Tag Archives: atlanta

Theater Tales: ‘Book of Mormon,’ ‘Fun Home’ Storytelling Lessons

Book-of-Mormon-690x310fun_homeStorytelling thoughts from a recent trip to New York, where I caught a couple of master classes about character, point of view and theme on Broadway — both with some great songs, too.

“Book of Mormon” and “Fun Home” aren’t just Tony-winning musicals. They’re both fascinating examples of art that’s about art – in this case, writing about writing.

In “Mormon,” a young missionary has to wing it when Africans ask to hear the story of his religion’s, uhm, genesis. It’s funny and profane and super-tuneful – and his impromptu take on the meaning of life unexpectedly proves as inspiring as any version any believer could hope for.

With “Fun Home,” a woman looks back on her troubled father and, through her cartooning and writing, tries to make sense of her family chaos.

Both shows reveal themselves to be about the power of storytelling – how we all create or consume art to make sense of things we can’t understand. You laugh at “Mormon” and get goosebumps at “Fun Home.”

Walking around the Theater District, I couldn’t miss ads for “Wicked,” another musical about storytelling — about looking at one of the most famous characters of all time from a different point of view.

wizard_of_oz_0456_wicked_witch

Oh, she’s wicked, all right. And that’s enough for me.

I’ve never wanted to see it because, to me, the Wicked Witch of the West neither has nor needs a back story. She is evil, pure and simple. She wants to kill Dorothy to get the ruby slippers so she can rule Oz. That’s it.

Still, back in Atlanta, I saw the Alliance Theater’s production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and wondered what that tale  would look like from Nurse Ratched’s point of view.

Call me crazy.

All this reached its apex when I saw “Stupid F—ing Bird” at Actor’s Express in Atlanta’s West Midtown.

091815-bird_SFB-Prod-4

A scene from “Stupid F—ing Bird” at Actor’s Express

Theater folk can tell you it’s an update of Chekhov’s “The Seagull.” I can tell you it poses interesting questions about art and how much is too much – even whether we’d all be better off under a 100-year moratorium on the stuff.

“Bird” takes the self-gazing one step further, into meta-fiction. Characters address the audience and talk about the play they’re in. It’s amusing, maybe insightful, definitely an attempt to goose theatrical devices.

Turns out I didn’t have to fly to New York to find that.

And this is all good fodder for anyone writing anything. What’s a story? What material is presented? From whose point of view?

As communicators, what do we want the audience to feel, think or do?

Curtain up.


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How to Link Your Love for Food and Travel

Atlanta Curb Market, Atlanta Municipal Market, Atlanta, Curb Market, Martin Luther King Historic District, Sweet Auburn, black history, African-American history, produce, meat, pork, Grindhouse Burgers

Love the neon sign in the middle of the Curb Market

Everybody loves food and travel, right? Put them together and you have a dream vacation when you’re traveling, or a great itinerary when guests come.

Millions of Americans consider the availability of food (and drink) activities when making travel plans. That can mean going to Northern California for tours and tastings in wine country, or looking for cheap, local eats wherever you happen to be headed. The “culinary tourism” trend isn’t slowing down, according to foodie experts gathered to discuss it in Atlanta this week with PR and communications folks.

It was a great conversation, with interesting points about Georgia and metro Atlanta’s top spots and trends.

  • We have our own “wine country” in the North Georgia that can make for a fun day.
  • Ethnic “niche” marketing is growing.
  • Buford Highway remains the best location for endless “hole in the wall” ethnic spots.
  • West Midtown is still booming with fun restaurants and shops in a few walkable areas.
  • I’ve gotta get to Gun Show.

But for me, the most interesting aspect was the setting: the Sweet Auburn Curb Market in the original Municipal Market on Edgewood Avenue. I’m ashamed to say I’d never been, and I felt like a tourist in my own town browsing the food and produce of 24 businesses – including produce and meat shops, a bakery, bookstore and about a dozen great little spots to eat.

