Georgia Drummer Keeps the Beat for Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil's KURIOS - Cabinet of Curiosities

See Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities in Atlanta through May 8, 2016.

A man with accordion legs, a gentleman whose giant belly is the residence of a 3.2-foot tall woman, aquatic contortionists, an invisible circus, rola bola aviator… just a few of the quirky and diverse characters Georgia-born drummer Kit Chatham keeps the beat for in Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, showing at Atlantic Station through May 8.

Cirque du Soleil has visited Atlanta 17 times with 14 different shows since 1991. Based in Montreal, Cirque features some of the world’s most talented individuals who perform reality-defying feats to live music. 

Chatham, who has performed in six different Cirque du Soleil productions since 2005, graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in music education and taught in Cobb County before joining Cirque du Soleil. We caught up with Chatham to find out what he likes most about performing in his home state.


Kit Chatham in costume for KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities

Having grown up here, are you excited to be performing back in Georgia?

“Definitely. The last time I performed here was 2007 with Corteo, also a Cirque du Soleil show. I moved out in 2009 to Las Vegas so I am super excited to be back.” 

This year, Georgia is celebrating the Year of Music, what does Georgia music mean to you?

“It depends on the area. I am an Athens boy, so R.E.M. and the B-52s, but then again I moved from Atlanta for my last years in high school and I was closer to Augusta, so James Brown. When I was in college, I used to record in Macon in the Allman Brothers studio. It’s widespread – Widespread Panic, they’re also from here. It’s tough to summarize Georgia music. It’s got roots in the South. It’s also got soul. It’s got everything — gospel, country, hip hop. It’s very cool to see how much music comes from Georgia that you wouldn’t expect.”

How does live music contribute to the overall Cirque experience?

“With every Cirque show, you’re dealing with things that can happen with acrobats at any given time. So, in order to flow with the acrobats, the music has to be able to adapt and change, maybe go back, maybe jump ahead. It changes every night.”

How does touring with Cirque du Soleil differ from touring with a band or as a solo musician?

“With arena shows or Broadway, you’re in a place one night, two nights, then you’re out. Your one day off is your travel day, which really stinks. With the tent show, we’re here 10 weeks, which is really great. I’m getting a lot of time to explore.”

Chatham performing in Cirque du Soleil's KURIOS - Cabinet of Curiosities

Chatham performing in Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities

Does this cast rely on you in this location for input on what to do in Georgia?

“I gave them a long list of what to do in Georgia. You’ve got to go to The Varsity. You’ve got all the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attractions, Ebenezer [Baptist Church]. The Georgia Aquarium. The World of Coca-Cola. Stone Mountain. The barbecue places to go to. Athens. Savannah. I gave them a huge list of things to try to guide them.”

What is your favorite thing to do in Georgia?

“I am a big barbecue fan. Brunswick stew — you can’t find Brunswick stew anywhere but in Georgia. Every time I come here, I get Chick-fil-A. I love how the brewing industry is starting to pick-up here. But, the biggest thing for me when I come to Georgia is usually family.”

How does this show differ from other Cirque shows you’ve toured with?

“The theme of this show [KURIOS] is steampunk, and it deals with the age of invention and creativity. Going from that steam era to electricity, everything is experimental. The scenery, the stage, all has that steampunk feel. The music is somewhat eclectic. There is a lot of presence of electro swing, which is associated with that theme. There are some more swing elements, classical, rock-and-roll. … With every show the music is different, the styles are different. That’s the one thing that drew me to Cirque, is there are so many different styles within the show and the uniqueness to the music, the overall characteristics to it in each show.”

KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities is at Atlantic Station until May 8. Shows are Tuesday-Sunday in the afternoon and evening. Individual tickets range from $35-$170. Visit for more information or to purchase tickets.

nicole-webNicole Rateau provides marketing and communications support for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. She would love to go on tour with Cirque du Soleil, but she would miss Georgia and collard greens!

Southern “Seoul” Food Off the Beaten Path

You love food and you have the Instagram account to prove it. Your wanderlust has taken you near and far in search of the best dishes a city has to offer. You’ve heard Georgia is where it’s at for delicious farm-to-table dishes, down home meat-and-threes, and of course our addictive sweet tea. But did you know that just off the beaten path, there’s a suburb of Atlanta home to some of the best Korean food this side of the Pacific?

breakers BBQ in Duluth Georgia

Just 30 minutes north of Atlanta in Gwinnett County are dozens of authentic, mouth-watering Korean restaurants and bakeries that will make you re-think that 15 hour round-trip ticket to Seoul you’ve been lusting after. From barbecue to bulgogi, misugaru to soju- Gwinnett has you covered for all things Korean.


