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Best of Atlanta 2011 Poets Artists and Madmen

 

Best Of Atlanta Poets Large


Poets, Artists & Madmen

New is exciting. New makes you want to prance around and show off. But new don't last forever. Last year, we celebrated all kinds of new and exciting things about the local arts scene, but we wondered if Atlanta's poets, artists and madmen could build on the momentum they had gained.

The answer? You betcha.

The indie dance scene blossomed into a full-on movement, the local filmmaking scene hummed along with passion and excitement and the High Museum mounted its most expansive exhibit yet for a local artist.

After helping redefine the city's artistic identity, a new confidence seems to have arisen among Atlanta's emerging artists, a maturity that's allowed for an increasingly refined and nuanced creative community.

Now that's something to prance around and show off about.

— Debbie Michaud

Best author to befuddle the critics

Blake Butler
When Atlanta author Blake Butler's surrealist domestic novel There Is No Year showed up in the New York Times Book Review earlier this year, critic Joseph Salvatore waxed equal parts ecstatic and befuddled. In his effort to describe the language-driven tale of a mother, father and son, he dropped namesmore...
When Atlanta author Blake Butler's surrealist domestic novel There Is No Year showed up in the New York Times Book Review earlier this year, critic Joseph Salvatore waxed equal parts ecstatic and befuddled. In his effort to describe the language-driven tale of a mother, father and son, he dropped names like William Faulkner, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. And then he declined to take a stab at interpreting what the book might be about. This is true in much of the criticism around Butler's work: Whether critics love him or hate him (and there are plenty of both) they seem to have no clue what to do with his work. That reaction speaks to There Is No Year's visceral power: It will run through your body as much as your mind and probably leave you mumbling to yourself for days. www.gillesdeleuzecommittedsuicideandsowilldrphil.com. less...

Best local poet

Kevin Young

Best male actor and best female actor

Chris Kayser and Tess Malis Kincaid

Best opening

Launch of Streetela
In April, the warehouse at 900 DeKalb Ave. slung open its loading dock doors for the launch of Streetela, a new ATL apparel brand that's taking work off walls and rail cars and putting it on T-shirts and tote bags. Art lovers and party people packed into the space to check out tightly curated works frommore...
In April, the warehouse at 900 DeKalb Ave. slung open its loading dock doors for the launch of Streetela, a new ATL apparel brand that's taking work off walls and rail cars and putting it on T-shirts and tote bags. Art lovers and party people packed into the space to check out tightly curated works from Evereman, Ola Bad, DO IT, Paper Twins, Joy Phrasavath, Joe Tsambiras and more. The dense crowd spilled into the gravel lot out front, making the spring evening feel like a balmy summer night. Local bands Carnivores and Shepherds played to a horde of onlookers. Lines snaked up to the Good Food Truck and the Big Pickle for snacks. And from across the street, a glowing Evereman projection proclaimed "4 U ATL." streetela.com. less...

Best play

August: Osage County
Despite the risk of burning out some of Atlanta's best actors through prolonged exposure to scorching family drama, the Alliance Theatre should make an annual tradition of its production of Tracy Letts' August: Osage County. Director Susan V. Booth cultivated a sense of family connection by filling themore...
Despite the risk of burning out some of Atlanta's best actors through prolonged exposure to scorching family drama, the Alliance Theatre should make an annual tradition of its production of Tracy Letts' August: Osage County. Director Susan V. Booth cultivated a sense of family connection by filling the cast with mainstays of the Atlanta theater scene, including Georgia Shakespeare Artistic Director Richard Garner, 7 Stages Artistic Director Del Hamilton and grande dame Brenda Bynum, who left retirement to play a vicious, drug-addicted matriarch of a squabbling Oklahoma family. August: Osage County presented the Weston clan as a dysfunctional social microcosm, with blood-sport banter that made the three-hour running time pass like a rocket. Alliance Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4650. alliancetheatre.org. less...

Best reason to wander into a vacant warehouse

Dashboard Co-Op
Dashboard Co-Op seems blissfully unaware of the word "boundaries." And "rules." And "limits." And "functional indoor plumbing." Launched in early 2010, the local arts organization and online gallery has made some bold moves to help bridge the creative corners of the city. Founders Courtney Hammond andmore...
Dashboard Co-Op seems blissfully unaware of the word "boundaries." And "rules." And "limits." And "functional indoor plumbing." Launched in early 2010, the local arts organization and online gallery has made some bold moves to help bridge the creative corners of the city. Founders Courtney Hammond and Beth Malone excel in reimagining and repurposing raw, vacant spaces as multipurpose art/music/food wonderlands. Dash's collaboration with pop-up restaurant Dinner Party in an unoccupied Westside storefront married two normally independent communities and challenged the ideas of what a gallery or a restaurant is. The sound and video installation Ants and Grasshoppers illuminated an empty Castleberry Hill warehouse and created an interesting juxtaposition between the bare-bones space and the tech-heavy artwork. The artist co-op and its founders instill in us a sense of civic pride, a feeling that just about anything is possible if we simply get off our tushes and make it happen. dashboardco-op.org. less...

