Archive for the ‘Around town’ Category

Roti’s “Allegory of the Human City” and Its Fate inCapitolView/Pittsburgh

Shortly after we moved to Capitol View, French muralist and street artist Roti was brought to Atlanta by the Living Walls organization, to paint a legally-approved* mural on a wall on University Avenue next to the 75 freeway. Titled “An Allegory of the Human City,” the long, highly complex and detailed piece was, in my not-so-humble opinion, a delightful addition to the urban, industrial landscape. The wall, owned by the Atlanta Department of Transportation, also happened to be right next to the “Welcome to Pittsburgh–A Weed & Seed Community” sign.

Roti's own photo (that's not him in the pic)

The artist released a statement about his work: “Fish symbolize people in our society – the big fish eat the smaller fish. They serve as the infinite symbol because the structure of society functions as an eternal cycle. Nonetheless, the small fish are the center of the mural, as they build and feed the city. The man in the fish mask holds a clock with a keyhole. On the other side of the city, a snake holds the key to the lock. By unlocking the keyhole, the snake could stop time, allowing for the city to morph into a utopia. Ultimately, the human body holds the moon inside the cage, because we want to control things we can’t control.”

Now, again IMNSHO, any community should take greater exception to being called “A Weed & Seed Community” than it should to a fascinating and well-executed mural, but who am I to speak for Pittsburgh? Apparently a Pittsburgh-based church was opposed to the mural, with its imagery of fish, a snake, a shark and an alligator, and felt that the image was Satanic. (Here’s a good article explaining the full story.) In broad daylight these holy crusaders painted over the mural with flat gray paint. Luckily for us heathens, Capitol View residents contacted the DOT and went out with their own rags and brushes and removed the buff-out paint before it could dry. The mural is restored as best as it could be.

There was a huge amount of community furor over this inter-neighborhood conflict, but in my opinion the most interesting thing is the very imagery in Roti’s mural. You’ll notice in the center of it, his representation of the city itself is almost completely dominated by buildings with arched Gothic construction and “rose windows“–Roti’s entire city is comprised almost entirely of churches.

Churches who wanted to remove the mural, apparently.

Before condemning any single piece of work, it’s worth it to look at the body of work created by the artist, learn about what they’re trying to communicate, and question your own reactions as prompted by the artwork. Looking at Roti’s oeuvre, it seems that he uses imagery of many animals in his pieces, creating a bestiary that acts to reflect and interpret the artist’s own ideas about humanity and the world. There doesn’t appear to be any “Satanic” message in his work (and this is coming from a gal who’s seen her fair share of genuine occultist art and religious imagery). I’m mostly caught up in the genuine beauty of the piece, which manages to sweep the cityscape into an undulant sea of scales, as of a fish, light refracting from windows the way it glimmers off a vast school of fish beneath the surface of the waves. The imagery connects our own humanity and the architecture of civilization into the raw, visceral state of being possessed by Roti’s own alligators and sharks, a way of bringing humanity back to basics, our limbs to fins in the sea, our legions of people just animals, like every other creature on earth.

 
* Apparently it was NOT legally-approved, through a tweak of red tape. The mural will be painted over shortly, I have been informed. Get your photos and enjoy the imagery while you can.

Wanted: Workout novelty injection

Next month I will have been working out consistently for 15 years. In that time I’ve been to innumerable classes in at least 10 gyms in three states, run and walked about 8,000 miles and amassed more than 130 workout videos plus a small closetful of exercise equipment.

All that to say: I’m bored.

It’s not a matter of a lack of variety. If anything there might be too much variety going on. But stretched out across so many years, even a dozen types of workouts can start to get dull. I do plan to get a bike next month and maybe join a boxing gym at the beginning of next year. But I always suspect that there’s some fun, fantastic, brutal thing that I’m missing.

Has anyone stumbled across a life-changing, how-did-I-not-know-about-this-before workout somewhere in town? Taken up a sport that you started out lukewarm on but now can’t live without? Found a gym that you can’t wait to get to on your workout days?

Let’s hear about it!

 

 

RUMOR: What’s Missing in Downtown?

I often find myself needing cheese for dinner. (Here’s a little insight into my culinary prowess: melt cheese on or into whatever it is you’re cooking, and it will taste better). I work in midtown and live just east of downtown and thus constantly curse the lack of “pick up some cheese on the way home” options. It’s tough to go a mile out of your way on a bicycle, and completely out of the question in this heat, so I plan my route meticulously. I’ve also found it’s best to minimize my “hangry” time before dinner.

Which is why I got all excited when I heard a rumor about the next tenant for the space next to the CNN Center (the now-shuttered Golden Buddha) …. a GROCERY STORE?  Fair warning: there’s a chance this rumor turns out to be someone just being wishful, but I sure have my fingers crossed. Boy would another Trader Joe’s be nice.

