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VOL. 26, NO. 6 FREE


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Top Movies, Albums, TV and Sports



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PG 2 • January 2018 • insiteatlanta.com




Entertainment Monthly


Happy New Year!


14 Marty Stuart 15 Willie Nile 16 The Posies 16 Pablo Fransisco 17 Don Mclean

FEATURES 09 11 12 13 13 18

Education Guide Year in Movies Winter Guide Year in TV Top Indie Albums Top Sports Teams

COLUMNS 04 05 06 07 08 08 10 18

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Your Neighborhood Pizzeria!

Around Town On Tap Atlanta on a Dime Under The Lights New Releases Dime Fitness Movie Reviews Album Reviews 16

insiteatlanta.com STAFF LISTING Publisher Stephen Miller steve@insiteatlanta.com Art Director / Web Design Nick Tipton nick@insiteatlanta.com Managing Editor Lee Valentine Smith lee@insiteatlanta.com Local Events Editor Marci Miller marci@insiteatlanta.com Movie Editor Steve Warren s.warren@insiteatlanta.com

Music Editor John Moore john@insiteatlanta.com Contributing Writers / Interns: Alex. S. Morrison, Dave Cohen, Benjamin Carr, Demarco Williams MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 76483 Atlanta, GA 30358 WEBSITE • insiteatlanta.com ADVERTISING INFORMATION (404) 308-5119 • ads@insiteatlanta.com Editorial content of INsite is the opinion of each writer and is not necessarily the opinion of INsite, its staff, or its advertisers. INsite does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertising or editorial content, nor do the publisher or editors of INsite assume responsibility MARTY STUART should such advertising or editorial appear. No DON MCLEAN THE POSIES content, 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 2018


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! Top Movies, Albums, TVREVIEW and Sports

Atlanta’s BEST Favorite ATL Pizza! Winner of

I Ns i t e ★ 201 7

Multiple Atlanta Locations: JohnnysPizza.com insiteatlanta.com • January 2018 • PG 3

Around Town JANUARY 10

Events and Performances taking place this Month music of this pivotal time in America’s history. Visit cobbenergycentre.com

Soul Sacrifice – Santana Tribute


City Winery Atlanta

Soul Sacrifice – Santana Tribute is quickly garnering a reputation as one of the best Santana Tributes in the country. From Woodstock, 1969 to the present day, Soul Sacrifice delivers everything you’d expect from a Santana tribute and more. A perfect blend of familiar melodies, infectious rhythms, searing guitars and honest Latin percussion all delivered with an authenticity that is true to the original recordings. Tickets at CityWinery.com/atlanta.

Angels in America, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play, lands on the Actor’s Express stagethis month in an ambitious production. Sex, religion, and politics collide with history in Tony Kushner’s sweeping epic, one of the landmark theatrical events of the twentieth century. Set at the onset of the AIDS epidemic, these masterworks changed the theatrical landscape forever when they premiered on Broadway twenty-five years ago. Artistic Director Freddie Ashley says, “Not since its premiere in the early 90s has this play been more relevant in its unflinching examination of what it means to be American.” Tickets available at ActorsExpress.com.

JANUARY 11 - FEBRUARY 11 Maytag Virgin

Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, GA

When two recent widows find themselves living as neighbors, both coping in their own way with the aftermath of tragedy, they drive each other crazy before finding common ground. Audiences will follow Lizzy Nash as she battles her grief and the quirky behaviors of her new neighbor, Jack Key, with whom she might have more in common than she realizes. Will this encounter between Lizzy and Jack change their paths and their hearts for good? Purchase tickets at AuroraTheatre.com.

Big Apple Circus

Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

BigTop Works, the new producers of Big Apple Circus, are pleased to announce Atlanta as a stop on the National Tour during its historic and critically acclaimed 40th anniversary season. The full lineup of global artists and acts, including 10-time world record-holding high wire artist Nik Wallenda and fan favorite Grandma the Clown will play in Alpharetta at Verizon Amphitheatre for a total of 50 performances. Tickets available at vzwamp.com.


Honda Battle Of The Bands Georgia Dome


In The Mood - A 1940s Musical

JANUARY 12 - FEBRUARY 17 Angels in America Actor’s Express


My Favorite Murder

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

My Favorite Murder is the hit true crime comedy podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Since its inception in early 2016, the show has broken download records and sparked an enthusiastic following. A top 10 regular on iTunes’ comedy podcast chart, My Favorite Murder has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, The Atlantic and Rolling Stone. Visit cobbenergycentre.com.


Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

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 back to Atlanta with two shows on January 26. 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

Among those competing include: Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Benedict College, Bethune-Cookman, Morehouse College, North Carolina A&T State, Texas Southern and Winston-Salem State. Tickets available at hondabattleofthebands.com.

Snow Mountain

Stone Mountain Park

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.

Spend a fun-filled day playing in the snow. Zoom down the 400-foot hill in familysized tubes or go it alone as a single rider. Enjoy snowman building and hot cocoa at the Snow Zone. New this year is Galactic Tubing, an immersive nighttime experience starting at 5:30pm with music, laser beams and LED lights dancing to the music. Visit stonemountainpark.com.






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On Tap this Month MAJOR EVENTS COMING TO ATLANTA January 8: Mercedes-Benz Stadium

2018 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP Alabama and Georgia showed that talk of the Southeastern Conference losing some of its might was very much overblown. e SEC goes for its ninth national title in the past 12 seasons in what is essentially a home game for both teams. Alabama opened their season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a win over Florida State and Georgia knocked off Auburn in the SEC Championship game. Info at CollegeFootballPlayoff.com.

January 15: Events Around Atlanta

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King with events around Atlanta throughout the month. Events include MLK 50 Forward at the Maloof Auditorium in Decatur on Friday, Jan 12, MLK March and rally at 15th Street and Baker Street on Monday, January 15, MLK Day speakers at Morehouse, MLK Day for kids at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta and free MLK Museum Day at Atlanta History Center.

January 20: The Rialto Center


Tango Fire of Buenos Aires ignites Georgia State’s Rialto Center this month with erotic, seductive and irresistible dancers, a quartet of brilliant musicians and singer, Jesus Hidalgo accompanied by the music of great Tango masters, Piazzolla, Pugliese and Gardel. Tango Fire contributes to the evolution of tango, while simultaneously paying homage to the art form’s Buenos Aires street origins. Tickets RialtoCenter.org.

January 20: Infinite Energy Arena


Miranda Lambert will start the New Year with a road trip, as her Livin' Like Hippies Tour kicks off January 18th in Greenville, South Carolina then on to Atlanta at the Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth. Taking its name from the lyrics of her song "Highway Vagabond," from the platinum-selling double LP e Weight of ese Wings, the tour features special guests Jon Pardi and Brent Cobb. Tickets at InfiniteEnergyCenter.com.

January 24 - February 15

ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL e Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF), returns for the 18th year January 24 with the Opening Night Gala and film held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Year after year, AJFF prides itself on finding a host of international films that you won't see anywhere else. is year’s Opening Night film is Sammie Davis Jr.’s I’ve Gotta Be Me. e festival continues at various theatres around Atlanta through February 15. Visit AJFF.org

February 14: Cobb Energy Centre

SCOTT BRADLEE POSTMODERN JUKEBOX Imagine a place in time where the dance floor is full of revelers twerking in poodle skirts while well-heeled hipsters drink martinis at the bar. No doubt Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox would be playing. e ensemble reimagines contemporary pop, rock and R&B hits in the style of various yesteryears. Performing Valentine's Day Feb 14 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Visit CobbEnergyCentre.com. insiteatlanta.com • January 2018 • PG 5

Saturday, January 20 9 AM - 4 PM



Know of a low cost event happening? Event@AtlantaOnADime.com By Marci Miller

Every Sunday from 1 - 4 PM

Sunday, January 14 1 - 4 PM

Free; Woodruff Arts Center woodruffcreateATL.org

Free; High Museum of Art high.org

CREATE ATL FAMILY FESTIVAL HIGH SECOND SUNDAYS 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. Activities include family festivals, artmaking activities, interactive musical story times, composers-in-training sessions, instrument making, drop-in acting classes and more. In addition, families will have the opportunity to experience world-class productions and exhibitions at the Arts Center.

Now Through January 13

GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE Toco Hills Shopping Center alexandersofAtlanta.com

After 53 years, Alexander's of Atlanta Fine Diamonds is closing its doors at the Toco Hills Shopping Center. ey have opened up their vaults and are unloading all their jewelry. Stop in at their store while supplies last. No reasonable offer refused. All sales final. Shop Monday - Friday 10am6pm and Saturday 10am-5pm.

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 exhibitions. Play, create and be inspired. Admission is free from 1-5pm; special family programming from 1 to 4 p.m.

Monday, January 15 10AM - 5:30PM

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY Free; Atlanta History Center atlantahistorycenter.com

Gen Adm $9; Children 12 & under Free The Infinite Energy Forum gserr.com is unique event, formerly held at the North Atlanta Trade Center, is Georgia’s largest model train show displaying items for both the “modeler” and “railbuff” alike. Over 350 tables representing dealers from all over the nation will have model items in all gauges and Railroad Antiques for sale. Attendees will be able to relive the glory days of railroading in Georgia when the Georgia Railroad, Seaboard Railroad and the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad were king.

Sat & Sun January 20 - 21

CALLANWOLDE ARTS FESTIVAL $20 Per Person Callanwolde Fine Arts Center callanwolde.org

is two-day indoor festival will feature approximately 86 painters, photographers, sculptors, metalwork, glass artists, jewelers and more. e Festival will also offer artist demonstrations, live acoustic music, plus gourmet food trucks with healthy alternatives and music and dance performances.

Tuesday, January 30 5 - 6:30 PM


Free; Atlanta University Center Library auctr.edu Join archivists at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library for a viewing of original materials from the 13,000-piece Morehouse King Collection. Other events taking place include 50th Anniversary exhibit Saturday Jan 6 and Candlelight Vigil on Sunday Jan 14. Callanwolde Arts Festival

$20 Per Person Callanwolde Fine Arts Center callanwolde.org

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. is year features a special film screening and conversation about A Trek to the River’s Edge with the filmmaker and student leaders of the Atlanta Student Movement at 1 pm and at 3 pm.

