This Week in ATLRetro, April 17-23, 2017

Posted on: Apr 17th, 2017 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

Come see what we’ve dug up just for you in ATLRetro!

Monday, April 17

Make your way to the Alpharetta Branch Library for a screening of George Sidney’s KISS ME KATE (1953) at 10:30am! Polka on down to Pallookaville for their Dyngus Day 2017 event at 6pm! Make your way to The Plaza Theater for a 15th anniversary screening of Richard Kelly’s DONNIE DARKO (2001), screening through April 20! Krautrock it up at 529 with Acid Mothers Temple, Babylon and Reverends! Get some soul with Emily King at City Winery! CJ Ramone rocks out with Big Eyes and Skin Jobs at The Earl! Swing on by Big Band Night featuring Joe Gransden and his amazing 16-member orchestra at Café 290 every first and third Monday of the month! Skye Paige, “Queen of Slide Guitar” rocks out at the Little Vinyl Lounge! Boogie on down to the Northside Tavern and spend an evening with Lola at her famous Monday Night Northside Jam! And get some soul with Larry Griffith at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack!

Tuesday, April 18

The Landmark Midtown Art Cinema gets volcanic with their Classics Series’ screening of Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’AVVENTURA (1960) at 7pm! Or make your way to the Northlake Festival Movie Tavern for a screening of Mel BrooksBLAZING SADDLES (1974) during their Retro Cinema series at 7:30pm! Riff Trax Live invades theatres across Atlanta with a screening of Amir Shervan’s SAMURAI COP (1989) at 8pm [Hollywood Stadium 24 (Chamblee); AMC Barrett Commons 24 (Kennesaw); Avalon Stadium 12 (Alpharetta); AMC Sugarloaf Mills 18 (Lawrenceville); Cinemark Tinseltown 17 (Fayetteville); Perimeter Pointe 10; Regal McDonough Stadium 16 (McDonough); Georgian Stadium 14 (Newnan); AMC Southlake Pavilion 24 (Morrow); and AMC Buckhead Backlot 6!] City Winery delivers a boot stompin’ night with Junior Brown! Get retrotastic with Bourgeois Mystic at the Red Light Café! The Fox Theatre presents Roald Dahl’s “Matilda: The Musical” through April 23! Get the blues with J. T. Speed at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! Jam it up with Joe Gransden and his jazz jam session at Venkman’s every Tuesday! The Star Bar delivers a night of retro shenanigans with their Downtown Tuesday Night Dance Party featuring retro-soul, funk, ‘80s, ‘90s and more!  And as always, groove on down with Swami Gone Bananas at the Northside Tavern!

Wednesday, April 19

Make your way to the Northlake Festival Movie Tavern for an encore screening of Mel BrooksBLAZING SADDLES (1974) during their Retro Cinema series at 7:30pm! Get some classic soul ‘n’ funk with Nick & The Grooves at Avondale Towne Cinema! Get the blues and reggae it up with Vieux Farka Toure and Last Good Tooth at Terminal West! Get the blues with a splash of funk at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack with Kool Kats Georgia Flood! Jazz it up at the Red Light Café with The Gordon Vernick Quartet! Or make your way to the Northside Tavern as Danny ‘Mudcat’ Dudeck fires it up with his rockin’ blues! St. James Live! delivers their Hump Days Blues night, getting classic blues-style every Wednesday! And as always, it’s Ladies Night at Johnny’s Hideaway which plays hits from Sinatra to Madonna for a generally mature crowd.

Thursday, April 20

Surf on down to The Earl and rock out with Guitar Legend Dick Dale (see ATLRetro’s article on Dale here) and The Gartrells! Or boogie on down to The Star Bar for a night with Southern Culture on the Skids and The Wooly Bushmen! It’s Mai Tai Thursday, so hula on down to Trader Vic’s for a night with Kool Kat Joshua Longino and The Disapyramids! Get classical with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Rocktopia Live: A Classical (R)evolution at Atlanta Symphony Hall! Get revived at the Clermont Lounge’s Grand Re-Opening featuring Kool Kat Spike Fullerton and the Ghost Riders Car Club! Get psychedelic with The Fritz, Bird Dog Jubilee and The Groove Orient at Aisle 5! City Winery dishes out The Everly Brother Experience with the Zmed brothers! Get traditional with Max Godfrey, Daryl Shawn and I Together S.O.U.L. at the Red Light Café! Funk it up with Kung Fu, Those Cats, and Dr. Strangelove at Smith’s Olde Bar! Rock out with Jump, Little Children at the Variety Playhouse! It’s a hootenanny and a half at The Vista Room with Kool Kat Col. Bruce Hampton & the Madrid Express! The Northside Tavern gets rockin’ with a little Chicago/Delta blues of The Breeze Kings! Stagger on over to Noni’s Bar & Deli for their Bitter Heroes event featuring DJ Brian Parris as he gets charmingly morose with a little New-Wave, The Smiths and The Cure! Get your boogie on at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, as Chickenshack featuring Eddie Tigner, delivers some honky-tonk blues! And as always, boogie down at Mary’s, as the East Atlanta venue gets funky with their weekly Disco in the Village.

Friday, April 21

Kool Kat Hot Rod Walt & the Psycho-Devilles and Hillbilly Casino rev it up at The Star Bar! Or surf on downstairs as Kool Kats Jeffrey Butzer and Chad Shivers bring Southern Surf Stomp! to the Little Vinyl Lounge featuring The Compartmentalizationalists, Genki Genki Panic, In Snow and Nikki Speake! Make your way to Avondale Towne Cinema for a night with Dan Random and Daniel Cowen! Bluegrass it up with Bluebilly Grit at the Crimson Moon Café! Jazz it up with Jason Collier at the High Museum! Sadie Hawkins shimmies on down to the Red Light Café with her Last Pasties Standing event! Rock out and groove on down to Centennial Olympic Park for the Sweetwater 420 Fest, jamming it up through April 23! Sweet & Sassy gets the blues at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! And as always, time-warp it up and get naughty with some uber musically-inclined transsexual aliens at The Plaza Theater as they continue their tradition of screening THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Saturday, April 22

The early bird gets the vinyl! Make your way to Criminal Records for 2017’s Record Store Day celebration at 10am! Rock out at The Star Bar’s Planned Parenthood Benefit featuring Illegal Drugs, Midnight Larks, Hymen Moment, Bitter, Paralyzer, Anna Kramer and more! Creep on down to Amsterdam Atlanta for Kool Kat VJ Anthony’s COFFIN CLASSICS Music Video Dance Party featuring Goth, dark 80s and more! Rock out with Kool Kat Noelle Shuck with SheHeHe and more at 529! Jam it up with Bird Dog Jubilee at Vinyl! Rock out at Centennial Olympic Park for day two of the Sweetwater 420 Fest! Make your way to the Variety Playhouse for a night of ‘90s rock with Sister Hazel! Or blues it up with Dr. Dixon & The Operators at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! Bluegrass it up with Dusty Roads at Venkman’s! St. James Live! delivers their Tribute to the Legends night every Saturday night!

 


Sunday, April 23

Celebrate 50 years of Mike NicholsTHE GRADUATE (1967) at theatres across Atlanta at 2pm/7pm [Hollywood Stadium 24 (Chamblee); AMC Barrett Commons 24 (Kennesaw); Avalon Stadium 12 (Alpharetta); AMC Sugarloaf Mills 18 (Lawrenceville); Cinemark Tinseltown 17 (Fayetteville); Perimeter Pointe 10; Regal McDonough Stadium 16 (McDonough); Georgian Stadium 14 (Newnan); AMC Southlake Pavilion 24 (Morrow); and AMC Avenue Forsyth (Cumming)]! It’s your last chance to groove on down to Centennial Olympic Park for the Sweetwater 420 Fest! Make your way to The Vista Room for the Six String Syndicate! Blues it up with Fat Back Deluxe at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! Get sweet and low down blues-style at the Northside Tavern with Uncle Sugar!

Ongoing

Dad’s Garage’s Big Boozy Nerdy Game Night brings out the kid in you, every first Monday of the month at 7pm!

Union EAV rocks out with their Punk Rock Karaoke ATL, and every last Tuesday of the month!

Geek it up at My Parents’ Basement with their weekly Tuesday night Nerd Trivia at 8pm!

Nerd Film Mafia screenings at the Diesel Filling Station following NerdCore Trivia, every last Tuesday of the month!

The Plaza Theater Time-Warps it up as they screen, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Get your reggae fix with Rub-A-Dub gettin’ down at WildPitch Music Hall, every second Sunday of the month!

Every first and third Mondays are Big Band Nights at Café 290, featuring Joe Gransden and his amazing 16-piece orchestra playing jazz and swing standards in the tradition of The Glen Miller Orchestra and other legendary groups.  Second and fourth Mondays are Bumpin the Mango, ‘The groove that makes you want to move!’

Every first Wednesday is the Graveyard Tavern’s Graveyard Swing Night, featuring the swingin’ jazz and boogie-woogie sounds of the Savoy Kings!

If you have a suggestion for a future event that should be included in This Week in Retro Atlanta or see something we missed, please email us at atlretro@gmail.com.

Category: This Week in ATLRetro | TAGS: None

Kool Kat of the Week: Dan Dixon Invites You to PLS PLS Get JET BLACK and Out to The Earl on Saturday April 15!

Posted on: Apr 12th, 2017 By:

By Geoff Slade
Contributing Writer

Atlanta-based band PLS PLS have a brand new record out called JET BLACK and finish up their latest tour this Saturday April 15 at The Earl (Get tickets here). Frontman Dan Dixon has been on the Atlanta music scene for a long time, best known for a decade of Dropsonic.

So Dan has no reason to beg and we probably owe him an apology that we didn’t make him Kool Kat of the Week sooner.

ATLRetro: You’re playing The Earl on Saturday. Are you on the road right now?

Dan Dixon: We leave this Friday [April 7] – we’re doing a cozy little run of eight shows. I’m looking forward to finishing up in Atlanta on the 15th. We’ve been rehearsing a set where we just play the new album front to back – by the time we get through the first seven shows, we ought to have it sounding pretty good.

You’re from Atlanta originally, right?

I grew in the suburbs of Cobb County. It’s a notoriously conservative area, the flip side of which is that my high school was a breeding ground for quite a few musicians. The Black Crowes, Robin Finck (NIN, Guns N’ Roses) and the great Jerry Fuchs (Maserati), to name a few – all of them went there.

Do you think that had anything to do with the musician you became?

