Opening Night at Nick’s Flamingo Grill

As you all know by now, the Queen of the Gnomes is a massive patron of the theatre. From One-Act Plays to Musicals and Improv, I will see it all no matter the type.

On Thursday of this past week, the Giant King and I attended the World-Premier of Nick’s Flamingo Grill over at the Alliance Theatre.

Written by the multi-talented and legendary Phillip DePoy, Nick’s Flamingo Grill is described as a “play with live-music” performed by an amazing cast of actors. Bouncing between post-WWII Paris to 1950s Atlanta, Nick’s Flamingo Grill tells the story of two ex-WWII GIs with a dream of opening their own “club du jazz” here in America. Along with a Cuban songbird and a “pretty” French Resistance fighter, the four decide to create a “Camelot” of lively music and good food.

The play focuses on various themes from racial segregation to fraternal brotherhood. A unique aspect of Nick’s Flamingo Grill is that it’s actually based on a real place.

“The club was real…my father was in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and would sit-in with his friends and sometimes play there,” explained DePoy.

Located near the old Armor Meat Packing Plant [now Castleberry Hill]; the club was “technically” illegal due to Segregation Laws at the time. While DePoy may not have been able to verify the existence of this mystical, mixed-race club, that didn’t stop him from writing one of the most humorous and heartfelt plays performed on the Hertz Stage.

Featuring ten original jazz songs by both DePoy and New Orleans’s jazz pianist: Tyrone Jackson, Nick’s Flamingo Grill had the audience snappin’ and tappin’ throughout the evening.

The Gnome Queen highly recommends seeing this fantastic *performance not only for the music, but for the message as well.

*The play is about an hour and a half with no intermission and does include some loud “explosions” for those with sensory-sensitivities.

Life Pro Hacks and Tips for the 2018 Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade

Started in 2010 the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade is a glowing celebration of the art along the Eastside Trail. This year they expect more than 70,000 patrons to partake in the illuminating event! Getting there can be tricky; and knowing where to post up, or just what to expect can be a hassle. We here at ATLByDay want to pass along some tips that could be useful for first timers or vets. So here are our life pro hacks and tips for the 2018 Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade.

You can Participate

Unlike most parades where you need to register, this parade requires no registration or fee to be in the event. You do need some sort of glow to be in the event. Whether its leftover light up bracelets from the Moon Ride or your own lantern, find something that makes you fit in with the parade goers. If you don’t bring your own lantern, you will likely be able to purchase one at the start of the event. Kroger has sold lanterns in past years, as well as Richard’s Variety Store.

When you Participate

The parade starts at the beginning of the Eastside Trail in Inman Park, at the intersection of Krog St. and Irwin St, and is usually very crowded and congested. At times you’ll feel like a salmon trying to swim upstream. You don’t have to be at the start of the parade to be in the parade.  I see many people bail out halfway through the parade. One way to avoid the congestion at the start is to join halfway through the parade at the Ralph McGill bridge close to the location of New Realm and Two Urban licks. Also to have even more fun, target getting behind one of the many bands who participate in the parade. We’ve had a blast getting behind the Seed and Feed band, dancing our way through the parade.

What to Bring

You are absolutely going to need to bring a small soft cooler that you can carry with refreshments, and a towel to sit on is a nice bonus. You won’t have easy access to beverages; and if the weather this week is any indication, the beginning of the parade will be very hot. Be sure to bring some water! Bring good walking shoes, especially if you plan to be in the parade. Without a doubt you will be walking a bit, whether you are in the parade or not. Do not bring your bike. It is impossible to navigate the Beltline in the hours leading up to the parade. You will be walking that thing with tens’ of thousands of people expecting to be at the parade.

Where to Post

There are all kinds of bars now on the Beltline to enjoy the parade. Ladybird is a great spot, and so is New Realm; but as you would expect those places will be jam packed. If you don’t get there early you might not get a great spot. When we have watched the parade our favorite spot is under the Freedom Park bridge. Under the bridge offers sloped seating that allows an elevated view and you don’t have to worry about being in the front. Additionally under the bridge offers great acoustics for the bands. You’ll notice under the bridge, the bands sound a lot louder than when in the open on the Beltine.