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

PG 6 • January 2018 • insiteatlanta.com



January 10 - 28 The Fox Theatre (855) 285-8499 FoxTheatre.org/TheLionKing In its 20th year, The Lion King continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Choreography and Best Direction of a Musical. The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by them. The show’s director and costume designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the production.


January 13 - February 4 Atlanta History Center (404) 733-5000 AllianceTheatre.org/nativeguard The Alliance Theatre’s Native Guard, the Pulitzer Prizewinning work by former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey is being staged this month at the Atlanta History Center just steps away from its extraordinary collection of Civil War artifacts. In Native

Guard, Trethewey examines national memorials to the American Civil War, how we remember history and who tells its story, and how that passed-on history affects our beliefs today. Directed by Alliance Artistic Director Susan V. Booth, Native Guard expands the traditional definition of theatre while exploring themes of history, identity, memory, and loss.


January 19 - February 18 Horizon Theatre (404) 584-7450 HorizonTheatre.com Klook is a drifter who’s gotten too old to drift. Vinette is on the run but she doesn’t know what’s chasing her. Together, they make a tentative stab at love and reach for hope until the past catches up to the future and smacks it in the face. Tough, tender, funny, poignant, The Ballad of Klook and Vinette will grab you from the inside out. This love story set against poetry and jazz fuses soulful music combined with a witty, moving story making this a mesmerizing theater experience. The play stars Brittany Inge, who performed in Blackberry Daze at Horizon last season and was recently listed as one of ACJ's 8 upand-coming Atlanta actors to watch; and Amari Cheatom, who joins the cast from LA and is most popularly known for his role in the film Django Unchained.

NOW ON SALE! Jan. 10 – 28 The Fox Theatre

Tango fire


Heats Up the Rialto Stage!


SaT, JaN 20 / 8Pm

Groups (10+): 404-881-2000

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

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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.


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INsite’s 2018 Readership Poll

Let us Know How We Are Doing! Our annual poll is currently being conducted online at insiteatlanta.com Let us know more about you and how we can make INsite better. Just take a few minutes to fill out a quick questionnaire. All participants are eligible to win prizes!

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& click on Readers Poll today! PG 8 • January 2018 • insiteatlanta.com

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 Fitness offers martial arts classes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and boxing. BJJ is the premier ground fighting martial art and has proven itself countless times in professional fighting, self-defense and combat. Women’s only Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and self-defense classes plus youth classes for ages 7 – 12 are also offered. Muay Thai boxing is the national sport of Thailand. It is also called the Science of 8 limbs because it uses Knees, Kicks, Elbows an Punches. Thai boxing has become the de facto standard striking method for most serious MMA fighters.


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 Subscriptions@AtlantaOnADime.com. Enter on subject line: Sign Me Up!




(Universal Studios Home Entertainment) The documentary division at HBO has done an amazing job lately and The Defiant Ones is just one more example. Directed by Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents), he profiles the lives and professional impacts of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Starting with their roles in music (Dre as rapper and producer, Jimmy as a producer and label head) along with their incredibly successful venture as the founders of Beats headphones, and their early gritty beginnings growing up. Filmed over three years, with unfettered access and interviews with some of the giants in music (Springsteen, Eminem, David Geffen, Tom Petty, etc.), The Defiant Ones has an appeal well beyond music fans.


(Magnolia Home Entertainment) On the surface, the latest from writer/ director Dustin Guy Defa is just another “isn’t New York quirky” indie film. And while there is plenty of quirkiness, thanks to a collection of odd characters and storylines that intersperse, there is a sweetness to the film that helps it overcome the clichés. The stories focus on a record collector

who thinks he’s stumbled on a rare piece of vinyl, two reporters following cops investigating a murder (Michael Cera and Abbi Jacobson are both great as the reporters) and a clock shop owner who may hold a clue to the murder case. Clocking in at less than 90 minutes, the movie is brief enough not to tell a good story and come off as entertaining without treading too far into Wes Anderson territory.

WHO IS LYDIA LOVELESS? (MVD Visual) This doc is a pretty apt title for anyone outside the world of Americana music. But, you’d be hard pressed not to be won over by Lydia Loveless at the end of the film. Gorman Bechard (the man behind the stellar Replacements Color Me Obsessed) follows around the Columbus, Ohio native and her band (including bandmate and husband) as they crisscross the country in an old tour van, loading into rock clubs night after night, and working out new music n the studio. The film is a frank, intimate look at one a truly underrated musician and what she and her peers must go through to survive as a working band battling piracy and limited resources.

CONTINUING EDUCATION Advance your Career and Enhance Your Life! SAE Institute Atlanta

215 Peachtree St. #300 Atlanta, GA 30303 404.526.9366 atlanta.sae.edu SAE Institute Atlanta has been providing creative media education in the heart of Georgia’s capital city since 2007. SAE Institute Atlanta is one of 10 SAE Institute campuses located in North America, and is part of the global network of more than 50 SAE Institute campuses across the world. SAE Institute Atlanta occupies over 35,000 square feet of space in the historic Cornerstone Building in downtown Atlanta, just a short walk from iconic locations such as Fox Theatre, World of Coca Cola and CNN Studio Tours. The campus includes over 20 professional quality studios, midi-room workstations and a 5.1 surround sound theater featuring a Pro Tools HD system. At SAE Institute, the studio becomes your classroom. The facility is home to an SSL 4000G+ 48-channel analog console, both Avid ICON and Avid D Command control surfaces, a Mackie analog 8-bus analog console, and a Yamaha O2R digital console. The studios are equipped with industry standard software like Avid Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Native Instruments Komplete, and more. As a student, you’ll study alongside like-minded artists who share a similar passion for music and entertainment, and learn from industry-experienced professionals to prepare you for an entrylevel career in the creative media industry. See more of SAE Institute Atlanta by booking your personal tour today.

GSU Robinson College of Business 3348 Peachtree Rd NE Atlanta, GA 404.413.7300 execed.gsu.edu Do you need new skills to take your career to the next level? Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business, Office of Executive Education offers con-

tinuing education programs that can help you achieve your goals. Courses are taught by award winning instructors and business leaders, and are interactive and engaging advanced learning opportunities. Start the new year strong--plan to accelerate your career by attending one of our fast-paced, highly interactive programs in leadership, innovation or general management. With many options to choose from and new offerings coming in 2018, you will be equipped to bring new expertise to your work and create value in an ever-changing business environment. Courses are offered year round, and are held in the heart of Buckhead, Atlanta, at the state-of-the art GSU Buckhead Center. Learn more! Contact us today for information and discount options. Visit execed.gsu.edu, Email execed@gsu.edu or Call 404.413.7300.

Oglethorpe University 4484 Peachtree Rd NE Atlanta, GA 404.364.8314 adults.oglethorpe.edu

Oglethorpe University, Atlanta’s oldest and most respected Adult Degree Program, introduces a new degree completion option. You can now transfer your previous credits earned and complete an Oglethorpe degree in as few as 30 credit hours. This is the perfect opportunity to finish what you started and earn the college degree you’ve always wanted. Not sure you can do it? Oglethorpe wants you to be sure that their program is the right fit for you, so they’re offering a unique “Test Drive” program. New students can take up to two classes in their first term at a 50% savings BEFORE fully committing to a degree program. The application is simple and free, with admission decisions made within 24 hours. Best of all, you can choose from hundreds of courses offered during the day or in the evening, with the flexibility to complete your degree at your own pace. Oglethorpe’s small, in-person classes are held year round and eightweek sessions allow you to complete a full-time course load while concentrating on only two classes at a time. Adult students at Oglethorpe enjoy a complete college experience, with full access to Oglethorpe’s campus, activities and benefits. There’s still time to enroll for the Spring Session II! Join us for an Adult Degree Program open house. For upcoming dates and information, visit adults.oglethorpe.edu or call 404.364.8314.

Finish Your Degree With Atlanta's Oldest and Most Respected Adult Degree Program Transfer credits and complete your degree in as few as 30 credit hours


COME VISIT! To find dates of our upcoming open houses, to go:

adults.oglethorpe.edu or call 404.364.8314. FOUNDED IN 1835, OGLETHORPE UNIVERSITY IS RANKED AMONG THE

SAE Institute Atlanta (404) 526 9366 | atlanta.sae.edu 215 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30303





1/2 Expect to see a lot of closeups in movies made this year, so it will be easier to replace an actor at the last minute, as Ridley Scott had to do – and did miraculously well – in the month before this film’s release. That story makes the movie’s pale by comparison. A kidnapping triggers the plot, but as the title implies, it’s really about money. It’s based on the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer, no relation to Christopher Plummer, who now plays his grandfather). His mother, Gail (Michelle Williams, terrific but – what is that accent?), now divorced from Getty II, begs J. Paul, the richest man in the world, for the $17 million ransom demanded for his grandson. He coldly refuses but sends his security chief, Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg), to investigate and negotiate. You’ll be forgiven if you wonder, WWTD? – What Would Trump Do? – in this situation, as Getty continues buying art treasures while his son becomes a commodity traded on the European criminal market. The pace is too slow, with too many distractions, for a thriller, so it’s hard to assign a genre. The elder Plummer deserves some kind of special award for what he’s accomplished, shooting the role in eight days after two weeks’ preparation. The movie around him isn’t bad but is outshone by its own backstory. - Steve Warren


