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Arts and culture

Joseph Guay

Ed Roland is best known as the frontman and principal songwriter of rock band Collective Soul, but the Stockbridge, Georgia, native also helms the Americana band Ed Roland & The Sweet Tea Project, as well as his own solo career.

Ed Roland joined Lois Reitzes on “City Lights” to discuss his incredibly productive year, with no signs of slowing down.

At Wonderroot's The Imaginary Million event, local artists bid on work by other local artists using play money.
Myke Johns / WABE

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Auctioneers take bids for Laura Vela’s piece ''La Sagrada'' at The Imaginary Million.
Myke Johns / WABE

Works of art regularly go for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on the auction block. Another sort of art auction just took place in Atlanta during which no money changed hands ... no real money, anyway.

It’s called The Imaginary Million, and was organized by the art organization WonderRoot.

City Lights: Dad's Garage; ATL Collective; And More

Dec 13, 2016
Stacey Bode

Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Stacey Bode

It’s Dickens, interrupted at Dad’s Garage Theatre Company. Their show “Invasion Christmas Carol” is now onstage. The theater's long-running holiday tradition took a break for a couple of years and it’s back with ensemble member Megan Leahy in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge.

The show is a hybrid of scripted comedy and improv, with the cast performing a trimmed-down version of Charles Dickens’ classic, only to be “invaded” by an unannounced character with their own agenda.

Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

With the holiday gift-giving season upon us,"City Lights" host Lois Reitzes and arts writer Gail O'Neill share their picks for the grown-ups on your list.

American Cake: From Colonial Gingerbread to Classic Layer, the Stories and Recipes Behind More Than 125 of Our Best-Loved Cakes

by Anne Byrn

“It is really a social history lesson … It’s just fascinating, and enlightening, and you see these gorgeous photographs of cakes.”

Alison Guillory / WABE

With the holiday gift-giving season upon us,"City Lights" host Lois Reitzes and arts writer Gail O'Neill share their picks for newborns to young adults. 

Lil’ Libros Bilingual Baby Board Books
by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein

© Harald Hoffman / DG

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Retizes":

Jason Travis

You’ve probably seen Barry Lee's bright illustrations in Creative Loafing and Atlanta Magazine, and on billboards and murals across the city. Artist Barry Lee recently visited WABE and spoke with "City Lights" host Lois Reitzes about his colorful and often humorous work.

Lee has been drawn to art from an early age.

"My dad bought me a Playskool easel, when I think I was about 3 years old. And I immediately became hooked on that," he said.

And now as an established artist, he finds people see past his appearance.

Noah Britton / Asperger's Are Us

Friday on "City Lights with Lois Retizes":

Photo courtesy 7 Stages

Where Santa Claus brings toys to good little boys and girls, his associate Krampus drags naughty kids off in the middle of the night. So if one is looking to write an anti-Christmas show, full of heavy metal and monsters and alcohol, you could do a lot worse for a main character.

And that is exactly what 7 Stages has been doing since 2010 with their annual "Krampus XMas" show. This year, our nine-foot-tall hairy beast of an anti-hero is facing a new foe: gentrification. 

Evan Agostini / Invision/AP

The Blind Boys of Alabama are a storied ensemble, carrying the torch of roots music since the 1930s all the way through today. The group is comprised of three to five singers, and tradition dictates that they are blind. A sighted backing band supports them, and their collaborations range from folk singers to the blues and even indie rock.

The boys were recently nominated for a Grammy, Best American Roots Performance. They are playing Friday night at Georgia Tech's Ferst Center For The Arts for their annual Christmas concert.

Owen Sweeney / Invision/AP

Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Retizes":

Courtesy Chip Simone

Chip Simone knows photography, and he is an authority on Georgia photographers in particular. Simone curated the first ever state-wide survey of contemporary photography for the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. That exhibit closes this weekend, and the reviews have been glowing.

In an interview with Lois Reitzes on “City Lights,” Simone said that he did not want to limit the show to the traditional images of the rural and historic South – think photos of weathered barns, rusted pick-up trucks, fields of cotton and lots of kudzu.

Trae Patton / NBC via AP

After the excitement and success of last year’s live national telecast of “The Wiz,” it’s fair to say that expectations are pretty high for tonight’s live production of “Hairspray.”

That success, along with the high expectations, falls largely on the shoulders of Atlanta’s own Kenny Leon. The Tony Award-winning Artistic Director of True Colors Theatre Company was tapped to direct both “The Wiz” and now “Hairspray” for what is now NBC’s annual tradition of live TV musical broadcasts for the holidays.

2014 Richard Termine

In 2009, a new event in Atlanta joined a rich, international tradition. We just have to be careful how we say its name.

