VOL. 26, NO. 5 FREE
6 YEARS! 2 G N I T ELEBRA
y a d l l o H Issue Top Events & Attractions, NYE, Gift Guides & more! A Christmas Carol • David Crosby • Santaland Diaries
NOW ON SALE! Jan. 10 – 28
FEB 15 – 19
The Fox Theatre
INFINITE ENERGY ARENA
FEB 22 – 25
PG 2 • December 2017 • insiteatlanta.com
Groups (10+): 404-881-2000
ATLANTA / C M Y K 5”W X 14”H
91989 / HALF PAGE / INSITE RUNDATE: DECEMBER ISSUE
CONTENTS • DECEMBER 2017 • VOLUME 26, NO. 5
Wishes Happy HolidaysToYou
EARS! ING 26 Y T A R B E EL
LITTLE 5 POINTS
428 Moreland Ave Atlanta, GA 30307 (404) 523-0100
08 A Christmas Carol 09 Ronnie Spector 12 Santaland Diaries 16 David Crosby
FEATURES 08 10 11 13 17 18
Holiday Gift Guide 09 Holiday Dining Holiday LIghts NYE Events Orlando Holidays Naughty Gifts
COLUMNS 04 05 06 07 14 15 15 18
12 Around Town On Tap Atlanta on a Dime Under The Lights Movie Reviews New Releases Album Reviews Station Control 16
Winner I Ns i t e ★ 201 7
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VOL. 26, NO. 5 FREE
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Check out our Holiday Gudies throughout the issue!
HoIsllsudeay Top Events Attractions, & Gift Guides & NYE, more!
A Christmas Carol • David Crosby
• Santaland Diaries
DULUTH 2175 Pleasant Hill Road 770-623-1552
TOWN CENTER ROSWELL 50 Barrett Parkway 10800 Alpharetta Hwy at Bells Ferry Road At Mansell Road next to Barnes & Noble 770-518-3300 770-425-3472 CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK! CD WAREHOUSE ATLANTA insiteatlanta.com • December 2017 • PG 3
Holiday Events and Performances taking place this Month
DECEMBER 7, 14, 21
NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 30
NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 31
The Fox Theatre
Center for Puppetry Arts
Decatur Terrific Thursdays
Fox Holiday Tours
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
16 themed areas, 29 holiday rides, dazzling live shows and festive seasonal food, all combining to make Holiday in the Park the most magical time of the year.
Make downtown Decatur your one stop for all of your holiday gifting. Each ursday this month up until Christmas, shops all around Decatur will be oﬀering special holiday deals. Get in the holiday spirit with their tree lighting, Santa sightings and bonﬁre on the square. Join in on the jolly and enjoy refreshments and extended hours at 30+ participating shops. Get the details at Visitdecaturga.com.
Guests will be merry and bright during the Fox eatre’s annual Holiday Tours. A special treat for patrons who want to explore the theater’s storied history and create a holiday memory that lasts a lifetime. Walk through the garland-lined hallways, take in the Fox’s distinct holiday décor, delight in the famous Mighty Mo up close, and complete the journey with complimentary warm cider or hot chocolate under the starry-skied auditorium. Tours run for approximately 60 minutes. Foxtheatre.org
NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 23
A Very Merry Holiday POPS!
NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 31
NOW THROUGH JANUARY 7
Celebrate the music of the holiday season in extravagant style as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra pulls out all the stops. Join The Joe Gransden Big Band and his merry men and ladies to help the holidays swing. Broadway star Allison Blackwell lends her superb vocalism to the festivities joined by the Atlanta AllCity Choir and choir from the Greenforest Community Baptist Church of Atlanta. Santa will be there for sure with two very special helpers, giving out presents and a musical surprise! David Charles Abell, returns for a second year to lead the concerts, sure to warm your heart and put you in a Very Merry Holiday mood. Tickets available at Atlantasymphony.org.
Stone Mountain Park
Atlanta Botanical Garden
DECEMBER 15 & 16
The 12 Dates of Christmas
Atlanta Symphony Hall
Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, GA
Aurora Theatre’s comedy The 12 Dates of Christmas is a contemporary take on the holiday season. Despite many mishaps thrown her way, Mary is eager to shine in the winter wonderland of dating. Audiences will watch Mary’s life unravel after seeing her fiancé, live on national television, plant one wet kiss on another woman. Very determined, she spends the next year trudging her way back into dating with set ups, hook ups and let downs to test her confidence. This limited four-week engagement will ensure spirits remain high the whole month long! Purchase tickets at AuroraTheatre.com.
Rudolph soars back into town for this faithful adaptation of the wonderful holiday film that speaks to the misfit in all of us. Based on the beloved 1964 stop-motion animated special, Rudolph and his friends Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius, the Abominable Snow Monster and all the other merry misfits join Santa for an unforgettable holiday adventure. Tickets at Puppet.org.
Stone Mountain Christmas
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas at Stone Mountain Park, where the true magic of the season is in the air. Enjoy the glow of more than two million lights, festive music and visits from some your favorite holiday characters. Start a new tradition and create memories that will last a lifetime for you and your kids. Stonemountainpark.com.
NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 31 Holiday in the Park Six Flags Over Georgia
The joyous wintertime celebration returns to Six Flags Over Georgia this holiday season. Now more spectacular than ever with
NOW THROUGH JANUARY 2 Savor the Season World of Coca-Cola
This month the World of Coca-Cola is decked out with displays and signature seasonal beverages creating a festive experience for guests. From one-of-a-kind VIP tours to photo moments with the ever-popular Coca-Cola Polar Bear, World of CocaCola’s holiday celebration is one fans will not want to miss. Worldofcoca-cola.com.
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
The seventh annual electrical extravaganza features spectacular light displays throughout the Garden, including the new high-tech Nature's Wonders, illuminating the world's natural phenomena through countless strands of synchronized dancing lights strung high over Storza Woods. Explore the Walk of Flames and Tunnel of Light along with favorites such as the Orchestral Orbs, Glittering Galaxy, Radiant Rainforest, and Model Trains that continue to make the exhibition a must-see holiday tradition. Visit atlantabotanicalgarden.org
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On Tap this Month MAJOR EVENTS COMING TO ATLANTA
December 7: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
FALCONS VS. SAINTS
e Atlanta Falcons have been starting the regain their 2016 season form that took the team to the Super Bowl. e oﬀense has opened back up and the defense has been locking it down. e Falcons will surely be tested when division rival New Orleans comes to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a match-up with major playoﬀ implications. Drew Brees has led the Saints in this season’s turnaround. Visit AtlantaFalcons.com.
RUSSIAN BALLET PRESENTS
BEAUTY S U N DAY JANUARY 7
FOX T H E AT R E
December 15: Philips Arena
JINGLE BALL CONCERT Jingle Ball is a charity event to celebrate the holiday season. Power 96.1 oﬃcially announced the all-star performers for Jingle Ball 2017, which will include Demi Lovato, Logic, Zedd, Fifth Harmony, Nick Jonas, Charlie Puth, Camila Cabello, Liam Payne, Julia Michaels and Why Don’t We. e show is scheduled to take place on Friday, December 15 at Philips Arena. Tickets at PhilipsArena.com.
December 31: Downtown Atlanta
PEACH DROP 2018
Start 2018 oﬀ right at the Southeast’s largest New Year’s Eve gathering. 175,000 patrons have congregated on the streets around Underground Atlanta for the Peach Drop each year to watch an 800-pound peach descend from its 138-foot tower of lights to its resting place, where confetti showers over attendees and dazzling ﬁreworks light the sky. e event is rumored to move to Woodruﬀ Park. Visit Peach-
January 1: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL
Returning to Atlanta in 2018, the Chick-ﬁl-A Peach Bowl will be played on Monday, Jan. 1. is year’s edition will host the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class induction ceremony. With the National College Football Hall of Fame just steps away, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the city of Atlanta will make their mark as the heart of college football for years to come. Visit cfapb.com for tickets information.
January 2: Fox Theatre
DANCING WITH THE STARS America’s favorite dance show is going back on tour across America this winter with “Dancing with the Stars: Live! – Light Up e Night.” Fans of the show have the opportunity to see the best ballroom dancers in the business perform live. is all-new production showcases every style of dance seen on ABC’s hit show from sizzling salsas to elegant waltzes and high energy group numbers, plus original pieces. Foxeatre.org.
January 7: Fox Theatre
e State Ballet eatre of Russia returns to the Fox eatre with a timeless production of Sleeping Beauty. Tchaikovsky based his ballet on the Brothers Grimm's version of Charles Perrault's "La Belle au bois dormant." "Sleeping Beauty" received its premiere on Jan. 15, 1890, at the Mariinsky eatre in St. Petersburg, and today, it stands as one of the world's most beloved and oft-performed ballets. Tickets at Foxeatre.org. insiteatlanta.com • December 2017 • PG 5
Sunday, December 10
EVENTS HAPPENING FOR SMALL CHANGE IN ATLANTA
Know of a low cost event happening? Event@AtlantaOnADime.com By Marci Miller
Through December 31
Saturday, December 2
$3.00 for 1 ride Lenox Square Mall macys.com/pinkpig
Free to Attend; Peachtree St. Midtown choa.org/parade
MACY’S PINK PIG
Just in time to kick oﬀ the holidays Macy’s Pink Pig ride is back! It takes places beneath a 170-foot, 1950’s themed Pink Pig Tent at the Lenox Square Mall upper-level parking deck near Macy’s. Atlanta’s most “pink-tacular” train ride Priscilla the Pink Pig travels along train tracks to carry children and parents through a life-sized storybook that includes the original Pink Pig and other holiday friends.
