Friday, February 5, 2016

"The Missing Generation"...Poignant and Profound

I had the honor Thursday evening of seeing the Atlanta premiere of Sean Dorsey Dance's "The Missing Generation", a profound dance and narrative performance on a 20-city national tour now playing at 7 Stages Theatre through Sunday, February 7.

[This post may contain content that is sensitive to some, but it addresses, through the art of dance and narrative, a current, real-life threat—the AIDS pandemic.

During the post-performance Q&A, one of the performers, Brian, was wearing a t-shirt peppered with superhero logos. To Sean, each of the performers, and to 7 Stages, I say you're all heroes for bringing to light a topic that many would call overdone, when in fact we're nowhere near done.

The Missing Generation | Sean Dorsey Dance | Photo: Lydia Daniller
The Missing Generation | Sean Dorsey Dance | Photo: Lydia Daniller

Over a two-year period, Dorsey traveled the U.S. to record oral history interviews with longtime survivors of the early AIDS epidemic, hosted community residencies, and conducted extensive archival research...then spent nearly 500 hours reviewing the 75 hours of interviews and transcripts, eventually weaving 17 sections into the now-touring performance. 

Their voices are no longer relegated to history.

"There is an incredible urgency to undertaking this project now: during my lifetime, we will see the passing of the last generation of people who actually experienced the early years of the AIDS epidemic first-hand," Dorsey says. "We are already rapidly losing our community’s stories. I wanted to capture and share part of this important history and reckon with the loss and grief this generation endured, and to collectively face this history and grieve and heal together."

I invite you to read the excellently crafted review by ArtsATL, which shares many of the details I learned about tonight's performance. If you're not already following ArtsATL on Social Media, I encourage you to...they FULLY cover the Atlanta arts scene! 

The one thing that I would like to add to that review is that this project is not only about the loss of part of an entire generation of gay, transgender and straight people to AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, I heard it as a call to activism for today's younger generation to continue the fight against the AIDS pandemic. 

Why is that call to activism so important? The CDC (headquartered here in Atlanta) reports that at the end of 2012, an estimated 1.2 million persons aged 13 and older were living with HIV infection in the United States, including 156,300 (12.8%) persons whose infections had not been diagnosed. In 2013, Georgia had the fifth highest number of HIV infection in the nation...That's why that call to activism is so important. 

The final comment from the audience during the post-performance Q&A was from a lady, around my age, who commented she had an epiphany during the performance. She shared that the performance brought a new meaning for her of the once-commonly-seen bumper sticker SILENCE=DEATH. I believe what she was saying is that the performance brought to light, rekindled memories of the early epidemic, that otherwise would have died had Sean not kept them alive.

A particularly emotional moment of the evening for me was meeting Gert McMullin face-to-face, who I wanted to personally offer her a word of gratitude. She was one of the founders of The AIDS Memorial Quilt, and continues to be active with the organization and its contributors. There are several panels from the Quilt on display in the lobby, with podcasts, and the auditorium.

I first saw the Quilt in Piedmont Park decades ago and then in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall in 1996, six years before I moved there. Gert moved from San Francisco to Atlanta when our fine city offered storage space for the all-too-quickly growing Quilt project.

In the lobby before the performance was Dr. L Nyrobi N. Moss of Making A Way Housing, a project that addresses homelessness in Southwest Atlanta. She was there with Empowerment Resource Center and they're offering anonymous, quick-result HIV testing, as well as lots of information about available resources.

There's a LOT of programming accompanied with this four-day run! In addition to what I've already mentioned, there's a Dance Workshop with Sean Dorsey Dance available for the public on Saturday, February 6, from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. To register for the workshop, email with your full name and contact information. Sean and fellow dancers highly encourage novice dancers to participate! 

ALSO, 7 Stages is hosting a free brunch and "Art of Activism" discussion on Sunday from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., sponsored by Babs Midtown and Ansley Wine Merchants. The owner of Babs, Randy Adler, is a personal friend and colleague. I've dined at Babs and it truly is funtastic! Randy has a rather unique vocabulary and "funtastic" is definitely a word he would use and one that I totally agree with. I'm sure you'll enjoy brunch and find the discussion engaging and enlightening!

Sean Dorsey Dance's "The Missing Generation" is playing at 7 Stages Theatre in Little Five Points through Sunday, February 7, 2016.   

