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VOL. 25, NO. 6 FREE

Troubadour Kristian Bush The Little Mermaid

Winter Guide C

Year in Review The Best in Music, Film, Sports & Pop Culture

Edgerton Foundation New Play Award Recipient

Music by ©Disney




and featuring Atlanta’s own

Jessica Grovè as Ariel and Alan Mingo, Jr. as Sebastian. Photo by Bruce Bennett

ZACH SEABAUGH as seen on NBC’s “The Voice”

Directed by




A revolution is born and country music is changed forever in this feel-good romantic comedy.



TICKETS AS LOW AS $20 Box Office 404.733.5000 1280 Peachtree Street NE // Atlanta, GA 30309

PG 2 • January 2017 •


JANUARY 12 - 15 • 855-285-8499






Entertainment Monthly

INTERVIEWS 09 The Little Mermaid 09 Troubadour 15 Kristian Bush 15 Kathleen Madigan 16 Good Friend 16 Tommy Stinson

FEATURES 07 Dime Fitness 08 Winter Guide 11 Year in Movies 12 Education Guide 13 Year in Books 17 Albums of the Year 18 Year in Sports

COLUMNS 04 05 05 07 10 14 18

Happy New Year!


Start Your Year Off Right with




Your Neighborhood Pizzeria!

Around Town Under The Lights Atlanta on a Dime New Releases Movie Reviews Station Control 18 Album Reviews STAFF LISTING Publisher Stephen Miller Art Director / Web Design Nick Tipton Managing Editor Lee Valentine Smith Local Events Editor Marci Miller Sports Editor DeMarco Williams

Music Editor John Moore Contributing Writers / Interns: Alex. S. Morrison, Steve Warren, Dave Cohen, Benjamin Carr MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 76483 Atlanta, GA 30358 WEBSITE • ADVERTISING INFORMATION (404) 308-5119 • 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 Troubadour such advertising or editorial appear. No content, Kristian Bush The Little Mermaid i.e., articles, graphics, designs and information (any and all) in this publication may be reproduced in any manner without written permission from publisher. JANUARY 2017


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VOL. 25, NO. 6 FREE


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Year in Review The Best in Music, Film, Sports & Pop Culture

Atlanta’s Favorite Pizza! Multiple Atlanta Locations: • January 2017 • PG 3


Chinese Lantern Festival Centennial Olympic Park

Continuing the celebration of Centennial Olympic Park’s 20th anniversary, the Southeast’s first-ever Chinese Lantern Festival has been taking place 6p.m. -11p.m. each night. For only a few more days, concluding Jan. 15, the South Park is illuminated with 25 decorative lanterns, handcrafted giant flowers, a three-story pagoda and a 200-foot-long Chinese dragon. All of the colorful creations featured in the Chinese Lantern Festival are constructed by artisans from China. Visit

THROUGH FEBRUARY 10 Binders Winter Sale

BINDERS Art Supplies and Frames

Binders is having their annual Winter Sale this month through February 10. Great deals on art supplies including canvas, brushes, paper and paints. Visit Binders second Atlanta location at Ponce City Market. Find them online at for more information.

JANUARY 21 - 22

Unexpected Play Reading Festival Theatrical Outfit

Theatrical Outfit's first festival of play readings, features top notch talent bringing characters and plots to vivid life as four new or newish scripts not only stir the soul but maybe even unsettle it. Four plays performed are: Just Like Us by Karen Zacarías; Spooky Action at a Distance by Matthew Buckley Smith; Boy by Anna Ziegler and

Events and Performances taking place this Month

Nope. That's Just My First Name: A Nearly One-Woman Show by and featuring Suehyla El-Attar. Visit

story will take families on an adventure as good battles evil and the future of Bugville hangs on by a thread. Visit



Nile, the musicians speak many languages, use varied rhythms, and play many instruments. Out of this mixture comes melody as The Nile Project seeks to turn conflict into harmony. Visit

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Georgia Dome


In The Mood - A 1940s Musical

To the delight of fans of the American Big Bands and the Big Band era, the brassy, allsinging, alldancing, all-American 1940s musical revue, In The Mood is coming to Atlanta after 24 years on tour. Complete with authentic costumes, music arrangements and choreography, In The Mood pays homage to America’s greatest generation who fought WWII. Experience the swing, rhythm, jazzy, sentimental and patriotic music of this pivotal time in America’s history. Visit

JANUARY 24 - MARCH 17 Adventures of Mighty Bug Center for Puppetry Arts

Take a trip to Bugville, a hoppin’ insect city that dances to the Bugville Boogie and the sweet sounds of WBUG Radio star Morpha Butterfly. Watching over the ants, fleas, crickets, water spiders, beetles and bees is the one and only Mighty Bug, a superhero with super strength, smelling, hearing and flying abilities. Not far away, there’s trouble buzzing as the evil arachnid, Scorpiana, assembles a group to attack and take control of the crawling city. Complete with plenty of insect trivia and facts, this action-packed

Honda Battle Of The Bands

Thomas L. Friedman

Marcus Jewish Community Center

The Honda Battle of the Bands Celebration tour spotlights the excellence of 45 Historically Black College and University Marching Bands. The excitement culminates at the Dome in January for the Invitational Showcase, when 65,000 fans will be on their feet, dancing in the aisles and cheering for the top HBCU Bands. Eight bands are chosen to advance to the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase. This year features: Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Benedict College, BethuneCookman, Jackson State, North Carolina A&T State, Texas Southern and WinstonSalem State.


The Nile Project

Rialto Center for the Arts

The Nile Project is formed by the diverse and sometimes conflicted communities living along the more than 4,000 miles of the Nile River. Consisting of a dozen musicians representing each country bordering the

Expanding on the success of the annual November Book Festival of the MJCCA, author Thomas L. Friedman discusses his latest book Thank You for Being Late. This field guide to the 21st century covers the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. You will never look at the world the same way again after you read this book. The event will be held at the MJCCA (5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody) Member $18; Community $24. Visit


Stone Mountain Park

Spend a fun-filled day playing in the snow. Zoom down the 400-foot hill in family-sized tubes or go it alone as a single rider. Enjoy snowman building and hot cocoa at the Snow Zone. Visit

Valentine’s Day Special

$99.95 Freshwater Cultured Pearl Set Necklace, Bracelet and Earrings QSET - 10391

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Set in 1950s Nashville, Troubadour is a feel-good romantic comedy about an unlikely group of friends whose unconventional style changes the course of country music. Country music legend Billy Mason is on the eve of retirement. Can his softspoken son, Joe, step into the spotlight and carry on? When Joe joins forces with an unlikely pair—Inez, a budding singer/songwriter, and Izzy, a rodeo tailor on a mission—a revolution is born and Country music is changed forever. Troubadour is written by Atlanta playwright Janece Shaffer (The Geller Girls), directed by the Alliance’s Artistic Director Susan V. Booth with original music by Grammy Award-winning Sugarland recording artist Kristian Bush.

January 12 - 15 (5 Shows Only) The Fox Theatre (855) 285-8499 Based on the Disney animated film and hit Broadway musical, Disney’s The Little Mermaid will return to Atlanta’s Fox Theatre for five performances only. This funfilled, timeless tale centers on Ariel, the little mermaid who is tired of flipping her fins and longs to be part of the fascinating world on dry land. Joining her are Sebastian, Ariel’s crabby sidekick; Ursula, the evil sea witch; Triton, King of the Sea and the handsome and human Prince Eric. The show features all of the favorite songs like “Under The Sea” and “Part of Your World” as well as new songs written by Oscar-winning Disney composer Alan Menken, the mastermind behind productions such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas. January 12 - February 17 Aurora Theatre (678) 226-6222 Experience the poignantly re-imagined story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his final moments on earth in The Mountaintop. The 2010 Laurence Olivier Award-winning drama, written by Katori Hall, explores the thunderous night of April 3, 1968 when the civil rights leader enters the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., never to return again. What happened in Room 306 imaginatively comes to life, as humor and history combine to give audiences a brilliant portrayal and intimate look at the man behind the Civil Rights Movement. After Dr. King delivers his memorable "I’ve Been to the Mountaintop" speech and retires to his room at the hotel, a mysterious maid arrives with a cup of coffee and with a much greater mission in mind. As the reverend reflects on the unwelcomed news and chaos of the world around him, Dr. King is forced to confront both his legacy and destiny.

c a m eron m ack i n tosh ’ s spectacul a r new production

January 18 - February 12 Alliance Theatre (404) 733-5000

a ndr e w lloy d w ebber ’ s


January 27 - February 26 Horizon Theatre (404) 584-7450

Kicking off Horizon’s 2017 season is the smash hit from Broadway and London’s West End Constellations. This spellbinding, romantic journey takes a touching and thoughtful look at one couple as it exists in parallel universes. Roland knows a lot about how bees make honey. Marianne would be comfortable in a room with Einstein. With little in common, the probability of them meeting is slim to none. Yet in the multi-verse, the possibilities of a single moment are infinite, inexplicable, and even miraculous. Constellations has been hailed as “A singular astonishment” by the New Yorker and “Sexy, sophisticated, and gorgeous” by the New York Times.

THE LONDON & NEW YORK SENSATION! S ENS EN NS SA AT AT TIIO ON! ON One Relationship. Infinite Possibilities.





FEBRUARY 22-MARCH 5 855-285-8499



flx • January 2017 • PG 5


Know of a low cost event happening? By Marci Miller

Sunday, January 8 1 - 4 PM

CREAT ATL FAMILY FESTIVAL Free; Woodruff Arts Center

CREATE ATL Family Fun is an educational program for children of all ages led by the Alliance eatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and High Museum of Art. Children ages five and above will enjoy the introductory Ukulele Workshop and contemporary dance performances by Staibdance while toddlers and their caregivers will delight in a Toddler Tour at the High Museum of Art and the Alliance eatre’s Parents and Tots Drama Workshop. Families can also take home a print and digital photo from the CREATE ATL photo booth.

tions. Play, create and be inspired. Special family-friendly programming is from 1 to 4 p.m.

Tuesday, January 10 1 - 6 PM


Free; The Children’s Museum of Atlanta Target Free Second Tuesday is a special opportunity for the community to bring their children to experience the Museum for free between the hours of 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Free admission is made possible through the generous support of Target.

