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Best of Atlanta 2017 Index

Poets Critics Dolls Main Large





2017 Index of Winners

Best film festival BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Film Festival

Best film made in Atlanta BOA Award Winner

Baby Driver

www.babydriver-movie.com

photo by: Wilson Webb

Best curator BOA Award Winner

KAREN COMER LOWE, director of the Chastain Arts Center, has been putting in great work for years, but she made major waves this summer when she curated a buzz-worthy exhibition for celebrated artist Hebru Brantley. With the show, titled Clay Pigeons, Lowe was able to coax the Chicago-based Clark Atlantamore...

KAREN COMER LOWE, director of the Chastain Arts Center, has been putting in great work for years, but she made major waves this summer when she curated a buzz-worthy exhibition for celebrated artist Hebru Brantley. With the show, titled Clay Pigeons, Lowe was able to coax the Chicago-based Clark Atlanta University graduate to mount his first solo exhibit in the ATL in four years — one that tackled social issues like police brutality and racism in ways he’d never displayed before. But helming Clay Pigeons was just the latest major move for Lowe, who’s built a career on throwing shine to super-talented artists — such as Yanique Norman, Fabian Williams and Fahamu Pecou — early in their artistic development. And with a lauded new collection featuring the work of Cosmo Whyte currently hanging at the Center, she shows no signs of slowing down or changing course. www.ocaatlanta.com/chastain.

art by Hebru Brantley

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best comic book writer BOA Award Winner

Van Jensen
VAN JENSEN started out his career in comics nearly 10 years ago writing off-kilter indie comics, but it didn’t take long for him to snag assignments writing big-time superhero comics for the mainstream publishers. This year, however, he made a return to his offbeat roots with a handful of choice gigsmore...
VAN JENSEN started out his career in comics nearly 10 years ago writing off-kilter indie comics, but it didn’t take long for him to snag assignments writing big-time superhero comics for the mainstream publishers. This year, however, he made a return to his offbeat roots with a handful of choice gigs from a gaggle of comic houses: the science fiction series Fallen Suns (out this month), a graphic novel adaptation of the James Bond classic Casino Royale (to be released in October), and the Deep South crime thriller Two Dead he’s creating with March illustrator Nate Powell (coming in 2018), among other projects. He also carved out time to direct his first short film, titled Pisser, about a guy’s mission to take a spatter-free, well, piss. And, on top of all that, the guy even works with local schools, teaching kids how to make their own comics. So, while he may not being writing about spandex-clad heroes at the moment, he’s banging out a superhuman-level workload — and we’re all better as a result. www.twitter.com/van_jensen. less...

Best spa BOA Award Winner

Best gym BOA Award Winner

The Rack Athletic Performance Center

Best liquor store BOA Award Winner

Green's Beverages

Best CSA BOA Award Winner

Bliss Farm

Best veterinarian clinic BOA Award Winner

Tucker Animal Hospital

Best store for made-in-Atlanta goods BOA Award Winner

Coco + Mischa
Small but mighty should be the motto for this Decatur boutique, which opened last year. Products from more than 20 Atlanta artists and designers have found a home inside COCO + MISCHA, which sports a boho-industrial feel with its concrete ceiling and vintage wood furniture for displaying goods. The storemore...

Small but mighty should be the motto for this Decatur boutique, which opened last year. Products from more than 20 Atlanta artists and designers have found a home inside COCO + MISCHA, which sports a boho-industrial feel with its concrete ceiling and vintage wood furniture for displaying goods. The store is especially focused on propelling small makers with sustainable practices; among the local names you can expect are Fossil & Hide (metal jewelry inspired by rock ’n’ roll), Paper Raven Co. (illustration-inspired stationery), and Maum Goods Company (bath and body goods made from essential oils). 245 E. Trinity Place, Suite 1212, Decatur. 470-875-5717. www.cocoandmischa.com

photo by: Lindsey Max

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Best all-killer-and-no-filler used record store BOA Award Winner

