The bold, the beautiful and me 

Like sand through the hourglass, these are the nights of my life

Some people think they're dirty

and prefer that they remain hidden. Though time has definitely increased their public

visibility, the idea of a festival celebrating them still strikes many as gratuitous and distasteful. Fortunately, the naysayers stayed away on Friday night as Foot Fest 2001 at the Midtown Outlets opened with the second annual World's Sexiest Feet Contest. Thinking her feet were particularly pretty, I approached a woman named Michelle Bartoo who, by chance, was last year's winner. Bartoo learned about the contest from her husband Dave who, like several of the men watching the contest that evening, has

a foot fetish. As the women lined up on a red carpet for judging, the competition took a bizarre turn as a singer named Phillipe accompanied the judging with

a sexy song whose chorus went, "Baby can't you see, I've got a foot fantasy."

The people who seemed the most

amazed by the whole spectacle were the event's organizers. While Phillipe sang, they kept glancing at each other, exchanging expressions of joy mixed with

sincere amazement.

Semi-Nude Women and an Irate Clown: The Midsummer Night's Steam at the Star Community Bar in Little Five Points on Saturday was an old-fashioned burlesque show emceed by an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed clown. The show featured beautiful, scantily clad women performing comedic dancing and singing routines accompanied by the band Kingsized. My favorite skit was Torchy Taboo, wielding flaming claws in mock battle against the wicked Gin-Gin. It was the second week in a row that I saw a woman set herself on fire.

Karma Ran Over My Dogma: My first question when I heard about the Models & Millionaires party at Karma on Saturday was, "Why would someone throw a party celebrating empty material wealth, unrealistic ideals of physical appearance and the overall objectification of the human body?" My second question was, "Can I bring a friend?"

The party was a mix of rich people who wished they were good-looking, good-looking people who wanted to be rich, men who wanted to hang out in a room with models and a handful of drunks who just wandered into the bar not knowing there was a party. I asked everyone I met whether they were a millionaire or a model.

Unable to hear the men next to him

giving the exact same answer, every man

that I asked thought he was being clever and

original by answering "both." Somewhat

distressingly, few of the women I asked

bothered pretending to be millionaires. The actual models earnestly answered "model," while the non-models seemed genuinely

flattered that I'd ask, as though being 6'1" and 110 pounds is a virtue. Record mogul Jermaine Dupri was the only person I met who I didn't ask. Although he was quite friendly, I think it's a good idea not to joke around too much with strangers who have muscular bodyguards. Note to self: I might have more fun at these things if I'm drunk.

Raving Mad: After leaving Karma (the club, not the force perpetuating my migration to the next life), I stopped by a semi-secretive after-hours warehouse party (aka a rave) in Inman Park. I arrived at the complex around 3 a.m. and began looking for the friends who told me about it. I didn't find them in the first space I walked into, but I did see six guys sitting around a powder-covered coffee table watching an Apple iTunes-generated pulsing light show on a TV screen. In the space next door, I found the dance floor and my friends. The house music being played by a DJ was accompanied by a scenic floral video projection on a white wall. The people dancing cast enormous dancing shadows on the wall, the beauty of which actually perked me up for a few minutes. The music was fantastic and the people friendly and unpretentious, but considering I'd just come from the Models & Millionaires party, that might not be saying much.

Italian Pride: Last weekend was the beginning of the High Museum of Art's Italian Summer Festival. Through July, a different Italian cinema classic will be screened every Friday at Rich Auditorium. The Conformist, a psychological drama directed by Bernardo Bertolucci set in Fascist pre-war Italy and one of my favorite all-time films, is showing July 27. The primary exhibit is a collection of drawings and sketches by Michelangelo. Many of these sketches were preliminary drafts that the artist wished destroyed, but since everyone ignores artists, they were kept. On a related note, first drafts of this column are now available for purchase.

SHT: Wu-Tang Clan sonic architect RZA is known for producing some of the most interesting and intense hip-hop records of the '90s. So why were opening acts for his show at EarthLink Live so unspeakably bad? It was nothing but lifeless, second-hand gangster posing. To understand my disappointment, imagine having to hear three hours of Whitesnake every time you tried to play a Led Zeppelin CD.

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