- Created on 11 May 2013
Damon Dash, who made millions with Jay-Z as co-partners of Rock-A-Fella Records and Rocawear clothing line, is now millions in debt and facing...
- Created on 11 May 2013
"The Watsons Go to Birmingham," a movie adaptation from the award-winning book by Christopher Paul Curtis, just wrapped up production here in the Atlanta area.
The film, set in 1963, was directed by Atlanta's own Kenny Leon, founder of True Colors Theatre Company. During the final days of filming last week, visitors to the set had a chance to learn about the movie that invokes one of the Civil Rights Movement's most tragic moments: the bombing death of four little girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church.
The film stars Anika Noni Rose, LaTanya Richardson and Wood Harris as members of an "All American Family" who are transformed by their road trip from their home in Michigan to visit relatives in Alabama. Written by Tonya Lewis Lee, who serves as co-executive producer with Nikki Silver, the film will be part of the Walden Family Theater, a new series of family movies created by Walmart, P&G, Walden Media and ARC Entertainment.
During media and guest day on the movie set at a house near the Stone Mountain Women's Club, Randy Michael Testa, vice president of education and professional development for Walden Media, talked about the importance of a movie like "Watsons."
"This is an opportunity to teach young people about the Civil Rights Movement in a way that is more accessible than reading about it in a text book," Testa said. "We are committed to family entertainment with a message."
Testa said he and Walden also are working with The Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama to adapt their curriculum on teaching about the Civil Rights Movement in conjunction with the Watsons' movie. This will help school teachers use the film to teach about the Civil Rights Movement, he said.
The educational materials will be loaded on the Walden Media website, including some of the movie's storyboards by Brian McKissick, Testa said. "This will help teachers show students that you have to imagine things before you can do them," he said.
Without giving the whole movie away for those who have not read the book, here's what the press release says:
"So the Watsons load up the 1948 Plymouth Brown Bomber outfitted with a true tone Ultra-Glide turntable and head South with plenty of comedy en route. When they
finally make it to Birmingham, they meet Grandma Sands and her friend, Mr. Robert (David Alan Grier), who show them around town and the Watsons discover that life is very different there than in Flint – and not necessarily for the better."
Tonya Lee, wife of filmmaker Spike Lee, said she was invited to come on board for the movie by her co-executive producer Nikki Silver.
"I was familiar with the book because my child read it in school," she said. "I thought this would be a great project to bring to the screen." This is her first time producing, and she said she is excited about the opportunity.
Also visiting the set were Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, and the Rev. C.T. Vivian. The Watsons' book received the Newberry and Coretta Scott King awards.
Director Leon, known for his support of projects with a message, is directing a feature-length film for a third time. His other TV film projects include "A Raisin in the Sun" and "Steele Magnolias."
Watsons is scheduled to be telecast on the Hallmark Channel on Sept. 20 at 8 p.m.
(Photos: 1 - Bernice King (second from left) stands with actors Anika Noni Rose, La Tanya Richardson and ADW Publisher M. Alexis Scott on the movie set in Stone Mountain. 2 - Bernice King (second from right), CEO of The King Center and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, visits the set of “The Watsons Go to Birmingham” with co-producers Nikki Silver (left) and Tonya Lewis
Lee (right) and Walden Media Founder and President Micheal Flaherty. 3 - Randy Michael Testa, vice president of education and professional development for Walden Media, stands on the movie set with Bernice King, CEO of The King
Center and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. Photos by M. Alexis Scott and Brian McKissick)
- Created on 06 May 2013
(AP) — Funeral services are planned next week in Atlanta for former Kris Kross rapper Chris Kelly, who was found dead in his home from a possible drug overdose.
Murray Brothers Funeral Home in Atlanta confirmed Saturday that it will hold a public viewing for Kelly throughout the afternoon and evening Wednesday. A funeral service has been...
- Created on 08 May 2013
Ramsey has been catapulted to instant fame in the wake of his heroic rescue of Amanda Berry, 27, which led to the rescues of Gina Dejesus, 23, and Michelle...