Here are a few reasons why I’ll be taking my next out-of-town guests. There’s probably something similar in your town. Check it out. Here are just a few reasons why. (Click pics to enlarge.)

1. History

Atlanta Curb Market, Atlanta Municipal Market, Atlanta, Curb Market, Martin Luther King Historic District, Sweet Auburn, black history, African-American history, produce, meat, pork, Grindhouse Burgers

The market, built in 1924, is located within the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District. From the market’s website:

Whereas blacks were permitted to shop inside of the market when its doors opened, they were relegated to vend outside along the curb. Transforming that segregated time in the market’s history, it is today affectionately called the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, a name that was adopted in the 1990s. The name also reflects the market’s proximity to Auburn Avenue, which in 1956 Fortune magazine called “the richest Negro Street in the world” and was dubbed “Sweet Auburn” in a nod to that prosperity.

2. Streetcar

Atlanta Curb Market, Atlanta Municipal Market, Atlanta, Curb Market, Martin Luther King Historic District, Sweet Auburn, black history, African-American history, produce, meat, pork, Grindhouse BurgersThe market has its own stop on the new Atlanta Streetcar, which is free throughout 2015.

3. Miss D

Atlanta Curb Market, Municipal Market, soul food, Miss D's, praline, popcorn, soul food

Come in through the back door (where the parking lot is) and you’ll encounter delightful Miss D and her mouthwatering pralines, peanut brittle and gourmet popcorn.

4. Lunch

Atlanta Curb Market, Atlanta Municipal Market, Atlanta, Curb Market, Martin Luther King Historic District, Sweet Auburn, black history, African-American history, produce, meat, pork, Grindhouse Burgers, soul food

Atlanta Curbside Market, curb market, Grindhouse burgers

Curb-Market-Boy

In Atlanta, ya gotta have your “meat and three.” The food court includes Metro Deli Soul Food, Grindhouse Burgers, Sweet Auburn BBQ, Tilapia Express, Awesome Juicery and more.

4. Produce

Atlanta Curbside Market, Municipal Market, produce, peppers, meat, poultry, MLK, soul food

Curb-Market-Peanuts

Fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms. (Peanuts, too.)

6. Meat

pigs, pork, butcher, Atlanta Curb Market, Municipal Market, 1924, MLK, Atlanta, buy your whole pigs here

Atlanta-Curb-Market-Butcher

prices

Because you never know when you’ll need a whole pig.

The food experts on the panel also gave some other suggestions for where to eat around town. I love how they weren’t focused on the most expensive spots. Good food is about more than white tablecloths.

  • Fred Castellucci, @fwc3, owner of The Iberian Pig, Cooks & Soldiers, and other restaurants:  “The new Victory Sandwich Bar in Inman Park is awesome. It’s a very cool spot and the guys who own it are super-nice. They do a great job.”
  • Kate Parham Kordsmeier, @KPKords, food writer: Depending on her mood, she loves Umi Sushi, Bocca Lupa, and Gun Show.
  • Lindsey Isaacs, @Explore Georgia, from the state Department of Economic Development: “If somebody says Six Feet Under by the Oakland Cemetery some time, I’m there in a heartbeat.”
  • Dale Gordon DeSena, @TasteofAtlanta, suggests people try something new, “a little out of your comfort zone,” at least once a week.

Great advice, Dale — whether you’re traveling or at home.

Thanks to the panelists and the Georgia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for putting the discussion together. 

One of Atlanta’s Most Exciting Chefs Takes It to the Streets

Westside Provisions, Atlanta, Westside, West Midtown, Hector Santiago, El Burro Pollo, Pura Vida, latin food, restaurant, latin restaurant, latin eatery, burrito, chicken burrito, Atlanta, street food, fair, market, Ponce City Market,

Chef Hector Santiago, of Pura Vida and Top Chef fame, serving his delicious burritos at the Westside Provisions District Farmers Market.

