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Arts and culture

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Friday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

In 1939, Dr. Nathaniel Bronner Sr. was the only male graduate of Apex Beauty College on Auburn Avenue.
Courtesy of Bronner Bros.

The nation's largest African-American beauty show turns 70 years old this weekend. A hair product company called Bronner Brothers puts it on twice a year in Atlanta. This weekend’s show runs from Saturday, Feb. 11 through Monday, Feb. 13.

The brand name might sound masculine, but behind it is a league of black women who overcame Jim Crow laws to lay the groundwork for the African-American hair care industry.

Musicians Aileen Loy and Mike Katinsky talk with Lois Reitzes about their annual tribute to love and murder ballads in Bloody Valentines at the Earl on Thursday's ''City Lights.''
Stephen Crocker

Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Alberto Vasar

They call him "the Closer." James Judd is the man that the storytelling show Snap Judgment brings out to bring down the house. The lawyer and former stand-up comedian is known for his brash, energetic style and his rollicking stories of public embarrassment and failure.

Judd will be among the performers taking the stage of Atlanta Symphony Hall this weekend when Snap Judgment rolls into town for a live show. 

Social Media Is Changing How Authors Go on Tour

Feb 8, 2017
Robert Scoble via VisualHunt / CC BY


Once upon a time the cross-country book tour was a regular occurrence for published authors. Now, those tours are reserved for “huge sellers who are also excellent public speakers or have multiple platforms that are going to attract a lot of media attention,” best-selling novelist Joshilyn Jackson says.

On this edition of “Writer to Reader,” Jackson gives an overview of how her experience touring has changed over the years, and how tours have changed for the publishing industry as a whole.

City Lights: John Burke; 'Good Hair'; And More

Feb 8, 2017

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Catherine Dee Holly and Fray Forde

This story starts, like many great stories do, with an argument over hair care products.

The short film “Good Hair” was shot in Atlanta with a wealth of hometown talent, including its creators, director and actor Catherine Dee Holly and comedian Fray Forde.

The film begins with Frankie, played by Holly, discovering that Khi, played by Forde, has used the last of her hair conditioner. The scene is based on a real-life argument the couple got into, which formed the basis for the story. 

Jennifer Williams/Doris Derby

Dashboard is an arts agency dedicated to challenging artists to create work in unfamiliar, unused and untraditional spaces. The organization is based here in Atlanta, and since it was founded in 2010, Dashboard has put on 42 exhibits in 7 US cities.

Their latest exhibition is in a venue that has seen artwork before. “Women Change Agents: The Photographs of Dr. Doris Derby” is now on view through April 5 in the Atrium Gallery at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Brock Scott

A new nonprofit looks to bridge the gap between art and politics. It's called Georgia Artists for Progress.

The organization has already had one event: a concert that also featured talks by state Reps. Park Cannon and Renitta Shannon. Attendees were also invited to figure out their legislators at the event.

Jeanine Michna-Bales

The latest exhibit at Arnika Dawkins Gallery features the work of photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales.

Michna-Bales traveled 1,400 miles to sites along the Underground Railroad. She photographed the landscapes at night, seeing her surroundings much like how those traveling on the Underground Railroad would have experienced on the route.

“This was America’s first civil rights movement,” said Michna-Bales in an interview with Lois Reitzes. “I tried to pick a first-person viewpoint and try to look at what they could have possibly seen as they were moving.”


Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Jeff Roffman for The Atlanta Opera

The Atlanta Opera is near the end of their wildly successful, sold-out run of Astor Piazzolla's tango opera, "Maria de Buenos Aires," on stage at Le Maison Rouge in Paris on Ponce. The company's General and Artistic Director, Tomer Zvulun, is largely responsible for such productions, and he says the upcoming Atlanta Opera season continues to represent their strategic direction.

In an interview on “City Lights” (posted above), Lois Reitzes spoke with Zvulun about how the 2017-2018 season represents his vision for Atlanta’s major opera company. 

