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Mama Jan,


Who’s Pulling The Strings? Buckhead’s Own Filmmaker A Painting Doc

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Editor's Letter

Hello Neighbors

march 2014 publisher

Jim Newman |



admit it. I love movie stars. When I worked for a yacht charter agent in St. Thomas, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and their entourage sailed out on one of our crewed yachts. All week, I pulled private and confidential letters and correspondence off the fax machine for the actor (that was years before email and smart phones), sealing them in envelopes and placing them clandestinely in the captain’s mailbox. It was my duty. When Mr. Travolta sauntered down the dock toward the office, I bolted to the front desk and nonchalantly greeted him, asking how I could help (I knew darn well he wanted those faxes, but I wanted to prolong the “conversation” as long as possible). He was friendly and equally as nonchalant, in his baseball tee and sweat pants (looking adorable). And, when I later spotted Mikhail Baryshnikov waiting near my gate at the Miami airport, I breathed deeply, smiled and casually said hello. He shook my hand and my day was made. What is it about celebs that make our hearts skip a beat? It’s talent, beauty and the big screen and big stage. There are stars all over Atlanta these days! Enjoy the stories in this issue about the movie industry and talented neighbors making art and music. Get out and spend the afternoon at a nearby gallery or museum. We’re so lucky to have so many, so close.

Sue G. Collins |

senior business development manager

Karyn Slovin |

contributing writers Dennis Malcolm Byron, Patricia Culpepper, Helen Grebe, Ruksana Hussain, Marian Mendenhall, Cynthia Stillwell, Ben Hammett Walkuski

contributing photographers Zack Arias, Dennis Malcolm Byron, Keith Cordell, Rick Diamond/WireImage, Karen Images, Dan Lax, Angie Mosier Published monthly, subscriptions are: $22 for 1 year, $39 for 2 years 770. 217. 1282

corporate team chief executive officer | Steven Schowengerdt chief sales officer | Matthew Perry chief financial officer | DeLand Shore national editor | Lisa Cooke Harrison director of marketing | Brad Broockerd national art director | Carrie Julian advertising director | Mike Baugher production director | Christina Sandberg regional art director | Sara Minor

Have fun and don’t forget your autograph book!

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executive assistant | Lori Cunningham application architect | Michael O’Connell it director | Randy Aufderheide

Sue G. Collins, Editor SCollins@

by Community ™

“Mama Jan” of Jan Smith Studios in Buckhead, where big hitters like Usher and Justin Bieber train with a genuine treasure of our community.

P.O. Box 12608 Overland Park, KS 66282-3214

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Photography by Zack Arias

4 | March 2014

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BuckHaven Lifestyle™ is published monthly by Lifestyle Publications LLC. It is distributed via the US Postal Service to some of Atlanta’s most affluent neighborhoods. Articles and advertisements do not necessarily reflect Lifestyle Publications’ opinions. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Lifestyle Publications does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. Information in BuckHaven Lifestyle™ is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.


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March 2014




Good Times


Around Town


Hot Spot


Terrific Teacher


Artist’s Palette


Real Wives


Driver’s Notebook

30 Lifestyle Calendar 34

Parting Thoughts

20 The Wide Embrace of Mama Jan

Meet superstar vocal coach Jan Smith.

22 Buckhead Filmmaker Brings a Story Home

Learn about Erin Levin’s latest project, Imba Means Sing.

24 Lions and Tigers and Puppets, Oh My!


Picadilly Puppets engage and entertain young audiences.



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Good Times

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Jerusalem House + ArtsNow An art auction held at ADAC raised funds for Jerusalem House, Atlanta’s oldest and largest provider of permanent housing for low-income and homeless people affected by HIV/AIDS. Photography Dan Lax

Ermis Zayas, Renee Starrett, Ben Hadsock

EJ Jimenez, Jim Fenno, Gonzalo Luciani, Jesse Furr

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Around Town pointed shop carries a stylish line of men’s clothing from suits, dress shirts, sweaters, slacks and accessories to finely tailored custom men’s couture. Known for his fabulous dinner jackets, Owner Miguel Wilson would like to impart his expertise in helping the men of Atlanta dress with style. He calls this “making a statement without saying a word.” 2770 Lenox Road, 678.778.5255.


Photo by Karen Images

PETERS HONORED Garth Peters, left, executive vice president of the Buckhead Coalition, has been awarded the “Bullish on Buckhead” trophy from the Buckhead Business Association (BBA). As the name implies, this honor is the annual recognition of the person who shows commitment beyond assignments for the overall civic success of this northern quadrant of the City of Atlanta. Peters, who relocated to Atlanta from Bermuda to join the Coalition’s staff, has held this association since September 2006. Founding President Sam Massell lauded Peters for his 24-7 support of our community, with great appreciation for his cooperative spirit.

