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Best of Atlanta 2016 Poets Artists and Madmen

Poets Madmen Large Photo


Poets, Artists & Madmen

Throw a SweetWater 420 bottle cap any given Thursday night, and it’ll ricochet off multiple buzzy art openings. Robust dance and comedy scenes are fostering a new generation of talent. When Miya Bailey decided to expand City of Ink’s artistic mission, he set up Notch 8 Gallery in SWATS as a sanctuary for otherground artists and fans. Bailey and co-owner/-director/-curator Sharon Dennehy push a left-leaning, hip-hop-fed ethos through their gallery shows.

The Lucky Penny’s Work Room provides affordable space for dancers to stretch and hone their craft. Relapse Theatre shook off three years’ worth of dust to step back up as the comedy community’s quote-unquote church, immediately stacking lineups with local and touring talent, including promising young comic Ismael Loutfi. And each week, ATLiens count on the 1AM Secret Show at Smith’s Olde Bar to reel in the laughs and an über-celebrated surprise guest comic. Artist Peter Ferrari and other Forward Warrior disciples (below) took to Wylie Street again this summer to keep the geolocated ’grams colorful.

The last year found Atlanta’s arts community more blazing than ever. Such striving can be exhausting and inspire quite the sweat. Which can make you wonder, maybe that loathsome nickname Hotlanta wasn’t born of our tropical climate. Perhaps it’s meant to reflect our city’s visionaries: hot and on fire.

— Beca Grimm

Best gallery for otherground art

Notch 8 Gallery Notch8 Gallery
In the last year NOTCH 8 has quietly emerged as one of the guaranteed spots to find the artists defining ATL’s otherground arts scene. From Paper Frank and Corey Davis to Artemus Jenkins and Dubelyoo, the artists embody an innovative, left-leaning aesthetic and Notch 8’s shows draw crowds well intomore...
In the last year NOTCH 8 has quietly emerged as one of the guaranteed spots to find the artists defining ATL’s otherground arts scene. From Paper Frank and Corey Davis to Artemus Jenkins and Dubelyoo, the artists embody an innovative, left-leaning aesthetic and Notch 8’s shows draw crowds well into the hundreds on opening nights. Co-founded by City of Ink’s Miya Bailey and Sharon Dennehy, Notch 8 is a place not only to view dope art, but to buy it. At least that’s the goal for Bailey, who has said his focus includes making collectors out of casual appreciators. At his March show, Before I’m Gone Vol. 1: The Art of Miya Bailey, works started at $100. With its vision and the cool to back it up, Notch 8 has surpassed gallery status to become ground zero for many of the city’s creatives. less...

Best Instagrammer

Cool Atlanta
Sarah Spear is the brains behind Instagram account COOL ATLANTA, which features artful snaps of everything from the hippest craft cocktails and brunch spots to hidden-gem murals, locally made wares, and more. After moving from Los Angeles to Atlanta in 2012, Spear started the account (and accompanyingmore...
Sarah Spear is the brains behind Instagram account COOL ATLANTA, which features artful snaps of everything from the hippest craft cocktails and brunch spots to hidden-gem murals, locally made wares, and more. After moving from Los Angeles to Atlanta in 2012, Spear started the account (and accompanying blog) to log her immersion into the city. Now, with a few years as a Southerner under her belt, and a gig as Paces Properties’ director of marketing, she’s helping more and more followers fall in love with Atlanta, one shot at a time. www.instagram.com/coolatlanta. less...

Best local designer

Karen Glass
True to form, KAREN GLASS wasted zero time laying a strong foundation for her ethically conscious avant-garde fashion line zerøwaste. This year, Glass showcased at Modern Atlanta and premiered an experimental retail concept at the Goat Farm Arts Center. She also has dreamy collaborations with localmore...
True to form, KAREN GLASS wasted zero time laying a strong foundation for her ethically conscious avant-garde fashion line zerøwaste. This year, Glass showcased at Modern Atlanta and premiered an experimental retail concept at the Goat Farm Arts Center. She also has dreamy collaborations with local institutions in the works. The zerøwaste line adheres to a minimalist, muted approach and palette. Garments include repurposed jeans, gowns, and upcycled blazers, all designed by Glass and made in her Goat Farm studio in collaboration with Beloved, a work-training program for women in recovery so they can make a living wage. www.zerowastekarenglass.com. less...

Best museum that keeps bringing us back

High Museum of Art High Museum of Art
The HIGH MUSEUM OF ART kept us Midtown-bound opening after opening over the last year. The November exhibition, Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, marked the Dutch designer’s first North American show and the High’s fashion debut. The vast display included 45 outfits from 15 collections and revealedmore...
The HIGH MUSEUM OF ART kept us Midtown-bound opening after opening over the last year. The November exhibition, Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, marked the Dutch designer’s first North American show and the High’s fashion debut. The vast display included 45 outfits from 15 collections and revealed van Herpen’s flair for marrying technology, unconventional materials such as umbrella ribs repurposed as wearable art, and couture. Two outdoor exhibitions, Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena’s Los Trompos and Jaime Hayon’s Tiovivo (up through Nov. 27), provided younger (and not so young) visitors the opportunity to interact with beautiful structures. Los Trompos translates to “spinning tops” and took the meaning literally with its playground-size playthings. Tiovivo planted large-scale sculptures in the piazza. With their hollow insides and attached stairs and slides, the cartoonish structures invited investigation. The museum attracted almost 1,700 people to the opening of The Rise of Sneaker Culture, a thorough collection that included about 160 pairs of shoes. Besides showcasing familiar footwear such as Run-DMC’s shell-toe Adidas, The Rise “highlighted the marriage between high fashion and street wear,” CL senior writer Rodney Carmichael wrote. In addition to pushing boundaries with fashion-forward and touch-friendly installations, the High slayed with the retrospective Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks, which presented pages from the late American artist’s journals and sketchbooks. What’s the High got planned next? Chances are, we’ll be there opening night. less...

Best resource for dancers

Work Room Work Room
What good is potential if an artist never has the time or resources to refine her craft? This thought weighed heavily on the mind of Atlanta dancer/choreographer Blake Beckham for years. Rather than leave town or quit dancing altogether, Beckham doubled down with her team at contemporary performancemore...
What good is potential if an artist never has the time or resources to refine her craft? This thought weighed heavily on the mind of Atlanta dancer/choreographer Blake Beckham for years. Rather than leave town or quit dancing altogether, Beckham doubled down with her team at contemporary performance company Lucky Penny and created the WORK ROOM. With a custom sprung dance floor and big beautiful windows, the Work Room offers a unique opportunity for resident artists to have 24/7 year-round space to train, experiment, and grow. less...

