Archive for January, 2008

Plaza Theatre Not Closing, Has a Brand New Blog

Written on January 31, 2008 at 10:33 am, by Lain Shakespeare

As previously reported, the Plaza Theatre is not closing.

Plaza Theater

Of course, we reported that soon after we reported that the Plaza Theatre was closing.

Pssh, details! Who needs ’em? Well, maybe the folks at Fresh Loaf, but certainly not nosy house museum employees eager to support other historic institutions.

Anyway, our source for all things Plaza Theater has been the noble ladybloggers at Pecanne Log. Fortunately, all that’s about to change.

See, they’ve created a blog, and so far, it looks excellent. When you’ve got videos of very small Elvis impersonators, it’s hard to go wrong.

So, what should you do, dear Wren’s Nest readers? Subscribe to their blog! I prefer a feedreader, but if you want to bookmark it or add it to your account, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind. If you’re feeling limber, you can add our blog too while you’re at it.

And although five out of five Wren’s Nest staff members agree that MySpace pages generally hurt our eyes, by all means check out theirs here.

Wren’s Nest Theme Song- Live!

Written on January 30, 2008 at 9:58 am, by Amelia

Finally, the dreams of the Wren’s Nest have been answered.

Money? No.

Power too? Um, no.

Everything we ask for? Well, not quite.

But we DO have a theme song! Thanks to the Duck and Herring Co., you’ll be singing about superfly historical figures all day.

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Robert Frost House Vandalized

Written on January 29, 2008 at 7:59 am, by Lain Shakespeare

Our friends at babygotbooks reported on the Robert Frost House Party a few weeks back, but it’s just now that the New York Times has released a thoughtful article complete with an audio slideshow.

Robert Frost House Vandalized

In summary–a group of teenagers got together with about 150 beers, a few bottles of liquor and some recreational drugs. They broke into the home and had a party. That white stuff is the residue from a spent fire extinguisher.

This incident also happens to be titled “Lain Shakespeare’s Worst Nightmare.”

Particularly chilling in the Times article is the kid at the end who shows the opposite of remorse.

Robert Frost House Vandalized

(That beer pong table totally isn’t regulation size.)

Near the end of the article, one professor makes the point that vandalism like this gives us pause for reflection and inspiration for further celebration. It sure does. Even working in the field, I often wonder–why do we preserve homes of authors? Is it a worthy endeavor? Who cares about the man’s house, isn’t it his works that are important?

The article’s author, Dan Barry, sort of answers those questions by artfully linking the poetry of Robert Frost to the actions and words of the people involved. They’re a reflection of the landscape themselves, and their words echo the poetry of Frost.

Incidentally, this morning I strolled up to the Wren’s Nest to find that someone or something has tried to take the our screens off the windows.

The Wren's Nest Porch, Mildly Vandalized

They were strewn about the porch.

Not that the screens were historically accurate in the first place, but we had planned to take them down when we were good and ready, thankyouverymuch.

Screens strewn about the porch of the Wren's Nest

Related, especially to the Frost business: An Arsonist’s Guide To Writers Homes in New England.

Crazy, Busy Saturday Storytelling with Akbar

Written on January 28, 2008 at 8:38 am, by Lain Shakespeare

Sometimes nobody comes to the Wren’s Nest.

We have days where Jeri, Nannie, and I just sit around and stare at each other. Occasionally we’ll talk about when Nannie knew Otis Redding, or as she calls him–The Big O.

YouTube Preview Image

(Those days are approximately as tranquil as the beginning of Try a Little Tenderness, though usually with less applause.)

Really, the only thing better than sitting around and talking about the good ole days, is when visitors do come to the Wren’s Nest. And sometimes, just sometimes, we get a whole mess of visitors all at once.

Akbar telling Brer Rabbit stories on a Saturday afternoon at the Wren's Nest

Saturday was one such day.

Instead of just one 30 minute session at 1 pm, Akbar told stories pretty much straight through from noon until 2:15. He was off the chain.

We didn’t have enough chairs in the room, and the crowds spilled into the hall and the foyer.

Book Clubs Meet at the Wren's Nest all the time, and Miss Nannie doesn't mind it.