The Galloway School is pleased to announce new leadership. One staff member has been chosen for a new role and another former staff member is returning to a new position. Recently acting as Galloway’s athletics director, Jim Hilleary (left) has been selected for the newly-created position of Director of G360, a reinvention of Galloway’s after-school programming. Josh Burr, who was assistant athletics director for five years at Galloway and then left to spend five months as athletics director of The Howard School, is returning to Galloway as athletics director.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to come back to Galloway,” says Burr. “Jim Hilleary is a close friend and a mentor and I look forward to building on the foundation that he put in place for the Galloway Athletics Department. I am excited to be reunited with Scots Nation and ready to see what the future holds.” The Galloway community is looking forward to experiencing the vision and leadership these two will bring to these leadership positions.

TV STAR TO VISIT CLASS TOP SPOT FOR MEN The newest spot for men’s fashion, Buckhead Haberdashery, recently opened its doors on Lenox Road. The beautifully ap12 | March 2014

Actor Brian Baumgartner, the Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School (HIES) alumnus known particularly for his role as Kevin Malone on “The Office,” will return home this June to teach at a new Holy In-

nocents’ Film & TV Academy. Academy classes, scheduled June 2–20, will teach students in Metro Atlanta to write, direct, film and edit their own films. Registration is open to students from area schools now through May 15. Baumgartner took advantage of acting opportunities when he was a student at Holy Innocents’ after a leg injury sidelined him from sports and the result has been a successful career. The actor will deliver a welcoming message to Film & TV Academy students via Skype at the beginning of the summer session, teach an acting class the last three days, and serve as a judge on final productions. Baumgartner will also be named a founding member of the Academy. Other Academy teachers will be James H. Jackson, an 11Alive Class Act teacher in 2012, and Joe Conway, a professional screenwriter.

YOUR TURN TO FIGHT Early and online auditions for ACFN 8 are in full swing. Are you ready to train and try boxing for a good cause? Atlanta Corporate Fight Night 8 will feature the amazing Wounded Warrior Project as its sole charity. Not only is the annual amateur boxing event raising funds for this incredible charity, but real American Wounded Warriors are also partnering with each boxer on ACFN 8 through the entire training process. Boxers and their own team wounded warrior will train, strategize, and work together for the big fight, as warriors stand with their fighters in the corners for their match. Not only that, ACFN 8 will have two incredible wounded warriors boxing each other as the main event on May 22. There will be plenty of smack talking in THIS show as warrior faces warrior and boxer faces boxer, in one of the biggest fights of their lives and the most challenging thing they’ve ever done. 678.334.8204.

BROOKHAVEN HERO Christopher Mattus, an 8-year-old Brookhaven resident, was recognized for helping officers apprehend a car break-in suspect. According to the City’s e-news report, the boy was looking out the window of his Dresden Drive home on the evening of Dec.15 when he spotted a man breaking into his parents’ car. The

A Paint Your Own

boy immediately told his mother, who called Brookhaven Police. Mattus then relayed a detailed description of the suspect, what he saw, and was able to direct officers to a nearby construction site, where he saw the suspect flee. Officers searched the area and found the suspect. The intruder was arrested and taken to the DeKalb County jail, where he was held on charges of entering an auto, loitering and prowling. A second man was also arrested on loitering charges and is under investigation. Since the incident, Brookhaven Police have identified the original suspect as a person of interest in six other car break-in cases.

MASSELL SPEAKS OUT As spokesperson for the Buckhead Coalition business group, Sam Massell has publicly called on Atlanta’s Mayor and City Council to control growth of traffic, taxes, and crime, and to be sensitive to the brotherhood of those in need. Having himself served as mayor, Massell complimented the city government in his remarks as a participant in the inauguration ceremony, but emphasized more could be done. Massell was pleased Reed recognized the need for more effort to improve public safety in general. In his formal speech, Reed called on Fulton County officials to help in this challenge, citing the fact that Atlanta pays “the lion’s share of its budget”. Massell has pointed out in the past, the difference where County Fire Department personnel typically stand ready to cross the City/County lines, where this mindset is not normal practice with law enforcement. Massell also complimented the City Council being inaugurated, and predicted that the new Board of Education would serve in a progressive manner.

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FAITH LEADERS HONORED The Higher Ground group, comprised of four long-time Atlanta faith leaders who share common experiences and lead positive change, has been selected to receive the 22nd Annual 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Awards and were selected to deliver the keynote during this year’s award ceremony entitled, “Finding Common Ground to Bridge the Divide.” The group will be honored in the “Innovation for Change” category, for engaging with their audiences via their online community, the Higher Ground blog and Facebook. Presented by Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Goizueta Business School, The MLK Awards began in 1996 as a way to recognize organizations in metro Atlanta that are providing community service in the spirit of King. Higher Ground was born of a unique relationship between four long-time Atlanta faith leaders, the Rev. Joanna Adams, Imam Plemon ElAmin, the Rev. Joseph Roberts, and Rabbi Alvin Sugarman. Though they come from different faith backgrounds, the founders of Higher Ground share common experiences and legacies built as leading voices for their congregations and for positive change in their communities. Now together, Higher Ground’s leaders speak with a distinctive, collective voice, helping to raise awareness and to inspire action on key issues affecting the greater Atlanta community to effect positive change.