The Westside Provisions District Farmers Market, which just started for the season, was humming Sunday with sunny browsers picking up produce, handmade candles and kimchi. But the draw for me was Chef Hector Santiago, whose insanely missed Pura Vida tapas restaurant was my favorite spot in the city for years.

At the El Burro Pollo burrito stand, he rolled me up a  lunch so tasty it took me back to the orgiastic delights of Pura Vida — those flaky empanadas packed with juicy meat, the sweet and sticky pork puff pastries, the silky fresh seafood ceviche… and the avocado ice cream. Ah, yes and truly … the avocado ice cream.

Hector also had Pura Vida’s sister sandwich shop, Super Pan; appeared on “Top Chef;” and served as executive chef at Abattoir for a while. Lately, he’s been doing “pop-ups” like this one at fairs and markets around town. (You can keep up with his appearances on Facebook and Instagram.)

Hector Santiago, El Burro Pollo, Pura Vida, latin food, restaurant, latin restaurant, latin eatery, burrito, chicken burrito, Atlanta, street food, fair, market, Ponce City Market,

Santiago rolls up my lunch, El Burro Pollo.

Now he’s planning a one-night return on June 25 to Pura Vida, with a pop-up at the old spot, 656 N. Highland Ave., now home to Sweet Auburn BBQ.

Any of that avocado ice cream planned?

“Oh, man,” he said. “You know, I could do that as one of the desserts for the pop-up.”

And he says he’s about ready to share details of his upcoming spot, which could be El Burro Pollo or Super Pan. He didn’t want to talk about the location on Sunday, but media outlets have reported it will likely be in Ponce City Market.

That’s almost as close to my home as the old Pura Vida. I’ll take it.

Here are some pics from Sunday’s market. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday through September, at Howell Mill Road and 14th Street. Click a picture to make it bigger; mouse over to see the captions.

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Love for Atlanta’s New Icon Looks Like a Good Sign: PHOTOS

(Click the pics above to enlarge; mouse over for captions.)

Ponce City Market, PCM, Atlanta, Ponce de Leon, Sears, old Sears building, Borders, Dancing Goats, apartments, retail, restaurants, new, cool, big project, redevelopment

It pops above Ponce de Leon Avenue.

The sign for Ponce City Market went up Sunday, and Atlanta’s newest icon was met with spontaneous applause from onlookers on the BeltLine.

Seriously. People had stopped to watch the crews work and to take selfies and other pics. And when the last piece of the sign — with the ‘PO’ —  was attached, they clapped and cheered.

That’s a lot of goodwill no one can buy.

And I took it as a sign for the positive buzz about Ponce City Market, the old Sears building on Ponce de Leon Avenue that’s being famously renovated into new office, retail and restaurant space. It’s a centerpiece and symbol for positive urban renewal, and we have a lot of that going on here in Atlanta. People are proud about it — the BeltLine, too. And Krog Street Market and more.

I was out riding my bike when I came upon the scene Sunday. I stopped to take a few pics, which I shared on social media. Within 24 hours, my Facebook and Instagram feeds had plenty of examples from other folks, too.

On Monday, I walked around the site a bit, as office workers were taking a King of Pops break. PCM has drawn Twitter, Mail Chimp, athenahealth and, possibly, Google. Inside, the Food Court is shaping up for an opening around the end of summer. Some of the shops and restaurants coming soon include:

  • Holman & Finch Burger
  • Anthropologie
  • Williams-Sonoma
  • Honeysuckle Gelato
  • West End
  • Simply Seoul Kitchen

Binders and Dancing Goats coffee have been open for a while.

Here are some more shots from the ongoing development. Mouse over to read a caption, and click to make them bigger. (And here are photos from more than a year ago. It’s fun to see the progress.)

More info on Ponce City Market’s website.

Bringing Men Easy Tips, Fashion Advice from Online to Real Life

Aaron Marino, StyleCon, Atlanta, fashion, men's style, grooming, expert

Aaron Marino

Aaron Marino likes to tell a story about a friend named Steve.

