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Wesley Dunkirk

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HowStuffWorks want you to explain the answers to life’s biggest questions

HowStuffWorks Question Booth
The Question Booth at Ponce City Market

Photograph courtesy of Ponce City Market

Atlanta-based podcast company HowStuffWorks has a few questions for you. In an effort to learn the stories and opinions of Atlanta residents, the company—which produces the “Stuff You Should Know,” “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” and “Stuff Mom Never Told You” podcasts—has set up a small recording booth, called the Question Booth, at Ponce City Market where their headquarters is located.

“A lot of what we’ve done is tell our own stories, but we thought it would be really cool to open up that door to our audience and start to capture other people’s stories,” says Conal Byrne, president of HowStuffWorks. For the next few months, the Question Booth will pose a different question every week to PCM shoppers and diners in hopes of gaining insight into some weighty queries: Is love a good thing? What’s your best memory? Why are we here? What happens after we die? Do we have free will?

The booth, located in the Atlanta Gallery Collective on Ponce City Market’s second floor, is open from noon until 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. “The goal is to end up on the tail end of every week with dozens or hundreds of answers to the same question,” Byrne says. The booth is run by a HowStuffWorks audio producer who guides guests through the questions and leads a conversation with them about their responses.

The questions are meant to be thought-provoking and touch on topics the company believes people might not ponder enough. “We wanted to, to the best of our ability, stump people and stop them in their tracks,” Byrne says.

Based on the responses that they receive from the booth, HowStuffWorks will likely set up booths across the nation next year, and they plan to eventually use the responses to create a new podcast.

Meet Nicki Collen, the new head coach of the Atlanta Dream

Nicki Collen Atlanta Dream
Nicki Collen, previously an assistant coach for the Connecticut Sun, is the new head coach of the Atlanta Dream.

Photograph courtesy of the Connecticut Sun

“You feel a little bit like a one man show,” Nicki Collen says, contemplating her first few days on the job as the new head coach of the Atlanta Dream. “One woman show, I guess.”

Following a disappointing 2017 WNBA season in which the Dream posted a 12-22 record, the team decided to part from the four-year tenure of head coach Michael Cooper, during which he lead the Dream to two playoff appearances. Collen, an assistant coach for the Connecticut Sun, was hired in late October.

“I was shocked at first,” Collen says of the offer, “but I was also incredibly humbled. [I was] just living the dream.”

While assisting alongside Connecticut Sun coach Curt Miller for two seasons, the team improved from 14-20 in 2016 to 21-13 in 2017, prompting Miller to win WNBA Coach of the Year.

“We’re very similar in our passion and our approach and how we think,” Collen says of Miller, “And that collaborative work environment was really good for me—and I think good for him. There’s no doubt he plays a huge role in how I want to move forward.”

Nicki Collen Atlanta Dream
Nicki Collen

Photograph courtesy of the Connecticut Sun

Before her time with Connecticut, Collen served as a collegiate assistant coach at Florida Gulf Coast, Arkansas, Louisville, Ball State, and Colorado State for a combined total of nine years, helping to lead those teams to three appearances in the NCAA tournament and five appearances in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. She played in college at both Purdue and Marquette, making NCAA tournament appearances all four years.

One of the first actions she took in her new role was reach out to the Dream players for feedback (over the phone, as much of the team plays overseas during the winter offseason) about how they felt they could improve and become playoff contenders in 2018. Many told her they felt the team underachieved in 2017, and that they were better than their record indicated. Collen says the team relied too heavily on the athleticism of individual players, highlighting the difficulties the Dream faced with moving the ball on offense and generating offense in transition.

“At times they could be incredibly good at a system-making plays late in the shot clock because there are so many great athletes on this team that make one-on-one plays,” Collen says. “I’ll certainly continue to put them in position to do some of that, but I’d like to get to where we don’t rely on that.”

