Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It’s A Birthday Party and You Are Invited to the Celebration

Two weeks ago, a dear friend of mine, Bill Balzer, sent me and my husband an invitation to the 35th birthday party celebration of Theatrical Outfit—one of the three oldest theater groups in Atlanta.

I stared at the invitation like a deer caught in headlights.  I had not been to the theater in almost two years. Was it the economy, the aversion to fighting traffic downtown, too much work, or all three and some more? I slumped. Years back I was a theater nut. In 2004, under the penname L.V.Rosh, I even wrote an article for the now defunct Artlanta Magazine, titled "A Dream Develops Downtown," based on an interview I took with the Balzers. This is how I met Peg and Bill in the first place.
They are the tiny figures in this picture, as Bill put it: “Peg and me in front of the theater from afar”. In 2004, their generous donation of 1.5 million dollars and resilient, around-the-clock legwork, gave Theatrical Outfit its own home--The Balzer Theater at Herren’s, at 88 Lucky Street in Atlanta, Georgia.  With sponsors like the Balzers, who wouldn’t want to park their dream on Lucky Street?

In my mind, I picked up the phone,
“Hi Bill, thank you for bursting my day-to-day, humdrum, deflated grey bubble.”
In reality, I shot him an email,
“Would you mind if I blogged about the birthday party?”
He didn’t.

We met a few days later at a Starbucks coffee shop in Roswell and had a long conversation about kids, spouses and of course the theater. Bill was up to speed in that last department, but I had a lot of catching up to do and was itching to make up for time lost; I even volunteered to help with the liaison between the theater and schools throughout Atlanta.

That night I bought tickets to The Adventures of High John the Conqueror, My name is Asher Lev and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a production of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theater Company staring Tom Key, the artistic director of Theatrical Outfit which premiered last Friday at the Rialto Center for the Arts. And, of course, I bought Theatrical Outfit a gift— 2 tickets to their 35th birthday party, and a rim of standard white paper, an item I picked from their website wish list.

As always, to feed our hungry website,, my camera will be memorizing the grandeur and flair of the old Macy’s Building in downtown Atlanta, at 200 Peachtree Street, where the birthday bash will take place on August 4. 

If you haven’t been there yet, get ready to be blown away.

The Balzers will be displaying pieces of their private art collection: 

Red Photography Faces by Amalia Amaki, an artist and educator who received her BA in photography and painting from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and her MA and PhD from Emory University. Says Amaki: “My work capitalizes on a long time interest in film and advertising and its impact on self-perception and notions about others”.

The Market, by Geoffrey Johnson, born in 1965 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Geoffrey Johnson is a contemporary impressionist who, in his own words, allows his paintings to “almost dance on the water of abstraction or of just being.” 

Frog Playing Guitar, by Beau Smith, a “Renaissance” artist—sculptor, writer, singer/songwriter, and painter with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design where he studied film animation and illustration. He has exhibited his sculptures at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and in many galleries across the country as well as abroad.

These are just a few of what will be on exhibit.

Theatrical Outfit actors will be mingling with guests, so you can wish them a Happy Birthday in person and toast to their achievements.

I hope to see you there. If you are serious about your intellectual and artistic sanity, go to, and purchase your $25 birthday gift to Theatrical Outfit. Who knows, you may show up in my next blog rubbing shoulders with a celebrity.
And if like Peg and Bill, you would rather walk to the old Macy’s than sweat the traffic in your business casual apparel, here are the three most and three least expensive condos up for grabs within a mile of 200 Peachtree Street (click image for details).

Ask me questions—I have answers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

You Can Have Your Three-Course Lunch and Eat It Too

I was talking to Lisa, a book club buddy of mine, about landmark places in Roswell and she said:
“Anna Lee’s.”
“Hm. What is it?”
“A restaurant; you don’t mean to say you haven’t heard of Anna Lee’s?”
“Well, with all due respect, I am ignorant of Anna Lee’s,” I fessed up mumbling. “But you know I am always open to learning.”
So, being constantly on the hunt for informative pictures for our website,, I threw the camera over my shoulder a few mornings later and headed up to Anna Lee’s.
It turns out, one either knows Anna Lee’s Restaurant in Roswell, Georgia, or like me raises the eyebrows in question:
“Anna Lee’s? Where is it?”
It is off the beaten path, at 425 Market Place, an intersection of Grimes Bridge Rd. It’s been there since 1982 and, if you were an insider, you would know that the name of the restaurant is a phonetic offspring of Annelies, the name of the owner.  

Anna Lee’s  is open for lunch weekdays from 11:30 to 2:00. Your best bet to get a table is 11:30, even though the early birds perch in waiting about 11:00. At 11:30, you still have a chance; after 12:00, you begin to understand why the regular customers guard it as a secret. The place is packed, and don’t hope that the service personnel will rush a sitting customer to make room for you. Be there on time the following day.

The daily special menu is wholesomely delicious.

Annelies is originally from The Netherlands and it shows.  The portions are of European size; so you can have your three course lunch, eat it, and still leave happy and unstuffed – just as the French preach, when you are done eating your meal, you should always feel a bit hungry.  I almost forgot an important piece of information—no credit cards, please;  the bill is so affordable that you should be able to fish some of that good old cash in your purse or pockets to cover it.
Before you go, don’t forget to leave your email address in the book by the register;  Anneleis will email you the date and topic for the next cooking class — sorry, no classes during the summer-- or the date for the next themed wine, dinner and music event.  It fills up quickly.

Loyal customers drive to Anna Lee’s from all over the place, but if you want to make sure, traffic won’t prevent you from being there on time here are pictures of the three most and three least expensive residential properties currently on the market within a mile of Anna Lee’s.

Ask me questions—I have the answers.