Arts and culture

Rex Hammock /

Friday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Author, Joshilyn Jackson and her book, Someone Else’s Love Story.

Decatur author Joshilyn Jackson wants to get “sense of place” right in the novel she’s working on, which is set in a fictional small town in Alabama. Sometimes that means picking the right donut shop, rather than the right town.

In this installment of “Writer to Reader” for “City Lights,” Jackson explains her decision not to use a real small town as the model for her fictional one. She notes her desire “to evoke the feeling of this town, not the town itself.”

Author Turns Nightmare Into Story Of A Demonic Waltz

15 hours ago
Leonardo Cendamo

There are many historical accounts that link the violin to the devil.  

Composer Giuseppe Tartini said that he transcribed a violin sonata that the devil dictated to him in a dream, and Nicolas Paganini was such an astonishing violin virtuoso that some presumed he had a pact with the devil.

New York Times best-selling author Tess Gerritsen has taken up the mantle of the ominous instrument. “Playing with Fire” is her new novel about a violinist obsessed with a piece of music. The music, however, makes her daughter turn demonic and violent.

Burnett / Associated Press

Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

[View of Atlanta, Georgia, with railroad cars in left foreground] Created / Published [photographed between 1861 and 1865, printed later]
Library of Congress / Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA dcu

When it comes to economic growth, Atlanta historically has been a divided city. As affluent neighborhoods were built up on Atlanta’s northern end, communities on the south side received little consideration from investors.

But now those southern areas of the city have something that is finally attracting developers’ attention, and it traces back to Atlanta’s history as a railroad town.

Maia Knispel
Christopher Bartelski

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Carolyn Cook
Christopher Bartelski

It's difficult to laugh at Alzheimer's Disease. It's also difficult to endure any hardship without laughter.

"There's humor in every situation ... You're not going to live through it without the full range of emotion," Atlanta actress Carolyn Cook observed in a conversation with Lois Reitzes on "City Lights."

Drawing from personal experience, Cook portrays Vivienne Avery, a daughter caring for her mother who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It's important to Vivienne that she "make this an experience that validates her mom all the way to the end," Cook said. 

Raymond McCrea Jones

Atlanta photographer Raymond McCrea Jones did not have any personal connection to the military when he began a project that resulted in a book of photos called “Birth of a Warrior.”

In his family, only his grandfather had served in the military in some capacity, and, like a lot of children, he played with toy soldiers and fake guns as a kid. The military, though, had always fascinated him, so he spent 10 weeks documenting 162 Army recruits during basic training at the Georgia Army base Fort Benning.

Dan Carmody / Studio 7

Georgia Ensemble Theatre is tackling its very first William Shakespeare play. The 23-year-old theater company has mounted a production of "Romeo and Juliet," promising a bold and accessible take on the story of doomed lovers from rival families.

Lead actors Jennifer Alice Acker and Jonathan Horne joined Lois Reitzes to talk about how they and director David Crowe are working to make Shakespeare’s poetry clear for modern ears.

To achieve this, the production is focusing on storytelling as opposed to language.

City Lights: Meal Kits; ‘Romeo And Juliet’; And More

Nov 10, 2015
The meal kit company Blue Apron has raised almost $200 million from investors. Corby Kummer says the meal kit services are largely marketed toward millennials who are eager for an alternative to eating out.
Scott Akerman /

Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

The meal kit company Blue Apron has raised almost $200 million from investors. Corby Kummer says the meal kit services are largely marketed toward millennials who are eager for an alternative to eating out.
Scott Akerman /

It’s like paint-by-numbers for cooking. Or at least, that’s the comparison food writer Corby Kummer makes.

Kummer joined Lois Reitzes on "City Lights" to discuss a recent column he wrote for the New Republic about the growing "meal kit" industry. 

Meal kits, as they’re often called, include all the ingredients you need for a home-cooked meal and they arrive right at your doorstep, often in cardboard boxes. 

Lance Ledbetter of Dust to Digital Records with his two treasured copies of The Anthology of American Folk Music by Harry Smith
Kate Sweeney / WABE

Lance Ledbetter runs the record label Dust to Digital here in Atlanta, along with his wife, April. They specialize in high-quality reissues of music from all over the world, and they are probably best-known for the 2004 box set, “Goodbye, Babylon,” which was nominated for two Grammy awards.

But there would have been no “Goodbye, Babylon” without Harry Smith. And that’s the story Ledbetter tells in this installment of Page-Turners.

Fall Movie Soundtracks Offer Horror, Sophistication, Disco

Nov 9, 2015
"Hopper Stone, SMPSP" / ©2015 CTMG. All Rights Reserved.

After a record number of Hollywood blockbusters this past summer, the fall movie season deserves analysis. Film music contributor Dr. Scott Stewart came to WABE’s studio to talk about the soundtracks from the fall lineup.

Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox / TM & © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Atlanta Opera

From songs about bringing an iPod into combat to the opening words of “I never talk about this with anybody,” composer David T. Little’s opera “Soldier Songs” captures a soldier’s experience.

