Sunday, April 19, 2015

Want to see something you've never seen?

Want to see something you've never seen, and likely never will otherwise?

Mysteries of the Unseen World, now showing on IMAX at Fernbank Museum of Natural History, gives you such an opportunity. You and your fellow visitors might even want to take in a double-feature, like I did yesterday!

Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Dinosaur Plaza

Visitors to Fernbank are greeted at Dinosaur Plaza by a trio of hadrosaurs known as Lophorhothon atopus, which once lived in the region that is now Georgia. 

I share that with you so that you know that if you don't have time to explore the museum AND take in a movie, you still get a dinosaur experience. But do come back when you have more time to's a fantastic museum!

Now, to the film...

What you can't see...can fascinate! Mysteries of the Unseen World is a magnificent film that explores things that are too small—really, really small!—as well as things that move too fast or too slow for the naked eye to see.

Did you know that what we see—with the naked eye—is a tiny fraction of of what's really going on in our world, and the universe? The film tells us about some of the light spectrum that we don't see, and so much more! 

Fernbank Museum of Natural History is open, with IMAX films rolling, seven days a week. But, if you can't make it to Fernbank during the week, consider Martinis & IMAX on a Friday evening, 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (except for holiday weekends). It's a great evening of live music, dancing, food, cocktails and IMAX films!

Enjoy the National Geographic Movie Mysteries of the Unseen World at Fernbank Museum of Natural History through Thursday, July 16, 2015. Go have fun at Fernbank and see what you've never seen before!

Friday, April 17, 2015

10 Reasons & 10 Ways to Support Atlanta Ballet

A new love affair is always exciting. Especially when it's one that has developed over the years. 

Although I've been a fan of dance all my life—you should have seen me in the 80s and 90s—looking back, even I was surprised to realize that I've attended three Atlanta Ballet performances since December. Each was unique and absolutely thoroughly magnificent. I've always admired dance—in its many forms—but I can now say that I'm a true fan, a love affair of sorts, of ballet. With a particular zeal for Atlanta Ballet. 

In December, my best friend treated me to Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker. In February I treated myself to Romeo et Juliette—Gold Section seats!—and just last month, Atlanta Ballet treated me to the world premiere of Camino Real. Already I can hardly wait for the next performance!

Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real | Photo: Kim Kenney
Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real | Photo: Kim Kenney


In a relatively brief period of time, the dancers, choreographers, costumer designers, performance venues, administration and marketing (my apologies to anyone I left out) have made me a major fan of Atlanta Ballet and I'd like to share with you a few reason you may want to join me in supporting them. In no particular order...

1. Opening Night!

Atlanta Ballet knows how to do Opening Night! And a Red Carpet Opening Night is a fantastic experience. Most recently I attended Opening Night of Camino Real with my dear friend Nancy and our pre-show and intermission experience at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre was magnificent.

Pre-show and intermission entertainment varies from show to show, but in my brief experience it includes a DJ spinning lively music, dance performances, specialty cocktails, there's a gift shop, usually more than one private reception going on, and when attending Romeo et Juliette in February, I and hundreds of others were witness to a proposal of marriage. She said, "Yes!" 

Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real | Photo: Kim Kenney
Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real | Photo: Kim Kenney

2. Camino Real

"Pickett had debuted her first full-length work, a daunting challenge with dramatic narrative based on a difficult play. A well-tuned collaboration between Pickett, composer Peter Salem, set designers David Finn and Emma Kingsbury, and costume designer Sandra Woodall, Camino is one of the most unusual and original dance collaborations the company has ever produced." - ArtsATL

Cynthia Bond Perry's ArtsATL review of Camino Real is particularly well-written, especially for an audience that follows dance. I invite you to read it in its entirety. I definitely agree with her use of the word "unusual", for it was that indeed. But in the most wonderful of ways. For the skeptics who envision taking a nap at the ballet...not going to happen at a performance of Camino Real! It's incredibly mesmerizing.

Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real | Photo: Charlie McCullers
Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real | Photo: Charlie McCullers

3.  Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker

Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker has been a favorite tradition for many since 1995. 

And for many young Atlantan's (and us older one's too), it was a first experience of Nutcracker, a first experience of The Fox Theatre, and a first experience of Atlanta Ballet, perhaps even the first time seeing a ballet!

