“I judge myself not by what I have, but by I’m willing to give.
What you gave was pure humanity.”—Keith Urban on Idol

START-7

Florida governor Rick Scott is the chrome-domed, cocaine-eyed version of Donald J. Trump. Hear me out.

Scott has seriously shady dealings from his time in the healthcare sector, pleading the 5th on charges he was cooking the books at Columbia/HCA. Scott has treated choice and reproductive rights in Florida as if they belonged at a draconian Phyllis Schlafly jamboree. He forbids anyone in the state to even utter the words “climate change,” and has issued a blanket gag order. The Rickster also has the thinnest of skin—proven by his reaction to “Latte Liberal” Cara Jennings ripping him a new one when the two crossed paths at a Gainesville, Fla., Starbucks.

“You stripped women of access to healthcare. Shame on you!”

David Pakman of the David Pakman Show had a great reaction: “This is best public confrontation of a high-level politician of the year.” Yup. Rick Scott dashed out of Starbucks like a scared child who saw a monster under his bed.

But the plot thickens: Governor Scott was so traumatized, so humiliated by Jennings that he released an attack ad against her through a PAC called “Let’s Get to Work.” I will not embed that video but you can see it here; I’m making the journalistic decision not to post it because it’s a bunch of garbage—and it shows how fickle, vain and insecure he is by attacking a private citizen, even if she is an activist. All tactics akin to Trump.

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Coincidentally, Trump and Cueball are also besties. Trump and Scott were seated together at the Correspondents’ Dinner, and even though Trump was getting his ass handed to him at the time by multiple people—including the president—both sat stonefaced. Look at how creepily Scott looks back at Trump to watch his reactions.

Florida elected Scott twice, which is basically all you need to know about how bat-shit cray The Sunshine State is.

 

START-11

With American media bought and sold by politicians and billionaires, true journalism is in short supply. Which is why I watch Free Speech TV and BBC News almost exclusively (with a few exceptions). This week I caught what might be the report of the year from John Sudworth on China’s forgotten children.

I’ve been trolled on twitter numerous times, even told to “watch some foreign news” when in fact I do, every day. Despite her yammerings, I’ll keep doing me and she can keep bossing around people as “pricks.” FTR: Jesus wouldn’t be down with that type of language directed at strangers.

 

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When I read stuff that pisses me off, I mutter to myself and say, “thank god I can get on the Internet and bitch.”

Vogue’s deeply fascinating, intrepid headline reads, “Is Atlanta Becoming the South’s Cultural Capital?” Gosh, are Fried Green Tomatoes becoming a southern delicacy?

The magazine describes Atlanta as a fly-over city—occasionally locking people down only by way of the airport.

Though Atlanta is arguably the capital of the South, most people have only spent time in the hectic Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on a layover.

Grab a coffee, nibble a muffin, gear up. I’m about to school Anna Wintour’s fashion rag.

• Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, aka “The Fabulous Fox,” profitable dating back to 1975, routinely attracts 750,000 visitors each year. Comedians, full-digital movies, food TV stars and touring shows all play here and have for decades.

• The Alliance Theatre routinely debuts world premieres, including The Color Purple and most recently, Bull Durham—with music and lyric by Susan Werner, one of my fave live performers. Currently playing is “Born For This: The Bebe Winans Story,” a wonderful collection of gospel music and dancing. Acclaimed artistic director Susan Booth took over from Kenny Leon in 2000 and continued its dominance in incubating and launching world-class artistic endeavors.

• Atlanta’s live music scene is and has been on the forefront of showcasing world-class musicians, and even claiming some as its own. Shawn Mullins, John Mayer, Jennifer Paige,  Ciara, India.Arie, Matthew Kahler and many more got their start right here. (I used to sing impromptu duets with Jennifer Paige in Smyrna back in the day.)

• The High Museum and Woodruff Arts Center. Founded in 1905, the High features more than 14,000 works in its permanent collection. The site also welcomes more than 500,000 visitors each year, placing it 95th among world art museums.

• Last but not least: Atlanta Symphony Hall—flawed as it is with sound issues and acrimonious musician-owner labor relations—is home to the Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, under the direction of Robert Spano. Specifically, the ASO Chorus is a volunteer-only organization of 200 voices founded by Robert Shaw in 1970. The group has won multiple grammy awards, as has its orchestral counterpart.

That’s just scratching the surface, kids. The Beltline and numerous planned parks are going to amp things up here dramatically—and already have.

If Vogue’s post had been dated 4 April 1988, then the magazine and writer Chris Black might be onto something. For now, though, Vogue’s hed writers should do research and come for a visit before posting a ridiculous headline.

If anything, Atlanta is becoming a global artistic hub—not just for the south. Now that would be a daring headline.

For a more exhaustive look at the vibrant, alive, diverse and historic Atlanta arts scene—cultural capital of the south for decades—visit ArtsAtl.com.

 

START

Nostalgia was high last week as American Idol signed off. Perhaps the highlight of a frenetic, medley-laden evening was Kelly Clarkson’s pre-taped session where she did snippets of her hits to a boutique audience somewhere unknown. When you see the above clip, it puts her brilliance in focus. She’s a veritable Gal Hitmaker, one that we’d likely never come to know without Idol’s historic run.

The show itself has veered wildly in different directions with varying degrees of successfully anointing authentically good singers. Winners are rarely the whole story of a season, where runners-up and other finalists end up stealing the limelight. (See: Daughtry, JHud, Katherine McPhee, Clay Aiken, et. al.) In this 15th year, Trent Harmon took the final top prize, but it was La’Porsha Renae’s to lose from the outset. My favorite memory from this season was, hands down, La’Porsha’s rendition of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.”

Sadly, the season itself was a cleaved, curtly edited mini-doc compared to the grandly presented past years. That was an unfortunate choice given that this was the final season of its 15-year run and us loyal Idolheads needed a proper good-bye.

On that point, it may not be a farewell after all. Sassy teaser Ryan Seacrest signed off with “good-bye for now,” and that got tongues wagging about what could be coming next.

Controversy also erupted this week when La’Porsha remarked that she “doesn’t really agree with the LGBT lifestyle.” Given how ravenously enthused the gays are by her, I think  she’ll come around. After all, gay icon Jennifer Hudson initially said gays are “sinners,” but later on raised money for multiple LGBT charities. Turns out divas can be moved, much like we’re moved by their music.

Here’s to hoping that Idol comes back some day, because the formula clearly works. And however it comes back, showrunners need to focus on broadening the appeal past teeny boppers who don’t know the first thing about singing. Tween viewers *only care about a male singer’s blue eyes, and vote in that captivation.

The panel’s heartfelt judging, show format, and the rags-to-riches talent discovery will be greatly missed. Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban showed remarkable emotion and vulnerability as they guided the contestants this year. I take no solace in some of the follow-shows like The Voice and X Factor because they’re just simply not as good as the original.

 

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[ADVERTISEMENT] create and give back—click through for more

START

Pat McCrory tried this week to put the anti-gay toothpaste back in the tube, yet people are still lining up to stab him in the neck with a lead pencil (Also hip and happening in North Carolina: rainbow flag burning)… There’s a troubling intersection between a plastic frisbee made in China and fast food, according to a study by Milken Institute School of Public Health.

 

START-14

 

That’s it from me Cranker Darlings. We’ll see you right back here next Thursday at 2.

 


 

Will Pollock is a crabby New York City escapee living in Atlanta. He’s a freelance multimedia journalist and author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on TwitterFacebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.

Don’t forget to comment below. Cranky loves company.

 

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