About 7 Stages Theatre (which I particularly like about it)
7 Stages Theatre has been bringing local and international emerging artwork of social, political, and spiritual importance to Atlanta audiences since 1979. Artists in performance, music, visual and the spoken arts have found the organization a haven in the support and development of new works and methods of collaboration.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sweeney Todd is Cleaver...I Mean Clever

A vengeful demon barber and a pie lady who's nuttier than a fruitcake...count me in! 

Now showing at Actor's Express through Sunday, February 28, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical thriller unlike any other performance art you've probably ever seen!

Sweeney Todd | Actor's Express
Sweeney Todd | Actor's Express

Actor's Express is kicking off the new year with one of the greatest American plays, which is actually set in across the Big Pond, in London. As soon as you set eyes on the stage, you feel you're there! 

Kevin Harry, who I'd seen perform brilliantly in Rent at Actors Express last summer, is convincingly expressive as Sweeney Todd the demon can "feel" his vengeance for having been wrongly imprisoned. When he learns that a crooked judge (Michael Strauss) has taken his daughter as a ward, things get even dicier.   

Sweeney Todd, Cast | Actor's Express
Sweeney Todd, Cast | Actor's Express

From an Actor's Express press release: 
Sweeney Tood, a wronged barber escapes from prison, returning to his native London to exact revenge on the corrupt judge who unjustly imprisoned him and stole his wife and child. When he joins forces with the lonely pie-maker Mrs. Lovett, he sets into motion a tale of lust, murder, revenge and some really twisted meat pie recipes. Sondheim’s electrifying masterpiece explodes off the Actor's Express stage with raw power and some of the best singing you’ll hear in Atlanta all year.
The 1979 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street won multiple Tony Awards, among them: "Best Musical", "Best Musical Score" (Stephen Sondheim), "Best Performance for a Leading Actor in a Play" (Lou Cariou), and "Best Performance for a Leading Actress in a Play" (Angela Lansbury, who I had the pleasure of meeting in February 2004!). 

I am certain that this brilliant, and beautifully performed musical thriller will be among the top contenders at the next Suzi Bass Awards, the Tony's of Atlanta!

Deborah Bowman in Sweeney Todd | Actor's Express
Deborah Bowman in Sweeney Todd | Actor's Express

There are ample opportunities to fall in love with this play...with its music, with its singing, with its set design and with its characters. I myself fell for Mrs. Lovett, portrayed by the brilliantly talented Deborah Bowman

Among the first songs in the first act, Mrs. Lovett sings "The Worst Pies in London". Although a thriller, it was Mrs. Lovett who had my sides splitting, usually at each revelation of just how insidious a person she is. How is "insidious" funny, you ask? You'll see...if you get tickets before they're sold out! They've sold out quite a few performances already.

Kevin Harry and Deborah Bowman in Sweeney Todd | Actor's Express | Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus
Kevin Harry and Deborah Bowman in Sweeney Todd
Actor's Express | 
Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus

The entire cast earned a standing ovation—and I'm sure they will night after night. I'd also like to give a shout out to the creative team...outstanding job to all of you! 

There is one in particular that, to me, stood out as another star of the show...Shannon Robert, the Scenic Designer. I've not met Shannon and didn't know anything about her, but when I saw the set for Sweeney Todd, I knew the person(s) behind it were of a highly talented caliber.

The set spans the width of the theatre, with the audience seated on the flanks, and a few seats on the stage floor! The set is 360°! It's a wide band that covers the walls AND the ceiling! It's so brilliant that regardless of where a particular scene is taking place—on Fleet Street, in the pie shop, in the judges home—you feel like you're actually there. 

Oh, and speaking of band...the music that accompanies the play is performed live!  

Benjamin Davis and Kelly Chapin Martin | Sweeney Todd | Actor's Express
Benjamin Davis and Kelly Chapin Martin | Sweeney Todd | Actor's Express

Seeing Benjamin Davis (Anthony) perform again—he too was in Rent at Actor's Express last summer—was indeed a treat. His energy is beams, his voice is superb, and he's a bright light in this otherwise dark tale. He's the Prince Charming for the show's damsel in distress. But he's even more than that...he's a hero.

