7 YEARS! 2 G N I T ELEBRA
VOL. 27, NO. 5 FREE
Jewel h c n y L Jane t a e H n o t r o Rev H
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SPEND TIME WITH US THIS HOLIDAY SEASON AT CITY SPRINGS
The Nutcracker November 23–December 2
Magical Light Display December 1–31
Elf The Musical December 7–16
Jewel’s Handmade Holiday Tour December 19
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra New Years Eve Celebration December 31
Boston Brass: Christmas Bells Are Swingin’ December 22
TICKETS ON SALE AT CITYSPRINGS.COM
WITH THE ASO A choral Christmas classic
Atlanta’s Favorite Holiday Tradition
Great for children and adults of all ages!
A Jolly Holiday variety show with special guests the Yale Whiffenpoofs
The Coca-Cola Holiday Concerts are presented by Coca-Cola. Holiday concerts are made possible through an endowment from the Livingston Foundation in memory of Leslie Livingston Kellar.
PG 2 • December 2018 • insiteatlanta.com
CONTENTS • DECEMBER 2018 • VOLUME 27, NO. 5
EARS! ING 27 Y T A R B E CEL
INTERVIEWS 11 Jewel 12 Waffle Palace 13 Ethel Merman 14 Jane Lynch 15 Rev Horton Heat 16 Anna Moon 16 Taylor Tomlinson 17 Robyn Hitchcock
09 Holiday Lights 09 NYE Guide 10 Dining Guide 12 Holiday Gift Guide 18 Naughty Gift Guide
COLUMNS 04 05 06 07 07 07 08 18
Around Town On Tap Atlanta on a Dime Under The Lights New Releases Station Control Movie Reviews 18 Albums
Your Neighborhood Pizzeria!
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Music Editor John Moore firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Writers / Interns: Alex. S. Morrison, Dave Cohen, Benjamin Carr, Demarco Williams MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 76483 Atlanta, GA 30358 WEBSITE • insiteatlanta.com ADVERTISING INFORMATION (404) 308-5119 • email@example.com Editorial content of INsite is the opinion of each writer and is not necessarily the opinion of INsite, its staff, or its advertisers. INsite does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertising or editorial content, nor do the publisher or editors of INsite assume responsibility should such advertising or editorial appear. No Jewel Jane Lynch at n He content, i.e., articles, graphics, designs and Rev Horto information (any and all) in this publication may be reproduced in any manner without written permission from publisher. DECEMBER 2018
S! TING 27 YEAR CELEBRA
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Please check out our Holiday Gift Guide feature on page 12.
VOL. 27, NO. 5 FREE
HIolsisdueay ctions ts & Attra Top Even in Atlanta NYE s ide Gu t Gif
Atlanta’s Favorite Pizza! Multiple Atlanta Locations: JohnnysPizza.com insiteatlanta.com • December 2018 • PG 3
Holiday Events and Performances taking place this Month
DECEMBER 6, 13, 20
DECEMBER 7 - 30
Decatur Terrific Thursdays
A Year With Frog and Toad
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 Santa sightings and tree lighting on Dec. 6, and the annual bonﬁre and marshmallow roast on Dec. 13. Join in on the jolly and enjoy refreshments and extended hours at 30+ participating shops. Get the details at Visitdecaturga.com.
Synchronicity’s production of A Year with Frog and Toad is a musical re-telling of Arnold Lobel’s easy-reader children's books from the 1970’s containing humorous, sometimes poignant short stories chronicling the exploits of Frog, and his best friend, Toad. is family musical adaptation of the popular children’s books is suitable for children age three and up. For tickets visit synchronicitytheatre.com.
NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 22
Begun many years ago by the beloved Music Director Robert Shaw, this concert has become a staple for Atlanta families during the holiday season. The Orchestra, Chorus and special guests, the Gwinnett Young Singers and the Morehouse College Glee Club will perform beloved Christmas carols and hymns to celebrate the season. Tickets available at Atlantasymphony.org.
A Christmas Carol
Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, GA
In Aurora Theatre’s adaption of A Christmas Carol, Anthony Rodriguez guides audiences through the traditional tale of Mr. Scrooge and the troop of Dickens’ characters in a one-man presentation. Nestled in the intimate 80-seat Federal Credit Union Studio, the theater is transformed to make audiences feel as though Mr. Dickens has personally invited them into his parlor. Although a few amazing theatrical effects have been added, this rendition captures the true spirit of Christmas: the joy of giving. The story is adapted for the stage and directed by Tony Brown. Tickets available at Auroratheatre.com.
DECEMBER 8 & 9
Christmas with the ASO Atlanta Symphony Hall
NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 30
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Center for Puppetry Arts
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.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 17 Mighty Mo & More Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre holds their annual Mighty Mo & More – a FREE holiday event on Monday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. Presented by Georgia Natural Gas, this event will honor the Fox Theatre’s historic 1929 grand opening with a musical prelude on the beloved Mighty Mo by Ken Double, president of the American Theatre Organ Society, followed by a special screening of “Elf.” Atlanta’s own soul musician, Cody Matlock, will grace the Fox stage this year with renditions of favorite Holiday classics. Foxtheatre.org
NOW THROUGH JANUARY 6 Stone Mountain Christmas Stone Mountain Park
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. Visit Stonemountainpark.com.
NOW THROUGH JANUARY 6 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 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. Sixflags.com
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.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20
Atlanta Holiday Hootenanny Variety Playhouse
The 8th Annual edition of what has become a great holiday tradition on the Atlanta music scene, the Atlanta Holiday Hootenanny! The event will take place on Thursday, December 20, 2018 and returns to its original home, The Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points. The concert will have four sets, totaling over four hours of music and featuring up to 20 musicians on stage at once. Includes a dedication to the late Vassar Clements, who passed away in 2005. Net proceeds from the concert benefit Atlanta Habitat for Humanity & ReStore.
Outrageous Gift Shopping 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 PG 4 • December 2018 • insiteatlanta.com
For the Funky Family Members ( YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE )
LITTLE 5 POINTS
Open 10am-9 or 10pm; 7 days a week
428 Moreland Ave • (404) 523-0100
On Tap this Month HAPPY NEW YEAR The 6th Annual Helen Chamber
MAJOR EVENTS COMING TO ATLANTA December 8 - 24: The Fox Theatre
For the ﬁrst time in more than two decades, Atlanta Ballet will debut a new version of e Nutcracker that will mark a milestone in dance history. Two years in the making, this innovative production is designed to surprise and delight all audiences, from the young to the young-at-heart. e Atlanta Ballet Orchestra will perform live at each of the 19 performances. Visit Foxtheatre.org for tickets.
December 14: State Farm Arena
JINGLE BALL CONCERT
Jingle Ball is a charity event to celebrate the holiday season. is year's oﬃcial charity is the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. Power 96.1 oﬃcially announced the allstar performers for Jingle Ball 2018 which will include: Shawn Mendes, Calvin Harris, G Eazy, Marshmello, Bazzi, Alessia Cara, Sabrina Carpenter e show is scheduled to take place on Friday, December 14 at State Farm Arena. Tickets at StateFarmArena.com.
December 20 & 21: Atlanta Symphony Hall
A VERY MERRY HOLIDAY
ere’s something for the entire family at this annual holiday extravaganza, led by gifted ASO Assistant Conductor Stephen Mulligan. He’s joined by the renowned baritone Nmon Ford (an ASO regular soloist) as both singer and co-host. A Yale graduate himself, Maestro Mulligan has invited the university’s celebrated singing ensemble, the Whiﬀenpoofs, to join the Orchestra for some holiday vocal cheer.
Celebration! DROPPING OF THE EDELWEISS Music, Food, Dancing!
Champagne Toast! Hors D’Oeuvres! • Full Cash Bar!
Doors open at 8pm • $20 per person/ $35 per couple Family Friendly! Kids under 6 , FREE, 6-12 Half Price For info, call the Helen Chamber at 706-878-1908
1074 Edelweiss Strasse • The Festhalle Oktoberfest helenchamber.com Festhalle Friends
December 28: Cobb Energy Centre
Gap Band founder Charlie Wilson has ten No. 1 singles, 11 Grammy Award nominations, and has been selling out venues coast-to-coast. Wilson continues his reign as “Uncle Charlie,” the lovable nickname originally given to him by Snoop Dogg, by being one of the most highly sought-after adult entertainers for today’s top Hip-Hop and Pop artists. Tickets at CobbEnergyCentre.com.
December 29: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL
e Chick-ﬁl-A Peach Bowl will move to a new date and time for this year’s game when it kicks oﬀ at Noon ET on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. e game will be the ﬁrst New Year’s Six bowl game played that day and will lead into the College Football Playoﬀ Semiﬁnals at the Capital One Orange Bowl and Goodyear Cotton Bowl on ESPN. Visit chickﬁl-apeachbowl.com for tickets information.
December 31: Woodruff Park Downtown
Downtown Atlanta hosts the Southeast’s largest New Year’s Eve gathering. Over 150,000 patrons congregate on the streets downtown for the Peach Drop each year to watch an 800-pound peach descend from its 138foot tower of lights to its resting place, where confetti showers over attendees and dazzling ﬁreworks light the sky. e event continues for the second year at the Woodruﬀ Park location. Visit Peachdrop.com. insiteatlanta.com • December 2018 • PG 5
EVENTS HAPPENING FOR SMALL CHANGE IN ATLANTA
Know of a low cost event happening? Event@AtlantaOnADime.com By Marci Miller
Now Through December 23
the arrival of Santa and the oﬃcial beginning of the holiday season in Atlanta.
Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville auroratheatre.com
December 1 - 30
Steve Murray’s stage adaptation of one of the most popular and heartwarming ﬁlms ever made follows the story of the iconic George Bailey as he reﬂects on his life journey with the help of his guardian angel, Clarence. e lessons he learns along the way are both hilarious and heartfelt, revealing that it takes much more than money to be the richest man in town.