Meanwhile, Nannie gave a tour to a book club. These ladies loved us, and stayed for approximately ever.

Girlscouts Visit the Wren's Nest Too, on a Marta Scavenger Hunt

Jeri was in the back with some girl scouts on a Marta scavenger hunt.

WABE Interviews Akbar Imhotep, Master Storyteller, Wren's Nest Exerpt, and Cool Dude

And once Akbar had finally finished up, he made time for an interview for WABE, our local public radio station and NPR affiliate.

I’ll let you know when he and Nannie are on Atlanta Sounds.

Duck and Herring Radio Hour Tonight! Excitement!

Written on January 25, 2008 at 11:43 am, by Amelia

We know you often think to yourself, “Man, I wish I knew what Amelia and Lain were doing at all times”. Sure, you know where we work, where we eat lunch, even the movies we see. But sometimes, just sometimes, that simply isn’t enough.

So, friends/stalkers, here’s what’s on tonight’s plate:

Duck and Herring Co. Radio Hour at Agnes Scott

Yep, our beloved chums from the Duck and Herring Co. are not only hosting a radio hour/live podcast, but have invited Lain and me to read. We are feeling very special today, in case you were wondering.

So please, come on by! When else will you have the opportunity to hear seasoned pro Lain groan when he flubs a word, or novice Amelia Trace giggle when she does the same?

Never, that’s when.

Plus – and I don’t want to spread rumors or anything, but I still will happily – there’s been word of a WREN’S NEST SONG to be debuted tonight. I’m practically tingling with excitement!

The Wren’s Nest Staff Recommends West End Restaurants

Written on January 23, 2008 at 4:58 pm, by Amelia

Every so often a visitor will ask us if there is anywhere to eat in the West End, post-totally awesome Wren’s Nest tour.

It is important to know that they are asking this question earnestly, bracing themselves to hear that there is a complete dearth of dining establishments in this area of Atlanta. Which would be sad.

Mercenary Amelia Trace delighting in West End foodstuffs

(Mercenary Amelia Trace eating up.)

The good news is that yes, there are restaurants! More than a couple, even.

Executive Director Lain delighting in West End foodstuffs

(Bossman Lain wearing a cool shirt and eating up.)

The bad news is, it was becoming more and more difficult to respond to this timid question without laughing a little. Also, it kept us on the phone for a while, and you know how we feel about using the phone.

Solution! Allow me to welcome you to the newest page on the website, Places to Eat Around The Wren’s Nest That Not Only Exist, But Are Also Delicious (working title).

There you’ll find our totally biased recommendations of, essentially, where we go to lunch on Fridays. If you have any suggestions to add, don’t hesitate to do so in the comments.

So, who’s up for a tour and a lunch date?

Atlanta History Notes, January 2008

Written on January 22, 2008 at 1:44 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

While they were in town to play the Hawks over the weekend, the Portland Trail Blazers took some time to visit the MLK childhood home, as well as other places in the King district.

Portland Trail Blazers visit the Martin Luther King Birth Home, and other sites around Atlanta

Pretty sweet. Who knew there were program directors for basketball players? Neat that since he’s a black history buff, that’s just what they end up doing wherever they go.

Incidentally, the Wren’s Nest has the unique opportunity of being a site folks visit specifically for black history and a site that folks won’t visit because we’re racist toward blacks.

Next: in keeping with Atlanta’s history of renaming, rebuilding, and rebranding, the powers that be have taken the liberty of nixing Bishop St. in favor of the far more numerical 17th Street.

17th Street Is Taking Over Bishop

At this point I think they’re just trying to confuse Amelia as much as possible.

Speaking of MLK and street name changes, one of the ladies who ran the Wren’s Nest long ago refused to open her mail once her street name changed. What was once Hunter Street became MLK Blvd. She wrote “return to sender” on all her mail with the MLK address.

Does anyone know if Harris Street was named after Joel Chandler Harris? I’m having a hard time digging that one up.

Finally: Governor Perdue wants to turn the old world of Coke into a new state history museum.

The Old World of Coke, with the Capitol Building in the background

Peach Pundit isn’t so sure it’s a good idea, and I’m not sure if the adjunct proposal to turn the DOT building into a parking lot is (a) sweet, sweet irony, (b) poetic justice, or (c) an unsettling omen.

