Archive for December, 2008

Atlanta Mystery

One of my favorite local blogs, Pecanne Log, wrote a post yesterday about a great Atlanta mystery: Why are Downtown and Midtown so damn dead after dark and on weekends? I think everyone who lives in Atlanta is confounded by its inexplicable car culture, and the lack of a thriving and bustling city core.

For my part, I think the problem is three-fold: One part fear of crime, the poor, and crappy schools, one part irresponsible development that throws up more junk while neglecting the existing infrastructure, and one part geography: Most great American cities have grown up around a limiting geographical feature, usually a body of water, that hems it in and forces it upward rather than sprawling out. Pheonix, Dallas, and Atlanta are all limited by the room they have to spread their wings; NYC, Chicago, DC, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco. . . all are hemmed in and yet empowered by their geographical limitation.

What is the problem? What is the answer? I have no clue. Does anyone really think that Atlanta will be a great city in the vein of a New York or Seattle? I have my doubts.

Anything else you see as a great Atlanta Mystery?

Elves in Spandex

Those crazy kids over at Faster Mustache are at it again – this time in the name of good and charity for Toys For Tots.

According to local Castleberry Hill businessman Mike of Elliot Street Deli & Pub, they’ll be partnering with FM in a unique way: ring them up, tell them you have a toy to donate, and someone will hop on a bike to race to your location, pick it up and return it to ESP.

Bueno, no?

More details as they become available, but in the meantime check out the FM since it will be there first. While you’re there, be sure to read up on the benefit for Rachel of Sopo Bikes and local DJ Chris Devoe that will take place on Thursday at 9 p.m. @ The Highland Inn ballroom.

That’s just, like, your opinion, man

For no particular reason other than to start a bunch of flame wars and stoke conversation, I thought I’d make a list of what I think are the more underrated and overrated spots in town.  Leave your comments or your own under/over rated list! 

Underrated spots

These are the places that may slide under your radar, or that you take for granted.  Give ‘em some love:

  • Orme Park – this is a nice little neighborhood park that is shielded from most of the city because it is smack in the middle of a bunch of single family homes.  There are no busy streets that run by it, which means it is nice and tranquil.  There is a little creek that runs through the middle of the park, and one of the best things about it is the large tunnel out of which the creek originates.  Growing up, it was a great place to hide out and avoid the adults.  I haven’t been there in a while, but there used to be some decent graffiti in the tunnel. (more…)

StoryCorps : Atlanta

If you’ve ever found yourself in your car a bit before 8:30 on a weekday morning, tuned to NPR and weeping despite yourself, you’re already familiar with StoryCorps.

I was fortunate enough to catch wind of Isay speaking this evening at The Margaret Mitchell House where he spoke of the project and book, played some of the two minute pieces we’ve all enjoyed with watery eyes and made a made a pretty significant announcement for Atlanta.

Five years and one month ago, StoryCorps started with one booth in Grand Central Terminal and since then, they’ve recorded 24 thousand stories. The news for Atlanta readers: they’re planning to open their second permanent booth in our fair city.

The details are still being worked out but according to both Dave Isay (founder and president of Story Corps) and WABE leadership, the temporary booth will be located in Studio 3 of their offices on Bizmark road. They plan to open the permanent location in the Center for Civil and Human Rights in 2011.

Atlanta was chosen in part due to The Griot Project, a special initiative launched in Atlanta to document African American voices including that of Morehouse School of Medicine professor Dr. Lynn Weaver. Dr. Weaver is one of the Atlanta residents whose story is featured in the book Listening is an Act of Love – A Celebration of American Life From the StoryCorps Project.

The success of the The Griot Project combined with the work of three women Isay and WABE referred to as “the league of extraordinary gentlewomen” we have won the privilege of being a part of StoryCorps and CPB history.

Soooo wonderful. I don’t know about you, but I’m already making a mental list of the friends I want to take to the booth and spend forty minutes sharing stories with.

what’s next, tai chi lan?

i just got a “breaking news alert” from the atlanta journal-constitution that zoo atlanta has named the latest panda cub xi lan, or “atlanta’s joy.” this to complement sister mei lan.

leaving aside for the moment the ajc’s rather loose definition of what consists of breaking news, i have a question. are we required by virtue of contract to have to name these pandas with chinese names?

surely we could do better. maybe something highlighting atlanta’s rich hip-hop tradition, like “young pandizzle.” or “shawty pandah.”

or we could highlight atlanta’s rich sports tradition, maybe “the highlight panda” or “john rocker.”

i’m just sayin’.

Best Atlanta Santa

I took the wee ones to see Santa today. Our Santa of choice is the East Atlanta Santa. This year is Santa’s second year visiting Santa at Joe’s coffee shop in East Atlanta Village. If you are looking for the fancy pants Santa, with a huge production set, and fake snow, and creepy animatronic figures all around, this Santa is not for you. Looking for a laid-back and affordable, no hassle Santa? This is your Santa. (more…)

Atlanta Twitter Scene

Some people want the different Atlanta Twitter groups to be gangs: the sharks and the jets, snapping it out in cuffed up jeans and white tees with ducktails and pompadours. While I’m a huge fan of the fashion choices, as one of the two hosti (plural for hostess? It is now) I’m not a fan of the approach.

(For those of you who have been livin’ in your mommas basement without cable or interwebs for the last year and a half, here’s what you need to know about Twitter. C’mon back here when you’re up to speed.)

Tessa (of Drive a Faster Car and #atlgas fame) and I decided to start hosting monthly Twitter love-ins in the ATL metro area a few months back. The response and the community have been amazing (207 members to date in the ATL Tweets facebook group) with three absolutely delightful TweetUps under our belt.

