City Lights with Lois Reitzes | WABE 90.1 FM

City Lights with Lois Reitzes

Weekdays at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. on WABE's Live Stream

"City Lights" explores the ways in which people express themselves creatively and enhance our lives.

In addition to a wide range of music, "City Lights" covers theater, dance, pop culture, visual arts and more. WABE has long been a partner with many organizations in Atlanta and through "City Lights" we're deepening those relationships to serve our community with even greater arts and cultural content. 

Dan Raby, Owen Sweeney / WABE, Invision/Associated Press

Great works of literature have inspired many musicians, but that inspiration does occasionally flow the other way, with writers drawing from pop music. Nick Hornby’s novel "High Fidelity" comes to mind.

One young writer here in Atlanta is about to release a book inspired in part by the pop singer Kesha. It’s titled "All Glitter, Everything" and author Laura Relyea joined WABE’s Myke Johns to talk about finding strength and deeper meaning in the singer’s pop persona. 

Anthony D'Amato performing songs from his album The Shipwreck from the Shore in WABE's Studio A.
Myke Johns / WABE

Singer-songwriter Anthony D’Amato started his career with a guitar and a single microphone, capturing his music in his room, as many young songwriters have done for ages. But his most recent album — 2014’s "The Shipwreck from the Shore" — found him collaborating with a number of musicians and recording in an 18th-century farmhouse, a far cry from his college dorm room.

John Mellencamp performs at the Fox Theater in Atlanta on Friday March 13
Matt Rourke

This weekend sees "Take Me To Church" sensation Hozier return, yet again, to Atlanta's stages, while John Mellencamp gets gritty at the Fox, and part of the Arcade brings the Fire to the EARL. All that and much, much more as WABE contributor Mara Davis brings us her music mix.

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day In Savannah And Dublin

Mar 12, 2015
Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press

Can’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day next Tuesday?

Looking for a perfect excuse for a festive weekend away?

Savannah has become renown in the Southeast and beyond as the place to be for one of the biggest St. Patrick’s celebrations in the nation.

But if you’re looking for a place to stay, or need to make reservations near the heart of the action this weekend, you’re just about out of luck. 

Courtesy of publisher, author photo by Lisa Miller
Lisa Miller

Kabir Sehgal joined the world of investment banking just in time to watch the credit crisis unfold. That experience made him wonder: What exactly is going on in our mind when we deal with money?

Over several years, he traveled around the world trying to answer that question. The result is his new book titled, “Coined: The Rich Life of Money and How Its History Has Shaped Us,” that explores the cultural and artistic significance of money throughout history.

Courtesy of the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival

Tonight, the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival begins. In its sixth year, the festival spans over two weekends, packed with local talent to international touring bands.

As one of the victims of the recession, Russell Gottschalk couldn’t find any suitable employment when he graduated from college in 2007, so instead, he did this: “I did the crazy naïve, 20-something thing to do and said, I’m going to start a Jewish music festival."

David W Batterman

In 2010, Beth Malone and Courtney Hammond set out to fix a disconnect in the Atlanta art scene.

Certainly, there were artists, and there were galleries and museums, but there were few spaces in between for emerging yet seasoned artists. 

So, they started the entrepreneurial Dashboard Co-op to help artists curate their work in unused and under-imagined locations to encourage maximum creativity through art and space. 

In this Dec. 3, 2014 file photo, Kanye Wests attend the premiere of "Top Five" at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York.
Evan Agostini/Invision / Associated Press

Kanye West might be one of the most controversial figures in hip-hop today. Over the years, he’s spoken candidly and loudly about race, pop culture and his own talent as an artist, often offending people in the process.

But at Georgia State University, one professor thinks there might be something we can learn from the rap artist.

Photo courtesy Rachel Trignano

This is an installment of our occasional series, “Storytellers” –personal, first-person narratives from metro Atlantans.

Rachel Trignano is an Atlanta-based writer. Her work has appeared in Loose Change Magazine and in Chorus—a poetry anthology edited by Saul Williams.

Vereen Bell (left) and Taylor Branch are two of the authors inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame at the University of Georgia this year.
Vereen Bell photo by unknown; Taylor Branch photo by J. Brough Schamp / Images courtesy the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame

Since 2000, the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame has been honoring and promoting homegrown literature throughout the state. The institution recently announced their four inductees for 2015.