Definitely. I was a skulking, long-haired, greasy-faced, goony teen who smoked weed and played guitar in his bedroom. When that kid is surrounded by doughy, future fraternity brothers, one tends to find outlets to express one’s… let’s say, dissatisfaction with the world around him. That sort of thing got me into music that was more “indie” I guess. Back then it was just what they didn’t play on the radio – Fugazi, Jawbox, Jesus Lizard, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, all kinds of shit. Needless to say, my tastes have expanded a bit since I was 17, but I can still hear some of that stuff in what we’re doing now.

PLS PLS with Dan Dixon in center. Provided by PLS PLS and used with permission.

Were you always in bands growing up? Any particularly noteworthy or ridiculous in retrospect?

Dave Chase, the bassist in PLS PLS, and I started our first band around eighth or ninth grade. We loved GN’R and Metallica and Public Enemy and Primus and it all came together to make something particularly awful. We got into cooler music at some point, thanks to our older, more savvy friends, and eventually formed Dropsonic, which we did for 10 years and six albums.

Which artists do you consider your influences? Have they changed over the years?

There’s too many to try to list here. I go through phases, like everyone else. I’ve always had a hard time reconciling all the different things I’m into with the music I create. I don’t ever want it to sound like I’m in my “Dylan” phase or my “electronic” phase or some bullshit like that. I, at least, can always hear me, as well as my influences, loud and clear in the records I’ve made. That said, there are clear examples of me trying to incorporate stuff outside of the genre that PLS PLS is a part of into PLS PLS songs. “60’s Love Song” (from EP EP) was me listening to a bunch of Roy Orbison. “Fast as Light” from LP LP has a super obvious nod to Jesus Lizard in the bass line, but the guitars and synth are ’80s New Wave. “Exes” has an Iggy Pop vibe. I’m not saying I’m as good as any of these folks, just that I can hear it in what I’m doing. I was listening to a lot of Kate Bush and Genesis during the making of the new record, if that tells you anything.

Many of our readers are fans of your former band of more than a decade, Dropsonic, and likely consider PLS PLS your “new band,” though it’s been around for several years now. How and why did PLS PLS come about? How are the two bands different?

PLS PLS started as a home demo kind of project where I wasn’t sure it would even become a live band or that I would do shows under that name. Just me, in a room, making stuff. Dropsonic was a proper band. It was three individuals whose styles and ideas were all represented – sometimes for the betterment of a song, sometimes not. It was mostly democratic. A lot people don’t realize how much stuff Dave wrote. Most of the songs on our last record were based off of Dave’s ideas, and it’s probably our best record. PLS PLS is my songs and my production, so everyone’s parts are written to serve the song. I can still hear Mike, Dre, Dave and Derek’s personalities in their playing, but it’s all there to support a melody, a lyric, or create a specific atmosphere – no one plays any bullshit just for the sake of playing some bullshit, which is something I was pretty guilty of in Dropsonic. Though sometimes that can be cool too.

Is it pronounced “Please Please?” Why not spell it that way? Am I an asshole for asking? (Be honest)

Yeah, it’s pronounced “Please Please.”  I chose to spell it without vowels so that it reads like a mournful robot. Pleading, yet soulless.

PLS PLS with Dan Dixon in center. Provided by PLS PLS and used with permission.

I’m always interested in whether a musician finds more satisfaction in creating or in performing. Would you rather write your best song or have your best show?

I still love both of those things. Just because you write a decent song, it doesn’t matter until you lay it out in front of people and let them love it or hate it or feel indifferent. I can’t move on to the next record or batch of songs I’m going write until the one in front of me has been judged. And as for the second part of your question, I don’t know which I’d rather, but I hope neither of those things has happened yet.

You’ve been doing this successfully for quite awhile. What advice would you give any young musicians interested in longevity?

Don’t be precious about it. Make music. Release it. Play shows. Tour. Rinse. Repeat. I’ve worked with people who can’t finish an album or keep re-recording the same songs – it’s a band killer. You can’t get any better without moving forward and you can’t move forward without finishing your current thought. Put a fucking period on the sentence and move on. Also, if they offer you money, take it. It probably won’t happen twice.

Working on anything at the moment? Anything coming out soon?

Well, our new record, JET BLACK, is out this week. Otherwise, I’ve got half a dozen new songs that are in various states of disrepair. We’ll see what makes it to the finish line.

Who came up with the idea for the awesome COCAINE video?! Was it as fun to make as it looks?

I’m not sure if it was the director, Video Rahim, or myself who had the idea of doing a MIAMI VICE thing, but he definitely wrote the script and storyline. It was a lot fun to make. I got to drive a boat and shoot people and get interrogated. Pretty cool. He definitely makes some of the best videos out of Atlanta and has developed his own style and a whole scene around what he’s doing.

Where’s the best place to check out your music? What’s the best PLS PLS song for the uninitiated?

The best way to experience PLS PLS is either to come to a show or listen to the vinyl. But for someone who wants to stick a toe in the icy waters of plaintive robot rock, all three releases are available on all the digital streaming platforms and through iTunes etc. I can’t name one song to rule them all, but just put on JET BLACK and see if it doesn’t make you feel some kind of way.

Thanks again! Anything else you want to mention?

Nah, that’s all I got.

Category: Kool Kat of the Week | Tags: , , , , , ,

This Week in ATLRetro, April 10-16, 2017

Posted on: Apr 9th, 2017 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

Shake a tail feather in Retro Atlanta this week! Come see what we’ve found for you!

Monday, April 10

Spend the night with Chris Shiflett at Eddie’s Attic! Make your way to the Alpharetta Branch Library for a screening of George Cukor’s BORN YESTERDAY (1950) at 10:30am! Rock out at the Masquerade with The Mumzees, Terry Malts, Business of Dreams and more! Blues it up with Bill Sheffield at Blind Willie’s! Get funky and groove on down to Café 290 every second and fourth Monday of the month for a taste of Bumpin the Mango, ‘The groove that makes you want to move!” Skye Paige, “Queen of Slide Guitar” rocks out at the Little Vinyl Lounge! Boogie on down to the Northside Tavern and spend an evening with Lola at her famous Monday Night Northside Jam! And get some soul with Larry Griffith at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack!

Tuesday, April 11

Landmark Midtown Art Cinema gets melodramatic with their Classics Series with a screening of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s BLACK NARCISSUS (1947) at 7pm! Shimmy ‘n’ shake it up as Kool Kat Katherine Lashe and her burly-Q gals of Syrens of the South spring your fling with their Tease Tuesday Burlesque: April Showers event, shakin’ it up at the Red Light Café! The Fox Theatre dishes out a night of folk, Baroque pop with The Decemberists! Rock on down to 529 for a night with The Rubs, Paralyzer and Bad Spell! Spend the night with the “Father of the Italian blues” Zucchero at Center Stage! Funk it up New Orleans-style with Jojo’s Slim Wednesday and Sam Holt at City Winery! Get sinister with a little ‘90s Romanian black metal with Negura Bunget and more at the Drunken Unicorn! Folk it up with Richard Shindell at Eddie’s Attic! Get the blues with J. T. Speed at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! Jam it up with Joe Gransden and his jazz jam session at Venkman’s every Tuesday! Blind Willie’s gets the blues with the Cody Matlock Band! The Star Bar delivers a night of retro shenanigans with their Downtown Tuesday Night Dance Party featuring retro-soul, funk, ‘80s, ‘90s and more!  And as always, groove on down with Swami Gone Bananas at the Northside Tavern!

Wednesday, April 12

Raise a ruckus at The Earl with Rev. Hylton’s Tour Kick-Off Show featuring Kool Kat Caleb Warrant & The Gents, Cold Heart Canyon, Blood On The Harp and more! Sci-fi it up with a screening of Joel Silver’s THE MATRIX (1999) at Studio Movie Grill (Alpharetta/Duluth), 7:15pm! Make your way to 529 for a night with Weisshund, The 200s and Bird City! The Musical Box pays tribute to Genesis at Center Stage! Get the blues with a splash of funk at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack with Kool Kats Georgia Flood! Rock out with Anthrax at the Tabernacle! It’s a night of Bluegrass & Beyond at The Vista Room! Make your way to Blind Willie’s for a night with Danny Michel! Jazz it up at the Red Light Café with The Gordon Vernick Quartet! Or make your way to the Northside Tavern as Danny ‘Mudcat’ Dudeck fires it up with his rockin’ blues! St. James Live! delivers their Hump Days Blues night, getting classic blues-style every Wednesday! And as always, it’s Ladies Night at Johnny’s Hideaway which plays hits from Sinatra to Madonna for a generally mature crowd.

Thursday, April 13

Riff Trax Live invades theatres across Atlanta with a screening of Amir Shervan’s SAMURAI COP (1989) at 8pm [Hollywood Stadium 24 (Chamblee); AMC Barrett Commons 24 (Kennesaw); Avalon Stadium 12 (Alpharetta); AMC Sugarloaf Mills 18 (Lawrenceville); Cinemark Tinseltown 17 (Fayetteville); Perimeter Pointe 10; Regal McDonough Stadium 16 (McDonough); Georgian Stadium 14 (Newnan); AMC Southlake Pavilion 24 (Morrow); and AMC Buckhead Backlot 6! Rock out with Uncle Van & the Buzzards of Fuzz, Hot Ram and Trent Rice at The Earl! Eddie’s Attic dishes out a garage rock revival with Parker Gispert! Jam it up at Venkman’s with gr8FLdude & frenz! Groove on down to Avondale Towne Cinema for Romeo Cologne’s Granny Panty Hootenanny with DJ Quasi Mandisco! Stomp on down to the Red Light Café for a night with Malcolm Holcombe and Jared Tyler! It’s Mai Tai Thursday, so rock out with a couple cocktails and The Sundogs at Trader Vic’s! It’s a hootenanny and a half at The Vista Room with Kool Kat Col. Bruce Hampton & the Madrid Express! Get down with House Rocker Johnson & The Shadows at Blind Willie’s! The Northside Tavern gets rockin’ with a little Chicago/Delta blues of The Breeze Kings! Stagger on over to Noni’s Bar & Deli for their Bitter Heroes event featuring DJ Brian Parris as he gets charmingly morose with a little New-Wave, The Smiths and The Cure! Get your boogie on at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, as Chickenshack featuring Eddie Tigner, delivers some honky-tonk blues! And as always, boogie down at Mary’s, as the East Atlanta venue gets funky with their weekly Disco in the Village.

