City Café

Join WABE’s John Lemley each weekday lunch hour for great classical music served up with a variety of sides: news, traffic, weather and conversations with folks from just about every walk of life. You’ll hear about the latest arts events and seasonal happenings. We’ll sample Atlanta history from time to time and learn about some of our city’s most interesting people, places and events. The musical menu runs the gamut from generous helpings of beloved classics to sounds from film and stage. Join John as he saves you a seat in the corner booth for City Café, each Monday through Friday at noon.

The Ark onstage at The Plaza Theatre.
Dan Raby / WABE

On June 3, 2014, six of the major improv theaters in Atlanta got together onstage for the first time. Each company sent two of its members to participate, and altogether they called it “The Ark.” WABE’s Myke Johns followed organizer Jon Carr from rehearsal to stage.

For more, visit United Atlanta Improv's Facebook page.

This story originally broadcast June 6, 2014.

A Gentleman of Verona

Apr 8, 2015

This is an installment of our occasional series, “Storytellers” –personal, first-person narratives from metro Atlantans.

Charles McNair is a fiction and Atlanta business writer as well as a contributor for Paste Magazine.

His second novel, "Pickett's Charge," launched at the 2013 Decatur Book Festival. 

Hit Those Chickens

Jan 22, 2015

This is an installment of our occasional series, “Storytellers” – short stories, essays, and poems from metro Atlantans.

In this installment, we have a story of love. Sometimes, romantic dreams serve us well. But sometimes, we need to leave them behind in order to move on with life. Storyteller Shannon Turner picks it up from there.

In 2013, Buffalo Mountain United Methodist Camp -- the camp that Shannon Turner describes in her story -- was nearly devastated by a flash flood.

Myke Johns / WABE

The Christmas season is officially over and as the decorations come down, one big questions is what to do with the tree? The residents of Grant Park had one answer with the good of the environment and the community in mind.  

The Book Lover's Holiday Gift Guide

Dec 22, 2014
Flickr user top10things /

Just about every Monday, Daren Wang of the AJC-Decatur Book Festival joins us to talk about books. This time, instead of highlighting authors coming to town, we asked him to come up with a few holiday gifts for the book lovers among us. 

He came up with three gift ideas. The first two are books, "What I Came To Tell You" by Tommy Hays, "Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover In The Civil War" by Karen Abbott, and the third is a subscription to the Bitter Southerner book club.

AJC Events: Cat Festivals and IrishFest Atlanta

Oct 30, 2014

Here's a look at some of the more budget-friendly events around town this week with the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Shane Harrison. This week in events, cats take the spotlight.   

Cotton State Cat Show

Feline Film Festival

Irish Fest Atlanta

City Cafe on WABE Ebola Documentary

Oct 29, 2014
LM Otero / Associated Press

  Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m., the WABE newsroom will be presenting their documentary The Ebola Outbreak: Atlanta’s Response.

This special presentation will look at the ways in which Atlanta has played a role in dealing with this deadly health crisis which reaches from Africa to the United States.

We were joined by WABE reporter Michell Eloy.

Stephannie Stokes/WABE

 Many people are interested in music or, at least, love listening to it. But few have gone as far as recreating the musical instruments that fascinate them. 

That has been the life-long passion of Atlanta resident Bob Cunningham, and for the last few decades it has inspired him to build wooden harps, first as a hobby and then professionally.

One day his appreciation for the craft even led him to invent an instrument of his own, called the "Hammerchord," as you'll learn in the sound portrait below. 

Bob AuBuchon /

The AJC-Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang stopped by WABE studios to fill us in on the literary events happening around Atlanta. This week, he highlighted events with Mike Stobbe and Edward J. Larson, as well as the Marcus Jewish Community Center Book Festival happening over the weekend. Learn more in the interview below.

Miss anything?

Mike Stobbe will be at Eagle Eye Bookshop on Tuesday Oct. 28. Find more details here.

Jenn Steckl
Youth Radio

As Atlantans follow the ongoing trial of Atlanta Public School teachers and administrators charged with cheating, students in the APS district are taking a special interest in the proceedings. Youth Radio Atlanta’s Jenn Steckl sent us her thoughts on how the cheating and its aftermath hurt every student in the system. 

Jenn Steckl is a senior at Grady High School. Her commentary was produced by Youth Radio.