Best book booker

Frank Reiss
Elvis Costello and Patti Smith. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Salman Rushdie. Sen. Cory Booker and Anthony Bourdain. FRANK REISS has brought them all to Atlanta. While many independent bookstores have run out of Benjamins and shuttered doors, A Cappella cracked open a new chapter when owner Reiss made the fortuitousmore...
Elvis Costello and Patti Smith. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Salman Rushdie. Sen. Cory Booker and Anthony Bourdain. FRANK REISS has brought them all to Atlanta. While many independent bookstores have run out of Benjamins and shuttered doors, A Cappella cracked open a new chapter when owner Reiss made the fortuitous decision to break beyond bookstore walls and host concert-size book events starting with Hollis Gillespie’s first book launch in 2004. His boots-on-the-ground approach to booking helps cultivate celebrations that attract all kinds of readers and keep publishers happy and invested in the Atlanta market. While getting cozy in the corner of a bookstore to hear a personal favorite author read is charming, and something Reiss also excels at organizing, communing with die-hard fans at a venue like Variety Playhouse as Elvis Costello serenades the crowd with “American Without Tears” is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 208 Haralson Ave. N.E. 404-681-5128. www.acappellabooks.com. less...

Best choreographer

T. Lang
Dancer/choreographer/professor T. LANG’s ethereal vision has manifested over the past few years through cerebral, electric works such as her four-part Post Up series (the last of which will debut this fall); 2012’s Mother/Mutha, which was a stirring look at African women who were forced to breedmore...
Dancer/choreographer/professor T. LANG’s ethereal vision has manifested over the past few years through cerebral, electric works such as her four-part Post Up series (the last of which will debut this fall); 2012’s Mother/Mutha, which was a stirring look at African women who were forced to breed slaves; and For Unmarried Girls Before They Wed, a piece that shed light on relationship issues from a woman’s point of view. Wherever you find her works in the city, just know you’re in for a heady, spiritual treat. www.tlangdance.com. less...

Best film festival

Atlanta Film Festival
The ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL celebrated 40 years in 2016. That’s a feat for any organization, let alone a gathering that held its first screenings in a Piedmont Park bathhouse. Over the last four decades much has changed about the festival — its name, its location, its leadership, its relationship tomore...
The ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL celebrated 40 years in 2016. That’s a feat for any organization, let alone a gathering that held its first screenings in a Piedmont Park bathhouse. Over the last four decades much has changed about the festival — its name, its location, its leadership, its relationship to Atlanta. But the past four years finally found stability in these areas, particularly when it comes to the festival’s namesake. Atlanta doesn’t make it easy for a film festival to feel truly local. There’s no theater row. Traffic and a convoluted urban layout make the city difficult to navigate. But the Atlanta Film Festival has worked around these hurdles to embrace Atlanta’s assets. Festival organizers have moved screenings out of the multiplex and into signature local theaters such as the Plaza, the Rialto, 7 Stages, and the Fox. They’re throwing their parties at Paris on Ponce and welcoming filmmakers from around the world at the Highland Ballroom. 2016 programming, with its more than 150 films, celebrated the risk takers (Gregg Bishop’s Siren, The Forbidden Room), the less represented (Hunky Dory, Speed Sisters), and, of course, the work made in Georgia, including this year’s opening film The Fundamentals of Caring, the much buzzed about SXSW hit The Arbalest, as well as Hotel Clermont, and Athens rock doc A Peculiar Noise, among many others. Certainly the mark of a great film festival is, well, great films. Atlanta Film Festival’s got that part down and it also knows how to make its hometown shine. www.atlantafilmfestival.com. less...

Best interactive art event

Forward Warrior
One neighborhood, two days, and 36 local artists wildin’ out on Wylie Street. This was the sixth year of collaborative mural event FORWARD WARRIOR. The Cabbagetown festival, organized each year by Peter Ferrari, featured a proper range of artists, including Brandon Sadler, Cousin Dan, Jessica Caldas,more...
One neighborhood, two days, and 36 local artists wildin’ out on Wylie Street. This was the sixth year of collaborative mural event FORWARD WARRIOR. The Cabbagetown festival, organized each year by Peter Ferrari, featured a proper range of artists, including Brandon Sadler, Cousin Dan, Jessica Caldas, Fabian Williams, Catlanta, Molly Rose Freeman, Michi Meko, Sister Louisa, Pash Lima, and so many more. FRKO’s ode to Gucci Mane alone was better than any government clone conspiracy. Forward Warrior is a true mural party. What else would you call a two-day fest that invites Atlanta to come out and mingle with the artists while taking in the actual process of creation? Between watching some of the city’s best sling spray cans and mingling with the creative community, patrons this year could witness the likes of Bankroll Fresh’s nephew Bankroll PJ taking in the sidewalk party. Interactive, you ask? Hell yeah. What better company while dialoguing over how to push the city forward than a bunch of like-minded warriors? www.instagram.com/peterferrariart. less...

Best local global fashion resource

SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion & Film
Yes, SCAD FASH MUSEUM OF FASHION + FILM is an educational tool for students. But it’s also a window for the community into the worlds of fashion and film as means of artistic expression. The new museum opened with a boom in October 2015, and attracted more than 10,500 attendees to exhibitions aroundmore...
Yes, SCAD FASH MUSEUM OF FASHION + FILM is an educational tool for students. But it’s also a window for the community into the worlds of fashion and film as means of artistic expression. The new museum opened with a boom in October 2015, and attracted more than 10,500 attendees to exhibitions around the late design powerhouse Oscar de la Renta and the famously flamboyant London-based artist Daniel Lismore. Programming continues to slay. Carolina Herrera’s Refined Irreverence (on display through Sept. 25) showcases a selection of runway looks and gowns such as Kristen Stewart’s wedding dress from Twilight and more worn by Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama, among others. SCAD FASH goes beyond simply displaying works on mannequins to take a different look at fashion’s cultural impact. Grand Divertissement à Versailles, Vintage Photographs by Bill Cunningham offered a series of black-and-white photos from the late, famed street photographer of one of fashion history’s grandest showdowns between American and French designers, nicknamed “The Battle of Versailles.” SCAD students work as docents, leading visitors through installations (that they usually help assemble) with iPads in hand, offering further insight. Talk about extra credit. less...

Best look into an artist’s creative process

Cut: New Works on Wood
Alex Brewer’s summer show CUT: NEW WORKS ON WOOD at Sandler Hudson Gallery offered an intriguing glimpse into the artist’s creative process and its evolution since his days as a graffiti-slinging teen known as HENSE. Cut signaled a transitional phase for Brewer. In the multipart installation “21more...
Alex Brewer’s summer show CUT: NEW WORKS ON WOOD at Sandler Hudson Gallery offered an intriguing glimpse into the artist’s creative process and its evolution since his days as a graffiti-slinging teen known as HENSE. Cut signaled a transitional phase for Brewer. In the multipart installation “21 Shapes,” Brewer broke his murals into pieces, mounted them on wood, and rearranged the parts across a large wall for a deconstructed view of his bright, abstract vibe. In Cut Brewer explored a collage-based, Tetris-like process for pieces such as “Ply” and “Stacked,” for which he carefully placed odd-shaped wood cutouts into complex color-charged layouts. Cut was a successful exploration of where Brewer has been and where he is going. www.hensethename.com. less...