As Collen seeks to rebuild a winning culture in Atlanta, she says her primary job will be to get the players to buy in to her system. Having coached both collegiate and professional basketball, Collen knows that going through countless strategies from different coaches throughout their careers can cause players to become jaded to new techniques. She wants to make sure her players understand why each step of their new system is being put into place. That unity, she says, will put the team in the best position to win in 2018.

Atlanta has history as a WNBA playoff contender, and Collen hopes to lead the Dream back to postseason prominence. She warns that success may not be immediate. “I want our fans to know we’re going to play hard,” she says. “We’re not always going to make the shots, we’re not always going to look our best, but the effort will always be there.” Still, she’s confident that victory is within reach. “It’s certainly my job to bring [a championship] here.”

5 Atlanta events you won’t want to miss: November 22-29

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Callanwolde

Christmas at Callanwolde
When: November 24 through December 12
Where: Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
Cost: $20-$25
Details: Some of Atlanta’s top interior designers will be filling the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center’s 27,000-square-foot mansion and 12-acre campus with holiday decor and light displays. The mansion will be open for tours while visitors can enjoy an artist market, live entertainment, and a variety of events that cater to people of all ages.

Black Friday Fest
When: November 24-25
Where: The GA Freight Depot
Cost: $12-$20, free for children under 15 years old
Details: This Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, The Village Market ATL is encouraging support of black-owned business at its Black Friday Fest. More than 80 vendors—including fashion, art, and food businesses—will be at the event. The festival will also include a vegan cooking demonstration, a black orchestra, an international fashion show, and financial literacy workshops.

Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon and 5k
When: November 23, 7:30 a.m.
Where: Georgia State Stadium
Cost: Free-$90
Details: Before you start preparing your Thanksgiving meals at home, get in an early morning run through downtown. Take a shot at a 50-meter dash, one mile run, a 5K, or a half-marathon alongside people of all ages and experience levels. Stick around after your run to pick up a T-shirt, medal, and some Thanksgiving grub outside Georgia State Stadium.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker
When: November 26, 6:30 p.m.
Where: The Fox Theatre
Cost: $39.70-$97.25
Details: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is usually a classical staple around the holidays, but this time it’s getting an urban, hip-hop makeover. In this Nutcracker twist, Maria-Clara and her Nutcracker prince go back in time to see when her parents first met—in 1980s Brooklyn.

Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Over Georgia
When: Through January 3
Where: Six Flags Over Georgia
Cost: $49
Details: Six Flags is feeling the holiday spirit, so it is extending its season. Christmas trees and millions of lights will dazzle the park while carolers sing in the streets. S’mores fire pits will be kindling throughout the park and restaurants will serve Christmas-inspired foods.

With ReSupply app, five Army officers are hoping to make donating to charity easier than ever

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ReSupply
With the ReSupply app, you can snap a photo of the item you want to donate, then find the best charity for it.

Photograph courtesy of ReSupply

This Veterans Day, Army officers Paul Tocci, Kevin Epp, Brendan Buckley, Corey Reiser, and Eric Osteen will give back to their community by debuting in Atlanta a new mobile app that seeks to make giving to charity an everyday task—ReSupply.

“The app makes charitable giving simple and easy,” Paul Tocci, ReSupply’s CEO, says. “Five clicks and you can go about your day.”

The officers, all close friends since they met at West Point, first began noticing a common problem while at the military academy: waste.

“At graduation, people would throw their uniforms in the hallway,” Tocci says. “There were all these underclassmen who were the same size or shape who could’ve used that uniform.” When the officers got to their Army bases, Tocci says the problem persisted. Used goods that others could have utilized were thrown away or left behind for someone else to deal with.

“[We felt like it was] really a technology problem, not a giving problem,” Tocci says. “People want to give, it’s just that charitable giving can be very hard. If you’re trying to select a cause or research who needs your item, it’s hard to figure out which organizations are looking for that specific thing.”