December 2 - 31
e Children's Christmas Parade runs along Peachtree St. from 16th St. to 5th St. Watch as Midtown Atlanta will be transformed into Santa Claus Lane with the sights and sounds of the season. With ﬂoats, giant helium-ﬁlled balloons and marching bands, the Children's Christmas Parade will be the largest holiday parade in the southeast. ousands of spectators line up along the streets eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa and the oﬃcial beginning of the holiday season in Atlanta.
$12 Youth, $15 Adult Horizon Theatre horizontheatre.com
Friday & Saturday, December 8,9
e beloved family tradition, Madeline’s Christmas returns to Horizon eatre. A festive treat for parents and children alike, families are invited to 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 e Atlanta Children’s eatre Company.
Adult $1, 12 under Free; Cumming Fairgrounds; cummingfair.net
Free w/ General Admission; Roswell chattnaturecenter.org e year’s most popular Family Fun Day returns with a twist. Formerly known as Reindeer Day, this holiday celebration brings you and your family live reindeer, performances, winter crafts, face painting, food trucks, camp ﬁre with hot coco and more all under the twilight sky. Let CNC help you get in the holiday spirit, bring a picnic, and plan to enjoy our fun activities.
Monday, December 11
CHRISTMAS CAROLING Free Downtown Atlanta theatricaloutfit.org
eatrical Outﬁt staﬀ, patrons, friends, and artists from throughout the city gather to spread the joy of the holidays through the streets of downtown Atlanta. Don
your festive hat, bundle up in mittens and a scarf, and meet them at their home in the Balzer eater. Walk through our downtown neighborhood, hitting some planned stops along the way, sing and enjoy the Christmas spirit and then complete the evening back at the e Outﬁt for cider and cookies. All ages welcome.
Sunday, December 24
CHRISTMAS EVE OPEN HOUSE
Free; Doraville & Milton locations baldinos.us 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 an estimated 300 plus people came out. Visit baldinos.us for more information.
CHRISTMAS IN CUMMING
$12 Youth, $15 Adult Horizon Theatre horizontheatre.com
e Christmas in Cumming Arts & Crafts Show attracts over 7,500 people and will be held inside the heated Cumming Livestock Barn located on the City of Cumming Fairgrounds. ere will be more than 100 booths, light show, hayrides, roasting marshmallows, and caroling.
REceive Updated Events Weekly. Sign Up by Emailing Subscriptions@atlantaonadime.com Enter on the subject line: Sign me up Insite!
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PGDecatur-atl-in-site-dec-half-page.indd 6 • December 2017 • insiteatlanta.com 1
Visitors Center | 113 Clairemont Ave. visitdecaturga.com |
11/29/17 4:03 PM
Under The Lights HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Now Through December 24 Cobb Energy Centre (770) 916-2800 AllianceTheatre.org/christmas Join the Alliance Theatre for one of Atlanta’s most treasured holiday traditions. On Christmas Eve, 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 Broadwayscale production with beautiful live music and an all-star Atlanta cast. Experience the Alliance’s beloved adaptation by David H. Bell, staged for the first time at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre while the Alliance stage is under renovation.
Now through December 31 Horizon Theatre (404) 584-7450 HorizonTheatre.com In Horizon’s 19th year of the The Santaland Diaries, acclaimed local actor, columnist, and playwright Topher Payne will take over the role of everyone’s favorite satirical, sarcastic elf, Crumpet, in David Sedaris’ beloved play. 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.
THE LION KING
January 10 - 28 The Fox Theatre (855) 285-8499 FoxTheatre.org/TheLionKing In its 20th year, The Lion King continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Choreography and Best Direction of a Musical. The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by them. The show’s director and costume designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the production.
GIVE THE GIFT OF THEATRE WITH
THE IMPROMPTU PASS. SEE ANY SHOW IN THE SEASON WHEN YOU WANT,
COBB ENERGY CENTRE
AND AS MANY TIMES AS IAL SPEC AY D HOL I G ! IN C I R P
DEC 8 – 24
2800 COBB GALLERIA PKW Y ATLANTA, GA 30339
as low as
Purchase the Impromptu Pass at alliancetheatre.org/impromptu ason at 2017/18 se ed. The Alliance will perform all the productions of the renovat ompletely c s i r e t a e h t different venues around Atlanta while our
One of Atlanta’s most treasured holiday traditions.
by CHARLES DICKENS adapted by DAVID H. BELL directed by ROSEMARY NEWCOTT
Or, call the Season Ticket office at 404.733.4600
get tickets 404.733.5000 alliancetheatre.org/christmas
insiteatlanta.com • December 2017 • PG 7
THE REBIRTH OF SCROOGE
David de Vries on Navigating the Past, Present & Future of A Christmas Carol
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
ow in his fourth year as Ebenezer Scrooge in Alliance Theater’s production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, actor David de Vries has comfortably settled into the role. But as it moves to the Cobb Energy Center this year, the cast, crew and director Rosemary Newcott prepare to expand the popular show to meet the added demands of the big stage. Busy all year with major and indie film and television roles while constantly in-demand for audio book narration, the crafty de Vries also finds time for photography and even co-starred in a recent BritCom (Sky-TV’s “Living The Dream”). Late last month, INsite spoke with the erudite actor during the production’s hectic first week of rehearsals.
of those words. When I look at the script again after nearly a year away from it, sometimes it feels a little different to me. Then you have to follow that instinct. I’m one of those actors who pride themselves on wanting to try to “rebirth” the experience of the play. There are a lot of versions of the truth in the circumstances within it. They can almost be played like a hand of bridge and experienced in an improvisional way - at least emotionally. Everything is very structured in terms of the movement and the lines but emotionally it should be improvised. So the situation hits you a little bit differently, hopefully every time that you do it. In this show, Ebenezer Scrooge is looking at his own epitaph; it’s his own headstone and nobody else’s. That’s what makes it real for me.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
As you relive the character each season, do you ever refer to your own backstory BY THE ALLIANCE THEATER of Scrooge? After four years as Scrooge, do you At first I think I did the normal December 8–24 really need to rehearse at this point? extrapolating of who I thought this guy Cobb Energy Center It’s a good chance for me to get back was. I actually have a lot of sympathy into the story and yes some of it is just alliancetheatre.org for him. He’s an emotional anorexic. He an act of remembrance. But we always doesn’t feel that he deserves to eat or have a few newcomers - sometimes more to basically be nourished emotionally. He may use simple, than others - and they need to be integrated into the show, kind of Freudian projection to cast his self-loathing or his with all the movements and the harmonies of the music. The emotional starvation onto other people, and inside he still whole vibe of the show is familiar to everyone but we really feels hungry. But he’s gotta be close enough to the table to need to become an ensemble. It’s a blessing for me to even eat in order to have the transformation that occurs during have a role like this, especially at this time of year; typically the story. If he was so far away from the table he couldn’t things start to slow down a bit during the holidays. And yes, possibly eat at all, then the truth of the play couldn’t happen. it does extract a toll on our time with our families but we definitely create a new family within the cast. So it’s nice to That’s a very fine line. have a job and entertain people at the same time. It is and one of my own instincts as a person would be to With each shift in the cast, does the dynamic of the production change as well? Oh, always. I know it sounds cliché, but everyone is vital and there are some really important moments that involve the supporting cast - so we really have to be on the same page. I always like to see the new people make their own discoveries in their roles. In your role, you’re the ultimate observer as well as the central figure. That’s very true. As Scrooge, I have the task of watching everybody on stage so I get a really good chance to just watch everyone work. It’s great to see everyone grow into the show. Obviously it’s a very familiar story - and you have the unenviable challenge of breathing new life into it. Not only for the audience but to keep it fresh for yourself as an actor. You have to look at it from a very personal point of view. I don’t think you can approach a role with any kind of thought about other people’s expectations or what you think they might want to see. It really has to be you, connecting to the given circumstances of the character and playing the truth
see all these terrible mistakes he’s made, as shown during the Christmas Past sequence in the beginning, and I’d immediately go, ‘Oh man, I suck. I’ve gotta change my ways!’ But Scrooge can’t do that. He has to go through the Present and Future. He has to have this reservoir of resistance to what he’s seeing as it unfolds. For me, that’s the hardest part of the story to navigate as an actor. It’s a long road to redemption. (Laughs) and that sounds like a country song! But it’s true. Suspense is a wonderful story trope but it’s not always necessary. When we see Hamlet or Oedipus for example, we know what’s gonna happen eventually so it’s the particulars that occur along the way that make us feel connected to it. That’s what you really want the audience to feel. You want them to at least have that one moment where they go, ‘Ugh, is that me?’ If we can make even that one moment of connection then I think they’ll take the journey along with the character. It has to be something so familiar it evokes a very personal emotion. Exactly and the Alliance’s mission is expanding hearts and minds, so it works. I think we’re all really looking for some
Holiday Gift Guide SHOP DECATUR
VisitDecaturGA.com Make downtown Decatur your one stop for all of your holiday gifting. Each Thursday this month up until Christmas, shops all around Decatur will be offering special holiday deals. Get in the holiday spirit with their tree lighting, Santa sightings and bonfire on the square. Join in on the jolly and enjoy refreshments and extended hours at 30+ participating shops. Get the details at Visitdecaturga.com. PG 8 • December 2017 • insiteatlanta.com
ALEXANDER’S OF ATLANTA
AlexandersofAtlanta.com Toco Hills Shopping Center 404.634.3197 Alexander’s of Atlanta has been celebrating life’s moments with fine jewelry and gifts for the last 53 years in the Toco Hill Shopping Center. Recently they decided to close our doors for good. This means you have the opportunity to save like never before! They are literally throwing open their vaults in this once in a lifetime sale. The have drastically reduced prices and their entire inventory has been marked with savings of up to 70% OFF!
