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FEBRUARY 15, 2018



VOL. 15, NO. 7 • FEBRUARY 15, 2018

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It’s no surprise that The Pulse has long been a champion for the local theater scene, covering productions all around the metro region.


February features several things. Rodent weather prediction. An abundance of pink sentimentality. Quadrennial calendar corrections. Mattress sales. But for the last five years, it’s also brought Chattanooga a different sort of news.


For some fine art connoisseurs, seeing a nice piece of performance art scratches an itch that can’t be scratched by any other scratching post. There’s nothing quite as stimulating as an uncommon event.


Around the end of December I submitted a piece about the state of Hip-Hop in Chattanooga. Spoiler Alert: It’s going gangbusters.



Many Voices, One Chorus If there was a Chattanooga poetic voice, it would rap while playing the mandolin or take a soothing sip of nettle tea before hollering into a mic in a bardic baritone. Clearly, there’s no such beast. But there is a distinct Chattanooga poetic community, a set of fragmented but companionable groups with their own trends and schools and heritage.






















Jenn Webster is a dancer and technical writer by trade who has also written for marketing, educational, and consumer publications. She’s an Army veteran and a member of WEAVE: A Conceptual Dance Company.

Brandon Watson has been on the gaming scene since first dropping coins in an arcade cabinet many moons ago. When not leading space marines as a mousepad Mattis, he is making gourmet pancakes and promoting local artists.



Supporting Local Theater Live theater is alive and well in the Chattanooga metro region By Michael Thomas Pulse contributor



Managing Editor Gary Poole Assistant Editor Brooke Brown Music Editor Marc T. Michael Film Editor John DeVore Contributors Thom Benson • Rob Brezsny Steven W. Disbrow • Matt Jones Tony Mraz • Ernie Paik Rick Pimental-Habib • Michael Thomas Brandon Watson • Jenn Webster Editorial Interns Adrienne Kaufmann • Austin M. Hooks Cartoonists Max Cannon • Rob Rogers Jen Sorenson • Tom Tomorrow

ADVERTISING Director of Sales Mike Baskin

Account Executives Rick Leavell • Cindee McBride Libby Phillips • John Rodriguez Danielle Swindell • Logan Vandergriff


Offices 1305 Carter St. Chattanooga, TN 37402 Phone 423.265.9494 Email Website Facebook @chattanoogapulse THE FINE PRINT: The Pulse is published weekly by Brewer Media and is distributed throughout the city of Chattanooga and surrounding communities. The Pulse covers a broad range of topics concentrating on music, the arts, entertainment, culture and local news. The Pulse is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader. No person without written permission from the publisher may take more than one copy per weekly issue. The Pulse may be distributed only by authorized distributors. Contents Copyright © 2018 by Brewer Media. All rights reserved.


T’S NO SURPRISE THAT THE PULSE has long been a champion for the local theater scene, covering productions at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, The Ensemble Theater of Chattanooga, Back Alley Productions, The Colonnade Center, Covenant College, and UTC’s many fine productions. But just down the road in Ringgold is the home of The Ringgold Playhouse, hosting a regular series of plays at the Historic Ringgold Depot. This talented group has been providing a creative outlet for storytelling in the community that challenges, entertains, and inspires both the artist and audiences. This Thursday, they kick off their 2018 season with John Cariani’s charming romantic comedy “Almost, Maine”. The play features a series of nine intertwined vignettes that ultimately tell a heartwarming story about the people in the mythical town of “Almost, Maine”. While the show is perfect for the Valentine’s Day season, director Renee Lierow says the production includes wonderfully entertaining character studies from more than dozen area actors. “I love the simplicity of this show,” Lierow said. “There is not a need to make it over dramatic or have some grand gestures, but instead, this is a fully character-driven show. They are real people in real relationships with a surprising little twist that makes us think about our own lives. Overall, Lierow says she hopes the stories resonate with audiences as much as they have with the cast and crew. “My hope is that the audience will walk away recognizing a piece of themselves in the people of Almost,” Lierow said. “Because really, isn’t that what theater is all about?” The show’s cast features 15 actors; TRP


“There is not a need to make it over dramatic or have some grand gestures, but instead, this is a fully character-driven show.” regulars Ronald King, David Dunn, Joanna Lewis, Sherri Brown, Lisa Parsons, Kylene Booher, David Howard, and Chuck Nalley, as well as Jodi Upton, Chris M. Cooper, Jolie Focht, T.J. Rogers, Maria Chattin, Josh Adler, and Christopher Cooper who are all making their TRP debuts. In addition to her uber talented cast, Lierow says the experience and the storytelling process have been a real treat during this production. “This whole process has left me feeling so lucky to be able to work at TRP,” Lierow said. “Each time I have left rehearsal with the cast, I have left uplifted and encouraged. They have surpassed my expectations over and over again. I have often told them that this show gets better every time I see it, so I am excited to share them and their hard

work with our audience.” The show will run for the next two weekends at the historic Ringgold Depot. Tickets are available in person Monday through Friday at Ringgold City Hall, over the phone at (706) 935-3061, or online at So if you’re looking for true community theater with strong acting, intriguing staging, and a challenging selection of productions, make sure to keep your calendar open throughout the year for all of The Ringgold Playhouse’s performances. You won’t be disappointed. “Almost, Maine” Opens Thursday, 7:30 p.m. The Ringgold Playhouse 155 Depot St. (706) 935-3061

Consider This with Dr. Rick

EdiToon by Rob Rogers

“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.” — Pema Chodron

Hot Off The Press To Help The Animals Wally’s Friends Spay/Neuter Clinic and Fire Station #1 share a common goal: save the homeless and lost pets of America. As it turns out, our local firefighters are just as committed to saving our furry friends as you or me. Meanwhile, the workers at Wally’s Friends are equally committed to getting these animals off the streets and helping to prevent overpopulation. Upon realizing their shared purpose, our local Chattanooga firefighters pitched and landed the idea of a 21-month calendar featuring our local firefighters with their pets. Every calen-

dar sold will fund special equipment designed to help resuscitate or help save the life of any pet trapped in a burning home or otherwise. The calendar, running from April

2018- through 2019, is ready for purchase at Not only will the purchase of this calendar go to a great cause, but you’ll get to see the special bond our local firefighters share with their pets. In addition, doggos, spaghetti, and local firefighters come together on Tuesday, February 27th at the Wally’s Friends 10th Annual Fundraiser, “SpayGhetti No Meatballs Dinner & Silent Auction.” Comedian Karen Mills will highlight the event and freshly printed calendars will be available for purchase. — Austin M. Hooks

Easier said than done, sure. But perhaps this could become your current spiritual goal. I think about the story of the two men whose houses burn down. One man, looking from across the street, wails in despair and believes his life to be over. Everything—all the things—that he loves are now in a pile of ash. He is, understandably, devastated. Then there is the other man, looking from across the street after his house burned down. Of course he harbors the feelings of someone whose lifetime of accumulations is gone. The tangible memories are in ruins, although the memories in his heart will remain forever. He says, simply, “Well, at least we can save the nails and begin again.” Imagine walking through this life with the hurricanes swirling around us, causing all sorts of drama and trauma, yet remain in the center, in the eye, in the peace. — Rick Pimental-Habib, Ph.D.




Research Roundup, Winter 2018 Sending a roadster to Mars, battling the flu, tracking a space probe

Steven W. Disbrow Pulse columnist


O, WE ARE ABOUT HALF-WAY through the Winter of 2018, which means it’s time for another Research Roundup! Heavy! Of course, the first thing we have to talk about is last week’s successful launch of SpaceX’s Heavy Falcon rocket. After years of planning and months of testing, the Heavy Falcon lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center, lofting a payload that was both extremely heavy and extremely unusual into space. The payload, a Cherry Red Tesla that belonged to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, is now on its way to the asteroid belt. It was originally intended to go past Mars, but a miscalculation has put it on a course for the asteroid belt instead. It will wander our Solar System for millions of years, unless, of course, someone salvages it some day in the future. Of course, the payload could have been bricks, but Mr. Musk is a consummate showman, so the Tesla stunt got the whole world talking about the flight, which is good publicity for SpaceX. Stunt or not, the Falcon Heavy is now the most powerful, proven rocket currently in use. (Not as powerful as the Saturn V used in the Apollo program, but more powerful than any other rocket currently in use.) Theatrics aside, SpaceX managed to land both side booster rockets for reuse on a later mission. (The Center Core of the rock-

et was, unfortunately, lost at sea when it missed its landing barge.) All in all, it was a huge step forward for SpaceX as a company and commercial space flight as a whole. Sick! Winter means Flu Season, and this one has been particularly nasty. Early on, there were signs that vaccine manufacturers had guessed wrong about which strain of the flu would be dominant, and it turns out they had. That means that the vaccine that had been manufactured was much less effective (about 30%) against the strain that people were coming down with. This lack of efficacy, made many people say, “why bother?”, and not get the vaccine at all. Combine this with the incredibly stupid anti-vaxx movement, and we have a perfect set of conditions for the flu to spread like wildfire. And it has. School systems across the country have been closing in an attempt to short-circuit the spread of the virus and doctors are still encouraging people to get the vaccine to help build herd immunity. I think one reason that even rational people have been saying “why bother?” to the vaccine is that they remember the flu as “no big deal” as a child. Well, if you remember the flu as “no big deal,” from childhood, it’s probably because you had parents that lived through the horrors of Polio and religiously dragged you to the doc-

tor to get you vaccinated. Even if the vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective, it drastically reduces the effect of the flu and that’s the experience you remember. The flu is no joke. In 1918 the Spanish Flu killed millions of people worldwide, and that’s before the world was really “connected” by cheap air travel. This time around, in 2018, the flu is already the cause of 1 out of every 10 deaths in the country, and it could actually get worse before it gets better. (Flu season still has a couple months to go.) Of course, there’s Tamiflu, which is the only drug actually available to combat the flu. But, Tamiflu is more of a preventative. It doesn’t actually stop you from being contagious and it only reduces actual symptoms by about 24 hours. Fortunately, more anti-viral drugs are on the horizon for next year’s flu season and should help to mitigate that. But, first, we have

to get through this one. So, again, go get yourself vaccinated. Far Out! Finally, we’ve got a story that will actually be happening next winter. On January 1st, 2019, the New Horizons probe (which flew by Pluto in 2015) will have a flyby of a Kuiper Belt object. The object, currently known as “2014 MU69,” will be the farthest object ever seen close up by one of our probes. Pluto turned out to be an amazingly complex and exciting world. So, who knows what New Horizons will reveal when it reaches 2014 MU69? The only guarantee is that it should be something completely unexpected. And that’s the best result of all! Steven W. Disbrow is a programmer who specializes in e-commerce and mobile systems development, an entrepreneur, comicbook nerd, writer, improviser, actor, sometime television personality and parent of two human children.