$12 Youth, $15 Adult; Horizon Theatre horizontheatre.com
THIS WONDERFUL LIFE
Saturday, December 1
Free to Attend; Peachtree St. Midtown choa.org/parade 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
e beloved family tradition, Madeline’s Christmas returns to Horizon eatre. Based on one of the most popular children’s books of all time, the story follows Madeline and friends as they ﬁgure out a way to make it home for Christmas after they’ve come down with the ﬂu. With the arrival of a mysterious stranger, the “twelve little girls in two straight lines” end up with a magical and memorable holiday beyond their wildest dreams! Featuring 24 local girls performing alongside professional actors in collaboration with e Atlanta Children’s eatre Company.
Tent while observers can sit back and relax while catching up with family and friends by stone ﬁre pits and ﬁreplaces. e rink oﬀers park-side dining, seasonal cocktails and house-made brews from one of Atlanta’s oldest breweries.
Now Through January 21
SKATE THE STATION
returns with a twist! is holiday highlight brings you and your family live reindeer, performances, winter crafts, face painting, and more all under the twilight sky. Live Reindeer will make an appearance from 2 pm to 5 pm. Let CNC help you get in the holiday spirit, bring a picnic, and plan to enjoy our fun activities.
Monday, December 24
$12 - $15 Atlantic Station atlanticstation.com Skate the Station returns to Atlantic Station, just in time for the holiday season! Skate beneath the stars and skyscrapers at the largest outdoor ice rink in the Southeast.
Sunday, December 9
Free w/ General Admission; Roswell chattnaturecenter.org e year’s most popular Family Fun Day
CHRISTMAS EVE OPEN HOUSE
Free; Doraville & Milton locations baldinos.us In the spirit of the season, Baldinos Doraville and Milton locations are opening their 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. Christmas Parade choa.org/parade Saturday, December 1 Midtown • FREE
Now Through January 21
$15 - $20 Park Tavern; parktavern.com
e Rink at Park Tavern oﬀers an 85-foot long and 40-foot wide rink that comfortably accommodates 200 skaters. Guests can stay warm under the heated Garden
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VISITORS CENTER | 113 Clairemont Ave., Decatur 30030 | visitdecaturga.com This ad funded by proceeds from the Decatur Craft Beer Festival. PGAtlanta-insite-dec-2018-half.indd 6 • December 2018 • insiteatlanta.com 1
11/27/18 1:14 PM
Under The Lights
ON STAGE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
WAFFLE PALACE CHRISTMAS Thru December 30
Horizon Theatre (404) 584-7450 HorizonTheatre.com Horizon Theatre Company is ringing in the holiday season with a new tradition! Waffle Palace Christmas, is a sequel to the smash-hit show inspired by real events at Waffle House restaurants. “After staging several sell-out runs of Waffle Palace in past years, we’re excited to bring back the beloved allnight diner and its staff in a new edition perfect for the holiday season,” said CoArtistic/Producing Director Lisa Adler. Waffle Palace Christmas picks up with the vintage Waffle Palace now thriving in the middle of a new modern city multi-use complex. The holiday season is in full swing and the staff is adjusting to new roles, an inexperienced employee and quirky regulars. With Christmas cheer aplenty among the diverse staff and diners, Krampus, a legendary, shape-shifting holiday villain, appears over the restaurant to sabotage the spirit and challenge all in his path.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
December 12 - 24 Cobb Energy Centre (770) 916-2800 AllianceTheatre.org/christmas Take part in one of Atlanta’s most treasured holiday traditions, Alliance Theatre’s
A Christmas Carol. 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 Broadway-scale production with beautiful live music and an all-star Atlanta cast. Experience the Alliance’s beloved adaptation by David H. Bell, staged at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
THE LATEST DVD, BLU RAY & VOD RELEASES By John Moore
WHO IS AMERICA (Paramount/CBS DVD)
Sacha Baron Cohen owes Sarah Palin a huge debt of gratitude. If not for her online freak out upon realizing it was the comedian who interviewed her – disguised as a disabled vet – Cohen’s Showtime series would not have gotten nearly as much exposure as it did. The first season of the satirical interview show – with Cohen taking on various characters and disguises to interview politicians who let down their guards enough to let their true bias come out – is finally out on DVD. Most conservatives will have a problem with this series, everyone else with a sense of humor is likely to appreciate it for what it is: Cohen going over the top to expose racists and hypocrites. The series famously let to a Georgia rep resigning thanks to his racism exposed here. Aptly enough, Palin is credited as “Special Publicity Consultant (Inadvertent) in the closing credits.
In Spike Lee’s latest and easily best film in years, Blakklansman tells the true story of Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer in the early ‘70s Colorado Springs
HEROINES TAKE CENTER STAGE BY BENJAMIN CARR
OMETIMES, THE CULTURE HAS a void. Shows get canceled. Stars exit high-profile TV projects. Uncertainty spreads about the future. And then change comes around to fill that void. In these times, a new sort of hero will rise. And lately, that new sort of hero has been a heroine. Doctor Who
ROCK OF AGES January 3 - 4
The Fox Theatre (855) 285-8499 FoxTheatre.org/RockofAges It’s 1987 on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip when a smalltown girl meets a big city rocker. As they fall in love in L.A.’s most famous rock club, Rock Of Ages allows fans to rock out once again to their favorite ‘80s hits. Featuring the music of iconic bands such as Styx, Poison, Twisted Sister, and Whitesnake among many others, this Tenth Anniversary production features a dynamic new cast revisiting the larger than life characters and exhilarating story that turned Rock Of Ages into a global phenomenon.
Police Department, who, along with a fellow Jewish cop, manage to infiltrate the KKK. Even better, he gets David Duke (Topher Grace) to vouch for him. The movie manages to be both wickedly funny and emotionally powerful thanks to a brilliant script and amazing performances by John David Washington (playing Stallworth) and Adam Driver (playing the other undercover cop). The last few minutes of the film are remarkably emotional and timely.
SORRY TO BOTHER YOU
to the quick cancellation of her titular sitcom, the show has continued as The Conners, showing how the family continues and copes after the death of a matriarch. Still funny and more of an ensemble showcase, The Conners is as solid a show as the Roseanne revival was. Emerging as the new female lead in the show is the character Darlene, played by the always great Sara Gilbert. We’ve now watched Darlene from the time she was 12, but now she is a single mom of two very unique kids. She’s also taking care of her widowed dad Dan (John Goodman) and placing herself firmly at the center of the family. Though the transition behind the scenes was chaotic, the story has been seamless and compelling. Though it has a new name, the show feels refreshingly familiar. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
DOCTOR WHO (BBC)
When it was announced last year, after years of speculation, that the Thirteenth Doctor in the long-running sci-fi franchise would finally be a woman, some fans were skeptical yet Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker has been delightful as the rejuvenated, time-traveling alien hero. Replacing Peter Capaldi, Whittaker is resourceful, zany and warm. Given three companions, the new Doctor hasn’t been burdened with a love story or forced into a maternal role. Instead, she’s assisted other historic trailblazers like Rosa Parks and battled a new, belligerent race of warrior aliens. Though the lead role is different, the sensibilities of the series remain the same. The Conners
THE CONNERS (ABC)
Without Roseanne Barr, whose racist tweets led
SHE-RA AND THE PRINCESSES OF POWER
(Netflix) An inspired reboot of the 1980s cartoon, itself a spinoff of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, this new She-Ra emerges alone, on her own strength and with her own story. It is a delightful, savvy female-first approach to the material, and it deserves applause. In this series, Adora is an orphaned girl on the planet Etheria, raised to be a soldier by an oppressive, dark coalition called the Horde. Fate intervenes when Adora finds a magic sword, which transforms her into a giant, superstrong heroine who rides a flying unicorn. Quickly, she realizes that she was allied with evil. So she breaks free and joins the cause for good, heading an alliance of magic princesses, while also seeking answers about her past. In the process, she turns against her closest friend Catra, a minor villain in the original series who has now been promoted into the role of complicated nemesis. It’s a fun, colorful show that hopefully shows all children who watch it that anyone can be a hero, no matter who they are or where they started.
(20th Century Fox) Much like the much-lauded Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sorry To Bother is one of a handful of movies that’s nearly impossible to describe, but even better than imagined. From Hip Hop great and first-time writer/director Boots Riley, Sorry To Bother You covers a lot of ground from corporate greed and materialism to dead end jobs and societal divides, all told through a struggling telemarketer who advances remarkably in his career once he discovers his “white voice”. That synopsis does little justification a wildly creative movie that has to be seen to be fully understood. insiteatlanta.com • December 2018 • PG 7
Movie Reviews CREED II (PG-13)
About 75 percent of Creed II, the talkiest boxing movie ever, would be more at home on Lifetime than HBO Sports, which is heavily-promoted herein. An announcer for the latter sums up your reason for attending by saying after an opening bout, “I can hardly wait to see what’s next for Adonis Creed.” What’s next is more recycling from the Rocky series. Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) is the illegitimate son of the late Apollo Creed, Rocky’s opponent-turned-friend who died in Rocky IV in a fight with Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). Well, Drago has a son too, Viktor, who’s pushed by his dad to challenge Adonis for the world heavyweight title. Viktor’s so much bigger he should be in a different weight class, but nothing’s heavier than heavy. They meet once, then again in the exciting but unbelievable climactic match. In the meantime Adonis marries Bianca (Tessa Thompson), she has a baby, and everybody wrestles – er, boxes? – with all manner of personal issues which they discuss at length. That includes Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), who has an opinion about everything and isn’t shy about expressing it. At least Brigitte Nielsen is content to be seen but hardly heard as Viktor’s mother, wooed by Ivan over three decades ago. New-to-the-series director Steven Caple Jr. does a good job in the ring, but the movie doesn’t spend nearly enough time there. Director Ryan Coogler gave the series new life with the first Creed, but this sequel should kill it.
