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Twain’s Savannah Sasser dropped vegetarianism and became a butcher

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13 Questions is a weekly series where we ask chefs 13 questions to get to know them outside of the kitchen. Savannah Sasser is the chef at Twain’s Brewpub and Billiards.

Why did you stop being a vegetarian?
I became a vegetarian when I moved back to Georgia from Pittsburgh. It was a combination of realizing I didn’t understand the slaughter process, and I was living in Douglasville, so I would drive for hours and see some poor dead animal on the side of the road. I just needed a break from meat. I lasted for two years, but then I went to White Oak Pastures and [watched how they did] slaughtering. It was an incredible experience. They do it right.

You recently got into butchering. What’s been the biggest surprise?
How cathartic it is if you’ve had a rough day. I’m also learning a lot about the slaughtering process. You can see how the animal lived just by breaking into it. You can see all these busted capillaries if the animal is under severe distress.

What’s one thing you wish you knew how to cook?
More pastries, like a cronut. I find that pastry is about exact science; whereas with cooking you can fix things and you can play around with more.

What’s your guilty pleasure snack food?
I enjoy taking Krispy Kreme doughnuts with chocolate frosting, adding some ice cream from Jeni’s, and topping it with peanuts. I only do it once every couple of months.

What’s the last TV show you bingewatched?
Marcella. It’s a really good British crime series.

What do you do when you aren’t cooking?
I enjoy reading. I do yoga. I hang out with my dogs: Maddie, a Boston terrier, and Monroe, a mutt. Monroe came up to Twain’s patio—that’s how I found him four years ago.

What was the first thing you ever learned to cook?
I made some chicken casserole for my mom by myself when I was 12. It went terribly wrong because I mixed up a teaspoon versus a tablespoon of black pepper. But I’ve always wanted to cook. Cooking was where my mom and I were best. It was where I got to spend one-on-one time with her. Cooking is what I could do to help people or to show love; I found that very gratifying.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
Always a chef. When I was a kid, I accidentally spelled it “chief” instead of chef.

Why did you attend culinary school, and was it worth it?
I was 18 and didn’t want to live in Georgia anymore. I went to college and got put on academic probation after one semester, so I thought, “Okay, college is not for me.” I always wanted to cook, so culinary school made sense. No, it’s not worth it. There are enough programs where you get paid to cook and take class once or twice a week. It’s the same degree as I did with hands-on experience at a great place and a lot less money. A lot of culinary schools are going under and considered predatory lenders because there’s no possible way to pay that back.

Twain’s is known for bar games. What’s your favorite?
I am not good at any of them. I thought I was better at bowling, but I was playing with our general manager and he told me “You’re either really good or terrible. There’s no consistency.” I just get in my head.

If we were to open your fridge, what would be in it right now?
Vindaloo from an Indian restaurant, some eggs, half and half for coffee, vegetables, and OJ.

What’s your favorite thing on tap at Twain’s?
Our River Sunset Amber goes really well with a lot of different things. I love braising with beer. I like the maltiness you get from using a beer, that earthy flavor.

What’s the best-kept secret in Decatur?
If I don’t want to cook, I will pick up Pine Street Market’s ready-made stuff. Their sides are awesome.

My Style: Thomas Wages

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Thomas Wages
Thomas Wages made-to-measure Scottish Donegal tweed suit in moss green. From $1,295

Photograph by Ben Rollins

In his earlier career, Wages helped launch Turner Classic Movies and even founded a record label, but he’s always been interested in clothes. In January he began rebranding his Westside menswear shop, Tweeds, with his own name. He designs almost everything himself—from classic wool suiting to colorful madras shirts (which you can see on Zach Galifianakis in Keeping Up with the Joneses). This month he’s rolling out a footwear collaboration with Atlanta-based Cord Shoes and Boots.

