VOL. 28, NO. 7 FREE
8 YEARS! 2 G N I T ELEBRA
ATLANTA TURNS GREEN!
Parade Guide and Holiday Events in the City!
ATLANTA DOG FESTIVAL & PARTY!
Opening Night Tickets Start at $15!
Restrictions, exclusions and additional charges may apply. Subject to availability. Purchase tickets at venue box office or ticketmaster.com.
INFINITE ENERGY ARENA APR 23 – 26 DisneyOnIce.com PG 2 • March 2020 • insiteatlanta.com
All Dogs & Their Humans Welcome! Pre-Register & VIP Tickets (Very Important Puppies)
Sunday, March 15 • 1-6PM Piedmont Park & Park Tavern
Be st Of At lan ta
CONTENTS • MARCH 2020 • VOLUME 28, NO. 7
28 R AT I N G CELEB
INTERVIEWS 12 Jay Leno 14 Kristian Bush 15 Rickey Smiley 16 Ben Bailey 17 The Kasdans 18 Shelea
(20 01 -2 01 9)
EXTREMELY FRESH, PREPARED FROM SCRATCH,
FEATURES 09 ATL’s Best Wings 10 March Madness Eats 11 St. Patrick’s Day 13 Shepard’s Pie
VOTED ATLANTA'S BEST MARGARITA & TEQUILA BAR
COLUMNS 04 05 06 07 07 08 13 18
15 Around Town On Tap Atlanta on a Dime New Releases Under The Lights Movie Reviews Station Streaming 18 Albums
Your Neighborhood Pizzeria!
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Please see ou St. Patrick’s Day Guide on page 11!
ATLAN TA TURNS GREEN !
Parade Guide and Holiday Events in the City!
Atlanta’s Favorite Pizza! Multiple Atlanta Locations: JohnnysPizza.com insiteatlanta.com • March 2020 • PG 3
Around Town SATURDAY, MARCH 7 Brunch Festival
The 5th annual Atlanta Brunch Fest will be held on Saturday, March 7th from 12-4pm, with early entry at 11am. Close to 50 restaurants will be participating in the event and they will all bring their tastiest brunch items for the crowd to sample. There will be Bloody Marys, mimosas, Brunch Punch, as well as a selection of beer and wine to choose from. Live music as well as everyone's favorite, DJ Q-Tip, will get the crowd moving. Visit their website atlantabrunchfestival.com for list of restaurants, menu items and to purchase tickets.
MARCH 5 - APRIL 12 On Your Feet!
On Your Feet! is the Broadway sensation chronicling the lives and music of 26-time Grammy Award-winning husband-andwife team Gloria and Emilio Estefan. Told with the authenticity that only Gloria and Emilio can convey with their own music and lyrics and woven together by the book by Alexander Dinelaris, audiences will be moved by the inspiring true story in this Southeastern premiere of the smash hit. Tickets at Auroratheatre.com
Events and Performances taking place this Month
Whitney Rowland’s melancholic comedy, Wayfinding, uses the concept of “time bending” to shape the characters’ journeys to unexpected destinations. Jane (Sarah Wallis) is an emotionally-numbed new widow. Harrison (Ben Thorpe) is Les’ (Charlie Thomas) inattentive, self-sabotaging fiancé. In seeking escape, these two strangers collide both literally and figuratively, tangling their lifelines and setting them on a journey involving an intercontinental plane crash, a magical forest, and a choice that leads them both to an unexpected destination. Tickets at Synchrotheatre.com.
FRIDAY, MARCH 13
After Dark: Senses Fernbank Museum Fernbank After Dark is a monthly series for ages 21+ featuring fun science activities, exclusive after-hours museum access, live music and a 3D giant screen movie. Cocktails, craft beer and small plates are available for purchase. Put your senses to the test with a variety of hands-on experiments in the special exhibit, Our Senses: An Immersive Experience. FernbankMuseum.org.
FRIDAY & SAT MARCH 13 &14 Star Wars Live!
Atlanta Symphony Hall
THURSDAY, MARCH 19 Spring Jazz 2020
Internationally acclaimed flutist and saxophone player Jane Bunnett joins the talented Cuban female musicians of Maqueque for an evening of AfroCuban and Latin jazz at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Canadian soprano-sax/flutist Jane Bunnett showcases the best young female artists from Cuba. Drummer Yissy Garcia is the heartbeat and power that propels Maqueque. The collective also includes pianist Danae Olano along with new members Mary Paz on percussion, bassist Tailin Marrero, and the soulful vocalist Joanna Majoko. Recipients of five Juno awards and three Grammy nominations, the group has been featured on NPR, in the New Yorker and Down Beat magazine. Their third release, On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme, is a bold testament to their position as one of the top groups on the North American jazz scene. Tickets at schwartz.emory.edu.
urday March 28th; 6:00 am – 2:00 pm for their annual Trout Tournament. There will be over $4,000 in prizes for tagged fish. For additional information & Registration Forms visit HelenChamber.com or call 706.878.1908. For Lodging, dining and tourist information call 1.800.858.8027.
THROUGH MAY 31
Paa Joe: Gates of No Return The High Museum
Organized by the American Folk Art Museum, this exhibition features a series of seven large-scale, painted wood architectural sculptures by Ghanaian artist and master craftsman Joseph Tetteh Ashong (b. 1947), also known as Paa Joe, who is the most celebrated fantasy coffin maker of his generation. Though not actual coffins, the sculptures represent Gold Coast fortresses, which served as way stations for millions of Africans sold into slavery and sent to the Americas and the Caribbean between the 16th and 19th centuries. Visit High.org.
SATURDAY, MARCH 28 Trout Tournament
MARCH 6 - MARCH 24 Wayfinding
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in Concert w/ ASO will take over Symphony Hall on March 13 & 14. Join in for the ultimate cinematic experience as the movie is displayed on a 40-ft screen while the Atlanta Symphony performs the film score live. Tickets at Atlantasymphony.org.
Alpine Helen, Georgia
Come on out to Alpine Helen, GA on Sat-
zip, , g n ! i w z
MAR 22 | Sun: 1:30 & 3pm
MAY 16 | Sat: 9:30 & 11am
Atlanta Symphony Hall Ages 5-10
aso.org/family PG 4 • March 2020 • insiteatlanta.com
Family Series Concerts sponsored by:
Rich Theatre Ages 5 & under FREE
On Tap this Month MAJOR EVENTS COMING TO ATLANTA March 1: Centennial Olympic Park
PUBLIX GEORGIA MARATHON e Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon is one of the Southeast's premier distance events. e 14th running of this Atlanta tradition starts and ﬁnishes at Pemberton Place in Centennial Park. At press time there were still spots open for the 5K however the Half and Marathon are sold out. is event is presented by the Atlanta Track Club and is held rain or shine. To register online visit Georgiamarathon.com.
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March 14: Centennial Olympic Park
ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE
Atlanta’s St. Patrick’s Parade is a family friendly tradition winding along the streets of Midtown. e parade steps oﬀ at noon on Saturday, March 14 at Peachtree and 15th street and continues down Peachtree to 5th Street. More than 2,000 dancers, musicians, llamas along with Irish and local dignitaries are expected to march this year. e parade feature the world’s largest Irish walking ﬂag. Visit Atlantastpats.com.
March 21: Cobb Energy Arts Centre
Aﬀectionately known as the “hardest working man in show business,” Jay Leno hosted e Tonight Show for many years and it was the #1 rated late night show throughout his long run. Since stepping down from late night, he remains busy as an author, stand up comedian and host of the popular CNBC series Jay Leno’s Garage. He performs for one show on Saturday, March 21. Tickets available at CobbEnergyCentre.com.
March 22: Cobb Energy Arts Centre
HARRY CONNICK JR.
With a career spanning three decades, Harry Connick Jr. has received Grammy and Emmy awards as well as Tony nominations for his live and recorded musical performances. e musician, singer and composer is alos known as a legendary live performer. Connick’s art is the music of his native New Orleans, where he began performing as a pianist and vocalist at the age of ﬁve. Tickets at CobbEnergyCentre.com.
March 23: Atlanta Symphony Hall
JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER
Under Music Director Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performs a vast repertoire, from rare historic compositions to Jazz at Lincoln Center-commissioned works, including compositions and arrangements by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, elonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Charles Mingus, and many others. Tickets at AtlantaSymphony.org.
March 28 - 29: Blackburn Park
BROOKHAVEN CHERRY BLOSSOM e Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival will take place in beautiful Blackburn Park on Saturday and Sunday 10am to 6pm, March 28 & 29. ere will be an Arts & Crafts Market, Food Trucks, Classic Car Show, Children’s Village, Pet Parade & Costume Contest plus musical performances throughout the weekend. Admission is free. e 5K Run takes place a week earlier, Saturday, March 21. Visit BrookCherryfest.org.
The Helen Chamber of Commerce Presents the
HELEN TROUT TOURNAMENT $20 Entry
Alpine Helen, Georgia Saturday, March 28 6:00 am to 2:00pm There will be over
in possible prizes for Tagged Fish! For additional information & Registration Forms visit HelenChamber.com or call 706.878.1908 1074 Edelweiss Strasse • Helen, GA 30545 Oktoberfest Festhalle Friends
insiteatlanta.com • March 2020 • PG 5
EVENTS HAPPENING FOR SMALL CHANGE IN ATLANTA
Know of a low cost event happening? Event@AtlantaOnADime.com By Marci Miller
March 6 - April 12
Friday thru Sunday, March 13 - 15
Turner Field Gray Lot;Admission $1 to $8 $1.25 per ride AtlantaFair.com
Cobb Galleria Centre; $13 Day Pass CraftCouncil.org/atlanta
THE ATLANTA FAIR
AMERICAN CRAFT SHOW
Enjoy electrifying adventure, heartpounding exhilaration and endless amounts of mouth-watering funnel cakes. Admire the city lights atop the Towering Ferris Wheel, spin gleefully in the spring air on the Tea Cups and take a magical tour on the nostalgic carousel. Indulge in favorite fair foods including elephant ears, cotton candy and candy apples.
e American Craft Show is the Southeast’s largest juried indoor craft show bringing together over 250 of the country’s most talented contemporary craft makers. Fine craft lovers and collectors shop oneof-a-kind handmade objects in jewelry, clothing, furniture and home décor, with special family-friendly activities.
March 6 - 21
MODEL TRAIN SHOW
ATLANTA SCIENCE FESTIVAL Multiple locations; Prices vary AtlantaScienceFestival.org
e Atlanta Science Festival, presented by Delta Air Lines, is a two-week celebration of science and technology with more than engaging 100 events held across Metro Atlanta. ese include hands-on activities, facility tours, presentations, and performances at a variety of locations. e action begins March 6 with 2100: A Climate Odyssey. e grand ﬁnale of the Festival is an all-day interactive Exploration Expo at Piedmont Park on Saturday, March 21.
Saturday & Sunday, March 14 & 15 Cobb Galleria Centre Adults $10; Kids 8 under Free TheModelTrainShow.com is is the Southeast’s largest train show featuring six operating model railroads, including one for kids to run. ere will be over 250 tables of model train dealers plus door prizes, raﬄe layout, and an exchange for guests to sell their trains.
Register your dog for fun, easy dog competitions and enjoy a St. PAW-trick's Day of festivities. e popular event takes place at the Piedmont Park Meadow adjacent to Park Tavern from 1 - 6pm. Participate in interactive games, watch the disc dog competition, enjoy the Beer Garden and music, take part in costume contests, Chalk-Dog art walk and more. Free preregistration and to attend.
Friday thru Sunday, March 20 - 22
ATLANTA HOME SHOW
Cobb Galleria Centre; $8 Online, $10 Box Office; AtlantaHomeShow.com
Sunday, March 22
Atlanta Symphony Hall; Two shows; $15 - $20; AtlantaSymphony.org Rise to your feet and dance to the rhythms of Latin America in this family friendly concert. e show features Max an energetic but impulsive young boy and friend Mambo the Dog. Max learns the magic of Latin rhythms and how to dance.