Monday, January 16 10AM - 5:30PM


Sunday, January 8 1 - 4 PM

Free; Atlanta History Center

Free; High Museum of Art

Honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by learning about his life and legacy as well as the many contributions of African Americans in Atlanta. is is a free admission day at Atlanta History Center, including Margaret Mitchell House. Programming taking place includes featured speaker Frye Gaillard, Go South to Freedom at 3:00PM. Go South to Freedom is an “as


Swing by the High on the second Sunday of each month, and fill the afternoon with art! e Museum hosts family art-making workshops with interactive, hands-on projects that connect to works of art in the permanent collection and special exhibi-

told to” slavery story for middle-schoolers Sat & Sun January 21 - 22 with a strong Georgia connection. Attend a special staged reading of award-winning CALLANWOLDE ARTS FESTIVAL playwright Addae Moon’s Walking $5 Per Person Callanwolde Fine Arts Center rough the Valley noon through 2PM. is two-day indoor festival will feature Saturday, January 21 9 AM - 4 PM approximately 86 painters, photographers, sculptors, metalwork, glass artists, jewelMODEL TRAIN SHOW ers and more. ere will also be artist Gen Adm $9; Children 12 & under Free demonstrations, live acoustic music, plus The Infinite Energy Forum gourmet food trucks with healthy tives and music and dance performances. is unique event, formerly held at the North Atlanta Trade Center, is Georgia’s Thursday, February 2 largest model train show displaying items for both the “modeler” and “railbuff” alike. DOWNTOWN ART WALK Over 300 tables representing dealers from Free; 80 Forsyth Street DowntownAtlanta all over the nation will have model items in all gauges and Railroad Antiques for Experience Atlanta's art scene by taking a sale. Attendees will be able to relive the take a self-guided tour of the downtown glory days of railroading in Georgia when galleries featuring fabulous contemporary the Georgia Railroad, Seaboard Railroad Southern art. View the arts, tour the hisand the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad were toric districts of Downtown and enjoy varking. ious discounts at Downtown restaurants. Target Free Second Tuesday Free, The Children’s Museum of Atlanta

REceive Updated Events Weekly. Sign Up by Emailing Enter on the subject line: Sign me up Insite!

PG 6 • January 2017 •

START THE NEW YEAR LOOKING GOOD! Get in shape this New Year at Unit 2 Fitness! MARTIAL ARTS

240 Ponce De Leon Ave. (404) 745-3019 •


F YOU’RE SERIOUS ABOUT GETTING in shape and kicking some ass this New Year, then Unit 2 Fitness is where you need to go. Whether it’s Brazilian Jujitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing or Mixed Martial Arts they have what you’re looking for. The staff is comprised of World Champion martial artists who have competed at the highest levels. Their gym has heavy bags, free weights, weight machines, cardio equipment and a sparring ring.


CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that combines weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, powerlifting, kettlebell training, plyometrics, rowing, interval training, and medicine ball training. Unit 2 CrossFit uses CrossFit methodologies combined with the strength and conditioning techniques used for combat athletes. Unit 2 CrossFit was voted Best CrossFit gym by INsite readers and Creative Loafing.

Unit 2 offers classes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and Boxing. Their BJJ program is led by the renowned master himself, Roberto Traven. He is a multi-time world champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the 1999 ADCC Submission Wresting absolute champion, and a UFC veteran. Unit 2 consistently produces champions at the local, national, and international level.


Unit 2’s kickboxing class has been voted the Best Cardio Class by INsite readers and Atlanta Sports & Fitness Magazine. Their unique approach gives you a high-intensity class taught by skilled fighters. This is a 50 minute, go for the gold, workout that includes punching and kicking on a heavy bag mixed with calisthenics, plyometric and flexibility drills. Kickboxing burns upwards of 900 calories per class. Sign up for a free week this month in CrossFit, Kickboxing, and Martial Arts classes to give you the opportunity to work with their coaches and see if Unit 2 is the right gym for you.

Atlanta on a Dime highlights special deals and low cost events happening around town. Deals on tickets and free ticket contests are offered every Thursday to email subscribers in the Atlanta on a Dime Newsletter. It is a free service. Sign up by emailing Enter on subject line: Sign Me Up!



THE TWILIGHT ZONE: THE COMPLETE SERIES BLU-RAY (Paramount/CBS DVD) Long before shows like Black Mirror, there was The Twilight Zone. Arguably the greatest intellectual SciFi series ever created for TV. CBS/DVD has finally put out all 156 episodes of this groundbreaking show, across 24 discs. The Rod Sterling-created series is just as thrilling and relevant now as it was decades ago when the shows first aired. Smartly-written, many of the episodes seem eerily predictive in 2017, from Artificial Intelligence and smart homes to – some can argue – having Trump as our next president, Sterling comes across as a 20th Century Nostradamus. Even if you’ve seem most of these episodes before, the DVD set is well worth visiting again – The ultimate binge. TIME STANDS STILL (Rounder) Rush has always been a polarizing band: you either hate ‘em or you love ‘em (and I’m talking fanatical love here). Nowhere is that more apparent than on this documentary about the legendary Canadian band and their fans. Filmed in 2015 when the band was in the middle of their 40th anniversary

tour, one many assumed would be the band’s last. That rumor ends up becoming a major plot in the doc (will they ever tour again?). The question is discussed among band members and those closest to them in interviews interspersed between live concert shots and background footage of the band. The same question is brought up to diehard fans from across the globe, who are packing arenas for possibly the last time. Regardless of how you feel about their music, as this doc shows, the trio has meant the world to a slew of fans. GRINDER: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (20th Century Fox Television) Grinder was proof that network television channels are capable of creating original, smart comedies; That witty sitcoms were no longer just meant for cable stations. Then again, Grinder was also proof that network channels are also clueless enough to kill a great thing after just one season. Grinder starred Rob Lowe as the impossibly handsome actor who plays a lawyer on TV, moving back to the Midwest where his father (William Devane) and brother (played brilliantly by Fred Savage) worked in their own, real law firm. Goofy premise aside, the show was razor sharp, very self-aware and impressively original for Fox TV. The only predictable thing about the show was the fact that Fox would cancel it after one-season.



FEB 15 – 20

FEB 23 – MAR 5 All trademarks shown are property of their respective owners.


Join the Club • Become a Member

Receive Deals at Retailers and Win Free Tickets to Movies, Concerts, Theatre Shows & Events

More info at • January 2017 • PG 7

Winter Guide


Atlanta Boat Show

Georgia World Congress Center January 12 - 15

against the highest-seeded team to advance from the wild-card round. ey face the Seahawks, Packers or Giants. e Falcons secured the bye with a 38-32 victory over the Saints. Green Bay is the hottest team among the playoff participants with a sixgame winning streak. e Falcons defeated the Packers 33-32 on Oct. 30 at the Georgia Dome. e Falcons battled the Seahawks on Oct. 16 in Seattle before losing 26-24. Visit

Winter Beer Fest Atlantic Station February 4, 1pm - 6pm

Don’t miss the Atlanta Winter Beer Fest at its new location! ey will have over 150 beers to sample, including many new local breweries from Atlanta and Georgia. ere will also be a small selection of wines and ciders. Enjoy Live Music on multiple stages, DJ and more. Additional fun and games will be on hand.

Whether new to boating or an avid water enthusiast, the 2017 Progressive Insurance Atlanta Boat show offers visitors an all-access pass to learn about and discover the fun of the boating lifestyle. Everything is here from luxury motor yachts and bass boats to family cruisers, pontoons and ski boats. Take advantage of post-holiday deals on boats and marine accessories. Visit

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Dr. King Celebrations

Opening Night: Tuesday January 24 Festival: January 24 - February 15

Infinite Energy Center Feb 10 - 12

e Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF), returns for the 17th year January 24 with the Opening Night Gala and film held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. is year’s screening will be Alone in Berlin a WWII drama starring E m m a ompson and Brendan Gleeson, who portray an ordinary working-class German couple quietly waging a personal campaign of antiNazi resistance. e festival continues at various theatres around Atlanta through February 15.

Remodel, Repair, Refresh at the 20th Annual North Atlanta Home Show in Gwinnett. More than 150 companies will be displaying the latest in home improvement products and services. Take advantage of one-stop comparison shopping for everything for your home, inside and out and talk face to face with hundreds of experts on the latest home remodeling. More info at

Morehouse College Friday, January 13 - 30

Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King at Morehouse College this month. e college will present a wealth of forums, musical celebrations and day service activities. Events begin with e Making of the Man an exhibition on Dr. King and his life-long affiliation with his beloved alma mater. It is being held at the Voice to the Voiceless Gallery, National Center for Civil and Human Rights on Friday, January 13. e annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture and Conversation Series program takes place Wednesday, January 25, 5:30 - 7:30 pm at the Bank of America Auditorium. At 5 p.m. on Monday, January 30 the University Center Library is holding an Open House opening up their archives of over 13,000 historical documents and artifacts. For more information visit

Atlanta Falcons Playoff Game Georgia Dome

Saturday, Jan 14; Game begins at 4:35 pm

e NFC South champion Falcons will open the playoffs at the Georgia Dome

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

The Beach Boys Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre January 25, 7:30pm

As e Beach Boys mark more than a half century of making music, the group continues to ride the crest of a wave unequalled in America’s musical history. e Beach Boys have become synonymous with the California lifestyle and have become an American icon to fans around the world.

North Atlanta Home Show

Oyster Festival Park Tavern, February 11; 1pm - 11pm

The Oyster Festival is a day long event that features live music from local bands, DJs, cold beer and other tasty beverages and tons of fresh raw, steamed, and fried oysters with plenty of cocktail sauce and crackers. Not an oyster lover? Indulge in their delicious fried shrimp and yummy french fries. Tickets include admission into the event and entertainment (bands and DJs). Food and beverage not included with ticket price.

Ringling Bros. Circus

Polar Plunge

Special Olympics of GA Acworth Saturday, February 25, 11AM - 3PM

Be “Freezin’ For A Reason!” The Polar Plunge is the Special Olympics largest fundraiser. Participants collect pledges in exchange for the opportunity to jump into icy waters of Acworth Beach. All proceeds collected by Plungers will benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Georgia. Prizes will be awarded for the best costume, highest fundraiser, highest fundraising team, and more. Sign up at

MonsterEnergySupercross Georgia Dome - February 25

Monster Energy Supercross comes back to the Georgia Dome on Saturday, February 25. Be amazed by their high-flying action and feel the excitement as the stars of Supercross show off their best moves, most breathtaking stunts, and battle it out for the top spot. The events feature the very best in motorcross entertainment and racing.

