Redeye - Shout, shout, see them all out November 25 2004

There are some nights, I believe they're called "intimate," that can be defined either by the mood of a crowd or the atmosphere of a venue. Wed., Nov. 17, was such a night, as L.A.'s Doc Martin and San Francisco's Kaskade spun at Compound, and San Fran's JT Donaldson and Lance DeSardi were featured at Halo. At Compound, the crowd was intimate, as people made their way behind the club's covered and heated courtyard through the whitewashed lounge to a more sprawling showroom. The crowd, a couple hundred strong, was peaking to the music's gummy, knotty layers of ambiance.

Among the attendees: society photographer Ben Rose, DJs Ulises and Caleb, and local journo Sterling McGarvey, among others. What's exciting is that on Dec. 3, the same room will host the acid-etched thump of Josh Wink.

At Halo, both the space and crowd were intimate, for the most part. The urban sophisticates and some less polished, psychedelic San Francisco house fans were getting off to boomy funk within Halo's rectilinear recess. But a man and woman dancing atop the stairs in front of DJ booth strutted at each other in such a way that it came across less like sincere expression than an exaggerated runway walk-off.

Berry, berry good

These past weeks, restaurants from the Inman Park Patio to Spice have featured wine tastings to celebrate the 2003 vintage of Beaujolais, the candied black fruit of wine. Many people think of a good proletariat pour of the merry, cherry Beaujolais Nouveau (released Nov. 18) this time of year, but don't overlook a cru with legs such as Juliénas. Young, fruity and refreshing, Beaujolais is a beaut of a value, averaging $10 a bottle and pairing so very well with the season's sweet potatoes and cranberries (second perhaps to Pinot Noir). A couple of carafes and some carousing makes for a perfect November nocturne, and are highly recommended for this post-Thanksgiving weekend.

$50 to make you holler

Wedged beside the lacquered lanes in the back corner of Buford Highway's International Bowling lies a corridor of mystery that emits contorted sounds — high-pitched keening, throaty growls and reverb-saturated screeching. Are these torture chambers? To some, yes. But for others, they're ecstasy.

What you have is essentially a passageway of private karaoke rooms, located past the Dance Dance Revolution machines, breakdancing dais and ramen counter. On Saturday night, Nov. 20, I was there for Tiffany's birthday. (Backstory: Tiffany works at Decatur's Grow Salon, where they make me Queen Pretty.) So, along with CL's Mara Shalhoup, among others, we gathered in a room of people with good hair, but not always good voices.

For $50 an hour, you and yours — armed with a bowling pin-shaped Bud Light and a craftily hidden bottle of Jagermeister, of course — get to play KJ, picking the songs and picking apart your off-key friends. Depending on the size of your party, you'll either wind up squeezed together in a small room or in the executive suite, with its leather couches and granite-topped table, perfect for writhing atop to "Don't Stop Believing." With that blazing hot mic in your hand, you can get you some "Satisfaction." If the Rolling Stones are what you're in to. Maybe some Bangles? Buggles? You probably won't win any Karaoke Music Awards, but should be able to make some memories.

Keep one RedEye open. And send all comments, questions, observations and invitations to redeye@creativeloafing.com.