Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Great Fire of 1917

A half-century after Sherman burned Atlanta, the core of the city went up in flames again. The Great Atlanta Fire of 1917 destroyed 1,938 buildings, wiped out 300 acres of real estate, and left more than 10,000 people homeless—almost a tenth of the city’s residents.

Pearl Cleage wrote a poem to memorialize the Orly crash

On June 3, we remembered the fiftieth anniversary of the famed Orly crash, which killed nearly all of Atlanta's most influential arts patrons at a time when the city needed their guidance most. The Woodruff Arts Center eventually rose like a phoenix from the proverbial wreckage, so it's fitting that the Alliance Theatre thought it appropriate to immortalize the tragedy in poetry.

39. Save your story for posterity

You know those NPR *StoryCorps* segments that get you choked up on your morning commute? You can record a slice of personal history (interviews are archived at the Library of Congress) at the Atlanta StoryBooth, one of three permanent StoryCorps studios in the country.

You can’t replace this: The musical legacy of Dante’s Down the Hatch

At one o’clock today, Atlanta city councilman Michael Julian Bond will honor Dante’s Down the Hatch owner Dante Stephensen at city hall with a City of Atlanta proclamation in honor of the restaurateur and jazz promoter’s “contributions to Atlanta’s cultural and business life.” Bond, a regular at the now-shuttered Buckhead nightspot, followed in the footsteps of his civil rights icon father Julian Bond, who was a regular at the original Dante’s Underground Atlanta location in the 1970s. “Dante’s was an Atlanta tradition,” explains Bond. “Locals and tourists alike flocked this unique establishment to experience a taste of the city in a communal fashion. This proclamation is our small gesture to Mr. Stephensen for four decades of service to Atlanta.”

For one night only, reliving Rich’s Fashionata

Of his legendary style sense, Rich’s fashion director Sol Kent once wryly observed to Atlanta Constitution columnist Celestine Sibley, “There’s nothing so unchic as a woman who looks too new.” Kent’s genius at merging the new with the traditional and his eye for discovering future classics will be on dazzling display at tonight’s tribute to his career, “Be Divine: A Tribute to Fashionata” at the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Midtown. The evening benefiting the Breman also serves as a social set finale for the museum’s six month-long “Return to Rich’s: The Story Behind the Store” retrospective set to close on May 27.

Groundbreaking for the Atlanta Stadium

It’s the ultimate example of Atlanta’s ahem, ballsy boosterism. On April 15, 1964, ground was broken for a new stadium. Never mind that the city didn’t have a baseball franchise and details of how it would all be paid for were still being sorted out. “We expect to be playing major league baseball here this time next year,” mayor Ivan Allen confidently told the New York Times.

The Seed & Feed Marching Abominable unveils its Naughty Bits

As The Seed & Feed Marching Abominable, Atlanta’s iconic kooky community marching band struts into its 40th anniversary today at the Inman Park Festival parade, the act has a souvenir for fans. To celebrate four decades of silliness, the band’s fundraising arm, the Seed & Feed Marching Abominable Endowment, Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit, is selling the act’s brand new 2015 "Naughty Bits" calendar.

Just what is that tower in the Old Fourth Ward?

If you’ve found yourself in the Old Fourth Ward—maybe strolling up Irwin Street toward Bell Street Burritos or heading down the Atlanta BeltLine to Studioplex—you’ve undoubtedly spotted that giant concrete tower. And you’ve wondered, Just what is that? Or, more intriguingly, Does anyone live in there?

The Olympics open to grand fanfare

The evening of July 19, 1996, was the culmination of Atlanta's civic leaders' desires to catapult the city into the international limelight and (hopefully) transform it into a relevant, vibrant hub of tourism and commerce.

Celebrating Celestine Sibley’s centennial

“Child, what are you up to?” Instantly recognizing the voice behind me, I froze midway into shoving the crumpled dollar bill into the brown interoffice memo envelope. It was the morning of October 3, 1995. In Los Angeles, the verdict was about to be read in the O.J. Simpson trial. And on the eighth floor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Features Department, I was collecting up the office pool. As the department’s unofficial class clown/kid brother and a writer for the paper’s Peach Buzz column (the copy desk lovingly referred to me as Buzz Boy), this was in my job description. The voice behind me belonged to Celestine Sibley, a newspapering icon and state treasure. Red-faced, I explained to “ma’am” what in the hell I was doing (I never, ever called her Celestine. I had grown up reading her, after all). She toddled off and I assumed she was on her way upstairs to demand that the publisher fire me and then tie me to printing presses in the basement and use my blood to pump out the afternoon’s Extra edition. A minute later, Celestine handed me a dollar and said, “Put me down for a guilty.”

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