Friday, April 14

It’s “Crackerjill Rockabilly Night” at The Star Bar with Rockabilly Kitty Rose, Kool Kat Caroline & The Ramblers and Crazy Man Crazy! New Wave it up with Yacht Rock Revue as they perform the Talking HeadsSTOP MAKING SENSE at Venkman’s! It’s a night of fuzzed out rock ‘n’ roll with The Weeks and The Lonely Biscuits at The Earl! Eighties it up with Kool Kat Becky Cormier Finch and Denim Arcade at Suburban Tap (Marietta)! Make your way to The Plaza Theater for a 15th anniversary screening of Richard Kelly’s DONNIE DARKO (2001), screening through April 15! Make your way to Avondale Towne Cinema for a night with 68-75, Kenny Howes & The Wow and Steve Baskin! Donna Hopkins and the Pussy Willows get the rockin’ roots at the Crimson Moon Café! Make your way to City Winery for a night with Leland Sundries and Todd Snider! Rock out with hits from the 50s-70s with The Way Back Band at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! Get folksy with Boo Reefa at Java Monkey! Bluegrass it up with Dusty Roads and C. J. Jones & The Spirit Bones at the Red Light Café! Interstellar Echoes pay tribute to Pink Floyd at The Vista Room! Blues it up with John Primer at Blind Willie’s! The Allman Brothers Tribute Band rocks out at Northside Tavern! Boogie on down to The Earl Smith Strand Theatre for a screening of Emile Ardolino’s DIRTY DANCING (1987) at 8pm! Spend the night with the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Philips Arena! And as always, time-warp it up and get naughty with some uber musically-inclined transsexual aliens at The Plaza Theater as they continue their tradition of screening THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Saturday, April 15

Catch a wave and come on down to Trader Vic’s for The Surf Music Seminar featuring James Honeycutt! Rev on down to the Dixie Tavern for a night with Kool Kat Hot Rod Walt & the Psycho-Devilles! The BadAsh Allstar Team brings you their Women Rock Jam at Avondale Towne Cinema! Rock out with Michelle Malone and Drag the River at The Vista Room! Get heavy and rock out at Center Stage with Testament, Sepultura and Prong! Make your way to The Earl for a night with PLS PLS featuring this week’s KOOL KAT Dan Dixon (interview here!), Hank & Cupcakes and Fox Grin! Eddie’s Attic dishes out a night of the blues with Geoff Atchison & The Soul Diggers! Or blues it up with Frankie’s Blues Mission at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! Get your Americana fix with the Grassland String Band at the Red Clay Theatre! Sandra Hall & The Shadows dish out a night of bluesy goodness at Blind Willie’s! The Northside Tavern puts on their Annual Sean Costello Celebration featuring Donna Hopkins, the Cody Matlock Band, Danny Michel, Michael Delaney and Odd Man Out! Get old-timey at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre with The Strand Ole Opry! Make your way to Venkman’s for their Chicken Pickin’ Brunch featuring Sailing to Denver! Eighties it up with Kool Kat Becky Cormier Finch and Denim Arcade at Wild Wings Café in Dunwoody! Make your way to City Winery for a night with Todd Snider and Steve Poltz! St. James Live! delivers their Tribute to the Legends night every Saturday night!

Sunday, April 16

Gypsy jazz it up with Kool Kat Amy Pike and the Bonaventure Quartet at Venkman’s! City Winery gets down with some old-time country vibes with Dale Watson & Ray Benson! Blues it up with Fat Back Deluxe at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! Get sweet and low down blues-style at the Northside Tavern with Uncle Sugar!

Ongoing

Dad’s Garage’s Big Boozy Nerdy Game Night brings out the kid in you, every first Monday of the month at 7pm!

Union EAV rocks out with their Punk Rock Karaoke ATL, and every last Tuesday of the month!

Geek it up at My Parents’ Basement with their weekly Tuesday night Nerd Trivia at 8pm!

Nerd Film Mafia screenings at the Diesel Filling Station following NerdCore Trivia, every last Tuesday of the month!

The Plaza Theater Time-Warps it up as they screen, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Get your reggae fix with Rub-A-Dub gettin’ down at WildPitch Music Hall, every second Sunday of the month!

Every first and third Mondays are Big Band Nights at Café 290, featuring Joe Gransden and his amazing 16-piece orchestra playing jazz and swing standards in the tradition of The Glen Miller Orchestra and other legendary groups.  Second and fourth Mondays are Bumpin the Mango, ‘The groove that makes you want to move!’

Every first Wednesday is the Graveyard Tavern’s Graveyard Swing Night, featuring the swingin’ jazz and boogie-woogie sounds of the Savoy Kings!

If you have a suggestion for a future event that should be included in This Week in Retro Atlanta or see something we missed, please email us at atlretro@gmail.com.

Category: This Week in ATLRetro | TAGS: None

This Week in ATLRetro, April 3-9, 2017

Posted on: Apr 2nd, 2017 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

April showers bring swell ATLRetro shenanigans! Get hep to the jive and come see what we’ve dug up for you!

Monday, April 3

Hey Daddy-O! Make your way to City Winery for a riotous night with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy! Make your way to The Plaza Theater for a 15th anniversary screening of Richard Kelly’s DONNIE DARKO (2001), screening through April 6! Get really retro with Greta Garbo and John Barrymore at the Alpharetta Branch Library’s screening of Edmund Goulding’s GRAND HOTEL (1932) at 10:30am! Swing on by Big Band Night featuring Joe Gransden and his amazing 16-member orchestra at Café 290 every first and third Monday of the month!  Skye Paige, “Queen of Slide Guitar” rocks out at the Little Vinyl Lounge! Boogie on down to the Northside Tavern and spend an evening with Lola at her famous Monday Night Northside Jam!

Tuesday, April 4

Landmark Midtown Art Cinema kicks off their new Classics Series with a screening of Federico Fellini’s LA DOLCE VITA (1960) at 7pm! Get musical and make your way to the Fox Theatre for “HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH”! Get criminal at the Northlake Festival Movie Tavern during their screening of Arthur Penn’s classic BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967) during their Retro Cinema series at 7:30pm! Get the blues with Coco Montoya at City Winery! Americana on down to Smith’s Olde Bar for a night with Blake Rainey, Joshua Powell & The Great Train Robbery and The 19 Hands! Get to jammin’ with Rusted Root at Terminal West! The Star Bar delivers a night of retro shenanigans with their Downtown Tuesday Night Dance Party featuring retro-soul, funk, ‘80s, ‘90s and more!  And as always, groove on down with Swami Gone Bananas at the Northside Tavern!

Wednesday, April 5

Sci-fi it up with a screening of Ridley Scott’s BLADE RUNNER (The Final Cut) (1982) at Studio Movie Grill (Alpharetta/Duluth), 7:15pm! Or catch a TCM Big Screen Classics screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) at theatres across Atlanta (2pm/7pm) [Hollywood Stadium 24 (Chamblee); AMC Barrett Commons 24 (Kennesaw); Avalon Stadium 12 (Alpharetta); AMC Sugarloaf Mills 18 (Lawrenceville); Cinemark Tinseltown 17 (Fayetteville); Perimeter Pointe 10; Regal McDonough Stadium 16 (McDonough); Georgian Stadium 14 (Newnan); AMC Avenue Forsyth 12 (Cumming); and AMC Southlake Pavilion 24 (Morrow)! Rock out with The Roomsounds and Roadside Glorious at The Earl! Eddie’s Attic dishes out a night of folksy soul with Ben Sollee! Get down to 529 for a night with Eugene Chadbourne and the Merle Haggard Memorial Orchestra! Get criminal at the Northlake Festival Movie Tavern during their encore screening of Arthur Penn’s classic BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967) during their Retro Cinema series at 7:30pm! Psyche rock it up with Black P*ssy at The Star Bar! Get some classic soul ‘n’ funk with Nick & The Grooves at Avondale Towne Cinema! Boogie on down to East Atlanta’s Graveyard Tavern for their Graveyard Swing Night, held the first Wednesday of every month, promising an evening of swingin’ jazz and jive with the Savoy Kings! Jazz it up at the Red Light Café with The Gordon Vernick Quartet! Or make your way to the Northside Tavern as Danny ‘Mudcat’ Dudeck fires it up with his rockin’ blues! St. James Live! delivers their Hump Days Blues night, getting classic blues-style every Wednesday! And as always, it’s Ladies Night at Johnny’s Hideaway which plays hits from Sinatra to Madonna for a generally mature crowd.

Thursday, April 6

Get hellacious and rev on down to The Star Bar for a night with The Living Deads, V8 Death Car, Kool Kat Hot Rod Walt & the Psycho-Devilles, and Crypt 24! Hilarity ensues with Cineprov at The Plaza Theater as they riff Randal Kleiser’s THE BOY IN THE PLASTIC BUBBLE (1976) at 7pm! Kick off The Highlander’s 25th Anniversary Weekend with Highlander25 multi-media art show and kick-off party! Twang on down to the Red Light Café for their Bluegrass Pickin’ Party! It’s Mai Tai Thursday, so get swanky with Bogey & the Viceroy at Trader Vic’s and throw back a couple cocktails! Get your folk rock fix with Aaron Lee Tasjan and Jon Latham at The Earl! Eddie’s Attic dishes out a night of folksy soul with Ben Sollee! Stomp on down to Venkman’s for a night with the Rumpke Mountain Boys! Get intergalactic with The Space Time Travelers at Avondale Towne Cinema! It’s a hootenanny and a half at The Vista Room with Kool Kat Col. Bruce Hampton & the Madrid Express! The Northside Tavern gets rockin’ with a little Chicago/Delta blues of The Breeze Kings! Stagger on over to Noni’s Bar & Deli for their Bitter Heroes event featuring DJ Brian Parris as he gets charmingly morose with a little New-Wave, The Smiths and The Cure! Get your boogie on at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, as Chickenshack featuring Eddie Tigner, delivers some honky-tonk blues! And as always, boogie down at Mary’s, as the East Atlanta venue gets funky with their weekly Disco in the Village.

