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JANUARY 7, 2009 · VOL. 23 · NO. 1 · FREE

Fly to ATL?

Fast and Fun, but May Take Longer Than Driving p.9

Free Fest!

Tasty World Celebrates Pizza, Coffee and Mercer West p.16

Legal Reefer? p.5 · Comix Reviews p.8 · The Year in Movies p.12 · Your 2009 Music Predictions p.14



pub notes Use It or Lose It Monday, Dec. 29 I was sitting at an outdoor table at Espresso Royale Caffe eating a tuna sandwich, enjoying the sunny afternoon gift that a Georgia winter bestows. Ordinarily, I would have taken the sandwich back to the office and eaten it at my desk, but I was shortly to meet with one of my colleagues who grew up on the coast and is repulsed by the idea of canned seafood. I didn’t want my office reeking of tuna, and it was pleasant there in the sunshine, except that someone who preceded me in that enclosure had thoroughly enjoyed the current issue of Flagpole and had left it in sections all over the floor (sidewalk). I determined, of course, that as soon as I finished my sandwich I’d clean up the mess. It’s okay for fishwrapping and canary-cage lining, but I draw the line at litter, unless it’s to line a litter box. As I proceeded with my sandwich, I noticed that one sheet of Flagpole had escaped the citymandated enclosure and was blowing around on the sidewalk, about to launch out into the street. Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer and gathered up all the pages inside the rails and chased down the floater on the street. Then, dirty hands and all, I enjoyed the rest of my sandwich, except for wondering how anybody with the wit and intelligence to read Flagpole could so callously just drop it and walk off, leaving it as litter. The same way, I guess, that somebody down in Greene County left a litter of puppies alongside the road, and they ended up at the Circle of Friends Animal Society shelter over there ( The shelter volunteers come over here on Saturdays with a load of animals for adoption and display them outside Pet Supplies Plus in Alps Shopping Center, where another friend o’ mine got one of the pups from that We have lived a long abandoned litter: an enertime now being shown getic Australian Shepherd/ Rottweiler mix. that greed pays… Thank God for our animal shelters and the Humane Society and all the people who are rescuing animals and sheltering them until somebody adopts them. Did somebody dump that litter of puppies alongside the road, or did some stray mama dog birth them and then get hit by a car? Either way, human shortcoming is involved, because that mama dog belonged to somebody too poor or unknowing or uncaring to have her spayed, so those eight pups joined the flood of abandoned, unwanted animals littering our roadsides, left to the kindness of strangers. Ours truly is a throwaway society. We don’t use it up and wear it out: we throw it away; we throw animals away; we throw people away; we throw our resources away; we throw the Earth away. We thumb our noses at that humane society, the United Nations, the only organization with even a remote chance of keeping us all from killing and abandoning each other. When the Great Depression of the 1930s hit, we were an agricultural and small-town nation. Those who lived in cities really did live in cities, not suburbs, so there was a closeness, too, though it was different from the close-knit fabric of the small towns and farms. In the ‘30s in Greensboro, if somebody abandoned a dog, people knew whose dog it was, just like they knew all the members of that person’s family. Now, we’re a nation of strangers: will the current downturn cause us to think more about each other as we’re being forced to examine the economy that supports us? We have lived a long time now being shown that greed pays and to look out for number-one and the devil take the hindmost. Meanwhile, quietly in the background, some amongst us have followed the injunction to care for the least of these: the abandoned, the discarded. Let us remember, as we are painfully reminded that the almighty dollar is not the god we thought it was, that real values still exist and can be learned by looking out for others and helping them to look out for themselves. Here’s hoping, too, that President Obama begins to remind us that government can help to look after those who need it instead of those who don’t. In order to get our country and ourselves back on track, we’ve all got a lot to re-learn. We have nothing to fear but fear itself, but that fear can be paralyzing. Those who are already out there saving us one person and one animal at a time can point the way. Pete McCommons

THIS WEEK’S ISSUE: News & Features City Dope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Athens News and Views

A slow, post-holiday news cycle has been enlivened by the local pot-legalization drive.

Comment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 The Economic Civil War

It’s time to put an end to the South’s ongoing attempt to kill the North’s industries.

Arts & Events Graphic Content . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 New Comics Reviews

Freshly published work from Dame Darcy, David Lapham and ex-Athenian Joshua Ray Stephens.

2008 Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Robots and Batmen and Slumdogs! Oh, My! Drew lays the year in movies out for you…

COVER DESIGN by Kelly Ruberto featuring a painting by Matt Blanks at Flicker Theatre & Bar


Music Four-Day Freedom, Music & Pizza Fest . . . . 16 Tasty World Welcomes Mercer West

You might be playing this festival and not even know it yet.

The Real Nitty Gritty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The Oxford American celebrates its 10th anniversary Southern Music Issue Reflections and sound bytes from the South’s musical icons and cult artists alike.


LETTERS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 CITY DOPE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 CAPITOL IMPACT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 CITY PAGES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 COMMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 GRAPHIC CONTENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 ATHENS TO ATLANTA FLIGHT. . . . . . . . . . 9 MOVIE DOPE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 MOVIE PICK. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 2008 FILM REVIEW. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 THREATS & PROMISES. . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


READERS’ SURVEY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 UPSTART ROUNDUP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 TASTY WORLD FESTIVAL. . . . . . . . . . . . 16 RECORD REVIEWS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 OXFORD AMERICAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 THE CALENDAR!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 BULLETIN BOARD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 ART AROUND TOWN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 COMICS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 REALITY CHECK. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 CLASSIFIEDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 WHY I’D BE POPULAR IN PRISON . . . . . . 31

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Pete McCommons ADVERTISING DIRECTOR & PUBLISHER Alicia Nickles PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Larry Tenner MANAGING EDITOR Christina Cotter ADVERTISING SALES Anita Aubrey, Melinda Edwards, Jessica Pritchard MUSIC EDITOR Michelle Gilzenrat CITY EDITOR Ben Emanuel CLASSIFIEDS, DISTRIBUTION & OFFICE MANAGER Paul Karjian AD DESIGNERS Ian Rickert, Kelly Ruberto ILLUSTRATORS Jason Crosby, Jacob Hunt CARTOONISTS James Allen, Cameron Bogue, Joe Havasy, Missy Kulik, Jeremy Long, Clint McElroy, Brice Vorderbrug, Matthew J. Ziemer ADOPT ME Special Agent Cindy Jerrell CONTRIBUTORS Michael Andrews, Jason Bugg, Tom Crawford, Christina Downs, David Eduardo, Tony Floyd, Jeff Gore, Chris Hassiotis, John Huie, Michael Lind, Garrett Martin, Jeff Tobias, Drew Wheeler CIRCULATION Charles Greenleaf, Jimmy Courson, Mike Dempsey, Eric Mullins, Alex White WEB DESIGNER Ian Rickert ADVERTISING ASSISTANT Maggie Summers, Aisha Washington EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Jennifer Bryant EDITORIAL INTERN Christina Downs MUSIC INTERNS Bryan Aiken, Alex Dimitropoulos ADVERTISING INTERNS Ginnie Carr



Flagpole, Inc. publishes Flagpole Magazine weekly and distributes 17,000 copies free at over 275 locations around Athens, Georgia. Subscriptions cost $55 a year, $35 for six months. © 2009 Flagpole, Inc. All rights reserved.

CONTACT US: STREET ADDRESS: 112 S. Foundry St., Athens, GA 30601 MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1027, Athens, GA 30603 EDITORIAL: (706) 549-9523 ADVERTISING: (706) 549-0301 FAX: (706) 548-8981 ADVERTISING: CALENDAR: COMICS: EDITORIAL: LETTERS: MUSIC: WEB SITE:

Association of Alternative Newsweeklies





using TNR to reduce the number of feral cats at the University of Georgia, and I urge you to support their efforts. Dear Flagpole: the weather is beautiful for For a TNR program to be most successful, mid-winter. I am working at home while caring no one person or agency can or should be for a sick toddler. It would be great to have expected to devote all the resources needed or my door open to hear the birds—but every shoulder the responsibility alone. Cooperation day, all day it seems, the leafblowers whine among citizens, veterinarians, animal sheland howl. I live immediately under two very ters, wildlife advocates, policy makers, public old red oak trees, health departments so I know how long and businesses is it takes to rake and essential. Please visit BUMPERSTICKER OF THE WEEK: bag a yard full of our website at www. leaves—the answer Honk If You’ve Been Married is, not very long, and feralcats to view our to Nolan Sanchez it makes no noise and 16-minute video on uses no electricity effectively managing Send sightings to or gas. Some of my feral cats. You will or call 706-549-9523. Thanks. neighbors will spend find other helpful hours leafblowing resources as well, their patch of grass including animal conuntil it is spotless, or pay a crew with several trol ordinances that exempt feral cats and tesleafblowers who diligently use gas power timonials in support of TNR (in the Advocacy to blow leaves and grass clippings into the section of the Resource page). street. The result? Noise pollution, and more In addition to TNR for feral cats, pet cats leaves/grass to blow a week later. Can somemust be spayed and neutered before they can body stop the insanity? reproduce at five months of age, kept indoors Name Withheld or safely confined to their property, provided Athens with visible identification and searched for immediately if they go missing. These actions will prevent pet cats from adding to the already homeless cat population. On behalf of more than 182,000 HSUS Dear Mayor Davison and county commissioners: supporters in Georgia, I urge Athens-Clarke The Humane Society of the United States County to join other municipalities across (HSUS), the nation’s largest animal protection the United States that exempt managed feral organization, supports Trap-Neuter-Return cat colonies from regulations that make the (TNR), an effective and humane feral cat manpractice of TNR difficult. After all, dedicated agement strategy. In June 2007, we presented caretakers, often at their own expense, are a two-day workshop in Atlanta on managing performing a community service by effectively feral cats. Representatives of Campus Cats and and humanely managing feral cats. the Athens Area Humane Society attended. If I can be of assistance, please don’t hesiIf municipal officials had attended, they tate to contact me. would have learned that removing feral cats Nancy Peterson may accomplish a short-term reduction in Feral Cat Program Manager, HSUS the numbers of feral cats, but over the long term it will entail an endless cycle of killing. TNR has been shown to reduce the numbers of cats over time and is a much better use of your county’s limited time, money and staff I’m writing in response to Teresa Lynn resources. Chagrin’s letter denouncing TNR programs Feral cats are unsocialized cats who have [Dec. 17]. Although I support PETA on a lot adopted a wild lifestyle. They exist because of issues, I’m more of an ASPCA/HSUS kind of pet cats who are not spayed or neutered are a guy and I was disappointed at Ms. Chagrin’s abandoned or go missing. In addition, people response. She mentions some interesting allow their pets to roam outside and don’t concerns, but they are overall flawed in logic provide identification. It’s no wonder that a and in terms of what some consider humane. I very small percentage of cats in shelters ever am also curious as to why a PETA representamake it home. Furthermore, many shelters tive three states away is commenting on our don’t receive adequate funding to spay and own feral cat issue here in Georgia. Domestic neuter pets before they are adopted, and animal overpopulation is a crisis all over the low-cost spay and neuter services are often United States; however, the problems and unavailable to low-income pet owners and solutions vary over sprawling rural and urban areas. The overpopulation crisis is one we feral cat caretakers, who bear the financial animal lovers are all aware of and concerned responsibility of TNR. about. I would love to say that we all want As you may know, the most basic form of the same thing. However, I fear this is not the TNR involves trapping the cats, spaying and case. It is quite clear, the term “humane” difneutering them, vaccinating them against fers with whom you ask. rabies and tipping their left ear—the uniFirst of all, Athens is primarily a rental city. versal sign of a spayed or neutered feral cat Most people rent and therefore can, if at all, who has received, at minimum, a rabies vaconly have one or two animals. Although there cination and is being managed by a dedicated is no legal limit for the number of domestic caretaker. An immediate reduction in the animals one can guard here in Athens; in many numbers of cats is often accomplished with areas, especially urban ones, there is a legal TNR because lost and abandoned pet cats limit with the number often being only two. and young kittens are removed for possible The simple fact of the matter is that there placement in homes. A very important aspect are far too many feral cats than there are of a successful TNR program also involves responsible, loving humans to take in the cats. long-term care and monitoring of the colony Most of the selfless people I know are already by dedicated caretakers. This ensures that any up to their ears in rescued/adopted cats and newcomers are immediately trapped for TNR dogs or already have dogs that aren’t too kind or adoption. I understand that Campus Cats is






to cats. Furthermore, like it or not, feral cats are wild. They may look domestic and their recent descendants are domestic, but the truth is that they are genetically, psychologically and environmentally wild. Growing up with a father as a veterinarian and myself being involved in many rescue/adoption groups over the years I can tell you from first-hand experience that feral cats are quite skittish and untame. They act like any other wild animal. They are scared, quick and will tear your eyes out if threatened or backed into a corner. I’m not suggesting all feral cats are this way, but the majority are and most people, rightfully so, aren’t willing to bring this behavior into their own home. You can now see the number of probable homes dwindling considerably. Since there are not enough homes, Teresa and other opposers of TNR programs state that killing these cats is the only other option. I will not use the word “euthanasia” with this issue as this term is reserved for situations where the animal is actually suffering (debilitating disease, paralysis, etc.) and is decided with good conscience to be humanely put to death. Trapping animals and simply killing them only because they don’t have a mailing address is downright cruel and ludicrous. Opposers of TNR programs are treating these cats like they are a nuisance or criminals and don’t deserve the same rights as other wild animals. Furthermore, these cats will immediately be put to death in shelters because they are deemed “unadoptable.” Second, the predator/prey argument is null. Teresa mentions in detail what ALL felines do

with their prey. Yes, felines maim, play with and execute repeat puncture wounds, allowing their prey to suffer. Sometimes they give an instant kill bite (break the neck, etc.) and then feast, but not always. It’s not pretty, but it’s natural and the truth. This is the way it is. You cannot remove the natural instincts that are hardwired in wild animals, including feral cats. Cats are carnivores. They eat and thrive on flesh. Suppose someone is able to take in a colony of feral cats. What are they going to feed them? Cat food. What do you think is in the cat food? Meat. In commercial pet food… [continued at] Will L. Eskridge Athens

LEGALIZE? So, approving one drug over the other is good logic these days?? [City Pages, “Legalize? Commish Receives Pot Petition,” Dec. 17] What are we teaching the next generation? Taking a stand against drugs means that you stand. We should not waiver in our positions just to appease the few that were genius enough to sign the petition. How many of these people are parents or better yet a recovered addict? We need a much better perspective than what has been proposed. Compromise is not the answer. Some battles may be lost but my hope is in winning the war!! Isa Tillery from

city dope

capitol impact

Athens News and Views

Poythress Tests the Waters for 2010

Not Much Ado: Outside of the swearing-in of newbie commissioners Mike Hamby and Ed Robinson, at press time there was next to nothing very interesting on the agenda for the ACC Mayor and Commission meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 6, the first meeting of the new year. The dearth of newsworthiness had City Dope in a quandary, upon his return to this balmy town from a holiday vacation in a colder clime—what to cover?

Riverkeeper and stopping the needless dams which some would like to build on the beautiful, valuable Flint. If you missed all that, then take note that GRN Director April Ingle will tell the story at this week’s meeting of the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society—7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 8 at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

Also That Night: While official meeting business may be quiet this week at City Hall proper, there are some items of interest on the Lit Up, After All: Fortunately, a stroll uptown Planning Commission’s agenda for Thursday, found the young men of the new local chapDec. 8. At the top of the list—as of press ter of NORML—the time, anyway—is the National Organization return of the Moss for the Reform of Side grocery-storeMarijuana Laws—out &-etc. proposal for on the corner of Jefferson Rd., covered College Avenue and in Flagpole a few Broad Street enertimes late last year. getically soliciting Most observers have signatures for their been surprised to see petition to decriminalthis one return to the ize the possession of Planning Commission seven grams of weed in so soon after its proAthens-Clarke County. ponents were sent (See City Pages in back to the drawing the Dec. 17 Flagpole board by a plethora for more on NORML’s of staff concerns with December visit to City their plan, but there Hall.) In between must be something shouts of “Sign the driving the thing forPetition!” with the ward. Keep an eye out. cadence of a ballpark Meanwhile, coming beer vendor, dope proup for a first hearing ponent John Hill told is a plan for a new UGA NORML members (l to r) John Hill and Waites City Dope the cambank building near the Laseter hard at work downtown on their petition paign is going well, corner of Epps Bridge drive to legalize marijuana possession in Athens. with around 1,500 Parkway and Timothy signatures already Road; this one has collected even before New Year’s Eve. “It some nearby residential neighbors on edge, so shouldn’t be a crime at all,” said one signait’ll be worth watching, too. tory, pen in hand. “Good luck.” Campaigner Waites Laseter said, “People Random Thought: City Dope finds interest in come up and thank us for the job we’re this Flagpole’s Comment by Michael Lind (see doing, congratulate us. I feel all warm and p. 7) not only because of the recent political fuzzy.” Laseter added, “Overall, the reactions showdown over American manufacturing, but have been very positive.” But will the “Prop also because of a recent Morris News Service 42” push carry much weight with the ACC article that ran in late December in some of Commission? Unlikely, Commissioner Kelly the Banner-Herald’s sister papers. Morris’s Girtz (for one) says. The NORML boys are Walter Jones wrote a story (quoting, among undaunted. others, our own Mayor Heidi Davison) about the idea to foster the creation of a “Piedmont Something Ado: Then again, while this issue Atlantic Mega-Region” for the purposes of (like the pot petition) may or may not show planning transportation, resource use and— up on a Commission agenda any time soon, most important—economic development. Athens’ City Hall does need to do its best to The thing is, if you take Lind’s view at ensure productive use of the federal stimulus all, then for Southern leaders to talk about funds expected to come once President-Elect mega-region planning is either meaningless Obama takes office. The question—here as palaver, or it’s an effort to unify this old everywhere—is whether the infrastructure Confederacy even more against the economic monies will go towards good development or power of other parts of the country. City Dope bad, urban redevelopment or sprawl, riverhappens to think this Lind fellow is onto damming or water efficiency, and so on. Even something, so even beyond the present recesif the powers that be think it’s business as sion, what in the world does the future hold? usual with this cash, it’ll help if citizens and governments in places like Athens can put for- On the Calendar: Probably the biggest civic ward a different model. and charitable event on the calendar this month is the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. A Tale of Another President: There was a nifty Day of Service, scheduled for MLK Day on news story back in midsummer that hit a Monday, Jan. 19. Registration is open to parlot of Georgians’ radar screens, but probably ticipate in service projects across town, makdidn’t get quite the attention it deserved ing the holiday “a day on,” not a day off, as locally. It all went down when Athens-based the apt slogan goes. Visit www.athensmlkday. nonprofit Georgia River Network’s annual com or call 2-1-1 to register or learn more. Paddle Georgia trip wound up at Oglethorpe, GA, down on the Flint River, with a pep rally Ben Emanuel from former Prez Jimmy Carter that had the express purpose of kicking off the new Flint Send your city dope to

When he retired as the commander of the Georgia National Guard in 2007, David Poythress could look back on a long and honorable career in military and government service. Anyone else in Poythress’ situation might consider retirement so that he could enjoy life at a more leisurely pace. He jumped right back into the political mainstream, getting the word out last August that he would run for the Democratic nomination in the 2010 governor’s race. Is he crazy, or what? “I just enjoy politics,” Poythress said. “I think I do it reasonably well, and that really has been pretty much my career—public service in the broadest sense. I’d like to be part of creating a new Georgia.” Poythress was a revenue department official in the 1970s before then-governor George Busbee appointed him secretary of state after the death of Ben Fortson in 1979. When Poythress ran for a full term in 1982, however, he lost the Democratic nomination to Max Cleland. He got back into politics in 1992, winning a special statewide election for labor commissioner. When Poythress stepped up to run for governor in 1998, he finished third in the Democratic primary. Roy Barnes, who won that governor’s race, appointed Poythress adjutant general in 1999, a post he continued to hold under Gov. Sonny Perdue. While Georgia voters have become more conservative and Republican in recent years, Poythress contends the electorate is becoming a little more independent and possibly open to the idea of electing a Democrat. “I’m encountering a lot of people—who I’ve known to be Republicans in the past— who are now self-identified as independent,” he said. “They’re saying, ‘Look, it’s time to get beyond labels, we’re looking for a candidate who is reasonably moderate with a proven record of leadership.’ That is what I bring to the table.”