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD (PG-13)
1/2 The second part of a planned quintology (I thought it should be quintilogy but I looked it up) of Harry Potter prequels, this one has so many plots it’s more like an extended trailer for the rest of the series than a real movie with a beginning, middle and end. You should rewatch the first one (unless you know it by heart) before seeing this because there’s very little exposition until about 90 minutes in, when two characters recite lengthy backstories and it feels like a quiz to see if you’re paying attention. It’s 1927 and fascism is on the rise in the real Europe. In this fantasy Europe it’s represented by Grindelwald, played by a blond and oh, so Aryan Johnny Depp. (No, Grindelwald’s crimes don’t include spousal abuse.) His goal is to unite the wizarding and non-wizarding worlds under him and his “purebloods.” After an exciting but confusing beginning, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and
his Non-Maj pal Jacob (Dan Fogler) go from London to Paris in search of Credence (Ezra Miller). They encounter a number of characters from the first film and several new ones, including a younger version of the Potter series’ Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), who had a relationship with Grindelwald when they were young and is his sworn enemy now. You can ignore the plots and just enjoy the visuals, because every few minutes some imaginative creature (the beasts really are fantastic!) will pop out of Newt’s suitcase and take you on an FX trip. The 3D is worth the surcharge if the theater cranks up the brightness. (Most don’t.) If all the scripts are going to be this cluttered, I’d recommend waiting a few years and binging on the whole series at once. Either way, author (and now screenwriter) J.K. Rowling is earning enough that if she doesn’t like the terms of the Brexit deal she can afford to start her own country.
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET (PG)
A generation that’s never not known the Internet may have trouble relating to a person – even a cartoon person who’s a character in an 8-bit videogame – who’s just discovering it. But they bought Wreck-It Ralph six years ago when he had no line to go on, so there’s no reason for them to resist this sequel. Ralph (John C. Reilly) is still in the Fix-It Felix game at the arcade, where after hours he hangs with his best friend Vanellope (Sarah Silverman). He breaks her game, Sugar Rush, trying to make it more fun for her, and they travel through the arcade’s newly-installed WiFi in search of a fix. Their friendship is tested and the resolution is syrupier than my Waffle House breakfast; but the angel is in the details, including Disney making fun of itself and its recent acquisitions. (Yes, the late Stan Lee has a cameo.) The meta aspects follow through throughout in what, considering the release date, must be Thanksgiving (not Easter) eggs, and a final gag that’s worth sitting through the credits for. Jane Lynch and Jack McBrayer are among the returning vocal talent, with Gal Gadot and Taraji P. Henson headlining the newcomers, who include some surprising cameos. There’s probably more fun for the grownups than the kids here, so reluctant chaperones will emerge grateful.
Dirty old hitmen need love too. Not that Asher (Ron Perlman) is dirty. He’s just a Jewish guy in a business that’s not kosher. He happens to meet Sophie (Famke Janssen)
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
PG 8 • December 2018 • insiteatlanta.com
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD while he’s on a job and they both could use a little love in their lives, so things work out – gradually, and not without complications. When Asher’s caught in a crossfire between rival gangsters, Sophie becomes a target too. There’s enough of each aspect of Asher’s life to disappoint viewers who aren’t fans of both genres, but who doesn’t enjoy romance and murder? Director Michael Caton-Jones and most of his cast (including Richard Dreyfuss, Jacqueline Bisset and Peter Facinelli) have been rather low-profile lately, which probably helped keep the budget down, even filming in Brooklyn. The film is sweet when it wants to be and suspenseful when it needs to be. I enjoyed it despite serious problems with the script. While as a fellow freelancer I could relate to Asher’s constant efforts to find work and get paid more per job, he doesn’t live a lavish lifestyle and seems to have plenty of gigs in a field I’ve heard pays pretty well. As for Sophie, she takes care of her mother (Bisset), who has dementia and wants to die. It seems highly unlikely she’d want to get involved with a considerably older man at this point. If you can overlook these flaws you should have a good time with this story of a man for whom life and liberty are not guaranteed, so he decides to pursue happiness.
singer” and forced Maria to develop her natural gifts. If you want to know more about this beautiful woman with a beautiful voice, or just to see her on a big screen and revel in the sound, here’s your chance.
MARIA BY CALLAS (PG)
When the great voices of the 20th century are talked about, one soprano’s soars above all others. In Tom Volf’s documentary, Maria Callas (1923-77) sings enough of her greatest hits to make this a must-see for opera buffs; but you can find those on YouTube, so there has to be something extra. And there is: the story of Callas’ life as told by herself – in excerpts from a David Frost interview and letters to various friends read by Joyce DiDonato. “I was forced into it,” Callas says of her career; “first by my mother, then by my husband” (controlling Giovanni Meneghini). Even at the peak of her fame the reluctant soprano was ambivalent about it. She reveled in the adoration of her fans when she was performing but wanted to be left alone otherwise. Born and raised in New York, she preferred living in Paris because the press and people let her live in peace there. The film lets Callas present her side of various tabloid scandals. There was the time bronchitis forced her to bow out of a 1958 gala performance at the Rome Opera House after one act; her seven-year sabbatical from the Metropolitan Opera after a falling-out with Rudolph Bing; and of course her nineyear love affair with “Aristo” – Aristotle Onassis – which ended abruptly when he married Jackie Kennedy. (There’s a twist ending to that part of the story.) If anyone ever deserved a medal for child abuse, it’s the mother who “decided I should be a great
1/2 This must be one of those movies only a child can understand. Mirai (Japanese for “future”) opens with the birth of a baby. Nothing too graphic: a pregnant woman, an ultrasound, and then four-year-old Kun welcoming his baby sister, whom they name Mirai. Mom goes off to work, leaving Dad as house-husband and manny, with Kun jealous about not getting enough attention. Between episodes of brattiness the imaginative Kun has fantasy – or are they real? – encounters with, and sometimes learns life lessons from: a) the family dog converted into a sort of hippie prince; b) Mirai as a teenager; c) his mother as a girl hardly older than himself, who shares his love for messiness to a greater extreme; and d) a man he calls “Daddy” but who’s actually his great-grandpa, who takes him on his first rides on a horse and a motorcycle. Though well-made by esteemed Japanimation director Mamoru Hosoda, the story made little sense to me, even though I enjoyed some individual segments; and Kun’s bratty behavior got on my nerves. I kept wishing he was real so I could slap him. Mirai is showing as a special engagement on select dates and times, with a choice of subtitles or dubbed English voices (including John Cho and Rebecca Hall). For specifics go to MiraiMovie.com. See the rest of our movie reviews at insiteatlanta.com/movies.asp
HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAYS Atlanta Botanical Garden
GARDEN LIGHTS, HOLIDAY NIGHTS
Atlanta Botanical Garden Through January 6 Atlantabotanicalgarden.org Garden Lights, Holiday Nights showcases botanical themes that accentuate the natural beauty of the gardens while adding a uniquely festive holiday twist. The annual electrical extravaganza features 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 Ice Goddess’ shimmering locks, Glittering Galaxy, Radiant Rainforest, and Model Trains. The glowing Orchestral Orbs, which dance with color and light to the sounds of festive holiday tunes help make the exhibition a must-see holiday tradition. This year brings the debut of the Skylights Lounge in the Skyline Garden. Plus, several larger-than-life plant giants from Imaginary Worlds: Once Upon a Time will be awash in holiday glow. There are nearly 2 million colorful, energy-efficient LED light bulbs strewn across Atlanta Botanical Garden’s 30 acres. Stone Mountain Christmas
STONE MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS
Stone Mountain Park Through January 6 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 Christmas Tree, A Christmas Carol and more. The Polar Express 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.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Peach Drop 2019 Downtown Atlanta
December 31; 11AM until 3AM Free Admission; Peachdrop.com
Magical Nights of Lights
NYElectric 2019 at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Downtown Atlanta offers one the biggest and best NYE Countdown in the Atlanta area. This mega hotel sits 73 stories up and has 2 amazing ballrooms. Top Atlanta DJs play a blend of House & Top 40 hits. Five hours of premium Open Bar and appetizers from 9 pm - 11 pm. Champagne toast on dance floor and video countdown.
Dropping of the Edelweiss
LIGHTS OF LIFE
Life University, Marietta Through December 31 Life.edu Lights of LIFE is an annual holiday tradition that was started by Life University and dates back to 1989. The 65 foot tall rendition of Santa and his sleigh is the tallest display in the Southeast. It is a visual treat that the whole family will enjoy. Concessions are available seven days a week. Additional activities will be available during the weekends for a small fee including petting zoo, train rides, pony rides and photos with Santa. Tickets available at Life.edu
MAGICAL NIGHTS OF LIGHTS
Lake Lanier Islands Through January 2 Lakelanierislands.com Lake Lanier Islands celebrates over 25 years of Magical Nights of Lights. Start 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.” Witness the amazing 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.
FANTASY IN LIGHTS
Callaway Gardens Through January 5 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.
Downtown Atlanta hosts the Southeast’s largest New Year’s Eve gathering. Over 150,000 patrons congregate on the streets downtown 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.
New Year’s Eve Bash The Battery Atlanta - December 31 Starts at 5:30PM; Batteryatl.com
The Battery Atlanta will send 2018 out in style with the second annual New Year’s Eve Bash presented by Xfinity, featuring an early countdown geared towards families and a late-night show leading into midnight. The early innings, for those wishing to ring in the New Year early, will start at 5:30 p.m. in the Plaza. The Heavy Hitters and BLOOPER will be on hand as Braves in-game host Mark Owens counts down till the ball drops at 8 p.m. The late innings festivities start at 9 p.m., with the 12South Band providing the entertainment from the Georgia Power Pavilion Stage. The midnight countdown will include pyrotechnics and 2019 will begin with a confetti and aerial fireworks display. The Omni Hotel at The Battery Atlanta is offering a special VIP experience for New Year’s Eve. Guests will enjoy music by Atlanta’s Contagious Band, a live DJ, heavy hors d'oeuvres and a reception-style buffet, plus beer, wine, a signature cocktail and party favors in the Battery Ballroom. At midnight, guests will watch the firework display from the rooftop pool. Tickets to the VIP experience are available for purchase at $150 each.