Monster Jam Georgia Dome Saturday, March 4 & Sunday, March 5

Featuring all your favorites including: Max D, Cleatus, Bounty Hunter, Grave Digger, Hot Wheels, Monster Energy, Scarlet Bandit, El Toro Loco and more. The March 5 performance was rescheduled from January 14.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day - January 16 Infinite Energy Arena Feb 23 - Mar 5

Harlem Globetrotters Philips Arena March 11 2pm & 7pm

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey brings the unbelievable to children of all ages in the exciting show Circus Xtreme! Experience unimaginable family fun, as amazing performers from around the globe perform awe-inspiring feats of dar-

The iconic Harlem Globetrotters are coming to town with their unrivaled family show, featuring some of the greatest athletes on the planet. With incredible ball handling wizardry, amazing rim-rattling dunks and trick shots, side-splitting comedy and unequaled on-court fan interaction, this must-see event is guaranteed to entertain the whole family.

Philips Arena Feb. 15 - 20

PG 8 • January 2017 •

ing spectacles of strength and thrills of wonder. Kristen Michelle Wilson becomes the first-ever female ringmaster in the brand’s 146-year history.



Go “Under the Sea” with the Stage Production at the Fox



without the incredible team of dressers who help me backstage - and my cast mates who help with some magic onstage! The costume designer was really smart in making a tail that is filled with magnets, hooks and snaps so that it can both fit the harness to fly and be easily torn off to reveal my legs. It is a very long and flowing tail to conceal my legs when I’m flying and at first I never thought I’d be able to move around in it but as we started running the show, I got more and more used to it and able to make it really fun to work with!

VERYBODY LOVES THE STORY OF The Little Mermaid and this January, the magic comes to Atlanta when the stage production makes a stop at The Fox Theatre from January 12 – 15. In a magical kingdom fathoms below, we meet Ariel, the little mermaid who is tired of flipping her fins and longs to be a part of the fascinating world on dry land. Joining her are Sebastian, Ariel’s crabby sidekick; Ursula, the evil sea witch; Triton, King of JANUARY 12–15 the Sea and the handsome and Tell us about the sets... how do human Prince Eric. The show is Fox Theatre they give the feeling of being based on the Disney animated “under the sea”? film and hit Broadway musical. A lot of the “under the sea” We recently spoke with the feel comes not only from the mermaid herself, veteran stage actress Diana beautiful set pieces, but from the incredible Huey, who brings Ariel to life: lighting effects, the addition of flying to make it look like we are swimming through the deep What can audiences expect to see at this sea and the physicalization we embody where adaptation of The Little Mermaid? Does it we are always slightly moving to give the feel stay true to the movie? of being under that moving water. We really There are some new story lines and a deeper try to feel that resistance of water verses just look into the characters that we all know and moving through air. And getting to “swim” love from the movie. I think movie lovers and through the air every show is a total blast! first timers to the story will both walk away loving this new adaption! What are some of the standout musical performances of the show? How hard is the process of transforming Ariel One of my personal favorite numbers from a mermaid to human form? Is it hard to watch every show is Chef Louis’ “Les to move around the stage in a fish’s tail? Poissons” and it is clearly an audience favorite I wouldn’t be able to do the transformation as well! Dane Stokinger, the actor who


plays Chef Louis is brilliantly hysterical and finds fun little changes every night to keep it interesting. “Under The Sea” is another huge audience favorite and it’s no surprise with all the incredible dancing, puppets and amazing costumes! Have any new songs been added to this show? There are a ton of new songs that were not in the Disney movie which add a ton of insight and depth to the story and characters and the really cool part is that Alan Menken himself wrote them so it as you’re hearing them for the first time, they fit in perfectly and you feel like they always were there. They belong and fit in perfectly! How excited were you when you learned about getting the role of Ariel in The Little Mermaid? I was almost in shock to be totally honest! I couldn’t believe it! This was such a big dream role that I never thought possible to achieve and I am so grateful to our director Glenn Casale and The 5th Avenue Theatre for looking past the fact that I am a Japanese American and cast me because they believed I was the right actor for the role. It was such a high compliment! My inner child still jumps up and down every time I get to put on Ariel’s pink ball gown or wedding dress! We know the show will play great to kids, but will adults like it too? This is totally a show for the whole family to

enjoy! The kids of course love it because it’s a fun Disney show, but for all the adults who might have grown up watching the movie, it’s incredibility nostalgic and a fun revisit to their childhood. At the heart of this story, it’s a show about a father and daughter learning to understand each other and about the characters in the show learning to find their own paths and what makes them happy. The journeys the characters all go on are ones that we all go on in our own lives, so it’s something we can all connect to. On top of that, it’s just a very fun and vibrant show I hope people of all ages will enjoy!


Atlantan Janece Shaffer on the Creative Process that Birthed “Troubadour” Immediately. We met that Wednesday at the Flying Biscuit in Little Five Points. By the time we were done with our eggs, I think he’d basically written the first song for the show. He just heard it in his head, like “Yeah, I know what it is.” It worked on a hundred different levels and that was it. Did the song alter the story at that point? It was exactly what I wanted and it fit right into place. Originally, I envisioned it as a play with music, with about four songs. But his music was such a good match and he was totally game for it - like, “What else do you need, what else can I do?” We just started trying stuff out. Just this past Friday we met and I’d only needed one more song. Well, he brought in three!



HE WORLD PREMIERE OF “Troubadour” happens this month on the fabled Alliance Stage. The show is a musical comedy written by the prolific Atlanta-based Janece Shaffer (The Geller Girls, Broke). Finding inspiration in the fashion and history of the early ‘50s Nashville music scene, the play centers on a familial group who are, in turn, influenced by the new shifts in country music trends and ideals. INsite caught up with playwright Shaffer just before the first rehearsal of the production, currently slated for a month-long run at the Alliance. You reached out to songwriter Kristian Bush basically out of the blue. I did. I’d been listening to his music and I think there’s a great, authentic feel to his storytelling. I’d said to several of my friends: he’s here, but who knows him? Turns out, one of my friends had his email address. I spent some time writing an email to him, just saying that basically here is the story and I think you are the guy. I sent it off on a Saturday morning. He wrote me back an hour later!

And that was the start of a great partnership.

My husband and I went away for the weekend to Nashville and I just loved it! The first weekend we were there, we went to the Country Music Hall Of Fame. The top layer was all the music and I’m really drawn to that early music, the real roots of it all. Then I went downstairs and I was looking at all the costumes. It starts off and it’s all very monotone and earthtone church clothing and men with string ties. But then there’s this one moment where it all changes. All of a sudden, it’s all color and sequins and stitching. I was like, “What happened right there?” That’s where it started. Then I looked at the names of the tailors and they were Jewish names. I was like, “What are Jews doing, bedazzling country music at that point in time?” That felt so funny to me. I bought the Country Music Hall Of Fame Encyclopedia and on the whole way home I was reading about all these people.

His enthusiasm for the show is amazing. This definitely How did music inform the storyline? seems like a labor of love on his part. Well then I started listening to the music, that early I think we’re truly partners in this show. When we work country music, and I started thinking about what it would at his house, we act things out and then he grabs a guitar have been like to really write those lyrics. I hear when I and we’re off. It’s a totally creative collaboration. This isn’t a write, so I started hearing a young girl. And then a fathermusical where people just start singing, all of the characters son thing came in. Then it all kind of came in this show sing when they are performing together. It was one of those moments on stage, so it has to be just right. I think he where you get an idea and you just can’t stop brings a level of truth to the material that the JAN 18–FEB 12 thinking about it. show really needs, too. Alliance Theatre You are chronicling a pivotal era in Overall it’s a very Atlanta-centric country music history - a time that is often production. overlooked in the wake of what came along It truly is. I love the idea that Kristian after it. It’s a very important crossroad of culture. and I are here in town. I am an Atlantan, a third generation I’m sure we’re taking all kinds of liberties with it, but it’s Atlantan and I’m very proud of that fact. I think my strong that moment where country became less “church-based” and sense of place is what actually helps me to imagine other moved to more performance-based. The goal was to look places as well. Two years ago, the last show I did at the Alliance was “The Geller Girls” and that was set in Atlanta in different, sound different and all the challenges that go along with it. Then at the heart of it, it’s all about when a moment 1895 during the Cotton States Exposition. comes, are you going to be ready for it? Are you going to be Troubadour is also a great period piece. What inspired the what your dad wants you to be or are you gonna be what you original concept? want to be?

TROUBADOUR • January 2017 • PG 9




1/2 When a movie’s received all the awards and acclaim La La Land has since its September festival debut, a reviewer who’s late to the party can either say “Amen!” or look like an idiot. I’ve never been shy about being the lone naysayer when I felt it was warranted, but I’m in the Amen Corner on this one. Writer-director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) may have trouble persuading a generation that thinks of Pitch Perfect as a movie musical, and TCM fans could object to his adding modern touches to the classic genre (What might Busby Berkeley have accomplished with today’s technology?); but it’s their loss if they can’t appreciate this jazzy romance. It begins with razzle-dazzle, an insanely mobile camera and vibrant hues that prove Technicolor lives matter, as we meet Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) but they avoid meeting each other until it’s time for the romance to start. She’s a barista/ actress and he’s a jazz pianist forced to play square dinner music for a living, when he wants to open his own club. Yes, they fall in love, but they’re too naïve to realize what the demands of their careers can do to their relationship. Chazelle never goes too far toward realism, even giving us alternative endings: the movie version and the movie movie version. The locations provide a full itinerary for your first or next trip to L.A., and if Stone doesn’t have a future in karaoke, she can sure act her way through a song. La La Land isn’t perfect, but it’s perfectly delightful. –Steve Warren


 It seems inevitable that the new Star Wars movie will soon pass Santa Claus on the list of most eagerly awaited year-end holiday traditions, setting the stage for the ultimate battle: Lucas v. Jesus. Rogue One, supposedly a standalone story, is actually Star Wars 3.5, fitting between the prequel trilogy and the original film. It features mostly new characters, plus a few familiar cameos and the controversial (not worth the fuss) use of the late Peter Cushing’s (re)animated face on the body of Grand Moff Tarkin. There’s too much exposition at the beginning to set up too much fighting at the end, but all you really have to know is Empire bad, Rebel Alliance good. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is abandoned as a child when the Empire enslaves her scientist father (Mads Mikkelsen) and forces him to develop their master weapon, the Death Star, which can destroy entire planets. Fifteen years later Jyn’s caught up in the Rebellion, then a rogue mission within the Rebellion, when she learns her father built a flaw into the Death Star so it can be destroyed. Her allies include potential love interest Cassian (Diego Luna), pilot Bodhi (Riz Ahmed), blind

martial artist Chirrut (Donnie Yen) and funny droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). The effects are more special than most films’, but like the plot, there’s not much we haven’t seen before. But it would take something on the scale of the Death Star to stop the world from wanting to see it again, even if this isn’t once of the greats. –Steve Warren