Hails from  I was born in Athens but raised on Lake Lanier. It was great growing up on the water. I got my captain’s license.
Neighborhood  West Midtown. I bought my home almost 10 years ago, and I remember going to West Egg and thinking, I could see myself here.
Early style  I grew up in a small town, where if you wore anything besides T-shirts and jeans you got made fun of, but I wore nice crisp Oxfords and loafers.
Family affair  My grandfather was a farmer, but he still wore custom-made suits for business meetings. It wasn’t for vanity but out of respect.
Style icons  Paul Newman. He was polished, minimal, understated, masculine, and elegant.
First concert  The Champagne Jam in 1978 at Grant Field with Santana, the Doobie Brothers, and Atlanta Rhythm Section. My parents snuck me in.
Go-to restaurant  Hankook Taqueria for their barbecue pork sliders and sesame fries.
Signature drink  Ginger beer, Black Maple Hill bourbon, and lime.
Designers you love  I have an original Ernest Alexander banker’s weekender bag in waxed canvas and chocolate leather that has aged like a fine wine. And I also love my beautiful Bond peacoat from Billy Reid.
Travel destination  Portland. I always stay at the Ace, go to Stumptown Coffee, and walk down to the river to lie in the grass.

Leather weather

Thomas Wages
Photograph by Ben Rollins

This fall Wages is introducing a full-grain tumbled leather motorcycle jacket ($895) with brass hardware. “It’s broken in to a point where it feels like butter,” he says.

This article originally appeared in our October 2016 issue.

Ahab takes to the air in Alliance Theatre’s acrobatic adaptation of Moby Dick

Alliance Theatre Moby Dick
Photograph by Lookingglass Theatre Company

Adapting the 135-chapter Moby Dick—a novel that’s equally famous for being a literary masterpiece and one of the most difficult-to-read books of all time—for the stage is an epic task on par with killing the white whale itself. But that doesn’t stop writers from trying. Among the versions: a play-within-a-play by Orson Welles, an opera, a multimedia musical concert, and an unusual take in which no dialogue is even spoken aloud. When playwright David Catlin was creating a new adaptation for Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre last year, he incorporated acrobatics and trapeze work to demonstrate the violence of whale hunting. “I wanted the audience to feel like they’re on the boat, to feel the terror [the characters] felt,” he says.

The play’s 10 actors spend the show climbing up and down Chinese poles, swinging from aerial straps, and being hoisted into the air—sometimes as high as 22 feet. The set moves with them, too, as boats swing from the rafters to mimic the chaos of the ocean. “It’s a visceral story, [and] the business of whaling is bloody,” says Catlin. “With acrobatics, we get to feel the story in our muscles, and that draws us in.”

The original production was so lauded—Chicago Tribune called it “a truly superb adaptation . . . tightly woven yet yearning”—that Alliance artistic director Susan Booth, who was classmates with Catlin at Northwestern, asked him to bring the show to Atlanta. “We’re always looking for stories to tell that are so big and so wildly universal that anyone can walk through that story’s front door,” says Booth.

Catlin believes the 165-year-old Herman Melville classic resonates now more than ever. “Ahab is obsessed with what he believes to be a noble task,” he says. “I think we all want to have something that grips us like that, especially today when we’re being pulled in so many different directions.”

Moby Dick runs October 12 through 30.

This article originally appeared in our October 2016 issue.

The spooky stories behind 4 haunted places in Atlanta

Haunted places in Atlanta
Illustration by Toni DeMuro

According to Boo (yes, really) Newell, a psychic medium and guide at Decatur Ghost Tour, cemeteries aren’t the only haunted places in Atlanta. “Ghosts will be anywhere there was human tragedy, emotional events, or something went awry.” Here’s where to find them.

Calling All Soldiers
Haunt Oakland Cemetery
There are 3,000 unknown Confederate dead buried in Oakland, and cemetery officials say that on quiet days visitors have heard the tones of a bugle and the voice of a man calling roll for the soldiers. Sometimes they even reply “present.”

The Remorseful Ghost
Haunt Decatur Courthouse
After learning of his wife’s affair, James Crowder flew into a fit of rage, killing her and their children in 1823. Crowder was publicly executed for his crimes, and his ghost reportedly remains near the city courthouse, lurking in shame.

Star-Crossed Spirits
Haunt Roswell
Roswell has its own Romeo and Juliet in the ghosts of a Union soldier and a local shop girl. After the soldier was hanged for treason, she soon followed suit by her own hand. Inside the building that now houses the restaurant Public House, the couple have been seen dancing and gazing out the windows.

