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SEPTEMBER 2018

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7 YEARS! 2 G N I T ELEBRA

INSITEATLANTA.COM

VOL. 27, NO. 2 FREE

NFL PREVIEW ROB SCHNEIDER MELISSA ETHERIDGE

FALL Festivals

North Georgia State Fair • Helen, GA Oktoberfest Taste of Smyrna • Old Fourth Ward Fall Fest East Atlanta Strut • Norcross Art Splash & Wine Atlanta Pride Festival • Brookhaven Arts Festival Great Atlanta Beer Fest • Taste of Atlanta & Many More!


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CONTENTS • SEPTEMBER 2018 • VOLUME 27, NO. 2

C

Atlanta’s

Entertainment Monthly

09

Separate Kids Dance Floor Dog Friendly Biergarten

09 Clay Funches of Red Clay Comedy Fest 15 Rob Schneider 16 Doug Gray of Marshall Tucker Band 16 Melissa Etheridge 17 Kansas

Octoberfest Parade Sept. 8 at Noon!

15

September 6–9 • 13–16 • 20–23 • 27–30 October 1–28

FEATURES

Admission: $8 Mon–Fri, $10 on Sat, FREE on Sun Time: Weekdays 6–10:30pm, Fri 6pm–Midnight, Sat 1pm–Midnight

07 Atlanta on a Dime Restaurant Deals

1074 Edelweiss Strasse • Helen, GA 30545

10 Fall Festival Guide

For more information, contact the Alpine Helen Chamber of Commerce at 706-878-1619

18 NFL Season Preview

COLUMNS

Large Selection of Germ & Domes an tic Beers Oversizesd, Pretzel eer B Brats & se Chee

Live Germainc Mus Dancing

EARS! ING 27 Y T A R B E EL

INTERVIEWS

PRESENTING THE 2018 & 48TH ANNUAL

HelenChamber.com

Oktoberfest Festhalle Friends

16

04 Around Town 05 On Tap 06 Atlanta on a Dime 08 Under The Lights 08 Station Control 14 Movie Reviews 15 New Releases

Check Out Our New Menu!

16

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

Follow us on the web!

Music Editor John Moore john@insiteatlanta.com Contributing Writers / Interns: Alex. S. Morrison, Dave Cohen, Benjamin Carr, Demarco Williams

We’ve kept all your favorites & added several exciting new dishes.

MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 76483 Atlanta, GA 30358 WEBSITE • insiteatlanta.com ADVERTISING INFORMATION (404) 308-5119 • ads@insiteatlanta.com Editorial content of INsite is the opinion of each writer and is not necessarily the opinion of INsite, its staff, or its advertisers. INsite does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertising or editorial content, nor do the publisher or editors of INsite assume responsibility NFL PREVIEW should such advertising or editorial appear. No ROB SCHNEIDER MELISSA ETHERIDGE content, i.e., articles, graphics, designs and information (any and all) in this publication may be reproduced in any manner without written permission from publisher. SEPTEMBER 2018

INSITEATLANTA.COM

VOL. 27, NO. 2 FREE

S! TING 27 YEAR CELEBRA

© Copyright 2018, Be Bop Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Please check out our Fall Festival Guide on page 10.

FFestAivaLlsL

North Georgia State Fair • Helen, Taste of Smyrna • Old Fourth GA Oktoberfest East Atlanta Strut • Norcross ArtWard Fall Fest Splash & Wine Atlanta Pride Festival • Brookhave n Arts Festival Great Atlanta Beer Fest • Taste of Atlanta & Many More!

insiteatlanta.com • September 2018 • PG 3


Around Town NOW THRU SEPTEMBER 23

The Tortoise, the Hare & Other Aesop's Fables Center for Puppetry Arts

The Tortoise, the Hare & Other Aesop's Fables offers classic stories and morals for young audiences. Featuring famous fables, such as “The Lion and the Mouse;” “Country Mouse and City Mouse;” “The Fox and the Crane;” “The Ant and the Grasshopper;” and “The Tortoise and the Hare;” the family-favorite musical show is sure to engage even the youngest family members. The performance includes life lessons presented as short stories in order to introduce these concepts to toddlers in a fun, comfortable and positive environment. Visit puppet.org for show listings and tickets.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 Phillip Phillips

The Fred Amphitheater

Phillip Phillips is the Season 11 American Idol winner. See him perform his platinum hit song “Home” along with “Gone, Gone, Gone”, “Raging Fire” and many more Saturday, September 8. Later in the month Yacht Rock Revue will perform the music of the Beatles and your favorite 70’s smooth rock in two sets on Friday, September 28. e Fred Amphitheater is nestled in the woods of Peachtree City only a 45 minute drive from Atlanta. Tickets may be purchased through the Fred website at amphitheater.org or by phone at 877-725-8849.

Events and Performances taking place this Month

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 Fall Folklife Festival Atlanta History Center

Celebrating the exhibition Barbecue Nation, this year’s Fall Folklife focuses on barbecue traditions of Native Americans, African Americans and European Americans. Regional cultural expressions will be explored and will feature honored guests from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma returning to their ancestral lands. The Smith Family Farm provides the ideal backdrop for exploring our Southern foodways traditions with chef demos and discussions in our open hearth kitchens. Hands-on demonstrations explore Southern crafts such as basket weaving, woodworking, pottery, food preservation and candle dipping. Sip local brews while listening to the sounds of Georgia folk musicians, visiting with regional folk artists and exploring signature exhibitions and the fall foliage in the Goizueta Gardens. Visit atlantahistorycenter.com.

SEPTEMBER 25 - OCTOBER 24 Nina Simone: Four Women

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre

In its Atlanta debut, Nina Simone: Four Women brings to life the four women from the play’s namesake song, giving voice to “Aunt Sarah”, “ S e p h r o n i a ”, “Sweet Thing”, and “Peaches”. The day after the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, these four women find themselves in search of solace

in the ruins of the church, where Nina is struggling to compose a song that can capture the pain and protest that resides in her heart. This play with music includes some of Nina Simone’s most popular civil rights anthems such as “Mississippi Goddam,” “Go Limp,” and “Young, Gifted, and Black.”

SEPTEMBER 27 - OCTOBER 21 Nell Gwynn

Synchronicity Theatre

Atlanta’s Synchronicity Theatre will open its 21st Season with Jessica Swale’s Nell Gwynn, a comedy based on the true story of an orange vendor who becomes one of the most celebrated actresses in 17th Century London – and King Charles II’s mistress. Tickets at synchotheatre.com.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 Max Richter

Schwartz Center for Performing Arts

The Candler Concert Series kicks off its 16th year in the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts with Max Richter and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble performing Infra and music from The Blue Notebooks. Richter has become best known for his genre-defining and highly influential solo albums which have given rise to the ever-burgeoning neo-classical movement. Tickets are available through the Arts at Emory Box Office online at arts.emory.edu/box-office, in person, or by calling 404-727-5050 Monday – Friday, noon – 6 p.m.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

Georgia Blues & Roots Festival Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre

The Georgia Blues and Roots Festival offers fun for the whole family. Enjoy blues performances for Carl Weathersby, Albert Castiglia, The Stone Foxes, Charlie Wooton & Zydefunk, Larry Giffith and more. There will be blues and zydeco dance lessons, harmonica workshop, free parking and children 12 and under free. This year’s festival will give “The Georgia Music Legend Award” to Atlanta’s own, Eddie Tigner and Sandra Hal. Tickets at gabluesnroots.org.

SEPTEMBER 29 & 30

Decatur Tiny House Festival Downtown Decatur

The Tiny House Festival offers thoughtprovoking speakers and 20+ real and really cool tiny houses to tour. Attendees will be able to attend various sessions, dine from food trucks and local restaurants, attend a tiny travel area and kids corner for tiny humans. Visit TinyHouseAtlanta.com.

OCTOBER 5 - 7

Harry Potter Film Concert Series Atlanta Symphony Hall

The Harry Potter Film Concert Series returns to Atlanta Symphony Hall with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Concert, the second film in the series. On October 5, 6 and 7 of 2018, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will perform John Williams' unforgettable score from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, while the entire film plays in high-definition on a 40-foot screen. Visit atlantasymphony.org.

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On Tap this Month MAJOR EVENTS COMING TO ATLANTA

August 29 - Sept 2: Infinite Energy Arena

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL CORTEO

Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo is performing in Duluth at the Infinite Energy Arena through Sunday, September 2 for a limited run of seven performances. is unique production, directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, first premiered in Montreal under the Big Top in April 2005. Since then, the show has been a great success and has amazed 8 million people in 64 cities in 19 countries on four continents. Tickets at cirquedusoleil.com/corteo.

MAX RICHTER WITH THE ACME ENSEMBLE September 28 at 8 p.m. Featuring music from Richter’s album Infra and cult classic The Blue Notebooks

TICKETS ON SALE NOW! 404.727.5050

arts.emory.edu/INsite

SCHWARTZ CENTER

CANDLER CONCERT SERIES

FOR PERFORMING ARTS

August 30 - Sept 3: Downtown Atlanta

DRAGON CON

Celebrating their 32nd year, Dragon Con returns this Labor Day weekend. Dragon Con is the largest multimedia, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music and film in the world. Dragon Con boasts close to 40 fan-based tracks, a film festival, parade, art show, comics, pop art exhibits and displays, nightly concerts and parties. Visit DragonCon.org for more details.

September 8 & 9: Central Park Downtown

ONE MUSIC FEST

is music festival celebrates Hip Hop, EDM, Reggae, Funk, Trap, House, Classics, Alternative Rock and Soul. It takes place on Saturday, September 8th at and Sunday, September 9th at their new Central Park location. Artists appearing this year include: Nas, 2 Chainz, Miguel, Big Boi, T.I., Big Sean, Monica and many more. ere will be plenty of food trucks and a VIP Lounge. Visit OneMusicFest.com.

