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Courtesy of Synchronicity Theater

Ivan the gorilla lived at Zoo Atlanta from 1994 to 2012. And he was quite a gorilla: up until his death, he received fan letters on his birthday. He became an international sensation before he was brought to Zoo Atlanta because he lived in a cement cage and was display in a mall. There in his cramped conditions, he learned how to use finger paints and watch TV.

Ivan's life was the inspiration for a Newberry-winning children’s novel by Katherine Applegate, “The One and Only Ivan,” which was then adapted into a play.

Wikimedia Commons

The song "Body and Soul" has been recorded more than 3,000 times. Originally a popular song by Jewish composer Johnny Green, it's now one of the most performed jazz standards. 

Filmmaker Robert Philipson has dug deeper into the song. His documentary "Body and Soul: An American Bridge" examines the complicated relationship between Jewish and African-American culture by way of music.  

City Lights: Remembering Richard Thomas; And More

Jan 30, 2017
eyeImage / Pixabay

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Courtesy of Rabbi Micah Lapidus

“Rise Up!”

That’s the rallying cry of Atlanta Falcons fans as the hometown football team prepares to take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

“Rise Up” also happens to be the title of a gospel song written by a rabbi and embraced by Atlanta’s most prominent and historic African-American congregations.

Rabbi Micah Lapidus is the Director of Jewish and Hebrew Studies at The Davis Academy in Dunwoody. It’s really in his work as a composer, however, that Lapidus carries on the tradition of interfaith dialogue in Atlanta.

City Lights: The Nile Project; 'Rise Up'; And More

Jan 27, 2017
Habi Girgis

Friday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Chef Art Smith participates in the "Top Chef Duels" Premiere Tasting Event, hosted by Chase Sapphire Preferred and Bravo, at the Altman Building, on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 in New York.
Evan Agostini/Invision for Chase Sapphire Preferred / Associated Press

Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Allison Diaz / Associated Press

Jasmine Guy just can’t seem to stay out of college.

She first gained national attention as an actress for her role on "A Different World," a TV series following a group of students at a fictional historically black college. Now Guy is in a new series premiering Feb. 1 on BET. "The Quad" is also set on the campus of an imagined HBCU, though this time she’s playing a faculty member instead of a student.

Allison Diaz / Associated Press

Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

City Lights: Burns Day; Heroic Orphans; And More

Jan 25, 2017
Library of Congress

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Sophie Wright / Decca Classics

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

9 String Theory Combines Domra With Classical Guitar

Jan 23, 2017
Jeff Roffman

9 String Theory is not just a catchy name but also a straightforward calculation. It’s a musical duo featuring Angelina Galashenkova on the domra, which has three strings, and John Huston on classical guitar, which has six strings.

The domra is a Russian folk instrument, or as Galashenkova said, “I describe it as the Russian lute, Russian mandolin.”

Classical guitar and domra might be a strange pairing in the United States, but in Russia, it is more common. Usually, the domra takes the melody, while the guitar is on the harmony part.

Chris Bartelski

Katori Hall’s play, “The Mountaintop” puts its audience inside of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s room at the Lorraine Motel the night before his assassination. Restless and struggling with a speech, he orders some coffee. Enter the mysterious maid, Camae.

The heart of the play juxtaposes two people from widely different backgrounds in terms of class, gender and upbringing, and as actress Cynthia D. Barker pointed out in an interview with Lois Reitzes, “Camae also serves as counterpoint to Dr. King’s perspective on the movement.”

Gabbie Watts / WABE

If you want people to see your play, one option is to give it away for free.

Atlanta-born playwright Lauren Gunderson has done just that. She offered up her show “The Taming” to any theater company, group or person who wanted to do a staged reading free of charge … for one day: Jan. 20.

Over 40 companies across the US responded, including a few here in Atlanta. The Weird Sisters Theatre Project has teamed up with 7 Stages and Synchronicity Theatre to put on the show.

Tate Carlson

“I’ve always said, never trust a person who doesn’t like potatoes.”

That’s according to Raghavan Iyer, who has become a sort of authority on potatoes. The James Beard Award-winning chef and author spoke with Lois Reitzes about his new book, “SMASHED, MASHED, BOILED, AND BAKED—AND FRIED, TOO! A Celebration of Potatoes in 75 Irresistible Recipes.”

Courtesy of the National Black Arts Festival

The National Black Arts Festivals is dedicated to highlighting and celebrating artwork by artists of African descent. And every year, they focus on one discipline. This past fall was theater.

