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Best of Atlanta 2017 Index

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2017 Index of Winners

Best French

Bread & Butterfly Bread & Butterfly

Best street character

Baton Bob
batonbob.weebly.com

Best MARTA station

Peachtree Center Station

artwork by Bhargava Chiluveru

www.itsmarta.com

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

Best park

Piedmont Park Piedmont Park

Best rec league

Atlanta Rollergirls

www.atlantarollergirls.com

photo by: Lindsey Max/ CL File

Best city view

I-85 South access bridge

Best public pool

Piedmont Park Aquatic Center and Pool

Best gathering spot for Atlanta

The Gathering Spot The Gathering Spot
Launched by Ryan Wilson and TK Peterson in 2016 with a mission to serve as a members-only club for the city’s growing population of professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs, THE GATHERING SPOT could have easily turned into nothing more than a see-and-be-seen kind of destination. But, serving as amore...

Launched by Ryan Wilson and TK Peterson in 2016 with a mission to serve as a members-only club for the city’s growing population of professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs, THE GATHERING SPOT could have easily turned into nothing more than a see-and-be-seen kind of destination. But, serving as a venue for conversations on investing in local artists and for launching new businesses like the African-American culture website Cassiuslife.com, it quickly evolved into a space where some of Atlanta’s best and brightest congregated to work and collaborate — not pose. And with plans in the works to open a second Gathering Spot in another market, chances are good that opportunities to connect and develop community will grow as well. 384 Northyards Blvd. N.W. 404-948-2459. www.thegatheringspot.club.

Spot for Atlanta’s Shakers and Movers

photo by: Lindsey Max

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Best way to celebrate Mother's Day

Black Mama's Bail Out
Organized by members of the Atlanta-based group Southerners on New Ground and a coalition of other concerned local organizations, BLACK MAMA’S BAIL OUT took an often-commercial holiday and flipped it into an opportunity to help transform lives. The initiative raised $520,000 to bail out mothers frommore...

Organized by members of the Atlanta-based group Southerners on New Ground and a coalition of other concerned local organizations, BLACK MAMA’S BAIL OUT took an often-commercial holiday and flipped it into an opportunity to help transform lives. The initiative raised $520,000 to bail out mothers from jails in 16 cities across the nation, including Atlanta. The AJC reported in May that the two-day effort freed 17 women locally who otherwise didn’t have resources to get bailed out on their own. In a system that affects the lives of minorities and the poor in the worst ways, programs like this are sadly needed to tip the scales, if ever so slightly. www.southernersonnewground.org.

(from left - Shanti Moore, Akiva Freidlin, Mary Hooks, Kate Shapiro and Micky Bradford)

photo by: Brandon English

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Best teen-focused nonprofit

re:Imagine ATL
You’ve got to love an organization whose sole mission is to help young adults channel their energy and creative into something positive — and that’s just what RE:IMAGINE ATL is all about. Founded and helmed by Executive Director Susanna Spiccia, the group teaches kids the fundamentals of videomore...
You’ve got to love an organization whose sole mission is to help young adults channel their energy and creative into something positive — and that’s just what RE:IMAGINE ATL is all about. Founded and helmed by Executive Director Susanna Spiccia, the group teaches kids the fundamentals of video production, filmmaking, podcasting and more, and then unleashes them to create their own content. The nonprofit also provides numerous opportunities for its teen creators to meet, learn from and be critiqued by professionals in the field at a variety of regular networking events. It’s a good group, y’all. Check ’em out, and show some support. www.reimagineatl.com. less...

Best advocate for the homeless

Anita Beaty
Synonyms for the word “advocate” include: supporter, proponent, spokeswoman, fighter, crusader. ANITA BEATY, who used to run the Southeast’s largest homeless shelter, Peachtree-Pine, resembles all those descriptors and much more. For 20 years, she broke bread with the shelter’s “guests,”more...

Synonyms for the word “advocate” include: supporter, proponent, spokeswoman, fighter, crusader. ANITA BEATY, who used to run the Southeast’s largest homeless shelter, Peachtree-Pine, resembles all those descriptors and much more. For 20 years, she broke bread with the shelter’s “guests,” led them in marches to vote at the polls, spoke out alongside them in neighborhood meetings, and fought the City — among others — on their behalf time and time again. While we may no longer see her speaking from the City Hall podium as spokeswoman for Peachtree-Pine, which will close this month, we’re not convinced Beaty won’t remain the staunch advocate for a more just and equal Atlanta she’s long been. www.facebook.com/anita.l.beaty.

