Bye-bye, Cock 

Hello, dog

You may not have noticed because it doesn't have an oversized electrical fruit* on TV to herald its arrival, but last Sunday was Chinese New Year's. So, Happy New Year!

click to enlarge CHINESE NEW YEAR'S: "It's the Year of Me." - ANDISHEH NOURAEE

2006 is the Chinese Year of the Dog. According to my Chinese astrologer (damned outsourcing!), dogs are honest, ethical, loyal and stubborn. Dogs also lick their genitals in front of house guests, steal bread off the kitchen counter, hate Andrew Lloyd Webber, and try to run away when I go out to check the mail. Maybe that's just my dogs, though.

I celebrated the Chinese New Year's Rockin' Eve on Saturday afternoon with a visit to the Chinese New Year Festival at the Atlanta Chinese Culture Center in Chamblee.

The main part of the festival took place in a white, rectangular room the size of an elementary school all-purpose room. On one side was a large stage. When I walked in, there were 10 men and women on the stage performing, nine of them wearing vaguely traditional-looking red shirts and black pants, and one guy wearing a royal blue robe. He kinda looked like a bishop.

The ensemble's performance involved holding up Chinese scrolls, singing in Chinese and swaying in rhythm. I don't know what they were singing, but it sounded festive.

The adults were then followed by several groups of super-cute kids. One group held paper pillow-looking poofy things that hooked together to make a dragon. One group of girls did a jumping fan dance while another group pranced in butterfly outfits.

click to enlarge CHINESE NEW YEAR'S CELEBRATION IN CHAMBLEE: "Gurl, shake dat Laffy Taffy." - ANDISHEH NOURAEE
  • Andisheh Nouraee
  • CHINESE NEW YEAR'S CELEBRATION IN CHAMBLEE: "Gurl, shake dat Laffy Taffy."

Upon reaching my cuteness quota, I decided to eat. There was plenty of good food, but also plenty of bad food. The only way to tell was by sampling. Fortunately, the servings were all inexpensive, so trial and error wasn't prohibitive. The best thing I ate was a radish cake served to me by World United Buddhist Association Pu Xian. For some reason, the woman who served it topped it with a teaspoon of Ragu. Once you wiped the Ragu off, it was delicious. If anyone knows where this columnist can get more radish cakes, this columnist would be grateful.

Behind the building, there was a mini-carnival set up for the kids. The main attractions were cotton candy, Chinese sausage ($1!) and a BB-gun shooting gallery set up by the Atlanta Chinese Shooting Association. I waited in line to shoot, but left after I started getting pelted by BBs ricocheting off the wood fence behind the targets. I'd be shocked if they made it through the weekend without a serious injury.

Back inside, the cute little kids had been replaced by adults singing karaoke. It was the highlight of my afternoon, particularly the middle-aged guy in a sportscoat who fired off a passionate rendition of that Chinese New Year's classic, Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman."

*(I'm referring to Underground Atlanta's peach, not Ryan Seacrest.)

Back to school: Last Friday evening, the High Museum offered area college students a beer-free, ramen-free alternative to their usual social options. Last Friday was College Night Art Break.

click to enlarge COLLEGE NIGHT AT THE HIGH: Dres tha Beatnik. It's more than a clothing store. It's an actual person. - ANDISHEH NOURAEE
  • Andisheh Nouraee
  • COLLEGE NIGHT AT THE HIGH: Dres tha Beatnik. It's more than a clothing store. It's an actual person.

The museum was open until midnight, admission for college students was just $7, and the museum was filled with college-y attractions. In the Wieland Pavilion lobby, I heard the rock bands Kill Gordon and Sovus Radio. I couldn't get a sense of them, though, because they were too loud. I don't mean that in the "I'm old and you punks should pipe down, cut your hair and lay off the video games" sense, but in the "acoustics of the room made all the noises bleed into one another and therefore I couldn't really tell what they were doing" sense. All I could make out was a snippet of Pink Floyd's "Astronomy Domine," but I'm not even sure which band played it. People seemed to like it, though.

After that, I passed through the Robinson Atrium, where DJ Jamad spun dancey music. Dozens listened, but only one guy was dancing. Over in the Hill Auditorium, there was open-mic spoken word. I stuck around to hear Atlanta's Dres tha Beatnik do one of his amazing human beatbox performances. With his mouth and microphone, he does complete songs -- rhythms and melodies. If you watched with your eyes closed, you'd swear it was two or three people.

After touring the Andrew Wyeth exhibit (see it soon, it closes Feb. 26), I ended up back in the Robinson Atrium where DJ Jamad was spinning. This time, many, many people were dancing. And the one guy who was dancing alone before? He was dancing with five women.

Single in the city: Last weekend, I made a rare (for me) Saturday night visit to Midtown's Crescent Avenue club cluster. The reason for my visit was 99X's Swingles Party at Leopard Lounge.

What differentiated this party from the drunken mating ritual occurring at every other bar in the city was that the people attending all had the opportunity to eMeet one another before the party using MySpace.com.

click to enlarge 99X MYSPACE.COM SWINGLES: Things didn't work out, so we decided to just be Friendsters. - ANDISHEH NOURAEE
  • Andisheh Nouraee
  • 99X MYSPACE.COM SWINGLES: Things didn't work out, so we decided to just be Friendsters.

99X has 1,237 "friends" on MySpace.com, among them a man named "Midtown Menance" whose interests include "ladies," "shopping" and "anything luxury"; and a woman named "Not Your Morgie" whose profile page shows off her giant breasts and her interest in "lip gloss," "fake lashes" and "philosophy."

I didn't actually meet anybody whose MySpace profile I saw ahead of time (except Jimmy Baron, but he's not single), but it was a fun time nevertheless. Free beer is always fun.

andisheh@creativeloafing.com

For more of Andisheh's outings, visit Scene & Herd at atlanta.creativeloafing.com.

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