1/2 Sometimes making a great movie seems too easy. In this case they started with a great play, August Wilson’s Fences, then reunited most of the cast of the 2010 Broadway revival. Star Denzel Washington made it his third feature as director and Wilson, who died in 2005, gets the credit for adapted screenplay. In any case the play hasn’t been tampered with much, except for adding a few locations – mostly moving some scenes indoors instead of having them all in the backyard. The house and the characters seem thoroughly inhabited by the actors, all of whom deserve awards. Washington plays Troy Maxson, a seriously flawed human being who has earned the right to be sad and bitter. In Pittsburgh in 1957, he’s been married to Rose (Viola Davis) for 18 years. They have a 17-year-old son, Cory (Jovan Adepo), together, and Troy has a 34-yearold son, Lyons (Russell Hornsby), from an earlier relationship. He also has a brother, Gabe (Mykelti Williamson), who is brain-damaged from a war injury and whose settlement let Troy buy the house he lives in. Troy is bitter about having been a great baseball player before the major leagues were ready for an African American, and threatens to keep Cory from going to college to play football. Troy’s best friend Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson) works with him on a garbage truck and knows the best and worst things about him, which are revealed to us gradually. Having been written for the stage, Fences is dialogue-heavy; but as you realize how wonderful the dialogue is (if a bit heavy on baseball metaphors), that ceases to be an issue. The words flow believably from the mouth of an uneducated working man, but the star makes them sound Denzeloquent. –Steve Warren


 If American Idol, The Voice, etc. have taught us anything, it’s that talent is less important in a competition than having a backstory that wins audience sympathy. The animated contestants in Sing have both. The biggest backstory belongs to the organizer, Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey), a bankrupt producer who’s desperate to save his failed theater. He thinks his unnamed city - with an animal population as diverse as Zootopia’s - has got talent and people will pay to see it, but he accidentally announces

LA LA LAND PG 10 • January 2017 •


a prize of $100,000 he doesn’t have. Most of the finalists aren’t in it for the money. Rosita the pig (Reese Witherspoon) wants to be more than a housewife and mother of 25. Johnny the gorilla (Taron Edgerton) wants to break away from his father’s criminal gang. Ash the porcupine (Scarlett Johansson) resents her boyfriend treating her as a backup singer. Mike the mouse (Seth MacFarlane) – well, he’s in it for the money. Meena the elephant (Tori Kelly) has to overcome her shyness if she’s going to share her gift with the world. The soundtrack features a fair sampling of the greatest hits of the last 50 years, and there’s some amazing computer animation in the early going as the camera zooms all over the city in a virtual search for talent. Like La La Land, Sing knows a musical is what the world needs at this point in time, and delivers it. –Steve Warren

returns to his sitcom roots as the conservative Dad, whose printing business in Grand Rapids is having problems when Steph invites the family to Palo Alto to spend Christmas meeting the boyfriend. Laird wins over Mom (Megan Mullally) and little brother Scotty (Griffin Gluck), but Dad is a challenge. You can get tremendous odds if you want to bet against Laird, but getting to the inevitable ending is fun and funny all the way. It’s not too Christmasy to play well into January and it’s contemporary without having an imminent sell-by date. As raunchy comedies go, it’s one of the better ones. –Steve Warren


1/2 It’s frustrating when they make enough of a good movie for the trailer to bring you into the theater, but not enough to send you out satisfied when it’s over. What’s strange in this case is that the trailer actually focuses on the good part rather than the blatantly commercial action/FX elements that bring Passengers down to earth in the end. Jim (Chris Pine) wakes up 30 years into a 120-year space voyage to colonize Homestead II. The other 4999 passengers are still asleep so Jim finds himself with no one to talk to but an android bartender (Michael Sheen). The ship, the Avalon, is “fail-safe” so nothing can go wrong – like the Titanic was “unsinkable” – but something obviously has gone wrong: call it Glitch-22. After a year of solitude (more than a quarter of the movie) Jim makes the morally indefensible but perfectly rational decision to wake another passenger for companionship, and selects Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence). As he’s the interstellar equivalent of the last man on Earth, she falls in love with him. After that things start going downhill – both romantically and because the ship seems to be falling apart. Except for a visually spectacular scene of a zero-gravity swimming pool (don’t try this at home), the fireballs and space repairs that take over the last half-hour are all things we’ve seen before in better movies. –Steve Warren

1/2 More than a spoonful of sugar helps the messages go down in a terrifically entertaining tribute to three African American women who broke ground for their gender and race in America’s space program, having to be exponentially more qualified than white men to do so. In 1961, while the Lovings are fighting for their marriage in another part of Virginia, at NASA’s Mission Control in Langley these women work as “colored computers.” (“Computers” were humans in those days, but IBM was about to move the machines in.) Katharine Goble (Taraji P. Henson playing a different kind of smart cookie), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) face discrimination, subtle and overt, from white co-workers, most of whom just see no reason to change the status quo. Katharine has to run half a mile to use the “colored” restroom when she’s assigned to Kevin Costner’s department, where she represents a threat to resident genius Jim Parsons; Dorothy does the work of a supervisor without the tile or compensation; and Mary is unable to study engineering because no “colored” schools in the area offer the prerequisites she needs. The screenplay takes a lighthearted approach, even throwing in a romance, without trivializing the subject matter. The ironies speak for themselves, as when women are brought in to provide “manpower.” Not everything has changed in 55 years, but this history lesson reminds us how far we’ve come. You’ll laugh, cry and cheer – often all at once. –Steve Warren




 The title’s a problem. If James Franco wanted to marry your daughter, even if you had some personal issues with him, would you really have to wonder what she saw in him? Of course no one’s ever good enough for daddy’s little girl; but we’re not even talking about James Franco the actor, writer, director, producer, painter and educator we all know; but James Franco as Laird Mayhew, a really ripped tech zillionaire. Daughter Steph is played by dime-a-dozen (but pretty and capable) starlet Zoey Deutch, so maybe the question should be Why Her? Look, Dad, if you don’t like Laird’s potty mouth, wear earplugs. If you can’t stand his tats, gouge your eyes out. If the marriage ends in divorce, like half of those in America, your girl’s set for life. Bryan Cranston

1/2 If you’re looking for an excuse to start your child on antidepressants, have I got a movie for you! The third kid-and-monster buddy movie in just over six months, A Monster Calls ranks somewhere between the disappointing BFG and the above-expectations Pete’s Dragon remake. But instead of being an adventurous romp, this is what I call a “death watch” movie, where one character is waiting for another to die. Love Story is the classic example; but when Jenny died, she and Oliver were twice as old as Conor (Lewis MacDougall), who is 12 and having trouble dealing with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) impending death. He’s also bullied at school and hating the prospect of having to live with his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) because his

dad (Toby Kebbell) has a new family in America and doesn’t want Conor for more than a visit. The boy has a recurring nightmare about being unable to save his mother as their world falls apart. Is it real or a dream when the old yew tree comes to Conor in the form of a Monster (Liam Neeson in voice and motion capture)? The Monster tells him stories (the first two beautifully animated) with ambiguous morals before forcing him to face his own truth. There’s nothing wrong with the acting or technical aspects of A Monster Calls, and adults may learn some useful child psychology from it; but all children will get out of it is PTSD. –Steve Warren


 Fans of Pedro Almodóvar know what to expect from Julieta, and they won’t be disappointed. Bright colors and dark passions are the order of the day, and neurotic women have plenty of reasons to be miserable. The screenplay, based on short stories by Alice Munro, is well structured, opening with a tease and filing in details as it goes along. Middle-aged Julieta (Emma Suárez) is about to leave Madrid to live in Portugal with her lover, Lorenzo (Darío Grandinetti), when she runs into an old friend of her estranged daughter Antía, and learns that she’s three times a grandmother. This makes Julieta cancel the move and start composing a letter to Antía, even though she doesn’t know where to send it. Cue the flashbacks, as Julieta tells Antía how she was conceived, 25 (or 30 – the film’s math is inconsistent) years ago, when Julieta (now played by Adriana Ugarte) met Xoan (Daniel Grao) on a train and joined the SeaLevel Club. (Well, if it’s not a thing it ought to be.) Even the events Antía was part of are detailed, but from her mother’s perspective. The way it unfolds, Julieta is the cinematic equivalent of a pageturner. If nothing else, see it for the performance of Almodóvar regular Rossy de Palma as Marián, the most evil housekeeper since Judith Anderson in Rebecca. –Steve Warren


 Oh, those French! Everything you may want to believe about their promiscuity is affirmed in this movie that would push a lot more of your buttons if it were set in the U.S. Pushing buttons is nothing new to Paul Verhoeven, who directed what may be seen as an advanced course in abnormal female (and male) psychology. You may have noticed Isabelle Huppert earning a lot of nominations and awards for her performance as Michèle, who runs a videogame company with her best friend, Anna. She’s also having an affair with Anna’s husband. The film begins with Michèle being raped in her house by a masked man. This is traumatic, but not as much as it would be for most women. As in Things to Come, for which Huppert is also winning acclaim, everyone in her character’s life represents a subplot – most of those in Elle considerably more interesting. There’s her son with his crazy, pregnant girlfriend; her ex-husband with his much younger girlfriend; her mother with her much younger boyfriend; and Patrick (Laurent Lafitte), the hot – married - guy across the street. Oh, and Michèle’s father, who killed 27 people 40 years ago, a fact that has the world despising her

whole family when they’re reminded of it. That’s a lot of stories, and most of them are far enough off-kilter to keep Michèle’s life from resembling an ordinary soap opera. –Steve Warren


 Fact and fiction, politics and poetry, comedy and drama make wonderfully strange bedfellows in a fanciful biopic about Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet most of us first heard of in The Postman. This is essentially a prequel to that film, though in a different style. It begins in Chile in 1948. Neruda (Luis Gnecco) is a senator until the new regime, puppets of the U.S., has him impeached for being a communist. He has a choice of prison or exile, but the latter is impossible because the borders are heavily guarded to keep him from leaving. So he and his wife (Mercedes Morán) go undercover. It’s not as bad as it sounds because Neruda is a hero to the workingman (and working girls) as well as the cultural elite, so he’s welcome in whorehouses and society parties. He just has to evade the police, led by Óscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal), who stays one step behind the poet, sometimes seemingly intentionally. Óscar, who stepped out of a film noir of the period, is our reliably unreliable narrator, letting us follow the story from both his perspective and Neruda’s. If you don’t know the history the first few minutes will be information overload, but it soon settles into a simple chase plot with all manner of fascinating detours. A plethora of period settings and costumes makes Neruda a feast for the eye as well as the mind. What’s really amazing is that director Pablo Larraín made Neruda and Jackie within the same year – two historical periods, two countries, two languages (plus un peu de Français). It’s mind-boggling! –Steve Warren 1/2


