Atlanta Fall Arts: 10 events you don’t want to miss

Highlights include hip-hop royalty, ‘The Shining’ opera and a globetrotting, 12-foot-tall puppet
Little Amal greets a child at the 2023 Luminato Festival Toronto. The giant-sized puppet will visit Atlanta as part of the art happening, "Amal Walks Across America," created by playwright and director Amir Nizar Zuabi.
(Courtesy of Taku Kumabe)

Credit: Taku Kumabe

Credit: Taku Kumabe

Little Amal greets a child at the 2023 Luminato Festival Toronto. The giant-sized puppet will visit Atlanta as part of the art happening, "Amal Walks Across America," created by playwright and director Amir Nizar Zuabi. (Courtesy of Taku Kumabe)

There’s a new season ahead, ripe with happenings to thrill, fascinate and move the soul. They will take you inside and outdoors, they will spark quiet contemplation, they will make you shake it down. Here’s a list of 10 good ones, with many dozens waiting in the wings.

Billie Eilish returns to Music Midtown. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images for Live Nation/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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Credit: TNS

Music Midtown

The time-honored Atlanta music experience is back in its original three-day format, featuring singer-songwriter Leah Kate on Friday night, followed by evening sets from Pitbull, bass mastermind Flume and headliner Pink. Staged in Piedmont Park, the festival includes headliners Billie Eilish and The 1975 on Saturday and Lil Baby and Guns N’ Roses on Sunday.

Sept. 15-17. Piedmont Park, Atlanta. musicmidtown.com

“The Shining”

This co-production between the Alliance Theatre and the Atlanta Opera presents Stephen King’s twisted, horrific tale of the Overlook Hotel and its new caretaker Jack Torrance, who is stranded for the winter with his young wife and son, in an unexpected way. The opera from composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell is based more upon King’s novel than the Stanley Kubrick film, according to Atlanta Opera communications director Michelle Winters, but it promises the same dark terrors as Jack devolves into madness.

Sept. 15-Oct. 1. Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4600. alliancetheatre.org

"The March From Selma," a photo from 1965, is part of "A Long Arc: Photography and the American South Since 1850," a wide-ranging exhibition at the High Museum of Art. Photo: Matt Herron

Credit: Peter Harholdt

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Credit: Peter Harholdt

“A Long Arc” at the High

About a third of the High Museum of Art’s collection of 9,000 photographs is concerned with the South, and that cache of images keeps growing. In 1996 the High began commissioning significant photographers to make new work about the region, its people and its bewildering place in U.S. history. Many of those images will be part of a new show, “A Long Arc: Photography and the American South since 1845.” In 183 images the show interrogates what “the South” is. The show also looks at why so many landmarks in the history of photography — from the Civil War battlefield images of Matthew Brady and the stark documents of Southern poverty during the Great Depression by Dorothea Lange to the nationwide alarm bells rang by the civil rights images of Bob Adelman — were established down here. “All of these are watershed moments in the history of photography,” said Gregory J. Harris, the High’s curator of photography. Photographers like Lange were developing the “aesthetics” of documentary photography, said Harris, along with “a way to use photographs to advocate for social change.”

Sept. 15-Jan. 14. High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-4400. thehigh.org

Out on Film

The South’s premier LGBTQ film festival, Out on Film hasn’t announced this year’s full lineup yet, but festival director Jim Farmer is very excited about the opening night film, “Our Son.” Reviewers are calling the movie a gay “Kramer Vs. Kramer.” Farmer said it sums up a world of issues facing queer people in the U.S.: “Marriage equality? What happens when you have a kid? What happens when you get a divorce?” All are wrapped up in this drama featuring Luke Evans and Billy Porter. The festival, now in its 36th year, will include about 150 features, documentaries and short films, plus screenplay contests. Among those films is “The Dancer,” a documentary created by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the tragic life of Gerard Alexander.

Sept. 21-Oct. 1. Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive NE, Atlanta. 678-944-8158. outonfilm.org

The Atlanta Foodn and Wine Festival, will bring regional specialties and more than 150 food professionals to a five-day extravangaza of tasting and sipping. Photo: Atlanta Food and Wine Festival

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Atlanta Food and Wine Festival

Since 2011 Atlantans have gathered for a festival that shows off the best of Southern food, wine and craft drinks. This year’s five-day festival at various locations in the city will draw 150 chefs, sommeliers and mixologists from around the region, preparing special dinners and staffing tasting tents for small bites of local delicacies. Among the gourmet meals on Sept. 20 is “Mexico City meets the Market” at which chef Santiago Gomez of Palo Santo and chef Parnass Savang of Talat Market prepare a cross-cultural feast. Also on that evening is “Spanglish,” at which chef Jose Pena of Iberian Pig and chef Liron Eisenberg of Dream Hotel Nashville Stateside Kitchen unite the attractions of Spanish cuisine and Nashville charm. The festival also offers its signature tasting tents at Fourth Ward Park through the weekend.