Forever friends
Haunt Decatur Recreation Center
In the early 1900s, two children named Herman and Lucy were killed as they played on a Decatur street. Today, says Newell, the pair still play together outside the Decatur Recreation Center. The spirits have even been known to invite living children to join their games.

This article originally appeared in our September 2016 issue.

Taqueria del Sol’s Eddie Hernandez traded his drumsticks for chef knives—and never looked back

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13 Questions is a weekly series where we ask chefs 13 questions to get to know them outside of the kitchen. Eddie Hernandez is the executive chef at Taqueria del Sol.

Courtesy of Green Olive Media
Courtesy of Green Olive Media

What got you into cooking?
When I was young, my grandmother was an extremely good cook. She made this amazing corn, and one particular day I was just craving it. But she said to me, “Do you think I am going to always be around? You need to learn how to cook. It will allow you to eat what you want when you want to eat.” She was absolutely right.

What was the first thing you ever learned how to cook?
Pickled pork. It’s a big thing in Mexico. Most of the bars have it to keep you drinking. It’s really good and always something I wanted to do.

What do you miss most about your hometown, Monterrey, Mexico?
The food, the culture. It’s a different world because when you get away from the borders the people become very nice, very friendly, simple. They can be happy with little and can be okay with a lot. Everybody wants to have money, but it’s not necessarily the most important thing in life, like family and friends. I haven’t been back in about seven years—my sisters don’t want me to go because it’s too dangerous.

What was the last TV show you bingewatched?
The Big Bang Theory. I love Sheldon. He’s an idiot, and I want to kill him sometimes.

What’s your fast food guilty pleasure?
I love the Vortex. They have burgers that are greasy and remind me of the ones I used to eat in Texas.

What’s one thing you wish you knew how to cook?
Lardo. It’s an Italian dish that’s pure pork. They do it on marble block, salt it, let it sit forever. I’ve seen how complicated it is to do, so I’ve been trying to think of a way to recreate it.

What do you do when you aren’t running the restaurants?
I love to listen to music and to dance. My friend has a bilingual Spanish station that plays nothing but old rock, Rock Radio and More. I sometimes I go over there and watch him and laugh at him.

You started out as a drummer. Do you still play?
When I quit music, I promised to God I would never play again in my life. It’s been 27 years. The lifestyle of a musician is very addictive when you get to the level I was. You travel all the time, sleep in shitty hotels, eat bad food. I had the cars, the boat; you name it, I had it. I didn’t have time. I couldn’t have a steady girlfriend because I was on the road all the time. I never had time to drive the cars. I was becoming an alcoholic. I knew that, and that was when I decided to get away from it.

If you weren’t a chef, what you be doing?
When I get older, I might build a music studio and produce.

What was the last concert you saw?
Roger Waters from Pink Floyd at Philips Arena.

Where was the last place you traveled?
I’m in Colombia right now. I just love the country. The average temperature is between 71 to 80 degrees every day. The air is so clean that within three days I can feel in my body how relaxed and how rested I am. I come over here for a week, and I have a bunch of friends that I go out to eat and see places with.

Who were your food role models?
I like Jacques Pépin and Julia Child. They were the chefs that pioneered the food in TV but were also very good teachers. Their recipes made sense. I was a younger man when I started watching them. I was taking the techniques they used in their cooking to create new things that I could take to multitudes.

What’s your favorite ingredient?
When it comes to peppers, nothing is off limits. I’ve been growing my peppers for last two years and teaching myself how to do things with their heat.

Welcome to Inman Park, home of the “Squirrel Census”

Squirrel Census
Illustration by Peter Arkle

Five years ago, when Inman Park resident Jamie Allen was writing a short story about a dog obsessed with squirrels, it got him wondering how many of the fluffy-tailed rodents lived nearby. Of course, no one was keeping track, so he recruited some friends to help him take a count. The next year they raised $8,982 on Kickstarter—with MailChimp as a major supporter then and now—to conduct the inaugural “Squirrel Census” and produce posters of their findings. They’ve since lectured at colleges on how to use storytelling in science and made videos that acknowledge the quirkiness of the project. Last October a mostly volunteer group conducted the second census, which was released this spring, along with an app in which you too can report squirrel sightings. Allen eventually wants to survey New York’s Central Park.