Best theater company

Actor's Express
An outpouring of support accompanied Actor's Express' S.O.S. fundraising drive this year, which indicates the fierce loyalty of the edgy playhouse's fans and the value of its mission. The theater has changed locations and leadership over its two and a half decades, but sustained its identity as Atlanta'smore...
An outpouring of support accompanied Actor's Express' S.O.S. fundraising drive this year, which indicates the fierce loyalty of the edgy playhouse's fans and the value of its mission. The theater has changed locations and leadership over its two and a half decades, but sustained its identity as Atlanta's most exciting playhouse. With impeccable recent productions including the insightful comedy Becky Shaw and the twisty musical See What I Wanna See, Actor's Express brings such intelligence and passion to its work that even its most challenging scripts become accessible. The company began its 24th season this fall with the hip rock show Spring Awakening. Here's hoping the youthful onstage energies will be matched by a resurgence of financial security. 887 W. Marietta St. 404-875-1606. actors-express.com. less...

Best comedy collective

The Beards of Comedy

Best gallery

Get This! Gallery
There's something wonderfully raw and unpretentious about self-taught artist Lloyd Benjamin's Westside art space Get This! Gallery. Benjamin tools casually around the gallery in jeans and a T-shirt, the band-aids on his fingers alluding to the manual labor taking place in the frame shop he runs out ofmore...
There's something wonderfully raw and unpretentious about self-taught artist Lloyd Benjamin's Westside art space Get This! Gallery. Benjamin tools casually around the gallery in jeans and a T-shirt, the band-aids on his fingers alluding to the manual labor taking place in the frame shop he runs out of the back of the building. In the same way that Benjamin creates a laid-back feel in his immaculate space, he lends a sense of polish to emerging local artists, such as street art duo Paper Twins, when their works find a place on his walls. Jill Storthz's time-trippy Woodcuts and the Jiha Moon-curated printmaking survey Life Iconic rounded out a year of compelling exhibits. 662 11th St. 678-596-4451. getthisgallery.com. less...

Best local tv production with a license to kill

Floyd County Productions
Atlanta writers/producers and Floyd County Productions founders Adam Reed and Matt Thompson rose in the ranks at Cartoon Network with Adult Swim shows such as "Sealab 2021." They proved ready for prime time with the animated spy spoof and FX smash hit "Archer." The raunchy cartoon's popularity surgedmore...
Atlanta writers/producers and Floyd County Productions founders Adam Reed and Matt Thompson rose in the ranks at Cartoon Network with Adult Swim shows such as "Sealab 2021." They proved ready for prime time with the animated spy spoof and FX smash hit "Archer." The raunchy cartoon's popularity surged in its second season and has been renewed for a third. While "Archer's" voice actors, including "Saturday Night Live" funnyman Chris Parnell and comedian Aisha Tyler, live out of town, the regulars include local actors Amber Nash and Lucky Yates. The Atlanta-based production proves that an independent animation studio like Floyd County Productions can deliver comic programming to take on Hollywood. fxnetworks.com/shows/originals/archer. less...

Best museum

Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia
Tucked away down a dead-end street filled mostly with antique and design shops, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia feels like a secret. Instead of clamoring for attention with blockbuster exhibitions, this locally minded museum has quietly established itself as a home for risky, exciting workmore...
Tucked away down a dead-end street filled mostly with antique and design shops, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia feels like a secret. Instead of clamoring for attention with blockbuster exhibitions, this locally minded museum has quietly established itself as a home for risky, exciting work and consistent curatorial focus. MOCA GA's vital archiving program is building an expansive library of groundbreaking Georgia-based artists. But the Working Artist Project, which commissions work from artists such as monumental painter Xie Caomin and stylish filmmaker Micah Stansell, is the institution's crown jewel. 75 Bennett St. 404-367-8700. mocaga.org. less...

Best playwright

Pearl Cleage
Atlanta novelist/playwright Pearl Cleage has never suffered for lack of recognition. Her 1998 novel What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day nabbed an Oprah Book Club selection and local theaters continue to produce her older plays (Theatre in the Square will stage Flyin' West in 2012). But Cleage outdidmore...
Atlanta novelist/playwright Pearl Cleage has never suffered for lack of recognition. Her 1998 novel What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day nabbed an Oprah Book Club selection and local theaters continue to produce her older plays (Theatre in the Square will stage Flyin' West in 2012). But Cleage outdid herself with her latest play, The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years, a comedy that tweaks the hypocrisy of Montgomery's snobbish African-American families in 1964. The pitch-perfect screwball script, performed at the Alliance Theatre last fall, drags family secrets out into the open in a masterful combination of historical insight and comic timing. pearlcleage.net. less...