Perdue has been a hands-off style governor over his two terms in office. Poythress thinks there could be a desire among voters for someone with a more active approach. “There’s a general sense of frustration, particularly at the national level but also at the state level, that nothing much seems to be happening,” he said. “There’s not any real strong leadership to be seen. More people are interested in the pragmatic capacity to lead the government than they are in ideology.” “A big part of it depends on how intense the Democratic primary is,” Poythress said. “I think it’s really important that the Democratic Party come together behind a consensus candidate pretty soon so we don’t repeat the experience of Mark Taylor and Cathy Cox [in 2006]. If we can get beyond that and get a candidate out of the primary without being bruised and broke, I think we can win it.” Poythress so far is the only announced Democratic candidate in the governor’s race. He may be joined by such figures as House Minority Leader DuBose Porter, state Sen. Tim Golden, or the 800-pound gorilla in Democratic politics, former governor Roy Barnes. If Barnes gets into the race, would Poythress get out? “Absolutely not,” he vowed. “I’m in the race. I think Roy’s future probably should be that of political mentor rather than a horse on the track. I can think of lots and lots of reasons why it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to get into the race.” Whether it’s a good idea for Poythress to be running can’t be known at this time. He’s convinced the race is worth it, and for any politician that’s all that matters. Tom Crawford Tom Crawford is the editor of Capitol Impact’s Georgia Report, an Internet news service at that covers government and politics in Georgia.



city pages First-Ever “Green Life Expo” Coming Soon

Commish Seeks Solution on Abandoned Houses Athens-Clarke County may crack down Commissioners are also asking county staffon abandoned, boarded-up houses, which ers to extend CPD enforcement hours to some can blight neighborhoods (sometimes for weekend patrols, but without adding staff years) and attract crime. Such houses are time. “Our code enforcement efforts are pretty often owned by multiple heirs of the original much an eight-to-five type operation, Monday owner, none of whom has a sufficiently large through Friday,” said Commissioner Lynn. “We interest in the house to want to maintain explored with management ways to perhaps it. “Other communities in Georgia get rid of keep a 40-hour week, but stagger those schedthose properties at a faster rate than we do,” ules throughout the week a little bit more.” ACC Commissioner David Lynn, a member of In November, Wolfe told commissioners on the the commission’s Audit Committee, told felAudit Committee that “on weekends particulow commissioners in larly, front-yard parkNovember, “and we Commissioners are also asking ing’s a major issue.” would like our staff Other concerns county staffers to extend CPD to pursue some more of commissioners: aggressive options overgrown lots and enforcement hours to some regarding boarded-up yards (a common and blighted propsource of complaints) weekend patrols, but without erty.” At present, and graffiti (at presadding staff time. the county makes a ent, property owners “reasonable effort” to are required to clean locate heirs, but must take owners to court, it up, no matter who spray-painted it). The said county auditor John Wolfe. Audit Committee suggested no changes in “I’ve been doing a lot of walking lately the difficult-to-enforce “definition of family” around the community, and it’s sad what you ordinance that bars more than two unrelated do see in some neighborhoods,” Commissioner people from sharing a home in a “single-famKelly Girtz added. On some streets, numerous ily” zoning district. And Commissioner Alice abandoned homes “are having a severe impact Kinman suggested at the committee meeting on the quality of those streets,” he said; they that “a sort of ’quality-of-life’ court” might also lower property values (and therefore the be the best solution to enforcing nuisance county’s tax collections), Lynn said. The recordinances. In the coming year, the auditor ommendation was one of several put forward will be studying the Solid Waste Department, by Wolfe in his recently completed study of Computer Information Services, the Athens the ACC Community Protection Division (or Neighborhood Health Center, and the role of CPD), which enforces “quality-of-life” and nui- the county’s environmental coordinator. sance ordinances (like illegal front-yard parking, the most common offense). John Huie



NBAF Debate to Be Subject of Academic Study In the late fall of 2008, some Athens-area focuses on public attitudes toward science and residents received a letter from the University technology. of Wisconsin. In the envelope was a survey—a Scheufele hopes the comprehensive queries “Community, Media, and Development” survey, in the survey will clue him and his colleagues to be precise. The subject of the questioninto what roles different dynamic actors naire was none other than the National Bio played in the NBAF story: the media, activand Agro-Defense Facility, more commonly ist groups, religious leaders, political figures known as NBAF. At the time, Athens was one and simple human biases. What could be the of five finalists on the federal Department of Homeland Security’s list of potential sites for the facility, which was awarded to (or unloaded upon, as some would say) Manhattan, KS in early December. The University of Wisconsin in Madison was also a candidate on a longer, earlier list. The survey features a comprehensive range of subjects, and most of its 36 questions contain multiple parts. Some of the questions are obvious: when, where and how did you find out about NBAF? Others are a bit more probing, asking the resident how often he or she reads blogs and listens to talk radio. And, of course, More than just an argument: Last year’s local controversy over NBAF has been deemed suitable as a subject for academic study by a researcher at the there are a few memoUniversity of Wisconsin. rable outliers, like “How likely is it that you would take a skydiving class?” and “How often eventual social benefit of this academic microdo you talk to people who do not believe in scope set upon Athens? “The ideal outcome is God?” (emphasis theirs). for us to find mechanisms to lead to the best According to Professor Dietram Scheufele, possible outcome for the community [in simithe signatory of the survey’s cover page, the lar situations],” says Scheufele. survey is part of a study funded by a grant The next stage in the study, after processfrom the National Science Foundation. Along ing the survey data, will be a “post-survey” with 1,400 Athens-area residents, the survey that will compare public attitudes in the winwas sent to citizens in each of the other four ning community with those in one of the losNBAF “finalist” locations: Manhattan, KS; ing communities—a list that includes Athens, Granville County, NC; San Antonio, TX and of course, as a possible subject community. Flora, MS. Scheufele is clear that he’s most interested “What we’re interested in is how communiin the communities in which there was more ties make decisions about what could potencontroversy over NBAF, mentioning that Long tially be controversial issues,” says Scheufele, Island and San Antonio did not present much who works for the University of Wisconsin’s in the form of public resistance. school of Life Sciences Communication, a relatively unique department that largely Jeff Gore

FAQ, Inc.

“(We’re) not printing a lot of stuff: regisLate this month, The Classic Center and the Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division will trations are online, we’re using sustainable paper products, et cetera. We are trying to collaborate to host Athens’ first ever Green decrease the carbon footprint. There’s no Life Expo, Jan. 30–31 at The Classic Center. greenwashing—we take this very seriously,” The show will include seminars and booths Classic Center Marketing Manager Angi Harben presenting information, products and tips for the public on being environmentally friendly. says. Companies also have the opportunity to The idea for the expo was born last fall sponsor seminars, and booth reservation costs through discussions between Classic Center are based on a sliding scale dependent on Executive Director Paul Cramer, his assistant the type of organizadirector, Philip Verrastro, ACC recycling coordina“There’s no greenwashing— tion applying. “We want tor Suki Janssen and this to be accessible we take this very seriously.” for everyone,” Harben ACC Environmental says. “We don’t want to Coordinator Dick Field. make it difficult for nonprofit organizations, Talks about furthering The Classic Center’s because they have a strong message also.” recent effort to be more environmentally conscious turned into the planning of the event. “I hope the public makes contacts at the expo, that they see sessions and go home and The Green Life Expo is free to the public, implement the ideas,” says Janssen. “It’s a but exhibitors who wish to present a seminar great way to network with people. To make or booth must pay a reservation fee online the community greener, making the home and at To maintain the lives greener helps everyone.” eco-friendly nature of the event, the marketing staff at The Classic Center has made creChristina Downs ative efforts to publicize it.

comment The Economic Civil War If the industrial North and the industrial South compete for global capital investment, then the industrial South is likely to prevail, because Northern advantages in the form of a skilled workforce and superior public services are unlikely to overcome the South’s advantages of low wages and low taxes and state and local tax subsidies. The result, sooner or later, will be the Southernization of the North and Midwest, as states in the historic middle-class core of the United States are forced by economic pressure to emulate the arrangements of Alabama and Mississippi and Texas.

Jason Crosby

It is just as well that Barack Obama is emulating Abraham Lincoln by traveling to his inauguration in Washington by train. As the regional politics of the automobile bailout controversy demonstrated, the Civil War continues. If the major U.S. automobile companies go under, it will be partly because timely federal aid for them was blocked by members of Congress like Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, whose states have created their own counter-Detroit in the form of Japanese, Korean and German transplant factories. The South will have risen by bringing down the North. Jefferson Davis will have had his revenge. The most shocking thing about the alliance between the Southern states and America’s friendly but earnest economic rivals to destroy America’s most important industry is the fact that so few people find it shocking. Contrast the United States with the European Union. The nation-states of the European Union collaborate with each other in order to compete against foreign economic rivals, including the United States, Japan and China. By contrast, many states, particularly in the South, collaborate with foreign economic rivals of the United States in order to compete against other American states. Any British or French or German leader who proposed collaborating with Japan or the United States in order to wipe out industry and destroy jobs in neighboring EU member states would be jeered out of office. But it is perfectly acceptable for American states to connive with Asian and European countries in the destruction of industry elsewhere in the United States. Perhaps the lack of outrage over race-to-the-bottom rivalries among U.S. states and regions can be attributed to the longevity of this familiar Southern economic strategy. In the early 20th century, the Southern states were the first to adopt conscious statewide economic development policies, which then as now meant poaching industries from New England and the Midwest where wages and public spending and regulation were greater. That’s how the South took the textile industry from New England, before losing it to lower-wage Asia. Now with the help of Nissan, Toyota and BMW, the South is trying to replace Detroit as the center of U.S. automobile production, using low wages, anti-union laws, and low taxes to benefit from the outsourcing of industry from societies more advanced than the South, like Japan and Germany. The economic Axis is collaborating with the neo-Confederates against their common opponent—the American Union. If they succeed, the losers will be not only non-Southern regions in the United States, but the majority of Southerners of all races, whose interest in decent wages, good education and adequate public services have almost always been sacrificed to the greed of the wellconnected few by Southern statehouse gangs.

A House Divided Again “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” At each of the defining crises in American history, a major expansion of federal authority was necessary to overcome a division between North and South that threatened the future of the United States as a democratic, middle-class nation. The division between slave and free states was overcome by the defeat of the Confederacy and the Reconstruction amendments that abolished slavery and established national citizenship for the first time. During the New Deal era, the enormous gap between the agrarian South and West and the industrial Northeast was overcome by federal programs like rural electrification and highway building, federal regulation and federal social insurance. Today the division is no longer between slave and free states, or agrarian and industrial states, but between two models of industrial society—the Northern model, based on adequate public service funding and taxation and unionization, and the Southern model, based on low-tax, low-service government and low-wage, non-unionized, easily exploited labor.

The alternative to the Southernization of the United States is the Americanization of the South—a process that was not completed by Reconstruction and the New Deal and the Civil Rights era, which can be thought of as the Second Reconstruction. The non-Southern states, through their representatives in Congress and the executive branch, and with the help of enlightened Southerners, need to use the power of the federal government to put a stop to the Southern conservative race-to-the-bottom strategy once and for all.

The Third Reconstruction Call it the Third Reconstruction. The first step is to end the race to the bottom in wages and regulation, by national action. The national minimum wage should be gradually raised until it is a living wage of $10 to $12 an hour, and it should be adjusted for inflation. At the same time, federal regulations should set a higher floor with respect to worker safety regulations, environmental regulations and others, preventing America’s own internal rogue states from gaining any advantages by flouting national standards. Most Southern politicians and business leaders will howl that this will bankrupt the South. That’s what they said about the abolition of slavery, child labor and the convict lease system, too. The South was a better place to live after those reforms, and it will be a better place to live when there is a living wage throughout the South. Second, the race to the bottom in taxes and public services must be stopped by means of federal revenue-sharing. In most industrial democracies, the central government contributes much of the money for local services. In the 21st-century United States, too, a much greater percentage of state and local public service funding should come from the federal government, in the form of general revenue sharing (a popular and effective program abolished by Reagan) as well as special purpose grants and loans for some needs like infrastructure. This means that more tax money, not less, will flow from blue states to red states. But it is the price the blue states must pay for the survival of their own way of life in their own regions. Ruthless Southern state governments have been willing to underfund public education and other public services, while lavishing hundreds of millions of dollars to bribe Nissan, Toyota and other foreign corporations into opening up factories in their borders. The Southern states cannot be forced to raise state and local taxes. But federal revenue-sharing can raise the level of public services in Mississippi and Louisiana,

thereby leveling the playing field by leveling up, not down. Nor is revenue-sharing unfair to the blue state rich, because the federal government taxes the rich everywhere, including the rich few in poor states. Moreover, the gradual equalization of public service spending nationwide might be compensated for by reductions in high blue-state tax levels. Third, federal-state collaboration in national economic development must replace individual state economic development systems designed to promote one state at the expense of another. Most states today have complex and sophisticated economic development systems, including agencies like infrastructure banks and municipal bonds to pay for infrastructure and sometimes industry. The problem is not their existence, but rather the absence of an overarching federal system, modeled on existing state systems but on a larger scale, in which each of the state economic development systems can play a constructive rather than destructive role. A national infrastructure bank, for example, could channel foreign investment to state infrastructure banks, without subordinating America’s economic interest to that of foreign nations or allowing foreign companies like Toyota and Nissan to pit one American state against others. These and similar measures adding up to a Third Reconstruction would not turn Mississippi into Vermont. But they would level the national playing field upward, making it more difficult for Southern elites to use misgovernment and underdevelopment as assets in luring investment. And while Southern business elites could be counted on initially to resist a higher national minimum wage, revenue sharing and the funding of state and local economic development systems by new national economic development agencies in time would create a new kind of Southern business elite with a stake in a flourishing national economy and an enlightened, activist federal government. Over time, reactionary conservatives might be marginalized even in Southern business and political circles. The greatest beneficiaries of the Third Reconstruction, as of the First and Second, would be Southerners themselves.

The Race to the Bottom The Southern conservatives of the GOP are not irrational when they denounce the very idea of a national economic strategy as “socialism” or “industrial policy” while each of their states pursues its own “socialist industrial policy” within its state borders. They are being strategic. They understand their interests, as they define them. A U.S. economic development strategy would make it more difficult for individual state governments and their crony capitalist allies to engage in the beggar-thy-neighbor policies that the Southern elites have specialized in for nearly a century. And a national economic development system would thwart the ultimate goal of the extreme right in America—the leveling down of the entire United States to the South’s inhumane and primitive standards. I can hear the objections already: “We agree that the South’s beggar-thy-neighbor and race-to-the-bottom strategies should be thwarted—but the methods that you suggest, a high national minimum wage, greater equalization of state and local public spending by increased federal revenue-sharing, and a national economic development framework built to align the existing state economic development systems are politically too difficult to achieve.” That may be true. But if it is true, then the neo-Confederates and their strategy of turning first the South and then the entire United States into a low-wage export platform for the outsourced industries of advanced industrial societies in Asia and Europe will prevail. If a non-Southern majority, controlling the White House and Congress, with the support of at least some moderate Republicans in other regions, along with the support of Southern populists and progressives, is too timid to take on a Southern oligarchy that is willing to wreck the national economy to promote their local economic empires, then the neo-Confederates have already prevailed. The choice is simple—the reconstruction of the South, or the deconstruction of the U.S. economy. Michael Lind Michael Lind is the Whitehead Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. This column originally appeared at



graphic content New Comics Reviews beside you and point out what he meant by specific choices, lest everything wash over with nothing retained. Stephens alludes to several themes—emotional rebirth and sexual sacrifice seem to figure into the book—but there’s little that grounds The Moth or the Flame; allegory works well when rooted in reality, but with little for readers to latch onto as different narrative strings are abandoned, the book hints at a lot but delivers little. It’s a cold experience that’s focused inward on itself. The Moth or the Flame raises a lot of questions, vaguely, and provides no legitimate answers; it comes across as more esoteric and impenetrable than enlightening or intriguing.

Gasoline Dame Darcy (Merrell Publishers) Cult favorite Dame Darcy is an illustrator-artist-writeranimator-musician-filmmaker-what-have-you who caught many eyes with her ’90s comic Meat Cake. Her newest book, Gasoline, is a Gothy, rock-and-roll fairy tale set in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s fiercely anti-materialistic, and though the message gets a bit preachy now and again, Darcy’s uniquely tweaked, girly perspective tempers her didactic tendencies. At Gasoline’s heart is the Armbuster family, a clan of orphaned witches, scrabbling for survival in a utopian society they founded after the globe-searing apocalypse. They own the last car on Earth and, like the denizens of the Mad Max flicks, the Armbusters troll heavily for resources; their addiction to gasoline is no subtle nod toward the current state of things, and Darcy has long been a strident environmentalist. Darcy’s illustrations lean towards elaborate and restrained, yet still somehow sketchy, Victorian styles and find familiar company next to the work of Tim Burton, Edward Gorey and Quentin Blake. The story is presented primarily in text form, with the more than 100 drawings accompanying. Take note, fans of ephemera and overkill: Gasoline, which may be turned into a rock-opera movie, also includes an illustrated how-to guide on creative alternative living, covering everything from banjo-playing to candle-making, stitching and casting simple spells.

