When I exited MARTA at Philips Arena to attend the final On the Bricks show at Centennial Olympic Park last Friday evening, I noticed hundreds of teenagers in formal dress. For a couple of minutes, I considered that dressing up for rock concerts as though you're going to church might be the latest teenage fad. Hell, it's no less idiotic than pants that are so baggy they hardly stay on. I finally broke down and asked a snazzily suited teenage boy what was happening. He told me that all the young dudes in suits and dresses were going to Philips for a Pentecostal Youth Congress. Ignoring my obvious adultness and possibly less obvious (but probably still obvious enough) lack of Pentecostalness, he then invited me to attend. I declined and headed to the bricks.
Performing between locals Soup and headliner Ben Folds was former 99X darling Remy Zero. The three people I talked to about the show that night couldn't name Remy Zero's 1998 sorta hit (I can't either), but they all knew that lead singer Cinjun Tate was briefly married to "Charmed" star and men's magazine staple Alyssa Milano. At the beginning of each song, the person to my left asked with mock-earnestness, "I wonder if this one is about Alyssa Milano." Tate didn't really help his case as a serious artist by taking the stage with a bottle of champagne, swigging from it with choreographed abandon (ooh, drinking from the bottle, you wild man!). The Pentecostal youth would not have approved.
Andishedspace: The ShedSpace Exhibitions series, which continues for two more weeks, attempts to demonstrate that visual art belongs where people live, and not just on the wall of some staid (and probably air-conditioned) gallery. On Saturday, Troy Eittreim displayed his drawings and digital abstract prints in someone's car-sized shed in the Lake Claire neighborhood. A crowd of about 20 people gathered at a backyard shed to admire Eittreim's work and snack on wine and fruit. It was like a backyard art barbecue, minus the grill.
In addition to his completed pieces, Eittreim built a wall with an arm-sized hole through which people could reach and draw on a piece of paper they couldn't see. Eittrem stood on the other side of the wall, drawing on the same paper. The result was typically a happy abstract that the co-artist could take home. Among the guests were local photographer Nigel Marson and Ashley Benton, whose mixed-media work is the subject of next week's exhibition.
Shirley you know I'm joking: FunkJazz Kafe at The Contemporary on Saturday was so popular that my date and I tried in vain for 30 minutes to find a parking space nearby. We finally just drove downtown, parked at a hotel and took a taxi to the event. Although our cab driver's knowledge of Atlanta's roads wasn't very impressive (he needed my help to find Marietta Street), it was still better than his English. At one point he asked if we were going to "King Pillow." When I asked him the phone number to call to hire a taxi back to my car and how far ahead of time we had to telephone, he simply said, "Yes," and gave us a number that turned out to be Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
FunkJazz Kafe is a multimedia show with art, live music, film, a dance floor and food (which I couldn't sample because the lines were too long). The crowd was very upbeat and participatory. There was an impromptu, and fantastic-sounding, drum circle in one corridor while out on the dance floor, by a statue of Kokopelli, a group of five or six young men took turns busting out their best dance moves for one another as the DJ spun funk records.
The most intriguing of the visual pieces was a series of sketches by Mark Lombardi detailing the interlocking corporate interests, in particular industries or organizations. The circled names connected by lines looked like the wall-sized napkin doodlings of a paranoid leftist college student.
Mayoral candidate Shirley Franklin was there campaigning, so I stopped to chat with her. She mentioned how she has found that some people can only look at a candidate through the filter of party affiliation, which prompted me to mention that I ran for President of the United States last year as an independent and that I finished tied for third. Although Franklin didn't seem to mind my antics, going so far as to suggest I'd have been a better president than Bush, my date was not amused.
I'll be doggone: Atlanta's dog-owning music lovers joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Piedmont Park for Bark in the Park. As French Horn player Stephen Slater explained to me before the show, the symphony's program for that evening was animal-themed. It included Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries," which is considered animal-themed because of its use in a Bugs Bunny cartoon as the "kill the wabbit" song. There was lots of barking and pulling on leashes, but no major incidents to report. However, I must end my column with another plea. To the person responsible for the dog dressed like a bumblebee, please stop humiliating your dog.
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