Best emerging visual artist

Gyun Hur
Is it a coincidence that artist Gyun Hur's trademark technicolor lines of chopped cemetery flowers convey the urgency of a launch pad? Perhaps not. Ever since her solo show at Get This! Gallery in early 2010, Hur's been moving at warp speed: Last year she initiated (and was awarded a grant for) the "Staymore...
Is it a coincidence that artist Gyun Hur's trademark technicolor lines of chopped cemetery flowers convey the urgency of a launch pad? Perhaps not. Ever since her solo show at Get This! Gallery in early 2010, Hur's been moving at warp speed: Last year she initiated (and was awarded a grant for) the "Stay Here in Atlanta" project, a series of studio visits and conversations with local artists to encourage them to, well, stay in Atlanta. In December, the 27-year-old Hur was awarded the inaugural and unprecedented Hudgens Prize, a $50,000 cash purse for a Georgia artist courtesy Duluth's Hudgens Center for the Arts. She was featured in MOCA GA's annual Movers and Shakers exhibition in early 2011, and last March, undertook a massive installation of her work at Lenox Square mall. Situated between Macy's and Sephora, Spring Hiatus blanketed a section of the mall's busy thoroughfare in razor-straight lines of saturated color, including psychedelic red, purple, blue, green and yellow. Hur paused throughout the painstaking installation to chat with shoppers and visitors and explain the ritual inspired by her mother's Korean wedding blanket. Hur's moving up fast, and leaving something beautiful in her wake. gyunhur.com. less...

Best reason to read between the lines

"10 Stories High"
What do Horace Burgess, the Biltmore House, Southern women and a $10 bill have in common? Beats the hell out of us. But if you can answer that question, you'll be a lot closer to solving the "10 Stories High" mystery than we are. In April, a series of numbered envelopes declaring "Follow Your Narrativemore...
What do Horace Burgess, the Biltmore House, Southern women and a $10 bill have in common? Beats the hell out of us. But if you can answer that question, you'll be a lot closer to solving the "10 Stories High" mystery than we are. In April, a series of numbered envelopes declaring "Follow Your Narrative Urge!" and holding a variety of enigmatic, seemingly random clues began popping up around Atlanta. They were found dangling from trees, nestled between volumes in local bookstores and in the mail piles of local reporters. The public and local media instantly became captivated with the peculiar art project and committed en masse to solving the mystery. One ambitious code-cracker even created a wiki-style page to catalogue all of the clues. Two of us here at CL set out to solve the case, and ended up on a wild goose chase that took us all over the city. Which got us thinking, was the "10 Stories High" project about the proverbial journey and not the destination? When we wondered as much aloud in a blog post, the man/woman behind the curtain spoke up, commenting that, yes, such a notion was "at the heart of" the project. But, 'My story needs an ending," the mysterious wordsmith conceded. "10 Stories High" is spreading westward across the nation, with a new wave of envelopes recently arriving in Chicago, Minneapolis and Denver, among other cities. So, how does this frustrating, thrilling, engrossing, obsession-inducing story end? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. less...

Best film festival

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Best local art beef

World Wide Arts Federation art battles
The disparate worlds of hip-hop, pro-wrestling and live art collide in artist Fabian Williams' World Wide Arts Federation art battles. A nod to the Hulk Hogan era of the World Wrestling Federation, WWAF puts swagger and showmanship on display for alter ego artist throwdowns. Artists such as Fahamu Pecou,more...
The disparate worlds of hip-hop, pro-wrestling and live art collide in artist Fabian Williams' World Wide Arts Federation art battles. A nod to the Hulk Hogan era of the World Wrestling Federation, WWAF puts swagger and showmanship on display for alter ego artist throwdowns. Artists such as Fahamu Pecou, Michi Meko, CP the Artist Palmer, Grace Kisa, Charly Palmer and more dress as gangstas, psycho killers and martial arts mercenaries to talk trash, face off on canvas and be judged Roman coliseum style by a frenzied crowd at Stuart McClean Gallery. Not to be outdone by his peers, Williams dives into the action, too, alternating between two alter egos: the pimptastic Occasional Superstar and trench-coated masked man Exacto. Whatcha gonna do, when the WWAF runs wild on you? thewwaf.com. less...