I can't even imagine Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker not being part of all the spectacular holiday offerings Atlanta has to offer, especially one this special. I've met people who have seen it many, many times and others who have wanted to see it for years. I'm well on my way to being in the first group and if you're in the latter group, I hope you'll remedy that this December.

4. Atlanta Ballet Orchestra

If you're a fan of live music performances—a great majority of Atlantans are—then you're in for quite the treat. The Atlanta Ballet Orchestra performs live every performance. I wish we saw more of them, but we do have the opportunity to express our gratitude with applause—and I encourage you to applaud loudly!

Atlanta Ballet has deep roots in live music. In fact, in 1946 the Company became the first in the nation to help fund a symphony by donating that season's proceeds to the Atlanta Youth Symphony, which later became the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

For this year’s world premiere of Camino Real, the Company commissioned an original score. It was new for the composer, the orchestra, the choreographer, the dancers and it was new for the delighted audiences who attended that world premiere weekend.

I've never heard anything like it—quite likely because there is nothing like it—and it was remarkable! Congratulations to all who created and brought the score to life.

5. They're Environmentally Responsible

The Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre, Atlanta Ballet headquarters, was designed and constructed to pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, the Centre achieved LEED-Gold certification when it opened in 2010.

Even more impressive, Atlanta Ballet is the only arts organization in the country whose headquarters has LEED-Gold certification, the second highest achievement for LEED certification! I would even suggest that Atlanta Ballet was a pioneer among Atlanta organizations to adopt such a strong sustainability stance so early.

At 55,000 square feet, the West Midtown headquarters is twice the size of its former location and only the sixth location in the Company's more than 85 year history. The facility houses five (5) full size dance studios, a physical therapy suite, a student library, a massive costume shop, nearly 8,000 square feet of office space, a full-service box office and a LOT more! Impressive doesn't begin to describe it.

Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real | Photo: Kim Kenney
Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real | Photo: Kim Kenney

6. Heath Gill

Atlanta Ballet danseur Heath Gill is the one company member I've seen perform more than any other. Between Wabi Sabi performances, Nutcracker at The Fox Theatre and performances at Cobb Energy Center, I've lost count of how many times I've seen him. There's comfort in familiarity, of course, but Heath's love for what he does shows in his performance. That I admire.

The Atlanta Ballet company dancers range in experience from debut season to 20th season! And they represent a vast array of experience and quite a few countries. The breadth of possibilities for what to expect from this compilation of talent is practically infinite. It's wonderfully exciting is what it is!

7. Nadia Mara

During the press preview for Camino Real, Nadia Mara was a mere few feet away from me—they were running scenes for us in the main dance studio, with mid-construction sets in place—that was pretty cool. 

Nadia gave a performance of an intoxicated young lady unlike anything I've ever seen on a Hollywood big screen. On film, she'd be an Oscar-winning actress, but I'm quite happy to be able to see her perform live as a heart-winning ballerina.

8. Set Design & Fabrication

The set for Camino Real was designed and fabricated at Atlanta Ballet's West Midtown headquarters. I had the awesome opportunity to see those sets mid-fabrication during a press preview about two weeks before opening night.

Check this out...when they moved to West Midtown, they built their main dance studio to scale of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center stage, where the Atlanta Ballet is a resident company. So, you can imagine just how much that facilitates rehearsals, as well as set design.

Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real, Set Fabrication | Photo: Kim Kenney
Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real, Set Fabrication | Photo: Kim Kenney

9. Costume Design and Fabrication

Costumes for Camino Real, being a world premier, were designed, by Sandra Woodall, and fabricated at the Atlanta Ballet campus. You should see their Costume Shop! It's the size of a department store...a mesmerizing and magical place. 

I've had the pleasure of seeing the Costume Shop twice...once four years ago at a networking event and again recently. It's still a treasure trove of ensembles that will evoke a flood of marvelous memories. There are many, many shows represented in that majestic closet!  

Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real Costume Concept | Photo: Atlanta Ballet
Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real Costume Concept | Photo: Atlanta Ballet

10. You're Supporting Someone's Dream

We all have aspirations and that one dream career that we're either in or working toward. Believe me when I tell you that it takes more than a village to produce and perform even one Atlanta Ballet show. By supporting Atlanta Ballet, you're supporting the dreams of dancers, choreographers, musicians, engineers, costume designers, facility managers, marketing professionals, set designers...the list goes on and on!

