This Week in Retro Atlanta, Feb. 15-20, 2011

OK, lovers, it’s back to the grind. It’s too late to check out ATLRetro’s top 3 picks for Valentine’s night, so let’s get right to the rest of the week.

Tuesday Feb. 15

Joe Gransden is back at Twain’s in Decatur for a jazz jam session starting at 9 PM. Or head back in time and over there to A NOVEMBER DAY: A WAR STORY, a timeless fable about friendship set against the backdrop of World War I, presented today by Thingumajig Theatre of West Yorskshire, England, today through Sun. at The Center for Puppetry Arts. Performers use hand, rod and shadow puppets, live music and a transforming set to tell the tale of a British soldier in WWI and his unexpected friendship with a stray dog. Suitable for ages 10 and up, with a teen and adult workshop on Sat. Feb. 19.

Wednesday Feb. 16

THE RED BALLOON takes flight at Theatre du Reve in 7 Stages’ Backstage Theater from Feb. 16-27. The stage adaptation uses puppetry and live original music to bring to life the classic 1956 French movie about a boy who befriends a shiny red balloon. Suitable for ages 4 and up.

Get ready to rumba, cha-cha and jitterbug at the weekly Swing Night at The Glenwood. Catch Joe Gransden every Wednesday night at 8:30 PM at Jerry Farber’s Side Door. Alice Cooper meets Kiss Southern-fried in Red Rocket Deluxe, headlining at Star Bar. Dance to ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s hits during Retro in the Metro Wednesdays presented by Godiva Vodka, at Pub 71 in Brookhaven, starting at 8 PM.

Thursday Feb. 17

Celebrate one of the most dynamic decades in pop music history when LIBBY’S AT THE EXPRESS PRESENTS THOSE FABULOUS FIFTIES, featuring songs made famous by Nat “King” Cole, Rosemary Clooney, The Mills Brothers, Buddy Holly, Hank Williams, and the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley. The variety show stars local chanteuses Lisa Paige, Wendy Melkonian and Libby Whittemore, with musical arrangements by Robert Strickland, tonight through Sunday Feb. 20 at 7:30 PM at Actor’s Express in west Midtown.

Ghost Riders Car Club celebrates Vietnamese New Year with classic ’50s honkytonk and rockabilly every Thursday in February at Pho Truc in Clarkston. For a sneak peek, see Feb. 1 ’s KOOL KAT OF THE WEEK with guitarist Spike Fullerton. Listen to Tongo Hiti’s luxurious live lounge sounds, as well as some trippy takes on iconic pop songs, just about every Thursday night at Trader Vic’s. The Joe Gransden Trio is at Atmosphere from 7-10 p.m. And Breeze Kings play the blues at Northside Tavern.

Friday Feb. 18

This Friday could be dubbed legends night if you’re into punk, country or new wave. Jonathan Richman, founder of proto-punk garage band The Modern Lovers, takes the stage for an intimate gig at the Highland Inn Ballroom. Then it’s a country double-header with “Dancing Outlaw” Jesco White and Roger Alan Wade, who penned songs for Johnny Cash and other greats, hit Star Bar. Tinsley Ellis brings on the blues at Variety Playhouse. Or for vintage new wave that never gets old, roam to Athens to see The B-52s rock lobster Classic Center.

Minette Magnifique. Photo credit: Avidity Photography

Burlesque performances by Minette Magnifique are among the highlights of CARNIVALE, the annual fundraising gala for Actor’s Express at 8 p.m. at The Gallery at King Plow Arts Center. The evening promises to transport attendees metaphorically to Rio with street performers, dancers, live music, interactive gaming booths, palm and tarot card readers, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a raffle and a silent auction to benefit the 23-year-old theatre company located in west Midtown. Click here you missed last Tuesday’s KOOL KAT OF THE WEEK interview with Shellie Schmals, aka Baroness VonSchmalhausen, of Minette Magnifique.

Saturday Feb. 19

Jonathan Richman plays a second show at the Highland Inn Ballroom. Or cinephiles, take note, The High Museum of Art screens Serge Bromberg’s Cesar-winning documentary HENRI GEORGES CLOUZOT’S INFERNO about the struggles of the French director (DIABOLIQUE, THE WAGES OF FEAR) to film this legendary unfinished 1964 movie. Described as a “hallucinatory psychological thriller about a man driven mad by jealousy,” INFERNO starred Romy Schneider as a water-skiing vixen and Serge Reggiani as her possessive husband. Showtime is at 8 PM, and the screening is part of the High’s 12th annual FRENCH FILM YESTERDAY AND TODAY series.

Sunday Feb. 20

Blues diva Francine Reed brings her hypnotic voice to Eddie’s Attic in the evening. During daytime hours, if you have the big bucks, drink and nosh at the 2nd annual ATLANTA WINTER WINE + JAZZ FESTIVAL at Georgia Freight Depot, featuring fine wine tastings and seminars, nibbles form Atlanta’s top restaurants and caterers, a vendors marketplace and door prizes, all set to a live jazz soundtrack. VIP admission starts at 2PM, with general admission at 3 PM, and festivities run to 6 PM.

For more weekend fun, tune back in on Thursday for ATLRetro Weekend Update. If you know of a cool happening we’ve missed, send suggestions to

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