1/2 Perhaps if there were more gay love stories in general release, this one wouldn’t be so overpraised. It would be lumped in with other summer romance/coming-of-age movies, some better, some worse. In light of recent events, some people (outside Alabama) might question the seven-year age gap between 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer), who’s supposed to be 24 though it’s not specified. Elio is spending the summer of 1983 with his family at their villa in Northern Italy. If that’s not intimidating enough, the lad speaks English, Italian and French, plays piano and guitar, and has lots of book-learning – ah, but he doesn’t know about “the things that matter,” like life and love. His professor father (Michael Stuhlbarg) has an intern stay with them for six weeks each summer. Oliver, this year’s guest, is a bland hunk who catches the eye of all the local girls. Elio studies him with what looks like curiosity but we know is lust – or if we don’t we’ll soon find out. They argue like a

romcom couple postponing the inevitable, until the inevitable happens. Eventually summer ends, as summers will, and broken-hearted Elio gets a brilliant speech from his father about remembering. James Ivory adapted the screenplay from a novel and Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash) directed. The pace is leisurely and the scenery gorgeous, though the air sometimes appears to be thick with insects. - Steve Warren


 Sometimes a movie should have been a miniseries. That would have given director Alexander Payne and his co-writer Jim Taylor less excuse for glossing over details that seem significant to a professional nitpicker like me. For instance, could people shrunk to .0364% of their former size – Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) is five inches tall - carry on a conversation with a full-sized person without amplification, as they do here? How would clothes and other items be made for them on that scale? Another problem with this generally enjoyable film is one of expectations. I’ve been laughing at the trailer for months but the picture turns out to be rather serious, especially in the second half. The downsizing process is developed by Norwegian scientists in response to overpopulation, so people would use less of the earth’s resources – including money, since things in their size would presumably cost proportionately less. (Welcome to Utopia!) Ten years into the experiment Paul and his wife (Kristin Wiig) decide to go through the irreversible process, but she backs out at the last minute, leaving him alone in the – er, small world. He meets his randy neighbor Dusan (Christoph Waltz) and cleaning lady Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau), a Vietnamese dissident. In the film’s dour latter half they all go to Norway to learn the truth about the future of the race and alternative versions of hope for the future. Payne successfully upsizes from his usual more intimate films (Sideways, Nebraska) with a relevant, original story that’s greater than some of its parts. - Steve Warren


 A tearjerker for liberals, “fake news” for conservatives, Greg Barker’s film documents Barack Obama’s eighth and final year as U.S. President. An absorbing film could probably have been made about any one day in that year, so 365 of them offer a plethora of material. Barker has condensed it remarkably well, allowing for little human moments amid the

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD dealing with Big Issues. He works primarily through three key players: Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Ambassador Samantha Power and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes. Individually or together, with or without the President, they visit nearly a dozen countries. In retrospect we know they were like pin boys in a bowling alley, setting things up to be knocked down in the following frame/year. Their only major failure was in Syria, where they couldn’t even agree among themselves whether military intervention was advisable. Well, that’s someone else’s problem now, and the sequel to this film will be just a series of tweets. - Steve Warren

PG 10 • January 2018 • insiteatlanta.com



1/2 There’s an awkward period after a war as former enemies become allies, but not all citizens are quick to forgive. Some never do. The characters in Hostiles might as well carry signs announcing their stance. It would spare us some conversations which seem to unfold in slo-mo, that explain how each person feels and why. It’s 1892 and while some “wild Indians” are still on the rampage, most have been put on reservations or are still prisoners of war. Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike, acting up a storm and rising above her material) escapes when her husband and three children are killed, their home burned and horses stolen. Capt. Blocker (Christian Bale, overdoing the stolid hardass routine – the faces on Mt. Rushmore are more mobile) is introduced abusing Apache prisoners he’s bringing in. On the verge of retirement, he’s forced to lead a mission to return Comanche chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), who’s dying of cancer, and his family to their Montana homeland from New Mexico. They find Mrs. Quaid along the way and she joins them. They are attacked by both red and white men in the course of their road trip, so the makeup of the group keeps changing. So do the sympathies of our main characters, while others maintain their position on the spectrum to the end. One white woman is written in just to give a brief speech reminding everyone we stole the natives’ land in the first place. I don’t mind pausing to look at the scenery along the way, but when even the foregone conclusion takes far too long to conclude, that’s the last straw. - Steve Warren



into anger as the truth becomes obvious, yet has a hard time being proven in court. In the Fade was directed and co-written by Germanborn Fatih Akin, who has made several excellent films about the problems faced by Turkish immigrants like his parents. Let this one whet your appetite, then check out the others. - Steve Warren

 In a year with a surfeit of great female lead performances, Diane Kruger’s is in the upper echelon. She plays Katja, a German woman determined to avenge the death of her Turkish husband and their six-year-old son at the hand of neo-Nazis. Onscreen almost constantly, Kruger makes unimaginable grief tangible. She gets to portray some happy moments prior to the crime and in flashbacks, then intense anguish evolving


 If you missed Mike Judge’s Tales from the Tour Bus on Cinemax, you can get an idea of its style (except for the animation) from this multiperspective recounting of the life of Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) and “the incident” in 1994 that made her the most hated woman in America. (She could have run for president against Trump and not been more hated!) And yet one of this film’s miracles is that she comes off as somewhat sympathetic. Laughable at times, but ultimately sympathetic. She tells her own story but there’s also a running commentary from her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan); her mother (Allison Janney); Jeff’s best friend and Tonya’s self-appointed bodyguard, Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Walter Hauser); and assorted others. Sometimes bits of narration are addressed to the audience in the middle of the action. The characters are mostly the definition of “white trash” and you’d think the Atlanta-filmed movie was set in the Deep South if you weren’t told it was Portland, Oregon. That’s where Tonya grows up on ice, goaded by her cruel mother’s tough love to become a champion but foiled by elitist judges who don’t think she projects the right image for the sport, even if she’s the only woman who can do a triple axel. The story becomes a bit less interesting in the more familiar part about Nancy Kerrigan’s knee-bashing and its aftermath; but there’s enough to keep you hooked in the spot-on performances of the deglamorized Robbie and Janney and terrific

stuntwork – not only in the skating, much of which Robbie did herself (but the switches to a double with her face are seamless); and also the domestic violence Jeff takes over when Tonya leaves her mother for him. - Steve Warren


(PG-13)  Partly filmed in Atlanta, this sequel/reboot/ spinoff/whatever starts in 1996 when some teenagers find the eponymous “board game” (actually an interactive videogame), and - Well, you’ll find out later, after we jump ahead a couple of decades to a new group of teens. Four of them form a Breakfast Club in detention, then rediscover the game and disappear into it, becoming their avatars. This creates some humor because the nerdy guy becomes Dwayne Johnson, the big football player becomes little Kevin Hart, the antisocial girl becomes hot chick Karen Gillan, and the girl who can’t breathe without her cell phone becomes – Jack Black! The game assigns specific powers and weaknesses to each and a challenge to the group: Return a stolen jewel to break the curse and save Jumanji, the game’s jungle setting, to win the game and be able to leave it. There are as many twists and as much reality as an actual videogame. It’s silly and juvenile, but some of it is pretty funny, especially Johnson getting used to his new muscles and Black getting used to his/ her new johnson. The ending seems to rule out any kind of follow-up, but never say never when Hollywood money is involved. - Steve Warren


 You know the poker cliché, “Shut up and deal”? You’ll probably be saying it yourself when you see Molly’s Game. Jessica Chastain gives a blockbuster performance as “Poker Princess” Molly Bloom, the almost-Olympic skier who ran a poker game for the rich and secretive. This truthy story was based on her autobiography, and it seems at times like she’s reading the entire book to us. Aaron Sorkin, here directing for the first time, may write the best dialogue since Shakespeare, but it’s often wordy; and combined with narration whenever no one’s speaking on screen, it’s an aural assault. Fortunately Sorkin and his editors keep the visuals lively, and the story holds our interest most of the time. One also has to consider the source, because Bloom comes off as a bit too much of a saintly victim. It may be true that an obscure law makes poker games legal unless the house is “raking” a percentage of the pot; and the government may actually have confiscated Bloom’s profits, then taxed her on the money they took away from her in an effort to make her testify against some of her players; but when she was making big bucks off wealthy gambling addicts, no one would have confused her with Joan of Arc. Idris Elba is excellent as Molly’s initially reluctant attorney and Kevin Costner gets to shine near the end as the source of her daddy issues, which he tries to resolve with “three years of therapy in three minutes” (actually more like five). Despite its flaws Molly’s Game is an entertaining fairy tale. - Steve Warren


 For me the only memorable thing about the Pitch Perfect movies has been Rebel Wilson’s raunchy, self-effacing performances as Fat Amy. Well, that and some decent a cappella singing, even though it’s not my favorite style. The first two were too successful not to stretch for a trilogy, and the result is more crowd-pleasing fun. The Barden Bellas haven’t seen each other in three years and none have made much of their lives. A reunion of sorts sends them on a USO mini-tour – four countries in four days – as one of four acts competing to open for DJ Khaled on a longer tour. There are three potential romances, two potential reunions with estranged daddies, one mass kidnapping and about a zillion songs. Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins follow the girls to make a documentary and snarky remarks, some of them still amusing. Likewise, Fat Amy’s shtick hasn’t worn – er, thin. I’m not asking for a Part 4, but Pitch Perfect 3 is trite, silly and irresistible. - Steve Warren


1/2 Forget your Bonds and Bournes. The real cloakand-dagger stories these days are set in the world of journalism. On the heels of Spotlight comes this long-overdue prequel to All the President’s Men. Steven Spielberg makes it look easy to recreate Washington DC in 1971 for a history lesson most of us never knew much about or have forgotten if we did. Like a Stone Age Wikileaks, Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) copies the top secret Pentagon Papers and gives them to the New York Times. The papers are a detailed study commissioned by former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara that explains how the lies of several presidents started and prolonged U.S. involvement in Vietnam, even though they knew we had no chance of winning the war. But this story is about the Post – the Washington Post – and how they try to compete with the Times, even when the latter is enjoined from publishing any more on the subject. No one calls it “fake news,” but the government tries to stop it. It’s bad timing for Post publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), who’s in the process of taking her family’s paper public. More of a socialite than a journalist, she relies on editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) to run the paper but still endures sexism as the first female in her position. There are too many men in suits to keep track of but the screenplay makes the story easy to follow. It’s hard to avoid contemporary resonance when Ellsberg says he released the papers because “the president doesn’t run the country by himself.” The more things change... - Steve Warren


 By the time you read this, everyone on Earth will have seen this movie two or three times and formed their own, likely favorable, opinion. I liked it too, but my opinion couldn’t matter less at this point. - Steve Warren




T’S ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU BELIEVE IN coincidence. Wonder, Wonderstruck, Wonder Wheel and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women all opened last fall within a 50-day period, less than six months after Wonder Woman. 2017 was also the year that gave us Logan, Lucky, and Logan Lucky. American Assassin and American Made both opened in September, attempting to make “American” great again. In December there was more sign language in Wonderstruck and The Shape of Water than in all the movies released in the average year. Also that month, Matt Damon in Downsizing and Armie Hammer in Call Me by Your Name demonstrated therapeutic massage skills. While one juvenile performer (Jacob Tremblay in Room, Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild) may make a strong impression some years, I lost count of the little moviestealers in 2017. After seeing Brooklynn Prince in The Florida Project, An Sea Hyun in Okja, Sareum Srey Moch in First They Killed My Father and Dafne Keen in Logan, among others, I can only echo Maurice Chevalier and Roy Moore: “Thank Heaven for Little Girls!” The Atlanta Film Critics Circle formed this year and joined the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) in giving out awards. With a lot of overlap in membership, though SEFCA has twice as many, it’s not surprising that eight films appear in both of their Ten Best lists.