Saturday & Sunday, April 4 & 5
SPRING FESTIVAL ON PONCE
Historic Olmstead Linear Park; Free e Atlanta Home Show has exhibits and FestivalonPonce.com
seminars in a variety of topics, including landscaping and lawn care, kitchen appliances, ﬁxtures, ﬂooring, rooﬁng, siding, windows, heating and air conditioning, patios, insulation, and a whole lot more. Meander down Landscape Lane through a beautiful 6,500 square foot oasis of gardens, hardscapes, water and ﬁre features, outdoor living areas and much more.
e two-day ﬁne arts event features over local and regional ﬁne art and crafts, utilizing the gorgeous landscape designed by one of America's most celebrated landscape architects, Fredrick Olmsted, Sr. In addition to the abundance of unique art, visit the children's area and enjoy gourmet food trucks, beverages and acoustic musical performances. Attendance is free.
RESCUE DOG GAMES
Sunday, March 15 1-6pm Piedmont Park Meadow RescueDogGames.com
Sunday, March 15
RESCUE DOG GAMES
Piedmont Park; Free Pre-Registration RescueDogGames.com 1
always fun. funky. unusual
THE BEST OF EVERY ERA CLOTHING, ACCESSORIES & SHOES.
Sense and Sensibility
A playful new adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel.
Thursday – Saturday, April 9-11 at 8PM; Sunday, April 12, 4PM Conant Performing Arts Center, Oglethorpe Campus (Brookhaven)
(404) 504-1074 • oglethorpeuniversity.thundertix.com PG 6 • March 2020 • insiteatlanta.com
Little 5 Points • EST 1991 428 Moreland Ave NE Atlanta (Next to Vortex) 404-523-0100 • Open 10am – 10pm(ish) /psychosistersatlanta
Under The Lights NEW ON ATLANTA STAGE
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER
March 6 - 15 Byers Theatre 404.477.4365 CitySpringsTheatre.com A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder tells the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to the D’Ysquith family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession, by any means necessary. All the while, he’s got to juggle his mistress (she’s after more than just love), his fiancée (she’s his cousin but who’s keeping track) and the constant threat of landing behind bars. Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance and be done in time for tea. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder opened at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre in 2013 to overwhelming critical acclaim. The musical received ten Tony Award nominations winning four awards.
NAKED MOLE RAT: GETS DRESSED The Rock Experience
March 7 - 29 Alliance Theatre Coca-Cola Stage 404.733.5000 AllianceTheatre.org Children’s book author and artist Mo Willems (Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Piggie’s We Are In a Play) brings another lovable character to life in this exciting family musical. Grab your friends and
watch as Wilbur, a clothes-loving mole rat with exceptional style, navigates the pressure to be just like everyone else. With tail-shaking tunes, empowering messages of individuality, and classic Mo Willems humor, this musical is sure to rock audiences of all ages.
The Fox Theatre March 17 - 22 404.584.7450 FoxTheatre.org
Miss Saigon tells the story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim, who is orphaned by war and forced to work in a bar run by a notorious character known as the Engineer. There she meets and falls in love with an American G.I. named Chris, but they are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. For three years, Kim goes on an epic journey of survival to find her way back to Chris, who has no idea he's fathered a son. This new production features stunning spectacle and a sensational cast of 42 performing the soaring score, including Broadway hits like “The Heat is On in Saigon,” “The Movie in My Mind,” “Last Night of the World” and “American Dream.”
NEW RELEASES THE LATEST DVD, BLU RAY & VOD RELEASES By John Moore
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
(Sony Pictures) While the Tom Hanks/Mr. Rogers movie didn’t nab an Oscar win, this is still a remarkably strong film about anger, forgiveness and moving on. It’s based on a real life meeting between a magazine writer nursing decades long anger at his dad and Fred Rogers, the subject of the writer’s profile. A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood focuses on the growing relationship between the two as Fred tries to get the writer to move past his anger. If the subject had been anyone other than Mr. Rogers, this movie would have come across as too unbelievable, but the compassion and sincerity that the real Mr. Rogers radiated makes this movie hard to ignore.
THE TWILIGHT ZONE SEASON ONE
(CBS/Paramount) This reboot of the classic sci-fi series (the third one, for those keeping track) boasts some great cameos along with really strong stories. Hosted by Jordan Peele, quickly becoming one of the most reliable horror writer/directors to come along in years, the show has no problems mixing politics and pop culture with its suspense
making it much more relevant than earlier reboots. The only real drawback to the show is that – prior to this DVD release – was only available on CBS’ streaming site. As a result, one of the best TV thrillers has been relegated to no man’s land. Kind of sounds like a Twilight Zone plot in the making.
This South Korean export shocked many when it took home a slew of Oscars last month including Best Picture. The only ones not shocked were those who had seen this stellar movie. A mix of dark humor and a thriller, Parasite focuses on a family of four living in squalor. Their fortunes start to change once the son impersonates a college grad and takes a job tutoring the daughter of a wealthy family. One by one, his parents and sister all con their way into various other jobs for the wealthy family. The new lives quickly devolve out of control and result in murder. Truly an extraordinary movie and unlike anything that’s been put out in years.
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insiteatlanta.com • March 2020 • PG 7
Movie Reviews BY STEVE WARREN
THE CALL OF THE WILD (PG)
1/2 In this age, there must be someone protesting the use of a CGI dog in the leading role of Buck in the latest adaptation of Jack London’s novel, for depriving a real dog of employment. Had a live dog been used, others would have protested the stress and dangers it was subjected to during the filming. It makes me want to get away from it all, like John Thornton (Harrison Ford), in the last years of the 19th century, after his son died and he and his wife drifted apart. He goes to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush, even though he’s not looking for gold. Ford’s only appearance in the first third of the movie is a brief one, when he encounters Buck on the way. Big and strong, though not yet a team player, Buck has been dognapped and sold as a sled dog. After helping deliver the mail for a time, Buck teams up with Thornton instead, relieving the loneliness of his remote cabin. Eventually Buck will find romance and companionship with other animals and Thornton will find gold he wasn’t looking for. It’s not exactly the bromance of the year but it’s not awful, and the (presumably real) scenery of British Columbia is nice. As one of the minority of critics who applauded last year’s Lion King remake for its realistic animals, I find Buck a tad less believable; but he has to interact with humans as well as other creatures, like Roger Rabbit or Sonic the Hedgehog, while not appearing to be a cartoon. It gives me new appreciation for what E.T. was able to achieve 38 years earlier in the technological revolution.
If you thought Adam Sandler’s character in Uncut Gems was unlikable, he’s Santa Claus compared to Sir Richard McCreadie (Steve Coogan) in Greed. But while Sandler played it straight, Coogan is hilarious, working again with Michael Winterbottom, the director behind his “Trip” series. “Greedy McCreadie,” as he was already known in his school days, is one of the world’s richest men, and may have hurt the most people to get that way. A gambler and dealmaker, he came up in the world of retail fashion, outsourcing production to Sri Lanka, where virtual slave labor makes clothes he can sell cheaply. He’s bought stores and chains, working their eventual bankruptcy to his advantage and
avoiding taxes by funneling profits through his Monacan wife (Isla Fisher). About to celebrate his 60th birthday, Richard is having an amphitheater built on a Mykonos beach to recreate a scene from Gladiator for the party, despite trouble shooing Syrian refugees who spoil his view by camping there. He’s rented a lethargic lion for the occasion, and can’t imagine adding fireworks to the mix will be a problem. That’s our first hint things won’t end well. The film is an embarrassment of riches. I wanted to watch it at half-speed so I could process all the characters, some played by different actors at different ages; try to understand the financial details rattled off by Richard’s accusers; and catch all the celebrity names dropped (a couple even make selfdeprecating appearances) in rapid-fire dialogue. Some will assume Richard is loosely based on the one celebrity who isn’t mentioned, but he shows no desire to get into politics so that couldn’t be the case... could it? In case you miss the seriousness behind the satire, Winterbottom leads into the credits with a few facts and statistics about wealth inequality, tax evasion, refugee issues and more. Greed has to be the most serious funny movie of the year or the funniest serious one.
ORDINARY LOVE (R)
In his most successful films, Liam Neeson has been able to defend family members or the planet against malevolent entities with deadly intentions. In this one he may have met an adversary he can’t beat: cancer. Tom (Neeson) and Joan (Lesley Manville) are an old married couple in Northern Ireland, comfortable in life and with each other. In the course of nearly a year (the end of one Christmas season to the beginning of the next – at home, not in a mall), Joan notices a lump, is diagnosed with breast cancer, has it surgically removed, endures chemotherapy, and has a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, never knowing for sure how things will go. In their time at the hospital (where they have to pay for parking – so much for socialized medicine!) – they become acquainted with a male couple, one of whom has a less optimistic prognosis than Joan. Tom and Joan have their little arguments like any longtime relationshipmates, but he is 100 percent supportive through her struggle. The one flaw in Owen McCafferty’s screenplay is its handling of the couple’s previous crisis, the death of their young daughter. Instead
THE CALL OF THE WILD of putting the information out there, McCafferty spreads it out teasingly as if leading to a surprise that never comes. Directors Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn tell the story briskly and efficiently without seeming to rush. They make it look so deceptively simple the film may not get the recognition it deserves. As the title suggests, the actors are natural without big dramatic moments to call attention to themselves. Ordinary Love might have been marketed as an instructional video: “You’ve Got Cancer. Now What?” It’s neither sugar-coated nor traumatizing in depicting how the situation plays out for someone lucky enough to have a partner to go through it with them.
1/2 Not being a young African American woman, I should recuse myself from reviewing Premature; but of course I won’t. The target audience will get caught up in the love story (and hopefully learn a lesson about birth control) and ignore minor details that bothered me, like why there’s no pattern to when the heroine wears glasses and when she doesn’t. That’s Ayanna (Zora Howard), who’s in the summer between high school and college when she meets Isaiah (Joshua Boone), a “producer-composer type” musician with a fondness for jazz. I may share his musical tastes more than young romantic viewers, but they should appreciate what Ayanna writes in her journal and reads to us on the soundtrack. (Example: “What did I know of my heart before you came and gave it shape?”) They’re obviously destined to make beautiful music, and maybe a baby, together. The script, by Howard and director Rashaad Ernesto Green, hits the usual points of a young adult romance; and if you don’t know Howard’s resume you’ll believe she’s 17 years old. If it’s your first time seeing a movie like this you’ll be blown away; if it’s your hundredth, well, here you go again.
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (R)
“It wasn’t a long affair but it was a good one/We let it run along as long as it could run/But our time limit was there/It was a five-day affair.” That’s the chorus of an experience-based song I wrote many years ago. I thought of it a few hours after seeing Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, when I was still wondering why this highlyacclaimed film had left me so cold. Although the specifics are vastly different, my song told the same story in two minutes that Sciamma spreads over two hours. (The “Portrait” in the film’s title should be a clue that it’s like watching paint dry, though many critics have PG 8 • March 2020 • insiteatlanta.com
called it a masterpiece instead.) Her version is set in France in the 18th century and involves two women. Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is hired to paint Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) before her wedding. Héloïse was pulled out of convent school to substitute for her sister, who committed suicide rather than marry the wealthy Italian businessman their mother (Valeria Golino) had arranged for her to wed. Héloïse is shy about being painted so Marianne has to pose as a companion, sketching and painting her in secret. When the mother goes away for five days, the “companionship” quickly becomes something else. If you can’t figure out how it ends, see the movie or request the rest of the lyrics to “Five-Day Affair.”