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 6th annual Dropping of the Edelweiss rings in the New Year with heavy hors d'oeuvres, full cash bar, 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.
New Beers Eve
Front Page News & Tijuana Garage L5P Sunday, December 31, 9pm - 1am atlantabeerfestivals.com
Atlanta Beer Festivals hosts the 7th New Beers Eve on December 31 at Front Page News and Tijuana Garage in Little 5 Points. This is an all-inclusive event with appetizer buffet, well liquor, house wine, and over 40 beer options. Live music from ONE Headlight, DJ Qtip and more. Tickets are $70 advance, $80 after Dec. 21, and $95 day of event. All details and tickets can be found at AtlantaBeerFestivals.com.
New Years Celebration AtlantaSymphonyOrchestra
Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center @ City Springs; December 31 at 8:00pm AtlantaSymphony.org
Southern Exchange @ 200 Peachtree December 31, 7pm - January 1, 1am DowntownCountdownATL.com
Downtown Countdown at Southern Exchange 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 state-of-the-art lighting and sound system in the Whitehall Ballroom.
Atlanta NYElectric 2019
Westin Peachtree Plaza Downtown December 31, 8:30pm - 1:30am VIPnightlife.com
Ring in the New Year in style at City Springs with an unforgettable evening of music and celebration! The Grammy® award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra kicks off the evening in the Byers Theatre with a program of orchestral pops favorites, featuring trumpeter and vocalist Joe Gransden and vocalist Francine Reed. Stay for a late night party in the Studio Theatre with the Francine and the Joe Gransden Big Band, complete with a champagne toast at midnight. insiteatlanta.com • December 2018 • PG 9
Catering, Private Parties and Great Holiday Fare at Atlanta Restaurants Agave
242 Boulevard 404.588.0006 agaverestaurant.com
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.
the Buckhead location for a chance to meet the stars! In the back of Landmark Diner’s Buckhead restaurant is the Punchline Comedy Club. Visit them for dinner and see a show all under one roof!
Twin Peaks Buckhead
3365 Piedmont Rd. 404.961.8946 twinpeaksrestaurant.com
The Flying Biscuit Cafe’
Candler Park 404.687.8888 Midtown 404.874.8887 flyingbiscuit.com Catering 404.849.2283
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.
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.
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 head to
3887 Peachtree Rd. 404.816.2229 & Multiple Locations chinchinga.com
Voted Atlanta’s favorite Chinese restaurant again in 2018, 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
Twin Peaks is more than just great views. The mountain lodge-style sports restaurant features high-quality comfort food and an extensive selection of draft beers. This is a great place to get together with friends over the holidays. They have private rooms that can be booked and a lively rooftop patio adorned with the beautiful Twin Peaks Girls.
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.”
Henry’s Midtown Tavern
10th Street Midtown 404.537.4477 HenrysATL.com
Henry’s is located on bustling 10th Street in the heart of Midtown. Henry’s welcomes people who crave a good atmosphere as much
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PG 10 • December 2018 • insiteatlanta.com
HOLIDAY DINING as great food. Named for owner Maureen Kalmanson’s dog, Henry’s offers an ideal mix of high-end and casual. The spacious interior is home to two bars and seating for 160. Their large exterior deck offers great atmoshere to host a holiday event.
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 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.
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 2018, Mediterranean Grill is the place in Atlanta for
authentic Mediterranean food. For more than a decade their loyal customers have continued to flock to this family/chef-owned and operated restaurant. Here you will find regional dishes like gyros, falafel and kabob sandwiches that are perfect for holiday parties large and small. Mediterranean Grill has a special catering menu that can be found on their website or at their restaurants.
Fat Matt’s Rib Shack
1811 Piedmont Ave. 404.607.1622 fatmattsribshack.net
Atlanta’s favorite barbecue makes for great catering over the holidays. Barbecue lends itself perfectly for parties and where better to go than Fat Matt’s voted as having the Best Ribs in Atlanta in 2018. 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 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.
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PIECES OF CHRISTMAS Jewel brings the Family for a Crafty New Holiday Tour
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
INGER-SONGWRITER JEWEL Kilcher is known by many for her popular debut album Pieces Of You. Originally released in 1995, the album has reached over twelve-times platinum status and remains her biggest seller. In the meantime, she’s released a poetry collection, a memoir, and a catalog of ten other albums, each firmly-rooted in the folk tradition of socially-conscious singer-songwriters. The last time I spoke with Jewel in Atlanta, she was on set and in wardrobe as June Carter for the film “Ring Of Fire.” The venerable old Tabernacle was dressed as the Ryman Auditorium. The biopic was eventually released in 2013 and Jewel nabbed an Emmy nomination for her performance. Now she’s returning to town to celebrate another musical legacy - her own. Was it fun to be June Carter for a little while? I enjoyed the process immensely. I got to know the family and I even got to write a song with Johnny Cash, believe it or not. His son had these lyrics that Johnny Cash had written but were never put into songs. So me and some other writers [including Kris Kristofferson, Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson and Chris Cornell] got to use some of those lyrics and make songs out of them. It came out [in April of this year] as Forever Words, so that was really cool.
it’s really sweet. I cherish this time with him; we get to be together and my son gets to be a part of it, too. Is it more enjoyable to have your family along on tour instead of a band? You can replace the band, but you can’t really fire the folks. We’ve been singing together for so long, it’s just awesome. I usually tour by myself when I do the acoustic tours, so having them around is a lot better experience for me.
Now you’re working with another musical family. “My Father’s Daughter” from your most Yeah, I’m on tour with my own family. recent album (2015’s Picking Up The Pieces) People may recognize seemed to foreshadow the them from the reality show family get-together vibe. It’s called Alaska: The Last certainly very appropriate Frontier. I wanted this 8pm • Wednesday, Dec.19 for the live shows. show to be really from my Yeah and I show some home Sandy Springs Performing heart, with my dad Atz, movies. Footage from my Arts Center and Atz Lee and Nikos dad’s childhood, pioneering citysprings.com Kilcher. and settling Alaska. During the song, you’ll see my Your childhood was grandfather, my father and me substantially different than most people’s as a child. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody formative years. get through it without crying. Including me! I was raised on a homestead with no running water in Alaska. We made our own It’s been a few years since that album gifts and we sang. A lot. Music is really a was released. deep tradition in my family. All my aunts It has and I’m starting to work on a new and uncles and cousins sing and write. record. I’m writing a bit more for my own They’re all very creative, it’s just how we were voice this time. I’m wanting to show a lot of brought up. Handmade gifts were a big part heart and authenticity and that seems to be a of our lives. My dad made bracelets and I little lost these days. made jewelry. When Picking Up The Pieces was released, For this tour, you’re really bringing that you said you were determined not to follow crafty family tradition to the stage. the usual rules of songwriting. As you’ve We are. We’ll be singing in different grown as an artist, do you feel your style configurations. We do a lot of the Christmas has changed? classics, which I really enjoy. It lets me sing a Definitely. I’m a mom now, so I don’t get to way that I don’t really do on my own. I tend sit around and write for four hours when the to write to tell stories and these songs are muse hits. It’s different with how I write and very different. It lets me share a part of my what I’m writing about. singing that I don’t normally do. I’ll even be doing classical with “Ave Maria.” Is it different writing songs and being a singer-songwriter? You are going back to your formative years There’s lots of people that write songs and with some of the configurations, including have hits. That’s an amazing talent and really singing as a duo with your dad. valid and worthwhile. But a singer-songwriter I remember looking up at him when I was is different. You have an obligation to five and yodeling with him. Now I look at help society ask questions and help frame him standing next to me. He’s 70 now and a conversation.
insiteatlanta.com • December 2018 • PG 11
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
Santaland is Gone (for now) but the Waffle Palace is Open All Month at the Horizon
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
whole life there, but he became the owner when his dad passed it on to him. It’s really a series of alternative families who bond because they all visit the Waffle Palace.