“He had a hot date coming up,” Marino recalls. “And, not knowing what to wear, he asked me for some suggestions. I said, ‘Why don’t I swing by your place, check out what you have, and if you need something we can go shopping? While we’re out and about, we should visit my hair stylist for a new cut. And by the way… you have got to do something about those nose hairs!’ ”

With that initial make-over a few years ago, Marino not only proved himself a good friend, but he unknowingly started his Atlanta-based business as a men’s style consultant.

That tale also leads to an interesting example of taking online relationships into the real world, and of building your brand through social media.

Online branding

Marino started blogging at iamalpham.com and built a multi-channel social media presence that includes more than 2,000 YouTube videos.

Antonio Centeno, Aaron Marino, StyleCon, Atlanta ,men's style, fashion, grooming

Antonio Centeno

And now he’s promoting a men’s conference on style this Friday-Sunday (May 1-3) in Atlanta, called StyleCon2015. His partner on the project is ex-Marine Antonio Centeno, founder of the Real Men Real Style site The friends have invited other bloggers and Internet coaches to meet and counsel their readers and others men who are looking for help in bumping up their style and confidence.

“This is so much more than just style,” Centeno says. “This is lifestyle – fitness, relationships, career, life…”

Marino says the goal is to give men a place to talk comfortably about issues like accessorizing and manscaping – without having to defend their masculinity or listen to a bunch of lame “metrosexual” cracks. (If it matters to you, Marino and Centeno are straight, and the StyleCon agenda includes advice on impressing women.)

Looking Good as a Competitive Advantage

“It’s a competitive world, and there is nothing wrong with trying to put your best foot forward at all times,” Marino says.

Seminar titles include:

  • Modern Manliness: How to ‘Man Up’ in Your Daily life
  • 10 Masculine Style Essentials
  • Art of Charm: Going from Ordinary to Extraordinary in 7 Steps

Marino and Centeno promise tailors and hairstylists onsite at StyleCon, along with whisky and wine tastings. And the list of bloggers on the schedule includes:

Keeping It Real – and Social

I’m no style expert, but I love the idea of Internet entrepreneurs (in any line of work) taking their online personas out into the real world, meeting their readers and sharing tips and camaraderie.

It keeps the focus on “social” in social media.

And while I’m not a slob by any means, I have been in poor Steve’s worn-out shoes a few times. Maybe I’ll go and see if I can pick up some pointers.

You can get more details on the StyleCon site. Mention this blog and you’ll get a deal – three days admission for the price of one. 


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See Why Inman Park Remains an Atlanta Jewel — PHOTOS

Inman Park, Atlanta, neighborhood, festival, tour of homesOne of Atlanta’s oldest and best neighborhoods is gearing up for its yearly party this weekend. But the story of its recent, ongoing growth spurt goes beyond the 44th Inman Park Spring Festival and Tour Of Homes.

Hundreds of new apartments have gone up in just the last couple of years, along with trendy restaurants and cafes. Much of it’s centered around the Atlanta BeltLine, which currently ends next to the Krog Street Marketanother of the area’s exciting projects.

Walking around the neighborhood Wednesday afternoon, I bumped into Alex Kinjo at the site of his soon-to-open MF Sushi on North Highland Avenue near Elizabeth Street. Sushi lovers all over metro Atlanta have missed MF since Kinjo closed the flagship on Ponce in Midtown and the second location in Buckhead.

Inman Park, neighborhood, Atlanta, MF Sushi, Alex Kinjo

Alex Kinjo is getting ready to relaunch MF Sushi.

“I fell in love with this spot,” he says. “The Inman Park folks and the people in Midtown (nearby),  have been very loyal … and they support the community.”

His place is still under construction for a planned opening in late May. And that’s only fitting, since there’s so much construction going on within one of the city’s most prominent, historical zip codes. It is home to countless gorgeous mansions as well as the rolling namesake park.