ORDINARY LOVE SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (PG)
1/2 I’d have thought the generation that played Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog videogame in 1991 would be too old to enjoy a juvenile movie adaptation, but the boxoffice has proved me wrong. That’s why I’m a film critic, not an investment counselor. (Besides, my idea of a hedgehog is Monty Python’s Spiny Norman.) Though aimed at children, the movie’s not as adult-alienating as I expected. Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz), who is really superSonic, leads with his origin story, which leaves him stranded in Green Hills, Montana. He observes everyone but can’t let them see him because he’s been warned his superpowers would make him a target. When they cause a blackout of the entire Pacific Northwest instead, Sonic hooks up with his favorite person in town, Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), who is about to move to San Francisco with his accommodating wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter). Sonic quickly
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SONIC THE HEDGEHOG evolves from being Tom’s pet to his friend. Investigating the blackout, U.S. Intelligence has called on the superior brainpower of Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), whose brilliance justifies his ego but whose evil intent should have kept him from getting a security clearance. So you’ve got a road trip and a chase and lots of special effects, the specialest being the impossibly speedy CG animal of the title. (Everyone else is live.) Of course the trick is to defeat Dr. Robotnik without eliminating him, lest he be needed for a sequel. The result should be at least some fun for anyone of any age.
THE TRAITOR (R)
“Traitor” can be a positive or negative word, depending on who’s being betrayed and which side you’re on. In this true story the Mafia is betrayed, so it’s probably a good thing. Writerdirector Marco Bellocchio, internationally respected for over half a century, tells the story of Tommaso Buscetta (Pierfrancesco Favini) in epic fashion. It runs an hour less than The Irishman and rarely fails to command your attention, but might have worked better as a four-hour miniseries. The pace seems rushed to us non-Italian-speakers who have to read subtitles. Titles also introduce us in the opening sequence, in 1980, to a ton of characters, most of whom will soon be killed. Buscetta and Cristina (Maria Fernanda Candido), the most beautiful wife money can buy, are attending a party celebrating what will be a short-lived truce between the Palermo Mafia and the Corleone family. Sensing the slaughter to come, the Buscettas move to Brazil; but within a few years he’s arrested, tortured and extradited to Italy. There a kindly judge bonds with Tommaso (too easily, as shown here) and persuades him to narc on hundreds of his associates in what he prefers to call the Cosa Nostra (“Mafia is an invention of the press”), testifying openly at their trials. Cristina moves to the U.S. and Tommaso joins her, living in constant paranoia. I’ve never done this before but I’d recommend leaving 15 minutes before the movie ends, right
after Buscetta’s 68th birthday party in 1996. It’s followed by two intercut scenes, one of Buscetta in what’s supposed to be Miami but looks as hilly as Rome, the other a flashback involving a character we’ve seen before but I have no idea who he is. Overall The Traitor is entertaining and enlightening; it’s too bad all that’s well ends badly.
OLYMPIC DREAMS (PG-13)
If we want to see people as boring as ourselves, we need mirrors, not movies. Olympic Dreams is the story of two such people who may or may not fall in love during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeong Chang, Korea. The most interesting thing is that it was actually filmed on location during the Olympics and takes us behind the scenes in the Athletes Village, with mostly brief appearances by many actual Olympians. This has its limitations. To avoid distraction or disruption, access was granted to the cafeteria at mealtime and other locations when there was little or no activity. It’s like being in the room where it happens when it’s not happening. Director/cinematographer Jeremy Teicher cast his wife, Alexi Pappas, as Penelope, a 22-year-old cross-country skier in her first Olympics. Hers is one of the first events, and she doesn’t win; so while waiting for the closing ceremony she has time to get better acquainted with Ezra (Nick Kroll), who’s there as a volunteer dentist while “on a break” from his fiancée back home. Most of the film’s dialogue is improvised, so the director and stars share writing credit; but it just proves a good screenwriter deserves their pay. I could imagine the film having been made 30 years ago with Jeff Goldblum and Renée Zellweger in the leads. Pappas has a similar kind of whiny face, which Teicher goes out of his way to capture in a range of expressions, even if they’re not all called for. I won’t reveal what ultimately does or doesn’t happen, but moviegoers looking for a hot romance will be teased beyond endurance before finding out.
Their name says it all, or most of it anyway. At the Wing Factory, wings are indeed serious business with 25 flavors to choose from. There are plenty of tongue-burning options to please pepper pros but there are also enough subtle and complex “alternative” flavors to suit the less adventurous palette. Custom order your wings with three simple steps. One, choose from bone-in, boneless or fingers. Two, choose how many - you can order 500+ on their menu. Three, choose one of their signature sauces. Enjoy!
Harrys Pizza and Subs
2150 Powers Ferry Rd. 770.955.4413 harryspizzaandsubs.com This family owned and run restaurant specializes in New York style pizza but they are also known for their chicken wings, oversized salads, and mouthwatering sandwiches. Harry’s offers daily specials on menu items and always has a special on draft beers.
3365 Piedmont Rd. (404) 961.8946 twinpeaksrestaurant.com Twin Peaks is more than great views. The mountain lodge-style sports restaurant is known for their award winning burgers and
Back in 1979 when a couple of guys from Buffalo, NY stopped in Atlanta with a great idea to bring Buffalo wings to the sunny South. It didn’t take long to find the perfect spot, a quaint little taco stand on the corner of Virginia and North Highland Avenues. Forty years later, Taco Mac is still a great local place for beer, Buffalo wings and sports.
3109 Briarcliff Rd. 404.320.1258 MosPizza.com Don’t let their name fool you, Mo’s on Briarcliff off Clairmont Rd. offers a lot more than pizza. Great sandwiches, salads, subs, burgers and of course great wings. Mo’s has been serving them up since 1980!
Multiple Atlanta Locations Hooters.com Original Hooters wings are fresh, never frozen and have been their signature menu item since the first Hooters opened in 1983. Hooters offers 15 wing sauce varieties on boneless, traditional, naked or Daytona style wings. These delicious chunks of fresh chicken can’t be beat. Hooters is a great place to take in the tournament action.
See the rest of our movie reviews at insiteatlanta.com/movies.asp
BEST BARTENDERS! BEST LOOKING WAITSTAFF! Twin Peaks Buckhead 3365 Piedmont Rd. • (404) 961-8946
insiteatlanta.com • March 2020 • PG 9
MARCH MADNESS Dining Guide
Where to get a bite with friends during the Basketball Tournament Baldinos Giant Jersey Subs
Marietta 80 Powers Ferry Rd; 770.321.1177 Doraville 5697 Buford Hwy; 770.455.8570 Milton 12890 Highway 9; 678.580.0434 baldinos.us Baldinos has been serving the best sub sandwich in the South since 1975. Their true New Jersey style subs are as fresh as any sandwich anywhere. The rolls are baked in-store everyday - all day; each sub is sliced fresh as ordered; hot subs are grilled, not nuked or pressed, and only the freshest produce garnishes every sub as ordered. Salads, soups and delicious baked goodies compliment a true value menu. Check out Baldinos $3.99 Daily Special - a different sub every day that will keep you coming back.
Harry’s Pizza and Subs
2150 Powers Ferry Rd. 770.955.4413 harryspizzaandsubs.com Harry’s Pizza & Subs has been a community favorite in north Atlanta since 1989. This family owned and run restaurant specializes in New York style pizza but they are also known for their chicken wings, oversized salads, and mouthwatering sandwiches. Harry’s offers daily specials on menu items and always has a special on draft beers. They
offer plenty of seating with multiple screens making Harry’s is a great place to catch all the tournament action. Bring the family and meet up with friends. Come on a Thursday to find the restaurant filled for weekly trivia. Trivia begins at 7:30pm.
3365 Piedmont Rd. Buckhead 404.961.8946 TwinPeaksRestaurant.com Twin Peaks Restaurant, the rugged mountain lodge in Buckhead, is famous for its ultimate man cave setting and beautiful Twin Peaks Girls. They are also known for their award winning burgers and wings in addition to great sandwiches, salads and comfort foods. Twin Peaks has an extensive selection of ice cold draft beers served from 32 taps. This is a perfect place to sneak out of the office for a couple of hours during those early round games or after work getting together with friends.
East Atlanta - 488 Flat Shoals Rd. (404) 522-3950 badearl.com Located in the heart of the East Atlanta Village, The Earl is the kind of place you can hang out at
all day. It is a great combination of restaurant, bar and concert hall. Featuring an amazing bar menu, moderately priced drinks and a music venue in the back, this is a place that can satisfy just about anyone in your group. Their burgers and sandwiches are very popular and have received numerous awards. Bar regulars love to wash them down with their PBR tall boys. With a casual atmosphere and eclectic mix of patrons, you can’t go wrong with a visit to The Earl.
Johnny’s NY Style Pizza
Over 50 Atlanta area locations Order online at JohnnysPizza.com Johnny’s Pizza is synonymous with great pizza and subs in Atlanta. The secret to their success is in the preparation, using only the finest ingredients. Johnny’s specializes in NY style pizza, which is thin in the middle and thick around the edges. Johnny’s also offers subs, salads, sandwiches and other popular Italian dishes including calzones, strombolis, and lasagna. All their restaurants offer dine-in, take-out, delivery and online ordering. Go to JohnnysPizza.com to find the nearest location to you.
Chamblee 678.580.4300; Chastain 404.255.4460; Smyrna 770.575.4884 WingFactory.com If you are serious about wings, you serious-
ly need to get to Wing Factory. The undisputed king of the wing year in year out, Wing Factory is a local favorite – a neighborhood spot to grab a beer, catch the game and of course, chow down on some chicken. Visit them at Chastain, Chamblee or Smyrna to dig into Atlanta’s best wings and some killer burgers, salads and more. Win House Cash five nights a week with Trivia and Bingo. Visit them online at wingfactory.com for nights and times offered.
3109 Briarcliff Rd. 404.320.1258 MosPizza.com Mo’s has been serving up great pizza in Atlanta for over 40 years! But the menu isn’t limited to pizza: sandwiches, subs, wings, nachos and salads ensure that anybody who comes here can find something they like. Come to Mo’s this month and catch all the tournament action on one of their large screens. Check for daily lunch and dinner specials. Trivia is held Wednesday nights. They have a huge dog friendly deck to hang out on and plenty of screens offering great views from any table. Mo’s is one of the longest running pizza joints in Atlanta, come in and see why they are one of the best.
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Atlanta’s BEST SUBS 14 Years Running! Atlanta’s 14 PG 10 • March 2020 • insiteatlanta.com
Ferry Road • Atlanta • 30339 770-955-4413 • harryspizzaandsubs.com
S aint PATRICK'S
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
10K, and 1K Kids’ Fun Run. With 1,800 runners, walkers, strollers and dogs, the Shamrock ‘N Roll Road Race is one of Atlanta’s largest family focused charity race on St. Patrick's Day. There will be registration on race day but participants are encouraged to register in advance at Shamrocknroll.org.
Saturday, March 14 Midtown atlantastpats.com
Rí Rá PaddyFest
March 12 - 17 1080 Peachtree Street Midtown; RiRa.com/atlanta
The 138th Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade is a family friendly St. Patrick’s Day tradition winding along the streets of Midtown on Saturday, March 14. The parade steps off at noon at Peachtree and 15th street and continues down Peachtree to 5th Street. More than 2,000 dancers, musicians, llamas and Irish and local dignitaries are expected to march this year. The parade will feature one of the world’s largest Irish “walking flags,” a large flag carried — or, more accurately, worn — by dozens of participants.