September 15 & 16: Piedmont Park

MUSIC MIDTOWN

Music Midtown Festival is back in Piedmont Park on Saturday, September 15 and Sunday, September 16. Festival hours are noon-11pm on Saturday, and noon10pm on Sunday. is year’s festival will be a treat for all music lovers with headliners Kenrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, Post Malone, Fall Out Boy, Khalid, irty Seconds to Mars, Gucci Mane, Janelle Monae, and more. Visit MusicMidtown.com.

September 20 - 30: Jim R. Miller Park, Marietta

NORTH GEORGIA STATE FAIR

e 86th annual North Georgia State Fair takes place ursday, Sept 20 - Sunday, Sept 30 at Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta. Over 300,000 people come out each year for live music, free attractions and shows, farm animals, flower shows, blue ribbon competitions, local entertainment, and delicious fair foods. ere are also games and rides on the Great James H. Drew Exposition midway. Visit NorthGeorgiaStateFair.com.

September 21-23: Atlanta Motor Speedway

IMAGINE MUSIC FESTIVAL

Imagine (IMF) is a 3-day camping and electronic dance music festival held at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Ranked top 5 in the nation, the festival is an all-encompassing, 360-degree sensory experience that blends music, circus troupes, performers, dancers, art, workshops, classes and more. Headline performers this year include: Armin Van Buuren, Alesso, Galantis, RL Grime & Zeds Dead. Tickets at ImagineFestival.com. insiteatlanta.com • September 2018 • PG 5


EVENTS HAPPENING FOR SMALL CHANGE IN ATLANTA

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

Saturday, Sept 1 - Monday, Sept 3

MARIETTA ART IN THE PARK

Marietta Square; Daily 10am - 5pm Free; ArtParkMarietta.com

Taking place over Labor Day Weekend, Marietta Art in the Park showcases 175 fine artists, the Chalk Spot, a children’s art area, an art gallery tour, food trucks and entertainment for the entire family; all taking place amid a variety of dining options and historic sites. is three-day festival draws more than 45,000 attendees.

Thursday, Sept. 6 - Sunday Sept. 9

the stars at the beautiful new Green @ City Springs. Greatest Showman is being offered for free on Friday, September 7. Arrive early at 6:00 PM for entertainment, prizes and fun activities. Movies begin at dusk. For this show, themed entertainment will include: stilt jugglers, balloonists, Circus ringmaster, Jump Start Tumbling, great raffle items, fun photo opportunities plus clown noses. Food Trucks and other concessions will be on hand.

Saturday, September 15

EAST COBBER PARADE

YELLOW DAISY FESTIVAL

Johnson Ferry Baptist Church Free; EastCobber.com/parade

is year marks the 50th anniversary of the Yellow Daisy Festival. Featuring more than 400 artists, daily live entertainment, Children's Corner activities, crafter demonstration and fabulous festival foods. Free with paid parking admission.

MOVIES BY MOONLIGHT

e parade begins at 10am at Princeton Lakes subdivision entrance and travels south on Johnson Ferry Road ending in the parking lot of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. Known as the candy parade, nearly all floats toss candy to the crowd. Featuring over two thousand participants and more than eighty groups in floats, marching bands, classic cars, and more. After the parade enjoy live entertainment, arts & crafts, food and carnival games.

Join family & friends for free movies under

MARIETTA STREET FEST

Stone Mountain Park Free; StoneMountainPark.com

Friday, September 7

Glover Park Historic Marietta Square Free; MariettaStreetfest.com

Sunday, September 30

Marietta StreetFest offers many free activities including arts & crafts booths, Classic Car Show, a kid-friendly activity zone, the Toy Box Trot fun run and the Marietta Grassroots Music Festival. e Kids Korner features “make and take” art stations, interactive games, inflatable slides and bounce houses. Young attendees can purchase a wristband for unlimited play.

Peachtree Street Free; AtlantaStreetsAlive.com

Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 15 & 16

ROSWELL ARTS FESTIVAL Historic Town Square in Roswell Free; RoswellArtsFestival.com

Held on the third weekend in September at the Historic Town Square in Roswell. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Entertainment featuring local singers and dance companies begins daily at noon. Children’s paintings, sand art, balloon animals and other activities are also available. e festival offers a variety of food trucks on site.

ATLANTA STREETS ALIVE is Central route celebrates Atlanta’s signature Peachtree Street through the heart of the city from Downtown to Midtown. Event takes place from 2 - 6pm. Enjoy biking, skating, walking and rolling down the street and take part in this fun, free, family-friendly event.

Saturday Sept. 29 - Sunday, Sept. 30

CANDLER PARK FALL FEST Candler Park Free; CandlerParkFallfest.com

With a challenging 5K, Tour of Homes, live music, local food, fun-filled Kids Zone, and over 110 artist booths this free festival is not to be missed. e 5K kicks things off at 9am on Saturday followed by the 1 mile Fun Run at 10:00am. Tour of Homes is on Sunday from noon - 6 p.m. Artist market open 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Music and food from noon until late. Movies by Moonlight The Greatest Showman Friday, September 7 The Green @ City Springs

The Green @ City Springs; Begins at 6pm Saturday, Sept 15 - Sunday, Sept 16 Free; Leadershipsandysprings.org REceive Updated Events Weekly. Sign Up by Emailing Subscriptions@atlantaonadime.com Enter on the subject line: Sign me up Insite!

PG 6 • September 2018 • insiteatlanta.com


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Under The Lights ON STAGE THIS MONTH

A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2

September 1 - 30 Actors Express (404) 607-7469 Actors-Express.com Written by the author of last season’s The Christians, A Doll’s House, Part 2 was one of the biggest smash hits of the 2017 Broadway season and was unanimously cheered by audiences and critics alike. Fifteen years ago, Nora Helmer made the shocking decision to leave her husband and family, setting out on a new independent life. Now she has come home, knocking on the same door she slammed shut a decade and a half earlier – arriving with a request for an impossible favor from her husband. Long-simmering resentments boil over in an intellectual and comedic slugfest about ideas, love and the rights of women in the modern world.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Sept 5 - October 21

Atlanta Botanical Garden (404) 733-5000 AllianceTheatre.org/Midsummer In a setting that even Shakespeare himself couldn’t have imagined, the Alliance Theatre will produce a whimsical, outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. In Shakespeare’s most popular comedy, two couples deal with love and all its complications – confusion, jealousy, and passion. Further hindering the couples on their way to happily ever after are a lively band of characters and challenging events, including a band of actors, wood sprites and elves, and a botched love potion! Directed by David Catlin, founding ensemble member of Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago.

THE TWO KIDS THAT BLOW SH*T UP September 7 - 30

Aurora Theatre (678) 226-6222 AuroraTheatre.com Based on modern day experiences of love, dating and navigating the often-challenging world, The Two Kids That Blow Sh*t Up

tells the story of 9-year-old kids Max and Diana who meet on the day their parents start having an affair. Through decades of their parents’ disorderly relationship of getting together, breaking up, getting married and then divorced, they’re relentlessly forced together and become fast friends. Seeing each other through all of life’s epic fails, the two try and figure out how to fall in love without making the same mistakes as their parents.

ALADDIN

September 12 - 23 The Fox Theatre (855) 285-8499 FoxTheatre.org/Aladdin Aladdin, adapted from the Academy Award-winning animated Disney film and centuries-old folktales including “One Thousand and One Nights,” is brought to fresh theatrical life in this bold new musical. Aladdin’s journey sweeps audiences into an exotic world of daring adventure, classic comedy and timeless romance. This new production features a full score, including the five cherished songs from the Academy Awardwinning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage.

NOMAD HOTEL

September 21 - October 21 Horizon Theatre (404) 584-7450 HorizonTheatre.com Third in Horizon’s New American Dreams Series, Nomad Motel is a fresh, wry, intercultural comedy about inclusion, understanding, and living in the land of plenty without a safety net. Alix lives with her family in a tiny motel room, caring for her brothers while her newly divorced mom figures out a plan. Her classmate Mason lives alone in a grand, empty house, composing music while his absent father runs jobs for the Hong Kong mafia. Until the day his father disappears and Mason has to figure out how to come up with grocery money and dodge Child Services and U.S. Immigration. Mason and Alix develop an unlikely friendship, learning to scrape by and trying to outrun their parents’ mistakes together.

TV

Station Control

NOVELS COME TO SMALL SCREEN BY BENJAMIN CARR

F

OR TRUE ESCAPISM, SOMETIMES you cannot beat a good novel. There is a magic to reading a good story with solid characters, getting caught up in mystery and suspense. Some very, very solid literary adaptations have recently been released, and a familiar hero from books and film is about to hit the small screen for the first time. Taken off the shelves, these stories make for excellent viewing.

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY (Netflix)

This Netflix original film, directed by Four Weddings and a Funeral veteran Mike Newell, is based upon the historical romance novel of the same quirky name by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It reunites Lily James with her Downton Abbey co-stars Penelope Wilton, Matthew Goode and Jessica Brown Findlay. And it also stars the incredibly handsome Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones) and Glen Powell (Scream Queens) as two suitors vying for her affection. Set in 1946, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society centers on London author Juliet Ashton, who begins to research a unique book club that began on the isle of Guernsey in the English Channel during its Nazi occupation. Formed by chance by a group of people who were illegally roasting a pig, the group soon discovered a love for reading and a weekly chance to escape the Nazi horror around them. Elizabeth, one of the founding members and the mother to a young girl, has gone missing, and Juliet begins to research what exactly happened to her. In the meantime, she begins to develop feelings for a pig farmer named Dawsey, a situation complicated by Juliet’s recent engagement. The film is many things. It’s a charming fish-outof-water story, an effective romance, an interesting look at one of the forgotten chapters of World War II and a tribute to the families we create for ourselves. It’s really heartwarming and sweet.

TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN (Amazon)

The character Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst often thrown into treacherous international conspiracies, has been featured in multiple films before, including The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games. He has been played by four different actors onscreen: Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine. And now John Krasinski, the star of The Office and A Quiet Place, is playing Ryan in a new Amazon series. Created by late author Tom Clancy, who specialized in military thrillers with shocking twists, the new series Jack Ryan takes the character out of his old Cold War novels and puts him squarely in our current political climate.

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan

Investigating some financial transactions from a terrorist cell, Ryan discovers that a new attack is imminent. Surrounded by threats and working rogue, Ryan must use his brains - and his action prowess - to save the world. The creators of the show, Graham Roland and Lost alum Carlton Cuse, have imagined the series as one season-long movie. It co-stars The Wire’s Wendell Pierce and Abbie Cornish.

ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE (Amazon)

Based upon one of her favorite later works, Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence is a threeepisode miniseries about a 1950s family murder at a British country estate. It stars the great Bill Nighy, Matthew Goode and Star Trek’s Alice Eve. This is a fun, beautifully photographed and well-acted mystery with excellent twists and legitimate shocks, the sort that Christie did better than anyone. Rachel (Anna Chancellor) was murdered on Christmas Eve 1956, and suspicion immediately fell upon her ne’er-do-well adopted son Jack, who was arrested and charged in spite of professing that he had hitched a ride prior to the killing. He was killed in jail shortly thereafter before the case was ever brought to trial. And the patriarch Leo (Nighy) and all of Rachel’s adopted children have struggled to move on from the tragedy. Everyone in the family is also dealing with horrible secrets. On the eve of Leo’s wedding to his buxom secretary Gwenda (played by Eve, channeling AnnMargret), a mysterious man named Dr. Arthur Calgary (Luke Treadaway) shows up claiming to be Jack’s alibi, the driver of the car. Claiming he knows Jack is innocent, the family is undone because, if Jack wasn’t the killer, one of them was. Far better than the recent film version of her classic Murder on the Orient Express, Ordeal by Innocence is great fun that will keep you guessing right until the end, just like the best books do.

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

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PG 8 • September 2018 • insiteatlanta.com


COMEDY

ADORABLE BUT GETTING BETTER

Busy Comedian Ron Funches Co-Headlines the Red Clay Comedy Festival

BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH

T

different cartoons, the Trolls sequel and I’m gonna be on the second season of Final Space on TBS. Now I get to work with people like Conan O’Brien, guys I looked up to as a kid and a teen. It’s like that old adage, ‘When you do what you love, you don’t work a day in your life.’ At the end of the day, I’m always learning.

HE RED CLAY COMEDY FESTIVAL returns this fall with a rock-solid lineup of comedians, podcasters, musical performances and a number of surprise guests. In late September, East Atlanta village will be laughing all weekend with great performances from some of todays hottest acts. How’d you and Bobcat Goldthwait meet up? Ron Funches co-headlines the festival with Janeane Just from doin’ comedy. We became friends and when Garofalo and the two polar-opposite comics represent the Comedy Central asked me about doing a special I thought incredible diversity of the event. Funches of having him direct it. I didn’t think he’d made his mark on TV as Shelly on NBC’s be available, but he was totally about it. Undateable, continuing with roles on He understood the concept. The way he Powerless, The Kroll Show and Bob’s Sept. 29 7 & 9:30pm shot it, the stage and everything is tied to Burgers as well as supporting appearances my act and I think it’ll really stand out. Main Stage Tent in feature films and an ever-increasing There’re so many specials coming out all Midway in East Atlanta resume of voiceovers - including the Trolls Red Clay Comedy Festival the time, I wanted something that wasn’t franchise and TBS’ Final Space. just a 60-minute set; it needed to have a During a delightful telephone redclaycomedy.com real reason to exist. conversation often punctuated by his signature laugh, the Los Angeles-based He knows a lot about the presentation of comedian looked back on his career and upcoming projects, a very specific persona because he did it for so long. Did including an upcoming hourlong special for Comedy he offer you any advice? Central and a new podcast, “Getting Better with Ron Yeah! Some of the best advice he gave me was to Funches,” an audio life-journal on health and spirituality. remember we were taping - so it wasn’t necessarily a live performance. If I made a mistake, we could just back up and Now that you’re on the move, the game shows are calling. redo the joke. For some reason, even though I’d been on TV You were a champion on @Midnight, but you’re also shows and acted in things, it never occurred to me that I doing the network shows - including my favorite, The didn’t have to just nail it perfectly. When he reminded me Match Game. of that, it took off a lot of pressure. Growing up, I was always a big fan of the Game Show Network and Press Your Luck is probably my favorite game In the ‘80s, Bobcat developed show of all time but doing Match a distinctive persona that was Game was really amazing. I got drastically different from the real to help a charity that I’m really guy. Do you feel that your image is invested in, which was fun. I got a larger-than-life character or are to meet a lot of real celebrities and we seeing the real you on stage? pretend like I was one of them, too. It’s basically me, just turned up a few notches. Sometimes I have Do they encourage the celebrity to fight against the fact that I get panelists to wing it? labeled as “adorable” or things of It’s so fun and easy. You just that nature. But I am adorable! show up, dress nice and say or That’s just true. I’m a sweet boy. do whatever you want. If you But I’m also a full-grown man and I curse, they’ll bleep it. You get to have these other-type thoughts. So be on with a bunch of really good sometimes my jokes can be harsh. comedic minds, so any chance I Sometimes I have to remind people can get to do it, I’ll take it. Put me that, ‘Hey, you don’t get to tell me on all the game shows. Put me on who I am and what my art is.’ the Wheel! Thanks to new projects, you may be gaining fans who You’re always juggling a ton of projects, usually starting might not know your original intent. out around 6 a.m., often ending up at a comedy club Yeah, sometimes I feel I’m constantly introducing myself before your day is done. as a person to people who don’t know me. I have to be I do try to stay busy, sometimes to my own detriment. careful in that regard. But for the most part, I think that the But for the most part I just try to take advantage of all second you’re worried about how people are gonna view the opportunities I can. I’ve been doing a lot of voices for you as a comedian - or any type of artist - you’re already

RON FUNCHES

in a bad position. It freezes you up from being able to just follow whatever train of thought you may have. I like to follow those, even if I know they’re negative. Sometimes there’s a fun joke in there. None of us have all positive thoughts so it doesn’t make sense to me to not joke about negative things. With that comes freedom of expression which is what comedy is all about. Absolutely! The freedom to be yourself. Look, I’m a human who makes mistakes but I’m not using that as an excuse to be a total dirtbag so I can do racist or sexist jokes. We’ve all seen the trend where comedians are held accountable for every little thing they say or do. There’s a big difference between the real world and online but I never really have any issues onstage. That’s what I care about the most. I just try to do it and hopefully people will get it. If not, I’ll try to do it better next time. The whole point of being a comic is to make the audience laugh and think. I agree! The point is not to just give you whatever you want. It’s to give what you might not have even known you wanted. But you do radiate a cool, positive vibe - and that’s especially rare in comedy. Well you know, goin’ back to Bobcat, he gave me a great compliment. When we were done with the special, he said he noticed that just being around me makes people want to be better.

Coming in October

HalloweeN Issue

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F

Fall Festivals

all is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor festivals in Atlanta. The hot humid days of August are behind us and the weather feels invigorating. If you thought the spring was a busy time for festivals in Atlanta, wait until you see our Fall Festival Guide! It is chock full of events happening throughout the metro area. Stop by any of the ones listed below and you are sure to see packed crowds filled with people of all ages and backgrounds. Many of these festivals have a similar theme: food, music, kid's area, local performers, arts and crafts, vendors and more. Many have free admission or a small admission fee. Check the individual websites for more details.

SEPTEMBER FESTIVALS HELEN, GA OKTOBERFEST

September 6 - 9, 13 - 16, 20 - 23, 27 - 30 then Oct 1 - 28 Festhalle, Helen, GA helenchamber.com Beer, brats, bands and Lederhosen - the Helen Oktoberfest has them all! Join the longest running Oktoberfest in the United States, which runs weekends in September then every day in October through October 28. Every year the Helen Festhalle houses the

PG 10 • September 2018 • insiteatlanta.com

event. German-style bands from around the country and around the world play on the stage. Grab your partner and take a spin on the dance floor to lively Polka music. Visit the helenchamber.com.

TASTE OF SMYRNA

Saturday, September 15 11am - 8pm Downtown Smyrna smyrnacity.com The Taste of Smyrna is food, fun and music all day long! Nibble and nosh your way around the Village Green. Admission is free and samples can be purchased from $1 up to $4. Plan to sample from over 30 restaurants and listen to acoustic music on the beautiful Village Green and the Market Village. Scott Thompson provides acoustic music from 11am – 3pm adjacent to the Veteran’s Memorial. The kids will have a blast at the Kids Zone on the Euro Bungee Quad Jump, giant slides, bounces, special OPS obstacle course and more!

NORTH GEORGIA STATE FAIR

September 20 - 30 Jim R. Miller Park Marietta northgeorgiastatefair.com As the largest fair in metro Atlanta, the

North Georgia State Fair attracts nearly 300,000 people every year. The fair features live music, free attractions and shows, farm animals, flower shows, blue ribbon competitions, local entertainment, and delicious fair foods. Headlining this year’s concerts are: Crowder (Friday, 9/21), Dylan Scott (Saturday, 9/22), Colt Ford (Wednesday, 9/26), Easton Corbin (Thursday, 9/27), Montgomery Gentry (Friday, 9/28) and Riley Green (Saturday 9/29). All concerts begin at 8 p.m. and are free with fair admission. A covered arena guarantees concerts rain or shine. There are also games and rides on the midway. New this year is the Human Cannonball, Robo-Cars, Balloonopolis and Exhibit Hall. Admission to the fair is $7.00; Children 10 and under are free. Ride tickets are $1.25 each with packages available. Tickets may be purchased online thru Sept. 20 and at all Metro Atlanta O’Reiley Auto Parts stores thru September.