Since it was started by the Fulton County Arts Council in 1988, however, the National Black Arts Festival has transitioned from a yearly three-day festival to a year-round organization. One of their recent initiatives dives into Atlanta’s schools systems.

Superhero Bugs Take Over Center For Puppetry Arts

Jan 18, 2017
Madalina Anton

The upcoming Center for Puppetry Arts production is not about Pinocchio, Punch or Judy. It’s all about bugs. Called “The Adventures of Mighty Bug,” the title character, Mighty Bug, must save insect town Bugville from the evil villain Scorpiana.

The show features body puppetry, basically very elaborate costumes, along with shadow puppets. The set is also designed to look like a comic book because according to puppeteer Amy Sweeney, who plays Scorpiana, all bugs have their own superhero powers.

Donald Glover, creator/executive producer/director, participates in the "Atlanta" panel during the FX Television Critics Association summer press tour on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Donald Glover poses in the press room with the award for best performance by an actor in a television series - musical or comedy for "Atlanta" at the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Ca
Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

"Atlanta" won two Golden Globe Awards. Not the city — which isn't to say we don't deserve it — but the television series helmed by writer, actor and musician Donald Glover.

The show follows the exploits of Earn Marks, played by Glover, as he navigates the city's hip-hop scene, managing his rapper cousin who goes by the name Paperboy. The program has earned critical praise for its first season, and now from the Golden Globes.

Movie About McDonald’s Founder Turns Ga. Sets Into Midwest

Jan 18, 2017
The logo of McDonald's is illuminated at a restaurant in Hirschaid, Germany, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016.
AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

In John Lee Hancock's bio-drama "The Founder," Northwest suburban businessman Ray Kroc, played by Michael Keaton, beholds an empty tract of land on Lee Street in Des Plaines that will become the site for the first franchised McDonald's restaurant.

The movie, opening Friday, also shows us Kroc's brick home in the Scarsdale subdivision of Arlington Heights, the village where he hobnobs with the social elite at the Rolling Green Country Club.

City Lights: Noise Ordinances; Joan Kroc; And More

Jan 17, 2017
Pixabay Images

Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Preston Wiles / Dutton

Burgers, fries and a soda did not become a ubiquitous roadside meal because of the McDonald's brothers.

Though they may have invented the concept, it was Ray Kroc who took a single business, McDonald's, and turned it into an international franchise.

Bleux Stockings Society Live Lit Series Turns One

Jan 17, 2017
Wes Cummings

A year ago, the Bleux Stockings Society's founders set their sights high. Bleux Stockings is one of the youngest live lit monthly events in Atlanta, where readers present their work in front of a audience. Its reading slots are open to cis and trans women and non-binary people.

Andrew Eccles / Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

When Hope Boykin last visited WABE, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater veteran was starring as Odetta, the woman often referred to as "the voice of the Civil Rights movement," in a world premiere piece by Matthew Rushing.

Now, as Boykin prepares to return to Atlanta, she’s bringing a work of her own to the Fox Theatre’s stage.

City Lights: Alvin Ailey Dance; Matisyahu; And More

Jan 13, 2017
Paul Kolnik / Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

Friday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Pixabay Images

Atlanta's music scene is legendary, and recording studios are a big part of it.  But, some studios have caused noise complaints.  A few have seen deadly shootings.

That prompted a proposed city ordinance to regulate new recording spaces.  It's set for a full council vote on Tuesday.

If the ordinance passes, new studios would have to be sound proof and have a special use permit.  They also couldn't open within 300 feet of homes. 

Marco Borggreve

Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Pixabay Images

Television and movies have a $6 billion impact on Georgia's economy each year.

Now, some lawmakers are eyeing more arts to bring in money: the for-profit music industry.

State Reps. Spencer Frye, a Democrat, and Matt Dollar, a Republican, are members of a study committee that explored how to support that industry. 

Now, they're ready to propose legislation.  The two representatives spoke with WABE's Amy Kiley.  Dollar began with an overview of the committee.

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Kristian Bush from Sugarland; playwright Janece Shaffer with WABE's Lois Reitzes
Al Such / WABE

Turning over the family business from father to son can be tough when tradition bumps up against a new way of doing things. A new play at the Alliance Theatre begins there … it just so happens that the family business is country music. The show is "Troubadour," and was written by the creative team of playwright Janece Shaffer and songwriter Kristian Bush.

City Lights: Alice Hoffman; 'Troubadour'; And More

Jan 10, 2017
Deborah Feingold

Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes"

Evan Jang / WABE

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

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