The Atlanta Ballet presents A WHOLE NEW ‘NUTCRACKER’

nutcracker

Atlanta Ballet’s first fresh holiday show in 2 decades

was 2 years in the making. Creators hint

that it will be brimming with surprises.


Atlanta Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” runs Dec. 8-24 at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.3303. 

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CURTAIN UP on the glow and oh-so-pretty snow. It’s finally time to crack open a whole new Nutcracker because, as Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director Gennadi Nedvigin says, every generation deserves its own.

 Choreographer Yuri Possokhov in rehearsal for the new “Nutcracker.” Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director Gennadi Nedvigin describes his friend as “a child in big-person pants” and calls his work “amazing.” Photo: Kim Kenney

Choreographer Yuri Possokhov in rehearsal for the new “Nutcracker.” Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director Gennadi Nedvigin describes his friend as “a child in big-person pants” and calls his work “amazing.” Photo: Kim Kenney

Nedvigin, a Bolshoi-trained artist, became the fourth artistic director in the company’s 89-year history two seasons ago. He last danced with San Francisco Ballet, and moved to Atlanta knowing he’d help oversee an all-new Nutcracker ballet.

Young people who grew up attending its predecessor, a storybook production staged for 23 seasons, are continuing the tradition. The old version was set against rich, jewel-toned backdrops that evoked 19th-century Russia. It blended clever comedic moments and ethereal classical ballet sequences with thrilling pas de deux.

Nedvigin’s new $3.7 million staging, choreographed by friend and Russian-born dancer Yuri Possokhov, returns to the original source material: German author E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 fantasy story, “Nutcracker and Mouse King.” It places the opening Christmas Eve party scene in a small German village.


A magical uncle

With dream-versus-reality notions, along with toy soldiers and snowflakes and such, The Nutcracker opens its imagination wide to artistic invention. But its central story line often remains: a magical uncle figure brings handmade toys to children at the party. Among them is a nutcracker, which is soon broken. A young girl named Marie checks on it in the middle of the night and discovers it has come to life. The nutcracker battles a mouse king, and then turns into a prince who carries Marie off to a fantasy kingdom inhabited by dolls.

 A costume fitting with designer Sandra Woodall. Photo: Kim Kenney

A costume fitting with designer Sandra Woodall. Photo: Kim Kenney

Hoffmann’s tale contained bleak, even scary elements. As a leader in the German Romantic movement, he was accustomed to writing fantasy and Gothic horror, with tales full of inanimate objects coming to life. In 1844, French writer Alexandre Dumas toned down much of the darkness in Hoffmann’s story. An all-new Nutcracker, which premiered in 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia, paired the lighter Dumas telling with the familiar Tchaikovsky score.

The ballet was not an immediate hit, finding success gradually and chiefly after 1954, when George Balanchine created a version for New York City Ballet. Atlanta audiences have seen that version, too, and until now the one choreographed by Possokhov predecessor John McFall. Possokhov’s ballet is unlike either of those.

“Yuri is truly a child in big-person pants,” Nedvigin says. “He has such a great sense of creativeness inside him. The dancers can prove my words. He truly becomes a child and runs and plays when he is creating. It’s amazing to watch him. We’ll be having dinner, and you will see him just sort of float away. You discover he is making steps in the air.”

The ‘firepower’

Atlanta Ballet hints that its new  Nut “will rival a Broadway show in terms of production firepower.” A versatile team was assembled to help make that happen:

 A costume rendering for Christmas Eve party guests by designer Sandra Woodall.

A costume rendering for Christmas Eve party guests by designer Sandra Woodall.

SCENIC DESIGNER TOM PYE sometimes designs costumes as well. He received a Tony nomination for the scenic design of Broadway’s 2004 Fiddler on the Roof revival.

COSTUME DESIGNER SANDRA WOODALL has done costumes and scenery for prominent ballet companies around the world. She designed costumes for Atlanta Ballet’s Helen Pickett-choreographed Camino Real (2017). A “costume can be absolutely stunning,” Pickett says, “but it cannot take away from what the body is doing … how the body describes the story … and Sandra understands that.”

LIGHTING DESIGNER DAVID FINN did lights and scenery for Camino Real. Next for him are world premieres of The Little Prince for the National Ballet of Canada and Frankenstein for London’s Royal Ballet.

PROJECTION DESIGNER FINN ROSS did scenery for Broadway’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Frozen and Mean Girls. He won London’s Olivier Award (2012) and Broadway’s Tony Award (2014) for the scenic design of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. He and his team spent nine months making the short, three-dimensional film shown during the overture.

And that’s not all. Robert Allsopp, known in  theater circles for his sculptural costumes, was hired to create mice costumes and some headpieces. His work is among more than 250 costumes this Nut uses, many hand-dyed and handcrafted in the United States and three other countries.