Harue Cafe Korean Food

If you have a big group and want to experience LOTS of different Korean dishes in one sitting, then Harue Food & Café is your spot. Harue offers up Korean snack foods like fried or sweet & spicy chicken (it is the South after all), dumplings and toppokki- a popular dish with soft rice cake, fish cake, and the sweet red chili sauce. They also have an interesting take on sushi- not really authentic Korean, but delicious none the less.

The Best Korean Barbecue in the United States

breakers korean bbq duluth georgiaBreakers upscale, table-side service highlights the best Korean barbecue Gwinnett has to offer. Paper-thin brisket, lightly smoked pork belly crisps, shredded piles of bulgogi, and spice-marinated chicken thighs. All this comes with an endless procession of banchan (side dishes) including kimchee, marinated vegetables, bean sprouts, and stir-fry glass noodles.


breakers in georgiaWe’re not the only ones that love Breakers Korean Barbecue in Duluth. It was recently names the top Korean BBQ restaurant in the nation and you’ll see why! With partitioned areas for big groups and a sleek, zen-like décor, the atmosphere alone with worth the trip to the Atlanta suburb. Breakers really should be on your foodie bucket list.

Korean Sweet Treats

korean bakery in georgia

Want to satisfy your sweet tooth? You can’t miss the delightful treats at Tree Story Bakery and Café. From custard buns to patbingsu (shaved ice with sweet red beans, fruit and ice cream), to cookies and cakes, Tree Story has something for every level of adventurous eater. Don’t leave without trying the misugaru- a delicious milky iced tea made from a blend of powered grains. It’s a great twist on Southern sweet tea.

While it’s the top destination for Korean food, Gwinnett has so much more to offer. There are plenty of places you can go to take in a show, explore a festival, catch a movie under the stars, or work off all the calories you just consumed on the ice. Grab a great meal and make some unforgettable memories- and be back in your own bed before you turn into a pumpkin!

If you missed our Snapchat story last week you can see it here. Don’t forget to follow us @ExploreGeorgia for all our adventures in real time.

If, somehow, you’re still not satisfied with all the delicious food at these three places you can check out all the restaurants featured in Gwinnett’s Seoul of the South Tour on their website

10665213_10205183432694767_2320968438576051730_nKatie Christof is the Senior Digital Strategist for Explore Georgia. When she’s not scouting out the newest Georgia restaurants and breweries, she’s scuba diving the nearby quarries or taking her cat Jane for a walk (it’s totally and thing). Keep up with all her travels over on Explore Georgia’s Snapchat @ExploreGeorgia.




Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: A Diner’s Paradise

Treat yourself to Southern favorites at Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint located on Concourse C at the Atlanta airport.

Treat yourself to Southern favorites at Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint located on Concourse C at the Atlanta airport.

Chances are you’ve flown through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at some point. If you’re like me, you’ve also spent countless hours waiting for delayed flights, rerouted flights, and on a couple of instances, missed flights. What I’ve discovered during my frequent flights through Hartsfield-Jackson is there are hundreds of delicious restaurants to choose from while you’re waiting for your flight. What’s even more exciting is that several of them are favorite Atlanta-based eateries — in miniature. Take for example The Pecan Bistro on Concourse F, a smaller but equally delicious version of College Park’s The Pecan (closed). There, you can enjoy real Southern hospitality and dishes like shrimp and grits and Chef Morrow’s famous crab cakes.

Taste the award-winning fried chicken at Paschal's while you're in the Atlanta airport on Concourse B.

Taste the award-winning fried chicken at Paschal’s while you’re in the Atlanta airport on Concourse B.

Paschal’s and Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint also offer the best of Southern cuisine as you travel to parts unknown.

Grindhouse Killer Burgers has two Atlanta airport locations: on Concourses D and T.

Grindhouse Killer Burgers has two Atlanta airport locations: on Concourses D and T.

If you’ve always wanted to sample one of the best burgers in Atlanta, then you’re in luck! Although the original Grindhouse Killer Burgers is located in downtown’s Sweet Auburn Curb Market, there happen to be two located in the airport on Concourses D and T! There is also the iconic The Varsity to choose from, where you can pick up a burger and a fried peach pie to enjoy on your flight.

One Flew South, located on Concourse E, features fine dining and cocktails.

One Flew South, located on Concourse E, features fine dining and cocktails.

For those of you with extra time, treat yourself to an upscale dining experience at One Flew South. Their menu offers a global appeal with locally sourced ingredients and “proper” cocktails.

For a complete list of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport dining options, go to

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. Click here for more content from Jennifer.

Explore Georgia Wants to Find the World’s Biggest Georgia Music Fan!

shakykneesBSPEnter the #GeorgiaMusic Backstage Pass contest to win an eight-day
musical odyssey through Atlanta, Athens and Macon!

Georgia, known for musical heritage ranging from James Brown to Luke Bryan, is on a nationwide search for the most passionate Georgia music fan to explore the state’s vibrant music scenes and bring them to life via social media.