- Created on 03 May 2013
"Atlanta is going to be alive with jazz throughout the entire month of May," states Camille Russell Love, Director of the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs. "Neighborhood parks, museums, restaurants, clubs and even MARTA stations are going to be hosting musical performances and parties for this year's '31 Days of Jazz.' We've got something for every musical taste...from mellow Friday afternoon concerts at Atlantic Station to the hip-hop and neo soul stylings of Dionne Farris and Russell Gunn at the Late Night Jazz Concert. We invite you to get out and explore the city, make some new friends, and be part of this year's Atlanta Jazz Festival."
Here are some of the highlights of "31 Days of Jazz." Many of the events are free, but some are ticketed and there is an admission charge. For more details visit our web site, www.atlantafestivals.com.
May 1 @ Centennial Olympic Park from 5:30-8 pm: Wednesday WindDown hosted by WRFG 89.3 FM featuring Alex Lattimore, the Terence Harper Quintet and the ATL Brass Connection. Free admission.
May 2 @ Café Circa starting at 7 pm: Dinner and Jazz in a casually elegant atmosphere. Great date night!
May 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 @ Atlantic Station: Enjoy brown bag Fridays in Central Park from 11 am to 2 pm while listening to live Jazz performances!
May 4 @ John A. White Park from 3-9 pm. Neighborhood Jazz concert hosted by Atlanta City Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms, featuring music by JFly, J. Henry, J.O. Wyatt & Mays-Young Jazztet.
May 5 @ Gordon White Park from 4-8 pm. Neighborhood Jazz concert hosted by Atlanta City Councilmember Cleta Winslow, featuring music by Chandra Currelley and Eric Thomas.
May 6, 13 & 20 @ various MARTA stations around the city from 3:30-5:30 pm. Enjoy live music during your afternoon commute!
May 7, 14, 21 & 28 @ Aurum Lounge presents "Elevated Jazz Tuesdays" from 8:30-11:30 pm featuring live jazz, special $5 martinis and more.
May 16 @ Atlanta Botanical Garden hosts "Jazz In The Garden" from 6-9 pm. Mix and mingle at the most beautiful cocktail party in the city! Members get in free, admission for non-members is $18.95.
May 18 @ Grove Park from 4-8 pm. Neighborhood Jazz concert hosted by Atlanta City Councilmember Felicia Moore, featuring music by Lemonade Jones and Saxman Antonio Bennett.
May 19 @ Churchill Grounds from 7-11 pm. "A Tribute to Miles Davis" is hosted by WRFG 89.3 FM and features music by David Potter & Friends. Admission is $15.
May 23 @ Acoustix from 6-10 pm enjoy dinner and live jazz. Meet friends for a lively evening of fun!
May 24 @ Chastain Park Amphitheatre from 7:30-11 pm enjoy jazz under the stars featuring BWB, with special guest Chrisette Michele. Tickets are on sale at www.ticketmaster.com.
May 26 @ Loews Atlanta Hotel in midtown from 10 pm-2 am experience the Late Night Jazz Concert with Dionne Farris and the Russell Gunn Quartet. Tickets are available at www.ticketalternative.com.
May 25-27 @ historic Piedmont Park from 1 – 11 pm daily hear music on two stages featuring some of today's most innovative new artists like José James, Gretchen Parlato, Aruán Ortiz, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dominick Farinacci, Aaron Diehl, Tia Fuller, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julie Dexter and Ambrose Akinmusire. Admission is free.
May 31 @ Lee Street Park enjoy live jazz on the lawn beginning at 7 pm hosted by the City of Jonesboro. Admission is free.
Sponsors for this year's festival are PNC Bank, The Coca-Cola Company, the Georgia Lottery, Celebrity Cruises, Publix Super Markets, Bank of America, England Piano, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, Federal Home Loan Bank-ATL, MARTA, Loews Atlanta Hotel and id8. Media partners include: the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists, Atlanta Daybook, Candid Jazz Blast, Black Enterprise, iRock Jazz, atlantajazz.info, 1380 News & Talk WAOK, V-103, In Contact, Atlanta Inquirer, Atlanta Tribune, JS108-atlanta.com, Majic 107.5, JazzTimes, Rolling Out, WOWNOW and WRFG 89.3 FM.
The 36th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival is presented by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, a division of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. The Atlanta Jazz Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural organization whose mission is to educate and entertain a diverse audience of jazz fans and to nurture the next generation of jazz musicians. Join us on Facebook at AtlantaJazzFestival , download our new mobile app for iPhone and Android, and visit the official web site at www.atlantafestivals.com for the latest schedules, news and information.