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Hot Spot

Brookhaven’s Fusion Fare The One Sushi Plus Article Ruksana Hussain Looks like: First impressions are the best so no detail is overlooked. From the ceiling installations to wall murals, steel chopsticks to stylish dinnerware, this is not your regular sushi joint. Expect to be wowed. Later in the night, the bar all lit up is quite the sight. This is the space previously occupied by Library Coffee Company on Dresden Drive but looks nothing like its previous avatar. Sounds like: Earlier in the evening – a quiet venue for a meeting.

Later in the evening – neighborhood go-to spot for your sushi fix. Somewhere in between – happy hour. $5 food and drinks should sound like music to anybody. Smells like: Something familiar but with that secret ingredient you

can’t quite put your finger on. Freshly prepared wasabi, five-spice Taiwanese rice wine marinade and more. You will be left wondering how a regular menu offering can be so pleasantly different. Tastes like: Miso duck breast nigiri with honey miso glaze and balsamic pearl, toro on fire with spicy chu-toro and lightly seared tuna, Taiwanese S&P chicken, spiced roasted Brussels sprouts, chilled and raw section starring Japanese Amber Jack and Red Snapper. Who: Owner Mali Hu and Chef Jason have invested serious thought

into this in-town location. Mali comes from a restaurant background and already owns two hibachi places OTP. One thing was certain she wanted a completely different take on Asian food at this spot. Taiwanese and Korean influences play a twist on your palate here. Try any of the signature dishes and you will notice just that. Mali’s ideas are implemented effectively by Chef Jason. Not only are we 14 | March 2014

talking the best cuts of fish that simply melt in your mouth but that little extra bit from preparation to presentation that goes a long way. You will like what you see and what you eat, no disconnect there. Sit at the bar and you can see the chefs at work. USP: Yellowtail Jalapeno Shots. Korean Seafood Pancake. Bibimbap. The wow factor. You can go for the regular traditional rolls and play safe, and that’s fine. Or you can experiment and be surprised every dish of your meal. The signature dishes here will leave you happy you took a risk and tried something new. And that’s the trump card for The One Sushi +. Ordinary offerings are turned into extraordinary delicacies courtesy the fusion treatment. Doesn’t stop at dinner. Check out their happy hour menu – kani jalapeno, scallion pancake, and a host of other small plates and sushi choices for just $5. Seasonal menus (Taste of Winter) are another way to discover their fresh spin as are the sushi, sashimi and chirashi platters to share. Creative. Authentic. Unique.


Sunday-Thursday: 5 p.m.-10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday: 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Happy hour: Sunday through Thursday 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Limited gluten-free menu available. Open for lunch soon. 2523 Caldwell Rd NW 404.869.6988 Open daily:


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Where the Extraordinary Happens Every Day


Terrific Teacher

The Gift of Guitar Article Ben Hammett Walkuski Photography Keith Cordell


eith Cordell’s passion for music is so strong you might thing he’s been playing and teaching for generations. At just 30, he is the beneficiary of a family love for music that dates back more generations than he can count. Cordell is planting the seeds of music education and performance by way of Cordell Music LLC, a local small business that offers musicians of all ages services such as guitar and bass lessons, music production and theory and songwriting lessons. As a child in his family’s basement, Cordell stumbled upon an old Fender guitar case: “Inside was the most beautiful black Stratocaster,” he recalls. “It’s funny how clearly I remember opening that case, and how it looked and smelled. It was like discovering some priceless ancient artifact. It had a big impact on me. I was 10 years old.” Soon after, Cordell excitedly expressed interest to his father in learning more about the guitar. His father’s response is one that has stayed with Cordell, and informed the way he approaches music education. “He was wise to allow me some time to discover my own love and interest for the instrument, rather than hurrying me into lessons based on his own agenda,” he says. “Providing me with an environment to discover music on my own terms was a great gift from my father.” And within a couple of years, he was hooked. Cordell’s musical interests and talents quickly diversified—from playing in cover bands and jazz ensembles to church gigs and musicals at Marist, where he attended school.

“It was at Marist that I really began taking every opportunity to play my guitar and challenge myself,” Cordell recalls. “I had a great mentor in the head band director, Mark Craddock. His direction and support through my high school years was invaluable. Without him, I’m not sure that I would have had the confidence to pursue music at the college level.” Middle Tennessee State University was where Cordell chose to take his talents for further development and refining. Majoring in Recording Industry Management, Cordell’s years at MTSU was spent either in the recording studio or the music building. The benefit of so much time to dedicate to his greatest interest resulted in an epiphany. “There seemed to be a conflict of interest between the simple enjoyment of listening to or playing a tune—the creative, healing and spiritual effects—and the music business, which can be very cutthroat and cold,” he says. What Cordell decided was to return to his roots; he moved home to Atlanta and focused his efforts on music performance and teaching. In addition to traditional guitar and bass instruction, Cordell also teaches music production and engineering. Cordell’s unique focus on electronic music production sets him apart from many education options in the marketplace. “Apart from going to a specific production school or university, the options for guidance in this area are pretty sparse, which is a shame because the popular music world right now is very heavily influenced by electronic music genres,” he says. Cordell’s definition of a great teacher is someone who gives students the tools they need to teach him or herself, rather than be dependent on a teacher indefinitely. Not only does Cordell love making and teaching music, but he loves making and teaching music in Atlanta, a city he describes as very diverse with a very diverse musical environment. “It’s a beautiful thing--people from this city love music,” he says. “I’d like to see that love nurtured so that it continues to grow, and I think the best way to do that is through education, celebration and the sharing of our different cultural stories.” Local spots where you may catch Cordell celebrating include the Drunken Unicorn, The Earl, Northside Tavern, The Tabernacle, and Masquerade. “My part in the Atlanta music scene is only a small one, but collectively the city’s artists are making Atlanta a well-known name on the world stage, showing that we’re a unique group of people capable of great things. I’m looking forward to continuing to be a part of the music network in Atlanta for years to come.”

