Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Ragtime Through the Lens of Vaudeville

Ragtime, The Musical is—as creatively as ever—being present by Serenbe Playhouse through the lens of Vaudeville and it's magnificent! See it under their big top tent now through Sunday, June 9.


Ragtime, The Musical at Serenbe Playhouse
Ragtime, The Musical at Serenbe Playhouse  |  Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus


Ragtime opens with a number called "Ragtime" with the entire company on stage. 

This opening number introduces a story of changing times through the lives of three groups of people in early 20th century New York City. This is a story of trials and tribulations, heartaches and triumphs, of family, ambition, prejudice and compassion.

The three groups are African Americans—you'll meet Coalhouse Walker Jr., a Harlem musician; Eastern European immigrants—you'll meet Tatah, a Jewish immigrant from Latvia; and the white upper-class—you'll meet Mother, the matriarch of a NY family. None of the characters in the upper-class family have names; they're known only as Mother, Father, Little Boy, Younger Brother, and Grandfather.



Ragtime, The Musical is a musical with a book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and music by Stephen FlahertyRagtime is based on the 1975 book by E.L. Doctorow, which was on the New York Times Best Sellers List for more than three months that year!

Ragtime, The Musical at Serenbe Playhouse
Ragtime, The Musical at Serenbe Playhouse  |  Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

It's difficult to have a single favorite actor from such a large cast, but I was moved by Jacob S. Louchheim's performance as Tatah, a Jewish immigrant and loving father who recently lost his wife and made his way to the U.S. from Latvia. 

You feel great empathy for Tatah's journey, past and present...it's an emotional roller coaster! His is a life of love and loss, rags-to-riches, profound fatherly love for his daughter (who is absolutely adorable!) and your heart is with him every step and song along the way.


Ragtime, The Musical at Serenbe Playhouse
Ragtime, The Musical at Serenbe Playhouse  |  Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Woven into the story are a number of historical figures including Harry Houdini, played brilliantly by Ethan Hall (Don't miss his steamy, theatrical entrance!), and Evelyn Nesbit beautifully portrayed by Niki Badua who won a Best Actress Suzi Bass Award for Serenbe Playhouse's Miss Saigon, and yes, she is "the most beautiful woman in the world". JP Morgan was performed wonderfully by Aaron Schilling who recently gained numerous credits in Serenbe Playhouse shows, including the phenomenal Titanic

You'll also see Booker T. Washington, Henry Ford and many more. The character list in Ragtime is not happenstance. In fact, each of the historical figures in the show had a role in shaping 20th century America.


Ragtime, The Musical at Serenbe Playhouse
Ragtime, The Musical at Serenbe Playhouse  |  Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

With the backdrop of a fantastic set, superb lighting, brilliant costuming and amazing music, the cast of Ragtime spectacularly tells a mesmerizing, epic story of surprising interconnections of the human heart, discovering the American Dream, and the heartbreak when dreams are unjustly denied. You're going to see an amazing show!


Ragtime, The Musical at Serenbe Playhouse
Ragtime, The Musical at Serenbe Playhouse  |  Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Our group, pictured below, had the wonderful opportunity to meet and chat with Marcus Terrell Smith (Coalhouse Walker Jr.). He's a tower of talent, charm, humor, humility and his performance in Ragtime is beyond magnificent! This was his Serenbe Playhouse debut and even though he's not Atlanta-based, I do hope we get to see more of him.


Our Gang at "Ragtime" at Serenbe Playhouse
Our Gang at "Ragtime, The Musical" at Serenbe Playhouse | Photo: Jennifer

In our group of eight some had never seen Ragtime and for some this was their first Serenbe Playhouse show and some of us have been coming for years. The thread that ties us all together—some were even meeting for the first time—each and every one of us is a huge theatre enthusiast. I think I can speak for the group and highly recommend that you come to Serenbe Playhouse to see this magnificent production of Ragtime, The Musical.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

"Big Bugs" is Brilliant!

David Harry Grodzinsky-Rogers' first all-natural materials sculptures were dinosaurs, so it's doubly befitting that the Fernbank Museum of Natural History hosts a "David Rogers' Big Bugs" exhibition!