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

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Best TV mogul on the rise

Diamonde Williamson
Although DIAMONDE WILLIAMSON officially launched her online TV network, Blossom, in February, you can’t really skirt over how big of a deal the whole concept is. It’s probably the only Netflix-style, subscription-based video platform in the U.S. that presents content by and targeted to women of colormore...
Although DIAMONDE WILLIAMSON officially launched her online TV network, Blossom, in February, you can’t really skirt over how big of a deal the whole concept is. It’s probably the only Netflix-style, subscription-based video platform in the U.S. that presents content by and targeted to women of color (such as the talk show “Melanin Mommas”) — and that’s something no stinking-rich media company has ever endeavored to do. But leave it to Williamson and her team at this Atlanta-based startup to boldly go where no has before. Looks like the revolution will be televised after all. www.watchblossom.com. less...

Best movie studio shooting flicks in Atlanta

Marvel
All that talk about Atlanta being the “Hollywood of the South” sure rings true these days, with multiple movies being shot all over the metro area on an almost daily basis. But one studio seems to be more all-in when it comes to filming in the ATL than any other: MARVEL. Whether it’s down southmore...
All that talk about Atlanta being the “Hollywood of the South” sure rings true these days, with multiple movies being shot all over the metro area on an almost daily basis. But one studio seems to be more all-in when it comes to filming in the ATL than any other: MARVEL. Whether it’s down south in Fayetteville at the Pinewood Atlanta Studios soundstages or on the streets of Downtown, the folks at Marvel are mounting their copious comic book adaptations — blockbusters like Spider-Man, Black Panther and The Avengers — at a breakneck pace. And with films already in production for years to come, get ready to see costumed-clad folks running around town for a good long while. www.marvel.com. less...

Best thrift store

Lost-n-Found Thrift & Consignment Store

Best kids clothing

The Little Nest

Best laundromat

Blusion Wash and Dry

Best wax studio

Sweet Peach Wax Studio

Best yoga instructor

Swami Jaya Devi Bhagavati

Best wine shop

The Wine Cellars The Wine Cellars

Best place to shop and do some good

Bigmouthben Convenience Store
Benjamin “Bigmouthben” Graham battled drug addiction, mental illness and homelessness for almost two decades before getting his life back on track. Once he did, Graham dedicated himself to his art (a style of rap known as “hope-hop”) and, with the help of his wife Tanya Graham, opened the BIGMOUTHBENmore...
Benjamin “Bigmouthben” Graham battled drug addiction, mental illness and homelessness for almost two decades before getting his life back on track. Once he did, Graham dedicated himself to his art (a style of rap known as “hope-hop”) and, with the help of his wife Tanya Graham, opened the BIGMOUTHBEN CONVENIENCE STORE on Auburn Avenue. The shop, located three blocks from where he used to sleep under a bridge, not only sells groceries and souvenirs but also serves as a resource for Atlantans in need, providing free water, clothes and a helping hand. So by shopping with the Grahams, you not only support a worthy local business — you help support the community at large. 370 Auburn Ave., Suite A. 404-331-3973. www.bigmouthbenstores.com. less...

Best way to catch blockbusters at the multiplex

Regal Atlantic Station Stadium 18
If you’re a regular moviegoer in Atlanta, you undoubtedly know there are plenty of swanky options available when it comes to where and how you watch films — from theaters with gigantic plush seats to spots with fancy food and more. But the best VIP viewing in town can be found at REGAL ATLANTIC STATIONmore...
If you’re a regular moviegoer in Atlanta, you undoubtedly know there are plenty of swanky options available when it comes to where and how you watch films — from theaters with gigantic plush seats to spots with fancy food and more. But the best VIP viewing in town can be found at REGAL ATLANTIC STATION STADIUM 18. Sure, Atlantic Station can be a bit of a tourist trap, but tucked in the back of its busy multiplex is a surprisingly chill cinematic retreat, complete with adult beverages, private bathrooms, super-comfortable screening rooms with tons of room and more. Plus: It’s a 21-plus zone, so you don’t have to worry about rubbing shoulders with any of those pesky tweens. 261 19th St. N.W., Suite 1250. 404-347-9894. www.atlanticstation.com/movies. less...

