Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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!!

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.

Tis almost the season

Image from atlantagatoday.com

Dogwood Festival

This weather (seriously?  The snow flurries this morning?) is making me yearn for the days coming up when I constantly complain about being too hot, I pick my shirts based on what color shows the least sweat, strawberries cost $11 a flat at the market, and I have reverse-raccoon eyes from wearing sunglasses outside all the time.

It also makes me think about the ridiculous number of festivals this city holds when the sun comes out. Where else do you get to stand around clutching rapidly warming $6 beers, bitch about the crowds, develop a mild sunburn and check out garish technicolor dog art? You can also usually find fair food, which includes funnel cakes and various foods on sticks. Generally, my favorites are beer festivals within biking distance of my home (CL’s Beerfest in Woodruff, EAV’s Beerfest in, well, EAV); my least favorites are the neighborhood festivals in neighborhoods where I don’t live (why do I always end up at Summerfest in the Highlands?); and the clear standout winner isn’t even in the spring or summer, it’s Cabbagetown’s Chomp and Stomp in November (I’m acknowledging a slight bias here, but seriously, it rocks).

Coming up this weekend: BaconFest!  This one’s new to me, but Dad’s Garage is a cause I can get behind, especially with two things I also wholeheartedly support (beer and bacon).

You’ll probably also find me at 420Fest in Candler Park April 17-18.  Any readers going to Dogwood that weekend, as it’s now back in Piedmont Park?  What festivals do you look forward to every year?  Is there one that we shouldn’t miss? Why not? Can you promise me some technicolor dog art?

She’s crafty*

I don’t know what everyone else will be doing this weekend but I’ll be at the Cobb Galleria Centre (just ITP for those that don’t venture outside the realm) for the American Craft Council Show. The show is in its 21st year and it really is the premier place for one-of-a-kind handmade items. The show runs Friday through Sunday (with a special preview benefit Thursday night) and you can get $2 off tickets if you purchase online. But, if you’re a member of Scoutmob (which we’ve touted here before), you already know that today’s deal was 1/2 off a one-day admission to the show. Whether you’re into mixed media, jewelry, glass or any other type of handmade craft, it’s worth the trip to the Galleria to see some of the amazing things that people can create.

*And, please forgive the Beastie Boys reference, I automatically sing it in my head whenever I think of crafts. Yes, I know I’m weird.

Winter Beer Carnival

My motto in life usually goes something like: “Candy is dandy, liquor is quicker, but beer is near.” I feel like maybe I should establish myself as the designated drunk blogger. (I’m not an alcoholic; they go to meetings!)

Yesterday I attended the first annual Winter Beer Carnival. In my (not so) humble opinion, winter may in fact be one of the best times to drink beer, because it’s less easy to get dehydrated when you’re not actively sweating, which here in Atlanta we usually are doing at least 7 months of the year. Plus, the beer makes you feel warm!

So, if you weren’t there, it was held over at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, over in west midtown near Tech. i.e. ~In the ghettoooo~ I’m surprised so many clean-cut surburbanites even showed up. I guess it’s proof that people will take risks for beer. (Hey, coming ITP is a risk for a lot of people.) I thought having the event half-indoors and half-outdoors was a smart move; the weather was nice so I didn’t mind being outside, but Atlanta’s winter climate is a strange beast. There was a chance it could have been 30 degrees and raining. My only real complaint about the location dealt with acoustics; the building has high ceilings and concrete floors, so with hundreds of people inside making noise, the roar was quite deafening. Also, outside on the patio, the music WAS SO LOUD I HAD TO TALK LIKE THIS THE ENTIRE TIME. Seriously, there’s a difference between providing ambient noise and blowing out people’s eardrums.

My friend bought me a VIP ticket, which is an option I always like to exercise at beer festivals. All the good shit hides in the VIP area. The beer selection was not quite as amazing as Hotoberfest’s, but not as disappointing as East Atlanta Beer Fest. I say disappointing only because I go to beer festivals to hopefully sample new things. Granted, our fair state does have some WEIRD laws which prevent a lot of really good beer from being brought here. But I don’t go to beer festivals to drink Sweetwater, Abita, Terrapin, etc. Don’t get me wrong– I love all of these beers, but I can also buy them any day of the week (well, except for Sunday) at the Stab-n-Grab on Boulevard. Especially if I’m paying X amount for a ticket to some shindig, I want to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. Thus, I found the Winter Beer Carnival’s selection to be adequate; a decent mix of new and familiar. If you go to beer festivals simply to get hammered, it probably won’t make a difference.

I ate beforehand, so I didn’t get to sample any of the food. And I didn’t get drunk enough to play any carnival games, although the life-size “Operation” board was freakin’ hilarious. I noticed the “prizes” seemed to manifest mainly in the form of Mardi Gras beads. See, I actually went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans three weeks ago, and I more or less have beads coming out my ass at this point. (Hey, some people pay good money for that.) Suffice to say the idea of bringing home more beads didn’t thrill me. I hope for better prizes next year; maybe something beer-related. At the very least, not beads.

Go on, take the kids

While I do not have children, I can understand the need, especially given how the weather has been of late, to get them out of the house especially if you’re a stay-at-home mom (as many of my friends are). In my ongoing quest to discover inexpensive or free things to do around Atlanta, I’ve discovered something quite cool for the Moms and Dads out there (and the Aunts, Uncles & Grandparents too).

Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, through a sponsorship from Target, has Target Free Second Tuesdays every month from 1:00-7:00 pm where admission to the museum is free for all ages. More details can be found on the website.

I only discovered the existence of this museum last year but I’m looking forward to taking my nephew next time he’s in town.

Hey Atlanta Businesses – Use Foursquare!

Digg.com founder Kevin Rose posted an interesting video about having free pizza and beer at a San Francisco restaurant. It wasn’t free because he was Kevin Rose. It was free because his friend was the mayor of the restaurant on foursquare.com.

What is foursquare you ask? It’s a location based social networking site where users tell others their locations. If you frequent an establishment you eventually become mayor.

More Atlanta businesses need to be doing this. This is essentially free advertising for businesses. If the user broadcasts their location to Twitter and Facebook then all who follow and are friends on Facebook will see this. The mayor should be duly rewarded. Imagine if your bar, shop or store became a competition for the mayorship on foursquare. This equates to countless posts with your name on it, bringing awareness and dollars.

Atlanta needs to get with it. We were made fun of at Atlanta WordCamp 2010 because of the lack of hash tags. Giving the virtual mayor of your business a little reward for the free publicity is the least you can do.

Atlanta WordCamp 2010

January 8-9, 2010 marked the first, and ostensibly, annual Atlanta WordCamp. WordCamps happen all over the country and bring together web developers, bloggers, business people, newbies and software writers to network with each other and learn about WordPress. In fact, Atlanta Metblogs is a WordPress blog. WordPress is a free, powerful, open source platform for managing content on the web.

Hosted at the extraordinary SCAD Atlanta campus, Atlanta WordCamp was organized by Brandon Sheats and Tessa Horehled.

The presentations ranged from highly technical discussions such as Topher Kohan on SEO & WordPress, Rusty Tanton on Google Analytics & WordPress Integration to a beginner’s presentation of WordPress by Adria Richards.

The highlight for me was the Genius Bar. I spent about 30 minutes with John Saddington. This session alone was worth the $45 I paid for WordCamp. John consulted me on my new project, WorkingInMusic.com, sharing a lot of invaluable information. Saddington’s presentation how to be a Freelancer with WordPress was also one of the most entertaining and inspiring presentations of the weekend. Saddington assured everyone that we could all be freelance WordPress consultants.

There were lots of other presentations I could not attend however I can, and so can you, watch them on SCAD’s USTREAM Channel.

Overall the weekend and all the presentations went smoothly. I made lots of connections and learned a lot. I highly recommend attending next year’s Atlanta WordCamp which will be February 11-12, 2011.

“Planet Shark Blogger Day” at the Georgia Aquarium

shark

Thanks to the Georgia Aquarium and my multiple blogs, I received invitations to “Planet Shark Blogger Day” this afternoon.  I magnanimously forwarded the invite to a “mommy blogger” friend to see if the display was kid-friendly (because I certainly wasn’t going to bring my 3-year-old around a bunch of flesh eaters).  We both thought the shark displays a bit intense for tiny ones, but the information given was interesting.  For instance:

  • “galeophobia” and “selachophobia” are both terms used to identify excessive fear of sharks (“prudence” is the term for an appropriate level of fear of sharks).
  • in the U.S., you are 200 times more likely to die from a deer attack than a shark attack (this is why my father shoots deer and not sharks).
  • you are 700 times more likely to die in a plane crash than a shark attack (this is why pilots are paid more than marine biologists).
  • the world’s largest fish is the whale shark, which can weigh 13 tons and measure 50 feet (luckily it doesn’t have to compete with the whale whale, its being a mammal and all).

The children and adults enjoyed seeing Nemo and other colorful swimming fish, and petting miniature versions of the creatures that killed Steve Irwin is always an enjoyable way to spend a half hour.

stingray

I did, however, see a preschooler get her head stuck between the bars in a shark cage on display.  I assume this is why preschoolers are not encouraged to drop beneath boats in the Pacific to film swimming sharks, right?

jellyfish

The verdict?  A good place to bring the family on a weekday.  I haven’t been on a weekend, but I assume there are significantly more crowds than I saw today.  But on a Friday at 2pm?  We could molest all the starfish we could find.  Ditto for the sea anemones.

And who wants to be the guy who’s never touched a sea anemone?  Not this guy.

Grant Park Summer Shade Festival is this weekend!

summershadlogo

Hopefully, it won’t be the summer “take cover from the torrential rain and deadly lightning” festival, but regardless, the Grant Park Summer Shade Festival is usually a good time.  There’s food, music, and drinks for the grownups.  For the youngsters, there’s storytellers, jugglers, and signing.  Children are permitted to eat and drink, too, but it’s unlikely to be much of a draw for them.

Best I can tell, there are no clowns.  Some of us are not upset about a likely absence of clowns.

But what about dogs?  Can the dogs enjoy the festival?  Apparently not.  Unless you’re certain attendance will stay below 10,000, you’ll be violating a city ordinance if you bring your pet.  It’s like the “fewer than 15 items” line at the store, but with fur.  And fines.  Maybe it’s nothing like the “fewer than 15 items” line.

The 5k starts at 8am tomorrow; the rest of the festivities begin at 10am.  We’ll likely head that way after the runners are finished.

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