Big Bugs will be on display in WildWoods at Fernbank through July 21, 2019, and is free with admission...and they're great FUN!


David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

"It was in the fall of 1990, while staying on a cousin’s farm in Vermont’s Green Mountains that I encountered a maple sapling bent over from a previous winter’s ice storm. There was something about the curvature and posture of this particularly ravaged tree – a backbone to a large beast, perhaps that suggested a new life for the tree. Using dried branches and different varieties of tree saplings a 'dinosaur' sculpture emerged in twelve inspired days,"
David Rogers

David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

As soon as you walk into WildWoods—the 75-acre "backyard" at Fernbank—you see the first of the 10 really, really big bugs in the exhibition! 

Some of these bugs are rarely seen, so they're excellent for teaching kids about their important roles in nature and how many of them are "friends" to humans. Seriously! Did you know that dragonflies eat mosquitoes? I call that friendly! 


David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I would venture to guess that most of us know that a mating female Praying Mantis sometimes eats—as in consumes—her mate after mating. A regular practice in the mantid world, it doesn't deter male mantids from wanting to mate. 

The actual size of a Praying Mantis ranges from half an inch to six inches long! This one is massive and the welcoming sculpture in the exhibition.


David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

When I was a kid, we used to play with Granddaddy Long Legs spiders! That must have been before seeing the classic 1977 William Shatner horror flick Kingdom of the Spiders! But then reading The Amazing Spider-Man comic books made spiders okay again, but we didn't play with them anymore. 

According to Guinness World Records, the largest spider in the world has a body that's a foot long! The one that set the record was discovered in 1965, so it's long gone. We just won't talk about what's still out there today, okay?

The spiders in the David Rogers' Big Bugs exhibition are anything but menacing, though. They're practically jovial! 


David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I mean, look at that face...it's adorable! It's Pixar-esque, right?


David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

It's awesome that we get to see 10 "Big Bugs"! But, did you know that it's estimated that there are approximately 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 insects alive at any given moment? The idea of that is like imagining just how BIG the universe is! AND, insects very likely have the largest biomass of terrestrial animals. Bugs are totally fascinating, that's what I'm trying to say.


David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Ladybugs are thought to bring good luck, so just imagine the LUCK a 7-foot long ladybug would bring a person! Then again, ladybugs are attracted to light colored houses, especially ones with a clear southwestern sun exposure. I wouldn't call an infestation of 7-foot ladybugs good luck, but you can't help but love just this one, right?

When I was a kid we had a collie named "Ladybug". We loved that dog sooooo much! Did you know that Lassie has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? So does Bugs Bunny! Just sayin'.


David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I don't know what kind of spider this one is or if it's a general representation, but it made me think of the myths of "writing spiders" that I heard as a kid. I couldn't find any citations of these myths except for chat rooms where others recalled the same myths. What, if anything, did you hear about writing spiders when you were a kid?

The spider above is a fun one and the web...the web is fantastic! Of all the Big Bugs, this one is the one that you get to get the closest to, but remember, no touching! 

Speaking of touching, in my senior year of high school, a friend named Dreama had a pet tarantula. She bought it to school one day and the brave lad (read not-so-bright) that I was wanted to "hold" the spider. I let it crawl on my arm and within seconds of it climbing onto my arm the lights went out!!! I totally freaked for a second, but didn't move, during which time the lights came back on. That was an experience I'll never forget!


David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
David Rogers' Big Bugs | Fernbank Museum of Natural History | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

This dragonfly is at the lower level of WildWoods, near the creek. Did you know that dragonflies begin their lives in water? Did you know that dragonflies have been around for 300 million years? Some fossil dragonflies have a wingspan of TWO FEET! This one is even bigger than its ancient ancestors!

Although their size may make them a bit underappreciated, insects, spiders and bugs act as many things from decomposers to pollinators, and even help with insect control...this outdoor installation offers an exciting new perspective on these creatures,” said Fernbank's Vice President of Programming, Bobbi Hohmann.

This is a must-see exhibition, not only for entomologists, but for nature-lovers, art-lovers, kids, kids-at-heart, and anyone with a spirit for fun. Go see the "David Rogers' Big Bugs" exhibition at Fernbank Museum of Natural History now through July 21!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Medieval Times has a new Queen!

