Whether you flock to Fandango to purchase advance tickets for the latest Madea movie or chortled along with last year’s lacerating parody on Adult Swim’s The Boondocks, one thing is certain: Atlanta filmmaker Perry is the only major Hollywood player dedicated to cranking out hits from his adopted hometown. Only five years after shooting his first film (for one scene, he took a chain saw to a couch inside his own house), he was directing Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg and Grammy winner Janet Jackson in last year’s film adaptation of playwright Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf—partially shot at his sprawling thirty-acre Tyler Perry Studios in southwest Atlanta. At the TPS grand-opening party in 2008, Perry surprised mentors Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, and Cicely Tyson by dedicating soundstages in their honor as Will Smith beamed and Oprah Winfrey cried her eyelashes off. An awed Tyson said, “I never dreamed I would witness this in my lifetime. What I’ve achieved in my career is minuscule in comparison to this.”
I met Guenter Seeger in 1985, shortly after he was hired to take over the then unremarkable Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. Seeger had previously owned a restaurant in Pforzheim, near Baden-Baden in southwest Germany, and his tenure there earned him a rare Michelin star. Recruited by an American company to become the chef in a Washington, D.C., hotel that never took off, Seeger was lured to Atlanta by fellow German Horst Schulze, then the Ritz’s general manager. When I asked him recently if he remembered his first impression of our city, he said, “Ja, Christiane, it wasn’t the center of the world—but Pforzheim wasn’t either.”
HB1 is perhaps most notable for what it doesn’t do: permit the cultivation of cannabis in Georgia. This creates a dilemma for the very people it was designed to help: You can now possess cannabis oil for your medical condition, but because you’ll have to purchase it out-of-state, you’ll be breaking federal law by crossing state lines to bring it home.
After losing accreditation and selling buildings, officials at the school—the first institution of higher learning in Georgia founded by black people, for black people—say it’s rebuilding. Faith abounds, but is it enough?
Pat Conroy has been writing about his family for forty years, but always with a wispy protective veil of literary license. Devoted fans who have relished every fictional breadcrumb while speculating about the depth of the real-life Conroys’ dysfunction have been waiting a long time for his latest book, The Death of Santini.
Tex McIver has become a symbol. What kind of symbol says more about who we are than who he is. To those close to him, convinced that he loved his wife Diane without question and could no more shoot her intentionally than sprout wings and fly out of his jail cell, Tex is a victim of reverse prejudice, a convenient scapegoat for a society riven by class and racial resentments. Or is he, surrounded by his half-dozen defense attorneys, nothing more than a rich white man who believes the rules do not apply to him, who has spent decades with his thumb on the scales of power, who’s cynically exploiting race-based fears to cover up the opportunistic murder of his wife?
For a man with such respectable bona fides—University of Chicago medical school graduate, trained in oncology at the National Cancer Institute, Emory professor, and currently chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society—Dr. Otis Brawley sure knows how to piss people off.
Even though Anne (with an e, please) Cox Chambers reigns as the richest person in Atlanta—her estimated $13.4 billion almost ten times what Arthur Blank could cough up—you wouldn’t necessarily know it after a visit with the Cox Enterprises doyenne. Rosewood, her two-story white brick manse, is a vestige of pre-McMansion Old Atlanta, modest and tasteful by West Paces Ferry standards. (For contrast, see Lee “Big Poppa” Najjar’s gargantuan MTV-cataloged crib a few doors down.) Inside, sure, light from crystal chandeliers glints off marble floors and gilt-framed art. But the couches are comfy, overstuffed—made for enjoyment. Dog toys are strewn everywhere, her affection for canines besting any other design theme: a pack of pooch statues in her living room, oil paintings and drawings on the walls, a tangle of leashes by the door.