The Moth or the Flame Joshua Ray Stephens (Zeitgeist Productions) When a teacup-headed titan of industry named Tempest McGillicutty falls for a pretty girl named Tealeaf Wallowrose, what follows is a highly symbolic and stylized allegory on love and emotional connections. Maybe? Thing is, former Athenian and current Brooklynite Joshua Ray Stephens’ book is so obtuse, it’s hard to divine any specific implications from its indistinct plot and inconsistent artwork. The book is loaded with occult symbols and heavy design work, and Stephens deserves credit for some of his formal experimentation with perspective, narrative and visual representations of abstract concepts. But most of the time the book’s a confused muddle, and you get the feeling you’d need the author to sit



Young Liars Vol. 1: Daydream Believer David Lapham (Vertigo Comics) David Lapham made his name with the self-published Stray Bullets, a gritty, post-Tarantino crime series that mirrored Frank Miller’s Sin City in its devotion to pulpy noir conventions. And like Miller, Lapham has a way with nutty visual energy and propulsive dialogue, both of which are on display in the first volume of his new series Young Liars, whose first six issues are collected here under the Daydream Believer subtitle. The story’s told from the point of view of a Texas guy who moves to a highly fictionalized New York and finds himself a varied set of loving yet troubled friends—a coke-addled transvestite, an ingratiating and abrasive band groupie, an overly pampered rich boy and a girl named Sadie Dawkins, an enchanting spitfire whose moral and emotional center is askew due to a bullet lodged in the center of her brain. She’s the daughter of an insane Sam Walton-style businessman, she beats up bouncers and punks, she’s got months to live and she just wants to dance. As an opening story arc in an ongoing series, this one works; it sets up the characters, introduces a number of conflicts and hints at multiple paths of exploration over issues to come. And as the title of the series lays out, most of the characters are concealing something from one another, and there are times when even the narration is untrustworthy. If some of the characters are painted with too broad a brush—Sadie’s not the first, and unfortunately probably not the last unhinged, kooky girl who serves as the male protagonist’s fantasy—well, the story is hook-y enough and Lapham’s erratic structure intriguing. Chris Hassiotis

My Flight from Athens to Atlanta No, Seriously. I Flew. You Can, Too! In case you’ve missed the “FLY to ATL” billboards that have recently popped up all over town, there is a new way to get to the big A that doesn’t involve 85, 316 or 78. Two airlines, Wings Air (the company featured on the billboards) and GeorgiaSkies, offer daily, round-trip flights from Athens and Atlanta. As a quick introduction, here is how the two airlines differ and what they purport to offer. GeorgiaSkies is the less expensive option, with one-way tickets costing $49. That’s just $4 more than the AAA shuttle van, and there are reduced fare specials fairly frequently. Due to access restrictions at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, GeorgiaSkies temporarily operates from the Atlantic Aviation Terminal, a small building detached from the rest of the airport. GeorgiaSkies is diligently petitioning Hartsfield-Jackson for a spot in the T-Gates, but for now, you just have to take a free shuttle from Atlantic Aviation to the main terminal upon arrival. On the other hand, for $79, Wings Air will take you directly to the T-Gates. If you need to catch a connecting flight, this is a huge advantage, not only in its proximity to other gates, but because you get to go through security in Athens and avoid the long lines of the Atlanta airport entirely. With both airlines, you get to park for free at Ben Epps, and of course the travel time is, theoretically, much faster than by car. On average, you spend about half an hour in the air—but that doesn’t take into account arriving half an hour ahead of time for check-in plus taxi-ing and other potential delays. Just because you are avoiding traffic on the ground doesn’t save you from all the traffic 30,000 feet above the world’s busiest airport. My interest in GeorgiaSkies in particular was piqued after receiving an email about its holiday promotion that offered free flights Dec. 24–26 on a first-come-first-served basis. Well, I wasn’t the first to sign up. In fact, I missed the reservation deadline entirely, but I was able to score a free “media pass,” nonetheless. Despite putting in my request a day or two after the promotion ended, I had my pick of numerous flight times, suggesting that even at the going rate of $0, the demand for these seats was still low. Once my trip was confirmed, I enthusiastically shared the details of my travel plans with friends and family in Atlanta. My friends laughed. My parents cried. My pals thought that traveling by plane over a distance that’s reasonably drivable was excessive and absurd. My folks gnawed on their fingernails at visions of tiny propellor planes perilously shaking their way through low-hanging clouds. I wasn’t particularly concerned about the latter, having complete confidence in the GeorgiaSkies crew and fleet, but I did have my doubts about the practicality of air travel to Atlanta from Athens. With those concerns in mind, I packed my overnight bag and prepared for a unique journey which, for the first time, excited me more than my destination. Everything about the Ben Epps airport felt surreal to me as I pulled in half an hour before my departure time. The small, quiet

terminal with its one TV, assorted aviation magazines and six waiting passengers felt more like a doctor’s office than an airport. There was no line as I approached the GeorgiaSkies counter. “I have a reservation for the 2:30 p.m. flight,” I told the attendant. “Are you Michelle?” He knew immediately. He weighed my bag and asked for my weight, as well. Taken by surprise, I lied by about 10 pounds, realizing the purpose of his inquiry soon after and then anxiously regretting my outburst, hoping my vanity wouldn’t send our plane crashing down. And I had plenty of time to feel anxious. The Atlanta airport was experiencing problems with its air traffic control system, and my flight wound up being delayed two and a half hours. Chagrined, I called all waiting parties—my Atlanta buddies scoffed: “In that time you could drive here and back!” My parents nearly had a heart attack. “It’s not worth it!” they cried, at news of trouble in the air. “It’s too dangerous!” After an hour of watching Fox news, I decided that it really wasn’t worth it, at least not today. I could visit Atlanta tomorrow, and in the meantime I had better things to do with my day off. Flight delays happen all the

time, but when your delay is nearly twice that of the driving time, it starts to feel a little silly. The passengers around me didn’t seem too bothered, although I heard an attendant at Wings Air arranging ground transportation for one passenger who was in danger of missing her connecting flight. A GeorgiaSkies passenger called his buddy and asked him to bring a board game to pass the time. Without any hassle, I rescheduled my trip for the following afternoon. The next day, I left my house at 2:15 p.m. to catch my 3:05 p.m. flight. Luckily the delay was minimal today, and by 3:20 p.m. three other passengers and I were climbing up the steps of the Cessna Caravan 208B and ducking inside the cabin. I was placed in the third row with an unobstructed view of the cockpit which, I must admit, I was pretty excited about. This was my first time on a propeller plane, and I was all giddy about being able to watch the pilot and captain push buttons and turn knobs. As our plane lifted off the short runway, the world of delays and traffic and even time itself seemed to slip away. There were no traffic lights, no speeding tickets and no fender benders. Just the whirl of the propellers, cottony clouds as far as the eye could see, and the beeps and buzz of cockpit gadgetry (all the noises, we were assured before takeoff, were simply procedural). By the time my watch read 3:33 p.m., the captain

announced that we had reached our cruising altitude of 6,000 feet and would begin our descent in about 25 minutes. How could I ever drive to Atlanta again? The free shuttle was waiting to take us to the main terminal upon our arrival in Atlanta. I made my way to MARTA and reached my final destination in Midtown at exactly 5 p.m. The entire journey took two hours and 45 minutes—an hour longer than it would have taken me to drive directly there. The next day I made my way down to door L-S2 at the airport where I was told the same shuttle would be waiting. When I arrived, about an hour before my 2 p.m. flight, there was no GeorgiaSkies signage, no representatives nor a shuttle van. When the clock struck 1:25 p.m. I started getting nervous, so I called GeorgiaSkies customer service. I was immediately put on hold and forced to listen to Kenny G Christmas songs for nearly 15 minutes. The operator finally told me that the shuttle comes by “periodically” to check for passengers, and she would put in a call to tell them I was there. They really made me sweat this time—the shuttle arrived just 10 minutes before I was supposed to take off. Perhaps GeorgiaSkies should consider making the pick-up time more firm, say 45 minutes before departure, or at least provide a separate phone number to directly request a shuttle upon arrival. I rushed through check-in, the clock on the wall read 1:55 p.m., but my heart raced in vain—we wouldn’t be going anywhere for another hour. At least the Atlanta terminal was a pleasant place to wait. There was free Internet and the decor felt modern and warm—like a contemporary hotel lobby. I believe this is where private jets and the like come in, so it has to be swank for the V.I.P. passengers. As it turns out, I felt pretty important myself—I was the only passenger on the flight to Athens. Now, for the sake of the airline’s financial future, I certainly hope this doesn’t happen often, but damn, it was pretty cool—at least, at first. As we waited our turn on the runway, shaking from the vibrations of the roaring jet engines taking off ahead of us, I felt incredibly guilty. I mean, here was this $1.9 million machine, filled with however many hundreds of gallons of fuel plus a pilot and a captain all hired to take little old me to Athens from Atlanta… and I wasn’t even paying a cent! I closed my eyes as we took off, crunching numbers and estimating the overhead costs, carbon footprint and potential profits. Before I could figure out how many passengers they would need a day to stay in business, we dipped under the clouds, revealing a spectacular view of downtown Athens. Minutes later I was home. When I was flying GeorgiaSkies, everything really was exceptional, but an airline that traverses such short distances simply cannot afford the same delays as other airlines. I would certainly recommend GeorgiaSkies to others, but mostly for the novelty of the ride rather than the advantages of the service. Michelle Gilzenrat



movie dope Some releases may not be showing locally this week. THE 39 STEPS (NR) 1935. One of Alfred Hitchcock’s pre-Hollywood classics, The 39 Steps features Hitch’s signature wrong man plot as Canadian visitor Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) becomes the target of a spy ring after Miss Annabella Smith (Lucie Mannheim) is murdered in his flat. Janice Simon, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor in Art at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, will introduce the film. AUSTRALIA (PG-13) An epic romance inspired by the films of David Lean, a war movie not far removed from Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor, and most surprisingly, a Western that might make John Ford a little jealous, Australia tries to be all things to all audiences, succeeding often enough to cover up the numerous blemishes that pock its nearly three-hour visage. AZUR & ASMAR (PG) Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Azur and dark-skinned, dark-eyed Asmar once loved each other like brothers. As adults, they become rivals for the imprisoned Djinn fairy enchantingly described in tales by the boys’ former wet nurse, Jenane. Writerdirector Michel Ocelot was nominated for the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or for the 1987 short, Les Quatre voeux. Azur & Asmar won the Kids’ Audience Award from the Munich Film Festival and was nominated for a César (Best Music Written for a Film) and a Goya (Best Animation Film). BEDTIME STORIES (PG) Adam Sandler stars as a guy living through the bedtime stories he’s telling his niece and nephew. Director Adam Shankman scored big, critically and commercially with Hairspray; Bedtime Stories looks more like his awful

crowd-pleasers Bringing Down the House, The Pacifier, and Cheaper by the Dozen 2. BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA (PG) I have to give credit to Beverly Hills Chihuahua; it’s not as appallingly awful as its premise or its trailer portend. Disney has foisted worse talking animal movies on the world. Children and adult animal lovers who think pets dressed in tiny people clothes are cute will love the misadventures of Chloe (v. Drew Barrymore), a pampered Beverly Hills Chihuahua lost in Mexico. BODY OF LIES (R) Despite its star power (Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe), A-list director (Ridley Scott) and Academy Award winning screenwriter (The Departed’s William Monahan), Body of Lies doesn’t set the post 9/11 cinema on fire any more than its predecessors. BOLT (PG) The sharply animated, directed and written flick is the closest Disney has gotten to achieving Pixarlike quality, possibly due to the presence of Pixar founder John Lasseter as executive producer and Cars writer Dan Fogelman. Let’s hope this becomes the studio’s rule, not just a one film exception. BRIDE WARS (PG) Best friends (Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway) become bitter rivals after their dream weddings are both scheduled on the same day. Every woman in my life is excited about Hudson and Hathaway going womanoa-womano. However, that PG rating has doused a few of the fires, if only slightly. Director Gary Winick surveyed the romcom/ chick-lit landscape in the feature, 13 Going on 30, as well as episodes of “Lipstick Jungle” and “Ugly Betty.” With Candice Bergen.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (PG-13) See Movie Pick. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (PG-13) The new Day the Earth Stood Still won’t impress older viewers with a nostalgic soft spot for the original, and younger viewers unfamiliar with Klaatu and GORT probably won’t care too much for this boring, actionspotted sermon either. DOUBT (PG-13) Though she has no evidence, a hard-nosed nun, Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Golden Globenominee Meryl Streep), accuses the parish priest, Father Flynn (Golden Globe-nominee Philip Seymour Hoffman), of misconduct with the parochial school’s first black student. What should be an intense moral crucible never gets white-hot despite the wattage of Streep and Hoffman. The only doubts raised by Doubt are about itself. EAGLE EYE (PG-13) Eagle Eye is interesting and engaging, but it is not the least bit fun. The tedious setup, almost all of it seen in the trailer, actually gives way to an intriguing scenario whose course I couldn’t plot, and whose destination I wanted to reach. Too bad getting there is so bumpy. FEAR(S) OF THE DARK (NR) You’d think you could pretty accurately guess what a film whose title translates to Fear(s) of the Dark is about, but this French anthology might still surprise. Ten of the world’s hottest graphic artists—Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre di Sciullo, Jerry Kramsky, Lorenzo Mattotti, Richard McGuire, Michel Pirus and Romain Slocombe—use different animation styles to tell black-and-white tales of terror involving spider’s legs, dark bedrooms, hypodermic needles, big empty houses and more.


Theater schedules often change after our deadline. Please call ahead. ACC LIBRARY (706-613-3650)

Singin’ in the Rain (G) 2:00 (Th. 1/8) Tulia, Texas (NR) 7:00 (Th. 1/8)

BEECHWOOD (706-546-1011)

Due to production deadlines, Beechwood movie times are only accurate through January 8. Visit for updated times. Australia (PG-13) 6:30 (no shows W. 1/7) Bedtime Stories (PG) 5:05, 7:35, 9:55 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (PG-13) 4:45, 8:30 The Day the Earth Stood Still (PG-13) 7:10 Doubt (PG-13) 5:05, 7:30, 9:55 Four Christmases (PG-13) 4:20, 10:00 (no 10:00 show W. 1/7) Marley & Me (PG) 4:25, 7:15, 9:50 Metropolitan Opera: La Rondine (NR) 1:00 (Sa. 1/10) Metropolitan Opera: Thaïs (NR) 7:00 (W. 1/7) The Reader (R) 4:10, 7:00, 9:45 Seven Pounds (PG-13) 4:00, 7:00, 9:45 The Spirit (PG-13) 4:15, 9:40 The Tale of Despereaux (G) 4:40, 7:20 Twilight (PG-13) 9:35 Valkyrie (PG-13) 4:05, 7:05, 9:50 Yes Man (PG-13) 4:55, 7:25, 9:50

CARMIKE 12 (706-354-0016)

Due to production deadlines, Carmike movie times are only accurate through January 8. Visit for updated times. Bedtime Stories (PG) 1:30, 4:15, 7:00, 9:30 Bolt (3D) (PG) 1:30, 4:15 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (PG-13) 12:30, 4:00, 7:30, 11:00 The Day the Earth Stood Still (PG-13) 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 9:45 Doubt (PG-13) 1:20, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30 Four Christmases (PG-13) 1:00, 3:15, 5:30, 7:45,



10:00 Marley & Me (PG) 1:30, 4:15, 7:00, 9:45 Seven Pounds (PG-13) 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 9:55 The Spirit (PG-13) 1:45, 4:30, 7:15, 9:45 The Tale of Despereaux (G) 12:30, 2:55, 5:20, 7:45, 10:10 Twilight (PG-13) 7:00, 9:45 Valkyrie (PG-13) 1:30, 4:15, 7:00, 9:45 Yes Man (PG-13) 1:20, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

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Azur & Asmar (PG) 5:00 (ends Th. 1/8) Fear(s) of the Dark (NR) 5:15, 7:15, 9:15 (ends Th. 1/8) Let the Right One In (R) 5:00, 7:15, 9:45 (add’l time Sa. 1/10–Su. 1/11: 2:30) (no 9:45 show Su. 1/11) (starts F. 1/9) (F. 1/9 & Sa. 1/10: midnight) Repo! The Genetic Opera (R) 10:00 (add’l time Sa. 1/10–Su. 1/11: 2:45) (no 10:00 show Su. 1/11) (starts F. 1/9) (F. 1/9 & Sa. 1/10: midnight) Synecdoche, New York (R) 7:00, 9:30 (new times F. 1/9: 4:45, 7:30)

GEORGIA MUSEUM OF ART (706-542-4662) The 39 Steps (NR) 7:00 (W. 1/14)

GEORGIA SQUARE 5 (706-548-3426)

Due to production deadlines, Georgia Square Five movie times are only accurate through January 8. Visit www. for updated times. Beverly Hills Chihuahua (PG) 5:25, 7:40, 10:00 Body of Lies (R) 4:00, 7:00, 9:55 Eagle Eye (PG-13) 4:15, 9:50 Fireproof (PG) 4:05, 7:05, 9:45 High School Musical 3: Senior Year (G) 4:10, 7:10, 9:40 Nights in Rodanthe (PG-13) 7:15

HWY 17 DRIVE-IN THEATERS (706-213-7693)

Twilight (PG-13) 7:00 (F. 1/9–Su. 1/11)

FIREPROOF (PG) Despite its nonprofessional acting, clunky dialogue and uninspired direction, Fireproof will please its congregation. Watching Fireproof is like watching a featurelength infomercial about God. FOUR CHRISTMASES (PG-13) Four Christmases should amuse anyone but those Grinches and Scrooges incapable of enjoying a salty, sweet Christmas treat. HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR (G) Every routine shows creative vitality light years ahead of the familiar story. The songs aren’t bad either; they simply suffer from that factory-crafted sound that makes so much radio-driven pop disposable and forgettable. Alas, that same fate may await High School Musical 3, despite how easily my inner teen caved to its cheesy charm. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (R) Bullied 12-year-old Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) befriends Eli (Lena Leandersson), an immortal bloodsucker protective of his pure innocence. Despite the bloody evidence piling up in Oskar’s paranoid community, all he sees in Eli is a friend, a confidante and a first love. A worldwide winner (Tribeca’s Best Narrative Feature, Toronto After Dark’s Audience Award, Edinburgh’s Critical Consensus Award, Göteborg’s Nordic Film Prize), Let the Right One In is also tied for the 10th highest current score on MARLEY & ME (PG) Two newlyweds, John and Jennifer (Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston), learn a lot about life, love and loss from their lovable, boisterous, uncontrollable Yellow Lab, Marley. Based on John Grogan’s autobiographical novel, Marley & Me boasts the purebred screenwriting pedigree of Oscar-nominee Scott Frank (Get Shorty, Out of Sight, The Lookout) and Don Roos (The Opposite of Sex, Happy Endings). With Haley Bennett (Music & Lyrics, College), “Grey’s Anatomy”’s Eric Dane, and Academy Award-winner Alan Arkin. METROPOLITAN OPERA: LA RONDINE (NR) Puccini’s 1917 comic opera returns to the Met after 72 years. This new Art Deco production directed by Nicolas Joël debuted at London’s Royal Opera House in 2004. METROPOLITAN OPERA: THAIS (NR) An opera by Jules Massenet, based on the novel by Anatole France, first performed in Paris in 1894. Set in Roman Egypt, the plot revolves around the attempted conversion of a courtesan, Thaïs, by a Christian monk, Athanaël. With its erotic undertones, this opera has inspired many controversial productions, although it is seldom part of the standard operatic repertoire. NIGHTS IN RODANTHE (PG-13) One doesn’t have to have read a Nicholas Sparks novel to crack his code. Two beautiful people in a beautiful locale fall in love only to have it tearfully ripped from them. That’s A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, and Nights in Rodanthe in a nutshell. Nights in Rodanthe doesn’t quite hit the tear-inducing low notes like The Notebook, but it satisfyingly sings its tender tune. NOT EASILY BROKEN (PG-13) Clarice Johnson (Taraji P. Henson, so wonderful in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and her husband, Dave (Morris Chestnut), are tested

by a car accident and their growing attraction to other people. Actor Bill Duke’s directing career fizzled after the 1997 bomb, Hoodlum, but Not Easily Broken—based on the novel by Bishop T.D. Jakes, whose novel Woman Thou Art Loosed became a surprise hit in 2004—could be the reenergizing spark he needs. With Kevin Hart and Jenifer Lewis. THE READER (R) The Reader will please filmgoers looking for a sobering award contender. Fifteen-year-old Michael Berg (a smart David Kross) has a graphically sexual, secret affair with the much older Hannah Schmitz (five-time Oscar nominee Kate Winslet). Hannah disappears, and Michael does not see her again until he is in law school and she is on trial for crimes committed when she was a guard at Auschwitz. Ralph Fiennes, the film’s other star, admirably swallows the grown Michael’s guilt with quiet intensity, a quality that describes the film itself. Between The Reader’s covers is an unfamiliar, compassionate look at someone responsible for one of the world’s darkest hours. REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA (R) In the middle of the 21st century, organ failure will be up, and one company, GeneCo, has the answer: transplants on demand. But if you miss a payment, the Repo Man comes calling. Forget the silly title; this flick looks like the real deal. The rock opera from former Saw director Darren Lynn Bousman stars “Buffy” alum, Anthony Stewart Head, as the Repo Man. I am so sold. With Alexa Vega, Paris Hilton (don’t that her scare you off), Bill Moseley and Paul Sorvino. Winner of the FantAsia Film Festival Fantasia Ground Breaker Award. SEVEN POUNDS (PG-13) I won’t spoil any of the revelations that Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino works so hard to make public at the exact right moment (he’s mostly successful) in Will Smith’s latest tearjerker. Shattered after an awful, life changing event, IRS agent Ben Thomas (Smith) has a plan for several strangers, including pretty heart patient, Emily (Rosario Dawson) and a blind pianist (Woody Harrelson). The tightlipped Seven Pounds can be frustrating in a good way. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (G) 1952. One of the most popular Hollywood musicals of all time returns to the screen. Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Academy Awardnominee Jean Hagen shine in director Stanley Donen’s classic. The Special Needs Library presents this Cinema Classic with a non-intrusive narrative track for visually impaired viewers. THE SPIRIT (R) The Spirit personifies all style, not an ink spot of substance. Ten minutes is all it takes for the flat, monochrome, neo-noir style to anesthetize the audience, but the adventures of Denny Colt AKA The Spirit (Gabriel Macht), a rookie cop brought back to life to protect Central City from the evil, crazed Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), still hurt. On the other hand, the comic book proportional ladies—Eva Mendes, Scarlett Johannson, Sarah Paulson, Stana Katic, Paz Vega, and Jaime King—do look gorgeous in black and white. SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK (R) Good luck figuring out genius screenwriter and neo-hyphenate Charlie