Best rising theatre company

Pinch 'N' Ouch Theatre
Stage artists Grant McGowen and Bree Dawn Shannon co-founded Pinch 'N' Ouch Theatre in New York in 2008 but brought the troupe's name with them when they relocated to Atlanta in 2010. Since last year's inaugural production of Neil LaBute's reasons to be pretty, Pinch 'N' Ouch has set a high standardmore...
Stage artists Grant McGowen and Bree Dawn Shannon co-founded Pinch 'N' Ouch Theatre in New York in 2008 but brought the troupe's name with them when they relocated to Atlanta in 2010. Since last year's inaugural production of Neil LaBute's reasons to be pretty, Pinch 'N' Ouch has set a high standard in delivering impassioned productions of sharp, trendy scripts such as Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero and Stephen Belber's Tape. Named after a term coined by famed acting coach Sanford Meisner, Pinch 'N' Ouch nudges the Atlanta theater scene with its youthful enthusiasm. pnotheatre.org. less...

Best theatrical experiment

Group Intelligence
In recent years, live theater has tried to tap the excitement over digital technology, social networking and other trends with the potential to change the world. In the spring, the always-innovative Out of Hand Theatre, collaborating with Dutch theatrical ensemble the Lunatics, presented the "mass MP3more...
In recent years, live theater has tried to tap the excitement over digital technology, social networking and other trends with the potential to change the world. In the spring, the always-innovative Out of Hand Theatre, collaborating with Dutch theatrical ensemble the Lunatics, presented the "mass MP3 experiment" Group Intelligence. Held on Emory's campus and at Centennial Park, the events used MP3 recordings to give the audience/participants instructions to do crazy stunts, contemplate their place in the universe and come together for complex tasks. Like a flash mob with a message of environmental sustainability, Group Intelligence pushed the boundaries of traditional theater. outofhandtheater.com. less...

Best comedian

Tanner Inman
Tanner Inman's jokes start with regular-guy observations and then take absurdist twists. He can segue from deadpan delivery to amusingly spazzy imitations of Salt-n-Pepa or literally what it sounds like "when doves cry." Inman's been working Atlanta's comedy clubs since 2003, and won the Andy Kaufmanmore...
Tanner Inman's jokes start with regular-guy observations and then take absurdist twists. He can segue from deadpan delivery to amusingly spazzy imitations of Salt-n-Pepa or literally what it sounds like "when doves cry." Inman's been working Atlanta's comedy clubs since 2003, and won the Andy Kaufman Award from the Atlanta Stands Up comedy honors in 2009. He could be the next big thing, assuming he can get off the couch. myspace.com/tannerinman. less...

Best film series

Generally Local, Mostly Independent Filmmakers Night
Tireless local arts advocate WonderRoot made an impact this past year with its Generally Local, Mostly Independent Filmmakers Night. The quarterly series, screened at the Plaza, offers a salon-like atmosphere of filmmakers at a wide range of stages in their careers. The success of its first year of programmingmore...
Tireless local arts advocate WonderRoot made an impact this past year with its Generally Local, Mostly Independent Filmmakers Night. The quarterly series, screened at the Plaza, offers a salon-like atmosphere of filmmakers at a wide range of stages in their careers. The success of its first year of programming was amplified when the High Museum signed on to curate and screen a selection of films from the series. Running everything from experimental shorts that could have been on MTV in the '90s to locally produced sitcoms, this series has become the place to find the next generation of Atlanta's filmmakers. 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. plazaatlanta.com. wonderroot.org. less...

Best place to cut your teeth

Relapse Theatre
Veteran improvisers and big-name comedians alike perform at the five-year-old Relapse Theatre. But the 14th Street venue also serves as a proving ground for aspiring funny people. Richard Kickers applies the open-mic concept to improv comedy. Relapse also offers a wide variety of shows, from straightforwardmore...
Veteran improvisers and big-name comedians alike perform at the five-year-old Relapse Theatre. But the 14th Street venue also serves as a proving ground for aspiring funny people. Richard Kickers applies the open-mic concept to improv comedy. Relapse also offers a wide variety of shows, from straightforward stand-up to "Whose Line is it Anyway?"-style games. A former church, Relapse baptizes would-be comics in the spirit of laughter. 380 14th St. 404-343-0347. relapsecomedy.com. less...

