This Week in Retro Atlanta March 7-13

Posted on: Mar 7th, 2011 By:

Wow, there’s a lot flying and frying this week Retro-wise in Atlanta from Phoenix Flies to Southern Fried Burlesque Fest to a host of pop and rock performers who got their start in the ’80s. Here’s your weekly guide to where and why to get out…

Monday March 7

Atlanta Preservation Center continues its annual The Phoenix Flies: A Celebration of Living Landmarks, so-named after the iconic symbol of Atlanta—the mythical bird that burns and is reborn similar to the city post-Civil War. The event which runs through March 20 offers a chance to take its neighborhood historical walking tours for free, as well as experience additional behind-the-scenes peeks inside Atlanta’s most famous buildings of eras gone by. Today’s tours include The Temple synagogue (1930), designed by legendary Atlanta architect Philip Trammel Shutze at 10:30 AM; the Gothic revival Peachtree Christian Church (1925) at noon; and Grant Park at 5 PM. Reservations are recommended. After dark, Joe Gransden & his smokin’ 16-piece orchestra present another Big Band Night of jazz at Café 290, featuring Sinatra, Bennett, Basie and Joe’s originals. Blues chanteuse Francine Reed is back at Cafe CircaNorthside Tavern hosts a Blues Jam.

Tuesday March 8

Phoenix Flies features the Swan House at the Atlanta History Center (AHC), site of lavish parties in the 1920s and ’30s; other AHC facilities such as the 1840 Tullie Smith Farm and Cherokee Garden Library and Kenan Research Center, which both house rare photos and documents of Atlanta history; neoclassic First Church of Christ, Scientist (cornerstone laid 1903); Hinman Home (1896), now Stonehurst Place Bed & Breakfast; Midtown’s The Castle; a general Historic Midtown tour; and Wimbish House (1906), one of the last remaining homes on Peachtree Street’s once posh Mansion Row now the headquarters of Atlanta Women’s Club.

Splatter Cinema presents 1980s vampire classic NEAR DARK at 9:30 PM. Read Mark Arson’s Retro Revue to see why you shouldn’t miss this hard-edged horror Western directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow and starring Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton. Grab your horn and head to Twain’s in Decatur for a Joe Gransden jazz jam session starting at 9 PM. Fedora Blues plays Fatt Matt’s Rib Shack. Atlanta’s notorious DJ Romeo Cologne spins the best ‘70s funk and disco at 10 High in Virginia-Highland.

Wednesday March 9

Phoenix Flies tours the Fabulous Fox Theatre and offers a rare peek inside The Herndon Home, a beautiful 1910 mansion built by Atlanta’s first African-American millionaire Alonzo Herndon which has many eclectic aspects thanks also to his drama teacher wife Adrienne who would put on theater productions occasionally on the roof.

Get ready to rumba, cha-cha and jitterbug at the weekly Swing Night at The Glenwood. Catch Joe Gransden every Wednesday night at 8:30 PM at Jerry Farber’s Side Door. The Hollidays bring on the blues at Fatt Matt’s Rib Shack. Dance to ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s hits during Retro in the Metro Wednesdays presented by Godiva Vodka, at Pub 71 in Brookhaven, starting at 8 PM. Cover band ’80s Band of Destiny is in the Atlanta Room at Smith’s Olde Bar.

Thursday March 10

Stonehenge Mansion, one of today's Phoenix Flies tours.

Another busy day for Phoenix Flies including tours of Fox Theatre; early Edgewood-Candler Park; Unseen Underground exploring parts of the old railway lines and viaduct system not usually open to public view; Burns Club (1910), a replica of Scottish poet Robert Burns’ birth home with Burns poetry reading; City Hall; Stonehenge Mansion & Sanctuary, a Gothic mansion in Druid Hills built as a residence but now houses St. John’s Lutheran Church; and the Georgia Capitol.

The first annual Southern Fried Burlesque Fest kicks off with the Atlanta premiere of award-winning documentary DIRTY MARTINI & THE NEW BURLESQUE, with a Q&A afterwards with director Gary Beeber and Neo-Burlesque Revival superstar Dirty Martini, at the Holiday Inn & Conference Center in Decatur. Be sure to read our fest preview here. Chickens and Pigs play Pho Truc in Clarkston from 8-10 PM. 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. Party ‘70s style with DJ Romeo Cologne at Aurum Lounge.  Breeze Kings and Chicken Shack bring on the blues respectively at Northside Tavern and Fat Matt’s Rib Shack.

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Retro Revue: Vampires on Fire; Splatter Cinema Sizzles with Anti-‘80s Bloodsucker Classic NEAR DARK

Posted on: Mar 6th, 2011 By:

By Mark Arson, Contributing Writer

NEAR DARK (1987)
Dir: Kathryn Bigelow
Stars: Lance Henrikson, Bill Paxton, Adrian Pasdar, Jenette Goldstein, Jenny Wright
Where: Splatter Cinema, Plaza Theatre
When: Tues. March 8, 9:30 PM

What would humans do if they could live forever if only they avoided one thing? They would likely brush as close against it as possible, over and over again, because it’s part of human nature. The vampires of NEAR DARK are constantly out late (which in this case might qualify as early, indeed, Near Dawn might have been a more appropriate title) and catching on fire in the early morning sun. Not to worry, these particular vampires can recover from their burn wounds if they find cover before exploding, and crosses and stakes don’t even figure into the equation.

This isn’t a typical vampire movie; it’s actually more of a western, punctuated by scruffy drifters, lawmen, shootouts, and an obligatory (let’s kill everyone in the) bar scene, which lasts a brutal 10 minutes (a LONG TIME in movie terms). Our protagonist, in the standard role of “the new guy” (in this case “new vampire”), is Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar), brought into the flock by Mae (a stunning Jenny Wright), whom he picked up at a gas station, young love quickly turning into something much less innocent. The other vampires don’t accept him right away, particularly the rabid Severen (Bill Paxton) and the head of the “family,” Jesse (the always great Lance Henriksen). In fact, Caleb never quite seems to fit in, since he’s a “good kid” at heart (i.e. not great vampire material), a unique twist on the outsider’s perspective that drives most vampire films; here the outsider is the one who isn’t a cold-blooded killer.

Before long, Caleb’s family is in pursuit, complications ensue, and it’s vampires afire all over again. Helmed by future Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (THE HURT LOCKER), NEAR DARK is not just an atypical vampire movie, it’s also an atypical ’80s movie. It is dark to be sure (of course), but neon is practically nonexistent, owing to it’s decaying suburban Midwestern setting, the same type of setting that became such a compelling backdrop for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN years later. In fact, the most ’80s thing about the film is the minimalist electronic score by Tangerine Dream, and one would be hard pressed to find a better sonic backdrop for the cold, bleak existence of a pack of vampires. When things are finally resolved at the end of the film, there is a simple solution, in line with the simple vampire mythology at play. Of course, the mythology is only simple because the real story is about how complicated it is to be human, no matter how cut-and-dried the circumstances are. That, and vampires on fire.

Click here to watch the trailer.

Category: Retro Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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