Four social sorties 

And a Giggling Otter

To preserve operational security, I can't reveal the exact location, but on Sunday night I attended a semi-underground party at Die Slaughterhaus, the Edgewood home/ compound belonging to the band the Black Lips. When I arrived at the party, a large group of people was gathered around a makeshift boxing ring. Inside, two young women wearing boxing gloves were fighting. The loudmouthed woman winning the fight was doing so despite not wearing her glasses. Her opponent's loudest supporter kept yelling, "Punch her in the pussy."

Fortunately the advice wasn't heeded.

After a few minutes, I kept hearing people mumbling about letting "the Hawaiian" woman fight. Eventually she took the gloves from the loser of the first fight and fought the loud woman. She didn't actually defeat the loudmouth, but her meanness and high intensity level made for impressive entertainment. You could hear people mumbling about it long afterward.

In the Die Slaughterhaus basement, the Carbonas, the Black Lips and Spain's Los Peros performed for 30 or so people. For those too lazy or too frightened to go in the basement, there was a video feed of the performance broadcast in the living room.

Although I didn't drink or partake, the party gave me a hangover. That's because people kept throwing plastic into the bonfire adjacent to the boxing ring. I was standing by and enjoying the warm fire for several minutes before I realized that there were several plastic cups and a plastic gas can burning among the wood.

Sortie 2: Scottdale is a small-town/neighborhood/ intersection nestled (perhaps even comfortably) between Decatur and Clarkston. It's home to Cafe Bunamore (rhymes with un amor), which every Saturday hosts an open-mic poetry show called Eclectic Soul Saturdays. According to host N'tellect, turnout was low because several regulars were at the Common show. Even so, all but a handful of seats were taken.

The most popular poetic theme Saturday night was sex. Poetic Neci preceded one of her pieces by dedicating it to "all you ladies who've not explored your bisexual side," which unsurprisingly, made the men in attendance hoot with delight. Abyss performed a piece about a love affair. It had my favorite line of the night: "We had sex to DMX."

The featured performer was Jahques (pronounced Zsa-Kwez). An annoyingly loud ringing cell phone interrupted his first poem, dedicated to women as a thank you for putting up with men. The ringing made him pause. And just when I thought he was gonna ream-out someone for carelessly leaving his or her ringer on, he laughed and apologized because the ringing phone was his. He had left it on at his table before taking the mic. My favorite of his poems was called "Blacker," in which he discussed the phenomenon of black people being criticized by other black people for not being "black enough." Jahques' protagonist says he's blacker than "crows," "tar," Paul Robeson singing "Swing Low Sweet Chariot," and JJ and Esther Rolle from "Good Times."

Sortie 3: If you're one of those people who's been wondering when Marietta would host a show of surrealist paintings, your wondering days are over. Just south of Marietta Town Square (Cobb's Soho) and across the street from a pottery place called Just Kiln Time, the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art is hosting Dreamer's Companion, a show featuring the surrealist paintings of Athens artists Scott Belville, Jill Biskin, Dennis Harper and Kathy Yancey.

Dogs feature prominently in the surrealist scenes depicted. None of the paintings were about dogs, but roughly half have at least one dog just hanging out. My favorites were Belville's. His "At the Curb," a bleak landscape with a broken statue and disinterested dog, evokes Dali by using a similar color scheme to Dali's signature painting, "Melting Watch." Neither the dog nor the statue was melting, though.

Most haunting was "Sound of Trees Falling," a series of small paintings on a single large canvas in which a young girl turns gray while sitting among dead trees. In the final frame, she's wearing a gas mask. Belville's painting of a hubcap-adorned shack, complete with a weird dog, seemed to get the biggest reaction from gallery-goers. I flipped through the guest book and found comments like, "Explanation for the hubcaps, please," and, "Very interesting, but why hubcaps?"

Sortie 4: Last Tuesday, Decatur's Brick Store Pub (which, according to legend, was once slated to be named The Giggling Otter) hosted a fundraiser party for an organization called Georgians for World Class Beer. The group's goal is to get the state Legislature to change a nearly 70-year-old law that bans the sale of alcohol in Georgia if it contains more than 6 percent alcohol by volume. The arbitrary 6-percent limit means that gourmet European beers available in most other states can't be sold in Georgia, even though they contain less alcohol than wine, liquor or NyQuil.

Rep. Stephanie Stuckey-Benfield, D-Decatur, sponsor of the bill that would legalize the gourmet beers, mingled with patrons and chatted about the law. The party's draw was a fruity German beer people called "The Aventinus." Someone brought a keg of it from another state. By the way, when I say fruity, I don't mean it as an epithet. I mean that it tasted like fruit.

Efforts to repeal the law in the recent past were thwarted by conservative legislators who foolishly believe that changing it would mean that young people would get drunker. These lawmakers probably realize that there are much cheaper and easier ways to get drunk than on $12 six-packs brewed by Belgian monks. But what's the fun of being a conservative lawmaker if you can't obsess over people's private lives?



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