best in holiday events, attractions, gifts, New Year's...