Scene & Herd - The Three Rs
Reading, rasslin' and resurrection
Last week, 7 Stages threw a preview party for its fall season at 57th Fighter Group, the only restaurant in town that feels like a ride at Disney — well, at least the part where you wait in a long line before you actually get on the ride. You know, when you're herded past various dioramas meant to distract you from the misery of waiting in the heat for hours just for that 90-second thrill?</
I can't speak for 57th Fighter Group's regular fare, as we were treated with a buffet of salads: potato, two variations of pasta, two variations of tomato/cucumber, and the ever-present veggie tray and bowl of ranch. Again, just a tease, so I'll have to leave the full menu for our food critics ... if they dare.</
Things started off with a reading from "Beckett's Memories" by 7 Stages artistic director Del Hamilton. About the time it started to make sense and you felt the scene was headed toward a climax, it was over. The foreplay was nice, but I still left feeling teased. I'll leave it to our theater critics to review the full play in September.</
Friday night, I visited Dad's Garage, the little performance theater tucked behind L5P, for Brawl, a weekly spoof of professional rasslin'. The show was MCed by The Pope and Cowboy, a couple of guys who are either method actors who have studied pro wrestling in detail to prepare for the role, or grew up on a steady diet of the stuff.</
A video projection screen gave us humorously cheesy intros to each of the wrestlers as they came out. Their names alone were enough to make me laugh: Zirconia, the Three Eunuchs, Super Horny and, my personal favorite, Soul Crusher X. Soul Crusher looked to be all of 7 years old. And, although the announcers rattled off his impressive record of victories, he did not participate in the match but was content to sit behind the podium playing with Star Wars figures.</
Meanwhile, the action in the ring was true to rasslin's roots in low-brow drama — the histrionics, the backstabbing, the locker room, and even a surprise appearance by the Iron Sheik. Yes the real Iron Sheik. I remember him from my childhood as a titan of a man with broad shoulders and a handlebar moustache, waving the Iranian flag. I haven't watched pro wrestling in a couple of decades. Do they still have villains who match our political realities? Perhaps a former Enron exec could tag-team with a scientist from the North Korean nuclear research program.</
Now in his 60s, the Iron Sheik was still able to lay a hurting on Brawl's top bad guy, complete with the classic folding metal chair to the head, followed by the Sheik's trademark move, the Camel Clutch. He was obviously having a fine time hamming it up with the other actors as they battled in the Royal Rumba. The Sheik's grin afterward was contagious as he posed for Polaroids for $10 a pop. The crowd ate it up, though the twentysomething guy behind me had to call his father to confirm that the Iron Sheik was, indeed, a real former pro wrestler.
Twice a year, Mike Geier, Kingsized and the Dames Aflame throw Atlanta's best Elvis tribute show. And whenever the show nears, I swear I'm not going.</
I've been a regular at the shows since 1997. I've seen it evolve from a sold-out, sweaty night at the Star Bar to the huge spectacle it has become at Variety. But when showtime creeps around, all my friends go, leaving me alone with nothing to do. So I end up at the show, and then I'm reminded why I'm a regular in the first place.</
Mike is no Elvis impersonator striving to authentically re-create an Elvis show. Much like the King himself, he doesn't take things too seriously. In place of an impersonator's studied karate moves, Mike jokingly threw in a moment of Ziggy Stardust mime, slipping a few bars of "Jungle Boogie" into the middle of "Hush." But despite the humor, it's obvious the musicians take the performance seriously. The band was super tight, from the four backup singers to the five-piece horn section. Mike's booming baritone can't be beat. And, as if that's not enough, the Dames Aflame go-go dance along, changing costumes at random. The show was masterfully arranged, building in intensity so that by the time the encore came, the crowd in front of the stage was shaking wall to wall. By the time it was all over, I remembered why I always swear I'll never go again. "It can't get any better. I don't want to ruin the memories of this show by seeing another one," I tell myself. But I'm sure that come January, you can find me front and center for Kingsized's Elvis birthday bash.
Fallout Editor Carlton Hargro is taking a position at the Charlotte branch of the Loaf, so I grudgingly gave up a little space this week to let him get a word in edgewise before he goes: "Howdy. Checked out an interesting new nightclub this weekend called the New Club Legacy. The new spot is located off Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain, and they just launched last weekend. Now, I don't venture OTP very often, but folks who live out that way, you should be pleased about a new place to party. The opening weekend festivities featured notables such as DJ Clue and Kid Capri on the wheels of steel — and there was even a real white tiger on site to welcome patrons. So the next time you find yourself in or around Stone Mountain, check out Club Legacy. Peace."</