AJC Events: GardenWoof, Cowboy Festival & More

Oct 23, 2014

The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Features Editor Shane Harrison shares a few of the more budget-friendly events happening around Atlanta this week, and he starts with a celebration of fall foilage and furry friends.

(Audio for this story will be available after 1 P.M. EST)


12th Annual Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium

Mountain Moonshine Festival

Are Fireflies Disappearing? Researchers Ask You To Find Out

Oct 22, 2014
Flickr user lastbeats /

  This story originally aired Thursday Sept. 11, 2014.

It’s one of the first visual cues that summer is on its way: a certain insect appears at dusk, emitting flashes of light as it buzzes around just above the grass.

But the familiar firefly, or--as some call it--the lightning bug, may actually be disappearing. And a group of researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina are trying to understand how and why.

Bob AuBuchon /

The AJC-Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang dropped by WABE studios to fill us in on the week in metro Atlanta literary events. This week, you can catch readings from Edward Humes, Jodi Picoult and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Daren tells us more in the interview below.

Miss anything?

Jodi Picoult will be at the Atlanta History Center on Wednesday Oct. 22. More details here.

Who knew? Novelist, essayist and poet Luis Alberto Urrea is probably a nature writer at heart. At least, that’s what he tells us in this installment of Page-Turners, in which we also see his penchant for a bit of magical realism. In addition, he tells us a great story about the one Stephen King novel that both he, and his son, couldn’t put down—and why.

In this extended version, Luis Alberto Urrea tells us his harrowing real-life story involving Mexican curanderas, or wise healer women.

Dan Raby / WABE

We now head to Atlanta's Kirkwood neighborhood for some hockey. Twice a week, fifty-two weeks of the year, the Atlanta Street Hockey Club convenes on Bessie Branham Park’s basketball court for a few games. This loose confederation of players has been swinging sticks at each other since 1997, and we joined them one morning for a court-side view of the action and spoke to Keith Waldrop, the president of the club.

Here is the 30 second Atlanta Sounds version of this story:

  This story originally aired June 11, 2014

AJC Events: Sleepy Hollow, Georgia Apple Festival & More

Oct 16, 2014

The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Features Editor Shane Harrison shares a few of the more budget-friendly events happening around Atlanta this week,  and he starts with a chance to catch a performance of a spooky classic.

The Sleepy Hollow Experience at Serenbe Playhouse

The Georgia Apple Festival 

Sharon Van Etten at The EARL

Author Events: Steven Pinker, Bob Herbert & More

Oct 13, 2014
Bob AuBuchon /

Daren Wang of the AJC- Decatur Book Festival dropped by our studios to fill us in on the week in literary events. This week, Bob Herbert, Steven Pinker and Donald McCaig are all coming to Atlanta to discuss their books. Find out more in the interview below.

Here's a summary:

Bob Herbert will be at the Carter Library tonight. Learn more here.

Pamela Druckerman talks with WABE about America's motherhood crisis, a surprising family connection to the First World War, and the art of wearing loafers without socks.
Benjamin Barda

Do the French know something Americans don’t, when it comes to parenting?

That’s the question behind Pamela Druckerman’s 2012 bestseller Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.

The book got its start when Druckerman, a New York transplant who’d moved to Paris with her husband, started raising her kids there. She couldn’t help but notice that French children—and by extension, their parents—seemed calmer, happier, and better-behaved.

PBA30 Tells A Tale of Two Murals

Oct 9, 2014
A Tale of Two Murals
Trevor Keller / PBA30

Public art has become more prominent in Atlanta in the last several years, thanks especially to the work of Living Walls—an annual street art conference centered around murals painted by local and international artists. A new documentary out this week looks into the controversy started by two of those works of art. A Tale Of Two Murals was directed by PBA30’s Trevor Keller…and he sat down with WABE’s John Lemley to talk about it.

AJC Events: Atlanta Greek Festival, ChalkFest & Sturgill Simpson

Oct 9, 2014

The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Features Editor Shane Harrison shares a few of the more budget-friendly events happening around Atlanta this week,  and he starts with a festival that includes many culinary Greek treats.

Atlanta Greek Festival

Marietta ChalkFest

Sturgill Simpson at Terminal West

Wait, Why Is The CDC In Atlanta?

Oct 8, 2014
The Malaria Control in War Areas Program, the predecessor of the Communicable Disease Center (CDC).
The David J. Sencer CDC Museum at the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30333

While the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa didn't spread anywhere near Atlanta, it still has brought our city into the headlines.  