And please have a look at what they're doing at their multi-campus Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education!

Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real | Photo: Charlie McCullers
Atlanta Ballet | Camino Real | Photo: Charlie McCullers


Please allow me to share a few ways that you can support Atlanta Ballet. Some of these are obvious, but oftentimes the obvious eludes us or we forget by time we're in a place to take action. So, I offer these these as inspiration, or at the very least may they serve as reminders. In no particular order...
I encourage you to pick at least one—or turn the whole list into a checklist!—and have fun supporting the performing arts and Atlanta Ballet

How will I support Atlanta Ballet, you ask? I will continue to attend performances, I'll continue to share their magnificence on Social Media, and I've always wanted to learn how to tap dance, so don't be surprised if one day I share of video of my inaugural dance recital, the result of classes offered through Atlanta Ballet!

In case you missed it, here's a look at the one-of-a-kind, totally mesmerizing performance that I hope is a show that will tour the world, Camino Real...

One last thing. It means a lot to me, and I think most would agree, to see Atlanta Ballet embrace and demonstrate their Mission Statement:
To enrich the human spirit through dance; inspire through performance and empower through education, while building on the rich legacy of the art of dance.
Well, it's now after midnight and tonight is Opening Night of The Best of Modern Choreographic Voices, three ballets in one performance! It's at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center through Sunday, so get your tickets now. 

I'll see you at the ballet!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Don't Miss the 80th Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival

If you didn't make it to the 79th Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park last weekend, you totally missed out on one of the greatest Atlanta festivals yet! Be sure to mark your calendars for next year's festival, even though I can't imagine how they're going to outdo this year's.

Did you know that the Atlanta Dogwood Festival is the country's third oldest fine arts festival? Did you know they hosted their first 5K Race this year? Did you know they held the first Family Friday event this year, which they hope will become an annual tradition. I would venture to guess that there's a lot more going on at this festival than most would fathom. Allow me, please, to share a few festival experiences with you... 

Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Spoon
Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Spoon

SPOON! I've had the great fortune of meeting and talking with quite a few artists at Atlanta festivals and that great fortune continued this past weekend. SPOON was the first artist I spoke with at this year's Atlanta Dogwood Festival and her kindness, humor and joviality set the tone for how much I would enjoy the festival.

Artwork by SPOON's minimalist approach is her tagline manifested: "Hand Painted Artwork Born From Narrative". Her work immediately captured my attention and I'm so glad I stopped and explored! I heard others speculating what her work means and what its intent was, but I heard from the artist herself! That she has an awesome sense of humor was a total bonus!

The allure of her work gave up the grand reward of recognition. Especially after SPOON showed me how her paintings appear on a mobile phone camera--immediately recognizable. The painting she demonstrated on was one of the unmistakable icon the marquee of The Fox Theatre.

SPOON is also a TedxPeachtree veteran. I love her response to the interview question, "What are three words to best describe you?" Her answer, "To be continued..." 

"Thank you, SPOON!" for making the festival another fantastic experience.

Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | International Stage
Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | International Stage

The award-winning International Stage, at The Dock on Lake Clara Meer, was hardly noticed its first year at the festival, but now is a major attraction of the three-day event. In the years I've been back in Atlanta, I recall only large crowds at the International Stage, and for good reason...the performances are fantastic!

On the first day of the festival, I had the honor to meet Miss Georgia World 2015, Talisha White, at a festival reception. With an enthusiastic desire for world travel, Talisha will be competing for the Miss World America title this summer. Good luck, Talisha!    

Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Mike Sluder Metalworks
Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Mike Sluder Metalworks

When I asked metalwork artist Mike Sluder about his technique, he shared that he doesn't force the bronze and copper that he works with, but instead he unhurriedly wields the metal in a manner that allows it to reveal a spectacular expression of itself. Okay, he probably wouldn't use those words, but that's how I've come to understand his amazing art.

I've had the pleasure of seeing quite a few works by Mike over the years, at shows, in a museum and at art festivals. I hope you get to, too. 