Anyone think a grocery store can survive here? Between tourists looking for sunscreen and snacks, GSU students, and Fairlie Poplar/downtown residents for a small, basic destination for staples? Or is it destined to leave me cheeseless on the way home?

UPDATE Stole Cat

Image from youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com

The super-edgy suburban mall chain clothing store, Forever 21, has a reputation for ripping off designer’s work. This pops up from time to time with Urban Outfitters, too, especially with jewelry.

 

But this time … well, this time it looks like some junky-ass knock-off store stole from a well-known Atlanta artist. Bold.

 

R. Land is the crazy cool dude who creates awesome, funny, Atlanta-centric art that you see in local businesses around town. The murals in Criminal Records and El Myr are the two that come to mind, but check out the Facebook page and you’ll say, “ohhhhhh, that guy.” He’s made some scary-funny Aqua Teen Hunger Force stuff, the poster for the L5P Halloween parade, and a street sign for Dong de Leon.

 

Speckles (the Loss Cat Himself) is just nastily, adorably endearing to me. He’s also enduring, as Land originally created him in the 90’s and is still selling it on his website. Oh, right, and on Forever 21’s website. Nowadays word is that he’s in a lawsuit with Forever 21. I would suggest a peek at R. Land’s website shop (I’m partial to the unaspeckles, myself) and consider supporting a local folk art icon.

EDIT: UPDATE and Loss Cat timeline at Creative Loafing:  http://clatl.com/culturesurfing/archives/2011/07/06/forever-21-found-rlands-loss-cat-adopted-without-asking

Triumphant Return! And Food From a Farm

First order of business: Charlie and I are rejoining Tamra as metblogs contributors! In case you haven’t noticed, posting has been a little scant lately. We weren’t entirely sure of the site’s long-term stability following our, um, hiatus in February, but we are good to go now, in it to win it, and looking for new writers. If you are an Atlantan, live and love the city, can string together a sentence or two, and are willing to do it once or twice a week, leave a comment and we’ll track ya down!

Alright, homework’s done. Today I want to talk about food. I really like food. Georgia, that big red sea surrounding Atlanta, is just chock full of it. Farms galore. One in seven Georgians work in some sort of ag-related field. It’s what our state’s economy was built on, and yet …  well, our grocery stores don’t exactly reflect it. We have WONDERFUL options for food in the city, it’s just that the local produce, the stuff from all those farms I keep hearing about, doesn’t often show up at the Hipster Kroger or the Publix on Ponce. The DeKalb and Buford Hwy “Farmers Markets” have every kind of food you can imagine, most of it exceedingly cheap, but produce at YDFM seems to always come from Chile, California, or Mexico. 

So. We turn to the myriad of little farmer’s markets that pop up in every neighborhood once a week, where I end up with ramps and an onion and a jalapeno pepper, a $7 loaf of bread and a $6 pint of blueberries, from farms with names like Gaia Gardens and Love is Love. Granted, those will be the most perfect, plump, tart-sweet, incredibly delicious blueberries I will ever eat, but it’s not exactly grocery shopping for the week.

Third option: a CSA. Georgia Organics has a pretty exhaustive run-down of what CSAs are, and where they are available. I personally have subscribed to the yuppiest, laziest, pickiest option possible: this company. They allow me to request that they never, ever include beets; they deliver a box of food to my front porch; they let me swap out what I don’t feel like eating that week; and they have options for honey, yogurt, coffee, etc. I opt for local over organic produce, and, most convenient of all – you can put a hold on your order just a few days in advance.  This is helpful when you remember that you’ll be out of town next week. Or if you just have more dining-out plans than usual. Or if you are still eating green beans and squash from last week.

Of course, there are much more cost-effective options, if you’re into it. Where do you shop for groceries? Does anyone actually use a CSA? Do you do battle at the Dekalb Market on the weekends? Or do you get your lil debbies at Kroghetto, Krogay, Disco Kroger, Murder Kroger? Finally, while we’re at it, what’s the general consensus on the clever name for the Edgewood (Hipster, in my house) Kroger?

Atlanta Streets Alive returns

ASA Edgewood Ave. street scene

The first of Atlanta Streets Alive’s two June events is today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This year’s ASA will take place along 20 blocks of what will become the first segment of the downtown streetcar’s route.  Guided bike tours will cover the entire route.

Stilt walkers

Photo by Flickr user Joel Mann

 

No bike? No problem. You can take a free ride along the route in one of ATL Cruzers‘ open-air electric cars.

The event is scheduled for some of the hottest hours of the day (although they’re all hot lately), but that just means more business for the ice cream and paleta vendors  at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market’s “Urban Picnic.”