“We need people to champion the arts and embrace the things that heal us and make us happy.”

16 | March 2014


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Artist’s Palette

Gary Bodner: Physician, Artist, Renaissance Man Article Patricia Culpepper | Photography Anne Irwin Fine Art


s a young man, Buckhead resident Gary Bodner wanted to be an architect, but his father advised him that medical school would be a better choice. Bodner’s parents had experienced the Great Depression and thought medicine would be a wiser financial decision. Bodner followed his father’s advice, and after completing his studies at Chicago Medical School and Emory University School of Medicine, he enjoyed a successful career in obstetrics and gynecology. Bodner delivered thousands of Atlanta babies over his 30-year career. Recently retired from medicine, Bodner now devotes himself full time to a different passion—painting. Back in 1998, Bodner was looking for a creative outlet from his stress-filled life. He had always appreciated fine art and enjoyed visiting museums with his wife, Melanie. So he signed up for one of Phillip Carpenter’s painting classes at Chastain Arts Center. Carpenter immediately recognized Bodner’s talent and pulled him aside after the very first class, telling Bodner he had real talent and to stay with it. Bodner has stayed with it, painting every day since. Bodner was so drawn to painting that even the demands of his OB/GYN prac18 | March 2014

tice could not keep him from it. He painted late into the night or very early in the morning, finding a few hours here or there to devote to his new passion. As his painting collection grew, he began displaying them in his medical office. Patients saw his work and loved it. Many wanted to own one of his paintings. Within two years of that first painting class, Bodner audaciously declared that he would have a showing of his work. A friend suggested he consult with Anne Irwin, a local artist and gallery owner with a keen eye for identifying emerging artists. Irwin was impressed and attended Bodner’s first show where he sold six of twelve paintings. Soon after the show, Irwin began representing Gary’s Gallery: Bodner and they have maintained Anne Irwin Fine Art a close relationship ever since. 690 Miami Circle Color inspires Bodner, and he 404.467.1200 describes himself as a colorist. “It’s all about the color for me. If the object of my piece is a horse,


I don’t paint a horse, I use color to find a horse,” he says. Emily West, director at Anne Irwin Fine Art, explains the world of a colorist. “For a colorist, it’s about the strength of the colors. The subject of the painting often becomes just the vehicle for the color, and you may see colors that don’t typically go with the subject,” she says. “Gary is a very unique artist. He is almost completely self-taught, yet his images offer a distorted perspective, which is a very sophisticated technique. Gary is an independent thinker and painter, which is why he is so attractive to such a wide audience.” Bodner and Melanie have two grown children, Blake and Noah, and one granddaughter, Abby. Bodner spoke lovingly of his 7-year-old granddaughter, saying that now that he is retired, she is the only thing that can keep him from painting. Abby has been known to occasionally add a few of her own strokes to some of his paintings. Gary Bodner is represented by Anne Irwin Fine Art at Miami Circle. This distinguished venue is noted for its lineup of established and emerging artists. The gallery will host a solo show of Bodner’s work from February 28 through March 22. The show opens February 28 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

March 2014 | 19

The Wide Embrace of Article Ben Hammett Walkuski

Photo Zack Arias

“In my dream, the angel shrugged and said, if we fail this time, it will be a failure of imagination and then she placed the world gently in the palm of my hand.”


hese words by the artist Brian Andreas, hang in the office of Jan Smith, a woman who by many accounts seems to have the world in the palm of her hand—and an imagination that has carried her far. This veteran songwriter, Grammy-nominated music producer, vocal coach, and Atlanta native has built a brand based on helping artists to be better artists. Her clients include Justin Bieber, Usher, The Band Perry, Rob Thomas and India.Arie, just to name a few.