 It takes place in Paterson, New Jersey, and the main character is named Paterson. He’s a bus driver and he’s played by Adam Driver. If you think I’m reading some kind of duality theme into this, in the first scene Paterson’s lady love, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) tells him she dreamt they had twins. Over the next week he meets two sets of twins and observes several others. Paterson drives a bus but he’s constantly writing poetry in his journal. Laura encourages him to share it with the world. He encourages her, more indulgently, in her various pursuits – from decorating the house and herself in black-and-white patterns to baking cupcakes to becoming a country singer. Most of the other people in his life are passengers he can’t help overhearing and those he sees in his nightly visit to Barry Shabaka Henley’s local bar, where he stops while walking the dog. Part infomercial for the city of Paterson (you won’t want to go there but you’ll learn who came from there), the movie has less action in two hours than most others have in their two-minute trailers. But before you let that discourage you, it was written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, who practically invented movies that should be boring but aren’t. “There’ll never be anyone else like you,” Paterson writes in a love poem. For better or worse, there’ll never be another movie like Paterson. –Steve Warren






E SEE EVERYTHING SO YOU don’t have to. Some of the films listed below will be unfamiliar because they came and went in a week, possibly early in the year, others because they haven’t opened here yet. If the titles you do recognize on INsite’s list happen to coincide with your favorites, we have similar tastes and you should seek out some of the others. A lot of the good stuff the distributors saved for Award Season is extremely depressing. As I was watching two or three of them a day while also dealing with the aftermath of the election, I kept the Suicide Hotline on speed dial. Fortunately there were also musicals (La La Land, Sing) and Hidden Figures, which remains upbeat while dealing with serious topics. Earlier, Deadpool brought comedy to comic book movies. What a concept! This year four of our Top Ten films (six of our Top Twenty) are also among the Ten Best voted by 52 members of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA). Here’s their list: 2016 SEFCA TOP 10

1. MOONLIGHT 2. MANCHESTER BY THE SEA 3. LA LA LAND 4. HELL OR HIGH WATER 5. LOVING 6. ARRIVAL 7. (TIE) FENCES AND JACKIE 9. NOCTURNAL ANIMALS 10. HIDDEN FIGURES Now here’s our list. Our favorite foreignlanguage, animated and documentary features took spaces that might have gone to allAmerican, live-action narrative films. I should explain #8, two versions of the same true story, one of them moving it to France but both telling it very well. 2016 INSITE TOP TEN

1. LA LA LAND 2. HIDDEN FIGURES 3. FENCES 4. I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO 5. SNOWDEN 6. MICROBE AND GASOLINE 7. NERUDA 8. MARGUERITE/FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS 9. APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD 10. HELL OR HIGH WATER SECOND TEN (listed Alphabetically) Deadpool, Don’t Think Twice, Eye in the Sky, The Eyes of My Mother, Hacksaw Ridge, The Handmaiden, Manchester by the Sea, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, Moonlight, Pete’s Dragon BEST ACTOR Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea Runners-Up: Denzel Washington, Fences; Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge

BEST ACTRESS Natalie Portman, Jackie Runners-Up: Ruth Negga, Loving; Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Mahershala Ali, Moonlight Runners-Up: Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water; John Goodman, 10 Cloverfield Lane BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Viola Davis, Fences Runners-Up: Margo Martindale, The Hollars; Kate McKinnon, Ghostbusters BEST ENSEMBLE Fences Runners-Up: Hidden Figures; Hell or High Water BEST DIRECTOR Damien Chazelle, La La Land Runners-Up: Pablo Larraín, Neruda and Jackie; Barry Jenkins, Moonlight BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Neruda: Guillermo Calderón Runners-Up: Hell or High Water: Taylor Sheridan; Manchester by the Sea: Kenneth Lonergan BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Snowden: Kieran Fitzgerald & Oliver Stone Runners-Up: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life: Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer & Kara Holden; Fences: August Wilson BEST DOCUMENTARY I Am Not Your Negro Runners-Up: Tower; Weiner BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM Microbe and Gasoline Runners-Up: Neruda; Marguerite BEST ANIMATED FILM April and the Extraordinary World Runners-Up: Sausage Party, Zootopia BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY La La Land: Linus Sandgren Runners-Up: Moonlight: James Laxton; Hacksaw Ridge: Simon Duggan WORST TEN 1. Demon 2. Pali Road 3. Fifty Shades of Black 4. Hail, Caesar! 5. Krisha 6. Jane Got a Gun 7. The Choice 8. Exposed 9. The Neon Demon 10. Sequels: Bad Santa 2, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Ice Age: Collision Course, Independence Day: Resurgence, Kill Zone 2, Now You See Me 2, Ride Along 2 • January 2017 • PG 11

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INsite Cracks Open Some of Last Year’s Best Pop Culture Books



CLIPSED BY THE BRIGHT SCREENS of mobile technology, the ritual of reading a physical copy of a book isn’t quite as popular as in years gone by, but steady demand from savvy bibliophiles keep the presses rolling. This year a great batch of books were devoted to pop culture, music and entertainment. Avoiding the usual Beatles and Dylan releases, Insite has sorted through the stacks to offer a highly subjective Top 10 list of 2016’s finest volumes, so pause and peruse for a while we’ve got ya covered!


The Princess Diarist One of the most shocking events of erratic 2016 was the late December passing of actress Carrie Fisher. Treasured worldwide for her iconic role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, she was also as an engaging and outspoken writer and social commentator. For her seventh book, Fisher revisited her own handwritten journals collected during the filming of the first Star Wars in 1977. The candid result is an achingly intimate, often hilarious glimpse into not only the making of the movie, but her own identity. Teenage Carrie was just as entertaining as her outspoken later self and the book is a fitting remembrance for her insight and aspirations.


In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem and Fun in the Sandbox One of the greatest television variety shows in broadcast history, The Carol Burnett Show won a ton of awards as it entertained and influenced generations of audiences. For her fond recollection of the show, Burnett actually watched all 276 episodes and her amusing anecdotes about her co-stars, guests and family and her gentle, family-friendly humor informs every chapter.


Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything In Between In yet another television-related memoir with a long title, Lauren Graham looks at her life, bookended by two eras of the cult-fave Gilmore Girls series. In parts one and two of “What It Was Like,” Graham binge-talks about the show, from being cast as Lorelai Gilmore to reprising the role nearly a decade later - and how her life and career has changed in between those jobs. For fans of the show or entertainment industry mechanizations in general, the

book is lovingly illustrated with amusing behind-the-scenes observations.


Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins: My A to Z Index Griffin’s A to Z run-down of hilarious and often ribald adventures is the ultimate behind-the-scenes expose on the entertainment business. Dripping with her trademark snark and gossipy delivery, the collection of run-ins dishes dirt and soap with gleeful aplomb. As expected, Griffin gushes about Anderson Cooper but the volume includes an oddball caravan of stars spanning from Woody Allen to Warren Zevon. Bizarre highlights include a story about the she appeared an extra in a Michael Jackson commercial and a bizarre golf-cart ride with Donald Trump and Liza Minnelli.


The Girl With The Lower-Back Tattoo Amy Schumer has an incredible knack for self-depreciating storytelling and her style has made her a favorite stand-up comic and actress. In Tattoo, her on- and off-screen personas merge for a decidedly bittersweet memoir that bluntly touches on intimate revelations through a series of funny, sad, shocking and sometimes just plain strange essays.

the artist from 1964 with the then 16-yearold in youthful pre-Bowie mindset and an otherworldly communion with fellow legend William Burroughs.


Life Class Bowie’s friend and occasional collaborator Iggy Pop also combined art, fashion and music but this book literally blurs the mediums. Last February, 21 artists converged at the New York Academy of Art for a very special life drawing class. The guest model for the session was Iggy himself. Organized by the Brooklyn Museum and Jeremy Deller, the assignment was to capture the energetic performer, posing nude of course, in whatever style the artists saw fit. The results from the diverse gathering of creators is a crash-course in figurative art, with 107 images that range from quick sketches to highly-detailed studies.


March: Book Three For the final installment of his incredible March series, Civil Rights leader and


The Last Interview and Other Conversations Another incredible loss from 2016 was the death of David Bowie. In this amusing set, many of the extensive interests of the iconic performer are touched upon - including songwriting, entertainment, fashion and art. But don’t be fooled by the title, the most recent interview included here is from 2006; yet the wide range of conversations make it essential reading. Highlights include a very early glimpse of


Appetites: A Cookbook The last few years have seen the improbable rise of foodies as celebrities. Not oldschool Julia Childtype stars, but more of the rock and roll variety. Anthony Bourdain is known for chronicling the collision between food and international culture, so it’s a given that his latest book is a hot plate of food and philosophy. His latest focuses on his personal favorite dishes to cook, culled from dining at the world’s most diverse and culturally challenging tables. On the front burner, all of the recipes read and look delicious, but his inimitable brand of humor and attitude remain his finest ingredients.

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Complicated Game: Inside The Songs Of XTC One of the most progressive pop bands of the original new wave/ punk explosion of the late ‘70s was XTC. Led by the too-smart-for-cool / too-cool-formainstreamsuccess Andy Partridge, the UK band have amassed a catalog of kinetic, multi-layered pop music that are often cited as go-to favorites of well-read musicians. With prodding from writer, fan and friend Todd Bernhardt, Partridge ruminates on many of the band’s best-loved releases with astonishing clarity and devastatingly selfdepreciating British humor. A must-have for any fan of modern songcraft.

Congressman John Lewis, with co-author Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell, tells his culture-shaping history in graphic novel-style. Especially potent in today’s politically charged world, the retelling of his incredible story of resistance and freedom is as real as the latest national news broadcast. Fast-paced and dynamic, the boldly illustrated edition, from Georgia’s own Top Shelf Press, is an emotive memoir for all ages.

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January 25–March 22 February 5–March 26


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January 8–29 April 4–May 30 April 9–June 4

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February 4–March 25


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The GSU Test Prep Academy features Dr. Gary Cohen (aka Dr. Test Prep) one of the country’s premier test prep instructors.

For more details and to register, please visit • January 2017 • PG 13


Station Control



HE BEST TELEVISION OF 2016 spoke to viewers about their world right now. Shows showcased the moments viewers dream of, the consequences they fear, how we got here - and where we might end up. One showed us a wacky take on our own town. Some taught us new ways to examine family. And some of the year’s best take us literally from Heaven to Hell.

