Apr 24 2009

Spring in Atlanta: Festivals and Gardens!!!

(music from the Atlanta Dogwood Festival)

There is nothing like springtime gardening and festivals in Atlanta. Winter (well, whatever winter we have—I’m from Chicago. I’m just sayin’). Everything is green, the rains have come, the flowers, dogwoods, and azaleas are blooming, and there is so much to do outside and inside around the city. Last weekend for me was about two great festivals –the Dogwood Festival and the Atlanta Film Festival– and some gardening.

Last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was the 73rd Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival. The Dogwood (pictured left in pink, though most dogwood flowers are white) is the unofficial state flower of Georgia (the Cherokee Rose is the Official State Flower; the State Seashell, in case you were wondering, is the Knobbed Whelk). The Festival was back in Piedmont Park this year, after a drought-induced hiatus to the Lenox Mall Parking Lot last year. The weather was gorgeous! I went on Friday, played Frisbee, and walked around to some of the more than 250 artist booths, which were really spectacular. I’m a woodworker, and I was very impressed with the number and quality of wood turning, carving, and furniture booths. I might have to get one for next year…. In 2006, the Artist Market was ranked #16 out of the Top 200 Shows in the Country by Sunshine Artist’s Magazine.

Last weekend was the best weekend so far this year for gardening. On Saturday, before the Atlanta Film Festival, I went to pick up a pick-up truck-full of horse manure! I know, it might sound kinda gross, but this stuff is all natural, totally organic, and better than gold to gardeners and farmers! You can use manure as a top-dressing, mixed into soil directly (do this at least 2-4 months ahead of any planting), or thrown in your compost bin. And it was FREE!

I went to Vogt Riding Academy, located about a mile from the Emory campus. My friend Colin and I had the truck filled in 20 minutes, and they had TONS of free manure. Just go by anytime they’re open (8-5 M-F; 8-3ish on Sat), and they’re happy to help out. They’ll even load your truck for you for free (you should tip the guy five bucks, in my opinion) if you go earlier in the day. Loaded up with horse apples, Colin and I grabbed a cup of coffee at a coffee shop, where they gave us free used coffee grounds for the garden.

We saw Farmer D’s organic garden shop across the street, so we went over and bought some vegetables and herbs to go into the ground. The workers there were friendly and knowledgeable and Farmer D’s website is fantastic. For instance, they’ve got a great video on the process and benefits of composting.

Lastly, The Atlanta Film Festival (AFF) was fantastic. I only caught the Drama Shorts, but there were 183 films total being screened between April 16-25. Since 1977 the AFF has screened early films from directors such as Steven Spielberg, Victor Nunez, Spike Lee, Julie Dash and Robert Rodriguez. The Drama Shorts that I saw were all good, and several were great. They were between 12 and 19 minutes long. I can say that I had previously seen less than five short films in my life. But the shorts were powerful and unlike most Hollywood movies. Three of the six were filmed in Atlanta, with many of the actors, directors, and production people sitting in the theater with me! I particularly like Magellan, the story of a bright and awkward young boy living in a smokestack in Atlanta with his artist father. The festival website says:

Magellan, a scrawny seventh-grade outcast, has a precarious friendship with the popular but insecure girl he walks to and from school with everyday, but that friendship ends at the school boundaries until one day Magellan gathers the courage to ask her to the Spring Dance.

Check out the trailer on the website and go see the movie! It was fantastic! The rest of the The AFF website is very interactive, and most of the films have trailers and/or comments sections. Check out the rest of the Drama Shorts below for descriptions, reviews, and trailers.

Between You And Me | Micah Stansell

Flying Lessons | Janet Grillo

Magellan | Sebastian Davis

Miracle Fish | Luke Doolan

The Capgras Tide | Adam Hutchings

Wheels | Tracy Martin

So the festivals, gardening, and spring have arrived in Atlanta. Sometimes all on the same weekend. You can see why it’s my favorite time of the year!!!

Jun 12 2008

More Love in the ATL

This week we continue our series “5 Things I Love About Atlanta.” One of the great things about being a student (or a staff- or faculty-member) at Candler is living in one of this country’s great cities, Atlanta. I have my personal favorite things (about which you will hear soon). I have also interviewed my classy, cultured, and sophisticated colleagues around Candler for their favorite things about this little corner of the universe known as The ATL. So here we go.