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Methodology

The team—including an Emory epidemiologist—divided the neighborhood into 151 hectares in which they counted every squirrel twice a day for more than a month, using a formula devised by a Danish American biologist.

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2015 census
The whimsical survey includes a fold-out map, infographics, quirky stories, and anthropomorphic doodles.

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Founding father

“It does seem too silly or strange to believe people actually do it,” Allen says. “But it generates a conversation and gets people looking at the world in a different way.”

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The emoji

Allen’s group is currently lobbying for a squirrel emoji. Allen’s group is currently lobbying for a squirrel emoji.

By the numbers
302

Counting sessions from October 1 to November 12, 2015

928
Squirrels counted in 2015 census

1–1.5 pounds
average weight of Eastern gray squirrel

6–10 inches
average tail length of Eastern gray squirrel

.56
square miles in Inman Park

This article originally appeared in our October 2016 issue.

Room author Emma Donoghue on her latest novel, The Wonder

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Photo by Nina Subin
Photo by Nina Subin

Irish novelist Emma Donoghue became an international sensation with the 2010 publication of Room, the New York Times bestseller that became the 2015 Oscar-winning feature film. Her latest historical fiction, The Wonder, was released last month. The novel, set in 1850s Ireland, tells the story of Lib Wright, an English nurse hired to watch 11-year-old Anna, who has supposedly survived without eating anything for four months. As Anna’s health deteriorates, Lib must determine if the situation is a miracle, as many in town believe, or a hoax. On Wednesday night, Donoghue will read from the book in Athens at Avid Bookshop. Thursday, she’ll join Atlanta author Joshilyn Jackson for a conversation at SCADshow. She spoke to us about the inspiration for The Wonder, adapting Room, and her next projects.

How did you come up with the idea for this novel?
There are books about this whole tradition of fasting girls, and at least 20 years ago, I came across one of these cases. I am used to taking a single historical case and turning it into my own, but [for this topic], there wasn’t one perfect case, so I wrote my own and set it in my home country of Ireland. My sources were 50 different cases.

Why set the book in the 1850s, a decade after the Great Famine?
The famine in the 1840s was one of the most famous examples of starvation. So it created a really poignant contrast between starving because there’s no food and starving because you say “no” to food. The physiological symptoms of not eating are the same in any era; what is specific to each era is its mindset. Anorexia wasn’t diagnosed until the 1870s. I did not give Anna a mindset of a modern girl with eating issues. Victorian fasters didn’t go on about being thin. It was more ideas of purity, spirituality, rising above the ordinary needs of flesh.

Your protagonist is an English nurse who has a very negative view of Ireland. What was it like writing such a critical portrait of Irish culture?
It was highly enjoyable. Everybody has criticisms of their own cultural traditions. Being an immigrant from Ireland does give me a bit of distance, but the Irish are highly critical of their own country. I feel part of the group of Irish writers who are critical: Joe O’Connor, Ann Enright, and Roddy Doyle. It was enormously fun to set up these contrasts between modern and ancient, English and Irish, educated and superstitious peasants. Over the course of the book, those contrasts are undermined, and the nurse is forced to recognize her own prejudice.

Why write this book now?
Some authors have problems finding ideas. I’m besieged by them. So they join the queue. But now I have a friend who had daughter with anorexia. I have a nine-year-old daughter myself. I put a lot of the dynamic between the nurse and Anna as the dynamic between my daughter and me. I wanted to make Anna likable, so put a bit of my daughter in her.

A lot of your novels center on terrible things happening to children. Is that difficult to write as a mother?
Because I have a kids of my own, my mind is full of the ethical dliemmas of parenthood: How much do I protect them? How much do I let them make their own mistakes? How much do I impose my own agenda on them? I’m fascinated by the business of having kids. The Wonder is like Room turned inside out. Jack is imprisoned in Room, but has an expansive mind. Anna’s mind is imprisoning her in that room in The Wonder.