Snow! At the Wren’s Nest?! It’s true!

Written on January 19, 2008 at 11:43 am, by Amelia

Let me tell you something, folks: snow is not so crazy. But snow in Georgia? Absolutely nutty.

Snow on the Wren's Nest


We’re running a skeleton crew here today, thanks to the Bossman’s trip to sunny Phoenix, and frankly, we may be overstaffed.

Saturdays are usually one of our busiest days, but since the general temperament in Atlanta at the moment seems to be “frenzied panic”, I’m not sure house museum visits are high on people’s to-do lists. Sigh.

Snow on Wren's Nest sign

(Magnolia trees dusted with snow. Neat.)

Luckily, conditions are perfect for hot chocolate and staring out the window, which I’m particularly good at. Plus, it’s sort of fun to think that the way that Atlantans are going berserk at the moment, filled with a combination of giddiness and mild panic, is probably exactly the reaction they had 100 years ago.

I bet Mrs. Harris made a mean hot toddy.

I’ll be updating every so often with more pictures of our increasingly snowy winter (historic house museum) wonderland.

Update: More!

Our lovely reading garden, though today might not be the day to enjoy it for its intended purpose.

Snow on the Wren's Nest reading garden

The snowy, snowy magnolia trees in back.
Snow on Wren's Nest magnolias

We don’t really know what this is, but educated guesses point towards fountainy-type-thingy.
Snow on the Fountainy Thing in the Wren's Nest yard

A comparison shot of the magnolia trees in front. Neater!
Snow on two Wren's Nest signs in front

Right in front of the porch- pretty contrast, no?
Snow in front of the Wren's Nest's porch

Well folks, looks like we may be calling it a day. With zero visitors and questionable driving conditions… well, you snooze, you lose, I guess.  Enjoy the snow! Seeya!

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Categories: Atlanta, Bravery, Really? |

1940s Uncle Remus Comics from Disney

Written on January 17, 2008 at 3:46 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Occasionally, my google alerts point me to neat stuff, like old Uncle Remus Comics.

Walt Disney Presents Uncle Remus and His Tales of Brer Rabbit

These ran in the funny papers for nearly three decades, from 1945 to 1972.

Cheerios Premium Comic: Brer Rabbit's Secret by Walt Disney

A full color comic strip was drawn up for the Cheerios Premium Giveaway. According to my friend the internet, these Premiums are kind of a big deal for collectors, but are really just a one-time marketing gimmick from Cheerios long ago.

Here at the Wren’s Nest, we’ve got some copies of the original comics from 1906. Our scanner is being fickle at the moment, however. In the mean time, enjoy!

If you’re into old comics, that is.

Ghost of Joel Chandler Harris?

Written on January 16, 2008 at 5:04 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

In keeping with the questionable reporting practices the Wren’s Nest blog has exhibited lately, here’s an excerpt of a letter I received today:

“I noticed the “orb” on your great-great-great grandfather’s picture on the way home and thought it strange since it wasn’t something that was there when I took the picture.

The Ghost of Joel Chandler Harris, Or maybe just some dust

Then while I was looking over my vacation pictures and trying to blow up the one of the Wren’s Nest, I guess I saw what looks to be a grayish figure in the upper left window? I thought it a bit odd since the window is the only one that is not reflecting and looks flat.”

Ghost in the window of the Wren's Nest

Perhaps this is why Amelia is afraid to be in the Wren’s Nest by herself.

Anyway, I can’t really see the figure in the window. Can you?

While we have had several ghost hunts from some very well-respected and televised professionals, I’ve yet to see anything definitive that there are ghosts in this place.

If I knew how to put audio on this blog, I’d let you listen to the mysterious (and flat!) whistling of “Baby Bumble Bee” that some of the ghost hunters caught on tape. Now that’s a little eerie.

Email me ( if you want a listen.

EDIT, 1/29/08, 1:13 pm

So, I finally got around to installing the audio software. Assuming it works, here’s the ghost whistling:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

You might have to turn up your speakers, but listen for the whistling in the second half. If the audio isn’t working, I’m currently trying to fix it.

Thanks, Rusty!