sort of bridge, whether it’s in the headspace or heartspace. It’s like when you look up at the stars and you suddenly feel very small but you feel very safe within it. You’re a part of something much bigger. That’s pretty much the same as when magic happens in theater or in music or with anybody interacting with a real piece of art. It’s that moment where you just go, ‘Ah yes, I’m part of this.’ It’s what all true artists aspire to create, I think. It’s what we get up and try to do every day. Sometimes that’s hard to think about when you have a 10:30 matinee and you’ve been stuck in traffic and you have a little bit of a head cold. But that’s what we definitely shoot for. I’d like to say it happens each and every time - but sometimes it doesn’t. That’s the beauty of live performance. Even in controlled environments, you never know what will eventually happen in the moment. You don’t. And you know what? Sometimes you strike out! You walk back out of that batter’s box but you don’t curse the pitcher. No, you just go, ‘Ok, I’ve got another at-bat coming up in a while and I’ll try to do my best. I’ll just swing away even harder next time.’ If you connect with that newness, particularly when the unexpected happens, not only will it be more real for everyone else, you’ll enjoy it even more as an actor. For me, the message of theater has always been: ‘Be here now,’ because this is it. If you can be a part of that, you’re gonna get something that’s so much more satisfying than, say, spending an hour looking at your phone. This is not a movie; this is what we’re doing right now. It’s live and it’s real.
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“JUST LIKE RONNIE SAID…”
Legendary Rock Icon Ronnie Spector Parties in the Christmas Present
1961. What are the biggest changes - good and bad - you’ve experienced? HE INCREDIBLE CAREER OF Ronnie Spector preWell the production is much better. There are much better dates the British Invasion of the early ‘60s and includes venues, too. I mean, back in the day sometimes we’d play hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s. This holiday season, for the gymnasiums! The thing I don’t like about today is no one sings first time in over 40 years, Spector leads a new edition of her live anymore. I sang live on most of the TV shows in the 60’s group The Ronettes on tour and on a new single - featuring the like Shindig and Hullbaloo. On some shows you couldn’t - like same thick, wall-of-sound-style production she helped pioneer American Bandstand or Hollywood Palace. I just don’t quite get in the early ‘60s with Svengali producer (and eventual husband) why they don’t sing live today. Some artists say it’s ‘cause they’re Phil Spector. dancing. But I remember at the Brooklyn Fox Theatre watching Every year since its release in 1963, A the Temptations perform. I loved peeking Christmas Gift For You, Phil’s all-star through the curtain and watching their legs holiday LP, has attracted new fans for both move. Those guys sang and danced live. It Ronnie and album co-star Darlene Love. was all live. Wednesday, Dec. 6 The infectious tracks became inescapable City Winery staples of radio, television, film and even Let’s talk about some of the legendary internet outlets. Due to the demand, Ronnie citywinery.com/atlanta people you’ve worked with, beginning with occasionally revisits some of those jingleyour single on Apple which was produced jangle favorites as well as many of her own with most of the Beatles’ involvement in successful songs - including her greatest hit, “Be My Baby.” ‘71. Was it planned as an LP and if so what became of the Currently on the road with the new Ronettes on their “Best other tracks? Christmas Party Ever” tour, the Rock Hall of Fame inductee Yes it was actually planned as an album and there were some took a break and spoke with INsite about her considerable past - wonderful moments at Abbey Road Studios. But there was also and present. a very negative presence there that wouldn’t allow The Beatles and I to work in peace and just have fun. We were having a blast It’s exciting that you’re reviving the Ronettes. How and why did for a while with George and John and me hanging out with the you decide to form the new edition of the group? musicians, eating Tandori chicken and drinking wine but it Well it happened last summer at the Glastonbury Festival in just ended too soon. There are a few tracks left over from those the UK. Everyone was on that show, from Adele on down. I’m sessions and George used some of my vocals on a single. on stage and there are tons of kids out there going crazy and I glance over at my girls - they smile back and they were doing the Having been inside your former husband’s Wall of Sound Ronettes dance thing. It’s a smooth move but you have to shake productions, what was the secret to that instantly recognizable it up a bit with lots of attitude! That moment brought me right sound and what was he like in the studio as a producer? back to what it used to be like in the ‘60s, that it was all about Jack Nitzsche was the secret weapon that made lots of magic having fun on stage! with those arrangements which you can hear all over the Christmas album. As a producer [Phil Spector] was very focused. Tell us about the new members. The original line-up was He knew exactly what he wanted and he knew how to get it. your sister and cousin; is this a family band as well? Another “Ronnie and the Relatives” [the Ronettes’ original band name] On many of your early recordings, a very young Cher was in retrospect? among the backing vocalists. Did you know her back then? The new Ronettes are Gnomi Gre and Zhana Saunders and Of course I knew her! We were best girlfriends and we hung I love having them on stage with me. We go out and rock! out all the time. The very first recording she sang on We aren’t relatives in this line-up but my cousin was “Be My Baby.” She would drive me all around Cindy Mizelle who has worked with everyone from L.A. in her MG. We’d go to the drive-ins to eat, Springsteen to The Stones does record with us which I loved. I remember when I came back so that keeps it in the family. The original group from our first UK tour she freaked over all was my sister Estelle and cousin Nedra and The the clothes I got on Carnaby Street. Ronettes were definitely a family. I think that connection gave us a blood sound and a real You worked with the Bruce Springsteen’s closeness. There are plenty of pictures of us from E-Street Band on a project [including the 60’s where we’re all holding hands because “Say Goodbye To Hollywood,” a single that’s how close we were. My mom would travel reissued for Record Store Day 2014]. with us to keep the boys away. What do you remember most about that collaboration? Your sister Estelle is sadly no longer with us, It came about through John Lennon, but did you approach Nedra or any of the ‘70s who was a friend. I bumped into John line-up about reviving the act? on the street in New York, and he No, I wouldn’t do that. I like to keep moving introduced me to his engineer, Jimmy forward. Relaunching The Ronettes really was Iovine who was with him. He invited me something I did for me and for the audience. down to the Record Plant. On the spot, Nedra is a born-again Christian and she Bruce re-wrote a song [“You Mean So doesn’t want to sing rock and roll anymore. Much To Me”] for Southside Johnny That’s her choice. I do it ‘cause I love it and I and me to record as a duet. It was a need it. crazy time for me but Bruce and the band allowed me to get back And now there’s “Love Power,” a brand new to what I loved, which was Ronettes song for 2017 - and it sounds great. How making music and touring. did it feel to record as a group again? They also had great respect It felt amazing to record as Ronnie and the Ronettes! for me as an artist. I so needed We really kept the right message too with “Love that kind of support in the ‘70s. Power” because that’s so needed today. Fast forward to a decade later. Your duet Will there ever be another Ronettes album? with Eddie Money brought you to a whole new There’s still only one so far, from 1964. generation in the ‘80s. How did that come about? I would love to tell you there will be a new Eddie was working on his comeback album and Ronettes album on the way but it’s such a different he had that song. The hook, of course, was ‘just like world today. You just have to hope there is an Ronnie sang, be my little baby.’ And I’m Ronnie! Eddie opportunity to record more music. thought, ‘Hey how ‘bout we get Ronnie?’ Once we got together in the studio it really was magic. Before I knew it, You’ve been active in the music industry since we had a Top 5 song!
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
Tell us about the Christmas Party tour. What can we expect to hear? All the Christmas hits you hear every year like “Sleigh Ride” and “Frosty,” lots of rock’n’roll, classic Ronettes recordings, a little Doo Wop, and lots and lots of shaking! We have a great video that we project that no one has ever seen before. And I think there’ll be a surprise or two. Obviously “Be My Baby” is the showstopper and it has an incredible legacy. Do you ever get tired of it? You know, I never get tired of singing it! Before every show, I still get nervous and I’ll start pacing. Do you remember the first time you heard it as a demo and then the first time you heard the record? I first heard it when Ellie Greenwich was playing the piano and they were writing it. First time I heard it after its release was on American Bandstand when The Ronettes were on tour in Wildwood, New Jersey. Dick Clark said, ‘This next song is going to be the song of the century.’ Then we heard the drum intro and we freaked and started screaming and hugging each other! One single year of your career is impressive but you’ve achieved what most artists only dream about for a lifetime. Is there anything you’ve wanted to do but haven’t yet? I’ve always wanted to be a character actress and I still dream of being one. But if I’ve learned anything in my life it’s that you never give up on your dreams - no matter what! insiteatlanta.com • December 2017 • PG 9
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. Agave Gift Cards make the perfect stocking stuffer. 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. In the back of Landmark Diner’s Buckhead restaurant is the Punchline Comedy Club. 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 2017, 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.
