Archive for March, 2009

10 Albums that Describe Atlanta, as Picked by Jermaine Dupri

Saturday, March 28th, 2009


Apparently it is Atlanta Week on For his contribution, Jermaine Dupri picks ten albums he thinks define Atlanta.

I am hugely surprised he 1) listed them in the order he did – Usher before Outkast? Really? 2) included himself (No shame yo!) 3) Only included huge urban artists. There are a ton of good rock artists among other genres in Atlanta plus a score of lesser known urban artists *cough* Janelle Monae *cough* he could have included. Cutting edge, really? Cop out?

Jermaine’s Top 10:
1. Confessions by Usher
“The best R&B album of this decade, which did wonders for the city musically. It set us apart once again to show the world that ATL is the new Motown.”

2. CrazySexyCool by TLC
“It continued to keep the ATL in the forefront of urban pop music and is the biggest-selling urban female-group album.”

To See the Rest of the List, Click Here. By Drive A Faster Car blog.

Atlanta an Inspiration to R&B Singer

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

For the past decade, R&B singer, songwriter and musician Raphael Saadiq has not only looked to his native Oakland and the Motown sound for musical inspiration, but also to our Motown of the South.

“[Atlanta production team] Organized Noize probably really got my attention first,” says Saadiq, who while having recorded three solo albums (including this year’s Grammy nominated “The Way I See It”) is still probably best-known for his eight-year run with breakthrough R&B band Tony! Toni! Toné!

“It was just inspirational to watch those people play music. There’s just so much talent in the South; so much realness. And it’s just been good for me, being a musician, to put my ear to the Atlanta music scene. And I’ve been really digging it.”

Little wonder that Saadiq, who first made his way onto the scene as a teenager playing on pop superstar Prince’s “Parade” tour — and has been producing (D’Angelo, Angie Stone, Joss Stone) and performing ever since — has many ties to this city.

Read Full Article. By Sonia Murray, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Celebrities Spotted at Loca Luna and Clermont

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Actors Woody Harrelson, in town shooting the movie “Zombieland,” and Bill Murray, here working on the film “Get Low,” have both been spotted taking in the, um, sights at the Clermont Lounge.

We hear from sources at the legendary Ponce  de Leon Avenue exotic dancing landmark that Murray was enjoying two popular beverages at the infamous dive  bar: Pabst Blue Ribbons and bargain whiskey from the bartender’s well rack.

Alas, we’ve been unable to confirm whether Murray or Harrelson have as yet been treated to a poetry reading/lap dance from Blondie, the club’s most famous dancer.

There’s also been no official response from the actors on how they responded when one young female fan reportedly straddled Murray excitedly while telling him that he reminded her of her dad. Murray gallantly helped the potentially tipsy fan to the exit.

The actors have also been regulars at Loca Luna, the Latin tapas and mojito emporium over on Amsterdam Avenue in Midtown as well.

By Richard Eldredge in Access Atlanta.

Read Full Article, Here.

Changing the Faces of Atlanta’s Orchestras

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Musicians of color often have a difficult time breaking into the classical music scene.

The Talent Development Program with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is trying to change that trend by nurturing African-American and Latino music students.

Tony Cox talks with Azira Hill — who started the program 15 years ago — and cellist Khari Joyner, one of the program’s participants.

To listen to the Interview, Click Here. Interview conducted by Tony Cox, NPR.

Atlantan with New Vibe

Friday, March 20th, 2009


Austin, Texas – With her New Wave hair, black-and-white dinner jacket and Mary Janes, Janelle Monae looks like an extra from the 1982 science-fiction cult classic “Liquid Sky,” an escapee from one of Prince’s fever dreams or from a planet about 10 light years from here.

It’s also made her one of the buzziest acts playing SXSW this year. “Many Moons,” a song from her 2007 debut EP “Metropolis Suite I of IV: The Chase,” was nominated for a Grammy for best urban performance. Her amazing look has generated fashion spreads.

Born in Kansas City and based out of Atlanta, the 24-year-old Monae’s voice is a complete deadpan when she replies “Wonderland” after being asked where she is calling from.

In fairness, her vanity label/collective/arts movement is called Wondaland Arts Society. Here are a few notes from the Society’s Web site: “We have created our own state, our own republic. There is grass here. Grass sprouts from toilet seats, bookshelves, ceilings and floors. Grass makes us feel good. In this state, there are no laws, there is only music. Funk rules the spirit. And punk rules the courtrooms and marketplace. Period.” Sounds pretty good to me.