Shamrock ‘N Roll Race
Saturday, March 16 Atlantic Station shamrocknroll.org
Junior League of Atlanta’s 16th Annual Shamrock ‘N Roll Road Race takes place on Saturday, March 14th at Atlantic Station. This year will feature a family friendly 5K,
The 3rd annual Rí Rá PaddyFest is a six day celebration of Irish food, drink & culture. This year kicks off on Thursday, March 12th with the St. Baldrick’s Head Shaving event, following with a range of food, drink and entertainment events, leading up to the big day on March 17th. The centerpiece of this year’s PaddyFest is the St. Patrick’s Outdoor Festival on Saturday March 14th. Rí Rá folks are closing down the streets for the biggest and best St. Patrick’s Day party in town. The craic kicks off at noon and goes until late into the night with live music rocking Crescent Street and Peachtree Street with five live bands, DJ, performances from Irish dancers, beer trucks and bars. Irish band The Skellig Rockers are headlining the festival and will be flying in from Ireland to play in the pub from Friday through Tuesday.
Green Mile Block Party Friday, March 13 Midtown atlantabartours.com
Saturday, March 14 Virginia Highland limerickjunction.com
Atlanta’s oldest Irish Pub celebrates its 32nd Anniversary St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on Saturday, March 14 in Virginia Highland. Limerick Junction hosts one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parties each year and 2020 will be no different. The Saturday, March 14 celebration starts inside the pub at noon and gates open to the outdoor festival at 3pm. Bring the kids to the free family friendly event from 3 - 6 pm offering face painting and balloon artists. Food service provided by the Lupus Foundation. Bands performing this year include: Wes Yoakam and his band, Sean Thomason, The Kevin Lewis Band and Shawn Spencer. Block Party begins at 3:00pm; $10 cover.
Fado’ Irish Pub Buckhead March 14 fadoirishpub.com
This year’s celebration takes place on Saturday March 14. Fadó Irish Pub has their outdoor block party in Buckhead since 1996. The Buckhead Shops streets will be shut down and Fado’ will bring in a full slate of live bands, Irish dancers and plenty of outdoor beer, cocktail stations and food trucks. The Muckers, Almost Famous and Desire perform.
Eat, Drink & Party in Midtown’s Entertainment District for the 10th Annual Green Mile Block Party. Participating bars offering Irish themed beverages and shots, Irish themed food specials, party beads and more. Don’t miss the crowning of Irish Girl Costume Contest at Midnight.
Kegs N Eggs
Sunday, March 15 Virginia Highland atlantabartours.com
Kegs N Eggs takes place on Sunday, March 15 from 11am - 6pm and includes Irish brew and grub from popular neighborhood pubs including: Moe’s & Joe’s, George’s, Neighbors Pub, Fontaine’s, Dark Horse Tavern, Genki and The Warren City Club.
Irish Lights Festival
Saturday, March 7 Park Tavern parktavern.com
Irish Lights Festival takes place a week early. Last year national headliner Lost Kings had Park Tavern’s dance floor glowing in an atmosphere of green. Multiple areas of entertainment will feature a host of DJ’s spinning EDM, house, and open format music.
Saturday, March 14 Park Tavern parktavern.com
Have a shamrockin’ good time at Lucky Fest at Park Tavern in Piedmont Park. Wear your green and party with lucky leprechauns and southern belles among tons of green beer, great food, live music, DJ’s and outrageous fun.
32nd ANNIVERSARY Friday, March 17
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822 N. Highland Ave. NE • Virginia Highland • (404) 874-7147
insiteatlanta.com • March 2020 • PG 11
From the Garage to the Stage, Jay Leno is Comedy’s Great Communicator
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
ONG BEFORE JIMMY FALLON, AN ENTIRE generation knew Jay Leno as the pioneering host of the Tonight Show. But since the ‘70s, the affable comic who actually followed Johnny Carson, Steve Allen and Jack Parr into the position, has combined his stand-up career with his various television jobs. Hitting the road nearly every weekend while balancing his Tonight duties, Leno racked up frequent flyer miles as he played national and international venues. Since 2014, he’s combined his road-tested comedy with his love of classic cars and motorcycles. Jay Leno’s Garage has been a consistently popular part of CNBC’s programming lineup since 2015. An accompanying You Tube series goes into even finer detail about Leno’s extensive collection of vehicles, while a wide variety of guests stop by to discuss their own car and bike memories on the televised edition. Die-hard fans can even purchase Leno-brand car accessories, including a spiffy wash-bucket emblazoned with the show’s familiar logo. This month he returns to Atlanta for a new performance at the Cobb Energy Centre. INsite spoke at length with Leno by phone from his expansive Burbank, California garage. What’s new in the Garage? Well, we’re shooting an episode with Jon Hamm from Mad Men today and we’re doing Kenny Loggins tomorrow. The You Tube show is more technical but the CNBC show is more celebrity-oriented. Like today with Jon, we’re going back to talk about the first piece-of-crap car that he ever had, it’s sorta tongue-in-cheek. There’s always an interesting angle, so you’re basically doing the Tonight Show in a car, just driving around. For some reason, people seem to loosen up a lot more and
BUT WITH COMEDY SOMETHING IS EITHER FUNNY OR IT’S NOT. THE THING THAT’S CHANGED IS THE ATTENTION SPAN.
speak a little freer because there’s no audience, just two people talking in a car. Is Kenny Loggins bringing his car to the show? You know Tom Cruise has the sequel or whatever you want to call it to Top Gun. Kenny did the “Danger Zone” song in it. So we’ll have the Porsche from the original movie and we’ll drive around. Any kind of tenuous connection we can think of, we’ll try. A car is much more than a thing, it becomes an extension of the owner in many cases. People either really love cars or they hate them. Here in L.A., you have plenty of both, so it makes it interesting. But yeah, I think there’s something to that. Especially people of my generation. A lot of people see it as just a way to get from point A to point B, but for a lot of us, it was sort of the iPhone of the day. It took you out of everyday reality. How’s your collection now? I know you have well over 150 classic cars. I think it’s around 189 cars now and 168 motorcycles. Something like that. What’s your latest addition to the collection? The latest one, let’s see. You know I buy the stories more than the car. In 1957, a guy bought his wife an Imperial. It was just enormous and too big for her to drive, so it became an interesting piece over the years. We refurbish the cars and then if the owners are still around we’ll reunite them, drive around and hear their story. It’s just fascinating to me.
Newhart on the Tonight Show in the ’60s, he’d do eight or nine minutes. And just his setup would seem intolerable Before you hosted Tonight, you were a frequent guest on the now. ‘Ok, here’s a woman, she’s 62, she’s going in to get her late-night shows. I particularly enjoyed a thing you’d do driver’s license for the very first time. Ok, now here we are…’ It called “What’s My Beef?” So what’s your beef, circa 2020? I think now it’s the loss of personal communication, actually seems like forever. Now if you don’t get a laugh in the first few talking one-on-one. I really enjoy doing the live shows because seconds, people just switch off right away. Oh, he’s bombing! No, he’s building. But other than the attention span, not a people gather and then you talk. You hear their immediate whole lot has really changed. Funny is funny. The difference reaction. It’s always amazing to me when people say, ‘Oh I now is you can rocket to the middle and then you’ll just stay saw so-and-so’s comedy special and I didn’t think it was that there. You can work kinda dirty and that’s funny.’ I go, ‘Oh yeah, well where did you OK, it’ll get you to the middle but then what? watch it?’ ‘I watched it on my iPhone.’ It’s not It’s not hard to take a clean joke and make it going to be funny on your phone, you have to dirty. But it’s almost impossible to take a dirty experience it live with other people. There’s Saturday, March 21 joke and make it clean. When the punchline a big difference from looking in the window Cobb Energy Centre is motherf*cker, it’s not really a punchline, of a nightclub than being on the other side it’s just shock value. I’m not offended by cobbenergycentre.com of the door. It’s like night and day. So to me, obscenity I just get bored by it. this lack of real communication is a problem. You’d think texting would have come first. ‘You know you don’t have to type anymore, now can just talk!’ In the old days, you had to be clean or at least have some ‘Oh really? What a huge improvement that is!’ I’m still amazed clean material or you’d never be seen on TV. That’s right. A comic was sort of forced to think and work that people would rather type than talk. People say, ‘Send me a certain way. Now you can do whatever you want and put it a text.’ ‘How about if I give you a call?’ ‘No, don’t call me!’ I on You Tube yourself. Sometimes it’s sad, you’ll see guys who think that lack of human interaction is making society suffer have a really funny five-minute clip on You Tube and then somewhat. I’m dyslexic so when I’d write letters, I’d misspell some promoter will book them to headline for 10,000 dollars some of the words and I’d have to start all over again. So I’m and they don’t even have forty good minutes yet. But they still a taking guy. have to fill up the time with something. In the old days it was harder to get to the success, but you could stay there longer. Speaking of seeing live comedy, there was a time when being Now you can get some success fairly quickly and you can fade seen on the Tonight Show could make or break an act in the just as quickly. span of five minutes. Oh yeah. Now you’d have to do ten or fifteen appearances Some of the newer acts are headlining based on one to get the visceral impact that only one appearance used to Netflix special. get. A good example of that would be Freddie Prinze. He’d Yeah and you can go see ‘em and they’ll be doing that Netflix been on a few shows but one night he was on the Tonight special. How long can that last? That’s why I don’t like to do Show with Johnny. Sammy Davis, Jr was on the couch and the Netflix specials. I’d rather come to your town and do it Sammy, I loved him. He was the best entertainer and the best live. That way I always know where my act has been. ‘Ok, I audience. Freddie was doing his bit, you know, and you could haven’t been here in like five years so I’ll come back.’ see Sammy literally falling off the couch. Slappin’ the floor and just laughing his ass off. Then Johnny invites him over to the You’re one of the few comics who can do a seemingly couch. He became such an immediate sensation, literally the effortless show for a solid 90 minutes to two hours without next day he got the Chico And The Man show, based on that relying on any filler or crowd-work. one appearance. Seinfeld and I talk about this all the time. It’s about having an act and being ready. I try not to write stuff down, so I like Content is much different now, too. A lot of the comics I to work a lot to keep it all fresh in my head. I hate comedy talk with don’t even have a “tight five” that’s suitable for that obviously wastes time. ‘How y’all doin’?, Where ya from?’ network TV. I hate when I see comedians come out and go, ‘Ok so what Yeah that’s definitely different now. But with comedy do ya wanna talk about?’ Hey, I bought the ticket. You do something is either funny or it’s not. The thing that’s changed your job! is the attention span. When you see a clip of, say, Bob
PG 12 • March 2020 • insiteatlanta.com
THE WEIRD AND MACABRE ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? MUSIC
APRIL 17-19, 2020 Doyle Bramhall II Talks About the Experience Hendrix Tour PIEDMONT PARK marketed and sold. But it’s sort of hard to not Well with this or any project I do, it’s like I just person gets their own mini-set in the middle of BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH wanna be ofEVENTS service or what is needed for the be boxed into a genre but I just like covering the reviewMAIN format. STAGE VIP HERE’S NO FALSE ADVERTISING moment. I like to help create the big picture. them all. And with the Experience Hendrix
here. The Experience Hendrix Tour is exactly that, a concert honoring the songs, life and legacy of the legendary singersongwriter-guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Since 1995, the tour has featured well-known BY BENJAMIN CARR guitarists and bassists with a roster that draws WEIRD AND MACABRE STAND heavilyHE from the most respected rock and at the center of three new and notable jazz players. hour performers long dramas. Scheduled for Though this year’sthings can shows Billy Cox (from Jimi Hendrix get oddinclude and violent, strong characters are what Experience, Of Gypsys), Taj Mahal, Joe keeps viewersBand hooked. Satriani, Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, HUNTERS (Amazon Prime) Ozzy Osbourne), Jonny Zappa, Johnson, This Lang, series Dweezil from David WeilEric jumps out of the Doyle Bramhall Pinnick (King’sItX),is, by gate with a seriesII,ofDoug fantastic shockers. Chris Layton (Stevie Vaughan expertly and Double turns, appalling and Ray compelling, cast Trouble), Matoviolent. Nanji (Indigenous), and horrifically It’s a stunner.Kenny Aronoff, Brothers, Brown, In 1977, The manySlide Nazis workingHenri together in secret Kevin McCormick, and Ana Popovic. have survived and infiltrated their way into the INsite spoke with busy recording in- of upper echelons of American society.artist, A group demand session grandparents player and frequent Claptonthe New York-based who survived collaborator Doyle Bramhall II by phone fromto Holocaust uncover their identities and begin Los Angeles. track them down and kill them, using methods that evoke memories of concentration camps. Before we talk about the tour, let’s briefly Good Lord, this show was uncomfortable. Then, discuss your recent album Shades. Like itwith wasthe thrilling. As it unfolded with moments of Jimi festival, there are a lot of styles terrible violence, represented on it.including a really, really sick chess Hunters revealed as a isbold, Yeah,game, the whole reason I calleditself it Shades daring and divisive piece of entertainment. because of how many different shades of music Logan Lerman, deserved there are on it. It’s thewho sumhas of alllong the types of a showcase role like this one, stars in the series music that I’ve been inspired by all of my life. as a young man drawn into his grandmother’s secret to murder Pacino yes, Al That’splot the best kind ofNazis. albumAl- one that- covers Pacino co-stars as a rich benefactor organizing all the-bases. theYeah, hunt.not Dylan Baker, Berlin and that it’s thatJeannie kind of record, but Lena it’s Olin appear, as well. like [tour mate Taj Mahal’s 1969] Giant Step With aTocast thatrecord caliberis such and aapremise album. me,ofthat great onethat daring, show is bingeworthy. becausethe it encompasses so much music. It’s almost like a music history lesson because it THE OUTSIDER Includes many of(HBO) the things that influenced ThisThe Atlanta-filmed miniseries from him. blues, of course, but earlythriller work holler songs to King spirituals to country blues and even Stephen begins with a terrifying premise somerivals pop. So I thinkChristie’s Shades iswork, kind ofthe likebrutal that Agatha that, even don’tindelve too deep murder of though a youngI boy a small towninto and an the blues. And ininathe way,crime. that’s kind of what obvious suspect thisDet. wholeRalph tour isAnderson about - sharing music (Ben the Mendelsohn) because we all love and we’ve all approached receives word thatitlittle league coach Terry it from so(Jason manyBateman) different angles. I like allthe theboy Maitland was seen with different expressions that are possible with and interacted with several people outside of a music.van. It’s Anderson harder to do with Maitland modern music white arrests in public, becauseofeverybody wants things to be in a certain the man’s guilt. box with a definite label on it so it can be
tour, there’s just so much music to hear in one night. And personally I like it because it’s really representative of who I am musically. Lock and Key
There are so many different artists on this tour and itafter seemsmaking like you’re connected most oflife Soon that public toarrest, them in some sort offor wayMaitland’s at this point. becomes untenable family, but Anderson begins receiving proof that Maitland himself was somewhere else at the time of the murder. Also, he begins noticing weird things about his original evidence. The series begins intriguingly, then becomes increasingly bonkers, as can be expected with King. Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo and Julianne Nicholson co-star.