Friday, April 7

Catch The Whiskey Gentry’s album release party with Kool Kat Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics and The Darnell Boys at Center Stage! Raise a ruckus at The Star Bar with Kool Kats Blackfoot Gypsies, the Stacktone Slims and Phill Reynolds! Oompa Loompa it up at SCADShow with their screening of Mel Stuart’s WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971) at 7pm! Folk it up with Leo Kottke and Keller Williams at the Variety Playhouse! It’s a night of rockin’ vintage doo-wop with Shannon & The Clams, Small Reactions and Art School Jocks at The Earl! Get rootsy with Cody Marlowe at Eddie’s Attic! Make your way to the Drunken Unicorn for a night with The Octopus Project, Kool Kat Jeffrey Butzer & the Bicycle Eaters and more! Funk it up with the Atlanta Funk Society at Venkman’s! Rock out with Bas Clas at Avondale Towne Cinema! Have a laugh or two with Jerry Seinfeld at the Fox Theatre! And as always, time-warp it up and get naughty with some uber musically-inclined transsexual aliens at The Plaza Theater as they continue their tradition of screening THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Saturday, April 8

Get your ‘80s fix and spend the night with Duran Duran at Chastain Park! Get Drawn & Disorderly with our pal and Kool Kat Chris Hamer (UrbnPop) and more at the Red Brick Brewing Company! Psycho surf it up as Daikaiju attacks The Star Bar with Lazer/Wulf, Pirato Ketchup, El Capitan & The Reluctant Sadists and more! Kool Kat VJ Anthony brings you his 80s New Wave Music Video Dance Party: Duran Duran edition at Amsterdam Atlanta at 10pm! Get some soul with Travis Smith and more at the Red Light Café! Get your psyche pop fix with The Zombies for their Odessey and Oracle 50th Anniversary Finale Tour at the Variety Playhouse! Get brassy with the Black Sheep Ensemble and Sehwe Village Percussion at Smith’s Olde Bar! Rock out with The Skylarks and Bark at Kavarna! Sleaze it up with Gunpowder Gray, Dead Red Flowers and more at 529! Bluegrass it up with Banjolicious during Venkman’s Chicken Pickin’ Brunch, followed by Acoustic Beatles with Nick Niespodziani and the Elegant Bachelors presenting their Paul (McCartney) vs. Paul (Simon) show! Eighties it up with Electric AvenueThe 80s MTV Experience at The Vista Room! St. James Live! delivers their Tribute to the Legends night every Saturday night!

Sunday, April 9

Banjo it up with The Molsky Mountain Drifters at the Red Light Café! Get revived at Eddie’s Attic with a Gospel Brunch featuring “The American Songbird of the South” Myrna Clayton, Harrold Holloway and Jillian Loux! And come back later that night for Boy Named Banjo! Jazz it up with Trey Dahl and his Quintet at Venkman’s! Get sweet and low down blues-style at the Northside Tavern with Uncle Sugar!

Ongoing

Dad’s Garage’s Big Boozy Nerdy Game Night brings out the kid in you, every first Monday of the month at 7pm!

Union EAV rocks out with their Punk Rock Karaoke ATL, and every last Tuesday of the month!

Geek it up at My Parents’ Basement with their weekly Tuesday night Nerd Trivia at 8pm!

Nerd Film Mafia screenings at the Diesel Filling Station following NerdCore Trivia, every last Tuesday of the month!

The Plaza Theater Time-Warps it up as they screen, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Get your reggae fix with Rub-A-Dub gettin’ down at WildPitch Music Hall, every second Sunday of the month!

Every first and third Mondays are Big Band Nights at Café 290, featuring Joe Gransden and his amazing 16-piece orchestra playing jazz and swing standards in the tradition of The Glen Miller Orchestra and other legendary groups.  Second and fourth Mondays are Bumpin the Mango, ‘The groove that makes you want to move!’

Every first Wednesday is the Graveyard Tavern’s Graveyard Swing Night, featuring the swingin’ jazz and boogie-woogie sounds of the Savoy Kings! I

f you have a suggestion for a future event that should be included in This Week in Retro Atlanta or see something we missed, please email us at atlretro@gmail.com.

 

Category: This Week in ATLRetro | TAGS: None

AFFRetro Review: While Beautifully Filmed, THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE Doesn’t Escape the Conventions of Holocaust Cinema

Posted on: Apr 1st, 2017 By:

THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE (2017); Dir. Niki Caro; Starring Jessica Chastain, Daniel Bruhl, Johan Heldenbergh; Trailer here.

By Andrew Kemp
Contributing Writer

Before the Atlanta Film Festival screening of THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE, an introduction promised the audience that this film was not going to be “just another Holocaust film.” Although it seems callous to think that films about the signature human rights catastrophe of the 20th century could ever be boring, it would be accurate to say that, over the years, a particular set of tropes has taken root when portraying the event on the screen. The situation will look bad; some will say that it will pass; the noose will tighten; and then comes the iconography of the horror—trains, camps, ash. Inevitably, choices must be made about who to help, and how. Sometimes the films end on a down note, sometimes on an up note. But no ending can ever accurately be called “happy.”

I’m sorry to say that, despite that hopeful introduction, THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE doesn’t quite escape these expectations. Apart from a few key flourishes, the film follows the pattern mostly down the line. To garble a famous phrase, the people who don’t like this kind of thing will find this the kind of thing they don’t like.

Jessica Chastain plays the title character, Antonina Zabinski, principal animal caretaker at the Warsaw Zoo and wife to stoic Jan (Heldenbergh). We follow Antonina on an idyllic day through the zoo, which is presented as a utopian free-range menagerie where visitors can run alongside a camel or frolic with a set of baby lion cubs. Of course, this scene takes place in 1939, and within short order the German invasion has begun. The zoo is hit particularly hard—the animals are “liquidated” for soap and meat (mostly off-screen, with some startling exceptions—be warned), and the Germans place a permanent munitions garrison on the site. But the Zabinskis are concerned when a Jewish friend is forced to relocate into the Warsaw ghetto, and they decide to hide his wife, at great personal risk (“You can be shot for giving them a cup of water,” Jan reminds Antonina).

The situation is complicated by the presence of Lutz Heck (Bruhl), Hitler’s top zoologist who hopes to breed an extinct auroch from the Zabinski’s oxen. Heck has designs on Antonina, who spends most of her time at the zoo alone as Jan involves himself into the Warsaw resistance, helping as many as he can flee the ghetto to safety. As the war goes on, and as the tunnels beneath the Zabinski house fill with hidden Jews, it becomes harder, but ever more critical, to keep Heck from discovering their secret.

The film’s stakes are certainly high, and the drama is reasonably intense. But director Niki Caro [WHALE RIDER (2002)] fails to give the film the kind of visual tension it deserves. At its weakest moments, the film appears like one of the more inert of the Merchant-Ivory films, nicely decorated but somehow flat, with the performers stuck pantomiming rote material in a dollhouse. For example, as Jan becomes aware of Heck’s flirtations, he becomes bafflingly infuriated with Antonina. Surely he understands her need to keep the German distracted while on their property? And yet he seems to be angry simply because there’s not enough conflict in the second act, and the film still has the rest of the war to wait out.

Jessica Chastain stars as Antonina Zabinski in director Niki Caro’s THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE, a Focus Features release. Credit: Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features

The star attraction should be the movie star Chastain, but she plays Antonina with a demure squeak of a voice that befits the muted passions of the movie she’s in. If there is any element to distinguish the film (beyond the costuming and production design, which are lovely), it’s the way in which the story is shifted to Antonina from her more traditionally heroic husband. While Jan is crossing into the ghetto, rescuing abused children, and taking up arms in an open fight, the film posits that Antonina’s role in protecting her family and the all-important hiding place is worth every bit the heroic acclaim. The film attempts to identify a female perspective on the life in occupied Warsaw, where Nazism is inextricably intertwined with toxic masculinity. The Germans don’t simply kill their victims, they displace and starve and rape them, dominating non-German bodies as outbursts of masculine bravado. If there’s a second element to distinguish the film, it’s that it seems eerily uncomfortable when compared to the modern mood in some of the more unsavory—but increasingly visible—corners of our national conversation.

Ultimately THE ZOOKEER’S WIFE is another holocaust movie. Your interest in that promise may vary, but let us be clear that the world, the trajectory, and the situations in the film are nakedly (and all too uncomfortably) familiar.

THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE screened this week at the Atlanta Film Festival on march 29. For more information, check out the official site.

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AFFRetro Review: Skateboards, Jet Packs & Silver Scream Spook Show Stars: SPRING BREAK ZOMBIE MASSACRE Is a Graveyard Smash!

Posted on: Apr 1st, 2017 By:

SAM & MATTIE PRESENT SPRING BREAK ZOMBIE MASSACRE (2016); Dir. Robert Carnevale; Starring Sam Suchmann, Mattie Zufelt, Madeline Brumby, Allison Maier; Trailer here.

By Andrew Kemp
Contributing Writer

Sam and Mattie are typical American teens. They like to skateboard and play video games. They chase girls. They have cybernetic implants coveted by the devil and his army of zombies, demons, and zombie-demons. The usual stuff.

SPRING BREAK ZOMBIE MASSACRE is an unexpected title for a heartwarming, feel-good picture. The real-world Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt hail from Rhode Island, inseparable best friends who became fixated on the idea of making a violent, gory zombie film starring themselves, an idea that may have seemed easy for their friends and family to dismiss before the boys revealed the elaborate storyboards they’d been building in their spare time. Director Robert Carnevale helped them launch a Kickstarter, thinking that a few bucks might allow them to put a film together. Sam and Mattie’s story, however, struck a nerve, went viral, and became a runaway crowdsourcing success story. The boys became stars of the mainstream press, and their project attracted talent from across the country, including Atlanta actors Madeline Brumby (Kool Kat here) and Allison Maier, and local special effects maven Shane Morton (Kool Kat here). 

Now, Sam and Mattie’s dream film is very real, and happily delivers more than just its great backstory. The Sam and Mattie of the film are the coolest, most interesting teens at their school, the kind of kids who tend to the needs of their knockout girlfriends before humiliating the local bullies with their sick skateboarding skills. Sam is the sensitive type and Mattie is his aggro best pal. They’ve literally known each other since birth, the moment made memorable when Satan appeared in the delivery room and murdered both of their moms—one of the downsides of having an epic destiny.

Now that they’re teens the Devil is back to finish the job, calling on all the bullies who hate Sam and Mattie’s unbridled awesomeness to join his undead army. The boys respond by unlocking their full superhuman potential, partying at Spring Break, and learning valuable lessons about the dangers of buying drugs. Also, Mattie has jet packs.

L-R: Madeline Brumby, Mattie Zufelt, Sam Suchmann in SPRING BREAK ZOMBIE MASSACRE (2016). Used with permission.

The project resembles less of a coherent narrative than a series of isolated vignettes strung together by the boys’ needs to kill zombies and have their hero moments. The emotional weight of the zombie outbreak is high in some scenes, while in others the monsters resemble irritating pests that have sprung up on Mattie’s lawn. What the film really provides is a bright and imaginative window into the way that Sam and Mattie see the world. Their script—every word of which Sam and Mattie wrote on their own, with Carnevale’s helpful translation—allows them to play out power fantasies and express their take on right and wrong. Sure, it’s a kick to watch Mattie shotgun zombies in the head (he has a surprising presence in the action scenes), but it’s hard to see the occasional quiet moment, such as the pivotal bit where Mattie and Sam stare into mirrors and remind themselves how valuable and special they are, and not think of the artists behind them. This thing is destined for endless cult screenings at midnight festivals and Halloween parties.

