Brazil, beavers, a bomb 

And a tortilla with legs!

On Sunday afternoon, I went to the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell for an informative lecture on beavers. The people who know me know that I love beavers and that I'm always eager to learn more about them. Beavers rock. I literally cannot get enough beavers. Beaver, beaver, beaver!

I arrived shortly before what I thought was the scheduled beaver hour, 2 p.m. It had just started raining, but since, along with piña coladas, I like getting caught in the rain, I headed to the beaver habitat nevertheless. When I arrived, there was no one there. I didn't see any people, nor did I see any beavers. Disappointed, I stood there in the rain for about five minutes staring at the beaver bulletin board. Then, a mom and her two kids showed up. The kids walked up to the edge of the beaver pond and out came the beavers as if on cue. One started doing laps around his pond. The other sat at the edge of the pond with his head pressed against a rock while he splashed around with one of his feet.

The mom and kids departed after a minute or two, leaving me alone with the two beavers. Two beavers at once; it was every man's fantasy! As I walked alongside the pond looking for a good photo angle, the lap-swimming beaver kept reorienting his oval pattern in my direction and staring at me. He seemed intrigued by me. I wonder if my reputation as a beaver lover preceded me.

After a few minutes, I walked over to the splashy beaver. I tried to get his attention for a photo, but I wasn't sure how. I whistled. I made a clicking noise with my tongue. What finally worked was waving my hands and saying, "Hey, beaver." He swam my way, stared at me, but soon went back to his rock to continue splashing. Fickle beavers.

Festival Ponce Brazil: Last Thursday, I popped my head into the Drunken Unicorn to see the band Brazil. I'm not sure if the band is named after Brazil the country, Brazil the Terry Gilliam movie, Brazil the nut, or Brazil, the city in the band's home state of Indiana (just east of Terre Haute).

Determining how the members derived their name is an important point. The Theory of Band Names dictates that bands must suck in direct proportion to the size of the geographic location from which they take their name. For example, Boston was a terrible band. Kansas was worse. Europe was worse than that, and Asia was the absolute worst band ever. With that in mind, I'm inclined to think that Brazil must be named after either the town in Indiana or the nut, because it didn't suck. Granted, the band members' hyper-emotive, art-punk sound isn't my cup of tea, but they're good at what they do. The band's singer has a powerful, high voice (a la Steve Perry or Geddy Lee) that, in a sea of awful, growly singers, renders Brazil unique and interesting, no matter what it's playing.

He also has a unique look. I can't say that I've ever seen a band fronted by a skeletal blond man with tattoos, braces and a fat wedding band. Another thing Brazil had going for it was passion. When band members who don't even have microphones are screaming the lyrics to the songs and pointing to the sky (or in the Drunken Unicorn's case, the ceiling) as if hollering at the Almighty, then you know that they at least mean what they're saying.

Movies worth seeing: Last Sunday night, the Atlanta Underground Film Festival hosted El Dia de la Revolucion at Eyedrum. The slightly, although not completely, tongue-in-cheek name was inspired by the politically themed films shown that night. I'm not gonna get into movie reviewing, CL already has people for that, but I do wanna at least mention the documentary I saw called MOVE. It's the story of a Philadelphia radical group called MOVE and its war with the Philadelphia government. I mean war literally. In 1985, the City of Brotherly Love dropped a bomb on MOVE's row house headquarters from a helicopter, starting a fire that burned down 61 homes and killed several children. The MOVE people in the movie came off as morons, but no amount of their stupidity justified Philly's criminal negligence, which to this day has gone unpunished. It was so shocking to see on film that I honestly forgot to mingle and do my usual Scene & Herd thing.

Ay, caramba!: Sombreros off to the organizers of Festival Peachtree Latino at Underground Atlanta on Sunday for creating a realistic Latino experience. It was exactly like I remember Latin America from my trips there: hot, humid, loud, permeated with the smell of cooking food, and full of Latin Americans!

In some ways, though, it was even more Latin American than Latin America itself. I've been to Venezuela, Costa Rica and the tortilla homeland, Mexico, and never once on those trips did I see a giant rolled tortilla with legs, boots and a hat. I saw two at Festival Peachtree Latino. Each was accompanied by a woman wearing a frilly, colorful dress. According to the Tortilla Industry Association, the tortilla is the most popular ethnic bread, beating out the bagel, the English muffin, and the pita, so its success with the ladies should not be a surprise.

Virile tortillas were joined at the festival by a veritable "Domingo Gigante's" worth of live entertainment. I saw several dancers, in dresses similar to the ones worn by the tortilla groupies, dancing on the big stage to what sounded like folksy Mexican music. I didn't see her, but apparently former Miss Universe Alicia Machado was there.

Just like at other festivals, food was a big part of F.P.L. The bits I sampled were tasty, but by virtue of its high cost, the food was the festival's biggest disappointment. Arepas, a cheese-and-corn patty that's a staple of Colombian and Venezuelan diets, were $3. They should have been half that price. A small serving of plantains was $4. Sodas were selling for up to $3.

The most disturbing thing I saw at the festival was a sign outside a large tent that read "Pinte su galllina." In English, that means "Paint your hen." I moved in closer to inspect and it turns out that children were in the tent painting life-sized model hens. No hens were harmed, unless you count the ones being cooked by food vendors.



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