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Reporter’s Notebook: Avondale’s Blast Beats & Brews, lifelong learning at the High, 200 YMCA summer positions

The week in news.

Looking for plans this weekend? Kick off the final days of May with the Atlanta Jazz Festival at Piedmont Park. Festivities will go from Saturday to Monday with performances from 15 jazz musicians, which are all free to the public. 

On to other local news:

Black Candle, an Atlanta heavy metal band.

New metal and craft beer festival to be annual event

Metro Atlanta’s thriving heavy metal and craft brewing scenes got a spotlight in the May 21 Blast Beats & Brews festival in Avondale Estates, a combo of headbanging and beer-tasting that was so successful it will become an annual event.

The street festival was created by Emily Harris, a pro photographer well known in the metro underground for shooting concerts and creating the 2015 documentary film “Atlanta Metal.” The Beer Growler Avondale Estates served as host, and the pop-up company Bizarre Bazaar provided arts vendors heavy on metal motifs — including a blacksmith pounding steel on beat within hearing range of the stage.

“The sound was great, the food and beers were great, and the art was very relevant to a metal fest,” Harris said in an email. “And the bands I personally curated for this event, and they all crushed it!”

Local band Scorched Moon.

That diverse lineup, ranging from growling death metal to anthemic biker rock, included: Paladin, The Valkyrie, Inviolate, Black Candle, Scorched Moon and Tombstone.

Metal and beer have gone fist-in-glove from the start, but in the subculture’s blue-collar beginnings, that typically meant slamming Bud and Heineken. Times have changed with the rise of craft breweries — several of which in these parts are run by metalheads. The festival had an array of local and regional breweries offering special brews with such names as “The Reaper.” They included Ale Yeah, Cherry Street, Fire Maker, Jekyll, Little Cottage, Lost Druid, Orpheus, Piedmont, Second Self and Twain’s. The ticket price included three free beers from any of those.

With heads banged and cups emptied for 2022, Harris said: “We plan on making it an annual event.”

John Ruch

High Museum’s lifelong learning program offers free admission, experiences for older visitors

This summer, the High Museum of Art will kick off a new program designed for visitors 50 years old and up aiming to help lifelong learners explore their creativity, find new social connections and continue learning and growing. 

The program will launch on Wednesday, June 1. Visitors will enjoy free admission and can check out a sampling of programs that will be offered throughout the year. 

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors can join a tour of the Lichtenstein House, learn about painting and paper art and check out performances by Franklin Pond Chamber Music and Starr’s Mill High School youth string quartet, Quartet le Petit. 

The team has six programs lined up for the summer, including a multi-week studio textile design course, an art walking tour and a painting workshop.

If you’re interested in giving the program a try, click here to reserve your spot for the June 1 celebration. You can also visit the Museum’s Lifelong Learning page to check out the programs for the summer. Events are free for members.

— Hannah E. Jones and Allison Joyner

YMCA of Metro Atlanta is looking to fill more than 200 part time summer positions. (Photo courtesy of YMCA of Metro Atlanta.)

Summer jobs galore at YMCA Metro Atlanta

The YMCA of Metro Atlanta is looking to hire over 200 folks to fill summer roles to oversee its camps and swimming pools across 19 YMCA locations.

Jobs are available to those 15 years old or older, ranging from camp counselors, campsite directors, bus drivers, lifeguards, junior lifeguards and swim instructors. 

New employees who work in these roles for at least 160 hours from June 5 to July 31 will receive a $300 bonus.

 “The Y is dedicated to helping individuals reach their professional goals through comprehensive leadership development,” President and CEO Lauren Koontz said in a press release. “We offer meaningful work in a fun, supportive environment and look forward to more community members joining our team this summer.”

Click here to check out the job opportunities.

— Hannah E. Jones

Julia Boyd

Atlanta Press Club names executive director

The Atlanta Press Club (APC) has named a new executive director.

Julia Boyd, who starts the position on June 6, previously served as director of certification for the Atlanta-based Professional Photographers of America.

“The Atlanta Press Club’s legacy of elevating awareness of the importance of a free press can’t be understated,” Boyd said in a press release. “I’m honored to continue forwarding the club’s mission of upholding the highest standards in journalism and fostering an inclusive community for all those in the media. As a passionate advocate for free press and education, I couldn’t be more excited about this new chapter in my career.”

Founded in 1964, the APC holds political debates and “Newsmaker Luncheons,” distributes journalism awards and provides career opportunities for young journalists. Its membership includes journalists, public relations professionals, nonprofit executives and others.

John Ruch

City of Refuge recognizes first cohort of cybersecurity grads

On May 25, the City of Refuge celebrated its first cohort of graduates from the cybersecurity program at the Tech Transformation Academy (T2 Academy), in partnership with Carolina Cyber Center. The local nonprofit launched the program at its Westside campus last fall after receiving a $5.4 million grant from the Department of Labor.

The graduates and guests gathered at the City of Refuge Innovation Center to celebrate, hearing from CEO Bruce Deel and Richard Cox of Cox Enterprises. 

City of Refuge, established in 1997, has helped 20,000 people through programs focused on housing, youth development, health and career development. Through the T2 Academy, City of Refuge guides training in information technology and cybersecurity, aiming to train 280 people over the next four years. 

— Hannah E. Jones

Buckhead Business Association regroups with new board

After several months with no public programs, the Buckhead Business Association (BBA) has emerged with a new board and an “expanded partnership” with the nonprofit Livable Buckhead.

New BBA President Rizwan Peera said in an email to members that the changes follow internal meetings on “the restructuring and future” of the organization. 

“We are preparing a schedule of programs, socials and volunteer opportunities in an expanded partnership with Livable Buckhead,” Peera said, referring to the nonprofit that focuses on environmental sustainability and alternative commuting. 

Other officers include Rick Hamilton as secretary and Kevin Center as treasurer. At-large board members include Julie Bailey, Trenton Carson, David Coxon, Chris Godfrey, Marcia Jaffe, Sherry Martin and Jason Reeves. Ex-officio members are Livable Buckhead Executive Director Denise Starling and Buckhead Coalition officials Jim Durrett and Garth Peters. 

The BBA, the Buckhead Coalition, Livable Buckhead and the Buckhead Community Improvement District have long worked closely together — even sharing offices — and since 2020 have talked of closer collaboration.

John Ruch

Candler Park Music Festival: On Friday, June 3 and Saturday, June 4, head over to 1500 McLendon Ave for a weekend of music and fun at the 14th annual Candler Park Music Festival. Both days will be filled with performances by singer-songwriters, indie and rock musicians. Folks can also check out the food trucks, artist market and local vendors. Click here to get tickets.

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Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is an Atlanta native who recently graduated from Georgia State University, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for two newspapers. Hannah managed the Arts and Living section of The Signal, Georgia State’s independent award-winning newspaper. She has a passion for environmental issues, urban life and telling a good story. Hannah is excited about the opportunity to serve the City of Atlanta and its people. Hannah can be reached at hannah@saportareport.com.

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