Best reinvention of the reading series

Restaurant Eugene's Author Dinner Series

Best show of superhuman spirit

Disabled But Able to Rock
In a summer of Hollywood superheroes, the 2011 documentary Disabled But Able to Rock presents the most compelling story of an ordinary person with an extraordinary alter ego. Local director Blake Myers profiles Atlanta's Betsy Goodrich, aka Danger Woman, a high-functioning autistic woman who likes tomore...
In a summer of Hollywood superheroes, the 2011 documentary Disabled But Able to Rock presents the most compelling story of an ordinary person with an extraordinary alter ego. Local director Blake Myers profiles Atlanta's Betsy Goodrich, aka Danger Woman, a high-functioning autistic woman who likes to dress as a superhero and fight the forces of "homophobia, race-ophobia and disable-phobia," largely through her ear-splitting karaoke performances. Disabled But Able to Rock presents the complexities of living with a mental disability as well as the joyous embrace of life that has given Goodrich a cult following. dangerwomanmovie.com. less...

Best sign that ATL's dance scene rules

Collaboration
Finding venues, getting exposure and connecting to potential audiences have long been major challenges for Atlanta's independent dancers and choreographers. But recently, an exciting new energy has been buzzing through the local dance scene. Like Atlanta's increasingly robust emerging visual art scene,more...
Finding venues, getting exposure and connecting to potential audiences have long been major challenges for Atlanta's independent dancers and choreographers. But recently, an exciting new energy has been buzzing through the local dance scene. Like Atlanta's increasingly robust emerging visual art scene, ATL dance has also caught the collaboration bug, forming alliances among artists, between companies and across disciplines. Dance Truck's July 2011 production, PLOT, at the Goat Farm used an army of visual artists, videographers, designers, tech crew and volunteers to get a gorgeous production off the ground for a series of sold-out shows. Independent dancers banded together to produce the strong mixed program Magnetc Drift at the neglected Magnetic Theater in Reynoldstown in May. Choreographer Nicole Livieratos got up close and personal with poet Patricia Henritze for the intimate ongoing series Proximity. To top it all off, the meetings, blog, and events calendar of the new dance service org DanceATL have become an important focal point for Atlanta's independent dancers and choreographers as they gather and plan for their long overdue takeover of the city. danceatl.org. less...

Improv group

Dad's Garage Theatre Dad's Garage Theatre

Local male actor

Chris Kayser

Stage director

Susan V. Booth

Art exhibit in a gallery

Gone With the Twins, Paper Twins

Book by a local author

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Local female actor

Alison Hastings

Public artwork

Krog Street tunnel

Comedy venue

Laughing Skull Lounge Laughing Skull Lounge

Museum

The High Museum of Art High Museum of Art

Neighborhood art walk

Castleberry Hill Art Stroll

Opening

Gone With the Twins, Paper Twins

Play

Advenue Q

Street art

Krog Street tunnel

Film festival

Atlanta Film Festival

Local comedian

Vinny Bucci

Public art event

Living Walls, the City Speaks

Touring play

Rock of Ages

Book event

Decatur Book Festival

Gallery

Young Blood Gallery & Boutique Young Blood Gallery

Pop-up art space

Beltline AND Dashboard Co-Op

Beltline


86 Pryor St., 404-614-8300


AND


Dashboard Co-Op


www.dashboardco-op.org

Theater company

Dad's Garage Theatre Dad's Garage Theatre

Best author to befuddle the critics

Blake Butler
When Atlanta author Blake Butler's surrealist domestic novel There Is No Year showed up in the New York Times Book Review earlier this year, critic Joseph Salvatore waxed equal parts ecstatic and befuddled. In his effort to describe the language-driven tale of a mother, father and son, he dropped namesmore...
When Atlanta author Blake Butler's surrealist domestic novel There Is No Year showed up in the New York Times Book Review earlier this year, critic Joseph Salvatore waxed equal parts ecstatic and befuddled. In his effort to describe the language-driven tale of a mother, father and son, he dropped names like William Faulkner, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. And then he declined to take a stab at interpreting what the book might be about. This is true in much of the criticism around Butler's work: Whether critics love him or hate him (and there are plenty of both) they seem to have no clue what to do with his work. That reaction speaks to There Is No Year's visceral power: It will run through your body as much as your mind and probably leave you mumbling to yourself for days. www.gillesdeleuzecommittedsuicideandsowilldrphil.com. less...

Best local poet

Kevin Young

Best male actor and best female actor

Chris Kayser and Tess Malis Kincaid

Best opening

Launch of Streetela
In April, the warehouse at 900 DeKalb Ave. slung open its loading dock doors for the launch of Streetela, a new ATL apparel brand that's taking work off walls and rail cars and putting it on T-shirts and tote bags. Art lovers and party people packed into the space to check out tightly curated works frommore...
In April, the warehouse at 900 DeKalb Ave. slung open its loading dock doors for the launch of Streetela, a new ATL apparel brand that's taking work off walls and rail cars and putting it on T-shirts and tote bags. Art lovers and party people packed into the space to check out tightly curated works from Evereman, Ola Bad, DO IT, Paper Twins, Joy Phrasavath, Joe Tsambiras and more. The dense crowd spilled into the gravel lot out front, making the spring evening feel like a balmy summer night. Local bands Carnivores and Shepherds played to a horde of onlookers. Lines snaked up to the Good Food Truck and the Big Pickle for snacks. And from across the street, a glowing Evereman projection proclaimed "4 U ATL." streetela.com. less...

