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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Preston Craig kicks off Eastern Bloc with Bodega Nights ice cream truck

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They hoist themselves up on the back bumper of the 1988 Chevy T30, peering over the high backside, eyes glazed-over, gleaming at the goodies like little kids in a candy shop.

Then they dig into their pockets and surface with a couple of crumpled dollar bills — most likely leftovers from a paid-out tab — and ask in a sort of sad, begging way: “How much can I get for a dollar?”

It’s 2 a.m. and these mid-twenty-something scenesters are in a candy shop of sorts, fully equipped with an assortment of concession stand snacks, imported goodies and frozen delights.

Bodega Nights, the newest addition to promoter Preston Craig’s entourage, is Atlanta’s only mobile convenience store and ice cream truck, catering exclusively to the after-hours club scene and the socialites that come with it.

The truck premiered at Graveyard Tavern June 16, and even though it’s barely a month old, Craig’s club goers have come to expect it at his gatherings.

So it was no surprise that Bodega Nights came back to Graveyard for the opening of his newest Friday night party, Eastern Bloc — a $5, three-club, multiple DJ block party spanning East Atlanta's Glenwood Ave.

But yeah, it's really an ice cream truck.

“I wanted to make it an attraction that is just as outrageous as the clubs,” Craig said.

That he did.

The truck was expertly crafted with a rear vanity display case optimizing candy viewability, theater-style curtains, stock shelves and a freezer large enough to store a body but topped instead with a plethora of tasty treats.

Outside, it’s coated in a futuristic, cassette tape themed motif, meticulously designed by Atlanta artist Dosa Kim.

And it’s still a work in progress.

By the end of the month, Craig hopes to amp up the truck with an LCD flat screen, sound system and projector to project videos on nearby buildings. It’ll be available for rent by venues and bands and expand its reach to Virginia Highlands, Midtown and even a few concerts, festivals and sold-out, all ages shows.

But for now, Bodega Nights bounces among Graveyard Tavern, Eastern Bloc and MJQ, satisfying a slightly older, slightly more intoxicated crowd.

“It’s always fun when we get somebody who’s extremely drunk or extremely high and just really doesn’t know what they’re buying,” said Lindsey Ibarra, the resident ice cream girl.

Like the one scantily-clad chick who racked up $10 in Japanese Pocky, then urged a nearby fellow to complete her stash with a Push Pop, Ring Pop and some Airheads.

“[Stress] starts to pile on top of you, and when you go out you really just want to lose that and have a good time,” Ibarra said. “What better way to do it than to be brought back to the things you did when you were a little kid? To eat candy and ice cream and jump up and down ''til 3 o’clock in the morning. What better escape is that?”

“We just really want to have a good time," she added.

And how could you not have a good time when Ring Pops, Pixy Sticks and mixed drinks are involved?

(Photo by Erin Everhart)

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