Many Voices, One Chorus If you haven’t heard our Chattanooga poets speak, it’s time By Jenn Webster Pulse contributor


F THERE WAS A CHATTANOOGA POETIC VOICE, it would rap while playing the mandolin or take a soothing sip of nettle tea before hollering into a mic in a bardic baritone. Clearly, there’s no such beast. But there is a distinct Chattanooga poetic community, a set of fragmented but companionable groups with their own trends and schools and heritage. There are younger and older voices, poets who compose for speech and poets who compose for reading, poets with rural or urban accents, poets who take up mystic and realistic and political themes, all hollering and crooning and declaiming like bards in call-and-response to each other. Best: they’re doing it in coffee shops and small theaters and bookstores and on Facebook and Instagram. You don’t have to wait for the SoundCloud drop or chapbook. The poets are right here, close enough to touch (okay, maybe don’t touch), the warm sonic whisper of their art near enough to tickle your eardrum. “Our community is vibrant and nourishing and multifaceted,” says poet Mia Hansford, who is also a fine artist trained at the Parsons School of Design. “We have [poetry from] Lookout Mountain, Signal Mountain, Mentone, Ooltewah, Wildwood—whether high or low, with money or not, there are people writing and creating and reaching out to each other.” Feel This Voice I’m in Barking Legs and poet Erika

Dionne Roberts is making my hair stand up with her velvet consonants. I’m in a coffee shop and poet Ray Zimmerman reads a few of his own words and I imagine for a minute someone’s put on a crackling record of Tolkien reading Beowulf, but Southern. Denise Adeniyi, who performs as the Divine Poetess, has degrees in vocal education and music composition and describes her voice as sometimes tranquil, sometimes sensuous. “I write from my heart and my soul,” she says. “I know everything is connected. I understand vibrations and frequencies.” Some tuning forks, she continues, vibrates at 432 Hz, the same frequency as the earth’s vibration. She uses the sound of her voice to invoke intellectual as well as sonic vibrations. “If I can touch people from the heart, that’s resonance,” she says. “It’s making a connection with the audience.” When we talk about a poet’s “voice,” of course, we’re often talking about a style, not the way they sound


Erika Dionne Roberts

speaking. But when you live with your poets, those can be the same thing. Each enriches the other. Mia Hansford’s dry, gentle style illustrates the dichotomy. Both her voice and her verse are plain, husky, resonant and still as a deep well. “I’m not stark, I’m not Spartan,” she says. “There’s a rich grain of love and influences. I have very different threads in my life, family, and artistic upbringing and experience—there’s a rustic element to my background and what I love.” Other poets pull the other way. KB Ballentine, author of five collections of poetry and a champion of poets in Chattanooga, describes her speaking and writing voice as nothing alike. The shape on the page, more than the spoken sound, partners the words’ meaning for many poets. Some poets marry sight and meaning by choosing fonts and even soft, thick paper, so that the chapbook becomes a tactile artifact. Still, in Chattanooga, we know what our poets sound like. Before we hit up

Amazon CreateSpace or buy a volume, we’ve probably heard them read in person, close as breath. The tactile— or “sonic,” as poet and artist Christian J. Collier says—quality is hard to miss. Onstage: The Private Self A performing poet in a small city runs into challenge: when she tells her story on stage, the supporting parts may be sitting about 12 feet from her, sipping gin and tonic and giving her the side eye if she tattles on them. The relationship between private poet and performing personality is complex. Erika Dionne Roberts has made transparency both mode and subject of her poetry—and poetic persona— for the past few years. She’s active in teaching others how to express themselves through poetry, working with Chattanooga Girls Rock and hosting a series of poetry workshops at LIT gallery. “It’s dangerous to tell yourself to be transparent,” she says. “If I’m going to be honest about who I am, some things

COVER STORY must remain private. But if there’s anything that could help someone else, I should [use that to] help someone else speak.” She changes her poems in dialogue with her audience, she says, the meanings deepening for some who know the backstory. “My book [now available on Amazon] is about transparency,” she says. “You have to be honest with yourself to be transparent with others, or you won’t see the truth.” Segregated Community Transparency involves trust between people, but moving out of your comfort zone and reading or workshopping with strangers is vital, too. Christian J. Collier has also been thinking about the poetry community in Chattanooga. In fact, he’s doing prep work for a documentary about the Chattanooga poetry scene. “I realized the poetry scene here is segregated,” he says. “People who come to Barnes & Noble don’t go to Genesis’s [Greykid, nom de plume of poet Russell McGee] workshops. Inherent in that is that people think that’s all poetry in the city has to offer. I want to do something to document, to bridge.” “Niches are inherent in Chattanooga, period,” he adds. “People are comfortable with places they know, with key personalities. It gets interesting because we are in the information age, but it’s a scary thing for someone who might like something but might not be willing to go to an event.” That might have to do with demographics or simple lack of information, but I wonder whether it has also to do with very different forms of social courage. Several poets mention to me that workshops attract very different people compared with slam or hip hop venues. Those who feel comfortable in front of a crowd may shrink from a minute dissection of their language, while a poet who loves to delve into word-by-word scrutiny of their verse might be overwhelmed with embarrassment in a more theatrical setting. And many poets, such as Erika Dionne Roberts and Ray Zimmerman, move easily from the cerebral workshop setting to the sha-

Ray Zimmerman (and friends)

“There is a distinct Chattanooga poetic community, a set of fragmented but companionable groups with their own trends and schools and heritage.” manic performance mode. One place people may happen into poetry is Friday’s open mic nights at Barnes & Noble. Subject to time requirements, people can bring finished poems or works in progress to share. Passersby stop and read poems off their phones from time to time, explains KB Ballentine, who hosts the gatherings. The relative blandness of the mall makes it a good place to find unexpected poets from all walks of life. Some get hooked. “You have poets who are in the workplace and poets who stay home,” KB Ballentine says. “You have urban and rural poets, different religions…what’s good at Barnes & Noble is people are wandering by. Lots have come through over the years and said, ‘I didn’t know this was here, can I read this poem on my phone?’ They get to share, even if for five minutes. Reading your poems out loud is a good, really self-satisfying thing, for a lot of people.” That delight can erase fear, she

says. “It’s scary; some people would rather die than speak in public, but you come to this group, and it’s okay! The older people hear it and bring poems back with them. But the kids jump right in if they have something with them. It helps them feel like, ‘I’m not just writing to myself.’” Building a Tradition Ray Zimmerman has been organizing, publishing and performing poetry in Chattanooga for many years now. His own voice, he says, has been influenced, consciously or subconsciously, by voices such as Christian Collier and Jody Harris. “The community influences my work because I both listen and speak,” he says. “Reading is inhaling; speaking is exhaling.” He cites Chattanooga’s workshop tradition as another way poets here grow and influence each other. “I may not like what people have to say about my poem, and may not make the specific change they suggest, but I know—the pro-

cess tells me—I need to make edits. When somebody does not understand, the poem is not finished.” Many poets came up through the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild or Rhyme N Chatt or first presented their work at Barking Legs Wide Open Floor/The Floor Is Yours nights. People move from one place to the other until they find the community whose mirror of listening best reflects what they’re trying to do. “It’s hard to get us all in one court,” Erika says. “I came into poetry through Rhyme N Chatt, but how they felt about eroticism kept me from going some nights. I see Marsha Mills and Jody Harris as our pioneers.” Poets grow through listening to one another, Christian Collier adds. “Hearing different voices, younger voices, different nationalities, different vectors of oppression, opens you up to what’s possible in the craft. So much of what we like is curated—we lose so much in the way of being challenged and the selfanalysis [that goes with that]. It benefits everyone to be versatile. Go to something that challenges you, something you don’t understand.” Come Out, Come Out Why should young or retired or solitary poets share their works? For the existing community, it’s pure hunger for more poetry. The more voices, the richer the conversation. “We need to hear your work,” Ray Zimmerman says. But sharing poetry can also be empowering. Therapeutic. Poet and professional writer Rachel Stewart—perhaps along with hundreds of others—has a powerful voice but hasn’t performed or published for some time. “Getting back into poetry is a goal I’ve been moving toward slowly in the past couple of years,” she says. “I’ve missed the process of sitting down and creating something just for myself and then finding the right place to share it.” In Chattanooga, there are so many right places. Poets! Come out, share your work and find your community!