Ella Guru Record Shop
ELLA GURU RECORD SHOP doesn’t have the biggest selection of used LPs in town, but it certainly has the best records you’ll find anywhere outside of eBay. Tucked away in a quiet LaVista Road strip mall in unincorporated DeKalb County’s Leafmore Creek Park, owner Don Radcliffe has culled togethermore...
ELLA GURU RECORD SHOP doesn’t have the biggest selection of used LPs in town, but it certainly has the best records you’ll find anywhere outside of eBay. Tucked away in a quiet LaVista Road strip mall in unincorporated DeKalb County’s Leafmore Creek Park, owner Don Radcliffe has culled together one of the most meticulously curated selections the metro area has ever seen. From rare Marion Brown and Wadada Leo Smith compilations to Cecil Taylor’s first record on the Candid label, the jazz records alone are the stuff of dreams. But Radcliffe also keeps the shelves stocked with an ever-shifting supply of no-nonsense rock ’n’ roll, power pop, R&B and indie must-haves from the ’60s through the ’80s and even some ’90s gems. Whether you’re looking to cop a good record by anyone from Dire Straits to Dwight Twilley, Sonic Youth to Nurse With Wound, there’s something in those racks you’ve been looking to scoop up for years. Know your budget, though. The records are fairly priced, the people behind the counter know what you’re looking for, even if you don’t, and there’s enough high-quality merchandise in the crates to break the bank. 2747 LaVista Road, Decatur. 404-883-2413. www.facebook.com/EllaGuruRecordStore. less...

Best salon for one-of-a-kind nail art BOA Award Winner

Treat Your Nails
There’s no shortage of salons that’ll adorn your nails with foils, chrome powder, gel polishes in every shade of the rainbow, and more festive embellishments (like studs and fur), but TREAT YOUR NAILS wins the creativity-meets-cost matrix. At this Buford Highway outpost, customers can choose frommore...

There’s no shortage of salons that’ll adorn your nails with foils, chrome powder, gel polishes in every shade of the rainbow, and more festive embellishments (like studs and fur), but TREAT YOUR NAILS wins the creativity-meets-cost matrix. At this Buford Highway outpost, customers can choose from binders upon binders of floral, geometric and galaxy-inspired patterns — or come with their own designs for the manicurist to replicate. Basic manicures start at just $14, while a gel manicure runs you $30. From there you’ll pay extra based on how complex your nail art wishes might be. Foils, for example, start at $5 a pair, but the price drops per unit if you want more. The last time we visited, we walked out with a custom design with regular polish for $25 — or about the same price you’d pay for a plain manicure at more high-end spots. 5938 Buford Highway N.E., Suite 106, Doraville. 770-458-1756. www.treatyournailsatl.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best makeup store BOA Award Winner

Those looking for over-the-counter mainstays or the newest lip kit from a Kardashian sister need not visit VICTORIA COSMETICS. This unassuming store, tucked in the middle of a strip mall, is a haven for cheap and delightfully weird beauty goods, like snail gel or a sake yeast mask, most of which costsmore...

Those looking for over-the-counter mainstays or the newest lip kit from a Kardashian sister need not visit VICTORIA COSMETICS. This unassuming store, tucked in the middle of a strip mall, is a haven for cheap and delightfully weird beauty goods, like snail gel or a sake yeast mask, most of which costs less than $10. Some of the makeup seems to be geared toward Asian shoppers — like double eyelid tape or whitening creams and washes — but anyone with an appreciation for quirky beauty products will find something to like in this shop. 5150 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-457-1413.

photo by: Lindsey Max

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Best locally based online fashion retailer BOA Award Winner