Friends & colleagues

Possokhov and Nedvigin have known each other for 18 years. Both were San Francisco Ballet principals near the ends of their performing careers, which also is when Possokhov’s choreographic reputation began growing.

 “Oh, so many wonderful surprises,” promises artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin. “So much more is possible.” Photo: Hyosub Shin

“Oh, so many wonderful surprises,” promises artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin. “So much more is possible.” Photo: Hyosub Shin

The Nutcracker is rooted in Tchaikovsky’s music,” Possokhov says, and gives choreographers “much room for imagination.” Its magic is “its ability to bring people together — children, parents, grandparents, friends, people from all different backgrounds and various faiths.”

Atlanta Ballet calls the new production “a Nutcracker for our time,” without getting too specific. “You will lose your mind to it,” Nedvigin says, “and will forget what is outside the theater walls. You will be transported to a completely different world.”

Nedvigin and Possokhov want audiences to have a hard time discerning what is and isn’t real “but in a good way.” Almost whispering, Nedvigin says, “Oh, so many wonderful surprises. So much more is possible. One time will not be enough to see it or love it.”

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THE WHISKEY GENTRY ANNOUNCES 10TH ANNUAL MERRY Y’ALLTIDE CELEBRATION

 The Whiskey Gentry - Photo: Jon Whittaker

The Whiskey Gentry - Photo: Jon Whittaker

An Atlanta institution, The Whiskey Gentry has announced it will be returning to the Variety Playhouse on December 8, 2018 for the 10th Annual Merry Y’alltide Celebration.  The announcement comes with the news that this will officially be the final performance by The Whiskey Gentry. Recent months have seen the band take fewer engagements, as lead singer, Lauren Morrow has emerged with a new sound and self-titled solo EP.  Rolling Stone profiled Morrow in its latest issue as one of their “10 New Country Artists You Need To Know”  creating further buzz to already exciting news.

“When Jason and I started The Whiskey Gentry, I don't think we ever imagined how incredible this journey would be. We've toured the world, played music with some amazing people, and most importantly, created a family with a group of guys that we love like brothers,” says The Whiskey Gentry lead singer, Lauren Morrow.  “ Over the years, some of us have gotten married, had kids, moved to different cities, and it makes it harder to be a collective unit like it was.  Jason and I have chosen to keep moving with our careers under my name, but no matter what, we will always have these songs, this family of musicians, and all of the incredible memories we've created together over the last decade.”

The final performance of The Whiskey Gentry will be accompanied by several special guests who will help get the crowd warmed up for this spirited evening. Full details on the special guests along with comparative poster art will be reveled in the coming weeks. 

Advance tickets for the 10th Annual Merry Y’alltide Celebration are on sale now, starting at $20. Based on availability, tickets may be available at the Variety Playhouse box office the day of the show.  Tickets are available online at www.ticketfly.com.  This is an all ages show and doors open at 7:00 p.m.  The 10th Annual Merry Y’alltide Celebration is presented by Zero Mile.

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OUT ON FILM Sep. 24, 2018

WhentheBeatDrops

ABOVE: A scene from “When the Beat Drops,” the festival’s opening-night film, screening Sept. 27.

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Atlanta’s 31st LGBT film festival screens 128 features,

documentaries, shorts and more at 3 venues

over 11 days

 

IN WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILYMolly Shannon delivers a surprisingly upbeat take on 19th-century New England poet Emily Dickinson.

In The Happy Prince, Rupert Everett plays Irish poet-playwright Oscar Wilde in his twilight years, a role for which he’s received early raves.

Out-on-Film

Matt Smith, best known as the BBC’s 11th “Dr. Who” and “The Crown’s” Prince Philip, has the title role in Mapplethorpe, embodying the famous — some would say infamous — New York City photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, who died in 1989 at age 42 of AIDS-related complications.

The biopics are among the highlights of the 31st annual Out on Film, Atlanta’s LGBT film festival, running Sept. 27-Oct. 7.

The event screens 128 films in 11 days at one of three locations — Midtown Art CinemaOut Front Theatre Company in West Midtown and the Plaza Theatre in Poncey-Highland. About 50 films are full-length narrative features or documentaries. The rest are short films and Web series (grouped into 16 programs).

The event expanded from eight to 11 days last year and attracted 10,000 moviegoers, according to fest director Jim Farmer. The year’s films speak to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender experience in 25 countries, including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Tunisia, the U.K. and, of course, the United States.

