Scene & Herd - The Night Reba Came

to Philips

Reba McEntire, America's most popular Oklahoman redhead since male-pattern baldness prematurely stripped a young Ron Howard of the title two decades ago, played at Philips Arena last Friday night. Reba is taking time out of her busy TV show-starring and clothes-designing schedule ("Rebawear" is available exclusively at Dillard's) to return to what made her famous in the first place - singing country music.

Opening for Reba were two of country's bigger rising stars, Terri Clark, who's talented and beautiful, but for some reason dresses like a muscular man; and Brad Paisley, who, much to my disappointment, isn't actually paisley. He's just a white guy.

Prior to Reba's set, I wandered around the arena's backstage innards where three people mentioned to me that Paisley's actress wife, Kimberly Father of the Bride Williams, was also hanging around. I never did see her, though.

Reba, who informed us all that she was "tickled to pieces" to be in Atlanta, performed the bulk of her set wearing a sheer, lacy black top, and tight, black, rhinestoned jeans with MILF-points subtracted because of a visible, granny pantyline. It's amazing what you can see when you're standing at the foot of a stage with a telephoto lens.

After snapping my photos, I went to my seat. To my left was Reba's keyboardist's family. In front of me was a sleeping child in the arms of a man wearing a black cowboy hat and a black T-shirt that read "Git-R-Done." Reba played a greatest hits set including "Walk On," "Why Haven't I Heard From You," the theme to her TV show, and her cover of "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," a song about the execution of an innocent man that, for some reason, puts people in a happy mood when they hear it.

After an hour or so, Reba left the stage. She returned for her first encore in a red, halter-toppy sort of thing that showed off her toned arms and muscular shoulders. Reba's been doin' her lat pulls. Her first encore was my favorite of her songs, "Fancy." For those of you who've never heard it, "Fancy's" lyrics tell of a young woman who is pressured by her mother into sleeping her way out of poverty. It's a camp epic on par with "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" and "I've Never Been to Me" that I really need to learn for my next karaoke outing. Then, Brad and Terri joined her for a song I don't know and everybody hugged and left. It was a happy night.

Street life: Despite unseasonably cold temperatures, last weekend's Inman Park Spring Festival remained its usual fun self. I went on Saturday afternoon, where I saw the usual variety of crafts, bric-a-brac and furniture. A new addition to the festival (either new, or I just didn't see it before) was a troupe of "performance artists" from Out of Hand Theater. Wearing matching white jumpsuits, they marched, dropped to the ground simultaneously, did martial arts exercises, and stood around silently smirking. I have no good reason why, but it annoyed me almost to the point of anger.The non-shopping, non-eating focal point of the festival was, of course, the parade. At 2 p.m., the parade began making its way east on Edgewood Avenue. For whatever reason, there were several references to the Catholic church in this parade, including a car full of people dressed as bitter pope runners-up and a car with "Pope Benedict XVI" himself, shooting "holy" water out of a water gun. CL's Hollis Gillespie was in the parade, along with Grant. Riding in the back of a convertible, they were yelling about Hollis' upcoming book, Confessions of a Recovering Slut.

Not the Jamiroquai Guy: Last Saturday night, the Alcove Gallery in Buckhead hosted JK2, a show featuring art by New York's Justin Kauffmann and San Diego's Joshua Krause. Some of Kauffman's paintings are eerily similar to Atlanta's own R. Land's work. They share a taste for cute-yet-semi-grotesque characters as well as a similar taste in color pallets. I like R. Land's stuff more, though — and I'm not just saying that because I see him all the time at Joe's coffee shop in East Atlanta.The bulk of Krause's work on display was part of a series called "Saturn Schmaturn." It featured a puffy little paper planet affixed to multimedia canvasses. Sometimes he smiled. Sometimes he blew stuff out of his mouth. One time, he had Hebrew writing on him. What was it about? Your guess is as good as mine (the show runs until May 12, so you can go see for yourself).

Entertaining the gallery-goers in a side room was a group called the Floating Coats. The trio (two guitarists and a stand-up bassist) plays traditional country with an arch sensibility (think Oh, Violent Femmes, Where Art Thou?). While the Coats performed, a movie that looked like the Triplets of Belleville was showing silently on a giant screen above them.

Eat me: Last Thursday afternoon, TV chef G. Garvin of the TV One network's "Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin" turned up at the Omni Hotel's Prime Meridian restaurant downtown for a semi-private cooking demonstration. The Atlanta native was in town from L.A. for a celeb-drenched party at Compound held the previous night. That party had something to do with Magic Johnson, Lincoln (the car maker, not the dead gay president) and a charity auction. I wasn't at the party, so I can't tell you much more.Where was I? Oh yeah, the Prime Meridian. Prime Meridian has an open kitchen, so the audience, which included some local media people and hotel guests, stood against the chest-high counter between the kitchen and the dining room and watched Garvin in action. He's a real charmer. He has an appealing boyish charisma and he looks a lot like LL Cool J, so it's hard to take your eyes off him.

He made a creamy shrimp soup, a swordfish and sausage dish, and a peach cobbler. I enjoyed watching Garvin, but even more, I enjoyed watching how the predominantly female audience was hypnotized by Garvin's overwhelming boyish hotness. The food I tried was fantastic. Nevertheless, I suspect he could have served Hot Pockets and the ladies in the audience still would have been impressed.

andisheh@creativeloafing.comFor more of Andy's adventures, visit Scene & Herd at www.andy2000.org.??

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