The battle, or should I say Battle, began with all 10 of the bands marching onto the field for an opening ceremony. After each team was introduced, a guy standing next to me on the sideline would flip a switch and big, loud fireworks would go off. I have to admit that this was the most interesting part of the show to me. I've never been so close to the "behind-the-scenes" workings of professional pyrotechnics.
For those of you wondering, the fireworks were triggered by two gizmos. One was a box filled with toggle switches called the Pyromate. Flipping a switch in the Pyromate triggered the explosion as quickly as a light switch lights up a bulb. The Pyromate was powered by a box called the Pyropak II, manufactured by Alabama's reassuringly named Luna Tech corporation.
After the explosions, there was an invocation over the P.A. that included the words, "Father, we thank you for American Honda." Soon followed a tribute by all 10 bands at once to fallen musical heroes Rick James, Jam Master Jay and Ray Charles. For Jam Master Jay, the bands played "Walk This Way," a particularly generous gesture when you consider that Jam Master Jay's contribution to "Walk This Way" is that he took Aerosmith's version and placed it on a turntable.
After the opening ceremonies, each band had a solo spot. It's difficult to distinguish their performances as they were all nice and bright and thumpy. I particularly liked Oklahoma's Langston University, though. Their marching maneuvers were geometrically pleasing (did I just say that?) and they played one of my all-time favorite songs, Marvin Gaye's "If This World Were Mine," without me even requesting it. Virginia State University's Trojan Explosion band seemed extra-good to me as well. I'm very impressed that the band's leaders managed to get 150 people to join an organization whose name, Trojan Explosion, describes one of a college student's worst nightmares.
Ice Ska-tin: On Sunday evening, New York ska legends the Toasters played two shows at Smith's Olde Bar. I attended the first, an all-ages show packed with high school-age kids sporting spiked hair, Doc Martens, and one young man whose denim vest featured patches expressing his displeasure with both Nazis and the ROTC. He spent the show dancing next to a girl who had a German Iron Cross clipped to her pants. It's nice how music brings people together, don't you think?The show wasn't particularly crowded, but the energy was high compared to similarly attended rock shows because of all of the skanking. Don't worry, parents, skanking's not dirty. It's just dancing. As exercised by the audience, it consisted of joyfully running in place to the band's beat.
It being a ska show, there wasn't much in the way of musical variety. Nevertheless, some of the tracks went down better than others. The audience really enjoyed "Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down," "Pirate Radio" and "Shocker!" For the record, "Shocker!" has nothing to do with the hand gesture/sexual act of the same name. I think it's about being short of cash.
Come Together:The very enjoyable and confusingly capitalized and punctuated ATLart began last Friday. As is now customary, the 11-day art event opened last Friday night with a multigallery art opening. Unable to free myself from the limits imposed on me by shackles of space and time, I couldn't actually attend every show. I had to choose a gallery, so I chose Skot Foreman Fine Art. I always enjoy his shows and, let's be honest here, he's close to a good pizza restaurant.Foreman is currently featuring paintings, drawings, etchings and mixed media by Pablo Picasso and Romare Bearden. The Beardens on display included several prints from the biblical "Prevalence of Ritual Suite" portfolio. I was particularly transfixed by Bearden's depiction of the story of Salome. John the Baptist's head is sitting on a platter and someone (I think King Herod) is flashing an "A-OK" gesture.
In the ground floor's back room hung several Picassos. Some were made by the hand of America's favorite dead Spaniard, but it seems most of the pieces were merely (merely!) gorgeous limited edition screen prints of his paintings commissioned by his daughter after his death. Foreman also has on display a Picasso-designed platter. It's pretty, but at $16,500, it's a terrible bargain. Linens-n-Things has a 13-piece Corningware set for $50. Unlike the Picasso, it's dishwasher safe.
On Sunday night, I went to Eyedrum to see Shelter, a conceptual art show that "explores the idea shelter." The show consists of different types of shelters, as conceived and built by some local artists.
Despite the near-comically pretentious statement painted on the gallery wall which included reference to "the exsanguinated home" and "the apparent exteriorities of politics economics," the show was quite enjoyable. That was mostly due to the large number of people present who were in happy moods, or should I say, the multifarious personages deploying mirth. Most conscipuous among them was activist and performance artist Johnny D'Farmer.
From his shelter, a decorated bunk that he labeled home and office, D'Farmer engaged passers-by in conversations about his various passions. These passions include peace activism and helping Dulcinea the Big Chicken and her mission to cultivate courage. D'Farmer's latest mission is his desire to convince Richard Branson to allow her to become "The Future-1st Clown in Space." I can tell he's serious because underneath his overalls he was wearing a Johnson Space Center T-shirt.
email@example.comFor more of Andisheh's ramblings, visit Scene & Herd at atlanta.creativeloafing.com.
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