I appreciate that Mike has always been kind and hospitable and envy the collectors and corporate clients he creates for. Perhaps one day I'll have one to proudly display, or perhaps you'll invite me to the unveiling party when you bring home the work of art you commissioned from Mike Sluder Metalworks

Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | The Great Chair Hack
Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | The Great Chair Hack

The Great Chair Hack was back! Organized by Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) and the Atlanta Chapter of International Designers Society of America (IDSA), the competition strongly encourages creativity and imagination...and lots of fun! 

The teams of 2-4 members are given an unassembled IKEA chair and are challenged to create an "innovative solution". While the gentlemen pictured above didn't place in the top three at the competition--although I love the tiny, highly detailed playground they created--they were the only ones wearing team shirts, so they get the award for team spirit in my book.

All the teams looked like they were having a blast and their finished products were impressive! I'm not sure what the prize package was, but the trophy for the top winners were 3D-printed golden statuettes, courtesy of MODA.

I sincerely hope this event returns next again year...awesome fun!

Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Dorian Edwards
Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Dorian Edwards

I had the pleasure of meeting one of the artists featured in this year's Atlanta High School Art Exhibition (AHSAE), Dorian Edwards, pictured here with his magnificent mixed media work titled "Self Portrait". I chatted briefly with his very proud mother, too.

I must say that the talent represented in this exhibition gives me great hope for the future of artistic expression. A great majority of the work, including Dorian's, is gallery quality. I would not be the least bit surprised to see any of these student artists make it big! Indeed, the young artists whose work was on display were relatively few from the total number of applications received.

Also at the festival, and happy to share what they're doing for Atlanta and her visitors, were Atlanta Ballet (new show starts this Friday), Atlanta Opera, Center for Puppetry Arts (They had nine puppets onsite!), The Children's Museum of Atlanta, and Flux Projects...just to name a few! 

Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort
Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort

Isn't Wendy gorgeous? She's one of the many, many wildlife creatures rescued and rehabilitated by AWARE, the Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort. Poor thing had a broken wing. And her human companion was awesome! Thanks for sharing so much about AWARE and for sharing Wendy's story. 

I didn't know this, but it requires a blood test to learn the gender of owls, this species at least. Fortunately for us, AWARE offers tours every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. when visitors can meet the resident Ambassador Animals, and learn more about wildlife!

If you went to the Atlanta Dogwood Festival and you saw the award-winning Eco-Village, I'm sure you'll agree that it's a wonderful addition to an already fantastic festival! 

I'm a strong proponent for sustainability and living/going green, so exploring the Eco-Village was great fun, as well as fascinating. AWARE was a new discovery for me, but I was quite happy to see Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and Lifecycle Building Center, as well as the soon-to-open Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) represented. I invite you to explore their websites to learn more about their remarkable contributions to Atlanta.

Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Marc James Villanueva
Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Marc James Villanueva

This was MJ Vilanueva's first time showing at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival and his enthusiasm was off the charts, as is his mixed-media original contemporary art! My immediate favorite pieces was a series of thin, vertical works--reminiscent of a circuit board (at least for tech geeks like me)--that sold Saturday morning. All of them! 

It was great to see many new and first-time artists to the Atlanta Dogwood Festival--and their enthusiasm, and amazing art--and I hope we see more of MJ! Be sure to ask him about "Lucky #13" when you connect with him. I say again, don't be shy about talking with the artists...they're typically brilliant and happy to talk art!

When I asked MJ if I could make a photo of him with his art, he was almost apologetic in his explanation that he has to offer a Hawaiian "shaka" in all his photos. When I told him how many photos I have of myself offering a Vulcan salute we both enjoyed a hearty, understanding laugh. 

Speaking of enthusiastic, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival added a 5K this year. Director Brian Hill shared with me that they weren't sure what kind of response they'd get, but they had more than 500 runners! In the first year! This race is also a Peachtree Road Race qualifier, further evidence that if the Atlanta Dogwood Festival is going to do something, they're going to do it right!

International Program, Argentina
Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | International Program, Argentina

The award-winning International Village has grown significantly since its founding at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. Dogwood Festival Co-Chair Lesley Frappier shared with me the history of the international features of the Festival--the International Village growing from one country represented to this year capping out at 10 countries represented.

