The time has finally arrived! After four years of blood, sweat, tears, and sleepless nights, Uncommon Law is complete and ready for its world premiere! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be able to make this announcement at long last.
Uncommon Law is my first feature film, which I wrote, directed, produced, & edited. It tells the story of Brendan Walker (Mick Taylor) and Melissa Clark (Christie Vozniak), two best friends and longtime roommates who, after years of bailing each other out of bad dates by pretending to be married, receive a notice from the government that they’re now common law married.
The premiere will take place at the North Atlanta Trade Center in Norcross on Saturday, November 21st at 8pm. Doors will open at 7pm, so come early to mingle and walk the red carpet! The screening will be followed by a Q&A with cast & crew.
Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Advance tickets can be picked up at will call starting at 7pm on the night of the show. Concessions and full bar will be available (cash only for concessions/bar).
When I got my season subscription to the Alliance this year and was picking which shows I wanted to see, I skimmed right past Bring It On: The Musical. It’s just that a musical based on a cheerleading movie didn’t really sell me. It’s not because I’m a stuffy theatre-goer or anything; I mean come on, I’ve filmed shorts with lawn gnomes & guys practically having sex with hats. It just didn’t catch my interest. But in the last few weeks, a few of my friends have been raving about it, and when Christen said she was interested in seeing it, I figured what the hey.
Turns out, this musical based on a cheerleading movie was pretty damned awesome.
The show’s run at the Alliance is its world premiere, so I’m told there have been some tweaks and such over the weeks. The book and the music are both incredibly solid. It’s really funny, the characters get some nice development, and the songs are really catchy. My only complaint with the script itself is its use of numerous cheap jokes (YouTube, Craigslist, iPhone, etc) that won’t still play ten years from now, and will only serve to date the show. I think the real basis for that complaint lies in the fact that the script didn’t NEED cheap jokes tossed in to make it funny. It’s hilarious without them, and the best moments are the ones that come more naturally.
The cast is fantastic. Amanda Lea LaVergne is perfect in the lead as Campbell; the girl’s a serious triple threat, and has the sort of personality that leaps right off the stage. Hell, all of the primary characters are great. Of particular note, Ryann Redmond, Gregory Haney, Jon Rua, Adrienne Warren, and Kelly Felthaus shined like crazy. On the cheering side of things, Lauren Whitt was a total badass and must have balls the size of grapefruits to do some of the spots she did.
Technically, the show was awesome. They had four giant LCD screens that could be lowered and moved around the stage, providing scenery, windows, video chats, ambiance, or whatever else they needed. The set was minimal, but they made great use of what they had (namely the lockers that could be repositioned for various purposes.) The lighting design by Jason Lyons was REALLY cool and spot on, adding a hell of a lot to the whole production.
Didn’t expect to be saying this, but I’ll be damned. Bring It On: The Musical brought it.
This Friday I open “Christmas Belles” at the Rosewater Theatre in Roswell, GA. It’s a fun show about all hell breaking loose at a church in Texas on Christmas Eve. I play Justin Waverly, the interim pastor who’s trying desperately to propose to one of the daughters. I’m really enjoying the role. It’s interesting because it’s a character role, which is what I usually play, but it’s also the ingenue, which is new to me. It’s fun playing a character who talks in a strange voice and also gets a full on makeout scene.
The show runs Thursdays through Sundays from November 26-December 18. If you’re in the Atlanta area, come check it out!
Lately I’ve been trying to find new local restaurants in Atlanta to try. After eating at chain restaurants so much, I’ve kinda gotten sick of places where the food is the same regardless of where you are in the country. Also, my favorite show on the Food Network is “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” and watching that show always makes me hungry for good, original food. For Christmas, my mom got me a DDD book, and there were two restaurants in there in the Atlanta area. I called up my good friend Christen, and we went and checked them out.
Matthews Cafeteria – Tucker, GA
The first place we tried was Matthews Cafeteria. I was excited when I saw that one of the places in the book was in Tucker, because that’s only about ten minutes from where I live. It was interesting, because driving past it it’s one of those places I never would have stopped. It has a small, nondescript entrance in the middle of old town Tucker, and even the inside was very plain: white walls, small tables with simple checkered cloths, and simple rod iron chairs (interestingly enough, they DID offer wifi.) That said, from the way the other people in line were chatting with the workers, I got the impression that the majority of their clientele are regulars.
As the name would imply, the service inside was setup cafeteria style, where you just go down a line and pick up whatever you want to eat. There wasn’t a huge selection of different foods, just a handful of entrees, sides, & desserts, but when I asked about one of the items mentioned in the book (their brunswick stew), they said it was only available on Wednesdays, leading me to assume that they have a different assortment of foods available each day. The food we did have was quite good. The chicken was cooked perfectly (I love it when it’s moist and just falls right off the bone), the scalloped potatoes were great, and the sweet tea was just what you’d expect from a country restaurant. I’ll definitely be going back there soon.