Sept. 20-24. Various locations. Meals $125-$275. Tasting tents $125 a day, $165 VIP, $300 weekend pass, $400 VIP weekend pass. Attendees must be 21 or older. Entrance to Fourth Ward Park is at 665 North Ave. NE, across from the Ponce City Market. atlfoodandwinefestival.com

A crowd in Lublin, Poland walks with Little Amal on her journey through some 97 towns and cities in 15 countries.
(Courtesy of The Walk Productions)

Credit: handout

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Credit: handout

“Amal Walks Across America”

Little Amal is a 12-foot-tall puppet representing an unaccompanied Syrian child wandering the world in search of family and friends. During the past two years, she has traveled across Europe and into Toronto and New York City, joining local artists and communities to challenge public perceptions of refugees and highlight the cultural riches they bring. Created by Amir Nizar Zuabi, a playwright and director of Jewish and Palestinian descent, Little Amal will pass through Atlanta this fall as part of a 35-city U.S. tour. About 17 local arts and community organizations — including glo ATL, the Center for Puppetry Arts and Atlanta Chinese Dance Company — have partnered to host a series of free theatrical events to welcome Amal and celebrate her as a global symbol of human rights.

Sunday, Oct. 8: 3 p.m. at the Piazza at the Woodruff Arts Center, 6:30 p.m. at the BeltLine bridge by Ponce City Market. Tuesday, Oct. 10: 5 p.m. Decatur Square MARTA station. walkwithamal.org

Singer Janet Jackson will perform at One Musicfest. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP, File)

Credit: Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

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Credit: Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

One Musicfest

Sure, the headliners of the three-stage music festival are hella impressive: Janet Jackson, Kendrick Lamar, Megan Thee Stallion and Brent Faiyaz. But the real star of the festival is the unbelievable assemblage of musical activists and pioneers gathering to celebrate 50 years of hip-hop. Killer Mike, Nelly, KRS-One, Eightball and MJG, Waka Flocka, Goodie Mob and Big Daddy Kane are among the many notables scheduled to perform. A must-see event for any fan of music, history, culture and just plain gettin’ down — in one of the major cradle scenes that made it all happen.

Oct. 28-29. Piedmont Park, 1342 Worchester Drive NE, Atlanta. 1-888-512-7469. onemusicfest.com

Former U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger will speak at the Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center this fall to introduce his new memoir, “Renegade: Defending Democracy and Liberty in our Divided Country." Kinzinger was one of two Republican members of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. Photo: courtesy MJCCA

Credit: FLASHBOX CREATIVES

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Credit: FLASHBOX CREATIVES

The Book Festival of the MJCCA

The annual book festival sponsored by the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta will bring about three dozen authors, celebrities and celebrity authors to Atlanta over the course of three weeks, with appearances by Democratic politician Stacey Abrams (with a new novel, “Rogue Justice”), actors John Stamos and Henry Winkler (each with a new memoir) and actress Millie Bobby Brown (with a novel about World War II). The star of the show may be former U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republican members of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, who will discuss his new book, “Renegade: Defending Democracy and Liberty in Our Divided Country,” in conversation with AJC political reporter Greg Bluestein.

Oct. 28-Nov. 19. Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. 678-812-4000. atlantajcc.org

Cirque du Soleil's newest creation, "Echo," will come to Atlanta Nov. 5-Jan. 21. Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Credit: Cirque du Soleil

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Credit: Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil’s Echo

Echo, a new show from the innovative Canadian performance juggernaut, arrives at Atlantic Station’s big top Nov. 5. The story, by writer and director Mukhtar Omar Sharif Mukhtar, features a youthful protagonist, Future, and her faithful wolf-dog, encountering an enigmatic Cube. The show includes a Ukranian slackwire artist, Ethiopian acrobats and two women who execute feats of aerial grace while suspended by their hair.

Nov. 5-Jan. 21. Atlantic Station, 1380 Atlantic Drive, NW, Atlanta. 877-924-7783. cirquedusoleil.com/echo

Anthony Parnther joins former student Andrew Brady and the ASO this November. 
(Courtesy of Konstantin Golovchinsky)

Credit: Konstantin Golovchinsky

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Credit: Konstantin Golovchinsky

Andrew Brady with the ASO

Tennessee native Andrew Brady spent six years as principal bassoonist at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra before taking a new challenge as principal bassoonist of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Way before he made it to Atlanta, he took lessons from bassoonist Anthony Parnther, performing next to him in the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra. Parnther, who is now a first-call session musician and conductor in Los Angeles, conducts his former student and the ASO in an array of music, capped off by Brady’s feature in the John Williams-penned bassoon concerto, “The Five Sacred Trees.” Florence Price’s third symphony and a new work by Chanda Dancy are also on the program. (If you can’t wait that long to see Parnther with the ASO, he’ll be in town Sept. 15 to lead the orchestra in “Black Panther: Live in Concert.”)

Nov. 30 and Dec. 2. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-5000. www.aso.org.

— Benjamin Carr, Cynthia Perry, Jon Ross, Lee Valentine Smith contributed to this article.

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