Atlanta

Between faith and facts, ‘Zealot’ author Reza Aslan zeroes in

What do you most ardently believe in, and what discoveries might change your mind? Reza Aslan’s strong clear voice at the intersection of belief and facts came to metro Atlanta last week, drawing more than 470 people to the First Baptist Church in Decatur.

The author of the bestseller “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” Aslan drew my attention after his July 2013 viral Fox News interview. You may have seen how the interviewer repeatedly questioned why Aslan, a Muslim who serves as a scholar of religions and professor of creative writing at the University of California Riverside, would write a book about Jesus. Continue reading

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With 18,000 films and corner storefront, Videodrome survives era of movie streaming

Year after year, Videodrome won Creative Loafing’s top rating as the best video store in Atlanta. Its deep stock of movie titles was matched by the staff’s deep appreciation for film history and genres. Then came online streaming and a recession that erased the competition—and the video store category from the Best of Atlanta competition. Now Videodrome is alone.

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Redbox have not killed this video store at the corner of North and Highland Avenues, which continues to rent its 18,000 DVD titles to customers who want an experience not offered by the grocery store movie box and the online streaming service.
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To journalists on front line, Atlanta chaplain offers lifeline

The beheading of James Foley troubled Dorie Griggs of Roswell on a level that most of us cannot relate to. For the last 12 years she has followed an unpaid calling as a chaplain to journalists, especially those in combat zones.

It would be hard to find anyone in metro Atlanta who understands and supports the news gatherers who rush to danger without the benefit of trauma training. And sometimes don’t come back.
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At 72, Chuck Wolf still developing a photo legacy

At 72, Chuck Wolf has reinvented himself from the owner of a national chain of camera stores to a single boutique storefront in Sandy Springs. Chuck Wolf’s Photo Bar points to how phones and social media make it easy to document our lives, but in the fast pace of digital life, how many of us take a longer view of what we want most to leave behind?

Wolf’s knack has always been to understand that photos aren’t about people and places and moments; they are about our identities and values. The Photo Bar serves those customers, some of whom want to curate and manipulate the selves they show to the world.
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Political silence not always golden

The two-month political campaign cone of silence finally broke Sunday.  Since the May 20th Georgia primary, I have not received a single flier, heard one obnoxious robocall or discovered any earnest campaign volunteers hanging on my doorbell.

But two days before the July 22nd Georgia primary runoff election a friend sent me an e-mail telling me how to vote. “Please know how important it is to vote in the runoff Tuesday,” wrote Margaret Hylton Jones. “I am often asked by many friends who I am supporting for public office because of my lifelong experience in Georgia politics. So I am reaching out to many friends to offer a couple of very important recommendations for critical offices.” So how effective is neighbor-to-neighbor voter outreach?
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As Atlanta watches World Cup, is soccer trending up?

Sunday’s World Cup final at the Brewhouse in Little Five Points felt like a bar gathering for a big SEC football game, only louder and more crowded.  Hundreds of soccer fans packed the tavern and its parking lot to watch Germany defeat Argentina 1-0. Thirty TV sets served a blend of German and Argentinian immigrants and other diehard fans.

The closing of this year’s World Cup raises the same questions that get asked every time the planet’s biggest sporting event grabs the attention of Americans, who have historically been resistant to embrace the sport. Has it gained a permanent foothold as a spectator sport the U.S.?
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X marks signs of an Atlanta murder remembered

Pass through Kirkwood and East Atlanta, and still you’ll see the simple symbol X everywhere. In spray paint graffiti on utility poles, on mass-produced placards in homeowners’ yards, in duct tape on a street sign near the spot where X’avier Arnold, 21, died the day after Christmas—these signs remain all over these east Atlanta neighborhoods.

Here, the X reminds the public that memorials don’t have to be made of stone or steel to endure. Sometimes the strength of collective resolve is enough: X stands for a community’s desire to end the kind of violence that claimed his life.
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Color Runs: The Peachtree Road Race’s millennial offspring

The Peachtree Road Race on July 4 is rooted in a time when running wasn’t popular. Out on the multicolored, millennial fringes of outdoor recreation for young adults, the clenched-teeth grind is passé.

By turning up the party, color runs have become a popular mixing zone for socializing, sweating, and social media. If anything was tailor made for the selfie and the “unique shareable experiences” craved by the millennial generation, it’s a color run.
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Atlanta arcade deviants unite to play the silver (pin)ball

As the world prepared to wage war against Adolf Hitler three-quarters of a century ago, the Atlanta City Council took aim at a homegrown evil. “These machines lead to gambling and stealing and killing and eventually to a rope around the neck for someone,” said then-Atlanta city councilman E.A. Minor.

Minor was, of course, talking about pinball. On June 19, 1939, the council voted to ban the machines that he believed “encourage a moral degeneration among our children.” Minor must be somersaulting under the grass.
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Atlanta men, man up for girls. Period.

Without men, you can’t spell menstruation. And that’s as far as most men want to read about this subject. But local men like Nathan Hilkert are manning up to encourage other men to pitch in for Days for Girls, a volunteer effort that targets a big barrier to educating girls in developing countries. When they have their periods, they miss school. Days for Girls prepares and delivers reusable feminine hygiene kits.

Men and boys play an incredibly important role in tackling the taboos around menstruation that isolate and weaken girls and help lead to sexual exploitation and violence.
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