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Myrydd Wells

Myrydd Wells
Digital editor Myrydd Wells (pronounced "merith") joined the Atlanta magazine staff as digital producer in late 2013. Previously she worked as a copy editor and page designer for the Naples Daily News in Florida and in her hometown of Indianapolis as an intern and later contributing editor for Indianapolis Monthly magazine. A proud alumna of Indiana University Bloomington, she enjoys writing about pop culture, television, local events, animals, internet sensations, and anything else offbeat.

What are you doing this weekend? January 16-20

For the lucky ones who are free from work and school this Monday, it can be easy to look at this weekend as a three-day rest-a-thon. But Atlanta is perhaps the city richest with landmarks and artifacts relating to Martin Luther King, Jr. Both the King Center and the National Historic Site will hold events honoring our most prominent native son throughout the weekend. And of course, Monday is also a nationally recognized day of service.

Programs sponsored by the King National Historic Site include two events at Ebenezer Baptist Church: A screening and panel discussion of documentary “Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence,” and an event titled “A Tribute to the Movement: Messages in the Music,” which will feature music and poetry centered on the Civil Rights movement. Screening: Thursday 7:30 p.m.; music: Friday 8 p.m. nps.gov/malu

King Week continues at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. This weekend’s events include the annual Salute to Greatness Awards, which this year will be awarded to Muhammad Ali and Xerox, and a commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist. Awards: Saturday 6 p.m.; service: Monday 10 a.m. thekingcenter.org

King’s calls to action are the centerpiece of the Hands on Atlanta annual Day of Service. More than 3,000 people are expected to participate in the service projects offered, many of which still have room for more volunteers. Monday 9 a.m. handsonatlanta.org

The MLKDay5K features a 3.1 mile race through Piedmont Park and benefits various Atlanta schools, churches, and community organizations. High school drummers will line the course to keep runners and walkers motivated. Monday 8:45 a.m. mlkday5k.com

Other picks for the weekend:

The Wailers
Bob Marley’s iconic reggae band performs the “Legend” greatest hits album at The Masquerade from beginning to end for the record’s 30th anniversary, ensuring you’ll have plenty of chances to sing along. Thursday 7 p.m. masqueradeatlanta.com

Josh Green
The Atlanta journalist and author will talk at SCAD’s Ivy Hall in Atlanta about his short story collection, “Dirtyville Rhapsodies,” named by our own Teresa Weaver as one of 2013’s ten best books by local authors. Thursday 6 p.m. scad.edu

Professional Bull Riders
Starting with pyrotechnics and explosions and ending with guys getting violently thrown off bulls, the Professional Bull Riders series at the Arena at Gwinnett Center features the world’s top thirty-five riders. Saturday 7:50 p.m. and Sunday 2 p.m. gwinnettcenter.com

The Geller Girls
The Alliance Theatre presents the world premiere of Atlanta playwright Janece Shaffer’s drama of two sisters living in Atlanta at the end of the nineteenth century—including all the drama and excitement of the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition. Through January 31. alliancetheatre.org

Fee Free Day
In honor of the MLK holiday, the National Park Service is allowing free admittance Monday for parks that usually charge fees, including the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in Sandy Springs. nps.gov/chat

What are you doing this weekend? January 9-12

Atlanta, we’re not gonna lie, it’s been a rough week. Tuesday’s iceberg temps froze us to the core, and the idea of leaving the house in that nonsense? Forget about it. But the temps are back on the rise now that the weekend is finally upon us. If you’re going a little stir-crazy, here are a few ideas to get you out and about again.

Jeff Dunham
The Comedy Central darling brings his colorful cast of puppets to Philips tonight. Fans can expect new jokes from famous characters including hillbilly Bubba J, skeletal terrorist Achmed, mohawked purple thing Peanut, and José, the jalapeño inexplicably on a stick. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. philipsarena.com

Star Wars at Legoland
The entire weekend at the Legoland Discovery Center in Phipps Plaza is dedicated to all things Jedi, but tonight, an adults-only party lets more seasoned fans enjoy trivia, a scavenger hunt, and meet–and-greets members of the 501st legion without worrying about being shown up by a bunch of padawans. Adult night: Thursday 7 p.m.; Family event: Friday through Sunday. legolanddiscoverycenter.com/atlanta

In his sculpture pieces on display at the gallery at Swan Coach House, Jayson Niles creates animal likenesses out of materials such as fur and wood. Imagined creatures such as a squirrel with swooping antlers and a hoof is equal parts bewitching and bizarre. Opening Thursday 6 p.m., through February 21. swancoachhouse.com

Monster Jam
Even if you can’t see the appeal in ridiculously huge trucks smushing other trucks (or won’t admit it), kids most certainly can, and with trucks branded by cartoon favorites Scooby-Doo and Spider-Man (the former shaped like the iconic canine’s head), this Georgia Dome event is sure to thrill. Saturday 7 p.m. monsterjam.com

