Scene & Herd - Freaks, geeks

And horsies, too

Last Friday, I hit Variety Playhouse in time to catch the last few songs by former Atlantan Kelly Hogan. She was one of my favorite local singers before she moved off to Chicago, and every time I catch her live I'm reminded why I still miss her. Sure, she has an amazing voice that is captured on her CDs, but her live presence is completely magnetic. I was hoping she would be second on the three-act bill, but instead I had to endure the High Dials. Their sound was so monotone and dull I couldn't tell one song from the next.

But whereas the High Dials almost put me to sleep, Neko Case, the headliner, was a dream. She does ballads that have a strong country and gospel influence, sounding simultaneously new and timeless. Her soaring vocals have an aching edge that pull at your heart.</
When joined on stage by Hogan, the two voices mingled and played off each other so beautifully I just leaned against the wall with my eyes closed and let the sound vibrate my soul. Maybe I should go easy on the rum drinks before the shows.</
Friday night's excesses made the Saturday morning drive painful, but I had to speed north to Rome for the Atlanta Steeplechase. "What is a steeplechase?" a friend asked. If I hadn't looked it up online, I wouldn't have been able to give her even my short answer, "You know, rich people watching horses jump over shit."</
That is how far removed I am from that type of event and that class of people.

I didn't really know what to expect. I definitely did not expect a hat parade, camel rides, bagpipes, pig races, a petting zoo, terrier races, skydivers, teen girls in jodhpurs, an invocation written by Gov. Perdue, helicopters flying in VIPs every few minutes, limos driving across the pasture to deliver carloads of beauty queens in sun dresses, massive parties featuring live music, and perhaps the ritziest tailgating parties in the state covering acres and acres of one of the prettiest valleys in northwest Georgia.</
Oh, yeah.</
And horses.</
Jumping shit.</
I overheard an experienced volunteer at the press tent say it would take hours to drive out of the parking lot after the final race, and the after-party would put the daytime events to shame.</
All this for six races that take a little less than four minutes each. Although the action on the course is exciting, it's only the excuse that people use to party.

Saturday night was a party of a different sort entirely. Hundreds of folks who think "freak" or "geek" is more compliment than insult gathered at the Atlanta Airport Crowne Plaza Hotel for Frolicon. Frolicon organizers described the convention this way: "Think flowers, tropical drinks, games and tournaments, zombie beach parties, cargo cult, pirates, Dr. Moreau, chupacabra, cannibalism, virgin sacrifices, live-action candyland, drag queens, art, spanking, sex, massages, pagan rituals, and parties, lots and lots of parties." When I mentioned the event to someone a few nights before, she asked, "But aren't they all, like, losers?" "No, not all of them," I replied.</
The one thing people at this event won't tolerate is intolerance, so all body shapes, sizes and colors are celebrated. The down side of that is the vast majority of people have similar tastes in the human form, so most folks might find Frolicon's diversity a turnoff. But there was eye candy for all tastes, much of it on display thanks to the skimpiest of costumes.</
Several patrons even had to cover up when leaving the private events and entering the public halls. Vendors also catered to a variety of fleshy interests, selling everything from lubricants to make sex more comfortable to bondage equipment to make it less so.

I arrived just in time for the Most Spankable Ass Pageant, an event featuring buttocks of both sexes — some of which I wish I could forget, and others I'll be dreaming about for years to come. They were judged on appearance, ability to move and ability to take a spanking dished out by an expert.</
Judging from the cheers, I think the audience members were the real winners of the pageant.</
There was also burlesque by local troupe Big City Burlesque, but I actually found the neighboring show, Classic City Kings Drag Show, to be the sexier event. Several boyish ladies done up as men strutted their stuff, stopping occasionally to make out with each other in front of an appreciative crowd.</
Room parties endeavored to outdo each other with themes from pirates to jungle/tiki to FEMA trailer nightmare. Others enjoyed themselves at the "play party," which featured several rooms full of equipment to satisfy just about any fetish. I chatted with old and new friends until the parties finally died down around 4:30 a.m., when I sped homeward through a seemingly deserted city that slept peacefully ... at least for another hour or two.</

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