The photo above are representatives, and a friend, of the Consulate General of Argentina. When I found out that Argentina was part of the International Village I had to meet them and share that my 2004 two-week trip to Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls was one of my all-time favorite vacations! What great fun reminiscing with them. 

They were also giving away a Chimichurri recipe that I can hardly wait to try! 

Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Greg Stones
Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Greg Stones

Greg, of Watercolors by Greg Stones, has a new book out: Sock Monkeys Have Issues, and it's just as hilarious as his others! Of course I had to stop by and buy my own copy and Greg kindly personalize it for me saying, "You are so much cooler than any sock monkey, ever!" I haven't gotten a compliment like that in...well, ever! Sock monkeys are pretty darn cool, you know.
"Greg Stones turns his popular, playfully absurd illustration style and subversive humor to the lovable but issue-fraught world of sock monkeys, detailing their inner lives and misadventures with a playful wit that will appeal to cheeky monkeys of all ages." - Chronicle Books
If you've followed me for any length of years, you know that I've made a tradition of making a photo of or with Greg. Zombies and sock monkeys are quite as cooperative as Greg, who is much more agreeable. Anyway, this year I invited a few members of Greg's fandom. All but one fan smiled for the photo...but perhaps she was just concerned about the ninja lurking around the booth.  

One of the things that I love about the Atlanta Dogwood Festival is that they mix artists and art mediums. I might not have visited a watercolor section years ago (they've never sectioned mediums that I recall) and would have missed out on some of the best laughs ever. Greg is a favorite artist and I can't imagine the Atlanta Dogwood Festival with him and his humor there. 

The one thing that they do show collectively are Georgia artists, so if you're looking for something by a local artist, it's easy to find. Otherwise, explore the Artists Market at your leisure...there are hundreds to discover!

May I also mention that one of the local artists that I always enjoy seeing and catching up with is Elaine, from Elaine Rader Jewelery. Gorgeous work!

Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Kids Zone
Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015 | Kids Zone

The Kids Village at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival offered more this year than ever before! There were so many rides and experiences, it made me want to be a kid again. It's always great to see the kiddos having a good time at one of Atlanta's premier festivals!

The Kids Village is surrounded by other festival features. Immediately adjacent were:
Of the hundreds at the festival, I'd like to share with you a few other artists whose work I very much like:
  • Vince Pompei - Shows the brilliance and creativity a person can have with merely spoons!
  • Art by Tai - This artist reinforces that there's a LOT in the details. Tai's work is magnificent, particularly in the details. And he's incredibly clever.
  • David Burton Art - Complex and completely fun! I love the monochromatic black sculptures!
  • Bruce Holwerda - I didn't get to meet Bruce, but find his work fascinating and unlike anything I've seen. I particularly like his "Wheels & Orbs" series. 
  • Eric Grimes Art From Scraps - This was Eric's first time at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival and he took the ribbon for "Best of Wood". Congrats, Eric!
I visited the Atlanta Dogwood Festival on Friday, then went to an opening reception (Thank you, Launch Atlanta for the invite to the reception.) and then went back on Saturday and explored for an additional 5.5 hours! And I could have happily returned for the third day! It was that much fun.

I invite you, and encourage you, to visit the Atlanta Dogwood Festival website, and "Like" their Facebook page, for announcements of what promises to be a magnificent 80th Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival! Don't miss it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spectacular, Clever, Mesmerizing...and Blue

There is absolutely nothing about Blue Man Group that is going to make you blue. Unless of course they pull you from the audience, escort you up on stage, paint you BLUE, lift you by your feet and smash you into a canvas. But then you'll have a magnificent story to tell your grandkids and a keepsake painting!

I went to Opening Night last night and I could write a book about this show, there's so much going on—including someone being smashed into a canvas—every bit of it fun! And that it's at The Fox Theatre makes it even more special. There are several more performances through Sunday, April 12, 2015, but get your tickets fast...I would not be the least bit surprised if this show sells out on any given day!

Blue Man Group | National Tour (Photo: Paul Kolnik)
Blue Man Group | National Tour (Photo: Paul Kolnik)

The grand finale, which wasn't the final number, was the most spectacular concert experience I've ever experienced! The immediately preceding ongoing countdown was a lesson in concert moves, which culminated in every single person in the audience, from nine years old to 90 years old, standing and shaking their...