EAST ATLANTA STRUT

Saturday, September 22 11am - 9pm East Atlanta Village eastatlantastrut.com Celebrating its 21st year, the East Atlanta Strut is a free one-day extravaganza that

showcases the city’s hottest intown neighborhood. East Atlanta is the place to eat, drink, shop and play. Enjoy live local music, an artist’s market a free kids area, and some games for adults only: a giant Big Wheel course and a mechanical bull. Watch or join the beard contest, and be sure to check out the parade at 2pm. Dine at an array of food trucks and East Atlanta’s own terrific restaurants. Alcohol is available for purchase for those with valid 21 or older photo ID. All festival proceeds go back into the neighborhood and its community outreach. Leave the car at home. Parking will be limited to neighborhood streets, so take public transport or ride a bike.

OLD FOURTH WARD BEER FEST

Saturday, September 22 11am-11pm Historic 4th Ward Skate Park oldfourthwardfallfest.com Experience Old Fourth Ward Fall Festival this year on Saturday, September 22 from 11am - 11pm. This event is FREE for anyone to attend at Historic Fourth Ward Skate Park,


insiteatlanta.com • September 2018 • PG 11


along the Atlanta Beltline. Enjoy food trucks, artist vendors, live music, craft beer & full bar service before and after the historic Lantern Parade!

ing the comedy event of the year back to Atlanta! Red Clay proudly welcomes headliners Janeane Garofalo and Ron Funches

SANDY SPRINGS FESTIVAL

Saturday Sept 22 and Sunday Sept 23 sandyspringsfestival.com The Sandy Springs Festival – the city’s largest event and a community tradition for over three decades – returns on September 22-23 for two exciting days of family-friendly fun! The Festival is again being presented free of charge to the community by Heritage S a n d y Springs. With an expanded footprint adjacent to the new City Springs property, the 33rd Annual Festival will honor beloved traditions like the Lightning 10k/5k, Pet Parade, and Chalk Walk while unveiling the new Cultural Corner and an exciting entertainment lineup. Don’t forget the festival is pet friendly too. Festival hours are Saturday, September 22, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 23, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There will also be a FREE post-festival concert on Saturday evening from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Sandy Springs Festival is the primary fundraiser for Heritage Sandy Springs, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting history, stewarding a community park, and enhancing the cultural identity of Sandy Springs. Join Heritage Sandy Springs for this celebration of community!

RED CLAY COMEDY FESTIVAL September 28 - 30 East Atlanta

Village; redclaycomedy.com The Red Clay Comedy Festival is bring-

to historic East Atlanta Village. Alongside those headliners you won’t want to miss: The American Born Desi Comics Tour, live album taping for the hilarious Joe DeRosa, Solo music performance from Mike Cooley of Drive-By Truckers, live podcasts, live taping of Adult Swim, plus surprise guests. Red Clay has built a reputation as one of the most fun and exciting comedy festivals in the country and we are excited to continue bringing top notch comedy to Atlanta every year!

DULUTH FALL FESTIVAL

September 29 - 30 Downtown Duluth duluthfallfestival.org Come on out to the 36th annual Duluth Fall Festival. There will be 375 plus Arts & Crafts, Food and Sponsor booths with many exciting new vendors. A huge parade kicks off the Festival on Saturday morning at 10am followed by the Opening Ceremony. Then entertainment takes over on two stages. Sunday starts with a 5K race at 8am followed by Worship on the Green and more entertainment. The Carnival is back! Go to Festival website to print off a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ Carnival coupon for Thursday and Friday nights. FREE shuttle pickups at Chattahoochee Elementary School, Duluth Middle School & Peachtree Ridge High School.

OCTOBER FESTIVALS NORCROSS ART SPLASH & WINE FESTIVAL

Saturday, Oct 6 and Sunday, Oct 7 Downtown Historic Norcross splashfestivals.com The 15th annual art celebration, always known for its whimsical and fun artist market, will also feature an outdoor wine tasting venue highlighting 60 wines “from around the world.” The charming downtown district of Historic Norcross comes alive with artisan booths and a large tent where shoppers can sample wines while browsing the artist displays. Enjoy continuous live entertainment on the Thrasher Park Stage, energizing Kidz Zone, festival cuisine and tasty food from local restaurants. The award-winning art show will open Saturday, October 6 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday, October 7 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wine tasting ticket times are noon and 2:00 pm on Saturday and 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm on Sunday. Tickets for the wine tasting tent are $35 through October 5 and then $40 during the weekend. Free shuttle parking is available.

ATLANTA PRIDE FESTIVAL

October 13 - 14 Piedmont Park atlantapride.org The Atlanta Pride Festival coincides with National Coming Out Day. The Official Kickoff Party returns to the Georgia Aquarium on Friday, October 12 from 7pm 11:30pm. This ticketed event launches the Southeast’s largest

Pride Festival. There are two marches scheduled for Saturday and the parade begins at noon on Sunday from the Civic Center and enters the Piedmont Park through the Charles Allen entrance. Expanded for 2018, the VIP area is convenient to the Coca Cola main stage. It is comprised of a covered seating and lounge area with premium bathroom trailers, video monitors, private bars, snacks, and phone charging stations. VIP pass holders also received priority access for artist meet & greets and VIP lines at select beverage booths throughout the festival.

GREAT ATLANTA BEER FEST

Saturday, October 13 Georgia State Stadium greatatlantabeerfest.com The Great Atlanta Beer Fest is back for the 8th year at its original location in the new Georgia State Stadium on Saturday, October 13 from 15pm. There will be over 150 beers to sample from the Southeast and across the country plus ciders and over 25 wines. The festival will take place inside the stadium using the bricked plaza area and the Chop House. College Football will be on the huge TV in the plaza as well as in the Chop House. Enjoy live music with the Geeks Band and a DJ dance party with everyone’s favorite, DJ Qtip. Festival Tickets are $40 advance, $45 after Oct. 4, and $55 day of. The First 500 tickets will be just $30. Parking will be available in the Green Lot.

TASTE OF ACWORTH

Saturday, October 13, 10am – 6:00pm Main Street – Downtown Acworth acworthbusiness.org The Taste of Acworth offers more than 25

36th Annual

Downtown Duluth Saturday, September 29

• All Day Entertainment • 9am-7pm: Booths • 10am: Parade • 11:30am: Opening Ceremony

Sunday, September 30

• All Day Entertainment • 8am: Road Race • 9am-5pm: Booths • 10am: Worship in the Park

Fullscale Carnival Thursday–Sunday! Coupons on Website! Free Free duluthfallfestival.org Admission! Shuttles!

e r b 5, 2018 m e t p e S Saturday 11:00 am 1- 8:00 pm SmyrnaCity.com

Presented by

Free Admission Kids Zone Acoustic Music All Day

OVER 35 Great Restaurants Samples $1 to $4 ...on the beautiful Village Green and Market Village in downtown Smyrna...info 770.423.1330 PG 12 • September 2018 • insiteatlanta.com


restaurants and 100 booths featuring businesses from around the Acworth area. In addition to the great food, there will be two stages providing live entertainment throughout the day. The event also includes a kid zone featuring inflatables, a quad bungee, and challenging games. Admission is free and food samples range from $1 to $4. More than 18,000 people are expected to attend the 2018 event. Plan to bring your family to experience a true “Taste” of Acworth.

TASTE OF ATLANTA

October 19 - 21 Old Fourth Ward Park tasteofatlanta.com Taste of Atlanta, the city's original food festival, comes back to the Old Fourth Ward Park Friday October 19 thru Sunday, October 21. The festivities begin with the VIP Kick-off party on Friday night featuring tastes, cocktails and live music from Bumpin’ the Mango. Over the weekend experience delicious tastes from more than 90 of Atlanta's favorite restaurants. Sample exceptional food, wine, beer, and cocktail tastings and participate in seminars and food pairings and relaxing music cafes. Atlanta’s own Tom Sullivan returns as the host of The Chef’s Table. The Cooks Warehouse invites you to join them for hands on free cooking classes by Atlanta's favorite chefs. Taste of Atlanta welcomes Holly Firfer to the festival as host and emcee of The Kitchen Workshop. Get cooking on the Home Plate cooking stage with daily demos and judging contests.

FESTIVAL ON PONCE

Oct. 20 & 21 Olmsted Linear Park festivalonponce.com The Festival on Ponce is a 2-Day local arts and crafts event held at the Historic Olmsted Linear Park. The Artist's Market features arts and handmade crafts. There is a Children's Park, local food and beverage concessions and live acoustic entertainment. Attendance is free. Stroll the event while enjoying the art on display and the historic gardens. This is a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the vision and legacy of one of America's most celebrated landscape architects, Fredrick Olmsted, Sr.

DECATUR CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL

Saturday October 20, Noon to 5 pm Downtown Decatur on the square decaturbeerfestival.com Celebrate 20 years of the Decatur Craft Beer Festival Saturday, Oct. 20, noon to 5 pm. Enjoy an afternoon of beer tasting and music on the square. Each general admission ticket includes a special tasting glass and sips from more than 80 breweries. Rock out to live music throughout the festival, while a DJ keeps you moving between sets. Get a VIP ticket for the ultimate beer festival experience with an exclusive VIP entrance and special beers made just for this event by Georgia craft brewers. To celebrate this 20th year, get special prices on tickets for 20 hours, beginning at noon on Sept. 17: $40/general admission and $80/VIP. At 8 am on Sept. 18 ticket prices return to

$50/general admission and $100/VIP. The party starts early with pre-festival events happening on Friday, Oct. 19. Check Facebook and Instagram for all the updates. Plan to take MARTA.