What was it like watching Room be adapted into a film?
It’s been great. I worked very closely with director and producers to make in into film. I was happy to make changes in order to preserve the spirit of the book. Yes, the book has Jack’s voice, but the film has has his body. It was a very happy experience for me.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on several film projects. I’m working on screenplay for [my novel] Frog Music and other authors’ adaptations for screen as well. I’m also finishing up a children’s book that will be published next spring. And I’m working on a contemporary novel set in France, where I was living last year.

7 questions for Patrick Phillips, author of “Blood at the Root”

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In 1912, three black men were accused of raping and murdering a white teenage girl named Mae Crow in Forsyth County. One of the men, Rob Edwards, was lynched, and the other two, Ernest Knox and Oscar Daniel, were hanged after a one-day trial. The townspeople then drove all 1,098 black residents out of the county, seizing their land and burning their churches along the way.

Although lynchings and attempts at expunging black citizens were common during this time period, Forsyth’s so-called racial cleansing remained in place until the 1990s. Poet Patrick Phillips was raised in Forsyth County in the 1970s and 1980s and remembers the county’s 1987 “brotherhood march,” when civil rights activists led by Hosea Williams encountered a large group of Klansmen and white protesters, along with a phalanx of police and National Guardsmen. The march turned into a white power rally that made national news, even drawing Oprah in to film an episode during one of the earliest years of her show.

“I grew up in Forsyth, and when I was a kid I had always wanted to find a book that told the story behind the legend [of what happened in 1912],” says Phillips. “But I realized if I wanted the truth about some of this stuff, I had to go look for it.” A decade ago, Phillips set out to chronicle Forsyth’s history of racism, and the resulting historical nonfiction book, Blood at the Root, was released in late September. Phillips spoke to us about his research, the local response to the book, and its relevance.

Photo by Marion Ettlinger
Photo by Marion Ettlinger

Why write this story now?
The poet Natasha Tretheway is a friend of mine, and she really issued a challenge to me. We had a conversation where she said, “Why have you not written about this? You need to tell this story.” I look like the perpetrators of slavery and Jim Crow—that’s the face I have and voice I have. I think I spent a lot of my adult life trying to do no harm and give no offense. But it meant I was on the sidelines of [issues] I deeply supported but didn’t have a role in. To be silent is really not justifiable. It was a combination of Natasha giving me persmisson to write the book and an obligation that the story be told, that those photographs be seen. I wanted the victims of this to have their stories remembered. I don’t know if that solves anything, but I don’t think we can get reconciliation without some truth-telling and that has to happen at local level.

What shocked you the most during your research?
The biggest shock to me was when I learned about Ernest Knox’s confession in 1912. The book was really a process of putting pressure on every single myth and legend. It’s complicated because the myths and legends are part of the story, but full of distortions and erasures. Part of that legend was that people were provoked after this wave of rapes, and Ernest Knox confessed. But he did so after a local white man had lured him to a well and was going to throw him into well with noose on his neck. This wouldn’t be regarded as [admissible] confession today.

The one other shocker was when I went back and read the biracial committee report after [the events of] 1987. Six African Americans and six Cumming civic and business leaders worked together for 10 months to figure out what  happened, and they issued two separate reports to the governor—one white and one black. When I read the white report, I just couldn’t believe it. In their view, a majority of black people who left in 1912 “voluntarily relocated.” That’s how delusional it was.

Do you see any parallels between the story and current race relations in America?
When I started the book, it was before Ferguson, before Eric Garner, before all of these things that made headlines. I was sort of astonished as the subject matter became more relevant. The guy who was lynched in 1912 was Rob Edwards, whose nickname was Big Rob. And Mike Brown was Big Mike. Eric Garner was big guy. These were large men, physically large, tall men, and that’s exactly what happened in 1912. There’s some type of continuum that anecdotally exists from 1912 to now. Only a fool would suggest he has figured out race in America. A lot of people think because Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat: okay, thank god, we’re over race. [But] you have to keep securing those gains.