2017 SEFCA TOP 10 1. Get Out 2. The Shape of Water 3. Dunkirk 4. Lady Bird 5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 6. The Post 7. The Florida Project 8. Call Me by Your Name 9. Darkest Hour 10. The Disaster Artist 2017 ATLANTA FILM CRITICS CIRCLE TOP 10 1. Get Out 2. Dunkirk 3. Lady Bird 4. The Shape of Water 5. Call Me by Your Name 6. The Florida Project 7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 8. The Big Sick 9. Baby Driver 10. The Post Though I’m a member of both groups, my tastes don’t always coincide with everyone else’s, and few if any other critics saw some of the films that made my list this year:

2016 INSITE TOP TEN 1. Brigsby Bear 2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 3. Okja 4. The Big Sick 5. The Post 6. I Dream in Another Language 7. Frantz 8. The Shape of Water 9. Get Out 10. Lady Bird SECOND TEN (listed alphabetically) Atomic Blonde, Baby Driver, Coco, Detroit, Dunkirk, First They Killed My Father; I, Tonya; Kedi, The Other Side of Hope, The Square BEST ACTOR


Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour Runners-Up: James McAvoy, Split; Sam Elliott, The Hero



Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Runners-Up: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water; Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird


Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Runners-Up: Steve Coogan, The Dinner; Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name


Michelle Pfeiffer, mother! and Murder on the Orient Express (NOTE: Pfeiffer was by far the best thing about both of these films, one of which was dreadful and the other meh.) Runners-Up: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird; Allison Janney, I, Tonya


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Runners-Up: Get Out, Detroit


Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk Runners-Up: Steven Spielberg, The Post; Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Martin McDonagh Runners-Up: Brigsby Bear: Kevin Costello & Kyle Mooney; The Big Sick: Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani


Mudbound: Virgil Williams and Dee Rees Runners-Up: First They Killed My Father: Angelina Jolie & Loung Ung; Frantz: François Ozon


Kedi Runners-Up: Dolores; Jane


I Dream in Another Language Runners-Up: Frantz; First They Killed My Father


Coco Runners-Up: Loving Vincent; Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie


Dunkirk: Hoyte Van Hoytema Runners-Up: Blade Runner 2049: Roger Deakins; The Shape of Water: Dan Laustsen


Although I spared myself a few stinkers, I certainly saw enough bad movies to make a Bottom Ten list; but one led the pack by so much it deserves to have the field to itself. Darren Aronofsky, come claim your prize for: mother! insiteatlanta.com • January 2018 • PG 11



Dr. King Celebrations Morehouse College January 6 - 31 morehouse.edu

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 the 50th Anniversary Exhibition opening a commemoration of Dr. King’s life and legacy. It is being held at the Voice to the Voiceless Gallery, National Center for Civil and Human Rights on Saturday, January 6. e annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture and Conversation Series program takes place Wednesday, January 24, 5:30pm at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center. At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, 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 Morehouse.edu.

Atlanta Boat Show

Georgia World Congress Center January 18 - 21 atlantaboatshow.com

Whether new to boating or an avid water enthusiast, the 2018 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 AtlantaBoatshow.com

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Opening Night: Wednesday, January 24 Festival: January 24 - February 15 ajff.org

e Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF), returns for the 18th year January 24 with the Opening Night Gala and film held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Year after year, AJFF prides itself on finding a host of international films that you won't see anywhere else. is year’s Opening Night film is Sammie Davis Jr.’s I’ve Gotta Be Me. e festival continues at various theatres around Atlanta through February 15. Visit AJFF.org

Winter Wine Fest City Winery Atlanta January 20 atlantawinefestivals.com

e 2nd annual Atlanta Winter Wine Fest will be held on Saturday, January 20th at City Winery. Due to overwhelming popularity last year, they will have two sessions: noon -4pm and 6-10pm. ere will have over 50 wines as well as a selection of beer to choose from. Enjoy live music and a DJ, and food will be available for purchase. Tickets are now on sale: $45 in advance, $50 after Jan 11th, and $60 at the door. AtlantaWineFestivals.com


selection of wines and ciders. Enjoy Live Music on multiple stages, DJ and more. Additional fun and games will be on hand with food available for purchase. AtlantaWinterBeerFest.com.

North Atlanta Home Show Infinite Energy Center Feb 9 - 11 atlantahomeshow.com

Remodel, Repair, Refresh at the 21st 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 AtlantaHomeShow.com.

Fasching - Mardis Gras Festhalle in Helen, GA; February 10, 7pm - 11pm; helenchamber.com

Grab your family and friends and come on out to Helen, GA’s Festhalle on Saturday, February 10 for a night of music, dancing and fun. e theme is “Anything Goes” where costumes are welcomed but not required. ere will be a full cash bar, live German band and costume contests with awards for best male and female costumes and best overall presentation. Visit helenchamber.com.

Oyster Festival Park Tavern, February 17; 1pm - 9pm parktavern.com

The Oyster Festival is a day long event that features live music from local bands, DJs, cold beer Atlantic Station January 27, 1pm - and other tasty beverages and 5pm atlantawinterbeerfest.com tons of fresh Don’t miss the 8th annual Atlanta Winter raw, steamed, Beer Fest at Atlantic Station. ey will and fried oyshave over 150 beers to sample, including ters with plenty many new local breweries from Atlanta of cocktail sauce and crackers. Not an and Georgia. ere will also be a small 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 Martin Luther King Jr. Day - January 15 price. SpiralEntertainment.com

Winter Beer Fest

Disney On Ice

Philips Arena Feb. 15 - 19 PhilipsArena.com

Infinite Energy Arena Feb 22 - 25 infiniteenergycenter.com

Enter a dazzling world of adventure at The Wonderful World of Disney On Ice! Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on an inspiring walk down memory lane in celebration of magic and family fun. Dory is back with friends Nemo and Marlin from Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory. Embark on a new ocean adventure as they discover the real meaning of family. PG 12 • January 2018 • insiteatlanta.com

Polar Plunge

Special Olympics of GA Acworth Saturday, February 24, 11AM - 3PM specialolympicsga.org

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 SpecialOlympicsGA.org.

Monster Jam Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday,

February 24 & Sunday, February 25 monsterjam.com

Monster Jam® is the most exciting form of family motorsports entertainment on the planet. The stars of the show are the biggest performers on four wheels: the Monster Jam trucks! The twelve-feet-tall, ten-thousand-pound machines will bring you to your feet, racing and ripping up a custom-designed track full of obstacles to soar over - OR smash through.

MonsterEnergySupercross Mercedes-Benz Stadium - March 3 supercrossonline.com

Monster Energy AMA Supercross is the world's premier stadium motorcycles circuit. Comprised of 17 races of heartstopping action. See the best riders like Ryan Dungey, Chad Reed, Ken Roczen, Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac as they seek to outrace each other on the sport’s most challenging tracks. Featuring tight corners, fast straight-aways, challenging rhythm sections, triple jumps, and whoops sections, these tracks pack excitement into every inch of dirt.

Harlem Globetrotters Infinite Arena March 3 2pm & 7pm

Philips Arena March 10 2pm & 7pm

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. Visit Ticketmaster.com.


Station Control



TRONG WOMEN FIGHTING BACK, speaking up against adversity, exposing abuses and demanding that the world change dominated the headlines in 2017. Television shows about such women dominated as well. Though this year’s best shows have a variety of flavors, the very best shows put powerful women at the forefront.

10. ONE DAY AT A TIME (Netflix)

The year started out with a hint of what we could expect, in terms of quality and theme, when the Netflix reimagining of this Norman Lear sitcom was released last January. Though a completely different animal from the 1970s original, the new One Day at a Time was just as funny, just as timely, just as social and political. This time, the show centered on a Cuban American war veteran named Penelope (Justina Machado), raising her two kids as a single mom in Los Angeles. Throughout the first season, Penelope coped with veterans issues, PTSD, her daughter’s coming out, prejudice against the Latin community and her vibrant, beautiful, zany mother, played by Oscar winner Rita Moreno. It was everything a good family sitcom should be, harkening back to the great Norman Lear shows of the past while also delivering something different and new. The show returns with a second season this month.

9. MINDHUNTER (Netflix)

Quantico has been the setting for many great shows about the intrigues faced by the FBI. Fictional depictions have given us The X-Files, The Silence of the Lambs and even, obviously, Quantico. But this drama from director David Fincher and creator Joe Penhall, based upon the nonfiction book by

former FBI agent John Douglas, delves into the way the agency changed its approach to criminal psychology in the 1970s while hunting serial killers. The series proceeds slowly, with its protagonists Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) figuring out how to solve new crimes through trial and error. Tench, in particular, is a set-in-his-ways alpha male who comes to every new way of thinking reluctantly. When they begin interviewing imprisoned killers to try and find out how new killers think, viewers get a sense of how slowly and clumsily progress can come. Along the way, there are thrills, tense moments and a true appreciation for the work that goes into investigation.

