Considering the wide array of diverse options populating the cultural landscape this fall, it wasn’t easy narrowing down the field. But forced to pick the events we’re most anticipating in the coming months, we came up with an even dozen we wouldn’t dare miss.
“Bull Durham.” The Alliance Theatre continues its run as an incubator of Broadway-bound material. This time, it’s Hollywood screenwriter/director Ron Shelton’s romantic comedy about a minor-league baseball team in Durham, N.C. Shelton adapts his ’80s love triangle about a veteran catcher (Will Swenson), a rookie pitcher (John Behlmann) and the woman who comes between them (Melissa Errico). Folk singer-songwriter Susan Werner makes her theatrical debut in this world premiere backed by New York producer Jack Viertel, senior vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters (“Book of Mormon,” “Kinky Boots,” “Bullets Over Broadway”). Sept. 3-Oct. 5, Alliance Theatre. www.alliancetheatre.org
Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade / Art on the Atlanta Beltline. On Sept. 6, join 10,000 fellow revelers for the wild and wacky Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade, which kicks off this annual 10-week-long public art event featuring 100 art installations and lives performances along the Atlanta Beltline. Performance groups include Crossover Movement Arts, Edeliegba, Zoetic Dance Ensemble and Fly on a Wall Collective. Participating artists include HENSE, Matt Haffner and Charlie Brouwer. Sept. 6-Nov. 15. www.art.beltline.org/schedule
“Cloth.” A highly anticipated collaborative project featuring a performance by the dancers of Glo choreographed by Lauri Stallings, projections by Atlanta-based filmmakers Micah and Whitney Stansell, and music by Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conductor Robert Spano, who performs on the piano his newly composed score for the performance’s first half. The second half features Spano, pianist Pedja Muzijevic and a percussion ensemble performing Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.”Sept. 10-14, The Goat Farm Arts Center. www.brownpapertickets.com/event/718266
Music Midtown. A quartet of headliners – Eminem, Jack White, John Mayer and Zac Brown Band – anchor the 2014 edition of the Atlanta festival, which will commandeer Piedmont Park for two days in September. A couple of changes this year: only two-day passes are available and each night will boast two headliners among the three stages. Old-school rap fans can break out the Adidas for Run-D.M.C., but other acts will bring down the age average of the bill, including Iggy Azalea, Lorde, Lana Del Ray, Bastille, Fitz and the Tantrums, B.o.B. and Twenty One Pilots. Sept 19-20, Piedmont Park. www.musicmidtown.com
Outkast. When Big Boi and Andre 3000 made their Georgia return earlier this year at the CounterPoint Music Festival, many fans grumbled that it wasn’t a true homecoming for the Atlanta rap pioneers. So they added Centennial Olympic Park to their summer festival run. And then a second show. And then a third, when the first two sold out within hours. Happy now? About 60,000 people will descend on the downtown Atlanta park to hear Outkast bulldoze through “B.O.B.,” “Ms. Jackson” and the still shake-it-worthy, “Hey Ya.”Sept. 26-28, Centennial Olympic Park, sold out.
Atlanta Celebrates Photography. This year’s Atlanta Celebrates Photography features lectures by celebrity photographer Dan Winters and the fascinating duo of Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, whose Photoshopped images blend history and hyperbole. Renowned photo agency Getty Images photographers will be featured in a talk at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and curators from photo festivals in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico have selected works from their countries for an exhibition at the Woodruff Art Center. Also worth checking out is ACP’s annual art auction, this year helmed by interior designer and TV star Vern Kip, an avid photography collector. Oct. 1-31. Various venues. www.acpinfo.org
Out on Film. Atlanta’s LGBT film festival will feature a bounty of filmmaker appearances during its 27th edition, compliments of a first-time grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The Oscar-givers clearly recognize the growing prominence of the fest, which attracted a record-breaking 7,500 attendees last year. Prominent titles will include the opening night drama “Blackbird,” starring Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington; documentaries “Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank” and “Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine”; and comedies “Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy” and “Appropriate Behavior.” Oct. 2-9, Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. www.outonfilm.org.
“Amulana.” It has been nearly two years since a blue and yellow Cirque du Soleil tent has been raised in Atlanta. When the Grand Chapiteau goes up at Atlantic Station this fall, it will house “Amaluna,” a love story of a woman and her suitor billed as a “force of femininity.” With its mostly female cast, “Amaluna” takes visitors to a mysterious island of “goddesses” governed by acrobats, contortionists and aerialists. The touring production, which has been winning praise for its set design and innovative costuming, is directed by Diane Paulus, artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre. Her work includes “The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess” and the Tony-award winning revival of “Hair. Oct. 3-Nov. 2, Atlantic Station. www.cirquedusoleil.com/amaluna
Paul McCartney. When the venerable Beatle was forced to reschedule several of his U.S. tour dates — including Atlanta — because of a virus that felled him in May, our chests tightened just a bit. Would this mark the beginning of the end of McCartney’s almost continual touring? At age 72, were the rigors of the road understandably wearing on him? Nope. The man returned to the stage in early July and proceeded to unveil a nearly three-hour master class in pop perfection.Oct. 15, Philips Arena. www.ticketmaster.com
High Museum’s European trek. Atlantans can take an art tour of the continent without leaving the metro area, as the High presents the concurrent exhibits “Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection” and “Make A Joyful Noise: Renaissance Art and Music at Florence Cathedral.” The Pearlman Collection, leaving the Princeton University Art Museum for the first time in 40 years, features 24 Paul Cézanne oils and watercolors plus works by Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. “Joyful Noise” centers on three marble panels that sculptor Luca della Robbia produced for the Florence Cathedral’s cantoria in the 1430s. These international treasures will visit the U.S. for the first time. Oct. 25-Jan. 11, High Museum of Art. www.high.org.
Book Festival of the MJCCA. Every fall the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta brings in a slate of big-name authors for 18 glorious days of readings, panel discussions, book signings and Q&A sessions, and this year is no different. Among the 40-plus authors scheduled to appear this year are novelist Anna Quindlen, “Real Housewives” producer and host of “Watch What Happens Live” Andy Cohen, comedian Bob Saget and New York Times food writer Mark Bittman. Nov. 1-18, Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. www.atlantajcc.org
Atlanta Symphony Orchesta. Highlights of the ASO’s 70th season include a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony conducted by Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles Oct. 2-5 and the ASO premiere of Emory professor Richard Prior’s Third Symphony conducted by Robert Spano Nov. 20-23. Atlanta Symphony Hall, www.atlantasymphony.org
— Contributed by Andrew Alexander, Wendell Brock, Felicia Feaster, Cynthia Bond Perry, Howard Pousner, Jamila Robinson, Melissa Ruggieri, Suzanne Van Atten