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Best Of Atlanta 2013 Poets (large)


Poets, Artists & Madmen



We often hear about the virtues of local food and, of course, there are many reasons that we should look for sustenance close to home. Less often do we hear that said of local culture, the sustenance that feeds our minds and souls, though we need it just as much.

While compiling the winners for this year's Poets, Artists, and Madmen section, it became increasingly clear that this was the year that Atlanta's mainstream culture started looking a little closer to home. The High Museum of Art, an institution that has a historically rocky relationship with Atlanta's art scene, mounted Drawing Inside the Perimeter, an exciting group show of local artists. Georgia's film tax break, which has mostly been used to buoy out-of-state filmmakers, gave Ray McKinnon and James Ponsoldt a good reason to make a celebrated television show and indie hit film, respectively, in their home state.

Top Shelf Productions, a comic book publisher based in Marietta, might have scored its biggest hit yet with March: Book One, the moving first installment of a three-part graphic novel series by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. Georgia also gained a new literary star in Jamie Quatro, whose debut short story collection, I Want to Show You More, was nationally praised.

Feeding on local culture, rather than just consuming the glossy Hollywood shlock and television glitz, means looking in less common places. We're giving an award to the Monday nights of stand-up comedy at the Star Bar, a dive bar that's so wonderfully dingy and run down, we're a little afraid to see it with the lights on. The place has quietly become the proving ground for both emerging and established comics in Atlanta. You don't go there because some big name is on the marquee, rather, you attend to get a taste of what the best comics in town have cooked up this week.

Earlier this year, our perennial Readers Pick for Best Advocate for the Arts, WonderRoot, started a subscription program it's calling Community Supported Art. It was inspired by Community Supported Agriculture programs, the idea of subscribing to a farm. If you can sell local food like that, why not sell work by local artists the same way? That's the kind of cultural nutrition that we were looking for in Best of Atlanta 2013.

— Wyatt Williams

Best actor BOA Award Winner

Andrew Benator
Versatility doesn't seem strong enough a word to describe Andrew Benator. He was so convincing as the meek and nebbishy Dollar Store manager in the Alliance's January production of Good People that it came as a complete shock to see him walk onto stage as the smug, vicious writer Leonard in Seminar atmore...
Versatility doesn't seem strong enough a word to describe Andrew Benator. He was so convincing as the meek and nebbishy Dollar Store manager in the Alliance's January production of Good People that it came as a complete shock to see him walk onto stage as the smug, vicious writer Leonard in Seminar at Actor's Express a few months later. As the protagonist's boss Stevie in Good People, he provided a complicated, troubled, almost haunted portrayal of the tension in the character's moral dilemma about being the cog in the machine that will crush his beleaguered employee. His Leonard in Seminar, on the other hand, was a messy haze of bad moods and solipsistic fits, as if he lived to crush others. Both performances were notable in their own right, but considered side by side they revealed Benator's impressive artistic agility. www.andrewbenator.com. less...

Best graphic novel BOA Award Winner

March: Book One
When we reached out to Congressman John Lewis about guest editing an issue of Creative Loafing this year, we had only heard a little about the forthcoming March: Book One, the first volume of Lewis' three-part graphic novel memoir. With the help of his aide (and self-described comic book nerd) Andrewmore...
When we reached out to Congressman John Lewis about guest editing an issue of Creative Loafing this year, we had only heard a little about the forthcoming March: Book One, the first volume of Lewis' three-part graphic novel memoir. With the help of his aide (and self-described comic book nerd) Andrew Aydin and the talents of illustrator Nate Powell, Lewis has crafted a story that blends the personal and political. Inspired by an influential comic about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. from 1956, the Congressman's coming-of-age story is eloquently woven into the historical context of the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. Powell's illustrations give a dynamic pacing and vivid impact to the scenes. Timed perfectly to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the book shot immediately to New York Times best-seller status. www.topshelfcomix.com. less...

Best new way to buy art BOA Award Winner

The simplicity of the WonderRoot CSA is what makes the idea so beautiful. Taking a cue from local farmers, the nonprofit sells seasonal subscriptions to work by local artists. Buy a subscription and three times during the season, you'll get two works of art produced by the likes of Ashley Anderson, Seanamore...
The simplicity of the WonderRoot CSA is what makes the idea so beautiful. Taking a cue from local farmers, the nonprofit sells seasonal subscriptions to work by local artists. Buy a subscription and three times during the season, you'll get two works of art produced by the likes of Ashley Anderson, Seana Reilly, and other upcoming Atlanta talent. As older patrons fade from Atlanta's art scene, a clever innovation like this could go a long way in encouraging a new generation of collectors. less...
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