Kelly Chapin Martin and Benjamin | Sweeney Todd | Actor's Express
Kelly Chapin Martin and Benjamin | Sweeney Todd | Actor's Express
Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus

Johanna, gorgeously performed by Kelly Chapin Martin, is so adoringly lovable, your heart goes out to her from the instant she takes the stage. Her innocent life is interrupted by love-at-first-sight and again by forced relocation. Although an avian enthusiast—particularly for finches, linnets, nightingales and blackbirds—her flight doesn't exactly entail a respite in sanctuary.

The first glimpse between Anthony and Johanna is akin to a scene in Romeo & Juliet. It's just as tender and loving, but the rivalry behind the story's families is tortuously twisted and complicated. Their story is as tragedy-filled as our beloved Shakespearean tale. Still, one holds out hope for the lovebirds throughout the play. 

Kevin Harry | Sweeney Todd | Actor's Express
Kevin Harry | Sweeney Todd | Actor's Express

This second half of the show is markedly more fast-paced, so pay attention...there are a lot of twists and turns and slices and surprises and you will not want to miss a single one! Among the surprises...well, I'm not going to spoil it for you, but I will share that there was more than a few that I totally did not see coming! 

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is at Actor's Express through Sunday, February 28. Treat yourself to a slice of dark drama with a sprinkles of humor. A word of advice: shave before you go.

Thank you, Actor's Express for the tickets! As always, the opinions shared on my blog are my own. You might find it of interest that Actor's Express opened in 1988, the year after I first moved to Atlanta, and I was a big fan from the beginning. I was away in DC for a number of years, but I find myself super excited to find myself again in the audience of such magnificently performed shows at Actor's express. Thank you, again!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Say "Hello!" to The Book of Mormon

I'd heard only great things about "The Book of Mormon" before I saw it at the Fox Theatre this past week. I'd been told that I would laugh from start to finish. I'd been told that if I like "South Park" that I would find "Mormon" funny. I was told "You're going to love it!"

Evidently my friends know me well. I did indeed laugh from start to finish. And it's no wonder..."The Book of Mormon" garnered 9 Tony Awards, including "Best Musical" when it opened on Broadway in 2011, and today it continues to sell out, as has its two national tours!

Those same friends, and many of the journalists whose reviews of the show I've since read, have demonstrated respect for The Book of Mormon first-timers by not sharing the jokes, by not spoiling the fun they're going to have at the show. I too will not spoil your fun by telling you what's going to happen, but I'll attempt to set the stage.

To give you an idea of the humor you'll experience all you need to know is who brought this side-splitting show to Broadway. Imagine the combined talents of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, both of South Park, with Robert Lopez, of Avenue Q, and perhaps you fathom the fun of what's been called by some as "the best musical of the century!".

As of the Atlanta 2016 run of "The Book of Mormon", Ryan Bondy is now full-time in the role of Elder Price—one of the two young Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda on a two-year recruiting mission. Ryan had been an understudy for some time, but his performance is so superb that you'd never know that he hadn't been originally cast from the beginning. 

There are so many stars in this show! I originally wanted to point out two who "stole the show", but that would be an inaccuracy. Each actor brought something unique to the performance, each in a different, but equally brilliant and hilarious way. I have my favorites, though, and you will too.

Elder McKinley, portrayed by Daxton Bloomquist, performs the often-misunderstood inner struggle with one's true self vs. the expectations of family, society and church. His antics garnered some of the more uproarious laughs from the audience. I found him talented and delightfully hilarious!

There's so much to say about Candace Quarrels, who performs the role of Nabulungi, the daughter of a Ugandan village chief. Succinctly, let me just say, "Wow!" This actress is remarkable in her talent, her range, her technical execution...she's amazing! Hers is a career to watch with great anticipation. The character is naive, hopeful and full of energy and gumption. 

Pay attention. You will learn a lot about Elder Cunningham, played brilliantly by Cody Jamison Strand, early on. But I want you to play close attention to the names he's calling certain characters in the show. This is a fast-paced show, but one that keeps your attention and keeps audiences seeing it again and again! 

Beyond its potty humor, exaggeration of stereotypes and religious jokes, The Book of Mormon is a sophisticated musical and in many ways profound. It invites theatre-goers to look at their unquestioned beliefs through a different lens. 

While the theatre was bellowing with laughter, I'm certain that Mormon may well serve as a catalyst for the opening of minds and expanding of awareness of certain social issue and prejudices. That's quite a wonderful testament if you ask me.