Best play

August: Osage County
Despite the risk of burning out some of Atlanta's best actors through prolonged exposure to scorching family drama, the Alliance Theatre should make an annual tradition of its production of Tracy Letts' August: Osage County. Director Susan V. Booth cultivated a sense of family connection by filling themore...
Despite the risk of burning out some of Atlanta's best actors through prolonged exposure to scorching family drama, the Alliance Theatre should make an annual tradition of its production of Tracy Letts' August: Osage County. Director Susan V. Booth cultivated a sense of family connection by filling the cast with mainstays of the Atlanta theater scene, including Georgia Shakespeare Artistic Director Richard Garner, 7 Stages Artistic Director Del Hamilton and grande dame Brenda Bynum, who left retirement to play a vicious, drug-addicted matriarch of a squabbling Oklahoma family. August: Osage County presented the Weston clan as a dysfunctional social microcosm, with blood-sport banter that made the three-hour running time pass like a rocket. Alliance Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4650. alliancetheatre.org. less...

Best reason to wander into a vacant warehouse

Dashboard Co-Op
Dashboard Co-Op seems blissfully unaware of the word "boundaries." And "rules." And "limits." And "functional indoor plumbing." Launched in early 2010, the local arts organization and online gallery has made some bold moves to help bridge the creative corners of the city. Founders Courtney Hammond andmore...
Dashboard Co-Op seems blissfully unaware of the word "boundaries." And "rules." And "limits." And "functional indoor plumbing." Launched in early 2010, the local arts organization and online gallery has made some bold moves to help bridge the creative corners of the city. Founders Courtney Hammond and Beth Malone excel in reimagining and repurposing raw, vacant spaces as multipurpose art/music/food wonderlands. Dash's collaboration with pop-up restaurant Dinner Party in an unoccupied Westside storefront married two normally independent communities and challenged the ideas of what a gallery or a restaurant is. The sound and video installation Ants and Grasshoppers illuminated an empty Castleberry Hill warehouse and created an interesting juxtaposition between the bare-bones space and the tech-heavy artwork. The artist co-op and its founders instill in us a sense of civic pride, a feeling that just about anything is possible if we simply get off our tushes and make it happen. dashboardco-op.org. less...

Best theater company

Actor's Express
An outpouring of support accompanied Actor's Express' S.O.S. fundraising drive this year, which indicates the fierce loyalty of the edgy playhouse's fans and the value of its mission. The theater has changed locations and leadership over its two and a half decades, but sustained its identity as Atlanta'smore...
An outpouring of support accompanied Actor's Express' S.O.S. fundraising drive this year, which indicates the fierce loyalty of the edgy playhouse's fans and the value of its mission. The theater has changed locations and leadership over its two and a half decades, but sustained its identity as Atlanta's most exciting playhouse. With impeccable recent productions including the insightful comedy Becky Shaw and the twisty musical See What I Wanna See, Actor's Express brings such intelligence and passion to its work that even its most challenging scripts become accessible. The company began its 24th season this fall with the hip rock show Spring Awakening. Here's hoping the youthful onstage energies will be matched by a resurgence of financial security. 887 W. Marietta St. 404-875-1606. actors-express.com. less...

Improv group

Dad's Garage Theatre Dad's Garage Theatre

Local male actor

Chris Kayser

Stage director

Susan V. Booth

Art exhibit in a gallery

Gone With the Twins, Paper Twins

Best comedy collective

The Beards of Comedy

Best gallery

Get This! Gallery
There's something wonderfully raw and unpretentious about self-taught artist Lloyd Benjamin's Westside art space Get This! Gallery. Benjamin tools casually around the gallery in jeans and a T-shirt, the band-aids on his fingers alluding to the manual labor taking place in the frame shop he runs out ofmore...
There's something wonderfully raw and unpretentious about self-taught artist Lloyd Benjamin's Westside art space Get This! Gallery. Benjamin tools casually around the gallery in jeans and a T-shirt, the band-aids on his fingers alluding to the manual labor taking place in the frame shop he runs out of the back of the building. In the same way that Benjamin creates a laid-back feel in his immaculate space, he lends a sense of polish to emerging local artists, such as street art duo Paper Twins, when their works find a place on his walls. Jill Storthz's time-trippy Woodcuts and the Jiha Moon-curated printmaking survey Life Iconic rounded out a year of compelling exhibits. 662 11th St. 678-596-4451. getthisgallery.com. less...