Best artistic thought-provoker

Fahamu Pecou
Much like hip-hop influenced artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Hebru Brantley, FAHAMU PECOU’s work celebrates blackness and is often strongly tied to street culture. It resonates on a cerebral, spiritual, and basic human level, which makes Pecou’s art relatable regardless of ethnicity. Pecou’s piecesmore...
Much like hip-hop influenced artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Hebru Brantley, FAHAMU PECOU’s work celebrates blackness and is often strongly tied to street culture. It resonates on a cerebral, spiritual, and basic human level, which makes Pecou’s art relatable regardless of ethnicity. Pecou’s pieces often portray the resilience, glory, and brilliance of black people and take the establishment to task. His painting “Word.Life.” from his exhibit Talking Drum at the Center for Civil and Human Rights earlier this year, features Ruby Bridges — the first black girl to desegregate schools — carrying a boombox instead of a briefcase. In August, his solo exhibit DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance opened at the College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and uses West African spirituality to elevate black bodies in opposition to the deathly imagery of state-sponsored violence against unarmed victims. As a scholar and thought-provoker, Pecou has taken his perspective into both academia and mainstream media. In a piece for NBC News following Kendrick Lamar’s profound performance in shackles at the 2016 Grammy’s, Pecou offered critiques on the commodification of blackness. He’s had similar discussions as a guest lecturer at Princeton and Morehouse. As always, Pecou’s thoughts on the intersection of art and hip-hop and how that informs perceptions of blackness are explored regularly on his Tumblr, Scholarshit. www.fahamupecouart.com. less...

Best cultural smorgasbord

Simmer Down Picnic
Atlanta is home to summer festivals galore. And just like the city, they tend to sprawl, attracting crowds in the thousands, traffic, and predictable beer sponsors. But there’s something altogether alternative about last September’s SIMMER DOWN PICNIC, a smorgasbord of flavor on a more intimate scale.more...
Atlanta is home to summer festivals galore. And just like the city, they tend to sprawl, attracting crowds in the thousands, traffic, and predictable beer sponsors. But there’s something altogether alternative about last September’s SIMMER DOWN PICNIC, a smorgasbord of flavor on a more intimate scale. Organized in part by Quianah Upton (proprietor of vintage decor brand Arbitrary Living and dinner party #ChopItUpATL), Simmer Down serves up hyper-local DIY food and crafts vendors while local artists and emerging musicians contribute to the cultural diatribe. Sponsored largely by female-owned-and-operated small businesses within the city’s creative scene, the picnic, held at the Arts Exchange greenspace, played a significant role in last year’s independently produced, AfroPunk-affiliated documentary If You Know the Words, Feel Free by showcasing many of the key women pushing local culture forward. With a pre-feast BMX bike ride corralled by local street ambassador Chilly-O, it was an extended family affair; a true kickback with a backyard bohemian vibe. less...

Best super late comedy show likely to attract big names

1 AM Secret Show Smith's Olde Bar
When “Saturday Night Live” is signing off, the 1AM SECRET SHOW is just getting started over at Smith’s Olde Bar. Current hosts David Perdue, Anthony Driver, and Olive Lynch wrangle boozy crowds in a packed room each week. The lineup isn’t revealed until showtime and rarely is set before then,more...
When “Saturday Night Live” is signing off, the 1AM SECRET SHOW is just getting started over at Smith’s Olde Bar. Current hosts David Perdue, Anthony Driver, and Olive Lynch wrangle boozy crowds in a packed room each week. The lineup isn’t revealed until showtime and rarely is set before then, either, as the hosts are trying to snag visiting big-name comics. After a weekend of two-drink-minimum crowds, headliners love to burn the midnight oil at a dive show where anything goes. Past performers include Hannibal Buress, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Rory Scovel. If there is a big name in town, you’re almost guaranteed to see them at the 1AM. less...

Best theatrical artistic director

Brian Clowdus Serenbe Playhouse
In a theater world hungry for the next hot world premier, BRIAN CLOWDUS proves that the shows you thought you knew still have some secrets waiting to be wrung out. As founder and artistic director of Serenbe Playhouse, he has continually mined grit, sex, and new energy from shows that have been makingmore...
In a theater world hungry for the next hot world premier, BRIAN CLOWDUS proves that the shows you thought you knew still have some secrets waiting to be wrung out. As founder and artistic director of Serenbe Playhouse, he has continually mined grit, sex, and new energy from shows that have been making the community and high school theater circuit for ages. Stagings of Oklahoma, Of Mice and Men, and Charlotte’s Web have found new life among Serenbe Farm’s rustic environs. Clowdus’ bold decision to land an actual Huey helicopter in the middle of a staging of Miss Saigon drew the attention of Playbill and the New York Times, but ultimately, the flair for spectacle is all in service of fully immersing audiences in these age-old stories, encouraging them to take a fresh look at shows they may think they already know. www.serenbeplayhouse.com. less...

Best Vine account

Sara Hopkins
There’s little not to love about local social media personality SARA HOPKINS. Her witty pop culture-laced video shorts have garnered her six digits worth of followers across platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. But it’s on the video-looping app Vine where her LOL-worthy posts really shinemore...
There’s little not to love about local social media personality SARA HOPKINS. Her witty pop culture-laced video shorts have garnered her six digits worth of followers across platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. But it’s on the video-looping app Vine where her LOL-worthy posts really shine (she’s currently clocking in at just under 7 million total loops). Her prowess for crafting funny Snapchats for friends eventually morphed into viral videos (her uncanny dolphin impression and play on Dorrough’s rap hit “Ice Cream Paint Job” are fan favorites), partnerships with brands like Verizon and the Coca-Cola Company, and even a Shorty Award nomination — the Grammys of social media — up against names like DJ Khaled and Kylie Jenner. Major key. www.vine.co/sarahopkins. less...

Best Atlanta theater tradition in the making

Let Nothing You Dismay
Topher Payne’s holiday play LET NOTHING YOU DISMAY has the potential to become an Atlanta holiday tradition. The screwball comedy follows a couple awaiting the birth of their first child via surrogate, and features eight actors in 22 roles. When the birth mama wanders off, the couple’s well-meaningmore...
Topher Payne’s holiday play LET NOTHING YOU DISMAY has the potential to become an Atlanta holiday tradition. The screwball comedy follows a couple awaiting the birth of their first child via surrogate, and features eight actors in 22 roles. When the birth mama wanders off, the couple’s well-meaning but uninvited family members are desperate to find her. The show moves at breakneck speed — one actor pops offstage and reappears only three lines later as a totally different character. With Payne continuing to find success as a writer around the country, it’s nice to see him staying true to his roots and produce new work here in Atlanta. A truly funny show by a local writer and featuring local talent like Amanda Cucher and Gina Rickicki, who slips in and out of a Botox-induced facial paralysis at warp speed, is worth celebrating. 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road. 770-396-1726. www.stagedoorplayers.net. less...

