I arrived at the parade area just after its scheduled 1 p.m. start time. The parade was running late, so instead of floats and dignitary-filled convertibles, the traffic on Peachtree consisted solely of alert police officers on security duty and a bunch of drunk-looking vendors with push carts. One of the most popular items for sale from the carts was an inflatable Incredible Hulk doll. People up and down the parade route had them on sticks, in chairs or just lying on the ground. At first, I figured that the not-Irish comic book muscleman's likeness was a brisk seller because his gamma ray-induced ailment rendered him green -- the official color of St. Patrick's Day. But that doesn't explain why the Spider-Man dolls sold just as well.
In my humble, yet published weekly opinion, I blame the parade's dullness mainly on two factors. First, the reviewing stand was at one of Peachtree's widest points (just south of the Roswell Road split). The sidewalk was just too far away from the parading. It should be on a narrower stretch of Peachtree.
Secondly, the "entertainment" emanating from the reviewing stand was dull. With the exception of the pretty-voiced girl who sang the national anthem, the music was horrendous. It's supposedly a festive occasion, yet shortly before the parade began, the speakers were blasting "Danny Boy," a song so chipper and parade-y that it's played at a lot of Irish-American funerals. The rest of the tunes made it seem like whoever was in charge of the music just picked up a couple of Irish Drinking Songs cassettes at a gas station. That the parade's emcee was local radio "personality" James "Moby" Carney only exacerbated the dullness. His shtick seemed to consist of noting that firemen, policemen and soldiers are great and occasionally saying, "Yeah, baby." Riveting stuff.
After a while, I walked around the corner and found that, of all places, Mako's was open. In case you've never heard of it, Mako's is a bachelor party sort of bar featuring skimpily dressed women on swings. Cross Hooters with a strip club, take away the wings, and you've got Mako's. As I walked in, a Mako's girl in a halter top and miniskirt was flipping up her skirt to show a customer that she was wearing full-coverage panties as opposed to the usual thongs. "There are a lot of families around today," she explained.
Termite's paradise: On Friday night, I attended the opening of Fahamu Pecou's Sacred Space exhibit in Southwest Atlanta's Wood Is Wonderful Gallery. When they say wood is wonderful, they mean it. The gallery is not only filled with wood objects, it even has '70s suburban basement-style wood paneling on one of its walls.
Among the wooden objects for sale were statues, bowls and a couple of combs. I read a news article last weekend about how stem cells can cure baldness. If I ever have hair again, I'm so getting a wood comb from there.
Pecou's works were devotional pieces inspired by his Ifa religion. Each work consisted of a painting of a face with mirrored eyes. Attached to each painting was a mantle with candles and a bowl of water. After thanking everyone for attending, Pecou took questions about the art. Over the course of about 10 minutes, he did something I've never before witnessed at a gallery opening -- he discussed nearly all of the visual symbols in his paintings. Patron asks, "What does the hummingbird mean in that picture?" Artist responds, "The nectar of life." It was strange to witness. I think that art should generally speak for itself, but there was something charming about Pecou's unflinching willingness to discuss exactly what he intended with each brushstroke.
Party on, Cain: Last Wednesday saw the latest installment of Creative Loafing's Political Party, a panel talk show minus the cameras. The guests were attorney/courtroom exotic dancer Bruce Harvey, radio host and Neal Boortz show producer Royal Marshall, and U.S. Senate candidates Nadine Thomas and Herman Cain.
The most interesting part of the show to me, other than Marshall's snazzy Brazilian shoes, was his insider's take on the talk radio biz. He remarked that talk radio's primary appeal is conflict and that Boortz is an entertainer rather than a serious purveyor of ideas. The fact itself wasn't surprising, but the casual admission of it was.
Far less enjoyable were the two political candidates, Cain and Thomas. Maybe they were having bad nights, but neither was particularly articulate about issues. Even when Thomas argued points I agreed with, such as her assertion that state legislators are in a cynical race to "out-God" each other on social issues, she mangled the point. Pizza tycoon-turned-politician Cain was even worse. Answering a question about children's welfare, he spouted off Republican boilerplate about helping people help themselves, seemingly unaware of the image he was conjuring of children forced to work for their own housing, food and health care.
Buffalo soldier: Later that night, Grant Lee Phillips took a break from strumming his guitar on the set of the WB's "Gilmore Girls" (he's the town buskers) to play to a nearly packed Echo Lounge in support of his new album Virginia Creeper.
Someone once called Phillips a "rustic balladeer." I think the description is apt because it describes his feel and mood without labeling him with a genre. The man can go from rock to folky y'alternative to pure pop with ease. One of the most interesting things about his show was how he was able to touch on so many styles with just one guitar. He played the same 12-string acoustic for the entire show -- running it through effects pedals to coax either a jangle or a Zeppelinesque squawk as needed. Semi-hit "Truly, Truly" sounded particularly good.
Vox, the author is not the same person that commented about biking and long-boarding downtown.
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