8. DUCKTALES (Disney XD)

The reboot of the great 1980s animated series isn’t at all more of the same – like Fuller House – nor is it completely off the mark of the original, like the surprising, weird new Twin Peaks. The new series, voiced by an all-star cast led by David Tennant, is just as fun as its predecessor. It also is more serialized and wild. It is a terrific adventure show, filled with mystery and good humor. When they revisit old characters, like Gyro Gearloose or Ma Beagle, it appeals to both old and new viewers. The best part of the new show, though, may be that Huey, Dewey and Louie are individuals with their own personalities. They have their own quirks and problems, which can be mined for story for years. It was a delight to hear this show was returning, and it was a tremendous surprise that it is better than it ever was.


While Twin Peaks – The Return detoured us for a long period of time into the lives of characters we didn’t know, this teen drama based upon Archie Comics gave us a town that was 1950s-tinged, dark, nostalgic, familiar, mysterious, sexy and twisted. Watching Riverdale every week was tremendous fun, as viewers tried to puzzle out who murdered the golden boy Jason Blossom or tried to make sense out of good old Archie’s affair with his music teacher. When Betty and Veronica decided to terrorize a misogynist in a hot tub while wearing wigs and bondage gear, this show felt like the best nighttime soap since Desperate Housewives.



The best plot twist on any show in years, one that came out of nowhere yet made perfect sense, one that changed the fabric of everything on its series, came during the first season finale of this great, crazy NBC sitcom about the afterlife. In one half hour, Eleanor (Kristen Bell) figured out – alongside all the show’s viewers – that she wasn’t



Forever (Pirate Press Records) Despite playing across London during the era of the Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash, Cock Sparrer never quite achieved the global recognition of their scene mates. More than four decades later, however, Cock Sparrer are still at it, surprisingly with only one non-original band member, and have managed to turn in possibly their best record yet, Forever. Finding a home in the U.S. on the punk and vinyl-friendly label Pirate Press, the album is an exercise in brilliance spread out across a dozen tracks.

in Heaven after all. She was in the Bad Place, run by a demon named Michael (Ted Danson), who decided to trick several lost yet sweet souls into torturing each other. This changed, in a moment, everything about the show and made its second season wild, unpredictable, just as funny and compelling.


This HBO miniseries – following a group of private school moms in Monterey, California, as they battle each other, uncover secrets and even deal with a murder – was a masterpiece. Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz and Nicole Kidman all turned in stunning performances as women coping with their lives crumbling. Secrets are dangerous. They lead us to be ashamed of ourselves, to not ask for help when we need it. These women face down insecurities, adultery, abuse and trauma. And by the conclusion of the show, they find their strength in each other. In a year where women spoke up all over the world to decry abuses, shows like Big Little Lies made life and art feel totally in sync.


(Amazon) Amazon Prime’s new dazzler about a divorced, Jewish young mother in the 1950s trying her hand at standup comedy is one of the brightest, funniest and best-looking shows of the year. Created by Gilmore Girls scribe Amy ShermanPalladino and starring House of Cards actress Rachel Brosnahan, this show feels both light as air and bracingly honest about how difficult yet energizing it can be when life throws you a total curveball. Though the period setting gives this show a wonderful flavor, moments toward the end of the series – when the title character faces showbiz challenges from unexpected directions






Severed (Submarine Cast Records) Last year, London’s Curse Of Lono put out one of the year’s best EPs. With Severed, their first full length album, they prove that they were just getting started. With 10 songs, the band combines folk, Americana, alt rock and goth for one of the most exciting things to come out of the UK in years. You can pick up influences as varied as Tom Waits and Radiohead, but still with an originality that defies obvious classification. This new collection of songs only goes to bolster the argument that this band deserves a much bigger audience.

Adios (Bloodshot Records) The fact that Cory Branan is not on the tongue of every musical tastemaker around is proof that the system is broken. Across a half-a-dozen albums Branan spins out one brilliant story after the next blending in rock, folk, country and Americana for a mix that’s hard to resist. He is the heir apparent to folks like John Prine and Guy Clark. His latest, Adios, continues to hammer in that point. This latest is nearly flawless from start to finish, whether it’s just Branan with an acoustic guitar or he’s drenching his music in swampy organ lines, he easily moves in and out of genres, deftly proving he could put out a record for just about any crowd.


No Going Back (earMusic) As the snobby record store clerk in High Fidelity points out, Green Day essentially

– echo into the now.


The most shocking, terrifying, uncomfortable, wry series of the year launched on Hulu in the spring. Based upon Margaret Atwood’s dystopian nightmare, this series, starring Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss doing career-best work, imagines a future wherein religious conservatives change our nation to oppress, imprison and enslave our women, regulating their bodies through torture and legislation. The turns this show takes are perverse, scary and impossible to ignore.


Hollywood treats women like dirt and always has. Months before the news of Harvey Weinstein’s abuses came to light, producer Ryan Murphy aired this series on FX about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford’s battles on the set of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Starring the excellent Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange, Feud showed how two strong, powerful women were undermined and controlled, not only by their own demons, but by an exploitative, uncaring industry that uses people. This show was fun, catty and relevant.

1. GLOW (Netflix)

Netflix’s wacky series about the rise of a campy female pro wrestling show in the 1980s was the year’s most entertaining, fun series. Not only did it showcase women as they prepared their bodies for battle, fighting for the joy of it, enjoying their power, it also gave us very funny moments with Marc Maron. Stars Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie, playing friends-turned-rivals, kicked total ass with some of the year’s most layered, complicated characters. GLOW is a show filled with hope, humor and ultimately triumph. It is the year’s best.

ripped off Stiff Little Fingers. The Belfast punks had a great, but criminally underrated run from the late ‘70s through the early ‘80s before reforming again a few years later. Nowhere is there brilliance more evident than on No Going Back, the two-disc re-issue of their 2014 effort. The band is a little less sloppy than their earliest albums showed; the production is a little cleaner, but that just serves to better highlight the guitars and Jack Burns’ fantastic vocals. Of the dozen or so tracks that make up No Going Back, there is not a single song that doesn’t deserve to be on the record. This reissue is paired with a second disc of demos and acoustic versions of “My Dark Places” and “When We Were Young.” insiteatlanta.com • January 2018 • PG 13



Marty Stuart’s Blend of Country, Rock and Gospel Returns to the Variety Playhouse



out there. There’s an openness and I’m so glad we have it to go to. I’m still enchanted by the West. It’s a romantic place for me and it still inspires me.

EFORE HE HELMS A PRESS conference later this month to announce the new Congress of Country Music in his hometown of Philadelphia, It’s great that it hasn’t lost any of its charm Mississippi Marty Stuart returns to Atlanta after all these years. for a show at the Variety Playhouse. The I don’t think there’s any end to it. There’s “Congress” is his name for an ambitious always more to see and explore. I’m jazzed by new cultural arts center that will eventually it every time I go there. become the permanent home for his massive collection of over 20,000 When you started this project, pieces of memorabilia and did you intend it as a loving music-related artifacts. tribute to the area you love or It’s just one of many did it change directions as you AND THE FABULOUS events on a full slate of worked on it? SUPERLATIVES activities for the busy As a band we discussed it and Wed, Jan. 24 • 8pm musician/photographer/ then once the title appeared archivist. His latest album Variety Playhouse and the first song came, then Way Out West introduces variety-playhouse.com all of a sudden there was the a new member of his direction. Bullseye. It gave me Fabulous Superlatives something to shoot for and it band, with the addition almost became a movie in my mind as I was of multi-instrumentalist Chris Scruggs. writing. A cinematic piece. Produced by Mike Campbell of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, the record is a stylistically When you approach such a distinctly varied tribute to the romance of the West, familiar subject as the West, it’s easy to rely continuing Stuart’s fondness for mixing pure on a few Morricone-isms and overdo the big country with roots rock, jazz and old-time cinematic feel of it. But this is a very subtle gospel. journey. The musical nonconformist also has a Yeah, but even with those sounds, I just deliciously skewed sense of humor and his hear it as twang. Because part of what came high-energy live shows bristle as if the Grand from there was the kind of sound that Luther Ole Opry was somehow beamed via the Perkins, who played with Johnny Cash was psychedelic swirl of The Fillmore instead doing. Duane Eddy, too. He’s a Phoenix guy of the staid traditions of The Ryman. INsite and he’s kind of the king of twang. caught up with Stuart by phone during a recent holiday tour break. Speaking of Cash, [album producer] Mike Campbell and you played on some of his last The first time I saw you play the Grand Ole recordings. How long have you known Mike? Opry, you did one of the best and funniest That was when we met, we were part of non-sequitur stage moves I’ve ever seen. the part of the back-up band for one of those [After a heartfelt country ballad, Stuart American Recordings. We just absolutely hit it kneeled, unscrewed a lightbulb from the edge off. There was a record I did in the late ‘90s called of the stage and dramatically presented it to The Pilgrim and we co-wrote a song for that. a man in the front row.] Do you remember that? So you knew he was the right man for the job. (Laughs heartily) No! Apparently, I thought For this particular record, I knew he could he needed it - whoever he was. authentically get what I was going for. I didn’t need to do this record in Nashville, I wanted I hope he saved it. to go to California and make it. So I started Yeah, I do too. thinking, ‘Who is the one person who can keep us honest, push us and make us try a Your new album is informed by the fact that little harder?’ Campbell came to mind. He’s a you were inspired by the Western United world class musical citizen and it worked out States as a kid growing up in Mississippi. exactly as I’d hoped it would. What is the appeal of the West for someone from the South? You can both handle country and rock and You know, I really don’t know - other than you both have a strong southern heritage. the fact that maybe it’s just so different. The And best of all, you both have incredible landscape is so different. It’s not the people guitar collections. because people are people, but I think it’s the Aw yeah, but he wins, man. He’s got guitars landscape. We don’t have mountains like that for years! in the South and the sky seems a little bigger



