This Week in Retro Atlanta Feb. 7-13, 2011

From vintage Valentines to roses and chocolate, many of the romantic traditions that we take for granted now go right back to the early 20th century.  And then there’s always the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929. With both in mind, this week is dedicated to lovers, but there’s also plenty to do if you’re drinking alone or prefer machine gun etiquette.

Monday Feb. 7

Tonight is Big Band Night with trumpeter/vocalist Joe Gransden and a smokin’ 16-piece big band playing jazz originals and favorites from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Count Basie, Ray Charles and more at Café 290. Cover is just $10 and Joe’s special guest tonight is the Lovett-Ellington Jazz Ensemble.

Tuesday Feb. 8

It’s too very different nights at the movies at the Fox and the Plaza. First at the Fox, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival opens with JEWS AND BASEBALL: AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY, a rousing homage to the national pastime which charts the historic and cultural contributions of great Jewish major leaguers such as Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg and Yogi Berra. Showtime is 7:30 PM, with a swanky preshow reception for Red Carpet VIP ticket buyers at 5:30. General admission tickets are $10, but kids 18 or under wearing a baseball cap or baseball or softball uniform. Or kids battle nasty, pint-sized demons from a hole in a suburban backyard when Splatter Cinema goes back to the ‘80s with THE GATE (1987) at the Plaza. The fun starts at 9 with a chance to get your free photo taken in a realistic recreation of a scene from the movie and to check out the merchandise table.  On the musical front, grab your horn and join Joe Gransden again in a jazz jam session starting at 9 PM at Twain’s in Decatur.

Wednesday Feb. 9

Get ready to rumba, cha-cha and jitterbug at the weekly Swing Night at The Glenwood. Or it’s a veritable Joe Gransden triple-header start to the week with the jazz maestro bringing his retro rhythm now every Wednesday night at 8:30 PM to Jerry Farber’s Side Door beside Landmark Diner.

What president has written 40 books, founded a third political party, survived an assassin’s bullet, and explored what was then an unknown river – the Amazon? Theodore Roosevelt proved that life doesn’t have to end when one leaves the Oval Office, according to COLONEL ROOSEVELT, the third in a biography trilogy. Hear author/journalist Edmund Morris discuss Roosevelt’s last act at 8 p.m. at the Margaret Mitchell House. Admission is $10 for non-Atlanta History Center members. Reserve your tickets online here.

Thursday Feb. 10

The Atlanta Ballet put the vampire into Valentine’s a few years ago with its seductive performance of DRACULA. Now it’s the Little 5 Points Rockstar Orchestra’s turn to go blood red with HAUS VON DRACUL, PART 1, an original rock opera by veterans of Atlanta’s underground music scene, opening tonight at 7 Stages Theatre in Little 5 Points and playing through Sun. Feb. 13. Showtime is at 9 PM. Also, Ghost Riders Car Club celebrates Vietnamese New Year with classic ’50s honkytonk and rockabilly every Thursday in February at Pho Truc in Clarkston. For a sneak peek, see last week’s KOOL KAT OF THE WEEK with guitarist Spike Fullerton. Or listen to Tongo Hiti’s luxurious live lounge sounds, as well as some trippy takes on iconic pop songs, just about every Thursday night at Trader Vic’s.

Friday Feb. 11

Valentines gets a dose of the old va-va-va-voom as two of Atlanta’s best burlesque groups take the stage this weekend. You’re sure to be bedazzled, and laugh a little, too, when the delectable Dames Aflame “POP” the corks off their annual Valentine’s extravaganza at Paris on Ponce both Friday and Saturday nights at 8 PM and 10:30 PM. VIP tables for four get a complimentary bottle of bubbly. Meanwhile Minette Magnifique escorts audiences on a metaphorical visit to the most romantic city in the world with FROM PARIS WITH LOVE, their Valentine’s spectacular at Le Fais do-do in West Midtown. Tune in Tuesday to meet their delightful emcee Shellie Schmals, aka Baroness VonSchmalhausen, ATLRetro’s Kool Kat of the Week.

Everyone is a Latin lover at a special VALENTINE TANGO NIGHT in the vintage setting of Callanwolde, a Tudor-style mansion in Druid Hills. Dancers of all skill levels are invited to learn the authentic Argentine version of the dance, beginning with an introductory lesson at 8 pm followed by a chance to try out your moves at an open tango dance party starting at 9:15. Lesson is $15, or just attend the party for $10.  Or if you’re in the mood for swing, Fernbank’s MARTINIS & IMAX VALENTINE’S CELEBRATION features the Michael Brown Quartet and cupid-approved drinks such as the Blushing Valentini, from 6:30-11 p.m. And the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra proclaims ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, with a tribute to the silly and serious love songs of Paul McCartney and The Beatles, both tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. Mr. McCartney is personified by Tony Kishman, one of the stars of the hit Broadway play BEATLEMANIA.

Saturday Feb. 12

In life there may be no second chances, but the Dames Aflame “POP” show and ASO ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE McCartney/Beatles tribute replay tonight, or for the more macabre-minded, HAUS VON DRACUL, it’s day three of four for the horror rock musical.

Been there, done that? Then head to Avondale Estates for the fourth annual Rail Arts District event, featuring art, gourmet food truck vendors, live acoustic music at Little Tree Art Studios including Kodac Harrison, and a chance to relive the British Invasion at 10 PM with The Buggs. Lovers of oysters can get their fill at Oysterfest at Park Tavern on Piedmont Park from noon to midnight, also featuring Abbey Road, a Beatles tribute band at 4 pm, and Block Party, an ’80s cover act, at 6 p.m.

Sunday Feb. 13

Heart Humbugs will rejoice at SPEAKEASY SUNDAY: THE ANTI-VALENTINE EDITION, 9 to 11: 30 p.m., at Friends on Ponce, which promises songs of heartbreak, love, and loss and special guests such as Burlesque beauty Talloolah Love.

For more weekend fun, tune in on Thursday for ATLRetro Weekend Update. if you know of a cool happening we’ve missed, send suggestions to

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