The lineup includes a starry staged reading of The Laramie Project, about the 1998 gay-bashing death of Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard (7 p.m. Sept. 30 at Dad’s Garage Theatre Company). It features Atlanta-based TV, stage and film actors Amy Acker, Steve Coulter, Randy Havens, Jessica Meisel, Rosemary Newcott and Tara Ochs. All proceeds benefit the Matthew Shepard Foundation, in remembrance of the 20th anniversary of his murder. Details, tickets HERE.

The festival’s opening film, When the Beat Drops, has a strong Atlanta connection, Farmer says. The 87-minute documentary details “bucking,” a term for athletic dancing created in the American South by gay African-American men who were banned from cheerleading or being major/majorettes because of homophobia.

Atlanta native Anthony Davis, who’s in the documentary, helped grow the dance into a nationwide program that now includes an annual competition in Atlanta. Davis, actor-choreographer-director Jamal Sims, producer Jordan Finnegan, and other cast and crew members will attend the screening.

 Paul Rudd (left) and Steve Coogan in “Ideal Home.”

Paul Rudd (left) and Steve Coogan in “Ideal Home.”

Also worth checking out:

  • Lez Bomb, with Cloris Leachman, Bruce Dern and Steve Guttenberg, about a closeted young woman played by Jenna Laurenzo, who wrote and directed (Sept. 28, Landmark).

  • 1985, with Cory Michael Smith as a closeted gay man coming home for Christmas.  Virginia Madsen and Michael Chiklis play the parents (Sept. 29, Landmark).

  • Studio 54, a 90-minute documentary about the legendary New York City disco, a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival (Sept. 29, Landmark).

  • Ideal Home, with Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan as a bickering gay couple shaken by the 10-year-old on their doorstep (Oct. 6, Plaza).

In the festival’s first two decades, Farmer says, the lineup was dominated by coming-out stories. “And while those are still here and always relevant, we’re dealing with so many other things.”

 A scene from the documentary “TransMilitary.”

A scene from the documentary “TransMilitary.”

Several films address transgender issues: The 93-minute documentary TransMilitary (winner of the 2018 audience award at the SXSW film festival) looks at 15,500 transgender individuals in the U.S. military (Oct. 6, Out Front); Man Made follows four men in a bodybuilding competition (Oct. 3, Landmark).

The fest holds its first horror night (Oct. 5, Out Front), with a late-night program of shorts preceded by the feature films What Keeps You Alive, about a lesbian couple’s not-so-cheery anniversary getaway, and Devil’s Path, in which two men meet on a gay-cruising park trail.

Pick up the free 78-page Out on Film guidebook at the screening venues and throughout Midtown. It includes the full schedule and information on every film. Details and festival passes ($175 + $200); three-packs ($30); and single tickets ($11 per screening) available HEREDaily updates also on Out on Film’s Facebook page HERE.

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Save the Date: DOGGIES ON THE BELTLINE OCT. 28

We're taking two of our favorite things (costumes and canines) and combining them into one poppin', pre-Halloween event for both man and man's best friend! Join us for the very first Doggies on the BeltLine Halloween parade, featuring a full afternoon of activities and awesome goodies, including:
+ Pre-party at The Shed at Ponce City Market
+ Costume contests (with prizes from Hotel ClermontBarking Hound Village, and City Winery Atlanta)
+ Fabulous freebies from Ace + Jack, Barking Hound Village, and more
+ Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Trekker benefits for an entire year
+ After-party at Park Tavern featuring Tito's Vodka cocktails

Doggies on the BeltLine will be held on Sunday, October 28th from 1:00-3:00 PM. Doggie check-in and parade starts at The Shed at Ponce City Market, where we'll be handing out goodies for you and your precious pooch from Ace + Jack, City Winery, Barking Hound and more! From here, we'll make our way down the BeltLine and end at Park Tavern for the costume contest and after party of the century. Help ring in the Halloween season with the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, Doggies on the Catwalk Foundation and your four-legged bestie!

There will be no onsite ticket sales – you MUST purchase your tickets for this event in advance here. Joining ABP in sponsoring this awesome event are Ponce City Market, Park Tavern, Altitude Apartments, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Hotel Clermont, Barking Hound, City Winery and more. We look forward to seeing everyone at The Shed at Ponce City Market in October! No refunds or ticket transfers, rain or shine (there will be covered areas).  

**Purchase tickets to Doggies on the BeltLine here.

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VIP Lounging at the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival

Those who love the art of VIP festival life, can dive into Grant Park Summer Shade’s VIP experience at this year’s festival on Saturday, August 25th and Sunday, August 26th.  

Presented by the Grant Park Conservancy, VIP festival goers can relax in a private tent, enjoy complimentary bites from Love, Eat, Local and The Shed at Glenwood, premium wines, Monday Night Brewing craft beer, and the Signature Summer Shade Cocktail served in a souvenir cup.  Guests can also enjoy private air-conditioned restrooms, misting stations, and lounge seating in addition to the 16th annual Grant Park Summer Shade Festival’s impressive lineup of live music, expansive artist market, diverse selection of local food trucks, Kids Zone and much more. 

