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December 27 — Welcome back to Rough Draft! 

The usual crew is taking a break this week, so you're getting a vacation-week Draft, curated by the intern.

Hopefully, we are looking at a relatively chill week, but as you'll see in our first story below, the pandemic is not observing a holiday schedule.

⛅ Today will be cloudy and remain unseasonably warm with a high of 67°.

🇿🇦 Desmond Tutu, one of the leading voices against South Africa's apartheid regime, died Sunday. The archbishop won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 and later spent time at Emory University. He was 90.

🏙️ Andre Dickens becomes the 61st Mayor of Atlanta one week from today. The swearing-in ceremony is Mon., Jan 3 at 1 p.m.

For folks who want to get involved in inauguration activities, visit this site to learn more and register for events, including a community service day, a block party, the virtual interfaith service, and the formal swearing-in ceremony which takes place at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium.

🤔Rough Draft Trivia:  A top three story of 2021 was our Dec. 10 bit on the Pantone color of the year for 2022. It's called Very Peri. 👇
🕖 Today's Rough Draft is  stories 

• Omicron update
• A new event space with a benevolent twist
• Look & Listen

• What's filming - 2021 year in review

Have a great day and we'll see you Wednesday!
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1. OMG, Omicron

😷COVID-19 infection numbers continue to spike to record numbers around the world, including close to home where Fulton County public health officials project at least 150 more deaths between now and April.

Just before Christmas, Cobb County chairwoman Lisa Cupid signed an emergency declaration amid a surge there.

↕️ The charts above and below are from The New York Times tracker, which shows that Georgia is 23rd in per-capita cases and reports that 51% of Georgia residents are fully vaccinated.

If there is any bright spot as cases rise dramatically, the Omicron variant seems to be less severe.

💉 If you need a vaccine or a booster, please visit this site to find out where you can get a free shot. 

✈️ Major airlines canceled lots of flights over the holiday weekend due to staffing shortages (and some weather). If you're flying today, check your flight before going to the airport.

🏀 Georgia Tech's game at Syracuse, which was scheduled for Wed. Dec. 29, has been postponed. 

🥂The status of local New Year's Eve events continues to be fluid, at the mercy of Omicron. The Fox, The Earl, and The Eastern have all announced they are canceling Dec. 31 concerts. 

🍑 No word yet on the reboot of Underground Atlanta's Peach Drop. New York City will allow only 15,000 people at their annual Times Square event. In a normal year, attendance is 58,000.   
2. Atlanta Angels & 42West

Christie Simons was looking for event space for Atlanta Angels, a nonprofit she co-founded in 2020 to serve the foster care community.

At the same time, event planner Lauren Pelissier was eager to fulfill her vision for 42West, the event space on Atlanta’s Upper Westside that she recently created with former Atlanta Hawks player Kevin Willis (#42).

The two organizations joined forces, and Atlanta Angels became the first charity hosted at 42West, launching its “Until Every Child is Reached.”

Focused on creating high-end occasions such as red-carpet film premieres, 42West was designed to also give back to the community. Paid events are a funding stream allowing Atlanta nonprofits to book the space at zero rental cost. 

The 6,000-square-foot venue is a renovated 1950s-era warehouse in the Blandtown neighborhood on Huff Rd. Nonprofits are charged “very nominal” fees for security, valet parking, and cleaning, Pelissier said.

Donna Williams Lewis has the complete story on this innovative new space. 
3. Look & Listen: Atlanta stories

📻 WABE's weekly podcast Political Breakfast sits down with outgoing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to look back on a term defined by social justice protests, a global pandemic, and a cyber attack. 

🎧 Give a listen to students from Midtown High School as they discuss the environmental consequences of the fast fashion industry and what to do about it. Plus, how has the pandemic impacted preparation for standardized tests like the SAT.

🎙️Revisit Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History, which has a couple of special bonus issues that pay homage to what some call Gladwell's favorite city. Take it from him: "best case scenario for all of us is that Atlanta is the future of America."

Above: Gladwell with local rapper Gucci Mane via YouTube.
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4. Year in Review: what's filming locally

🎥 It’s been a tumultuous time for Georgia’s film industry. Production crews bounced back from the pandemic to what The Georgia Department of Economic Development called “a blockbuster year,” with a record $4 billion in direct spending on productions, all while narrowly avoiding an industry-wide strike.

Here are five films and TV shows we loved gabbing about. 🍑

Donald Glover and company spent the last year knocking out seasons three and four of the award-winning FX comedy series “Atlanta.” Featuring ten episodes, season three was filmed primarily in Europe and premieres March 24. Season four will follow soon after.

 Scarlett Johansson may have drawn critical ire for her role as Natasha Romanoff in “Black Widow.” She also sued Disney for breach of contract, but the numbers don’t lie: “Black Widow” amassed $375,474,179 in worldwide box office sales.

Sure “Cobra Kai” is basically just Gilmore Girls for Gen X parents (and their kids) reliving the timeless feud between lifelong frenemies Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. And that’s awesome. Season four drops Dec. 31.  

Netflix claims that “Red Notice” is its most-watched movie, with viewers logging 364 million hours of screen time to date. The action film, starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds (above) used empty parking lots at Tyler Perry Studios to recreate Rome. 

Fully grasping the multi-dimensional implications of "Spider-Man: No Way Home" might require multiple viewings. What’s equally perplexing is the level of movie magic that Marvel used to transform Atlanta city streets into a New York City backdrop where Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tobey Maguire, Jamie Foxx, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, and others battle for supremacy.

- Chad Radford
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