The Highlander – Atlanta, GA
The Highlander piqued my interest as soon as I saw it in the book for one reason: Homemade mozzarella sticks. Most places you go will just have frozen mozzarella sticks, but this place uses fresh mozzarella, wraps it in pasta, coats it, and then fries it. And holy crap, they are awesome. I’ve been there twice now, and ordered them both times. They seem to do sides really well, because I’ve also tried their jalapeno corn fritters, and they rock. They’re like really moist hush puppies with jalapenos. That is to say, delicious.
The first time I went I ordered the lobster ravioli, and it was killer (plus it’s just kinda cool to be able to order lobster ravioli at a bar.) It was a daily special, though, so I have no idea how often they serve it. The second time I went I ordered the bratwurst melt, but it wasn’t as good as I was expecting. Bratwurst is one of those tricky things, because depending on where it’s from it comes in one of three varieties: Awesome, Flavorless, and Breakfast Sausage (I’m sure there are actual names for different varieties of bratwurst, but frankly I’m not that knowledgeable.) Unfortunately, this one fell into the breakfast sausage category. But considering there’s still about a dozen things on the menu that look good, I’m not going to let one bad sandwich keep me away.
This is the kind of place I wouldn’t mind going to on a regular basis. It’s a bar in Midtown that has amazing food and is open until 3am, which means it’d be a great place to grab a bite after a concert or a night out in Atlanta.
Everyone who knows me who has ever heard me talk about music knows that I’m a huge Butch Walker fan. He is by far my favorite artist, and has been for over a decade now. There’s something about his music and lyrics that really moves me, and is easy for me to relate to. Regardless of the mood I’m in or what I’m feeling at a particular time, he has a song for that (hmm, I think there’s an iPhone add in there…) And not only does he have a song for whatever it is, he has the RIGHT song for it. So anytime I get the chance to see him play live, I jump at it. I’ve jumped almost 20 times now.
Is it really any surprise that this site is named after one of his songs? (note: this was written when the blog was hosted on my IntoTheBlack.com domain)
This was Butch’s final stop on a four city minitour (like a minotaur, but with roadies) that took him from LA, to NY, to Chicago, and finally ATL. He’s had a four show residency in each city, where he takes a night each for his last three albums (Letters, The Rise & Fall of Butch Walker and the Let’s Go Out Tonites, and Sycamore Meadows,) and then one more show that’s a grab bag of songs from throughout his career that was voted on by his fans over Twitter. When I ordered tickets, I had originally intended to buy them for the Letters show, as the grab bag show was sold out & Letters is my favorite album. However, due to a mistake on the Ticketmaster site, the shows had been mislabeled, and I had actually purchased tickets for the grab bag show. In any case, it’s certainly nothing I’d complain about.
My friend Krissy went with me to the concert, and it was her first experience with Butch Walker. She’d probably heard some of his music before just from being around me, but she hadn’t heard any of his albums, let alone seen him live. And seriously, if you want to introduce someone to Butch’s music, the absolute best way is by taking them to one of his shows. The man’s not just a songwriter; he’s a storyteller.
The opening act was Jarrod Gorbel, who I’d heard play before with his former band The Honorary Title at one of Butch’s shows a couple years ago. He played an acoustic set that was really good, and the guy had a great personality and sense of humor (also, he looks like a cross between Jared Leto & Toby Maguire.) I scrounged together the last of the cash I had on me to buy his EP on the way out.
Of course when Butch came out, the place went crazy. Or at least as crazy as a small intimate venue could; he commented that he liked actually being able to see the audience (incidentally, we were able to get seats in the fifth row, which rocked.) Before he started, Butch mentioned how weird it was to be playing some of these songs, as some he hadn’t played in years, some he didn’t think he’d ever played live, and some he never wanted to play again (he’s looking at you, “Vampires in Love.”) But hey, we’d sealed our doom by voting for them, so he was going to play them (cheat sheets and all.)
It was great hearing some of the old favorites I hadn’t heard live in a while (“Let Me Go” and “Every Monday,”) as well as a bluegrassy version of “Valium.” For “Grant Park,” he kicked back and just played the guitar part and let us sing the song back to him, which is always fun; I don’t think I’ve actually heard him sing “Grant Park” in the last six years, even though I know he’s played it several times. He played a number of covers, from the familiar (James’ “Laid” has been a staple for a few years now) to the new (Simon & Garfunkle’s “Cecilia”, which Butch played on a mandolin, and excited my friend because it was the only song she knew all the lyrics to.) Butch also played a couple of tracks off his new album (which can’t get here soon enough), and then ended the evening with an unplugged version of “Take Tomorrow”, a beautiful song in its own right, but so much better when played with just a guitar and a voice, without the aid of amps or mics.
It was an awesome show, as expected. There were a few songs I would have liked to have heard (“Cigarette Lighter Love Song” is my favorite song of all time, and I also would have liked to have heard “Into the Black,” “Stateline,” or “Katrina,”) but I really can’t complain because the show still rocked my socks off (and when it’s twenty degrees outside, that can be a problem.) Below is the full setlist from the show, and all my photos can be found on my Flickr.
Butch Walker Setlist, 7 Stages Theatre, Atlanta, GA – January 13, 2010