BROOKHAVEN ARTS FESTIVAL

October 20 & 21 behind Brookhaven MARTA brookhavenartsfestival.com The 14th Annual Brookhaven Arts Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20-21 behind the Brookhaven MARTA station. Over 140 participating artists feature works of fiber, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and more. Musical performances take place over the two days, with a classic car show on Sunday. It’s a wonderful time to take in the beauty of fall while enjoying terrific food, music, kids’ activities and art. The festival is located at 4047 Peachtree Road NE on Apple Valley Road behind the Brookhaven MARTA station. There is plenty of FREE parking in the MARTA lot, or ride MARTA right to the event! Admission is free. For more information, visit brookhavenartsfestival.com.

AIDS WALK ATLANTA & 5K RUN

Saturday, October 22 Piedmont Park AIDSWalkAtlanta.com AID Atlanta’s signature fundraising event, AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run will be on Sunday, October 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the meadow in Piedmont Park. This is the largest A I D S -rel ate d fundraising event in Southeast and brings together diverse groups from Atlanta’s corporate, education, LGBT, Athletic, Entertainment,

and Faith communities to support those living with HIV/AIDS. Georgia ranks second in the nation for new sexually transmitted infections and fifth for new HIV infections. All monies raised are used right here in our community to support the programs and services of AID Atlanta and 10 other HIV related organizations. For more information, and to register, fundraise or volunteer, go to website or call 404-876-WALK (9255).

SMYRNA FALL JONQUIL FESTIVAL

Saturday, October 27 & Sunday Oct. 28 smyrnacity.com The Fall Jonquil Festival is located on the beautiful Village Green in downtown Smyrna. The festival takes place Saturday, October 27 from 10 am - 6 pm and Sunday, October 28 from 12 - 5 pm. Serving the area for more than 20 years, the festival will feature over 175 hand-made arts & crafts booths, local non-profit booths, live music, plenty of festival foods, and all types of children's activities. There will also be a children's Halloween costume parade.

TASTE OF KENNESAW

Saturday, November 3 Downtown Kennesaw kennesawbusiness.org Come on out to Taste of Kennesaw and sample over 30 local restaurants. Admission is free and samples are just $1 $4. Grab a cold beverage from the beer garden, sample delicious food, and sit back and listen to great music on the Main Street Entertainment stage all day and concert at 6:00 p.m. Also featuring Kids Zone with interactive inflatables.

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insiteatlanta.com • September 2018 • PG 13 8/27/18 6:15 PM


MOVIES

Movie Reviews BY STEVE WARREN

CRAZY RICH ASIANS (PG-13)

 By the time I saw Crazy Rich Asians it had already become a surprise summer hit, earned a Rotten Tomatoes rating in the mid-90s and been credited with reviving the romantic comedy genre. My expectations were too high. Oh, it’s good; but while it’s got funny moments, it’s far more rom than com. The best thing about it is the way it brings back the slick, glossy look of old Hollywood movies, before they all started trying to look like music videos. There’s some Asian culture and a cast that’s all Asian or of Asian descent, but the plot is more about difference in class than ethnicity. Nick Young (Henry Golding) is expected to take over his fabulously wealthy Chinese family’s business empire in Singapore, but he’s been in New York too long and Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), the Chinese-American woman he’s been dating for a year, knows nothing about his status. When his best friend is getting married in Singapore, Nick invites Rachel along to the wedding to meet his family and friends. Who knows? He might even propose to her while they’re there. Wu does a surprising 180 from her character on Fresh Off the Boat, who is more like Michelle Yeoh’s controlling Eleanor, Nick’s mother. Rachel is an economics professor at NYU with an unusual specialty. She knows more about money than the people who have a lot of it, and she’s in for a rough time. This is more like Yellowstone and Succession than anything you’ve seen about Asians. Even with the requisite romantic ending, the basic conflict may be unresolvable. I guess we’ll find out in the announced sequel.

PAPILLON (R)

 Papillon may float like a butterfly (the English translation of the title, the main character’s nickname) but it doesn’t stink like a B-movie. It does, however, fall into the category I call unnecessary remakes. It adds nothing to the 1973 version but F-words and more violence. That doesn’t mean it’s worse than the original - it doesn’t substitute women for men like the recent Ghostbusters and Ocean’s Eight – just that it doesn’t offer anything you can’t get from rewatching the old version, except younger actors in the same old roles. Charlie Hunnam is a solid substitute for Steve McQueen in the title role of Henri Charrière, a safecracker in 1931 Paris who’s framed for murder and sent to a penal colony in French Guiana. Enroute he meets Louis Dega (Rami Malek, no match for Dustin Hoffman), a wealthy, white collar counterfeiter who needs Papillon’s protection to survive in prison; and Papi needs Dega’s money to escape.

The warden’s welcome speech outlines the rest of the movie: The first escape attempt will get you two years in solitary, the second five years in solitary followed by life on Devil’s Island, from which there is no escape – well, hardly any. The inhumane treatment of prisoners is stressed along the way. It’s the closest the film comes to a political statement but I’m not sure if it’s saying that things are still bad today or that they’ve improved in the last near-century. Danish director Michael Noer does a nice job but doesn’t improve on Franklin J. Schaffner’s original.

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (R)

 Here’s a movie that begins promisingly and goes downhill fast. For about 20 minutes it revives the ‘40s film noir detective genre, with former police detective Phil Phillips (Bill Barretta) driving around a more modern L.A., exchanging wisecracks with his secretary, Bubbles (Maya Rudolph), and picking up a sexy new client, Sandra (Dorien Davies). Another modern touch is that a new minority group is being attacked by bullies and cops alike: puppets. (Did I mention that Phil’s a puppet?) There are also mildly amusing bits about puppets saying and doing dirty things, especially when the first murder takes place in a puppet porn palace. As others follow, most of the victims, including Phil’s brother, are members of the cast of an old kiddie puppet show, The Happytime Gang, which is still big in syndication. Phil, who left the force 12 or 20 years ago, depending on which line of dialogue you believe, is pulled into the investigation as a consultant and reteamed with his old partner, Det. Edwards (Melissa McCarthy, operating at about 60 percent of her usual energy). By now the jokes have all but stopped (or stopped being funny) and the serious plot is less engaging than it should be. You may as well take a nap for an hour until the credits, when they give some quick illustrations of how some of the scenes mixing puppets with humans were done; but if you’re interested in that you should watch it on TV where you can slow it down to absorb it. Otherwise, there’s a lot of wasted potential here.

THE BOOKSHOP (PG)

 It’s ironic that a book about people who love books should find its ideal incarnation in a film adaptation. I haven’t read Penelope Fitzgerald’s original novel but I can’t imagine a thousand of her words being worth more than the precise pictures cinematographer Jean-Claude Larrieu has captured under Isabel Coixet’s direction. In 1959, Florence Green (Emily Mortimer), a widow in early middle-age in a small English town, is about to realize her dream of owning a bookshop. She’s acquired a neglected building in

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS

PG 14 • September 2018 • insiteatlanta.com

CRAZY RICH ASIANS

the heart of town with room for the shop and her residence. But she faces opposition from Violet Gamart (Patricia Clarkson), the one person no one dares oppose. Wealthy and well-connected,

THE WIFE

Violet’s decided “the old house” would be a better site for an arts center than a bookshop; and what ensues is essentially a class struggle. With hardly anyone but non-readers on her side, Florence opens her shop and hires Christine (Honor Kreafsey), a working-class girl on the verge of womanhood, as her assistant. Two men enter Florence’s life, neither a likely romantic interest but it’s movie so who knows? Mr. Brundish (Bill Nighy) is an old recluse who loves books. Milo North (James Lance) is a flirtatious gadfly who loves women. Success (the publication of Lolita attracts new readers) comes hand-in-hand with escalating pressure as Violet pushes through a law akin to our Eminent Domain and the film heads toward a climax. Though writer-director Coixet is Spanish, The Bookshop exemplifies the kind of film the English do so well. Though her only credit is a discreet “Thank you,” Julie Christie reads the witty narration, our first clue that this won’t be as boring as you might expect.

THE WIFE (R)

1/2 It’s sad when a beautiful structure is built on a weak foundation that can’t support it. In 1992 Joseph Castleman (Jonathan Pryce) is in bed with his wife Joan (Glenn Close – magnificent, of course) when he gets a call telling him he’s won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Joan doesn’t look as thrilled as Joe, and thereby hangs a tale. That tale begins in 1958 (though the actors playing the couple then look a lot more than 34 years younger than the stars). She’s a student at Smith and he’s her lit professor, even though he’s yet to publish his first novel. Joan has aspirations of writing, but they’re dashed when a woman tells her, “The public can’t stomach bold prose from a woman.”

Joan gets similar discouragement during a menial job at a publishing house. Excuse me, but I believe the biggest-selling work of fiction in the 1950s was Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious; to be followed in the 1960s by Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. And don’t forget the ‘30s and Margaret Mitchell’s GWTW. This story would work better set in the 19th century. Though women in the late 20th were still sacrificing their own careers to be supportive of their husbands’, this particular premise does not ring true. Also smelling a rat, for different reasons, is Nathaniel Bone (Christian Slater), a writer commissioned to pen a biography of Joe Castleman, authorized or not. While trying to suck up to Joe for permission, he’s also working Joan, “trolling for nuggets of bitterness.” He’s the serpent in their Garden of Less-than-Eden. Joan has plenty to be bitter about, we discover gradually, but she’s learned to hide it well over three decades. While their daughter is home having a baby, their son (Max Irons) accompanies them to Stockholm for the award ceremony, even though he clearly hates being around his father; so why does he go? The Wife is a very well-made film, as long as you don’t think about it.