Kaufman’s latest mindfuck in one viewing. Heck, good luck deciphering it in two or three. His directorial debut is easily his most intricate puzzle, as amorphous and unsolvable as it is challenging and satisfying. Kaufman’s films are not for lazy filmgoers looking to passively watch flickering images in the dark, and his latest asks quite a bit of its audience. THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX (G) In the kingdom of Dor, soup and rats are forbidden. Enter Despereaux, exiled from Mouseworld. In Ratworld, Despereaux meets Roscuro (v. Dustin Hoffman), the rat responsible for the banning of soup and rats. If only the princess (v. Emma Watson, the Harry Potter series’ Hermione) could meet a rat and see how nice they are. Featuring an excellent voice cast that includes a regal Sigourney Weaver as the narrator, The Tale of Despereaux is an admirable effort that won’t displace the year’s top three animated family flicks. TULIA, TEXAS (NR) In 1999, a massive drug bust in Tulia, Texas, a small agricultural community of about 5,000 people, resulted in the arrest of 46 people, 39 of whom were African Americans. Directors Cassandra Herrman and Kelly Whalen collaborated to document the actions of a rogue law enforcement officer, 1999 Texas Lawman of the Year Thomas Coleman, whose uncorroborated allegations devastated the lives of those falsely convicted—and ultimately pardoned by Governor Rick Perry. Part of the ACC Library’s iFilms series. TWILIGHT (PG-13) Fortunately, Twilight isn’t the unmitigated disaster I anticipated. Director Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown and The Nativity Story) and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg (Step Up) have made the best film they could from the source material provided by Stephanie Meyer. Thanks to a writer and director that took the Romeo and Juliet courtship of a vampire and a human seriously, the film rises above giggle-inducing dialogue, groaninducing vampire super-speed and strength, and a simplistic makeup-andsnarl depiction of its central monsters. THE UNBORN (PG-13) I like David S. Goyer, though his directorial career (The Invisible, Blade: Trinity) hasn’t exactly caught fire. Here’s hoping his third film, an Exorcist-y scary tale about a girl, Casey (Jessica Alba lookalike Odette Yustman), whose unborn twin is trying to enter the world through her. The rest of the cast—Gary Oldman, Meagan Good, four-time Oscar nominee Jane Alexander, Idris Elba, Carla Gugino, and James Remar—gives me hope that The Unborn is at least better than either Exorcist prequels. VALKYRIE (PG-13) Valkyrie is one of the year’s most pleasant surprises. This much maligned, high profile, potential disaster is actually a tightlywound historical thriller, a B-movie working above its pay grade due to A-list talent. Injured in North Africa and recovering in Berlin, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is approached by a clandestine organization of soldiers and politicians looking to rid sacred Germany of its greatest threat, Adolf Hitler. It is strange pulling for Nazis. Thankfully, Valkyrie’s conspirators are the good ones, and their scheme is a fascinating, largely untold story from this extremely over-mined era. YES MAN (PG-13) The central conceit of Yes Man, functionally directed by Peyton Reed from a script cowritten by Forgetting Sarah Marshall director and Judd Apatow acolyte Nicholas Stoller, does exactly what it should. It provides innumerable moments for hilarity. Carrey is funnier than he’s been in five, six years. Drew Wheeler

movie pick Living Was the Case That They Gave HIM THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (PG-13) Adapted from a teeny short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald into a sprawling document of the 20th century by Forrest Gump Oscarwinner Eric Roth and Robin Swicord (Memoirs of a Geisha), Benjamin Button offers a great deal to recommend it. The often unwelcoming David Fincher (Zodiac) opens his creative home with warm accessibility; Brad Pitt bares his increasingly sharp acting chops; Cate Blanchett, her porcelain skin perfect and red hair aflame, burns the eyes with her beauty. Benjamin Button hits the high notes with which Hollywood loves to end the year. Naturally, the Hollywood Foreign Press showered it with five nominations (Best Picture, Best Director, Brad Pitt Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score), and the Academy is likely to do the same. The curious case of Benjamin Button (Pitt) is that he ages backwards, like Mork from Ork. A baby born in a tiny octogenarian body, Benjamin confounds everyone around him, besides his adopted mother, Queenie (Taraji P. Henson). Is he a growing boy trapped in the body of an old man? Should he be content to spend his days with the wrinkled, aged others who look like him or can he play with boys and

girls his own age, if not likeness? As Benjamin grows younger on the outside, he leaves his New Orleans home, his mother and his love, Daisy (Blanchett) in search of himself, whom he finds at sea, with Captain Mike (a zesty Jared Harris) and on land, with married lover Elizabeth Abbott (Tilda Swinton). But his heart remains in the States with Daisy, who grows up to be a dancer living it up in New York. The magic of Benjamin Button lies in its newfangled effects and old-fashioned storytelling (Fincher has more success bottling old Hollywood melodrama than Baz Luhrmann did in Australia). Pitt looks and acts terrific as the tiny old Benjamin. He captures the gait of the elderly and, with the help of Fincher’s digitized genius, their creased visage as well. Sporting a pleasant sense of humor and an enormous, genuine heart, Benjamin Button is a curious case indeed. As entertainingly grand as Fincher’s epic of love, life and loss first appears, it is hard to imagine the film will age as well as its titular hero (or its ageless star, for that matter). But isn’t that fleetingness the very lesson Fincher wished to impart? Drew Wheeler



2008 Review Robots and Batmen and Slumdogs! Oh, My!


was an okay year at the movies. Sure, fewer homeruns (and definitely fewer grand slams) were hit, but fewer outand-out bombs were dropped. I’m not sure whether this year’s blockbusters were stronger or this year’s critical darlings were weaker, but the best films of 2008 were also the year’s biggest box-office smashes. Additionally, a year first shaping up to be the year of the superhero (Iron Man, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II) morphed into the year of the comedy (Run, Fatboy, Run, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Baby Mama, Step Brothers, Tropic Thunder, Ghost Town, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Role Models) by its end. In years

Slumdog Millionaire past, I’ve missed several of the late-year award contenders. This year, I was lucky enough to see everything I wanted to except The Wrestler (I can’t wait for Darren Aronofsky’s latest; Mickey Rourke should be Oscar’s dark horse), Revolutionary Road (reviews are mixed; Sam Mendes’ film apparently isn’t as good as Kate & Leo) and The Reader (a fine adaptation, from what I hear). Below you’ll find what I feel to be a fairly definitive—though admittedly subjective—critical account of a year at the movies. I’m sure your lists will be populated by a different set of 10. I’d love to know what they are. Please post your best of 2008 in the comments section online. Also, I may be preaching to the choir, but be sure to see at least one— make it twenty—films at Ciné in 2009; I guarantee you won’t regret the experience.

The Best 1. WALL•E. Think of the chaos that would have engulfed Gotham City had the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler and Catwoman merely known all it took to best the Caped Crusader was a lovesick binocular robot. Granted, WALL•E is programmed and designed by Finding Nemo writer-director Andrew Stanton and the other mad geniuses at Pixar. Too bad the Academy added the Best Animated Feature category a few years back. WALL•E is the first “cartoon” worthy of a Best Picture nomination (and trophy) since Beauty and the Beast reigned in 1991. 2. The Dark Knight. A massive improvement on the already excellent Batman Begins, The Dark Knight is the best superhero movie of all time. (It’s getting so that particular title should be handed out on a yearly basis.) An epic, profound, actionstuffed masterwork by a filmmaker, Christopher Nolan, in complete control of the visual storytelling medium, The Dark Knight



is well deserving of its spot in IMDB’s number four film of all time, behind only The Shawshank Redemption and the first two Godfather films. Heath Ledger’s Joker fits Nolan’s realistic Gotham like a demented, purple glove (by the way, the odds of Ledger winning a Golden Globe are one to 10.) My only criticism is its length, but what would you excise? (My pick is the ripped from the comic book Asian excursion.) 3. Slumdog Millionaire. Movies don’t come much more energetic than Danny Boyle’s sprint through the slums of Mumbai. Breathlessly paced and fascinatingly structured, Slumdog Millionaire is the feel good movie of the year. Just try to dampen your spirits afterwards (watching the number-seven film on this list might just do it). A.R. Rahman’s pulsing score is the soundtrack of the year. (It’s the only one I purchased this year, and I’m a fiend for soundtracks.) Slumdog Millionaire is the cream of the acclaimed crop. Of the films likely to be nominated for Best Picture (i.e., the ones already up for a Golden Globe), it’s my pick. 4. Iron Man. This ridiculously successful comic book adaptation defied the odds. Its lead was an unbankable not-quite star, Robert Downey, Jr., who’d been in and out of rehab; the biggest hit helmed by its director, Jon Favreau, was a family comedy where Will Ferrell played a guy in an elf suit. Such is the not the pedigree of a kickass superhero movie. Yet in any other year, against many another blockbuster juggernaut (Superman Returns?), Iron Man would be temporarily crowned the best superhero movie of all time. I can’t wait for the eventual Avengers flick. 5. Tropic Thunder. The year’s funniest movie accessorizes with so many standout performances that it’s a shame to only single out Robert Downey, Jr. and Tom Cruise. Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Nick Nolte and Matthew McConaughey deserve accolades as well. While I’m doling out praise, Tropic Thunder is also one of the best looking films of the year. Two-time Oscar-winner John Toll should at least be in the conversation for the year’s top cinematography prizes. 6. Milk. The true story of slain San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay public official ever elected in the United States, needed to be told, especially considering the sad state of the American gay rights movement today, but I never would have imagined it to be told so creatively Tropic Thunder and effectively. Penn doesn’t just play Milk; the extraordinary thesp becomes him. Meanwhile, filmmaker Gus Van Sant may have finally exorcised all the critical ill will engendered by his shot-for-shot remake of Psycho (I hate that movie).

7. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. The scariest movie of the year, Romania’s first ever Palme d’Or winner only lasted a week in Athens, and that’s understandable. Writer-director Cristian

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days Mungiu’s harrowing account of abortion during Ceausescu’s communist rule doesn’t quite make for a fun afternoon excursion. But you must see it. You really must. 8. Tell No One. The best thriller Hollywood didn’t make this year, Tell No One should be seen for the spectacular highway foot chase and subsequent car crash, a stunning feat at which even the most jaded of modern filmgoers must marvel. Go for the car crash; stay for the top notch murder mystery. 9. Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The Apatow cabal’s secondary feature—the Superbad to this year’s Knocked Up, the higher profile Pineapple Express—had the raunchy hilarity with a heart of gold we’d come to expect from the comedy hitmakers. Jason Segel’s penis was just an added bonus. (Role Models was very close to taking this spot.) 10. The Strangers. Writer-director Bryan Bertino did more with nothing (silence is golden and scary as hell) than any horror filmmaker since John Carpenter. Twenty More Must-Sees for Your Netflix Queue: Baby Mama; The Band’s Visit; The Bank Job; Burn After Reading; Cloverfield; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; The Edge of Heaven; Frost/Nixon; Gran Torino; Happy-Go-Lucky; In Bruges;

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist; Pineapple Express; Rachel Getting Married; Religulous; Role Models; Synecdoche, New York; Transsiberian; The Visitor; Wanted

The Worst 1. Meet the Spartans/ Disaster Movie. Movies don’t get much worse than the flabby body of work produced by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Friedberg and Seltzer’s TWO abjectly unfunny movies were a left and a right to the noggin capable of KO-ing the hardiest filmgoer, including yours truly. 2. One Missed Call. The number-two spot really could have gone to any of the crappy PG-13 horror clogging America’s theatrical arteries this year. Opening on the fourth day of the new year and featuring the listless combination of Edward Burns and Shannyn Sossamon, One Missed Call just became an umbrella movie sheltering an entire year of bad horror (The Eye, The Haunting of Molly Hartley, Prom Night, Shutter). Until the genre again embraces the hard R rating, it will remain in this shabby state.

Overrated—21; 27 Dresses; Doubt; Get Smart; Hancock; Mamma Mia!; The Orphanage; Prince Caspian; Seven Pounds; Smart People; Snow Angels; The Spiderwick Chronicles; Then She Found Me; Vantage Point; Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Young@ Heart Biggest Disappointment—Tie: Blindness and Doubt. I don’t know what happened. The story is there, as is the star power, but somewhere between the page (Blindness)/stage (Doubt) and screen these award winners lost their sheen. Regarding Doubt, I’m not sure why I expected so much from the guy who directed Joe Versus the Volcano anyway. I don’t know what Fernando Meirelles’s excuse is. Least Disappointing—Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Everyone was prepared for Indy’s fourth adventure to be a fan-devastating calamity on par with the Star Wars prequels. Why not? George Lucas is in charge of both.

3. Saw V. This shit’s just getting old. Note: The Saw franchise stands on its own, and therefore does not fall under the One Missed Call umbrella.

5. Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This boring cartoon set in my favorite galaxy far, far away is what George Lucas got me for my 13th birthday. Though not as dispiriting as the prequels, Clone Wars isn’t cinematic enough to justify its theatrical release. It should have stayed on the small screen where it belonged. It might have had a chance had it debuted on the Cartoon Network. I hear the kids love it.

The Rest Underrated—Appaloosa; Choke; Death Race; Definitely Maybe; Doomsday; Drillbit Taylor; Ghost Town; The Happening; How She Move; Lakeview Terrace; Nights in Rodanthe; Quarantine; The Ruins; Run, Fatboy, Run; Semi-Pro; Sex Drive; Speed Racer; Stop-Loss; W.

Worst Comeback Attempt—Mike Myers. I still don’t think The Love Guru was an offensive, laughless disaster; if Myers’ character-driven comedy made you chuckle in the past, it still will. However, Guru Pitka was not the right vehicle for the PR-challenged comedian last seen on the big screen in 2004’s awful Cat in the Hat. Why not just make another Austin Powers flick? Best Actors: Javier Bardem—Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Josh Brolin—W; Tom Cruise—Tropic Thunder; Robert Downey Jr.— Tropic Thunder; Clint Eastwood—Gran Torino; James Franco— Pineapple Express; Philip Seymour Hoffman—Synecdoche, New York; Richard Jenkins—The Visitor; Bill Irwin—Rachel Getting Married; Heath Ledger—The Dark Knight; Sean Penn—Milk; Ron Perlman—Hellboy II: The Golden Army; Brad Pitt—Burn After Reading; Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott—Role Models; Brandon Walters—Australia Best Actresses: Penelope Cruz—Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Rosemarie DeWitt—Rachel Getting Married; Ronit Elkabetz—The Band’s Visit; Ari Graynor, Nick and Norah’s Ultimate Playlist; Anna Faris—The House Bunny; Tina Fey and Amy Poehler—Baby Mama; Anne Hathaway—Rachel Getting Married; Sally Hawkins—Happy-Go-Lucky; Ahney Her—Gran Torino; Nicole Kidman—Australia; Anamaria Marinca, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days

4. The Spirit. I’d rather watch Sin City again and again and again. The Spirit is a POW! and a BAM! away from Batman ’66. Not even the bevy of scantily clad beauties can make this overstyled, under-substanced flick palatable.

The Strangers Other Stinkers/Clunkers to Avoid—10,000 B.C.; An American Carol; Bangkok Dangerous; Deception; Delgo; Expelled; The Eye; The Haunting of Molly Hartley; Meet the Browns; Meet Dave; Mirrors; Prom Night; Punisher: War Zone; Shutter

“It” Oldcomer of the Year—Tom Cruise. After the onetwo punch of Tropic Thunder and Valkyrie, Smilin’ Tom might be poised to usurp John Travolta’s comeback crown.

Crystal Skull may not be Raiders, Temple or Last Crusade, but the backlash (tsk, tsk, “South Park”) is uncalled for. I’ll happily join the sexagenarian archaeologist on a fifth escapade. Guilty Pleasure—High School Musical 3: Senior Year. This title should have easily gone to Twilight. I felt guilty enjoying both, but I got more pleasure watching Disney’s teens sing and dance their hearts out. “It” Entertainer of the Year—Robert Downey, Jr. Whom would you rather hang out with: Downey’s Tony Stark or Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne? Plus he was pretty convincing— and frigging hilarious—as a white dude playing a black dude.