Zuvaa
Kelechi Anyadiegwu started her online retail shop, ZUVAA, in 2014 after finding it was often difficult to get her hands on African-inspired clothing and accessories. Fast-forward three years later, and consumer appetite for designs from the Motherland has only increased, fueling the growth of Anyadiegwu’smore...
Kelechi Anyadiegwu started her online retail shop, ZUVAA, in 2014 after finding it was often difficult to get her hands on African-inspired clothing and accessories. Fast-forward three years later, and consumer appetite for designs from the Motherland has only increased, fueling the growth of Anyadiegwu’s company — which is currently based in Atlanta — into a multimillion-dollar venture. Folks interested in snagging pattern-drenched headwraps, dresses, jackets and other gear from Zuvaa can purchase items from its website or from the series of traveling pop-up shops it mounts at locales around the U.S. (including the ATL). www.zuvaa.com. less...

Best place to buy a rock BOA Award Winner

CRYSTAL BLUE’s cosmic rays radiate from the heart of Little Five Points. There you can get all the stones you need for worship, for healing or just to savor the Earth’s beauty. With a huge amount of inventory in the 75 cent-$6 range, Crystal Blue is a great place to purchase meaningful, soul-nourishingmore...

CRYSTAL BLUE’s cosmic rays radiate from the heart of Little Five Points. There you can get all the stones you need for worship, for healing or just to savor the Earth’s beauty. With a huge amount of inventory in the 75 cent-$6 range, Crystal Blue is a great place to purchase meaningful, soul-nourishing gifts at affordable prices. Popular items include amethyst, rose quartz, citrine and selenite, and products on display feature a karmic description of their healing properties. Other items at Crystal Blue include chimes, gongs, sage ($1 an inch) and Tibetan singing bowls (starting at $40). Opened in 1985 in the same storefront it currently occupies, Crystal Blue is onto the third generation of the founding family working in the store; now that’s good karma. 1168 Euclid Ave. N.E. 404-522-4605. www.facebook.com/crystalblue1168.

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best neighborhood for the arts BOA Award Winner

Old Fourth Ward

Best illustrator BOA Award Winner

Mike Lowery

Best illustrator BOA Award Winner

Carlton Roberts

Best comedian BOA Award Winner

Chris Clabo

Best comedy venue BOA Award Winner

The Village Theatre

Best choreographer BOA Award Winner

Sarah Wildman

Best local indie filmmaker BOA Award Winner

McIntosh Bros.

Best reason to be excited about the future of dance in Atlanta BOA Award Winner

TERMINUS MODERN BALLET THEATRE doesn’t make its debut until October, but we can’t help but be hyped about the possibilities this company presents. Made up of a veritable supergroup of five principal dancers — Heath Gill, Tara Lee, John Welker, Rachel Van Buskirk and Christian Clark — who formerlymore...

TERMINUS MODERN BALLET THEATRE doesn’t make its debut until October, but we can’t help but be hyped about the possibilities this company presents. Made up of a veritable supergroup of five principal dancers — Heath Gill, Tara Lee, John Welker, Rachel Van Buskirk and Christian Clark — who formerly performed with Atlanta Ballet, this scrappy new venture promises (as its name suggests) to meld modern and ballet influences and create works that channel the unique spirit of our city. And the fact that they’ll be taking the stage in a newly constructed space within the Westside Cultural Arts Center (a spot that’s not exactly associated with dance) makes their impending unveiling even more unconventional … and exciting. 760 10th St. N.W. www.terminus-serenbe.com.

(From left - Rachel Van Buskirk, Heath Gill, Christian Clark, John Welker and Tara Lee)

photo by: Joeff Davis

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Best film festival BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
It’s hard nailing down one singular reason why the ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL is the city’s best, so here are a few: 1) It consistently serves up dozens of high-quality big- and small-budget shorts and feature-length films; 2) screenings take place at theaters across the city at a wide range ofmore...
It’s hard nailing down one singular reason why the ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL is the city’s best, so here are a few: 1) It consistently serves up dozens of high-quality big- and small-budget shorts and feature-length films; 2) screenings take place at theaters across the city at a wide range of days and times (this year there were more than 200); 3) audiences have copious opportunities to interact with filmmakers and other folks behind the camera; 3) and, maybe most importantly, despite being a festival that focuses on the experiences of Jewish people, the AJFF offers a lineup of films that are diverse in style, subject matter, geographical origin and more, sure to appeal to movie lovers of all backgrounds. www.ajff.org. less...