I'd like to offer a huge wanderlust ATLANTA "Thank you!" to BRAVE Public Relations and Broadway in Atlanta for the tickets...for this hilarious, totally awesome musical experience!

"The Book of Mormon" is onstage at the iconic Fox Theatre through Sunday, January 24, 2016. Get your tickets here. Then leave your sensibilities at the door and prepare to laugh until it hurts!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Habsburg Splendor is Beyond Splendid!

I almost missed one of the most magnificent museum exhibitions I've ever seen. "Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna's Imperial Collections" is, by far, beyond splendid!

Habsburg Splendor | High Museum of Art
Habsburg Splendor | High Museum of Art

This Hight Museum of Art exhibition had been on my "must-see" list well before it opened in October 2015. But it wasn't until last night, during Friday Night Jazz, that I saw this mind-blowing, opulent history-come-to-life display of the Habsburg dynasty's opulence. We actually went through it a second time immediately after the first, in-depth, viewing.

Habsburg Splendor | High Museum of Art
Habsburg Splendor | High Museum of Art

The exhibition is comprised of magnificent Habsburg dynasty artifacts housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Within the exhibition are classical Greek and Roman works, medieval arms and armor, tapestries, early modern painting and craftwork, ornate costumes, a ceremonial gilded carriage and—my personal favorite—a horse-drawn, hand-carved, beyond opulent sleigh!

The artisan behind the sleigh was the Habsburg's court artist, Giuseppe Arcimboldo! Perhaps you saw the 15-foot tall sculptures at the Garden in 2014 of faces made with vegetables, flowers, fruits and plants? Those were inspired by Arcimboldo paintings. Another of his paintings is in the exhibition—Fire (1566)—that's literally composed of fiery objects, including candles, cannons and fire!

Habsburg Splendor | High Museum of Art
Habsburg Splendor | High Museum of Art

I've loved armor since I was a young child. Not because of their use in warfare, but for the artistry I've seen in so many suits...and the ones in Habsburg Splendor do not disappoint! In fact, you're welcomed to the exhibition by two horse-mounted knights engaged in a bout of jousting. And it just gets better and better from there! 

Habsburg Splendor | High Museum of Art
Habsburg Splendor | High Museum of Art

Tapestry has long been another favorite art form. The tapestry pictured above depicts the Coat of Arms of Emperor Charles V and it takes up nearly a full wall in the exhibition. I was absolutely impressed with how extensive and magnificent this exhibition is...highly impressed!

Habsburg Splendor | High Museum of Art
Habsburg Splendor | High Museum of Art

The gift shop had sold out of the exhibition catalog a few hours earlier, but they're available from Yale University Press here.

To make sure you don't miss an exhibition that you really want to see, I highly recommend exploring the "upcoming exhibitions" section of the museums and attractions that interest you and put reminders on your calendars. 

I have few regrets when it comes to sightseeing, largely because I've had the benefit and pleasure of seeing so much, but I do wish I had seen Habsburg Splendor at the High Museum of Art when it first opened. I'd have seen it again and again! Lesson learned. 

This magnificent exhibition closes on Sunday, January 17, 2016. Remember to check out the High's upcoming exhibitions here. Have fun wanderlusting!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours

Late last year I had the wonderful opportunity to tour The Temple.

"The Breman's goal for these tours, and the app for that matter, is to make Atlanta's Jewish history as accessible as possible to a broad and diverse audience. These tours provide an opportunity for people from a variety of backgrounds to gain a new perspective to Atlanta's history; and we hope they appeal to a lifetime Atlantan, a newcomer, or a tourist," said Aaron Berger, Executive Director, The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum. 

Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple
Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple

I was very excited to see the 2016 Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours announcement! The tours are a program of The Breman Museum and I had the great pleasure of going on one of the first in this wonderful series. We toured The Temple on Peachtree street and the photos in this post are from that experience.

It'd been many, many years since I'd been inside The Temple—founded in 1867—so long, in fact, that I'd forgotten just how incredibly beautiful it is and I was grateful to be reminded of its rich history. 

Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple
Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple

Some of you may know The Temple from personal memory, the news or the blockbuster film Driving Miss DaisyThe Temple's civil rights advocacy of their senior rabbi during the 1950s and 1960s led to the infamous bombing of the building in 1958. That horrid event did not stop The Temple's work toward bringing about social justice.