With its own rich and influential music heritage, including concerts, tours, landmarks and more than 100 music festivals statewide, Georgia offers authentic and memorable musical experiences that put fans closer than ever to their favorite artists from the past and present.

Georgia Theatre in Athens

Georgia Theatre is a prominent music venue in Athens that has hosted famous local bands such as REM and the B-52’s

The winner of the #GeorgiaMusic Backstage Pass contest and a guest will be treated to a tour of the state through Atlanta, Athens and Macon from May 8-15, 2016. During the trip, you will help us tell the stories of Georgia’s deep-rooted musical history on our blog and social media channels.

To enter the #GeorgiaMusic Backstage Pass contest, die-hard music fans must follow @ExploreGeorgia on Instagram, post a Georgia music-related photo using the hashtags #GeorgiaMusic and #GeorgiaMusicBackstagePass and tell us why you love Georgia music in the post. Don’t forget – your account must be public for us to see your submission!

Allman Brothers Band Museum Entrance

Get ready to rock when you roll into historic Macon, Georgia!

From April 4–15, 2016, Explore Georgia will collect entries and engage with contestants. On the final day we’ll select five finalists based on creative photography and fan engagement. The finalists’ entry will be posted to the blog on April 18, 2016, for public voting. A winner will be announced on April 25, 2016.

Wilco at Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta

Wilco at Shaky Knees in Atlanta. Photo by aLIVE Coverage, from Shaky Knees, Facebook.

The #GeorgiaMusic Backstage Pass grand prize includes:
  • Round-trip air transportation to/from Atlanta
  • Hotel accommodations (eight nights) in Atlanta, Athens and Macon
  • Rental car
  • Music-focused tours and experiences in Atlanta, Athens and Macon
  • Two VIP tickets to the Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta (May 13-15)
  • Daily stipend of $150

But that’s not all we’re giving away! One (1) runner-up will win two tickets to the Shaky Beats Music Festival, taking place May 20-22 at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. Shaky Beats features more than 40 top electronic, indie and hip-hop acts across three stages. And you thought Georgia was only about country music…

The winner must be 25 years of age or older and his/her accompanying guest must be 21 years of age or older by May 8, 2016. The winner must be available to travel May 8 – 15, 2016. The winner and guest must depart from an airport in the 48 contiguous United States.

Enter today for an opportunity to be at the center of Georgia’s music story and have the chance to win a trip to experience our vibrant music for yourself!

By entering this contest you agree to follow the terms and conditions set forth here.

Learn more about Georgia music at

Monadnock Madness: Go Mad for Metro Atlanta’s Geological Gems

Explore the wonders of monadnocks during special events in March.

Explore the wonders of monadnocks during special events in March.

Monad-what? A monadnock is a special type of mountain formed when hard blobs of lava are compressed under the Earth’s crust. Talk about feeling the pressure! Now that the softer rock around the granite clumps has been eroded away, Georgians are treated to three amazing geological oddities right in their backyard – Stone Mountain, Panola Mountain and Arabia Mountain – and that’s something worth celebrating. In fact, it’s a marvel worth going downright mad over. So, this March during Monadnock Madness, lace up your hiking boots and explore the awe-inspiring wonders of vernal pools, diamorpha – with red leaves and white blooms — and more, all atop Georgia’s geological gems.

Bring your camera and curiosity

Cherry blossoms at Stone Mountain Park on March 5

Cherry blossoms at Stone Mountain Park on March 5. Photo courtesy of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Facebook.

Throughout the month of March, Monadnock Madness brings a variety of activities to the public, including photography lessons, advanced archery classes, Reptile Day, and behind the scenes hikes all made possible through the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance in partnership with the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, Panola Mountain State Park, and Stone Mountain Memorial Association.

Catch the sunset from a monadnock

Sunset from Panola Mountain during the March 5 Monadnock Madness Triple Hike Challenge

Sunset from Panola Mountain during the March 5 Monadnock Madness Triple Hike Challenge. Photo courtesy of Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Facebook.

The highlight of the month is the Monadnock Madness Triple Hike Challenge, which brings adventurers together to summit all three of Metro Atlanta’s monadnocks in one unforgettable day. All hikers earn a unique souvenir they can wear as a badge of honor. See photos from the March 5 event on Facebook. Upcoming Triple Hikes will take place on March 19, 20 and 31. RSVPs are required and this event always sell out.

For more details on these exciting events and to purchase tickets for the Triple Hike and/or Landscape, Micro and Wildlife Photography 101 Class, visit

Kimberly EstepWhen not putting her savvy communication skills to use at the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Kimberly Estep can most often be found wandering over hiking trails with her two dogs. Most of all, Kimberly loves sharing her knowledge of the hidden gems of Georgia with anyone who will listen.