Archive for April, 2010

Screens on the Bricks, Green

photo from yelp, SOTG in Piedmont

The other week they released the Screen on the Green lineup for this summer. While I’m thrilled that it’s back at Piedmont Park, I’m sorely disappointed by the movie selection. A really, really unscientific survey of “Best Movie at Screen on the Green” came up with Mommie Dearest, Ferris Bueller, Willie Wonka, and Back to the Future. And though I (and the three people I surveyed) didn’t see them, I assume Carwash and Grease were entertaining shows – big fan of audience participation here.

I assume licensing plays a role here, as it’s now run by Peachtree TV rather than Turner Classic, and I assume they’re going for a younger audience … but come on, Nick Cage?? And a movie you showed last year? The kids will love the Wiz! And they ought to be exposed to things like the Birds (though I can’t find it online, I really thought they showed the Birds once) and Psycho (shown at “Movie on the Meadow” last week). Nightmares notwithstanding.

Funny enough, it looks like in metblogs comments of years past, I’ve soapboxed about this, but ya’ll can stand by for me to do it again. While I love playing in downtown Atlanta and have enjoyed watching its rather dramatic rebirth over the last ten years, SOTG at Centennial just didn’t do it for me. I don’t like being searched to enter a park so that vendors can charge me six bucks a beer. Plus the flat (and tree-ey) layout meant I couldn’t see a lot of the time.

And I always thought the best thing about Screen on the Green in years past was that it was one of the few events in Atlanta that attracted a crowd that comes kind of close to reflecting the diversity of skin and hair colors, ages, income status, family situations, sexual orientations, and what-have-you that call this city home. We would squeeze our towels and pizza boxes on wet grass between 20-something black lesbians, Ansley families with tow-head three year olds, teenagers posing and posturing for each other, fab midtown couples in their 50s, college students, and big families who drove in from the north and south burbs. That sense was a little lost in Centennial. Not sure exactly why, but I hope it comes back.

So am I wrong in snapping to judgment here? Is it more a matter of the experience than the movie itself? Should I focus on the fact that Jurassic Park is awesome and terrifying and family friendly all at once? Or on the fact that Flicks on Fifth’s lineup, though not particularly classic or diverse, features some decent-looking popular movies that I haven’t seen yet?

Nothing is worse than Jim Leyritz

Screw you, Jim Leyritz. Seriously, I hate you.

Mark Bradley is calling the Hawks’ most recent loss worse than Jim Leyritz homer in 1996.  I didn’t catch the Hawks game tonight, and it sounds like an epic collapse.  But I have a hard time believing it is “worse” than Jim Leyritz, because nothing is worse than Jim Leyritz.  Not even Kent Hrbek or Kriby Puckett.  Braves fans will know what I mean – the thought of Hrbek and Puckett just make me sigh and wish what could have been.  The pain is still there, but it is a dull disappointment.

Jim Leyritz.  Just thinking of this man cause my face to twist into a scowl.  I am literally writing this with a curled lip.  Jim Leyrtiz and his crazy legs, twirling his bat.  WHO BATS LIKE THAT??  My heart rate increases, I grind my teeth, and I honestly kind of feel like vomiting.  I hate this man.  I imagine it is comparable to what Bostonians felt about Bill Buckner or that guy who caught the foul ball at Wrigley.

See, this Hawks collapse, you could sort of see this coming.  These Hawks haven’t been able to hold a lead for the last month of the season.  I told James that the Hawks would break his heart when he decided he would start following them.  “Even if they get good, it will only be to tease you before they let you down.”  James doesn’t know what it is like to be an Atlanta sports fan, so he gets a pass.  Sure, he’s a Cubs fan, which comes with its own neuroses, but he doesn’t know our franchises.  The Hawks, they are simply playing their role.  This loss doesn’t really change anything about the franchise.

Leyrtiz.  Leyritz killed the Braves.   (more…)

veggie tips?

so here is the thing. after a lot of thought, i gave up meat about 10 days ago. this is pretty tough because i am a serious meat eater, and a quick look at some of my favorite places to eat, fox bros bbq and five guys burgers come to mind, will tell you that i am going to be struggling a bit.

so to all you vegetarians out there. where should i go? where are the best places to go in town to get a meat-less meal?

i have discovered previously a wonderful veggie corn dog at the midway pub in east atlanta, and a decent black bean burger at canyons burgers in brookhaven, but after that i am kinda stumped.

any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dare I say it … Progress on the Transportation Front?