Travis Tritt
The Marietta-born CMA and Grammy award winner gives an acoustic performance at the Cobb Energy Centre. Friday 8 p.m. cobbenergycentre.com

The Taming of the Shrew/Timon of Athens
Shakespeare Tavern alternates the popular comical romance of Kate and Petruchio with performances of the lesser-known tragedy of Athenian philosopher Timon, a work that is sometimes cataloged as one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays.” Through January 26. shakespearetavern.com

Snow Mountain
Most Atlanta kids got a snow day this week, but adults trekked into work as usual, and there was certainly no white stuff on the ground. Unleash your inner child by tubing over the artificially frosty hills of Stone Mountain and show kids what a real snow day is all about. Through February 17. stonemountainpark.com

What are you doing this weekend? December 20-22

It’s the last weekend before Christmas, which means you’re probably not reading this — you already know your weekend consists of sitting in traffic around Lenox Square and fighting off hordes of last-minute shoppers with a tube of glittery wrapping paper. If you must brave the mall, here are a few suggestions for ways to de-stress afterward.

Photographers used to alter images by physical manipulation in the darkroom. Today, most effects are generated digitally. In Manipulated, ten contemporary artists—including Chuck Close and Radcliffe Bailey—exhibit works inspired by the creative potential of old-school techniques such as silver gelatin. Through January 15. scad.edu/calendar/events

Kingsized Holiday Jubilee
Imagine a mash-up of Elvis, Santa, Bing Cosby, and various Sons of Anarchy, and you’ve got Big Mike Geier’s Kingsized Holiday Jubilee, a concert, fundraiser, and celebration of hipster holiday cheer staged at the Variety Playhouse. The show is also a fundraiser for Toys for Tots. Saturday 8 p.m. variety-playhouse.com

Celtic Christmas
This Rialto show features the Irish, Scottish, and Welsh tunes you’d expect — with an added Appalachian flavor. Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. rialtocenter.org

Andrea Bocelli
The famed Italian tenor, who is visiting Philips to promote his latest album, Passione. Sunday 7:30 p.m. philipsarena.com

Or, bask in the glow of holiday light displays
Most of these displays run for a few days after Christmas, so bear this in mind for next week if you’ve got house guests with cabin fever.

Fantasy in Lights
With more than 8 million lights and 15 scenes, it’s no wonder this Callaway Gardens show has been named one of National Geographic Traveler’s top spots to check out holiday lights. Through December 30. callawaygardens.com

Gift of Lights
What’s cooler than driving around neighborhoods, looking at Christmas lights? Getting to drive on sections of the Atlanta Motor Speedway track, looking at Christmas lights. Through January 4. atlantamotorspeedway.com

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
After you’ve toured the botanical garden grounds, drop by the “Glow Bar” to dance to the DJ and sip a seasonal cocktail or two. Through January 4. atlantabotanicalgarden.org

Holiday in Lights
Gaze at the thousands of lights and unleash your inner Peanuts kid by sliding around the outdoor ice rink. It’s supposed to be in the 60s this weekend, so you can have cold weather fun without having to bundle up. centennialpark.com

Tom Cousins

In 1958 UGA grad Cousins was Knox Homes’ top producer, selling prefabricated digs. But you don’t build skyline-shaping empires with two-story houses, so Cousins pulled together $2,500 and started Cousins Properties. Within five years, Cousins was Georgia’s largest home builder and had taken his company public. In 1968 Cousins bought the St. Louis Hawks and relocated them here, principally as an excuse to build the Omni complex—now CNN Center and Philips Arena. After barely dodging bankruptcy in the 1970s, Cousins started a run that led to successful projects across the country, the tallest American building outside New York or Chicago (the Bank of America Plaza on Peachtree), and a nine-figure net worth. In the mid-1990s, Cousins’s transformation of East Lake—the golf club and the neighborhood—became a national model for urban revitalization. Now he and partners Warren Buffett and Julian Robertson have started Purpose Built Communities, an organization working to replicate the East Lake success in New Orleans, Memphis, Indianapolis, and other cities.

Paging Dr. Cousins Cousins entered UGA as a premed major, but after watching his first surgery, he switched to business administration.

Repeat Business Cousins was an early financial supporter of Ted Turner’s TV business. Last year Turner bought Cousins’s 8,800-acre plantation near Albany.

This article originally apppeared in the May 2011 issue.