The kick-off is at Woodruff park at 10 a.m., so get out there and run, ride, hoop, dance and get yourself some new tan lines.

What do you want in Midtown?

Midtown Atlanta from the 47th floor of One Atlantic Center

Remember the Midtown Mile?

Like the Streets of Buckhead, it’s said to be just sleeping, not dead. But, some of the project’s developers are said to be reigning in their ambitions, leaning toward something a little less Dean & Deluca and a little more Trader Joe’s.

The scaling down isn’t just in fancy-ness but also in volume. The project’s planned retail component has been scaled back to about 610,000 square feet from the original 1,000,000. Luxury condos, once a must-have for new development, are likely to feature less prominently in the new design as well.

But at least one developer isn’t buying into the new vision.

Shirley Gouffon is a senior vice president with Selig Enterprises, the company that’s developing 12th & Midtown with Daniel Corp. In an e-mail to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Gouffon said that Selig and Daniel “have not bought into these ideas and are in total disagreement with many of the positions outlined.”

The Mile’s developers are in a difficult position, trying to create an area that will appeal to three very different groups:

  • People from out of town who stay in Midtown’s expensive hotels and would like to walk to shopping, restaurants and entertainment
  • People who live in the suburbs and come into the city for events at the Fox Theater, the High Museum and Woodruff Arts Center and want things to do before and/or after, preferably things that aren’t available where they live
  • People who live and work in and around Midtown and want things like a grocery store on Peachtree, interesting but reasonably-priced restaurants and some walkable everyday shopping

Do you live, work or hang out in Midtown? What do you think is missing there?

All dressed up…

Coca-Cola headquarters draped in white

The Coca-Cola corporate headquarters building on North Avenue, as seen from Civic Center Station

 

If you’re wondering why the Coke HQ building is decked out as if it’s about to walk down the aisle, CL has some explanation.

The white drape on the the 29-story building will be used as a screen to project images on during an event commemorating Coca-Cola’s 125th anniversary this weekend.

That’s not just any 350-foot, semi-opaque white sheet, by the way. If this permit application is to be believed, that’s about $600,000 worth of Odwalla, Vitamin Water and Simply Lemonade hanging up there.

Now open: Fourth Ward Park, Phase I

Have you been to Historic Fourth Ward Park yet?

When I moved away a few years ago Dallas Street consisted of an industrial building at one end, David Daniels Design at the other and a few houses that looked like they might not survive a storm in between. Beyond that was perhaps the most kudzu amassed in one place on earth.

Now it’s chockablock with new apartments and this:

How to get there:

Transit:  I took the Route 2 MARTA bus going east from North Avenue Station. Get off at Ponce and Glen Iris – right in front of Cactus Car Wash – then walk two blocks to Dallas Street and Glen Iris and turn left. Dallas Street leads right to the west entrance to the park.

Walking: The foot bridge over Freedom Parkway from the Freedom Park PATH Trail leads to the park.

Driving: These directions are untested, just cobbled together from looking at the map and what I observed from inside the park. Travelling east on North Avenue, turn right on North Angier Avenue, which is just past the Masquerade. Follow that street south and turn right on Morgan Street. There’s also some on-street parking on Dallas Street. (Someone correct me if I have that all wrong.)

Public hearings at MARTA, GDOT and ARC

MARTA

Tomorrow, March 24, MARTA is holding three public hearings   – two in Atlanta and one in Decatur – to gather input on bus route changes as well as tenative plans to revive the Braves Shuttle. The shuttle, which usually runs from Five Points Station to Turner Field on Atlanta Braves game days, was axed during last fall’s service cuts. Bus routes affected by the proposed changes are:

  • Route 2 – Ponce de Leon Avenue/Moreland Avenue
  • Route 87 – Roswell Road/Morgan Falls
  • Route 99 – Boulevard/Monroe Drive
  • Route 181 – Buffington Road/South Fulton Park & Ride

Here’s a map (PDF) detailing the proposed changes to routes 2 and 99. Here’s one for routes 87 and 181. The service changes, if they’re adopted will go into effect June 18.

GDOT

Next week, on March 30, the Georgia Department of Transportation is holding a hearing for public input regarding the Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal (PDF) project that’s planned for the downtown “gulch” area. GDOT announced last week that it had selected a development team led by Cousins Properties to build the potentially transformative transit project, but proposal summaries from all three of the short-listed development teams are still on the GDOT site.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, use the online comment form.

ARC

Still not enough civic engagement for you? The Atlanta Regional Commission is inviting metro Atlantans to an ”online public meeting” to offer opinions on draft transportation recommendations  for “Plan2040,” the agency’s plan to “accommodate economic and population growth sustainability over the next 30 years.”  The online meeting is open until April 30.

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