GOD BLESS THE BROKEN ROAD (PG)

1/2 Anyone cynical enough to be a critic shouldn’t be allowed to review faith-based films, which usually require a tremendous suspension of disbelief, even for believers. That’s not so much the case here. There are moments of generic preaching, but the major plot turns aren’t specifically blamed on or credited to God, except when the main character has her climactic meltdown. Two years after her husband in killed in Afghanistan, Amber (Lindsay Pulsipher) is raising their eight-year-old daughter Bree (Makenzie Moss) in their small Kentucky (played by Michigan) town, where people leave their houses and cars unlocked. She must not receive any survivor’s benefits because their house is being foreclosed on, even though Amber works seven days a week at Rosie’s Diner, where Rosie’s (Patrika Darbo) attitude should drive customers away. New in town is Cody (Andrew W. Walker), a racecar driver sent there for retraining after a crash. A guy like Cody could have any woman in town, but he only has eyes for Amber, who’s not ready to move on. Her other problem is her mother-in-law, Patti (played by Kim Delaney; if she’s old enough to have had a son in his mid-30s, her plastic surgeon should be in Beverly Hills, not Kentucky), who always seems on the verge of suing for custody of Bree. It’s sheer melodrama, taking place in a world like a ‘50S sitcom, but more innocent and integrated. There’s an audience for movies like this one, which isn’t badly made. If you’re part of that audience, here it is and God bless you. See the rest of our movie reviews at insiteatlanta.com/movies.asp


HOME THEATER

COMEDY

IT’S OK TO LAUGH

Comic Rob Schneider Discusses the Climate Change of Comedy

BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH

A

S A CAST MEMBER DURING the second golden age of Saturday Night Live in the early ‘90s, Rob Schneider established himself as a versatile comedic character actor in the rare spirit of Peter Sellers. With a number of memorable catch phrases and characterizations, he quickly made the leap to films with “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” “The Hot Chick” and “Grown Ups.” Now after two seasons of his Netflix series Real Rob are available and a third planned for next year, he’s back on the road with a stand-up tour this fall. Schneider - last in town to shoot a performance with his old friend and collaborator Adam Sandler at The Fox- recently spoke with INsite by phone from his home in Los Angeles. You’ve known Sandler for years. He elicits such drastic reactions; people either really love him or they just can’t stand him. Well his critics are people who don’t quite understand his appeal. It’s brilliant to be able to keep what is joyful about what you do. He’s like a 14-year-old when he comes up with something funny. It makes him bounce out of his chair. That’s his real brilliance; he never lost his 14-year-old id.

Right, you have the instant judgement of justice-warriors on Twitter and they’re the ones who get to decide. It’s interesting, if you had a machine to go back in time, looking for a device to destroy America, you’d have invented Twitter. So stand-up is a target because it is freedom; it’s not produced by any one company, it’s not on television necessarily. When people go to see Dave Chappelle or Bill Burr they’re looking for a moral barometer. When I go see those guys, I watch the audience as well as the great comedians. That audience is desperate to hear them because they can’t find that stuff from their political leaders or most journalists. They’re looking to comedians for what to do. Or in the case of Louis CK, what not to do.

It’s so easy for artists to become jaded - and that’s especially true in comedy. It is! You’re affected by everything and by people’s expectations. Then you’re affected by your reactions to those expectations. I remember talking to the great director John Landis. He told me that Alfred Hitchcock never made a great film after “Psycho,” because he became Alfred Hitchcock, the celebrity. He couldn’t filter through his lens of perception and make a great movie without that burden of Friday, September 28 being called a “genius.” Luckily, City Springs I’ve never had that burden.

NEW RELEASES

THE LATEST DVD, BLU RAY & VOD RELEASES By John Moore

THE US GENERATION (MVD Visual)

While Woodstock and its dreadful 1999 successor are usually the first that come to mind in talking about music festivals, the under-the-radar US Festival, launched in 1982 by Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, had a wildly impressive line-up that ran the gamut from Tom Petty and The Police to the Ramones and Fleetwood Mac. Directors Glenn Aveni and Jay Cederholm pull together a solid documentary here interviewing Wozniak and others involved with the money-losing festival, including plenty of old interviews of bands taken during the event. The highlight, however, are the live performances, particularly of The B-52’s and Oingo Boingo.

STRIKE BACK – SEASON 5 (HBO)

The Cinemax action series, back after a two-year break, has managed to chip away some of the rust that set in on the last season. With a new cast, the members of the Section 20 anti-terrorism unit are focused on hunting down a new freed terrorist and his wife. This season, the chase takes place on the Syrian/

Jordanian border in North Africa and throughout Europe. Along the way, the team also has to deal with White Nationalists in a particularly timely story line. The time off and new cast members have managed to refresh a once-great action show that had been showing its age.

RECORDS COLLECTING DUST II

(MVD Visual) As a follow-up to 2015’s Records Collecting Dust, filmmaker Jason Blackmore heads to the east coast this time to interview a slew of punk legends about the vinyl records that make up their collection. Those interviewed with this go round include Ian MacKaye, Roger Miret, Brian Baker, J Robins and a couple dozen others. While sure to be an eye roll to those who aren’t into music, this doc, much like the one before it, is a record nerd’s dream conversation. Among the common albums in many of the collections noted here are Kiss records, AC/DC and Minor Threat (a must have for any East Coast punk rocker, naturally).

ROB SCHNEIDER

In this whole era of PC, it’s so weird to see colleges cracking down on comics of all people. Performing Arts Center They’re the worst right now! Seinfeld, or Chris Rock or I, citysprings.com Since you do so many we won’t perform at a college. characters, it’s hard to No great comedians perform pigeonhole you into any one at universities anymore. But once all of this category, which is great for career longevity. collapses, I hope it’ll lead to a greater expansion It is good, but there’s a growing intolerance of freedom. about what people are allowed to do these days and who is allowed to represent it. Because I’m You’re in a good place for creative freedom part Scottish and part Asian, am I only allowed because you created your own show. only do part Scottish/part Asian work? Right I’ve had complete freedom of expression now, we’re dealing with a form of intolerance on Netflix and they’ve become the biggest in the guise of tolerance. It’s a secular form of entertainment entity in the world, so right now fundamentalism. A closed-minded school of it’s the freest place to work. Each episode is 30 thought where “heretics” must be violently excommunicated from the Church of Liberalism minutes so it’s a true teleplay. And I get messages from all over the world about it. So I couldn’t be if they don’t conform to the strict doctrine. in a better spot. Comedy is an especially ripe target for Does that freedom of expression bleed into those attacks. your current stand-up set? It is because it’s the last bastion of pure, open I think it’s the best I’ve ever done. I can see thought. It’s one man on the street corner trying people bending over laughing. That’s when to get an audience while speaking his mind. So you know it’s really working. They don’t know obviously that needs to be controlled because exactly where I’m gonna go - and then I go that’s a potential threat to the orthodoxy. God there. It’s nice to know you can still shock forbid people might want to make up their own an audience. But you have to be careful how minds about stuff. But all ideas and people are you get there. I literally have to explain, in valid. To invalidate one, invalidates all of us. a comedic way, that it’s ok to laugh at these But like all forms of fanaticism, like all forms of things. I never thought I’d have to do that. fascism, it has a shelf-life. George Carlin would be aghast that you need to remind an audience that it’s ok to laugh. Thanks to social media, everyone has a street But I do - and it is! corner now.

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More info at www.cinemoms.com insiteatlanta.com • September 2018 • PG 15


MUSIC

MELISSA ETHERIDGE: YES SHE IS

Celebrating Two Milestone Albums This Month at Gainesville’s Botanical Garden BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH

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there’s no “Ohio”-type anthem yet - but he thinks it’s on the way. I think so, too. We’re all under the rubble right now, trying to get out. There are some great writers, great artists who’re really experiencing everything. We’re all just trying to find a way to get out from under it.

HIS SUMMER, OUTSPOKEN singer-songwriter-guitarist-activistentrepreneur Melissa Etheridge has been celebrating two careerdefining moments of her life. Her explosive, self-titled debut from 1988 and the release of Yes I Am in ‘93 drove Saturday, September 22 I was thinking back on your the Kansas-born performer catalog and maybe you’ve into the international Atlanta Botanical Gardens: already written that anthem. consciousness of rock and roll. Gainesville “Pulse” or “I Need To Wake Now as she prepares to atlantabg.org Up” are both powerful release a new record early next anthems of the moment. year, Etheridge is back out on You know, sometimes I’ll the road with a live show that find that something I’ve written in the past leans heavily on her two greatest albums. may have more meaning later, or maybe even INsite caught up with the Academy-Awardring even more true in the present. winning artist at her home in California before she hit the road on the current leg of her Belated congratulations to you on winning Yes I Am tour, which includes a stop at the the Academy Award for “Wake Up” evergreen North Georgia location of Atlanta’s [from 2006’s “An Inconvenient Truth”]. Botanical Garden on the first day of fall. That’s definitely rare for a song from a documentary film. A couple of years ago, you released “Pulse” It’s super rare! I think in the ‘60s one song as an online single for a commentary on the from a documentary was nominated. But this horrific events of the Orlando tragedy. Has was the first time one had actually won. Very songwriting always been your main coping unusual. When Al Gore first called me and mechanism? said, ‘I’m doing a slideshow on global warming, Oh yeah, it’s a way to get something will you sing a song for it?’ I thought, ‘Oh God, out in the world that can help, raise some that sounds very dry.’ An Oscar was the last consciousness and maybe raise some hope. thing on my mind, but I loved the journey of I’ve always been a hopeful person, so for me how they put it all together and how powerful it’s always been about keeping your eye on the it turned out to be. good stuff and you’ll get what you think about, that sort of thing. Having observed your career over three Are you working on a song about the state of decades now, I’m wondering how your the union at the moment? David Crosby says songwriting process has changed over

MELISSA ETHERIDGE

the years. It’s definitely changed. I’m not the same 27-year-old heartbroken person anymore. I have a lovely relationship. I’ve learned to find ways to fill myself up and find my own love. I’m not in those angsty places of my first, you know, maybe five albums. So the writing changes as you go along. I still have hopes and desires and I have pain. There’s still darkness to contend with but I’m not going to write another song like “I’m The Only One.” And that’s ok because I’ve already got that one.