OR 19 SEASONS, THE HORIZON has featured the quirky Santaland as a holiday tradition. But this year the popular David Sedaris show is on a muchAnd though it bears a resemblance to needed hiatus, leaving breathing room for the Waffle House, it’s definitely an a brand-new production. independent shop. Waffle Palace Christmas, a premiere Yes, it’s like the Silver Skillet or any of from the shrewd, southern-fried minds of the old-timey all-night diners. It’s basically writers Larry Larson and Eddie Levi Lee, in the Atlantic Station, midtown Atlanta continues the smothered’n’covered saga area. In the original, it was in peril because of the tough little midtown diner, while developers were wanting to buy it to level adding hilarious new events and characters it for new development. The first story to its history. was the little Waffle Palace against the big With an eight-person cast portraying developers. finely-drawn southern eccentrics, the show So now, it’s still there stands as a formidable as the development contender for a popular grows around it. new seasonal favorite at Until December 30 Yes, the whole the busy theater. development has built Horizon Theatre After all, who can resist up around it, leaving it horizontheatre.com the grease-stained in the middle of all this allure of an all-night progress and doing big diner? business from all the nearby people and INsite spoke with director Lisa Adler just crazy characters who frequent it. We have after the show’s opening performance. an ensemble who play multiple roles. We do have Lala Cochran from the Santaland How did the original Waffle Palace story cast and she’s very experienced in this type come about? of comedic production. About half of the I’ve known playwrights Larry Larson and cast play multiple roles. Eddie Levi Lee forever and we’ve worked together for years. I clip articles about And they’re presented as real characters things that interest me. We had Larry in you’d actually meet in an establishment for our young writers’ festival. I’d found a such as the Palace. great article about the Waffle House and We’ve really tried to keep an Atlanta all the crazy things that happen there and flavor to it. All these characters are people the regulars. Larry had happened to save you might actually find in mid-town the same story and mentioned it when Atlanta. We’ve found that people who like he was talking about how he came up the actual Waffle House and people who with story ideas. I said I have that same enjoyed the original Waffle Palace show article! It seemed like it was something we cross every age, sex, economic status, should pursue. everyone enjoys a place like the fictional Palace. And with show, we’re getting a So it was meant to be. great cross-scetion of people who might Yeah and he and Eddie have been writing actually go to an all-night diner or have partners since the ‘70s, so we started a sentimental feeling about it. We’ve had workshops and then we did it in 2012 and many first-time theater-goes who come a big revision in 2013. And the characters and say, I love the Waffle House and I began to develop. wanted to come see the play and see what it was all about. So we’ve tried to include There are some very three-dimensional characters that everyone can recognize as characters in the show. regulars of the Palace and how it all heads That’s true. We have the owner of the to the future. Palace, John who is a bit of an old-school curmudgeon. He didn’t intend to spend his Tell us about the evil Krampus, as played
A WAFFLE PALACE CHRISTMAS
Holiday Gift Guide SHOP DECATUR
VisitDecaturGA.com Enjoy discounts, drinks and snacks, special in-store events, sweet and savory deals and extended hours at 30 Decatur shops and restaurants every Terrific Thursday in December. Wrap up your holiday shopping with quirky finds, chic décor, foodie faves, crafty toys, playful crafts, and books for everyone on your list. Treat yourself with creative tastes and comfort fare from Decatur’s favorite dining spots. And get a Lyft on them! For details visit visitdecaturgeorgia.com/terrificthursdays. PG 12 • December 2018 • insiteatlanta.com
ROCK OF AGES
FoxTheatre.org/Promo Rock of Ages opened on Broadway in 2009 and earned five Tony Award® nominations including Best Musical. This Tenth Anniversary production offers fans the opportunity to rock out to the music of iconic bands such as Styx, Poison, Twisted Sister, and Whitesnake among many others. The show is coming to the Fox Theatre January 3-4 and you can save $10 on select seats! Use code HOLIDAY at FoxTheatre. org/Promo. Offer valid for up to 4 tickets and expires 12/26 at 11:59 pm.
by Rob Cleveland. He’s the main antagonist of the play. He’s like the anti-Santa from old folklore. Like Santa’s evil twin. The story is still popular in Europe but not as popular in America. His goal in the play is to take down the holiday spirit at the Palace. He’s reading The Art Of The Deal at the top of the second act, if that gives you an indication of the inspiration. Rob is so good with comedy, he’s the highlight of the show in many ways. He gets to interact with the audience and use topical jokes and he’s adding something new every night. Since you are using the iconic signage reminiscent of the Waffle House, is the company on board with this concept? Oh they’re a sponsor and they’ve been fantastic. They came to the first readings and they’ve been so supportive of us. They didn’t want to look at the script in advance or anything. In fact, they came to opening night and had a hash-browns station. Even though Santaland is gone, The Horizon is carrying on another tradition with Madeline’s Christmas. It’s our eleventh year and it’s a totally new design because it was repped with Santaland. The thing about the Waffle set
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is, everything has to go away and it has to become Madeline’s Christmas every day. That’s a lot of work and a lot of people to heard around. But they’re adorable. For Madeline’s we have two casts of kids - with professionals in the adult roles - but 24 adorable little girls from all over Georgia. I think it’s five counties and twenty schools, just all over the map and they’re just as cute as can be. They’re grown up seeing the show, haven’t they? Since we’ve been doing it for so long, I think almost all of them have been audience members over the years before they auditioned for it. So it’s been around 240 girls who’ve been in the show now. It’s a big experience for them and a good legacy to be a part of. With a nearly a month of performances, that’s a lot of potential stage time. Yes, with a school play, you might get two or three performances. With this, they get 20 performances. That’s a lot even for an adult, so it’s a great experience. Many of them go on to do other shows and we’ve had several big professional things come from it as well. So we’re still all about tradition here at Horizon.
428 Moreland Ave. 404.523.0100 Facebook: psychosistersatlanta Nestled in Little 5 Points, Psycho Sisters is a great place to find a unique gift for that funky someone in your life. Their store offers a wide range of hard to find vintage clothes, accessories and fun Christmas sweaters! Let Psycho Sister’s vast selection of every era in fashion and the best personal sales team help you this holiday season.
THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE CHRISTMAS SHOW BUSINESS Out Front Theater’s World Premiere is a Loving Tribute to an Iconic Performer
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
Studio 54 was such a hotbed of pop culture leading up to UST IN TIME FOR THE SEASON, OUT Front that kinetic time. Theatre Company is debuting its first-ever holidayIt really was and as I researched and found out that themed production, the world premiere of “The Ethel Studio 54 actually closed in February of 1980, it all started Merman Christmas Disco Spectacular.” From the wildly to fit together. It would be a Christmas variety special creative mind of Artistic Director Paul Conroy, the show for television. Since the end of the ‘70s was such a time is based on the notion of what might’ve happened if the of change, I decided to add characters who were part of legendary performer - once known as the “Biggest Voice that world and also experienced a lot of changes as the on Broadway” - had hosted a disco-themed Christmas TV ‘80s arrived. So we have Andy Warhol, Michael Jackson, special in 1979. Donna Summer - people who helped define the ‘70s and The idea isn’t too far flung because Merman did indeed lived on into the ‘80s. I thought it would be a natural fit record a disco album in ‘79. Though far from a massive for our audience. And now here we are. commercial success, the disc became a favorite among her fans as well as connoisseurs of improbable celebrity Did you consider writing a score of original songs? kitsch. The jarring juxtaposition of Merman belting her Well her album was basically her greatest hits and stage and screen hits - propelled they just set it all to a disco beat. So by throbbing disco beats and late I talked to our musical director Nick ‘70s-style arrangements - has kept the Silvestri and I said, ‘I need you to take allure of the collection alive since its Christmas songs that everyone knows release. Out Front’s Musical Director and put them into a disco beat.’ Nick Silvestri is handling the disco tracks for the new production, set at December 6-22, Thurs-Sun You’re presenting a fictionalized story legendary celeb hotspot Studio 54. with actual characters who tend to be Out Front Theater In Conroy’s vision, Merman (played larger-than-life personalities. It’s easy outfronttheatre.com by actress Lynn Grace) hosts a to go way over-the-top with such easily cornucopia of A-listers and perennial recognizable figures. NYC-scenesters, including Andy Right but we didn’t want them to be Warhol (Davin Grindstaff ), Donna Summer (Alaina caricatures of their images. Like, when we think of Ethel Holeman), Michael Jackson (Patrick Coleman) and Merman, we think of this loud, bawdy, brassy woman. Truman Capote (Brandon Deen). To further fan the Certainly she was at times, but Lynn is careful to portray flames of festive polyester fashion, audience members are her real voice. When she wasn’t ‘on,’ she was very softencouraged to dress in their best glittery, late-‘70s disco spoken. We show her and all the celebrities as real people. attire. And the cast has been great to offer their own takes on it, INsite spoke with busy writer-director Conroy during a too: ‘I think she might say it this way, or let’s try this or break from rehearsals. that.’ For example, the person playing our Truman Capote, is around six-feet-tall. Capote wasn’t that tall but he’s So the whole thing starts with the now-legendary Ethel studied the mannerisms and the voice so we understand Merman disco album. that the person is portraying Truman Capote but not in That’s right. My family is from Boston and two a buffoonish way. The hope is that it can live on, well years ago my boyfriend and I were driving back from beyond our production. Christmas there. Since I do most of the driving, I just put on whatever music I want. For years, I’ve been a fan Ethel is beloved by some and totally unknown to others. of Ethel Merman so I was playing her disco album. As Why did you select her to as the central character? I was listening, I realized that she had never released a Of all the people we could have featured, I’ve been Christmas album. That seems kind of odd for someone asked, ‘Why Ethel?’ Well, I’ve always been interested who was recording from the ‘30s through the 70s, so I in women that made it through so much. She became a started thinking, ‘What kind of Christmas songs would celebrity during the Great Depression and was performing she have recorded if she’d done a disco Christmas album?’ during WWII and all these things. I really feel that It’s an 18-hour drive so I had plenty of time to think the success of so many women today is due in part to about it. the women who came before them. I just wanted to do something that showed my appreciation for her. People Then you began to formulate the concept. say, ‘Oh are you gonna have a drag queen play Ethel Yeah, her album came out in 1979 - that was the year I was Merman?’ But that’s not the point. To me and to many born - and that was at such a shift in time. We were about to people, she was a real, important figure for many years. go into the Reagan Years and the AIDS crisis and so many It’s just absurd to me that the disco record was the last changes. That’s when I decided to set it at Studio 54. thing she ever recorded.
ETHEL MERMAN DISCO CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR
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It’s definitely a loving tribute to Ethel as well as the era. Exactly. I don’t want to say it’s a love letter, but I do hope that more people will come to appreciate her for what we’re showing in this production. If we’d really gone over-the-top, I don’t think it would have had the same impact, especially as a holiday offering. It has to have real heart and recognizable themes, especially since it’s for the holiday season. Will the Spectacular become an annual tradition for Out Front? I hope it’s something that will continue but we’re not going to be doing it every year. Not to say we won’t go back and revisit it sometime, but I want it to be something special. I want people to see it this year. If they miss it, maybe they’ll see it in a few years when we bring it back. I hope people will see all the holiday productions around town but I think it’s nice to have something new, too. What’s next? Are you hoping for a franchise of Ethelrelated productions or even a film version? (Laughs) Oh I don’t know. We’ve made jokes about making other Ethel Merman holiday specials, like Ethel’s Easter Extravaganza or something. I don’t know if that’ll happen, right now we’re taking it one step at a time because it’s all brand-new. If someone wants to do it next year or the year after that, then there can be a bit more of an understanding of what it’s all about.
