Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: The year that didn't (totally) suck

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 10:33 PM

On Jan. 20, Barack Obama lays a wreath on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s grave — a year to the day before he'll be inaugurated as the nation's first African-American president.
  • On Jan. 20, Barack Obama lays a wreath on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s grave — a year to the day before he'll be inaugurated as the nation's first African-American president.

Bankruptcy. Foreclosure. Recession. Layoffs. Crime. Death. Even a freakin' tornado. Let's face it: 2008 wasn't our best year.

Then again, it wasn't our worst. For instance, in years past we would have scoffed at the touchy-feely optimism that drips from the catchwords "hope" and "change." But even our jaded-ass attitudes softened when America's first African-American president cruised to victory on a platform that promised just that.

There were the little things – like the Atlanta Ballet's big. There were the big things – like longtime death row inmate (and possibly innocent man) Troy Davis getting two stays of execution. On the music front, Criminal Records bucked the downsizing trend by expanding its Little Five Points digs, and Poncey-Highland's historic Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge landed firmly on the map of hipster hangouts. In the food realm, Holeman and Finch set the bar – and set it high – for the city's surge of gastropubs, while Atlanta rock-star molecular gastronomist Richard Blais almost took the prize on Bravo's "Top Chef." (A reality-TV moment of pride that was all but eclipsed by the weirdness that was Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." Oh well.)

Yes, despite the gloom and doom, 2008 had its high points. Here are a few.

Read the rest of this week's cover story — and don't miss our awesome Year in Photos.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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Tragic saga of celeb trainer's beating continues

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 9:11 PM

As if this story wasn't horrible enough — a man is beaten into a coma after allegedly trying to protect the mayor's daughters from being videotaped outside an Atlanta club — now the defendant charged in the attack has committed suicide.

The AJC reported yesterday that Apollo Holmes, who was indicted for aggravated assault and had not yet gone to trial, killed himself on Christmas Day — the eve of the one-year anniversary of the brutal beating. The victim, celebrity trainer Darius Miller, is still in a coma. Mayor Shirley Franklin's daughters Kai Franklin Graham and Kali Franklin were with Miller and a couple of friends when the fight broke out.

According to the story:

Holmes’ attorney, [Bruce] Harvey, said Tuesday night that Holmes believed he was wrongly accused in the beating. Some witnesses said as many as 10 men attacked Miller that night, although there were never any other arrests made. Harvey said Holmes was ready to take his case before a jury. ...

Harvey said Holmes’ suicide has turned a single tragedy into a double tragedy. “We have the tragedy of the man in a persistent coma and now we have the tragedy of a family having to deal with this suicide.”

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Atlanta New Year's Eve downtown street closures

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 7:53 PM

If you're behind the wheel this evening, make sure you avoid the area around Underground Atlanta. City police will block off some vehicular traffic so lots of people can look at a foam-and-fiberglass peach, listen to unknown country music stars, and get wild in a part of town where few people visit the other 364 days of the year.

From the city:

Streets that will be closed for the Peach Drop are:

• Alabama Street from Forsyth to Peachtree streets

• Wall Street from Central Avenue to Peachtree Street

• Marietta Street/Decatur Street from Spring Street to Central Avenue

• Walton Street from Forsyth to Peachtree streets

• Luckie Street/Auburn Avenue from Forsyth to Peachtree Center Avenue

• Williams Street from Forsyth to Peachtree streets

• Forsyth Street from M. L. King Jr. Drive to Walton Street

• Broad Street from Marietta to Peachtree streets

• Peachtree Street from M. L. King Jr. Drive to Ellis Street

• Park Place from J.W. Dobbs Avenue to Decatur Street

• Equitable Place from Auburn to Edgewood avenues

• Pryor Street from Decatur Street to M. L. King

• J.W. Dobbs Avenue from Peachtree Street to Peachtree Center Avenue

• Edgewood Avenue from Peachtree Street to Central Avenue


Vehicular traffic will be allowed to flow on, but not enter the perimeter formed by:

• Central Avenue and Peachtree Center Avenue on the east;

• Spring Street, Walton Street and Forsyth Street on the west;

• M. L. King on the south; and Ellis Street and Carnegie Way on the north.

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Um, thanks for the honor, but…

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 6:53 PM

I wondered for a moment if Peach Pundit's Erick Erickson was orchestrating a prank when I just now saw what he'd ranked as the top news story in Georgia for 2008:

1. Creative Loafing’s financial issues

Astonishing! But who am I to question the judgment of a guy who was recently profiled by Newsweek?

Then I read further and realized Erickson was basing his call on the volume of page views that various topics had received on his site throughout the year. Which either means that CL is dear to the hearts of many Georgians or that Peach Pundit readers have a warped sense of what's interesting. I prefer to think both.

Still, I have to say – and I believe I speak for my co-workers (if not, that's what the comment section is for) – I take this apparent interest as evidence of CL's relevance to people who value thoughtful news coverage and in-depth analysis of complex issues.