Looking Ahead To The Return Of The CFF Local film festival has a new home and a stellar lineup

The Last Jedi Comes To IMAX 3D In a move sure to delight fans on both sides of The Force, the latest entry in the Star Wars film saga, The Last Jedi, will be making its triumphant debut on Chattanooga’s largest screen this Friday. Viewers will soak in the film’s Academy Award-nominated score, sound and visual effects via the theater’s IMAX with Laser Projection system. This cutting-edge technology offers a degree of audiovisual clarity, brightness and precision found in only a few dozen theaters worldwide and unmatched by any movie house within hundreds of miles of Chattanooga. Like The Force Awakens before it, The Last Jedi features scenes specifically shot using IMAX cameras. Attending a screening at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater offers a rare opportunity for fans to see the film in the form closest to writer/director Rian Johnson’s vision. “I wait for big epics (on film) to see in IMAX,” says Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill, in an online featurette. “It’s incomparable. The sound, the seating—it’s like the ultimate movie experience. Thank goodness we have IMAX.” And this weekend, they hosting a special “Star Wars Cantina Nights”. Guests will be able to meet and snap photos with, and of, local costumers dressed as characters from a galaxy far, far away. Running through April 12, The Last Jedii will be shown in 3D daily at 7 p.m. on the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater’s six-story screen. — Thom Benson Star Wars: The Last Jedi Opens Thursday at 7 p.m. IMAX 3D Theatre 201 Chestnut St. (423) 266-4629 10 • THE PULSE • FEBRUARY 15, 2018 • CHATTANOOGAPULSE.COM

Rock Steady Row

By John DeVore Pulse Film Editor


EBRUARY FEATURES SEVERAL THINGS. Rodent weather prediction. An abundance of pink sentimentality. Quadrennial calendar corrections. Mattress sales. But for the last five years, it’s also brought Chattanooga a different sort of news. February marks the beginnings of Chattanooga Film Festival announcements. Festival Founder and Programmer Chris Dortch II is nothing if not a salesman—he knows instinctively how to build excitement. The build up to each CFF is almost as much fun as the festival itself. Following Dortch on Facebook (as well as the CFF page and Mise En Scenesters) might be a Master Class in vaguebooking, but one thing is always clear: Chris genuinely believes that each year of the CFF is going to be bigger and better than the last. From regular appearances of Joe Bob Briggs to a retirement party for Uwe Boll to a Moon Pie eat-

ing contest with Elijah Wood, the CFF has been wildly successful, far more successful than anyone would have imagined at the outset. Given the insanity that was the Catoosa County Film Festival (if that’s what you’d call it) last year, the last four years of the CFF seem nothing short of miraculous. It continues to be the best event in Chattanooga. And so, the CFF returns in 2018 by announcing three new films for opening night, one a world premiere, and a sensible new location for the duration of the festival. As always, the films are the crux of any good festival. The event will feature the following, each with a Q & A by the directors: • Rock Steady Row by Director Trevor Stevens Rock Steady Row centers around a young college freshman who, after his bike is stolen, lands on a college campus and is compelled to take action against the reigning fraternities and ultimately the dean. • Summer of ‘94 by Directors François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell


“The themes presented aren’t especially challenging or thought-provoking, as the show wears its philosophy on its sleeve. But it’s slick and beautiful, thoroughly detailed, and entertaining for the most part.” After suspecting that their police officer neighbor is a serial killer, a group of teenage friends spend their summer spying on him and gathering evidence in, but as they get closer to discovering the truth, things get dangerous. • Life After Flash by Director Lisa Downs The world premiere of Life After Flash explores the life of Sam J. Jones since his iconic performance as Flash Gordon in the 1980 classic of the same name, and the aftermath of the young stars’ clash with one of Hollywood’s biggest legends, producer Dino De Laurentiis. The announcement of these films highlights what makes the CFF so unique. They are a cross section of what audiences can expect. There’s no doubt that the festival is occasionally genre heavy—the festival is programmed by Dortch and genre films are one of his genuine loves.

I’ve never seen a bad film there. I’ve frequently seen surprising films, strange films, and challenging films. All three of the opening night selections fit those categories. That audiences also get a chance to interact with filmmakers is something that can’t be found anywhere else in the region. The second bit of news, beyond just the announcement of the films, is the CFF’s new partnership with the Chattanooga Theater Center, which will give them a new screening location away from Chattanooga’s AMC multiplexes. “Not only will CFF be holding the event in a place that feels like Chattanooga through and through, but we’ll also have the opportunity to creatively fill the entire building with film, education and movie related mischief,” Dortch says. While the Majestic 12 wasn’t the worst place for a film festival by any stretch of the imagina-

tion, it always felt a little strange seeing handcrafted independent films alongside usual Hollywood fare, making the festival seem almost corporate at times. Bringing together two Chattanooga arts scene staples only makes sense. “The Chattanooga Theatre Centre becoming the new home of the Chattanooga Film Festival represents a win-win for all, especially the arts going community,” agrees CTC executive director Todd Olson. “Arts groups should hold hands for a greater good, and CTC is committed and ready to embrace such partnerships wherever we can find them.” Thus begins the slow trickle of CFF related news. Stand by for more announcements, rumors, and great film selections as the weekend of April 5-8 draws near (did I hear something about Kevin Smith?). Badges are on sale now. Support local film.


Black Panther T'Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. Director: Ryan Coogler Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan

Early Man Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of Dug, along with sidekick Hognob as they unite his tribe against a mighty enemy Lord Nooth and his Bronze Age City to save their home. Director: Nick Park Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams

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Finding Art In The Most Unexpected Places Performance artists pop up all over the city

For Never Was A Story Of More Woe The historic Mars Theatre is hosting Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, as presented by Back Alley Productions. An evening of action and romance awaits you, yet time is of the essence. With only three shows left, February 16-18, the opportunity is dwindling fast. The story of Romeo & Juliet, as described by its production team, is an “enduring tragedy.” A story of two star-crossed (ill-fated) lovers separated by a larger family feud. The jealousy and hatred of their two households led them on a desperate path to romantic freedom. As a play probably introduced to you around the sixth grade, the plot itself shouldn’t take you by surprise. What you get instead, is James Lanier’s (Romeo) and Sara Lapp’s (Juliet) impressionistic revival of Shakespeare’s poetic prose. Every performance, even the same production, is given new life and interpretation through its actors and consequential editorial choices. Every subtle character reaction, a pause, a stare, or a single tear, can drastically alter the meaning of a Shakespearean scene in a new and invigorating manner. As a result, you won’t just be seeing it again; you’ll be seeing it for the first time. — Austin M. Hooks Romeo & Juliet February 16-18, 7:30 p.m. Back Alley @ The Mars Theater 117 N. Chattanooga St. Lafayette, GA (706) 996-8350 12 • THE PULSE • FEBRUARY 15, 2018 • CHATTANOOGAPULSE.COM

Lucy Kelley, photo by Nathan Gayle

By Tony Mraz

Pulse contributor


OR SOME FINE ART CONNOISSEURS, seeing a nice piece of performance art scratches an itch that can’t be scratched by any other scratching post. There’s nothing quite as stimulating as an uncommon event. For some, there is nothing more vital than seeing actions that have never been previously experienced. Performance art is a relatively new fine art discipline, finding its roots in New York City in the mid-20th century. At gallery openings, parties, and other art events, groups of artists and patrons would gather to spectate upon various happenings, where the idea of art would be applied to the moment. In most of these performances, the performer’s body would become part of the media, being incorporated with anything from props, recorded sounds, and costumes, to things like movements and ideas.

There is a wide range of performance art going on in Chattanooga, if you know where to look. A great place to start is at Barking Legs Theater, which has served as a local hub for performance art for over 20 years. They host happenings on a weekly basis, and have a monthly “open mic” called The Floor is Yours, which supports artists in their desires to hone their performing arts and share their creativity with others. Barking Legs owners Ann Law and Bruce Kaplan have put together a presenters group to support artists who are interested in becoming presenters. They also have a singer/songwriter series hosted by Scott Bruce, and in June a classic music series by Bryony Stroud-Watson and David Dunn. Ann also facilitates a small dance group of four women over 50 that come together once a week. Their process is very interesting, as they address aging and an art field like dance. For the next few months, Holli Hutson and Joellen Wojtowicz will be organizing the 2018 Nation-


“At gallery openings, parties, and other art events, groups of artists and patrons would gather to spectate upon various happenings, where the idea of art would be applied to the moment.” al Water Dance day, to happen on April 14th at Barking Legs. They will be gathering dancers and dance companies from all over Chattanooga to perform on that day at 4 p.m., joining dancers from all over the country in streaming work that celebrates the importance of dance. Around the corner from Barking Legs at Frequency Arts, weekly art parties take place on Friday nights. These eclectic events are punctuated by performance art, sometimes in partnership with the Shaking Ray Levi Society. A performance by Sarah Manser will be happening there on June 15th. Manser utilizes performance art to interpret her experiences with raw meat, encouraging us to “watch Kuso on the shudder app for $9.99”. Another local performance artist and member of the Chattanooga Fire Cabaret, Lucy Kelley. Kelley, aka Lilith the Clown, uses the art form to externalize

her inner thoughts. “Lilith the Clown is a representation of a lot of things that I wish I was more of,” she explains. I think by playing her, I become a stronger person. That’s why I created her. She’s sassy but kind, talented but humble, and not afraid to be herself in any situation. I hope that when people see this character it inspires them to be more of themselves.” Another focal point of the performance art scene in town is JJ’s Bohemia, the home of The Scenic City Sideshow and River City Rumpus, and other carnal incarnations of the Subterranean Cirqus. This atomic vaudeville variety explosion showcases comedy, feats of strength, burlesque, dangerous sideshow stunts and much more. Whether they are picking up beer kegs with their eye sockets, shoving their face in broken glass, or shaking what the

gods gave ‘em, you are sure to be amazed and entertained by what this motley menagerie of miscreants and madams of mystery have in store for you. The Cirqus has two shows coming up, the first on March 24th at the album release party of Double Dick Slick. Then, the piece de resistance for shocking and weird performance art, on June 16th comes the Summerween Celebration with Cutthroat Freakshow and Emotron. If you haven’t seen Emotron, you are missing out on some serious creative performances, but be warned, they are not for the faint of heart. And finally, on March 12th, LIT Gallery and the Chattanooga Film Festival are presenting new work by Everything is Terrible, a company that produces a synthesis of performance art and film. They will also be presenting performance art pieces at the CFF.

