Scene & Herd - Best Show Ever

Plus some lady wrestlers

The highlight of my week, and one of the highlights of my concert-going life, was last Friday's show by Glenn Tilbrook and the Fluffers at Smith's Olde Bar.

Tilbrook is the former lead singer and lead guitarist of new wave cult favorites Squeeze, as well as the co-composer of nearly all the band's songs. Touring in support of his second solo record, Transatlantic Ping Pong, the show was divided into two sets. The first set featured a brisk run through some of his new material, mingled with classic Squeeze hits (including most of the songs featured on Squeeze's best-selling album, the Singles 45's and Under compilation). Tilbrook's voice has lost none of its boyish sweetness over the years and his new material is excellent (and not, as is often the case with veteran rockers, an opportunity to use the bathroom or buy a beer).

As good as the songs are, though, it's the old stuff that really got the crowd worked up. "Tempted" was a big sing-along. When Tilbrook introduced "Another Nail in My Heart," a guy standing in front jumped up and down and cheered like he'd just won the Showcase Showdown on "The Price Is Right."

OK, so Tilbrook played well, Andisheh. What's so "highlight of your concert-going life" about that?

The band came out for the second set, marched right past the stage, and proceeded to climb on top of the bar for a boozy sing-along of Squeeze's first big hit, "Goodbye Girl," followed by a rendition of "Black Coffee in Bed," for which the crowd provided the song's main riff. The result was a communal love-fest high that carried through the rest of the second set and the encore. The encore set, by the way, ended with an extended version of "Take Me I'm Yours," followed by the bandmates gently placing all of their instruments on the floor as though they'd been knocked over, and then playing dead next to them.

Glow: Last Friday night, the Landmark Cinema in Midtown hosted the local premiere of Lipstick & Dynamite, a documentary by Ruth Leitman about the lives of female professional wrestlers from the '50s and '60s (for a full review by Felicia Feaster, see last week's CL).The theater was packed, not only because of the movie (which was fantastic, by the way) but also because Leitman and two of the wrestlers who appeared in the movie, Penny Banner and Ella Waldek, were there to meet, greet and bask in the glow of their burst of mini-fame. After the feature, the women sat in front of the screen and answered some audience questions.

Though decades removed from their wrestling years, Banner and Waldek are still feisty and competitive. They had a sweet fight with one another about the microphone and spat disdain at the current crop of female pro wrestlers. Banner won't even call them wrestlers. She dismisses them as mere "entertainers."

Board Not Bored: Late Saturday evening, I briefly stopped by the fourth annual 180 On Homelessness fundraiser party at the Trailer Park in East Atlanta. The party's primary attraction was a competitive "Mountainboarding Slopestyle Jam." Mountainboarding is sort of like skateboarding mixed with mountain biking. It's done on a giant skateboard-like thing with shopping cart-sized pneumatic wheels.I arrived after the mountainboarding ended, but I did hear a good DJ and I did see a skater-looking man standing around and talking with his arm in a sling, which suggested that at least one person followed through on the party invitation's request for participants to "give till it hurts." The party raised $1,500 and, according to organizer Ted Ladue, "surprisingly, the cops only stopped by once!"

That's All Folk: Last weekend, the Spruill Gallery by Perimeter Mall hosted Whofest, a gathering that had nothing at all to do with the British rock band and everything to do with folk, outsider, and self-taught art.I stopped by Saturday afternoon and had a look around. Thanks to the size of the show (there were about 100 artists displaying work), there was stuff to enjoy, but there was also plenty to lament. Putting so many folk artists in one place highlighted just how much of what's called folk art are just lazy variations on a handful of tired themes. Those themes are: "Make a weird picture with Jesus in it," "Dogs and cats sure are funny," "signs with 'carpe diem'-themed mottoes," "signs with 'mean people suck'-themed mottoes," and of course, "Look at me, I'm Howard Finster."

Like I said, though, there was still enough good stuff to make the visit worthwhile. My favorites were artist Miz Thang's loving renderings of Southern musicians. There were at least 50 in her booth. It was an obvious labor of love. Some of them were of famous people (Chubby Checker, Allman Brothers), but most were of lesser known musicians like George Higgs or Eddie Vinson.

Dunwoodovich: Wondering where that beet smell was coming from? Last Sunday, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta hosted a "Day of Russian Culture" at its Zaban Park complex in Dunwoody. Throughout the main building's corridor, display tables featured traditional Russian knickknacks like folk art, tea sets, tapestries, blown glass, as well as slightly less traditional Russian knickknacks — I'm referring specifically to the table selling laser-engraved tombstones.One of the building's side room's was converted into a "Russian Tea Room" decorated with Russian fabrics and two fake chickens to give it a sort of kitsch rural look. As I walked in the door, the hostess greeted me warmly, beckoning me to have some tea and cookies, adding, "Afterward, you have to do a Russian dance." I had my Russian cookies and Russian tea (which in fact was just regular old Lipton) and managed to sneak out without actually dancing.

Unrelated to Russian day, if you ever go by the MJCCA for one of its gazillion weekly events, be sure to peek into the center's Fine Family Art Gallery. Right now, it has a wall dedicated to large photos of local celebrities exercising. If you've ever wanted to see a photo of WABE-FM's (90.1) Lois Reitzes doing lat pulls in a gym, now's your chance.


Check out more of Andisheh's recent escapades in Scene & Herd online at www.andy2000.org??

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