The new vitality is unmistakable around the Inman Park Village area, where Fritti has been serving gourmet pizza for 15 years. Chef Riccardo Ullio, who also has Sotto Sotto down the street, is an Inman Park native.

“It’s popular because it’s the coolest neighborhood in town,” he says.

Displaced to make room for new apartments, Dad’s Garage theater company has moved to nearby Little Five Points. Dad’s is currently mounting a new musical there at 7 Stages based on none other than The King of Pops – another local hero with its base on the block.

The Inman Park festival is one of the biggest in town, and definitely worth checking out if you don’t mind the crowds. And the tour of homes promises to be spectacular – any drive or walk through Inman Park reveals a treasure of sprawling Victorian homes lovingly maintained amid impressive landscaping.

Here are a few links pieces about the neighborhood, too.

Inman Park, Atlanta, neighborhood, festival, tour of homes

North Highland Avenue, just off the BeltLine has restaurants, shops, apartments, doctors offices and more.

Inman Park, Atlanta, neighborhood, festival, tour of homes

Dining al fresco at Barcelona, a tapas restaurant and bar


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Relax, Atlanta: Manuel’s Tavern Isn’t Going Anywhere

In the video, spokesman Angelo Fuster clears up the confusion about Manuel’s. 

Manuel's Tavern, Atlanta, bar, institution

Manuel’s Tavern on the corner of North and Highland is an institution. People ask me where I live, and I say, “Near Manuel’s,” and they say, “Oh, yeah, I love that place.”

Facebook and Twitter were all abuzz this morning over news about beloved Manuel’s Tavern being closed to make room for a new development on the corner of Highland and North avenues.

I was confused by the articles (from Creative Loafing, the Business Chronicle and the AJC) as well as the response from people on social media. I saw responses slamming the “news” as just one more example of how we don’t value anything here in Atlanta, how we toss aside our institutions for something new and shiny.

Those reactions didn’t jibe with how I took it, as a reasonable approach to improving and preserving an old spot that’s on a prime corner of real estate — especially after reading owner Brian Maloof‘s Facebook statement.

So I walked the two blocks down to Manuel’s for chili and a grilled cheese, and to get it clear for myself.

“This building is going to be here. This place is going to be here just as you see it now,” spokesman and longtime Maloof family friend Angelo Fuster told me. “This bar is gonna be here. These booths are gonna be here. Those walls are gonna be here.”

Seems this is just another example of people reacting on social media to headlines, assuming the worst, and popping off emotional responses. (Scroll down this Twitter feed to see some examples. There were plenty more on Facebook — “sad,” “end of an era,” etc…)

Manuel's Tavern, Atlanta, bar, institution

Where everybody knows your name…

The business remains with Maloof, son of the late founder Manuel Maloof, Fuster said. The property was sold, from Manuel’s Properties to Green Street Properties. The plan allows for a four-story development on the 1.6 acres but doesn’t mandate one, Fuster said. The new buildings will go where the large parking lots are now.

In his statement, Maloof said,

The land sale is part of a partnership deal with Green Street Properties to renovate our building on North Ave. and North Highland Ave., refurbish the tavern and also develop a neighborhood-scale, mixed-use development on the immediately surrounding property.

Under the agreement, I will continue to be the sole owner of Manuel’s, Green Street will become our landlord, and the tavern will have a long-term lease at its present site.

The sale will allow much-needed structural updates to the building, which is about 100 years old and has been home to Manuel’s since 1956. The bar will be closed during renovations for about three months next year.


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Oscars Get Personal with Sweet Support from the Academy

Jim Farmer, gay film festival, Out on Film, Atlanta, Oscars

Jim Farmer’s passion for movies drives Atlanta’s Out on Film.

Like millions of movie fans, Jim Farmer will be glued to the tube for Sunday’s Academy Awards.

