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Best of Atlanta 2017 Index

Poets Critics Dolls Main Large





2017 Index of Winners

Best playground BOA Award Winner

Best hiking trail BOA Award Winner

Chattahoochee River trails

Best local blog BOA Award Winner

Decaturish

Best weed warrior BOA Award Winner

Allen Peake
A handful of politicos pushed pot policy reforms this year, but only one of those efforts bore fruit. State Rep. ALLEN PEAKE passed legislation that expanded the list of ailments a person must have to be eligible for a medical cannabis oil prescription. The THC limit is still capped at 5 percent, somore...

A handful of politicos pushed pot policy reforms this year, but only one of those efforts bore fruit. State Rep. ALLEN PEAKE passed legislation that expanded the list of ailments a person must have to be eligible for a medical cannabis oil prescription. The THC limit is still capped at 5 percent, so patients aren’t exactly getting stoned just yet. But Peake is also a proponent of establishing an in-state cultivation model, so Georgia could start regulating its own bud market. We’ll have to wait until the next legislative session to see how that shakes out. Meantime, state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, and Councilman Kwanza Hall are driving local efforts to relax weed laws in Atlanta. Stay tuned. www.allenpeake.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

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Best co-working space BOA Award Winner

The era of the co-working space is in full effect in Atlanta these days,, but all these startup-focused spots are not created equal. Leading this increasingly crowded pack is SWITCHYARDS DOWNTOWN CLUB, although it’s not totally because of its cool work areas, funky auditorium, espresso bar or ping-pongmore...

The era of the co-working space is in full effect in Atlanta these days,, but all these startup-focused spots are not created equal. Leading this increasingly crowded pack is SWITCHYARDS DOWNTOWN CLUB, although it’s not totally because of its cool work areas, funky auditorium, espresso bar or ping-pong table. None of that matters as much as the fact that SDC seems to cultivate and nurture a vibe that is uniquely Downtown: creative, down-to-earth, more about substance and less about flash. In the process, drawing entrepreneurs — like Bhargava and Anu Chiluveru of the art-focused e-commerce startup fourofour, and Tallia Deljou and Kate Gremillion of the women-centric career development company Mavenly + Co. — who share those same values to work and create there. 151 Ted Turner Drive N.W. www.switchyards.com.

photo by: Joeff Davis/ CL File

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Best natural hair salon BOA Award Winner

The Good Hair Shop

Best nail salon BOA Award Winner

Lark and Sparrow

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 bike shop BOA Award Winner

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 emerging visual artist BOA Award Winner

Caleb Courson

Best mural BOA Award Winner

Hosea Williams by Fabian Williams (at Studioplex)

Best museum BOA Award Winner

Best play BOA Award Winner

Best performance artist BOA Award Winner

Danielle Deadwyler

Best literary event BOA Award Winner

Decatur Book Festival

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 local metal act BOA Award Winner

Mastodon

Best local blues act BOA Award Winner

Men in Blues

Best local jazz act BOA Award Winner

Joe Gransden

Best local promoter BOA Award Winner

Glenn Goodhand of Iris Presents

Best local studio BOA Award Winner

Moredopemusic

Best Latin music club BOA Award Winner

Best patron for the arts BOA Award Winner

Kebbi Williams
KEBBI WILLIAMS has spent a lifetime immersed in music. Spending decades traversing the late-night music scene, and landing a gig playing sax for the Grammy-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band seems more than worthy of earning a lifetime achievement award. And sure, when he rolls up to Kevin Scott's Tuesdaymore...
KEBBI WILLIAMS has spent a lifetime immersed in music. Spending decades traversing the late-night music scene, and landing a gig playing sax for the Grammy-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band seems more than worthy of earning a lifetime achievement award. And sure, when he rolls up to Kevin Scott's Tuesday night jam sessions at Elliott Street Deli & Pub, the city's finest players turn their heads in awe. But Williams' work on the ground level truly makes a difference. As one of the proprietors of Gallery 992, he's created an outpost for the arts, music, yoga and education in the West End. His annual Music in the Park blowouts in Howell Park place young students and professional musicians on a level playing field, and engage them all with music. After watching music education programs being stripped from public schools throughout the city, Williams has worked with more than 5,100 students and more than 300 professional musicians to crowds of more than 15,000 people. Now seven years deep, and still free for all to attend, Williams has done more than his share of heavy lifting for the arts; changing hearts and minds every step of the way. www.musicintheparkatl.org/gallery-992. less...

Best sound guy BOA Award Winner

Andrew Wiggins
Since taking over Johnny Rhum's role as production manager at the Earl in August 2016, guitarist and noise specialist ANDREW WIGGINS (Caesium Mine, ex-HAWKS) has brought his high level of expertise and professionalism to sound quality and production show after show. A tech at Acorn Amplifiers by day,more...
Since taking over Johnny Rhum's role as production manager at the Earl in August 2016, guitarist and noise specialist ANDREW WIGGINS (Caesium Mine, ex-HAWKS) has brought his high level of expertise and professionalism to sound quality and production show after show. A tech at Acorn Amplifiers by day, Wiggins' sound production stands out due to his personal touches to the Earl's sound setup, such as his mid-1970s Echoplex EP-3 he sometimes chooses to run through vocals. Having learned under Rhum and Curt Wells in his earlier days as sound guy around town, Wiggins maintains the reputation the two established at the Earl, continuously braving the impairments of tinnitus and bringing his insight and meticulousness of sound to bands' performances. His expertise and service of producing consistently impeccable-sounding shows with the attention and care he takes to make artists sound their best make him a standout favorite among Best local and touring bands and an asset in the Atlanta music scene. less...

Best act to kick footwork into the future BOA Award Winner

Charolastra
In February, when Peter Roglin released CHAROLASTRA's debut cassette, God Help Us, the project appeared to be a one-man operation: Roglin kept on track by producers Anthony Nolan and Tito Mazzetta. Throughout God Help Us, songs such as "Top of the World," "Microdream" and "Is Everything as It Seems"more...
In February, when Peter Roglin released CHAROLASTRA's debut cassette, God Help Us, the project appeared to be a one-man operation: Roglin kept on track by producers Anthony Nolan and Tito Mazzetta. Throughout God Help Us, songs such as "Top of the World," "Microdream" and "Is Everything as It Seems" make fine intros to Roglin's early obsessions with hip-hop, drum and bass, Chicago footwork and spacey ambient production. But when performing live on stage, Charolastra opens up dramatically. These days Roglin hesitates to even talk about the project without diverting attention to the band he has assembled, featuring guitarist Speros Kokenes, bass player Alex Pound, saxophone player Marquinn Mason and drummer Dylan Banks. On stage, the group takes a headlong dive into cosmic jazz excursions, bookended by Mason's towering presence walking the frontline of long, sustained moments of improv and beat-driven structures. Roglin lays low in the background, twisting knobs and watching over his devices with stoic presence, as the group digs into rhythms grooves and textures that transcend the instincts and temperament of modern musical trends. This is music that forges its own adventurous path from the group's collective conscious into the colorful outer regions of modern Atlanta music. www.charolastra.bandcamp.com. less...

Best food trend BOA Award Winner

Poke

Best brunch BOA Award Winner

Atlanta Breakfast Club

Best Indian BOA Award Winner

Masala Indian Cuisine

Best Spanish/Tapas BOA Award Winner

Best Vietmanese BOA Award Winner

Best pizza BOA Award Winner

Antico Pizza

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