That's because organizations in our region have become leaders in the fight against it. One of these is, of course, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – or the CDC.

If you’ve lived in the area for a while, you’re probably used to Atlanta’s hometown government agency showing up in the news, especially when a disease breaks out. But have you ever wondered why it’s based here in the first place? 

Eugene Lee in True Colors Theatre Company's How I Learned What I Learned
Josh Lamkin Photography

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theater is staging the Atlanta premier of playwright August Wilson’s final work—a biographical reenactment of his life told in a one-man show. Called How I Learned What I Learned, the show shares some of the origins of Wilson’s critically-acclaimed plays—shows such as “Fences,” “The Piano Lesson,” and “Radio Golf.”

Author Events: Gary Shteyngart, Pamela Druckerman & More

Oct 6, 2014
Bob AuBuchon /

Daren Wang of the AJC-Decatur Book Festival dropped by WABE studios to tell us about some of the literary events happening around Atlanta. This week's authors include Gary Shteyngart, Pamela Druckerman, and Linda Tirado. Listen to the interview below to learn more.

Miss anything?

Gary Shteyngart will be at the Highland Inn Ballroom on Thursday Oct. 9. Learn more about the event here.

Director Andrea James and Alec Mapa speaking to WABE's John Lemley
Myke Johns / WABE

Audiences may recognize the name Alec Mapa for his work as a stand-up comedian or his recurring roles on TV’s Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty or from the film Marley & Me. Since 2010, another role that Mapa has conquered is that of “father.” Alec and his husband adopted a five-year-old African American boy  and the story of that life-changing event is at the center of Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy, screening this weekend at Out on Film, an LGBT film festival in Atlanta.

AJC Events: Dog Festivals, Taste of Chamblee & More

Oct 1, 2014

The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Features Editor Shane Harrison shares a few of the more budget-friendly events happening around Atlanta, and this week, their conversation  has gone to the dogs.


ChattaPoochee Pet Fest

Avondale Estates AutumnFEST

Taste of Chamblee

Author Events: Carl Hiaasen, Yamma Brown & More

Sep 29, 2014
Bob AuBuchon /

Daren Wang of the AJC-Decatur Book Festival dropped by to fill us in on the week in metro Atlanta literary events. Events this week include appearances from Carl Hiaasen and James Brown's daughter Yamma Brown, as well as an evening devoted to poet Seamus Heaney. 

Miss anything?

Carl Hiaasen will be at the Decatur Library Auditorium Wednesday Oct. 1 at 7:15 p.m. Full details here.

A Pulitzer Prize-winning work will take to the Alliance Theater stage this week. The theater is presenting Native Guard by former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, in what they’re calling a “theatrical installation.” WABE’s Lois Reitzes spoke with the poet and with the Alliance’s Artistic Director Susan Booth about their approach to the work.

AJC Events: Silent Comedy Shorts, Fall Folklife and More

Sep 25, 2014
Atlanta History Center

The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Features Editor Shane Harrison shares a few of the more budget-friendly events happening around Atlanta this week,  and he starts with an event that takes us back to a time before talkies hit theatres everywhere. 

Silent Comedy Shorts at The Strand Theatre

Fall Folklife Festival at the Atlanta History Center

Georgia History: The Hurt Building

Sep 22, 2014
The Hurt Building entrance.

The area around 5 Points is home to some of Atlanta’s oldest skyscrapers. Though they may seem diminutive next to today’s glass and steel giants, the Flatiron Building, the Candler Building, and the Hurt Building were engineering marvels in their day. That last one—the Hurt Building—faces Edgewood Avenue and has a distinctive “V” shape to it. We went downtown to learn more about this piece of early-20th-century history with Dr. Tim Crimmins, Director of the Center for Neighborhood and Metropolitan Studies at Georgia State University.

Author Events: Lawrence Wright And R. J. Palacio

Sep 22, 2014
Bob AuBuchon /

The AJC-Decatur Book Festival's Daren Wang dropped by WABE studios to tell us about the week in metro Atlanta literary events. Daren first pointed out that the American Association of University Women will be holding its annual book fair this week.

Miss anything?

Lawrence Wright will be discussing his book "Thirteen Days in September" at the Carter Center tonight, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. Full details here.