Eclipse di Luna
4505 Ashford Dunwoody Rd. 678.205.5862 764 Miami Circle 404.846.0449 eclipsediluna.com
Eclipse di Luna has set the trend for tapas restaurants in Atlanta. With over two dozen tapas to choose from, there is something to please any taste. Their tapas are priced affordably to encourage multiple sampling. The menu offers a variety of glutton-free and vegetarian tapas. Both locations offer private dining rooms and catering menus for holiday party bookings.
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 take-out, delivery and catering are available.
Baldinos Giant Jersey Subs
80 Powers Ferry Rd. 770.321.1177 (Closed Sundays) 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
This eclectic neighborhood restaurant is a favorite hangout among residents of Little 5 and Avondale Estates. Both
I Ns i t e ★ 201 7
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BEST SUBS IN ATLANTA 12 STRAIGHT YEARS! PG 10 • December 2017 • insiteatlanta.com
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 2017, 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.
HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAYS Atlanta Botanical Garden
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 2017. 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!
GARDEN LIGHTS, HOLIDAY NIGHTS
Atlanta Botanical Garden Through January 7 Atlantabotanicalgarden.org The seventh annual electrical extravaganza features spectacular light displays throughout the Garden, including the new high-tech Nature’s Wonders, illuminating the world’s natural phenomena through countless strands of synchronized dancing lights strung high over Storza Woods. Explore the Walk of Flames and Tunnel of Light along with favorites such as the Orchestral Orbs, Glittering Galaxy, Radiant Rainforest, and Model Trains that continue to make the exhibition a must-see holiday tradition. Atlanta’s greenest holiday celebration brightens the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s 30 acres with nearly 2 million colorful, energy-efficient LED light bulbs. 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. Stone Mountain Christmas
Christmas Tree, A Christmas Carol and more. Rudolph The Red-Nosed-Reindeer 4-D! is back at their 4D theatre. 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
MAGICAL NIGHTS OF LIGHTS
Lake Lanier Islands Through January 3 Lakelanierislands.com Taking over Lake Lanier Islands for the 25th year, 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.” This year introduces a new 65-foot Christmas Tree! 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. Open daily from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
LIGHTS OF LIFE
STONE MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS
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Stone Mountain Park Through December 31 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 will 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 famous mountainside is lit up by a holiday-themed 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
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. Tickets available at Life.edu
FANTASY IN LIGHTS
Callaway Gardens Through January 6 Callawaygardens.com Treat your family to fun filled with holiday cheer with Christmas at Callaway, featuring Fantasy In Lights, one of National Geographic’s Top 10 Light Displays. 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.
insiteatlanta.com • December 2017 • PG 11
THERE’S A NEW CRUMPET IN TOWN!
Busy Playwright-Actor Topher Payne Takes on the Elf Off the Shelf
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
ITH A KEEN, SOUTHERN -fried eye for quirky characterdriven drama, playwright Topher Payne has amassed laurels and laughs from some of the nation’s toughest critics. Since last month, the prolific stage and screen writer has assumed a new role as Crumpet in David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries. The popular attraction is now in its 19th season at the Horizon Theater, bookending Madeline’s Christmas which is currently celebrating 10 years at the venue. INsite caught up with Payne as he relaxed before a recent performance.
As a writer, did you approach it from a different perspective? Yes since my primary profession is as a playwright, I just treated it like it was a new play. I set everything else aside and approached it as the story of this character. Much to my delight, [director] Jeff Adler took the exact same approach. We just treated it like it was brand new.
That’s a very healthy and organic way to revive it. Because of that, we found so many new things we can do. Enoch King and Lala NOW THRU DEC. 31 Cochran, who support my sorry butt every night, their Horizon Theatre You have some big shoes performances are just in to fill. Harold Leaver was horizontheatre.com pantomime. I provide all the attached to the role of voices for the characters, but Crumpet for nearly two we started by asking them, ‘Ok if you were decades. actually speaking those roles, what would I know! I am bookended by fandom on that look and sound like?’ When I started both sides. I have people who delighted in modulating my performances based on their Harold’s work for 18 years and people who’ve choices, we started discovering all these new loved David Sedaris’ reading of the work as and exciting things. it’s beamed into their heads from 20 years of hearing it on NPR. Over the years, the show has been adapted a bit to include cultural references of the That’s a daunting prospect for any artist. moment, but you have reverted back to the It is. And just in general, you don’t want original storyline for this season, correct? to mess with people’s Christmas! When Yes, that’s right and that’s part of looking they have their holiday traditions in place, at it as if what if this was a brand-new sometimes people can be loath to change show. What if this material had never been them. I was such a big fan of Harold’s work performed before? I think that’s healthy in the show and I got to see it up close so I at the beginning of any rehearsal process, know how great it was. but in particular for this one, I didn’t have a way that I’d done it before, so there was Were you overwhelmed by the prospect nothing to sort of fall back on. I think that’s of shaking up a longstanding theater a great testament to the durability of Sedaris’ tradition? writing, that something he wrote a couple of When [Horizon co-artistic director] Lisa decades ago is still shockingly relevant now. Adler first mentioned it to me, I had to remember how dissimilar we are as actors. That’s rare for any modern piece and the If I came in trying to do a poor man’s Harold beauty of a truly lasting work of art. Leaver, it would serve nobody. But that’s not Yeah and with many of the jokes he wrote even an option. Physically we’re different and about the “uncertain times” of the late ‘80s, even the sounds of our voices are different. early ‘90s, no matter where you fall on the Because of that, I was able to let that piece of political spectrum, I think we can all agree it go. The memory and legend of what he did we are living in surprising times. Different with this role will always remain intact and details like that pop out and for me. It’s untouched. almost like returning to a favorite book
WE NEED A CHARACTER WHO ACTUALLY GIVES US THE PERMISSION TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE RIDICULOUS EXPECTATIONS WE ATTACH TO THIS TIME OF YEAR. THIS IS A CHARACTER WHO GIVES US PERMISSION TO LAUGH AT IT.
a decade later. You might identify with a completely different character when you read it again. At this point, at least half of every audience has either seen the show before, heard the radio adaptation or read the story. But what’s so great about that is we need a character who actually gives us the permission to acknowledge the ridiculous expectations we attach to this time of year. This is a character who gives us permission to laugh at it. It’s cathartic. People leave this show feeling purged, it’s almost like you’ve been to church, you know? You’ve gotten it out of your system and now it’s a little easier to face the world outside. What a gift to be able to be a part of it. You’ve had a few performances under your belt since it started in the middle of last month. How do you feel about the show now? You know, when I first auditioned I wasn’t looking for a performance piece and it’s been a year or so since the last time I was onstage. I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just go to the audition and see how it goes.’ It’s so rare to have the opportunity for a performer to tell a story directly to the audience. I’d never been afforded that; I’d read my own work at book signings, but this is different. So the specific challenges of the role were new to me as a performer. I’ve been so surprised and energized as to how the show changes based upon the people in the room. My scene partner is the audience and the person I’m playing off of are the strangers sitting in the house that night. I don’t know what they’re bringing with them. Right, who knows what their day was like? Then you have to entertain them. Well you know the joke in Atlanta theater is that Fridays are the worst nights because that audience sat in traffic longer than anyone else. They’ve had to move mountains just to get to the theater. So they come in and they’re kind of in a mood. Creating even more work for you, to get on their good side. Exactly. You have to give them permission to relax and settle. My job in the first, say,
PG 12 • December 2017 • insiteatlanta.com
ten or fifteen minutes of the show is doing what I can do to put them at ease. Get them to trust me and let go of all the stress and the thoughts that are running through their heads. I have to help them laugh at ourselves and the people around us and then send them out, hopefully a little better than they came in. It’s a funny business that you have to take very seriously. But a lot of your work, especially your scripts, mix comedy and compassionate insight in equal doses. I think the way I often get audiences to engage with my characters, is to get them to laugh. Once somebody makes you laugh, you like them. Then you start hoping they’ll make you laugh again, so you start paying a little more attention to them. It’s addictive. Yes! And it’s disarming. Everybody thinks they have a stupid laugh, so once you can get an audience just letting go and just laughing, uninhibited, you know they’re with you. But then when it doesn’t happen, it can be quite irritating. But there’s a limit - as with anything - to what’s funny. I’ll never enjoy or create humor at the expense of people who do not have power. That’s bullying and that’s just not funny. But comedy that punches up to people who are able to take a couple of licks, that’s fine. And really, it’s not gonna affect that person one bit. Santaland Diaries is often sort of misrepresented as a “snarky” comedy. Exactly. I think Sedaris has never been quite given the proper appreciation for the being the Southern writer that he is, he’s from North Carolina after all. The true genius of his writing falls right in alignment with Eudora Welty, and it has the same bizarre fascination with the peccadillos that make us all so fascinating. One of our goals for this production was to show that this collective madness is something we all share, so that’s perfect. Hey as a southerner, I’m right in the thick of it with everybody else and really, all we can do is laugh.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Peach Drop 2018 Downtown Atlanta
December 31; 11AM until 3AM Free Admission; Peachdrop.com
Start 2018 off right at the Southeast’s largest New Year’s Eve gathering. 175,000 patrons have congregated on the streets around Underground Atlanta for the Peach Drop each year to watch an 800-pound peach descend from its 138-foot tower of lights to its resting place, where confetti showers over attendees and dazzling fireworks light the sky. The event is rumored to move to Woodruff Park. Visit Peachdrop.com.