Best documentary

If You Know the Words, Feel Free
Mere existence can be an act of rebellion for cultures on the margins. Thankfully, Atlanta’s always bubbling underground of black artisans and multidisciplinary creatives is quite capable of documenting its own renaissance. That community’s rise is the focus of IF YOU KNOW THE WORDS, FEEL FREE, themore...
Mere existence can be an act of rebellion for cultures on the margins. Thankfully, Atlanta’s always bubbling underground of black artisans and multidisciplinary creatives is quite capable of documenting its own renaissance. That community’s rise is the focus of IF YOU KNOW THE WORDS, FEEL FREE, the 2015 documentary produced in conjunction with AfroPunk Fest’s first foray to Atlanta. Though threatening weather canceled last year’s festivities, the film — expanded from a planned short to near-feature length — deservedly took center stage. Executive produced by Glynn Murph and directed by Artemus Jenkins, it follows well-known Atlanta artist and protagonist Sean Fahie on a quest for creative inspiration that, by proxy, introduces viewers to the scene’s vibrant cast of characters. The film’s artistic direction speaks volumes. Shot in black and white, Jenkins’ approach to documentary filmmaking flows like a free jazz ensemble. With Fahie’s first-person voiceover narrating the way, the doc unfolds like a haiku more than a history lesson. Artists including Vek Neal, Michi Meko, FRKO, Mr. Soul, and Miya Bailey articulate the need to balance creative ambition with entrepreneurial vision while upholding a sense of responsibility to a larger community in a gentrifying black mecca. In a city constantly typecast by mainstream media, If You Know the Words, Feel Free paints a subversive portrait of Atlanta’s heart and soul. www.artemusjenkins.com. less...

Best immersive dance performance

Jack
Claire Molla, Erik Thurmond, and Melissa Word make up the dance and social performance collective JACK. Their March show, hosted by Dashboard, took place in the unsuspecting confines of Colony Square. The trio quietly took to the floor among throngs of partygoers, zooming in complicated patterns, theirmore...
Claire Molla, Erik Thurmond, and Melissa Word make up the dance and social performance collective JACK. Their March show, hosted by Dashboard, took place in the unsuspecting confines of Colony Square. The trio quietly took to the floor among throngs of partygoers, zooming in complicated patterns, their movements channeling heavy melodrama. The selectively lit room brought attention to the dancers’ gyrations and synergy. Being so close without much option to look elsewhere made the audience as much a part of the performance as the dancers themselves. It damn near swallowed us whole. www.dashboard.us. less...

Best reading series fighting the patriarchy

The Bleux Stockings Society

Best viral dance craze upshot

The Dab
THE DAB is dead; long live Atlanta’s indigenous cool. Well before reaching peak saturation at the top of the year, when Hillary Clinton took her presidential pandering to desperate levels on “Ellen,” dabbin’ became the latest cultural signifier of black teenage virality. Less traditional dancemore...
THE DAB is dead; long live Atlanta’s indigenous cool. Well before reaching peak saturation at the top of the year, when Hillary Clinton took her presidential pandering to desperate levels on “Ellen,” dabbin’ became the latest cultural signifier of black teenage virality. Less traditional dance move than exclamation point, it evolved from high-THC cannabis cough to Cam Newton’s signature end-zone celebration. Middle America’s fascination with the dance — and Gwinnett rappers Migos’ soundtrack — eventually led to an outpouring of appropriation-themed thinkpieces. But there was a silver lining: Atlanta’s ground-level dance culture, including young digital innovators such as HOTTLANTA dance scene filmmaker Mr. 2-17, got some well-deserved attention from clued-in media outlets like FADER and MTV News — which crowned dancer/choreographer @SheLovesMeechie the “truest star” of the scene. If Hillary makes it to the White House, she’ll have them, in part, to thank. less...

Best weird Twitter account

Zack Fox
Zack Fox (formerly known as Bootymath) found artistic footing in creating visuals for Awful Records folks but unearthed a true purpose by way of his bizarre Twitter account. The content is rarely SFW — take for instance, a June 29 tweet reading, “im starving havent eaten ass in days go fund me”more...
Zack Fox (formerly known as Bootymath) found artistic footing in creating visuals for Awful Records folks but unearthed a true purpose by way of his bizarre Twitter account. The content is rarely SFW — take for instance, a June 29 tweet reading, “im starving havent eaten ass in days go fund me” — but does a masterful job marrying hip-hop, internet culture, and apathy. The result is rooted in twisted, sometimes macabre humor and may not be for everyone, but hey, that’s kinda what Fox is aiming for. www.twitter.com/zackfox. less...

Best YouTube channel

Maximus Thor
A father-son passion project launched by television producer Benny Wonka and colleague James Few in 2012, the MAXIMUS THOR YouTube channel has more than 50,000 YouTube subscribers, and counting. The series of comedic shorts features Wonka, his real-life 11-year-old son Maximus Thor, and friends. Adultsmore...
A father-son passion project launched by television producer Benny Wonka and colleague James Few in 2012, the MAXIMUS THOR YouTube channel has more than 50,000 YouTube subscribers, and counting. The series of comedic shorts features Wonka, his real-life 11-year-old son Maximus Thor, and friends. Adults — typically Wonka’s entertainment industry colleagues — voice the series’ adolescent cast members. Packed with distorted sound effects, quick cuts, and off-the-cuff asides that border on subliminal, the show’s initial allure was rooted in the provocative juxtaposition of non-adults doing and saying some very adult things. But in October 2014, the team released a well-received PSA-style suicide prevention video. Now, in addition to releasing new comedy videos, the First Family peppers in new socially aware content. Keep an eye out for a video that addresses homelessness in the future. Bizarre, hilarious, and dripping with swagger, Maximus Thor has one mission: to spread love and laughter throughout Atlanta and beyond. www.youtube.com/user/JoinTeamOverlord. less...

Best art for everyday neurotics

Sarah Hobbs
Artist SARAH HOBBS explored human neuroses in Perspectives of the Unexpected, a February show at Chastain Arts Center that also featured Atlanta artist Susie Winton. Hobbs’ large-scale chromogenic prints focused on modern anxieties ranging from the everyday, such as the homesickness that comes withmore...
Artist SARAH HOBBS explored human neuroses in Perspectives of the Unexpected, a February show at Chastain Arts Center that also featured Atlanta artist Susie Winton. Hobbs’ large-scale chromogenic prints focused on modern anxieties ranging from the everyday, such as the homesickness that comes with frequent travel, to OCD issues rivaling “Girls’” Hannah Horvath on a bad day. Hobbs chose homey suburban spaces to distort and humanize with clever installations, which she then photographed. In “Avoidance,” swaths of aluminum foil covered the windows and door of a neutral entryway. Post-It notes filled with tiny handwriting loomed over mismatched vintage floral-and-white bedding in “(untitled) insomnia.” Hundreds of vibrantly colored and black dreamcatchers overwhelmed the otherwise spartan bedroom of “untitled (voluntary mental facility).” Hobbs’ work questioned the idea of “normal” and how our inner states contrast with the curated masks we show the world. Her work drilled past social stigmas and expectations to portray day-to-day fears, look at what’s really going on inside, and make the viewer feel less alone. www.sarahhobbs.net. less...