Best album

Portrait by Deaux

www.moredopemusic.com/deaux

photo by: Lindsey Max

Best jazz night

Third Friday Jazz at High Museum of Art

Best nightlife event

Whiskey Blue's Full Moon Party

Best drag queen

Brigitte Bidet

www.facebook.com/missbrigittebidet

photo by: Dustin Chambers

Best live band

Material Girls
This year, Atlanta boasts a surplus of new and genuinely groundbreaking artists, as the city's DIY aesthetics evolve to reflect the political catastrophe that's unfolding across the country. When it comes to live shows, MATERIAL GIRLS stand head and shoulders above the rest, captivating crowds with snarlingmore...

This year, Atlanta boasts a surplus of new and genuinely groundbreaking artists, as the city's DIY aesthetics evolve to reflect the political catastrophe that's unfolding across the country. When it comes to live shows, MATERIAL GIRLS stand head and shoulders above the rest, captivating crowds with snarling cabaret/punk theatrics, dressed in drag. Tyler Jundt and David Iduate lead the charge blaring through trumpet and saxophone, while John Restivo Jr. pounds away on bongos and drums. The group's latest addition, Meghan Dowlen, struts on bass, while Robbie Rapp sears on guitar, and Ben Presley growls his sultry vocals. The group cuts through the subservience of boring, old street wear, as their stage presence and instrumentation rise above the trappings of just another Best local rock band. Since breaking the group's minimal online presence with the arrival of its debut album, MS VS IQ (released July 2016 via Irrelevant Records), Material Girls emulsify on stage with elements of glam and grit, hunky brass and dildos, wigs and pacifiers, and an attitude so natural the group doesn't give a shit if you buy it or not. www.soundcloud.com/materialgirlsusa

photo by: Rick Campbell

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Best way to get down and do good

La Choloteca
You can almost hear the screams of delight emanating from Atlanta's Latinx community and beyond anytime LA CHOLOTECA announces another new party. Creating safe(r) spaces for the late-night dance crowd, La Choloteca's organizers and party revelers abide by rules such as no groping, no hate and no bodymore...
You can almost hear the screams of delight emanating from Atlanta's Latinx community and beyond anytime LA CHOLOTECA announces another new party. Creating safe(r) spaces for the late-night dance crowd, La Choloteca's organizers and party revelers abide by rules such as no groping, no hate and no body shaming. Along the way, they wrangle a formidable lineup of DJs boasting Best local talents such as Esme, Florista, Santiago Paramo and more on the turntables, blasting the soundtrack to the party's unspoken rule: "Dance hard, all night." The party's tagline is "La Choloteca: Ley de Latinx" „ Atlanta's Latinx community and their rights to party „ but all are welcome, and the word is out. The last year witnessed exponential growth for La Choloteca. After settling into its new home at MJQ, hosting events such as the YA QUE?! cross-country tour of radical resistance, and hosting parties in New York City, La Choloteca raised the bar high for active activism and filling up a room with more beautiful people, inside and out, than anywhere else in the city. www.facebook.com/Choloteca. less...

Best place to take a selfie

The Pink Trap House
All right, that title's a little misleading, but who would have thought that a marketing idea for the latest 2 Chainz album, Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, would have created such a buzz around a craftsman home in Berkeley Park? 2 Chainz, born Tauheed Epps, and his team rented a home and blasted it inmore...

All right, that title's a little misleading, but who would have thought that a marketing idea for the latest 2 Chainz album, Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, would have created such a buzz around a craftsman home in Berkeley Park? 2 Chainz, born Tauheed Epps, and his team rented a home and blasted it in hot pink paint, creating a hot spot for like-hunting social media savants, and serving as much more than a selfie backdrop that drew people from across the country. THE PINK TRAP HOUSE, as it came to be known, at different points during its brief lifetime, acted as a nail salon, art gallery, church and even a Best locale to utilize the Fulton County Health Department's mobile HIV testing truck. All in all, this served as great promo for one of 2 Chainz's best albums. Turns out, the guy can make a hit. www.2chainz.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best hip-hop incubator

Controllerise
The cutting edge of underground hip-hop shines every Thursday night when the CONTROLLERISE vibe session takes over Slice Pizza. Weekly regulars such as LeemLizzy, Funk.Shu, Triiip the Hippy, house DJ Empress Rah and more may not be household names yet, but each one is a staple of the thriving beat showcasemore...