You wanted to record the album out West, but do you think it would have sounded the same if you’d tracked it in New York or Boston or even Atlanta? It might have sounded similar but it’s just the air out there. There’s something about walking out of the studio into that light. The natural sunlight in California, the palm trees and just the atmosphere of the place. And the legacy. You can’t beat the legacy of the Capitol studios in Hollywood at the tower. That’s such a magical place. Yeah we did it in Studio B, and that’s where Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Bobbie Gentry, Glen Campbell and even Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole did their work, so it was just about gettin’ out there and gettin’ amongst it. For an historian such as yourself, it must have been quite a rush to get in there and use some of the same mics and equipment from sessions that have inspired so many people. There are some incredible spirits inhabiting the place. Oh absolutely, I think so and it would dazzle anybody. I think the room we used was where they cut “Wichita Lineman” and “Ode To Billie Joe.” You can just feel those songs when you’re in those rooms. Speaking of history and strong lineage, you’ve got a walking musical encyclopedia in the band now with Chris Scruggs on bass. Yeah, well Chris is our third bass player. When “Apostle” Paul Martin left, we thought, ‘Who in the world are we gonna get?’ I said, ‘Let’s call Chris Scruggs and see if he knows anybody.’ He said, ‘How about me?’ I said, ‘You gotta be kiddin’!’ We didn’t see that one coming. I didn’t even know he could play bass. He’s the best guitar and steel player in the band, too. He outplays all of us. He jumped in and took us to a completely different level. His enthusiasm and musicianship is just

PG 14 • January 2018 • insiteatlanta.com

astounding. We’ve all watched him grow up since he was a little kid and he was a satellite Superlative when I was doing my TV show. When we’d need a little extra something, we’d call Chris. So he was in the bullpen already. I think he really didn’t join us, we joined him. When you change personnel, it always changes the band dynamic a bit. It does but at this point, the Superlatives have a pretty solid foundation as to who we are and what we do; the harmony structure, the guitar legacy and just the general vibe. Chris was just a natural for every bit of that. I couldn’t believe how up to speed he was before we came in and did the first night with us. You guys must have a ball with music trivia. That’s why I named him “Professor” Chris Scruggs. If you want to know what color shirt Hank Williams was wearing when he cut “Cold, Cold Heart,” call Chris, he can tell you. You said you’re solid on who the Superlatives are and what you want to do. You guys are all over the map stylistically so what’s the foundation of that varietypack mindset? When I first put the band together, I’d discovered an Ella Fitzgerald box-set called Ella: The Verve Years. It was beautiful. It had Ella Sings Porgy and Bess, Ella Sings Spirituals, Ella Sings Louis Armstrong, Ella sings this, Ella sings that. It was her entire Verve Records catalog. I thought, ‘Man, that is a wonderful way to live a musical life.’ So that’s the kind of records I started making with the Superlatives when we first started [in 2002]. I think, at the end of our run, you’ll be able to put us all in a box set. You’ll see we went down a lot of different musical avenues, being brave and adventurous to ourselves, and hopefully entertaining and educating people along the way. It’s risky, yeah. But it’s also the thing to do. Just be fearless and go for it.



Veteran Rocker Willie Nile Guarantees Musical Satisfaction – Or Your Money Back



The stripped-down format is your earliest ILLIE NILE BURST UPON roots of performance. In the middle of the the music scene at the dawn whole CBGB’s punk band era, you were of the ‘80s, surrounded by a doing the solo singer-songwriter thing. considerable amount of promotional hype Yeah when I first moved to New York, and an even greater collection of good I couldn’t afford to have a band so I’d songs. The promo teased the arrival of a play solo anywhere I could. Open mics or New Dylan, but the fact is, he had his own wherever. I’d moved to New York to try style and played by his own rules. to make records; I’d never had a garage or After forays on Arista and Columbia and college band or anything like that. I was a decade-plus sabbatical always just the poet, writing from the music business, Nile by himself in the corner at is now back in action and the library or a café. more productive than ever Thursday, Jan. 18 as a decidedly independent Obviously the poetic imagery rocker. A prolific songwriter, Eddie’s Attic of Dylan was an early his latest release is a eddiesattic.com influence. collection of unique Bob It’s the messages of those Dylan interpretations, songs that always got to me. appropriately titled Positively Bob. Bob has always gone out to the edge and Currently on tour with his band and sent back missives, wither he’s doing a playing selected dates in the US and UK Frank Sinatra song or his own ‘Blowin’ In as a duo act in storyteller mode, Nile will The Wind.” He listens to his own drummer. soon be leaving his New York home to hit It’s just so good to sing those songs of his. the road for a long winter tour that includes For Positively Bob I picked songs that I a stop at Eddie’s Attic. INsite caught up thought people needed to hear, just to carry with him on New Year’s Eve just after a it on. My two-year-old granddaughter, and marathon 2-hour-plus performance at I’ve got a clip of it, her mom is playing “A Darryl Hall’s venue/studio. Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” and she starts wailing: “It’s a-hard, it’s a-hard…” along It’s been a long time since you played a with it. She’s two years old! That’s really full-length show in Atlanta. Besides a why I did it, but that’s why I make any kind couple of songs at a benefit, the last time of music, to share a few things along the you were here was opening for The Who in way. 1980 at the Omni. That’s a very tough gig for anyone. Do you feel like you’re at a creative peak Yeah and I’ll never forget it. The at the moment? promoter, that big guy, Alex Cooley came I walked away from it all in the ‘80s and backstage after my set. He pointed at me then played out some in the ‘90s but it’s and said, ‘Do you know what you just did?’ really been in the last six or seven years I said, ‘No, what?’ He said, ‘You just got a that I think I’ve been really banging it. I standing ovation from a Who crowd!’ He didn’t burn out so it’s still fresh and I’m goes, ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd was booed off the having a ball. See, I still believe in the stage a couple of years ago when they tried transformative power of rock’n’roll, because it and they’re from this area.’ I thought it it’s really whatever makes you feel alive. was really sweet. There’s a salvation in it for me. I won’t walk out on a stage unless I feel like I can bring I know Townshend was a big fan of your something to it. I want people to walk away first album. from my show feeling glad they came out to Yeah and I’ve stayed in touch with Pete the club. and Roger [Daltrey] over the years. I played with them again a couple years ago at a big You went through all the usual music benefit show for MusiCares in New York business ups and downs, but you certainly City. I sang “Substitute” and “The Kids Are don’t seem bitter about it. Alright” and then for the encore we all did No and I think I’m most proud of that. “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” It was The Who When I first moved to New York in the and the band with Bruce Springsteen and ‘70s, I noticed that a lot of musicians Billy Idol and Joan Jett - and me. It was had a big chip on their shoulder. That’s crazy. I mean, I’m buddies with Bruce but understandable but I remember seeing all I look at pictures from that night and I still that and I’ve avoided it like the plague. I’ve go, ‘Wait, what’s wrong with this picture?’ got no chips on my shoulder and anyone who sees me play, they can see that I’m just You just did a Live At Darryl’s House show, having fun. I think that’s what’s kept me how’d it go? going for so long. It was at his venue and they record the whole thing. You just end up with a world You may be the only artist ever to record class recording when you’re done. We on Arista who didn’t come away jaded by played for like 2 hours and 20 minutes and the experience. we roared. We could have gone another You’ve probably seen more of it than I hour, it was such a blast. have because I’m just one artist. Music scenes have so many people who are That was with the band but in Atlanta it’s so easily jaded and get jealous or feel the duo show. overlooked. But everybody gets overlooked Yeah it’s my bass player Johnny Pisano sometimes because we’re on the planet and me. We did a storyteller tour a while Earth. Nothing’s easy and you’ll get your back in the UK and that’s what this is, it’s an heart broken some way. It just happens. acoustic set but we rock it. We pull songs I saw a lot of that when I was first in the out of the hat and I’ll tell some stories from Village. But I love the music so much I’ve over the years. refused to let anyone kill my buzz.



Your enthusiasm definitely shows in the live shows but it’s also evident on the records, which is often so hard to capture. I’m proud of both and I fell like I’m still learning how to do it. You want to bring something that’s full of life and fun and passion - whether it’s on stage or on tape.

Now that I can do this storyteller-type show, it’ll be even more fun because it’s so intimate but it’s still rockin.’ Hey, I always say to people, ‘If you’re not knocked out, I don’t mean if you just sort of like it, I mean if you don’t love it, I’ll give you your money back in two seconds.’

insiteatlanta.com • January 2018 • PG 15



The Prolific Posies Celebrate 30 Years of Pop Music other bands sell 20 million records, selling half a million records can feel like a failure. But considering what we started with and our roots, I think our success was phenomenal, but we weren’t really headline news compared to what was going on around us, with Soundgarden and Pearl Jam and Nirvana and so forth. I think it did a good job of capturing some of the less that obvious bands from that time.



