5 Questions with The Phantom of the Opera’s Christine, Julia Udine

Julia UdineThe Phantom of the Opera has enchanted audiences with stage performances for nearly 30 years. The touring production of the beloved musical has recently undergone scene and choreography changes, an update if you will,  that have been well-received by audiences in the United States and abroad. Today we talked to the actress who plays Christine Daaé in the production now playing at The Fox Theatre, Julia Udine.

1.)  What show/movie/actor/actress inspired you to get into acting?

I actually remember seeing Les Miserables when I was little and Lea Salonga voice and her acting heavily inspired me.

2.)  What is your favorite part about the new staging of The Phantom of the Opera?

The fact that we are able to bring truth and reality into a heightened story. [There's] gorgeous music, lush melodies and at the center is a really important story. It’s been fun to find the truth and struggles, challenges and emotions. This staging has more similarities [to the familiar version] than differences.

3.)  The part of Christine is vocally very demanding. Are there any products you can’t live without?

Of course hot tea! Linda Balgord who plays Madame Giry hooked me on loquat- it’s kind of like Chinese honey, and it’s so soothing. I also like Chai Tea Lattes from Starbucks. And, I try to get a lot of rest and hydration.

4.)  Traveling is one of the lowlights/highlights of an “on tour” production. Is there any location you’ve been to that you’ve checked something off your bucket list?

I grew up 20 minutes from Philadelphia so performing at the Academy of Music was like a dream come true. I also really liked visiting Chicago and Dallas even though it was so hot in Texas. Boston was fun too. I hear the aquarium is something to visit in Atlanta. I’m looking forward to New Orleans at the end of the month.

5.)  If you could play any role on Broadway past or present, what would it be?

Maria in West Side Story- she’s such a strong female soprano lead.

Catch Julia as Christine through November 2 at The Fox Theatre. Tickets are still available for some performances and can be reserved by visiting foxtheatre.org.

Lead Chef for Let’s Move Campaign Set to Open Asante Restaurant and Lounge in Atlanta

Asante Restaurant and LoungeChef Marvin Woods has been nominated for an Emmy as the host of Home Plate, he’s the author of best-selling cookbooks Home Plate Cooking and The New Low Country Road, and he’s the lead chef for First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. Now, he’s bringing his signature style that blends the worldly ingredients and techniques of South America, the Caribbean, the Low Country and Southern United States and Africa to Atlanta with the opening of Asante Restaurant and Lounge.

Located at 250 Park Ave W NW in Downtown Atlanta, the space, formerly occupied by Downtown’s iconic Peasant Bistro, includes two floors, with a second-floor main dining room as well as a private dining room that can seat up to 60. The expansive second-floor outdoor patio can host 80 and the ground level will feature a lounge area and a 10-seat bar with handcrafted cocktails that complement the cuisine. These versatile areas are perfectly suited for parties and receptions of any size.

Chef Woods’ menu aims to be creative and adventurous, yet healthy and satisfying. The dinner menu features appetizers ($7-$16) such as Gulf Coast Shrimp n Grits and Circuit Hash, Chicharrones de Pollo (Latin fried Chicken), Chef’s signature hushpuppies and Cashew Cheese with Aeroponic-grown Arugula Salad that he is growing on his patio. The coastal specialties ($9-$26) include international flavors in both small and large plates like crispy Bahamian conch fritters, Piri Piri Nigerian king prawns and roasted wild boar. Entrees ($17-$26) feature everything from chicken sausage-stuffed wild boar with chop corn pudding to Creole-braised kingfish with Carolina Gold speckled rice.      Continue reading

MedZed Brings Doctors to Your Home

MedZedSniffles and aches are bad enough when it’s you. When it’s your kids, it’s even worse. Why compound it with the hassle of trying to wrangle your kids in the car, occupy them with a stay in the waiting room where they’ll inevitably pick up more germs, then try to keep them still as they squirm in the uncomfortable doctor’s office setting? Now, there’s no reason to.

MedZed, an Atlanta-based at-home pediatric care service, is providing more healthcare options and significantly more convenience for families facing non-emergency healthcare situations.