But this year, Farmer — a lifelong Oscar fanatic — has an extra reason to be excited. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences gave his Out on Film festival its first-ever national grant for its most recent event. And more than just the money came the acknowledgement and exposure that only Hollywood’s biggest guns can provide.

Out on Film is Atlanta’s annual gay film festival, which Farmer has programmed since 2008. It’s grown every year since then, to a record attendance of 8,000 in 2014. Over the course of a week right before the annual gay Pride celebration, Out on Film presents more than 100 movies at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema.

Farmer’s focus from the start was on branding Out on Film as a vital, independent celebration — with consistent scheduling (year-round events, but with the festival always the first week in October) and high-quality programming.

“When it comes to marketing and putting butts in seats, you could get a ‘naked guy’ movie and sell out every time,” says Farmer, who has worked in theater marketing and entertainment journalism.  “But we focus on quality films that otherwise might not make it to Atlanta, and also on the diversity within the LGBT community.”

The Oscar grant helped secure last fall’s opening night, with a red carpet and appearances by the makers and some cast members of “Blackbird,” which stars Mo’Nique and will be released widely in April.

“We try to focus on our festival as an event,” Farmer says. “It’s not just seeing a movie. You can watch a movie on your iPhone these days. But there’s nothing quite like seeing a film that is a story about us, for us, told by our filmmakers and experienced together.”

Alec Mapa, Out on Film, Atlanta, gay film festival, Oscars, Jim Farmer

Guests have included actors like Alec Mapa, on the right.

Grants don’t come easy, of course. At the same time the Academy shared its gift, the state of Georgia declined to support the festival, although it had for two previous years.

“It gives us a lot of momentum,” Farmer says about the Oscar grant. “We reached a lot of people last year that we had never reached. The Academy put us on their website. The Academy issued a press release… It was tremendous in terms of the exposure and awareness that we got.”

And more personally, it was a shot of confidence for Farmer, who grew up watching the Oscars and hangs on every development of awards season.

He’ll be at home with his partner Sunday night, not at a party where people might talk over the broadcast. “I don’t care if it lasts four hours. I don’t care if the speeches are long and rambling. I want to see every moment and hear every word.”

And maybe offer up his own version of “I’d like to thank the Academy…”

Jim Farmer’s Oscar predictions

Farmer says it’s easier to call many top categories nowadays, with so many pre-Oscar awards.

But he agrees that three top categories are a lock for Julianne Moore (Best Actress in “Still Alice”), Patricia Arquette (Best Supporting Actress for “Boyhood”) and J.K. Simmons (Best Supporting Actor for “Whiplash”).

After that, thing’s get a little more exciting He sees tight races between “Boyhood” and “Birdman” for Best Picture and Best Director, and expects “Birdman” star Michael Keaton to edge out Eddie Redmayne from “The Theory of Everything” for Best Actor.


 

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Remembering the First Word in ‘Social Media’

Jason Dominy, social media, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Atlanta, 2Do3D, social media, communications, friends, how to make friends, how to meet people, meeting people in real life, IRL

Jason Dominy, right, posts pictures to Facebook after meeting people like Mark Tioxon.

I was at a party recently. I knew about half the folks there and was having a nice time going from chat to chat. At one point, I paused to look around for the next conversation and saw another man across the snack table doing the same thing. I decided to introduce myself, but before I could, he called my name.

“Hi,” I said, walking over. “How do you know who I am?”

He said his name, and I recognized it.

“That’s right! We follow each other on Twitter and Instagram,” I said, thus beginning the next nice round of cocktail party conversation. Turns out he’s dating an old friend of mine, who was also at the party, and I introduced them to friends I had brought.

It reminded me of Jason Dominy, a new friend who’s making it his mission to keep the “social” in “social media.”

Project 2Dto3D

Two years ago, Jason started reaching out to Twitter connections – people he’d never met IRL (In Real Life) — and asking them to meet for coffee or lunch.