Best local country music act BOA Award Winner

The Whiskey Gentry

Best local studio BOA Award Winner

Southern Exposure Music

Best dance music club BOA Award Winner

MJQ

Best dark horse in the running BOA Award Winner

J.I.D
Following the critical success of this year's The Never Story, J.I.D is firmly planted in hip-hop's conscious. The Spillage Village MC is the latest spitter to align himself with J. Cole's Dreamville imprint and may be the first out of the broadening collective to make a true move toward the mass appreciationmore...
Following the critical success of this year's The Never Story, J.I.D is firmly planted in hip-hop's conscious. The Spillage Village MC is the latest spitter to align himself with J. Cole's Dreamville imprint and may be the first out of the broadening collective to make a true move toward the mass appreciation of their label head. Hailing from East Atlanta, J.I.D, born Destin Route, describes his music as a true-to-life depiction of his early experiences in dealing with and overcoming the struggles of growing up amid drugs, violence and gang life. He matches this realism in subject matter with a knack for rhyme that places him at the top of the heap of the city's most respected and most talented lyricists. Pair that with an innate ear for melody, and it's looking like J.I.D might just be next to blow up. www.dreamville.com/artist/j-i-d. less...

Best overall music act BOA Award Winner

6lack
6LACK, the artist born Ricardo Valdez Valentine, took the city by storm in 2017. The sounds of his thick-as-molasses debut album, Free 6lack (Love Renaissance/Interscope), are more R&B than hip-hop, but when Valdez raps, his lyrics and delivery are on point in songs such as "Rules," "PRBLMS" andmore...
6LACK, the artist born Ricardo Valdez Valentine, took the city by storm in 2017. The sounds of his thick-as-molasses debut album, Free 6lack (Love Renaissance/Interscope), are more R&B than hip-hop, but when Valdez raps, his lyrics and delivery are on point in songs such as "Rules," "PRBLMS" and "Alone / EA6." 6lack's slow lyrical glide through dense, atmospheric production courtesy of Singawd, FWDSLXSH and Nova paint a chilly, nocturnal landscape that crept up on the city and the rest of the country, earning platinum sales for "PRBLMS." To celebrate his victory Valdez chopped off his dreads, which sent the public into a bit of a tizzy. It wasn't enough to hinder his phoenix-like ascent, though. 6lack's allure, presence and gravitas transcend simple vanity. Free 6lack is the spearhead of an artistic renaissance for Atlanta in the post-trap era, leading a return to mellow melodies and unconditionally excellence in the name of Southern aesthetics. www.free6lack.com. less...

Best crossfit BOA Award Winner

Best CSA BOA Award Winner

Love is Love Farm

Best CSA BOA Award Winner

Fresh Harvest

Best car wash BOA Award Winner

Mammoth Hand Car Wash & Detail Salon

Best auto shop BOA Award Winner

Johnny Fuller's Master Muffler

Best spot for bespoke suits (and bourbon) BOA Award Winner

Just a heads up: SID MASHBURN isn’t the place you’re going to shop for an everyday suit. No, the Westside retailer is the place you go for the suit you’ll own for a lifetime — or the better part of it, since they start at $1,500. What’s more impressive than the quality and timelessness of themore...