The cutting edge of underground hip-hop shines every Thursday night when the CONTROLLERISE vibe session takes over Slice Pizza. Weekly regulars such as LeemLizzy, Funk.Shu, Triiip the Hippy, house DJ Empress Rah and more may not be household names yet, but each one is a staple of the thriving beat showcase where young DJs, producers and intrepid MCs roll out their latest concoctions for a gathering of peers and like-minded Best locals. Controllerise was conceived by Chris Wilkes, aka STLNDRMS, and Mike Harr as a grass-roots effort to facilitate the overwhelming amount of raw talent they saw brewing around them. Over the last year, attendance has grown, while a revolving cast of beatmakers sharpen their skills with quick excursions to the outer limits. The communal vibe of the weekly party functions as an incubator for ideas where hip-hop heads bounce ideas off of each other, give feedback and provide a critical support system where everyone grows mutually. A fresh batch of instrumental music is always on blast, but an appreciation for all things anime binds the room together. Cartoons such as Ghost in the Shell play out in the periphery, and attendees register to win anything from action figures to T-shirts and other manga-related gear. Giveaways aside, this is ground zero for Atlanta's most creative young minds in hip-hop. Slice Pizza, 75 Piedmont Ave. S.E.
www.controllerise.com

photo by: Lindsey Max

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Best band keeping old-school punk ethics alive

Antagonizers ATL
In times of overt bigotry and social unrest, ANTAGONIZERS ATL's songs offer uncompromising messages of unity and positivity. This street punk credo echoes as loud in these contentious times as jokey provocation or political sloganeering. Such anthems as "Hold Your Ground" and "Dead to Us" extol the valuesmore...

In times of overt bigotry and social unrest, ANTAGONIZERS ATL's songs offer uncompromising messages of unity and positivity. This street punk credo echoes as loud in these contentious times as jokey provocation or political sloganeering. Such anthems as "Hold Your Ground" and "Dead to Us" extol the values of self-respect and not taking shit off known enemies and false friends. The band's positive message resounds with listeners for two reasons. First, singer Bohdan Zacharyj, guitarist Richard Henderson, bassist Billy Fields and drummer Eric Antell perform loud and fast rock 'n' roll with roots that dig deep into U.S. and U.K. punk history. Second, and more importantly, all four members come across as genuinely well-intentioned old-school punks, sharing the music that changed their lives every time they take the stage. www.antagonizersatl.bandcamp.com

photo by: Shooting The Shot Photography

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Best modern classical composer

Chris Childs
Former Hello Ocho pianist/percussionist and Faun and a Pan Flute marimba player CHRIS CHILDS didn't take much time off over the last year. In June, Childs released a 30-minute composition, titled "If I Were a Little Boy, I'd Be a Girl." He composed the music amid a tight schedule bookended by touringmore...
Former Hello Ocho pianist/percussionist and Faun and a Pan Flute marimba player CHRIS CHILDS didn't take much time off over the last year. In June, Childs released a 30-minute composition, titled "If I Were a Little Boy, I'd Be a Girl." He composed the music amid a tight schedule bookended by touring with Hello Ocho, while also staying on the road with and releasing Faun's second album, 2014-2016. When not working on his own material, Childs wrote pieces for Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Somewhere in there he found time team up with cellist Ben Shirley and English horn player Carolyn Johnston as the Chris Childs Trio. The outfit was assembled to perform "If I Were a Little Boy, I'd Be a Girl," placing Childs' modern classical work on stages everywhere from dive bars to DIY venues along the East Coast. The music embraces the freeness of a small ensemble, while facing the musical challenges inherent in boiling the music down to just three instruments. But the ability to adapt is Childs' strong suit, as he shuns the notions of academic stagnation by allowing the piece to continue growing with each performance, no matter what obstacles life stacks in front of it. www.chrischildsmusic.com. less...

Best debut record

Pallas
PALLAS has garnered an impressive amount of national press on the heels of releasing the group's debut seven-song 12-inch via Drop Medium Recordings. Everyone from Impose to Clrvynt has weighed in on the band's lo-fi art-punk aesthetic. Everyone from Impose to Clrvynt has weighed in on the band's lo-fimore...
PALLAS has garnered an impressive amount of national press on the heels of releasing the group's debut seven-song 12-inch via Drop Medium Recordings. Everyone from Impose to Clrvynt has weighed in on the band's lo-fi art-punk aesthetic. Everyone from Impose to Clrvynt has weighed in on the band's lo-fi art-punk aesthetic. From the opening bass rumble of and high-speed rhythms of "Render (Location 13)" to vocalist Danielle Brutto's consistently unintelligible, but undeniably catchy shouts, the group's sound occupies a musical terrain that falls between post-punk and no-wave „ reminiscent of Sonic Youth, Palm or closer-to-home acts such as Warehouse, Red Sea and Hellier Ulysses. Bass player Valentina Tapia leads the charge here; her performance is especially impressive throughout "Cast a Lion, Cured a Crow." Guitarist Zane Durfee and drummer Decker d'Alesio are also at the top of their game in songs such as "Itchy Feet (Location 12)" and "Lavender Lout." It's a joyous experience to witness how experimental and fluid these seven songs are, while remaining grounded to melodies that are far beyond the group's years. www.facebook.com/pallasatl. less...