The opera will have its Southeast premiere in Atlanta this week as part of the Atlanta Opera’s Discoveries series.

“It tells a very powerful story of what it means to be a soldier: training for it, surviving it and then going back to society,” said Tomer Zvulun, the Atlanta Opera's general and artistic director.

Vereen Bell photo by unknown; Taylor Branch photo by J. Brough Schamp / Images courtesy the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame

The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame is inducting four authors Monday. Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor Branch, environmentalist Janisse Ray, columnist and journalist Paul Hemphill and novelist Vereen Bell will be honored at a ceremony at the University of Georgia.

Branch and Ray will both be at the event. Hemphill died in 2009. Bell was killed in combat in World War II.

Kimberly Harbrecht / WABE

Atlanta’s High Museum of Art enters the world of haute couture this weekend with the U.S. premiere of the exhibit “Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion.”

The exhibit is the High’s first presentation focused exclusively on fashion, so it’s fitting that the project launches with Iris van Herpen, a Dutch designer who pushes fashion beyond traditional boundaries.

“We wanted to explore the broad idea of what is art and design,” said Sarah Schleuning, curator of decorative arts and design at the High. “And her work is alchemy of artistry.”

Daniel Stockman /

Friday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Daryl Brown Photography

Abiodun Koya is an opera singer, even though she comes from a country (and a continent) that doesn’t have very much opera.

The Nigerian-born singer moved to Atlanta four years ago after 11 years in Washington, D.C. There, she infiltrated the diplomat circuit, singing at political events. “That’s one of the benefits of working in Washington, D.C.,” she said. “My embassy, the Nigeria embassy, was really behind me.”

Quinn Dombrowski /

Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Richard Shotwell / Invision/AP

Norman Lear has lived a “multitude of lives,” or that’s what the “All in the Family” producer said of himself in his memoir, “Even This I Get to Experience.”

He flew 52 missions in a B-17 during World War II. He was a publicist. He founded the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way. Most notably, along with “All in the Family,” he produced, wrote, created and developed more than 100 television shows, including “Maude,” “The Jeffersons,” “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and “Good Times.”

Courtesy of Ruth Dusseault

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Alliance Theatre

The Alliance Theatre is about to undergo a facelift, the first major redesign since it was built in 1968.

Max Leventhal is the previous general manager of the Alliance Theatre but recently became the project manager for the redesign, under the title owner’s representative to the Woodruff Arts Center for the multi-phased capital project.

He told Lois Reitzes in an interview that the redesign will tackle two problems: accessibility and acoustics.

Blue Sky Animation / TM and © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.

Just this past weekend, networks were again showing "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" for Halloween. The 1966 special was the third to feature Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" characters.

And now the gang is back. "The Peanuts Movie" opens in theaters this week. The film updates the look of Snoopy and Linus and Lucy van Pelt with modern computer animation, but there is still a Schultz at the helm.

Nefertite Nguvu

Now in its sixth year, Atlanta's BronzeLens Film Festival begins this week, continuing its dedication to films made by people of color.

New York-based filmmaker Nefertite Nguvu’s first feature film, “In the Morning” will screen at the festival. The film has won awards both across the country and internationally.

Courtesy of Alliance Theatre

Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

5 Bestselling Writers You May Not Have Heard Of

Nov 3, 2015
Library of Congress

A handful of popular women writers of 19th century America – such as Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe – continue to be widely taught and read. Others who were extremely well-known back then, for some reason or other, are today pretty much relegated to the history books.

Take Fanny Fern for instance.

Exploring The Evolving Themes In The 'Star Wars' Soundtrack

Nov 2, 2015
TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd./EPK.TV

As excitement ramps up for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” fans anticipate not only an exciting film but also a riveting soundtrack from film composer John Williams.  WABE film music contributor and host of “Strike Up The Band” Dr. Scott Stewart joined Lois Reitzes to discuss some of the anticipated music for the film.

Legendary composer John Williams composed the music for the "Star Wars" series, and he and the musicians wrapped up their final recording for the new "Star Wars" movie last week. There will be no pre-release of the soundtrack, which is unusual for movie studios.

Alan Solomon, File / Associated Press

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

  • Scott Stewart gives a tribute to the music of "Star Wars";
  • Gabbie Watts visits the filming of Dad's Garage's new Web series "Hart of America."
Mike Hillman

Outside a blue trailer on camping trip, Grandma has some bad news to tell her teenaged grandson, Chad.

“I’ve got all the diseases, Chad, all of them!” Grandma says

“Grandma, I didn’t know. Why didn’t you tell me?” replies Chad. “We’ve been drinking out of the same cup a bunch on this trip. God knows what I have now!”

This is just one of the scenarios in Dad Garage’s new web series called “Hart of America.”

The Dad’s Garage crew shot it over a couple hot and rainy September weeks at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Georgia.