Arts and culture

Courtesy of ''Hotel Claremont''

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Courtesy of Georgia State University

Milestone birthdays, summer entertainment and great movies are intersecting at the corner of Forsyth and Luckie streets in Atlanta. The Rialto Center for the Arts is presenting the Be Downtown Film Festival to celebrate their centenary, their 20 years with Georgia State University and the Atlanta Film Festival's 40th anniversary. 

The festival, which includes screenings of Shaft, Space Jam and Enter The Dragon, has been curated by Rialto Executive Director Leslie Gordon and the Atlanta Film Festival's Executive Director Chris Escobar. 

Charlie McCullers / ArtsATL

This story is part of "Atlanta Remembers: The 1996 Olympics," WABE's series on the impact of the 1996 Summer Olympics on Atlanta, 20 years later. For more stories, click here. To read the whole story on ArtsATL, click here.

Michael Phelps. Kerri Strug. Usain Bolt. Gold medals. Gold shoes. Broken records, broken hearts.

Thibault Camus / Associated Press

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HBO via AP

Updated at 12:38 p.m. Thursday

Power-and-blood fantasy saga "Game of Thrones" ruled the Emmy Award nominations Thursday with a leading 23 bids, including best drama, while a real-life epic of murder and celebrity, "The People v. O.J. Simpson," was close behind with 22 nods.

"Game of Thrones" gets the chance to win its second top Emmy, while "Veep," last year's top comedy winner, also will get another shot at holding office, and with 17 nominations was the comedy leader.

Ed Andrieskia / associated press file

When it comes to summer reading for adults, there is the famous beach read, but what about summer reading for kids? 

The Paideia School's elementary librarian Natalie Bernstein recommends that kids read widely and voraciously, no matter the quality. She also recommends summer as a good time for parents to get back in touch with reading aloud. 

As Atlanta children continue through their summer, whether at the midway point or toward the end, Bernstein recommends the following books:

Horizon Theatre Company

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

JAS Productions

The movie "Cell" recently came out in theaters. It’s also available to stream on Amazon Prime and iTunes.

Adapted from a Stephen King novel, it stars Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack in an apocalyptic world where cells phones have turned people into zombies.

“Cell” also stars Erin Elizabeth Burns in a supporting role. After participating in a two year acting program in New York, she moved to Atlanta in late 2012. She joined the drove of actors from Los Angeles and New York who are moving down south to get work.

Disney / Associated Press

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Stungun Photography

Atlanta has an active and diverse theater community, not only of actors and directors, but writers as well. And one event has exemplified this for almost two decades: The Essential Theatre Play Festival.

Begun in 1999 by artistic director Peter Hardy, the festival has presented new work from now-established talents Theroun Patterson, Lauren Gunderson, Topher Payne and many more.

BreeAnne Clowdus / Aurora Theatre

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MadMaxMarchHare / Wikimedia

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Gribeco / Wikimedia

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George Alexander Grant / National Parks Service

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

George Alexander Grant / National Park Service

George Alexander Grant set out to be a park ranger, but once he discovered photography, he dedicated himself to the craft and eventually became the first chief photographer for the National Park Service.

That was in 1929, and during his life, he took somewhere between 30-40,000 photos for the National Park Service. Grant, though, isn’t a household name like other prodigious landscape photographers like Ansel Adams, but his work has been widely circulated. It lives in pamphlets, textbooks and even a Ken Burns documentary, credited solely to the National Park Service, not Grant.

Historic clothing at the Gatheround Exhibit
Al Such / WABE

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Bill Jones / Center for Puppetry Arts

Like the classic "Little Mermaid" story, the mermaid in the Center for Puppetry Arts' "Little Pirate Mermaid" loses her voice, but she is able to say one thing: "Arrgh!" And instead of just pursuing a handsome prince, she gets a job as a sailor and eventually becomes captain.

"I always like that the female characters have a purpose, not just waiting around for the prince to show up,” the center’s artistic director John Ludwig said.

Bill Taft

The Cabbagetown musician popularly known as Benjamin Smoke died of liver failure caused by Hepatitis C in January of 1999. He was 39 years old.

Before he passed away, Benjamin left his mark on the underground music scene with his bands Smoke and The Opal Foxx Quartet, among others, and his life and enigmatic work were captured in Jem Cohen's 2000 documentary "Benjamin Smoke."

Julio Cortez / Associated Press

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Andy Lee

“Swiss Army Man” tells a rather unconventional buddy story. Hank, played by Paul Dano, is on a deserted island and about to hang himself when he sees a corpse, played by Daniel Radcliffe, wash up on shore.

Courtesy of David Foster

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Zane Cochran

It might seem obvious that designers make things so that people can use them, but “user-centered design” is a fairly new concept, evolving over the 20th century.

“Designers have always been aware of their users,” said Museum of Design Atlanta’s executive director Laura Flusche. “But with the rise of design thinking and the emphasis on user interfaces, designers are more and more aware of finding out what the challenges their users are facing. And, that doesn’t ever mean one type of user or one class of users.”

Greg Mooney

The artwork of children's author Eric Carle jumps off the pages of books like "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me." And now the Alliance Theatre has his work literally jumping from the page to the stage in its world premiere adaptation of Carle's book "Pancakes, Pancakes!"

The story centers on a young boy who, in the course of the seemingly simple task of making breakfast, learns about the labor of making food by helping to harvest wheat, milk cows and gather eggs in order to make a pancake.

Brandon Amato

Joey Ward understands that it's not cheap to go out to dinner these days, so he tries hard to make it worth your while.

A night dining out at Gunshow, the Kevin Gillespie restaurant where Ward is executive chef, is akin to an evening spent at the symphony or at an art gallery opening. The chef told host Lois Reitzes on "City Lights" that cooking itself is a form of art.

Chef Kevin Gillespie’s restaurant, Gunshow, on Bill Kennedy Way in Atlanta.
Charles W. Jones / WABE

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Courtesy of Theatre du Reve

Atlanta's Théâtre du Rêve — in English, the Theater of the Dream – turns 20 this year.

Currently, it is the only professional Francophone theater troupe in the United States. That is, they perform plays in French and pieces inspired by French-speaking cultures from around the world.

The dream was Atlanta actress Carolyn Cook's, and she led the company for its first 10 years as artistic director. This July, she is returning to that position after Park Krausen's decade of tenure.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

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Scott Bauer, USDA ARS / Wikimedia

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Courtesy of Bojana Ginn

Being invited to show artwork at Venice's Biennale would be considered a career highlight by many, and two Atlanta-based artists are among those holding that honor.

The bi-annual contemporary visual art and architecture exhibition opened among the canals and plazas of the Italian city in late May. The work of William Carpenter, architect and founder of design firm Lightroom, and sculptor Bojana Ginn, titled "Presence," is currently on exhibit at the famed event. 

This Oct. 20, 2014, photo shows cornbread buttermilk biscuits in Concord, N.H.
Matthew Mead / AP Photo

To say commentator Nick Rogers is a fan of biscuits might be an understatement.

“In the holy trinity of Southern breads, above cornbread and hush puppies, biscuits reign supreme,” he claims in this edition of "Fried Pies and Moonshine."

In order to support this contention, Rogers sat down with two area biscuit-makers, Carrie Morrey, founder of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, and Jeffery Dewberry, executive chef of Flying Biscuit Café – both of whom associate the biscuit with family.