Motown vs. Notown and 

Another Trade Show!

Unless you really like hanging out with tourists at the Hard Rock Cafe, Sunday night isn't usually a great time to hit downtown for fun socializing. Last Sunday night, though, downtown hosted two radically different, very worth-going-to music shows. Is Atlanta finally turning into a real city?

The first one I stopped by was the Marvin Gaye tribute at the Jazz Loft. Emceed by WCLK radio's Jamal Ahmad, the show began with a spoken word tribute in praise of Gaye and anyone else living or dead that the audience wanted to praise. In one performer's estimation, a large percentage of the audience owes their existence to Marvin Gaye. Without his music setting the mood, he suggested, they may have never been conceived.

Appropriately for a tribute to a man who once recorded a song titled "Sanctified Pussy," the show's song selection highlighted the conflict between Gaye's spiritual and sexual longing. Dayz Ahead's spectacular rendition of Gaye's 1976 sexual invitation "After the Dance" was followed by Slick & Rose's singing the more spiritually leaning "My Love Is Waiting," which was followed in turn by Julie Dexter's reggae-fied, almost angry version of "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)." After Dexter, it went right back to sex again, with the charisma-oozing Phillipia's writhing, tit-grabbing version of "I Want You."

After "I Want You," I headed over to Eyedrum for Day Two of the Notown Sound Festival, featuring a stellar selection of some of the country's most popular defiantly unpopular bands. I was greeted by the sight and sound of Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice performing dirgey folk chants on a darkened stage. The crowd of 30 or 40 people concentrated respectfully.

After them came the duo Charalambides. The band's female strums meek, arpeggiated chords, while the band's male half coaxes droning and screeching noises from his guitar by bending, shaking and holding it in weird positions. If you watched a video of him playing with the sound down, you'd think he was trying to retrieve his pick from inside the guitar's hollow body.

Favorite moment of Notown: That'd have to be the drug-addled, trench-coated audience member who spun around really fast during Charalambides's set, fell down on two people, and screamed out a triumphant "fuck yeah!"

Feelin' home-y: Atlanta homeowners in need of restaurant-quality kitchens, octuple-paned, UV-shielded replacement windows, and hardwood flooring that is stylish yet durable enough to endure today's increasingly obese homeowners, converged on the Georgia World Congress Center last weekend for the 27th annual Atlanta Home Show.From AA Awnings International to Zodiac Pools, the packed show had booths offering everything you could possibly ever want to put in, on or near your home. Does your love of NASCAR inspire you to cut your lawn in high-speed, counter-clockwise circles every Saturday morning?

The show featured the Richard Petty-endorsed "Hustler" riding lawn mower. Does Kraft Macaroni & Cheese bore you unless it's cooked on a $15,000 stove? The show featured quite a few Viking ranges (none of which, sad to say, had salesmen dressed like Vikings). Do you dream of merging your love of really bad art with your love of Scarface? The show had a booth featuring a framed toy Uzi and a picture of Al Pacino with the caption "Say hello to my little friend."

Oh, and the guy with the mustache and overalls from the Lennox heating and air commercials was there. It was really him. He's kind of a bad ass. When I was in the Lennox booth, he was talking about riding Harleys. In person, he looks like an older version of the Brawny paper towel guy.

My favorite booth was for hot tub vendor Rec Warehouse. As I was browsing the half-dozen or so filled-and-bubbling whirlpools, the booth's radio was playing "Don't Let the Sun Go Down Me." Isn't getting someone to go down on you the whole point of owning a hot tub in the first place?

The Home Show wasn't just stuff. There were TV home improvement show stars aplenty, including Carter Oosterhouse, Eric Stromer and Vern Yip. There were also several classes, including "Conquer the Clutter and Regain Control!" "Starbucks Coffee-at-Home Tips," "Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Room" and "Extreme Home Makeover: Fabricating A Sob Story that Will Sucker the Show's Producers into Picking You." OK, so I made that last one up, but don't tell me you've watched "Extreme Home Makeover" and haven't thought of it.

Save The Babies: On Sunday afternoon, I drove up to Roswell for the Chattahoochee Nature Center's excellent class "Animal Babies — What Do I Do with Them?" Although the class was aimed at children (something I didn't realize until I arrived and found it was me and a room full of 4-year-olds with their parents), it was still a great class for anyone whose love of animals extends beyond culinary.The class consisted of the instructor, Lisa, naming several animals that are commonly found in the area and explaining what to do if you encounter a baby version of said animals. In many cases, the answer is "do nothing." For example, baby box turtles get along fine without parental care. The same is true of baby rabbits whose eyes are open and ears are up. Baby birds, however, frequently do need help when people find them. Lisa recommended putting baby birds found outside their nests into a shoebox filled with pine straw. Then staple the box to the tree closest to where you found the bird. Don't constantly check on the baby after you do it, either. That'll scare the momma bird away.

At the end of her talk, Lisa solicited questions. The first question was asked by a tiny, soft-spoken little girl clinging to her mother's leg. Her question? "One time I saw a deer on the way to my grandpa's house."

andisheh@creativeloafing.com

For more of Andisheh's weekend, visit Scene & Herd at www.andy2000.org.

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