Archive for February, 2009

Wren’s Nest Branding Gets Stampy*


Written on February 28, 2009 at 10:47 am, by Amelia

We have a Wren’s Nest stamp!  This is an exciting, exciting day.

Gettin Stampy With It

It’s the little things, folks.

I’ll let you know when our Wren’s Nest branding iron comes in.  I kid, I kid.  We would never brand an animal.  Not until we have a full herd, anyhow.

*No, not this Stampy.  Though I wish.

See Historic Atlanta on the Cheap! Thanks, Phoenix Flies.


Written on February 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm, by Amelia

The Atlanta Preservation Center’s Phoenix Flies program offers free or reduced admission and special tours for many historic landmarks in Atlanta.  Neat.  This year it’s from March 7th – 22nd.

And guess what!  The Wren’s Nest is part of it!  Yippee!

Phoenix Flies, Courtesy of the Atlanta Preservation Center

On March 7th and 8th as well as 14th and 15th we’ll have free admission and storytelling every hour, starting at 10:30am.  Our Sunday hours (yep, you read that right — Sunday hours!  Crazy times at the Wren’s Nest.) will be 11am – 2pm.

This is a great opportunity to see some of the sites in Atlanta you’ve been putting off.  Being no strangers to procrastination ourselves, Lain and I plan to stop in at a few landmarks when we’re not manning the Nest.

Lain is hot to go to the DOCOMOMO talk at the Central Atlanta Library, while I’m especially keen to go on a walking tour or two (Unseen Underground!) and finally see Rhodes Hall, land of a million light bulbs.

Our camera broke the day we went to the re-opening of Ivy Hall, restored by SCAD-Atlanta, so I can only show you this one reasonable picture.

Pulpit Inside Ivy Hall

Thus, I suggest you go and use your eyeballs, as it is also included in this Phoenix Flies free-for-all.

Note that this is a grand statement, as they are our arch nemeses, being the only other Queen-Anne Victorian home in Atlanta open to the public.  We called a truce — for now.

Be sure to check the Phoenix Flies website for details and remark how hard “Phoenix Flies” is to enunciate.  I also cannot spell “Phoenix” without thinking really hard (or spell the name “Phoebe”), and this post has really taken it out of me.  But this opportunity shan’t be missed on my watch!

Name a Wren’s Nest Drink, Win a Mystery Prize!


Written on February 24, 2009 at 2:06 pm, by Amelia

A few months from now we’ll be hosting an event at the Ravinia Club.  It’s a little fundraiser where all proceeds from the house drink will go to the Wren’s Nest.  Generous and great, no?

Even better, we get to name the drink ourselves. Oh, and we get to concoct the libation, too.  But come on, we get to name it!  Score!

Unfortunately, we are not entirely the most creative folks, Lain and I.  Thus, we have come up with the following:

  • Brer-tini.  It’s a martini.

Let’s try to top that.

Because you’re so smart, we thought we would pose the challenge to y’all.  The person who comes up with the best name and drink will win a bag of things collected from around our office.  There is truly no telling what this mystery prize will contain.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  1. A drink with broad appeal.
  2. A drink that contains alcohol.
  3. A drink that people like to order in multiples of at least 3.
  4. A name that can be said with a knowing wink.
  5. Something that can be easily created and served.  No zests or sprigs here, thanks.

Perhaps it’s the color of tar.  Maybe it uses Brer Rabbit molasses!  Maybe it’s green beer because you think it deserves more than St. Patty’s Day.

The world is your oyster, but it might make sense to stick to the following topics: Brer Rabbit Stories, the Briar Patch (bonus points for a Star Trek reference), Uncle Remus, or Joel Chandler Harris (who didn’t mind a drink or two himself).

Ready?  Set.  Go!

Atlanta’s Central Library in Metropolis Magazine


Written on February 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

One of the silliest trends in Atlanta recently has been to propose new “visionary” libraries to replace “old and busted” libraries.  Please recall Ben Carter’s offer to create a replica of the Buckhead Library.

