Welcome, true believers, to another exciting edition of Scene & Herd. Now, before we plunge headlong into this week's thrill-packed installment, I must drop a very important FYI: S&H's regular fill-in writer, Frederick Noble, subbing for columnist Andisheh Nouraee, is out of town. So, I -- Fallout Editor Carlton Hargro -- am writing in Noble's stead. Just consider me the fill-in for the fill-in.
OK, on to the fun ...
My weekend festivities started Thursday night at Studioplex. The Auburn Avenue arts enclave played host to a viewing party for MTV's hit reality show "Making the Band 3." You know, the show that features Sean "Diddy" Combs molding an all-girl vocal group into pop stars? One of the ladies in the band, Wanita (aka D. Woods), is an Atlanta native, so her publicist, Warren Thomas, threw a local shindig to celebrate the start of the show's latest season.
Sadly, Wanita was not in the house (or in Atlanta) that night -- but her friends, family and fans were present. Speaking of family, I had the pleasure of meeting Wanita's mother and brother, Sharon Wooget and Charlie Burns. Mom seemed like a really sweet lady. She probably cooked muffins for her kids and read them bedtime stories back in the day. I wonder how she feels about her daughter appearing on such a drama- and profanity-laden TV program? Hopefully the show can give Wanita's musical career a big boost. Let's pray she makes out better than Dylan.
After leaving the viewing party, I headed down Edgewood to the Harlem Bar for DJ Larmarrous' weekly Beats & Eats event. I swear, Harlem Bar is like the black version of "Cheers." With such a friendly staff, I always feel like everybody knows my name. But nobody shouts out, "Carlton!" when I walk through the door. Oh, well ... maybe one day.
Friday, I made my way to the boondocks (aka the suburbs) to check out a big star-studded fundraiser hosted by NFL player Ray Buchanan. I must admit, I was both hesitant and excited about attending. I was hesitant because I never enjoy being the poorest (in terms of money) guy in the room. And with a party full of celebrities and athletes, I was destined to be the poorest guy in the room -- probably the whole house ... if not the entire block.
My excitement, on the other hand, was the result of something I read on the e-mail invitation for the soiree. The invitation explained that late in the evening, the fundraiser -- which raised money for Buchanan's Big Play Ray of Hope Foundation -- would transform from a straight-laced affair into a "Twerk-Fest." I wasn't exactly sure what the release's writer meant by Twerk-Fest, but I was hoping nudity and strippers would somehow be involved.
Anyway, I trekked out to Buchanan's house, which is far as hell from Atlanta; dude lives in a huge subdivision populated by McMansions. His exact address was kept secret, so Hummer limos were hired to shuttle folks from a valet parking area to Buchanan's front door. Once inside, I saw tons of women in ultra-short skirts and ultra-tight pants and guys wearing linen leisure suits.
As far as celebrities go, besides Buchanan, I saw singer Bobby Valentino, Taste Boutique's Teresa Caldwell (mother of rapper Bow Wow) and NBA-player-turned-TV-host John Salley. Salley, who was probably the coolest guy at the event and stands around 400 feet tall, attempted to give our photographer some shooting tips, but he really didn't know what the hell he was talking about. Much love to you anyway, Salley!
Most of the guests at the party were cordoned off by Buchanan's pool, but I noticed that the VIP guests were hanging around in private rooms upstairs. In the dark recesses of my depraved mind, I imagined all manner of debauchery happening behind those closed doors. So I attempted to make my way behind the "velvet rope" and into a potential Twerk-O-Rama, only to be met by muscle-bound, black-clad security guards who blocked my passage. After an hour of blockage, I decided to give up my twerk dreams and head for the hills. Honestly, I have no idea if strippers or anyone naked was scheduled to appear that night. Maybe Twerk-Fest is some secret code word that means "Bible study." You know like the Da Vinci Code? Oh, well. I guess I'll never really know.
After making it back to civilization (i.e., Atlanta), I zipped over to Django for the monthly Get Together! party, hosted by DJs Gene Brown, Karl Injex and Soulfinger. This month's edition featured the U.K. funk DJ Keb Darge. By the time I got there, it was pretty late and the party seemed to be winding down. Bass player Khari Simmons was entertaining a mellow crowd with bossa nova sounds provided by his live trio. Still eager to get my groove on, I headed over to MJQ and kicked it with my man Murph and his crew.
Saturday, my homegirl Fatimah and I paid a visit to Apache Cafe to get down to the sounds of Tortured Soul, a band that plays house music via live instruments instead of computers. These cats rarely visit Atlanta, so I was damn-determined to catch the show. I guess I wasn't the only damn-determined TS fan because I've never seen Apache so packed. Waiting for the band to take the stage, I danced to house music spun by DJ Kai Alce. After dancing and sweating for what seemed like hours, I was ready to pass out. Hey, I'm no spring chicken. I'm more like a winter Cornish hen. Anyway, before I could crumple onto the floor, TS hit the stage and rocked the house.
I tell you, I have never seen a band with so much energy. Unlike some other groups, TS doesn't take time out to chat with the crowd. The band just plays a nonstop set of high-energy hits. I got exhausted just watching drummer/vocalist John-Christian Urich play the sticks and sing for more than one hour. Crazy. For more on TS, visit the music archives at atlanta.creativeloafing.com.
Once the show was over, Fatimah and I stumbled out onto the street and chatted up the band. And although I was incredibly sore and probably a little funky from dancing, I was still ready to kick it. I was all prepared to head to an after-hours fete hosted by some of my DJ friends -- but then I heard the party had been shut down by the cops. So, I took my tired ass home.
That's it. Nothing more to see here.
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