in the VIP Tent overlooking the Coca-Cola Main Stage
Musicians, and guitarists especially, tend to prefer their own equipment and amps. Is there You mentioned you often play the ones that Fri. April 17you + Sat. April 18 up. Which spoke to as you were growing a shared backline for the show or how is it ones7pm speak- to10pm you in particular? set up? “Angel” is one. When I first started doing the I think most people have their own amps Enjoy a perfect view of the live music performances, Hendrix tour, I used to do “Remember,” which on stage, which is usually pretty massive. On hors d'oeuvres, comfy seating, a dedicated bar was on Smash Hits. It was like a soul tune, really. these wide stages, you look acrosscatered and there’s with discounted drink prices, private bathrooms and more. Reserved tables for 6, 8 and 10 guests available at You grew up around music with a musical discounted prices.
family, but when did you first become aware of the music of Jimi Hendrix? Sat. April 18 + Sun. 19I was a kid all I remember hearingApril him when 1pmbecause - 5pmI grew up in a band house in the time Austin. That was the place where everybody Backyard Bites & Brews oﬀers ticket holders an all-inclusive hung out all the time. It was Jimmy Vaughn’s experience featuring food from local restaurants and chefs, house and all of our tribe basically were in and beer tastings, comfortable seating, private bathrooms and a out all the time. My dad and Jimmy and Stevie dedicated bar. Vaughn were actually highly influenced by Jimi so he was on heavy rotation on the record player back then. I was about six years old or so.
LOCKE AND KEY (Netflix)
Based upon the comic series written by Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King, this new series centers on a family relocating to the East Coast FOR TICKETS & MORE INFORMATION VISIT after the murder of their father. The house Did you have a rediscovery period as you they inherit and choose to inhabit is filled with grew up? Well that’s one of the like 20 or 25 amps up there. bizarre secrets. O N Sin O R S & P AI R TNERS rediscovered him when I started playing things about playing music So it’s a revolvingS Pstage Thesoshow fun, filled with young protagonists guitar at around 14. I immediately got back into for long is and touring the way everything is set -everywhere, played byis that Emilia Jones, Connor Jessup Hendrix. I think the first thing of his I bought there’s up. Each artist can basically Saturday, March 9 and Jackson Robert Scott on my own was the Smash Hits album. I was a network and that comes - encountering a take over the stage with Fox Theatre supernatural asscene, well as crippling remorse. just immersed in his stuff at that time. For a from being inthreat, the live their equipment. Darby Stanchfield, who ABC’s while, it was pretty much all I wanted to listen in the session scene and in starred in foxtheatre.org Scandal, mother. to and all I wanted to sound like. Then as I got the club plays scenetheir and within In the wrong hands this the show delves more into its own older, B.B. King, Cream and Jimmy Reed were the As community in general. could be a logistical mythology the setting most of the things I was really studying. The musicaland community, once of youKeyhouse, know all theit nightmare. How do you rehearse with such a becomes more interesting. players, really is a small world once you begin to massive line-up? As a Cream fan, it must have been an know people and play out. It’s sort of crazy that they rehearse the day of incredible kick when you began playing with the show and then get it done in like six hours The Outsider And knowing the community is a great source before showtime and then play, like a three-hour Eric Clapton. Oh yeah, to have Eric call and say he was a fan of continual inspiration - maybe even from show. After rehearsing for six hours, the first day of mine because of my album Jellycream, and a session that could seem inconsequential at of the tour is usually pretty serious. say that he loved my songwriting and my guitar the time. playing was incredible. To have him invite me Oh absolutely, I’m always inspired by every How do you select which songs to perform? to be on the record he was doing with B.B. King project. Maybe not even consciously. But I’ve Does everyone have a master list and pick was unreal. B.B. and Eric were the two guitarists still ended up learning from them all because from it? sometimes I have to think outside my own box Everyone sort of picks the ones that they loved whose solos I emulated first. It was actually sort of mystical in that it all came around that or comfort zone to make it work. growing up listening or a particular one that really speaks to them. If it’s not taken by another way for me. It was definitely weird. I still don’t In this situation, you’re sharing the bill with artist, then they can do it. For instance, this year know why or how it actually happened. It’s just R S ! of those moments in time when things 8 Y E Aone B R AT I N G 2like a number of fellow music legends, how do you I’m just taking suggestions because usually C E L EI’ll culminate. Now here I am playing Hendrix keep it from getting out of control? do the songs that that most spoke to me, but music, so I guess it’s all somehow connected, It’s almost like each person has their own little this year I’m sort of open to other choices or karmatically. I don’t think any of this is by show. For many years, Buddy Guy would end suggestions. I’m just ready to be a part of it. chance because the odds of any of it happening the show and that part would always feel just are just in the billions! like it’s Buddy Guy’s own show. So it’s like each That’s a great place to be. insiteatlanta.com
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SHEPHERD’S PIE RECIPE
RISH PUB RECIPES MIGHT NOT BE the sort of thing you’d want to make at home every day, especially if you’re trying to follow a healthy diet. But on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone seems to like a wee taste of Ireland, and we’re no exception. Nearly 40% of Georgians claim Irish heritage, with Atlanta ranking as the 7th largest “Irish city” in North America. From the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival in downtown Atlanta to the even more massive celebration in Savannah, it seems like our home state goes crazy for shamrocks and shenanigans this time every March. Here is a great recipe for Shepherd’s Pie as courtesy of Rí Rá Irish Pub. This dish is guaranteed to inspire an appreciation for Irish culture. Serve them up with some traditional Irish music on St. Patrick’s Day and you’ll have an enchanting taste of the Emerald Isle! PG 14 • March 2019 • insiteatlanta.com
For St. Patrick’s Day
INGREDIENTS: 3 LB fresh ground lamb • 1 LB yellow onion diced • 4 Tbs AP Flour • 2 Tbs vegetable oil • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley • 2 cups lamb stock (chicken stock can be substituted) • 2 cups frozen peas & carrots • 8 Idaho Potatoes; 1 cup milk • 4 Tbs butter PIE DIRECTIONS: Heat large pot with oil. • Add ground lamb and brown. • Drain off grease and add yellow onion. • Cook for 3-4 minutes. • Add the flour and cook out for 5-6 minutes. • Add the stock and mix well. • Bring to heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. • Add the chopped fresh herbs, peas and carrots. • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
steam off until almost dry. • Mix in bowl with milk and butter. • Season to taste with salt and pepper. • Pour the Pie mixture into a 9×9 baking dish. • Spread mashed potatoes over top and broil in oven for 3-4 minutes or until mashed potato on top is golden brown. • Serve family style with fresh bread, butter and cans of COLD Guinness for a great taste of Ireland! SHEPHERD’S PIE, PHOTO BY HEIDI GELDHAUSER COURTESY RÍ RÁ IRISH PUB
TOPPING DIRECTIONS: Peel and dice washed potatoes. • Bring to boil in salted water. • When tender enough for a fork to pierce through, remove from heat and drain. • Let the potatoes insiteatlanta.com • March 2020 • PG 13
EXPLORING DARK WATER
Singer-Songwriter-Producer-Guitarist Kristian Bush Dives Into Classic Rock
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
F HE WASN’T BUSY ENOUGH already with his full-time gig in Sugarland, Kristian Bush is now wading into another new project. One of those people hyphens were invented for, the singer-songwriter-record producer rose to prominence with folk-rock duo Billy Pilgrim with frequent collaborator Andrew Hyra but is best-known as the natty-hatted half of modern country duo Sugarland with Jennifer Nettles. In 2013, he stepped to the front of the stage, leading a solo band featuring brother Brandon Bush, a vet of keyboard duties with Sugarland and Train. Kristian’s solo record Southern Gravity became an Americana success in 2015. If his plate wasn’t full enough, he continues to mentor and produce new music, centering on new Atlanta and Nashville-based artists. But wait there’s more. Bush is currently at work on songs for his third theatrical production, calling the work-in-progress a combination of Hadestown and The Color Purple. Of course, he has even more up his sleeve with his latest endeavor, a rootsy rock outfit called Dark Water. Formed from the challenge of a writing session in Atlanta - with Brandon on keys and vocals and inventive guitarist Benji Shanks, the new group isn’t your standard Eddie’s Attictype affair. It’s a full-on rock outfit that’s decidedly more San Francisco jam than Decatur strum. The day after a recent City Winery show, the enthusiastic Bush spoke with INsite before meeting with Governor Kemp about music-industry tax credits. How did this come about? Obviously you and Brandon have worked together for years but this is a whole new project. It’s been in the making for a little while but you know recipes don’t get perfected by doing them once. You have to do it over and over again. Sometimes you get lucky by putting some new things in the gumbo every once in a while. That’s kinda what happened. Me and my brother have been playing music together ever since we could play music. Since we were about five or six. But musically we had this unique experience in our lives. Around middle school age we were sent off to different schools and we didn’t see each other much really until after college. That’s a very formative time for musical tastes and you both developed your own style in separate ways. Right and whenever we would see each other, we’d make music and that was it. We’d see each other for about a month out of the year so music was how we communicated. It was our other language. Fast forward we were both in rock bands and then I was in a country band and he popped into my country band. In the past ten years we’ve both been working on opportunities that have been generated by the work we’ve done in the world. Mostly based out of the studio here in Atlanta. Did your solo band change the dynamic? Yeah because I had a little bit of success, suddenly I had to staff a band. In Sugarland we tried to use the same musicians as possible but when we started playing out [separately], we knew we PG 14 • March 2020 • insiteatlanta.com
couldn’t both have the same guitar player. The way we see music is still shared but I needed to form a band for my stuff.