10. Saturday Night Live (NBC)

The week of the election, when much of the country was still trying to determine how to feel about the campaign and its results, SNL - now in its 42nd season - placed Kate McKinnon in front of a piano and gave us a moment of catharsis. Dressed in her Hillary Clinton garb, the Emmy winner played the late Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” It was a moment composed in layers: Cohen had just died that week, Clinton’s predicted presidential win didn’t happen. Lots of people felt like crying. And the comedy show - which had been must-see TV every moment of the presidential campaign because of Alec Baldwin’s take on Donald Trump and the Tom Hanks “Black Jeopardy” sketch, among others - reached its season high point with a scene that wasn’t funny. It was just beautiful.

9. Horace & Pete (

Two brothers - played by Louis C.K. and Steve Buscemi - have inherited their father’s Irish bar and all of their regular customers. But instead of going a traditional route with this story and turning it into a sitcom, Horace & Pete becomes something heavy, serious and dark. The cast is star-studded, with roles filled by Edie Falco, Laurie Metcalf, Alan Alda, Aidy Bryant and Jessica Lange, and the show has


the feel of a Eugene O’Neill play. C.K. plays a tortured sort of man, a failed husband, a lousy father and a washed-up dreamer, holding on to the last shot he has to build something for himself. It’s fascinating work. Also, because this was produced without a network, the results are truly unlike anything you will ever see on television.

8. Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life

(Netflix) For years, fans have clamored to revisit the town of Stars Hollow and the characters of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. And Netflix, which has tried multiple times to resurrect old television favorites through Fuller House and Arrested Development (with more failure than success), finally hit the jackpot by bringing original showrunner Amy ShermanPalladino back to the series to finish it the way she always wanted. Lauren Graham and Kelly Bishop, in particular, are given meaty scenes and very funny moments. And the ending, wherein Alexis Bledel’s character delivers a shock to longtime fans, was wholly satisfying.

7. The Good Place (NBC)

The most inventive, nutty new sitcom of the year takes place in the afterlife. Eleanor, played by Kristen Bell, has recently died and gone to a paradise for altrustic, kind souls overseen by the angel Michael (Ted Danson). Problem is, Eleanor’s life on Earth was something of a mess. She worked in pharmaceutical sales, exploiting old people, and she was a selfish, manipulative bitch. Her inclusion in the heavenly design is a glitch, and it has compromised everyone’s afterlife. Suddenly, monsters prowl the immaculate streets, and garbage rains from the sky. And it’s all very, very strange and funny.

The People vs. O.J. Simpson 6. This Is Us (NBC)

The most talked-about new drama of the fall hid its true premise until the end of its pilot episode. Instead of being a show about people who shared the same birthday, This Is Us is the story of a family, told at different periods of their history. Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore star as Jack and Rebecca Pearson, who are the parents of three kids: Randall, Kate and Kevin. As adults, the three have their own stresses, dysfunction and cliffhangers. And the secrets of the past deeply affect the future. The family drama is not a new idea, but This Is Us delivers a new take.

5. Westworld (HBO)

This series, based upon the Michael Crichton sci-fi movie, is a stunning, twisted work from showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Set in the near future, Westworld is a fully immersive cowboys-and-horses theme park populated by lifelike androids - and things there are starting to go awry. The robots want to be free. Their human guests and operators are trying to exploit them, and the entire show is filled with secrets. The full first season was a thrill ride, featuring grand acting from Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Hopkins.

4. Atlanta (FX)

Donald Glover created and stars in this sitcom about his hometown. His character Earn is trying to help his cousin’s burgeoning rap career. He wants to support his daughter, escape from poverty and earn the respect of his girlfriend and family. The show, though, is a work of experimental art. Fake commercials are peppered throughout one episode. Another focused on a celebrity basketball

PG 14 • January 2017 •

game wherein Justin Bieber is played by an African-American actor. It’s something of a masterpiece.

3. Preacher (AMC)

The most fun series of the year was this wild, violent comic adaptation starring Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga. Cooper stars as a minister gifted with the power of God, and he decides to save the soul of his town - aided by his gang of criminals, vampires and fallen angels. It’s an absolute blast.

2. Stranger Things (Netflix)

A sci-fi thriller embedded in nostalgia and twists, this summer hit played upon memories of E.T., The Goonies and Firestarter, then built its own mystique over and above its influences. It was immediately addictive. The character Eleven - played by the strange Millie Bobby Brown - spawned hundreds of Halloween costumes. Winona Ryder returned to the A-list with a string of Christmas lights. And no one can wait for the sequel, currently filming in Atlanta.

1. The People vs. O.J. Simpson (FX)

On paper, this should not have worked at all. A show that paid even more attention to one of the most examined, debated, trashculture-defining moments of the past two decades, this Ryan Murphy production provided new insight into key moments in the courtroom, giving all the participants more humanity than the news of the day ever did. The episode centered upon Marcia Clark and the systematic sexism she faced as she went before the cameras every day to fight for justice is wondrous, and the whole series had a lot to say about who we were then - and who we are now.



Kristian Bush Scores a New Atlanta-Bred Country and Western Musical That’s definitely the pop side of it. Right and the good side of my vocation is that I love hearing songs on the radio that I like. I don’t always like everything I hear, but it sure feels good when that one song comes on that I really love. I want to do that for a living, causing that radio feeling. We both grew up with the post-‘70s “the album is a statement but there needs to be a hit single on it” mindset. Exactly. I was raised and cut my teeth on records in the ‘80s. In the days when, maybe a U2 record was great all the way through, but that first single really gave you an instant taste of what was to come, but it could stand alone as well.



ROUBADOUR, WHICH CELEBRATES ITS WORLD premiere this month on the Alliance Stage, is a musical comedy written by Atlanta-based playwright Janece Shaffer (The Geller Girls, Broke). Set in early ‘50s Nashville, the show centers around an improbable group of friends who influence the sound of modern country music. The talented cast includes singer-songwriter-producer Radney Foster and Zach Seabaugh, best known from TV’s The Voice. The score is a slate of original songs written for the play by fellow Atlantan Kristian Bush, one-half of Sugarland as well as a busy solo recording artist and producer. As his new single “Sing Along” was rising on country radio, he took a break to discuss songwriting and his happenstance collaboration with Shaffer. Collaborating with other writers is business as usual in Nashville. Do you enjoy the process of turning out radio-ready material? I’ve been working with a lot of co-writers in those rooms and some of them are like great. But sometimes it’s more like, “Ok, let’s keep this one word and keep going.” I’m like, “Are you serious?” But by the end of it, I always know I’m gonna be super proud of it when I’m 90 years old and looking back, you know?

record, which would be the last song he’d sing at the show. So I went town on it. I heard it in my head and started singing it into my phone and wrote the rest of it later that same day and sent it to her. “Is this in the right ballpark?” She just loved it. How do you get inside the head of an aging country star? Well, I figured his big hit must have been written around 1935 or ’37, which would have put the song in the same writing space as a lot of the Carter Family music. I did as much research as I could and I did it from my perspective as a writer because Billy was also a writer, according to the story. He wrote all his own music.

Then it grew into more songs and a full production? As we got into the conversation about the music, she got really In the last few years, you’ve been writing and producing and excited and asked me to write another one or generally putting all the pieces together. two. And I did. It went really, really well. In I learned that here in Atlanta we had to do it all. a short amount of time, we had six or seven There was no stable of songwriters like in Nashville, songs. We did a table read of the script and so you had to write the songs. We didn’t have JAN 18–FEB 12 Susan Booth turned to me and said, “We’re as many studios, so you had to learn to produce Alliance Theatre gonna need some more music.” So one song records and then you had to book shows and turned into where we are now - which is promote, too. So it’s a total learning experience and about eighteen. The songs are baked into I had a great training ground. I sure am using all each character’s existence so as we learn more those muscles in Nashville. about the show, I have new music for it. So how did the Troubadour gig happen? Is it a challenge to write in the voice of the various characters? Well, Janece Shaffer found me through some mutual friends It’s fun for me. It’s from the period of country music when it and said “Hey, I’m a playwright here in town and I’m wondering if turned a bit from church-based and it moves through when it you’d meet with me. I need a song written for my play.” That was became the Hank Williams-type singer-songwriters. It really feels about a year and a half ago. Then concurrently I suddenly had a like a lot of what I do anyway; like when I’m writing a Sugarland solo career going but I said yeah! song, I’m writing it knowing it’ll be coming out of Jennifer’s mouth. So it’s more like, “What story do we want to tell?” I’ve It started with one song, right? Yeah, the story is set is 1951 in Nashville and the king of country never been involved in anything like this before, so I think I probably have a bit of babe-in-the-woods naiveté about it, but music at the time, a guy named Billy Mason, is retiring and it’s his farewell show at the Ryman. So she wanted me to write his big hit then it’s also pretty much like what I do every day.




Kathleen Madigan Takes Her Successful Netflix show on the road And that’s reflected in the ticket sales! No I haven’t been there before. I thought I’d been to all the cities in the South, but I haven’t been there yet. Like, last year I went to Montgomery, Alabama and that was cool because there’s so much history and stuff to see. But I’m excited to go anywhere - that’s why I like this job, I want to go see everywhere.



INCE IT PREMIERED LATE LAST year on Netflix, Kathleen Madigan’s newest comedy hour has been quite the popular destination for stand-up comedy fans. Provocatively titled “Bothering Jesus,” the hilariously irreverent special has gained the comedian a ton of attention and a whole new generation of fans. Now that she’s taking the show on the road, Madigan has expanded and refined the material to include more of her trademark Saturday, Jan. 7 storytelling via her delightfully Buckhead Theatre skewed world view. Or as she says, “I’m just here to point out the absurd.” She spoke with INsite just before she left home for a winter swing through the southern states.


The “Bothering Jesus” tour starts in the South. Do you think the title will be Bothering Them? Well that’s where the show started from - it really is the Christian way versus the Catholic way and both of their relationships with Jesus. It’s all just astonishing to me. Sometimes in an envious in a way and sometimes in a “Wow, do you really think that’s gonna work?” kinda way. Like, yeah ok, you go ahead and talk to Jesus about your broken dryer. An early stop is Macon, which isn’t exactly known as a huge comedy town. Have you ever played there?

Do you remember the first time you played Atlanta? I played the Punchline and they were having an auditiontype thing for one of those comedy on the road shows on A&E. Then I got hired to actually work there. Well first I played at the Funny Bone which also existed at one time.

And the Buckhead Theater is about two minutes from the old Funny Bone location. Oh wow. Well it’s been forever but I remember right across the way there was a thing, almost like a gang-plank, where you could walk across to an oyster house or something fishy. Really good food. Then on the way back, on foot, there was a Taco Mac! That was the first place I’d ever seen with that many beers. So those are my landmarks. You’ll be very near the ghosts of those places at the Theater. And it’s a much nicer venue. Ok good. I’m finally workin’ my way up. That’s a good direction.