20 | March 2014

“What I think I’m doing is raising the bar for people,” Mama Jan says, and out of the modest, unassuming Jan Smith Studios, off of I-85 near Clairmont Road, she does just that. Supported by a team of vocal and instrumental music instructors, and armed with a state-of-the-art digital recording and production facility, Mama Jan has built a stellar local, national and international reputation that has resulted in a waiting list for her services that currently stands at more than two years. Despite the enormous success she

Usher, Justin Bieber love their vocal coach Photo Rick Diamond/WireImage

When she’s not making music’s next big hit at Jan Smith Studios, Mama Jan is doing business with music’s bold-faced names at such area restaurants as White House, Umi and Top Spice. “I love Umi, I know the owners, and it’s a great restaurant,” Mama Jan confesses. In her downtime, she enjoys shopping at some of Atlanta’s great department stores: Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. At the top of her game, Mama Jan sees even greater things in her future. With 500 people waiting to get in, she cannot wait to open a new home for Jan Smith Studios that can meet the demand for her work. “I’m looking at a pretty big expansion to accommodate more. I’m out of space, I’m out of teachers. I want to look at artist development on a larger level, bringing in the technologies end of it—things that limit us now.” Mama Jan is always amazed when local Atlantans discover her business—all that she and her team are doing, right in the city’s back yard. “People will look on the walls, and see photos of the people they watch on TV—they’ll say, ‘Oh my, I didn’t know you did all this!’ Part of that allows me to get away with as much as I get away with for as long as I have.” “I believe that knowledge is power,” Mama Jan says. “The application of that is what’s going to make people more successful. So the end result would be that we’re blessing other people with our talent and through the work of our hands, helping them to do more of the work of theirs.” There’s another piece of art that is displayed in Mama Jan’s office. It reads, “Dang blessed.” Music to Mama’s ears. Visit

has enjoyed in the music and entertainment industries—Mama Jan released her first album at the age of 15—she remains remarkably accessible and down-to-earth. “This is not about me,” she says. “I have come to the recognition that it is through me that this work is done. I am grateful for the opportunity, and to pour that into other people is a very, very special and delicate thing.” A self-described home girl, Mama Jan was born at Emory Crawford Long Hospital, and has remained true to her Georgia roots. “I like the South. I think the South has culture, I think it has color, I think it has quality, and I think there’s something true to Southern hospitality.” With friends and colleagues in the traditional show business hubs of New York, Los Angeles and Nashville, Mama Jan travels frequently and extensively, but always comes back to Atlanta—also home to her mother and brothers. “This is my home. My family is here. I am rooted here in business.” Although many musical and artistic talents have originated in Atlanta and GeorMama Jan and bright new artist, Alex Hall gia, Mama Jan was one of the first BUSIPhoto by Mil Cannon NESSES in this industry to call the region home—a trend that she sees only growing. “I didn’t really plan on this, but okay. I embrace it and I believe in keeping it here. I believe Atlanta deserves that spotlight,” she says. Out of gratitude for all that this community has given to her, and a sense of responsibility to help others, Mama Jan has long been philanthropically minded. One of the ways she gives back is through her own nonprofit organization, the Bridge Music Foundation, which provides financial support to new and up-and-coming recording artists and musicians.

March 2014 | 21

Buckhead Filmmaker Brings A Story Home Article Marian Mendenhall


rin Levin is 28, lives in Buckhead, enjoys yoga and spending time with friends and family and is busy planning her wedding. And, oh yes, she is also producing a movie and has earned a Peabody Award and an Emmy. She has worked with the Peace Corps and as a journalist with CNN bringing global awareness to social injustices like human trafficking and the education crisis impacting African youth. Now, Erin is on her greatest mission yet. Over the course of the last two years, Erin has dedicated herself to telling the story of the African Children’s Choir. Her documentary is called Imba Means Sing.

BHL: Where did your journey begin? EL: The summer between my graduation from the University of Virginia and my start with the Peace Corps. I had the opportunity to work as the outreach coordinator for indie-rock band, Dispatch on a three-day benefit concert in New York City called Dis22 | March 2014

patch:Zimbabwe. A major goal behind this benefit was getting fans to focus and give back. For the event we tried to find a few Zimbabwean choirs to fly to New York for the event, however there were some issues getting visas for the choir members because of the state Zimbabwe was in. Shortly after, we discovered the African Children’s Choir, which had just been nominated for a Grammy. That was the moment I met the kids and fell in love with their story. That was six and a half years ago.

What were some other key moments along the way? After leaving Madagascar with the Peace Corps, I came back to Atlanta where I ended up working at CNN for three years. While working there, a friend of mine invited me to fly to Uganda to film a video for her non-profit. I couldn’t pass the opportunity up and within the first 24 hours of my being in Uganda, I ended up running into the African Children’s Choir. For me, that was a defining moment. I ended filming a documentary about them for CNN, and it was at that moment I realized their story was so much bigger. I was inspired to get their story out there, to share their message with the world, whether that be at film festivals, on Hulu, on Netflix - I felt like it was my mission to get communities around the world involved. It didn’t take long before I left CNN, and now, for the last two and a half years I’ve been committed to this film.

In your decision to move forward with the film, what do you feel some of the milestones or benchmarks have been in the process? When I knew I was able to commit to this film, a really important milestone for me was the moment I received my first big donation. It was from one of my mom’s best friends from college. She believed in me and what I was doing and donated enough money to fund a scouting trip with a crew, we needed to make sure the film was viable. And it was. Since then, there have been some really incredible success moment along the way and once I start something, there’s no stopping. One thing I wish I had done more during this journey, is to have taken the time to celebrate more of the small things, but sometimes that can be challenging when you’re up against so much. As far as our latest successes go, we just finished a shoot which wrapped up in December, we’re editing now, and hopefully if all things remain on track we’ll release the film in September.