Parking / Getting there

The best solution is always taking a taxi. There will likely be surge pricing around the event; but if you are splitting the fare with your friends, trust us, it is worth it. After the event, there is plenty of nightlife entertainment; so if you want to avoid the surge, wait it out. If you are just viewing the event, the major pay parking spots are going to be Ponce City Market or Inman Quarter. Don’t count on it though, as I can easily foresee those decks filling up fast. At the start of the parade, near Krog Street Market, is going to be real tough to find parking. Again, if you don’t want to find yourself up-creek without a paddle, take a taxi.

The Art

Each lantern parade brings new art installations along this glorified sidewalk. Some of the art is more permanent, while some is removed very shortly. You can go the day after to enjoy some of the temporary installations, or go well before the parade starts the day of. We were walking the trail today and saw many artists putting finishing touches on their work. There is sure to be some some impressive artwork, so keep your eyes peeled for them along the path.

We hope to see your glow at the parade. If we missed something or you have a tip yourself please share!

2018 Lantern Parade Details:

Saturday, September 22, 2018:
7:00 p.m. line-up
8:00 p.m. parade steps off

Dragon Con Tales: Christopher Paolini

On Friday of Dragon Con this weekend, I had an exclusive 1-on-1 interview with one of my favorite childhood novelists: Christopher Paolini.

Christopher Paolini & the Gnome Queen

Paolini is best-known for his Inheritance Cycle series, which he originally began writing at the age of 14.

Christopher Paolini Interview

“Reading and watching movies, and listening to music were all ways for me to experience the world outside of Montana,” said  Paolini

Christopher Paolini

The story of Eragon actually began as an experiment in order to see  if he could write a full-fledged novel.

“I was very methodical…I stopped writing and starting reading books on how to write.” explained Paolini.

Christopher Paolini Interview

Some of these books included Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, works from Joseph Campbell, and various writing essays by different authors.

“I said ‘I’m going to create a whole fantasy land, and all the characters, plot out a story, and I’m not going to write it’,” said Paolini.

Making Jokes
In doing so, he was able to flesh out the entirety of his series as well as the characters.
“I think one of the reasons it did succeed so well [Eragon] was the relationship between Eragon and Saphira …but also the fact that is an archetypal hero story,” described Paolini.
Christopher Paolini Interview

Paolini went on to explain that the character Brom was actually inspired by professional writer and artist Gerald Brom.  Gerald Brom or “Brom” is best-known for his dark, fantasy-based artistic style as well as his horror novels.

Asking Questions

A fun fact about this year’s convention was that Brom himself attended as the 2018 Dragon Con “Artist Guest of Honor”.

Strange how the world works like that.

Christopher Paolini
Paolini also informed me that an upcoming space opera is in the works, but a  release date has not be set as of yet.
You known the Gnome Queen be hitting the book store when its out.
Discussing Books
The interview concluded with Paolini discussing his favorite aspects of the Con which included the general vibe of the attendees and panels.
“Its kind of crazy, but it really is a fan convention…its not only a business event for me, but also like a vacation.”
I 100% agree. Its not everyday a Royal Gnome gets to meet one of her favorite authors, let alone one so cool and down to earth.
To see my first day at this year’s Dragon Con click here https://atlbyday.com/2018/09/02/gettin-schwifty-at-dragon-con-2018/
For more upcoming Dragon Con Tales, please subscribe to our newsletter and like us on social media!