Best comedian on the verge of superstardom

Ismael Loutfi
Stand-up wunderkind ISMAEL LOUTFI took fourth place at the 2016 Laughing Skull Comedy Festival and was recently one of the New Faces at this year’s Just For Laughs comedy fest in Montreal. The self-proclaimed “sweet boy” floods the stage with charm, intelligence, and poise. Besides the musingsmore...
Stand-up wunderkind ISMAEL LOUTFI took fourth place at the 2016 Laughing Skull Comedy Festival and was recently one of the New Faces at this year’s Just For Laughs comedy fest in Montreal. The self-proclaimed “sweet boy” floods the stage with charm, intelligence, and poise. Besides the musings of your average 23-year-old, such as analyzing the absurd marketing strategies of strip clubs and getting terrible tips at work, Loutfi uses his razor-sharp wit to tackle Islamophobia. He paints an awkward portrait of the conflicting emotions he faces living as a Muslim in America, such as finding himself compelled to correct an open mic-er’s wrong racist myth to the correct racist myth. With the social commentary savvy of “The Daily Show” and the likability of your next-door neighbor, Loutfi points out the absurdity in our culture not with biting ridicule, but with a playful knock on the shoulder. www.twitter.com/Ismaelian. less...

Best comedy show

Ladie's Night
Brian Emond, Joel Ruiz, and Zach Lamplugh’s sketch group/live show LADIE’S NIGHT is a must-see comedy shindig that’s bringing the stand-up and film communities together. Throwing down first Thursdays of the month at the Village Theatre, each show features stand-ups and three new video sketchesmore...
Brian Emond, Joel Ruiz, and Zach Lamplugh’s sketch group/live show LADIE’S NIGHT is a must-see comedy shindig that’s bringing the stand-up and film communities together. Throwing down first Thursdays of the month at the Village Theatre, each show features stand-ups and three new video sketches from the boys as well as fellow local filmmakers. The show celebrates comedy as silly as its moniker, a typo the founders decided to run with. The trio has crafted delightfully absurd DnD parodies and trivial crowdsourcing campaigns asking generous folks to buy Emond a beer. Ladie’s Night pried open the floodgates to new sketch groups and tapped the local film community’s comedic genius. While the first shows were stretched thin for outsider material, today the trio’s inbox is swamped with submissions every month. www.whyladiesnight.com. less...

Best new creative incubator

Downtown Players Club Downtown Players Club
DOWNTOWN PLAYERS CLUB has hosted dance parties, oddball art rock performances, plays, and a chess club, among many other happenings, but it’s the stuff that goes on around the shindigs that really makes co-founders Elizabeth Jarrett and Kris Pilcher’s space important. One recent night saw a performancemore...
DOWNTOWN PLAYERS CLUB has hosted dance parties, oddball art rock performances, plays, and a chess club, among many other happenings, but it’s the stuff that goes on around the shindigs that really makes co-founders Elizabeth Jarrett and Kris Pilcher’s space important. One recent night saw a performance of RISK Theatre’s Macbeth in the main space upstairs, a roundtable discussion among poets in the library, and the collecting of dreams by the Dream Collection Agency happening simultaneously. The goal in having such a hodgepodge of artists bouncing off DPC’s walls is to become a “clubhouse for creatives,” as Pilcher has put it. That community center aspect has distinguished DPC since its opening in December 2015. Artists need a place to try new things, with and without an audience. In order to take risks, they need a space willing to take a risk on them. less...

Best new dance troupe

Chroma
CHROMA is an innovative multi-sensory experience, an ongoing installation of photographs and performance art based in the healing modalities of chakra alignment and color psychology. It’s a different kind of immersion therapy,wherein the audience is healed by being bathed in color, sound, space, andmore...
CHROMA is an innovative multi-sensory experience, an ongoing installation of photographs and performance art based in the healing modalities of chakra alignment and color psychology. It’s a different kind of immersion therapy,wherein the audience is healed by being bathed in color, sound, space, and shapes. Co-creators Anicka Austin and Crystal Monds are an intentional pair. Choreographer and dancer Anicka Austin radiates major posi vibes through movement and Crystal Monds grounds it all with her black girl magic healing powers and vision. This year they have bridged the gap between art, social justice, and spiritual maintenance. oodcchroma.tumblr.com. less...

Best play to use alternative mediums

Inside I
Theater’s goal is to put the audience into a new place, another’s shoes, another time. If done well, viewers forget themselves entirely and are transformed. Michael Haverty and Erwin Maas’ INSIDE I, which ran this spring at 7 Stages, combined puppets, live-feed cameras, and live actors to put themore...
Theater’s goal is to put the audience into a new place, another’s shoes, another time. If done well, viewers forget themselves entirely and are transformed. Michael Haverty and Erwin Maas’ INSIDE I, which ran this spring at 7 Stages, combined puppets, live-feed cameras, and live actors to put the audience inside the experience of Ben, a child on the autistic spectrum who uses his iPhone to connect with the world. Three moving television screens on the stage transported the audience from inside a car driving down the highway to the inside of an MRI, and beyond. Immersive sound design combined with these visual elements created an incredible sense of overstimulation designed to mirror an autistic person’s daily life experiences. Familiar interactions like kids fighting over a ball created relatable, sometimes heart-wrenching, moments. This powerful and innovative multimedia show stayed with us long after it was over, and changed our perspective about our fellow man. 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E. 404-523-7647. www.7stages.org. less...

Best series to spark important conversations

Love/d & Sex/ed
Jessica Caldas centers work on important topics like sex, bodies, love, and all of the complicated issues they entail. In March, she wrote an AJC op-ed supporting the passage of Georgia’s rape kit bill, which aimed to ensure the timely processing of the kits. (A version was ultimately passed.) In April,more...
Jessica Caldas centers work on important topics like sex, bodies, love, and all of the complicated issues they entail. In March, she wrote an AJC op-ed supporting the passage of Georgia’s rape kit bill, which aimed to ensure the timely processing of the kits. (A version was ultimately passed.) In April, on the 10th anniversary of her rape, Caldas sparked important discussions during LOVE/D & SEX/ED. The series spanned four weekends and invited Atlanta to talk, feel, and deal through panels and performances discussing religion, sexuality, gender, love, and all of their complications. Caldas brought in local artists for three conversations, including Estela Semeco, Grace Thornton, Angela Davis Johnson, Aida Curtis, and many more. The emotionally charged performances, including Caldas’ disrobing and body painting during “Carrying On,” drove the point home that as society we have to work on how we handle rape culture, masculinity, and sexuality. Caldas is here to help make it happen. www.jessicacaldas.com. less...