Toby Graham is the University Librarian and Associate Provost at the University of Georgia, where the Hall of Fame resides, and he spoke with WABE’s Myke Johns about this year’s awards.

The band Book Club performs at WABE, March 3, 2015.
Jason Parker / WABE

Some bands resist labels, others simply make up their own. Book Club is an Atlanta-based group playing …not folk, not country, but what they call “rural pop.” This past month, they released a new album called "One-Way Moon," and they joined us in our studios to perform a few songs and to speak with WABE’s Myke Johns about the music and the record.

Cathy Fox is Executive Director of ArtsATL, a site devoted to covering the arts in metro Atlanta.
Phyllis Rodbell

As newspapers around the country continue to cut staff, do you wonder who’s covering those stories or where those professionals have gone?

Never in human history has the way we share information been so dramatically altered in such a short period, so we’ve been asking leaders in Atlanta’s arts community how they’ve adjusted to the times. We spoke with Catherine Fox who has long covered Atlanta’s arts beat.

Michelle Malone performs at Shawn Mullins' four-night stand birthday bash at the Red Clay Theater in Buford, March 5-8.
TimothyJ /

This week on the Music Mix, WABE contributor Mara Davis brings us a singer-songwriter's birthday week, a pun-happy tribute act and Mara's pick for artist of the year, Hozier, takes us to church ... or at least The Tabernacle. 

Gabbie Watts / WABE

You can find her plates, bowls, mugs and even shot glasses, adorned with wise words and witticisms, in Atlanta homes and restaurants. “Love big” and “laugh a lot” float among the colorful designs, and “Polly made me” marks the bottom of each ceramic pot.

Polly Sherrill, or Polly the Potter as she is known to her patrons and ceramics students, has her own independent pottery business in Atlanta for the past 25 years.

Bernat Armangue / Associated Press

George Costanza is a "short, stocky, slow-witted, bald man," according to Elaine Benes (and George himself) on the the television sitcom "Seinfeld." George Costanza also proclaims that he is "Lord of the Idiots."

Jason Alexander is not George Costanza. While he did play the "Lord of the Idiots" on "Seinfeld," Jason Alexander actually got his start in show business as a song-and-dance man on Broadway. Sure, he may be a little vertically challenged, but Jason is really a man of many talents with a clear-toned, musical voice.

David Barasoain / WABE

A new exhibit at Atlanta's High Museum of Art opened over the weekend.  But it is not about Italian painters, Chinese warriors or even sleek automobiles. This new exhibit is different.  

It is called, "The Coca-Cola Bottle - An American Icon at 100," and it looks at not just the design of the bottle, but also art work associated with the Coca-Cola brand. It is on view at the High Museum through Oct. 4. For information, visit Atlanta PlanIt.

Courtesy of the Lyric Opera of Chicago

Sometimes in the opera world, performers get a call from someone that says, "Will you come star in our opera that’s already in rehearsal?" 

Brian Jagde got that call recently to perform as the character Cavaradossi in "Tosca" at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

A Never-Ending Legacy: Gordon Parks' Photography Permeates Atlanta

Mar 2, 2015
Gordon Parks, Untitled, Miami, Florida, 1966.  Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation.
Gordon Parks / Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation.

He died in 2006, but Renaissance man Gordon Parks is still making his mark on Atlanta.

In collaboration with each other and in conjunction with the Gordon Parks Foundation, two Atlanta galleries and the High Museum of Art have been featuring Parks' photographs for the past few months.

Charlie Lucas during his artist talk at MINT Gallery in Atlanta, Feb. 21, 2015.
Jason Parker / WABE

MINT Gallery has an exhibition of works by folk artist Charlie Lucas on view until March 22.

Lucas is a self-taught artist known for his figurative paintings and sculptures made from found objects and salvaged materials.

He's made large, metallic human figures, 14-foot-tall dinosaurs and even some abstract work, all from what some people would consider trash.

I recently spoke with Lucas and began by asking him why he goes by the pseudonym “Tin Man.”