And for two shows. Yeah, well they wanted to try that. I think the first one is sold out and the second one is darn-near close. It’s funny, my mom is like, “Aren’t you excited it’s all sold out?” And I was like, “Well, it’s more of a relief mom, than excitement.” Comedy does good business these days. I think a lot of it has to do with Netflix. Aside from Last Comic Standing, which reached a whole different demographic, because that reached prime time, the people who had kids and wouldn’t stay up to watch Letterman and all that stuff. That brought a whole new group of people. But now, with the ease of Netflix, when you go on there, if you like my show they’ll show you six other comics who are similar to me. It’s like a library of comedy and people can just walk in. And they can see the shows whenever they feel like it. It’s like the old comedy album concept, just drop the needle on the record. Right, it’s exactly like that. And that makes it so much more accessible, to be able to see it anytime. I’ve had HBO and Showtime specials, but they didn’t even tell me when they were gonna be on after the premiere. I couldn’t tell people to go watch them because I didn’t know when it would be on. Do you have total artistic freedom within the Netflix format?

Yeah, they don’t say anything about the material, they don’t care. They’re very easy to work with; just turn in your homework and they’ll post it! The show premiered in November and now you’re on the road. How do you deal with audiences who may have already seen the material? You know [part-time Georgia resident and fellow comic] Ron White and I were talking about this. He’s like, “Aww, I don’t want to do that stuff when I go out, it’s done.” But I disagree. Whoever comes to the Atlanta show, you’ll see maybe 50 percent of what you saw in “Bothering Jesus” because I feel like that’s part of the reason why some people came in the first place. A lot of people come to the show and they’ll bring friends who haven’t seen it. • January 2017 • PG 15




here. Everyone within the punk scene and music scene in general have welcomed us and made us feel part as much a part of what is going on here.

HE TITLE OF THE DEBUT record from Newcastle-based (by way of Ireland) band, Good Friend, holds a lot of significance. You’ve known Toby Jeg at Red Scare for quite “’Ride the Storm’ is a phrase that a close a while, right? How did you first meet? friend of ours used to say when things got This is one still open for debate I guess. I tough,” says Adam Carroll, singer/bassist with have a recollection of meeting Toby before Good Friend. “He used to have it printed we actually met in an official capacity but I above his door of his bedroom so that he have known him since my teens. I was on the saw it every day and every night when he metro in Chicago and Toby was in the same came home. With the band we started to carriage and pointed out my Lawrence Arms adopt it when things got tough ‘flappy’ tattoo and said ‘Nice and it really became a banner tattoo’ before exiting the train... WE WERE for us throughout the writing of down think it was him, this album.” DETERMINED FOR Ihehands isn’t so sure. Ride the storm they did, and THIS ALBUM TO Then we met when my the result is a stellar punk rock previous band Under Stars and COME OUT WITH LP that so impressed Red Scare Gutters supported the Lawrence Industries founder Tobias Jeg that A LABEL OR NO on their UK and Irish tour LABEL BEHIND IT. Arms he offered to put the record out and Toby was tour managing. here in the U.S. Ride the Storm WE BELIEVED IN IT We met the guys and Toby just came out on Red Scare AND WENT FOR IT. in Heathrow Airport. They Industries on November 25 in came out of the terminal and America and on Gunner Records we were standing there holding the bumper in Europe. from the van as we had crashed on the way in. How they didn’t turn and run then is Can you start off by talking about how the beyond me but we had a great tour and kept band first came together? in touch since. Of course, I have known the guys since we were no age. Before I had these bags Was the album already finished before you under my eyes, before Leon (Connolly) had signed on with Red Scare and Gunner? the muscles and before Andy (Reid) knew We were determined for this album to come that you don’t spend the whole party in out with a label or no label behind it. We the bathroom. We had grown up together, believed in it and went for it. We worked in playing shows in different bands and were bars and in warehouses and raised the money part of the North Coast music scene in to record it ourselves and we did. We worked Northern Ireland. Our wild youthful nights long hours, we lived off pennies but we got would always cross and it became apparent it finished and thankfully Toby and Gunner that we should join a band when other believe in it as much as we do. projects had ended and Good Friend was born. With the plan of playing what we Any plans to tour in the U.S. after this record called, ‘Lion Hearted Rock & Roll’, a term we comes out? basically coined so that we didn’t have to be Yes, actually, it’s something we really want any genre and always left room for the music to do before the end of 2017. We will have to to evolve. see what we can do. You started out in Ireland, but are now based in Newcastle. Was there a decent punk scene when you first moved to Newcastle? There was, yeah. There are some great bands from the cold North East. You know, people have been really kind to us since we moved

PG 16 • January 2017 •

What’s next for you and the band? We have the album release party and a lot of touring throughout the UK & Europe and hopefully the States too at some stage and continue writing the next record. So lots of German craft beer, lots of miles and lots of smiles.

TOMMY STINSON Resurrects Bash & Pop



Having more of a rock and roll vibe. S MANY REPLACEMENTS FANS will tell you, good things come to Was it tough to find the musicians that those who wait. would be right for this record? And while it took 22 years for Tommy No, because I know a lot of great musicians Stinson and Paul Westerberg to reform The and luck for me, all of them that played on Replacements for a brilliant and ultimately this record were great for it. short-lived reunion tour (by fans estimate, though probably not the band’s). It turns Do any of the songs on this new record go out Stinson fans had to wait just as long for back a while? When did you start working a new Bash & Pop record. on the music for this new records? Bash & Pop was Stinson’s first postThe oldest song on the Replacements band and one record is shortcut. That’s I KIND OF ROLL WITH one I’ve had about 20 years, that saw him move from bass to guitar and step in front of THINGS, I’M PRETTY I just didn’t have a place to the mic to take on lead vocals. ADAPTABLE. I DON’T put it. I put it on this record He put out one fantastic HAVE A WHOLE LOT OF after looking at the songs we record under that moniker, recorded and realized EGO IN IT ANYMORE. had Friday Night is Killing Me, in there’s a lot of loud, rock n 1993, before disbanding on roll stuff going on here and moving on to other projects (including a to just have one little thing at the end that couple of solo records and stints as bassist does something a little different seemed like a for Soul Asylum and Guns N ‘Roses). good fit. A lot of the stuff I’d been writing for Nearly two-and-a-half decades later, the last two years. Stinson is back with a new Bash & Pop record, Anything Could Happen, coming Obviously, people know you best as a bass out January 20th on Fat Possum Records. player for two incredibly influential bands. Stinson spoke recently about resurrecting When you first went solo, did you have any the old band and how that other reunion anxiety about being the frontman? worked out. You know, not really because I kind of grown up doing this stuff and I don’t think Let’s start out with why you decided to I got nervous or intimidated about doing go back to the Bash & Pop name for this anything in about 30 years to be really album versus just putting out another honest. I kind of roll with things, I’m pretty Tommy Stinson solo record? adaptable. I don’t have a whole lot of ego in it I wanted to do something different from anymore. the last two solo records. The last two solo records I did on my own, played a lot of the You’re also touring behind this instruments on it and piecemealed it all record, right? together. When you spend so much time Yeah, we’re starting on January 12th in recording all these songs, you sometimes Minneapolis at The Entry; it’s a homecoming spent too much time overthinking things. of sorts. We’ll then work our way east. I really didn’t want to do that this time. So, what I did instead of having home session I saw The Replacements reunion show in my studio here in Hudson, NY, I just in Philly and thought it was great. I’m started having weekend sessions with guys interested in how you thought those reunion I know in the city and other places and just shows went. Are you glad you did them? started recording it like a band. I just had Yes we had fun doing them. I think not it in my mind that I wanted to get back to having done a record behind it allowed us to doing things like we did in the ‘80s where play it out a little longer than we should. The you just went into the studio and hacked intention had been to do another record. In out a record in a week and you either got my mind, it’s fun to go back and play those magic or got crap and you had to go back songs again. My problem with it was – you and do it again somewhere else. I really want to play the songs people want to hear, wanted the band-vibe on it, so I did it with but to do that solely for three years was a bit the same intent I did on the first Bash & Pop much. Once we knew we weren’t going to album. To be honest, even though that last make that new record, maybe we could have one was just me and Steve Foley, with a few shortened it up a bit. Ultimately, I think it friends we asked to come in on, this one is was a bit much to go out for three years and actually a full band in on the recordings. sweat to the same oldies.



INsite Music Critic’s Offer Their Best Reviews from 2016

John B. Moore’s Top 5 Albums of 2016

Car Seat Headrest

Teens of Denial (Matador) Teens of Denial goes a long way to cement Will Toledo’s reputation as not just prolific, but talented as well. From the opening track, the indie pop stunner “Fill in the Blank” to the noise rocker “Destroyed By Hippie Powers” all the way through to the mellow “Joe Goes to College,” Car Seat Headrest cherry picks the best attributes from bands like Pavement, Modest Mouse and early Radiohead for a solid collection that serves as a great introduction to those outside the northwest who are just now discovering him.

Logan Lynn Dinosaur Jr.

Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (Jagjaguar) The latest, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, may be their finest moment since You’re Living All Over Me; There’s a little less distortion this time around, a lot more focus and the trio has gone from simply being ambitious, angry punks thrashing out an identity to truly impressive musicians in the span of two decades. Lyrically that band is also at its best here and the words get a beautiful showcase on some of the slower songs, like the surprisingly sweet “Knocked Around.”

Brett Newski

Land Sea Air Garage (Seel-Released) Land Air Sea Garage, offered up about 6 months after the stellar D.I.Y. EP, pays off on all the promises hinted at on that earlier effort. Across nearly a dozen tracks he manages to come off as vulnerable (without all that emo baggage), extremely witty (“D.I.Y.,” is still one of the finest songs ever written about the realities of playing a show) and smart without pretention.

Tanya Donnelly

Swan Song Series (American Laundromat) As a member of three influential alt-rock bands (Throwing Muses, Breeders, Belly) and after four strong solo albums, Tanya Donelly took a long break from music. In 2013 she began issuing a string of self-released EPs consisting of collaborations with an eclectic slate of writing partners. Five of the EPs are included here - with seven new songs. The massive set makes for a binge-listening experience and it’s far from her Swan Song from the business. It’s just a fun way to hearld a completely independent comeback.

Adieu (Self-Released) Adieu is quite possibly Logan Lynn’s best album yet, as each song here builds on the next for an impressively cohesive set, ending in the brilliantly wry “Oh, Lucifer”. Despite a mix of up tempo indie pop and more introspective piano tracks they fit together beautifully. Lynn continues to impress eight records into his career.