 The Summer Shade VIP Lounge be will open on Saturday, August 25th from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday, August 26th from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Saturday VIP attendees will receive complimentary food and six drink tickets to redeem cocktails, beer and wine. Sunday VIP attendees will receive complimentary food and 5 drink tickets to redeem cocktails, beer and wine. Guests must be 21 or older to enter the VIP Lounge and a limited number of VIP tickets are available. VIP tickets start at $55 for Grant Park Conservancy members and $70 for non-members and are available for purchase at www.summershadefestival.org/vip.  All proceeds benefit the Grant Park Conservancy, a non-profit, membership-based organization committed to the restoration, beautification, and maintenance of historic Grant Park. 

An annual tradition for more than a decade, the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival presented by The Beacon Atlanta will welcome music and art lovers to Atlanta’s oldest park for two days of nonstop fun on Saturday, August 25, 2018 and Sunday, August 26, 2018.  For the most up to date information, visit www.summershadefestival.org.

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Event Recap: Jeffrey Fashion Cares 26th Annual Patron Party at Atlas

On Thursday, June 7, 2018, over 75 Jeffrey Fashion Cares Host Committee members and Patrons descended upon Atlas, the acclaimed restaurant located in the heart of Buckhead at the St. Regis Atlanta, for the annual Jeffrey Fashion Cares Patron Party. Fashionable partygoers mixed and mingled on Atlas' expansive patio while enjoying wine form the Tavistock Reserve Collection and signature cocktails made just for the evening.  Guests also noshed on an array of sweet and savory bites from the popular Tavern menu created by Executive Chef Christopher Grossman and Pastry Chef Christian Castillo.

Hosted by Event Co-Chairs Lila Hertz, Jeffrey McQuithy and Louise Sams, the 26th annual Jeffrey Fashion Cares will be held at Phipps Plaza on Monday, August 27, 2018 at 7 p.m. and includes a high-energy cocktail reception followed by a live auction and runway show featuring founder Jeffrey Kalinsky’s style selections from high-end designers such as Celine, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Dries Van Noten, Sacai, Saint Laurent Paris, Balenciaga, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik.  

One of the largest combined AIDS and breast cancer benefits in the country, this year’s event will benefit Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta, the Atlanta AIDS Fund (AAF) and the Medical University of South Carolina. For more information, visit atlasrestaurant.com. Event photos by Dylan York.

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Davio's Cooks for Charity, Headshots + Handshakes and Doggies + Daiquiris

headshots

Fashion, Food & Furry friend lovers - We have three fun, stylish and very delicious events for you to attend!

Atlanta influencer and Doggies on the Catwalk runway model, Chris Watkins, along with his friends at Davio's and the AC Hotel Buckhead, have created "Headshots + Handshakes," "Davio's Cooks for Charity" and "Doggies + Daiquiris," just for you and to benefit the Doggies Foundation.

 Headshots + Handshakes: Thursday, May 10,  6:30-9p at the AC Lounge.

This is a networking event and headshot party benefiting Doggies on the Catwalk. Come network and mingle with Atlanta professionals at AC Hotel Atlanta Buckhead for professional headshots for your LinkedIn, website, or business profile. Enjoy drink specials throughout the evening. Headshots are $50 made payable onsite as a tax-deductible donation benefiting Doggies on the Catwalk.

Next up: Davio's Cooks for Charity May 15th, 5-10p

We didn't know our boy Chris could throw down in the kitchen...

Chris teamed up with the awesome team at Davio's Atlanta to host Davio's Cooks for Charity event on May 15th. He helped put the smackdown on the evening's charity dish, Penne Pasta w/ Applewood-Smoked Chicken, Sundried Tomatoes, Walnuts, and Cream where 100% of the sales benefit Doggies on the Catwalk.

Chris will be hosting the night and wants to see you there! Make a reservation on OpenTable at the link provided or contact the restaurant at 404.844.4810. https://www.opentable.com/davios-reservations-atlanta

Last but certainly not least:

Doggies + Daiquiris: Monday, May 21, 2018, 6-8p at the AC Patio.

This is a fundraising event benefiting Doggies on the Catwalk. Come learn about Doggies on the Catwalk and there benefactor Canine Assistants and meet the adorable service animals while enjoying doggie-themed daiquiris on the dog-friendly patio. Onsite donations benefit Doggies on the Catwalk.

So mark your calendars for these three fabulous events and support Chris Watkins and Doggies on the Catwalk! Bring a friend or two!

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