Cobb Energy Centre cobbenergycentre.com Postmodern Jukebox ushers in the upcoming Twenty-Twenties with their Welcome to the Twenties 2.0 Tour. Postmodern Jukebox creator Scott Bradlee says the tour is meant to prepare the world for a new decade -- one that hopes will see a return to the style and craftsmanship that typified the music of past generations. Show takes place January 23. Tickets at Cobbenergycentre.com.
E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL IN CONCERT
WITH THE ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Join the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra this January, as the cult classic movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is shown on a 40-foot screen in Atlanta Symphony Hall. Relive all the mystery and fun that captivated audiences around the world, complete with John Williams’ Academy Award®-winning score being performed live by the Atlanta Symphony in sync to the film! Perfect for all ages, this cinematic experience will take place on both January 4th and 5th. For full show details and ticketing information, visit aso.org/movies.
insiteatlanta.com • December 2018 • PG 13
A SWINGIN’ LITTLE KITSCH-MAS
Jane Lynch and Friends Deck the Festive Halls with Music and Comedy
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
Do you enjoy bus life? Some people hate it. CTRESS JANE LYNCH MAY BE It’s a novelty for sure. I don’t think it’ll be my best known for her role in the popular favorite thing in the world, but I love these television series Glee, but she’s also a people and we’re all having fun. We’ve been busy, multi-tasking singer-dancer-comedian. doing this since 2015, so we know each other Currently on tour with Kate Flannery (The pretty well by now. And Tony is the most Office), Tim Davis and the Tony Guerrero creative person I’ve ever met. We’ve been Quintet, her Swingin’ Little Christmas “taking meetings” about what else we can do tour is on the road with a bus-load of with this idea because it’s so right for other kitschy goodness, corny jokes and heartfelt expressions in other platforms. holiday tunes. Based on her 2016 album Since the album continues of the same name, released to build interest annually, on the upstart Kitschtone where do you see the Records label, Lynch is concept heading? Saturday, Dec 22 crisscrossing the country with The great thing about 7 & 10pm (Two shows) an impressive itinerary that Christmas music is that it includes two stops in Georgia. City Winery endures. If you embrace Recently, as the troupe citywinery.com/atlanta a particular arrangement headed by bus from Kansas of a Christmas song and it City to Chicago, Lynch becomes part of your life, checked in with INsite by phone from her then you’ll come back every year for it. That’s cozy bunk. the potential of it. Christmas albums do come and go, but I think ours will endure because Last time you were in town, you were on of the style it was created in. Hopefully it’ll the “See Jane Sing” bill at Symphony Hall. endure as strongly as something Bing Crosby, Was that cabaret show the catalyst for the the Andrews Sisters, Rosemary Clooney or current “Swingin’ Little Christmas” album Perry Como did. That’s the hope anyway. and tour? Yes, we were doing that and then the This show would be great for a television amazing Tony Guerrero [musicianspecial. Have you explored that idea? songwriter, Kitschtone Records label mogul We did try to do that, but we didn’t get any and musical director for the tour] had an nibbles, so we kind of let that go. idea to do a Christmas album. We put it together and released it in 2016. It did really In the Christmas vein, there’s also a great well that year, then again in 2017 and it’s still holiday video of you and Dick Van Dyke doing fantastic now. So here we are, touring from last year. A new holiday song. the music. We’ve made a little show out of Yes! It’s another composition by Tony, called it and we’re on the bus with shows all over “We’re Going Caroling.” I sang back-up. We the country. did a little video for it. It’s on the Kitschtone You Tube channel and I think it’s very sweet. Now you’re living like a rock star on a tenhour, cross-country drive. What was it like working with such a We are! I’m in my little bunk with the cornerstone of television and entertainment curtains drawn. We just had lunch at Cracker in general? Barrell and now we’re on the way to Chicago. He’s such a great man. He’s alive and thriving and he just loves performing. I Talk about road food - and kitsch! grew up with The Dick Van Dyke Show. It was delicious, though. There’s nothing like That was my first conscious memory of a their gravy. It’s such a throw-back place. television show.
Did you mention that to him? (Laughs) I probably blurted that out at some point. Have you expanded into merchandise for this tour? I’m hoping you have some appropriately kitschy ornaments for sale at the table. Right now, the merch we have is the CD and we’re selling a lot of them after the shows for sure. I had to call my partner and have her ship a big box of them via cargo because we ran out! But we’re kinda zen about it. You might be the only person who’d want an ornament with our faces on it. You never know. But Christmas can be kitschy without even trying sometimes, and you’re probably examining that side of it during the live show. Oh, you mean like can it be corny? Yeah, that’s pretty much inherent in it. And for that we’ve got Kate Flannery. She’s our corny. She’s like all of your dad’s jokes. You and Kate work so well together as a team. You’re turning into a modern-day, cabaret style Hope and Crosby. Thank you for saying that! We do have our particular ways of doing things. But I think I’d probably be Crosby and she’d be Hope. You and Kate are obviously best-known by many from your various television roles. I was talking with your former Glee co-star Matthew Morrison a while back about the whole ‘familiarity of TV’ syndrome. Once you’ve been on a popular show, you’ve achieved a rare intimacy with people. People feel like they know you. There’s a bond from TV that film or even live performances just can’t equal. Exactly, yeah. You’ve basically been in their homes. I remember I’ve felt that way, too. When I first got to L.A., I’d be at a party, sitting next to somebody and I’d go, ‘Hey, did we go to high school together?’ They’d be like, ‘No, I’m on Knott’s Landing.’ Since they think they know you, do people come up and share things that maybe they shouldn’t? I haven’t experienced much of that. But you know who does get that - and is so good with it, too? Carol Burnett. Everybody feels like they know her. I did a movie with her and she played my mother on Glee. I’ve seen people come up to her and she ends up holding them in her arms as they’re crying while they tell her a story. Besides television, you’re covering a number of media platforms with your current work. It’s all over the place. “The Marvelous s Mrs. Maisel is on Amazon, The Good Fight is on CBS All Access, Hollywood Game Night is network and “Wreck It Ralph,” of course, is an animated theatrical movie. Everybody’s hungry for content and there are just so many platforms now.
“CHRISTMAS ALBUMS DO COME AND GO, BUT I THINK OURS WILL ENDURE BECAUSE OF THE STYLE IT WAS CREATED IN.” PG 14 • December 2018 • insiteatlanta.com
Is that the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry? Yeah, and I can’t even keep up with it. I’m to the point where I just don’t watch anything. But it is a golden age. People like Reece Witherspoon and Julia Roberts are doing limited series shows. I think it really speaks to the quality of the product; a lot more
people are doing television now. Movies, you know, they can come and go and at this point-in-time, instead of going to a movie theater, we can just open our computers and binge watch things on HBO or Netflix. But I’m not throwing away movies or anything like that, because I do still love going to a movie theater. Nothing beats that moment when the lights go down and the big screen comes alive. You can’t get that experience while looking at a laptop or a phone. I love it! I don’t do it enough but every time I go, every trailer that comes on, ‘Oh I want to see that!’ I love getting the giant Diet Coke and popcorn and Raisinetes or something. And I love going alone, just as a spur of the moment thing. ‘Ah, I’m gonna go see a movie.’ It’s still an event. I don’t want to see that on my phone. You can’t see your Swingin’ Christmas show on the phone. That’s right, it’s all live on stage and it’s all us. We have the same cast of characters as before, but this time we’re doing a Christmas show with all-new outfits and all-new jokes. In addition to all of your film, TV and live work, you’ve done a few cool short films. That’s also a popular format right now. Yes, short film festivals are all over the country now. I just did a couple recently. I did one called “The Play.” I have a very small part in it; it’s my friend Paul Witten’s short. It’s being submitted to festivals now, I think. It’s about a friend going to see another friend in a play and it’s all very avant-garde and weird and it’s about how hard it is to say you actually enjoyed it afterwards. Then it turns into a horror film. They end up killing everybody! Jane Lynch and her Swingin’ Little Christmas troupe arrive in Atlanta for two shows at City Winery on Saturday, December 22. Showtimes are 7 and 10 p.m. The night before - on Friday, December 21 - they’ll do one show at 7:30 p.m. in Athens at the UGA Performing Arts Center.
HORTON HAS A HAYRIDE Horton Heat Revs Up the Holiday Season
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
HE AMPED-UP ROCK’N’ROLL OF REVERED Horton Heat has survived and thrived through grunge, pop, blues and country music revivals. The timeless nature of his delivery appeals to an incredibly wide swath of music lovers. On his latest release Whole New Life, soft-spoken Jim Heath leads his able band through a raging set of upbeat rockabilly barnburners. He’s currently road-testing some of the new stuff on a holiday-themed Hayride tour with like-minded pals Big Sandy, Junior Brown and The Blasters. INsite caught up with the Texas-born singer-guitarist by phone from Minneapolis, moments before a recent show. How’s the Hayride going so far? Well, last night was the first night and the only problem is the set was two hours and 15-minutes! That’s a little bit long. I’m not sure what we’re gonna do to make it a little more concise. We’re promoting a new album and it’s a Christmas tour and we have our guest Big Sandy come out and play six or seven songs. But it’s all good. Are you bringing props again this year? Oh, we’ve got some really kitschy decorations. I’ve got this aluminum Christmas tree and this year I’ve got the base that turns the tree and the old color wheel. We’ve also got this giant, inflatable Rudolph. It’s huge and really funny, man.