Credit Atlanta Opera

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Kawai Matthews

We've yet to reach Valentine’s Day, but Atlanta resident and Grammy-winning trombonist Saunders Sermons has dedicated the whole month of February to love. He has curated a series at City Winery featuring soul cabaret. The concerts are on each Monday this month, starting tonight with Grammy-nominated singer Tamar Davis. 

“Soul cabaret, it can be rock, blues, jazz, RnB. I want to keep it eclectic,” said Sermons in an interview with Lois Reitzes.

Courtesy of Out Front Theatre

Inclusivity is front and center at the Out Front Theatre Company. Its mission is to share stories about the LGBTQIA community through theater. That’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intergender and allied.

“Other cities in the country had companies that have been around for decades telling these stories,” said Out Front Founder and Producing Artistic Director Paul Conroy. “But our audiences weren’t being reached on a consistent basis. Shows might have popped up once in a while, but we wanted to do it full time.”

City Lights: Gad Elmaleh; Super Bowl Bets; And More

Feb 3, 2017
Pascal Le Segretain / Associated Press

Friday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

City Lights: Gaelynn Lea; James Baldwin; And More

Feb 2, 2017
Courtesy of Gaelynn Lea

Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

© Dan Budnik, all rights reserved / Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

James Baldwin's work has become a touchstone in recent years. His writings have inspired activists, intellects and those on the quest for civil rights in the United States.

Filmmaker Raoul Peck was fundamentally transformed by Baldwin's work. Peck’s passion became the documentary "I Am Not Your Negro," which has just been nominated for an Academy Award.

The documentary is essay-style. Instead of interviews with experts, the content features Baldwin's words from an unfinished manuscript for a book called “Remember This House.”

Courtesy of MINT

The art organization MINT is going through a lot of changes. The gallery recently announced that their creative director, Candice Greathouse, has resigned. 

This follows their announcement in April 2016 that they were moving out of their gallery space on North Highland. MINT has since been setting up exhibitions in temporary spaces. 

Greathouse became MINT's full-time creative director in 2014 after serving as interim operations manager. 

Gabbie Watts

The Founding Fathers adorn history classrooms across the country and are remembered for their intellect, morality and fierce dedication to freedom. But even as they endorsed "all men are created equal," many of them held slaves.

This idea is explored in the new documentary "Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America's Founding Fathers.”

Courtesy of 7 Stages

Gentrification is at the center of “Sea of Common Catastrophe,” a meditative piece that combines theater, music and dance. It was developed by multidisciplinary company ArtSpot, which is based in New Orleans.  

“Our work does not begin with a script,” said ArtSpot Artistic Director Kathy Randels in an interview with Lois Reitzes. “We start with an idea we want to explore …We, on some level, play in the sandbox for a year and then share our experiments.”

Jeff Shipman

"Le Petit Prince" is an iconic book. From its illustrations to its cast of characters, the Prince teaches lessons of friendship, growing up, dreams and how to see with the heart.

And there's no better theater company to present "The Little Prince" than the Theater of the Dream, or Théâtre du Rêve, Atlanta's own francophone theater company.

Courtesy of Caroline Huftalen

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Holly Renee

If the idea of “swiping left or swiping right” is second nature to you by now, this show may be for you. Onstage now at Dad’s Garage, “U Up?” takes a look at relationships in the 21st century.

"Not every sketch is about online dating or Tinder," co-writer and co-star Alison Hastings tells "City Lights" host Lois Reitzes. "Almost all of them are about two people right in front of each other, trying to connect in some way."

Marion Bataille

Alphabet books are simple in concept and in structure – a tidy, ordered sequence of the letters of the alphabet, from A to Z.

“Innovative” is not a word one would usually associate with alphabet books, so it’s with some distinction that the Washington Post called one such book, “ABC3D,” "easily the most innovative alphabet book of the year, if not the decade.” The first thing that stands out – quite literally – about “ABC3D” is that it’s a pop-up book.

Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

Showcase Photo and Video has served Atlanta's photo needs for 40 years. It is also home to the Showcase School, which has offered photography classes to Atlantans since 1996.

It was among the last surviving photo and video stores in Atlanta, but the store and the school are closing next month.

The Atlanta Falcons prepare to play the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, in Atlanta.
John Bazemore / Associated Press

Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

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":