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Georgia Dome January 1 at 7:30PM cfapb.com
Returning to Atlanta in 2018, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will be played on Monday, Jan. 1. This year’s edition will host the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class induction ceremony. With the National College Football Hall of Fame just steps away, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the city of Atlanta will make their mark as the heart of college football for years to come. Visit cfapb.com for tickets.
Southern Exchange @ 200 Peachtree December 31 8:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. DowntownCountdownATL.com
For the 14th consecutive year, Atlanta's marquee New Year's Eve party is has moved to its new location at the Southern Exchange on Peachtree Street. This energetic event is an exhilarating night full of entertainment and top-notch party luxuries like a premium open bar, gourmet food menu and midnight champagne toast. Live performances by DJ Suspense spinning Top 40, Hip Hop, House & Dance. Enjoy stateof-the-art lighting and sound system in the Whitehall Ballroom.
IRIS NYE Experience
2715 Buford Hwy. (770) 240-0377 Sunday, December 31, 10pm - 4:00am irispresents.com
The number one EDM New Year's Eve event in the Southeast returns for its 7th sold out year. Last year featured 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. Visit IRISPresents.com for more info.
New Beers Eve
Front Page News & Tijuana Garage L5P Sunday, December 31, 9pm - 1am atlantabeerfestivals.com
Atlanta Beer Festivals hosts the 6th New Beers Eve on December 31 at Front Page News and Tijuana Garage in Little 5 Points. This is an allinclusive event with appetizer buffet, well liquor, house wine, and over 40 beer options. Live music from The Geeks Band, DJ Qtip and more. Tickets are $70 advance, $80 after Dec. 22, and $95 day of event. First 100 tickets sold just $60. All details and tickets can be found at AtlantaBeerFestivals.com.
Dropping of the Edelweiss The Festhalle in Helen, GA
December 31 1074 Edelweiss Strasse 706.878.1908 HelenChamber.com
Celebrate New Year’s Eve this year in the mountains of beautiful Helen, GA. The 5th 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. $20 per person; $35 per couple; kids under 6 free; ages 6-12 half price. Tickets available at HelenChamber.com.
Atlanta Wine Festivals New Year’s Eve City Winery - Ponce City Market Sunday, December 31, 9pm-1am, VIP 8pm atlantawinefestivals.com
Atlanta Wine Festivals New Year’s Eve is an allinclusive party with premium buffet, liquor, beer, and great wine options. Held at City Winery within Ponce City Market, this event features Live music and DJ. General Admission tickets are $99 advance and go up to $109 after Dec. 22. They are $119 day of event. The first 100 tickets sold are just $85. VIP Tickets include 8pm entry and exclusive VIP bars and are $139 advance, $149 after Dec. 22 (not available day of). First 50 just $125. All details and tickets can be found at AtlantaWineFestivals.com. insiteatlanta.com • December 2017 • PG 13
Movie Reviews BY STEVE WARREN
JUSTICE LEAGUE (PG-13)
1/2 The toughest foe for our Justice League friends isn’t Steppenwolf, this movie’s axe-wielding villain who’s determined to send Earth back to the Cretaceous Period. No, the biggest enemy for Batman, Wonder Woman and Co. is the mainstream box office. Though this headlinerheavy film does a solid job of keeping audiences entertained for two hours, it has only mustered $170 million over its first 10 days of domestic release. (For comparison’s sake, Avengers: Age of Ultron did $313 million in business in the same span back in 2015.) At this point, D.C., the proud comic brand that delivered the woeful Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and winning Wonder Woman, must be pondering what it needs to do to keep up with Spider-Man and Thor. Short answer: It has to lighten up — literally and figuratively. The grayish-blue haze shrouding Justice League’s lens creates a dreariness that makes Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne/Batman seem even more sullen than usual. And then there’s the lack of light-heartedness in general. Sure, Flash (Ezra Miller) is an absolute find as the quickwitted new recruit but he’s often overshadowed in scenes by Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), fellow fresh faces who don’t seem terribly excited about starting a new band. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) keeps her stride as the voice of reason and really cool accessories. A few familiar faces make cameos, too, stirring some intrigue about future D.C. Universe projects over the next couple of years. Of course, by the time they release, Marvel’s impressive-looking Black Panther and another Avengers will have come out and likely done superhuman numbers at the box office. This could create even more of a gulf between the two comic book behemoths if D.C. doesn’t start having more fun saving the world. –DeMarco Williams
THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS (PG)
On the heels of Goodbye Christopher Robin, a depressing look at the creation of the whimsical Winnie the Pooh books, comes this more cheerful tale of Charles Dickens writing the more somber A Christmas Carol. Susan Coyne’s screenplay avoids potential confusion as she weaves several threads together, finding wry humor in the most serious situations. We meet Dickens (Dan Stevens) in October 1843. He’s followed the success of Oliver Twist with three failed books and, though living well on credit, is currently broke as well as blocked. An Irish housemaid sparks the idea for a holiday saga involving spirits,
THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS PG 14 • December 2017 • insiteatlanta.com
and suddenly everyone Dickens encounters becomes a character in the novel – and the movie, as he spends as much time in their world as his own. He also spends some time in the past dealing with daddy issues, which continue in the present when his father (Jonathan Pryce) comes to sponge off him. Even a passing familiarity with the novel or its various adaptations will be enough to connect the fragments and recognize Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) as that story develops along with Dickens’ own. The author is painted as a kind and generous – but temperamental – man in a world of Scrooges. The period is nicely recreated on a modest scale, so everything looks and feels properly – er, Dickensian. –SW
WONDER WHEEL (PG-13)
1/2 Remembering when Woody Allen was funny makes me feel old. In Wonder Wheel he attempts to do for Kate Winslet what he did for Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine; but this melodrama, set in the early 1950s, plays like an unfunny parody of films of the period. Douglas Sirk might have made it work at the time, with Lana Turner in the lead; or Todd Haynes, emulating Sirk, 50 years later with Julianne Moore. Winslet gets a showcase but plays one of the year’s least sympathetic characters. Her Ginny, having wrecked her first marriage, is five years into her second, with alcoholic Humpty (Jim Belushi). She has a young son who’s a pyromaniac. Humpty’s grown daughter, Carolina (Juno Temple), shows up in need of help. She had married a mobster, then squealed when the FBI put pressure on her. Now she’s a marked woman. In his narration, Mickey (Justin Timberlake), a veteran working as a lifeguard, tries to excuse the melodramatic plot because he’s studying to be a playwright. But no one could make it less so, when Mickey’s been having an affair with Ginny all summer and now is attracted to Carolina. As Mickey says, “It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes or Eugene O’Neill to plot this one out. A lifeguard can do it.” The cast does what they can with what they’ve got and the technical work is outstanding – beautiful artificially-colored lighting indoors and the period Coney Island outside, with the best soundtrack of early-‘50s hits since The Last Picture Show. There’s an authentic Coke bottle but its Pepsi counterpart is anachronistic – not “the real thing.” –SW
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (R)
1/2 This movie has been #1 on my must-see list since the first trailer dropped last spring. The combination of writer-director Martin McDonagh and Frances McDormand as a sarcastic, foul-mouthed bitch checked enough of my boxes that I feared my too-high expectations would doom me to disappointment. Why do I doubt myself? One of the funniest and most serious films of the year, it’ll be on my Ten Best list next month. The way it immerses you in the title town, within half an hour you feel like you know everyone there; and before it’s over you’ll feel like a resident. Mildred Hayes (McDormand) rents the crumbling billboards on a little-traveled road to ask Police Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) why he hasn’t caught the person who kidnapped, raped and killed her daughter seven months ago. The signs polarize the town, with Willoughby, who’s dying of cancer, one of the few on Mildred’s side; but he doesn’t know how to warm the cold case. This isn’t a story of heroes and villains, but of flawed individuals like us –
JUSTICE LEAGUE some more flawed than others. Sam Rockwell plays an alcoholic cop, known to be a racist, who lives with his mother. John Hawkes is Mildred’s ex-husband, an ex-cop, who lives with his 19-year-old girlfriend. There’s sweetness amid the sour, as McDonagh’s script comments on just about every current controversy except politics. As an old chamber of commerce billboard says before Mildred revamps it, “Ebbing...worth stopping for.” –SW
Daisy’s greatest fear about her impending death is that it would cause her to live with hated Aunt Margaret (Carrie Preston), Mom’s polar opposite. I found just about everyone annoying in the first half of the movie, but warmed up to some of them in the second half. Daisy Winters is dedicated to its writer-director, Beth LaMure, who died a year before its release. –SW
Everyone’s cuckoo over Coco, which sees Mexicans through different eyes than our presidente. Young viewers may not fully understand the concept of Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) but they’ll get enough from the context. Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), 12, wants to be a singer like his idol, the late Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). But his great-great-grandmother banned music in the family after her husband abandoned her. Miguel learns that de la Cruz was that man and, on the day the spirits of the dead return to visit the living who remember them, he crosses the other way in search of his ancestor. He’s aided by Hector (Gael García Bernal), a trickster with his own agenda – and some secrets. The basic story is sweet and sappy but visual diversions keep that from being an issue. The near-total immersion in another culture (save mostly-English dialogue) will spark some youngsters’ appreciation of diversity without being dumbed down to insult their budding intelligence. It should inspire gringitos to take an interest in Latin cultures, the way my sixthgrade teacher did when she told us about her summer vacation in Mexico. Pixar’s computer animation is, not unexpectedly, as good as it gets. The accompanying short, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, is a mini-sequel to Frozen that won’t stir up much anticipation for the upcoming Frozen 2. They should have let it go. –SW
