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City Lights with Lois Reitzes

City Lights: Avi Avital; Soul Food Cypher; And More

Dec 29, 2016

Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":


Thursday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Public domain image

Friday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Andrew Howard/WABE

Local pianist John Burke woke up early one morning last week to the news that he had been nominated for a Grammy for the Best New Age Album for his album "Orogen."

He came by WABE earlier this week and spoke with “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes about this recent accomplishment.

Burke is an independent artist. In the current post-record label music industry, he finds himself managing all his own promotions and touring, among other responsibilities.

City Lights: Library Art; Anthony David; And More

Oct 24, 2016

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

Andy Lee

Friday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":


Wednesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":


Tuesday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

City Lights: Iran Beyond Politics; ELEVATE; And More

Oct 10, 2016
Ashin Danili Zakarian

Monday on "City Lights with Lois Reitzes":

1:41: ELEVATE public art festival kicks off this Thursday. The Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs' art program manager Dorian McDuffie and curator Allie Bashuk talk about this year’s festival and the theme "Microcosm";

Courtesy of Bojana Ginn

Being invited to show artwork at Venice's Biennale would be considered a career highlight by many, and two Atlanta-based artists are among those holding that honor.

The bi-annual contemporary visual art and architecture exhibition opened among the canals and plazas of the Italian city in late May. The work of William Carpenter, architect and founder of design firm Lightroom, and sculptor Bojana Ginn, titled "Presence," is currently on exhibit at the famed event. 

Abandoned Southeast

There is an abandoned Tiki-inspired paradise hidden in the hills of Tennessee. The mansion comes complete with an indoor pool and leopard print furniture.

This is just one set of photos on Abandoned Southeast, run by Leland, a Florida-based photographer. He’s asked to use only his first name beucase his photography sometimes requires trespassing.

By Greudin - Own work, Public Domain,

What sort of untapped potential does our livestock possess? Kentucky-born playwright and former Atlantan Johnny Drago has an idea.

In this edition of the "Storytellers" series, Drago narrates "What Have I Done to You That You Beat Me These Three Times?" – his story of a ne'er-do-well who happens upon a very talented donkey. 

"How do we know it ain't no trick if you're the one what asks all the questions?" The crowd fell silent, awaiting Barker's response.

Courtesy of Village Theatre

While best-known for his endlessly quotable character Kenneth Parcell on the NBC sitcom "30 Rock," actor and comedian Jack McBrayer has actually spent most of his career on the improv stage.  

McBrayer should feel at home this weekend when he's onstage at the second annual Atlanta Improv Festival, hosted by the Village Theatre near downtown Atlanta. It will also be a sort of homecoming for McBrayer, who was born and raised in Macon and graduated from high school in Conyers.

Lawrence Kasdan arrives at the world premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, in Los Angeles.
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival will present its first-ever Icon Award to "The Empire Strikes Back" screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.

Kasdan will reflect on his career in conversation with ArtsATL founder Catherine Fox this weekend, and to preview the event, "City Lights" host Lois Reitzes sat down with Emory University film professor Matthew Bernstein.

"Kasdan was a natural choice," Bernstein said about the award's recipient. "He's been such an incredible talent and force in the film industry since the early 1980s." 

Bernard Walsh/Roadside Attractions via AP

"Metropolitan." "The Last Days of Disco." And now, "Love & Friendship."

Whit Stillman is the kind of filmmaker who only releases a movie every decade or so, but it's worth the wait. 

"Love & Friendship," starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny, is based on a little-known Jane Austen novella called "Lady Susan." Austen's nephew published the novella some 50 years after her death. Mr. Stillman borrowed the title of his new movie from another obscure Jane Austen work, a short story she wrote when she was just 14.

Harper Lee's 'Go Set a Watchman'
Charles W. Jones / WABE

When Harper Lee’s “Go Set A Watchman” was released, best-selling novelist Joshilyn Jackson was hesitant to read the book.

“I didn’t think I should read it until Harper Lee had died,” she says, because for the majority of her life, Lee did not want it to be released. Now that Lee has passed away and Jackson has read the book, she wanted to talk about it from a writer’s perspective.

On “Writer to Reader,” Jackson discusses what it means to view the book as a writer.

Elisa Candala

From the streets of Milan to festivals in South America, the Quartetto di Cremona plays with the romanticism of Italian music but is also dedicated to preserving its original form and structure, a truly German-Austrian influence.

Playing a wide variety of repertoire, from the early works of Haydn to contemporary music, the quartet is now in the midst of Beethoven.

They just released volume five of their series, Beethoven’s Complete String Quartets.

In an interview with WABE's Lois Reitzes, violist Simone Gramaglia said that Beethoven was ahead of his time.

Regina Bradley is a recipient of the Nasir Jones HipHop Fellowship at Harvard University (Spring 2016) and an incoming Assistant Professor of African American Literature at Armstrong State University.
Celest Ngeve

Issues of race can pop up at completely unexpected times -- for instance, while you're sitting at your grandmother’s old upright piano.

Dr. Regina Bradley is a recipient of the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellowship at Harvard University and recently wrote for the Washington Post on the intersection of Beyoncé’s new music video and the work of Zora Neale Hurston.