In a situation like that, a lot of people might cut the show down a bit, maybe to a 45-minute set. Yeah but it’s Christmas - we’ve got a new album, and we’ve got Big Sandy. Christmas songs are quite a bit of a challenge, a lot of them are story-songs with a lot of lyrics to remember. We just did a a residency in Austin where we had guests, so we’re always working on learning new music. It’s fun but it’s a constant challenge. Once we get it in there and we meet that challenge and it works, there’s just nothing like it in the world. We definitely do some crazy stuff. Are you documenting all of this music? You’re producing an incredible amount of material. You know, I don’t. And that might be why, it’s just too much. I’d constantly be setting up the recorder! You’ve collaborated with so many seemingly improbable artists at your Horton’s Hayride festivals. Yeah, Jello Biafra, Deke Dickerson, Robert Gordon, Unknown Hinson. We did a festival for a few years like that. We’d play and then here’d come Slim Jim Phantom or Mike Ness or Eddie Spaghetti. We’ve had so many people join us, it began to get a little too big of a dog to feed. It’s a lot to learn, to get ready and then know that you’re gonna do some Social Distortion songs. My guys are great players, and they can do it but it’s a lot of work.
REVEREND HORTON HEAT Thursday, Dec. 1 • 7pm
But all the names you mentioned shows the diversity of your appeal. Yeah and a lot of that was born of the fact that we were able to adjust the setlist to be able to play one night at a blues club, the next, a honkytonk country gig and the next night at a punk rock room or whatever.
You’ve been doing some cool collaborative shows, did this tour emerge from your recent tour of ‘residency’ shows? It kinda came out of the blue. This time of year, a lot of people want to go out and party and so it seemed to make sense. We’ve got a Christmas album from quite a while back now, but people really like that album, so now here we are. Are you doing these shows like a variety showcase? In a way, with Big Sandy. Then we have Junior Brown, and he plays right before us. Then The Blasters play right before him. I really have some of my biggest heroes and influences that are still around today, with me on this tour. You go way back with The Blasters. Oh yeah, way back. I first saw them in Dallas at the Hot Club, in like, 1980-something. So long ago. And now here they are, opening for you. I know. It’s somewhat - well I’ve kinda got mixed feelings about it. But the good thing is, it adds to the show and people are showing up early, just to see them. A lot of times, our opening bands play so early, a lot of people aren’t really out yet, but they’re there for The Blasters. That’s another reason why our set is long. But hey, they’re getting a lot of great stuff.
Was that born of necessity? Absolutely. We did that because we knew we didn’t want to have real jobs! We wanted to tour, playing music all the time. We found if we could adjust the set a little bit, it would make us fit into the venue. It made us very versatile. Unlike so many bands, you not only survived but actively thrived during the grunge era of the early ‘90s. Yeah somehow we ended up on Sub-Pop Records as our first label and that’s just as the grunge thing was hitting. So we became part of that scene, too. A few years later we had “It’s Martini Time” and we became part of the swing scene. And we’ve pretty much always been there with the rockabilly scene. It’s just been a real blessing to be accepted. The new album is a bit different than the rest of your catalog. You’re really rocking those vocals. You know, it is a little different and I think my vocals have changed a bit. A few years ago, I stated working with a vocal coach and I started increasing my range a little bit. Even at my age, I was able to do it!
The album offers a very positive message overall. Yeah, it’s pretty much positive love songs, thinking about the brighter side of a situation or the brighter side of life, with something zany and comical thrown in. And then having some straight rock and roll to wrap around it. It’s a specific beat, straight-eights on the guitar and piano. You know, a lot of bands aren’t doing the old-style rock and roll like they used to, so we’re trying to bring that back a little bit. Tell us a bit about the title-track. Is it autobiographical? It sounds like you have a lot of new things going on in your life. A little bit but it’s really just an old, vintage style lyric. Again, it’s positive, it’s about being happily-married and having chickens and - well, I guess somewhat it is autobiographical. I do have chickens and I am happily married - most of the time. But really it’s just a wild, fast rock and roll song. A good, rockin’ song doesn’t have to make any sort of linear sense. You’re right, some of the best rock and roll songs don’t make sense at all. I mean, “Tutti Frutti”?! What is that about? But when you’ve got ‘a-whop-bop-a-loo-bop,’ what more do you need? It’s much more of a raw, in-the-moment feeling than a Dylanesque song with a specific or implied message. Yeah, when rock and roll came out, it was just wild. Then the Beatles came in and they were, maybe half the time, a rockabilly band in the early days. But my opinion is, somewhere around where the Beatles went psychedelic, rock and roll was gone for a while. That straight-eight feel of rock’n’roll was dead until the birth of punk rock. But it all comes back around and playing rock’n’roll is still a real, living thing of the moment. That’s just exciting to me.
ATLANTA’S BEST PATIO SCENE
132 10th Street NE • Midtown (404) 537-4477 HenrysATL.com insiteatlanta.com • December 2018 • PG 15
ELEGANCE IN THE DEEP END Anna Moon Presents New Music
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
time period. That was my goal, to create something in my own lane. I didn’t want to sound like anyone else. I think there are always natural comparisons, but in terms of production and style, I like to think it stands in its own bubble. It’s hard to make something unique but I’m lucky to have a great team - my husband (songwriter/musician) Niko Moon and producer Jamie Kenney - that understand my vision and helped me bring it to life.
HE REFERS TO HERSELF AS A left-field pop artist, but Anna Moon’s roots are firmly planted in jazz, soul and hip-hop. Geographically, the Nashville-based singersongwriter’s roots rise from the southern clay of Cartersville, Georgia. The melting pot of styles and influences suit her unique vocal delivery. Comparisons are often made to Amy Winehouse or Billie Holiday and like those iconic performers, her voice resonates with a timeless elegance. What was your original vision for this With a full album ready for next year, Moon collection of songs? has wisely released a series of We really went down the three distinctive singles from rabbit hole when we started. the collection over the past few I wanted this new-jazz thing months. As the album awaits December 1,8 & 15 where we’d have moments of a full release, she’s out on the real hip-hop-influenced beats The Deep End road previewing the material in mixed with pop elements. We a string of intimate showcases, deependatl.com really had no idea what the hell including a three-gig December we were doing at first. We just residency in the cozy confines of went in and followed the song. Atlanta’s Deep End. Then we followed the next song. After a few INsite spoke with Moon before a recent songs, we had this cohesive sound. performance at a jazz club in Nashville.
FROM THE CHURCH TO THE TABERNACLE Taylor Tomlinson stars in Conan’s Tour I THINK I’D LIKE TO CREATE MY OWN SHOW, MORE THAT BE ON SOMEONE ELSE’S. WHICH IS WHAT COMICS SAY, BECAUSE WE’RE SO USED TO IT BEING ALL ON US UP THERE.
Nashville isn’t universally known for jazz, but you’re part of a good scene. It’s true. It’s known to locals but it gets overlooked by the media sometimes. But it’s a really good time for all kinds of music here. Country of course, but there’s so much good pop and rock and jazz. I’m proud that Nashville is a part of my story, as is Atlanta. It’s just an exciting time to be doing something a little bit different. Like Atlanta or Austin, Nashville is very welcoming of all styles of music. It’s definitely a town that loves music, values musicians and really hones creativity. It’s a great place to collaborate and expand their knowledge on genres and songwriting. It’s good for me because a lot of my music is jazz-influenced, but it’s heavily pop as well. It doesn’t sound like it comes from any certain
The sound is anchored by a unique voice. Naturally it’s been compared to a number of incredible vocalists, but what has been the oddest comparison you’ve gotten so far? Oh my God, you’re not going to believe this, but I have actually been compared to Bob Marley! A really respected music guy said that. The reason being, I love singing in triplets which is a very reggae thing to do. I can see where he was coming from in terms of technique, but it was still funny at first. What’s the best comparison you’ve received? I get so many, because people are always trying to place it. But the one I think that meant the most was when I was doing the album and I did this part [sings a line of a song] and my producer said, ‘That sounds like Judy Garland.’ I grew up listening to her. Do you like playing intimate settings better than larger venues with several thousand people? I do love playing intimate places because you can get such a great rapport with everyone in the room. You can actually see them. But they’re also the harder shows to play because you’re so vulnerable. But if you can do those shows it helps with the bigger venues. It’s a much easier transition. When I was playing at Eddie’s Attic, you could see everyone and they were all so quiet. They’re hanging on every word, which is amazing. It’s a crazy feeling but exciting at the same time. You have a number of unique tattoos, but tied with Frank Sinatra for the most unusual is your ‘elegance’ hand tattoo. Now that’s a commitment. Yeah, it really is. My husband and I always said that we’ll get tattoos but maybe not on our hands. But then we said, ‘Well we already have so many, who cares?’ So I had this idea of doing ‘elegance’ in this kind of street font. I love juxtaposition and the idea of taking such a beautiful word and doing it in a very street way, on my knuckles, I think it’s a good representation of me. It hurt like hell but it’s one of my favorite tattoos.