SPRING BREAK ZOMBIE MASSACRE may be a vanity project, but it finds its own heartwarming moments amidst its Michel Gondry-inspired cardboard hellfire. The word is that Sam and Mattie are hard at work on a sequel. That’s good. The movie screen is always hungry for real heroes.

SPRING BREAK ZOMBIE MASSACRE screened at the Atlanta Film Festival on March 25. For more information on the film, visit the official site.

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Kool Kat of the Week: Author and Filmmaker Frank Perry’s Official Biographer Justin Bozung Dishes on Atlanta’s Frank Perry Retrospective Presented by Videodrome

Posted on: Mar 28th, 2017 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

Justin Bozung, Atlanta author and transplant from the far reaches of the north is working closely with Videodrome staff as they present their Frank Perry Retrospective via their JavaDrome film portal, which kicked off in January 2017. The most recent in the series, THE SWIMMER (1968) screens Friday, March 31, at 8:30pm, and will include an introduction and Q&A with Bozung, as Frank Perry’s official biographer. Prior films in the series included MOMMIE DEAREST (1981); PLAY IT AS IT LAYS (1972) [never released on home video]. The series’ finale will be Perry’s LAST SUMMER (1969) screening in late April 2017 [yet to be released beyond its ‘80s VHS release].

Bozung has an expansive resume delving deep into the retro fantastic! He’s assisted in book projects documenting and analyzing Stanley Kubrick, has conducted over 400 interviews for several book projects, documentaries and magazines including Fangoria, Paracinema, Phantom of the Movies’ Videoscope and more. ATLRetro caught up with Justin Bozung for a quick interview about his work as the official biographer for Frank Perry, his extensive knowledge of Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING and Norman Mailer, and the importance of preserving film history.

ATLRetro: While we are a bit biased here at ATLRetro about this wacky little city of ours, what is it about Atlanta that drew you to our neck of the woods?

Justin Bozung: My wife! She received a job opportunity that was too good to pass up.   So we sold our house and packed up in Ann Arbor, Michigan in late 2014 and drove toward Atlanta. As a freelancer, I’m pretty open-ended and am able to work from anywhere so it made sense for us to leave the cold and snow behind. And I’ve always been fond of Georgia; having spent some time here over the years during various travels and vacations in the south. I’m a big soul, funk, and jazz music fan. So being able to come and live where Curtis Mayfield had his own record label, but also, be within driving proximity of where James Brown was born and lived many years of his professional life and owned his own radio station is great. Central Georgia also owns The Allman Brothers and Otis Redding—so living in the South is really a soul music lover’s dream come true! Memphis, the home of the great Stax Records, isn’t too far away either. And I’m completely fine–I’m not ashamed–in saying that as a Michigan-born guy, I’ll take Memphis and Stax Records any day of the week over anything produced at Detroit’s Motown. There’s something about the water down here that gives the music a special quality, something that Motown doesn’t have that Stax does... And let’s not even get started on the subject of Athens, Georgia and R.E.M.–

As Frank Perry’s official biographer, can you tell our readers a little about why you think he is one of the many undervalued and underappreciated filmmakers and why you wanted to spread the Frank Perry love via Videodrome’s JavaDrome film events?

Well, there’s a pretty easy answer to that. The internet is interested in Frank Perry.   Fortunately, today, with the rise of social media and bloggers pulling active duty–interest in Perry and his films has really grown in recent years. He made some really wonderful films, and it’s important to note that Perry was the first independent filmmaker to be nominated for an Academy Award. He was nominated in 1963 for his independently-financed and produced DAVID AND LISA (1962), which shot for approximately $200,000 in Pennsylvania. Perry was nominated for Best Director but he lost out to David Lean, who won for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962)! Perry’s little film went up against LAWRENCE! Jean Renoir, said “I feel that this film represents a turning point in the history of film.”

Prior to Perry, where there had certainly been others producing independent films on the East Coast– John Cassavetes‘s SHADOWS (1959) being the touchstone–others like Russ Meyer and his THE IMMORAL MR. TEAS (1959), and H.G. Lewis in Chicago with his “nudie cuties” were also bringing independent film to attention. Perry was the first to make a “respectable” independent film and to be noticed by the mainstream. In his way, he changed things. Even with someone like Cassavetes, who by 1959 was a well-known and very established Hollywood film actor–his film SHADOWS still didn’t afford the average guy the idea that maybe he himself could just go out and raise the money and make his own film as a profiteer. Perry had no experience as a filmmaker, really. On the first day of shooting DAVID & LISA, he couldn’t figure out how to turn the camera on. And in pre-production he read several books about film directing. His film school was the library.  It really makes one remember what was going on in independent film in the late 80s or early 1990s with directors starting out like Robert Rodriguez. While Perry had come from the Actors Studio and done some Second Unit work for hire prior, he had not really directed anything on that scale before. His gift was in working with actors. I consider him a conscious, classical director. He worked very much like George Cukor who loved working with actresses and literary adaptations. Frank set the wheels on fire and got indie film some important notice in Hollywood. DAVID & LISA made the studio system, although on the verge of completely crumbling, sit up and take notice that things were shifting culturally.

On March 31, JavaDrome will screen Perry’s The Swimmer (1968). Were there any particular reasons you chose the films that are slated for screening?

Well, the guys at Videodrome split the selections down the middle for this retrospective on Perry’s films. I hand-picked two and Matt Owensby picked the others. THE SWIMMER was a film that Matt really wanted to show as part of this retrospective. It should be stated that this retrospective on Perry’s films here in Atlanta marks the first multi-film retrospective of his work in the USA since the mid 1980s. In fact, I can’t help but suggest that the recent Los Angeles retrospective of his work last month, put on by Quentin Tarantino at his New Beverly, was directly inspired by our own little retrospective here in Atlanta–knowing how Tarantino seemingly likes to monitor video stores all around the United States and see what they’re up to.

Videodrome is our little purveyor of the forbidden fruits of the video and film world and are avid supporters of film preservation, which of course is why they hold a sweet spot in our hearts. As a historian, can you tell our readers a little bit about why you think film preservation is important and how important businesses like Videodrome are to the preservation of film?

I’m just starting to get acquainted with a few of the guys that work at Videodrome. The fun part about going into the store is that they really have a massive selection of titles, but more importantly, Matt and John and the rest of the crew really embrace you. And they’re not elitist or snobs either. They care about and endorse the films of Truffaut just as much as they love and admire the films of Greydon Clark. The latter–preservation, is important as well, certainly. I’ve been struggling with that myself working with Frank Perry’s Estate. Frank made two films that are impossible to see.  The first, I recently discovered the master materials for in an archive in California. We’re talking with some film preservation folks now about financing the restoration of one of these, his JFK: ONE MAN SHOW (1984)–which was made and shown on PBS twice before vanishing off the face of the earth, it seemed until I located it. And then there’s his 1968 documentary that Perry fans aren’t even aware of that he made about political unrest in the Middle East, because it’s mysteriously not listed on his IMDb page. The Estate has access to the last print that is known to exist. Just to use these two instances as an example, if there weren’t people “out there” tracking down films or storing prints or whatever–archiving cinema–we may all lose out in the future.  So it’s the key to film studies, really.

You also collaborated with Colorado’s Centipede Press in putting together a large volume entitled Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film. Can you tell our readers what role you played in the process? Did you learn anything enticing with this publication that isn’t common knowledge about Kubrick or The Shining?

The book came out in the early spring of 2015 and sadly, it’s already out of print, I believe. It was a massive 750-page book on the making of the film. I was involved with the book, as a project, very early on, researching and getting clearances for many of the previously-published essays and interviews that are included. I also dug up some visual ephemera, and conducted about 45 hours of interviews with most of the cast and the crew from the film itself—which are all included in the book. I interviewed or was in touch with the entire crew and most of the living actors that starred in the film. The book was edited by Danel Olson, but, 350-400 or so of those 750 pages are my contributions to the volume. The book is filled to the brim with new information about Kubrick–things that people didn’t know about him and the film itself including line items about his attention to detail, his admiration for baseball, his love of driving cars fast and more.  There’s information in the book about what went on behind-the-scenes of the film that has never come to light prior and addresses his notorious reputation, but also looks at his craftsmanship. It’s page-after-page with new information on Kubrick.   I tried to debunk many rumors that have been swirling around in the zeitgeist for many years about Kubrick and I used the interviews in an attempt to give readers a doorway onto the set in England for 13-months back in 1978/79. When it came out, ROOM 237 was really on everyone’s lips–so there’s a lot of talk in the book about that documentary as well. It’s a great book, though.  I’d suggest that it’s an essential addition to any film lover’s library. Michael Dirda of The Washington Post called the book “a major advancement in film studies,” or something like that.

We see that you’re also involved with author Norman Mailer’s estate and that you work on several projects dedicated to him. What can you tell us about those projects?

I become involved with Norman Mailer in early 2014 and made a 12-hour audio documentary about his much-maligned 1987 film, TOUGH GUYS DON’T DANCE, my favorite film. I interviewed most of the crew members and some of the actors and visited some of the shooting locations in Provincetown, MA. My interest in the film came out of my friendship with TOUGH GUYS actor, Wings Hauser. He first introduced me to the film in 2011, when I was about to interview him for a magazine.   The documentary was released online, and the Norman Mailer Society invited me to talk about the film in the fall of 2014 at Wilkes University. Shortly after that, they asked me to become involved in several projects that they were working on. One was Project Mailer, and another was archival search-related. I created a Mailer podcast for them, which runs bi-monthly on ProjectMailer.net. Basically, I just present audio from the Mailer Archives ala podcast format ala the old Grateful Dead Hour with David Gans.    In early 2015, I started putting together a dense, academic study on Mailer’s films.

He made 6 films from 1947-1987.  I love his films, even though, most of the Criterion Collection audience doesn’t. Criterion released Mailer’s 1960s films through their Eclipse series in 2013. They scratch their heads as to why CC would put out such “awful” films. They’re very important works of art that not only comment and inform on Mailer’s influential texts of the 1960s, but also, in their way, influenced his writing in the process of crafting them. They also have historical context in relationship to the direct cinema movement of the mid 60s with films by D.A. Pennebaker and the Maysles Brothers. There, likely, may never have been an ARMIES OF THE NIGHT without WILD 90 (1968), for example. Mailer wrote himself into that book as a character–in the third person–directly out of the influence that the editing of his first film, WILD 90, had upon him while he was writing that Pulitzer Prize-winning “novel as history, history as novel”–to use Mailer’s description. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, “I was looking at myself as a character,” during the editing of his own movie.

