October 23, 2019

The DA's Race Shapes Up, and Art Benefits Acting

Pub Notes

This detail from a painting by Bob Hart is typical of the delightful folk art available in the sale to benefit Town & Gown Players.

Top Cop: Brian Patterson dropped by for a visit last week. He is the Chief Assistant District Attorney for the Western Judicial Circuit that includes Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties. He has worked in that office for the last 17 years and has been chief assistant DA since 2007. He has announced his candidacy for District Attorney, since his boss, the present DA Ken Mauldin, is retiring.

Patterson is already basically running the DA’s office, supervising 17 assistant district attorneys, as well as the various alternatives to incarceration, such as the drug court, a veterans’ court, a pretrial diversion program, plus diversion and day-reporting centers. He has tried over 100 criminal cases and participated in 150 appeals to higher courts.

His undergraduate and law degrees are from UGA, he’s married with two children, lives in Oconee County, belongs to Athens First United Methodist Church and made his original decision to become a prosecutor after taking time off to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. In short, he is the very model of a modern district attorney.

Not so fast: The popular attorney and former state representative Deborah Gonzalez is also running for DA, and though she can’t match Patterson’s hands-on experience as a prosecutor and trial lawyer, she has wide contacts and friendships among local progressives and offers a candidacy aimed at humanizing what she sees as a prosecutorial system stacked against the poor and minorities.

Patterson has the experience, but Gonzalez says, “The DA is here not to count court victories but to serve and do justice.” Both candidates are Democrats, but this May 2020 election may turn out to mirror the one in which Lisa Lott, with strong progressive credentials, unseated the capable but more conservative Regina Quick in their Superior Court contest last year.


Art from the Hart: In a unique fundraiser for the Town & Gown Players, local artist Bob Hart has donated his vast collection of folk art, much of it made by him. He has for years supported regional folk artists by purchasing their works, while producing his own art. The result is a storefront filled with whimsical treasures.

The sale started last weekend and has proved quite popular. The T&G Pop-Up Folk Art Sale continues this Saturday, Oct. 26 from 1–4 p.m. at 1149 Athens Road, Crawford, GA (12 miles east of Lowes on Hwy 78). It’s cash and check only, and there’s free parking in the lot two doors down from the shop. All proceeds go to Town & Gown Players, Athens’ oldest, continuously operating, all-volunteer community theater, now in its 67th season.

As sale organizer and T&G veteran Florence King writes, “This work is colorful, bright and happy and would make wonderful gifts, beautiful art for your home or quirky fence art. Our goal is to get beautiful art into the hands of as many people as possible!”

If you are interested in purchasing some of this art but can’t make it to Crawford Saturday, email Florence King at, and she may be able to arrange for somebody to meet you at the store at your convenience.


Speaking of Town & Gown: This weekend, T&G presents a perfect storm of a Second Stage production: four actors and a director who have all acted together and directed each other in various Town & Gown productions and in this one are interpreting the words of one of Britain’s finest writers. Steve Elliott Gower directs Bryn Adamson, Gay Griggs McCommons, Ginny Simmons and Terrell Austin in #HerStory, adapted from Bennett’s Talking Heads 2, a perennial hit in England and America.

This is a reading, with the four actors seated on the stage, scripts in hand—no scenery, no props, no pratfalls: just the essence of acting, the ability to create living characters from words on the page. 

Elliott-Gower puts it this way: “I’ve been a huge fan of Alan Bennett for decades. He’s a tremendously poignant, humane and playful writer. It’s a special pleasure to bring his words to life through four of Athens’ most talented actors—friends all.” 

#HerStories is presented by T&G with performances held only this weekend on Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. in the Athens Community Theater, 115 Grady Ave. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased online at, by calling 706-208-8696, or in person one hour before the performance.