PG 16 • December 2018 • insiteatlanta.com
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
ONAN O’BRIEN IS ON A BIT of A hiatus from his popular TBS late-night show. While it’s being revamped for a more succinct, comedy-oriented format, he’s on a cross-country tour of theaters with a wildly-varied selection of today’s hottest comics in tow. The show that took place recently at the Tabernacle featured a line-up that was perhaps the strongest of all the dates, with steadily-rising funnyman Ron Funches, xxx Flavo - and hot young comic Taylor Tomlinson. Her latest special is an episode of the The Comedy Lineup on Netflix, recently awarded an impressive 100% score by Rotten Tomatoes. She also co-hosts a funny podcast called Self Helpless. INsite caught up with Tomlinson by phone before a recent show in Las Vegas. Your path to comedy is decidedly unique. It’s not the typical ‘open-mics-to-headlining clubs’ story. Yeah, when I was 16 my dad wanted to take a stand-up comedy class, so we did. We were a pretty religious family, and we did it through a church group. Then I started opening sets for the teacher. I actually did that until I turned 18, just doing churches and fundraisers and schools. It’s not really a very rock and roll beginning, I guess. Was your dad happy that you became a comic and he didn’t? He didn’t really want to be a comic, he just thought it would be a fun thing to do together. It’s not like he had some big dream that I stole; we just had time to talk in the car every week for eight weeks. It was much more about us hanging out. And then this is what I ended up doing, which is crazy to think about now. Like with “Christian Rock,” is there a stigma of being labelled a “Church Comic?” Oh yeah, but I never wanted to actually be a “church comic.” I never really had church jokes, I was just really clean for the first few years. Then at a certain point, I decided I didn’t want to just do churches anymore. There were just other things to talk about. From there, did you move to the club circuit
or straight on to Last Comic Standing? I was doing clubs in San Diego by that point. I think I auditioned for Last Comic right after my 21st birthday and they liked the story about starting out in the church - I think because they hadn’t heard it before. But I remember I said specifically, ‘Please don’t portray me as a church comic, I’m trying to get away from that. I don’t necessarily want that to be how I’m labelled or whatever.’ And of course, that’s exactly what they did, because it’s a reality show. Thanks to the show, you got some mileage from the church thing even though you didn’t want or need it at that point. I did. They filmed me at a church for the little backstory part and they made that kind of my hook. So I got a fair amount of bookings from it. It’s weird, nowadays it’s all just a lot of things help put you in a different place in your career, a lot of things building up over time. So the church became a part of it. What was the Last Comic Standing experience like for you? That was Season 9, right? Yeah, I’d watched it growing up - like in middle and high school. That’s the first place I saw a lot of comics just because so many people did it. So to actually be on that show, even though it was very different by the time I did it, it was very surreal. Season nine was very strong, with [Atlantan] Clayton English and a bunch of other great comics. Oh yeah and everyone was really nice to me and cool and hilarious - even when I was voted off. They were very encouraging, so it was great. And that definitely helps especially in L.A. - with getting any kind of TV credit. It puts you a little bit more at the forefront of peoples’ minds. Like, ‘Oh, she just did this…’ Would you like to be on a series at some point? I think I’d like to create my own show, more that be on someone else’s. Which is what comics say, because we’re so used to it being all on us up there. But I like that. You know, it’s the sort of, ‘I stand alone and I succeed alone’ thing.
ELECTROSPECTIVE OF ECLECTIC FOLK-ROCK Robyn Hitchcock Looks Back on Four Decades of Eccentricity
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
INGER-SONGWRITER-MULTIinstrumentalist Robyn Hitchcock began his recording career in the mid‘70s in Cambridge, England. After stints with The Soft Boys and The Egyptians, he began a solo career that has included collaborations with a number of influential artists, most notably members of R.E.M. During four decades of creating quirky, folk-tinged, psychedelic rock - a swirling mixture of Dylan, Lennon, Barrett and Beefheart - he’s toured the world and released a stunning catalog of music. Beginning with his first visit to Georgia, for a show in 1985 at Atlanta’s storied 688 club, the area has been a favorite destination for the prolific performer. His most recent tour showcased Hitchcock in solo and band shows, including with Athens’ Elf Power and pals from his current home in Nashville. Over the years, this writer has had the pleasure to speak with the enigmatic musician in a number of situations; on a sidewalk in Athens, at a Mexican restaurant in Austin and by phone from his home in London. This time we communicated via email as he completed the UK leg of his “Electrospective Tour.” Here a few highlights of a lengthy correspondence. Was the recent “Electrospective” planned as a deep dive of your catalog? I’m now a traveling museum of my own career, permanently on tour. Like a microMcCartney. I include songs going back to 1979 - which once upon a time was the scary distant future. Now 1979 is a quaint old dreamland with a benign Democrat president. [But] I’ll revert to being a folk singer for the next year or so. Being a folk singer is simpler, cheaper and ultimately less exhausting than touring with an electric outfit; I’m also less likely to lose my voice if it’s not fighting the amplifiers and the drum kit. You’re an incredibly prolific songwriter. How do you keep the process fresh and interesting after so many songs? I have no idea where songs even come from; out of the blind spot or out of the depths, perhaps? The bubble and squeak of the subconscious. It does get harder not to roll along in the same old grooves, but you can’t stampede music out of yourself any more than you can force a cat or a fish to come your way. All you can do is lure them and keep the channels open in case they head towards you. Many of the bands we both love created great art during chaotic times, especially during the ‘60s. Do current events influence your work, even within your decidedly abstract concepts? I’m sure they do but there’s no point adding to the pile of human misery. Songs are a refuge as well as a warning light. That said, I’ve never been very reassuring, have I? And there are much more tumultuous times than these on the horizon. ‘80s related, did you enjoy the MTV era, or was the video side of it all a distraction from the music? Was there pressure for you to sort of “one-up” each video with new and unique ideas? Yours were more
artistic than the standard fare - but that’s to be expected from a visual artist. You’re right, it was a distraction. But those videos are now wonderful time capsules for all of us who had to make them, and all the viewers. Still, it’s a shame how much of our youth is squandered on bad hairstyles. My favourite of the videos I made are the early Super-8 ones that Tony Moon shot before A&M got their budget on us. “I Often Dream Of Trains” and “The Man With The Lightbulb Head” are little slices of 1984 for me.
We can’t leave the ‘80s without talking about the R.E.M. connection. That Globe of Frogs show at the Uptown was just about ground zero for that whole era. How did you first connect with those guys? Can we ever leave the 1980s? I don’t think I ever left the 1960s! I met the R.E.M. family in 1984 in London. Over the next 30 years they became major characters in my life, and they helped me a lot - a generous bunch. My wealthy nephews. Is/was Athens the Cambridge of the American South? If so, how? R.E.M. being to Athens what Pink Floyd were to Cambridge? Good point! Cambridge is a lot colder though (I’m on a train there right now) and Athens has sexier fire hydrants. I see that you have embraced Social Media - with a number of selfies, “reallife” photographs and posts. Do you enjoy it? I remember a time when you were particularly averse to photographs. I still don’t like being photographed, but I’ve learned to smile for the camera - it gives me an instant facelift. Try to look cool when you’re older and you just look miserable. Social media is king...and queen. It is a path to global consciousness, and right now global consciousness doesn’t seem very happy.
there somewhere, there’s a great picture of you at Edinburgh Castle. Your first sentence is beautiful: “You can’t compete with ancient monuments, you just hope to become one as best you can.” You’ve definitely succeeded. Is this a sly way of summing up your career or how would you like to be remembered? Thanks – but it’s not that sly. As I said, I’m very much a memento of myself - and the people who influenced me. Nobody is remembered for long, but I’ve always worked with tomorrow in mind. My work has endured this far, and I’m proud of that.
You’ve done more in a year than most artists would ever dream of accomplishing. But what’s next? What’s next for you to do that you haven’t done yet? Right now I’m editing my poems, and illustrating some lyrics - hoping to get something out on the printed page. Otherwise, I’m fixin’ to tour till I’m all toured out then I hope to be made into an app so people can write Robyn Hitchcock songs on their phones - or mix a certain percentage of me with their own style. Our phones are merging with us anyway. If we last another 50 years, we’ll all be iPeeps. Then I’ll be inside y’all - heh heh!
It’s hard to believe but it’s been 20 years since [documentary/performance film] “Storefront Hitchcock” was released. Is it time to do another concert film and if so, who should film it? What was it like working with director Jonathan Demme? Jonathan Demme was a very simpatico film director and I was lucky to get to work with him. I do wish we’d had time to get to know each other better before he made Storefront me, though. We’d have been less respectful of each other and it would have been more fun to watch. Yes, maybe it’s time to film one more live show. If we can find vaguely flattering camera angles... What’s coming next in the new year, record wise? Hopefully some EPs - collaborations with other characters. And maybe a 45 7”. You said recently on social media that you take a fast nap before showtime. Does that add a sort of “out of body” or at least stress-free feel to the performance? A short sleep drains some toxins from my brain - I feel refreshed and recharged to go onstage. The day begins again when you face an audience: it’s better not to drag all your preoccupations up there with you. Speaking of social media, as we were up
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J Mascis fans have had a lot to rejoice over in the past decade. They’ve seen Mascis reunite with Murph and Lou Barlow for a fullon Dinosaur Jr. reunion (shocking just about everyone – band members included) with consistent tours and four (4!) albums of new music since they last called it a day. The band is in prime form – not as slobby as the mid- ‘80s, but still impressively ferocious. Meanwhile, Mascis has managed to multitask like a champ, keeping up his solo output. The latest, “Elastic Days,” his third since 2011, continues on the same trajectory as the last two, forgoing the loud abrasive guitars – his Dinosaur Jr. signature – in leu of a quieter, but still just as impactive acoustic guitar route, punctuated with savvy lyrics. Songs like the beautiful “Sky is All We Have” and the title track are among some of the best solo Mascis songs ever committed to tape. It’s hard not to draw comparisons to peers like Husker Du’s Bob Mould, coming from a similar cold climate punk rock background, who has grown significantly as both a musician and a songwriter in the decades since arriving in the 1980s, while still keeping up a trends-be-damned philosophy to writing stellar punk music buttressed by sharp lyrics and solid playing.
CURSE OF LONO As I Fell
(Submarine Cat Records) Every once and a while you stumble on an amazing band that is so frustratingly under the radar that it makes you question the very concept of justice. The London-based five-piece, Curse of Lono, is one of those bands. For three albums now, spread across the past three years, the band has turned in one nearly-flawless record after another and aside from the cheers coming from music reporters, some Americana devotees and record store nerds, the ripples in the pop culture lake never seem to go beyond one or two rings. The band’s latest effort, “As I Fell,” continues their streak of brilliantly simple and simply brilliant blend of Americana and Gothic Alternative Rock. Though the band has never been accused of being overly raucous, “As I Fell” finds the band at their most subdued, bringing about a strong Dylan vibe throughout the 11 songs here. It seems almost unfair to single out one track from the next as the record is nearly devoid of any filler material. The band instead opts for creating a deeply moving Southern Gothic (yes, I realize they’re
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