With this current presidential campaign, you have people who aren’t just resitant but are offended by those who want to tell truth about what happened in the 20th century to black Americans. [It’s shocking] how defensive and guarded a lot of white people are about this. But when I interviewed a lot of black descendant families, it was amazing how ready they were to forgive, how ready many of them were to communicate and connect and talk.

The Forsyth County of today looks very different than the Forsyth County of the 1980s or 1990s. What changed?
One day of singing “We Shall Overcome” and marching in 1987 didn’t suddenly change the hearts and minds in Forsyth. The old racial ban just died a natural death, and eventually the old guard were out numbered. Forsyth was not monolithic. People who dissented had to keep quiet. When Oprah Winfrey came down in 1987, she said, “There are a lot of white people in this community who are afraid, too.” As a kid, people told racist jokes, but I learned to keep quiet because you put yourself at risk.

How have people in Georgia and Forsyth specifically responded to this book?
When I’ve spoken in Atlanta, a lot of people from the county have come up to me to tell some of their stories. Right now I’m hearing from people who are happy about the book. But when the book was excerpted in the AJC, there was another response: “Why is he dredging up this ancient history? Leave it alone.” Like if you just leave it alone, it would all get better. But that’s dangerous wishful thinking. Still, I have to say I think of Forsyth as home; it’s where I grew up. I wrote this because of a fascination with its history. I didn’t write it with any ill-will.

How difficult was it to write a narrative researched from newspapers and public records?
I spent a very long time researching before I wrote a word. I started looking at newspapers a decade ago. I used Ancestry.com to locate descendants. I don’t think I could’ve written this 20 years ago, [before everything became digitized]. The narrative part wasn’t that hard because I’ve always written narrative poems. But everything I say in the book I wanted to back up with a source. I was probably excessively meticulous with the 35 pages of notes in the back. Because I grew up in the county, I had heard all of this denied my whole life, so I didn’t want anyone to claim it was poetic license or a novelist taking liberties.

Was it a challenge to tell this story fairly, considering there were very few records of black voices from the time?
Forsyth county was a backwater with very marginalized people. The African American community was not exclusively poor sharecroppers, but a majority were poor field hands or sharecroppers. Many left an “X” beside their names on poll tax records—if even that. I was aware that it was going to be extremely challenging, and that the archive was inherently biased toward the white point of view. A lot of it was old-fashioned hustle. I became really obsessive about finding every scrap. There’s a letter from Ruth Jordan, who was a schoolmate of Mae Crow, and at the end she writes, “It weren’t the klan that done this just the ordinary people of the county.” When I read that, suddenly it became very vivid, and she was the first voice I heard of dissent from the white community.

I knew there were ways to get a more nuanced picture. It’s not that parts of this story had not been told. They were just scattered. It wasn’t that stories were impossible to know, but no one had ever bothered to look or ask these questions.

27 Atlanta festivals to check out in October

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Now that the weather is finally getting cooler (we hope), it’s the perfect time to stop by a fall festival. Whether you love cheese, films, or fun runs, there’s an event for you.

Foodie Faves
Porches & Pies
10/1
Grab a slice of both sweet and savory pies made by amateurs and professionals at this second-annual pie contest in Adair Park.

Taste of Chamblee
10/1
Munch on local Chamblee eats like Frosty Caboose and Vintage Pizzeria at this evening food fest. Georgia Shine Band, A.J. Ghent Band, and Have Gun Will Travel provide the soundtrack.

Atlanta Mac and Cheese Festival
10/8
Edgewood gets gooey as up to 30 restaurants compete for best mac and cheese. Sample entries from Empire State South, Dish Dive, and Wrecking Bar Brewpub.

Taste of Atlanta
10/21–23
More than 90 Atlanta-area restaurants offer up samples during the 15th year of this Tech Square food festival, which also includes a Big Green Egg demo stage and a competition to see who is the city’s best bartender.

Cool Concerts
Georgia Blues and Roots Festival

10/1
From blues guitarist Jarekus Singleton to local Caroline Aiken, hear Southern blues, root, and folk music at this Mableton festival. Also check out the blues dancing demonstration, or take a beginner harmonica workshop.

