August in Atlanta is a time when sensible people confine themselves to the air-conditioned indoors -- and sensible wealthy people fly elsewhere. Artists usually are neither wealthy nor particularly sensible. Hence ShedSpace, an August series of art shows in backyard sheds. The first show of the series was last Saturday in Peoplestown, a little neighborhood just south of Turner Field. Rumor has it the area is named Peoplestown because all of the homes there are made of Soylent Green. At least that's the rumor I'm starting.
Anyhoo, Saturday's ShedSpace was a peep show by Matt Haffner. He made it by drilling six holes in the side of a shed. Each hole had an accompanying coin slot -- and when you put a coin in, the image in the hole in front of you would light up. The images depicted a violent confrontation from beginning to end. Helpful amateur art critic and Scene & Herd Recurring Character Matt Gove described the main character as a "dude with a pole." He also provided narration for some of the scenes ("You want summa this," "Batter up!").
Near the end of the series, the "body" was dumped into the trunk of a Volvo. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but the thought of a dead body being transported in the trunk of a Volvo is really funny to me. If J.D. Power & Associates ranked cars by the likelihood their trunk would see a dead body, I'm pretty sure Volvo would rank near the bottom, just above Saab.
By the way, the show's shed was built by the Mad Housers, a local volunteer organization that makes sturdy temporary housing for the homeless. To the best of my knowledge, there was no one inside the shed during the show.
Hey, Joe: While I'm on the subject of public art, at around 9 on Sunday morning, while I was getting gas at the Shell at 14th and Spring streets, I saw some very compelling public art. Standing sentry at the Shell's mini-mart entrance was a miniature camel version of the painted CowParade cows all over town. It may very well have been a cigarette-related knickknack, but it also may have been a clever spoof of CowParade, placed at a gas station to draw attention to our nation's dependence on oil from the Middle East. The man drinking Bud who claimed to have "found" the piece offered no insight. When I drove by later that day, the man and the camel were gone.
Refuge of the damned: While much of this column features S&H staples (Gove, ShedSpace, improv, dogs, Piedmont Park, dogs in Piedmont Park), I tried to spice it up a bit by going to Saturday night's Thong-a-Thon at the New Beer Mug on Collier Road. I thought to myself, "Hmm, this is a good opportunity to do something new and interesting while helping raise money toward the purchase of thong underwear for the poor."
I called the bar to find out when the event would start. I was told 10 p.m., and that it was actually a contest, not a benefit. Oh well.
On the way there, S&H R.C. Matt Gove and I wondered aloud what type of crowd would go to the Beer Mug on a Saturday night. However, no amount of speculation could have prepared us for the sad spectacle inside. Basically, the New Beer Mug combines the lifelessness and stylelessness of a worse-than-typical suburban bar with a central intown location. The two hours we spent there involved a parade of the dorkiest dorks imaginable. Seriously, if you're gonna wear a football jersey around, you should either a) be football player -- or, if you're not a football player, b) at least be near a stadium. And if you're gonna wear a visor you should a) be dealing cards or b) definitely not be wearing a football jersey. No wonder there was hardly any women there who weren't waitressing or competing in the Thong-a-Thon.
Adding insult to the $5 cover charge was a band called Absolute Jack. If not-quite-in-tune Stone Temple Pilots, GN'R, Tonic, Beatles and Rush covers are your thing, seek them out. Only the beers shuttled our way by our kind server (who, incidentally, asked me if I wanted ketchup or mustard for my house salad) made it tolerable. Unfortunately, the thong-a-thon actually started at 12:30 a.m., not 10 p.m. To drink enough beer to tolerate four hours at the Mug would've meant alcohol poisoning or a DUI. So we left.
Patty O'Furniture: Members of the Atlanta All-Star improv group that put on last year's fantastic Biblio'Malley show at PushPush Theatre are currently trying their hands at a sequel. Biblio'Malley: Aftermath is running at PushPush through Aug. 23. Saturday night's show wasn't so much "laugh out loud" as it was "huh?" Taking words offered by the audience and plugging them into a mathematical formula, the performers riffed through an hour-long performance that was at times more fantasy than comedy. When I say fantasy, I'm thinking of the "lawyer tubes," secret vacuum tunnels that attorneys use to get to court in a hurry. The funniest sketch was Z. Gillespie's depiction of a German man threatening to shoot up a German bakery because he's angry about how German confections -- namely marzipan -- killed his diabetic friend.
Another friggin' Bark in the Park: On Sunday, Piedmont Park's off-leash dog area became a permanent part of the park. To celebrate, the Piedmont Park Conservancy (voted Best Conservancy in Piedmont Park for several years running) hosted a beered-up, jazzed-out party to celebrate. In attendance was Atlanta City Councilwoman Anne Fauver, who was instrumental in making the park permanent. Of the six or so emotions politicians are allowed to acknowledge in public (shocked, saddened, pleased, encouraged, happy, delighted), she chose delighted.
I thought my dog, Mathilde, would enjoy it, but she tried to get out of the park three times. That's the last time I take that bitch to work with me.
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