Scene & Herd - Fez-tivities with football,

cars and dogs

The Shriners had a car show in Marietta over the weekend. While I would have been perfectly content if the show was nothing more than fez-wearing Shriners driving go-carts while waving at passers-by, the show was so much more than that. The Yaarab Shrine Center's second annual car show and cruise-in at Jim R. Miller Park was a full-on hot rod show, featuring some of the finest muscle cars to ever grace our streets. The fez-wearing Shriners and their go-carts were just a bonus.

I'm not a car buff in any meaningful sense. I don't have an eye for what's rare or special at these shows. I do know what I like, though. And I like cars built in the era before car companies were concerned with trivialities such as aerodynamics or passenger safety. Cars looked better then.

There's a two-way tie for the not-at-all prestigious "Andy's Favorite Car from the Show" title between a '66 Mustang and a '62 Corvette convertible. The Vette's bright red paint was so rich, so flawless, and so perfectly polished that I just stopped and stared at its fenders for a minute or two. That it was in the 90s, humid, and I was standing on hot asphalt no doubt contributed to the Vette's hypnotic effect.

The Mustang was black and just as brilliantly shiny. While the Vette made me want to cruise near the beach, the menacing-looking Mustang made me want to commit crimes and evade the cops at high speed. Among the crimes it made me want to commit was, of course, stealing the car.

Because the show was open to any car owner willing to pay (the event's proceeds benefit the Shriner's Children's Hospitals), not all the cars were gorgeous. I saw at least two late-model Chevy Impalas. Tricked out, yes. But Impalas nevertheless.

And yes, there were actually fez-wearing Shriners in attendance driving go-carts and dune buggies.

I've got spirit: Saturday in downtown Atlanta is more than just broken-down trains, highway overpass jumpers and people standing in front of convenience stores asking for bus fare. In August, it also means high school football. On Saturday afternoon, the 14th annual Kell Powerade Classic (pre-beverage sponsor, it was the Corky Kell Classic) was at the Georgia Dome. The event featured eight teams from around the state competing in, you guessed it, four football games throughout the morning and evening.

Walking through the Dome on Saturday was like walking through a high school hallway. Packs of kids — they're always in packs for some reason — were cruising back and forth. Some were goofing around, some were moping. Several were challenging one another to jumping contests, seeing if they could leap high enough to touch dangling signs or the top of the men's room doorway.

After a while, I press-passed my way onto the sidelines to watch the fourth-ranked Stephenson Jaguars play the sixth-ranked Brookwood Broncos. The game started off close and, at the half, Brookwood was up by five. Stephenson must have gotten an inferior pep talk at halftime, however, because as soon as the second half began, their defensive line collapsed. Brookwood running back Cameron Smith was repeatedly able to take advantage and by the end, it was a 42-21 Brookwood blowout.

Incidentally, during halftime the Brookwood and Stephenson marching bands competed. They were both excellent — better, in fact, than some of the college marching bands I've seen. Stephenson put me off with their dancers. I just don't think high school students should be doing sexually suggestive booty-shaking dances at school events, particularly when said dancers are accompanied by a band playing the music of Michael Jackson. Call me old-fashioned.

Galleria: On Friday night, I stopped by the new Chrysalis Gallery (formerly Galerie Timothy Tew — hats off to the new proprietors for knowing how to spell gallery) in Buckhead for Transformations, a show featuring work by Ben Peabody and Holly Golson.

Peabody's work consisted largely of seafood art. He had fish sculptures, fish relief paintings, large crabs and small crabs. I didn't see him there to ask him, but depending on who else you asked, his work incorporated actual, once-living, now-dead creatures. If that's the case, he deserves some sort of prize just for keeping them from smelling bad.

Golson eschewed a seafood motif for the show and instead displayed a couple dozen abstract paintings. What were they paintings of? How the hell should I know? They're abstracts! I did ask her, however, if they're meant to represent anything real. She said that they're inspired by landscapes. I guess I can see that. Whatever they are, they're lovely.

Parking: I tried to go to the West-Mutt-Ster dog show at Piedmont Dog Park last weekend, but it started raining the minute I arrived at the park. Since I promised one of my dogs I'd take her to the park when I had a chance, we went last Sunday instead.

It wasn't overly crowded. I estimate about 30 dogs were in the park. I'd have counted, but the little bastards never sit still. There were about five pit bulls running around. They're mostly wonderful dogs and they all tolerated my Mathilde's no doubt annoying habit of licking the sides of their mouths. One of them did get into a fight (not with my dog) and had to be pulled away by its owner.

Are there any dog psychologists out there? If so, answer me this: How come my dog runs away if I leave my front door open, but when I take her to the park and let her off the leash, the crazy bitch won't leave my side? Is she scared of the other dogs, scared of being alone in an unfamiliar place, or does she just have a keen sense of irony?

For more about Andisheh's weekend jaunts, visit Scene & Herd at andy2000.org.

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