Location: Marietta Square
Date taken: August 9, 2012
The Marietta Square, also known as Glover Park, is home to dozens of restaurants, antique shops, art galleries and the Strand Theatre, which first opened in 1935 as a motion picture house. During the Civil War, the town center became famous because it was where the Great Locomotive Chase began.
Location: Intown Tumbling
Date taken: July 31, 2012
Chalk. Sweat. Gym mats. Those are the scents that send Kim Steen down memory lane. The Stone Mountain native spent most of her childhood and teenage years in competitive gymnasts. She would leave school early several days a week and head to the gym for five hours of practice. On the weekends, she traveled with her Atlanta School of Gymnastics teammates to competitions. For Kim, the gym was her second home. Her teammates and coaches, who she called by their first names, became part of her family.
When I asked Kim why she first fell in love with gymnastics, she replied, “Who doesn’t love to flip?” When I asked Kim why she loves teaching gymnastics, she said, “I love helping kids get stronger, more flexible, improve their coordination and just have fun.”
As soon as her competitive gymnastics career ended at age 18, Kim started teaching gymnastics. And, two years ago, after recognizing that there were no gymnastics classes being offered in town, she started Intown Tumbling. Now, Kim teaches gymnastics (and yoga) in a non-competitive environment and creates a community for her students that is similar to the one of her childhood gym — but in a more intimate setting. She said, “I want this to be a place where kids feel good about themselves and welcome.”
Intown Tumbling, located in the Poncey-Highlands neighborhood, offers classes for kids ages 2-14, summer camps, yoga and birthday parties.
Date taken: August 9, 2012
Growing up in Atlanta, Kennesaw Mountain was a frequent destination for hiking, a little bit of history and spending the day outside. I often spent time with my best friend at her grandparents’ house, which was located at the base of the mountain. We would climb to the top and try to spot their tiny green house below. Then, we would wander around their backyard with her grandfather, watching him use his metal detector to locate and dig up Civil War artifacts. I learned about the Civil War in school, but seeing him pull a button or a bullet out of the ground provided a different sort of history lesson.
Date taken: August 14, 2012
In 1991, the “worst to first” Atlanta Braves lost the World Series, but the city threw them a parade anyway. The parade was held on a Tuesday, and my high school emptied out in the middle of the day as everyone headed downtown. I recall piling into my mom’s minivan with several friends. Wearing our Braves gear, we couldn’t wait to watch our favorite players ride by in the parade (mine was Tom Glavine). It was a great day to be an Atlantan. The Braves had come a long way since the 1980s, when going to a game usually meant you had an entire section of Fulton County Stadium to yourself. These days, the crowd at Turner Field is quite a bit bigger than in the 1980s. And, I’m sure if you asked them, they’d say they are ready for another parade.
Location: My Favorite Place
Date taken: August 1, 2012
My Favorite Place is truly my favorite flea market in Atlanta. There are aisles and aisles of furniture, dishes, purses, sports equipment, books, toys, random collectables and the occasional mounted deer head — all stacked on top of each other. Unfortunately, the name of the store has resulted in numerous “Who’s On First” conversations over the years:
Friend: “That’s a great lamp. Where did you get it?”
Me: “My Favorite Place. It was only $13!”
Friend: “Wow. Nice deal. Now, where did you buy it?”
Me: “My Favorite Place. It’s in Chamblee near the car dealerships.”
Friend: “I realize this is your favorite place, but what is the actual name of the store?”
Me: “I am telling you the name — My Favorite Place!”
Location: David Stephens’ home puppetry studio
Date taken: July 29, 2012
It was a standard fifth grade assignment on the Gold Rush of 1949, but David Stephens felt nervous about standing up in front of the class. So, for his presentation, he decided to try and recreate a little bit of his favorite show, The Muppet Show. David made hand puppets out of paper, turned a table on its side and improvised a show about the Gold Rush. His classmates cheered and laughed. His teacher, Mrs. Harris, was so impressed she had him perform again for another class.
“That was a magic moment,” David recalls. “I thought ‘This is a powerful thing … to be the person who is presenting the magic, entertaining people, getting people to laugh.’ It was an extension of me but not really me.” David grew up mesmerized by Jim Henson’s Muppets from a young age. He would wake up early every Saturday to watch The Muppet Show in syndication at 5:30 a.m., subscribed to Muppet Magazine and frequently drew the show’s characters.