Sacred Harp Shape Note singing
Alison Guillory / WABE

One of the oldest musical styles born in the U.S. looks a lot different on the page than typical music. Shape note singing uses symbols to represent notes: a triangle, a circle, a square and sometimes a diamond.

A small ─ but growing ─ number of people around Atlanta gather regularly to sing from the shape note hymnal, the "Sacred Harp." So, a scholar released a new version of it this month.  

Listen to the Sacred Harp singers in an audio slide show by clicking here.

Katherine Jentleson has been appointed as the High Museum's Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art.
Travis Dove / Courtesy of the High Museum

The High Museum of Art has been lauded for their many special exhibitions, but their ever-growing permanent collection holds many priceless and important works of art, not least of all in their collection of folk art.

The High began collecting folk art in the 1970s, and in fact they’re the first general museum in North America to have — starting in 1994 — a full-time curator devoted to folk and self-taught art.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE


Walk through a modern art museum, and you’re sure to find naked women on the canvases that line the walls. Artists have been drawing, painting and photographing the nude female body for centuries. For just as long, artists have been presenting ideals of what the female body should look like.

Robert Kusel

He is utterly unknown, but the 20th century Russian musical heavyweight Dmitri Shostakovich described his work in this way: "Music of beauty and enormity … it is a perfect masterpiece … it is a hymn to humanity … to the international solidarity of those who, subjected to the most terrible evil, stood up against fascism."

Harp Concert Promises To Be Mega

Feb 26, 2015
Courtesy of Mary Ann Flinn

A photo can be a dangerous thing. 

In 2008, the officers of the Georgia Chapter of the American Harp Society saw a picture of a large-scale harp concert. And they thought, "Well, why can't we do something with multiple harps? Because the harp is a lonely instrument," as Mary Ann Flinn, the vice president of the organization, recalled.

Willie Nelson will appear on the Tabernacle stage with his trusty guitar, Trigger, on February 27.
John P. /

This week, everyone's favorite ponytailed country legend Willie Nelson continues to wear a hole in his trusty guitar and an Athens country rule-breaker takes the Tabernacle stage. Plus, an indie rocker brings a new kind of grit to the EARL, and Piano Man Billy Joel plays the hits at Phillips. 

WABE contributor Mara Davis brings this weekend in concert picks.

Creative commons
Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina /

You’ll hear it on the streets of Buenos Aires, in the towns of northern Mexico and also in the Hispanic immigrant communities here in Atlanta. It’s called Cumbia, and it’s one of the most popular musical genres in the Latin American world. 

But while Cumbia is part of mainstream music culture in many Latin American countries today, it started out as the music of only the lower class in Colombia's Caribbean coastal region.

Courtesy of Todd Doughty

Who is Kate Alcott? Well, the answer to that question is more literal than existential.

Patricia O’Brien is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, but she changed her name to Kate Alcott for her books after a publishing house rejected one of her novels when she was Patricia. But, as Kate Alcott — Alcott, of course, from the author of "Little Women"  it was accepted in a flash.

C. M. Stieglitz / Library of Congress

You may not have heard of Georgian author Lillian Smith.  She was one of the first prominent white Southerners to speak out publicly against racial segregation in the 1930s and 40s.

Violinist Midori (left) and violinist GaHyun Cho performing at UN headquarters in June, 2014. Midori performs with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra February 20-21.
UN Photo/Mark Garten /

Not all prodigies manage the transition to adulthood with a major career intact, but violinist Midori ​Gotō, often referred to simply as Midori, did. She is now entering her fourth decade as a soloist, and was appointed by the United Nations in 2007 as a Messenger of Peace.

Midori spoke to "City Lights" executive producer Noel Morris about her upcoming concerts with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and her early start in music.

Elizabeth Pridgen, recently installed Artistic Director of the Atlanta Chamber Players, onstage at the Shakespeare Tavern in October 2014.
courtesy Atlanta Chamber Players

Elizabeth Pridgen is the granddaughter of former Atlanta Symphony concertmaster Martin Sauser. She’s performed at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and has been featured player at the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. 

Recently, Pridgen assumed the role of Artistic Director of the Atlanta Chamber Players. She's also a full-time pianist, and a full-time faculty member of Mercer University. So far, she says it's fulfilling to have such a varied life.