Best local tv production with a license to kill

Floyd County Productions
Atlanta writers/producers and Floyd County Productions founders Adam Reed and Matt Thompson rose in the ranks at Cartoon Network with Adult Swim shows such as "Sealab 2021." They proved ready for prime time with the animated spy spoof and FX smash hit "Archer." The raunchy cartoon's popularity surgedmore...
Atlanta writers/producers and Floyd County Productions founders Adam Reed and Matt Thompson rose in the ranks at Cartoon Network with Adult Swim shows such as "Sealab 2021." They proved ready for prime time with the animated spy spoof and FX smash hit "Archer." The raunchy cartoon's popularity surged in its second season and has been renewed for a third. While "Archer's" voice actors, including "Saturday Night Live" funnyman Chris Parnell and comedian Aisha Tyler, live out of town, the regulars include local actors Amber Nash and Lucky Yates. The Atlanta-based production proves that an independent animation studio like Floyd County Productions can deliver comic programming to take on Hollywood. fxnetworks.com/shows/originals/archer. less...

Best museum

Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia
Tucked away down a dead-end street filled mostly with antique and design shops, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia feels like a secret. Instead of clamoring for attention with blockbuster exhibitions, this locally minded museum has quietly established itself as a home for risky, exciting workmore...
Tucked away down a dead-end street filled mostly with antique and design shops, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia feels like a secret. Instead of clamoring for attention with blockbuster exhibitions, this locally minded museum has quietly established itself as a home for risky, exciting work and consistent curatorial focus. MOCA GA's vital archiving program is building an expansive library of groundbreaking Georgia-based artists. But the Working Artist Project, which commissions work from artists such as monumental painter Xie Caomin and stylish filmmaker Micah Stansell, is the institution's crown jewel. 75 Bennett St. 404-367-8700. mocaga.org. less...

Best playwright

Pearl Cleage
Atlanta novelist/playwright Pearl Cleage has never suffered for lack of recognition. Her 1998 novel What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day nabbed an Oprah Book Club selection and local theaters continue to produce her older plays (Theatre in the Square will stage Flyin' West in 2012). But Cleage outdidmore...
Atlanta novelist/playwright Pearl Cleage has never suffered for lack of recognition. Her 1998 novel What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day nabbed an Oprah Book Club selection and local theaters continue to produce her older plays (Theatre in the Square will stage Flyin' West in 2012). But Cleage outdid herself with her latest play, The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years, a comedy that tweaks the hypocrisy of Montgomery's snobbish African-American families in 1964. The pitch-perfect screwball script, performed at the Alliance Theatre last fall, drags family secrets out into the open in a masterful combination of historical insight and comic timing. pearlcleage.net. less...

Book by a local author

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Local female actor

Alison Hastings

Public artwork

Krog Street tunnel

Best emerging visual artist

Gyun Hur
Is it a coincidence that artist Gyun Hur's trademark technicolor lines of chopped cemetery flowers convey the urgency of a launch pad? Perhaps not. Ever since her solo show at Get This! Gallery in early 2010, Hur's been moving at warp speed: Last year she initiated (and was awarded a grant for) the "Staymore...
Is it a coincidence that artist Gyun Hur's trademark technicolor lines of chopped cemetery flowers convey the urgency of a launch pad? Perhaps not. Ever since her solo show at Get This! Gallery in early 2010, Hur's been moving at warp speed: Last year she initiated (and was awarded a grant for) the "Stay Here in Atlanta" project, a series of studio visits and conversations with local artists to encourage them to, well, stay in Atlanta. In December, the 27-year-old Hur was awarded the inaugural and unprecedented Hudgens Prize, a $50,000 cash purse for a Georgia artist courtesy Duluth's Hudgens Center for the Arts. She was featured in MOCA GA's annual Movers and Shakers exhibition in early 2011, and last March, undertook a massive installation of her work at Lenox Square mall. Situated between Macy's and Sephora, Spring Hiatus blanketed a section of the mall's busy thoroughfare in razor-straight lines of saturated color, including psychedelic red, purple, blue, green and yellow. Hur paused throughout the painstaking installation to chat with shoppers and visitors and explain the ritual inspired by her mother's Korean wedding blanket. Hur's moving up fast, and leaving something beautiful in her wake. gyunhur.com. less...