It’s always fun to speak with artists who’ve grown past their earlier personas. But it is fun to go back and play those songs now. It’s freedom. Singing “I’m The Only One” with 2000 people? That’s just a blast! Now I can sing it and it doesn’t burn me, it doesn’t hurt at all. It’s just all good. Your first album is now 30 years old and Yes I Am is 25. You released two career-defining records within a five-year span. In the fans’ minds, and I think even for causal listeners, those are the ones they may really know. So this tour leans heavily on them. Right now, I’m celebrating them along with everyone who has taken those songs into their lives and everything they may mean to them. It’s just about bringin’ them all out and we’re just going to sing them! Together. Yes I Am became a mainstream breakthrough - but there’s always the chance a bravestatement-type album might not seem accessible to most audiences. Yes I Am was unusual from the beginning. But I stayed with it and enjoyed every step of it.

I’M NOT THE SAME 27-YEAR-OLD HEARTBROKEN PERSON ANYMORE. I HAVE A LOVELY RELATIONSHIP. I’VE LEARNED TO FIND WAYS TO FILL MYSELF UP AND FIND MY OWN LOVE.

The story goes that your actual first album wasn’t released, but then you tracked the self-titled version in four days. What really happened? Well it was just the first draft. I’d worked with a producer that made it sound very ‘80s. We recorded it and [Island Records president] Chris Blackwell said he hated it. So he allowed me to go back in the studio for only four days and bam, just make it. That’s why it sounds so live and real. And he loved it. All of your best stuff sounds very live-instudio, an immediate listening experience. That’s how I like to do it. If I got caught up in, ‘What does the radio want to hear?’ I’d have been done a long time ago. But I’ve always stayed true to what I feel and think and how I want to perform the songs.

FAR FROM FAREWELL

Singer Doug Gray on Surviving The Marshall Tucker Band’s “Long Hard Ride”

BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH

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EGINNING IN 1972, THE MARSHALL Tucker Band’s blend of country, rock, jazz and progressive quickly elevated the group to international popularity and chart success. Though formed in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Georgia has played a big part in their history. After an early ‘70s show in Macon, they signed with Capricorn Records. Atlanta has long been a favorite and frequent tour stop and the MTB continues to play for a hard-core fanbase all across the southeast. Calling from his home in Myrtle Beach, Gray

spoke with INsite about Marshall Tucker’s enduring legacy.

Your itinerary seems to be just as demanding now as it was in the ‘70s. It’s getting to be kind of a blur because we’ve always played big dates and small dates. But now we’re playing 20,000-plus-shows and festivals. I think people are realizing that we’re still a valid, touring band that just happens to have been out there running for all these years.

truth. But it’s an honor that I’m taking with me, that me and Toy and Tommy and George and Paul and Jerry all shared when we first started. You know, it only lasted eight years, the original band.

But you didn’t give up the spirit of Marshall Tucker and southern rock in general. I remember when you moved from Capricorn to Warner Brothers, that was the end of an era. Yeah but I just kept turning it around and playing the songs. For a while, I didn’t have the right positions for the right people that I You don’t seem tired of it yet. have now. They put us on the big stage out at Naw, the good part is we still have fun. I Stagecoach, this big festival don’t think we’ll ever stop. in California a while back. If anything ever happens There were bands with two to me, they’ll have to roll and three hits, still active me out of the concert hall. on the charts and there we A lot of musicians just Saturday, September 1 were - we had three times can’t handle the road. No Lakewood Amphitheater more people coming to see disrespect, that’s just the thelakewoodamphitheater.com us! The buyers and bookers way it goes. So you step were just amazed. They down, you step back, or caught on that people still you step over. But all I’ve ever done was step up. Now they’re calling the really like the band. So we started getting calls from all over the world. It just shows that our Marshall Tucker Band “legendary.” music was great in the old days and it’s still appreciated. I guess people are still puttin’ up How do you feel about that? with what we do. Well I don’t know. You never called your grandpa “legendary,” you know? My friends Your connection with Lynyrd Skynyrd goes who are legendary are people like Otis Redding and people who’ve passed on. It kinda back to the ‘70s. freaks me out a little, if you want to know the Oh yeah, as you know, I was good friends

THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND

PG 16 • September 2018 • insiteatlanta.com

with Ronnie [Van Zant]. When he passed, I not only lost a friend, we lost a band. They had to regroup and work hard to get the point where they are now. But they’re doin’ it! They sound great and now we’re back out on tour with ‘em. I miss all my friends who aren’t around. I miss the guys from Marshall Tucker who aren’t around. But what can you do? We’re still out, hittin’ these big spots together and it’s bringing back so many great memories for everyone. It’s billed as a Farewell Tour for Skynyrd. Do you think this is the end of the line for them? It’s not really a farewell. I know companies may not like me sayin’ that, but it’s not. It’s a continuation. For them and for us. When we all get to the show, it comes down to this: we’re here and we’re gonna play our asses off. And that’s really it. That’s what we all do every night.

You don’t need a flashy video screen or light show. On no, not at all. The other day, somebody called us the best no-frills band they’d ever seen. Some bands have these big ol’ milliondollar light shows, but we don’t need that. We don’t need a movie and we don’t go by a script. We start out with “Long Hard Ride” and then we just go. People can come see us from nightto-night and never hear the same show twice. We’re just lookin’ for that explosion of love from our hearts to their hearts.


MUSIC

KANSAS RETURNS TO THE POINT

Atlanta-Based Co-Founder-Guitarist Rich Williams on Album’s 40th Anniversary

BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH

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AMED IN HONOR OF THE STATE of its origin, Kansas officially gelled in Topeka in 1974. The original six members of the band developed an instantly-recognizable sound that deftly encapsulated layers of European-style progressive, melded to a solid foundation of uniquely American, ‘70s-arena-style rock’n’roll. As is the case with most progressive bands, the personnel dramatically evolved over the years. The definitive, classic line-up produced nine gold and three multi-platinum albums. 1976’s Leftoverture was certified six times platinum, closely followed by Point of Know Return at four times platinum. Their greatest hits compilation, The Best of Kansas also qualified for a four-times platinum award. Massive hit singles “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind” helped solidify the group as one of the most-popular acts of the ‘70s. Fast forward two decades later and “Wayward Son” became one of the mostplayed tracks on classic rock radio in 1995 and ‘97. Both songs remain staples of international playlists and live do what you love, it’s never really work. It’s nice to have performance favorites. something to do that’s like, ‘Ok honey, that’s great, but now Now, with three core members based in the Atlanta area, I’ve gotta go downstairs and work on this stuff for a couple the current edition of Kansas continues to record new of hours.’ It’s good to have that motivation. Now our next music and play shows around the world. As the official year and a half is already booked. 40th anniversary of the release of Point Of Know Return looms this fall, the band is set to embark on a sequel to So no new music until after the tour? last year’s celebratory performances of Leftoverature. [Laughs] Well, that’s the other thing. We’ll also be They’re scheduled to kick off their latest tour this month at recording a new album this coming January and February. Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Center - as they finalize tracks for a new album slated for release next year. That’s a lot of material to juggle.[Kansas’ From a tour stop near Harrisburg, 2016 indie release] The Prelude Implicit Pennsylvania, Kansas co-founder and was a very solid record. How does this guitarist Rich Williams recently looked one compare? September 28 back on the enduring legacy of the band, Well that one was long overdue. It’d Cobb Energy Centre before one of the final stops on their “Radio been fifteen years since we’d done a new Classics and Fan Favorites” tour. cobbenergycentre.com studio album. Now with this group of guys, everybody wants to be creative again. Once Last year you honored the 40thanniversary we opened the floodgates, the ideas just of Leftoverature with a year-and-a-half-long road trip. started pouring> Now we’re somewhere around two-thirds Now, as you’re ending a summertime ‘greatest-hits’ done with new material. Once the Point tour gets up and run, are you thinking about the Point of Know Return running and on automatic pilot, during the week we’ll have shows yet? time to start working on the recording process. There’s Oh, absolutely. Today I’m preparing what we’ll be going not a lot of resting that happens with us, but I think that’s over in the dressing room tonight, so we can shift gears great, because there’s always something to be excited about. once we get to that point. We’ll start the tour in Atlanta and we’ll have the Cobb Energy Center for two nights to Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh were the main Kansas rehearse for production. So we’ve gotta have it all together songwriters for years. How has the band changed with by then. Right now, a lot of homework is going on while their departures and the addition of new members who we’re doing this tour. It’ll be at least a two-hour-and-15minute-long show and that’s a lot of material to learn in the also want to contribute to the catalog? A few years after Steve left, we went down to Destin middle of another tour. and locked ourselves in a conference room for a week. We just started hashing out ideas and we found that we have Is it difficult to shift from the ‘hits’ mindset to the a pretty creative bunch of guys now. Once we built that intricate, album-oriented presentation? confidence it started happening quickly. It’s hard to tell It’s two completely different things. Last year we learned what Kansas is, but I know it when I hear it, as we sort it on the Leftoverature tour, basically how to do it with production and presenting the songs. For this, the last hour out. ‘Ok, that’s not us, but yeah, that one is us.’ Now we have a team of guys where there are no bad ideas. If you of the show is Point in its entirety, in the original running order. But we still have a lot of stuff to play before that. We have an idea, you throw it out there. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. ‘I love this part, but what if we change this don’t want to repeat what we did last year so we’re adding a lot of songs that we haven’t been played in decades. Some turnaround here and drop the beat?’ ‘Oh, I never thought about that!’ Now there’s a more organic process that only we played a few times with the original six and then we happens when you get a bunch of guys in a room. So it’s put them on the shelf. Some, the current line-up has never fun. Being in Kansas now is very much like it felt when we played before. first got together. There’s a passion because everyone is so happy to be in it. It sounds like you’re definitely up for the challenge of the project. Now you’re looking back on a monumental album that It’s my reason to wake up in the morning, rush to wasn’t from the actual beginning of the band. Point was basement and start practicing. That’s kind of why I got in the band to start with, because I love the work. Well, I say ‘work.’ I’ve had a job and that was actually work, but this doesn’t really qualify. If you

