Sharp Notes February 19 2003

TRAFFICKING LAMENESS. In reviewing all the Monday-morning chest-beating that followed the NBA All-Star Weekend — with its players' balls and players' malls and plenty of bass-booming, stand-still traffic in between — what came to mind was that old adage: "Life is what happens on the way to what you had planned."

Only, this is Atlanta, so it would actually be: "Life is what happens in the car on the way to what you had planned to drive to."

For some reason, though, everyone from the typical blowhards — the Buckhead yuppies with thinly veiled fears of black-owned stretch limos — to the generally reasonable AJC columnist Colin Campbell have come down on the weekend's road-centered revelries and mall shutdowns as an affront to the pursuits of respectable citizens. In one form or other, they demand the city do whatever it takes to 1) ensure their lives go smoothly and 2) preserve their rights to be faithful consumers each and every day of the year.

And this tells me two things about why Atlanta remains a largely faceless, vitality-challenged metropolis relative to the world's most vibrant cities.

First, you reap what you sow. If you don't like people coming to town and staging impromptu parties in the streets, then give them someplace else to go — some reason to park and get out (and, preferably, not in the middle of Peachtree). But since we all know the car is primary to everything in Atlanta, why should we be surprised by car-centered partying? Seems like a natural extension of our city life.

And if you don't like being in occasional situations where you can't get to where you want to go, then demand a mass transit system that offers a way to bypass the traffic. A system that can go all over town, not just to the airport. You know, the one intown residents keep rejecting for fear of what it might do to property values.

Second, life is what happens on the way ... One of the hallmarks of a truly vital city is the ability to withstand a certain degree of chaos and actually thrive on it. Conversely, a city whose primary concern is that a clear path should exist to the mall at all times should expect a fairly antiseptic, uninspiring civic life. C'mon folks, you live in a city. There's no guarantee you're never going to get pissed off by other people who are in your way. It's called life. Enjoy the ride.

And now, back to the music. ...

BAND BITS. The Bibles are taking a break while they look for a female lead singer to augment the previously all-male trio. Singer Curtis plans to step back to bass. It will still be the Bibles, he says, "now we'll just have a 'nun' in the band." ... The Silent Kids have also gone co-ed with the addition of bassist Lisa Fletcher (formerly of Marcy). Jeff Holt is now playing guitar. ... Blankety Blank has a new drummer named Rob Mirabelli. ... Motor City Josh & the Big 3 have a new bass player named Adam Ford. He's also from Detroit — but unless you want to really annoy Josh, don't start going around calling him Motor City Adam. ... After two years, four EPs and oh-so-many fond memories, Crybaby is no more. But rather than shed any tears, as you might expect, the foursome is busy planning new projects. ... Since a couple members have skipped town, it seems The Flakes have called it quits as well. ... The fellows from Another Man Down have added some new members, tweaked their sound and morphed into Highwire, though they'll keep the AMD name around for the acoustic shows they continue to do. ... Meanwhile, the Moto-Litas haven't created any new bands — they're too busy creating humans. Former 'Litas bassist Erin Dangar, who quit the band last year to focus on starting a family (nice job if you can get it), is now almost six months pregnant. Dangar and husband, Penetrators drummer Elliott Dangar, are expecting a girl. Not to be outdone, current 'Litas drummer Stacy Kerber is almost seven months along, but doesn't yet know her child's sex. "Maybe they'll start a band together," says Dangar, getting that inevitable sentiment out there nice and early.

FOLLOW UP. Earshot's rant against Pepsi came just a little too late last week. After we went to press, but before we hit the boxes, Hip-Hop Summit Action Network chairman Russell Simmons called off a threatened boycott of the drink giant when Pepsi agreed to donate $3 million to organizations helping at-risk urban youth. Pepsi, HSAN and the Ludacris Foundation will jointly determine which groups receive the money. So go ahead and drink 'em if you got 'em.??