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Best Of Atlanta 2013 Poets (large)


Poets, Artists & Madmen



We often hear about the virtues of local food and, of course, there are many reasons that we should look for sustenance close to home. Less often do we hear that said of local culture, the sustenance that feeds our minds and souls, though we need it just as much.

While compiling the winners for this year's Poets, Artists, and Madmen section, it became increasingly clear that this was the year that Atlanta's mainstream culture started looking a little closer to home. The High Museum of Art, an institution that has a historically rocky relationship with Atlanta's art scene, mounted Drawing Inside the Perimeter, an exciting group show of local artists. Georgia's film tax break, which has mostly been used to buoy out-of-state filmmakers, gave Ray McKinnon and James Ponsoldt a good reason to make a celebrated television show and indie hit film, respectively, in their home state.

Top Shelf Productions, a comic book publisher based in Marietta, might have scored its biggest hit yet with March: Book One, the moving first installment of a three-part graphic novel series by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. Georgia also gained a new literary star in Jamie Quatro, whose debut short story collection, I Want to Show You More, was nationally praised.

Feeding on local culture, rather than just consuming the glossy Hollywood shlock and television glitz, means looking in less common places. We're giving an award to the Monday nights of stand-up comedy at the Star Bar, a dive bar that's so wonderfully dingy and run down, we're a little afraid to see it with the lights on. The place has quietly become the proving ground for both emerging and established comics in Atlanta. You don't go there because some big name is on the marquee, rather, you attend to get a taste of what the best comics in town have cooked up this week.

Earlier this year, our perennial Readers Pick for Best Advocate for the Arts, WonderRoot, started a subscription program it's calling Community Supported Art. It was inspired by Community Supported Agriculture programs, the idea of subscribing to a farm. If you can sell local food like that, why not sell work by local artists the same way? That's the kind of cultural nutrition that we were looking for in Best of Atlanta 2013.

— Wyatt Williams

Best actor BOA Award Winner

Year » 2013
Section » Print Features » Special Issue » Best of Atlanta » 2013 » Poets, Artists, & Madmen » Critics Pick
Andrew Benator
Versatility doesn't seem strong enough a word to describe Andrew Benator. He was so convincing as the meek and nebbishy Dollar Store manager in the Alliance's January production of Good People that it came as a complete shock to see him walk onto stage as the smug, vicious writer Leonard in Seminar atmore...
Versatility doesn't seem strong enough a word to describe Andrew Benator. He was so convincing as the meek and nebbishy Dollar Store manager in the Alliance's January production of Good People that it came as a complete shock to see him walk onto stage as the smug, vicious writer Leonard in Seminar at Actor's Express a few months later. As the protagonist's boss Stevie in Good People, he provided a complicated, troubled, almost haunted portrayal of the tension in the character's moral dilemma about being the cog in the machine that will crush his beleaguered employee. His Leonard in Seminar, on the other hand, was a messy haze of bad moods and solipsistic fits, as if he lived to crush others. Both performances were notable in their own right, but considered side by side they revealed Benator's impressive artistic agility. www.andrewbenator.com. less...

Best actress BOA Award Winner

Year » 2013
Section » Print Features » Special Issue » Best of Atlanta » 2013 » Poets, Artists, & Madmen » Critics Pick
Danielle Deadwyler
Holding a theater full of kids in rapt attention isn't easy. But it's one of the reasons we have such mad respect for Atlanta actress Danielle Deadwyler and her performances this year as Charlotte in Charlotte's Web and as August March in The Real Tweenagers of Atlanta: Final Assembly, both at the Alliancemore...
Holding a theater full of kids in rapt attention isn't easy. But it's one of the reasons we have such mad respect for Atlanta actress Danielle Deadwyler and her performances this year as Charlotte in Charlotte's Web and as August March in The Real Tweenagers of Atlanta: Final Assembly, both at the Alliance Theatre. Her energy, humor, and charisma radiated off the stage. When Deadwyler, as Charlotte, explained to Wilbur that she kills flies "because it's in her nature," the line became a plainspoken bit of broad philosophical wisdom. Deadwyler sprained her ribs in a school matinee performance during preview week of Charlotte's Web, and the central planned stunt, Charlotte on aerial silks, had to be removed on opening night. Still, the actress brought out Charlotte's determination, honesty, and self-sacrificing kindness despite her bruised ribs, proving that Deadwyler is a special effect in and of herself. less...

Best artist with a big international presence BOA Award Winner

Year » 2013
Section » Print Features » Special Issue » Best of Atlanta » 2013 » Poets, Artists, & Madmen » Critics Pick
HENSE
In the '90s, HENSE distinguished himself from Atlanta's other graffiti writers with pieces that went bigger, and often lasted longer, than almost anyone else in town. A few years ago, though, he stepped away from graffiti's anonymity to let the world know his real name, Alex Brewer, and started showingmore...
In the '90s, HENSE distinguished himself from Atlanta's other graffiti writers with pieces that went bigger, and often lasted longer, than almost anyone else in town. A few years ago, though, he stepped away from graffiti's anonymity to let the world know his real name, Alex Brewer, and started showing off his skills as an abstract painter. The transition started small - a few gallery shows here, some commissioned murals there - but transformed his work into something big this year. Here in Atlanta, he painted the exterior of the new Westside Cultural Arts Center, which covers about half a city block, as well as a smaller wall in the basement of the High Museum. In Washington, D.C., he transformed the entire exterior of an abandoned historic church into a vibrant object dripping with color. His biggest and best yet came in the form of a commissioned work in Lima, Peru, a 23,292-square-foot evocation of brushstrokes and bright hues that covers the side of a massive building and can be seen from miles away. www.hensethename.com. less...