We never thought we’d be the end-all be-all for peeps in the ATL who like to tweet. We knew there would be others, just as there was in blogging. Factions start to form: entrepreneur bloggers, mommy bloggers, poetry bloggers, photo bloggers, music and art scene bloggers etc etc etc ad nauseam until the pipes are clogged with blogs abandoned with single entries like tumbleweeds in a western town when the gold has all dried up. Or flaked off. Whatever. What was my point?

Oh right. So a new (I say new, but we’re all “new”…) group of Twitterers in Atlanta hosted a meet-up last night (12/4) at the airport Sheraton. It’s not *our* group, per se, but we did throw their event out there to folks in “our” group in the event they were interested.

Call us match makers.

Problems – not hilarity – ensued with confusion on group names and which event belongs to who and blah blah blah. It’ll all come out in the wash as we get our bearings but now we find the community firmly divided into two camps…and I’m not talking about #atltweets v #atltweetup. I’m talking about those of us who think there’s plenty of love to go around and those who are confused and threatened by people we don’t know with similar but divergent interests.

What say you, the jury?

Oh, and BTW, the next ATL Tweeters event is Weds, December 17th at Thinking Man Tavern in Decatur.

Kick Off The Handmade Holidays

It’s the holiday season, and that means lots of events happening all at once, doesn’t it? Take tonight, for example, where we’ve got two great indie craft events kicking off the handmade holiday shopping season at the same time. Time it right and you can hit them both — but either one of them is sure to be a good time.

Kraftwork shows at the Young Blood Gallery blend indie-boutique offerings with gallery style.

Kraftwork shows at the Young Blood Gallery blend indie-boutique offerings with gallery style.

Deep ITP, you’ve got this Thursday’s Kraftwork show at Young Blood Gallery on Highland Ave. just a couple of blocks south of Ponce de Leon. This one goes from 7 to 10 pm. Atlanta ’s finest indie crafters will be on hand (including my wife) selling handmade art and gifts for everyone on your shopping list. (The Kraftwork shows always have unique and surprising goods that run the gamut from useful to adorable.) Entrance is FREE for shoppers to both Kraftwork and the Young Blood Gallery & shop.

The Spruill Center for the Arts is a modern gallery in an historic house.

The Spruill Center for the Arts is a modern gallery in an historic house.

Meanwhile, out on the Perimeter, the Spruill Gallery is hosting the opening reception of its Holiday Artist Market, featuring a wide variety of hand-crafted gifts by Southeastern artists. The opening reception runs from 6 to 9pm and is FREE admission.

My wife’s handmade books are a part of this market, too, but she got double-booked tonight with the Kraftwork show, so we need someone to visit the opening and let us know how it went. Drop a comment here if you attended the show or the opening and let us know what you thought!

If you can’t make the opening, though, don’t fret: The Holiday Artist Market runs all month at the Spruill Gallery store, from December 5th to 24th, Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm. The Spruill Gallery is right near the Perimeter Mall, so if you’re already up there doing chain-store shopping, please consider stopping off to support local artists, too.

Yes, if I was really smart I would’ve mentioned all this earlier. Sorry about that.

NERDS!!!!

speaking of things that will really ought to get our and see, the plaza theatre will be hosting a showing of the documentary nerdcore rising friday night.

i’ll be honest with you, i knew absolutely nothing about nerdcore, which is apparently nerd rapping about world of warcraft, online bulletin boards and other such things, until i was perusing the plaza’s web site last weekend.

now i am hooked.

i will totally be at this event. you should too.

wondering about nerdcore, here’s a sample, optimus rhyme’s obey the moderator.

f’ing brilliant. it’s even better ’cause it isn’t a joke.

(details after the jump)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTLwiccIOxI[/youtube]

(more…)

Woody’s

James made a comment about seeing Atlanta through other people’s eyes, and it got me thinking a little bit.  I enjoy seeing Atlanta through his eyes, as well, because there are tons of things that I take for granted or just don’t think are a big deal because I’ve been here for so long.  I don’t really get the big deal about the Starlight Drive-In on Moreland, for example.  I actually haven’t been too many times because I used to go up to the twin drive-in on I-85 where the spaceship-looking Hollywood 24 is now.  I prefer the whole theater experience, but all my friends who grew up in the ‘burbs or moved here from elsewhere just love the Starlight.  I’ve got plenty of friends who grew up here who like it just fine, but to them it’s mostly just a drive-in.  Sure, you can brink a six pack and drink while you watch the movie, but I’m not sure that should elevate the place to mythic status.

Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about was Woody’s.  Chances are you drove by it on Monroe and it was closed.  The same two guys have been working the counter as long as I can remember.  They have the worst hours (11-5, T-Sat), and I wouldn’t understand how they stay in business except that they have the best cheesesteaks in town.  While I can’t really give you an objective view of the place since I’ve been going there forever, I had lunch there today with a friend who moved here from Virginia some years ago.  We both inhaled the cheesesteaks so fast that that we had to catch our breath afterwards.  The same thing happens to me when I eat a double quarter pounder at McDonald’s.  I forget to breathe and I sit around gasping like a fish.

Like I said, I don’t have an objective view of Woody’s, since it has always been a part of my life.  If it were open more I’m sure I’d go there a lot more often, but for now I only end up there every few months.  It also isn’t the sort of place I hear many people talk about, so I thought I’d give it some love here on the Metblog.  An old timer’s trick though – if you go, order ahead.  The wait can get pretty bad, although it is definitely worth it.  You want a cheesesteak all the way, with extra meat.  If you are feeling ambitous, their milk shakes are pretty good.

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