By high school, David was performing puppet shows at libraries, preschools and birthday parties in his south Alabama hometown. Since then, his career has been all puppets (and a little banjo ‒ check out David Stephens and Banjolicious). From performing original works at Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts to receiving national awards and grants to working on Sesame Street to crafting handmade puppets, David has come a long way since his first performance in Mrs. Harris’ class.
Location: Oakland Cemetery
Date taken: July 5, 2012
Historic Oakland Cemetery Interesting Facts:
• Established in 1850 as Atlanta Graveyard or City Burial Place
• Listed on National Register of Historic Places
• Bobby Jones, Margaret Mitchell, Maynard Jackson and other well-known Atlantans are buried here
• Final resting place of approximately 6,900 Confederate soldiers
• Home to second oldest Jewish burial ground in the state
• Atlanta’s first greenhouse was located in the cemetery
• Historic Oakland Foundation offers weekend tours, twilight tours, Halloween tours and audio tours
• Cemetery hosts an annual Run Like Hell 5K and Run Like Heck Fun Run
Location: Lindsey Kerr’s home office
Date taken: July 10, 2012
Her two older brothers collected and traded baseball cards. But as a child, Lindsey Kerr collected things that were a little more unique – Band-Aids, pencils and stationery. She loved things with patterns and prints, especially pretty pieces of paper. The stationery store at the mall in her hometown of Lake Jackson, Texas, was a frequent shopping destination for Lindsey and her friends. They would spend their allowances on individual sheets of paper and envelopes − then trade them. Lindsey kept her collection in three-ring binders, where she could flip through the sheets and admire them often (sometimes for hours at a time).
A few decades later, as she was ordering invitations for a friend’s wedding shower, the inefficiency of the process led Lindsey to an epiphany. She thought, “I could do this better.” So, Lindsey started handling invitations for a few friends, and slowly she began to build her own business of pretty pieces of paper − Linvites. She researched stationery lines, bought printers, started an e-commerce site, taught herself Adobe Creative Suite and created her own designs. Although being a small business owner presents some tough challenges, Lindsey says, “I can’t imagine giving this up.”
Linvites is a stationery design studio and boutique based in Atlanta that features invitations, personalized stationary and unique gifts. Recently, Linvites has started offering items for businesses and corporations, including employee recognition gifts. Contact Lindsey at www.linvites.com.
Date taken: July 4, 2012
I’ve often wondered why there aren’t more benches in Freedom Park. And now, at least through September 22, there are 300 additional seats. You may have passed by the SEAT structure while driving/walking/riding down Moreland Avenue. Up close, the art installation provides lots of interesting views and a few seats you can actually sit on.
Location: Little Free Library
Date taken: July 5, 2012
I’ll admit that e-readers have their conveniences. They’ll fit easily in your bag or purse. You can carry multiple books in one slim little case. But with electronic books, you can’t do one of my favorite things – pass good books along to someone else. If, like me, you still read paper books and frequently have a stack of completed books on your shelf, check out the map of Little Free Library and keep an eye out for one of its book boxes (which I first mistook for a giant mailbox) near you. It’s an easy way to pass books along to your neighbor — and pick up a new book for yourself.
Location: Eternal flame at The King Center
Date taken: June 26, 2012
The year was 1997. The name of the film was “A Hamster’s Tale.” The shooting location was Marcus Rosentrater’s cousin’s house in nearby Littleton, Colorado, where 12 hamsters resided. The film starred Marcus and his cousins, who, at the time, all dreamed of growing up to become movie stuntmen. The film’s action-oriented plot allowed the actors to show off their skills – fighting, wrestling, jumping off the roof, jumping off the trampoline and jumping over furniture. Marcus was the film’s editor, using his family’s video camera, VCR and a CD Walkman to create the final product. When the 10-minute film was complete, the young actors and producer showed it to anyone who would watch and then started planning their next action flick.
From his first movies featuring Legos and Micro Machines to ones like “A Hamster’s Tale” to the videos he turned in for school assignments in high school, Marcus’ passion for film has been constant. When he moved to Atlanta in 2004, his first stop off the plane was to fill out a job application at Movies Worth Seeing, where he would eventually work for five years. “Pretty much everything good in my life in Atlanta has stemmed from that place,” he said.
This includes co-producing with co-worker Gideon Kennedy. So far, they’ve collaborated on three short films, including Clandestine, which has been shown at more than 30 film festivals, and are working on their first feature-length film. When Marcus realized there weren’t many venues in Atlanta for a film like Clandestine, which was made from archival footage, he decided to create a micro cinema and provide similiar films with a platform to be seen and shared. And that’s how Contraband Cinema, which hosted nine events in its first two seasons this past year, was born.
