Scene & Herd - The New Guy
Now with more naked girls
After some six years covering Atlanta's entertainment scenery, Andisheh needed a break. To find a replacement, CL's editors dredged around the archives of past contributors, and my name was sifted from the dust. "He already goes out every damn weekend," one editor was heard to say.</
So here I am, not so much a fresh face but a new face in this space. Get ready for a few changes. Out: trade shows. I have a "real" job, so going to a hotel where a bunch of other working stiffs are gathered to discuss their craft sounds, well, like work. In: naked girls. In fact, if you're a naked girl, e-mail me your picture at firstname.lastname@example.org. Out: neutral, delicate handling of events like the North DeKalb Mall Idol competition. Though his review generated a few bruised egos, I felt he covered it benignly. In: full-on journalistic warfare against events like the North DeKalb Mall Idol competition. I'm about as polite as Dick Cheney at the hunting range with a few beers in him.
Let's begin, shall we? Thursday found me at Georgia Tech for the monthly Dorkbot meeting. What are Dorkbots? According to the website, dorkbot.org, they are "people doing strange things with electricity." How strange? How about growing fish cells in a petri dish, then hooking up a robotic arm and giving it markers and a canvas and seeing what it will draw? Some 50 or so geeks and dweebs (myself included) gathered to experience wonders like MEART The Semi-Living Artist — a geographically detached, bio-cybernetic research and development project.</
The "bio-cybernetic" part is the combination of fish cells and robotics. The "geographically detached" part refers to the fact that the "brain" (the fish cells in a petri dish) is located in a lab on campus, while the "body" (the robotic arm connected to the "brain" via the Internet) can be anywhere on Earth creating its artwork. The "art" it creates would look familiar to the parent of any 1-year-old, but the fact that they've integrated these components and gotten it to do anything at all is impressive. You can see for yourself Thurs., March 16, at Eyedrum for one show only before this particular version is "put to sleep" to make way for a new batch of cells.</
Afterward, I headed to Lenny's where SpikeTV, the male-centric cable network, was shooting footage for a competition between dive bars nationwide. The winner gets a new sound system. (It would be ironic if Lenny's won because it is moving, perhaps before the show ever even airs.) On stage, Me and Him Call It Us produced a screaming, mostly abstract racket that sounded as if someone had grown some fish neurons in a petri dish and attached them to a three-piece band. Lest you think I'm too old or musically conservative, I like a fair amount of punk, metal and even some noise rock, but I do need a discernible melody in there somewhere. Thankfully, Thank God followed. The vocals were no more intelligible, but the band produced fast, energetic thrash/math rock/punk (sort of like Fear) while the singer prowled around the audience, screaming in people's faces a la G.G. Allin. Most of the crowd was too cool to be moved, perhaps in every sense of the word. I left as the third band came on and the wave of storms washed over the building, washing away the last traces of winter in Atlanta.
Saturday, we landed at the Independent, one of Atlanta's finest pool halls. The drinks are reasonably priced, the staff is friendly and cute, there is ample room to maneuver around the pool tables, the Cuban sandwich is fantastic, and the place is packed with a wide mix of people — from the new yuppie residents of Midtown to punky rebels to serious pool sharks. The Independent also offers board games, darts, and a PlayStation. For some reason, every time I visit, I notice a young couple staring nearly comatose into the TV playing some version of Mario Brothers.</
We ended the night downstairs at the Highlander. The jukebox was blaring out a fine mix of metal and punk to a mix of leather jackets, button-down shirts and ironic T-shirts. The pool tables at the Highlander are crowded on a weekend night, often distracting me from my pinball game with a pool cue to the kidney. But even when combined with the distractions of cute girls on the air hockey table, we were still able to beat the crap out of Elvis for a couple of hours. Elvis the pinball game, that is.
Speaking of beatings, Sunday night was the opening bout of the Atlanta Rollergirls' second season. The Sake Tuyas skated against the Apocalypstix in a rematch of last season's championship bout. The Sake Tuyas were ahead by 20 points at the end of the second period. During intermissions, Star Bar management and regulars performed as the band Little Women in sharp black and red suits and makeup that was more glam than drag. They covered tunes made famous by females, from Dolly Parton's "Jolene" to Bananarama's "Cruel Summer," as well as a couple of rousing Joan Jett covers. During the final period, the Apocalypstix came back hard and took the lead by 2 points toward the end of the bout, only to lose it 111 to 109. I went to every bout of the inaugural season and last Sunday's was the most exciting yet. See atlantarollergirls.com for upcoming matches.</