Read Full Article. By Joe Gross, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Artists React to Atlanta Jazz Festival’s Cancellation

Monday, March 16th, 2009

As most of you know by now, it appears that the 2009 Atlanta Jazz Festival has been cancelled. I’ve heard from the mayor’s office that the Bureau of Cultural Affairs is looking for potential sponsors to bring a 2010 festival to Atlanta, but the city will not be contributing money from its general fund for that purpose. According to the city’s FY2009 budget summary, eliminating the jazz festival will save $142,000.

This week, I’ve been e-mailing with last year’s Future of Jazz winners for some perspective on the mayor’s decision. Kemba Cofield, who won the competition in the straight-ahead vocal category, will be heading to New York next month to record a new album. Mace Hibbard won last year’s straight-ahead instrumental contest. Pianist and flutist Bradford won the nu-jazz category and performs frequently with The Nick Longo Band at the Sambuca Jazz Cafe. Below are their reactions to the mayor’s news.

Read Full Article, by Jon Ross, Jazzlanta.

Atlanta’s Arts Hit Troubled Times

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Last fall, when Congress was grappling with the first of several bank bailouts, Buckhead art dealer Alan Avery came to appreciate that the current recession is different from others he’s faced in his 27 years in business.

“There have been weeks when I didn’t have a single person come into the gallery,” says Avery, who represents such well-known artists as Chuck Close and David Hockney. “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that happen.”

Sydney Ellis, director of marketing for 7 Stages theater in Little Five Points, is also familiar with that sinking feeling.

“We opened our first show last fall on the same day there was no gas in Atlanta,” she recalls. “That seemed to set the tone for the entire season.”

Kim Patrick Bitz, founding executive director of the Atlanta Coalition of Performing Arts, recently decided to launch a 25th anniversary e-mail fundraising campaign for his organization, which operates the AtlanTIX half-price ticket booth.

In its first three weeks, the campaign collected just $380.

“We’d expected a few thousand,” says a stunned Bitz.

Nearly every member of the Atlanta arts community has a similar anecdote illustrating when the impact of a slumping economy made itself felt. If Flora Maria Garcia looks worried, it’s because she’s heard most of them.

Garcia is CEO of the Metro Atlanta Arts & Culture Coalition, a publicly supported entity whose mission is to advocate for better funding and recognition for local arts organizations and increased public awareness of cultural offerings.

Last fall, when Garcia first began hearing horror stories, she quickly surveyed every arts group on MAACC’s mailing list. The results were dismal.

“I’ve been doing this for 27 years and never seen it this bad,” says Garcia, who came to Atlanta a year ago from Dallas.

Read Full Article. By Scott Henry, Creative Loafing.

Prominent R&B Scenester to Star on “Desperate Housewives

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

It’s been leaked recently that former Xscape member Kandi Burresshas been slated as the replacement for DeShawn Snow on the next season of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I’m really excited about this new season! Kandi has a looooong history on the music scene in the ‘A.’ From her participation in the R&B singing group Xscape (which also included sisters LaTocha and Tamika Scott, as well as Burruss’ best friend Tameka “Tiny” Cottle)…to her high profile relationships with industry dudes, Kandi’s definitely no stranger to controversy. She’ll fit into the ‘housewives’ gang quite well cause her name has been around these here parts for a minute.

It’s been said that she was the main reason behind the breakup of Xscape because her *cough* ‘relationship’ with the group’s producer, which happened to be Jermaine Dupri, was the group’s final breaking point. Causing mad tension and cries of favortism amongst the other members. She’s been involved with one of the twins from Jagged Edge (another SoSoDef group) and was also involved in a high profile relationship with Gerald Levert for a while. That relationship ended after the couple couldn’t see eye to eye.

To read the FULL article, Click herePosted by ATLien, in “A” Town Favorites

Celebrity Helps Children in Atlanta

Thursday, March 5th, 2009


Dierks Bentley has had six No. 1 country hits over the past six years, along with plenty of respect and love from fans and critics, but isn’t terribly well known outside of country circles. And he doesn’t mind.

 “I really enjoy being a regular dude,” he told Buzz, ringing us from Spokane, Wash., to promote a charity concert he’s holding with hot, up-and-coming NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne at Wild Bill’s tonight in Duluth (

 The charity helps chronically ill children. In return, Kahne helps Bentley raise money for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville.

 “You build up some celebrity currency,” Bentley said. “You then find ways to spend it as wisely as you can.”