Best Directors: Timur Bekmambetov— Wanted; Bryan Bertino—The Strangers; Danny Boyle (and codirector Loveleen Tandan)— Slumdog Millionaire; Guillaume Canet—Tell No One; Guillermo Del Toro—Hellboy II: The Golden Army; Jonathan Demme—Rachel Getting Married; Jon Favreau—Iron Man; David Gordon Greene—Pineapple Express; Eran Kolirin—The Band’s Visit; Cristian Mungiu—4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days; Christopher Nolan—The Dark Knight; Matt Reeves—Cloverfield; Andrew Stanton—WALL•E; Gus Van Sant—Milk Best Screenplays: Simon Beaufoy—Slumdog Millionaire; Bryan Bertino—The Strangers; Dustin Lance Black—Milk; Charlie Kaufman—Synecdoche, New York; Eran Kolirin—The Band’s Visit; Jenny Lumet—Rachel Getting Married; Cristian Mungiu—4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days; Christopher and Jonathan Nolan—The Dark Knight; Lorene Scafaria—Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist; Nick Schenk—Gran Torino; Jason Segel—Forgetting Sarah Marshall; Scott B. Smith—The Ruins; Andrew Stanton—WALL•E Drew Wheeler



threats & promises Music News And Gossip Hey, everybody. Here’s to hoping 2009 has been great so far. I always really like this time of year. The possibilities seem endless. So, in the spirit of things never seeming to reach their end, let’s get it started. Start spinning below… On the Down Low(d): Local band Scarlet Snow has completed its newest EP and has made it available as a free download. Titled The Needle EP: An Extended Play Album in Two Parts, the record was committed to tape (or, rather, most likely a digital medium) by the helping hands of producer Chris Combs (The Sum). Some backing tracks were done at Athens’ Japanski Studios. If you’re interested in all the ins and outs of what the band was doing while recording, you can check out the blow-by-blow over at If you want to grab the EP, then head to for more information.

direction. Currently, organizers are searching for a local school art program to work with in this area. For more information about Fitzpatrick, the ongoing work of the project or how to get involved, please see or drop a line to


Know Yr Roots: A cool project was started a few months ago, and people can participate, gawk and learn at their will. It’s called The Athens Music Family Tree (or Six Degrees of John Neff), and it’s basically a Wiki whereby people can join, add information, edit incorrect information, etc. I’ve been digging around on it and, like most Wikis, it’s already surprising who has been added and who hasn’t been. So, even if you only know a little about a band or a musician in town, Scarlet Snow please check it out and add your knowledge. The goal is to have it be as comprehensive as possible. Head to and start writing. New Name: The band formerly known as The Flowers of Evil has changed its name to Night Nurses. The change was precipitated by the addition of drummer Davy Gibbs and the band’s self-declared new musical direction toward a “more visceral and

This Party Never Ends. And Never Leaves: Local rock impresario Mercer West has taken up the challenge to keep Tasty World booked to the gills, and to celebrate his new position

Mike White ·

psychedelic” sound. I dunno. Whenever I hear the name “Night Nurses” I think of either cold medicine or the Gregory Isaacs album of a painfully close name. Maybe the band can jog me into calling them into focus with this new sound. Either way, the unveiling happens Thursday, Jan. 8 at the Flicker Theatre & Bar when the band plays with Becky Jollay who used to perform under the name Plum Tuckered but is now playing under the name Thrilled Train of Thought. Also on the bill that night is A Postwar Drama. Heal Again: Jefferson, GA-based musician Ricky Fitzpatrick has announced that work is underway on The Power of a Song II. Fitzpatrick is the founder of The Healing Power of Music, which is an ongoing project which facilitates artists performing in hospitals around he world. The first compilation of this series was released with art done by a local high school student, and this new volume is planned to go in the same



More powerful expressions of the Southern dilemma of encroaching suburbanization. You can hear it in the music and the way that some our better bands are just hammering out the tunes—from sweet Of Montreal to the decadent rumble of Pride Parade. Great stuff. [Lamar Thomas] More lasers. [Wyatt Strother] It’ll only get better because audiences will be craving the comfort and challenges of art! [Delene Porter] R.E.M. will use the Grateful Dead model for live shows and make a big comeback… Gordon Lamb will get a job writing for Rolling Stone… Flagpole will change its name to the Flogpole, and become a bondage magazine. [Jon Alan Bird] Awesome stuff. The economic strain will produce amazing artistic results; the trick’ll be to sustain it when the gravy flows again. It’ll be an as-yet-undiscovered, greener, healthier gravy—I’m hoping! [Killick Hinds] Mercer West will join or start 15 new bands. Future Ape Tapes will expand and contract. At least 10 new people in town will learn where the Caledonia Lounge is. [Jimmy Hughes] It will still pretty much all sound the same—lots of jingle jangle 4/4 Kindercore bullshit and upper-class kids trying to be Jeff Tweedy. [Elliott Brady]

he is putting on a festival featuring four nights of music. The free event will run Jan. 12–15 at Tasty World, and the music starts 10 p.m. each night. West also promises free pizza and a free copy of the Party Party Partners CD-R Compilation #2 for attendees. There will be four bands each night plus a few special surprise guests, too. For more information on the madness, please see p. 16 or visit or www.partyparty Pulling the Sheepskin: This news came in too late to make the requisite fact-checking phone calls, so we’ll be reporting more on this later. So far, though, this seems shaky. The story goes that local musician Jonathan Vance of Divided Like a Saint’s is “majoring in his band” at UGA. That is, Vance is receiving academic credit for touring and will submit as his senior thesis a Divided Like a Saint’s performance at Orange Twin. According to Vance’s press release, this experience will go toward earning an interdisciplinary degree with an emphasis on live art production. Although I’m unsure of the entire spectrum of standards associated with an academic panel judging a person’s research in the realm of “live art production,” I really, really want to believe in my heart it requires more than what you might catch at the Secret Squirrel on any random Tuesday. More on this story next week. Watch this space.


Divided Like a Saint’s

flagpole Readers’ Survey What are your predictions for local music in 2009?

Another Day, Another Song: The ongoing, homemade Series Two Records project out of Nebraska will include a song by local artist Jake Ward, who performs under the name Eureka California on the label’s upcoming five-disc indie-pop compilation. Ward himself has some reservations as to whether his music can be qualified as indie-pop, and I’m here to say that yes, it can. It takes all kinds. Dig his music over at As always, be sure to keep your news coming in, and always mention either Threats & Promises or my name in the subject line of all emails. Happy New Year, y’all, via email to, voicemail at 706-549-9523, ext. 203, or by post to P.O. Box 1027, Athens, GA, 30603. Gordon Lamb

Bands are going to stop playing because I won’t be able to go to shows as much. They will lose all will to perform knowing that I probably won’t be at their shows. [Andy Frame] I think the Athens scene needs another break out band/ act to emerge to truly thrive again. I love Athens, but I feel there is something missing over the last few years. The clubs need something to get excited about or we could be lost in a time that is no longer relevant. [Matthew Weiss] One hundred or so bands will form, break up and form other bands. Some of these bands will contain people who may or may not know how to play an instrument. Weirdness will ensue, and faces will be melted. Fraternity folks will inexplicably pack the Theatre for shows featuring bands endlessly described as “Southern-fried.” Hiphop will continue to grow underneath the surface, as will bluegrass. Thousands of budding songwriters will come to college, pick up a guitar and realize that Garageband and MySpace can turn them into “artists.” They will then churn out tens of thousands of horribly sappy and contrived songs about girls and break-ups, continuing to ruin it for the good songwriters out there. And ska returns. At least it better, or ‘09 is lost already. [Jason Harwell] Lots and lots more asses will shake to Immuzikation. [Dave Spivey] I think we’ll see a continuance of new bands emerging and a broadening of styles. Some bands are bound to make it on the national scene like the Whigs and Of Montreal have. [Jamie] God, I hope the PR for our local bands get better. Shows come and go, and no one has a clue… really sad, given our fertile climate and unbelievably diverse music culture. [Lisa Adams] Continuing to slide downhill from the creative peak of 2006 as control of who plays where gets more and more centered amongst one or two people’s singular tastes. [Spencer Rich] I’m hopeful at least one band will finally let John Neff join ‘em onstage in 2009. [Mary Beth Justus]

upstart roundup Introducing Athens’ Newest Talent GRAPE SODA Triumphant/Lo-Fi/Pop Lineup: Mat Lewis, Ryan Lewis. Also currently in: The Buddy System. Influences: Brian Eno, Talking Heads, Stax Records, Arthur Russell Although Grape Soda only has a handful of shows under its belt, having formed in October of 2008, the musicians

Mike White ·

LEADING EDGE Alternative/Pop/Rock Lineup: Matt Daniel, Eric Thompson, Seth Brown and David Beeco. Formerly known as: Mudra. Influences: Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beatles, Incubus. This band’s career actually began in 2004 in Social Circle, GA, but Leading Edge just recently expanded its trio into a quartet in spring of 2008. Songwriter Matt Daniel dedicates himself to writing provoking lyrics and melodies while Grape Soda the group riffs on psychedelic grooves. “Leading Edge’s main goal is to use music as a catalyst for provoking emotion,” says Daniel. What really sets Leading Edge apart from other alternative rockers is the musical education of its members. Three of the four bandmates also perform in UGA’s Redcoat band, and all four have had formal music training since the sixth grade. The technical prowess really comes across in the band’s clever pop arrangements—especially impressive considering the youth of the band’s members. Listen to the band’s high-energy rock at Next show: Saturday, Jan. 24 at the 40 Watt Club POCKETFUL OF CLAPTONITE Weege/Splack/Taptapding Lineup: Darrin Cook, Jamie DeRevere and Killick. Influences: “Positive.” Despite the punny name, Killick insures that his latest project, a trio formed in September of 2008, is “neither an Eric Clapton tribute nor a Spin Doctors cover act.” Rather, Killick thinks of this project as a “wide open stream of consciousness,” a description that seems to gel with his past experimen-

Pocketful of Claptonite

Chad Osburn

tal meanderings. Pocketful of Claptonite does feature Killick behind the more traditional guitar as opposed to the uniquely percussive, one-of-a-kind “devil cello” called the H’arpeggione which he often performs on solo. Cook is on the stand-up bass while DeRevere mans the drums. Still, if the onomatopoeic genre descriptions he provides for this project are any indication, it’s unlikely this group will venture anywhere near the realm of conventional rock. But, I guess you just have to catch the next show to find out. One reader commented in our endof-year survey that through the course of the trio’s debut show, “they filled the space, laid down your burdens and soared on musical rhythm and harmony.” Sounds like a true aural adventure! The band doesn’t have its own site yet, but you can find out about POC events on Next show: Saturday, Jan. 10 at the Caledonia Lounge

themselves are hardly novices. In addition to the brothers’ other band The Buddy System, Ryan Lewis is the co-owner of Kindercore Records and has played in such bands as Kincaid and The Agenda, among others. Says Mat, “Grape Soda started out as a chance to experiment with home recording and play songs that wouldn’t otherwise have an outlet.” Onstage the duo sets up facing each other, Mat’s reverberating organ versus Ryan’s hypnotic drumbeat. Echo, distortion and reverb flood the soulful sounds in a way you’d expect to hear on some scratchy rare vinyl find—the results of an underground artist experimenting with both noise and minimalism. Or, as Mat suggests, it “sounds like how you can tell a dog dreams it’s running because it moves its paws.” Can you dig it? Drink it up at www. Next show: Thursday, Feb. 12 at Ciné BEATRIX KIDDO Post-punk/Relgious/Visual Lineup: Chris Burgin, Josh Jordan, Wes Kyatt and Taylor Northern. Former members of: Audio Mischief and Marvelous Rejections. Influences: Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age, David Bowie, Fleet Foxes, Martin Scorcese. Guitarist Taylor North describes his band as sounding like “Incubus and At the Drive-In thrown into a cosmic blender filled with lime, Red Bull and Jagermeister” which is surprisingly more accurate than the post-punk label he offers initially. High-energy alternative guitar lines jangle and rock behind schizophrenic vocals that take turns cooing melodically and howling with satanic fury. It’s impossible to label Beatrix Kiddo accurately because the band isn’t quite sure what it wants to sound like itself. First you hear the melancholy balladry of “The Sonnet,” and then you’re shaken by the opening scream of “Zissou” followed by the sexed-up classic-rock riffage of “Bad Robot.” Maybe “hard rock” serves as a sufficient umbrella term for the many faces of this local act. Take a listen at Next show: Friday, Jan. 16 at Tasty World Michelle Gilzenrat



A Four-Day Freedom,

Music and Free Pizza Festival

Tasty World Welcomes Mercer West A

Mercer West-organized show can be identified by sevI think it will be a challenge to get people to walk the extra eral distinguishing characteristics. First, all flyers will three blocks,” he says, in all seriousness. He is hoping the introduce the event as being presented by Party Party extra incentives, like free food and free tunes, will provide that Partners, Mercer West’s record label/promotions/booking agency. extra motivation, especially during these tough financial times Second, the show will be free. Third, an ungodly number of when everybody seems to be strapped for cash. bands, a majority of which feature Mercer West in some capac“Hopefully, enough people will start coming to where it ity, will make up the lineup. Fourth, by the time you attend wouldn’t have to be free,” he says. Of course, West will still be the show, the lineup will probably have changed completely. collecting donations and hopes that even if he loses cash on And finally, you’ll find West himself in attendance, passing the the snacks, he’ll at least be able to compensate the touring plate around for donations to help the touring bands. bands. The new booker for Tasty World and the man behind D.I.Y. As an added bonus, festival attendees will also go home venue Secret Squirrel seems to be stretching himself thin with a number of limited-edition CD-R releases, including a across this town, between the absurd number of bands he Party Party Partners compilation (the second release of its books, either for his own shows or assisting with national kind), plus new releases from most of the artists performing— tours, to the equally overwhelming number of bands he plays whether it’s a rough demo or a label-backed, mastered record in. Yet despite the chaos he like the newest from Gay creates, this busybody is vexAfrica. ingly casual and carefree. He “It’s more about just speaks of impossibly ambibringing new music to the tious projects—booking 20 table,” says West. “Some of bands in two weeks for a the stuff will be mastered, four-day festival, for example, but oftentimes it will not be. with a shrug of resignation, For example, David Specht as if these things just fall in and I are doing a split CD of his lap and he carries them both of our music. We’re mak 10:30 p.m. Tunabunny (Preview tracks from Sushi on the Dot ) through out of a sense of ing nice collectible packaging 11:15 p.m. Hume (CD-R Release) duty. out of antique, reclaimed 12:00 a.m. Muchos Gracias (Mercer St./ Mr. David split CD-R In fact, West admits that wood and throwing a CD-R release) this latest festival was born inside. But, all the music 12:45 a.m. Gay Africa (CD-R release) mostly out of convenience of ours will be free on the and coincidence. “There were Internet. So, the ‘release’ just quite a few bands askaspect is just for awareing for help that week,” says ness, fun and limited-edition 10:30 p.m. The Matt Kurz One (CD-R release) West. “And that just kind of packaging… I’ll be handing 11:15 p.m. Skeletonbreath came at the same time as out pieces of reclaimed wood 12:00 a.m. Pegasuses-XL (CD-R release) I started booking [at Tasty with an Internet link as well 12:45 a.m. Daffodil (CD-R release) World]. So, I just decided to all of the music that I am to… you know, it’s just kind making—from the Party Party of what I do… as opposed comp to Bubbly Mommy Gun to having four shows, I just and Muchos Gracias.” 10:30 p.m. Bambara decided to make it a festival.” So, let’s go back to the 11:15 p.m. Yukon (CD-R release) The event serves as someMercer West show checklist. 12:00 a.m. Memory Gospel Dancers (CD-R release) thing of a welcoming party We’ve got the lengthy list of 12:45 a.m. Horse Party (First show, CD-R release) for West at Tasty World. The performing bands over here venue has agreed to pay for on the left (out of which production expenses, and Mercer will performing in at West is paying out of pocket least three if not more), the 10:30 p.m. Timmy Tumble (CD-R release) for most of the frills—from show is Party Party Partners 11:15 p.m. The Explorers Club free pizza to free coffee. sponsored, free and donations 12:00 a.m. Bubbly Mommy Gun (CD-R release) “I think coffee is a really are encouraged. So, what’s 12:45 a.m. Puddin’ Tang (First show, CD release) important thing because I missing? Ah, yes, the great certainly get show fatigue all ambiguity of the Mercer show Plus secret surprise guests every night! Free pizza, soda, coffee the time, and I don’t neceslineup. Check. Just ask West and CD-R compilation available starting at 10 p.m. each night. sarily want to pop down and how he got all these bands buy a $2 or $3 coffee,” says to put out music just for this West. string of shows. But even with West behind the wheel, don’t expect Tasty “Well, actually, I haven’t really talked to them about it,” he World to be free permanently by any means. West says this is responds. “What I usually do is, I come up with an idea and an exceptional event and shouldn’t be considered a precedent then tell a bunch of people about it and then do damage confor any shows he’ll book at the venue in the future, especially trol afterwards. So, I am hoping it will work out. I have kind ones not affiliated with Party Party Partners. of vaguely tricked people into agreeing to do it. Some people “Basically, I wouldn’t want to bring the bartender and I haven’t told about it at all. There are a couple bands who are everybody if it wasn’t justified—that’s the biggest thing,” he on the list that are playing the shows that probably don’t know says. West insists that Tasty World will continue to be open to they are playing the shows yet… But I think it will probably all genres, and as long as a band can draw enough people to work out. I mean, there’s going to be free pizza. I’m sure they make it worth the venue’s time and money to host them; that’s will play.” what really matters. In addition to the probably confirmed bands and possible In the meantime, West hopes that events like this fest will CD releases, West promises surprise performances each night by lead to a resurgence in attendance at Tasty World in the future. exciting local acts. Who knows? Maybe it’s you! “A lot of people have said they haven’t been there in a while—in terms of people that come out to shows that I do. Michelle Gilzenrat

Four-Day Freedom Fest Schedule Surprise! Your Band Is Playing

Monday, Jan. 12

Tuesday, Jan. 13

Wednesday, Jan. 14

Thursday, Jan. 15



record reviews with shrill German shouting. Their cover of German new wavers Palais Schaumburg’s “We Build a New City” attains a startling modicum of semiprofessionalism, but “1989” puts that fear to rest. It’s like an imperial march collapsing in on itself. Now, I just have to remember to CTRL-F and replace the word “incompetence” with “primitivism” before sending this in. Garrett Martin

MARK KOZELEK The Finally LP Calo Verde Records Admittedly, this review has been composed without the benefit of a perspective many readers may feel is important (maybe essential). Everything about April, the critically lauded album Kozelek released earlier this year under the moniker Sun Kil Moon, is a complete mystery to me. A mere eight months after April it may be easy to dismiss The Finally LP, a collection of cover songs culled from previously released tribute records, as nothing more than a throw-away, yearend indie-rock cash grab or a Kozelek fan club collectible. Leaving that dirty work to cynics, let’s instead offer positive spin. This is the album that folks unfamiliar with the plaintive melodies, incisive lyrics and mild tones Kozelek traffics in should use as springboard for further examination—especially if you’re a fan of the more familiar artists (Low, Will Oldham, Stephen Sondheim) whose songs are reinterpreted within. Calm, valley-raised polled Herefords offer absent glances in black and white on the cover, and the pace of the record is just as casual as the less-than-urgent amble of a content cow. Forgive Kozelek for conjuring memories of 1979 and Christopher Cross (he of “Sailing” fame) on the Hüsker Dü ditty “Celebrated Summer,” and instead stand impressed by the quiet and acoustic, yet untempered take on “If You Want Blood.” Who knew the coffeehouse version of AC/DC would sound so perfect? David Eduardo

LARKIN GRIMM Parplar Young God If the Young God label, famous for recognizing and recruiting the talented Devendra Banhart and Akron/Family, doesn’t immediately evoke feelings of respect and intrigue about Parplar, further elaboration on the label’s history is likely moot; but I will quickly suggest that the label pushes the creative envelope, and I appreciate that. This particular release fits cozily into the “new weird America” genre heading that Young God has in no small part facilitated the legitimacy of in popular culture, and with coproduction from label founder (Swans creator Michael Gira), Grimm’s Parplar sounds like a major record, which is to say it is carefully polished. That doesn’t mean you should expect to hear digital noises, though. Grimm’s aesthetic is raw, but quirkily domestic—rhythmic punctuation and vocal experiments color the disc in this performing lion sort of way, but there’s a feeling in retrospect that the disc would benefit from unraveling at the seams a bit. Grimm’s voice is nice and notably malleable, and a few songs have pulled the ears of my mind, but as much as I enjoy the looped acoustic guitars and native-sounding instruments, I feel that I’ve heard a lot of this stuff before, perhaps even recently on Juana Molina’s Un Día. Overall, though, it’s a nice 40 minutes, which I prefer to take in the evening. Tony Floyd

TITMACHINE “We Build a New City” b/w “1989” 7-inch Siltbreeze If there’s one thing this world needs, it’s more good-natured willful incompetence, at least in the realm of noise rock, and not, y’know, governance. We’ve had enough incompetence in that area. Thankfully, the world is also where Germany’s Titmachine hangs out. Also thankfully, Titmachine is not and never can be the president (and not because they’re girls, but because they are Germans. I’m sure there’ll be a girl president some day. Maybe even in Germany!). Titmachine’s second single of ‘08 features some more awesome Flipper-style nonsense, a thudding monolithic fury topped off