I sincerely hope that Metblogs isn’t your sole source for local news, but just to catch up any readers who may be a few days behind: last night the Georgia Legislature (on its third-to-last day of the 2010 session) passed the “Transportation Investment Act of 2010.”  Great news!

photo Vino Wong,

But first, a nod towards a little bit of background: On Tuesday MARTA staged a rally and “publicity campaign,” dramatically marking huge red X’s on a third of their fleet to represent the buses and trains that would be taken out of service later this year in order to help fill a $120 million budget hole.

The kicker (well, one of the kickers) is that MARTA has money – not a lot, but what they do have they weren’t allowed to use. By law, they can only spend 50% of their revenues from sales tax on operations. That’s why, I assume, we have all the brand-new fancypants black buses driving around in a time of rate hikes and service cuts.

There are obviously about 50 layers of issues here that I’m not going to pretend to know about and/or can’t get into, including the fact that MARTA is the only major transit system in the country without state funding, that leadership supposedly wants state funding but not state oversight, that the legislature has been debating a transportation funding bill for three years, and so on. (and on).

BUT! Last night we made progress! They’re going to let us tax ourselves! Hooray! A bill passed last night that will divide the state into 12 regions, and let each region vote in a referendum to thumbs up or thumbs down a list of transportation projects in the region, along with a 1% sales tax to fund them. Money has to come from somewhere, I suppose, and it’s better than nothing. HB277 also lifts that restriction on MARTA’s operations funding, though just for 3 years.

The bill just passed last night, and is on the Governor’s desk to be signed (he technically has 40 days past the end of session to sign it, I believe), so it’s not final yet. And nothing will actually happen for another couple of years (referendums would take place in 2012).  But I am allowing myself to hope, just a teeny bit, that Atlanta might eventually be, in my lifetime, a place where people ride a train or take a bus and it’s a quick, reasonably priced, perfectly normal means of getting from one place to another. Hoping this is a good step.

More info on the legislation – bill itself here, CL’s fresh loaf here, GPB Lawmakers here, AJC here .

Could these Braves be the real deal?

It is so tempting to take the Braves dramatic win against the Phillies tonight and make it a bigger deal than it is.  Baseball is a cruel mistress, as these Braves have already shown us.  These are the same Braves that got no-hit the other day.  Jason Heyward’s dramatic game-winning single only came about after some help from the umpires.  Still, it is hard to watch a 3-run comeback in the bottom of the 9th against the reigning NL champs and not get excited.

I was most surprised by the source of the comeback.  This was my thought process during the last two innings:

  • Troy Glaus comes up with two outs and a runner on.  He had come up with the bases loaded earlier in the game and one out, and prompted grounded into a double play, just as I expected.  The fans were booing him the at-bat before this one.  I thought, “This game is over.”  I was pretty slack-jawed when he actually knocked it out.  “Well, good for him.  He really needed that.”  Still down a run with two out, no point in getting TOO excited.
  • Heyward comes up.  “It is too much to expect him to do it again.  Maybe he’ll get a hit, keep it going.”  Holy crap.  This kid is the real deal.  It says a lot about him that this event was the LEAST surprising part about the comeback.
  • I see that McLouth, the pitcher’s spot, and Diaz are up in the bottom of the 10th.  “Great, the worst part of the order.  This will go to 11 innings.”  How wrong I was.

One thing that was great about the early 90’s Braves (the completely biased standard by which I judge all great baseball teams) is that they had very timely hits.  Guys like Lemke and Belliard didn’t put up great numbers, but they came through in the clutch.  That kind of clutch performance has been missing for what feels like a decade.  When Glaus hit into that bases loaded double play, it just felt like typical Braves.  The 9th inning was NOT typical Braves, although I hope it becomes typical of THESE Braves.

Jammin’ and Blockin’ in 2010

Among the growing list of awesome things to do this weekend (Freaknic/Freaknik/Dogwood/420Fest, depending on your scene) is the Atlanta Rollergirls 2010 debut.  I hate to admit that I haven’t been to a bout since their first season in Stone Mountain, but they have been at the Shriner’s Center for a few years now, and man, are these girls FIERCE!

It’s good family fun, seriously – it’s a spectacle, pretty grand entertainment, and not too brutal or anything for the youngsters (not that I’m a good judge of this, but I think it’s pretty clean).  The showmanship, occasional feats of athleticism, and creativity adds up to great entertainment.