His film MAIDSTONE (1971) is a obvious pre-cursor to reality television. I certainly do not lay the blame on reality television on Mailer, but he was creating that type of aesthetic tension and propaganda–and recording it–on film, some thirty years before reality television came along. Cinema was in Norman Mailer’s blood. He had a keen interest in cinema, and a fine grasp of cinema aesthetics very early on in his life–before he became the writer enfant terrible of the 1960s that many remember him as today.   He was a frequent guest at Amos Vogel‘s legendary Cinema 16 in New York City. He saw the films of Brakhage, Kenneth Anger, Warhol, Mekas there. He helped to fund the films of Robert Downey Sr. and Ron Rice. Mailer’s writing is profoundly cinematic, and the cinema is one of his strongest and most-used metaphors in his writing and it’s throughout his texts. His ideas on film are really in sync with filmmakers that would be his peers of the era. My book, The Cinema of Norman Mailer: Film is Like Death comes out this September via Bloomsbury.  It’s available for pre-order on Amazon now. And this September I’m starting work and collaborating with the Mailer Estate on another book on Mailer, but this time around, it’s about the writer, not Mailer: The filmmaker.

As a film buff and historian, what was your gateway drug into the land of cult film, or film in general?

I’ve always been interested in film, for as long as I can remember. I grew up as a classic, indoor-type of kid. I grew up in the VHS and pay cable era of the 1980s.  My parents gifted me with HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime. I recorded everything off and watched it over-and-over. Film has always been very important to me as an art form. I love all film. I don’t pay attention to genres or labels. Film is film. There aren’t any “good” or “bad” films, just films. I love Larry Buchanan, Michael Bay just as much as I do Delbert Mann, King Vidor and Jerry Lewis.

You’ve also published several articles and interviews in magazines such as “Fangoria,” “Paracinema,” “Shock Cinema” and “Phantom of the Movies’ Videoscope.” If you had to choose a favorite interview and/or article that you contributed, which would it be and why?

I’ve done a lot of interviews over the years. I think around 400 or so. I may be the only person you’ll meet who has done over 75 interviews with various crew and cast members from several Stanley Kubrick movies, hundreds of hours logged, and all on tape. I imagine myself as being in the Guinness Book of Work Records under “Most Interviews Done Associated with Stanley Kubrick.” My favorite though….I have two.   The first was with actor Wings Hauser, because we became great friends out of the experience. The other is with comedy legend and screenwriter Bill Richmond. Richmond wrote almost all of the Jerry Lewis solo movies like THE PATSY (1964) and THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (1963). He wrote for TV shows like The Carol Burnett Show, Bewitched, All in the Family, Welcome Back, Kotter, Blossom etc… He was a mad genius of comedy. It was just one of those great one-in-a-lifetime experiences, where, consequently, we stayed friendly with each other after it was over.  Bill sent me the best birthday present the year after even…and when he passed away last year—that was really sad for me.

Can you tell our readers a little about your Frank Perry biography and any other current projects your working on, and where our readers get their hands on your published works?

The biography on Frank will be published mid-2018 and is a full-scale biography blended with some analysis. I’m finishing it up now. I’ve been working on it since early 2015, but there was a full year where I didn’t work on it at all, due to some legal tangle with his Estate and an outside party. It is the first book, first study on Perry. I’ve been working closely with Perry’s family and estate on the project and I worked closely with his wife, Barbara, before her recent passing. But also, Tom Folino, Perry’s long-time friend, assistant-turned producer. I’m in touch with his surviving family members and as with all of my projects, I’ve got about 200-hours of interviews in the can with various crew members and actors, family friends in support of the work itself. The book looks at Perry’s life and his films, but also looks closely at the projects that slipped through the cracks–like his near adaptation of Terry Southern‘s naughty-satire novel Candy which looked like it was going to be made as early as 1964 into a film.  This, of course, lead to Perry making of THE SWIMMER, but I’ll talk about how that all happened this Friday at the screening with Videodrome. Your readers can find all of my work on Amazon here. This year I also expect to finish up an academic volume on Michael Bay, called Michael Bay: High Art / Low Culture.

Do you have any advice for those writers just starting out?

Quit wasting time on Facebook. Write every day. Research and research. When you think you’ve found everything. Stop. Then wait 2 weeks and research some more. You’ll always find something extra. If you say you’re going to write tomorrow, then you better do that. Don’t put it off, because it damages your unconscious, and that’s where all the words come from–from inside of you. Don’t piss off your unconscious. Don’t write anything for free. Your time is valuable. Writers should say something new; they need to formulate new and profound ideas. So do that. And last but not least, opinions are so very rarely ideas.

Can you give us five things you’re into at the moment that we should be reading, watching or listening to right now—past or present, well-known or obscure?

Well, I’m more of a reader than I am anything else these days. I read one magazine currently–Philosophy Now. It’s my favorite. Some things I’ve enjoyed tremendously this year so far would be Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story by Carlos Baker. It was published in 1968 and it’s probably the greatest biography ever written; Free Fall by William Golding –a classic, but undervalued work of existential literature; Jurgen by James Branch Cabell — one of Margaret Mitchell‘s favorite novels published in 1919; Margaret Mitchell: Reporter reprints Mitchell’s pre-Gone with The Wind Atlanta journalism; Claire Vaye Watkins‘s Battleborn–a fresh, newer voice in short fiction with family ties to The Manson Family; Altamont, Joel Selvin‘s incredible recounting of the dark, metaphysical Rolling Stones 1969 Atlamont music festival; and Manly Health and Training by Walt Whitman.  As far as music goes I’m really a jazz and soul guy, so anything by John Coltrane. My favorite Coltrane record is GIANT STEPS although I’m very attracted to his metaphysical explorations like ASCENSION. Anything Sun Ra. Sonny’s album NUCLEAR WAR is relevant with today’s political climate. His writings are wonderful as well.  James Brown‘s REVOLUTIONS OF THE MIND, the new Otis Redding: The Complete Whiskey A Go Go Shows Box Set is always on my stereo or phone!  Films I’m currently into are Michael Bay’s Director’s Cut of PEARL HARBOR (1999) shows Bay in his Abel Gance-meets-John Ford glory. Vincente Minnelli’s TEA AND SYMPATHY (1955), Paul Morrissey‘s 1980s trifecta: FORTY DEUCE (1982), MADAME WANG’S (1981), and MIXED BLOOD (1984) are important works. Morrissey is the last great absurdist of the 20th century. Paul and I have talked some over the last couple years about doing a book together, and I would love to do a book on Morrissey, but he’s too cantankerous. Melvin Van PeeblesTHE STORY OF A THREE-DAY PASS (1968), James BridgesMIKE’S MURDER (1984) are masterpieces, and PICASSO: MAGIC, SEX & DEATH, a 4-hour 2001 documentary is a must-see!

And last, but not least, care to share anything that our little world of Atlantans don’t know about you already?

I don’t want to share anything else about myself, but I would like to suggest this little hiding spot out in Smyrna, Georgia that I visited recently. A restaurant called Vittles.  It’s a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that still allows patrons to smoke inside while you sit there eating. Not that I’m standing up for smoker’s rights here, but it’s cancerously-nostalgic. It’s like stepping into a small-town diner in the early 1980s. You can get 4 massive buttermilk pancakes covered in butter, two huge deep-fried pork chops in corn flake crust, and two eggs scrambled all for $6.99. Their claim to fame is their gift shop, which is basically a garage sale that is going on every day concurrently while food is being served. You can buy cement statues of dogs and “Man with No Name” poncho sweaters.  It’s a pretty awesome place that I highly suggest visiting for the delicious food and the bargains. You can fill up and then spend a few hours huffing it over on the Silver Comet Trail which runs from Smyrna to well into Alabama. Forget about Krog Market or Ponce, Vittles is where you need to go!

Photos courtesy of Justin Bozung and used with permission.

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This Week in ATLRetro, March 27-April 2, 2017

Posted on: Mar 27th, 2017 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

Come see what we’ve dug up just for you in ATLRetro This Week!

Tuesday, March 28

Folk it up with Six Organs of Admittance and Duet for Theramin Lap and Steel at The Earl! Bluegrass on down to Eddie’s Attic for a night with Old Salt Union, Brian Elmquist and Jenni Lyn Gardner! Pop on down to the Variety Playhouse for a night with The Magnetic Fields! Get down and dirty with Gray & The Bad Boys at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! Jam it up with Joe Gransden and his jazz jam session at Venkman’s every Tuesday! The Star Bar delivers a night of retro shenanigans with their Downtown Tuesday Night Dance Party featuring retro-soul, funk, ‘80s, ‘90s and more!  And as always, groove on down with Swami Gone Bananas at the Northside Tavern!

Wednesday, March 29

Get the rockin’ blues with Davin McCoy at Eddie’s Attic! The Hollidays deliver a night of rhythm ‘n’ soul and rock ‘n’ roll at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! Bluegrass it up at The Vista Room with The Vista Stringband! Jazz it up at the Red Light Café with The Gordon Vernick Quartet! Or make your way to the Northside Tavern as Danny ‘Mudcat’ Dudeck fires it up with his rockin’ blues! St. James Live! delivers their Hump Days Blues night, getting classic blues-style every Wednesday! And as always, it’s Ladies Night at Johnny’s Hideaway which plays hits from Sinatra to Madonna for a generally mature crowd.

Thursday, March 30

It’s a hootenanny and a half at The Vista Room with Kool Kat Col. Bruce Hampton & the Madrid Express! Make your way to Grady High School and Meet the Authors of Black Speculative Fiction, including Milton Davis, Kool Kat Balogun Ojetade, Gerald Coleman, Valjeanne Jeffers and more! Get your Cretan lute fix with Xylouris White and White Magic at The Earl! Rock out with Los Lobos at City Winery! The Masquerade dishes out a night of gritty garage punk-y grass with Strung Like a Horse and Bella’s Bartok! Stomp on down to Terminal West for a night with Whiskey Myers and The Steel Woods! Or make your way to Venkman’s for a night with Jackson County Line! It’s a hootenanny and a half at The Star Bar with The Hooten Hallers, Andrea Colburn & Her Low Standards and more! It’s Mai Tai Thursday and a night of Dick Dale-esque shenanigans so get swanky with Grinder Nova at Trader Vic’s! The Northside Tavern gets rockin’ with a little Chicago/Delta blues of The Breeze Kings! Stagger on over to Noni’s Bar & Deli for their Bitter Heroes event featuring DJ Brian Parris as he gets charmingly morose with a little New-Wave, The Smiths and The Cure! Get your boogie on at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, as Chickenshack featuring Eddie Tigner, delivers some honky-tonk blues! And as always, boogie down at Mary’s, as the East Atlanta venue gets funky with their weekly Disco in the Village.