Best punk enabler

Josh Feigert
JOSH FEIGERT wears many hats: State Laughter label owner, guitarist for GG King, Uniform, and at least one or two new groups that may or may not get off the ground. He's also Atlanta's trusted punk and hardcore show promoter, regularly booking out-of-town acts with Best locals in rooms from 529 in Eastmore...
JOSH FEIGERT wears many hats: State Laughter label owner, guitarist for GG King, Uniform, and at least one or two new groups that may or may not get off the ground. He's also Atlanta's trusted punk and hardcore show promoter, regularly booking out-of-town acts with Best locals in rooms from 529 in East Atlanta to Eyedrum Downtown. It seems there just aren't enough hours in the day for Feigert. His motivation is simply a desire to continue making punk and hardcore music, and to support others who do as well. And for Feigert, punk's not dead, and this is no nostalgia trip. A thriving network of young and outraged musicians is alive and thriving outside the typical rock club circuit in 2017, and we the people need it now more than ever. So when Hank and the Hammerheads from New York need to book a last-minute show, or when Best local acts such as Nag and Mutual Jerk need a home for their new 7-inches, tapes and LPs, Feigert is a pillar of the community with aspirations to keep building his network of recording, pressing, distributing and enabling punk rock. Feigert is there working the door at his own shows, and hustling to make it all happen, for the love of the music, the ideology and the community. www.statelaughter.storenvy.com. less...

Best album

Mastodon's Emperor of Sand
It's true. MASTODON was relegated to CL's Best of Atlanta Trophy Case in 2016. What else could the pride of Atlanta metal do to impress us after already receiving so many awards? In March, the arrival of the group's seventh proper album, Emperor of Sand, achieved what many thought couldn't be done: Themore...
It's true. MASTODON was relegated to CL's Best of Atlanta Trophy Case in 2016. What else could the pride of Atlanta metal do to impress us after already receiving so many awards? In March, the arrival of the group's seventh proper album, Emperor of Sand, achieved what many thought couldn't be done: The album reinvented the group's sound by expanding upon an already established snarl. Drummer Brann Dailor stepped up his role as vocalist fleshing out sharp and vivid new dimensions in Mastodon's sound, and the rest of the band adjusted its tangled metallic dirge to suit a recalibrated sound palette. The album's lead single, "Show Yourself," served as an easy access point for what shaped up to be an impressive return. Singer/guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher and bass player Troy Sanders exude a focused, fully charged presence in songs such as "Sultan's Curse," "Andromeda," "Steambreather" and more. BONUS: While the album was making waves around the world, here on the home front, the group unveiled Ember City Rehearsal Studios, a new Westside practice facility for a town that sorely needs practice spaces. It was a stellar year for the band that just keeps giving. www.mastodonrocks.com. less...

Best soul/jazz songstress

Brenda Nicole Moorer
BRENDA NICOLE MOORER is having one hell of a year. The sweet-voiced singer-songwriter kicked things off in April by releasing Brand New Heart, her second full-length „ and most critically lauded „ collection of jazz, soul and folk tunes. Then in May, she earned her first solo shot performing at themore...

BRENDA NICOLE MOORER is having one hell of a year. The sweet-voiced singer-songwriter kicked things off in April by releasing Brand New Heart, her second full-length „ and most critically lauded „ collection of jazz, soul and folk tunes. Then in May, she earned her first solo shot performing at the Atlanta Jazz Festival and, in the months that followed, played venues like City Winery and Variety Playhouse, opening for drummer Brandon Williams and other musical heavyweights. On top of all that, she recently struck a deal with P-Vine Records to get Brand New Heart distributed in Japan „ so we can only imagine that even bigger things are on the horizon.
www.brendanicolemoorer.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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