MedZed’s team of highly-trained pediatric nurses and pediatricians operate after normal office hours, seven days a week, in the comfort of a patient’s home. With MedZed, parents and children now have the option to forego crowded emergency rooms, minute clinics and doctors’ offices for the ease and comfort of an at-home visit still assured to end with a diagnosis and a lollipop.      Continue reading

15 Things to do Around Atlanta This Weekend (October 25 & 26)


  1. Taste of Atlanta –  The legendary three-day food festival returns to Midtown at Tech Square Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This year’s event takes festival-goers on a culinary adventure through the city’s many diverse neighborhoods by featuring the chefs and restaurants that give these communities their true personality and flavor. Food lovers of all ages are invited to join Taste of Atlanta this October in celebrating the dynamic energy and variety of the local restaurant scene while savoring what makes the city the food capital of the South!
  2. The Krog Masquerade – Atlantans are invited to slip into a sultry underground experience like no other on Saturday, October 25th when Atlanta’s iconic Krog Street Tunnel transforms into an avant-garde European style masquerade ball. This event will “push the envelope” as guests are immersed in an unforgettable evening of cocktails, sounds by premiere Atlanta DJ Salah, and transformative vignettes behind a red velvet curtain. Brief tableaus of body art, burlesque and peep show performances will stimulate the imagination. Taboo will be the norm at this one-of-a-kind event. Masks, an open mind and an adventurous spirit are required for entry.
  3. Georgia Craft Beer Festival  –  The festival will include an afternoon of arts, live entertainment, a variety of food selections from the city’s top food trucks and 100+ craft beers to sample from over 30 of the top breweries from around the state.
  4. Apple Cider Days - The fall companion to Dunwoody’s Lemonade Days, this festival will feature the same types of food and family fun.
  5. Pace Fall Fair – Open to the public, the fair will take place amid the excitement of the recently-completed Arthur M. Blank Family Upper School. Pace will celebrate the completion of this landmark project with a medieval-themed extravaganza fit for kings and queens.
  6. Johns Creek Arts Festival – The serene green space across from The Atlanta Athletic Club will come alive with 100 whimsical and fun artisans from around the country.
  7. Warrior Softball Classic – Coolray Field, home of the Gwinnett Braves, will host the 2014 Warrior Softball Classic on Sunday, October 26. Famous Atlanta Braves’ alumni including John Rocker, Marquis Grissom, Brian Jordan, Kevin Millwood and Otis Nixon are slated to participate in an autograph signing, a home run derby and a game against the Military Warriors All-Stars.
  8. O4W Howloween Festival and Pet Parade – Come out and bring the family (and fur family, of course!)… eat, drink and be scary with local friends and help raise funds for the new Old Fourth Ward Freedom Barkway dog park!
  9. LOOKBOOK Live at Lenox Square – In collaboration with Glamour and GQ magazines, LOOKBOOK Live translates fall’s hottest fashion trends from the runway into real life and shares where to shop the trends. The LOOKBOOK Live Event Series will bring the best of fall fashion to Lenox Square via an interactive trend showcase, hosted by style pros from Glamour and GQ.
  10. Southeastern Cowboy Festival – The festival is packed with events such as gunfight re-enactments, Native American dances, a workshop and lecture by Featured Artist Krystii Melaine, concert by Featured Entertainer Suzy Bogguss, children’s activities, and so much more.
  11. Cabin Life at Pickett’s Mill – Join your friends, family, and neighbors at the log cabin for this living history event and discover what fall was like on a small farm during the Civil War 150 years ago.
  12. Fall Jonquil Festival - Shop the arts and crafts market–175 vendors from across the country–and experience a wide selection of festival foods as you stroll through Smyrna’s Fall Jonquil Festival.
  13. Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain Park – Presented by County Living magazine, the Fair offers visitors the opportunity to fully experience the “Country Living” lifestyle. Over 150 booths of antiques and hand-crafted goods PLUS a Gourmet Harvest Market AND the Country Living General Store.
  14. Snellville Fall Festival – Plan to enjoy a day of live music, over 60 arts and crafts vendors, plenty of food and much more. One of the most popular activities, the hay ride wagons, will again be circling the parking lot behind City Hall.
  15. Haints and Saints Halloween Parade – Head to downtown Decatur for an afternoon of fun a revelry!

Krog Masquerade Protesters Misdirect Frustration, React by Whitewashing Tunnel

LisaWindle_Krog1We get it. The Krog Tunnel is one of Atlanta’s most beloved art-centric landmarks. It’s been an unofficial mascot for all things Old Fourth Ward and Cabbagetown for years. It’s a place to see Atlanta’s culture differently than anywhere else in the city. That’s why it’s such a great place to host a party. That’s also why it’s such a hot topic for people right now.

While many of the news stories and op-ed pieces in publications and on social media are backing the very vocal (what we believe to be) minority, we have to ask the question, what sense do their arguments make?

