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Arts and culture

Courtesy of Emory University

The 40th Atlanta Jazz Festival kicks off tomorrow. The free festival brings national and local talent to the stage. Dwight Andrews is one of the local favorites but also nationally regarded performer and composer. He’s also a professor at Emory University and a minister.

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From left to right: Carrie Tupper, Alan Tupper and Havana Nguyen, creators of Kamikaze
Brittany Wages /

Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Courtesy of Dark Side of the Room

An improv comedy troupe turns one this week. It’s called Dark Side of the Room and was formed by the African-American members of Dad’s Garage.

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Troupe member and co-founder Mark Kendall explained their signature game in an interview with Lois Reitzes: “We go out to the audience. We get the suggestion of a classic film like 'Jaws', 'Star Wars', whatever it is, and then we improvise a show where we show the deleted scenes of what the black characters are doing during that film.”


Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes:"

Courtesy of Franklin Pond

An upcoming competition won't get ugly. But it might get Mozart. Or Beethoven. Or Dvorak.

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Because this is a chamber music competition, the inaugural one from Franklin Pond, a chamber music program for students.

The competition is open to all middle and high schoolers and will be judged by Western Michigan University Cello Professor Bruce Uchimura, Columbus State University Violin Professor Sergiu Schwartz and Christopher O’Riley of the NPR program "From The Top."

Taylor Alxndr

Southern Fried Queer Pride is an annual festival that celebrates Atlanta's queer and trans community. It is in its third year and has expanded to five days.

Find more events in the Atlanta Festivals Guide

“What we hold core to our beliefs if that if you are not giving space to the most marginalized in the community, it’s not really making any work or progress,” said Taylor Alxndr, one of the founders of Southern Fried Queer Pride and an Atlanta performer and activist.

Gabbie Watts / WABE

Sean Fahie is an artist and graphic designer in Atlanta. His favorite spot is one of the benches on Carroll Street in Cabbagetown. Listen above to hear how the bench promotes camaraderie with new and old friends.

“City Tours” is an occasional series on WABE’s “City Lights,” where Atlanta artists and luminaries give a tour of their favorite spot in the city.

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"The Lemon Jell-O Syndrome" cover courtesy Unbridled Books; photo credit Mattie Bell

Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Joseph Guay

Five of Atlanta’s most recognizable and prolific dancers have started their own dance company, the Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre.

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Until recently, those dancers–John Welker, Tara Lee, Christian Clark, Rachel van Buskirk and Heath Kill–owed their recognition to their tenures at the Atlanta Ballet. All either retired or resigned from, or were let go by, the ballet.

Frank Franklin II / Associated Press

For 20 years, Chuck Klosterman has written about sports, rock-and-roll, ethics, movies, TV — pretty much everything we consider popular culture, or for that matter, culture.

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His work has appeared in the The New York Times, Spin, GQ, Esquire, Grantland and other publications. His 10th book, "X," (pronounced "10") is out now and features a wide range of his published work from the past decade.

Courtesy of New Puppet Order

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

  • 1:45: Lois Reitzes speaks with author Chuck Klosterman about his new book “X.”
  • 42:01: Gabbie Watts speaks with two production companies in Atlanta that make films with puppets. 

Courtesy of the artist

Brad Zimmerman received quite a compliment from legendary comic Joan Rivers: He’s the best comic . . . in his price range.

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Perhaps Rivers would have given him higher praise for his finesse not as a comic or an actor, but as a waiter.

Courtesy of Historic Oakland Foundation

The Greek myth of Persephone is an origin story of the seasons, and it's temptingly ripe with symbolism. Saturday night — and for one night only — the historic Oakland Cemetery will host an ethereal evening of art inspired by the Persephone myth.

For the Cemetery's third annual "Arts at Oakland" event, artist Sanithna Phansavanh created 10 life-size murals that will be installed throughout the Victorian garden grounds. Improvisational music and movement collective Flight of Swallows will also perform throughout the evening.

Huge Galdones

After five consecutive years and five consecutive nominations, Miller Union Executive Chef Steven Satterfield is now, officially, the Best Chef in the Southeast.