THU2.15 Sankofa Presents

Recent Sankofa grant recipients Josiah Golson, Neshawn Calloway, Felicion McMillan, and Seaux Chill celebrate their artistic visions. 6 p.m. The Hunter Museum of Art 10 Bluff View Ave.

FRI2.16 The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde's "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People" is a farcical comedy and an audience delight. 8 p.m. Covenant College 14049 Scenic Hwy.

SAT2.17 Whose Line Chattanooga

You've seen the TV show, now see our own homegrown version live... and very very funny. 10 p.m. First Draft Theater 1800 Rossville Ave.



Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles

THURSDAY2.15 Success Principles for Organizing Your Work, Time, and Life 11:30 a.m. ChattState Workforce Development 4501 Amnicola Hwy. (423) 697-3100 Nina Paley’s “Sita Sings the Blues” 2 p.m. Heritage House 1428 Jenkins Rd. (423) 855-9474 Ooltewah Farmers Market 3 p.m. Ooltewah Nursery 5829 Main St. (423) 238-9775 Zora Neale Hurston and the Oral Tradition 4 p.m. Chattanooga State Library 4501 Amnicola Hwy. (423) 697-4448 Signal Mountain Farmers Market 4 p.m. Pruett’s Market 1210 Taft Hwy. (423) 902-8023 Science on Tap! 5 p.m. Barley Chattanooga 235 E. MLK Blvd.


(423) 682-8200 Things We Like 5 p.m. UTC Art Department 615 McCallie Ave. (423) 425-4178 Presentation of Ed Johnson Memorial Design Concepts 5:30 p.m. Bessie Smith Cultural Center 200 E. MLK Blvd. (423) 266-8658 Bike Maintenance 101 6 p.m. Outdoor Chattanooga 200 River St. (423) 643-6888 Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted

Eyes/Feeling Heart 6 p.m. The Palace Theatre 818 Georgia Ave. (423) 803-6578 Sankofa Presents 6 p.m. The Hunter Museum of Art 10 Bluff View Ave. (423) 267-0968 Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles 7 p.m. Chattanooga Theatre Centre 400 River St. (423) 267-8538 PSC Presents Steve Zigler 7 p.m. St. John’s United Methodist

ENTERTAINMENT SPOTLIGHT Best known as the winner of Last Comic Standing Season 8, comedian Rod Man is truly a gem in the world of standup comedy today. Come see why he's a rising star. Rod Man The Comedy Catch 1400 Market St. (423) 629-2233

3921 Murray Hills Dr. (423) 892-2257 “Almost, Maine” 7:30 p.m. The Ringgold Playhouse 155 Depot St. (706) 935-3061 Elemeno Pea 7:30 p.m. UTC Fine Arts Center 752 Vine St. (423) 425-4371 Rod Man 7:30 p.m. The Comedy Catch 1400 Market St. (423) 629-2233 Dayveon Screening with Director Amman Abbasi 8 p.m. Palace Theater 818 Georgia Ave. (423) 803-6578 Country Line Dancing Class 8 p.m. Westbound Bar 24 Station St. (423) 498-3069

FRIDAY2.16 Chattanooga Market at Erlanger 10:30 a.m. Erlanger Hospital Medical Mall 975 E. 3rd St.


Elemeno Pea Film Friday: “Portland-A Sense of Place” Noon The Edney 1100 Market St. (423) 643-6770 Watercolor on Book Pages 6 p.m. Chattanooga WorkSpace 302 W. 6th St. (423) 822-5750 February Red Tent 6:30 p.m. Movement Arts Collective 3813 Dayton Blvd. (423) 401-8115 Steven G. Yessick: The World of Yessickart 7 p.m. Frequency Arts 1804 E. Main St. “Almost, Maine” 7:30 p.m. The Ringgold Playhouse 155 Depot St. (706) 935-3061 Disney’s The Little Mermaid 7:30 p.m. The Colonnade 264 Catoosa Cir. (706) 935-9000 Rod Man 7:30, 9:45 p.m. The Comedy Catch 1400 Market St. (423) 629-2233 Romeo & Juliet 7:30 p.m. Back Alley @ The Mars Theater 117 N. Chattanooga St. Lafayette, GA (706) 996-8350 Elemeno Pea 7:30 p.m. UTC Fine Arts Center 752 Vine St. (423) 425-4371 Nooga! Visit Rock Village 8 p.m. First Draft Theater 1800 Rossville Ave. (423) 843-1775 Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles 8 p.m. Chattanooga Theatre Centre 400 River St. (423) 267-8538 The Importance of Being Earnest 8 p.m. Covenant College 14049 Scenic Hwy. (706) 820-1560 Dearly Departed 8 p.m. Signal Crest United Methodist 1005 Ridgeway Ave. (423) 886-2330 Improv Showdown 9:30 p.m. First Draft Theater

1800 Rossville Ave. (423) 843-1775

SATURDAY2.17 St. Albans Hixson Market 9:30 a.m. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church 7514 Hixson Pike (423) 842-6303 “Everything Begins with Soil” Free Gardening Class 10 a.m. UT Extension Office 6183 Adamson Cir. (423) 855-6113 The Art of Bonsai 10 a.m. Signal Mountain Nursery 1100 Hubbard Rd. (423) 886-3174 Northside Farmers Market 10 a.m. Northside Presbyterian Church 923 Mississippi Ave. (423) 266-1766 Brainerd Farmers Market 10 a.m. Grace Episcopal Church 20 Belvoir Ave. (404) 245-3682 Farmer’s Market 11 a.m. Nutrition World 6237 Vance Rd. (423) 892-4085 Nature of Art: Running

the Trails 11:45 a.m. Reflection Riding Arboretum 400 Garden Rd. (423) 821-1160 Red Wolf Feeding and Talk Noon Reflection Riding Arboretum 400 Garden Rd. (423) 821-1160 Chattanooga Art Tour 1 p.m. Bluff Views Arts District 411 E. 2nd St. (423) 290-2477 Artful Yoga: Opening Ourselves to Love 1:30 p.m. The Hunter Museum of Art 10 Bluff View Ave. (423) 267-0968 Elemeno Pea 2:30 p.m. UTC Fine Arts Center 752 Vine St. (423) 425-4371 An Evening of Poetic Rapture 5:30 p.m. The Spot 1800 E. Main St. (423) 803-5744 Winter in West Village 6 p.m. West Village 802 Pine St. Steven G. Yessick: The CHATTANOOGAPULSE.COM • FEBRUARY 15, 2018 • THE PULSE • 15

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT CALENDAR World of Yessickart 7 p.m. Frequency Arts 1804 E. Main St. (423) 260-8387 Rod Man 7:30, 9:45 p.m. The Comedy Catch 1400 Market St. (423) 629-2233 Romeo & Juliet 7:30 p.m. Back Alley @ The Mars Theater 117 N. Chattanooga St. Lafayette, GA (706) 996-8350 “Almost, Maine” 7:30 p.m. The Ringgold Playhouse 155 Depot St. (706) 935-3061 Disney’s The Little Mermaid 7:30 p.m. The Colonnade 264 Catoosa Cir. (706) 935-9000 Nooga! Visit Rock Village 8 p.m. First Draft Theater 1800 Rossville Ave. (423) 843-1775 Dearly Departed 8 p.m. Signal Crest United Methodist 1005 Rid 1005 Ridgeway Ave. (423) 886-2330 Whose Line Chattanooga 10 p.m. First Draft Theater 1800 Rossville Ave. (423) 843-1775

SUNDAY2.18 African American Experiences at Chickamauga: 1860-1945 2 p.m. Chickamauga Battleffield 3370 Lafayette Rd. (706) 866-9241 Romeo & Juliet 2:30 p.m.

