The rides are fast, scary, exciting ... blah, blah, blah. It's kind of hard to write about thrill, so I'll just skip that. The coolest thing at Six Flags right now is the magic show. Performing in the domed theater next to the Dippin' Dots booth, Magician Vince Carmen makes female members of his family disappear and reappear several times daily. He also pulled a cupboard shelf's worth of canned goods out of a flimsy top hat. Typical magician stuff, yes, but Carmen is ace. Between shows, he hangs out in his magic shop, selling squirting nickels and teaching card tricks to aspiring hustlers. He's got way more old-school sideshow appeal than is normally allowed at corporate amusement parks.
Six Flags also has an excellent selection of video games scattered around the park. The ones that aren't about cars are usually about guns. My favorite was the explosive "L.A. Machine Guns." For 75 cents, you get an unlimited supply of ammo with which to shoot at armored alien terrorists who have kidnapped the president. Also excellent was the low-key "Dark Silhouette," a sniper video game that teaches children the value of patient aiming and ammo conservation.
Aside from the rides, shows and $4 sodas, one of Six Flags' (or any amusement park's) main attractions for me is watching and listening to people. I saw lots of orange T-shirts declaring that it's a Girl Scout "thang," but damned if I can figure out what "it" they're referring to. Other than the male camel-toe in bright turquoise shorts, the most spectacular sight was the silver-and-black mullhawk (a majestic combination of a mullet and mohawk) nesting atop the skull of a doting father.
Call up my momma: I'm just speculating now, but I think that the time machine from which Centennial Olympic Park's On The Bricks concert series has been pulling its acts all summer (anyone for Soul Asylum?) has apparently broken down. How else to explain last Friday's headliner, the downright contemporary Wyclef Jean.
Although Wyclef is a former member of the best-selling, but now defunct, Fugees, and a fancy pants, multi-platinum performer and producer, he earned my abiding love a couple of years ago because of one song: "Perfect Gentlemen," the finest ode to strippers ever penned, and the best objectifying novelty hit since Juvenile's "Back That Azz Up."
On stage, Wyclef tries to conjure the spirit of Bob Marley for the sake of turning his shows into a sort of spiritual communion. In fact, he started the Atlanta show with Marley's "No Woman No Cry." Then he did a new song speculating about how great life would be if P. Diddy and Suge Knight were pals, and Tupac and Biggie were alive. At one point in the show, he explained that, even though he doesn't do cocaine, Ecstasy or pills, he smoked weed shortly before coming on stage. That might explain why he ended his show with the same song about P. Diddy, Suge, Tupac and Biggie he did earlier, with no reference to the fact that he'd already played it.
Venus butterfly IV: In a scene eerily reminiscent of Nelson Mandela's 1990 release from South African prison, butterfly lovers swarmed the Chattahoochee Nature Center last Saturday for the fourth (annual!) Butterfly Festival.
On the surface, the center's annual ritual seems pretty sadistic -- cruelly imprisoning innocent caterpillars, forcing them to molt without the love and support of their families; then, after they've metamorphosed into butterflies, releasing them without money or marketable skills into a sagging Atlanta job market.
Looking beyond the obvious Lepidopteral rights abuses, one could witness a sincere and wholesome appreciation of nature's wonder. In addition to newly freed butterflies aplenty, there was also a charming puppet show. The miniature bear in a raincoat getting attacked by giant mosquitoes was a big hit with the kids.
Pink thing: The first battle in the war to reclaim the color pink from god-awful Alecia "Pink" Moore and god-awfuller White Zinfandel is under way at Marcia Wood Gallery in Buckhead. Tickled Pink, an often-whimsical pink-themed group show opened there last Friday. Several gallery-goers took the pink theme to heart (and skin), dressing partially or completely in pink. I particularly liked the sunburned pink man wearing the pink jeans. (I'm gonna feel really bad if I get a letter saying the guy has a skin disease.)
Among my favorite works was George Long's "Booby Lure," a fishing lure the size of two fat 12-year-olds. I kept looking at it and thinking of sushi. Another great one was Bryan Schellinger's "BLING BLING GOES THE BEAT OF THE MALIBU BEACH BLONDE BARBIE IN HER PINK PANTHER CONVERTIBLE AT 105 MPH DRINKING DIET CHERRY COKE DRESSED IN BLUE RASBERRY COTTON CANDY FOREVER AND EVER AMEN TURNED ITS SIDE PAINTING."
It looks exactly like it sounds.
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