DISTURBED Indestructible Reprise So, I put this CD on and promptly blacked out. When I woke up I was in a Black Hawk helicopter above Fallujah and I was like “What the fuck?” That’s how powerful this music is. But seriously, folks, this really

happened. My time in the shit, in the weeds as the more polite folks might put it, is no laughing matter. It was grisly as fuck. We ate dirt, no joke. We had to. We didn’t have much else around, to tell the truth. Wikipedia will tell you (at press time) that eating cactus and camel will get you over the hump (har!), but that’s a damn lie, and any serviceman or woman will tell you the same. At this point, I cannot say with definitive truth to myself or to common knowledge whether I can say I “blame” Disturbed, or if I have them to thank. It’s probably because it’s in drop D tuning. I swear, put on a Helmet record and my pulse triples. That’s a new variable in genetics right there, if you ask me: previously undocumented. And the wordlessly guttural vocals, don’t forget those—perhaps Jonathan Davis of Korn is more prescient than we give him credit. Let’s not forget that Korn valiantly fought the FBI on indecency charges when their latter-day album Frankenchrist was accused of being child pornography, due to H.R. Giger’s phallus-and-lady-part-themed artwork. Even when Jonathan Davis’ San Francisco apartment was unceremoniously raided, he continued to fight for his right to expression. Wait, I’m sorry… that’s Jello Biafra and The Dead Kennedys. What was I talking about? Jeff Tobias

LOS CAMPESINOS! We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed Arts & Crafts This is sorta like Broken Social Scene, but with real teen angst and English accents. That is: it’s interesting and melodically dynamic music—just turned up to about energy-level eight. For the most part, it’s inoffensive, but every once in a while a lyric will jump out at me that makes me want to tear the disc out of the player and destroy it. But, in fairness, a humorous or intriguing lyric will jump out an equal amount of the time. We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed falls only shortly after these Welsh youngsters’ “debut” release (the aptly titled) Hold on Now, Youngster… and like that earlier release, this one finds itself well within the favorable territory on the critical-darling-o-meter. I don’t think it’s totally unfair, but I’m more inclined to call it middle-of-the-road. It’s certainly fun, but as far as the inventiveness of the music, I have to say “good try.” Here’s why: the songs have many overlapping layers, polished and produced to stern expectations, and the lyrics are mostly compelling, but there’s really no risk here. If you haven’t heard distortion and machine noise filling in quick-tempo numbers that pulse beneath synth and xylophone flourishes from their glued-to-a-stick by old reliable violin melody and the presence of a drummer dynamics, then breakfast is ready. But you’ll probably like it best if you’re 15. Tony Floyd



The Real Nitty Gritty

The Oxford American celebrates its 10th anniversary Southern Music Issue


usic from the American South, much like the people of the land, can be contrary by nature. With back pages of murder songs played on giddy-sounding banjos and mandolins, country heartbreakers accented by pedal steel-propelled, sing-along choruses and hopeful field-hollers born out of forced labor, it’s red-blooded life music—sad and beautiful, inspirational and morose. For the past decade, the now Arkansas-based Oxford American has devoted one of its quarterly magazines a year to the dissection and examination of this multifaceted beast. The 2008 Oxford American Southern Music Issue and accompanying CD celebrate several renowned and cult performers; giving us new true tales and juxtaposed tunes from those artists, as well as an extra disc—Past Masters—recordings from those profiled in earlier music issues. No issue of the Oxford American, including this one, is your run-of-the mill, read-in-a-sitting-or-two mag. At over 180 pages, it’s more like settling in with a good condensed book. The 2008 Southern Music Issue is littered with stories harrowing, haunting and inspirational, all concerning mostly lost and rediscovered Southern musicians from the Depression era onward. Some of those profiled made great, inspirational music but did not necessarily lead exemplary lives. Pain funneled into song made their art memorable, but did not make them especially worthy of being envied or emulated. Take two-fisted soulwoman Doris Duke, whose album I’m a Loser is coveted for its brutal lyrical honesty. Duke is not so much profiled, here. More so, she haunts local writer and Flagpole contributor Donn Cooper by proxy on a road trip from Cooper’s Athens home-base down the steamy backroads of South Georgia. The mysterious Duke’s bruised soul masterpiece gains more cult notoriety with each passing year and, though the recording remains a tough find, her soul slugger “Divorce Decree” is included on the comp’s first disc. Then, there’s mysterious Louisiana singer/songwriter Bobby Charles, who gained fame in the ‘50s with “See You Later Alligator,” among others, but after relocating to Woodstock in preparation for a mid-‘70s comeback, finally figured that he was not cut out to be a cog in the music machine. Brian James Barr tracks down the notoriously laid back Charles, who doesn’t mince words when recalling his career ups and downs, as well as his opinion of onetime manager Albert Grossman. The piece reveals Charles as someone who doesn’t value commercial success over a satisfied mind. His humility proves both a valuable asset and a nagging hindrance that has played a major role in Charles’ current life away from any form of spotlight. While reading the Southern Music Issue, it becomes clear that, as with its food, the South also answers to its own unique definition of “offbeat.” Though The Residents don’t exactly come off as typically “Southern,” they emerged—giant prop eyeballs and all—from Louisiana, often sounding like they recorded 30 feet beneath the New Orleans infrastructure. As have the music issues before it, the 10th anniversary read doesn’t dare subscribe to any preconceived notion of Southernness. In no other publication are you likely to read of Elton and Betty White, the onetime Little Rock-residing interracial couple whose homemade cassette Sex Beyond the Door remains a lost low-fi artifact from the late ‘80s. Arkansan Kevin Brockmeier remembers the bicycle-riding, rhinestone-decked May-December couple as both friendly and frank. The prologue to the two’s marriage and eventual hobby as basement recording artists is just as interesting. Brockmeier’s account of a lonesome Elton, still rattled by Betty’s 2003 death, is downright tear-worthy. Brief highlights of the CD compilation are Betty’s unadorned, ukulele-driven ode to senior sexuality, “Heat,” and Leon’s truly heartfelt “A Jelly Behind Woman Blows My Mind.” The latter ranks right up there with “Big Bottom Girls” and “Grab Them Cakes” as an exemplary portrait of its subject matter. Sometimes, the pieces are more about the song itself than the writer or singer. Perhaps, this was out of necessity as few



of the profiled artists—though rewarding feature subjects— ever became household names or left an easily traceable trail of recordings. Warren Zanes gives vivid background to the country killing song “Caryl Chessman,” explaining the plight of its death row-bound subject, but little on the artist “Country” Johnny Mathis (not to be mistaken for he of “Mack the Knife,” lounge-Vegas fame). Allen Lowe does a fine job dissecting what strange frequency made Atlanta’s Hampton Grease Band and the “second worst selling album ever,” the Grease Band’s double dollop Music to Eat, buzz, tick and yelp, but no mention is given to what eventually became of the zany group’s individual parts—including Atlanta experimental guitarist Glenn Phillips and future Aquarium Rescue Unit commander Col. Bruce Hampton.

The additional Past Masters CD compiles 28 tracks from past Southern Music comps. Included are stalwarts like Elvis, The Staple Singers, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Isaac Hayes, Charlie Rich and Erma Franklin, alongside such varied representatives as The Del McCoury Band, Mose Allison, Gram Parsons and Lucinda Williams. Some of Athens’ own turn up on the disc, too, with Vic Chesnutt’s “Very Friendly Lighthouse” and R.E.M.’s recent “Until the Day Is Done” making the cut. Elsewhere, such seasoned scribes as No Depression’s Grant Alden and Oxford American editor and founder Mark Smirnoff look back on past assignments and issues, respectively, in pieces that oughta strike a chord with anyone who’s ever been parked in front of a computer screen at 2 a.m. attempting to bum rush the next day’s deadline. The 10th Anniversary Southern Music cover boy is the inimitable Jerry Lee Lewis, who’s profiled and probed in an extensive, rambunctious read by Peter Guralnick. “I am what I am. If people don’t like it, that’s their problem,” proclaims Lewis at one point. The same could actually be said of both this magazine and its digital counterpart. Born out of love for the musical roads less traveled, the Southern Music Issue’s stories and songs are dusty and mysterious, sad and enlightening and with plenty of true stories tucked away within the creases. Most importantly, like the archetypical Southerner, they go to great lengths just to satisfy you. Michael Andrews


Deadline for getting listed in the calendar is every FRIDAY at 5 p.m. for the issue that comes out the following Wednesday. Email

Tuesday 6 KIDSTUFF: Book Discussion for Home School Students (ACC Library) Come and discuss any of the 20 books nominated for the Georgia Children’s Book Awards. For home-school students in grades 4–8. 10:30 a.m. FREE! 706-6133650 KIDSTUFF: Chapter Book Review (Madison County Library) A program for elementary ages. At each meeting a chapter from a children’s book is read out loud and discussed. This month: Encyclopedia Brown. 4:30 p.m. FREE! 706-795-5597 KIDSTUFF: Movie Tuesday (Oconee County Library) Eat snacks and watch WALL•E. Ages 11–18. 5–7 p.m. FREE! 706-769-3950 KIDSTUFF: Storytime (ACC Library) For ages 18 months to 5 years. 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. FREE! 706-613-3650 LECTURES & LIT: Terra Cotta Army (Lyndon House) Cassandra Streich, from the High Museum,

gives a talk on the Chinese Terra Cotta Army exhibition. Bring a brown bag lunch. Drinks provided. Noon. FREE! 706-613-3623 GAMES: Locos Trivia (Locos Grill & Pub) All three Athens locations of Locos Grill and Pub (Westside, Eastside and Harris St.) feature trivia night every Tuesday. 8:30 p.m. FREE! GAMES: Texas Hold ‘Em (Alibi) Every Tuesday. 8 p.m. 706-549-1010

Wednesday 7 PERFORMANCE: Drumline Live (The Classic Center) International tour that showcases the black marching band tradition. Featuring original compositions, soul-infused interpretations of top 40 hits and choreographed routines. 7:30 p.m. $25–$45. 706-357-4444, KIDSTUFF: Storytime (ACC Library) For ages 18 months to 5 years. 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. FREE! 706-613-3650

KIDSTUFF: Wildcard Wednesday for Teens (ACC Library) Up next: Homemade Books. Ages 11–18. Space is limited. 4 p.m. FREE! 706613-3650 MEETING: Library Sewing Group (Madison County Library) Bring two circular needles and yarn to make socks, scarves and hats. Every Wednesday. 1–3 p.m. FREE! 706795-5597 GAMES: Stan’s Famous Trivia Nite (Alibi) Get a team together and test your knowledge of the trivial. Every Wednesday. 8–10 p.m. FREE! 706-549-1010 GAMES: Texas Hold ‘Em (Fat Daddy’s) Every Wednesday and Monday. Check Monday listings for specific times. 7 p.m. & 10 p.m. 706-353-0241

Thursday 8 PERFORMANCE: Drumline Live (The Classic Center) International tour that showcases the black

Saturday, January 10

Colt Ford, Sunny Ledfurd Georgia Theatre Things are bad right now: war in the Middle East, a tanking economy, the fifth season of “Lost” hasn’t arrived yet, and there’s no sign of relief from the scourge of the Bowl Championship Series, but according to Sunny Ledfurd things are getting better, and while he may not be a Minnesotaborn Robert Zimmerman clone, he could be just what we need right now. Sunny Ledfurd “Right now somebody needs to host the party. Right now everyone is coming my way because I do what I do. I party quite a bit. I like to party,” says Ledfurd. As the self-appointed toastmaster of our collective getting-the-hell-over-it, Ledfurd has been making a name for himself across the region with his lighthearted odes to Red Bull and Vodka, South Carolina beaches and women who love both. “Anywhere we have a bunch of hell raisin’ young people, I do well,” says Ledfurd. Set over a fusion of Sublime influenced hip-hop and Jack Johnson-like acoustic guitar strums, Ledfurd’s music is perfect for beer bong hits on the hood of a car and good oldfashioned “hell raisin’.” Those ingredients, along with a minimal approach to recreating his sound live, leave ample room for sing- (and shout-) alongs to his sweaty odes to summers past and youth misspent. “It’s a real simple set-up: a drummer, a DJ and some acoustic guitar. I just try to keep it real in my songwriting and my life, and that way people know what they’ll get out of me,” says Ledfurd. So what if it’s not Bob Dylan? A hard rain might not fall on Sunny any time soon, but audiences will be picking up his good vibrations for some time to come. [Jason Bugg]

The Ying Quartet will perform FREE! at UGA’s Hodgson Hall on Saturday, Jan. 10. marching band tradition. See Jan. 7 Performance. 7:30 p.m. $25–$45. 706-357-4444, www.classiccenter. com* PERFORMANCE: Evgeny Rivkin (UGA Hodgson Hall) An evening of solo piano featuring Beethoven’s Sonata No. 16, Chopin Waltzes and Nocturnes, Debussy’s Images, and Bach’s Italian concerto. Discounted tickets for UGA students: $7. 8 p.m. $15. 706-542-4400* KIDSTUFF: Chapter Book Review (Madison County Library) A program for elementary ages. At each meeting a chapter from a children’s book is read out loud and discussed. This month: Encyclopedia Brown. 4:30 p.m. FREE! 706-795-5597 KIDSTUFF: Teen Cartoon Illustrator’s Club (Lyndon House Arts Center) Informal gathering of teens who like to draw anime and cartoons of all kinds. Discussion of recent drawings and characters led by cartoonist Robert Brown. Pizza and fellowship follows meeting. Ages 13 & up. 3:45 p.m. $5, includes pizza & soft drink. 706613-3623 LECTURES & LIT: “What Was a Photograph?” (Lamar Dodd School of Art—Room S150) Dr. Douglas Nickel, Professor of Modern Art at Brown University, gives a lecture on the intellectual stakes of recent photo theory. 5 p.m. FREE! MEETING: Athens Area Newcomers Club (Central Presbyterian Church) Guests Tim and Wendy Stephenson from the Athens Home Improvement radio show will answer questions. 9:30 a.m. FREE! 706-353-2660 MEETING: New Mamas Group (Full Bloom Center) Meet other new moms and get non-judgmental support and reassurance. Babies welcome. 10 a.m. FREE! 706-353-3373, MEETING: Oconee Rivers Audubon Society (Sandy Creek Nature Center) This month April Ingle, Executive Director of Georgia River Network, will speak on “The Flint River: Jimmy Carter, 300+

Paddlers, Riverkeepers and Metro Atlanta’s Thirst for Water.” 7 p.m. FREE! 706-613-9875

Friday 9 ART: “Meditations on Nature” Opening (Healing Arts Centre) Reception for John Albright exhibit that features artwork relating to his study of five-element acupuncture. 5–8 p.m. FREE! PERFORMANCE: Pius Cheung (UGA Ramsey Concert Hall) The award-winning marimbist performs selections from Bach’s Goldberg Variations and his own Three Etudes. Half-price for UGA students. 8 p.m. $18.* PERFORMANCE: Storytelling Concert (Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens) Athens Storytelling presents concert featuring internationally renowned storyteller Carmen Deedy and local storytellers. Proceeds benefit the Northeast Georgia Food Bank. 7:30 p.m. $7. 706-559-4841, KIDSTUFF: Fantastic Fridays (Bishop Park) Obstacle courses and other activities in an unstructured environment. Drop-in any time. Ages 6 months–4 years. 9 a.m.–12 p.m. $10/day. 706-613-3589 KIDSTUFF: Preschool & Toddler Storytime (Madison County Library) Includes stories, fingerpuppet plays, songs and crafts for literacy-based fun. Ages 2–5. 10:30 a.m. FREE! 706-795-5597

Saturday 10 PERFORMANCE: Ying Quartet (UGA Hodgson Hall) Annual William Jackson Payne Memorial Concert. The Ying siblings will perform Puccini’s Il Cristantemi as well as “Musical Dim Sum” – selections by Chinese-American composers. 8 p.m. FREE! KIDSTUFF: Bike Safety (Various Locations) Learn how to stay safe

while riding a bicycle. Lay Park: ages 6–14, 11 a.m. East Athens Community Center: ages 8–18, 1 p.m. 706-613-3596, 706-613-3593 KIDSTUFF: Second Saturday Storytime (Sandy Creek Nature Center) Join Center staff for nature stories. 2:30 p.m. FREE! 706-6133615 KIDSTUFF: Winter Craft Daze (Sandy Creek Park) An afternoon of craft activities in tune with the season. Ages 5–12. Call to register. 3–4 p.m. $3. 706-613-3631 LECTURES & LIT: Graphic Novel Workshop: Developing the Theme and Story (ACC Library) Get an introduction to the basics of graphic novel narration, drawing, perspective, design and development. Part one of this two-part workshop is led by Matt DeGennaro, local graphic novelist and author of Tupelo: The World’s Forgotten Boy. Call to register. 2:30–4:30 p.m. FREE! 706-613-3650 MEETING: Saturday Parent Group (Full Bloom Center) Meet other parents and talk about raising babies. 10 a.m. FREE! 706-353-3373, www. MEETING: Shadowfist CCG Tournament (Tyche’s Games) Final Brawl format. Prizes for all. Noon. $1. 706-354-4500,

Sunday 11 ART: “Hanging Gardens” Opening (State Botanical Garden of Georgia) Reception for exhibit of botanical paintings on silk by renowned fiber artist Margaret Agner. 1:30–3:30 p.m. FREE! 706-542-6156 KIDSTUFF: Zoo Open Classroom (Memorial Park) Explore Exhibit Hall and visit with salamanders, pond turtles, snakes and more. 1–4 p.m. FREE! 706-613-3616 MEETING: Legend of the Five Rings (Tyche’s Games) Glory of the Empire pre-release tournament. Everything required for play provided. Prizes for all. 2 p.m. $25. k continued on next page



THE CALENDAR! 706-354-4500, www.tychesgames. com GAMES: Full Contact Trivia (Allen’s Bar & Grill) “The lord of of all that is trivia” comes to town from Duluth, GA to pick your brain. 9 p.m. FREE!

Monday 12 KIDSTUFF: Read to Rover (ACC Library) Beginning readers (grades 1-4) read aloud to an aid dog in training. Handlers always present. 3:30–4:30. FREE! 706-613-3650 KIDSTUFF: Storytime (ACC Library) Infant storytime (10:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.) and bedtime stories (7 p.m.). FREE! 706-613-3650 LECTURES & LIT: Jewish Graphic Novels (ACC Library) UGA English professor Dr. Susan Rosenbaum leads discussion on The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar. Part of reading and discussion series on Jewish graphic novels. 7 p.m. FREE! 706-613-3650 MEETING: Learning in Retirement Registration Event (Holiday Inn Express) Register for courses and sign up for other LIR activities. Meeting for prospective and new members starts at 9:30 a.m. 9:30–11:30 a.m. 706-549-7350, GAMES: Pool Tournament (Fat Daddy’s) Mondays. 7 p.m. 706353-0241 GAMES: Texas Hold ‘Em (Fat Daddy’s) Every Monday and Wednesday. Check Wednesday listings for specific times. 6 p.m. & 9 p.m. 706-353-0241 GAMES: Trivia (Allen’s Bar & Grill) Get a team together, order some burgers and test your knowledge of the trivial. Every Monday! 8:30 p.m. FREE!