There's so much more to learn about The Temple and you're in luck...they're on the 2016 Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours lineup, as are many other alluring sites of interest.

Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple
Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple

The Temple's main sanctuary was constructed in 1931 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. And in addition to the magnificent chandelier pictured above, they have a Fifty Rank Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ!

Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple
Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple

The first of the 2016 Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours launches in just a couple of weeks. Some of the tours are free, and the others are free for Breman members with a nominal fee for non-members.

Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple
Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple

At the time of my Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours visit to The Temple, the series did not not have a sponsor, but it was conceived to complement the Historic Jewish Atlanta App, launched by The Breman Museum in 2015. It was provided at the bequeath of the Weiller Family in memory of Margaret Strauss Weiller

This free App is the first of its kind in the United States and when I first learned about it featured 13 Jewish sites around Atlanta. Additional historic sites will continually be added to the App so there will always be something new to see or visit. And there are plans in the works to feature an online exhibition on the App in the future. In the meantime, you can find more info about it here.

Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple
Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple

Perhaps my favorite part of the tour—aside from the pure beauty of the building's interior—was learning about the symbolism incorporated into the architecture and decor. I encourage you to go on any of the tours in this series and be as mesmerized as I was. 

Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple
Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple

I particularly enjoyed the symbolism of the pomegranate! I'm not an expert, but what I recall is that each pomegranate fruit was said to have 613 seeds just as there are 613 good deeds, mitzvot, in the Torah. Pomegranates are eaten on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, to wish for good deeds and a year as plentiful with goodness as the seeds of the pomegranate. With all due respect to my Jewish friends, I find this to be a wonderful tradition.

Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple
Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple

The Temple was recently named by Newsweek Magazine as "one of the most vibrant and dynamic Jewish congregations in the country". 

Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple
Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention our wonderful hosts and tour guide. Our hosts that day were Joyce Shlesinger, former board president of The Breman Museum, and Spring Asher, member of the Board of Trustees of The Temple, and our tour guide was Barbara Seligman...each of them absolutely welcoming and delightful. "Thank you!", ladies, for such a magnificent tour!

Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple
Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours | The Temple

We've all heard a lot of "small world" stories, of course, but I was still surprised that in a tour group of only 20-25 guests that I ran into an old friend, another friend who works at the Atlanta History Center, and my lovely friend Sally who has for years led the "Jewish Grounds of Oakland" tour at Oakland Cemetery

And the other tour guests were felt almost like a social event, with all the perks of a guided tour!

I highly recommend taking advantage of The Breman's Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours and be sure to make your reservations early...these tours will fill up! And remember to download the App. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

wanderlust ATLANTA's 2015 Photo Review

One of my favorite annual posts is wanderlust ATLATNA's year-in-photos review, particularly because it's an opportunity to look back over the last year and relive so many of the fantastic experiences Atlanta offers.

The photos in this post are all ones I made myself! I attended a significant number of performing arts shows this year and most of the photos from those posts are not mine, so I invite you to search through the blog to see the photos and articles from those shows.

In no particular order, here we go...

wanderlust ATLANTA | Atlanta Botanical Garden
wanderlust ATLANTA | Atlanta Botanical Garden

THIS is my absolute favorite 2015 photo. Serendipity can be a photographer's best friend. And it indeed was on this particular day when I visited Atlanta Botanical Garden. The 25-foot Earth Goddess is a visitor favorite and one of mine, too. 

[Summer in the Garden]

wanderlust ATLANTA | Swan House Capitol Tour | Atlanta History Center
wanderlust ATLANTA | Swan House Capitol Tour | Atlanta History Center

I've not yet seen Mockingjay Part 2, but I've toured President Snow's mansion many times. The Swan House Capitol Tour at the Atlanta History Center is brilliant! I highly recommend this tour.

[Swan House Capitol Tour]

wanderlust ATLANTA | 360 Degree Birthday | SkyView Atlanta
wanderlust ATLANTA | 360 Degree Birthday | SkyView Atlanta

I had the BEST birthday in 2015! My dearest friends joined me for a 360 degree tour of downtown Atlanta! We started in the VIP gondola on SkyView Atlanta, had dinner at Sun Dial Restaurant and finished with dessert and drinks at Polaris! It was an awesome celebration.