HE CONSIDERABLY MASSIVE set of Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer’s recorded and live performances continues to expand. Their resume of literally hundreds of albums and thousands of live performances as co-founders of The Posies, a series of well-received solo albums, lengthy stints with Big Star, R.E.M., and others. In addition to Auer’s varied Wednesday, Jan. 31 An ongoing thread in your collaborations and production City Winery music is a commentary on the duties, Stringfellow recently various states of power. citywinery.com/atlanta completed Supercalifragile, Yeah, there are many the final Game Theory moments in the Posies’ music album painstakingly culled and in my solo stuff too, where I talk about the from found pieces and concepts by the late abuse of power. It’s woven into it as a constant Scott Miller. theme because power will always be abused Last year, he lead a new rock review called by somebody. Tears of Silver, a diverse quartet that included members of Mercury Rev and Midlake on a Your intimate pop-up shows were a great tour based on the Posies’ own unique pop-up mode of direct communication. tours. This time out, in celebration of their 30th I learned so much from those shows and each anniversary, they’re playing as a duo with shows one had a special flavor. If you’ve been touring in more conventional venues including a stop at clubs for 30 years, it becomes less and less Atlanta’s City Winery. glamourous to play those places. I wanted to make an event that’s nice to look at, interesting Since you’ll be looking back on 30 years of for everyone and an actual event rather than history, in the reissued DVD of Hype!, the just another show on a Tuesday at midnight in Northwest music documentary from ’96, some club. there’s an early Posies performance and it still stands up among the other acts of that era. Were the Posies pop-up shows successful We hadn’t achieved much stature at that creatively and financially? point, and certainly if you’re in a town where Yes but it’s still very much on the budget of a


community church or something. We’re more of a dot org than a dot com, you know what I mean? But it’s a good challenge. The Game Theory album was a huge challenge. The last time we talked it was still a concept. Yeah and it came together fairly quickly, but the scope of the project was pretty big. I think the record turned out really disciplined and beautiful and true to Scott’s legacy. Considering what we had to had to work with and how many humans were involved it’s kind of a miracle that it’s as coherent a record as it is. It doesn’t have that un-sequenced feel of a tribute album. It seems that large-scale collaboration is a recurring theme in my life. I like these big projects. Such as Big Star’s “Third” [currently available on DVD and CD from Omnivore]. That was definitely an epic collaboration. What a time for Big Star. Omnivore is really giving it a thorough examination. Especially considering that the original core output and commercial success of that band was so small. There are levels of irony there, it’s hard to know even where to begin. I know there’s also another live thing coming out and an expended Chris Bell thing, too. This year they’ll be releasing a lot of Posies stuff, for the 30th anniversary. I really do think if it weren’t for you and Jon

revitalizing that band, none of the new Big Star reissue campaigns would exist. We were pretty tenacious about it and pretty single-minded. Big Star really became an obsession for us circa 1990 and ‘91. The Teenage Fan Club guys played with Alex [Chilton] and Jody [Stephens] as well, and many bands have touched on it. Of course, “Alex Chilton” by Paul Westerberg and so many more. It all adds up but we were, what do they call it, ‘on message’? We really didn’t talk about much of anything else for a while and those became the only cover songs we played pretty much. It was our thing. We proselytized and preached it. I definitely believe we stoked a lot of the enthusiasm out there. The Posies, performing as a duo, appear at City Winery on January 31. Big Star and Game Theory reissues are currently available from Omnivore Recordings and late last year, Shout! Factory released the 20th Anniversary edition of the Seattle scene documentary “Hype!” featuring an early Posies performance.



Pablo Francisco Brings His Manically Funny Show Back to The Punchline There’s so much stuff just ripe for the picking at this point in pop culture. Oh yeah. I mean look, Mark Wahlberg is in every movie now for cryin’ out loud. I’m surprised he’s not in the new Star Wars. [He lapses into a frenzied Wahlberg:] ‘Darth Vader? Huh? You’re my father? I don’t get it. Darth Wahlberg?’ So we’ll have plenty of stuff and maybe even a little Trump here and there. I have to clear my throat to even do Trump. ‘It’s yuge, yuuuge!’



CONVERSATION WITH PABLO Francisco is an unpredictable as his manic on-stage personality. He quickly jumps from one pop culture reference or uncanny voice impression to another within the span of a run-on sentence. His rapid-fire delivery and irreverent wit have served him well and his stint on MAD-TV in the ‘90s solidified his headlining status at the beginning of 2000. The California-based There are a lot of comedy improvisational performer specials to sort through now kicks off his 2018 tour in and you’ve been doing them Georgia with a show at The for a long time. Loft in Columbus on January There are a lot of ‘em, but 11 followed by a weekend run January 12-14 this one is going to be a little at the intimate Punchline. The Punchline different. Mine’s gonna have Recently, INsite caught up with some cartoons in it too, so punchline.com the hyperactive performer for a it’s like Dave Chappell meets long chat before a show in San cartoons. I’ll set it up and then Diego. it’ll go to a cartoon of maybe Dog The Bounty Hunter arresting people in Chinatown or Will material from this tour eventually something. That kinda thing. So it’s basically become the basis of your next special? Family Guy plus In Living Color divided by Yeah, I’m working up a new hour and we’re the square root of Pablo Francisco. shooting for Netflix or Comedy Central, they’re interested. So in the meantime, I’m It’s a good time for live comedy shows. There just trying to put a little more spice in it were times when some of the bigger clubs and see how it goes. But I’ll throw in some had more comics on the bill than people in old hits with the new bits and some new the audience. impersonations. We’ll be making fun of a lot Yeah it’s real strong right now. It’s just of people. good entertainment. Dinner and movies get a little boring but it still depends on the


PG 16 • January 2018 • insiteatlanta.com

night. Thursday through Saturday, it’s usually packed everywhere. Mondays and Tuesdays are still kinda slow so those are good nights to work out new stuff. Comics usually stick together in groups and sort of watch each other’s backs, keepin’ an eye out for who’s stealing bits and all that. But it’s still best to take it as a hobby first and make it into a career later. Put some clips out on You Tube and work at it but still take it as a hobby so it’s fun for everybody. About 600 comics go through the Melrose Avenue Improv a month, for example. It’s amazing. Every week is like a new Saturday Night Live. You mentioned You Tube. Social media is good for promotion but doesn’t it eat up a lot of material? Some people kinda wear out their welcome with it, yeah. It’s good to put a little on there, slowly. A few minutes here and there. But if you have an off night, inevitably someone has a cellphone video of it. Oh yeah, people sneak clips for sure. Sometimes you can take the clips off yourself and sometimes you have to get a legal letter to You Tube and that’s a pain. Like, people can put up a clip of me falling off the stage. Ok yeah, I did that. I fell off the stage, I was drunk. I went to AA and then I went to triple A! Unlike music though, bootlegged comedy really ruins the initial impact of the humor.

Yeah, that moment. It’s what we work for, because you have to work for the fresh laughter. Sometimes you’ve gotta practice in the shower instead of on a stage somewhere. But it’s mostly been good for me. Through You Tube, I was able to get gigs in Croatia and Poland and Sweden. I was one of the first to go international and then it was Chris Rock and now there’s a bunch of comics working all over the world. A lot of them went through the Naval Bases but for me it was You Tube. It’s funny, we’re kinda like karaoke stars. Some You Tubers get as much money as people who do TV and some people you know from TV don’t even sell out their shows anymore.


STILL KILLING THEM SOFTLY Singer-Songwriter Don McLean Does It His Way



HE RAW EMOTION AND artistry of Don McLean, famously referenced in Roberta Flack’s 1973 hit, “Killing Me Softly With His Song” doesn’t reply on excessive flash or unnecessary vocal melisma. His calm, expressive delivery was first heard on records in 1970. By ’71, with the release of the iconic American Pie album, he quickly became an internationally lauded folk icon. Fast forward through the decades to 2018 and the outspoken, irascible musician is still as determined as ever to present his own distinctive vision of the internationally touring singer-songwriter-troubadour. INsite recently caught up with McLean at his west coast home for a lively conversation before he returns to the road for a tour that arrives in Atlanta this month at City Winery.

really no music left. There’s just a lot of flamboyant performing. It’s what I’d call “spectacle rock,” which probably owes its origins to Liberace more than any one other artist. I mean even Elvis Presley, at the end of his life, was doing sort of a lame, country-boy Liberace.


That’s an interesting observation and you’re right. But Liberace took it much farther than Elvis did - and did it much better. He’d have themes and it was just gorgeous, tremendous stuff. He was really the king of what showbusiness became. Even for people like Madonna, he set that template. He was a superb pianist, but he was so tacky that nobody really listened to the music. It was all part of the entertainment banquet.

Right and the song at the core of the performance was lost in the glitz. When I was a kid, if a song was good, it got around. You didn’t have to hear it on the The last time I saw you play live was at a radio. People were singing it, talking about cool “writers in the round” it, and eventually you’d hear show at the Civic Center somebody play it on the during Music Midtown guitar. It was in the wind. 2002. You were in good Now, you can’t even sing Saturday, Jan. 27 company with June Carter, these songs. Sometimes it’s City Winery Cindy Wilson, Edwin just all hooks. McCain, Angie Aparo and citywinery.com/atlanta Mike Mills. For me, you are the Oh yeah, that was a lot of personification of the folk fun. I knew June a little bit from quite a few singer-songwriter who never sold out and years before that. I’d spent a few nights at went pop. That’s the ideal folk mindset. Johnny and June’s house in the ‘70s. And I was in garage bands and stuff growing I really enjoyed seeing Mike Mills from up in New Rochelle, but then I discovered R.E.M. He sat next to me that day. He was folk music and The Weavers. I loved that talking about an album I made, my third I could be a solo act, have ideas and write one, called Don McLean. He said it was a songs and sing pretty much anything I really important album for him. wanted. Then there was all of that “getting along” kind of stuff in bands which I wasn’t That’s a solid album. I still have it on too good at. I wanted to do things my way 8-track from ‘72. But I hear you have so I think it suited me. a new record on the way soon, called Botanical Gardens. A band would have diluted your vision. I do and it’s coming in the first quarter of Yeah, because I do so many different the new year. It’ll be on BMG and it’s twelve things. Like on Tapestry, you have so many all-new songs and the thirteenth is called different types of songs on there. Each one “Last Night When We Were Young,” written is very different than the other so getting by Jerome Kern. There’s a lot of differentthe right musicians to play it was a tough type songs on there. Then I’ll go overseas job. Country guys could play some of it and in March for a long tour, God willing, rock guys could do some but that’s always through June. been the thing with me, I do too many different things to fit into a band. Then I You’ve made some records - including your went off-script completely and started to do first one, Tapestry, recorded during the other people’s songs which were just kind of Berkeley riots of the late ‘60s - in some lucky hits. very tumultuous times. Do you think today’s unsettling world events will inspire “Crying” was a big one for you in the you at some point? late ‘70s, long after your first big wave I don’t know if we’re in an environment of success. anymore where people really are prepared That was a solid sender for sure. But the to even deal with how bad things really are. thing was, people didn’t even know it was Mostly in the sense of political correctness the same guy who did “American Pie.” and the inability to say things, to criticize That’s an incredible compliment isn’t it? things that are on this sort of third rail of It is but it’s also difficult to build an political correctness list. It gets longer and audience when they don’t know it’s you. longer and weirder and weirder. Everything You’re sort of losing them and getting them has become almost too Orwellian to even back. I’ve had a lot of comebacks because of write a protest song about, you know? It’s that. Probably four or five in my career. slipping away from the average person’s ability to understand it - including me. It’s You’ve always had your own vision. frustrating. How’d that go over with the bosses at the major labels? Is that because everything, including Well Clive Davis tried to straighten me music, is so segmented today? out and get me to sing these, he thought, So many things have happened and I’m hit-type songs. I would have had a whole not just talking about Trump. There’s bunch of hits with them. But I said, ‘I can’t