Top Things To Do in Atlanta

Labor Day is a celebration of the American workforce and what better way to celebrate all of your hard work than to have one last hurrah for summer complete with good food, drink, and maybe even some music? Lucky for you, Atlanta has a lot of great options for you to enjoy your extended weekend. College football kicks off, Dragon Con is in town, and lots lots more. Read below for our top picks broken down by activity type:

Sports:

  • Chick-fil-a Kickoff game: Washington vs. Auburn- Saturday, Sept. 1st at 3:30pm at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • College Colors Kickoff Block Party: Celebrate the start to college football with the college colors bar crawl this Friday, August 31st. To find out more about tickets and participating bars and restaurants read our post.
  • Georgia Tech vs. Alcorn State: Georgia Tech football kicks off its 2018 season at Bobby Dodd Stadium this Saturday, September 1st at 12:30pm.
  • Atlanta Braves Games: The Braves will be hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates all weekend long at SunTrust Park. There will even be a Zedd concert after the game Friday night!
  • Soul Rise Classic 5K: Will take place Saturday, September 1st beginning across from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Registration is $30 and proceeds will benefit early childhood development at the YMCA and other local community non-profits.
  • Big Peach Sizzler 10K/5K: Will take place Monday September 3rd with the 10K starting at the Chamblee MARTA Station and the 5K beginning at the Brookhaven MARTA Station. Registration is $45 for the 5K and $55 for the 10K. All proceeds will support Miles for Cystic Fibrosis.
  • Hike and Hops at Stone Mountain: Explore Stone Mountain on a 5-6 mile hike ending with a German beer tasting at the Village Corner German Restaurant. Tickets include one beer and a giant pretzel. Hike takes place Sunday, September 2nd beginning at 10:45am. Click here for more info. P.S- Stone Mountain will be hosting extended light shows all Labor Day Weekend. Find out more here.

Music:

  • Zedd concert: At SunTrust Park after the Braves vs. Pirates game Friday, August 31st. Find tickets here.
  • Taste of Soul Atlanta- Food & Music Festival: A free festival taking place Saturday and Sunday, September 1st and 2nd across from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. To find out more about the music, food, and activities check out their site.
  • Lynard Skynard- Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour: Saturday, September 1st at the Lakewood Amphitheatre.
  • Michael Jackson vs. Prince Silent Disco: Saturday, September 1st at 830pm at the Buckhead Theatre. Tickets start at $13.
  • House in the Park at Grant Park: Sunday, September 2nd beginning at 12pm. Tickets are $10.
  • Local Brews Local Grooves at the Tabernacle: Come to the Tabernacle Sunday, September 4th beginning at 4pm for a craft beer and music festival. Free pizza from Outsiders pizza will be provided as well as a selection of local craft breweries and live music. To find out more info such as a list of breweries, bands, and ticket prices click here.

Food:

  • Taste of Soul Atlanta- Food & Music Festival: A free festival taking place Saturday and Sunday, September 1st and 2nd across from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. To find out more about the music, food, and activities check out their site.
  • Luau at Victory Sandwich Bar: Sunday, September 2nd beginning at 2pm Victory Sandwich Bar in Decatur will be hosting a luau complete with live music, a tiki bar, and an all you can eat buffet. And tickets are only $15!
  • 4th Annual Labor Day Pig Out at Avalon’s Oak Steakhouse: Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for kids. Tickets include delicious food, and activities such as face painting, a photo booth, and lawn games. Beer, wine, and batch cocktails will also be available for purchase.
  • 33rd Annual Labor Day Blues & BBQ: Park Tavern will be hosting WRFG 89.3 FM’s annual BBQ Monday, September 3rd beginning at 1pm. Tickets are $15, for more info click here.
  • Local Brews Local Grooves at the Tabernacle: Come to the Tabernacle Sunday, September 4th beginning at 4pm for a craft beer and music festival. Free pizza from Outsiders pizza will be provided as well as a selection of local craft breweries and live music. To find out more info such as a list of breweries, bands, and ticket prices click here.