Best reason to read between the lines

"10 Stories High"
What do Horace Burgess, the Biltmore House, Southern women and a $10 bill have in common? Beats the hell out of us. But if you can answer that question, you'll be a lot closer to solving the "10 Stories High" mystery than we are. In April, a series of numbered envelopes declaring "Follow Your Narrativemore...
What do Horace Burgess, the Biltmore House, Southern women and a $10 bill have in common? Beats the hell out of us. But if you can answer that question, you'll be a lot closer to solving the "10 Stories High" mystery than we are. In April, a series of numbered envelopes declaring "Follow Your Narrative Urge!" and holding a variety of enigmatic, seemingly random clues began popping up around Atlanta. They were found dangling from trees, nestled between volumes in local bookstores and in the mail piles of local reporters. The public and local media instantly became captivated with the peculiar art project and committed en masse to solving the mystery. One ambitious code-cracker even created a wiki-style page to catalogue all of the clues. Two of us here at CL set out to solve the case, and ended up on a wild goose chase that took us all over the city. Which got us thinking, was the "10 Stories High" project about the proverbial journey and not the destination? When we wondered as much aloud in a blog post, the man/woman behind the curtain spoke up, commenting that, yes, such a notion was "at the heart of" the project. But, 'My story needs an ending," the mysterious wordsmith conceded. "10 Stories High" is spreading westward across the nation, with a new wave of envelopes recently arriving in Chicago, Minneapolis and Denver, among other cities. So, how does this frustrating, thrilling, engrossing, obsession-inducing story end? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. less...

Comedy venue

Laughing Skull Lounge Laughing Skull Lounge

Museum

The High Museum of Art High Museum of Art

Neighborhood art walk

Castleberry Hill Art Stroll

Opening

Gone With the Twins, Paper Twins

Play

Advenue Q

Street art

Krog Street tunnel

Best film festival

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Best local art beef

World Wide Arts Federation art battles
The disparate worlds of hip-hop, pro-wrestling and live art collide in artist Fabian Williams' World Wide Arts Federation art battles. A nod to the Hulk Hogan era of the World Wrestling Federation, WWAF puts swagger and showmanship on display for alter ego artist throwdowns. Artists such as Fahamu Pecou,more...
The disparate worlds of hip-hop, pro-wrestling and live art collide in artist Fabian Williams' World Wide Arts Federation art battles. A nod to the Hulk Hogan era of the World Wrestling Federation, WWAF puts swagger and showmanship on display for alter ego artist throwdowns. Artists such as Fahamu Pecou, Michi Meko, CP the Artist Palmer, Grace Kisa, Charly Palmer and more dress as gangstas, psycho killers and martial arts mercenaries to talk trash, face off on canvas and be judged Roman coliseum style by a frenzied crowd at Stuart McClean Gallery. Not to be outdone by his peers, Williams dives into the action, too, alternating between two alter egos: the pimptastic Occasional Superstar and trench-coated masked man Exacto. Whatcha gonna do, when the WWAF runs wild on you? thewwaf.com. less...

Best rising theatre company

Pinch 'N' Ouch Theatre
Stage artists Grant McGowen and Bree Dawn Shannon co-founded Pinch 'N' Ouch Theatre in New York in 2008 but brought the troupe's name with them when they relocated to Atlanta in 2010. Since last year's inaugural production of Neil LaBute's reasons to be pretty, Pinch 'N' Ouch has set a high standardmore...
Stage artists Grant McGowen and Bree Dawn Shannon co-founded Pinch 'N' Ouch Theatre in New York in 2008 but brought the troupe's name with them when they relocated to Atlanta in 2010. Since last year's inaugural production of Neil LaBute's reasons to be pretty, Pinch 'N' Ouch has set a high standard in delivering impassioned productions of sharp, trendy scripts such as Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero and Stephen Belber's Tape. Named after a term coined by famed acting coach Sanford Meisner, Pinch 'N' Ouch nudges the Atlanta theater scene with its youthful enthusiasm. pnotheatre.org. less...

Best theatrical experiment

Group Intelligence
In recent years, live theater has tried to tap the excitement over digital technology, social networking and other trends with the potential to change the world. In the spring, the always-innovative Out of Hand Theatre, collaborating with Dutch theatrical ensemble the Lunatics, presented the "mass MP3more...
In recent years, live theater has tried to tap the excitement over digital technology, social networking and other trends with the potential to change the world. In the spring, the always-innovative Out of Hand Theatre, collaborating with Dutch theatrical ensemble the Lunatics, presented the "mass MP3 experiment" Group Intelligence. Held on Emory's campus and at Centennial Park, the events used MP3 recordings to give the audience/participants instructions to do crazy stunts, contemplate their place in the universe and come together for complex tasks. Like a flash mob with a message of environmental sustainability, Group Intelligence pushed the boundaries of traditional theater. outofhandtheater.com. less...

Film festival

Atlanta Film Festival

Local comedian

Vinny Bucci

Public art event

Living Walls, the City Speaks

Touring play

Rock of Ages
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