February Welding Classes

Back Alley @ The Mars Theater 117 N. Chattanooga St. Lafayette, GA (706) 996-8350 Open Mic Storytelling Night: First Loves 5 p.m. First Draft Theater 1800 Rossville Ave. (423) 843-1775 Bi-Monthly Queer Youth Night 6 p.m. Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center 1918 Union Ave. (423) 521-0642 Stand Up for Conservation 7:30 p.m. The Comedy Catch 1400 Market St. (423) 629-2233

MONDAY2.19 Media Club at The Backlot 6 p.m. Heritage Park 1428 Jenkins Rd. (423) 697-3151 County Commissioner Greg Martin’s Story of Alexander Hamilton 6 p.m. Chattanooga Public Library 1001 Broad St. (423) 757-5310


Introduction to Music Theory 6 p.m. Chattanooga WorkSpace 302 W. 6th St. (423) 822-5750 Open Mic Night: Comedy Fight 9 p.m. The Honest Pint 35 Patten Pkwy. (423) 468-4192

TUESDAY2.20 Northside Farmers’ Market 3 p.m. Northside Presbyterian Church 923 Mississippi Ave. (423) 266-1766 Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute Tour 4 p.m. Tennessee Conservation Institute 175 Baylor School Rd. (800) 262-0695 Instant Pot 201 6 p.m. Chattanooga WorkSpace 302 W. 6th St. (423) 822-5750 Mosaic Tile Workshop with Daud Akhriev 6 p.m. Townsend Atelier 301 E. 11th St. (423) 266-2712 Ed Johnson Documentary Screening

6 p.m. Orchard Knob Baptist Church 1734 E. 3rd St. (423) 624-6830 Tuesday Night Chess Club 6 p.m. Downtown Library 1001 Broad St. (423) 643-7700 Aquarium After-Hours: Love is in the Water 6:30 p.m. Tennessee Aquarium 1 Broad St. (800) 262-0695 Intro to Improv 7 p.m. First Draft Theater 1800 Rossville Ave. (423) 843-1775

WEDNESDAY2.21 Lookout Farmers Market 10 a.m. Memorial Hospital 2525 Desales Ave. February Welding Classes 1 p.m. Art 120 100 Cherokee Blvd. (423) 708-2120 Privet Collection and Burn 4 p.m. Reflection Riding Arboretum 400 Garden Rd.

(423) 821-1160 Main Street Market 4 p.m. 522 W. Main St. Handstands + Acro 5:30 p.m. Inversions Performance Center 2315 Cannon Ave. (423) 682-8219 Live Nude Model Creative Nights 7 p.m. LIT Art Gallery 4015 Tennessee Ave. (423) 401-8171 Naughty Knights Chess Meetup 7:30 p.m. The Bitter Alibi 825 Houston St. (423) 362-5070 Shaun Jones 7:30 p.m. The Comedy Catch 1400 Market St. (423) 629-2233 Comedy Improv Show 7:30 p.m. Chattanooga State Humanities Theatre 4501 Amnicola Hwy. (423) 697-4400 Map these locations on Send event listings at least 10 days in advance to:


Getting Your Literary Ink Main Line Ink puts together a Harry Potter themed tattoo convention By Brooke Brown

Pulse Assistant Editor


O BE WILDLY REMEMBERED AND loved is something few people achieve in their life. On a grand scale, most of us leave the world pretty much the same way we found it. Something or someone must be truly powerful to be remembered long after they’re gone…but one individual who will surely live on in the hearts, minds, and libraries of the world…The Chosen One. (If you didn’t automatically think of Harry Potter, please pause from this article to refresh your memory on the greatest collection of books my generation will ever see.) JK Rowling has impacted the lives of people across the globe with her heartfelt tale of courage, bravery, good and evil, and love, and young or old, male or female, rich or poor, Harry Potter is a story that will live on for decades to come, and is the main inspiration behind the world’s first Harry Potter tattoo convention. Hosted right in here in Chattanooga, Literary Ink will be held the weekend of March 9-11, exposing our world to the wizarding world of Harry Potter in what is sure to be a weekend us muggles (who have not given up hope we will one day receive our Hogwarts letters!) will never forget. Jennifer Edge of Main Line Ink, and her

Literary Ink March 9-11 DoubleTree Chattanooga 407 Chestnut St. Sponsored by Main Line Ink (423) 602-8465

Main Line Ink family, is the Harry Potter-loving force that has willed this convention into existence. “I told Danny Siviter about the idea right before January of last year,” says Edge when asked how long this whole process of planning has taken. “We decided we would move forward, and we announced it on April 1st. Danny and I have always jumped feet first off the cliff. We roll the dice and we go. And that’s something Main Line has always done. I mean, we opened this place on the price of a Honda and heart.” That heart has spilled over into making the world’s first Harry Potter tattoo convention a spectacle in more ways than you could possibly imagine. From the 72 out of state and out of country Harry Potter-centric tattoo artists that will be live tattooing at the convention to members of the nationally recognized Harry Potter Book Club podcast answering HP questions, there will be so much to experience over the weekend you really will need to come all three days to experience a bit of everything. While the event is mainly focused on tattooing, there will also be a scavenger hunt taking participants in groups of two through downtown Chattanooga to special bars serving Harry Potter-inspired drinks (much like the Friday night after party at Pin Strikes.) A quick rundown of the events before I reach the word limit?

“That heart has spilled over into making the world’s first Harry Potter tattoo convention a spectacle in more ways than you could possibly imagine.” Ryan Oyer will be playing a show in “Diagonalley” (brush up on Harry’s floo network travels if you’re confused), experience Harry Potter trivia and house debates, trashcan cosplay, a massive cosplay event on Saturday with prizes, magician Tim Friday will be dazzling us muggles with his sorcery, and painters from New York and Connecticut will be gracing us with their artistry as well. Hogwarts is all inclusive and so is this event, including a paint by numbers mural and games for children ages 6-12 provided by Barnes and Noble. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners of each grade

from the art show gets a two-hour workshop with artists from Main Line, not only on creating art itself, but also how to market themselves and make a profit from their artwork. The senior winner will receive a one-thousand-dollar scholarship towards their future in art. And don’t worry, if you get turned around or can’t find where you want to go, take a peek at your Marauder’s Map to find your way. I wish I had space to tell you more but I’m already over that word limit I mentioned, so just take it from a Harry Potter lovin’ gal and get your Portkey Pass ASAP!



The Art Of The DJ: Turntables Whit a Twist Aspiring Hip-Hop DJ's can learn from one of the best

A Toe-Tappin', Booty Shakin' Ruckus Most musicians claim their shows will be “entertaining,” or “a good time,” but this Saturday, Frequency Arts is hosting a band that promises much more. Natti Love Joys, a Tennessee-based reggae band, guarantees that their concert this Saturday will be a “toe tappin’, booty shakin’ and bakin’ ruckus!” Playing together for over a decade, Natti Love Joys is composed of lead singer and keyboardist Sonia AbelAllen, a London-born musician, and bassist and backup vocalist Tony Allen. In addition to their decade of reggae music performance, the pair boasts other quirky yet impressive accomplishments. Allen was previously a bassist for famous reggae group The Congos, and performed in the movie Jamdown, which has been called “the holy grail of reggae movies.” Abel-Allen’s original song “All I Can Say” was included in the Xbox game Saint’s Row. Together, Natti Love Joys has opened for many famous musical acts, including Joan Jett, The Clash, and The Ramones. Heard of any of them? Committed to bringing reggae to the Southeast, the duo hosts the annual Camp Reggae Festival, which brings three straight days of reggae music and Jamaican food and drink in the woods of Tennessee. This weekend, Natti Love Joys will be performing their signature mix of Bob Marley covers, reggae versions of R&B hits, and original roots reggae. They will be accompanied by local reggae band, Mayor Iguana. — Adrienne Kaufmann Natti Love Joys Saturday, 8 p.m. Frequency Arts 1804 E. Main St. 18 • THE PULSE • FEBRUARY 15, 2018 • CHATTANOOGAPULSE.COM

DJ D-Whit

By Marc T. Michael Pulse Music Editor


ROUND THE END OF DECEMBER I submitted a piece about the state of Hip-Hop in Chattanooga. Spoiler Alert: It’s going gangbusters, thanks to a new collaborative effort on the part of some rising stars and hardcore fans to not only redefine public perception of the genre, but to essentially build a grassroots support mechanism for novices and pros alike. The results speak for themselves with

higher profile gigs, broader audiences, and bigger and better opportunities. Not only is the work showing no signs of slowing down, it is, in fact, gaining momentum and the latest addition to the local roster of events is evidence of that. The art of being a Hip-Hop DJ is, make no mistake, an art. Like so many other aspects of the musical performance, the uninitiated may not recognize the time, effort and skill that go in to putting on an effective and entertaining show. From the dance floor, it looks easy. This


“Like so many other aspects of the musical performance, the uninitiated may not recognize the time, effort and skill that go in to putting on an effective and entertaining show.” is such an old trope in the entertainment business that it inspired the satirical tune “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits. It always looks easy if you don’t understand exactly what’s gone in to it, what it took to get there in the first place. Thanks to DJ D-WHIT, there is now a new resource available for aspiring DJs (and dancers) everywhere. It’s called “Turntable Whit a Twist,” hosted at Spot Athletic and Arts Venue located at 3210 Brainerd Road in the historic Olde Town Brainerd Arts District. On the first and third Tuesday of every month, DJs and dancers of all ages and genders are invited to participate in an open (and free) workshop from 7:30 to 9 p.m. DJ D-Whit is on hand to provide guidance to DJs of all levels of experience including first-timers. All areas of DJing are addressed from basic skills to enhanced techniques, marketing and promotion. Beyond the educational aspect, the event is designed to promote networking and collaboration between artists. During this time, dancers are invited to stretch, warm-up and socialize. Then,

from 9-10:30 p.m., dancers take the floor as the artists practice the skills and techniques studied in the first half of the evening. This completely hands-on experience is offered free of charge. On the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, the event is limited to DJs only as lessons are offered for a nominal fee. This model is similar to the one offered by Fiddler’s Anonymous in Redbank where free lessons are offered to interested musicians on Sundays culminating in an open jam session/pot luck while individual lessons are also offered for a small fee. The fact that this sort of communitybased instruction is spreading throughout the musical community is further evidence that the Chattanooga music scene continues to blossom in to one that rivals larger cities throughout the southeast. It’s a beautiful sign of the times. Anyone interested in attending either the free DJ/Dance workshops or private lessons is invited to contact DJ D-Whit at or through the event’s page on Facebook (Turntables Whit a Twist).