Social:

  • Dragon Con: Takes place August 30-September 3rd. Check out our guides to Dragon Con 2018.
  • Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival: Head to Callaway gardens from August 31st-September 2nd to witness the beautiful hot air balloons illuminate the night! The weekend event will include tethered balloon rides, live music, food and drink specials, a kids zone, beach activities, a classic car show, disc dog demonstrations, and a photography class. To see the schedule of events click here. Adult ticket prices start at $24.95 and children’s prices begin at $14.95.
  • Pure Heat Community Festival: Celebrate Atlanta’s Black Pride this Sunday, September 2nd beginning at 12pm in Piedmont Park! The celebration will include market and food vendors, live music, and educational forums. The festival strives to bring awareness to the issues currently facing the LGBTQ community.

The Arts:

  • Fernbank Museum of Natural History: Is offering a Labor Day special of 15% off memberships! Use the code “LABOR 2018” at the checkout here.
  • Cirque du Soleil Corteo: Will be performing multiple shows over Labor Day weekend at the Infinite Energy Center. To find showtimes and tickets follow this link.
  • AJC Decatur Book Festival: Will take place August 31st-September 2nd in downtown Decatur. For more information and a schedule follow the link here.

Inman Park Festival: What Not to Miss This Weekend

Nestled among a thick, green, urban canopy of dogwood and pine, the 10th Annual Inman Park Festival kicks off this weekend.  If you missed the Dogwood Festival, you won’t want to miss this one. And if you approach it like a novice you will still have a great time, but we here at ATL by Day want you to get so much out of it that security has to drag you away. There’s great food, a quirky parade, 3 music stages, a tour of homes, art vendors, and much more. I’ve been going to the festival for years and have volunteered in multiple facets, so here are a few tips and must-sees that I have gathered over the years.

The Parade

So many people skip or don’t even know about this part of the festival. Be sure to catch it if you can. Will this be the year that Inman Park Festival Parade breaks the Guinness Book World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as garden gnomes? This quirky parade is a barrel of fun if you “gnome” what I mean. You’ll surely get a tickle from the gnome-humored signs held by the red pointy-hat paraders. Be sure to bring a blanket or easy-to-carry lawn chair for the event. Additionally, consider bringing a fun-sized cooler for your refreshments.

Note: The parade starts at Edgewood and Euclid on Saturday, April 28th at 2:00 PM . It ends at Austin Avenue in Little Five Points.

Porch Parties

A site to admire about the homes of Inman Park are the immaculate porch setups. During the festival weekend some of these porches morph into a full scale lawn parties. You’ll see full bands performing, moon walks, and, of course, the southern tradition of corn hole. I’ve been fortunate to have a friend of a friend’s brother’s uncle’s roommate throw one of these. The point is: reach out to your connections to see if they or anyone they know is throwing a porch party for the festival. You’ll have a blast.

Food

Look for the The Pickle, seek The Pickle, be one with The Pickle. The Pickle is a food truck that pops up at a good number of Atlanta events. Not so much a typical-looking food truck, it’s more of a stretch, dill-colored conversion van in the shape of…yeah you guessed it, a pickle. While not exclusive to this festival, The Pickle offers the best food item available, the Cajun Chicken Egg Roll. They cut their egg roll at a sharp angle that beautifully reveals every mystery inside. The first bite makes all the following ones irresistible. The Cajun dipping sauce accents this culinary marvel beautifully. My other favorite festival food is the Island Noodles.

SWeggroll

Tour of Homes

You’ve seen the beautiful porches adorned with the Inman Park Neighborhood flag, which, if you look closely, you realize is more than just a butterfly. The wings have two faces hidden inside: one symbolizes the past of the neighborhood while the other symbolizes its future. You will get a chance to gather in the beauty of these homes which would make Chip and Joanna proud. (Admit it: we all have our favorite HGTV show.) Whether it’s International House Hunters or Fixer Upper, we all love seeing what people do to make a space come alive.

Note: Be sure to get your tickets on the Inman Park Festival website.

