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. 

Gabbie Watts / WABE

What do you get when you have four comedians in a recording studio? Far too much. 

Between jokes about oatmeal and cat ladies, four local comedic talents came into WABE's studio to talk about Atlanta’s comedy scene and what it means for female comedians.

The comedians represent four of the main improv theaters in Atlanta.

Classical pianist, Stephen Hough will be in concert Sunday at Spivey
Sim Canetty-Clarke

Stephen Hough is back in the Atlanta area this weekend, and classical piano devotees should be in for a real treat.

The British-born performer will be on stage Sunday afternoon at Spivey Hall for a concert of Debussy and Chopin starting at 3 p.m.

Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

After 40 years in the art world, Maren Hassinger has mounted more than 100 shows across the country. She got her start in fiber arts but also does sculpture, film and performance pieces, using an array of materials from tree branches to plastic bags. 

She is highly awarded with the Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award and the Anonymous Was A Woman Award under her belt. She is also the director of the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute and College of Art.

Gabbie Watts / WABE

Friday and Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, two German men and two French men will join forces to create an immersive multimedia experience. 

United through the theme of war, “Poèmes Electroniques” combines texts, images and electronic soundscapes.

Christof Veillon, the co-artistic director of Théâtre du Rêve, directs the project, but “Poèmes Electroniques” is more of a collaboration between artists and nationalities.

Brent Walker

Their stories and portraits aren't the kind that the local chamber of commerce would highlight in a glossy brochure.  But they are the subjects of what Newnan, Georgia-based photographer Brent Walker has brought into sharp and compelling focus in a blog he calls "The Hidden South."  Recently, he spoke with WABE's Steve Goss...  

  This story originally aired December 10, 2014.

Alexander Glustrom

Though he has lived in New Orleans for the past 10 years, Alexander Glustrom was born in Atlanta, went to Paideia High School and even had his 13th birthday party at the Plaza Theatre.

Therefore, it’s only appropriate that his documentary "Big Charity" has been selected as one of the encore screenings at the Atlanta Film Festival. It will be playing at the Plaza at 9:15 p.m. on Sunday. 

The film outlines the history of Charity Hospital, a 300-year-old public hospital in New Orleans, comparable to Grady Hospital here in Atlanta.

Jinkx Monsoon performs in Atlanta during last year's RuPaul's Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons.
Robb D. Cohen / Invision/AP

This week on the music mix, WABE contributor Mara Davis brings us the blues, takes us to a drag race and croons some Al Stewart to bring us her upcoming concert calendar.

Lois Reitzes with Laughing Skull Lounge founder Marshall Chiles, who heads up the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival.
Erin Wright / WABE

The Laughing Skull Comedy Festival is bringing laughs to stages all around Atlanta for its sixth year, and Lois Reitzes sat down with Laughing Skull Lounge founder Marshall Chiles to talk about how they judge funny.

The Laughing Skull Comery Festival takes place Wednesday through Sunday, March 25-29. For more information, check out Atlanta PlanIt.

Lynn Lane Photography

Though he’s beginning to travel far and wide, Reginald Smith Jr. knows where his roots are planted.

The Atlanta native attended the DeKalb School of the Arts, and after his baritone voice was nurtured there, he went to the University of Kentucky to study vocal performance. Currently, he is finishing up a residency at the prestigious Houston Grand Opera Studio.

Monmouth Historic Inn

In the early spring of 1931, the ladies of the Natchez Garden Club had a problem.

A very big problem.

A garden tour scheduled as part of the Mississippi State Garden Club convention in Natchez fell victim to a late freeze.

So the Natchez ladies acted fast to create a special event their guests would appreciate by throwing open some of the historic homes around town.

The Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve is just southeast of Atlanta, not far from Interstate 20.
Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Southeast of Atlanta, not far from Interstate 20, is a quiet, almost surreal green space called the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve.  

The area is home to a granite outcrop, much like Stone Mountain except on a smaller scale. Around Arabia Mountain, you’ll find clearings of exposed rock ─ wide, open surfaces of flat granite where it looks like nothing could ever grow.