How has theAtlanta community contributed to the film? Our whole crew is here, our editors are here. Danielle Bernstein, the director of the film, grew up in Buckhead. In July, we had a large event at the Buckhead Theater, supporting the film. It sold out. During the event the Children’s Choir performed, local celebrities showed up, and we ended up raising $40,000. It was amazing experience. The kids have even had the opportunity to sing the national anthem at a Braves game over the summer.

It’s really amazing how supportive the Atlanta community has been in the process.

It might be too early to think about, but have you thought about what your next big project might be? Yeah! I’ve been planning to do my next film in Atlanta. I think giving back and supporting this community is really important. My goal for every film I do, whether it’s local or global is that each will have a social impact, I feel that integrating music and art into these films can be a really great way to do this, as they are catalysts for positive thing and are in general great “change agents.”

How can we help? That’s a great question! We still have our work cut out for us. So far we’ve raised $235,000 and still have $215,000. Donations are tax deductible through our 501c3 fiscal sponsor, The Creative Visions Foundation, which is located in Malibu, and anyone can become an investor in the project. We also take Skymiles donations, which we’ve used to get back and forth to Africa and now are using for film festivals. We also have great interns from SCAD and encourage others to apply. I should add that we can’t emphasize how important it is for anyone who is interested in getting involved to “LIKE” us, and/or share our page on Facebook and Twitter. “Likes” Facebook - ACCfilm can be valued at $200, so for us this simTwitter - IMBA_Film ple act is incredibly meaningful.

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Lions and Tigers and Puppets,

Oh My!

Learning and laughter go hand in hand with Piccadilly Puppets Company. Article Helen Grebe


hush falls over the room, interrupted moments later by laughter erupting from a group of discerning young children. These audience members are not usually known for their ability to sit still for long periods of time, yet this crowd sits still, mesmerized. The scene is a parent’s dream but this is in fact taking place during waking hours as The Piccadilly Puppets Company performs their show, Kids on the Block, written with an educational theme about understanding children with disabilities. At the end of the show, audience members ask the puppets questions and the conversation is honest and endearing. It’s a scene one wouldn’t want to miss, and proof that learning and laughter often go hand in hand. Formed in 1969 and based in Atlanta, The Piccadilly Puppets Company is a nonprofit company that tours the metro area (with occasional out-of-town trips) to entertain young audiences and broach meaningful topics in an entertaining way. Featuring up to 14 puppets in a 30-minute show, the performances target children of all ages, but find a sweet spot with children between 3 and 10 years old. The themes are varied and include the importance of being honest (Once Upon a Time in China), the role of religion in one’s life ( Joseph and The Many Coat of Colors), science and the many stages of nature (Butterfly Ballad), and the idea that imagination can go a long way (Imagination Station), among others. Managed by Nancy Riggs, director for the past two years and the only salaried employee, the organization relies on funding by the Fulton County Arts Council as well as private donations to keep performance prices down. In addition, funding helps provide shows to children who don’t have the means for entertainment. 24 | March 2014

“There are a lot of puppet people in town, but we are one of the few nonprofit organizations,” explains Riggs, who lives in North Buckhead. “Each year funding has provided at least two shows to audiences in need. Puppets are for everyone and children especially relate to them.” Trained by The Center for Puppetry Arts , Riggs is buoyed by deep roots in the industry, lending her expertise to the company; Riggs has an acting background while her grandmother, Martha Ellis, was a puppeteer with the Atlanta Junior League. Riggs notes another variable that makes Piccadilly so special is that shows are all original content (except for Kids on the Block) and have an educational tie-in. Each show is unique and varies not only in theme but in characters and performance location. Riggs explains that some shows are written for families, some are church-themed, while others are preschool oriented. Piccadilly Puppets performs half their shows through Young Audiences but also offers private bookings that include small group shows and birthday parties, which begin at $175. Laughter is often touted to be good medicine and Piccadilly Puppets’ motto is “entertainment with a purpose.” Perhaps the proof is in the pudding when one of Piccadilly’s performances comes to an end. Riggs often hears a repetitive comment from audiences: “Do it again! Do it again!” This response always makes her laugh and signals that the children had a good time. “I’m honest with them. I tell them the puppets need a nap now. Kids can relate to that,” laughs Riggs. For more information, visit

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Real Wives


Garman Gordon real wives of BuckHaven

BHL Who/what lives in your house?

(family & pets) GG Me, my husband William, my 2-year old daughter Kline, and our two dogs, Gin and Sky(chocolate and yellow labs) … in April we will add baby #2. BHL Do you work outside the home? If so, where? GG Yes, I am a vice president at Esquire Deposition Solutions.