Best venue comeback

Relapse Theatre Relapse Theatre
After a three-year hiatus, RELAPSE THEATRE’s resurrection comes at prime time for the rising tide of Atlanta’s local comedy scene. It’s the ideal comedy hybrid venue with its club-size rooms that ooze the laid-back charm of an indie space. Its grand re-opening featured James Adomian and Anthonymore...
After a three-year hiatus, RELAPSE THEATRE’s resurrection comes at prime time for the rising tide of Atlanta’s local comedy scene. It’s the ideal comedy hybrid venue with its club-size rooms that ooze the laid-back charm of an indie space. Its grand re-opening featured James Adomian and Anthony Atamanuik’s viral-sensation Trump vs. Bernie Debate. The theater has since hosted T.J. Miller and Eddie Pepitone, Paul Provenza’s Set List tournament, and a weekly open mic. Relapse has returned to provide ATL’s comics a hub to hang out, test their mettle, and find inspiration. Hallelujah. less...


Best local residency

Hambidge Creative Residency Program

Best street art

Krog Street Tunnel Krog Street Tunnel

Best book by a local author

TIE: The Weekenders AND Where We Want to Live

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews
www.marykayandrews.com

AND

Where We Want to Live: Reclaiming Infrastructure for a New Generation of Cities by Ryan Gravel
www.ryangravel.com

Best comedy night

Rotknee Presents: Monday Night Comedy

Best comedy show

Funny Monkey Comedy Java Monkey

Best established visual artist

Fahamu Pecou AND R. Land

www.fahamupecouart.comhttp://www.fahamupecouart.com

AND

www.rlandart.com

Best local screenwriter

TIE: Nicholas Tecosky AND Topher Payne AND Tyler Perry

Best local arts die-hard

Terry Kearns
architecturetourist.blogspot.com

Best mural

Chris Veal's "Honey we're urban now"

Best opening

Alan Avery Art Company: Grand Re-Opening Alan Ave.ry Art Company

Best pop-up art space

Whiskey Park Whiskey Park
gerberbars.com/whiskey-park-atlanta

Best film series

The Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival

Best improv group

Dad's Garage AND Village Theatre
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Best gallery for otherground art

Notch 8 Gallery Notch8 Gallery
In the last year NOTCH 8 has quietly emerged as one of the guaranteed spots to find the artists defining ATL’s otherground arts scene. From Paper Frank and Corey Davis to Artemus Jenkins and Dubelyoo, the artists embody an innovative, left-leaning aesthetic and Notch 8’s shows draw crowds well intomore...
In the last year NOTCH 8 has quietly emerged as one of the guaranteed spots to find the artists defining ATL’s otherground arts scene. From Paper Frank and Corey Davis to Artemus Jenkins and Dubelyoo, the artists embody an innovative, left-leaning aesthetic and Notch 8’s shows draw crowds well into the hundreds on opening nights. Co-founded by City of Ink’s Miya Bailey and Sharon Dennehy, Notch 8 is a place not only to view dope art, but to buy it. At least that’s the goal for Bailey, who has said his focus includes making collectors out of casual appreciators. At his March show, Before I’m Gone Vol. 1: The Art of Miya Bailey, works started at $100. With its vision and the cool to back it up, Notch 8 has surpassed gallery status to become ground zero for many of the city’s creatives. less...

Best Instagrammer

Cool Atlanta
Sarah Spear is the brains behind Instagram account COOL ATLANTA, which features artful snaps of everything from the hippest craft cocktails and brunch spots to hidden-gem murals, locally made wares, and more. After moving from Los Angeles to Atlanta in 2012, Spear started the account (and accompanyingmore...
Sarah Spear is the brains behind Instagram account COOL ATLANTA, which features artful snaps of everything from the hippest craft cocktails and brunch spots to hidden-gem murals, locally made wares, and more. After moving from Los Angeles to Atlanta in 2012, Spear started the account (and accompanying blog) to log her immersion into the city. Now, with a few years as a Southerner under her belt, and a gig as Paces Properties’ director of marketing, she’s helping more and more followers fall in love with Atlanta, one shot at a time. www.instagram.com/coolatlanta. less...

Best local designer

Karen Glass
True to form, KAREN GLASS wasted zero time laying a strong foundation for her ethically conscious avant-garde fashion line zerøwaste. This year, Glass showcased at Modern Atlanta and premiered an experimental retail concept at the Goat Farm Arts Center. She also has dreamy collaborations with localmore...
True to form, KAREN GLASS wasted zero time laying a strong foundation for her ethically conscious avant-garde fashion line zerøwaste. This year, Glass showcased at Modern Atlanta and premiered an experimental retail concept at the Goat Farm Arts Center. She also has dreamy collaborations with local institutions in the works. The zerøwaste line adheres to a minimalist, muted approach and palette. Garments include repurposed jeans, gowns, and upcycled blazers, all designed by Glass and made in her Goat Farm studio in collaboration with Beloved, a work-training program for women in recovery so they can make a living wage. www.zerowastekarenglass.com. less...

Best local residency

Hambidge Creative Residency Program

Best museum that keeps bringing us back

High Museum of Art High Museum of Art
The HIGH MUSEUM OF ART kept us Midtown-bound opening after opening over the last year. The November exhibition, Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, marked the Dutch designer’s first North American show and the High’s fashion debut. The vast display included 45 outfits from 15 collections and revealedmore...
The HIGH MUSEUM OF ART kept us Midtown-bound opening after opening over the last year. The November exhibition, Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, marked the Dutch designer’s first North American show and the High’s fashion debut. The vast display included 45 outfits from 15 collections and revealed van Herpen’s flair for marrying technology, unconventional materials such as umbrella ribs repurposed as wearable art, and couture. Two outdoor exhibitions, Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena’s Los Trompos and Jaime Hayon’s Tiovivo (up through Nov. 27), provided younger (and not so young) visitors the opportunity to interact with beautiful structures. Los Trompos translates to “spinning tops” and took the meaning literally with its playground-size playthings. Tiovivo planted large-scale sculptures in the piazza. With their hollow insides and attached stairs and slides, the cartoonish structures invited investigation. The museum attracted almost 1,700 people to the opening of The Rise of Sneaker Culture, a thorough collection that included about 160 pairs of shoes. Besides showcasing familiar footwear such as Run-DMC’s shell-toe Adidas, The Rise “highlighted the marriage between high fashion and street wear,” CL senior writer Rodney Carmichael wrote. In addition to pushing boundaries with fashion-forward and touch-friendly installations, the High slayed with the retrospective Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks, which presented pages from the late American artist’s journals and sketchbooks. What’s the High got planned next? Chances are, we’ll be there opening night. less...

