Category: Events

Of Madness and Rabbits

Our second online book talk, at 4 p.m. this Sunday, showcases a book with an unusual title: Jesus Goes to Hollywood: A Memoir of Madness.

Please let us explain.

The author, Tom Matte (right) of suburban Atlanta, tells a cautionary tale of what can happen when a normal-seeming life collides with substance abuse and mental illness. Tom was a successful marketing man — that’s his clever Instagram meme with Brer Rabbit at far right. A few years ago, his recreational use of cocaine spun out of control and started rewiring his brain. He grew paranoid, tried to burn down his house, left his wife and two children, and went on a three-continent spending spree that cleaned out their savings and left him penniless and sleeping on the beach near the Santa Monica Pier in California. At one point, he was so crazy he imagined he was Jesus –– hence the title.

Tom ended up serving time in two Georgia jails and then slowly climbed his way back from the abyss. The last section of the book is about his mental healing and his arduous efforts to reconnect with his family. After all he did to them, it wasn’t easy.

Tom’s memoir is horrifying, but it’s also darkly humorous in places. Mixing the two is a technique as old as storytelling. We certainly recognize it here at the Wren’s Nest because the fellow who used to live here, Joel Chandler Harris, mixed them quite often in the Uncle Remus stories. In “The Awful Fate of Mr. Wolf,” to name one example, Brer Rabbit tricks Brer Wolf into being boiled alive, and then calls his friends over for a celebratory feast. The last we see of Brer Wolf is a pelt hanging on the back porch.

We can assure you that no animals were harmed in Tom’s memoir. His mental well-being was another matter.

To attend the book talk, register at Eventbrite and you’ll receive an email with a link to join the meeting on Zoom. It’s free, and books will be available for sale. Hope to see you Sunday.


Take a Sad Song and Make it Better

This was to have been the fifth summer that Jazz Matters performed outdoor concerts from our backyard stage. Much to our regret, the season has been canceled — or at least postponed — because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jazz Matters is a local nonprofit that promotes the music and tradition of one of America’s greatest cultural contributions. Founded by veteran Atlanta musician Edwin Williams and his wife, Janice Williams, Jazz Matters organizes three or four summer concerts on the Wren’s Nest grounds, using the stage that was built in the 1920s for the annual May flower festivals that were held for decades. The concerts draw hundreds of people to the Nest and make our yard look like a West End version of the Chastain Park amphitheater, with candlelit tables, picnic spreads and wine bottles. If you’ve never been, these concerts are some of the most fun events that happen at the Wren’s Nest.
If circumstances permit, we hope to host a couple of outdoor Jazz Matters concerts this autumn. In the meantime, we’ll soon start posting online performances and other surprises from our musical friends. And soon, we’ll tell you about another event scheduled for this summer that had to be canceled because of the pandemic — another concert that might have drawn the largest crowd ever at the Wren’s Nest.
Escape the Nest

Escape The Wren’s Nest

Escape Room in haunted historic house museum: The Wren’s Nest

You’re invited to an evening cocktail party at The Wren’s Nest, in West End, Atlanta. But be forewarned: Joel Chandler Harris, the previous owner of the house, is a notorious prankster! Famous for his Brer Rabbit novels, Harris is arguably just as tricky as his beloved character. His ghost treads through the house looking for his next prank victim, locking doors behind his guests and only letting them out if they can solve his clues. Are you up for the challenge? Escape the Nest begins Friday, August 9th and continues every Friday and Saturday in August. New games start on the hour every hour from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. at The Wren’s Nest, located at 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW, Atlanta, GA 30310.

Escape the Nest is based on the popular escape room game model. In this interactive game, groups of guests must work together to solve puzzles and riddles, finding codes that open a series of locks until they ultimately find the key to the exit. At The Wren’s Nest, our guests play within Georgia’s oldest historic house museum. The Queen Anne Victorian style house creates an ambience that will make guests feel as they’re playing a real-life game of Clue.

Escape the Nest opens on Friday, August 9th and will run every successive Friday and Saturday in August (9,10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31). The game starts on the hour every hour from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. with a runtime of 45 minutes. The maximum capacity for each game is 10 guests and a minimum of 4 guests is required for a game to run. Tickets range in price from $26-$30 and are on sale now on Eventbrite @ Escape the Nest:

If you are interested in reserving Escape the Nest for a private group, please call The Wren’s Nest at (404) 753-7735.

Participants must be at least 14 years old. All participants will be required to sign a liability release form. A staff member or volunteer from The Wren’s Nest will also be with the group throughout the game to ensure the safety of any historic objects in the room.

Parking is available on site for free.

If you are interested in volunteering at Escape the Nest, please contact The Wren’s Nest at (404) 753-7735 or contact the Curator of Education, Meredith Deeley, at Volunteers will receive two (2) free tickets to the Edgar Allen Poe Experience.

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