Friday, March 31

Videodrome (JavaDrome) continues their Frank Perry retrospective with a screening of his THE SWIMMER (1968) at 8:30pm, with an introduction by Justin Bozung, Perry’s official biographer, and out soon-to-be Kool Kat of the Week! Get experimental and make your way to the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center for Kool Kat Andy Ditzler’s Film Love Presents: The Most Human Desire event, focusing on the films of Chick Strand! Rock out with the Starbenders at Avondale Towne Cinema! Orchestra Noir, The Atlanta African-American Orchestra invite you to “A Night at the Symphony” at Center Stage! Funk it up at City Winery with Paul & Fred and the New Orleans Suspects! Get to bluegrassin’ with Noam Pikelny at The Earl! Shimmy on down to the Red Light Café for Twirly Whirly Burly-Q featuring classic burlesque with a classic twirl! Folk rock it up with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at Atlanta Symphony Hall! It’s a rockin’ feud at the Variety Playhouse with Led Zeppelin vs. The Who performed by Yacht Rock Revue, with special guest Peter Stroud! Spend the night with Drivin’ ‘n’ Cryin’ and Five-Eight at The Vista Room! And as always, time-warp it up and get naughty with some uber musically-inclined transsexual aliens at The Plaza Theater as they continue their tradition of screening THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Saturday, April 1

Get intergalactic at 529 with W8ing4UFOs, Shawnthony Calypso, the 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra and Kool Kat Aileen Loy with Till Someone Loses and Eye! Skank on down to City Winery for a night with Kool Kat Rev. Andy and the Southern Ska Syndicate! Don’t be the fool who misses Kool Kat “Big Mike” Geier a.k.a. Puddles Pity Party at Center Stage! Or geek it up at Studio Space Atlanta for Hair of the Dragon VI, the premiere costume studio party! Jam it up with Dead Affect with special guest Honeywood at Avondale Towne Cinema! Spend the night with Radiohead at Philips Arena! Rock out with Drivin’ ‘n’ Cryin’ and Five-Eight at The Vista Room! Come on out to Eddie’s Attic for a night with Michelle Malone, Gareth Asher and more! Blues it up with Rough Draft at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack! St. James Live! delivers their Tribute to the Legends night every Saturday night!

Sunday, April 2

Head on down to City Winery for a night with Micky Dolenz! Get down with tunes of the ‘60s and ‘70s with Boomers Gone Wild at the Crimson Moon Café! Rock out with The Flaming Lips at the Tabernacle! Get sweet and low down blues-style at the Northside Tavern with Uncle Sugar! Blues it up with Fatback Deluxe at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack!

 

 

Ongoing

Dad’s Garage’s Big Boozy Nerdy Game Night brings out the kid in you, every first Monday of the month at 7pm!

Union EAV rocks out with their Punk Rock Karaoke ATL, and every last Tuesday of the month!

Geek it up at My Parents’ Basement with their weekly Tuesday night Nerd Trivia at 8pm!

Nerd Film Mafia screenings at the Diesel Filling Station following NerdCore Trivia, every last Tuesday of the month!

The Plaza Theater Time-Warps it up as they screen, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) every Friday night, featuring the live cast of Lips Down on Dixie at midnight!

Get your reggae fix with Rub-A-Dub gettin’ down at WildPitch Music Hall, every second Sunday of the month!

Every first and third Mondays are Big Band Nights at Café 290, featuring Joe Gransden and his amazing 16-piece orchestra playing jazz and swing standards in the tradition of The Glen Miller Orchestra and other legendary groups.  Second and fourth Mondays are Bumpin the Mango, ‘The groove that makes you want to move!’

Every first Wednesday is the Graveyard Tavern’s Graveyard Swing Night, featuring the swingin’ jazz and boogie-woogie sounds of the Savoy Kings!

If you have a suggestion for a future event that should be included in This Week in Retro Atlanta or see something we missed, please email us at atlretro@gmail.com.

Category: This Week in ATLRetro | TAGS: None

ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL PREVIEW: ONE PATH TO SPENDING YOUR WEEK AT THE MOVIES

Posted on: Mar 24th, 2017 By:

By Andrew Kemp
Contributing Writer

The Atlanta Film Festival is back, growing this year into additional venues and an absolutely packed lineup of interesting and entertaining films. ATL Retro will be at the festival all week, logging reviews of films while subsisting on a strict diet of beer and Junior Mints, because journalism matters now more than ever.

If you’re looking for some tips on what to check out during the festival, please enjoy this day-by-day selection of films that we thought might interest the retro-inclined. Of course, any preview such as this can only barely scratch the surface of what the AFF has to offer, so for a more detailed preview be sure to visit the AFF’s official website.

Friday, March 24 — Opening Night

The festival kicks off with its traditional opening night ceremonies, including a screening of Bill Watterson’s DAVE MADE A MAZE, a high-concept comedy about a man whose quest to produce something great and wonderful (presumably on a budget) leads him to construct an elaborate, DIY labyrinth inside his own home. Of course, he promptly gets trapped in his own creation, leaving his loved ones wondering how to mount to rescue (Plaza Theatre, downstairs, @ 7:00pm).

After the show, all those with tickets, as well as badge-holders, are invited to the Opening Night Party taking place at Paris on Ponce until midnight, but be sure to get your butts back to the Plaza to see Lips Down on Dixie stage their show alongside THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW(1975), a longtime Plaza tradition that the AFF has happily embraced.

Saturday, March 25

Avondale’s Towne Cinema joins the festival this year as a venue, which is where you’ll want to be to check out TRENCHES OF ROCK, a documentary about the three-decade history of the Christian metal band Bloodgood (Towne Cinema @ 2:30pm).

Jill Campbell’sMR. CHIBBStakes a look at the post-NBA career of former all-star Kenny Anderson, dealing with the fleeting high of fame and celebrity, and the plight of athletes who are faced with spending the rest of their lives in the real world, away from the bright lights of the big time. The film screens with the short film GAME, a narrative short about a kid at the other end of this basketball lifestyle, high school tryouts (Plaza Theatre, downstairs, @ 4:30).

For fans of the Atlanta horror scene, certainly the most anticipated event of the day is the long-awaited debut of SAM & MATTIE PRESENT SPRING BREAK ZOMBIE MASSACRE, featuring members of the local horror community and hosted by the immortal Professor Morte and the Silver Scream Spook Show. Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt drew national attention last year with their Kickstarter campaign to fund the epic zombie movie of their dreams, and the result of that campaign is set for two screenings on Saturday, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see the gory results. (Towne Cinema @ 5:30 & 8:30)

Sunday, March 26

Sunday is likely to feature some of the most popular events of the festival week, what with the 25th Anniversary screening of the well-loved Marisa Tomei vehicle MY COUSIN VINNY hitting Plaza Theatre (12:00pm) as the movie half of the “Food on Film” program. Ticket- and badge-holders are invited to head over to the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center after the film for a celebration of grits in southern cooking, and other after-party shenanigans.

Once properly stuffed with southern cuisine, head on over to 7 Stages forMELE MURALS, a documentary about Hawaiian history and culture as seen (and expressed) through the street art of Hawaiians Estria and Prime (7 Stages @ 5:45pm).

The upstairs theatre at the Plaza suffered some damage recently, forcing a venue change for several films to the Druid Hills Presbyterian Church across the street. If you want to visit the venue, and perhaps thank them for helping the Plaza and the festival out in a tight spot, there’s a perfect opportunity when the film WOMAN ON FIRE screens on Sunday night. The film looks at the story of Brooke Guinan, New York’s first transgender firefighter (8:00pm).

But whatever you do, be sure to get back to the Plaza early enough to get a good seat for the perennially popular PUPPET SLAM, featuring local performers and riotous scenes of little felt people doing at least a few inappropriate things. Live puppetry performance combines with a few puppet-y short films for what usually works out to be one of the funnier times you can have in a theatre all week (Plaza Theatre, downstairs, @ 9:30pm).

Monday March 27

It’s doing a disservice to mention only one film happening on Monday, but in the interest of brevity in this preview, we simply had to point out that Dad’s Garage is getting in on the screening action this year, putting on a screening of SYLVIO, a typical movie full of the usual cliches: a gorilla living in a human world wants to share his favorite hand puppet with the world. You know, that old story. SYLVIO was another Kickstarter success story, and doesn’t seem like the kind of movie that’s easily missed (Dad’s Garage @ 8:00pm).

Tuesday, March 28

Fans of retro cinema will want to check out THE HERO, featuring legend Sam Elliott as an aging hero of the silver screen whose sudden illness drives him to reconnect with his estranged family. The film also stars Nick Offerman, Laura Prepon, and Krysten Ritter (Plaza Theatre, downstairs, @ 7:00pm).

Then, if you want to end your evening on an up note, swing over to 7 Stages for LEAGUE OF EXOTIQUE DANCERS, which takes viewers to Las Vegas to spend time with the aging ladies who were there for the classic era of burlesque (7 Stages @ 9:30pm).

Wednesday March 29

OK, it’s mid-week. You’ve been at this for a while. You are have part Junior Mint. Persevere! There’s so much more to see, such as THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE, the new film from Niki Caro starring Jessica Chastain as a Polish zookeeper in 1939 who must put her own life at risk to save the people at risk from the Nazis after the Germans invade (Plaza Theatre, downstairs, @ 7:00pm).

After the show, skip dinner and get thee over to 7 Stages forCHERRY POP, a narrative film about the performers at a drag club having a wildly unexpected night. If that doesn’t energize you for the festival’s second half, then there may be no hope left for you (7 Stages, @ 9:15pm).

Thursday, March 30

Acclaimed director James Gray has delivered another provocative film with THE LOST CITY OF Z, the true story of the British explorer Percy Fawcett, who entered the Brazilian jungles with his eldest son in 1925 in search of “Z,” a rumored city believed to have a link to the mythical El Dorado (Plaza Theatre, downstairs, @ 7:00pm).

Friday, March 31

You’ve made it to the weekend! As a reward, enjoy a second screening of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW at midnight, but before you do, be sure to attend the screening for WAITING FOR B., a documentary about the lengths Brazilian fans of Beyonce are willing to go for a chance to inch closer to the stage (Plaza Theatre, downstairs, @ 9:30pm).