So that’s where Benji Shanks came in? Brandon came in and told me about this amazing guitar player he’d played a gig with. ‘You gotta meet him.’ I was like, ‘Well ok, I guess.’ Benji came in and literally within seconds, I was like, ‘Wow this guy is good.’ He became a fixture in our studio work. I was producing a lot of records at the time. He’d come in and play on some of the records I was working on and we had him come in on my solo shows. That’s really how this all began. Of course I’ll write with anybody who’s near me at the time. If you’re around, you’ll become one of my co-writers. What’s this about a Grateful Dead connection? Well Brandon was exploring the TV and film opportunities around here. As you know, it’s just exploding. He was working on the legal side of it and he met a bunch of people who wanted music for projects. We started to get local bands some placements in these things being shot around here. He’d get the briefs on what they were looking for. One day he comes in and goes we need to stay creative and abandon all reason and come up with a crazy idea. Then every two or three months, let’s show up at the studio and try something completely new. The first thing was like Celtic Death Metal, seriously. He’d just been working on something for the Alliance, a Shakespeare something. Then we started a Sugarland tour and one day he comes in and says, ‘Ok the Celtic thing didn’t work but how about this?’ Someone needed five songs that would have been on the Grateful Dead’s American Beauty record. With “would have been” but wasn’t actually on the record being the key. Crazy right? He said he’d done some research and it turns out that record was made as a panic record, so let’s do something fast like that. I knew probably fifteen Dead songs total but the ones I knew, I liked. I’d just finished doing the songs for the Alliance musical Troubadour. I know you like to immerse yourself in
the period when you write for a specific time frame. Exactly. For Troubadour, it was 1935 to 1957. I had to figure out not only what it would sound like but what they were listening to, in order to create that music. That’s the way it works for me. If I’m listening to a Jonelle Monet song, it’ll change the way I write a country song. So I had to go put myself in that space for the Dead. It was an odd request, but I read up and crammed. Then Brandon said I couldn’t write any of the actual music because it would sound like country because it’s so ingrained in me. He said he and Benji would write the music and it was my job to just put melody and lyrics to the songs.
What do you call the style? We didn’t know exactly. It was like, is this a rock band? Is it a jam band? It’s certainly not country. Benji was always saying we gotta be careful with this, because the jam band people are really good. They are connoisseurs of the style. Then we started playing out last fall.
That’s an incredible challenge. We were literally in the middle of doing a single with Taylor Swift so that was even more of a stylistic shift to try to pull off. But I got excited about it, did a rough mix and put it in my pocket. Then a few people heard it. Of course we missed the deadline for the project but people around us started saying they thought there was something really good going on with it. We spent a year with it and finished it all within ten months or so.
As well it should be because it’s definitely not a country project. That’s what I love about it. There are people picking up on it who don’t listen to Sugarland, my solo stuff or even country radio, so it feels good. There’s a reverence we have for this music and we are treating it that way. I think it’s in a very ritualistic space. With these guys, you are dealing with two of the most accomplished musicians in the southeast. They’re so good at feel and I’ve forced them to the front of the stage, to say this is not about me this about these guys.
It was a sort of an under-the-radar project at first. Yeah [the Dark Water debut] came out on Black Friday and only a certain number of stores got it. Still I think really nobody in the country music space has any idea of what’s happening with it. So it’s completely outside of the country music machinery.
Instead of some guys backing you, Dark Water is a full-on democratic band. It’s a band! The way it’s supposed to be. At City Winery, Kodac Harrison came out to see the show. I can always tell a lot from him. He’s at the point in his life where he’s not going to lie to you. He comes up and says, ‘You should keep this going.’ And I think I will! But that’s what Dark Water is. It’s not about us, it’s about who hears it. My son is 17 and heard some of it when we were working on it. He actually liked it, said it was cool and wanted me to send him a copy. I about fell out of my chair. I said, ‘I haven’t been cool to you since you were about five.’ So I think we’re on to something here. Dark Water plan more shows this spring and fall and a series of interactive internet broadcasts via social media. Visit www. darkwaterband.com for more info and live broadcast links.
LIGHTEN UP ATL
The Lit AF Tour Burns the Comedy Candle at Both Ends
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
E’S A MAJOR MOVIE STAR these days, but Martin Lawrence returns to his raucous comedic roots this month as host and headliner of the Lit AF Tour. The multi-city comedy tour follows the release of his new movie, “Bad Boys For Life,” with co-star Will Smith. The film, partially filmed in Atlanta, topped national box office receipts upon its release against some fierce competition. For this leg of the live tour, Lawrence heads a rotating cast of some of his funniest friends for a killer night of laughs. Joining him on the Atlanta stop of tour will be comedians Rickey Smiley, DeRay Davis, B. Simone, Donnell Rawlings and Benji Brown. “Being on the road with this group of funny AF comedians is a blast,” said Lawrence in a recent press statement. “Bringing the tour back out on the road is always exciting, no two shows are the same and we all bring something different to the party.” INsite spoke with comic-actor-authormotivational speaker Smiley by phone after a recent episode of his syndicated radio show heard locally on WHTA, Hot 107.9. Balancing a radio show, comedy tours and family life is a full-time job in itself. How do you compartmentalize it all? (Laughs) Well, you just have to spread everything out and take a lot of naps! It’s just that simple. I don’t it all at one time. I’ll take on something then take a nap, then take on something else and then rest and just keep going. And if I can’t do it then, I’ll reschedule. So it’s the R and R. Rest and reschedule. You’ll have to put everything else aside to handle the excitement of the Lit AF Tour. I sure will. It’s so good and I have such a good time doing it. I really think I like performing more than doing radio because going on stage in front of a live audience is just the best. Martin Lawrence and all the comedians on the tour are a real pleasure to work with. So it’s easy, we just go out and have a great time and put on a great show for everybody. You and Martin go way back at this point. This is the second edition of the tour but you’ve known him for much longer, correct? Yeah, this will be the second leg of the tour. I guess I first met Martin in 1993 on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam. Then we did the tour last time and I really do think it was one of the most professional experiences I’ve had in my entire career. Your touring slate is full with this one and then your own headlining shows later in the year. Do you like the camaraderie of the ensemble shows like the Lit Tour or do you prefer the freedom and time to stretch out on your own headlining tours? You know, I think I kinda like the Martin Lawrence shows better. The production value, you can’t match it. That stage and those lights and the big Lit AF on the stage. Then Martin comes out and you get to perform with such an iconic performer. You can’t match it, you just can’t. The line-ups vary a bit from city to city but it looks like you are on nearly every night of the show. Yeah! I wish I could have done the other dates but I think I had a few previous engagements that I’d already signed contracts for. I would have done all of ‘em.
You almost got the whole tour. Just about! But you know I just go to have a good time. I don’t take myself too seriously. I’m at the point where I can just go up on stage and have frickin’ fun.
That’s what it’s all about. When the cast is having fun, the audience can feel it. Absolutely. And the whole staff, his team, it’s a dream. I get a chance to reconnect with Adele Givens and Michael Blackson and Bruce Bruce and Earthquake who is one of my closest friends. We started out together. Earthquake, Bruce Bruce and I all started out pretty much the same year so it’s been thirty years now for us.
THESE DAYS I DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT TOO MUCH. IT’S ALL IN THERE, SO I JUST TAKE IT OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD, GO FROM THERE AND HAVE FUN WITH IT. AND THAT’S WHAT WE’RE GONNA DO EVERY NIGHT OF THIS TOUR.
Congratulations. That’s a long time, but you aren’t slowing down yet are you? It’s been a long time, a long time! I’m excited about the opportunity to be out with this show because it’s one of the two best comedy tours that’s on the road today. In your opinion, what is the other best tour these days? I have a lot of fun when I go out with Mike Epps, that’s a good one. He just cracks me up. But anytime I get a chance to go out with Fantasia or Anita Baker or host Jazz In The Garden, those are good, too. Such a diverse schedule. Didn’t you also do the Super Bowl Gospel Show a while back? Oh yeah, I always host the BET Super Bowl Gospel concert. That’s fun in a different way, but it’s also about helping people and that’s always good. Good music and a good cause, so you just can’t go wrong. You can’t go wrong with the Atlanta line-up of the Lit Tour, either. So strong. Donnell Rawlings is hilarious.I remember when Deray Davis first started when he a teenager. I remember mentoring him. Now he’s a big star. I’m now in a mentorship with B. Simone, who I absolutely love. She’s one of my new up and coming favorite comics. Just great. It’s always good to connect with her. I don’t get a chance to work with Donnell too much, but man, when we do see other, we have a good time. It seems like we always run into each other in the airport heading to a flight and when we see each other, it’s genuine love. I loved him when was with Dave Chappelle and he’s so good on the tour. I’m excited. Your connection to the south is a big part of your comedic style. Not many people can say they went from Birmingham to BET. (Laughs) Yeah, I was blessed. I got my start at the Stardome and it was awesome to be able to go out to L.A. and do the BET stuff and make the hometown proud, you know? Birmingham has produced a number of cool people. What’s in the water over there? Man, it’s the cornbread! Isn’t that something? Yeah, Birmingham gave us Ruben Studdard, some other American Idol greats, Kate Jackson, Charles Barkley, Bo Jackson. Just on and on. When you were growing up in Birmingham, did you want to be a stand-up as a kid? No, I wanted to be a musician. I took lessons, learned to play some different instruments. Then I went to a comedy club one night and it just happened. But you know a lot of musicians are funny. You’d be surprised, some of the
gospel musicians are just hilarious. Did your upbringing in the church help with some of your characters? Oh yeah, a lot of them are a mixture of some of the people. My chuch background really had a lot to do with not only my music but my comedy, too. Do you ever from some of the church folks? ‘Is that supposed to be me?’ Oh yeah, but I just say it’s a mix of everybody. I don’t want nobody to be mad at me. But I
think that’s why the characters work is because everybody can identify with them, so they’re really all of us. These days I don’t even think about it too much. It’s all in there, so I just take it off the top of my head, go from there and have fun with it. And that’s what we’re gonna do every night of this tour. Martin Lawrence headlines the Lit AF Tour on Saturday, March 7 at State Farm Arena. Doors open at 6:30 and showtime is 7:30 p.m. Rickey Smiley plays the Cobb Energy Centre at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 17.
