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African-American teen coming out tale brings often-overlooked story to Atlanta big screen

New film 'Pariah' opens in Atlanta

The new film “Pariah” treads where few Hollywood features dare to go — detailing the coming out process of a young African-American lesbian.

“Pariah” stars Adepero Oduye as Alike, a poetry-loving 17-year-old living at home in Brooklyn with her parents, Audrey (Kim Wayans) and Arthur (Chris Parnell). Alike begins to realize she is a lesbian. Her best friend Laura (Pernell Walker) is already out and Alike starts to wonder what it would be like to have a girlfriend.
Director Dee Rees, producer Nekisa Cooper and actresses Oduye and Wayans were in Atlanta late last year to promote the film.

“Pariah” is based on a short film director Rees made in 2007, which in turn was influenced by a similar-themed feature.

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Tori Amos fans: ‘Night of Hunters’ is tour to see

Tori Amos at the Cobb Energy Center

There seems to be a bit of a schism between piano goddess Tori Amos and her oh-so dedicated fans. While she's been busy reinventing herself from emotional singer-songwriter to sassy character rocker and now back to her roots, fans have been craving the Tori they fell in love with some 20 years ago.

You can count me among those who have fallen out of love over the past few years. There have only been traces of the Amos I knew in the '90s. The last true glimpse might have been with 2005's "The Beekeeper." Even then, it was just a glimpse before she lost character completely, going even deeper into the obscure, abandoning the sensitive but empowered girl-and-piano vibe in favor of a cadre of rock-and-roll personae who opened her "American Doll Posse World Tour" in 2007.

It's been difficult to watch.

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There’s much to love in charming, casual ‘burb

Dining in Decatur

Cakes & Ale is an example of a restaurant’s maturation into something brilliant. I remember the little fledgling store on Ponce and now they are on the forefront of the Decatur dining scene.

Cakes & Ale is the perfect date/communal gathering place because of its gourmet casual approach, with minimal clean design replete with romantic votive candles on the table. You can wear a cute cocktail dress or just some nice jeans because the vibe is like Decatur – casual and not pretentious. Need to eat alone or get out of the house from an annoying roommate? Stop at the Cakes bar and you are sure to meet someone.

The ever-changing seasonal menu, driven by Chef Billy Allin, is a fresh New South approach that’s very inventive and artisanal. I’ve always loved “southern popcorn” or fried okra and Cakes makes a nostalgic version that’s crispy on the outside with a vibrant green interior.

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Gay city slickers turned farmers offer comfort food with a twist

The Fabulous Beekman Boys

What happens when two urban gay men decide to become gentleman farmers? Planet Green chronicles the highlights and pitfalls in “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” the reality series featuring life and business partners Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell.

“We’re two city guys who bought a farm. We’ve got a herd of goats. A llama. And a whole lotta drama. Farming ain’t easy. But we make farming fabulous,” the boys explain on their website, Beekman1802.com. “Or at least that’s what our TV theme song says.”

The cable series is frequently described as a gay take on the “Green Acres” motif. Since it debuted in 2010, the boys have bickered and made up through two seasons of struggle as they work to grow the Beekman farm and their Beekman 1802 brand to a level of success that will allow Kilmer-Purcell to quit his job in the city and move to the farm fulltime.

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Sandwiches, salads and a recipe for romance

The Pie Shop

Try this recipe for hot liaisons before summer ends: Start at Alon’s Bakery & Market with an Asian BBQ salmon sandwich or roasted portobello on rosemary focaccia, with sauteed spinach, swiss cheese and basil pesto. Next add curried couscous salad or chickpea and feta salad and indulge with a big soft chocolate chunk pecan cookie.

Then grab a big quilt, some chilled pinot grigio, and citronella candles and head to Emory’s Lullwater Park with your date or partner to have a splendid twilight meal by the lake. But be careful: The impressive food, rising summer moon, chirping crickets, sparkling fire flies and candlelight might cause feelings of love to blossom. My best friend Alison did this and she and Ellie were together for two years.

Another 90-degree day, another burger joint opens. Last month saw the opening of 5 Napkin Burger at 10th and Piedmont. In July, Smashburger opened on Piedmont Road, and while a filling burger isn’t always crave worthy in the heat, Smash also has some very tasty salads.

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Perfect 10s for Double Zero

Sadly homophobia still exists even in the liberal service industry. We recently approached a notable restaurant about hosting our LGBT professional networking group and they refused.

We then anonymously asked if they would host a “straight” retirement party — same date, size and price point — and they accepted.  Why would you not want to host a group of professional LGBTs who are bar friendly?

But luckily, that wasn’t the case at Double Zero Napoletana on Roswell Road. Their response to hosting the Atlanta Executive Network and Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce last month was not chilly and elusive but extremely excited.

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Take a bite out of Midtown’s new 5 Napkin Burger

5 Napkin Burger

Invited by local PR guru Bill Kaelin to the grand opening of 5 Napkin Burger, my friends and I were excited to try Atlanta's newest burger concept on the corner of 10th and Piedmont.

The extensive renovation of what was Nickiemoto's has resulted in what 5 Napkin calls "butcher shop chic." While some of the location's old sushi regulars might recognize elements of the floor plan, the space is truly revamped and felt very cosmopolitan.

According to the company, the restaurant will seat 100 inside and 40 outside. 5 Napkin Burger opens for dinner service on Monday, Aug. 15, and will add lunch and brunch services soon after.

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Summer is the perfect time for a culinary road trip

Indigo Coastal Shanty in Brunswick, Georgia

What happened to spring? With temperatures soaring, we just had to get out of town, and the Atlantic coast is the perfect destination. If you’re single, on a budget and with friends, head to Savannah. But if you’re married, head to Saint Simons Island or Jacksonville, Fla. They aren’t that far, not that expensive and you can drive.

My parents live on Saint Simons Island so that’s where we vacationed. I am very lucky that my mother accepts and embraces my sexual orientation and my partner. If you want something gayer and more expensive, head further south to Fort Lauderdale or my favorite, Key West.

Longtime Atlanta residents might remember Indigo Coastal Grill and Partners, restaurants created by Alix Kenagy. Chef Kate Buchanan, Kenagy’s daughter, now has the most amazing, unique restaurant in downtown Brunswick, Ga. — Indigo Coastal Shanty.