But it's in these seemingly empty spaces that composer Stephen Wood found inspiration.

Jef Bredemeier

For 43 years, in the landlocked city of Atlanta, there used to be a pirate ship.

On July 30, 2013, the pirate ship set sail, so to speak, and no longer welcomed its customers to sit on its many levels, eat fondue and hear jazz six nights a week.

Dante’s Down The Hatch, a favorite restaurant for prom, anniversaries, birthdays and long evenings, closed its doors due to a variety of tax, property and other reasons.

In 2013, Jef Bredemeier was not a filmmaker. He was a fine arts painter and also a waiter (or "tron" as they were called onboard the ship) at Dante's.

An aerial view of the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel in Jekyll Island, GA.
courtesy of Jekyll Island Club Hotel


The onset of spring means an abundance of outdoor activities and the desire to get away to enjoy them.

As Kevin Benefield, the editor of Atlanta Magazine’s Southbound travel guide, explained recently on “City Lights,” Jekyll Island is an ideal place for all that. From the luxurious Jekyll Island Club Hotel to new hotels and resorts, outdoor recreation and beachcombing, Jekyll Island features a wide variety of getaway attractions.

Lois Reitzes (on left) speaks to PBA30's Jack Walsh and Carapace co-founder Randy Osborne.
Myke Johns / WABE

Carapace, founded in February 2010 by Joyce Mitchell and Randy Osborne, is a monthly event featuring true personal stories recited in the very crowded space of Manuel's Tavern in Atlanta. Every fourth Tuesday of the month, ordinary raconteurs tell true, personal, five-minute (or so) stories. 

And now, PBA30 is bringing some of those stories to television with "Life Stories: True Tales from Carapace." 

Suspense By The Sea In 'All The Old Knives'

Mar 23, 2015
Gregory Wake /

Spy novelist Olen Steinhauer is back, following the success of his Milo Weaver trilogy, with the recent publication of “All the Old Knives.”

As in much of his previous work, Steinhauer weaves the complex tales of present-day American spies, their moral dilemmas and their intimate lives, in his latest book.

After 'Glee,' Jane Lynch Turns To Cabaret

Mar 23, 2015
Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

Sue Sylvester has changed out of her tracksuit, put down her bullhorn and uttered her last put-down.

As the final episode of “Glee” aired last week, Jane Lynch was beginning a new phase of her multi-faceted career.

Photo Courtesy Frank Barham

After a serious car accident left him a paraplegic at the age of 24, Frank Barham couldn't be consoled by his love for music right away.

“Music had always been a place I could go and be somewhere else,” Barham recently told “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes.

But where he was as he began recuperating ─ a hospital room at Duke University ─ was instead a place where he “became a big ball of anger. I was mad at myself,” since he had caused the accident.

Physicist and writer Sidney Perkowitz takes part in the International Year of Light at the Atlanta Science Festival, Wednesday, March 25.
Mycatkins /

The year 2015 is being celebrated worldwide as both the centennial of Albert Einstein's creation of the General Theory of Relativity and the International Year of Light.

Courtesy of Benjamin Meed / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Through novels, film, paintings and photographs, artists give voice to the shared experiences of millions who were touched by the Holocaust.

Laurence Sherr, composer-in-residence and professor of music at Kennesaw State University, is one of those. He tells Holocaust stories gleaned not only through research but also through his family history. His medium is music. 

Much of his work focuses on Holocaust remembrance, and he has written several memorial compositions and hosted lectures, concerts and presentations that focus on the music and the Holocaust.

Co-directors Nina Dolgin (left) and Chelsea Dunn developed Ladyfest Atlanta as an "intentionally political space" for local Atlanta artists.
Nina Dolgin / Ladyfest Atlanta

There’s a new arts festival in town this weekend, and it’s radical. Ladyfest Atlanta is a three-day showcase of local musicians, performance artists, and filmmakers, as well as a space for dialogue about feminist issues. It marks the first such event in Atlanta since the last Ladyfest South eight years ago. 