Saturday, April 1 — Closing Night

It’s April Fool’s Day, and so despite the existence of a slate of films on Sunday, tonight is considered the official Closing Night. You’ve put the time in, you’ve seen an unbelieveable number of great films, and so don’t even think about missing this year’s closing film, Joshua Z. Weinstein’s MENASHE. The film is set in New York’s Hasidic Jewish community, and follows the struggles of the title character as he looks for a way to raise his son as a single parent in the wake of his wife’s death, in spite of religious traditions. The screening will be attended by the film’s Executive Producer, Danelle Eliav (Plaza Theatre, downstairs, @ 7:30pm).

Sunday, April 2

The festival may be over, but you aren’t. No, you’re still craving the sweet sensation of new and exciting films, and Sunday has you covered. For starters, check out NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER, starring retro cinema icon Richard Gere as a lonely New Yorker looking to get ahead, who suddenly finds himself in the orbit of the new Israeli Prime Minister. The film is presented in partnership with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (Location TBD, but likely the Druid Hills Presbyterian Church — see website for updates, @2:45pm).

And, finally, there’s THE PROMISE, featuring current Hollywood it-guy Oscar Isaac as a medical student in 1914 Constantinople who lands in the middle of a torrid romance and the political turmoil of war. Also starring Christian Bale (Plaza Theatre, downstairs, @ 7:00pm).

Conclusion

And that’s just one possible path you could take through the Atlanta Film Festival’s epic schedule. Of course, your preferences may vary, so check out the website to be sure you find the events that are right for you. From short film blocks to special presentations, there’s no shortage. Drop us a line here at ATL Retro and let us know what films you saw, and what you thought! We’ll see you there!

Andrew Kemp is a screenwriter and game designer who started talking about movies in 1984 and got stuck that way. He can be seen around town wherever there are movies, cheap beer and little else.

Category: Features | Tags: , , , , , , ,

REALLY RETRO: Expect the Spanish Inquisition! Behind the Impossible Dream with Capitol City Opera Company Music Director Catherine Giel Before MAN OF LA MANCHA Tilts This Weekend at Conant Performing Arts Center

Posted on: Mar 22nd, 2017 By:

Catherine Giel. Photo credit: Shane Desmond-Williams

By Geoff Slade
Contributing Writer

Capitol City Opera Company’s production of MAN OF LA MANCHA runs this Friday March 24 and Saturday March 25 at 8 p.m. and Sunday March 26 at 3 p.m. at Oglethorpe University’s Conant Performing Arts Center. Check here for tickets.

MAN OF LA MANCHA is a musical based on CervantesDON QUIXOTE, and even those unfamiliar with the Tony Award-winning production, the Oscar-nominated 1972 movie starring Peter O’Toole and Sophia Loren, or the 17th century novel are likely aware of the characters, the imagery and its lead song, “The Impossible Dream,” here rendered by Elvis Presley. It tells a timeless tale of friendship, love and courage in the face of insurmountable odds. I’m guessing. I’ve never seen it. But I’ll get a chance to fix that this weekend!

Music Director Catherine Giel took a break from her busy schedule recently to discuss the show with ATLRetro.

ATLRetro: Thank you for taking a few minutes before the show this weekend. Is everyone excited?

Catherine Giel: I can’t express enough how excited this cast and crew are. This team has had a really special synergy and everyone is so thrilled to bring a great production to the stage. This is one of the most artistically challenging things we’ve tackled and I think it’s come out beautifully.

What is the Capitol City Opera Company? How long have you been with them?

Capitol City Opera is a company dedicated to nurturing and developing the careers of young professional singers. We are helping them prepare for the great stages of the world by giving them the opportunity to learn roles and perform at a professional level. There is so much talent right here in our city! We also have an outstanding educational component, Capitol City Opera Outreach for Children, that brings one-hour long “children’s operas” into schools and community spaces. We are trying to grow a young audience for opera in addition to developing young performers. I joined the company in the spring of 2010—it’s hard to believe it’s already been seven years. But that’s just a drop in the bucket of the 34 years this company has been in existence.

What are some of the highlights of your tenure there?

There have been many moments I’ve been proud of, both artistically and personally. A few years ago we did a world premiere of Curtis Bryant’s THE SECRET AGENT. That was probably one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve had with this company. Bringing a new work to life is liberating because there is no precedent, but also terrifying because there is no precedent! We worked directly with the composer throughout and I think the product was really something special. The whole production is up on our YouTube page for anyone that wants to check it out. On a personal level, I’ve experienced a lot of moments of pride when I see a singer grow in a role from the beginning of the process to the end, when I see them have a breakthrough with their technique or understanding of the character. That’s the real reason I do this—to see those lightbulb moments when performers make huge strides in their development and to give them a vehicle to do something they can really be proud of.

What exactly does the Music Director do for a production like Man of La Mancha?

The quick and dirty summary is that I help prepare the singers for the show. This process has many layers. It’s encouraging their technique that will both serve the character as well as help them sing their best. And speaking of character, that’s something that takes quite a bit of study outside of the musical score. We have a lot of discussions about a character’s motivation for singing or saying certain things, and this often informs their delivery of the vocal line. Preparing the music for an opera is full of nuances of color, tone, timing, and expression. At the end of the day, it’s all subjective and we have to hope the audiences enjoy what we’ve created. I also work with our conductor (who happens to be my husband) in preparing the orchestra, which takes separate rehearsals and a lot of planning outside of our work with the singers. Because we use smaller chamber orchestras for our productions, I’m usually behind the piano for the performances, where most people in my position hand the reigns to the conductor and get to sit in the audience to watch. I’ve only gotten to watch from the audience once, when we needed no piano accompaniment, and I was a nervous wreck the whole time so maybe it’s better this way.

Jonathan Sphuler (Cervantes/Don Quixote) tries on his make-up backstage at Capitol City Opera’s Man of La Mancha. Credit: Michael Nutter.

How would you describe the show and specifically the music? Is there orchestral accompaniment?

MAN OF LA MANCHA is allowing us to dip our toes into music theater. It’s definitely not an opera but still requires some excellent technical and artistic singing. It also has the additional challenges of dialogue like you would see in a regular play, which opera singers don’t often get to experience. The music has a distinctly Spanish flair, with prominent guitar solos and flamenco-like rhythms. At times it’s playful and upbeat and at other times, beautifully poignant and even heartbreaking. There is a lot of variety in this score and several melodies get stuck in your head for days. We are using a seven piece orchestra to accompany this production, who will be visible on stage and a part of the action with the rest of the cast, as opposed to stuck down in a pit where you never get to see them.


It was performed originally over 50 years ago and has been revived many times on Broadway since. How familiar were you with any of the past stage productions? How about the 1972 Peter O’Toole / Sophia Loren film?

I think it’s a testament to what a great show MAN OF LA MANCHA is that it’s been done so many times and even made into a movie. In fact, the 1972 film is quite true to the original score and dialogue and was a nice reference to have as we were preparing our version. There are also several wonderful Broadway recordings out there, each with their own unique spin on the show. I hope that we will also bring our own individual flavor and some novelty to the table, especially since I imagine many of our audience members will be familiar with the music.

What does your version offer fans of the musical and fans of musical theater in general?

We have stayed true to the original score and the book (that’s the part with the spoken dialogue). For instance, Aldonza’s number “What Does He Want With Me” often gets cut, but it’s so beautiful and Rachel Eve sings it so well, it would have been criminal to eliminate it. We also do this production with 21 cast members, which is the bare minimum, meaning that everyone has an important part to play. In a traditional opera, you may have a handful of principal cast members and everyone else is in the ensemble, but in this show everyone is essential and you become really familiar with them throughout the performance. Also, the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University is a fairly intimate venue, allowing you to feel like you are part of the action. And I don’t want to give away too much, but the way we plan to immerse the audience into this show right from the beginning is going to be really special.

Do you have a favorite song or scene? Is there one in particular you expect audiences to really love?

I think everyone loves “To Dream the Impossible Dream.” It’s a powerful song in or out of context of the show. The lyrics really encompass the longing that we all have as humans to strive to be our best, to fight the good fight, and triumph over wrongs. I think there is also a very charming scene between Sancho, Don Quixote’s squire, and Aldonza in which Sancho is trying to get her to give him a “token” to give to his knight and also attempting to read her a passionate missive written by Don Quixote, only….neither of them can read. Another particularly excellent scene is the fight between Don Quixote and a band of rough muleteers. I’ll just say that a giant spinning ladder and some acrobatics are involved.

I understand you are also a professional pianist and vocal coach. Do you perform regularly? Do you specialize in a particular singing style?

I am and I do! I perform mostly as an accompanist for singers and instrumentalists in concert, I rarely do solo recitals anymore. That’s not on purpose, I just haven’t had the time or opportunity and I truly enjoy collaborating with other artists more than playing alone. And I regularly coach opera singers as they prepare for roles, auditions, and competitions not just in Atlanta, but around the country. I would say I specialize in opera and art song, but I’ve been known to do the occasional bit of jazz and pop music. Just don’t ask me to teach you “Let It Go.”

Michael Lindsay, Albert Clark, Sean Savage, Damien Rasheed, Xavier Durden, and Rachel Eve Holmes receive musical instruction at a rehearsal for Man of La Mancha. Photo credit: Catherine Giel.

What’s next for you and Capital City Opera?

We’ve always got something coming up! We do a monthly series called Dinner and a Diva at Petite Violette restaurant. Each month we feature highlights from a different opera with our best singers and a narrator to guide the audience through the story. This takes place over an excellent three course meal with wine and happens every third Tuesday of the month. We also have a really fun event called Win, Dine, and Win coming up on April 7. This is an evening of food and games, including an aria auction that has gotten pretty competitive! This summer is the 25th anniversary of On The Light Side and this is our biggest fundraiser of the year. It’s an indoor BYOP (bring your own picnic) and we have a cast of singers that perform a cabaret-style show of music theater hits. This year’s theme is “The Golden Age of Broadway.” This is a hugely popular event and usually sells out. It’s the last Friday and Saturday nights in July. And of course we are preparing for the next mainstage show….details to come on that soon! Information on all these events and more can be found on our website at www.ccityopera.org

Thanks again for your time. Anything else you’d like to mention?

Only that we appreciate the support from our audiences so, so much. We are a local company, staffed with local talent, local set painters, designers, costume makers, sound engineers, etc. etc. We think of ourselves like a family and we truly dedicate everything we have to creating a great product. We hope you will come to one of our events and see what we are all about and learn about how we are working in the Atlanta community to spread some great art and love for opera. It’s what we are truly passionate about. Also, we are super hip with the social media, so you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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