Scene & Herd - Tricky Dick and elle beaux

plus Harry, Eddie & Jennifer

Who'd have thunk that 31 years after he resigned in disgrace and 11 years after he died in New York that Richard Nixon and the era he personified would still be with us?

Look around. 2005 is 1973 all over again. Just like Vietnam, the country is again bogged down in a terrible - and terribly unpopular - guerrilla war in Asia. The White House is imploding because of a scandal that's been super-sized by a clumsy cover-up. It's Watergate all over again.

If you don't like the new Watergate, we've still got the old Watergate. Bob Woodward's new book about the Watergate informant Deep Throat is the biggest-selling new entry on this week's nonfiction best-seller lists. And whaddya know, two of the Nixon era's biggest rock acts, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones, are about embark on sold-out world tours.

Next thing you know, someone's gonna start up a roller derby revival league or something.

Never mind. Someone already did. It's called Atlanta Rollergirls, and its first bout was last Sunday night at the All American Skate Center in Stone Mountain.

Roller derby is done thusly: Each team skates four defensive skaters and one offensive known as the jammer. A jammer scores points for her team by lapping the opposite team's defensive skaters. The defensive skaters try to thwart the other team's jammer by getting in the way or knocking into each other.

Atlanta Rollergirls consists of three teams: Apocalypstix, Denim Demons and Sake Tuyas. The competitors, all women, have jokey tough-girl names like Aunt Ja'Maim-Ya, Princess Lay U Out, Juanna X. Sanguinate, Susan B. Agony and (my favorite) Elle Beaux. Athleticism and competition are important, but at its heart, roller derby is a high-camp spoof of the already high-camp '50s bad-girl archetype. Roller derby is ironic, erotic girl-fighting on wheels.

The matches were quick and easy to follow. I don't know which teams won since the dry-erase board displaying the score was never facing me. It didn't really matter, though, as it was an exhibition match meant to drum up interest for next month's season opener. Besides, it felt more like a party than a sporting event. Imagine a big skate party with all the people you see at burlesque shows hanging out with all the people you see at Drive-Invasion. Looking at the crowd during the first intermission, a friend of mine put it succinctly: "Who's guarding the Star Bar tonight?"

Eddie's back: In a development that's being hailed as the best thing to happen to acoustic music since someone figured out how to make guitar strings out of animal intestines, Eddie Owen has returned to Eddie's Attic.I'm exaggerating, but only a little bit. Owen is revered for turning his namesake club into the bustling center of Atlanta's acoustic music universe. He sold the club a couple of years ago to do other things, but now he's back to help the new owner reassert the venue's Eddieness.

I stopped by the club Saturday night to mark the occasion and to please my girlfriend, who is a fan of the night's headliner, Jennifer Daniels. Now I'm a fan, too. Imagine a singer/songwriter whose songs are as lyrically rich, personal and poetic as, say, Joni Mitchell's pre-Court & Spark, while at the same time as ridiculously catchy as, say, pre-Islam Cat Stevens. Now imagine the songs sung by a woman whose voice is sorta like Sarah McLachlan's, only it's both more powerful and more playful. I'm not exaggerating at all. Jennifer Daniels is really, really, really talented.

It's too bad it's not literally 1973 all over again, because if it was, you could take a live recording of her ecstatic love song "Stay," release it as a single, and it'd be a smash hit.

Hogwarts: The biggest thing to happen to the book industry since Johann Gutenberg happened last Friday night/Saturday morning, with the midnight release of Harry Potter & the Amazing Marketing Machine, or whatever it's called.Since I never miss the opportunity to photograph people waiting in line for stuff that they wouldn't have to wait in line for if they just came back the next day, I stopped by Barnes & Noble in Buckhead late Friday. Over in the children's department, someone dressed as a witch entertained the kids with Harry Potter trivia. Meanwhile, there was an activities table where people were making magic wands. A few of the kids were dressed in elaborate Harry outfits, but most were just half-assed, wearing the black glasses they gave out at the door and making a Magic-Markered lightning scar. One guy wore a black cape and toted a Swiffer. Not sure why.

About 20 minutes before midnight, the first 50 people were asked to line up by the cash registers. At midnight, the books were wheeled up to the registers in boxes printed with warnings not to open them before midnight. At midnight, the joyous sound of UPCs being scanned rang out and kids hurried home to read the book before the surprise plot twists are ruined by some jackass posting them on his blog.

Clownpenis.fart: Speaking of blogs, I stopped by the Highlander Thursday night for an evening with the group of people known as Atlanta People with Blogs Who Get Together to Drink. It's not really a formal group, just some area bloggers who get together to shoot the breeze, get drunk, and occasionally talk about blogs.Hollismb.net was there. Apparently, he's going to be making some Atlanta blogging apparel soon. I can't wait. JessicaHarbour.com was there, too. She's a writer and editor for The Economist. At heart, I'm an old media guy, so that's pretty impressive to me. InsideThePerimeter.com was there also. He was the one sticking up for fannypacks. Frognet.org was there, too. I think I upset her when I accidentally opened my newspaper onto her french fries. I'm sorry. One of my favorite people was InsideThePerimeter.com. It's rare that I meet a grown man as enthusiastic about Hello Kitty as I am.

andisheh@creativeloafing.comFor more of Andisheh's adventures, visit Scene & Herd at atlanta.creativeloafing.com.??

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