Volunteering

I’ve volunteered as a tour of homes house liaison, stage setup guy, and–my favorite–helping out in the beer tent. The beer station volunteer assignments run out fast, so you likely wont be able to get on it this time around, but there are still some other assignments left. Volunteering is a great way for you to engage with the community and meet new people while enjoying the special setting of Inman Park. The highlight of my time was getting to serve one heady brew to Atlanta’s biggest and best local weatherman, David Chandley. I’ll be serving y’all at the event on Sunday with my raucous local crew. Be sure to stop by and get a pour.

Bonus Tip on Art

I have a lot of art from the local neighborhood festivals in my home. Yes, some of the art is very expensive and unfortunately they don’t offer financing in the form of easy payments. I didn’t pay the listed price for any of these pieces; rather, we negotiated to a price we both found acceptable. Don’t be afraid to haggle! Most of them expect you to and prints will work just fine. Check to see if they can offer or have any on hand. You might have better chances on the last day when the event is coming to a close as vendors are trying to unload their inventory.

Inman Park Festival is a fine event for all age groups and people. There is something for everyone. The kiddos even get their own play zone. This year they are planning even more FREE activities, some of which will include slides, obstacle courses, crafts, a great playground, riding toys, and the opportunity to join a circus! At ATLBYDAY we hope you make the most out of the festival, bringing everyone on your obnoxious group texts with you.

Did we miss something or do you have a tip? Please feel free to post in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Master smith Mark J. Hopper

Unleash your Inner Blacksmith

If you are looking for an unconventional way to spend an evening, treat yourself—and perhaps a friend—to one of the blacksmithing or knifesmithing classes offered by Goat n Hammer. Housed in the sprawl of buildings and open spaces in West Midtown known as The Goat Farm, this one-of-a-kind forge offers a variety of classes for novices and experienced smiths alike. Your humble writer has attended two such workshops, one devoted to turning a railroad spike into a sharpened blade and the other a class wherein you create a knife out of more conventional bar stock. Reader, I enjoyed them.

IMG_1012
Goat n Hammer, for all your anger manag…uhm, smithing needs!

First things first: you do NOT have to possess any previous knowledge about—or aptitude with—metals or forging or knives. I am as white collar as it gets but I had a blast. The classes are not cheap, however; entry-level workshops start at $125 per person but even at this price you are getting a good deal. The cost includes all the necessary tools and supplies (of course you get to take your creation home) and most workshops last around 5 hours. It is all very hands-on and physical. Be warned: you WILL go home dirty so wear appropriate attire.

IMG_1015
Metal and wood and grease!

Classes usually consist of 10 students, with two main instructors and an assistant. You can actually reserve the entire space for large events. The smiths, Mark J. Hopper and Jessica Collins, are incredibly talented and infinitely patient. In fact, they have earned some recent fame by appearing as contestants on the History Channel’s popular show Forged in Fire (tune in Tuesday, April 17th at 8pm EST to see their episode). During the workshops, the smiths showcase the necessary steps and then oversee and assist as students insert and retrieve glowing chunks of metal from the forge while hammering with appropriate techniques. In the final steps, they help you grind your profile before putting on the sharpened edge.

IMG_2278
Look, a butter knife!

If you aren’t interested in blades (uh…why wouldn’t you be?), Goat n Hammer offers classes covering various foundational blacksmithing skills, from forging your own hammer to making more detailed items like leaves or even spoons. In order to progress and make more complex creations, however, you have to have completed a couple introductory courses. Which only makes sense since we aren’t talking about baking a cake here. Upper-level classes cost as much as $600 but these span several hours over a few days.

IMG_1011
These are grinders. They will carve away your finger-flesh and I’ve got the scar to prove it.

Because of the uptick in interest in blacksmithing—credited to the unlikely success of Forged in Fire—classes fill up early. I had to reserve mine a month in advance. New courses are being added often so do check their Website and Facebook often for updates.

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Behold, my creations. Both are perfect for destroying Amazon boxes and blocks of cheese.

Again, I can’t recommend this experience enough. You get to gain some aptitude in one of humanity’s oldest and most essential crafts while supporting local Atlanta artists. So step outside your comfort zone and into the heat at Goat n Hammer.