Tuesday 13 KIDSTUFF: Chapter Book Review (Madison County Library) A program for elementary ages. At each meeting a chapter from a children’s book is read out loud and discussed. This month: Encyclopedia Brown. 4:30 p.m. FREE! 706-795-5597 KIDSTUFF: Storytime (ACC Library) For ages 18 months to 5 years. 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. FREE! 706-613-3650 LECTURES & LIT: AfricanAmerican Authors Book Club (ACC Library) Broken Beyond Repair by Kieja Shapodee. Newcomers welcome. Small conference room. 7 p.m. FREE! 706-613-3650 GAMES: Locos Trivia (Locos Grill & Pub) All three Athens locations of Locos Grill and Pub (Westside, Eastside and Harris St.) feature trivia night every Tuesday. 8:30 p.m. FREE! GAMES: Texas Hold ‘Em (Alibi) Every Tuesday. 8 p.m. 706-549-1010

Wednesday 14 ART: Open Studio: Life Drawing (Georgia Museum of Art) No instruction offered. Participants must provide own supplies. Adults only. Ed & Phoebe Forio Studio classroom. 5:30–8:30 p.m. $5. 706-542-4662 KIDSTUFF: Eatin’ with the Critters (Sandy Creek Nature Center—ENSAT) Bring a sack lunch for an hour of learning about “Past to Present.” For ages 3–5 with an adult. Call to register. 12:30 p.m. $0–$13. 706-613-3615 KIDSTUFF: Storytime (ACC Library) For ages 18 months to 5 years. 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. FREE! 706-613-3650


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KIDSTUFF: Wildcard Wednesday for Teens (ACC Library) Up next: Water Conservation. Learn about the water cycle and water conservation through interactive games and crafts with Jessica Harper from Athens Public Utilities. Ages 11–18. Space is limited. 4 p.m. FREE! 706-6133650. LECTURES & LIT: Talking about Books (ACC Library) Adult book group. This month: Good Faith by Jane Smiley. Newcomers welcome. In Small Conference Room. 10:30 a.m. FREE! 706-613-3650 LECTURES & LIT: Very Good Looking Book Club (Earth Fare Café) VGLBC meets the second Wednesday of every month. All are welcome. This month: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. 7:30 p.m. FREE! html MEETING: Library Sewing Group (Madison County Library) Bring two circular needles and yarn to make socks, scarves and hats. Every Wednesday. 1–3 p.m. FREE! 706795-5597 GAMES: Stan’s Famous Trivia Nite (Alibi) Get a team together and test your knowledge of the trivial. Every Wednesday. 8–10 p.m. FREE! 706-549-1010 GAMES: Texas Hold ‘Em (Fat Daddy’s) Every Wednesday and Monday. Check Monday listings for specific times. 7 p.m. & 10 p.m. 706-353-0241 * Advance Tickets Available

Down the Line THEATRE: Ain’t Misbehavin’ 1/15 (The Classic Center) This awardwinning Fats Waller musical features Ruben Studdard and Frenchie Davis. Showcasing the comic and musical soul of 1930s Harlem. 7:30 p.m. $10–$65.* EVENT: MLK Freedom Breakfast 1/16 (Georgia Center) This year’s theme is “The Power of the Dream: Becoming an Agent for Change.” Featured speaker is Congressman John Lewis. Advance tickets only. 7:30 a.m. $18. 706-583-8195* EVENT: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service 1/19 (Lyndon House Arts Center) Volunteer to work on local service projects in the morning and then celebrate in the afternoon at LHAC with live music, variety shows, poetry readings and hands-on art activities. Sign-up online. Volunteer activities, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Celebration, 12-4 p.m. 706353-1313, THEATRE: The Underpants (Cellar Theatre) University Theatre presents Steve Martin’s farce. Jan. 22–24, 27–31, 8 p.m. Feb. 1, 2:30 p.m. $7 (UGA students), $10 (general admission). 706-542-2838 THEATRE: High School Musical 1/24 (The Classic Center) Presented by Oconee Youth Playhouse as part of The Classic Center’s Community Series. 7 p.m. $10–$35. 706-3574444,* EVENT: A Taste of Oconee 1/25 (Oconee County Civic Center) 3rd annual event showcasing Oconee’s culinary talents. Benefits the Oconee County Middle School band and chorus programs. 5–8 p.m. $20 (advance), $25 (door). 706-769-8681, 706-372-6667* PERFORMANCE: Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra 1/25 (UGA Hodgson Hall) The orchestra’s debut American tour. Half-price for UGA students. 7:30 p.m. $34–$39.*


EVENT: Twilight Toasts in the Garden: Plant Trees 1/29 (State Botanical Garden of Georgia) Wine tasting, light hors d’oeuvres, live music and tree planting advice from ACC Forestry Coordinator Andrew Saunders. 6:30–8 p.m. $15. 706542-1244* PERFORMANCE: Seán Curran Company 1/30 (UGA Hodgson Hall) Contemporary dance performance by a dynamic new company founded by Seán Curran, an original member of Stomp. Half-price for UGA students. 8 p.m. $19–$24.* ART: “Running on Empty” 1/31 (ATHICA) Opening reception for exhibit curated by Bart King. “Running on Empty” examines fossil fuel dependence through photography, print, large-scale painting, mosaic and video. 7–9 p.m. FREE! www. THEATRE: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels 2/7 (The Classic Center) Musical comedy based on the popular 1988 film about two con men living on the French Riviera. 8 p.m. $10–$65. www.classiccenter. com* PERFORMANCE: Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy 2/11 (The Classic Center) Show directed by Neil Goldberg featuring an international cast of aerialists, contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and musicians. 7:30 p.m. $10–$75.* THEATRE: Cabaret (Athens Community Theatre) Town and Gown Players present the classic Kander & Ebb musical. Feb. 13–14 & 19–21, 8 p.m. Feb. 15 & 22, 2 p.m. $18. 706-208-8696 EVENT: Frog Hop 5K Road Race 2/15 (Sandy Creek Park) Help support the Nature Center by entering the 11th annual 5k run/walk (2:30 p.m.) and 1 mile Tadpole Fun Run (2 p.m.). Registration is $15/person before Feb. 7. $20/person. 706-6133615, THEATRE: The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial 2/15 (UGA Hodgson Hall) Based on the original transcripts of the 1925 trial of high school science teacher John Scopes, who challenged the state law in TN by teaching evolution instead of creationism. Ed Asner stars. Half-price for UGA students. 3 p.m. $20–$25.* EVENT: A Taste of Athens 2/22 (The Classic Center) Annual showcase of the culinary talents of the Athens community. Benefits Community Connection of Northeast Georgia. 5–8 p.m. $45. www.tasteofathens. com PERFORMANCE: Swan Lake 3/1 (UGA Hodgson Hall) Presented by the Russian National Ballet. 7:30 p.m. $27–$32.* EVENT: An Evening in the Garden 3/20 (State Botanical Garden of Georgia) Wine tasting and art auction to benefit Athens Area Humane Society. 7 p.m. 706-353-2287, www. * Advance Tickets Available

Live Music Tuesday 6 Fat Daddy’s 10 p.m. FREE! 706-353-0241 KARAOKE Every Tuesday. Flicker Theatre & Bar 8:30 p.m. $5. flickerbar CASSETTE Samantha Jones from Gainesville, FL plays incisive indie

Saturday, January 10

Diet Rockstar, Pocketful of Claptonite, Shelley & The Shaking Ray Levis, The Christ Figures Caledonia Lounge The Shaking Ray Levi Society is a collective based in Chattanooga that has been supporting, presenting and producing diverse genres of music, film and performance art since 1986. The performing element of the society is generally represented by the duo of Dennis Palmer and Bob Stagner, but Saturday night’s special performance has expanded into a trio, welcoming the addition of wildly inventive avant-garde vocalist Shelley Hirsch. Shelley Hirsch Palmer and Stagner utilize storytelling, electronics and percussion in addition to handmade instruments of their own design to achieve their distinctive sound. Hirsch meanwhile is known for her fantastically diverse vocal techniques and malleable tones. She has been called “a woman of a thousand voices,” and her songs and stories are delivered with the chameleon-like frenzy of a hundred performers—like a single puppeteer giving voice to a full cast of multi-dimensional characters. As she sings or speaks or cries, her stories manifest as powerfully as any film or theatre play. With just her voice, she breathes life into a host of emotions, personalities and situations. It will be fascinating to hear how Hirsch and The Shaking Ray Levis utilize their equally unconventional techniques and technical proficiency to enhance each other’s work. Joining them on the bill is a host of eclectic local experimental artists. There will be no rules at the Caledonia—no predictable song structures, choruses or melody. Whether improvised or rehearsed, these artists are all pioneers of sound, expanding the very definition of music to new, uncharted lengths. [Michelle Gilzenrat]

folk with an assorted cast of backing musicians. THE DEEP AND HOLY SEA Warm, breezy gentle acoustic folk rock with a sparkle of xylophone, saw and strings. MADELINE Bell-voiced local songwriter Madeline Adams released a rustic full-length album called The Slow Bang early last year on Orange Twin. She’s been touring heavily and playing endearing new songs of smalltown loves, hopes and other assorted torments and joys. The Melting Point 7 p.m. $3. www.meltingpointathens. com SPLINTER BELLY This local band describes itself as “blue(s)grass,” which seems to be an apt summation of its soulful, rootsy Americana sound. Rye Bar 9 p.m. FREE! ryebarathens DUB REGGAE Soulful reggae, hypnotic riddims, heavy dub selections interspersed with toasters, guest vocalists and instrumentalists to spice it up. Hosted every Tuesday night by DJ Jeremy Moon or Selector AZ-IZ. Tasty World 10 p.m. $5. DEK BOO Experimental jam rockers from Connecticut. DIVIDED LIKE A SAINT’S Local envelope-pushing rock band putting on an experimental dance performance tonight. Also at Go Bar tomorrow night. DRAINBOW Bizarre, colorful, genrespanning local band that plays a song that’s metal to the core (“Cancer Is the Cure”), another that sounds like a drawn-out detuning of guitars (“Pillsville”), and yet another

that rips through tropical, innocently swaying vocals with a guttural voice and more shredding (“Ill Disposed”).

Wednesday 7 283 Bar Reasonable Music Hour. 10 p.m. FREE! STRAP-ON MOUSTACHE Says the band: “We’re country punks draining the sounds of all-night service industry twitters into drunk, easygoing evening adventures.” Caledonia Lounge 10 p.m. $5 (21+), $7 (18+). DAYS OF HYSTERIA Local metal band formerly known as Stereo Gun. Ask for a copy of the new self-titled EP! SACRED HOLLOW Athens/Atlanta hard rock band naming Tool, Chevelle and Sevendust among its many influences. WACKO MAZOE Elberton-based four-piece Wacko Mazoe plays around with acoustic and electric styles, drawing on radio rock, blues and even pop-punk to create sincere sounds. Fat Daddy’s 10 p.m.—1 a.m. FREE! 706-353-0241 OPEN MIC Every Wednesday. Flicker Theatre & Bar 8:30 p.m. $5. flickerbar BAIN MATTOX Multi-instrumental Athens singer/songwriter offers audiences acoustic-based college rock that’s both emotionally direct and emphatically heart-turning. This is a solo performance. JOHN MCNICHOLAS Of Mary O’Harrison’s band—playing a solo set.

MARY O’HARRISON Excedingly cute folk rock from Atlanta. Foxz Tavern 9 p.m. FREE! 706-549-8209 KARAOKE The long-running karaoke night continues every Wednesday. Featuring DJ Lynn. Go Bar 10 p.m. DIVIDED LIKE A SAINT’S Local envelope-pushing rock band putting on an experimental dance performance tonight. Also at Tasty World Jan. 6. DJ MAHOGANY Freaky funk, sultry soul, righteous R&B, and a whole lotta unexpected faves as DJ Mahogany dips into his bag. OPEN STAR CLUSTERS Experimental jammers from Connecticut. YE OLDE SUB SHOPPE New band headed by Christopher Ingham (Christopher’s Liver) and Emily Armond (Sea of Dogs). Harry Bissett’s Bayou Grill 6 p.m. 706-552-1193 DAVID PRINCE No info available. The Melting Point 8 p.m. $5. www.meltingpointathens. com THE VIBRATONES Classic rock and hair metal covers. Tasty World 10 p.m. $5. GERREN FISH Singer/songwriter based in Athens. Fish has an upbeat rock sound, and names David Bazan, Wilco and The New Amsterdams among his influences. GARLINGTON Georgia rock band known for its combination of indie, classic and jazz guitar sections.

JOSHUA FLETCHER & THE SIX SHOT ROMANCE Glistening alt-country from Atlanta with clean, crisp guitars and rich, tender vocals. Tasty Bar. 10:30 p.m. FREE! www. DJ PHILIP RICH House music every Wednesday! Wild Wing Café 10 p.m. FREE! OPEN MIC NIGHT Come down for a “wild wild Wednesday” as Wild Wing opens its stage to newcomers.

Thursday 8 Alibi 9 p.m.–1 a.m. FREE! 706-549-1010 “STAN’S ALMOST FAMOUS KARAOKE” Karaoke lady Lynn is your energetic host for the night. Caledonia Lounge 10 p.m. $5 (21+), $7 (18+). THE INTERNS New local band featuring dreamy indie tunes. The Interns are in the studio right now recording their debut record, The Demons Inside. O’BROTHER The spirit of Jeff Buckley echoes in this Atlanta band’s grand, slightly dark melodies. ROVA ZETELLA Airy, dream-like indie rock tunes from Griffin, GA with a subtle Christian message. TIMBER The once wistful alt-country group has turned into a “bootstompin,’ bluegrasscore string band.” The current lineup features Dan Aaron (guitar), Kyle Gann (mandolin, banjo), Coy King (upright bass), Daniel Ray (violin) and Sarah Schindler (accordion). Farm 255 8 p.m. FREE! PATRICK CAREY Slow-rolling countryish pop marked by breezy, melodic sounds with chiming acoustic and electric sounds and vocal melodies. Flicker Theatre & Bar 8:30 p.m. FREE! flickerbar A POSTWAR DRAMA New Athenian group featuring edgy, original folk tunes. NIGHT NURSES The band formerly known at The Flowers of Evil splits the difference between Joy Division and Johnny Cash with twang-infused guitar atmospherics, throbbing, hypnotic basslines and ominous baritone vocals. THRILLED TRAIN OF THOUGHT Local band formerly known as Plum Tuckered plays experimental folk. LATE! Midnight. Donations accepted. LANDLORD Three-piece grunge rock band from Bloomington, IN with lots of solid guitar solos and rad jams. NANA GRIZOL Punk band from here in town that plays songs about shooting stars, fancy cars and red guitars. Expect more new jams tonight! Mellow Mushroom 9 p.m. FREE! 706-613-0892 CACHAÇA Local jazz group with a Latin bent plays standards plus original compositions and Brazilian gems every Thursday at Mellow Mushroom. The Melting Point 8:30 p.m. $5 (advance), $7 (door).* THE CORDUROY ROAD Kentuckybred, locally based, foot-stomping local duo playing non-traditional folk with a banjo and guitar. PALEFACE A veteran musician with 12 records under his belt, Paleface

was schooled personally by Daniel Johnston and has since become something of a neo-folk icon. He’s appeared on a couple of Avett Brothers records as well. Tasty World 10 p.m. $5. BENT LEFT Missouri punk band that’s fast, fun and light-hearted. CELERITY Punk-inspired hard rock. KARBOMB Local trio (Webster Couch, Nick Skillman and Jesse Messer) plays high-velocity, erratic and angry punk not dissimilar to early-’90s Orange County stuff. ROBERTA SPARROW Founded by former members of central Illinois hardcore/punk band the Vice Dolls and an ex-member of Champaign punk quartet Decimation, Roberta Sparrow blends hardcore, punk and metal with a DIY work ethic. SO IT GOES Socially conscious punk rock band that infuses elements of Spanish rock, folk and ska. Tasty Bar downstiars. 10 p.m. www. MANTOOTH MUSIC Local hip-hop collective Mantooth Music presents tonight’s showcase. Performing artists to be announced. Terrapin Beer Co. 5:30 p.m. RACHEL O’NEAL Local singer/ songwriter who has sung in such bands as Truth in Advertising and Moonlight Sol since the late ‘80s and has recently begun writing her own material. In addition to emotional acoustic originals, O’Neal will perform a range of indie, classic rock and folk covers. Wild Wing Café 10 p.m. FREE! JUSTIN BROGDON Rock vet Justin Brogdon puts a lot of Southern soul into his epic songs—drawing from artists like The Black Crowes and Tom Petty. His all-American sound owes a lot to his all-star backing band: drummer Carlton Owens (Squat); bassist Stephen Spivey (Tishamingo); keyboardist/guitarist Jess Franklin (Tishamingo); and lead guitarist Benji Shanks (Last Waltz Ensemble).

Friday 9 283 Bar Joe Havasy’s Birthday! 10 p.m. FREE! 706-208-1283 IMMUZIKATION Alfredo Lapuz handles electronics and backing vocals for the local party funk band Velveteen Pink, but he also deejays as Immuzikation, featuring his own grooving remixes. 40 Watt Club 9 p.m. $5. THE BUDDY SYSTEM Athens fourpiece band The Buddy System projects animation of guitarist Lauren Gregg’s adorable illustrations to go along with the gently/aggressively grooving indie-pop soundtrack tunes. VENICE IS SINKING With boy/girl vocals, a cinematic jangle and a sweeping, emotional punch courtesy of a viola, Venice Is Sinking’s pianobased torch songs burn bright. ALLISON WEISS Heartfelt singer/ songwriter with a quirky charm and sharp pop sensibilities. Caledonia Lounge 10 p.m. $6 (21+), $8 (18+). DELETED SCENES Eclectic indie rock that shares a lot with The Shins and a little with Vampire Weekend. The soaring vocals and swirling guik continued on next page



tars are accented by colorful vibraphone, trumpet, organ and piano. THE EMPTIES Local pop-rockers The Empties combine melancholy vocals with surprisingly harmonized choruses, in an interesting combination of rhythmic mope-rock and more driving hard rock. The new self-titled record is out now. PARACHUTE MUSICAL Nashville pianist and songwriter Josh Foster heads up the band Parachute Musical, which specializes in charged, emotional piano rock. Farm 255 8 p.m. FREE! DEAD STICK LANDING Eclectic local “technically minded power trio” Dead Stick Landing claims influences like Zappa, 311, Soundgarden, Umphrey’s McGee and Ween. Fat Daddy’s 9 p.m. FREE! 706-353-0241 Betsy Franck and the Bareknuckle Band Soulful, brassy Southern rock and country. Georgia Theatre 10 p.m. $5. FREE LUNCH Dynamic jazz band, now featuring saxophonist Luke Powell, with lots of funky slap bass and fun sing-along melodies. NAUTILUS Featuring James Feeney on drums, Andrew Haynes on bass and Chris Keesecker on keyboards/ synth, this band plays covers and originals inspired by hip-hop, jazz and electronic music. Go Bar 10 p.m. CROQUET Stoner pop from Boston featuring heavy distortion, synth textures and lyrics that venture through humor and tragedy. FRZZZLY ROOSTER M.B. keeps the dance party going with hip-hop, funk, rock and pop—all deliciously danceable favorites. GEMINI CRICKET Local quartet Gemini Cricket plays adorably handhewn bedroom pop that’s likably comfy and sprinkled with kazoo and accordion. LITTLE FRANCIS Steven Grubbs plays songs backed by Jesse Thompson, Jordan Noel and Brian Connell, sounding like rowdy, anthemic folk music mixed with early’50s rock and roll. Little Kings Shuffle Club 10 p.m. DJ MAHOGANY Freaky funk, sultry soul, righteous R&B, and a whole lotta unexpected faves as DJ Mahogany dips into his bag of goodies from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. The Melting Point 8 p.m. $6 (advance), $8 (door). www.* THE BIG DADDIES Clarence Young (Rack of Spam, The Jesters), Kenny Head (Georgia Satellites, Sons of Sailors), Tim Pritchett (Sons of Sailors), Chris Hilsman and Bill Pappas playing Southern rock and classic rock favorites. Mercury Lounge FREE! 10 p.m. LIVE JAZZ A new jazz band every week. Call for this week’s lineup. Terrapin Beer Co. 5:30 p.m. THE SPLATTY NINJAS Local threepiece band featuring Mark Wenthe, lead guitarist for Dusty Lightswitch, plus members of The Cleaners.


Friday, Jan. 9 continued from p. 21

Wild Wing Café 10 p.m. FREE! RESERVOIR DOGS Four-piece cover band handling a wide range of classic rock anthems, alternative rock staples and some R.E.M. for good measure. Find the band’s set list at WUGA 91.7 FM 4 p.m. FREE! “IT’S FRIDAY” Eric Harris Group will perform on the local radio station’s weekly program. University Cable Channel 15 will also broadcast the show.