There's a new Queen on the throne at Medieval Times Atlanta! While she may not sit upon an iron throne, from the very beginning she demonstrates—and you feel—that she rules her kingdom with an iron fist, perched high above the arena while graciously hosting her feast and tournament guests, as well as her knights and other loyal subjects.


The Queen | Photo credit: Medieval Times Atlanta
The Queen | Photo courtesy of Medieval Times Atlanta

You have the wonderful opportunity to meet the new Queen when you first arrive. As soon as you enter the Great Hall (the lobby) and have received your Medieval Times crown, you're invited to a photo-op with either the Queen or another member of the Royal Family. The Queen is an absolute royal delight. We had our photo made with her!

There's no obligation to purchase, but if you decided to, you can pick them up at the photo station after the show, or before the show depending on how early you arrive. And they're in a handsome gold frame ready to display!


Jousting | Photo courtesy of Medieval Times Atlanta
Jousting | Photo courtesy of Medieval Times Atlanta

My first Medieval Times experience was at the Atlanta Castle in 2013 and I've returned many, many times, approximately 1-2 times per year since. This particular visit was my first VIP upgrade and it was AWESOME! Among other fantastic royal treatments, we were seated on the front row! A truly spectacular view! 


The final season of Game of Thrones is now underway, making the experience all the more exciting. Fans are excited for a new season, but sad that it'll be the last. Fortunately, you can visit Medieval Times most days of the week, some Monday holidays, and there are even some matinees. My favorite time to go is Friday evenings...it's a great way to unwind for the weekend! 

In Game of Thrones, you see jousting as early as the 4th episode in Season One. But at Medieval Times, you don't have to wait that long and it's live, up close and personal! They're fighting for their Queen, after all.

Medieval Times Atlanta | Photo: wanderlust ATLANTA
Medieval Times Atlanta | Photo: wanderlust ATLANTA

This is one of most fun "dinner and a show" experiences out there! 

Arrive early to enjoy a drink (with lots of souvenir glasses to choose from) and to explore the lobby, which features numerous suits of armor and a fire place the size of which I could stand in! 

You can also meet the falcon that will be in the show, see a live owl with one of the widest wingspans, and you even have the option of being knighted—lots of fun for those celebrating birthdays or other special occasions.


Medieval Times Atlanta | Photo: wanderlust ATLANTA
Medieval Times Atlanta | Photo: wanderlust ATLANTA
If you'd like wine with your dinner, you can pre-order it prior to the show and it'll be bought to your table. You can also buy a libations from your table, either beer, wine or cocktails.

The feast is exactly that...a FEAST! You'll be given a choice of beverage: soda, tea or water--you get two pours of that each. Then comes the piping hot "Dragon's Blood"! (tomato bisque). The buttery thick-slice toast is crunchy, delicious and great for sopping up your dragon's blood. The main course features Baby Dragon (half a roast chicken!), a Dragon Scale (roasted half potato), and corn on the cob. Dessert used to be a flaky baked pastry, but now it's...ICE CREAM! 

They even offer a vegetarian meal for those who wish to forego the dragon.


Tournament | Photo courtesy of Medieval Times Atlanta
Tournament | Photo courtesy of Medieval Times Atlanta

Before you enjoy the four-course feast and two-hour tournament, you might want to treat yourself to a little torture, literally. There's a "torture chamber" in the main lobby, guarded by a royal toll-taker (there's a modest fee for admission). I've visited before...it stirs the imagination to say the very least!

After the tournament, head back into the lobby where you can make all the free photos you want with the knights that you just saw compete in the Queen's tournament! Get a photo with your favorite knight or all of them! Be sure to tag the photos you post on social media with #MTFan or #MTFans!

Be sure to explore the amply supplied gift shop where you can acquire a vast array or treasures ranging from a new tunic to a handsomely engraved long sword or perhaps your very own dragon. I have quite the handsome dagger from a previous visit and I keep eyeballing the full-size swords...I know one of those will be going home with me eventually. Probably two, to be honest!  


