Atlanta Arts and Culture Blog 

Previews, reviews and commentary on Atlanta's cultural scene

Check out new exhibits at Contemporary, Hudgens centers this weekend

  • 4:03 pm Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 by Howard Pousner


The art of being a teen

Today’s virtual-universe-embracing teenagers have commanded an increasing portion of the pop culture stratosphere, as witness the transformation of “Harry Potter” and “Hunger Games” best-selling young adult novels into multiple multiplex box-office smashes.

On Saturday, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center opens “Teen Paranormal Romance,” a group exhibit (organized by the Renaissance Society contemporary art museum at the University of Chicago) sparked by and responding to this teen zeitgeist.

Opening reception: 7-9 p.m. Saturday. Through Jan. 17. Gallery hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays (until 8 p.m. Thursdays, when admission is free). $8, $5 students and seniors, free for [More]

Updated: Atlanta Symphony musicians, management out of tune over mediation

  • 12:58 pm Thursday, October 16th, 2014 by Howard Pousner
Allison Beck, the acting director of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, began mediating the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra labor dispute on Oct. 7.

No news in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra lockout since federal mediators restarted negotiations apparently should not be taken as good news.

Ending a rare period of quiet in the discordant stalemate, musicians emailed a plea for help to ASO board members on Wednesday night. It suggested that negotiators for the orchestra’s administration and its parent nonprofit, the Wooodruff Arts Center, are using delaying tactics since talks resumed on Oct. 7.

The email said that the two sides have met only twice since Allison Beck, acting director of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), restarted negotiations and that management asked for [More]

Whole World Theatre celebrates 20 years this weekend

  • 12:42 pm Thursday, October 9th, 2014 by Alexa Lampasona

The Whole World Improv Theatre celebrates 20 years in Atlanta this weekend with two events- an alumni show and anniversary party- that pay homage to the growth of the company.

What started as an improv group in 1993 by David Webster, Whole World has expanded over the past two decades to bring together long form improvisational comedy. Creative Director Chip Powell has seen significant development in the group since its induction into Atlanta’s theatre community.

“We have won just about every award out there for improv and theatre year after year, and that has secured our reputation as one of the [More]

Details on the major show of Alex Katz landscapes High Museum will mount in ’15

  • 6:51 am Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

The High Museum of Art recently announced details of a major exhibition of New York artist Alex Katz‘s landscapes for summer 2015. “Alex Katz, This Is Now” will include more than 40 works created between 1954 and 2013, including 15 monumental paintings.

Running June 21 to Sept. 6, 2015, the exhibit will place a strong focus on what Katz calls his “environmental paintings” — works that engulf viewers with their expansive, painterly surfaces that depict moments of intense observation in the landscape.

At 87, Katz “seems as young as any emerging artist,” said Michael Rooks, High curator of modern and contemporary [More]

Mediator to begin work on Atlanta Symphony impasse starting Tuesday

  • 2:43 pm Monday, October 6th, 2014 by Christopher Quinn and Howard Pousner

Allison Beck won’t be walking into an unknown situation Tuesday when she relaunches negotiations between the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and its locked-out musicians.

Last summer, Beck, the acting director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, talked the New York Metropolitan Opera and its workers and musicians from a dozen unions back into the concert hall and helped save the season. But that was before a lockout took place.

She will begin the difficult work of trying to rescue the ASO’s season after a monthlong lockout during which rancor and tension over pay, benefits and the size of [More]

Woodruff Arts Center board leader takes stands on Atlanta Symphony crisis

  • 10:06 am Saturday, October 4th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

Instead of making soul-stirring music to start its 70th anniversary season, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has produced mostly sour notes for the last four weeks.

The musicians were locked out by management for the second time in two years on Sept. 7 when the two sides could not reach accord on a new collective bargaining agreement, and a war of words commenced.

Management may control the purse strings, but the musicians have commandeered the social media. Constant posts and comments by the players and their supporters on their Facebook page and Tweets on their Twitter account have pushed [More]

ASO musicians: Woodruff board chief Hertz willing to ‘break the backs of employees’

  • 4:37 pm Friday, October 3rd, 2014 by Howard Pousner

The heated words between leaders of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players’ Association and ASO and Woodruff Arts Center management took a harsh turn on Friday, with the musicians’ union releasing a statement sharply critical of Woodruff Arts Center Governing Board Chairman Douglas Hertz.

The statement, included in its entirety below, charges that Hertz is more interested in cutting full-time ASO musician positions than he is “in securing financial stability or in preserving the high artistic standards of the institution he has a duty as a steward to serve and protect.”

The Woodruff responded shortly with a statement by its president and CEO, [More]

Miss the Atlanta Symphony? Check out Atlanta Chamber Players’ concert on Tuesday; ASO musicians add Oct. 10 performances at Oglethorpe

  • 6:47 am Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 by Howard Pousner
Alcides Rodriguez (from left), Helen Hwaya Kim, Elizabeth Pridgen and Brad Ritchie of Atlanta Chamber Players performed in March at Clayton State University’s Spivey Hall. ACP’s Oct. 7 season-opening concert marks pianist Pridgen’s debut as artistic director. CONTRIBUTED BY PAULA PEACE

If you’ve missed the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra during its ongoing lockout, the Atlanta Chamber Players’ season-opening concert on Oct. 7 offers an opportunity to not only support the premier chamber ensemble but also to see and hear some of the ASO’s finest players.

Ten of the Atlanta Chamber Players’ 16 musicians for its 39th season are also full-time Atlanta Symphony Orchestra members. Or will be again, once the lockout is lifted that began Sept. 7 when ASO management and the musicians could not reach accord on a new collective bargaining agreement.

In fact, three of the Atlanta Chamber Players members [More]

More on Atlanta Symphony leader’s resignation; petition launches; notes from musician lockout

  • 4:48 pm Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

When the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra announced the surprise resignation Monday of its president and CEO Stanley Romanstein, he said in a statement that he did so out of concern that his leadership would be an “impediment” to reaching a collective bargaining agreement with ASO musicians.

But when ASO Players’ Association President Paul Murphy was asked if indeed Romanstein represented a roadblock to a new deal, his answer was, well, not exactly.

“Stanley was never empowered to negotiate an agreement with the Musicians of the ASO; neither this negotiation nor in 2012,” Murphy said in an email to the AJC on Tuesday.

Murphy [More]

Two sides in Atlanta Symphony dispute dispute whether they’re heading into arbitration

  • 12:40 am Sunday, September 28th, 2014 by Howard Pousner
Musicians cross Peachtree Street on their way to a silent protest on what would have been opening night of the ASO's 70th anniversary season on Sept. 25.  BEN GRAY / BGRAY@AJC.COM

The two sides in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra labor dispute haven’t been able to agree on much as the musician lockout enters its fourth week. But the crossed signals reached a new level of confusion on Saturday night when the administration and players released contradictory statements about their acceptance — or lack thereof — of the help of a federal mediator to restart stalled negotiations.

Early Saturday evening, an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra spokesperson emailed media a release that said that management and the ASO Players’ Association have agreed to resume collective bargaining agreement discussions using federal mediator Allison Beck. The [More]