Well, let's just say that Blue Man Group offered more descriptions than any of us have ever fathomed of...well, never mind, "butt" everyone was out of their seats shaking and moving and dancing and clapping and gazing in awe and wonderment at the sensory overload before them AND enthusiastically bouncing around the theatre illuminated spheres—I think there are 10—each bigger than a human, that double as a scintillating rainbow light show!

Blue Man Group | National Tour (Photo: Paul Kolnik)
Blue Man Group | National Tour (Photo: Paul Kolnik)

No, no, no...that's not the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was actually, first and foremost, one of the most awesome science lessons I've ever seen on how the human eye works! Blue Man Group explained that the human eye sees everything upside down, but the brain turns it upside right, and then went into describing the role of rods and cones. 

The best part, aside from the phenomenal drumming and accompanying video and lights, were the two Blue Men in the "retina capsules"—functioning percussion pods—which contributed to the musical score and the dynamic light show!

Of note, there is no intermission during this show, but I don't think you're going to mind that one bit. You're so engaged and attentive and laughing so hard, you'll barely notice any passage of time, but you will notice a lot of nuance, as well as intent. In fact, and this is easy to do for this show, you'll want to pay close attention, truly immerse yourself, to ensure you don't miss the more subtle humor.   

Blue Man Group | National Tour (Photo: Blue Man Group)
Blue Man Group | National Tour (Photo: Blue Man Group)

Back to the beginning...the show launched with a magnificent display of what can be done with ketchup, an infinite stream of mustard, a couple of drums and welding helmets

Okay, that's not exactly what happened, but this performance takes the imagination on an odyssey that will want you seeing Blue Men all the time. And lots and lots of mustard.

One of the brilliant aspects of this show is that it's equally fun for kids and adults. It's comparable to any well done animated film...a film that's wonderfully entertaining for kids, but written such that grownups discern adult humor that flies right over the heads of ages it wasn't intended to resonate with.

To further enhance your theatre-going experience, I encourage you to read the Julie Bookman article in your Encore Atlanta program. She interviews a 700-Blue Man Group performance veteran who saw his first Blue Man Group live performance at 12 years old. If you've misplaced your program, you can read the current online issue here.

Blue Man Group | National Tour (Photo: Blue Man Group)
Blue Man Group | National Tour (Photo: Blue Man Group)

There were two times during the performance that members of Blue Man Group brought a randomly selected member of the audience to the stage to become part of the show. It was during the Twinkie sequence that I laughed so hard I was crying! I haven't laughed that hard in I don't know how long! And I can't imagine anyone not laughing hysterically when they see what happens to the lady in the Andrew Wyeth painting Christina's World. It's not mean, I promise.

The Cap'n Crunch sequence is hilarious, too! I don't know what it is about blue men and food, but what a priceless recipe! And the first time you see Cap'n Crunch isn't the last time...keep your eyes open!

Student Rush Ticket Deal: Are you in college or know someone who is and is in Atlanta right now? Here’s the deal...
  • Only $25 per ticket!
  • Must present valid student ID
  • Limit two tickets per ID
  • Cash only
  • Available at the Box Office only
  • Available only two hours prior to performances
  • Subject to availability
That’s a pretty sweet deal, don't you think! I'd check the Fox's Facebook page for any updates or announcements concerning this deal, but if you can swing it, you're in for an awesome experience!

Blue Man Group | National Tour (Photo: Paul Kolnik)
Blue Man Group | National Tour (Photo: Paul Kolnik)

I would never encourage a child, kid, teenager, let alone an adult, to roll a neighbors yard...or any property for that matter. Toilet paper bolting from the stage was one of the many elements of the grand finale I mentioned earlier. The energy during this part of the show was off the charts, as was the amount of tissue flying into the auditorium! Don't do this at home, kids!

There's so much more to say about how incredibly amazing this show is, but I'll leave it to you to go experience it for yourselves. In the meantime...