Jamila Garrett-Bell, Assistant to the Registrar
She came to Atlanta from Seattle, Washington via New York City. She has been at Candler since 2002, was the 2006-2007 Candler Staff Perso
n of the Year, and is a tenacious basketball player.

Jamila’s Top Five Things She Loves About Atlanta
1. Affordable Housing
Atlanta is one of the most affordable major cities in which to live in the United States. You can find a decent one-bedroom apartment in a good i
ntown neighborhood for around $650/month (around $950 for two-bedroom). The median house price in metro Atlanta is $154,000.

2. Greenery
If you’ve ever flown into Atlanta (or been on Google Earth), you’ve noticed that the whole city seems to be blanketed by trees! Trees in Atlanta remove 19 million pounds of pollutants from the air each year. How about that?! Atlanta is currently working on The Beltline Project, 23-mile long intown system of parks and biking/walking trails.

3. Great Indian Food

Atlanta is home to a vibrant Indian and Indian-American population, so we’ve got fantastic Indian food! Jamila’s favorite Indian restaurant is Desi Spice in Midtown Atlanta. Jamila loves the Bhuna Shrimp Puri. Other great Indian restaurants within 4 miles of Emory include Madras Saravana Bhavan, Udipi, and Bhojanic.

4. Festivals
Jamila is a huge
fan of Atlanta festivals. This year was the 31st annual Atlanta Jazz Festival, a month-long showcase of jazz talent, culminating in a free weekend concert series. Whether you like your jazz fusion or funky, smooth or straight no chaser, Jamila recommends loading up the family, taking blankets, dinner, and drinks and spending the day downtown groovin’.

5. Local Music
Atlanta is home to some amazing music. International superstars such as Emory’s own Indigo Girls, as well as Jermaine DuPri, John Mayer, Ludicrous, Outkast, Sugarland, and Usher have all come out of the Atlanta music scene. For the next generation of homegrown talent, five places to check out are:

Sugarhill (soul, hip hop, funk, and R&B)
Eddies Attic (acoustic, singer-songwriters, indie
Apache Café (experimental, jazz, funk, spoken word)
Red Light Café (bluegrass Thursdays, folk)
Five Spot (jazz, funk, reggae, electronica).

Jessica Smith, Communications Coordinator, Office of Contextual Education

A 2005 MDiv graduate of Candler, Jessie will start her PhD at Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion this fall, focusing on constructive theological anthropology.

Jessie’s Top Five Things She Loves About Atlanta
1. Brick Store Pub
BSP, for short, is located in downtown Decatur, GA. Jessie enjoys the unique selection of beers and the one-of-a-kind space and atmosphere. There are no TVs in the joint (halleluiah!), so community and conversations are the heart of this pub. For a cozy evening, go upstairs to the Belgian Room.

2. The High Museum of Art
Jessie finds Atlanta’s largest fine art museum to be small enough to be accessible, and yet substantial enough to bring in fantastic exhibits. Jessie went to the Annie Leb
exhibit this spring and caught the Louvre Atlanta: The Royal Collections exhibit last year. They do Jazz at the High every Friday night.

3. Diversity and Neighborhoodiness
Jessie finds Atlanta’s neighborhoods to be charming, and appreciates a city that has such a range of cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and musical/artistic tastes. She enjoys hanging out in neighborhoods like Oakhurst, Grant Park, Vinings, and Virginia-Highland.

4. Southern Urban Cuisine
There are few places on earth where you can eat food quite like they serve in Atlanta. A little bit down-home, a little bit sophisticated goodness. Jessie loves One Midtown Kitchen and Trois and adores Watershed, which is co-owned by Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls. Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road… But when her mom’s in town, Jessie takes her to Canoe, tucked away on the Chattahoochee River.

5. Shake at the Lake
Every summer the Georgia Shakespeare Company puts on a week of free dock-side plays at the lake in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. Tickets are first come, first served and must be picked up the morning of the performances. Last year Jessie took a picnic and a blanket and saw Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and this year she caught Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters (ok, it’s usually, but not always, Shakespeare).

About the Blogger: Brad Schweers is enjoying his new-found power as Candler’s Admissions Blogger. He also enjoyed the three times it snowed in Atlanta this past winter. Twice it even stuck on the ground!