488 Flat Shoals Ave. in East Atlanta THURSDAY February 6 | Doors 8:30pm
FRIDAY March 13 | Doors 8:30pm
BOOK CLUB Advance $10 | Day of $10 -----------------------------------------FRIDAY March 6 | Doors 8:30pm
Poppy Jean Crawford Advance $25 | Day of $25 -----------------------------------------SATURDAY March 14| Doors 8:30pm
Darling Machine Advance $20 | Day of $25 -----------------------------------------SATURDAY March 7 | Doors 8:30pm
Poppy Jean Crawford | Upchuck Advance $25 | Day of $25 -----------------------------------------SUNDAY March 15 | Doors 7:00pm
NRCSSST Advance $20 | Day of $25 -----------------------------------------SUNDAY March 8 | Doors 7:00pm
Vincas | More Advance $13 | Day of $15 -----------------------------------------WEDNESDAY March 18 | Doors 8:00pm
The Obsessed Old Thrones | Pulpit Advance $17 | Day of $17 -----------------------------------------TUESDAY March 10 | Doors 8:00pm
Andrea & Mud | The Lonesome Valley Advance $13 | Day of $15 -----------------------------------------MONDAY March 23 | Doors 7:30pm
The Medium | Curt Castle Advance $12 | Day of $14 -----------------------------------------THURSDAY March 12 | Doors 8:30pm
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club Nikki & the Phantom Callers Advance $15 | Day of $17 -----------------------------------------THURSDAY March 26 | Doors 8:00pm
TODAY IS THE DAY
Terror Pidgeon | Cousin Dan | Jaguar Purrs Advance $12 | Day of $12
THE BLACK LIPS
THE BLACK LIPS
SCOTT H. BIRAM
TH’ LEGENDARY SHACK*SHAKERS
THE COMMONHEART The Marsh Advance $12 | Day of $15
For more lisitngs, please visit badearl.com insiteatlanta.com • March 2020 • PG 15
Cash Cab’s Ben Bailey Upgrades His Ride from Clubs to Theaters
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
NOWN FOR HOSTING THE ROLLING gameshow Cash Cab, comedian-actor-musician Ben Bailey is currently crossing the country on his first major theater tour. The Daytime Emmy-Award® winner is also featured in the latest batch of rebooted Cash Cab episodes premiering on Bravo next month. But even though he’s back behind the wheel of an upgraded NYC cab, Bailey’s first love remains live comedy. He can be seen on various platforms as the star of two stand-up performances and is currently road-testing new material for an upcoming special. His 2011 “Road Rage and Accidental Ornithology” remains a popular selection on Netflix. In addition to podcast spots, his TV resume includes visits to Last Call with Carson Daly, The Late Show, The Tonight Show and The Today Show. Before leaving his New York home for a tour that brings him to Atlanta’s Center Stage, the lanky laugh-maker spoke with INsite by phone. Many of the comics I speak with are either promoting a new special or working out material for a new one. Where are you on the special spectrum? I’m ready to do a new one. I’m just waiting to see who I’ll be doing it for. This tour will feature all-new material that will eventually be in the special. When you plan a new set, do you leave room for an encore of some “greatest hits” if fans request stuff from one of the previous shows? That’s a good question. My new set is kinda finished and honed and it’s what I feel the best about but that hour has been ready for a while. Now I have a new twenty that I might also do. So with so much new stuff I might not even have time to get any of the greatest hits in there at all.
never know exactly what they’ll say or what will happen. That’s true and I always want to try to sneak some funny in there, you know? It’s been tricky because the game has to move along but I manage to make faces at the camera and try to make it fun. And to show people that being funny is what I do - in addition to hosting the show and driving the car.
In the era of Lyft and Uber, the appeal of grabbing a cab in New York City is still a necessity. Yeah, it hasn’t affected us at all. People are still hailing cabs constantly in Manhattan. A cab in New York is just iconic. It’s traditional.
That’s a good place to be. As you know, a number of comics go back to the files to fill a headliner spot. Oh, I know! But I’m glad that I have more than I know And unlike some people, you are actually driving the car. what to do with at this point. I think I’m overdue for a (Laughs) Yeah, like James Corden. People were surprised Refreshingly, you’re not one of those comics who drop in special. I did one that I sell at the shows called Live and when he said he wasn’t always driving the Carpool cars. a few minutes of their stand-up into the show. There’s a Uncensored but the Road Rage hour But I don’t blame him at all. It’s safer really. I’d love to not definite division between your two worlds. on Netflix is probably the one with the drive. It would make my job much easier. Yeah, I’ve never been one to even try to do most “hits” on it. But you’ve got a good that. I don’t want to squeeze my jokes into the point. Sometimes I’m not quite sure Saturday, March 21 Any traffic accidents along the way? show. I do the stand-up when I’m in a club or what people want. I know if I go see a Nope, knock on wood. There’ve been some close calls theater. But an interview or a game show isn’t Center Stage band I do want to hear some of their but I’ve never hit anybody and nobody has ever hit me. the place for that kinda thing. Some comics centerstage-atlanta.com older stuff but as a comic, you’re always are just talking but not really listening. They’re But I’ve always loved to drive. I’ve been driving for a wanting to do something new. living since I got my driver’s license. It’s just second always performing. I’ve never been that guy. nature to me now. But pretty soon the cars will be driving Usually the people around that kind of person are thinking, In the age of the internet and the new platforms, a comic ‘Boy I wish I had a chance to say something.’ themselves and then what will I do? probably burns through a lot of stuff just because people have seen it over and over. That would leave more time for comedy. When did you Every episode is a little different, but what has been a It does seem like there’s a lot of stuff floating around start your stand-up career? favorite moment along the way? these days. But I think there are a lot more comedians When I moved to L.A., I got a job at The One day we were shooting some B-roll stuff than there used to be, too. And if everybody keeps making in Times Square. Just shots of me driving and Comedy Store and just about everybody that I TEND TO WRITE specials, pretty soon we’re going to be overrun with them. it was packed there. Just wall to wall people worked out there wanted to be a stand-up ABOUT WEIRD I’m thinking there’s definitely room for at least one more. comic. But I was trying to be an actor. So I as it often is, but this was just a huge crowd. But ask me about it after this next one and we’ll see. STUFF. I DON’T kinda stumbled into it. I was answering the We were stopped in the middle of this crowd. Couldn’t move at all for like ten minutes and GO POLITICAL. phones in the green room and just telling Everyone has a slightly different sense of humor, so nobody was noticing us. The guy filming was I’M NOT REALLY a few stories one day. A guy heard me and there’s an audience for every comic. me a spot on one of his shows. sitting in the back of the van with the hatch DIRTY SO I DON’T offered That’s true. There’s room for everybody. And if it’s done open, with his camera. Finally somebody That was December of 1993 and I’m still right, a good joke is still funny on repeated plays. notices the camera. I saw the guy look from OFTEN FIND MYSELF telling stories. the camera to me, to see what we were IN THE REALM We definitely need to talk about Cash Cab. You’ve filming. He sees me and just screams out, ‘It’s WHERE I MIGHT A number of comics won’t play colleges amassed an incredible number of episodes of it. Does it because of the whole P.C. backlash. the Cash Cab!’ This wave or recognition just BE OFFENDING anymore still seem fresh to you after all these years? What’s your take on all the folks who are so went through the crowd. I pumped my fist There are new episodes coming in April on Bravo and SOMEBODY. easily offended? out the window and we got this big ovation since we’ve moved there, I feel like it’s got some new life You know, it hasn’t really affected me. I from everyone in Times Square. It was to it. We’ve had over 500 episodes at this point but I feel insane. That was one of the highlights not just of the show tend to write about weird stuff. I don’t go political. I’m like we can just keep going. As long as we can come up not really dirty so I don’t often find myself in the realm but of my entire life. I’ll never forget it. with new questions and pick up new people, I think we’ll where I might be offending somebody. I actually feel be fine. It still seems to work so I feel that we’ve still got lucky that I’m not inspired to write the kind of stuff that Has a celebrity ever hopped in unaware? plenty of life in us even after all these shows. It always would get that kind of negative reaction. It’s just unusual We did some prearranged stuff when one of the seems new to me. storytelling. I’ve never known what to call it, really. A Spiderman movies was coming out so we had a bunch of friend of mine dubbed it ‘surreal observational humor,’ the cast in the cab. We’ve had some guys from The Today As a comic, you must enjoy the whole improvisational which I thought was pretty cool. So that’s what I do. Show and the ladies from The View but I’ve never just nature of it. With a constant parade of new fares, you randomly picked up a celebrity. Yet.
PG 16 • March 2020 • insiteatlanta.com
SHORT AND BITTERSWEET
Lawrence & Meg Kasdan Document the Final Days of a Diner in “Last Week at Ed’s”
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
N AN INCREDIBLE CAREER OF filmmaking, director/writer/producer Lawrence Kasdan has been an integral part of some of the most beloved films of modern cinema. He is perhaps best-known as co-writer of “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Return of the Jedi,” and as writer-director of “Body Heat,” “The Big Chill,” and “The Accidental Tourist.” Known for modernizing iconic Hollywood themes in noir, sci-fi and western milieus, with insightful dialogue and searing social commentary, Kasdan’s latest is an intimate tribute to a local neighborhood diner. Created with his partner Meg, “Last Week At Ed’s” is a bittersweet tribute to a small West Hollywood diner as it plans its final week of business. Since 1947, Ed’s Coffee Shop, a traditional breakfast and lunch “hole-in-thewall” served the fast-food needs of a core of diverse regular customers. But with shifting demographics and increasing competition from corporate chains, the independent eatery closed last year. The Kasdans documented the last few days of the establishment in a surprisingly short film that encapsulates the camaraderie of an indie institution. INsite recently spoke with Lawrence and Meg Kasdan about the film which screened at the recent Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Tell us a bit about “Last Week At Ed’s.” It’s a very personal, intimate project for you. M: It is. We made it to memorialize a place we really loved. We found out it was closing a couple of months before it did close. We really didn’t have any other motives except to memorialize a place we were really crazy about. We thought it was a place that should be remembered because it meant so much to us, to the owners and to all the people who worked there and went there over the years. It was located in a busy, rapidly changing district of Hollywood, correct? L: At North Hollywood and Robertson Boulevard, just south of Melrose. Yeah, the community had changed in that it used to
be the center of interior design world in Los Angeles. Then the Pacific Design Center opened, which is a giant complex and a lot of the shops around Ed’s Diner moved to the Center. So there was a disruption in the community. As real estate skyrocketed and different kinds of people were able to change the area, there was a little change in the clientele. It had previously been the design people who lived nearby and were part of the community. The community continued as the neighborhood started to change a little bit.
So you decided to document the final days of the establishment to preserve that feeling of community? L: We were as surprised as the other clientele about the closing and we captured a lot of those reactions. In the film you can see their reactions to getting the news at that moment. People had found a refuge, a harbor or a safe place there, at a time when it’s so hard to find those things anywhere in America. What a great metaphor for culture change in general. L: I hope you’re right. That’s how we discovered it to be. First we shot during the last week of the restaurant. Going in, you don’t know how it’ll be. Then as we worked on it for another six months, those were the themes that kept emerging. Since you shot for a week, how much footage did you get? L: I can’t remember the exact amount, but it was hours and hours. From that you cut it down to 39 minutes? L: We did but there were some surprises for us along the way. Three seconds of someone’s expression can tell a big story. What were some of the biggest surprises you learned? L: We’d been there over a period of thirty years on a pretty regular basis. There could be a person there you’ve seen maybe fifty time, but you didn’t even know their name. People want to have a connection with the people they see quite often but so many times, you never make that effort to learn who they are.
People are naturally shy, they want to protect their privacy and they don’t want to be intrusive either. But when we stated shooting, it was really heartwarming how much people wanted to share their stories and their feelings about this event.