[360 Birthday Celebration]

wanderlust ATLANTA | Jackson Street Bridge | Big Zombie Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours
wanderlust ATLANTA | Jackson Street Bridge | Big Zombie Tour | Atlanta Movie Tours

I made this photo the second time I went on Atlanta Movie Tours' "Big Zombie Tour - Part 1"...totally awesome! If you're a fan of The Walking Dead, you know this vista well.

[Big Zombie Tour - Part 1]

wanderlust ATLANTA | Big Zombie Tour - Part 2 | Atlanta Movie Tours
wanderlust ATLANTA | Big Zombie Tour - Part 2 | Atlanta Movie Tours

Atlanta Movie Tours' "Big Zombie Tour - Part 2" was amazing! You get to see so much from The Walking Dead series and I met some pretty amazing people!

[Big Zombie Tour - Part 2]

If you live here or have visited regularly, you know that Atlanta is the land of festivals! Seriously, I would be rather shocked to learn that we didn't have some kind of festival every weekend of the year in the Metro area. Yes...we have a LOT of festivals!

One of my favorite, though, is the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, and as much fun as the 2015 festival was, I can hardly wait for the next one—the 2016 Atlanta Dogwood Festival will be the 80th!

[Atlanta Dogwood Festival 2015]

One of my favorite Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) perks is their "Field Trips"! The one pictured above was a visit to Formations Studio where the new sculpture "Stealth" was made. It's now installed near Peachtree and 15th Streets in front of The Castle.

[Stealth Field Trip]

I love seeing Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker at the Fox Theatre and the balance of their season at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, however I equally love seeing their off-season, off-campus Wabi Sabi performances! The performance above was on the front lawn at the High Museum of was magnificent!

[Atlanta Ballet's Wabi Sabi]

As strong a proponent as I am for effective public transit, I'm still a car enthusiast. The Atlanta International Auto Show is a great time and relatively inexpensive, with superhero performances, test drives, and stunning automobiles! 

If I recall correctly, the 2014 BMW i8 pictured above was priced at $142,000. Unfortunately, I'd left my checkbook at the house. Silly me!

[Atlanta Car Show]

I'd never been to a convention like Dragon Con until I moved back to Atlanta in 2010 and now I can't imagine not going! There's so much fun going on during this four-day fan convention that I wrote six posts about this year's Con! 

Cosplay, one of my favorite aspects of the Con, is wonderful and absolutely super!

[Cosplay at Dragon Con 2015]

The number of programs offered by the Atlanta History Center is amazing...there's something for everyone! Truly!

It's hard to pick a favorite program, but I have attended a number of the "Party With the Past" events, which take place at various historic sites around town. They're consistently loads of fun, educational and I always manage to meet new and interesting people. And the beer is good, too.

[Party With the Past]

It can be great fun when worlds collide. Being a baseball fan and a fan of The Walking Dead, I absolutely had to go to the Atlanta Braves game on Zombie Night at Turner Field, which is where I first met Stan the Zombie!

[Zombie Night at Turner Field]

Orchid Daze at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, an annual event at the Garden, is one that I don't miss. It's consistently gorgeous and oftentimes quite interesting. Starting in February, it's a fun wintertime excursion! 

[Orchid Daze 2015]

My friend Summer Loftin, designer and super-fun human being, had been trying to get me to go to Howard Finster's Paradise Garden for a couple of years. I went this year and had such an incredible experience! This is another must-see!

[Howard Finster's Paradise Garden]

You don't see a lot of peach trees if you live in Atlanta, unless we're talking about street names, but that's a whole other story. I love the dwarf peach trees at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which typically bloom during the Garden's "Atlanta Blooms!" exhibition.

[Atlanta Blooms 2015]

"Scarecrows in the Garden", another of the Atlanta Botanical Garden's annual events (this one in October), is also great fun. The scarecrows are more fantastical every year. This year, one of my favorites was the "train-farmer" pictured above, which was cleverly placed near the model train display at Alston Overlook.

[Scarecrows in the Garden 2015]

Dragon Con 2015 fun started early in the year with a Dragon Con Night at Medieval Times! There was a significant number of people in the costume contest and we enjoyed the regular dinner and tournament.

I've been to Medieval Times on many occasions—great fun! This particular evening was another example of worlds colliding in a wonderful way...Dragon Con AND Medieval Times!

[Dragon Con at Medieval Times]

Yet another example of worlds colliding was Dragon Con Night at Georgia Aquarium. They sold out! And there was a magnificent costume contest for Dragon Con conventioneers, as well as the whole of Georgia Aquarium being open for our enjoyment. It was an awesome evening!