KANSAS

more from the middle era of the band. Yeah but you could see the beginning of the end of that period by then. Any band gets together for a reason and you’re all kinda on equal ground. Then you have some success. Money changes everything, it just does. When Leftoverature went gold, we’d finally made enough to pay off all our past debt. Suddenly you’re not the same guys anymore. Everyone’s life had changed. Philosophies of what we were all about; it was all starting to change at that point. In hindsight, you can see it. Things were changing, but at the time you just try to pretend things are the same. With the immense success of Leftoverature, you must’ve felt some pressure to repeat that success. Yes but Kerry was on an incredible writing streak. It was just pouring out of him. There was that pressure from the label: ‘Guys, this is great, but I just don’t hear a hit.’ With “Wayward Son,” we’d struck gold, so there were expectations to deliver something else that could be on the radio. But big hit singles isn’t really the prog way of doing business. Yes, but we’d just stumbled onto the hits. We were never ‘hitmakers.’ But then came “Dust In The Wind.” And that was kind of an afterthought. What is the real backstory on that song? Well Kerry was trying to teach himself fingerpicking and he’d developed these chords. His wife was like, ‘This is really nice, you should write a song with that.’ But he was like, ‘No, that’s not what we do, we’re a progressive rock band, we don’t do acoustic songs.’ But he came in one day with it and said, ‘I’ve got another one to throw onto the heap.’ What was your initial reaction? He played it on a reel-to-reel and just sort of mumbled the lyrics from the sheet. Even in that form, in its rawest version, we heard it. We said, ‘This is our next single.’ Now forty years later, it’s in the set every night. And it’s still fun to play. I’m the one guy on the planet that gets to start that song. From the first note, everybody in the building knows what it is. They know all the lyrics. Often, they have a very personal story connected to it. It means a lot to a lot of people. ‘It was played at my dad’s funeral’ or ‘It was played at our prom.’ So many stories, so many memories. If I ever get so jaded that I can’t appreciate all of that, then it’s time for me to go. insiteatlanta.com • September 2018 • PG 17


SPORTS

2018 NFL FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY DEMARCO WILLIAMS

Atlanta’s Matt Ryan

While the Legion of Boom days may be over, the Seahawks still have serious talent on D (Earl Thomas, Bobby Wagner). Oh, and we still give QB Russell Wilson an “A” for his improvisational skills during broken plays.

9. DALLAS

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will score some points, but we just don’t know if All-Pro lineman Sean Lee is enough to stop the rest of the NFC East from getting even more most weeks.

10. NY GIANTS

With a rejuvenated Eli Manning, rehabbed Odell Beckham and remarkable Saquan Barkley in the fold, the G-Men should have no problem getting fans to forget about last year’s ridiculous 3-13 performance.

11. CAROLINA

Pairing offensive wiz Norv Turner with the talented Cam Newton is scary but seeing linebackers Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson coming across the line at the same time should have opposing QBs quaking in their shorts.

12. TAMPA BAY

T

HE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE HAS ALWAYS dealt with controversy, but things feel even more on edge than usual these days. Be it with the drama surrounding the national anthem or properly defining a tackle, every week seems to introduce a new debate. Thankfully, one thing that everyone can agree on is that Super Bowl LIII will take place in Atlanta on February 3, 2019. The hometown Atlanta Falcons have the talent to be the first team to ever play a “home” finale, and INsite believes they’ll pull it off. As for the debate over who they’ll play once they get there, well, that’ll be an ongoing discussion throughout the season in New England, Pittsburgh and Houston.

1. ATLANTA

NFC

Having $5 craft beers inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the NFL’s first player to average $30 million per season (Matt Ryan) are great, but if the Falcons are to cash in on the talented roster, they have to be money in September, where three of the first four opponents made the playoffs a season ago.

2. MINNESOTA

We know the Vikings’ defense is a machine (allowed just 83.6 rushing yards/game), but it’s the shiny new offensive parts (free agent Kirk Cousins, a healthy Dalvin Cook) that could put things into an even higher gear.

3. L.A. RAMS

We understand your drooling over the Rams offense (Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks). But our jaws are still dropped over the fact that Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib are all now on the same defense.

4. PHILADELPHIA

Nick Foles’ improbable Super Bowl charge was phenomenal. But if the Eagles are to have realistic thoughts about a repeat, they’re going to need its best quarterback option, Carson Wentz, to come back strong from his ACL injury.

5. NEW ORLEANS

If there’s anyone who can help the Saints shake off the heartbreaking Minnesota postseason loss, it’s the old guy who everyone loves (39-year-old QB Drew Brees) and the kid no one can stop gushing over (23-year-old RB Alvin Kamara).

6. GREEN BAY

The Packers haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 2010. To even hint at a return to the big game this year, they’ll need the defensive line to be good and the Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone to be great.

7. SAN FRANCISCO

We don’t think Super Bowl parades need to be scheduled just yet, but with interesting talents at QB (Jimmy Garoppolo), RB (Jerick McKinnon) and DB (Richard Sherman), things have certainly gotten interesting around the bay.

8. SEATTLE PG 18 • September 2018 • insiteatlanta.com

When franchise QB Jameis Winston comes back from his threegame suspension in Week 4, the Bucs hope he’s not only matured some but that his team hasn’t already fallen out of the competitive NFC South race.

13. ARIZONA

David Johnson is coming back from a devastating wrist injury. Sam Bradford is coming back from a left knee injury. Larry Fitzgerald, almost 35, is simply coming back for another season of sensational slot receiving.

14. DETROIT

It’s a good thing that Matthew Stafford still has one of the league’s strongest arms because the team is going to need him to pull the lethargic offense for much of this season.

15. WASHINGTON

Until Alex Smith figures out how to get the ball downfield with consistency, it won’t matter if he’s tossing the ball in D.C., K.C. or the Cayman Islands — his team won’t go anywhere.

16. CHICAGO

If Mitchell Trubisky is as good as the Bears front office will have you believe he is, the young signal caller might be able to temporarily mask the fact that the Chicago offense (29th in total points) is a complete farce.

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP

ATLANTA OVER THE L.A. RAMS, 31-24 1. HOUSTON

AFC

Future star Deshaun Watson is back, so scoring issues are remedied. And if J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney can stay out the trainer’s room, they’ll have zero concerns on defense, too.

2. PITTSBURGH

Folks talk about the Steelers’ offense (Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown) for obvious reasons, but it may end up being the nasty defense (NFL leader in sacks last year) that guides the team to its first Super Bowl since the 2011.

3. NEW ENGLAND

It doesn’t appear that Father Time (41-year-old Tom Brady), internal bickering (alleged beef between Brady and head coach Bill Belichick), suspensions (Julian Edelman), retirements (Eric Decker) or your favorite team’s weak secondary will stop the Patriots any time soon.

4. JACKSONVILLE

If we had even half the confidence in QB Blake Bortles that we do in Jalen Ramsey and the Jags’ secondary (NFL-topping 169.9 passing yards in ’17), these cats would be purring even higher up this poll.

5. OAKLAND

While there’s excitement from all the folks (head coach Jon Gruden, WR Jordy Nelson) joining the organization, nothing can hide the fact that the team is still moving to Vegas in the next 12-24 months.

6. DENVER

We don’t know how long it’s going to take for Case Keenum and Demaryius Thomas to get on the same page with routes, but we do know that it’s taking opposing teams forever to come up with an offensive playbook that standout CB Chris Harris doesn’t know cover to cover.

7. KANSAS CITY

It’s amazing that the Chiefs can have so many weapons (Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce) yet still come up shooting blanks when it counts (one postseason win in the 2000s).

8. L.A. CHARGERS

With an ever-consistent QB (Philip Rivers), an electric tailback (Melvin Gordon) and a newly engaged defense, these Chargers should entertain serious playoff talk this campaign.

9. CLEVELAND

When you look at all the young studs (Baker Mayfield, Myles Garrett) and proven talents (Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde) on the Browns roster these days, you have to at least take a sip of the Kool-Aid, don’t you?

10. CINCINNATI

If the Bengals are to return to the postseason for the first time since 2015, they need QB Andy Dalton to forget about his 2017 performance (just one 300-yard passing game) and A.J. Green to forget most of his (only three 100-yard receiving games).

11. BALTIMORE

The Ravens will always make their biggest impact stopping the other team from scoring. Yet with the likes of versatile rookie QB Lamar Jackson and veteran WR Michael Crabtree joining the offense, times could be changing.

12. TENNESSEE

Marcus Mariota’s third-year troubles (passing TDs and yards went down while interceptions soared) were real, but he’s got the smarts, wheels and arm for a fourth-year flourishing.

13. BUFFALO

Scouts don’t just call Bills first-round pick Josh Allen Cam Newton 2.0 for his strong arm and speedy legs. As you may have noticed during his shaky preseason, Allen has the veteran QB’s knack for inaccurate tosses, too.

14. MIAMI

Though the Dolphins don’t have much to look at on the defensive side (they gave up 24.6 points a game, fourth-worst in the NFL last season), big-play running back Kenyan Drake will be must-see TV.

15. NEW YORK JETS

Sam Darnold has people excited about the future. But as of right now, so-so names like Morris Claiborne, Isaiah Crowell and Robby Anderson personify mediocrity for the J-ehhhh-ts.

16. INDIANAPOLIS

Since the start of the 2015 season, Andrew Luck has played in just 22 games. It sucks that the franchise’s welcome-back committee consists of just one co-star (T.Y. Hilton) and a host of supporting cast members (Marlon Mack, Jack Doyle, Malik Hooker).

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP HOUSTON OVER PITTSBURGH, 41-31 SUPER BOWL LIII:

ATLANTA OVER HOUSTON, 27-17 Houston’s Deshaun Watson


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