This was especially apparent to the men when they organized a coat drive this past Thanksgiving. After collecting more than 200 coats, they discovered that at many donation points, they could only give away five, 10, or 20 coats at a time. The group had to travel to about 10 different locations to donate all of the coats they’d collected. They felt like there had to be a more convenient way and began working on ReSupply.

ReSupply
The app allows you to select the charity you want to donate your items to.

Photograph courtesy of ReSupply

With the app, the donation process only takes a few steps: Snap photos of the item you want to donate, select the charity that you want to donate it to, and request a pick-up. The app even generates a tax receipt for any donation made.  

“You can put these unused items from your house on your doorstep, go off to work, do whatever you’re going to do, and you don’t have to be waiting at home for the pick-up,” Tocci says.

While remembering the sacrifice of those serving in the military on Veterans Day, Tocci and his team also hope that people will consider giving back to their community, too.

5 Atlanta events you won’t want to miss: October 11-17

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Atlanta Pride

47th Annual Atlanta Pride Festival
When: October 13 to 15
Where: Piedmont Park and other locations around Atlanta
Cost: Free; some events have additional fees
Details: Celebrate diversity at the largest pride festival in the Southeast. The festival will take place around the city, including events such as a kickoff party at the Georgia Aquarium, yoga, comedy, and a car show. Don’t miss Sunday’s Atlanta Pride Parade, which was one of the first pride parades held in the U.S. back in the early 1970s.

Elevate Public Art Festival
When: October 14 to 21
Where: Downtown
Cost: Free
Details: Dance, photography, painting, poetry—this art festival will gather artists to discuss their knowledge of the transformative power of art. Artists will talk about gentrification, the business of art, healing through art, and arts as social justice. The festival will cap off with a block party at Woodruff Park with R&B, Afro-Latin, and techno DJs.

Atlanta Air Show
When: October 14 to 15
Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Cost: $11.25 to $139
Details: Military and civilian pilots come together for this showcase, which features a variety of demonstrations including aerial acrobatics and parachute team jumps. Performers include pilots from the Coast Guard, Army, Air Force, Navy, and performers with private planes.

Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks performs at the Allstate Arena in 2014. He’ll take the stage at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for its first-ever concert.

Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

Garth Brooks
When: October 12, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Cost: $23 to $1,400+
Details: For the first concert in Atlanta’s new architectural gem, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is bringing one of country’s biggest names. Whether you are a Garth Brooks fan or just want to check out the new home of the Falcons and United (and that 5-story halo video board), the stadium’s debut as a concert venue is a great option for an entertaining evening.

Afropunk Fest Atlanta
When: October 14 to 15
Where: 787 Windsor
Cost: $55 to $90
Details: This multicultural festival began in Brooklyn, but has since expanded to Paris, London, and Atlanta. Headlining performers include Solange, Miguel, and Willow Smith. In addition to the live music, performances, and plenty of art, the festival will host public discussions on social issues and diversity.

And a bonus shameless plug: Atlanta magazine Whiskey Festival
When: October 12, 7 p.m.
Where: The Estate by Legendary Events
Cost: $85 to $125
Details: Whiskey aficionados rejoice—this festival is back for its third year. Enjoy live music while sampling more than 80 different varieties of whiskey, rum, and bourbon (Glenlivet, Johnnie Walker, Michter’s, and Macallan are among this year’s offerings), along with plenty of hors d’oeuvres. But if you want to join us for the fun, act fast—this event is nearly sold out.

5 Atlanta events you don’t want to miss: October 4-10

Atlanta Running of the Bulls

Atlanta Running of the Bulls
When: October 7, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Piedmont Park
Cost: $15-$50
Details: The Atlanta Rollergirls help to organize this roughly 1 mile fun-run that is themed after Spain’s Running of the Bulls. Instead of being chased by massive, angry animals with bone-crushing horns, though, you’ll be chased by some of the Rollergirls carrying wiffle ball bats. After the run, participants will gather for a boozy after-party at Orpheus Brewing.