Just a heads up: SID MASHBURN isn’t the place you’re going to shop for an everyday suit. No, the Westside retailer is the place you go for the suit you’ll own for a lifetime — or the better part of it, since they start at $1,500. What’s more impressive than the quality and timelessness of the threads is the peak service customers can expect when they walk in. That even includes a liquor cabinet so shoppers can sip bourbon (or other spirit of their choice) while shopping. 1198 Howell Mill Road. 404-350-7135. www.sidmashburn.com.

photo by: Eric Cash

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Best yoga instructor BOA Award Winner

Rutu Chaudhari
For too many people, yoga is seen as affluent white women wearing expensive pants indulging in pain-inducing poses. RUTU CHAUDHARI, however, is on a mission to change that perception. Through her All Life is Yoga studio, Chaudhari works to return the practice its self-referential roots by embracing mindfulnessmore...

For too many people, yoga is seen as affluent white women wearing expensive pants indulging in pain-inducing poses. RUTU CHAUDHARI, however, is on a mission to change that perception. Through her All Life is Yoga studio, Chaudhari works to return the practice its self-referential roots by embracing mindfulness over athleticism. And by focusing on training a new generation of instructors via her nonprofit organization the Dharma Project — i.e., people color, folks from the LGBTQ community, of all shapes and sizes — she further challenges exclusionary notions and moves forward her philosophy that yoga is a way of life, not a luxury. 27 Waddell St., Suite D. 404-491-9027. www.alllifeisyoga.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

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Best bookstore BOA Award Winner

Against all odds, A CAPPELLA BOOKS has persevered the winds of change that Amazon and the internet hath wrought upon the land. Since 1989, owner Frank Reiss has maintained the small and seditious bookstore by keeping close ties with the community. From the folks behind the counter to the compelling titlesmore...
Against all odds, A CAPPELLA BOOKS has persevered the winds of change that Amazon and the internet hath wrought upon the land. Since 1989, owner Frank Reiss has maintained the small and seditious bookstore by keeping close ties with the community. From the folks behind the counter to the compelling titles that line the shelves, A Cappella is, as the website boasts, “the smartest bookstore in town.” It’s that word quality that keeps the operation moving in strides, as the small but well-stocked Inman Park shop doesn’t offer a whole lot of elbow room while negotiating the aisles. But when dust jackets boasting tales about the life and times of jazz provocateur Sun Ra, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, the myriad problems defining America’s sordid politics, and loads of top-shelf fiction practically jumping into your grasp, it’s impossible to walk out empty-handed. When everyone from local and up-and-coming touring authors to David Sedaris needs someone to sell a whole bunch of their books at their signing events, A Cappella is on speed dial. The shop is woven into the fiber of city’s literary culture, and one of few remaining, truly independent institutions keeping intown Atlanta well-read. 208 Haralson Ave. N.E. 404-681-5128. www.acappellabooks.com. less...

Best skin and hair care products BOA Award Winner

Yamerra
When artist/artisan Maryam Moma relocated from New York to Atlanta, she brought YAMERRA, her growing line of hair and skin care products, with her — and boy are we glad she did. Her proximity gives folks the chance to get their hands on her fragrant shea butter-based soaps (in flavors like lemon grass,more...
When artist/artisan Maryam Moma relocated from New York to Atlanta, she brought YAMERRA, her growing line of hair and skin care products, with her — and boy are we glad she did. Her proximity gives folks the chance to get their hands on her fragrant shea butter-based soaps (in flavors like lemon grass, honey vanilla and tangerine grapefruit, among many others), hair and body oils, moisturizers and more at pop-up shops and markets all over town — not just on her website, where she sells her wares to shoppers all over the world. Yamerra products are advertised as being made from “traceable natural and organic ingredients,” and you can feel that sentiment when you use the gentle-to-the-touch items for yourself. And, on top of that, it’s all sold at prices that are gentle to your wallet, as well. www.yamerra.com. less...

Best food truck BOA Award Winner

King Kabob

photo by: Joeff Davis

Best doughnut BOA Award Winner

Revolution Doughnuts

Best fried chicken BOA Award Winner

Matthews Cafeteria

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