Metropolis Magazine — an architecture, design, and preservation magazine — just published a story on Atlanta’s central library designed by Marcel Breuer, he of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

Atlanta Fulton Central Library

Breuer’s building is an example of brutalism.  It’s an angular, blocky architectural style which resides in the trough of no value for most people, including Fulton County Commissioner Rob Pitts.

Pitts would like to create a “visionary” “technology library” because other cities have built iconic libraries and been successful.  The Breuer Library would be sold and “repurposed,” which might as well mean “demolished.”  Pardon me, but this is totally wack.

Sure, the renderings of the potential new library I’ve seen look pretty, but don’t most renderings look pretty?

New Central Atlanta Library Rendering 2

I mean no offense to ai3, the architecture firm behind this rendering — it’s just too bad we’ve been through this before.  It’s almost as if history could repeat itself.

The Breuer Library is already iconic and visionary.  Plus, it was originally the new, modern answer to the beautiful Carnegie Library, which has been torn down.  Sounds familiar.

Atlanta Carnegie Library

Now only a pillar stands from the original Carnegie Library.  It’s a sad little monument.

The Breuer Library, like the Carnegie Library before it, is not broken, but it does need some updating.  Just because homeless people tend to congregate in front of the building does not mean tearing the building down is a wise thing to do.

As long as Pitts is talking expensive, pie-in-the-sky ideas (and he is!), why not repurpose the ground level of three parking decks that flank the Breuer Library?  Giving those decks ground floor retail would activate the street, making the library much more attractive and vibrant.

There’s a blog and a petition to save Atlanta’s Central Branch Library.  If you’re feeling limber, you can even tour the place courtesy of Docomomo and the Atlanta Preservation Center on March 11 at 6:30.

The moral —

Don’t: Tear down a significant, historic building designed by an internationally renowned architect.

Do: Read Overdue! in Metropolis Magazine by Jonathan Lerner and this post over at Terminal Station.

Then: Tour the place.

Edit, 2/26/09: It should be noted that I took the ai3 rendering of the new library without permission.

If you would, please discount that particular image from our Creative Commons license.  My bad.  I usually ask, and this time I neglected to. They do great work (truly), and their rendering should be considered separately from this issue.

Wren’s Nest Conservation Update — Painting the House


Written on February 18, 2009 at 5:03 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Our painters have finished priming the Wren’s Nest and have begun to paint the house.  Isn’t it beautiful?

Whoops, wrong picture, just kidding.  That’s what the paint used to look like.  Here we go:

wrens-nest-paint-job-february-2009

OMG is right.  Granted, it’s been raining today and they’ve only put on the yellow paint, but seriously, doesn’t it make you just want to reach through your screen and stroke it?

The painters have given us a little preview on the western side of the house.  Here’s what it looked like on a gloriously sunny day:

Wren's Nest Paint and Primer, February 2009

Here’s what the view used to look like.  From January 2007 on a reasonably sunny day:

Wren's Nest Paint, January 2007

I’m glad we’ve been able to tackle the paint job so early on.

Initially I thought we’d have to take care of a bunch of other stuff first — foundation repair, window repair, roof repair, etc.  But as repainting the house has become a reality, it’s been a wonderful signal that tells the public “DUDES!  THINGS HERE ARE CHANGING!  FOR THE PRETTIER!”

And there’s nothing like a little progress to keep the fundraising wheels a-turnin’, I tell you what.

Also, it’s nice to work in a place that doesn’t look like it’s going to fall apart.  I wish I could say that much for our actual office.

Previously: Preparing to Paint 1, 2, 3

Free Tickets to the Wren’s Nest!


Written on February 17, 2009 at 12:41 pm, by Amelia

Believe it or not, the Wren’s Nest only recently put formal branding guidelines into place regarding our logo, colors, and fonts.  I know, I know, smoke just blew out of your ears and your conductor’s hat flew straight up.

Here’s a good example of why we needed to get these suckers into play.

Behold: the Wren’s Nest’s former “Free Admission” ticket.

Old Wren's Nest Free Ticket

Pretty cool, right?  I mean, anyone could make it!  And that purple — it’s almost like someone ran out of regular copy paper and plunked that down without thought.  At least the information on it isn’t bulky.  Oh wait.