Jason Dominy, 2Dto3D, meeting people in real life, IRL, social media, Twitter, Facebook, friends, dating, Instagram

Jason with yours truly. He wrote that he liked my blog and asked to meet for coffee.

“I thought I was kind of silly that we live in the same city, we have a lot in common, I like what they have to say – and we’d never even sat down and talked.”

He says his goal is to connect with people in “real and relevant ways.” He’s met about 75 so far, and some have led to lasting friendships or business connections. He calls his effort 2Dto3D and has posted a photo album from the meetings on his Facebook page.

“People are tired of the façade that social media can give,” says Jason, a social media manager at an Atlanta agency. “Anything that gives you a chance to break that down, well, people are interested in that.”

What about you? Have you had similar instances of expanding your real-life contacts via Twitter, Facebook or other social media?

Or do you think this is still a way to avoid contact with actual people? That online “relationships” are just a way of self-isolating?

I like Jason’s efforts. I was glad he reached out to me and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him. And at that party a few weeks ago, Twitter and Instagram helped paved the way for some fun introductions.

Would they have happened anyway? Maybe, but an icebreaker is as an icebreaker does, right?

‘We’re both stunned’

Now here’s an example of a different kind.

UnknownI have a buddy in Miami who noticed over time that he had developed a Twitter friendship with someone he’d never met – someone who didn’t have a name or face on her bio. After naturally tweeting to each other about common interests for several months, my friend asked her to get together for a drink.

That was last fall.

They’ve been dating ever since.

“We were meeting up just for a beer, just because we both seemed interesting to the other,” my pal said. “I’d never seen her until the day I walked into that bar. It was definitely not a date, and neither of us had any ideas about this becoming romantic. We’re both stunned that it did.”

He said not everybody wants to have a wide-open public persona on the Internet, but meeting some of the people you interact with online can have positive outcomes.

“If it wasn’t for Twitter, I never would have fallen for ‘that total stranger I met on the Internet.’”

Ain’t nothing wrong with that.


 

FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM! @jaycroftatl 

‘Selma,’ Pride and History in the Flesh: ‘He’s My Congressman’

Selma, John Lewis, Oscar, Oscars, snub, controversy, LBJ, MLK, Martin Luther King, Lyndon Johnson, Edmund Pettis Bridge, Bloody Sunday, movie, Atlanta, Civil Rights

John Lewis was the youngest of the Big Six leaders, just 25 when the events of ‘Selma’ took place. He is portrayed in the film by Stephan James, right.

Oscar snubs and LBJ controversy aside, the movie “Selma” brims with examples of undeniable greatness. We Atlantans have special interest and pride, perhaps, with our singular connection to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Era.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis is portrayed in the film as the brave and smart young man he was. He led that infamous Bloody Sunday march depicted in the film and almost paid with his life. Lewis has long been a hero for me and countless others here in Atlanta, known in the ’60s as The City Too Busy to Hate.

My friend Will Alford shared the following account on Facebook this week.

Selma, MLK, Martin Luther King, John Lewis, Bloody Sunday, Oscar, LBJ, controversy

Will Alford

Saw Selma last night…. In my trips from Atlanta to DC, I often see John Lewis and other congressmen in the airport and/or on flights. (I always take note of which ones accept the inevitable/eventual upgrade to first class that frequent fliers get). The best encounter was one time en route back to Atlanta — just a random week. After most of the plane had boarded, Rep. Lewis was making his way down the aisle to his seat in the back, and every single row stood as he passed in respect for him. Nobody else gets that kind of reaction. He was humble, sweet, patient… and spoke to every single person who reached out to him (like all politicians do). He seemed like some kind of holy man that day where everyone just wanted a touch. History in the flesh. I couldn’t stop myself from obnoxiously turning to my seatmate and bragging, “He’s my congressman.”

I’ve had the pleasure a few times myself, and it is a powerfully humbling experience just to meet Lewis. Thanks, Will, for letting me share your story.


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