Best resource for dancers

Work Room Work Room
What good is potential if an artist never has the time or resources to refine her craft? This thought weighed heavily on the mind of Atlanta dancer/choreographer Blake Beckham for years. Rather than leave town or quit dancing altogether, Beckham doubled down with her team at contemporary performancemore...
What good is potential if an artist never has the time or resources to refine her craft? This thought weighed heavily on the mind of Atlanta dancer/choreographer Blake Beckham for years. Rather than leave town or quit dancing altogether, Beckham doubled down with her team at contemporary performance company Lucky Penny and created the WORK ROOM. With a custom sprung dance floor and big beautiful windows, the Work Room offers a unique opportunity for resident artists to have 24/7 year-round space to train, experiment, and grow. less...

Best book booker

Frank Reiss
Elvis Costello and Patti Smith. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Salman Rushdie. Sen. Cory Booker and Anthony Bourdain. FRANK REISS has brought them all to Atlanta. While many independent bookstores have run out of Benjamins and shuttered doors, A Cappella cracked open a new chapter when owner Reiss made the fortuitousmore...
Elvis Costello and Patti Smith. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Salman Rushdie. Sen. Cory Booker and Anthony Bourdain. FRANK REISS has brought them all to Atlanta. While many independent bookstores have run out of Benjamins and shuttered doors, A Cappella cracked open a new chapter when owner Reiss made the fortuitous decision to break beyond bookstore walls and host concert-size book events starting with Hollis Gillespie’s first book launch in 2004. His boots-on-the-ground approach to booking helps cultivate celebrations that attract all kinds of readers and keep publishers happy and invested in the Atlanta market. While getting cozy in the corner of a bookstore to hear a personal favorite author read is charming, and something Reiss also excels at organizing, communing with die-hard fans at a venue like Variety Playhouse as Elvis Costello serenades the crowd with “American Without Tears” is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 208 Haralson Ave. N.E. 404-681-5128. www.acappellabooks.com. less...

Best book by a local author

TIE: The Weekenders AND Where We Want to Live

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews
www.marykayandrews.com

AND

Where We Want to Live: Reclaiming Infrastructure for a New Generation of Cities by Ryan Gravel
www.ryangravel.com

Best choreographer

T. Lang
Dancer/choreographer/professor T. LANG’s ethereal vision has manifested over the past few years through cerebral, electric works such as her four-part Post Up series (the last of which will debut this fall); 2012’s Mother/Mutha, which was a stirring look at African women who were forced to breedmore...
Dancer/choreographer/professor T. LANG’s ethereal vision has manifested over the past few years through cerebral, electric works such as her four-part Post Up series (the last of which will debut this fall); 2012’s Mother/Mutha, which was a stirring look at African women who were forced to breed slaves; and For Unmarried Girls Before They Wed, a piece that shed light on relationship issues from a woman’s point of view. Wherever you find her works in the city, just know you’re in for a heady, spiritual treat. www.tlangdance.com. less...

Best comedy night

Rotknee Presents: Monday Night Comedy

Best comedy show

Funny Monkey Comedy Java Monkey

Best established visual artist

Fahamu Pecou AND R. Land

www.fahamupecouart.comhttp://www.fahamupecouart.com

AND

www.rlandart.com

Best film festival

Atlanta Film Festival
The ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL celebrated 40 years in 2016. That’s a feat for any organization, let alone a gathering that held its first screenings in a Piedmont Park bathhouse. Over the last four decades much has changed about the festival — its name, its location, its leadership, its relationship tomore...
The ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL celebrated 40 years in 2016. That’s a feat for any organization, let alone a gathering that held its first screenings in a Piedmont Park bathhouse. Over the last four decades much has changed about the festival — its name, its location, its leadership, its relationship to Atlanta. But the past four years finally found stability in these areas, particularly when it comes to the festival’s namesake. Atlanta doesn’t make it easy for a film festival to feel truly local. There’s no theater row. Traffic and a convoluted urban layout make the city difficult to navigate. But the Atlanta Film Festival has worked around these hurdles to embrace Atlanta’s assets. Festival organizers have moved screenings out of the multiplex and into signature local theaters such as the Plaza, the Rialto, 7 Stages, and the Fox. They’re throwing their parties at Paris on Ponce and welcoming filmmakers from around the world at the Highland Ballroom. 2016 programming, with its more than 150 films, celebrated the risk takers (Gregg Bishop’s Siren, The Forbidden Room), the less represented (Hunky Dory, Speed Sisters), and, of course, the work made in Georgia, including this year’s opening film The Fundamentals of Caring, the much buzzed about SXSW hit The Arbalest, as well as Hotel Clermont, and Athens rock doc A Peculiar Noise, among many others. Certainly the mark of a great film festival is, well, great films. Atlanta Film Festival’s got that part down and it also knows how to make its hometown shine. www.atlantafilmfestival.com. less...

Best interactive art event

Forward Warrior
One neighborhood, two days, and 36 local artists wildin’ out on Wylie Street. This was the sixth year of collaborative mural event FORWARD WARRIOR. The Cabbagetown festival, organized each year by Peter Ferrari, featured a proper range of artists, including Brandon Sadler, Cousin Dan, Jessica Caldas,more...
One neighborhood, two days, and 36 local artists wildin’ out on Wylie Street. This was the sixth year of collaborative mural event FORWARD WARRIOR. The Cabbagetown festival, organized each year by Peter Ferrari, featured a proper range of artists, including Brandon Sadler, Cousin Dan, Jessica Caldas, Fabian Williams, Catlanta, Molly Rose Freeman, Michi Meko, Sister Louisa, Pash Lima, and so many more. FRKO’s ode to Gucci Mane alone was better than any government clone conspiracy. Forward Warrior is a true mural party. What else would you call a two-day fest that invites Atlanta to come out and mingle with the artists while taking in the actual process of creation? Between watching some of the city’s best sling spray cans and mingling with the creative community, patrons this year could witness the likes of Bankroll Fresh’s nephew Bankroll PJ taking in the sidewalk party. Interactive, you ask? Hell yeah. What better company while dialoguing over how to push the city forward than a bunch of like-minded warriors? www.instagram.com/peterferrariart. less...