Travis Swann Taylor and Barry at Medieval Times Atlanta
Travis and Barry at Medieval Times Atlanta


My friend Barry went with me on this visit and we had a grand time! I've been to Medieval Times with many friends over the years, but most often with Barry. It's equally a fun 'guys night out' or a 'girls night out', or a family night out or a work team building outing...you can make it a fun evening out for any number of groups! Or "just because" is my favorite reason.

Just for clarification and not that it matters, what looks like a sash across my chest, is actually a Medieval Times pennant, which guests love waving furiously to celebrate their knight during the tournament, and it's complimentary with the VIP package. Please consider the VIP experience—worth every penny—but know that wherever you are seated in the arena, you're sure to have a great time! I have every single time I've been!

Enhance your Game of Thrones final season experience with a taste of the real thing, without the gore, of course, but with knights, equestrian beauty and grace, a generous dose of royal chivalry, and a beautiful new Queen! 

Go, be a knight or princess for an evening at Medieval Times Atlanta!


(I'd like to offer a huge wanderlust ATLANTA "Thank you!" to Medieval Times for the tickets and the VIP upgrade. All opinions are my own and are from my personal experience at Medieval Times.)

Friday, March 22, 2019

Phoenix Flies into Plaza Theatre

This year's Phoenix Flies tours, an Atlanta Preservation Center program, have been fantastic, including "Atlanta’s oldest operating and only independent cinema since 1939", Plaza Theatre

The tour was led by none other than the owner himself, Christopher (Chris) Escobar, who purchased the theatre in 2017. The tour started on time (Thank you, Chris!) and was entertaining and substantial! A few of us hung around afterward and got to see some additional spaces, too!


Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

The first time I ever saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show was in 2010 at Plaza Theatre! It was so AWESOME! Lips Down on Dixie, Atlanta's longest running cast, has delivered a screen-accurate performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Friday night since December 2000! Talk about "Time Warp"! 

The photo above is "the" Rocky Horror photo-op in the theatre! While the midnight performances are geared for younger adult audiences, I had such an amazing time when I went. If you haven't seen it performed live (simultaneous with the film), treat yourself!


Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

There were more approximately 30 of us on the tour—and we were greeted with free popcorn! It was a full theatre experience, plus we had a movie score playing while we were gathering. We were welcomed on the screening room "marquee", too!


Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Plaza Theatre | Lobby | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

There's a new ticket stand in the lobby, fashioned after some other Art Deco elements in the theatre. LOTS of new updates and upgrades are and will be influenced by the theatre's Art Deco design and decor. Being one of my favorite design eras, I was loving it!


Plaza Theatre | "The Interview" | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Plaza Theatre | "The Interview" | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Many of us on the tour didn't know that Plaza Theatre was one of a handful of small theatres to screen the world premiere of The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, (on Christmas Day in 2014)—and the exclusive theatre in Atlanta—an epic move on their part after major movie studios allowed a foreign government to influence our censorship practices. It was quite the scandal! 

Within 24 hours of announcing that Plaza Theatre would premiere the film, they gave approximately 40 interviews...to local and global news outlets!

In this same area—the Gallery—are the concessions stand—featuring only classic theatre treats, and a new bar—featuring more than 20 local craft beers and more! 


Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Plaza Theatre now has a movie house organ and a dedicated organist! Ron Carter, the lead organist, was there to play for us, share some of the history of theatre organs, and to let us know that Plaza Theatre will be featuring the organ—which sounds phenomenal!—during a monthly silent movie, as well as during the pre-show of The Rocky Horror Picture Show!

I'm super excited about a monthly silent film accompanied by a live organist. I've seen/heard the occasional silent movie with live music, but I don't know of anywhere else in Atlanta who's doing this. Do check it out!


Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

One of the awesome upgrades are the super cushy seats! There are a lot of theatres, even the mainstream theatres, that have thin seats that tax the tooshie, or "gluteus maximus" if you're more the scientific sort. I love that the seats have an Art Deco stitched design, too! 


Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

The "Legacy Lounge" has Art Deco stenciled walls (hand-stenciled by Chris and his wife!), Art Deco inspired pieces of furniture, and even the bathroom door handles are Art Deco! And there's more to come. Hearing Chris' ideas for what he wants to do to improve the physical space of the theatre as well as the programming was inspiring, to say the least.


Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Chris said the hand-stenciling needs touching up, but it looks awesome to me! I was shocked to find out that it was stenciled and not wallpaper! 


Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Theatres across the country were required to go digital by the end of 2013 and as expensive as it was to do, Plaza Theatre did just that, went digital. This was a move by Hollywood studios to save on printing and shipping 35mm movies to theatres across the country. They're even converting their 35mm inventory to save on storage space.

Not too long ago, after Chris purchased the theatre and was cleaning up, he found what he thought was—I forget what he thought it was, but it wasn't the 35mm projector that it turned out to be! He found two and one of them is on display in the theatre.

Chris hopes to have them restored and again show films on 35mm on special occasions.


Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Plaza Theatre | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Plaza Theatre has faced extinction, probably more than once, but with Chris Escobar at the helm, there's only the plan to expand, improve, and to continue entertaining

Make your way to Plaza Theatre to take in a film—the variety is vast! And if you didn't make it on any of the 200+ free tours and events in the Atlanta Preservation Center's Phoenix Flies program, make a note to do so next year!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Atlanta Blooms! 2019

My personal favorite season of the year is summer, but NOTHING beats spring at the Atlanta Botanical Garden! Year after year after year, the Atlanta Botanical Garden showcases spring's floral bounty like nowhere else! And the "Atlanta Blooms!" event/exhibition more spectacular than ever!

Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Did the few below-freezing nights last week kill all blossoms? No...no, no, no. This is Atlanta! The Garden is ablaze with blossoms, but spring turns to summer very quickly here, so go soon so you don't miss the hundreds of thousands of blossoms gracing the Garden right now!


Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

If you can't make it to the Garden on the weekend, come out to "Garden Party" on Thursday night, March 21! This is going to be THE garden party of the year! 

You'll get to enjoy beer, wine, and a bubbly bar! AND, you'll be among the first to taste the Garden's new collaboration beer, a blend of lime leaves harvested from the Fuqua Conservatory's trees with hints of hibiscus and lemongrass made in partnership with Wild Heaven Brewery!

There will also be lots of photo ops, activities, food options and numerous live music experiences!

By the way, locals, if you're a member of the Garden, you get to attend events like this for free! It's the one membership I renew year after year!


Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I've shared this story before, but I love telling it, so I hope you'll indulge me.

My favorite flower is the tulip. Because of my late grandmother, Evelyn. I don't remember this but it's a story my mother has told countless times. One spring, when I was a toddler, there was a late freeze that killed all of grandmother's tulips except for one (this was farther north, so they weren't as resilient as Atlanta's tulips). 

The next day, into the house walks little Travis exclaiming to my mother, "Flower, mommy, flower!" I'd picked the sole freeze-surviving tulip! I've loved tulips since hearing this story the first time, when I was still a little kid!


Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

What's your favorite springtime blossom?


Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I think the "Atlanta Blooms!" exhibit planners are brilliantly gifted. Again, they've included in this year's exhibition--which was planted in the fall--Pantone's "Color of the Year", which is "Living Coral", very close to the color of all the tulips in the above photo, except for the obvious purple one. 

This is huge, people! Pantone's "Color of the Year" influences fashion, special event themes, home decor...it's a color you'll see throughout the year, yet the Atlanta Botanical Garden planted it months and months before the actual announcement. Pure brilliance!


Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

There is no filter on the above photos...these tulips are gorgeously bright pink! And I love the coupling of several other flowers in this bed. You'll find these leading into the relatively new Skyline Garden behind the Conservatory.


Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

If you go to "Atlanta Blooms!" in the next few weeks, you'll also get to enjoy "Orchid Daze", Atlanta Botanical Garden's annual orchid exhibition featuring an additional thousands of orchid blossoms coupled with the largest collection of orchid species in the United States!


Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Have you heard of the "Ugly Food Movement"? It's especially strong in Europe and Australia. Meanwhile, the United States disposes of 40% of the food that we grow, some of it just because it's "ugly"...not pretty enough for grocery store shelves. 

The above camellia has a petal that's fallen into its stamen...it's not less beautiful, in my humble opinion. It's "real". My point is, of course, share your best photos, but those can include the not "perfect". I think this one is stunning! 


Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

If you were not among the thousands and thousands of people who recently saw Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors at the High Museum of Art, you can still see one of her installations at the Atlanta Botanical Garden...Narcissus Garden through spring! 

Narcissus Garden was first presented in 1966 and is comprised of 1,400 stainless steel spheres! With every inch you change your viewing perspective, you get a unique view/experience of this installation...and this time of year, it'll change day-to-day as the Garden gets more and more green!


Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Blooms! 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

It's going to be a nice weekend, so head over to the Atlanta Botanical Garden for "Atlanta Blooms!" Spring is here, but the seasons change quickly this time of year, so don't wait! 

You can enjoy more and larger photos of my visit to the Atlanta Blooms! 2019 event over on the wanderlust ATLANTA Facebook page. If you share them, please give credit to "wanderlust ATLANTA" or "Travis Swann Taylor". Enjoy!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Orchid Daze 2019

Get out of the cold and get into the tropical warmth, vibrant colors and delightful fragrances that are this year's Orchid Daze at the Atlanta Botanical Garden! Your experience begins in the Conservatory Lobby...

Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Orchid Daze is one of my favorite wintertime getaways and it can be yours too through 
Sunday, April 7. (If you're a local, keep an eye out for the "Gently Used Orchid Sale" following the close of the exhibition.)

The exhibition begins in the Conservatory Lobby and continues throughout most of the connected Orchid Center. There's not a specific theme, per se, but the exhibition is cohesive and spectacular. The colors, the featured art, and the display techniques are all dazzling. I truly believe you'll just love it!

Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Throughout the Orchid Daze exhibition are brilliant, large-format orchid photographs! They're spectacular! The photo above is one of them, me peeking at it through live orchids on the right and upper right.

The artist of these magnificent photographs is local, award-winning photographer Parish Kohanim. I've just read a long article about his life and it's fascinating. More than that, his devotion to his craft is heartwarming and inspiring. 

See more of Parish's work at Parish Kohanim Fine Art.

Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

My favorite feature of this year's Orchid Daze exhibition are the six pendulous displays of bamboo canes featuring a wide range of orchids in varying colors, many of them the large-flowered orchids! Those displays are in the Orchid Center.

Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Tomorrow is the Garden's annual Vanilla Sunday, 1pm-4pm. There will be activities for kids and adults, discovery stations, cooking demonstrations and more! 

Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

There's another spectacular Parish Kohanim photograph behind these gorgeous orchids!

I've mentioned is many times before, but maybe you missed it or your a new wanderlust ATLANTA follower. If you're a avid orchid enthusiast, not only do you have to see this exhibition, you'll also want to follow The Orchid Column, a blog about orchids written and beautifully photographed by the Atlanta Botanical Garden's Orchid Center Manager Becky Brinkman.

Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Also, for every level of orchid enthusiast, the annual Atlanta Orchid Society Show & Sale will take place Friday-Sunday, March 8-10, 9am-5pm. I've attended many times over the years and it's always splendid! You'll be glad you went. 

Think about making it a day at the Garden. See the Orchid show in Day Hall, see Orchid Daze, see Atlanta Blooms!, make lots of photos to enjoy later, and then take in lunch or dinner at Longleaf

Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Be sure to stop by the Garden House Gallery to see "Conservation through Creation: The Works of Ed, Philip and Matt Moulthrop", three generations of woodturners! Some of the approximately 40 pieces on display are made from downed trees from the Atlanta Botanical Garden! 

To give you an idea of the level of craftsmanship and artistry you'll see in this exhibition, they have works on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Craft Museum of New York, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and Atlanta's High Museum of Art. The pieces on display are also available for purchase.

Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Speaking of the High Museum of Art, if you missed Yayoi Kusama's "Infinity Mirrors" exhibition, through spring of 2019 you can see her installation "Narcissus Garden" in Storza Woods. The site-specific exhibition is comprised of approximately 1,400 stainless steel spheres arranged by staff from Kusama's studio in Japan. This work dates to 1966!

Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Orchid Daze 2019 | Atlanta Botanical Garden | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Remember to see Orchid Daze at the Atlanta Botanical Garden by Sunday, April 7, and definitely remember your camera, phone camera, sketch pad, and/or eidetic memory...you'll want remember these beauties well into spring, summer and fall.