On the other hand, the year's Number One story for PP readers was "Bigfoot found in Georgia." So perhaps I shouldn't be so encouraged…

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C.T. Martin: I'll show you kids what a belt's for!

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 5:18 PM

Forget the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Atlanta's cantankerous Councilman C.T. Martin wants to start the Brotherhood of the Unsaggy Britches.

Nearly a year after a citizens' task force on droopy trousers (we only wish we were making this up) decided that his proposed city-wide ban on visible knickers was one bone-headed idea, Martin is bouncing back with a new resolution commending Morehouse College for discouraging the "wearing of exposed underwear."

Here's a bit of the language of Martin's measure:

WHEREAS, the Atlanta City Council established a task force to recommend whether the City of Atlanta, Georgia should amend its indecency code to make it illegal for exposure of one’s undergarments in a public place; and

Continue reading »

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Shelf Life: Mike Sager's Wounded Warriors

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 5:01 PM

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GENRE: Collected nonfiction of a gonzo journalist

PROFILED PERSONAS: Wounded Iraq War vets, junkie musicians, L.A. gang members, high I.Q. misanthropes, Hawaiian meth-heads, Vietnam vets living in Thailand, a few maligned celebrities, and an elusive Marlon Brando

BOLD PRINT: Sager’s essays have been published in the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, and many other discerning publications. His writing inspired the films Boogie Nights and Wonderland. He even interned for Creative Loafing back in the ’70s.

CENTRAL METAPHOR: Though the essay “Wounded Warriors” is about a group of Iraq War vets, the title is an apt description for any of the conflicted addicts and wayward personalities among the pages.

A 680-POUND MAN SAYS: “I’ve always been fat. I don’t even know what it’s like to be thin. It’s like being born blind — you have no idea what sight is.”

AN IRAQ WAR VET FROM GEORGIA REMEMBERS: “I woke up on the ground. I was like, Shit. I felt like I’d got hit by a damn fucking truck. There was blood everywhere. My neck was ripped open. See here on my neck? My little happy face made out of scars? It wasn’t that happy at the time.”

A JUNKIE IN MANHATTAN ADMITS: “I hate to admit it, but dope is the best thing in the world. I swear to God, it’s like cheating death. I’m a thrill seeker, I guess.”

WOMEN SAY: Almost nothing in the entire book. Despite Sager’s over-the-top efforts to travel to remote locales and immerse with subjects, it seems that women have proven too hard to reach for his journalistic efforts.

MARLON BRANDO SAYS: Nothing either. Sager chases Brando around Tahiti without managing to get a single quote. Sager’s hunt for Brando becomes, instead, an adventure in profiling himself.

HYPE QUOTE FROM THE COVER: “This collection of pieces from Mike Sager is just brilliant — brave, written with soul and beauty, and unflinching in the depiction of a real America that needs to be revealed,” Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights.

Wounded Warriors by Mike Sager. Da Capo Press. $16.95. 288 pp.

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Morning Newsdome

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 3:31 PM

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Viral videos of '08 mark resurgence of the novelty song

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 2:15 PM

A side effect of the popularity of viral videos is a renaissance in the novelty song. The increased professionalism of Youtube-able film clips has meant that musical parodies and other comedy songs have increased in both quality and variety while finding bigger audiences thanks to blogs and social networking sites. Here are five of 2008's definitive musical videos that didn't involve a cat flushing a toilet.

1. “I’m F***ing Matt Damon”

The “Digital Shorts” of “Saturday Night Live” specialize in NSFW music video parodies like the recent “J*** in my Pants.” (I use asterisks because the clips are probably funnier when the swears are bleeped out.) None has bettered shock comic Sarah Silverman and her musical prank on her boyfriend, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. “I’m F***ing Matt Damon” has catchy hooks that make it fun listening, despite being the most inappropriate break-up song imaginable. Kimmel’s response, “I’m F***ing Ben Affleck” built to a “We Are The World”-style chorus and proved nearly as funny, but the joke was officially exhausted when Elizabeth Banks sang yet another version, “I’m F***ing Seth Rogen,” to promote Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

Continue reading »

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Time and Place: Running Rebel

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 1:22 PM

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Dec. 24, 2008, 9:45 a.m. at Grant Park

On my way to work, I spotted this guy with a full, white beard, dressed in white warm-ups jogging up Atlanta Street carrying a Confederate battle flag. His name is Alan Keck and he lives in Grant Park, although he's not a native Atlantan. A few years ago, he told me, he got interested in Southern history and realized that the Confederacy had gotten a raw deal in the Civil War. Recently, he said, he'd gotten up the courage to jog with the flag and has even carried it in the Peachtree Road Race.

(Photo by Scott Henry)

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5 things to do today: New Year's Eve

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 5:15 AM

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1) Band of Horses plays Variety Playhouse.

2) Lil Wayne performs at Philips Arena.

3) The Rent Boys play the Earl.

4) Anna Kramer & the Lost Cause play Star Bar.

5) Zoroaster invades the Clermont Lounge.

And there's so much more in our New Year's Eve Guide ...

(Photo courtesy Sub Pop Records)

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