Pictured above, in a jellyfish costume, is Yaya Han, one of the preeminent cosplayers in the world!

[Dragon Con at Georgia Aquarium]

This is another photo from Dragon Con. It was a happenstance meeting of the Joker and I just love the photo...the vibrant colors of his costume in contrast to the Gotham-esque background was brilliant!

[Reasons to Attend Dragon Con]

I snapped this photo when I was at the High Museum of Art to see an Atlanta Ballet performance, part of their Wabi Sabi program. These "tops" were part of an exhibition called Los Trompos, which was scattered throughout town. Visitors and locals alike had great fun spinning on them and they truly brightened up the High's Sifly Piazza.

[Wabi Sabi & Los Trompos]

I had the pleasure of going on a Peachtree Food Tours tour earlier this year. I enjoyed EVERYTHING about this tour AND I found one of the best burgers I've ever had—the Sublime Doughnut Burger at Cypress Street Pint & Plate! This was such a fun food tour!

[Peachtree Food Tours]

I've long been a fan of The Breman Museum. Their special exhibition "Where the Wild Things Are", which was on exhibit for all of 2015, was magnificent on so many levels. I can hardly wait to see what they bring next!

[Where The Wild Things Are]

The "Victory Tour"—based on The Hunger Games— offered by Atlanta Movie Tours is a brilliant way to spend an afternoon...and see quite a lot of Atlanta! You'll be surprised to see just how much of our grand city is in the movies. I was surprised!

[Victory Tour]

In 2015 I went to the annual Walker Stalker Con for the first time...and quite an experience it was! The cosplayers were brilliant. There were fewer zombies than I expected—but still quite a few—and more diverse theme-relevant costumes.!

[Walker Stalker Con]

I love going to local farmers markets and especially so where there's a local celebrity chef doing a cooking demo. I always know that the days I go to a farmers market that dinner that evening will be one of the best!

[Grant Park Farmers Market]

My blogger friend Terry Kearns—author of Architecture Tourist—was honored by a local artist by painting his face on the side of a building in East cool is that! Terry has been a longtime supporter of wanderlust ATLANTA and an was super exciting to see him honored in this way.

[Big Terry]

I mentioned earlier that the Atlanta History Center has a significant amount of programming for tourists, local and visiting. In addition to the programming they have gardens, historic homes and quite a few museums.

Their Shutze museum opened in 2014, but I didn't post the photos from my first visit—I've been many times throughout 2015—until early this year, the one above being a favorite.

[Mandarin Shutze]

Any excuse to get to experience the Fox Theatre is a good excuse...getting to see "Ghostbusters" was an awesome one! The Fox's Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival is an event that I and thousands of Atlantans look forward to with great anticipation.

[Ghostbusters at the Fox Theatre]

Blogging has afforded me many opportunities to do things that I might not otherwise get to do. It also keeps me aware of a LOT of what's going on in Atlanta. Earlier this year The Cook's Warehouse invited me to a Bloggers-Only Champagne Brunch...great fun! 

I got to hang out with owner Mary Moore, Chef Jennifer Booker and got to meet Chef Hugh Acheson...all during the same outing!

[Hugh Acheson at The Cook's Warehouse]

I'd wanted to see Avenue Q for years and got to see it twice in 2015! I saw the PG-13 version in Piedmont Park and the full version at Conant Theatre at Oglethorpe Univerisity, both productions by Horizon Theatre. I had the great fortune of seeing a number of Horizon Theatre shows this year and I'll be back to see more!

[Avenue Q...twice!]

The Atlanta Botanical Garden's summer exhibition, "Bruce Munro: Light in the Garden", was spectacular! The photo above is one I made when seeing a Wabi Sabi performance by Atlanta Ballet.

[Wabi Sabi at the Garden]

The finale of my 2015 holiday season was seeing The Santaland Diaries at Horizon Theatre...I laughed and laughed and laughed...and got a fun photo with the cast! This was their 17th year and I have no idea what took me so long to see this delightfully wonderful show...I'll definitely be back!

[The Santaland Diaries]

I appreciate your support and encouragement and look forward to bringing more exciting stories and news of events to you throughout 2016. Be sure to follow wanderlust ATLANTA on Facebook!

Happy New Year, everyone!