Gwendolyn’s Bleeding Hearts Ball: Gold Diggers’ Revenge This Saturday evening you are cordially invited to the annual Bleeding Hearts Ball onboard the Southern Belle Riverboat. Tickets are available now for an evening of food, fun and mayhem featuring a three course sit down dinner, cash bar, music and performances from Lady Gwendolyn and a selection of gunslingers, gamblers, ghouls, monsters and other beasties all leading up to an interactive performance from Chattanooga’s own Dark Princess Theater. The event is a unique

entertainment experience combining fine dining, old time riverboat culture and healthy dose of macabre, horror themed material in a sort of fun, high weirdness that will make a perfect post V-Day gift for someone special. One thing’s for certain, it ain’t your granny’s box of chocolates. Tickets are available now through the Dark Princess Theater website under upcoming events, but act now, seats are limited and this event WILL sell out. — MTM




Uncle Lightnin’

Liz Moriondo

Battle of ‘Nooga Crossroads: Drum Off

Pure old fashioned Southern twang Americana country by some of the finest musicians in town. And great barbecue. What more do you need? 8 p.m. Moe’s Original BBQ 221 Market St.

Come experience a talented young woman doing exactly what she was born to do with a dynamic voice that is a true force of nature. 8 p.m. Puckett’s Restaurant 2 W. Aquarium Way

It's getting primal at the Music Box this weekend, as the best drummers in town square off for braggin' rights. 7 p.m. Music Box @ Ziggy’s 607 Cherokee Blvd.



The Stolen Faces

THURSDAY2.15 FORQ, Chris McQueen 5 p.m. Songbirds Guitar Museum 35 Station St. James Crumble Trio 6 p.m. St. John’s Meeting Place 1278 Market St. New Grass Express 6 p.m. Whole Foods Market 301 Manufacturers Rd. Jimmy Dormire 6 p.m. Fiamma Pizza Company 405 N. Market St. (423) 713-7742 Gino Fanelli 6:30 p.m. Westin Alchemy Bar 801 Pine St. Prime Country Band 6:30 p.m. Motley’s 320 Emberson Dr. Ringgold, GA (706) 260-8404 Bluegrass & Country Jam 6:30 p.m. Grace Church of the Nazarene 6310 Dayton Blvd.


Toby Hewitt 7 p.m. Backstage Bar 29 Station St. Jimmy Harris 7 p.m. The Coconut Room 6925 Shallowford Rd. Sacred Harp Sing 7 p.m. The Well 1800 Rossville Ave. (423) 847-7934 Open Mic Night with Ryan Oyer 7 p.m. Moccasin Bend

Brewing Company 3210 Broad St. Shabti, Over Easy 7:30 p.m. Southside Social 1818 Chestnut St. Bluegrass Thursdays 7:30 p.m. Feed Co. Table & Tavern 201 W. Main St. Jesse James & Tim Neal 7:30 p.m. Mexi-Wing VII 5773 Brainerd Rd. Keepin’ It Local

ENTERTAINMENT SPOTLIGHT Grammy Award winning singer Kathy Mattea and her longtime collaborator, guitarist Bill Cooley, welcome you into The Acoustic Living Room. Kathy Mattea Friday, 7 p.m. Songbirds Guitar Museum 35 Station St.

8 p.m. The Social 1110 Market St. Uncle Lightnin’ 8 p.m. Moe’s Original BBQ 221 Market St. Open Mic Night with Jonathan Wimpee 9 p.m. The Office @ City Cafe 901 Carter St.

FRIDAY2.16 Binji Varsossa 6 p.m. Cancun Mexican Restaurant 1809 Broad St. (423) 266-1461 Amber Fults 6:30 p.m. Westin Dorato Bar 801 Pine St. Ryan Oyer 6:30 p.m. Westin Alchemy Bar 801 Pine St. The Acoustic Living Room: Kathy Mattea 7 p.m. Songbirds Guitar Museum 35 Station St.


Todd Snider Danimal Planet 7 p.m. OddStory Brewing Company 336 E. MLK Blvd. Tim Lewis 7 p.m. El Meson 248 Northgate Park Jimmy Harris 7 p.m. The Coconut Room 6925 Shallowford Rd. Rick Rushing and The Blues Strangers 7:30 p.m. The Foundry 1201 Broad St. Jim Brickman: An Evening Of Romance 8 p.m. Walker Theatre 399 McCallie Ave. Liz Moriondo 8 p.m. Puckett’s Restaurant 2 W. Aquarium Way Kyle Troop & The Heretics, Cougar Sweat, Finally Gravy, Silver Tongued Devilz 8 p.m. Music Box @ Ziggy’s 607 Cherokee Blvd. Mark Andrew

9 p.m. The Office @ City Cafe 901 Carter St. The Stolen Faces 9 p.m. Clyde’s On Main 122 W. Main St. Voodoo Slim 10 p.m. Bud’s Sports Bar 5751 Brainerd Rd.

SATURDAY2.17 Bluegrass Brunch Noon The Honest Pint 35 Patten Pkwy. Binji Varsossa 6 p.m. Cancun Mexican Restaurant 1809 Broad St. (423) 266-1461 Courtney Holder 6:30 p.m. Westin Dorato Bar 801 Pine St. John Carroll 6:30 p.m. Westin Alchemy Bar 801 Pine St. Battle of ‘Nooga Crossroads: Drum Off

7 p.m. Music Box @ Ziggy’s 607 Cherokee Blvd. Mountain Creek House Fire 7 p.m. Charles & Myrtle’s Coffeehouse 105 McBrien Rd. Tim Lewis 7 p.m. El Meson 248 Northgate Park Jimmy Harris 7 p.m. The Coconut Room 6925 Shallowford Rd. Danimal 7:30 p.m. The Foundry 1201 Broad St. Big Band Fever 7:30 p.m. Tivoli Theatre Todd Snider 8 p.m. Walker Theatre 399 McCallie Ave Departure: A Journey Tribute Band 8 p.m. Revelry Room 41 Station St. Austin Zackary Band

8 p.m. Fireside Grille 3018 Cummings Hwy. (423) 821-9898 Cody James Harris 8 p.m. Puckett’s Restaurant 2 W. Aquarium Way Sistren 8 p.m. The Casual Pint 5550 Hwy. 153 Natti Love Joys 8 p.m. Frequency Arts 1804 E. Main St. Mother Legacy 8 p.m. Sweet Melissa’s Billiards 1966 Northpoint Blvd. (423) 803-6748 The Pickup Lions 8 p.m. Moccasin Bend Brewing Co. 3210 Broad St. KlusterfunK 9 p.m. The Office @ City Cafe 901 Carter St. Travers Brothership 9 p.m. Clyde’s On Main 122 W. Main St. Voodoo Slim CHATTANOOGAPULSE.COM • FEBRUARY 15, 2018 • THE PULSE • 21

LIVE MUSIC CALENDAR 10 p.m. Bud’s Sports Bar 5751 Brainerd Rd. McKinley James 10 p.m. Tremont Tavern 1203 Hixson Pike

SUNDAY2.18 James Hatem 11 a.m. Flying Squirrel Bar 55 Johnson St. Brooks Hubbard 1:30 p.m. Flying Squirrel Bar 55 Johnson St. Free Fiddle School 2 p.m. Fiddlers Anonymous 2248 Dayton Blvd. (423) 994-7497 Chattanooga Bach Choir: Music for the Lenten Season 4 p.m. Christ Church Episcopal 663 Douglas St. Bluegrass Jam 4 p.m. Fiddlers Anonymous 2248 Dayton Blvd. (423) 994-7497 Open Mic with Jeff Daniels 6 p.m. Long Haul Saloon 2536 Cummings Hwy. (423) 822-9775 Dustin Concannon 6:30 p.m. Westin Alchemy Bar 801 Pine St. Mathis and Martin 7 p.m. Backstage Bar 29 Station St. Tom Pasley 8 p.m. Revelry Room 41 Station St. Maria Sable 8 p.m. Southside Social

Busman’s Holiday 1818 Chestnut St.

MONDAY2.19 Open Mic Night 6 p.m. Puckett’s Grocery 2 W. Aquarium Way Mark Andrew 6:30 p.m. Westin Alchemy Bar 801 Pine St. Monday Nite Big Band 7 p.m. The Coconut Room 6925 Shallowford Rd. Attack of the Open Mic 7 p.m. Barley Chattanooga 235 E. MLK Blvd. Open Air with Jessica Nunn 7:30 p.m. The Granfalloon 400 E. Main St. Very Open Mic with Shawnessey Cargile 8 p.m. The Well 1800 Rossville Blvd. #8 Everlasting God Stoppe, Sickness in the System, Corpsewax Dollies


Underground Oasis Morbid Cabaret Music Box @ Ziggy’s 607 Cherokee Blvd.

TUESDAY2.20 Bill McCallie and In Cahoots 6:30 p.m. Southern Belle Riverboat Pier 2 201 Riverfront Pkwy. Jesse James Jungkurth 6:30 p.m. Westin Alchemy Bar 801 Pine St. Danimal 7 p.m. Backstage Bar 29 Station St. Open Mic Jam Session 7 p.m. Crust Pizza 3211 Broad St. Open Mic with Mike McDade 8 p.m. Tremont Tavern 1203 Hixson Pike Busman’s Holiday 9 p.m. JJ’s Bohemia 231 E. MLK Blvd.