BHL What organization that gets most of your volunteer time? GG It is equally spread out among my daughter’s pre-school (Peachtree Lutheran Pre School), my church (Peachtree Road United Methodist), Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta/Brookhaven Friends, and Junior League of Atlanta/Tour of Kitchens. They are all great organizations with amazing people that have been fun and rewarding for different reasons. The Tour of Kitchens happens March 29-30. Details at BHL Are you a native Atlantan? GG I have lived in Atlanta for 19 years, but I am a native Floridian. BHL Where did you go to college and what was your first job? GG I attended Georgia Tech and Emory Goizueta Business School. My first job was a co-op position for Delta Air Lines. BHL Favorite ‘pamper yourself’ item? GG Any service at the St. Regis Spa BHL What’s your guiltiest food pleasure? GG Sushi at Taka on Pharr Road is my favorite food pleasure, but I don’t really feel guilty about it. BHL Title of a book on your bedside table?

GG Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly and lots of

décor magazines BHL Favorite place to walk or hike near your

neighborhood? GG Our neighborhood (Historic Brookhaven) is great for walking, running and biking. I walk with my daughter almost daily. I’ve met many of our neighbors that way. BHL If you work out, where do you go? GG My exercise regimen consists of walking and yoga. I’m actually a certified yoga instructor. BHL Best vacation ever? GG I’ve traveled internationally most of my life so I don’t have one favorite. A few of my favorites are Paris, Barcelona, Athens, Venice, Buenos Aires, the whisky trail in Scotland, Cayman Islands and Caneel Bay in the Virgin Islands. BHL Favorite date night restaurant? GG When we had our first child, my parents offered to give us a babysitting night once a week, so we do date night weekly. Our favorite spot is La Tavola in Virginia Highlands, but Aria, La Grotta, and JCT Kitchen are close seconds. BHL Best thing about living in Buckhead and Brookhaven? GG Proximity to everything – friends, school, restaurants, church, stores, etc. BHL Favorite cocktail? GG French martini. Patios are my favorite place – i.e. King & Duke. BHL Where do you wish your husband or friend would buy your next gift? GG A car dealership – we need a bigger car (SUV) for the new arrival in April!

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Driver’s Notebook

The 2014 Ridgeline SE and 2014 Crosstour EX-L V6 4WD luxuriously provide multiple options for the New Year.

street lines:

Honda sets the bar for versatility in 2014 Article Dennis Malcolm Byron


onda has unswervingly solidified its place as one of the top automakers for decades thanks to their dedication to quality, safety, reliability, and now, more than ever, multi-dimensionality to name a few accolades. The 2014 Ridgeline 4-door SE and 2014 Crosstour EX-L V6 4WD are just two of the many reasons why Honda will remain one of America’s favorite brands on wheels.

hitch package. The SE trim also flaunts a navigation system with voice recognition and Bluetooth phone connectivity. From making daily runs in the city to taking on the most unforgiving roads in the backwoods with heavy cargo in tow, the Ridgeline will have its new owner productive, in style. The Numbers:

$37,505 15 city/21 highway, 17 combined


2014 Honda Ridgeline 4-door SE

The best way to describe the new Ridgeline is luxuriously rugged. The 4-door cabin with leather seating, dual-zone climate control, multiple power outlets, heated front seats, power moon roof, and a MP3/auxiliary jack promises a comfortable, pampering ride for up to five passengers. The driver will also appreciate the powerful 250-horsepower, 3.5 liter VTECH engine; the VTM-4 four-wheel drive that delivers phenomenal control; and exterior pluses including the 18-inch alloy wheels; fog lights; steel reinforced cargo bed; dual-action tailgate (cab swings open or drops open for extension of the bed); and trailer 28 | March 2014


hance both driving performance and fuel efficiency at a high level, using as its base advanced environmental technologies.” Adding the Crosstour’s seemingly endless list of bells and whistles (360-watt touchscreen sound system, all-leather interior, navigation, and rear multi-view camera, and more) to the equation results in one of the most multidimensional automobiles on the road for 2014. The Numbers:

$37,240 19 city/28 highway, 22 combined

2014 Honda Crosstour EX-L V6 4WD


The Crosstour is one of the most extraordinary automobiles on the road particularly in terms of crossover body design, which boasts the fusion of a station wagon, SUV and sedan; its all-wheel drive capabilities welcomingly handle nimbly like the latter car type. The hatchback also provides multiple options regarding cargo, tremendous power thanks to 278 horses under the hood, and new, revered “Earth Dreams Technology” engine which, according to Honda, possesses “…a next generation set of technological advancements which greatly en-


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Lifestyle Calendar




The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will host its fourth annual Symphony Gala with an evening which will include a performance by Tony Award winner Audra McDonald with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Orchestra’s Talent Development Program Proceeds will benefit the Orchestra and its Education and Community programs.


Join the Atlanta Track Club and its youth running program Kilometer Kids, as they partner with Lt. Governor Casey Cagle for the fourth annual Be Healthy Georgia Day. The day will include the Kilometer Kids One Mile Fun Run for ages 7 and older and the Kilometer Kids Dash for kids 6 and under. All participants will receive a Kilometer Kids medal. Be Healthy Georgia Day will also feature fun and healthy activities for the whole family.