In this edition of "Storytellers," Bradley recounts an unexpected revelation about her race, her Southern upbringing and her piano playing.

Her story is called “Tickling Dixie.”

Courtesy of Dawn Tripp

Georgia O’Keeffe has been described as the mother of American modernism. Her paintings of flowers, New Mexico landscapes and skyscrapers grace the permanent collections of museums around the world.

Her life, though, was plagued by the gender politics of the time. She didn’t want to be regarded as a great female artist. She wanted to be seen as a great artist.

Red Bull Media House

Atlanta's independent music scene is busy, and you can find evidence of that in Immersive Atlanta.

The website -- which covers the local and regional music scene -- has assembled a list of seventeen new record releases out this month by groups from around Atlanta and Athens.

Myke Johns sat down with Guillermo Castro, Immersive's managing editor, to talk about some of the highlights:

Courtesy of Michal Daniel for Minnesota Opera

The opera scene in Atlanta is evolving, growing and blossoming. That's largely thanks to one company, the Atlanta Opera, and their general and artistic director Tomer Zvulun.

When he took over the troupe in 2013, Zvulun told Lois Reitzes that his mantra has been to "increase the artistic risk and lower the financial risk." That meant pairing familiar opera favorites with new, visually-stunning interpretations. 

BreeAnne Clowdus, Courtesy of Theatrical Outfit

"Whatever affects one destiny affects us all."

That is the big idea behind Theatrical Outfit's current production, "Moxie."

Traveling from war-torn Afghanistan to an inner-city classroom in Detroit -- and many places in between -- the show follows the journey of a handmade book as it passes from one reader to another.

Payson Schwin and Kristin Nabors with 2-year-old Matilda. Nabors writes, "I want to be sure my kids feel like they can like whatever they like, rather than being tracked into traditionally 'girl' and 'boy' interests."
Kristin Nabors

What color do you associate with baby girls? Okay, now how about boys?  

If you answered “pink” and “blue,” well … not so fast. There’s a new trend for babies and little kids, and it’s all about gender-neutral clothing. 

Genevieve Leavitt wheels a shopping cart loaded with groceries out of Trader Joes on a busy Tuesday morning. She’s sneaking in a few errands before picking up her two-year-old at daycare.

Elizabeth calls "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara "one of the most life-affirming books I've read." It's also made everyone she's given the book to cry.
Kate Sweeney / WABE

Think of your personal list of all-time favorite books. It's likely that the list hasn't changed much for some time. What would it take for a book you read now to make the cut?

Well, in this installment of "Page-Turners," Elizabeth Anderson tells us the story of the book that she read last year that did just that.

As a bookseller at Charis Books And More, Anderson -- who is also the executive director of Charis Circle, the store’s partner nonprofit -- has spent most of her adult life surrounded by stuff to read. 

Visual artist Fabian Williams' Page-Turners pick is "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho.
Fabian Williams

How do you go from doing art in your spare time to making the bold move of quitting your job and introducing yourself to people as "an artist"?

Atlanta visual artist Fabian Williams got his first major break in the summer of 2015, when a painting of his was selected to be part of an exhibit showcasing in-town artists at The High Museum of Art.

That painting, “Gossip," is a contemporary take on a Norman Rockwell classic, and features the faces of his Atlanta art scene contemporaries engaged in a chatty game of telephone.  

Emily Murray / Georgia Council for the Arts

Last week, local artists and arts leaders gathered at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center to welcome a distinguished guest: Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Lisa George / WABE

The oldest feminist bookstore in the country is seeking a buyer for its building.  

Charis Books & More has operated in Atlanta’s Little Five Points neighborhood for 22 of its 41 years.

Charis’ Elizabeth Anderson says both the bookstore and its associated nonprofit, Charis Circle (of which she is executive director), are doing very well.

“It’s not a desperate move," Anderson says. "It’s not because we can’t do anything else. Book sales are up ... You don’t move from a place of weakness. You move from a place of strength.”

Carlos Thompson

Ed Hall has devoted his life to reading and editing science fiction and comics. He is the co-editor of “Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond.” When he himself is not writing for publications like Creative Loafing, Paste and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, his own sci-fi tends toward apocalyptic tales involving nature, scientific (ir)responsibility and the disasters that result when the two collide.

He only recently realized that this is one reason he loves “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein.


Ansel Adams’ dramatic black-and-white western landscapes made him a household name, and an exhibit at The Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, looks at how that came to be.

“Ansel Adams: Before and After” looks Adams' work in the context of 20th century photography by placing his photographs alongside those of his forebears, his contemporaries and those whose later work he influenced.

WABE got the chance to look at Adams’ work through the eyes of someone who was there when much of it was created: the photographer's son, Michael Adams.

Jan Jespersen /

We don’t always see eye-to-eye with our loved ones when it comes to religion, politics … or art. That last topic is the focus of a recent essay by Jami Moss Wise in the online art publication "Burnaway."

In this conversation, she gave her thoughts on some of the real reasons she believes our tastes diverge, as well as a few tips on getting through a conversation or two this holiday season while keeping things merry and bright.