Best local global fashion resource

SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion & Film
Yes, SCAD FASH MUSEUM OF FASHION + FILM is an educational tool for students. But it’s also a window for the community into the worlds of fashion and film as means of artistic expression. The new museum opened with a boom in October 2015, and attracted more than 10,500 attendees to exhibitions aroundmore...
Yes, SCAD FASH MUSEUM OF FASHION + FILM is an educational tool for students. But it’s also a window for the community into the worlds of fashion and film as means of artistic expression. The new museum opened with a boom in October 2015, and attracted more than 10,500 attendees to exhibitions around the late design powerhouse Oscar de la Renta and the famously flamboyant London-based artist Daniel Lismore. Programming continues to slay. Carolina Herrera’s Refined Irreverence (on display through Sept. 25) showcases a selection of runway looks and gowns such as Kristen Stewart’s wedding dress from Twilight and more worn by Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama, among others. SCAD FASH goes beyond simply displaying works on mannequins to take a different look at fashion’s cultural impact. Grand Divertissement à Versailles, Vintage Photographs by Bill Cunningham offered a series of black-and-white photos from the late, famed street photographer of one of fashion history’s grandest showdowns between American and French designers, nicknamed “The Battle of Versailles.” SCAD students work as docents, leading visitors through installations (that they usually help assemble) with iPads in hand, offering further insight. Talk about extra credit. less...

Best local screenwriter

TIE: Nicholas Tecosky AND Topher Payne AND Tyler Perry

Best look into an artist’s creative process

Cut: New Works on Wood
Alex Brewer’s summer show CUT: NEW WORKS ON WOOD at Sandler Hudson Gallery offered an intriguing glimpse into the artist’s creative process and its evolution since his days as a graffiti-slinging teen known as HENSE. Cut signaled a transitional phase for Brewer. In the multipart installation “21more...
Alex Brewer’s summer show CUT: NEW WORKS ON WOOD at Sandler Hudson Gallery offered an intriguing glimpse into the artist’s creative process and its evolution since his days as a graffiti-slinging teen known as HENSE. Cut signaled a transitional phase for Brewer. In the multipart installation “21 Shapes,” Brewer broke his murals into pieces, mounted them on wood, and rearranged the parts across a large wall for a deconstructed view of his bright, abstract vibe. In Cut Brewer explored a collage-based, Tetris-like process for pieces such as “Ply” and “Stacked,” for which he carefully placed odd-shaped wood cutouts into complex color-charged layouts. Cut was a successful exploration of where Brewer has been and where he is going. www.hensethename.com. less...

Best artistic thought-provoker

Fahamu Pecou
Much like hip-hop influenced artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Hebru Brantley, FAHAMU PECOU’s work celebrates blackness and is often strongly tied to street culture. It resonates on a cerebral, spiritual, and basic human level, which makes Pecou’s art relatable regardless of ethnicity. Pecou’s piecesmore...
Much like hip-hop influenced artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Hebru Brantley, FAHAMU PECOU’s work celebrates blackness and is often strongly tied to street culture. It resonates on a cerebral, spiritual, and basic human level, which makes Pecou’s art relatable regardless of ethnicity. Pecou’s pieces often portray the resilience, glory, and brilliance of black people and take the establishment to task. His painting “Word.Life.” from his exhibit Talking Drum at the Center for Civil and Human Rights earlier this year, features Ruby Bridges — the first black girl to desegregate schools — carrying a boombox instead of a briefcase. In August, his solo exhibit DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance opened at the College of Charleston’s Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and uses West African spirituality to elevate black bodies in opposition to the deathly imagery of state-sponsored violence against unarmed victims. As a scholar and thought-provoker, Pecou has taken his perspective into both academia and mainstream media. In a piece for NBC News following Kendrick Lamar’s profound performance in shackles at the 2016 Grammy’s, Pecou offered critiques on the commodification of blackness. He’s had similar discussions as a guest lecturer at Princeton and Morehouse. As always, Pecou’s thoughts on the intersection of art and hip-hop and how that informs perceptions of blackness are explored regularly on his Tumblr, Scholarshit. www.fahamupecouart.com. less...

Best cultural smorgasbord

Simmer Down Picnic
Atlanta is home to summer festivals galore. And just like the city, they tend to sprawl, attracting crowds in the thousands, traffic, and predictable beer sponsors. But there’s something altogether alternative about last September’s SIMMER DOWN PICNIC, a smorgasbord of flavor on a more intimate scale.more...
Atlanta is home to summer festivals galore. And just like the city, they tend to sprawl, attracting crowds in the thousands, traffic, and predictable beer sponsors. But there’s something altogether alternative about last September’s SIMMER DOWN PICNIC, a smorgasbord of flavor on a more intimate scale. Organized in part by Quianah Upton (proprietor of vintage decor brand Arbitrary Living and dinner party #ChopItUpATL), Simmer Down serves up hyper-local DIY food and crafts vendors while local artists and emerging musicians contribute to the cultural diatribe. Sponsored largely by female-owned-and-operated small businesses within the city’s creative scene, the picnic, held at the Arts Exchange greenspace, played a significant role in last year’s independently produced, AfroPunk-affiliated documentary If You Know the Words, Feel Free by showcasing many of the key women pushing local culture forward. With a pre-feast BMX bike ride corralled by local street ambassador Chilly-O, it was an extended family affair; a true kickback with a backyard bohemian vibe. less...

Best local arts die-hard

Terry Kearns
architecturetourist.blogspot.com

Best mural

Chris Veal's "Honey we're urban now"

Best opening

Alan Avery Art Company: Grand Re-Opening Alan Ave.ry Art Company

Best pop-up art space

Whiskey Park Whiskey Park
gerberbars.com/whiskey-park-atlanta

Best super late comedy show likely to attract big names

1 AM Secret Show Smith's Olde Bar
When “Saturday Night Live” is signing off, the 1AM SECRET SHOW is just getting started over at Smith’s Olde Bar. Current hosts David Perdue, Anthony Driver, and Olive Lynch wrangle boozy crowds in a packed room each week. The lineup isn’t revealed until showtime and rarely is set before then,more...
When “Saturday Night Live” is signing off, the 1AM SECRET SHOW is just getting started over at Smith’s Olde Bar. Current hosts David Perdue, Anthony Driver, and Olive Lynch wrangle boozy crowds in a packed room each week. The lineup isn’t revealed until showtime and rarely is set before then, either, as the hosts are trying to snag visiting big-name comics. After a weekend of two-drink-minimum crowds, headliners love to burn the midnight oil at a dive show where anything goes. Past performers include Hannibal Buress, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Rory Scovel. If there is a big name in town, you’re almost guaranteed to see them at the 1AM. less...
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Trophy Case

Adult Swim
Since ADULT SWIM’s launch in 2001 as an arm of Cartoon Network, the channel has soared from underground sleeper to prime time heavyweight. Offbeat late-night animated content like “Robot Chicken” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” anchor the channel, but recent years have brought on the advent ofmore...
Since ADULT SWIM’s launch in 2001 as an arm of Cartoon Network, the channel has soared from underground sleeper to prime time heavyweight. Offbeat late-night animated content like “Robot Chicken” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” anchor the channel, but recent years have brought on the advent of hilarious new series such as Brad Neely’s “Harg Nallin Sclopio Peepio” and 2015’s Internet-breaking “Too Many Cooks” short. Folks joke the staff of Adult Swim may be “on something”; would it be too far of a wager that “something” is “fire”? www.adultswim.com. less...

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