The Puckin’ Fuppet Show is a quarterly puppet slam event featuring a wide range of puppetry styles, and — as the name may suggest — is aimed at adult audiences. 

"It is anything goes," curator Beau Brown tells City Lights host Lois Reitzes. He says the show, which he has helmed since 2010, is important for Atlanta's puppetry community.

Tony Taylor started practicing his guitar on Stone Mountain more than 20 years ago. One of his favorite singers is Adele.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Retizes":

Gift Guide: Local Author’s Top Southern Lit Picks

Dec 6, 2016
Kevin Rinker / WABE

Best-selling novelist Joshilyn Jackson is very connected to southern literature. In addition to the South functioning as the setting in her novels, she frequents local bookstores and works alongside area writers. For those looking to give the gift of reading this holiday season, Jackson has her top picks for books written by southerners.

Associated Press

Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Retizes":

Myke Johns / WABE

Veterans returning home traumatized by war has been a societal concern throughout human history. One art exhibit now on display at Atlanta's Eyedrum gallery is taking a very personal look at the world many of our armed forces are returning home to.

The show is called "Left Out," and is a collaboration between husband-and-wife team Carlos Thompson and Morgan Carlisle. Carlisle is board chair at Eyedrum, and Thompson is a writer and veteran of the U.S. Army, with tours in Afghanistan and Haiti under his belt.

Mary Altaffer / Associated Press

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Courtesy of Larche Communications

His given name is Keith Stewart, but as a dancer and choreographer, he earned the name Stepp. And after stepping across many stages all over the country for over 30 years, Stepp Stewart has settled in Atlanta.

This year he returns with his "A Soulful Christmas" celebration at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center in Decatur. Stewart stopped by the WABE studios to speak with “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes about the performance.  

"Stepp Stewart's A Soulful Christmas" is showing at the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center in Decatur through this weekend.

Ryan Nabulsi /

Friday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Alison Guillory / WABE

One of the region’s most audacious voices in queer culture has something new hot off the presses.

WUSSY was founded in 2015 as an online magazine for the southeastern LGBTQ community. It focuses on art, nightlife, and culture and through interviews, profiles and numerous opinion pieces, aims to be an outspoken voice in the queer community. That voice just found a new platform with the publication of Wussy Volume 1, the magazine’s first print edition.

Volume 1 is called "The Body Issue."

Dan Merlo

When most people hear the lute, it might call to mind high fantasy and medieval Europe. One contemporary lutenist wants to change these preconceptions. Hopkinson Smith is a world-renowned performer known for his virtuosity, and also teaches lute at Switzerland’s Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.

In his conversation with “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes, Smith explains how his music takes influence from Renaissance art, and says his work "has to have the same kind of impact, and go into the same type of depth" as say, architecture or a painted portrait.

Mitch Mandel

When you take a bite out of a cake baked just yesterday, you are really taking in hundreds of years of history.

Every style and manner of cake in America represents often centuries-old stories of immigration patterns, politics, social climates and more. In other words, you can learn a lot about American history by examining the evolution of our most distinguished desserts.

Spelman College

Traditions are a mainstay during the holiday season, and what better way to bring family and friends together than the power of music. Spelman College and Morehouse College are celebrating their 90th Annual Christmas Carol Concert this weekend. It's an Atlanta tradition that is free and open to the public.

The concert is performed by the glee clubs and alumni of the two institutions. The directors of each chorus, Spelman’s Dr. Kevin Johnson and Dr. David Morrow of Morehouse, recently spoke with "City Lights" host Lois Reitzes.

Olivia Rae James

Musician, songwriter, soundtrack and record producer T Bone Burnett has said that “The Secret Sisters echo and promise better days. They are a breath of fresh air.” And he should know, because Mr. Burnett produced the first two albums for this Alabama-born singing sibling duo.

The Secret Sisters – Laura and Lydia Rogers – have made some powerful fans in the music industry since their self-titled debut record from 2010. The sisters expect to release their third album in the spring of 2017, this time produced by singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile.

Meghan Conwell

Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

The Beauty Of Discovering Typos In Published Novels

Nov 30, 2016
Pixabay Images

When it comes to correcting mistakes in writing, author Joshilyn Jackson thinks grammar police are difficult to deal with. Still, she acknowledges that many writers, herself included, would be lost without them as copy editors.

The process of copy editing and proofreading has undergone a dramatic shift with the advent of the computer. There were once discrete stages in which specific people looked at different drafts of a novel, and changes were made incrementally.

“Back when it was done on paper, the copy editor’s changes would be made in colored pencils.” Jackson said.