DAISY WINTERS (PG-13)
1/2 Filmed in Savannah, Daisy Winters is a combination of A Monster Calls, Psycho, Star Wars and Daisy’s favorite movie, Harold and Maude. I realize that reads as crazy as it sounded in my head, but it’s the truth; and I can’t justify it because it involves spoilers. Daisy (Sterling Jerins), 11, has a morbid fascination with morbidity, in part because her single mom (Brooke Shields) has been battling cancer for half of Daisy’s life. Viewed through Daisy’s eyes her neighborhood is a psychiatric facility with separate dwellings. Everyone is suicidally depressed or at least weird (Iwan Rheon). Daisy seems to have only one friend – chubby, bullied Jackson (Nick Gore) – at least until Josh (Kyle Red Silverstein) moves to town; but when she breaks her arm her cast gets hundreds of autographs. As much as she loves her mother,
THE BREADWINNER THE BREADWINNER (PG-13)
1/2 If your little girl has outgrown Disney princesses, she may still not be ready for this animated look at the horrors of being female in Afghanistan under Taliban rule, even though the heroine is a girl young enough to pass for a boy. When Parvana’s father, who lost a leg in the war, is arrested, she becomes the primary provider for her mother, big sister and baby brother. But under the law a female can’t leave her home unescorted, even to work or fetch food and water. So Parvana pulls a Yentl – cuts her hair and puts on her late brother’s clothes to move around freely, including trying to see her father in prison. She runs into an old schoolmate who’s doing the same thing and they team up. Is it a bromance when neither is really a bro? Parallel with the main plot is an ancient fable that starts as a bedtime story, about a youth on a quest to save his village by confronting the Elephant King. A co-production of Ireland, Canada and Luxembourg (with dialogue in English), The Breadwinner suggests strong violence without quite showing it; but American girls could still be traumatized by witnessing life in a country where their counterparts are used as currency in arranged marriages. The characters are pretty basic, the backgrounds more artfully drawn. I was hoping for another Persepolis but this isn’t it. The Breadwinner isn’t bad but if you’re like me, you’ll want to like it more than you do. –SW See the rest of our movie reviews at insiteatlanta.com/movies.asp
Album Reviews NEW RELEASES THE LATEST DVD, BLU RAY & VOD RELEASES
REVIEWS BY JOHN B. MOORE
Drivin’ N’ Cryin’
Mystery Road [Expanded Edition]
(Island Records/UMe) In what hopefully kicks off the first of several expanded edition albums from Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, Island and UMe have just re-released “Mystery Road” (on vinyl and CD), with seven demos tacked onto the classic record. Curiously, the re-release started with the band’s third album, though arguable one of their best. Criminally underrated as a group during their initial run in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, Mystery Road’s “Honeysuckle Blue” and “Straight To Hell” did manage to get a little love from college radio in 1989. The demos on this re-release were all produced by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, more proof that DNC was just about every Georgia rocker’s favorite band at the time. For demos, the songs here are not that far removed from the final product that ended up on the official record, with most being fully formed by this stage. Of the crop, “Honey Suckle Blue” probably sounds the most different as the guitars drop back once Kevn Kinney starts singing (the final version admittedly ends up sounding better). There are also several demos here that never made it on the album like “1988,” probably the weakest tack here; The mellow, folky “Not Afraid to Die,” a great song that surprisingly never made it onto a studio album; and the album closer, the somber “Mountaintop,” another great track that was homeless until now. “MacDougal Blues” never made it onto a DNC record, but ended up being the title track from Kinney’s solo debut the following year. Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ deftly combined punk, folk, Southern rock and country long before many other more successful bands that came out later ever thought of blending the genres, so it’s great to see their remarkable catalogue finally getting another shot. I hope this signals just the first of many more expanded editions from the group’s catalogue.
Willie Nelson and the Boys
Willie’s Stash Vol. 2 (Legacy Recordings)
It’s been about six months since Willie Nelson last put out a record (a near eternity in Nelson time), so of course he’s got another one ready to release. Keeping in theme the first offering of “Willie’s Secret Stash” (a collection of duets with his older sister Bobbie), “Vol. 2” finds Nelson teaming up with his sons Micah and Lukas, both solid singers in their own right. The trio cover 11 country classics, including a handful of Hank William Sr.’s songs (“Move It On Over,” “Mind Your Own Business,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and an achingly beautiful “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”). Most of these songs have been covered ad nauseum over the years, for good and bad, but the Nelson boys manage to add relevance to yet another cover with their versions. There’s also great takes on Hank Cochran’s “Can I Sleep In Your Arms,” and a nice reimaging of Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On.” I’m just realizing that all of country music’s great Hanks are covered
By John Moore
here. There is also a new track from Willie, “Healing Hands of Time,” a solid song, but one that gets overshadowed by the classics it’s sandwiched between. Lukas and Micah both share Willie’s distinct nasally vocals, but to a lesser extent, making for some fantastic harmonies throughout. The two have played shows off and on with Willie over the years, so it’s great to finally have them all together one on record.
Guided By Voices
Live From Austin, TX (New West Records)
Guided By Voices are nothing, if not prolific. Despite breaking up a few times between the late ‘80s and now, they’ve already turned in 25 albums, ranging from great to, well, so-so. With a spotty track record, it’s nice knowing you can easily dip into their catalogue thanks to this fantastic live collection from 2004. Recorded on the set of Austin City Limits as part of the band’s first farewell tour, this 30-song show is a virtual best of for fans of the band. The album was initially put out on DVD 10 years ago, but New West has just re-released this as a 2-CD/DVD combo and on a double LP set on vinyl. The LPs are on 180g vinyl and comes with a gatefold jacket. With this show, still true to their lo-fi roots, the band is all energy from the first song, the searing “Demons Are Real” to the crowd singalong closer, “Echoes Myron.” And much like The Replacements, another brilliant mid-west band that could put on fantastic shows one night and a forgettable drunken wreck the next, Robert Pollard and crew showcase the former with this Austin show. One of the band’s best live performances finally getting a proper re-introduction.
(Universal Studios Home Entertainment) Atomic Blonde is the latest in a series of fantastically imaginative action movies, alongside John Wick and the Mad Max reboot, that are helping to revive the once-stagnant genre, injecting it with stunning fight scenes, smart plot lines and A list actors. Stylistically impressive with plenty of neon and a smart ‘80s soundtrack that adds to the frenetic vibe, the movie is set on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall involving a British spy trying to keep the identities of her fellow spies a secret. A fast-paced, complex plot that is moved along easily thanks to great acting, Atomic Blonde is a thriller with twists up to the very last moments.
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (20th
Century Fox Home Entertainment) Amazing story telling is being able to take a movie where the lead character is almost entirely computer generated and make it a compelling drama. In this concluding film, the protagonist ape Caesar is played masterfully by Andy Serkis. He, along with the few surviving apes are pitted against the brutal Colonel (Woody Harrelson in all his menacing glory) for control of the planet. The movie is as emotional as it is thrilling thanks
to the acting of Harrelson and Serkis, who has managed to take a B-movie concept (a talking primate) and turns into a protagonist you care deeply about.
BLACK SABBATH – THE END
(Eagle Vision) Black Sabbath’s final stop on their final tour ended where the band began, in their hometown of Birmingham, England. Eagle Vision captures that final show – recorded on February 4th, 2017 - in the aptly titled DVD/CD combo titled “The End.” It’s disingenuous to say the band is in top form at this show. Bassist Geezer Butler and guitarist Tomi Iommi sound remarkable, as does the kid on this tour, drummer Tommy Clufetos (a spry 37 years old, by comparison), but Osbourne’s vocals have certainly seen better days. But once the band gets into the set, you start to lose focus on the thinness of Osbourne’s vocals and realize just how remarkable it is that the group is still playing these classics so many years later.
FINDING JOSEPH I (MVD Visual)
Even among musicians, Paul H.R. Hudson is certainly interesting guy. As leader of the seminal D.C. punk band Bad Brains, his primitive vocal style has influenced hundreds and just as it seemed the band was finally taking off, he left the group. He flirted with religion and switched his focus to Reggae when the world was finally coming around to his take on hardcore. Finding Joseph I takes on the seemingly impossible task of attempting to profile H.R. through a series of interviews with bandmates, his family, fellow musicians, his wife/caretaker and H.R. himself. At times a little difficult to watch, especially listening to Hudson’s self-recorded ramblings and obvious mental illness, Finding Joseph I still manages to pay homage to the legendary singer and all he has accomplished.