PROPAGANDA!
When: October 6, 7-11 p.m.
Where: Facet Gallery
Cost: Free
Details: Propaganda has wielded significant power historically. And this exhibition of original, local artwork showcases just that. Curated by SOAP Goods Creative and Facet Gallery, the show will feature 38 works that explore different social and political ideas through propaganda.

A3C Festival

A3C Festival
When: October 7-October 8
Where: Georgia Freight Depot
Cost: $46-$599
Details: Some of hip-hop’s biggest stars and newest upcoming talent will be taking the stage for this music festival that will showcase 50 artists over the course of the weekend. Fans will get to see stars like Rich Homie Quan, DJ Drama, and Nas while also exploring sets from new faces in the industry.

France-Atlanta 2017
When: October 9-November 3
Where: Varies
Cost: Free-$70
Details: Presented by Gérard Araud, the ambassador of France to the United States, Governor Nathan Deal, and Mayor Kasim Reed, this event series has turned into a celebration of French-American relations and innovation. Events focus on innovation in areas of culture, humanitarianism, business, and science. The series will also discuss a range of issues including Atlanta street art and sexual health in developing countries.

Madison Ave Soapbox Derby
When: October 7, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Where: Madison Avenue in Decatur
Cost: Viewing is free, donations encouraged
Details: Racers, are you ready? More than 80 kids will race down Madison Avenue with their handmade car designs to help raise money for children’s charities around Decatur. Now in its seventh year, the event has donated over $100,000 and has culminated in the creation of a nonprofit, the Madison Ave Community Fund.

Parkview High graduate Matt Olson is making noise in the MLB

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Matt Olson

Earlier this summer at roughly the halfway point of the Major League Baseball season, Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz went into the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics carrying a bid for a no-hitter. With just three outs standing between Foltynewicz and one of the most sought after moments of a pitcher’s career, Oakland Athletics rookie and Atlanta native Matt Olson walked to the plate.

“The guy was throwing a great game, no doubt,” Olson recalled. “It was like an 8, 9,10 pitch at-bat . . . he left one a little too middle of the plate and I got it.” Olson blasted a 402-foot home run into right field. The no-hitter was no more.

“I got a little heat from Braves fans on social media,” Olson said. The Athletics’ rookie grew up as a Braves fan himself. A product of Parkview High School, he was drafted 47th overall by the Athletics in 2012. He worked his way through the Athletics’ minor league system until finally being called up to play for Oakland after a Nashville Sounds (Oakland’s triple-A affiliate) playoff game in 2016.

“We lost our game there and I went up into the clubhouse, and everybody started packing up,” Olson said. “Our Nashville manager came up to me and said ‘Hey, don’t pack up too much, you’re going to Oakland.’”

Hearing that you have been called up to play in the MLB can be one of the most exciting moments of a baseball player’s career. Olson said the moment caused him to feel both excited and nervous.

“Obviously you’re excited at first, and then you start thinking about everything you have to do. What am I supposed to wear? How am I supposed to act?” Olson remembered wondering after receiving the news. But throughout the end of the 2017 season, he quickly became an MLB phenom.

Olson smashed 24 home runs in just 59 games this year and hit 15 of those home runs in a span of just 21 games, a feat never accomplished by an Athletics player before. He also went on a home run streak that lasted five games, an A’s rookie record. The outstanding performance put on by Olson down the stretch of this season has drawn national praise, with CBS Sports even referring to him as “Oakland’s first baseman of the future.”

While Olson appreciates the acclaim that has recently come his way, he said it was also nice “flying under the radar and kinda just doing my thing” without a spotlight.

The incredible numbers produced by Olson this year have not come by happenstance. He credits his success in part to a change in his stance over the plate, which established his stance as one of the most recognizable and unique in modern baseball.

“I moved my hands out in front of my body and I added a little toe tap,” Olson said. “The main goal of both was to put myself in a good position to swing every time, to give myself a clear path to the ball.”