Contraband Cinema is a micro cinema safe house that brings the best local and international experimental films to Atlanta audiences.
Location: Vickery Hardware store
Date taken: June 30, 2012
In 2009, Vickery Hardware store was named best hardware store by Atlanta Magazine. And, it’s no wonder. In addition to the standard hardware supplies, the store offers all the following services on site — keys copied, screens cut, glass cut, knives sharpened, lamps fixed, watch batteries replaced, dog tags printed and propane tanks filled. If you are in the neighborhood, stop by this family-owned and operated store (since 1950) and shop for what you need and what you forgot you needed (I bought a bell for my bike). You can also buy a watermelon from the fruit stand in the parking lot, walk next door to Ebony & Ivory BBQ and grab a book from the Little Free Library.
Location: Castleberry Hill
Recently, whenever I head to the Castleberry Hill neighborhood, art is somehow involved. A few years ago, I wandered through the area with a photography MeetUp. Then last year, there was Flux 2011. Still on my ‘to do’ list is the monthly art stroll. With its large concentration of old railroad buildings, the neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And, the early 20th century warehouse buildings often provide artistic views on the inside and out.
Location: Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
(awaiting flight to Fort Worth, Texas)
Date taken: June 18, 2012
Hartsfield-Jackson Interesting Facts:
114 food and drink stands/restaurants
150 U.S. destinations; 75 international
2,500 arrivals and departures each day
30,000 public parking spaces
58,000 employees (largest employer in the state of Georgia)
250,000 passengers each day
Tallest air control tower in North America
Since 1998, busiest passenger airport in the world
Location: Martin Luther King, Jr. birth home on Auburn Avenue
Date taken: June 26, 2012
Growing up in Atlanta, I visited The King Center many times on school trips and when friends and family came into town. The Center is one of Atlanta’s top tourist destinations, with more than a million visitors each year. This past week, I walked along Auburn Avenue, where The King Center, Dr. King’s birth home and Ebenezer Baptist Church are located, as part of a Flux Projects tour. As our group of more than 90 people learned about the historic street, I was reminded again of the great impact of Dr. King’s life and that this famous destination is not just for tourists.
Date taken: June 15, 2012
Location: Lake Claire Land Trust
Around the time my nephew was first beginning to string words together into sentences, I asked him about his week – specifically what he had done that day and the day before. We were riding in the car, and he was listing the places or people he had seen. At one point he said, “Went to see boo eew.” I had no idea who or what he was talking about, so I said, “say it again.” And, he did. I still didn’t understand, so he repeated it. This went on about six more times, with me saying “who?” and him repeating what he had said. Finally, he had enough of my ignorance and told me, “go ask daddy.” I did. It turns out they had gone to see “Big Lou the Emu” at the Lake Claire Land Trust. I had no idea the land trust was home to an emu. It turns out this community space also features chickens, a garden, drum circles, a few unofficial wood carvings and large hand-crafted wooden chairs, which provide a comfortable spot to enjoy a view of the land trust and the city.
Location: Madison, Georgia
I remember first exploring the small town of Madison in college when my photography professor sent the class on an assigment to the small Georgia town. He said the antebellum architecture would be a great backdrop for capturing texture and lines using black and white film. I had always heard that Madison was “the town so beautiful that Sherman refused to burn it.” The town is quite charming and a nice day trip from Atlanta (1.5 hours). But, if you read a little history about the Civil War, it turns out that Madison’s mayor was a Unionist who reached a deal with General Sherman’s troops not to destroy the town.
Date taken: June 16, 2012
In the 1920s, Asa Candler, the Coca-Cola co-founder, former Atlanta mayor and Druid Hills resident, donated more than 50 acres of his land to the city of Atlanta. Today, that land is Candler Park, and it’s home to a public golf course, swimming pool, playground, pavilions, basketball court and several fields. Each year, the park hosts at least three annual festivals — Sweetwater 420 Fest, Midsummer Music Festival, Candler Park Fall Fest. And, I believe you can find a cold Coca-Cola at all of them.
Location: Sweetwater Creek State Park
Sweetwater Creek State Park sits to the west of Atlanta and just off I-20. The name might be familiar to most Atlantans, as the park’s whitewater rapids inspired the name and slogan for Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Company – “Don’t float the mainstream.” But with nine miles of trails, fishing, boat rentals and playgrounds there is a lot to do. There’s also a little history – one of the most popular trails takes you by the remains of a Civil War era textile mill.