That’s according to the James Beard Foundation – the most distinguished and respected authority on American cuisine. The Chef joined Lois Reitzes in a live interview on “City Lights,” which you can hear in the audio posted above.

Courtesy of Historic Oakland Foundation

Friday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

City Lights: 'Unloaded'; Kenny Leon; And More

May 19, 2017
Courtesy of Dashboard

Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Wes Browning / Sema Films

Every once in a while we need a change in setting to get a fresh perspective and, hopefully, to be inspired. Enter “the retreat,” a tried and true way to get away from the daily grind.

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It isn’t reserved for just the office worker though, artists often use retreats to improve upon their craft. In this edition of “Writer to Reader,” best-selling novelist Joshilyn Jackson explains how.

Jackson goes on three to five retreats per book, typically with a group of close confidants.

Andy Kropa / Invision/AP

Be it directing for the stage or the screen, Kenny Leon is a living legend. He's even directed the stage for the screen, including "The Wiz Live" and "Hairspray Live" for NBC.

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Courtesy of Americolor Opera Alliance

Three brothers, all born of different mothers, find themselves all living under their father's roof. Truths about past affairs surface and the tension builds. This is the way "House of Brothers," the latest production by The Americolor Opera Alliance, begins.

Fay Fox

Eric Einhorn is well-versed in the art of outdoor opera. He’s the general and artistic director of On Site Opera, a New York City-based company specializing in on-site, immersive opera performances. He is in town to direct a co-production with the Atlanta Opera of an early Mozart work, “The Secret Gardener.”

The Atlanta Opera and On Site Opera produced the opera in New York, and each new location provides new challenges, he said in an interview with Lois Reitzes.

Courtesy of University of Georgia Press

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

atlanta history center

April 6 marked the centennial of the United States' entry into World War I. The Atlanta History Center has been commemorating this monumental event with four exhibits exploring the war.

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The third exhibit opens this Saturday. Called “Uncle Sam Wants You! World War I and the American Poster,” it features 60 rare World War I posters commissioned by the United States government.

The posters went beyond recruitment. They were meant to sway public opinion.

Courtesy of City of Atlanta, Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs

Even if you haven't heard of Steffen Thomas, perhaps you've seen his work: his sculpture “The Trilon,” which is prominently displayed at 15th and Peachtree in Midtown.

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Thomas did public art commissions for much of his career in Atlanta, but “The Trilon” was his gift to the city and situated him as one of the great pioneers of public art in Atlanta.

City Lights: Uncle Sam; Steffen Thomas; And More

May 16, 2017
Associated Press

Tuesday on "City Light with Lois Reitzes":

"The Lemon Jell-O Syndrome" cover courtesy Unbridled Books; photo credit Mattie Bell

A new novel from Atlanta author Man Martin manages to be both incredibly informative on matters of trivia ranging from grammar to neurology — as well as just plain funny.

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Victoria and Albert Museum, London

You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes. And, as it turns out, you can learn a lot about world history and culture by looking at shoes too.

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A new exhibit now open at the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film explores that very history and creativity with more than 200 pairs of shoes from ancient Egypt to contemporary Disney films.

Courtesy of the Atlanta Shakespeare Company

Hamlet is just one of the many prized role for actors, but it is out of reach for many, especially for one rather sizable group of the population: women.

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In fact, only 16 percent of the roles Shakespeare wrote were for women, and unless a theater company does a fair amount of gender parody in their productions, women rarely get to work together on productions.

City Lights: Shoe History; 'LadyShakes'; And More

May 15, 2017
Courtesy of Savannah College of Art and Design

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Courtesy of Rebekah Suellau

If you've ever wanted to scream, quit your job, and start a punk ukulele band, Synchronicity Theatre has a show about exactly that. "Hannah Cremation + The Ash" is opening for two nights of performances this week.

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Gabbie Watts / WABE

This will be a bittersweet weekend for high school seniors in the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. Sunday is not only the last concert of the ASYO season, it will be the last of their concerts with the esteemed ensemble altogether.

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But many will continue their musical education and are off to music colleges in the fall, including bassoonist Christopher Chung and oboist Mekhi Gladden.