In short, we needed something that would actually reflect the Wren’s Nest, as well as look official (instead of counterfeit).

Check out our new “Free Admission” tickets!

Front of the New Wren's Nest Bookmark

Why, is that the Wren’s Nest’s logo?  It is!  And those look like the colors we use everywhere!  I wonder what the back looks like!

Wren's Nest Bookmark Back

Wow!  There’s that logo again!  And what approachable text — it’s almost like a professional put it together (thanks, Lauren).  It even has useful information!

The branding guidelines (.pdf) are also great because anytime any sort of media source wants to talk about us or we’re thrown in a brochure, we can actually have consistency.  It’s been a long time coming.

In short, an improvement.  What do y’all think?

The Trough of No Value and Atlanta History Links We Missed


Written on February 16, 2009 at 3:01 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

This week while we were busy navel gazing and doing non-blogging work, we missed some cool things on the internet that you might like.  Ready?

  • The Trough of No Value: what happens to stuff during the dead zone between brand spankin’ new and historic preservation?  Whatever it is, it applies to stuff and humans.  Like, say, Joel Chandler Harris who probably isn’t quite out of the trough just yet.  (Via the magically delicious liberal arts 2.0 blog kottke.org.)

Wren’s Nest Conservation Update — Repairing the Wallpaper


Written on February 13, 2009 at 12:58 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Back in May of 2008, folks from IFACS, an Atlanta-based restoration firm, dropped by to assess the Wren’s Nest interior.  Using their eyes for approximately 3 seconds, they noticed the worst of our wallpaper problems.

Happily, they fixed ’em up right then and there.

Wren's Nest Entry Wallpaper

The wallpaper in the entry wasn’t doing so hot, probably because of the extreme fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

Wren's Nest Wallpaper 2

The hallway was less severe, but no less obnoxious.

Wren's Nest Hall Wallpaper

Yuck.

It didn’t take long for them to piece it back together, almost good as new.  Here’s the same wallpaper after IFACS got through with it —

Repaired Wren's Nest Wallpaper - Entry

Pretty keen, right?

I was out of the office when they performed their magic, so I can’t really explain what they did, though Amelia tells me they “stood on ladders.”

Repaired Wren's Nest Wallpaper -- Entry 2

I’ll be sure to take copious notes and get in their way as much as possible when they return.

Repaired Wren's Nest Wallpaper -- Hallway

If their work is good enough for Buckingham Palace, it’s good enough for the Wren’s Nest, I suppose.  Plus, they restored the wood graining on our doors in the early 1990s, no small feat, so you know they’re legit.

They’ll begin cleaning our interior and repairing our artifacts in early April.  It will be great.

Wren’s Nest Storytelling Numbers Growing Like Whoa


Written on February 11, 2009 at 1:01 pm, by Amelia

Just because we know y’all like to be impressed by us, we thought we would share our most recent storytelling stats.

These numbers include our Saturday storytelling sessions (1pm!), when a group books a storyteller for their visit, and when a Rambler tells elsewhere.

Ready?  Great.

  • January 2006 to June* 2006: 3 performances
  • January 2007 to December 2007: 149 performances
  • January 2008 to December 2008: 235 performances

Pretty cool, eh?  I mean, I’m no mathematician, but that seems like at least an 11% increase.

If you’re interested in joining these ranks, drop us a line or check out more information here.  Hooray storytelling!

*Second half of the year numbers lost due to “being frazzled.”

Lain Signs More Autographs Than You Would Think


Written on February 9, 2009 at 9:38 am, by Amelia

You know, like more than zero.

Lain Shakespeare Signs A Mean Autograph.  Nicholas Gets More Than He Bargained For.

I expertly covered this phenomenon back in 2007, so you should really just read this post, as it’s still 100% pertinent.  Especially if you’ve hopped on board since September ’07 (welcome!).

If you are one of those johnny-come-latelys, allow me to bring you up to speed:

  • Lain is our executive director
  • That is, not a famous person
  • Yet, he signs autographs
  • Because people request them
  • This is totally weird

For those of  you looking for a progress report, here it is: the epidemic is growing.