Plus, it’s BYOB, as long as you are happy to share with ladies sporting names like Demi Gore, Smack and Cheese, Tequila Slamher, and PBRawr (and that’s just on the Apocalystix team!).

Worth a check out, despite the steep ticket price (seriously? $15 for one bout, $25 for two?).

Edit: just ate my words, apparently people don’t mind the steep ticket price.  Sold out for this weekend!  Buy your tickets early for the next home bout, May 22!!

Freaknik revival? Yawn.

I got an email from a reader on my personal blog about why I hadn’t been covering the Freaknik revival efforts.  For one thing, I don’t think they are going to be a very big deal.  Another reason is that I’m coming down the home stretch of grad school and just don’t have that much time these days.

I’ll believe these new Freakniks are the real deal when I see it, and until then I’m not wasting my energy.  I think the combination of the Braves game, basketball playoffs, Dogwood Festival, and Robotics competition will be worse than this so-called Freaknik.  Seriously, there is no way these events live up to the name.  Ask some Atlanta natives about stories from the real thing.  One middle school teacher of mine walked out of her house and found some X-rated behavior in progress on her front lawn.  True story.  I think.  And that was part of the deal with the original Freaknik – someone could tell you that, and your reaction was, “sounds plausible.”

However, I did check out Creative Loafing’s piece on the two events this morning.  I actually clicked the link for “twurking” just as La Madre walked past the kitchen table.  That was a great idea.  I highly recommend following that entirely NSF-anywhere-with-company link.

Luna: Savior of Mitchell Street?

photo from the

(photo courtesy due to my lack of camera that evening)

So I know the title is a little silly, but if you’ve met the man, you’ve probably spoken with him at length about the way things are and the way they ought to be, and if you talk to him over a few glasses of wine, well, you start using silly, grandiose words like savior. The other night I had dinner at Paul Luna’s new place, Lunacy Black Market, tucked away on a quiet block of Mitchell Street. It’s my strong feeling that this is Atlanta’s greatest new place to spend an evening. It doesn’t feel like a restaurant, it feels like a movement, and Luna is a guy you just want to believe in, so here I go, passing the word along from what little platform I have.

First off, a brief history of Luna in Atlanta.  Paul Luna, the owner-chef “to whom words like ‘legendary’ and ‘bad boy’ have been routinely applied” has opened a handful of restaurants in the city in the last few decades, among them Eclipse de Luna and Loca Luna. He and his partner, Cynthia, just opened Lunacy Black Market, and I’m not going to rehash the reviews that are dotting the local blogs,  just link to them, because it seems like everyone has the same experience there – the food is simple, beautifully prepared, delicious, and beyond cheap. Disconcertingly cheap. No  liquor license yet, (though not for want of trying) so bring your own.


playoff-bound and as the three seed!!


i have to take credit. three years ago when i publicly declared i was going to be a fan of the hapless atlanta hawks, right after they had drafted acie law iv and al horford with their two first round picks, i was routinely chided by friends. “good luck,” they told me, smiling, “that team will break your heart.”

and what has my fandom wrought? well only three straight playoff seasons. and each one improving over the last one. consider this:

-the hawks snuck into the playoffs in 2008 as the eight seed in the east, losing to the celtics in the first round
-last season, the hawks finished fourth in the eastern conference, beating miami in the first round before getting swept by the cavs
and this season?

well, with the celtics loss last night, the hawks will be the THIRD SEED in the eastern conference. heading into tonight’s final game the hawks have 52 wins and are among the top six teams in the nba. not too shabby. and yes, i am totally taking credit.

playoff tickets are on sale. the hakws are the best thing sports-wise going on in this town right now. come out and support them.

Take a hike

The sun is shining. The birds are singing. Spring has finally sprung. And, although everything is covered in a yellow film, it’s still time to get outdoors.

In my continuing efforts to bring you the fun for free (or relatively cheap), I’m pushing you Atlantans to get outside. The National Park Service is waiving entrance fees to all 392 national parks April 17 (this Saturday) through April 25. This gives everyone a chance to explore not only the state of Georgia but the entire country…if you can afford the gas.

In addition to the free admission, there will be plenty of volunteer opportunities and Earth Day festivities on April 22. And, on Saturday, April 24, the parks will be having Junior Ranger Day with lots of extra activities for the kiddies.

So, fill up the picnic basket, grab a blanket and see what you can find in the great outdoors.

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