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Friday, October 2, 2009

Dangerous Moves: Mayor of Ponce climbs to the top of Rocky Mountain Pizza

hoffman

TUESDAYS WITH MORONS

“It’s where the weird turn pro.”

That's how Dangerous Move’s legal counsel Brian 3000 puts it. “But,” he adds with a Jeff Spicoli stoner laugh, “I’m pretty sure I just stole that off a spring break t-shirt.”

It’s like a ski lodge in the center of Atlanta. A pizza place with no red wine. It’s in an odd shaped, flat iron building off 10th Street, and it just may be the cheapest place in the city to get shit-faced.

Rocky Mountain Pizza (1005 Hemphill Ave., 404-876-8600) is a Georgia Tech bar by definition, and a strange fucking place by all other classifications. It's awkward, math-letic students mixed with Home Park neighborhood barflies. I used to live over this way for a bit with Adrian Barrera (the Barreracudas), and we’d occasionally stop by, stick out and stumble home. It’s a very comfortable environment for a David Lynchian sports bar.

Tonight's the Tuesday night of my birthday week, and it's time to get weird. Wes Hoffman (the Constellations, Pop Death Squad) and his afro are always down at the drop of a hat to get on the weirder side of things. I always love people like that. No matter what you conspire, it’s a shrug of the shoulders and a “Fuck it, let’s go." Dangerous appetites in search of good tales to tell. They always find each other. And sometimes, well, they fall in your lap.

As we finish off a cheap pitcher, followed by $2 shots ordered by a color code instead of by name, a gentleman next to us strikes up a conversation. “I’ve never seen you guys in here.”

Nice, he starts out with a compliment. He’s tall, gelled-up hair, big goofy smile, wearing pajama bottoms. “You guys like going to raves?”

That explains the bottom half of his attire. He’s “Too Tight” from “Too Tight Entertainment” and he promotes events and raves all over the city. I can’t help but think he needs to promote time travel, because I haven’t been to a rave since 1999.

And I know it’s a fact that he promotes raves because he discloses to us that he just put a new event on Facebook and 40 people have already RSVP’d. In case you're in doubt, Wes and I are not among them. Not in a pajama minute.

This is where our tale takes a turn, where the weirdness turns professional. “So,” Too Tight leans in with his goofy smile, “you guys like ecstacy?!”

Laughing, Wes and I act like he’s crazy for asking such a question. “Of course we do!” we say, playing along. “I was just saying to Wes, 'It’s Tuesday, I wish we had some homemade ecstacy pills.”

Too Tight tells us that he lives down the street and will be right back. And off he goes. The neatly groomed and, given the circumstances, normal-looking fellow with Too Tight looks at us and washes his hands of the situation. “Hey guys, I don’t know this dude. I’m just his neighbor and he asked me to come have a drink.”

Too Tight returns in what seems a meth-inspired jiffy, holding two, small, circular, aspirin-like, adventure pills. I turn to Wes knowing the outcome, and he gives me a “Fuck, with-us-two-together-I-know-there’s-really-no-way-around-this” look. Without hesitation, we smile, shrug our shoulders and toast as we each ingest one, small, circular, aspirin-like, adventure pill given to us by a strange dude. In a pizza parlor. On a Tuesday.

Dangerous appetites in search of adventure.

If these things are legit, we figure we better hit the road for more compelling environs before they kick in. It’s agreed, a sushi restaurant in Virginia-Highlands. Such an obvious choice for two morons.

Twenty minutes later, my feet hit the pavement of N. Highland Ave. It’s 85 degrees. A cool breeze suddenly comes from the direction of Ponce de Leon. I feel a rush from my toes on up, like all five of my senses have been hit out of the park by a really soft, fuzzy Wiffle Ball bat. A friendly, slow motion homerun served up by a giant smiley face with arms. And the smiley face has those bouncy, Cookie Monster eyes that bobble when he laughs.

Inside Harry & Sons (820 N. Highland Ave., 404-873-2009), I’m bouncing my head to what I think is techno music and waving to people that I think know. Our server asks if we want to order any food. “No ma’am,” I reply. “I think I already did a California Roll.”

We bounce next door to Limerick Junction (822 N. Highland Ave., 404-874-7147) on the sole reasoning that it’s an Irish bar, and Europeans do love themselves some designer drugs and retarded dancing. We high five each other, thinking it’s a good call for a couple morons. But then we figure out why shitty acoustic music isn’t played at raves.

Out into the night again, we take off in the first cab we see. And it’s the cab of destiny. Not because he’s playing techno music or some calming, mystical CD of nature sounds, but because its none other than a Nigerian comedy tape. I’m not sure of the set up, because it’s all in Nigerian. But the punchline is a doozy. Some crazy African dialect followed by, wait for it, “…Who let de dawgs owwt!?”

Zinger! I’m so stealing that bit.

“So, can I change the channel?”

“No, Man! Dis is gewd stuff.”

We get to Star Bar for the Tuesday night staple, Romeo Cologne’s Funk Night. My hands are clammy, my eyes are buggin’, and my body is buzzing like a beehive piñata. The place is packed, as usual, when the front door opens and the crowd parts for the Moses of funk. Romeo’s weird ass walks in, purple cape and all, and I so badly want him to get on the mic and say something as ridiculous as his outfit. Something like, “Sorry I’m late, I just took the red-eye in from Funkytown.”

He was probably just at home queuing up romantic comedies on his Net Flix account, because he certainly wasn’t working on a new set list.

Like sand in an hour glass, our night of professional weirdness turns weirder. I break out in a cold sweat and Funkytown turns blurry. I’m pretty sure Cee-Lo and Big Gipp are there. I’m talking to them outside when a cab pulls up. But it’s not the Nigerian Seinfeld, it’s the cabbie from the Miley Cyrus song. The one who plays songs that make you throw your hands up. But instead of the butterflies flying away, it’s the big smiley face with arms and Cookie Monster eyes. And I’m pretty sure he’s laughing at me. Miley was right, there is a party in the U.S.A!

Then it all fades to black.

It’s noon and I’m in my bed with a hangover that knows no bounds. Surely all of that didn’t happen. Surely it was just some strange dream sequence. Surely Wes and I didn’t take ecstacy. From a stranger. In a sports bar. On a Tuesday.

I walk into the living room to find moron No. 2 on my couch. Wes takes a minute to collect his thoughts.

“And that’s what we get for going to Rocky Mountain Pizza.”

(Photo courtesy J. Winter)

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