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This column will bother my mother 

Kids and Republicans say the darndest things

"Jesus God, where did you get that thing?" I screamed after noticing the full-grown black rhinoceros in Lary's living room. I've never understood his fascination with sub-Saharan wildlife.

Oops, wrong column.

Boo: On Halloween night, I attended the Recycled Halloween Costume Ball at the Leopard Lounge in Midtown, hosted by Nathan Abbott of the Wednesday Night Drinking Club. The party, a second chance to wear costumes worn to Halloween parties on the previous Saturday, was packed. With a towel on my head and a frilly bathrobe, I went as a woman who just got out of the shower. With her long hair and fig leaves protecting her modesty, my date went as Eve. I had fun, despite discovering how difficult it is to keep away would-be Adams when you're wearing lipstick and a bathrobe.

That's what it's all about: About 20 parents and children attended Family Storytelling Night at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center Friday evening. Co-sponsored by the Southern Order of Storytellers, the event consisted of several storytellers and singers entertaining the audience with -- here's a shocker -- stories and songs.

The featured performer was Kevin Caran, who also happens to be a chemistry professor at Georgia Tech. The kids loved his performance, which alternated between stories and songs. The evening's highlight came when he asked the kids what they do when they get bored. "Read" and "play games" were the most popular answers. One child answered "make my mom give me lots of hugs." The kids then got out of their chairs and danced interpretively as Caran sang a song about fishing.

Sorry, Mom: The evening's next stop was porn star Ron Jeremy's S&M Sideshow at the Masquerade. Though physically only a couple of miles away from the children's event, spiritually the events were oceans apart.

I parked my car on a dimly lit street behind the club and was immediately confronted by an edgy, drunk-looking man who mumbled a question to me about giving him "change for flowers." Since he didn't appear to have any flowers on him, he may in fact have been asking me for money so he could go buy flowers. If so, that's the oddest panhandling request I've ever received, easily out-weirding the man outside the Strokes show last week who requested that I give him 13 cents for cookies.

Interrupting the flower guy in the middle of his shtick was a rednecky teenager in an Acura who rolled down his window as I passed to ask me if I wanted to "spice up my evening" with ecstasy.

Ron Jeremy's S&M Sideshow was nothing more than a tasteless, unfunny comedy act with no S&M to speak of, unless your definition of S&M includes inflicting and receiving really bad stand-up. Jeremy and his sidekick, Smiley Johnson (possibly not his real name) are unpleasant men who mostly just talked about Jeremy's notoriously large penis. Example -- Jeremy asked the audience if they wanted to see his cock. He then reached into his pants and pulled out a stuffed chicken. Nice.

The "sideshow" included a "spit or swallow" contest, during which contestants were blindfolded and fed canned oysters, snails, squid and pig's feet. Disgusting, but not sexual. Then there was a banana-eating contest, in which about 10 sloppy-drunk women worked the overwhelmingly male and equally drunk audience into a frenzy by fellating bananas. Ooh, sexy.

There was an oil-wrestling contest, but I couldn't bear the thought of seeing it, so I left. On the way out to my car, another man tried to sell me ecstasy.

Kitchin sink: Talk Radio 1340 held Free Speech Radio Day at the Landmark Diner in Buckhead, inviting all of the candidates for Atlanta mayor to make last-minute pitches on the air. When I introduced myself to mayoral candidate Trudy Kitchin, who one of the radio station's employees repeatedly referred to as the "token white Republican," she asked me why it is that Creative Loafing ignores her. Although the news reporters at the paper aren't in the habit of consulting me about who they cover, I'm guessing their decision might have to do with the fact that Mullah Omar has a better chance at becoming Atlanta's next mayor than she does. That's just my guess though.

When asked during her radio interview to name the city's most important challenges, the first one she listed was racism. Then, possibly in an attempt to establish her ability to tackle the issue, she explained that she has "many black friends."

Improvment: In the context of music, the word "improv" is too often a synonym meaning either "we didn't bother rehearsing" or "we didn't bother composing anything decent." Scott Fields, Vinny Golia and Toshi Makihara played a show Sunday night at Earthshaking Music that they described as "free improvisation." It was a compelling antidote to my cynical anti-improv attitude.

Golia, who seemed to have every woodwind instrument ever invented on stage with him, played melodies evocative of noir detective films. Drummer Makihara made his drums dance rather than keep time. The most challenging (meaning "difficult for pop music fans like myself to understand") was Fields, who has a knack for making his guitar sound like old plumbing with hot water running through it.

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