I'd like to offer a huge wanderlust ATLANTA "Thank you" to Broadway in Atlanta and BRAVE Public Relations for the tickets and for the photos in this post. Anyone who has followed me even for a short while knows that I'm an avid shutterbug, so on the rare occasion that I get to enjoy a performance or tourist outing without the duty  to capture it in images (which I would trade for nothing) is a wonderful treat. I totally enjoyed spending the evening mesmerized! 

Looking ahead, I am so excited about the shows in the 2015-2016 Broadway in Atlanta season. Just to name a few: Jersey Boys, The Wizard of Oz, The Book of Mormon, The Sound of Music and Kinky Boots

But for now, Blue Man Group is at The Fox Theatre through Sunday, April 12, 2015, so get your tickets and be prepared for awe, wonderment and lots of laughter!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Albert Einstein at Oglethorpe

"A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future.

- Albert Einstein

Lucky for us, Albert Einstein lived very much in the moment. In fact, he said that if he had known that people would be capturing and retelling his every word, he would have retreated into seclusion much earlier than he eventually did.

And speaking of time, the timing of the current exhibition at Oglethorpe University Museum of Art could not be more serendipitous. 2015 is the 100th anniversary of Einstein's publication of his General Theory of Relativity AND the 100th anniversary of Oglethorpe University's establishment on Peachtree Road. 

The school's legacy dates back to 1835, first founded in Milledgeville, Georgia, which was Georgia's fourth Capital, immediately prior to Atlanta becoming the seat of Georgia State government. Oglethorpe's history is quite fascinating and the campus is stunning!

Time is an Illusion | Oglethorpe University Museum of Art
Time is an Illusion | Oglethorpe University Museum of Art

Known as the Oglethorpe-Einstein Manuscript, the original hand-written document proving Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, to help sales of his book Relativity: The Special and General Theory, is now on display at Oglethorpe University Museum of Art.

Through April 30, 2015, Time is an Illusion: Revisiting Einstein's Theories of Relativity is perhaps the closest many of us will ever be to Einstein himself, other than experiencing his actual theories, day to day.

In an Oglethorpe University article, authored by Ariana Feiner—a writer and student at Oglethorpe—John Daniel Tilford, Collections Manager at Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, who also is a personal friend, said, "The manuscript should be viewed in person to truly appreciate its uniqueness as each word, diagram and calculation, including a few corrections, were all penned by Einstein's own hand."

In conjunction with this exhibit, there have been many special events, with more coming up. Specific to Time is an Illusion are Cosmic Dust on April 15 and The Most Gossamer Food on April 25.

There's a lot more to Einstein than most would ever imagine. E = mc2 is by far the most famous equation in the world, but that's not what won Einstein the Nobel Prize in 1921. And did you know that he was a ladies man? I encourage you to have fun researching this fascinating human being. This NOVA documentary is a great place to start. 

I've been a science geek since my earliest childhood memories, so needless to say that I'm a happy man that in the present I, and you, can see an original, handwritten Einstein manuscript in the Time is an Illusion exhibit at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Odds are in Favor for a Fantastic Victory Tour

The odds are definitely in your favor when you take Atlanta Movie Tours' new Victory Tour, which visits real life sites from the movies The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1. We journeyed behind the scenes of more than one District of Panem, as well as toured President Snow's mansion. 

Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours

The staples of all Atlanta Movie Tours tours are brilliant movie/television industry tour guides, trivia games (with prizes), onboard video screens to view filming locations in action, complimentary bottled water, and a group photo at one of the visited sites that is emailed to guests after the tour! We were treated to two group photos on this particular tour! Thank you, AMT!

On this tour, I had the pleasure of sitting with fellow blogger friend Lesli Peterson, author of 365 Atlanta Family, and she's the Official Family Travel Expert for Georgia!

Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours

One of the places we visited was District 12, a place most Atlantans call The Goat Farm, an artist colony in West Midtown, and where a can't-be-forgotten scene with Gale Hawthorne and Katniss Everdeen took place. 

We did indeed get to see some farm animals, but the highlight of THIS tour stop was actually retracing Katniss' footsteps! 

Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours

Even before we got to District 12, we saw the graffiti of District 11 dissidents, which reads, "THE ODDS ARE NEVER IN OUR FAVOR". To be a movie addict such as I am, it's awesome to see actual filming connect with a film and its actors, writers and its creator(s) in a way that nothing but a guided tour can provide.

Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours

The 52-story Marriott Marquis Hotel was another stop on the tour, significant in that it's a filming site for three Hunger Games movies, including (rumored) the to-be-released The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2.

You'll recognize the above photo as the elevator to Tributes Headquarters. We learned that Francis Lawrence thought the atrium resembled the inside of an alien's rib cage, which fascinated him to the point of wanting to film there.

The atrium in the Marriott Marquis was the tallest in the world when the building opened in 1985, and even today fascinates neck-bending tourists...and locals.

Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours

One of my favorite aspects of the day's tour was Kathryn, our beautiful and brilliant tour guide. Before this tour, I'd only met Kathryn socially, at a couple of Atlanta Movie Tours parties and a fundraiser. So, I already knew that she'd be engaging, funny and lots of fun, but she brought to the tour an encyclopedic performance, as well as the festivity of her lively personality! "Thank you, Kathryn, for a magnificent tour!"

Kathryn is also an actress, who has performed on numerous episodes of The Walking Dead. Check her out on Facebook!

Patti Davis, one of the founders and owners of Atlanta Movie Tours, was also on this tour. Patti and her husband have become dear friends of mine, so that she was along made it extra special. 

Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
"The Atlanta History Center is excited to partner with Atlanta Movie Tours for their newest product," said Sheffield Hale, president and CEO, Atlanta History Center. "We know fans won't want to miss the largest Hunger Games tour in Atlanta. We are looking forward to hosting them at the Capitol!"

You've probably noticed that I've written quite a lot about the Atlanta History Center. That's because it's one of my favorite Atlanta destinations. The historic homes, the gardens, the museums, the programs...there's so much to experience at the Atlanta History Center. 

I've enjoyed the great pleasure of working with their Marketing staff over the years...Hillary and Martha have been magnificent! And he's not one to boast, so let me do it for him. Sheffield Hale, president and CEO of the Atlanta History Center (AHC), is without question committed to making the AHC everything it can be. I've seen him at countless AHC events and commented on that fact recently. Without hesitation he remarked that, "It's part of the job." Thank you to the Atlanta History Center for helping to make Atlanta Movie Tours' Victory Tour another wonderful tour!   

Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours

When we arrived at the Atlanta History Center (AHC), specifically the Swan House, Kathryn turned the tour over to AHC staff for that segment. Our AHC tour guide was brilliant and quite entertaining. I've been visiting the Atlanta History Center for so many years now, it's difficult to imagine what it must be like to see the Swan House for the first time. I do know that I still find it incredibly impressive and absolutely splendid.

The artifacts, some of them quite substantial and/or elaborate, on display are alluring and intriguing. I want to go again to explore more lingeringly. Don't get me wrong...we were never hurried during the tour, there's just a lot to take in! A good thing.

One of the things that I enjoyed most about this part of the tour was learning about the transformation process, from Swan House to President Snow's mansion. And there's a wedding story tied to the filming process that you're going to find fascinating! You might even find yourself a little jealous. I know I was.

Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours

If you've never toured the 1928 Swan House at the Atlanta History Center, you're missing out. To tour it through the lens of The Hunger Games is magnificent! Some of the film's artifacts that we'd seen upstairs were used in filming in the Green Room on main level, which served as President Snow's office in the movie. If I recall correctly, it was the one room that was altered the most for the film, but it's been full restored, of course.

Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
I've had the pleasure of sitting at the U.S. President's desk in the Oval Office, but that was a fabrication at Madame Tussauds in New York City—still pretty cool! But sitting a President Snow's actual desk felt quite...well, rather presidential! 

Too bad Snow was such a...well, I can't say that here. However, I can say that Donald Sutherland (President Coriolanus Snow) is an absolute and totally magnificent actor. I've loved his work since first seeing him in the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which also featured the late, great Leonard Nimoy!

Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
Victory Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours

Go on any of Atlanta Movie Tours' guided tours and you'll quickly see why they've earned 5 stars on TripAdvisor and its prestigious Certificate of Excellence. More than 10,000 people have been on one or more of these tours, but the Victory Tour debuted just last month, so you can still be one of the first to experience it!

Book your Atlanta Movie Tours Victory Tour now, and may the odds ever be in your favor!