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Sort of Jon Stewartesque -- but not televised

One of the joys of being an entertainment writer is the constant stream of hype being directed at you by the people who want you to cover their events. (For those of you who prefer cursing, go ahead and substitute "bullshit" for "hype" if you'd like.) Nightclub events are usually hyped with promises of heat (It's the hottest party of the year!). Musicians are typically hyped with compound, and often contradictory, claims. First, it's explained of whom the musician is derivative (ex. Zeppelinesque). Then just to make it clear that they're putting some sort of new twist on things, the description of the band is modified with meaningless prepositional phrases like "with an edge" or "on acid." More traditional businesses tend to hype things by telling you how enthusiastic they are about something (We're excited. We're pleased. We're pleased and excited. We're thrilled. We're thrilled to announce, etc.)

Because nonstop hyping tends to wear certain words out, the language of hype is constantly being refined. I'm pleased, excited and thrilled to inform you that the hottest new hyping word is "exclusive." Last Friday, Coca-Cola unveiled a new, smaller can of Coke to shoppers at Lenox Square mall. "Be among the first to experience this exclusive can," said the press release for the event. Just how exclusive is the can? A thousand of them were available to Lenox shoppers last Friday. And 1,000,000 will be given away in similar promotions around the country. Then, the cans will be sold in bars and nightclubs around the country, though presumably only in the "hottest" nightclubs. Pretty exclusive, I'd say.

The purpose of the exclusive, new 8.4-ounce is to sit alongside cans of trendy "energy" drinks like Red Bull in nightclubs. That way, Coke will be trendy too. The only problem with that, though, is that if it's trendy it'll sell better and then it won't be as exclusive. Damn.

As for the unveiling event itself, it did actually live up to the hype. It delivered on the press release's promise of "An interactive Coca-Cola Lounge where media can interact with consumers watching the ads and listening to music." In other words, it was like a mall food court with TVs and no food. The TVs showed new Coke commercials. They haven't aired on regular TV yet. The only people who seemed excited about this were the Coke execs in attendance. Pleased, excited and probably thrilled, one of them applauded after the commercials aired. No one else did, so I guess that made her applause exclusive too.

Not: I broke my "avoid eleven50" rule last Saturday morning to check out the auditions for a new "reality" TV show called "Are You Hot?" I wasn't able to see the auditions themselves, but I did get to mingle with the auditioners while they were waiting. I asked people to describe their hotness to me. A man named Victor explained to me that his hotness derived from attitude, confidence and his love of having fun. He also enjoys bringing Jesus to people. When the woman next to him recognized me as the author of CL's Don't Panic column, Victor called me Osama for some reason.

The oldest contestant I saw was a woman, probably in her 40s or 50s. She introduced herself as Pat, although she had a diamond-studded gold necklace that said "Trisha." One of the people promoting the event told her that she was hot and that she should audition. Dressed less skimpily that most of the other women, her goal was to show everyone that you "don't have to take it all off" to be hot.

The strangest conversation I had was with a contestant named Glenda. Glenda explained to me that her goal was to show that her neck, shoulders, back and legs can be "useful for something."

About a third of the contestants in the room where I was mingling had cordoned themselves off behind a rope. According to several people, the "behind the rope" crowd consisted of professional models and actors referred to the audition by "agencies." They weren't any hotter than the amateur hotties. In fact several of them were downright silly looking. One guy wore chaps. Chaps! Another guy looked like he'd walked out of a hair metal video. If they ever do a show called "Were you hot in 1986?" that guy's a cinch.

Ahoy: If you're wondering why the fashion police were ticketing so many people last weekend for wearing docksiders, it's because the Atlanta Boat Show (presented, for some reason, by GMC Truck) was being held at the Georgia World Congress Center. Even if you don't love boats, the event was worth attending just because buying a ticket got you a free subscription to either Yachting, Salt Water, or Motorboat magazine. I still haven't decided which one I'm gonna get.

My favorite boat on display was the 24-foot Cobalt 246. It's a mere $60,000, yet it comes with a "Porta Potti." That "i" in "potti" makes it so much fancier, don't you think? My favorite part about that boat was that my date and I (yes, I took a date to the boat show) were able to board without removing our shoes (a requirement for most boats) and nobody made fun of me when I whistled the "Gilligan's Island" theme or mindlessly ordered the imaginary crew to batten down the hatches.

Other than boats, the show's main attractions were the fishing video games scattered throughout and an enormous Plexiglas trout pond. Standing on a platform over the pond, a fishing expert trumpeted the value of fishing to concerned parents in attendance by explaining -- underneath an American flag -- that "Kids who hunt and fish don't deal and wheel, if you know what I mean." Actually, no I don't.



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