WEDNESDAY2.21 No Big Deal 6 p.m. SpringHill Suites 495 Riverfront Pkwy. Zach Bridges 6:30 p.m. Westin Alchemy Bar 801 Pine St. Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Show 6:30 p.m. Fiddlers Anonymous 2248 Dayton Blvd. (423) 994-7497 The Spot Open Mic 7 p.m. The Spot 1800 E. Main St. (423) 803-5744 Jesse James Jungkurth 7 p.m. Backstage Bar 29 Station St. Jimmy Harris 7 p.m. The Coconut Room 6925 Shallowford Rd. An Evening with Angie Aparo 7 p.m. Songbirds Guitar Museum 35 Station St. Hap Henninger 8 p.m.

The Office @ City Cafe 901 Carter St. Priscilla & Little Rickee 8 p.m. Las Margaritas 1101 Hixson Pike (423) 756-3332 Jazz In The Lounge 8 p.m. Barking Legs Theater 1307 Dodds Ave. Courtney Holder 8 p.m. The Casual Pint 5550 Hwy. 153 Proven Ground Open Mic 8 p.m. Urban Grind Café 2193 Park Dr. (423) 386-5330 Prime Cut Trio 9 p.m. The Palms at Hamilton 6925 Shallowford Rd. Caney Village, CHEW, Chilhowee Royal 9 p.m. JJ’s Bohemia 231 E. MLK Blvd.

Map these locations on Send event listings at least 10 days in advance to:


New Music From Tal National, Anna Burch

Tal National Tantabara (FatCat)

Anna Burch Quit the Curse (Polyvinyl)


pel a huge, concentrated blast of energy. The opening, title track is a giant kick in the ass, conveying urgency with impressive, immaculately precise runs that are tightly synchronized and sound like they could have come from Mahavishnu Orchestra. The vigor is sustained on “Belles Raines,” and when the listener might think that the track could start to ease off, it defies expectations and begins ramping up its tempo, leading to a furious ending. Other moments of sharp exactitude bring to mind prog rock, due to the technical ability needed to pull them off; “Pama” evokes the complex counter-

his writer was fortunate enough to catch the band Tal National at a Knoxville show in 2015, playing what would seem to be a generous 100-minute set; apparently, that’s nothing compared to the group’s performances at its own nightclub in its hometown of Niamey in the West African nation Niger, which can last five hours. When playing for extended periods live, Tal National slips between a fiery, slowburn approach and more frenetic, charged moments; however, on the 38-minute album Tantabara—the group’s third album for FatCat, and the best so far— with a relatively limited amount of time, the band chooses to ex-

point and minimalism of King Crimson’s “Discipline” with weaving patterns and atypical time signatures. West African scales and rhythms dominate while rock guitar styles add to the complicated mix; the quick, mindbending guitar picking on “Akokas” conjures the frantic jazz-rock style of Sonny Sharrock. Impassioned singing and spirited call-and-response exchanges fill every track on Tantabara, which was recorded in the band’s hometown with a total of eight different singers. Also awe-inspiring is the drumming on Tantabara, a persistent stream of punches and jabs, like on “Trankil” with perfect, swift snare drum taps that form a sound bed. If you listen to Tantabara and don’t feel energized and refreshed, with a compulsion to move your body in some way, this writer can’t help you.


fter a relationship dissolves, there can be an unspoken game of “Who can look more normal, happy and aloof?” whenever there is an inevitable

future chance meeting, despite a mix of internally smoldering emotions. The notion of these facades is a theme that dominates the debut album Quit the Curse from Detroit musician Anna Burch, who has gone solo after playing in the folk-rock group Frontier Ruckus and co-fronting Failed Flowers with Fred Thomas of Saturday Looks Good to Me. It’s easy to think of these as straightforward indie rock/pop songs, but a glance at the lyric sheet reveals a messiness belied by its clean melodies and charming harmonies. Musically, it’s nothing earthshaking, but there’s something satisfying in the way that it feels unforced; Burch sings with a gleam that’s not yet jaded or smug, and she lets her notes linger clearly, without modulations. On the opening track “2 Cool 2 Care,” the song’s target acts detached, possibly aided by alcohol and meds, and the narrator confesses “You scare me with your indifference / I like you best when you’re a mess,” sweetly hitting the high notes as if keeping it together at a public

encounter. Another theme on Quit the Curse is one of geography, where a new location can mean a clean slate, like on “Belle Isle,” one of the album’s highlights; it calmly saunters with a slight country tinge, mostly from some tasteful pedal steel guitar licks, and sports an upbeat middle section with a hopeful attitude. However, it’s followed by “In Your Dreams,” where a return to a location means dealing with clutter in the form of a former beau and pity/envy towards his new girlfriend. Burch is careful to not paint herself as a victim, and this is most clear on “What I Want,” where she sings “Self-destruction is so played-out” with optimism; the song ends with “oh”s seemingly borrowed from the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale,” suggesting a woman in control. This puts an interesting twist on an album obsessed with false appearances—one might put on a good face while in shambles, or a composed look might slyly mask a woman who shouldn’t be underestimated.

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The List Celebrating Olympic Youth ROB BREZSNY

Like many folks around the world, we here at The Pulse have been keeping tabs on the Winter Olympic games going on in Pyeongchang, South Korea. What really got us excited, statistically speaking, was the gold medal victory in men’s snowboard slopestyle this past weekend by Redmond “Red” Gerard. With the victory, he became: • The youngest Olympic champion in snowboarding. • The youngest US Olympic Winter Games champion since 1928. • The first male Olympic champion to have been born in the 21st century. • The third youngest Olympic Winter Games champion of all time (behind Billy Fiske (USA-1928-Bobsleigh) and Toni Nieminen (FIN-1988-Ski Jumping). To really put this in perspective for us, Red was just two years old when we started The Pulse. Yeah, we’re feeling a little bit old this week. Congrats, Red! Source: red-gerard-21st-century-boy/

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The posh magazine Tatler came up with a list of fashionable new names for parents who want to ensure their babies get a swanky start in life. Since you Aquarians are in a phase when you can generate good fortune by rebranding yourself or remaking your image, I figure you might be interested in using one of these monikers as a nickname or alias. At the very least, hearing them could whet your imagination to come up with your own ideas. Here are Tatler’s chic avant-garde names for girls: Czar-Czar; Debonaire; Estonia; Figgy; Gethsemane; Power; Queenie. Here are some boys’ names: Barclay; Euripides; Gustav; Innsbruck; Ra; Uxorious; Wigbert; Zebedee. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Now that you have finally paid off one of your debts to the past, you can start window-shopping for the future’s best offers. The coming days will be a transition time as you vacate the power spot you’ve outgrown and ramble out to reconnoiter potential new power spots. So bid your crisp farewells to waning traditions, lost causes, ghostly temptations, and the deadweight of people’s expectations. Then start preparing a vigorous first impression to present to promising allies out there in the frontier. ARIES (March 21-April 19): At 12,388 feet, Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest peak. If you’re in good shape, you can reach the top in seven hours. The return trip can be done in half the time—if you’re cautious. The loose rocks on the steep trail are more likely to knock you off your feet on the way down than on the way up. I suspect this is an apt metaphor for you in the coming weeks, Aries. Your necessary descent may be deceptively challenging. So make haste slowly! Your power animals are the rabbit and the snail. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In 1903,


Orville and Wilbur Wright made a few short jaunts through the air in a flying machine they called the Flyer. It was a germinal step in a process that ultimately led to your ability to travel 600 miles per hour while sitting in a chair 30,000 feet above the earth. Less than 66 years after the Wright Brothers’ breakthrough, American astronauts landed a space capsule on the moon. They had with them a patch of fabric from the left wing of the Flyer. I expect that during the coming weeks, you will be climaxing a long-running process that deserves a comparable ritual. Revisit the early stages of the work that enabled you to be where you are now. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): In 2006, five percent of the world’s astronomers gathered at an international conference and voted to demote Pluto from a planet to a “dwarf planet.” Much of the world agreed to honor their declaration. Since then, though, there has arisen a campaign by equally authoritative astronomers to restore Pluto to full planet status. The crux of the issue is this: How shall we define the nature of a planet? But for the people of New Mexico, the question has been resolved. State legislators there formally voted to regard Pluto as a planet. They didn’t accept the demotion. I encourage you to be inspired by their example, Gemini. Whenever there are good arguments from opposing sides about important matters, trust your gut feelings. Stand up for your preferred version of the story. CANCER (June 21-July 22): Ray Bradbury’s dystopian bestseller Fahrenheit 451 was among the most successful of the 27 novels he wrote. It won numerous awards and has been adopted into films, plays, and graphic novels. Bradbury wrote the original version of the story in nine days, using a typewriter he rented for 20 cents per hour. When his publisher urged him to double the manuscript’s length, he spent another nine days doing so. According to my reading of the planetary configurations, you Cancerians now have a similar potential to be surprisingly efficient and economical as you work on an interesting creation or breakthrough— especially if you mix a lot of play and delight into your labors. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Poet Louise Glück has characterized herself as “afflicted with longing yet incapable of forming durable attachments.” If there is anything in you that even partially fits that description, I have

Homework: Confess, brag, and expostulate about what inspires you to love. Got to and click on “Email Rob.” good news: In the coming weeks, you’re likely to feel blessed by longing rather than afflicted by it. The foreseeable future will also be prime time for you to increase your motivation and capacity to form durable attachments. Take full advantage of this fertile grace period! VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In 2004, a man named Jerry Lynn tied a batteryoperated alarm clock to a string and dangled it down a vent in his house. He was hoping that when the alarm sounded, he would get a sense of the best place to drill a hole in his wall to run a wire for his TV. But the knot he’d made wasn’t perfect, and the clock slipped off and plunged into an inaccessible spot behind the wall. Then, every night for 13 years, the alarm rang for a minute. The battery was unusually strong! A few months ago, Lynn decided to end the mild but constant irritation. Calling on the help of duct specialists, he retrieved the persistent clock. With this story as your inspiration, and in accordance with astrological omens, I urge you Virgos to finally put an end to your equivalent of the maddening alarm clock. (Read the story: alarmclockmadness.) LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Was Napoléon Bonaparte an oppressor or liberator? The answer is both. His work in the world hurt a lot of people and helped a lot of people. One of his more magnanimous escapades transpired in June 1798, when he and his naval forces invaded the island of Malta. During his six-day stay, he released political prisoners, abolished slavery, granted religious freedom to Jews, opened 15 schools, established the right to free speech, and shut down the Inquisition. What do his heroics have to do with you? I don’t want to exaggerate, but I expect that you, too, now have the power to unleash a blizzard of benevolence in your sphere. Do it in your own style, of course, not Napoléon’s. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit,” said French playwright Molière.