Sunday in the Park
10/2
In Victorian times, cemeteries were actually a place to hang out. Oakland Cemetery pays homage to this tradition with a Victorian costume contest, a Teddy Bear tea, and live music on the steps of mausoleums from the likes of the Amazing Spud Brothers and the Sweet Auburn String Band.

Wire & Wood Alpharetta Songwriters Festival
10/7–8
Learn the stories behind favorite singer-songwriters’ hits at this Alpharetta downtown event, featuring John Oates of Hall & Oates, Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls, and Kristian Bush of Sugarland.

Pet Parties
Woofstock
10/1
Bring your dog, cat, ferret, or even parrot—as long as it’s on a leash—to this Smyrna pet adoption and demonstration event.

Boxerstock
10/23
All breeds are welcome at this Marietta festival, which raises money for a boxer rescue. Expect dog parks, best trick contests, and best costume awards for categories such as most creative and scariest dog.

Fall Fun
Sunflower Festival
10/1
Poke around the pumpkin patch, buy crafts from local artisans, and hear live music at this Stockbridge fall fun day.

Stone Mountain Highland Games
10/14–16
Put on your kilt for this Stone Mountain Park celebration of Scottish culture, including Highland dancing, caber tossing, and whisky tasting.

Exercise Events
Atlanta Rolling of the Bulls Fun Run
10/1
If you’ve ever wanted to experience Spain’s Running of the Bulls but with less danger, come to Piedmont Park to be chased by Atlanta Rollergirls in this mile-long fun run. A party at the Nook follows.

Madison Ave. Soapbox Derby
10/1
Soapbox derby cars zip down Oakhurst’s Madison Avenue in the fifth year of this neighborhood event that raises money for a community children’s charity.

Chili Challenges
Peach State Chili Cookoff
10/1
Taste chilis from the International Chili Society’s Georgia State Championship, as well as 50 other cooks’ stews, in Suwanee.

Brookhaven Chili Cook Off
10/8
More than 75 restaurants and amateurs compete in a chili and Brunswick stew battle in Brookhaven. For the extra competitive, there’s also a fried pork skin eating contest.

Beer Bacchanals
Brew Moon Fest
10/1
Sip fall ales, from Blue Moon to Leinenkugels, at this Alpharetta beer bash. Pair your pint with Pure Taqueria, Smokejack BBQ, Butcher & Brew, or one of the seven other restaurants on hand.

Chalktoberfest
10/8
Marietta’s chalk art festival gets boozy this year with tastings of more than 120 craft beers, including local favorites like Red Hare Brewing Company and Monday Night Brewing. Check out the works by nationally recognized chalk artists, or even pick up a 24-pack of chalks to doodle your own masterpiece.

Great Atlanta Beer Fest
10/8
Drink a lager on home plate at this Turner Field brew party with more than 150 beers on tap and college football played on the big screen.

Decatur Craft Beer Festival
10/15
Admission to this fest gets you a glass and unlimited samples of the 80 craft beers pouring on the Square.

Cultural Celebrations
Out On Film
Through 10/6
From documentaries on gay ministers to the Sundance hit Other People, watch shorts, features, and documentaries on LGBTQ issues.

Atlanta Black Theatre Festival
10/6–15
This five-year-old festival showcases plays by people of color. Look out for The Boy Who Would Be King, about Martin Luther King III’s struggle with his father’s legacy.

Neighborhood Gatherings
Fall Fest in Candler Park
10/1–2
With a craft fair organized by ICE, a tour of homes, hot air balloon rides, food from Fox Bros. and the Fry Guy, a 5K and fun run, a covers-only music lineup on Saturday, and a locals-only lineup on Sunday, this neighborhood festival has it all.

LakeFest
10/1–2
Now in its 16th year, celebrate the quirky Pine Lake community with more than 40 artists and live music from 12-plus bands, like blues artist Larry Griffith and vintage rock from Uncle Don’s Band.

Porchfest
10/8
Oakhurst residents open up their front porches to indie bands for an afternoon in the second year of this festival.

Atlanta Streets Alive
10/23
Skate, bike, or just walk down Peachtree Street from downtown to Midtown at the final event of the season.