sing this stuff. It just doesn’t mean anything to me.’ I can’t do anything that’s meaningless. It’s not art. All I ever wanted to be was an artist - but you pay the price for that. You get thought of as difficult. You lose friends when you say honest things that turn people off because it makes ‘em angry when you tell the truth. But you have to be who you are. Your style never screams for attention, it’s subtle. You don’t have to hit people over the head to get a very emotional

message across. Well I was never a yeller. I went for clarity and I wanted the purest sound I could get. The yelling started with Bob Dylan. He was a good singer, but he opened the door for a lot of terrible singers who thought they sounded like him. People thought, ‘Well I’ll just get out there and sing any old way I want.’ Some people bought it because they didn’t know the difference. But in my day, you had to know how to sing, you had to be in tune.



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Billy Idol

Self-Titled; Rebel Yell; The Very Best Of

(UMe) Billy Idol is the latest ‘80s musical icon to get the vinyl rerelease treatment and on reexamination it’s clear that Idol deserved every accolade he earned during that musically schizophrenic decade. With his first solo effort, the 1982 eponymous album, Idol went on to sell half-a-million copies on the strength of massive singles like “White Wedding” and “Hot in the City” (constant rotation on the just-created MTV certainly helped a bit, as well). A re-release of the record also included an updated version of “Dancing With Myself” (a re-recording of the 1979 song from Idol’s old band Generation X). Idol’s debut solo album still pulls in some of the punk influences from his time with highly underrated Generation X, but adds a little more pop and elements of New Wave. He quickly followed up his debut one year later with “Rebel Yell,” and saw the record go on to sell two million albums in the U.S. alone, thanks to songs like the title track, the more maudlin “Eyes Without a Face” and “Flesh for Fantasy.” On reflection, there is hardly any fat on either of these first two albums, easily the two best in his cannon, despite a decent output of records through the early ‘90s. He’s recorded sporadically since, putting out LPs out in 2005 and 2014. Regardless of boasting some great songs on just about ever album he’s put out, only 1990’s “Charmed Life” comes close to being as consistently solid as these first two albums.

Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine

Tennessee Beach 12” LP (Self-released)

Nashville-based Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine have managed to strip all the predictable prefixes (pop, indie, punk, etc.) on their debut and turned in a record that is simply joyous rock, from start to finish. Across 10 tracks, with not a single moment of filler, the band recalls everyone from Tom Petty and Wilco to Elvis Costello and Kings and Leon (before everyone collectively and inexplicably turned on ‘em). Eagle’s laid-back vocals, never forced, roll out over the music which can be expansive at times, like on the closing number “Hero,” with swirling guitars, or more soulful at other times, like on “Push Pin Jane.” Lyrically, Johnson draws on personal experiences, like a night in jail or a hospital stay for mental evaluation, making for songs that reach beyond the cliched, simple stories of boy meets girl or vague rage against the machine angst. Recorded in East Nashville, currently one of the most diverse music scenes in the country, “Tennessee Beach” sets a remarkable first impression and a pretty high bar for the follow up.

The Searchers

Another Night: The Sire Recordings 1979-1981 (Omnivore Recordings)

While Sire records was focus on bringing punk and New Wave to the masses in the late ‘70s, signing everyone from the Dead Boys and Ramones to the Talking Heads and Pretenders, label chief Seymour Stein still had his eye on other genres. PG 18 • January 2018 • insiteatlanta.com

Case in point was the signing of Liverpool’s The Searchers, a fantastic and surprisingly overlooked group from the ‘60s Merseybeat scene that also happened to churn out hometown scene mates the Beatles. For this phenomenal 2-CD collection they’ve pulled together 29 tacks, including songs from their 1979 self-titled album and 1980s “Love Melodies” and four bonus tracks including a previously unreleased cover of John Hiatt’s “Ambulance Chaser.” The two records have been hard to find outside of auction sites for the past 10 years or so. Even though the snapshot here is just a three-year period in the band’s decades-long tenure, many of the tracks are among the band’s greatest songs. “Switchboard Susan” is fantastic even today, as are songs like “This Kind of Love Affair” and “It’s Too Late.” There is even a stellar cover of Big Star’s “September Gurls” Now is a great to rediscover (or discover for the first time) this under the radar group and “Another Night” is the ideal starting point.

Pink Floyd

Delicate Sound of Thunder [2 Vinyl LPs]

(Legacy Recordings) Given that this live set of classics and new (for the time) tracks came out just one year after Pink Floyd decided to carry on without co-founder Roger Waters, it was easy cynically to write this one off as a cash grab in case the new Water-less era of the band faded away quickly. Reflecting on the release nearly 30 years later, that cynicism was clearly unwarranted. Re-released on heavy 180 G Vinyl by Legacy Recordings, this 10-song set, spread across two records, is a fantastic highlight of the band’s work up to 1988. Recorded over a couple of nights in Long Island during the band’s “Momentary Lapse of Reason” tour, it includes the expected go-to hits like “Comfortably Numb,” “Money,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Another Brick in the Wall,” and “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” But also combines with newer songs that would go on to become Floyd classics like “Learning to Fly” and “The Dogs of War.” The band would go on to put out two more official live records, but this one remains the best so far, fusing the Waters and Gilmoureras perfectly.

Liam Gallagher

As You Were (Warner Bros.)

Much like Ray and Dave Davies before them, the Gallagher Brothers have nearly let their rivalry and constant sniping at each other almost entirely overshadow their talent. But as Liam Gallagher shows with his first proper solo effort, “As You Were,” when he’s focused on the music, he is one of the best pop singers going nowadays. Liam had two decent efforts with Beady Eye, his post Oasis band, but it’s on this, his solo outing, that he really shines. Across a dozen tracks, beginning with the opening rocker “Wall of Glass,” with the bluesy harmonica and steady riffs, Liam proves time and again that even though Noel wrote the bulk of the hits from Oasis, his writing chops are just as impressive. Elsewhere on the record, “Paper Crown,” is a beautiful moment with cryptic lyrics, but an impossible to resist chorus. Oasis was always slagged for cribbing too much from The Beatles and while the boys from Liverpool can still be heard throughout “As You Were,” you can also hear passing nods to everyone from The Jam and Morrissey to the Foo Fighters. An impressive record, from start to finish.

10 Top Teams Of 2017




ITH THE UPCOMING WINTER Games in South Korea and the eagerly anticipated returns of Serena Williams and Tiger Woods to action, 2018 is already shaping up to be quite the year for individual accomplishments in sports. The past twelve months certainly had their share of solo spotlights — here’s looking at you, Sergio Garcia and Sloane Stephens — but, for the most part, the year will forever stick with us because of its group efforts. There are the 10 that we’ll never forget.


Twenty years from now, people will still talk about AL MVP Jose Altuve’s slight stature, Sports Illustrated’s bold 2014 prediction and the fact that this team of relative nobodies came together to put a World Series smile on a city just trying to get back on its feet after an unspeakable tragedy.

the ’17 installment of the Patriots earned their spot by — okay, turn your heads now, Atlanta Falcons fans — thundering back from a 25-point deficit to win the first overtime Super Bowl.



With confident QB Deshaun Watson (420 passing yards, 3 TDs) at the wheel, these Tigers drove past perennial favorite Alabama Crimson Tide in an instant classic that not only brought Clemson its second national title ever but also sweet revenge from the 2015 game.


If this list only highlighted individual moments, diminutive Mississippi State guard Morgan William’s buzzer beater vs. UConn in the Final Four would easily make the cut. But since we’re talking teams, we have to mention an A’ja Wilson-led team (33-4) that stopped the Bulldogs in the finale without sinking a single three-point shot.


UNC came close to the promised land in ’16 (damn you, Villanova!), but this Joel Berry III- and Kennedy Meeks-anchored group made sure history wouldn’t repeat itself by carving through the bracket and besting Gonzaga in the championship.


The Cleveland Cavaliers threw a king and all his paupers at the Warriors, but the four-headed monster of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant proved too lethal. The Dubs’ 16-1 playoff mark is the finest in NBA postseason history.


A seemingly annual guest on this tally,

The LA Sparks/Minnesota Lynx finals rematch certainly lived up to the hype. Sparks star Candace Parker and Minnesota ace Maya Moore traded haymakers across the five-game series, but with do-everything forward Sylvia Fowles breaking records (20 rebounds in a Finals game) and winning hardware (regular season and Finals MVP) in the fold, the Lynx simply had too much bite.


The Nashville Predators, an eight-seed underdog just happy to be in the postseason, were a great story. But two-time Hart Trophy winner Sidney Crosby and the Pens had other ideas for how the NHL’s final 2017 chapter would end, taking the Stanley Cup over the Preds in an exciting 4-2 series.


As the first real professional team in Sin City, the Golden Knights didn’t go into its debut NHL season expecting much. But by being a champion in unifying the city after the horrific October shooting (and actually having the best record in the Western Conference on December 31), the team has far exceeded expectations.


Though the Atlanta United FC had the most buzz — the first-year team set a record for season attendance with 819,404 fans — the gifted Reds worked their way around a difficult playoff schedule to win its first MLS Cup against the defending champion Seattle Sounders. HOUSTON ASTROS



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