The 4th Annual Buckhead Beer And Wine Festival benefitting Embraced Atlanta will pour up plenty to taste and experience for beer and wine enthusiasts alike. Drawing thousands of revelers from around the area, the festival will offer patrons more than 80 types of beer including traditional favorites, premium craft beers and an assortment of the best brews from near and far as well as over 30 varieties of unique wines.


Grady Health Foundation will celebrate their annual fundraising campaign with the 4th 30 | March 2014

Annual White Coat Grady Gala, a black-tie dinner and awards ceremony honoring Atlanta’s healthcare heroes. Proceeds will benefit Grady Health Foundation, the fundraising arm of the metro-region’s premiere Level 1 Trauma Center and one of the Southeast’s largest hospitals.

MARCH 19 CHEROKEE GARDEN LIBRARY Following in Bartrams’ Footsteps

Bartram’s Garden Curator Speaks at Opening of Following in Bartrams’ Footsteps in conjunction with the traveling exhibition, Following in the Bartrams’ Footsteps: Contemporary Botanical Artists Explore the Bartrams’ Legacy, the Cherokee Garden Library at the Atlanta History Center presents an opening event featuring Joel Fry, curator of Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia. Joel Fry will present a survey of William Bartram’s breathtaking illustrations and examine the scope and influences of his career as a seminal American natural history illustrator.

March 27 Callaway Robin Lake Beach Dome Annual Plant Fair and Sale

This exceptional shopping opportunity features a wide variety of plants and unique garden items from more than a dozen local and regional vendors. One of the Gardens’ largest fundraising events, proceeds help support the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation and its educational and environmental programming.

March 28 – April 6 Throughout Atlanta Atlanta Film Festival

Held every spring, The Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) is an Academy Award-qualifying, international film festival and ATLFF365’s signature event. Started in 1976, the festival shows a diverse range of independent films, including genre films such as horror and sci-fi, and hosts

a variety of events, workshops and parties.

March 29 Candler Park ATLANTA WOMEN’S 5K

The event celebrates women and fitness. With the special “stroller division” start for moms, flowers at the finish line, commemorative jewelry and a women’s-fit performance shirt for all finishers, the Atlanta Women’s 5K is the perfect event for women and girls ages 8 & older.

March 29 Callaway Discovery Center Azalea Workshop

Here’s your chance to learn all about azaleas: varieties best suited for the Southeast, natives to enhance your landscape and extend your season, culture, and when and what to prune! After an informative classroom lecture and Q&A, walk among Callaway Gardens’ azaleas with the instructor.

March 29 THE FOX THEATRE SCOOBY-DOO Live! Musical Mysteries

SCOOBY-DOO and the Mystery Inc. Gang have been called in to help solve an epic mystery. A trouble-making ghost is haunting a local theater and Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, Velma and SCOOBY-DOO are on their way in the Mystery Machine to help solve it! This hilarious live theater show brings everyone’s favorite animated series to life.

March 29 & 30 Throughout Atlanta Atlanta Tour of Kitchens

The Junior League of Atlanta’s Tour of Kitchens features a view into 14 of Atlanta’s finest residential kitchens. The two-day event features a view into 14 of Atlanta’s finest residential kitchens and has raised more than one million dollars since its beginning to aid the Junior League of Atlanta, which continues to focus on improving the health, education and welfare of women and children.


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Parting Thoughts

So You Wanna be in Pictures? Words Cynthia Fritts Stillwell


here is a flurry of film and television activity happening here in the state of Georgia and especially in Atlanta. We are ranked number three in production behind Los Angeles and New York City. What a joyous time for people who want to get a taste of what’s it like to be in the movies. Consider a career change to become a background artist who provides a rich tapestry for the scenes between the principal players (the actors who are speaking). Without that depth of characters, a scene can become very flat and/or dull. How do you begin the process? Start with an internet search for casting agencies in Atlanta and send a recent photo of yourself (a selfie will work just fine) to those agencies. Include your name, height and weight, your clothing sizes (include shoe size), and your contact information/phone and email address. It is also helpful to include your interests, skills and work experience. Many times, you may be cast because you possess the kind of experience or have a skill that the script calls for in a specific scene. Once you are cast for a specific scene, you will be given a date and general background on the type of scene, the kind of clothing

34 | March 2014

choices you may need to provide (or if it is a period film that is taking place in another era, you may be asked to come in to fit for a specific outfit for that particular scene). You will be given a location and an approximate time to report (a “call time”). This call time is flexible since many of the next day’s work is dependent on what happens the previous day. Once you get to the set, you will be whisked into the magical world of make believe. Wardrobe, hair and make-up, and props assistants will aide in making that make believe become real. At least for a few hours. You will be working in collaboration with producers, directors, actors, and creative skilled crew members who all have the same goals in mind: create a day of memorable scenes. Tell the story. Make it believable. As you “wrap” (complete) your day of filming, you realize that you have embraced a business that is unique, intense, moment to moment, and fulfilling. Welcome to that life! Cynthia Stillwell Casting is a Georgia-based company with 30 years experience casting principals and background for film, television, commercials and theatre.


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BuckHaven Lifestyle March 2014  

March 2014 Issue of BuckHaven Lifestyle

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