Popular Parades
Atlanta Pride
10/8–9
Don’t miss the annual Saturday parade in Midtown during the 46th celebration of this LBGTQ festival, the biggest in the South. The festival also features a kids zone, comedy showcase, and an exhibit from the Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Little Five Points Halloween Parade
10/15
Witches, zombies, and other cleverly costumed people march down Moreland Avenue for this Halloween favorite.

Rising Son chef Hudson Rouse on fancy Southern food: “I don’t think there’s a place for expensive fried chicken”

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13 Questions is a weekly series where we ask chefs 13 questions to get to know them outside of the kitchen. Hudson Rouse, formerly of Home Grown GA, is the chef and co-owner of Rising Son.

Photo by Kathryn Fitzgerald Rouse
Photo by Kathryn Fitzgerald Rouse

What was the first thing you learned how to cook?
Every Friday night we’d go over to my grandparents. They’d always making the same thing: a traditional salad with homegrown tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, and onion; steak; a baked potato; mac and cheese; and broccoli. I remember my granddad lecturing my brother and I on how to cook a steak.

Who was your role model growing up?
 I have a twin brother who always knew he wanted to be a chef. My dad had a culinary degree. My grandfather and uncle were chefs. I remember watching The French Chef as a child. Julia Child was big part of our childhood, and I guess I picked it up by osmosis.

How did you jump from insurance sales to food?
I got out of insurance around 2011 because the market had crashed. One night I went to a Baton dinner at Gato in 2011 or 2012. Danny Bowien, from Mission Chinese, was cooking that night, and he said, “You should just go to work for someone you know is good and go from there.” So next time I saw Angus Brown, I begged him and begged him to come into the kitchen and work. I worked with him until he went to Vietnam. Then Nhan Lee whipped me into shape for four to six months. It was the best experience in my life. He’s a beast in the kitchen—no standing around, no having fun until you’re done. Angus was the other way around, fun, joking around. My style is more like Angus now. Part of my interview process is asking, “Do you like to tell jokes? Can you take jokes?” And “Do you like country music?”

What’s your fast food guilty pleasure?
Publix fried chicken. I eat the thighs, my wife eats the breast, and my son eat the legs. The wings never make it back because I eat those on way home.

What’s one classic Southern dish you can’t stand?
I just can’t stand to see [Southern dishes] fancied up too much. I don’t think there’s a place for expensive fried chicken. It should be something you enjoy anywhere, anytime. You shouldn’t be spending $30 to eat a whole bird.

How did you meet your wife, Kathryn [Fitzgerald Rouse, known for her craft sodas]?
We ran in parallel universes in the city for a long time. One of us followed the other on Instagram. I posted a picture on Instagram of this sage bush that was flowering, and it had these beautiful purple flowers. I was giving them away and asked if anyone wanted any, and she said yes. When she came to get them, I was kind of knocked off my feet. We found out we had so many mutual friends and similar backgrounds. I would invite her on a date to go pick honeysuckle flowers. We got married and opened a restaurant within a year of meeting each other.

What do you do when you aren’t running the restaurant?
In the spring, early summer, and fall, I’m planting vegetables in my front yard and backyard in East Atlanta Village and at my father-in-law’s large plot of land Stone Mountain.

What was the last TV show you bingewatched?
The Cleveland Show with my 10-year-old son, Branch, every night. It’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever seen. I hope the jokes are going over his head.

Beer, wine, or cocktails?
Depending on the occasion, I enjoy all of them. But when I come home, Kathryn makes me a nice cocktail. We’re really big into gin martinis right now.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?
I would have a nice farm somewhere near the water. It would be in the vicinity of nice restaurants, so I could still enjoy my other passion, eating a lot.

What’s one thing you wish you knew how to cook?
I’m terrible at dessert and pastries. It’s the preciseness and measuring. I just like to cook and see what I’m gonna get in the end.

What’s one brunch trend you’re over?
Anything over a six-top. It’s a meal, not a party.

You named a meal after Angus Brown. If a meal were named after you, what would it be?
A nice juicy burger with fries and any hoppy IPA.

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