While Olson has received a lot of attention this year because of his powerful swing, Chan Brown, his former coach at Parkview High School who has been a mentor throughout Olson’s journey, said the strongest part of Olson’s game is his baseball knowledge.

“Matt is probably one of the smartest baseball players I’ve ever coached,” Brown said. “He just has a knack of knowing where to be, what to do with the ball.” Brown cited a double play made by Olson during a September 13 game against the Boston Red Sox as an example of his baseball intelligence, a play which was featured in MLB.com’s Top 5 Plays of the Day list.

Brown said Olson showed signs that he could be a great player at the professional level throughout his time at Parkview, but specifically stood out when he helped lead the school’s baseball team to win state championships during Olson’s junior and senior years. Praising Olson’s performance in the finals, which included game-winning home runs on both occasions, Brown said Olson was “always Mr. Clutch and always Mr. Consistency” as well as an impactful leader for the team.

With hopes of continuing his success in 2018, Olson is going into the offseason ready to begin training that will include time spent in Atlanta and Duluth. His offseason will be starting early this year as the Athletics are not in contention to reach the playoffs, but Olson believes that they could be playing postseason baseball next year.

“We definitely have a chance to be [in the playoffs next year],” Olson said. “We have it in us and we just need to get it all clicking together.”

If Olson goes into 2018 performing at the level he’s finishing this season (which concludes with this weekend’s series against the Texas Rangers), the Athletics will be poised nicely to get it clicking just as Olson hopes for.

5 Atlanta events you won’t want to miss: September 27 through October 3

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Things to do in Atlanta
Who’s ready for Woofstock this weekend?

Photograph by Roy Van Der Wens / EyeEm via Getty Images

Woofstock
When: September 30 through October 1
Where: Smyrna Market Village
Cost: Free
Details: Tens of thousands of Atlanta pet-lovers will come together this weekend to share the love they have for their furry friends and hopefully get some animals adopted along the way. Not only will this two-day event feature dog contests and pet adoption areas, it will also showcase live music, food trucks, and arts and crafts.

Natural Woman – An Aretha Story
When: September 30
Where: Strand Theatre
Cost: $35-$45
Details: This unique musical production tells the story of the Queen of Soul in a way that will make you want to get on your feet and sing along. Relive some of Aretha Franklin’s greatest hits such as “Never Loved a Man,” “Jump,” and, of course, “Respect.”

Cocktails in the Garden
When: September 28
Where: Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Cost: $21.95 (Free for members)
Details: This week, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens will be hosting the final edition of its Cocktails in the Garden series. The event is an opportunity to enjoy specific sections of the Garden while sipping on specialty cocktails and enjoying live music. The final event will be in the Edible Garden section with live music from Amp’d Entertainment, chef demonstrations, and a variety of gin cocktails.

Oktoberfest Atlanta
When: September 30
Where: Brookhaven Park
Cost: $10-$55
Details: It may not be the most authentic Oktoberfest (it’s sponsored by Boston brewer Samuel Adams), but this event has plenty of fun to offer. Patrons will be able to try a variety of German food, dance to polka music, and challenge each other in party games like giant Jenga, giant Connect Four, cornhole, and ladder ball.

Atlanta Ramen Fest
When: October 1
Where: The Stave Room at American Spirit Works
Cost: $40
Details: Returning for its fourth year, this celebration of the popular noodle dish will feature over 20 local restaurants and chefs, including Ba Bellies, Double Dragon, Taiyo Ramen, Rising Son, and more, preparing their own unique variations. One ticket allows you unlimited sampling of all the culinary creations at the event.

5 Atlanta events you won’t want to miss: September 20-26

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Things to do in Atlanta this weekend
The Chalk Walk Art Competition is part of this weekend’s Sandy Springs Festival.