Alexis Irvin and Chip Hiden

The Atlanta Film Festival kicks off Friday, and one of this weekend’s documentary films features something Georgians value so highly, they lobby for it: craft beer.

In Georgia, craft brewers and beer enthusiasts alike have been fighting for legal beer sales at breweries, instead of going through its current three-tiered distribution system.

Patricia Williams

Lisa See's Chinese-American heritage informs the themes and contents of all of her books, nonfiction and fiction alike.

Her first book, "On Gold Mountain: The One Hundred Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family," indeed, traces her family’s history, a bi-racial family before Chinese-Caucasian marriage was even legal in the United States.

Since her debut historical account, she has written novels focusing on China, Asian-American identities and female friendship.

Mezzo-Soprano Stephanie Blythe Singing At Spivey Saturday

Mar 19, 2015
Ralph Daily /

There’s the clichéd image of the opera singer breaking a wine glass, but for mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, it would be a more appropriate image to have her vocal abilities busting through walls. She has a powerhouse voice.

As a touring performer, Blythe performs at opera houses around the world. Just last month in Seattle she sang a rare opera by Handel (a production by Atlanta Opera’s Tomer Zvulun). She also sings often at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

1ieve /

This week on Mara's Music Mix, we have Special Sauce, a pair of bluegrass legends, a punk/jazz guitarist at Eddie's Attic, and WABE contributor Mara Davis is aghast that Steve Goss has never seen "Pitch Perfect." 

The Athens Slingshtot Festival returns for the third year March 26-28 featuring a wide variety of music, the arts and technology.
Photo Courtesy Athens Slingshot Festival

Created to entice attendees returning from the South By Southwest Interactive Festival, an upstart cultural celebration in Athens is aiming to become more of a destination event.

The third annual Slingshot Festival – named for the “catapult” effect organizers were seeking on the heels of the high-profile SXSW in Austin, Texas – is slated for March 26-28 across five blocks of downtown Athens.

Charlie McCullers / Courtesy of Atlanta Ballet

Tennessee Williams premiered his play "Camino Real" in 1953. It had a short run on Broadway with only 60 performances, and in today’s theater circuit, it is rarely revived.

Indeed, the play deals with bleak themes, and the prose lacks logic with strange appearances by literary figures like Don Quixote and Casanova. It's a difficult mix of dark poetics, many characters and twisted plot points.

Courtesy of Gabrielle Fulton

Gabrielle Fulton is first and foremost a writer — everything from film to television to the stage.

Her short film, "Ir/Reconcilable," is her debut film as a director. It's also her first independently-funded, non-student film.

Fulton received her master of fine arts from Northwestern University, and while she was there, she wrote a script for an emotionally packed film. During a reading of the script, audience members were crying, so she knew she had to put her words on the screen.

For three decades, Theatre Gael brought the Celtic arts to Atlanta, up until closing five years ago. But those who have missed the music and theater of Ireland and Scotland now have a venture to look to. 

Arís Theatre (pronounced "ah-REESH")  launched in June of 2013 and is dedicated to bringing the traditions and artistry of Celtic culture to the stage. Two of the founders of Aris, Kathleen McManus and Robert Shaw-Smith, spoke to WABE's Lois Reitzes.

Shaw-Smith began by explaining the company's name.

WABE's Lois Reitzes with comedian Gilbert Gottfried, in Atlanta for a run of performances at the Improv Comedy Club March 12-14.
Jason Parker / WABE

Gilbert Gottfried is in town for a three-night stand at the Improv Comedy Club. The famed comedian is known for his uniquely abrasive voice work, which he recently lent to a sketch on the website College Humor. In the video, Gottfried narrates passages from the book "50 Shades of Grey."

Courtesy of Sandglass Theater

Puppetry is often associated with Muppets and Sesame Street.

But at the Center For Puppetry Arts puppetry tells more complex stories than the ABCs and 1, 2, 3s.

Founder and director Vince Anthony came to WABE to talk with Lois Reitzes about the Center's ongoing and upcoming performances: 

"Rainforest Adventure" is one of the Center's family shows and concludes this weekend with two shows on Saturday and two shows on Sunday.