I’m going to make that your motto for now, Scorpio. You have pursued a gradual, steady approach to ripening, and soon it will pay off in the form of big bright blooms. Congratulations on having the faith to keep plugging away in the dark! I applaud your determination to be dogged and persistent about following your intuition even though few people have appreciated what you were doing. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The growth you can and should foster in the coming weeks will be stimulated by quirky and unexpected prods. To get you started, here are a few such prods. 1. What’s your hidden or dormant talent, and what could you do to awaken and mobilize it? 2. What’s something you’re afraid of but might be able to turn into a resource? 3. If you were a different gender for a week, what would you do and what would your life be like? 4. Visualize a dream you’d like to have while you’re asleep tonight. 5. If you could transform anything about yourself, what would it be? 6. Imagine you’ve won a free vacation to anywhere you want. Where would you go? CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You may think you have uncovered the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But according to my analysis of the astrological omens, you’re just a bit more than halfway there. In order to get the rest of the goods, you’ll have to ignore your itch to be done with the search. You’ll have to be unattached to being right and smart and authoritative. So please cultivate patience. Be expansive and magnanimous as you dig deeper. For best results, align yourself with poet Richard Siken’s definition: “The truth is complicated. It’s twotoned, multi-vocal, bittersweet.” Rob Brezsny is an aspiring master of curiosity, perpetrator of sacred uproar, and founder of the Beauty and Truth Lab. He brings a literate, myth-savvy perspective to his work. It’s all in the stars.


“En Vacation”—they all come up short. ACROSS 1 1/1760th of a mile 5 Baseball Hall of Famer Ripken 8 Came down softly? 14 Margarine, colloquially 15 Brewhouse brew 16 Party appetizer 17 Poet/dramatist Hughes 19 Quirky French title role of 2001 20 Furniture to display cheesy stuff? 22 ___ Soundsystem 23 Baled stuff 24 Symptom that might require eye drops 26 Attach, as a button 29 Pre-flight org. 31 Stewart who sang “Maggie May” 32 Till the soil 33 Hot off the presses 34 Changes gradually, graphically 37 Kiwi’s much larger cousin 38 Go faster 40 Sturdy tree

41 Dress shirt component 43 Connectivity issue 44 U.S. : counter(clockwise) :: U.K. : ___(clockwise) 45 “Captain Underpants” creator Pilkey 46 Two-___ toilet paper 47 Incas’ mountains 48 Goof 51 Teensy carpenter 52 European peak 53 Tiny mythical creatures on patrol? 59 2004 Jude Law drama 61 “Music for Airports” composer 62 “Come ___, we’re expecting you ...” (“The Love Boat” theme lyrics) 63 Confident finish? 64 Armitage who plays “Young Sheldon” 65 Frosty maker 66 ___ Thérèse, Quebec 67 Gambler’s numbers

DOWN 1 Part that’s egg-centric? 2 Jai ___ (fastmoving sport) 3 Landlord’s check 4 Competition for toys? 5 Comic strip character known for saying “Ack!” 6 Tons 7 “Girls” creator Dunham 8 Balancing device 9 Mention a connection, perhaps 10 “First of all...” 11 Body of water that’s surrounded? 12 Humongous movies 13 “Dirty ___ Done Dirt Cheap” (AC/DC song) 18 Read a QR code 21 Underwire’s locale, maybe 25 Neither companion 26 Built to ___ 27 “Sesame Street” character voiced by Ryan

Dillon since 2013 28 Is totally up for nestling in bed? 29 Golf prop 30 Get bigger 33 “Science Friday” airer 34 Cocoa container 35 Really dislike 36 Equipment used at the Winter Olympics 38 Viciousness 39 Sunup to sundown 42 Back muscle, for short 44 Actor Banderas 46 Shepherd’s pie bit 47 “Black Beauty” novelist Sewell 48 Colorful parrot 49 “___ right back!” 50 Many residents of Erbil in Iraq 51 Limber 54 Some baseball stats 55 “Gosh darn it!” 56 Name in spiral notebooks 57 Noddy creator Blyton 58 Mumford & ___ 60 Melancholy

Copyright © 2018 Jonesin’ Crosswords. For answers to this puzzle, call: 1-900-226-2800, 99 cents perminute. Must be 18+ to call. Or to bill to your credit card, call: 1-800-655-6548. Reference puzzle No. 871 CHATTANOOGAPULSE.COM • FEBRUARY 15, 2018 • THE PULSE • 25


Existential Dread And Alien Domination XCOM 2’s War of the Chosen will keep you warm with anxiety till spring

Brandon Watson Pulse columnist


T’S FEBRUARY AND THAT’S NOT love in the air. It’s more like rain and discord mixed with a slight breeze of despair from the recent electric bill and the plethora of school shut downs from the Mega-Flu. I’m not sure if anyone wants to see the sickening crimson and pink of cellophaneadorned aisles at the Walgreens or Walmart because of the latest marketing grab for candy sales. Let’s be honest: true love this year may come in the form of a candy gram with an assortment of Alka-Seltzer, Emergent-C, and cough drops. Between Mega-Flu and rent, it’s hard for me to shake that end of the world feeling 98 percent of the time. Which is a perfect reason to dig into some of the discounts and back catalogs for gaming gems that have missed my radar. Because there is nothing like dealing with real global annihilation than finding escape in the bits and pixels of a fictional one. This escapism eventually enticed me to bench test the latest alien slayer from developer Firaxis. XCOM 2 War of the Chosen, which was released last August, expands on XCOM 2 from 2016. Both of these stewed on my back burners until I cleared out some of the laundry list of things I foolishly considered priority. Needless to say I’ve all but kicked myself for not getting these games initially. Firaxis is best known for the Civilization games and also for game design choices that lead to cultish longevity and that in-

famous “one-more-turn” addiction for which the re-boot of the XCOM franchise has offered since day one. This time around the tactical turn-based resource management alien blaster carries the weight of total defeat at the slimy hands of the xenos threat by every decision and tactical blunder. Players will find themselves in command of a human resistance on the run from the world dominating Advent. A collective of intergalactic gene stealing neo Nazis hell bent on using humanity’s DNA for nefarious purposes. The main plot you must uncover through the use of black market trading, clandestine autopsy research, and guerilla hit-and-run missions. All the while being chased by UFO’s and foiled periodically by three alien bounty hunters. These freak shows ratchet up the anxiety by dropping in to teaching you the true meaning of mission FUBAR. The Warlock, Assassin, and Hunter will abduct your troops, raid your enclaves and generally grief you at every turn. As terrifying as that sounds, there are zombie hordes, the readiness reducing battle fatigue of your commandos, and the dwindling supplies that you desperately scratch for every minute. Oh, did I mention the overhead doomsday clock that ticks away at the alien’s final solution for the entire human race? The ultimate goal of which is for your ragtag resistance on a budget to beat back by


firebombing black sites and stealing vital intelligence. XCOM 2 War of the Chosen is a thrilling beast reminiscent of its classic PC ancestors that share the name and premise. These days you are hard pressed to find a game that don’t cater to the participation trophy consumer with games that are designed to kick their players’ teeth in while keeping them in a full figure eight choke hold. Not that XCOM 2’s expansion is for elite gamers, there are no real learning curves or hard mechanics to figure out, but forward thinking and tactical planning are skillsets that will separate usual trophy clowns from an exalted Mousepad Mattis. I recommend this title on PC for the Steam Workshop with all the community mods that I believe are mandatory to enhance gameplay and aesthetics. It’s great fun to recruit a grenadier that sounds like Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force or a sniper that speaks in the icy

cool bass of Richard B. Riddick as they vaporize alien dirt bags in a hail of bullets. The colorful selection of voice mods make me simultaneously laugh and cry as I lead Deadpool, Carl, and Riddick from suicide mission to suicide mission simultaneously breaking their spirits and building their bonds. There are mods that increase the length of the doomsday clock and scale up enemies for the true gaming masochist but these are mere seasonings to an already flavorful game. I can’t offer much hope for the future and neither can War of the Chosen. Yet if you’re recovering from the latest bouts of fear and existential dread that insidious February harbors then splitting alien brains may get yours feeling right by spring time. When not vaporizing zombies or leading space marines as a mousepad Mattis, Brandon Watson is making gourmet pancakes and promoting local artists.


The Pulse 15.07 » February 15, 2018  

Chattanooga's Weekly Alternative

The Pulse 15.07 » February 15, 2018  

Chattanooga's Weekly Alternative