Lee Valentine Smith’s Top 5 Albums of 2016

Big Eyes

Stake My Claim (Don Giovanni) If Joan Jett fronted The Ramones, she’d likely sounds exactly like Big Eyes. And while that collaboration – one of the best super groups that never was – will sadly never happen now, the latest full length from New York’s Big Eyes is a pretty sweet consolation prize. With Kait Eldridge’s perfect sing-along vocals and spikey guitars on songs like the infectious “Leave This Town” and the slightly mellower “Behind Your Eyes,” the band offers up an impossible to resist sounds that sticks with you hours later.


delivery - and touches of loopy humor.

Good Times (Rhino) Reunion albums are often embarrassing afterthoughts, bad remakes thrown together for a quick buck and overpriced merch table decorations. This is definitely not the case with Good Times, a very modern-sounding return from the so-called “Pre-Fab 4,” with strong contributions from all four original members (Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith and the late David Jones) with incredible guest players and songwriters. A great way to celebrate 50 years and their best overall record since 1967.


Solid States (Lojinx) Poised on the brink of their 30th anniversary, Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer return as The Posies with a new record that betters both Blood/Candy and Every Kind of Light. The busy musicians who literally travel the globe for their various side-projects (Big Star, R.E.M., etc.) continue to churn out incredible melodies and instantly recognizable tunes. Solid States finds the band whittled to its original founders after last year’s death of drummer Darius Minwalla. Embracing new technology, the project crackles with electric complexities and lifeaffirming energy.

INsite’s 2017 Readership Poll

David Crosby

Lighthouse (GroundUp Music) The iconic 75-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer - best known for co-founding Crosby, Stills, Nash (and sometimes Young) and The Byrds has solidified a strong new creative renaissance with the release of Lighthouse, his best and most satisfying collection since 1971’s If I Could Only Remember My Name. The intimate, harmony-laden disc is the perfect balm for the upheaval of current events - featuring sober reflections on politics, relationships, the Syrian refugee crisis and the ongoing struggle for personal and global happiness.

Neil Young

Peace Trail (Reprise) For his 37th solo studio effort, Neil Young looked back to his classic early ‘70s (After The Gold Rush, Harvest) eras for sonic reference points, with his plaintive vocals, guitar and harmonica tastefully augmented by veteran session players Jim Keltner (drums) and Paul Bushnell (bass). The result is a very laid-back acoustic set of socially conscious ruminations on current events offered with his usual freewheeling, stream-of-consciousness

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& click on Readers Poll today! • January 2017 • PG 17



Album Reviews


Beach Boys

Becoming The Beach Boys: The Complete Hite and Dorinda Morgan Sessions

(Omnivore) On a lengthy tour last year, Brian Wilson revisited Pet Sounds, the groundbreaking 1966 album often celebrated by fellow musicians and repackaged in numerous reissues, tributes and revivals. It’s hard to believe that pivotal recording is now a little over fifty years old. It’s even harder to fathom that just a few years earlier, the Beach Boys were just hopeful kids in a raw garage band. Albeit one with incredible harmonies and instinctive melodic craftsmanship. Before “Surfin’ USA,” sealed their fate as a certified hitmakers, the boys were laboring in a tiny recording studio in Southern California. In late ‘61 and early ’62, Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson, cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine were dipping their collective toes into the soon-tobe-turbulent waters of the record-making process. By May of ’62, they’d have a lucrative deal with Capitol, but before they signed with a major, they worked for local music enthusiasts Hite and Dorinda Morgan. Nine songs emerged from the experiment including “Surfin’,” “Surfin’ Safari” and “Surfer Girl,” setting the core themes of much of their later successes. Last summer, the obsessive music geeks at Omnivore Recordings swooped in and gathered every track of the sessions for a deluxe cd and digital set. The glut of material includes every available take, false start, master track and between-song conversation snippets. It’s almost overkill to delve into so many versions of just a brief album’s worth of songs, but in the era of binge-watching an entire season of a TV show, it’s perfect for a weekend of musical inspiration and exploration. Even non-fans can learn about the process of working through a new song from original scratch track to completion. The gentle nuances that shift and develop each new runthrough is often awe-inspiring. Now that it’s available on colored vinyl for the ultimate completist or CD-naysayer, the set is a truly essential piece of the band’s history and a worthy new addition to any serious collection of classic rock music. –LVS

Roy Orbison

The Ultimate Collection (Legacy)

To be honest there are a slew of Roy Orbison albums out there packed with “hits” and “best of” tracks, but this latest 26-track offering from Legacy is among the best to date, including his late career tracks and going all the way back to his legendary Sun Records period. Frustratingly the order is not chronological, but that is one of only a few knocks against this CD. Along with the obvious Orbison classics, (“Pretty Woman,” “Only the Lonely,” “Cryin” and “Walk On”) it includes some of his surprisingly late in his career hits like “You Got It,” that came out in 1989 shortly after his death as well as two songs from The Traveling Wilbury’s - likely the best super group in history, comprised of Orbison, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne (“Handle With Care” and “Not Alone Anymore”). The collection also includes “I Drove All Night” a song written for Orbison and recorded in 1987,

PG 18 • January 2017 •

but oddly not released until 1992 after it had already become a global hit for Cyndi Lauper. “The Ultimate Collection” is just one more reminder of how brilliant a singer Orbison was, managing to win over fans across four decades. –JM

The Wild Feathers

Live at the Ryman (Warner Brothers)

Live albums have often served a few decidedly secondary purposes. Historically they’ve been a stopgap product when a new album wasn’t quite ready, as filler for merch sales, or a last-gasp victory lap in order to fulfill remaining contractual obligations. Live at the Ryman issued on limited vinyl for Black Friday’s Record Store Day, and CD for plain ol’ regular days, is as vital and necessary as any of The Wild Feathers’ previous studio albums. Catching the Tennessee-based band at a celebratory homecoming show at the historic Ryman Auditorium last summer, winding up a tour in support of their recent release Lonely Is A Lifetime. The career-spanning setlist includes tracks from the then-current record, performed with much more intensity and abandon than the original versions. “Left My Woman,” in particular, gets an emotive reading, forcefully propelled by show-opener “Help Me Out” running through a tight collection of tunes to a thoroughly satisfying side four of the LP package including “How,” “The Ceiling” and “Hard Wind.” -LVS

Big Star

Complete Third (Omnivore Recordings)

If not for Big Star, the late great Memphis band that ran from ’72-to-’78 before finally calling it a day, we’d likely never have groups like Teenage Fanclub, R.E.M., The Replacements, The Posies… hell, Ryan Adams would probably be in a metal band now if it weren’t for Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel. The foursome only had three albums in their prime, but Chilton and Stephens recruited Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer – both from The Posies – to help them fill out the band for 2005’s “In Space.” Over the past decades some live albums have surfaced (like the fantastic “Columbia – Live at University of Missouri”) as well as a slew of re-releases. This fall, Omnivore Recordings, a longtime champion of the band, just released “Complete Third,” an amazing 3-CD collection of Big Star’s third album. The box set includes every demo, rough mix, alternate take and final master to exist of this historic recording session. Along with the music, the Holy Grail for many Big Star fans and completests, the set includes extensive liner essays from members of Wilco, the dB’s, R.E.M., The Dream Syndicate and others as well as those involved with the recording. Completed in 1974, their third album wasn’t officially released until four years later. “Third” went on to be re-released, renamed, and resequenced many times over the next few decades, but “Complete Third” houses 69 tracks, almost half of which are previously unheard session recordings, demos and alternate mixes made by producer Jim Dickinson and engineer John Fry. Big Star is dead. Long live Big Star! –JM

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HIS PAST YEAR PRESENTED remarkable individual performances (Kobe Bryant’s 60-point career finale, Simone Biles’ Olympic showing) and brilliant team efforts (UConn women’s basketball team’s fourth-straight title). But a decade from now, when we reminisce about 2016, these will be the 10 moments that stand out most.


What’s most scary about the Chicago Cubs erasing a 107-year World Series hex with an emotional playoff run is the fact that the team’s best players (Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta) average just 27.3 years of age. They could end up on this same list next year.


With the storybook NBA Finals comeback (sorry, Golden State), the Cavaliers granted the city of Cleveland its first sports title since 1964. With his all-around dominance (and most important blocked shot ever), LeBron James forever etched his name into the “greatest of all time” conversation.


No one outside of Chapel Hill will talk much about UNC guard Marcus Paige’s double-clutch three-pointer in the closing moments of the men’s basketball title game. How can they when, just a few ticks later, Villanova’s Kris Jenkins clinched the championship with one of the most memorable shots in Final Four history?


Pat Summit, John Saunders, Craig Sager, Gordie Howe, Pearl Washington and Monte Irvin. All were titans in their respective fields who will be dearly missed by fans. Muhammad Ali and Arnold Palmer were somehow even more than that — the rare athletes who transcended sports and became integral parts of popular culture.


Any moment that Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps got in the water during the 2016 Summer Games was memorable. The latter added to his record Olympic medal total (28) with six medals, including five golds. Equally impressive in Brazil was Ledecky, who not only took home five medals but also obliterated the competition in the 800-meter final by a mind-blowing 11 seconds.


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human history, Usain Bolt saved his best for last. With sprinters like Canada’s Andre De Grasse and the United States’ Justin Gatlin breathing down his neck, Bolt remained calm in his lane (even breaking a wry smile in mid stride), entrusting his then-29-year-old legs enough to breeze to the 100- and 200-meter gold.


Players retire all of the time. But in greats like Phelps, Bryant, Peyton Manning, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, David Ortiz and Vin Scully calling it a career this past year, the roster seems disproportionately high with “all-time greats” in 2016.


Super Bowl 50 had bruising hitters (Denver’s Von Miller), big names (Carolina’s Cam Newton) and Beyonce, so it makes sense that Broncos QB Peyton Manning would use the big stage for one last victory before riding off into the sunset as the most prolific quarterback in NFL history.


If it seems as if Alabama has an annual spot on this list, it’s because it does. The 2016 installment of the Crimson Tide rolled into Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 and fought off a ferocious ambush of Clemson Tigers to solidify its dynasty status with its fourth national title in the last seven seasons.


We asked an English Premier League expert to equate Leicester City F.C.’s miraculous EPL title win to an underdog team winning the NBA title. We expected him to make a parallel between a lowly squad like Sacramento Kings taking the crown, but he said the Wolves’ improbable championship is more like the University of Georgia earning the NBA title.



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INsite Atlanta January 2017 Issue  

Atlanta's Entertainment Monthly featuring our yearly Winter Guide. We highlight the best events to get you through the winter season and tak...

INsite Atlanta January 2017 Issue  

Atlanta's Entertainment Monthly featuring our yearly Winter Guide. We highlight the best events to get you through the winter season and tak...