Last night, a group of people showed up at the Krog Tunnel after dark and whitewashed it in protest of The Krog Masquerade, a Halloween- themed event celebrating the uniqueness of the tunnel as an art hub. Their main objections, it seems from these news stories and op-ed pieces, are that the permitting process disregarded the neighborhood association’s wishes that the event not be held, that the tunnel closing for 18 hours will create major traffic headaches, and that the event will make money.      Continue reading

Where Can I Shop at Avalon When it Opens?

AvalonNext week Avalon’s Phase I development opens to the masses with a weekend long celebration of food and fun for adults, children, and families. Avalon’s retail component is 98 percent leased with 90 percent of tenants opening at 10 a.m. following the ribbon cutting.

When you arrive at Avalon during opening weekend, here are the 54 locations where you’ll be able to shop:

  • Now Open
    Whole Foods Market
  • Opening on October 30
    American Threads
    Banana Republic
    Bantam + Biddy
    Bocado Burger Bar
    C. Wonder
    Calypso St. Barth
    The Cosmetic Market
    Cru Wine Bar
    Destination Maternity
    Everything But Water
    Free People
    Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory
    Goldberg’s Deli
    J. Crew
    J. Jill
    Janie and Jack
    Kendra Scott
    Kona Grill
    Lou & Grey
    lululemon athletica
    Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
    Oak Steakhouse
    Paper Source
    PNC Bank
    Pottery Barn Kids
    Regal Avalon Stadium 12 & RPX
    Road Runner Sports
    Soft Surroundings
    Sunglass Hut
    Ted’s Montana Grill
    The El Felix
    Tommy Bahama
    Van Michael Salon
    Vineyard Vines
    West Elm
  • Opening Later This Fall
    Antico Pizza Napoletana
    Caffe Gio
    exhale mind body spa
    Marlow’s Tavern
  • Opening Early 2015
    Boston Proper
    Crate and Barrel
    Piedmont Nails

Why the delay from some locations? Construction and build-out can be a tricky coordination process. If one thing is off, it can take a few more weeks than anticipated. Also, many of these delays were expected because some lease signers jumped on board later than others.

When it comes to Crate and Barrel, the lease at their current North Point Parkway location isn’t up until early 2015 and when it is, they’ll be moving (and downsizing) into the Avalon store.

As we learn of additional opening dates, and tenant announcements, we’ll keep you posted. We’ve heard there’s a few TBA soon.

image courtesy of North American Properties

Buckhead Hotel Council to Donate 50 Trauma Kits to Atlanta Police Department

Atlanta Police DepartmentThe Buckhead Hotel Council (BHC) has announced its latest community initiative, this time benefiting the Atlanta Police Department and, in turn, members of the Atlanta community.

The professional organization, which is comprised of more than 20 leading Buckhead hotels, will donate 50 trauma kits to the city’s front line police officers at its November council meeting.

The trauma kits provide the necessary life-saving equipment for police officers to assist citizens and their own teams during trauma situations. Items in the kit include hemostatic gauze, SWAT-T Tactical Wrap Tourniquet, OSS Combat Compression Dressing, a pair of tactical nitrile gloves and a field application card.

“The Buckhead Hotel Council is honored to provide such critical resources to our own Atlanta police officers who face danger day in and day out in order to keep Atlantans safe,” says BHC chairwoman Ruth Benjamin.” As a council, we strive to continuously give back to our community and feel that these kits benefit not only the police officers but citizens as well.”

Blood loss is one of the leading causes of death among officers on active duty. These trauma kits are specially designed with a three-year shelf life, allowing the police departments to prevent such deaths.

Want to help? The Atlanta community is invited to donate $50, the price of one kit, to The Atlanta Police Foundation. Donations can be made here online.

image courtesy of the City of Atlanta Police Department

Your Guide To: Atlanta Area Trunk or Treat Events (2014)

Trunk or Treat


Trunk or Treat at St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church (October 24)

Location:  St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church
4633 Shiloh Road
Cumming, GA

Time:  5:00 PM

Details:  Enjoy trunk or treat fun along with a hayride, face painting, silent auction, kid-friendly games, and more! This event is for children of all ages and costumes are welcome.


For More Information Visit:


Trunk-or-Treat at Creekside Methodist Church (October 25)

Location:  Creekside Methodist Church
673 Peachtree Parkway
Cumming, GA

Time:  4:00 PM- 6:00 PM

Details:  4:00-5:30pm “Trunk or Treating” and 5:30-6:00pm Devotion plus Awards for Costumes and Best Trunks! Wear your costumes and creatively decorate your trunk or just come participate in the fun! Popcorn and drinks available for sale! Fun activities include jump houses, music, candy and more!


For More Information Visit:

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