Outkast put Atlanta on the hip-hop map. Classmates from Tri-Cities High School, Antwan “Big Boi” Patton and André “André 3000” Benjamin got their big break in the unlikeliest of places. “We performed outside a beauty supply store,” says Big Boi, “rhyming over A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Scenario’ remix. [Organized Noize’s] Rico Wade loved it and sent us to [bare-bones production studio] the Dungeon, where it all started.” One minute they were sixteen, rapping in a basement, and the next they were signing a record deal with L.A. Reid and LaFace records. Since 1992 Outkast has won six Grammys, along the way fusing rap, funk, and rock into a transcendent sound. Benjamin has been acting—his last film was 2008’s Semi-Pro—while Big Boi continues to make music and run Purple Ribbon Records. (He’s halfway through his second solo album, tentatively titled Daddy Fat Sax: Soul Funk Crusader.) He’s also working on a ballet, following up on 2008’s Big with the Atlanta Ballet. And there’s Outkast clothing, a Big Boi shoe, his Big Kidz Foundation, and of course, the next Outkast album, rumored to be imminent. “It just has to be jamming, man. I’m never moving away from Atlanta. The creative energy here is just incredible.”

Gal Pals The Indigo Girls, whom they met at a Grammy nomination party a few years ago. “I like all kinds of music,” says Patton.

Chic-y In 2008 Benjamin started a clothing line modeled after 1930s college football uniforms. Benjamin Bixby made him a GQ Best New Menswear Designers finalist in 2009, but the brand appears to have tanked.

Singled Out Patton wishes he’d released “Unhappy,” the third track on Speakerboxxx, as a single: “That’s one of my favorite songs ever.”

Illustration by Pablo

Bobby Cox

In Robert Joseph Cox’s Hall of Fame–worthy managerial career, spent almost entirely with the Braves, the sixty-nine-year-old earned 2,504 wins (fourth all-time), fifteen division titles (a record fourteen in a row), one World Series ring, and 158 ejections, the most in Major League Baseball history. “I’m not proud of that last record,” grumbles Cox. “There is no record. It’s a simple matter of longevity.” In retirement since the 2010 season, his immediate plans are “to relax.”

The Mick Playing third base for the New York Yankees, he once turned a triple play with Mickey Mantle in 1968, during Mantle’s final season.

Vacation In April he and his wife, Pam, took a two-week cruise in the Mediterranean, a gift from his last group of players.

Listen Up He will tune into most baseball games this year on XM radio.

Ready Fredi He told new Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez to be himself and not worry about what Cox would have done.

Says Ted On firing Cox (before rehiring him five years later) in 1981: “I said to our guys, when he was manager of the year in the American League [at Toronto], ‘We just fired the manager of the year for chrissakes! Dumbasses.’”

Photograph courtesy of the Atlanta Braves

Sam Williams

In 1980 we first referred to Williams as a “Tennessee stud.” From the tiny town of Obion (population 1,083), Williams in the late 1960s was student body president at Georgia Tech and an intern for Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. He worked for John Portman for more than twenty years, eventually becoming chief operating officer, though the two had a mysterious falling-out in 1994—which ended in an out-of-court settlement. Williams has proved a strong consensus builder and nimble visionary, serving as president of Central Atlanta Progress during the Olympic era and as head of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce since 1997.

Ingrained Leadership Williams’s ability to shape the issues is reflected in his longtime hobby as an amateur wood turner.

Photograph courtesy of the Atlanta History Center

Billy Payne

When Payne, a no-name former UGA defensive lineman and real estate lawyer, started pitching Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic bid, the city’s bold-faced businessmen presumably had the same reaction as the Atlanta Constitution: This man is a “screwball with a harebrained scheme.” Thanks to that screwball and unrelenting city booster—who strategically recruited former mayor and UN ambassador Andrew Young to charm International Olympic Committee members—Atlanta shocked the world by securing those centennial games in September 1990. Payne became president and CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, which sparked not only $3.5 billion in tourism and new construction but also massive repairs to infrastructure, a population boom, and a giant leap toward the laurel Atlanta had so long desired: true international city. In 2006 Payne took over as chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, where he grabbed headlines last year for criticizing a disgraced Tiger Woods.

Mortal Enemy Payne, who has said he was driven by a fear of dying young, had a heart attack by twenty-six and underwent a triple bypass at thirty-four.

Dream Team Sure, Young helped the bid, but Payne’s ringers were three women known for being excellent hosts: Ginger Watkins, Linda Stephenson, and Cindy Fowler. Together, “Billy and the Girl Scouts” schmoozed the IOC. U.S. Olympic Committee member and New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner called a High Museum party “the finest event like this I’ve seen.”

Anne Quatrano

When Quatrano and husband/business partner Clifford Harrison moved Bacchanalia—their nationally renowned fine-dining restaurant—from a Buckhead cottage to uncharted Westside in 1999, foodies fretted over whether it would survive. Not only did it flourish, but it also sparked redevelopment that eventually made Westside the city’s hottest dining neighborhood. With three other restaurants (Floataway Cafe, Quinones at Bacchanalia, and the latest, Abattoir) and gourmet market Star Provisions to run, Quatrano tries to spend time at each every day.

Greener Pastures Quatrano inherited Summerland, a sixty-acre farm in Cartersville, where she and Harrison grow produce that supplies their restaurants. Horses, goats, cows, ducks, guinea hens, and a pig named Hammy roam the property.

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