Photograph courtesy of Heritage Sandy Springs

Georgia Latino Film Festival
When: September 21 through September 24
Where: Atlantic Station
Cost: $12.50-$200
Details: This celebration of diversity will be heading to Atlantic Station for its sixth year, featuring more than 30 screenings of Latino-made feature films, short films, music videos, and more that have been submitted from both Georgia and around the world.

32nd Annual Sandy Springs Festival
When:
September 23 through September 24
Where:
Heritage Green
Cost:
Free
Details:
The 32nd annual festival will showcase more than 100 featured artisans, a sidewalk chalk art contest, pony rides for kids, a battle of the bands, food from local vendors, a pet parade, and much more. Plan your parking ahead of time, as the event regularly draws over 20,000 people.

Sippin’ Safari
When: September 23
Where: Zoo Atlanta
Cost: $60-$100
Details: While visiting the tigers, elephants, giraffes, and now one-year-old panda twins, guests will be able to enjoy over 50 wine selections, bites from restaurants such as Dantanna’s, Six Feet Under, and the Sun Dial, and live music from six different artists.

Hipster Yard Sale
When: September 23
Where: Chapel Hill Park
Cost: Free
Details: This collection of hidden treasures offers a unique opportunity to hunt for anything ranging from “esoteric ephemera” to “artisanal delights.” Coming off a successful 2016 debut that featured over 60 vendors, organizers hope that the event’s 2017 version will surpass last year’s size.

The King and I
When: September 26 through October 1
Where: Fox Theatre
Cost: $30-$150
Details: While countless renditions of this moving, culture-crossing story have been produced since its 1950s debut, this Lincoln Center Theater version is a must-see. A winner of four 2015 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, the production is now on a national tour, giving Atlanta theater fanatics the opportunity to see why The New York Times called it a “five-handkerchief masterpiece.”

5 Atlanta events you won’t want to miss: September 13-19

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Music Midtown
When: September 16 and 17
Where: Piedmont Park
Cost: $145 to $1750
Details: A staple for Atlanta concert junkies, the vibrant music festival returns with a diverse lineup packed with headliners. The two-day event features chart-toppers such as Bruno Mars and Mumford & Sons, rock mainstays Blink-182 and Weezer, and rap favorites Future and Wiz Khalifa.

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
When: September 14 through October 8
Where: 7 Stages Theatre
Cost: $15 to $25
Details: A drama about two marines, their Iraqi translator, and a tiger in war-torn Baghdad, this play was nominated for three Tony Awards when it hit Broadway in 2011 and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. Now making its way to Atlanta’s 7 Stages Theatre, the story takes the audience on a journey with the Americans and Iraqis as they search for friendship, redemption, and a golden toilet seat.

Marietta Streetfest
When: September 16 through 17
Where: Marietta Square
Cost: Free
Details: This weekend-long attraction regularly brings over 20,000 attendees to the historic Marietta Square for a wide variety of family-friendly attractions. Peruse handcrafted art from over 75 vendors, enjoy music from local performers, walk through the classic car show, or let the kids burn off energy at the bounce house and inflatable slide.

Star Wars and More: The Music of John Williams
When: September 16 at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Verizon Amphitheatre
Cost: $19.50 to $180.00; children on the lawn are free (1 per adult lawn ticket)
Details: The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra returns for an encore performance of some classic movie scores including tunes from Hook, Harry Potter, and Star Wars. Not only will attendees be able to meet some of their favorite Star Wars characters from Georgia’s 501st before the show, they can also order a specially prepared Star Wars-themed picnic basket in advance that include treats such as Chewbacca Chicken Wraps, Vader Taters, and Obi-Wan Kebabies.

Atlanta On The Move: Candidates For The Mayor On Transportation
When: September 19
Where: Loudermilk Conference Center
Cost: Free with RSVP
Details: The November mayoral election will be here before you know it and a plethora of candidates is vying to gain your support. This forum, organized by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, will educate voters on where the candidates stand on issues pertaining the future of Atlanta’s public transit, walkability, and bike paths.

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