Roy Orbison With the Royal Philharmonic
A Love So Beautiful (Legacy Recordings)
On the surface, this appears to be just another standard music legend/world class orchestra collaboration; A gift to fans, but a collective shoulder shrug from everyone else. “A Love So Beautiful,” however, is so much more. Working with Orbison’s estate, producers Don Reedman and Nick Patrick, took some of Orbison’s best vocals tracks throughout his decades-long career and added the backing of a full orchestra. And if you’re one to cry blasphemy at just the idea of touching up someone’s work after they pass away, just listen to the results. Orbison’s smooth-as-velvet voice is complemented beautifully by these subtle arrangements. Orbison’s family was fully committed to this project with his sons Wesley, Roy Jr. and Alex adding in additional guitars and drums throughout. While the occasional rocker like “Pretty Woman” and “Mean Woman Blues” fare better sans strings, songs like “Love Hurts” and “Only The Lonely” are enhanced impressively by the additional musicians. The set also includes a last-minute inclusion of the Willie Nelson holiday great “Pretty Paper,” utilizing a 1963 Orbison vocal track. While I certainly wouldn’t advocate adding orchestral arrangements to the work of every musician who’s passed on, it worked out remarkably well with Orbison’s catalog.
See more reviews at insiteatlanta.com insiteatlanta.com • December 2017 • PG 15
DAVID CROSBY: “THE MUSIC PLAYS ME” At 76, the Outspoken Singer-Songwriter Icon is Producing His Best Music Estonia. She has a jazz band in Scandinavia and she’s just a killer player.
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
’M NERVOUS, MAN,” SAYS legendary singer-songwriter David Last year you debuted the Lighthouse band Crosby. at Symphony Hall. Last November, standing backstage at Yeah, the Lighthouse band is the acoustic Atlanta’s hallowed Symphony Hall after a one and it’s a delight. That’s Michael League final vocal warm-up, Crosby’s trademark (Snarky Puppy) and Becca Stevens who is mane of long grey hair glows like a halo in one of the best new writers I’ve met. the harsh fluorescent light. As he greets his visitor, he adjusts the strap of his acoustic Having two new bands in as many years guitar, readying to walk on stage for the live must be a great challenge. debut of songs from his album Lighthouse. Yeah there’s two ways of going about it “I could go out with CSN now and it depends on the and the smoke machine producers. For Lighthouse, and do the hits, but there’s that was Mike League no challenge in that. This Tuesday, Dec. 5 • 8pm and he wanted to go more makes me a little nervous acoustic with more vocal City Winery and I like that. With this citywinery.com/atlanta stacks because he loved my band, I’m the old guy, tryin’ first solo record a lot. James to keep up,” he laughs as he is the one who wants to use heads to the wings beside all the tools. He likes having everything and the cavernous stage. then putting some more horns on it. He’s Moments later, backed by his able band, way into doing full-band arrangements. God the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer knows it’s a joy to have both options open effortlessly leads the ensemble through for me. an enjoyable, career-spanning evening of music with a few short and often hilarious Last year before you toured with anecdotes between some of the new songs. Lighthouse, you said Sky Trails was sitting Of course, the outspoken performer who on your computer, waiting for release this played the ‘60s cultural crossroads of year. Monterey Pop, Woodstock and Altamont Well I write all the time. It’s always sort had no reason to be nervous. He co-founded of bubbling away. I’m always trying to write The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and stuff and then send it off to James or Mike (sometimes) Young, so a performance at a or Becca. I just - I don’t have a great deal of Symphony Hall is a cakewalk compared to time left on this planet - so I feel a pressure his 76 years of influential accomplishments. to use the time well. I don’t want to lay Fast forward to exactly a year later at The around or go on vacation. I want to work. Eataly in Boston. After playing the local City Winery the night before, Crosby is relaxed You’re at the point where you could take and jovial while holding court at a table it easy and release Best Of collections and with his current bandmates including his coast along on your back catalog. It’s rare son James Raymond. During a freewheeling for an artist to be this prolific at your age, telephone conversation, Crosby sipped a with your considerable legacy. double expresso as he discussed his latest I agree. It’s not common but it feels like album Sky Trails and the tour that brings the most natural thing in the world. But him to Atlanta this month. you’ve got to understand that before I left Crosby, Stills and Nash, I was feeling very How’s the tour going so far? stuffed-up. We didn’t like each other, we I shouldn’t be the one telling you this weren’t having fun. It was a good paycheck because it sounds too immodest but it’s but there wasn’t any musical joy. Then all going unbelievably well. This is just an of a sudden, I leave that band - which is unbelievable band. It’s my son James probably a disaster financially, but musically Raymond, who produced the new record, it was just exactly the right thing to have on keyboards. He’s just fantastic. Michelle done. Willis from the Lighthouse tour last year is in this band too. Jeff Pevar is back with us Since you mentioned CSN, it’s interesting and he’s one of my favorite guitar players to note that the three of you - and Neil on the planet. Stevie DiStanislao has been Young as well - have been at the top of your our drummer all along - whenever we can solo games since you stopped performing get him back from David Gilmore. Our together a few years ago. Creatively, bass player Mai Agan is from, of all places,
…I DON’T HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF TIME LEFT ON THIS PLANET SO I FEEL A PRESSURE TO USE THE TIME WELL. I DON’T WANT TO LAY AROUND OR GO ON VACATION. I WANT TO WORK.
this could easily be the early ‘70s in your collective history, judging by the vital quality of the recent works. You in particular are at an incredible peak. Well, I think so and the proof is in the pudding. For me, in just over three years, it’s been three records of some of the best stuff I’ve ever done. Towards the end of my time in CSN, I was writing a lot, but not for CSN because the chemistry just wasn’t there. So it’s been that and it’s been the people I’ve been writing with. James is probably at the top of the list of people who I’ve written the best songs of my life with. I love writing with the people I love. I don’t know why other people don’t do it more, frankly. Collaboration is key. Well it is for me. Other people don’t do it because they want all the credit or they don’t want to share and just keep all the money but I don’t get that. I want the best songs I can get. People often cite your first solo record [1971’s If I Could Only Remember My Name] as being your best. It’s undeniably great but that music was born of deep despair. The material of your past three albums come from a time of complete artistic freedom. It’s definitely audible in the compositions and your recent live performances. Yeah, that record kept me alive during a very tough time. But these are just pure joy, man. I hit the road running, I have the best people in the world to write and play with. We’re just having a blast doing it. 2014’s Croz certainly wasn’t the beginning of your work with James; you’d already worked together in CPR on and off for nearly twenty years by that point. By now you must have an incredibly intuitive musical relationship. Very much so. We do know where the other guy wants to go. We trust each other a great deal and that makes it all happen. He knows what I want musically and I know what he’s likely to do and it’s just a wonderful chemistry.
PG 16 • December 2017 • insiteatlanta.com
Your trust is evident from the very first track, “She’s Got To Be Somewhere,” kicking off the whole album with a song he wrote on his own and not a collaboration with you. That’s a considerable amount of musical faith. Yeah it is but it’s a great tune. I think he’s earned that trust. If he was a dork and couldn’t write then I wouldn’t trust him. But he can write for days. He’s as good of a writer as I am. That’s an incredible compliment. It’s the truth, though. Growing up, I relied on the latest Bob Dylan album to offer comfort in whatever unsettling times we had to endure. Bob’s not really offering much insight right now but Lighthouse and now Sky Trails have definitely thrown me a much-needed lifeline. Oh man, thank you. I’m so happy you feel that way. That makes me feel completely validified. It’s tough times for us right now. We’ve got the worst, lowest-approval-rating Congress we’ve ever had and a president who is like an 8-year-old boy. A lot of stuff is going the wrong direction. I don’t think it’s going to stay this way but it is hard times, there isn’t any question about it. You’ve been a part of some of the most famous “protest” songs of the rock era. Where’s new the anthem for today? I’ve been trying to write, and I’ve also been encouraging all my friends, to try and write the “Ohio” for this time. A song that’s like that, a fight song for the times that talks about Trump. But we haven’t gotten it yet. God knows the material is there, we just haven’t figured out the right way to look at it. Yet. You touch on mortality on the album, saying the music plays you now. During this prolific era, are you feeling a bit reflective as well? Well I do feel that since I don’t have a lot of time left, I don’t want to waste it. But I don’t feel down about it. I just feel grateful that I’ve got the opportunity to do this work.