Ed’s is a good example of the popularity of short films. People seem to be really latching back on to them - even though they’ve been around forever. L: Right, I think that’s because the streaming services have helped all documentaries and short films in general. There’s a hunger for content. They don’t all get sold to streaming services, of course. We haven’t been sold to any yet, but I think it’s opened up people to the idea of short documentaries and short films. It must be creatively satisfying for you to make a decidedly small movie that doesn’t have the happy meal hype to tie-in. L: (Laughs) It’s very satisfying for sure. The best part is that the people who’ve seen it react in an emotional way to it. We never tried to push that part. But I think the best part is that people recognize what you just said: everybody’s got a favorite place like this and they feel bad if it closes up. Let’s talk about the creative process. You’ve been married for a long time and you’ve worked together for a long time as well. Both are major accomplishments. Is it daunting to work with your partner? M: It’s really not hard for us. We’ve done it for so long and our tastes are very similar. We defer to each other if one of us feels very strongly about something in particular. It’s just not difficult for us. L: We started working together forty years ago; maybe it’s even longer now, I guess. Meg supervised the music on The Big Chill and just did a spectacular job. That [soundtrack] album was hugely successful and people still talk about it. Years later we wrote Grand Canyon together and we made Darling Companion. We’ve found that each time it’s been very satisfying to work together. Have your writing techniques changed over the years? L: It hasn’t changed too much for me. But what you’re describing is what I think most writers feel. Some are able to overcome it on a regular basis, they get started at 7 a.m. and then stop at 2. Then there are others who do
like me, and what you’re describing, which is procrastinate endlessly. Because the start of writing is always difficult. It’s a hump to get over. But once you are actually writing, it feels very satisfying and good. But the idea of writing is always intimidating. So what’s next? What’s left to do at this point? M: If there’s something interesting, we’ll do it. But I think at this point it’s more important for Larry to continue working than it is for me. L: It’s like we were talking about age. When you reach this age, your perspective changes enormously. There’s a kind of relaxation about your work in a way. Everything doesn’t seem that monumental now. But you’ve made big movies and small creative projects like Ed’s. L: Yeah, I’ve made big movies, I’ve made small movies. But when they come out, it’s always a trial. But now, none of that seems so important anymore. Now it’s about what are the pleasures of doing the process. Before we go, we should talk about the whole Stars Wars phenomenon. It’ll live on past twice our lifetimes at this point. But what was your initial take on the whole concept? L: I had been trying to get into the movie business and I’d been writing for about seven years with no luck. Then suddenly, I sold two original screenplays. From those two sales and the profile they gave me, I was offered a chance to write Raiders Of The Lost Ark. I wrote that and when I’d finished it - George Lucas and I had gotten along very well - he said, ‘I’m in trouble with the second Star Wars movie, will you come in and work on it?’ That became The Empire Strikes Back. I had no expectations at that point, but now all these years later Star Wars has been a part of my life ever since. But that’s a major goal of any sort of art, that it carries on. Yeah, that’s the goal of movies - even ones that aren’t as big as Star Wars, of course. When, all over the world, people come up and say, ‘Oh you know that movie you made? Well it really meant a lot to me.’ That’s the real goal; that’s pretty much all you could hope would ever happen. insiteatlanta.com • March 2020 • PG 17
Album Reviews BEING SHELEA
REVIEWS BY JOHN B. MOORE
In This Town You’re Owned
(Thirty Tigers) Flaunting the wide reach of Americana in 2020, the latest, next best shot at growing the genre into a much deservedly wider following is based in Liverpool. On his third album, Robert Vincent puts forth a collection of songs that would make Gut Clark proud. Thankfully ignoring the advice that musicians should avoid politics, In This Town Your Owned is 10 deeply personal songs reacting to everything from the state of global chaos to spirituality. The highlight is “Kids Don’t Dig God Anymore.” While not taking sides on the religious debate, it’s a beautiful, almost mournful observation about a generation that no longer holds faith or feels a sense of spirituality to get them through the dark times. Thanks to painfully honest lyrics and Vincent’s hauntingly vulnerable vocals, it’s a hymn that even an atheist can sing along to. Elsewhere, the opening track, “This Town,” is just as earnest and powerful and the seemingly out of character “My Neighbours Ghost,” an up-tempo singalong, is a pleasant surprise. There are moments in the middle of the record where it drags a bit due to sparseness, and a couple more upbeat songs like “My Neighbours Ghost” would round the record out nicely. Regardless, In This Town You’re Owned is a near perfect modern marriage of folk, country and personal politics.
Under Tension (Pirates Press Records)
The Seattle-based four-piece punk band The Drowns manage to somehow sound both assuredly nostalgic and contemporary at the same time. On their latest LP, Under Tension, the band brings to mind everyone from The Street Dogs and the first few Dropkick Murphys albums (sans bagpipes) to Swingin’ Utters. The fact that Ted Hutt, one of the best punk producers to come around in decades, oversaw this latest probably didn’t hurt. But this is far from being a punk rock jukebox. Over the past few years they’ve developed their own style and sound. The vocals delivered with immediacy and voraciousness paired with a wall of distortion help propel these 11 tracks forward with a sense of urgency. The album kicks off on a strong note with ‘Black Lung” and “Them Rats,” but it’s the third song, “Wolves On The Throne,” where the band really shines. The vocals are mixed higher than the guitars allowing for the lyrics – one of the sharpest political songs written during the Trump administration – to be heard loud and clear. Despite a relative short, but impressive tenure as a group, “Wolves on the Throne” is destined to be a band classic. Elsewhere, “One More Pint” is a reliable Blue Collar drinking song and “Wastin’ Time” is an honest to god love song, though still a punk song at its core, so the sentimentality is still struggling to get over a wall of blaring power chords and machine gun drumming. PG 18 • March 2020 • insiteatlanta.com
While the band’s debut showed plenty of promise, Under Tension over delivers on those promises for a remarkably satisfying LP from start to finish.
Is It You, Is It Me (Thirty Tigers)
California-based Dustbowl Revival have always been a little hard to pin down musically. There is definitely an Americana vibe to their music, but there are also hefty elements of jazz, swing and pop. Their latest, Is It You, Is It Me does little to dispel that confusion. Across a baker’s dozen of new songs, the band relies just as heavily on their horn section as they do their acoustic guitars for a satisfyingly eclectic mashup of genres. This new effort builds on the solid foundation of 2017’s self-titled LP, branching out even more so sonically – an impressive feat when you consider how diverse that first album was musically. Though not as energetic as their last album, the band still vacillates from slow build songs like “Sonic Boom” and a smoothed down, mellow jam like “Mirror,” to a joyfully up tempo Dixieland vibe on the song “Nobody Knows (Is It You)”. The band also opens up to more pop elements with this outing, not shying away from a strong hook and memorable chorus. At 13 tracks, the album stretches on for a song or two too long, but there is more than enough great music here to forgive a little excess.
40: The Best Of 1979 – 2019
(Universal) Simple Minds may best be remembered in this country for the outro song that gets played during the final shot of The Breakfast Club – a track that has almost become shorthand for Generation X rebellion, played at school reunions to this day. But as many in Europe and elsewhere outside of the U.S. knows, the Scottish band has an exhaustively large cannon of music that pre-and post-dates that mid ‘80s gem. This exhaustive three-CD set of 40 songs spanning 1979 – 2019 is a perfect proof. Yes, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” is here (13th track on the second disc), but it’s surround by dozens of equally impressive mix of fast-tempo dance rock songs and ballads, that deserve attention. Their other U.S. hits are obviously here as well - “Alive And Kicking,” “Sanctify Yourself” and “All The Things She Said”- but long after American audiences relegated the band to the “‘80s pile,” Simple Minds continued to churn out album after album up until 2018’s stellar Walk Between Worlds. Group founders, singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchell, have remained in the line-up throughout it all. Also includes in this set are acoustic versions of “Waterfront” and “See The Lights,” two fantastic performances. Simple Minds clearly deserves to be remembered for more in the U.S. than being a shuffle list nostalgia group. This definitive collection is all the proof you need.
Singer-Actress Chats About Her Friend David Foster’s New Solo Tour
BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH
HIS MONTH, GRAMMY WINNING producer-musician David Foster continues his North American tour with a swing through the deep south. “An Intimate Evening with David Foster - Hitman Tour” continues his evolution as a solo performer with a career-spanning evening of music. Peppered with often-humorous stories behind some of the biggest hits and inspirations of his career, the event touches on music made famous by Celine Dion (“Because You Loved Me”) Whitney Houston, Earth Wind and Fire, Josh Groban (“You Raised Me Up”), Chicago, Natalie Cole and more. On select dates, Foster’s wife, singer-actress Katharine McPhee will perform. She will not perform in Atlanta due to previous commitments. But his able ensemble includes singer-actress Shelea, Pia Toscano and Fernando Varela as they revisit the pivotal moments of Foster’s life in music. He calls this era a new chapter of his already impressive career with several new live theater projects currently in the works. During a break in the tour Shelea - a new protégé of legendary producer Quincy Jones and a former viral sensation for her renditions of Whitney Houston’s best songs - called in to discuss the show and her incredible connection to Foster’s legendary friend. After the tour, Shelea will be seen on April 11 as gospel singer Dorinda Clark in Lifetime’s new biopic “The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies Of Gospel,” produced by Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliott.
remember thinking, ‘You know I would give it all up if she were still here with us.’ But after a while, her dancers, her singers, her musicians, her best friend and even some family members, all reached out to me. Some said they said were finally able to cry for the first time after hearing my versions. But I think the most meaningful one of all is when her daughter Bobbi Kristina found me. She sent me a beautiful message. “When I hear you sing, I feel my mother’s spirit is still with me. If my mom was here, she would be so proud of you.” That really made it all worthwhile for me. An incredible compliment. That was the moment I knew why I did the tribute. It wasn’t to say, ‘Oh look, I can sing Whitney Houston songs too.’ That really wasn’t the point. It certainly wasn’t why I was moved to do the songs in the first place. It was really an expression from the heart because this woman gave so much to me. It was just my way of showing how much I loved her work. The way it resonated made me feel a lot better about carrying on her music.
The show at Symphony Hall with David Foster is a more intimate presentation than his previous tour. In a way, you are channeling the legacy. It is. It’s really a fun evening of the music and I really do feel that I am, yes. I’m singing her stories of the people he’s been associated with songs but in them you can also hear Shelea. I’m from throughout his career. not lost in them, but I feel a It’s his first time really touring deep connection to them. as a solo artist. It’s a careerspanning evening, so he starts (W/ SHELEA & FRIENDS) You and David have been by talking about writing for Friday, March 20 • 8pm working together for a few Earth, Wind and Fire because Symphony Hall years now. He’s even on your that was such a defining PBS special. atlantasymphony.org moment of his career. Maurice He is and I first met him White is really who taught through Stevie Wonder some him how to be a producer and years back. Stevie and David were working on gave him a perspective on music. So he really a project and we had an instant connection but goes down memory lane and talks about a lot of I didn’t know how far it would be going in that those special moments. He’s brining Pia Toscano, moment. He does a lot of charity work and I’d go Fernando Varela, Katherine McPhee and myself along and sing and he’ d include me in his work along on some of the dates to interpret the songs. and recordings. Then, when it came time for me to do my PBS special, he really wanted to be a Katherine won’t be at the Atlanta show due to part of it. I’m so grateful for the way we’ve been some sort of scheduling issue, correct? able to create live music together but really just Yes, she landed the lead in a new Netflix series our friendship itself is incredible. so she had to step out of some of the shows.
Tell us a bit about your contribution to the show. He’s tapped me to do the Whitney Houston stuff, so we’ll be doing a medley of “The Bodyguard” material. Then we’ll do some of the Chaka Khan material. We’ll be revisiting some of the more soulful artists of his career. And who better to do the Whitney songs than you? It’s always an honor, truly. You’ve been associated with her work on various platforms for quite some time now. I’ve had a bittersweet connection to her music, since she first passed. I did a tribute to her that went semi-viral. Here I was, getting a lot of attention for singing her songs and I
You’ve worked with David Foster, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones and so many more legendary and often larger-than-life personalities. At what point do they become collaborators and peers instead of just untouchable icons? They are all so open and encouraging for me as a musician. I always say about David, he listens to my ideas and he doesn’t ‘David Foster me,’ you know what I mean? Because I know that I’m on an even playing field. There’s not a hierarchy with them. I remember my dad telling me that he always wanted me to grow up knowing that I’m not better than anyone. But in that same breath, he’s say, ‘But no one is better than you.’ So when I meet people like Stevie or David, I do feel like I’m their peer because I know what I bring to the table musically.
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