This Week in Retro Atlanta, Feb. 21-27, 2011

It’s a veritable luau feast for Retro activities in Atlanta this week, and ATLRetro has some tough decisions about what to do, especially on Saturday night.

Monday Feb. 21

Joe Gransden & his smokin’ 16-piece orchestra present another Big Band Night of jazz at Café 290, featuring Sinatra, Bennett, Basie and Joe’s originals.

Tuesday Feb. 22

The current incarnation of seminal progressive rockers The Church play their haunting melodies not just under the Milky Way but at Variety Playhouse. Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra are at Symphony Hall. Or if you live on the east side, swing dance to the Atlanta-New York Connection at the unlikely location of Northlake Mall’s Food Garden starting at 6 PM. Then head to Twain’s in Decatur for a Joe Gransden jazz jam session starting at 9 PM.

Wednesday Feb. 23

“If Elvis had been a woman, he probably would have sounded just like Kim Lenz,” says Rolling Stone. Decide for yourself when the scarlet-haired rockabilly queen brings her fiery voice to the Star Bar with her band The Jaguars. And if the night weren’t rockin’ enough, local faves Atomic Rockets and Junior, Dolan & Cash are also on the bill. 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. 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. 24

The Atlanta Opera presents the opening night of George Gershwin’s PORGY AND BESS, a quintessential American tale of two lovers struggling to find happiness in Charleston’s Catfish Row. Find out more about the production at the Cobb Energy Centre which runs through March 6, when Costume Designer Joanna Schmink is KOOL KAT OF THE WEEK tomorrow.

Good grief, CB’s an adolescent now, his little sister’s a goth, his ex-girlfriend’s in a mental hospital for setting too many fires, his friends are all drunk, and when his dog dies from rabies after killing a “little yellow bird,” he starts to question the existence of an afterlife. That’s the wacked-out premise of DOG SEES GOD: CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE BLOCKHEAD, a black comedy inspired by the popular PEANUTS comic strip and performed by the new Fabrefaction Theatre Company, which premieres today and runs through March 13.

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. And Breeze Kings bring on the blues at Northside Tavern.

Friday Feb. 25

Get back to rock’s rockabilly, country and Western swing roots with Big Sandy & His Flyrite Boys, with special guests Caroline & the Ramblers and The Stumblers, at Star Bar. It’s a soulful night at Highland Inn Ballroom with The Soulphonics & Ruby Velle and George Hughley with Johnny & the Lakewood 5. The Nick Longo Band jazzes up Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s Martinis and IMAX. And for the really retro, AnachroCon, a three-day steampunk convention, kicks off today in grande style with The Gaslamp Gala, a concert extravaganza organized and presented by The Artifice Club‘s Dr. Q, at 7 PM. Performers include The Ghosts Project with Nathaniel Johnstone (Abney Park) and Play it with Moxie, a ballroom jazz band. Admission is included in your AnachroCon membership, with VIP seating available for $5.  All festivities are at the Holiday Inn Select Perimeter, 4386 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road.

Saturday Feb. 26

“It all started like a regular record hop. Had they only known…” With so much great to do today, the good news is that at least the Silver Scream Spookshow has two shows, a kids’ matinee at 1 PM and adult show at 10 PM, both at the Plaza Theatre, of course. This month’s monster movie is GIANT GILA MONSTER (1959) featuring missing teenagers, hot rods, a sock hop and a hungry 70-foot reptile. Also rarely on the big screen at the High Museum of Art’s Richard H. Rich Theatre is Jean Renoir’s THE RULES OF THE GAME (1939), a tale of a hunting party at a country chateau gone splendidly wrong. Pauline Kael dubbed it “perhaps the most influential of all French films,” and Robert Altman declared that it “taught me the rules of the game.” Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose photography is currently on display at the High, served as second unit director. Showtime is at 8 PM, and the screening is part of the High’s 12th annual FRENCH FILM YESTERDAY AND TODAY series.

Saturday also is the fist day of derby season for the Atlanta Rollergirls. The first bout at 5 PM pits Dirty South Derby Girls (Atlanta All-Stars) against the Memphis (Tenn.) Hustlin’ Rollers. Then the Denim Demons take on the Sake Tuyas at 7:30 PM, all at the Yaarab Shrine Center on Ponce.

Moving onto music. The Masquerade hosts Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge, featuring Atomic Rockets, special guest Flathead Mike Niles, Rev. Andy spinning Psychobilly Freakout, Broken Hearts Burlesque Show and free jello shots. Meanwhile over at Star Bar, it’s a punk rock reunion with Atlanta’s notorious Dead Elvis, the El Caminos and Sid Vicious Experience and all proceeds supporting “Bread for Ed” Waller and Kari Smid, who suffered a serious motorcycle accident and serious medical bills. Who said punk rockers don’t have big hearts?! Look for an interview with Derek Yaniger of Dead Elvis later this week here at ATLRetro.

Saturday also will be the big day at AnachroCon with tons of steampunk panels, and in the evening, an Enchantment Under the Sea Dance with Cemetery Surfers and ‘80s cover band Denim Arcade, featuring Becky Cormier Finch of Three Quarter Ale at 7 PM. The evening continues with The World’s Fair Exposition, featuring Extraordinary Contraptions and Frenchy and the Punk (formerly Gypsy Nomads) at 10 PM, and burlesque diva Talloolah Love’s Lovely Ladies at midnight. Again, everything happens at the Holiday Inn Select Perimeter, 4386 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road.

Sunday Feb. 20

AnachroCon wraps up, but before it’s time to pack up the TARDIS, Talloolah Love offers tutelage in Vintage Hairstyles for the Modern Lady and the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company revives the popular entertainment of a bygone age. At night, rock to John Mellencamp at the Fox Theatre.


Last week’s KOOL KAT Emily Yetter stars as a precocious, politically incorrect Tinkerbell  J.M. BARRIE’S PETER PAN under the big tent at Pemberton Place, next to the World of Coca-Cola.  Performances have been extended through April 10.

THE RED BALLOON takes flight via 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.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec died in 1901, but it’s not a stretch to say that his vibrant posters and prints of showgirls, nightclub stars and the café culture influenced the 20th century romantic view of Paris and still inspire today’s burlesque performers. The High Museum of Art’s dynamic new special exhibition, TOULOUSE-LAUTREC AND FRIENDS: THE IRENE AND HOWARD STEIN COLLECTION, runs through May 1. Also at the High through May 29 is the MOMA-organized HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON: THE MODERN CENTURY, another blockbuster exhibit showcasing a photographer and photojournalist who captured on film many of the seminal moments  of the 20th century from World War II to the assassination of Ghandi, China’s cultural revolution to civil rights and consumer culture in America.

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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