ORLANDO PARKS SPARKLE FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
is no better way to celebrate the holidays then a trip to Orlando Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando. This year’s festive celebration rings in new entertainment offerings as well as seasonal favorites. Pack up the family and make the trip south to the ultimate winter wonderland. T here
Walt Disney World Resort
MAGIC KINGDOM PARK
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 décor sparkles throughout the Magic Kingdom Park. “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” is back on select nights this holiday season with a spectacular show, ‘Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration’, including medleys of delightful holiday songs both classic and contemporary, along with special effects and magical projections. Guests with tickets to this special, after regular park hours event can enjoy an evening filled with all the magic and wintry wonderment of the season, complete with complimentary hot cocoa and cookies, snow flurries falling on Main Street, U.S.A., a jolly parade, a breathtaking fireworks show and much more. Twice during party nights, guests can enjoy “Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade” and watch as more than 160 performers, 12 floats and catchy Christmas music fill the streets of Magic Kingdom. Finally, an exclusive performance of Holiday Wishes fireworks lights up the skies above Cinderella Castle with breathtaking fireworks and beloved music
Hollywood Studios this holiday season. Festivities will include an immersive new nighttime experience that wraps all of Sunset Boulevard in holiday magic with jolly decorations, merry treats and beloved characters sharing their love for the holidays. Included in the transformation is the famous Hollywood Tower Hotel and enhanced holiday décor around Echo Lake. It’s all part of the holiday happenings that will take place through Dec. 31. Guests will also enjoy returning seasonal fun throughout the park, including the popular “Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam!” nighttime projection and fireworks show and special holiday meals and dessert parties. Of course, Santa will be there too!
DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM
Pandora - The World of Avatar transports guests to a mystical world of bioluminescent rainforests and floating mountains. Inspired by the epic film AVATAR from director James Cameron, the all-new land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park invites guests to soar in simulated flight on the wings of banshees and sail a sacred river leading to an unforgettable encounter with the Shaman of Songs. 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.
The spirit of the holidays comes to life around World Showcase with new “Holidays Around the World” marketplaces offering tasty bites and beverages, the Candlelight Processional with celebrity narrators sharing the Christmas story, and larger-than-life holiday decorations throughout the park. The number of holiday kitchens doubles in size this year to a total of 15, each bringing the flavors of the season to life. New this year, guests can indulge in cookies and desserts at the Cookie Nook located inside the Odyssey complex. Disney legend Kurt Russell is among the newcomers along with Pat Sajak as well as returning favorites Whoopi Goldberg and Neil Patrick Harris in the Candlelight Processional. Guests will discover an entertaining celebration of Hanukkah in a new location along World Showcase promenade, where a fun and interactive band interweaves the music of Hanukkah with jazz, Latin, rock and even hip-hop influences. The nightly fireworks display, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, will feature a special holiday ending.
DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
A flurry of fun will greet guests visiting Disney’s
The “bah-humbug” hassle of holiday shopping becomes a joyful family celebration at Disney Springs. Like nowhere else, the holidays come to life at this one-of-a-kind retail, dining and entertainment complex complete with sparkling holiday décor, unique gift-giving (and gift-getting) ideas, tantalizing treats, special entertainment and more. Only at Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort can the entire family join together in the holiday shopping experience while also creating new family traditions and memories. There are more than 150 locations to explore. To capture the spirit of the season, guests can stroll among an even bigger Christmas Tree Trail. Twenty-five custom decorated holiday trees, each dedicated to a popular Disney theme, will be on display.
Starting Nov. 18 and running through January 6, holiday cheer – and a little mischief here and there – will take over Universal Orlando Resort for its destination-wide Holidays celebration. At Universal Orlando guests can witness the magic of Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, watch all-new largerthan-life balloons and incredible entertainment fill the streets during the all-new Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, uncover the true meaning of Grinchmas, rock around the Music Plaza Stage to Mannheim Steamroller – and more. For the first time at Universal Orlando Resort, Christmas is coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Guests will be surrounded by uniquely themed Christmas decorations, garlands and lights as they walk the streets of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. They will also enjoy special holiday themed food and holiday performances by the Frog Choir and Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. And as night falls state-of-the-art projection mapping and lighting will wrap Hogwarts castle, bringing incredible Christmas moments inspired by the Harry Potter series to life. The larger-than-life balloons as seen in the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City will fill the streets for Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s. This year’s parade features more than a dozen new festive balloons and over 15 incredibly detailed floats that can’t be seen anywhere else – all designed exclusively for Universal Orlando. The parade will also include appearances by the Minions and other favorite characters from Despicable Me, Madagascar and Shrek – and the jolly man himself, Santa Claus. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, guests will come face-to-face with the mean, green one himself and be filled with holiday cheer as Grinchmas comes to life throughout Seuss Landing. Guests will watch the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes during a live retelling of Dr. Seuss’s holiday classic in the “Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular” and join the merry Whos from Who-ville as they celebrate the true meaning of the season and bring Grinchmas to life throughout Seuss Landing at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
And, join the Grinch and friends for a delicious holiday breakfast buffet on select dates. On select nights, the masters of modern Christmas music Mannheim Steamroller return with the sweet sounds of the holiday season. Performances will take place on the Music Plaza Stage on Nov. 18, 19, 25, 26 and Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17. Access to Universal Orlando’s Holidays festivities is included in regular Macy’s admission to the Holiday theme parks. Parade During their holiday experience, guests can also enjoy some of the world’s most exciting and innovative theme park experiences – including and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon at Universal Studios and Alley The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Hogsmeade found at Islands of Adventure. Universal Orlando recently opened its third park, Universal’s Volcano Bay – an entirely new water theme park experience. Guests with Park-to-Park admission can journey between both lands aboard the Hogwarts Express, the iconic steam locomotive from the Harry Potter books and films. The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a spectacular New Year’s Eve party. Guests can ring in the New Year at Universal CityWalk’s electrifying New Year’s Eve celebration featuring Orlando’s largest dance floor, endless entertainment and all-you-can-eat gourmet cuisine. Universal’s on-site resort hotels, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and the all-new Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, are destinations unto themselves. Its entertainment complex, Universal CityWalk, offers dining and entertainment for every member of the family. Universal Orlando Resort has unveiled more than 20 new guest experiences since 2010 – powerful attractions, incredible dining opportunities and dramatically themed hotels. Now open is Skull Island: Reign of Kong, a groundbreaking attraction in Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk’s newest, unique dining experience, The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. Hogwarts Express
For more information about the Holidays at Universal Orlando, ticket offers and vacation packages, visit UniversalOrlando. com/holidays. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
With so many new attractions and experiences to discover, there has never been a better time to plan a visit Walt Disney World Resort. For more information, visit Disneyworld.com or the MyDisneyExperience mobile app. insiteatlanta.com • December 2017 • PG 17
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Showrunner Scott Frank, who wrote the great scripts for movies like Logan and Out of Sight, has created a dark, gritty Western in six episodes now available to binge. From the opening scene, this world is as brutal and sparsely populated with colorful scoundrels as any Sam Peckinpah movie. We are first shown a town where every single person has been killed, their bodies and the town itself set on fire by a dangerous outlaw named Frank Griffin, played with menace by Jeff Daniels in one of the most against-type roles he’s done. Griffin is on the warpath, looking for the young man who deserted his crew, robbed him and shot off his arm. That young man is named Roy Goode, and he’s played by British actor Jack O’Connell (Skins, Unbroken). Whether Goode is actually good is unknown when we meet him, for he ventures into the town of LaBelle whose population is mostly women after a mining disaster, and is promptly shot in the throat by widow Alice Fletcher. That character, played by Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery, is a no-nonsense ranch owner. She trusts no one, her life tainted by a series of disasters. The other women in the town are just as jaded. The first episode establishes that a war is coming - between Griffin and Goode, between the law and the outlaws and between the evil men and the women of LaBelle. It’s a compelling hook and a solid show.
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
(Amazon Prime) Amy Sherman-Palladino, the mastermind behind Gilmore Girls and the underrated Bunheads, has returned to series television with this delightful, layered period comedy set in the early 1960s standup scene. As with Gilmore Girls, this show centers on an insanely clever, fast-talking, beautiful woman left to her own devices. This title character is Midge Maisel, played by House of Cards actress Rachel Brosnahan, and she is indeed a marvel. An ideal wife, Midge catered to her husband
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Joel’s every whim, particularly his desire to be a standup comedian. At every open mic night, Midge would show up with a fresh plate of brisket to assure that Joel would get a good spot in the showcase - even though without her knowledge he was stealing most of his jokes from Bob Newhart’s album. When he finally realizes he’s never going to be a comedian he promptly leaves Midge with their two kids for his secretary who cannot even sharpen a pencil. Midge, outraged, takes to the stage herself to badmouth her louse of a man. A star along the likes of Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller is born, nurtured by her manager Susie Myerson, played by Family Guy star Alex Borstein. The show also features the great Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle as Midge’s Jewish parents, who blame her for the divorce and want her to just stay underfoot. But Midge and the show that bears her name are destined for more.
FUTURE MAN (Hulu)
One of Hulu’s latest offerings - alongside its new Marvel series Runaways - is this absolutely bonkers time-travel series from the producers of Preacher. Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson stars as Josh Futterman, a janitor at a medical lab whose main joy is playing an unbeaten video game called The Biotic Wars. Of course, in the first episode, he beats the game, finds out that everything in the game is real and is then recruited into joining the fight. To prevent the wars, Josh has to travel to the past, in the style of Back to the Future, Quantum Leap and The Terminator, which all get mentioned, to change the future, aided by two homicidal warriors from the future played hilariously by Happy Endings’ Eliza Coupe and Preacher’s Derek Wilson. The first mission involves Josh cockblocking his future boss at a black frat party during the 1969 moon landing. The show is R-rated, raunchy and rather entertaining. The leads are charming, the premise is knowingly self-referential.
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22 Locations: 404.766.6993 24/7: ShopStarship.com insiteatlanta.com • December 2017 • PG 19
Wishing You Merry Christmas & Happy 2018
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