Saturday 10 40 Watt Club 10 p.m. $5 (21+), $7 (18+). THE ICE CREAM MEN Van Halen covers all night long. POWERLOAD AC/DC tribute band. Alibi 9 p.m. FREE! 706-549-1010 “BEST DJ IN GEORGIA” Come dance the night away! Allen’s Bar & Grill 9:30 p.m. FREE! www.allensbarandgrill. com GRAINS OF SAND Performing classic Motown hits. Caledonia Lounge 9 p.m. $6 (18+), $8 (21+). THE CHRIST FIGURES Improvisational guitarists and longtime collaborators Marshall Marrotte and Jeff Chasteen turn to electronics for this duo performance with Chasteen on a vintage Moog and Marrotte utilizing cutting-edge music software on his iPhone. DIET ROCK STAR The local trio combines the powers of Craig Lieske (Garbage Island, Desk Pussy), Eric Harris (Ham1, Olivia Tremor Control) and Jeff Rieter (Baghouse, Count). “It’s semi-composed, semi-demolition, semi-improvised,” says Lieske. “We play around the Planet Jazz, but have improvised dub songs and songs around tape loops as well.” POCKETFUL OF CLAPTONITE Pulling the power trio into a wide open stream of consciousness, this new local group features Darrin Cook on bass, Jamie DeRevere on drums and acclaimed experimental artist Killick on guitar. No, it is neither an Eric Clapton tribute nor a Spin Doctors cover act. THE SHAKING RAY LEVIS & SHELLEY HIRSCH Long-running collaborative project featuring experimental, improvisational musicians utilizing an array of synth, samples, vocals and percussion. See Calendar Pick on p. 20. Farm 255 11 p.m. DJ MAHOGANY Freaky funk, sultry soul, righteous R&B, and a whole lotta unexpected faves as DJ Mahogany dips into his bag of goodies from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Georgia Theatre 10 p.m. $10.* COLT FORD A little bit country, a little bit… rap. Somehow Ford makes this unusual pairing of genres sound natural with his Southern charm and urban style. It’s not often you get to hear a bit of fiddlin’ between rap verses. SUNNY LEDFURD A Southern boy who loves girls, liquor and partying


and sings/raps exclusively about all three. See Calendar Pick on p. 19. Little Kings Shuffle Club 10 p.m. CHOPTOP Local punk band that recently re-emergered with a new lineup. Choptop draws from an eclectic array of punk influences— from ska to hardcore. JESSE NOBODY High energy twopiece punk band from Atlanta featuring exclusively guitar and drums. TENDABERRY After a welcome debut during PopFest in 2008, Tendaberry returns to Athens with its funky, soulful post-punk. Think Rick James sitting in with Gang of Four. The Melting Point 9 p.m. FREE! www.meltingpointathens. com DJS COOKIES AND CREAM Lucas Jensen (Team Clermont) and DJ Mahogany pair up for tonight’s dance party. HEAVY PETTY The musicians who spend their time working at the Caledonia’s bar and soundboard (former Masters of the Hemisphere and Possibilities) rocking through the back catalog of Tom Petty. SHOT BY BOTH SIDES The boys in Spring Tigers perform a set of covers including punk, post-punk and new wave hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Tasty World 10 p.m. $5. JOSH ROBERTS & THE HINGES Formerly playing with Captain Easy and Danielle Howle, Columbia, SC twang-meister Josh Roberts and his new band drop by for a visit, playing hearty, Southern rock and roll. PART BEAR Local songwriter Gray Griggs fronts this classic-rock-leaning band featuring a fun, energetic live show. WINSTON AUDIO This Atlanta act performs guitar-driven alternative rock that, at its more solemn moments, is epic and cinematic. TASTY BAR. 10 p.m. $5. LATIN NIGHT Dance the night away to Latin rhythms. Terrapin Beer Co. 5:30 p.m. JON PENLAND Acoustic singsongwriter from Toccoa influenced by artists like Switchfoot, Creed and Jack Johnson. Also, he has a “rare comfortableness in front of a crowd” thanks to years performing. Wild Wing Café 10 p.m. FREE! BILLY FLORKOWSKI Atlanta-based acoustic rock musician.

Monday 12 Caledonia Lounge 10 p.m. $5 (21+), $7 (18+). DRIVERS SONGS No information available. GHOST TO FALCO Eric Crespo is the constant member of Ghost to Falco, a Portland band specializing in morose beauty and curious emotion. From lush analog synth sounds to looped and minimal drones, the sounds on last year’s disc Like This Forever complement Crespo’s pointed lyrics well. SING IDOG Newish local act that’s loud, distorted and psychedelic. Fat Daddy’s 8 p.m.–Midnight. FREE! 706-613-7817 OPEN JAZZ JAM Calling all jazz musicians. Now you can join local jazz group ii-V7-I every Monday for an open mic jam at Fat Daddy’s.

Tuesday, January 13

Lee Towndrow


The World Provider, Kevin Blechdom, Irene Moon Flicker Theatre What if the members of Ladytron didn’t take themselves so damn seriously? Maybe they’d realize that they’re in a dance band and instead of being perched sternly behind their synthesizers they’d start to have The World Provider a little fun. They could start by taking notes from Montreal’s electro act The World Provider. Originally the solo project of Malcolm Fraser, The World Provider now takes on various forms, sometimes appearing as a duo with wife/collaborator Stacey DeWolfe and other times performing in “fully loaded Casio rock band” formation with DeWolfe, indie filmmaker Kara Blake on keys and Olga Goreas (of Besnard Lakes) on drums. Tonight, says Fraser, Athens will be treated to “duo stylz!” You can expect an I-am-the-World-Trade-Center amount of danceable cuteness and unbridled enthusiasm, with the couple gyrating, flailing and generally winning the crowd over in their metallic onesies or otherwise matching outfits. Canadaphiles (those exist, right?) will be pleased to learn about the acclaimed company The World Provider keeps. Fraser counts artists like Peaches (she played bass in Fraser’s old band The Permanent Stains), The Dears and Feist among his contemporaries and friends. Furthermore, the new World Provider record Hard Feelings includes a rerelease of the song “Valentine” which features a guest appearance by Feist herself. The track originally appeared on 2006’s The Lost Illusions EP. Joining The World Provider tonight is absurdist, irreverent experimental artist Kristin Erickson (who inexplicably performs under the name Kevin Blechdom) and Katja Seltmann (AKA Irene Moon) who either performs live music or gives entomological lectures… somehow it’s not quite clear. Weird. [Michelle Gilzenrat]

Flicker Theatre & Bar 8:30 p.m. FREE! flickerbar SINGER/SONGWRITER NIGHT Hosted by T.T. Mahony (Standard 8) every Monday night. The Melting Point 8–10 p.m. FREE! THE HOOT Presented by the Athens Folk Music & Dance Society. This month: The Harvest Moon Trio performs jazz standards on piano, bass and vocals; the acoustic finger-picking talent of David Lienweber; world music performed by George Norman; and spirited old time music from String Theory. Susan Staley opens and hosts the evening. Tasty World The REAL Tasty World Fest. 10 p.m. FREE! www. GAY AFRICA Jim McHugh, joined tonight by other members of Dark Meat and Colin Langenhaus of USAISAMONSTER. “Psych-drone reverb mellow mind-out,” McHugh says. HUME Experimental rock from D.C. infused with classical string arrangements and twisted tapes. MUCHOS GRACIAS Mercer West and David Specht play lead guitar and bass guitar, respectively. Releasing a CD-R split release tonight. SWEET TEETH This band features core members of Dark Meat and Long Legged Woman; expect a creative and promising congress of psychedelic energy and drony experimentation resulting in rockinfluenced improv, accented at times by visuals from classic family film Benji the Hunted. CD Release! TUNABUNNY Experimental local act featuring hazy and warped experimental psychedelia. Dual female guitarists/vocalists are backed by

synthesized percussion and a wall of noise.

Tuesday 13 Caledonia Lounge 10 p.m. $5. THE GRAY HOUNDS Local fourpiece. The Gray Hounds say they play rock and roll covers and originals with a strong blues base. JUMPIN JESUS CHRISTERS Lively, traditional Appalachian-style string band. THE STICKEM UPS Upbeat garage rock. JASON C.WALLER Growing up in punk bands, Waller now performs country-tinged folk ballads on acoustic guitar. Farm 255 8 p.m. FREE! DAN NETTLES Guitarist for acclaimed local jazz band Kenosha Kid. Fat Daddy’s 10 p.m. FREE! 706-353-0241 KARAOKE Every Tuesday. Flicker Theatre & Bar 8:30 p.m. $5. flickerbar KEVIN BLECHDOM This lady performs wildly entertaining and equally absurd experimental numbers. IRENE MOON Entomologist and performance artist shows slides and gives lectures while her original music plays in the background. THE WORLD PROVIDER Upbeat electro dance rock duo from Montreal. See Calendar Pick on p. 22. The Melting Point 7 p.m. $3. www.meltingpointathens. com SMOKEY’S FARMLAND BAND A fun mixture of bluegrass, funk, reggae, Eastern European tunes and acoustic jazz.

Tasty World The REAL Tasty World Fest. 10 p.m. FREE! www. DAFFODIL Trio Daffodil—Derek Wiggs, Zack Kennedy and Max Talkovich—plays fuzzed-out, early’90s sounding heavy rock and roll. THE MATT KURZ ONE One-man rock machine Matt Kurz literally plays drums, keyboard, guitar and bass, by himself, all at the same time. Also playing tomorrow night at Caledonia Lounge. PEGASUSES-XL Debut of the new four-piece lineup. These local smartasses blend the lines between electro-rock, rap and sonic experimentation. SKELETONBREATH Trio featuring violin, bass and drums performing art rock the draws equally from Klezmer and chamber music.

Wednesday 14 Caledonia Lounge 10 p.m. $5. MARRIAGE Experimental Athens band whose sophomore record, II, was released earlier this year and features a more melodic, acoustic approach as opposed to the sludge metal of the first record. Tonight, however, will feature a loud set of even newer material. THE MATT KURZ ONE One-man rock machine Matt Kurz literally plays drums, keyboard, guitar and bass, by himself, all at the same time. Also playing Tuesday at Tasty World. P.O.B. No information available. THE WARM FUZZIES Weezer fans should definitely pick up this local band’s deliciously scratch and sniffscented Bubblegum EP for a set of fun, alternative rock numbers. Fat Daddy’s 10 p.m.—1 a.m. FREE! 706-353-0241 OPEN MIC Every Wednesday.

Foxz Tavern 9 p.m. FREE! 706-549-8209 KARAOKE The long-running karaoke night continues every Wednesday. Georgia Theatre 9 p.m. 3 FOOT SWAGGER Local band featuring musicians Dave Cardello, Jake Cohen, Scott Lerch, Charlie McCoy and Jeff Reusche. The Swagger plays dynamic high energy rock and roll with a lot of funk. ELIJAH Eric Mellan moved to Athens from Arizona in 2006 and set up this four-piece band, which takes cues from blues, rock, funk, jazz and even some hip-hop to mix up an improvisational stew. Winner of the 2008 Flagpole award for Best Up and Coming Artist. The Melting Point 8–11 p.m. $5. DELTA MOON Atlanta’s Delta Moon plays dusty, rusty blues rock laden with slide guitar and fancy fingerwork. Part of John Straw’s weekly blues night. Tasty World The REAL Tasty World Fest. 10 p.m. FREE! www. BAMBARA Citing both dreamy and aggressive bands as influences, this local band has a sound that is truly right in between—Slowdive-like atmospherics matched occasionally with Fugazi ferocity. HORSE PARTY Playing its first show tonight! MEMORY GOSPEL DANCERS Not actually dancers, apparently, but rather a new project featuring Luke Fields, Jeff Tobias and Scott Smith of We Versus the Shark performing “improv power-kraut jams.” YUKON Textural, raucous and frenzied rock threesome from Baltimore offers technically challenging material that is influenced by angst-fueled ‘90s indie. Tasty Bar. 10:30 p.m. FREE! www. DJ PHILIP RICH House music every Wednesday! Wild Wing Café 10 p.m. FREE! OPEN MIC NIGHT Come down for a “wild wild Wednesday” as Wild Wing opens its stage to newcomers. * Advance Tickets Available

Down the Line 1/15 Drive-By Truckers / South San Gabriel / The Whigs (40 Watt Club)* 1/15 Doctor Squid / The K-Macks / The Taj Motel Trio (Caledonia Lounge) 1/15 Wrong Way (Georgia Theatre) 1/15 Cachaça (Mellow Mushroom) 1/15 Bubbly Mommy Gun / Explorers Club / Puddin’ Tang / Timmy Tumble (Tasty World) 1/15 Justin Brogdon (Wild Wing Café) 1/16 Centro-matic (40 Watt Club)* 1/16 Elijah / WILX (Caledonia Lounge) 1/16 Very Disco (Georgia Theatre)* 1/16 Wacko Mazoe (Rye Bar) 1/16 Beatrix Kiddo / Misfortune 500 / The Royal Family Band / Stone Fox (Tasty World) 1/16 Op Ex (Terrapin Beer Co.) 1/16 Kevn Kinney Band (The Melting Point)* 1/16 “It’s Friday” (WUGA 91.7 FM) 1/17 Bunnygrunt / Cars Can Be Blue / Grand Prize Winners from Last Year / Tunabunny (Caledonia Lounge)

1/17 Toubab Krewe (Georgia Theatre)* 1/17 LB Collective (Terrapin Beer Co.) 1/18 Leaving Countries / Splinter Belly / Blake Whitworth (Caledonia Lounge) 1/19 Singer/Songwriter Night (Flicker Theatre & Bar) 1/20 The Dictatortots (40 Watt Club) 1/20 The Grunttones (Allen’s Bar & Grill) 1/20 Ryan Horne / Paul Smith (Tasty World) 1/21 Hayride / Heavy Feather / Michael Guthrie Band (40 Watt Club) 1/21 Lee Boys / Travelin’ McCoury’s (Georgia Theatre)* 1/21 Princess Idiot (Tasty World) 1/21 The Ribs (The Melting Point) 1/22 Nelo (40 Watt Club) 1/22 Dusty Lightswitch / Lazer/ Wülf / Romanenko (Caledonia Lounge) 1/22 Jack Topht w/ The Vegetables / Ye Olde Sub Shoppe (Tasty World) 1/22 The Ramblers (Terrapin Beer Co.) 1/23 Kinchafoonee Cowboys (Georgia Theatre)* 1/23 Lullwater / Mantooth / Sequoyah Prep School / Wormsloew (Tasty World) 1/23 High Strung (Terrapin Beer Co.) 1/23 Katie Armiger / Telluride (The Melting Point)* 1/23 “It’s Friday” (WUGA 91.7 FM) 1/24 Keller Williams (Georgia Theatre)* 1/24 The Virgins (Tasty World) 1/24 Super Lucky Cat (Terrapin Beer Co.) 1/24 Bob Hay & the Jolly Beggars / Francine Reed (The Melting Point) 1/26 Drive By / Elevation / Lights Resolve (Tasty World) 1/27 Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds / The Wailers (Georgia Theatre)* 1/28 Appetite for Destruction (Georgia Theatre)* 1/28 Geoff Achison & the Soul Diggers (The Melting Point) 1/29 Zoso (Georgia Theatre)* 1/30 Five-Eight (40 Watt Club) 1/30 Josh Raidin / Dar Williams (Georgia Theatre)* 1/30 “It’s Friday!” (WUGA 91.7 FM) 1/31 The Lolligags (Caledonia Lounge) 1/31 Brett Dennen / Erin McCarley (Georgia Theatre)* 1/31 Ben Deignan & 55 / Wesley Cook Band (Tasty World) 1/31 Art of Field Recordings Vol. 2 CD Release Show (The Melting Point) * Advance Tickets Available

In the ATL 1/14 Sevendust (Center Stage)* 1/16 Longwave / It’s Elephant’s (The EARL)* 1/17 Celine Dion (Philips Arena)* 1/17 Emarosa / Funeral for a Friend / Reel Big Fish (The Masquerade)* 1/17 Los Campesinos (The EARL)* 1/24 The Gourds (Smith’s Olde Bar)* 1/29 The Wailers (The Masquerade)* 1/30 The Killers / M83 (Boisfeuillet Jones Civic Center) 2/18 Sun Domingo (Boisfeuillet Jones Civic Center)* 2/20 Cradle of Filth/Satyricon (The Masquerade)* 3/5 Britney Spears / The Pussycat Dolls (Philips Arena)* 3/9 The Pogues (The Tabernacle)* 3/14 Elton John / Billy Joel (Fox Theatre)* * Advance Tickets Available



bulletin board DO SOMETHING; GET INVOLVED! Deadline for getting listed in Bulletin Board and Art Around Town is every THURSDAY at 12 p.m. Email Listings are printed based on available space, more listings are online.

AUDITIONS Athens Master Chorale (Call for location) Athens Master Chorale is holding auditions for the upcoming spring concert, “An Evening with Mozart.” Contact chorale director Joe Napoli to make an appointment. 706-546-0023,

CLASSES Art Class (Ciné Barcafé) Now registering for six-week Portraiture Techniques class. Starts Jan. 11. Sundays, 1:30–4 p.m. bhstrauch@, AWC Classes (Athens Wellness Cooperative) Offering classes in yoga, Pilates, pre-natal yoga, tai chi, belly dancing and more. All levels welcome. Full schedule online. $14 drop-in, $60/6 classes, $108/12 classes. 706-549-2913, Bellydancing with Amani (Healing Arts Centre) Learn basic technique, postures and movements fundamental to bellydance in “Bellydance Basics” (Wednesdays, 7–8:15 p.m.). Learn intermediatelevel movements in “Beyond Basics Bellydance” (Wednesdays, 8:30–9:45 p.m.). Both courses start six-week sessions Jan. 7. 706-6131143, “Beyond Memoir” (Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation) Poet and essayist Dana Wildsmith provides instruction on how to focus on the facts of your life in your writing without merely recording family stories. All levels are welcome. Jan. 17, 24 & 31, 9 a.m.–noon. $150. 706-7694565,

Big Fun Dance Class (Floorspace) Taught by Julie Rothschild. Tuesdays, through Feb. 24, 5:45 p.m. $90/8 weeks, $12/ class. 706-372-4830, Comfort Yoga (YWCO) Easy, meditative yoga for all ages. Mondays, noon & 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, noon. $7/class. 706354-7880 Computer Class (ACC Library) Mouse and Keyboard Skills. In the Educational Technology Center. Jan. 15, 10–11:30 a.m. FREE! 706613-3650 Craft Classes (Main Street Yarns—Watkinsville) Offering instruction in knitting, crocheting, wheel spinning and more. Full schedule online. 706-769-5531, Dance Improvisation Workshop (Floorspace) Jan. 23, 6–8 p.m. Jan. 24, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. $30/both classes, $18/single class., Drumming for Fun and WellBeing (Athens Regional Medical Center—Mind Body Institute) Jan. 10 & 24, 2–3:30 p.m. $10/person. 706-475-7329, Four-Part Computer Workshop (Madison County Library) Week one: an intro to the keyboard and the mouse. Week two: looking inside. Week three: working with files and folders. Week four: having fun with the computer. Three meetings a week; may attend one or all three. Pre-registration required. Tuesdays, 2-3 p.m., Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Thursdays, 7-8 p.m. FREE! 706-795-5597 Getting Started with Genealogy (ACC Library) Monthly informal class to walk you

ART AROUND TOWN DePalma’s Italian Café (Downtown) Show featuring paintings and photography by employees Kristen Ashley Cardell, Anna Head, Nikki Rupp, Josh Stainthorp, Thomas Turner and Steve Wang. Through January. Flaunt Photography by Joshua Payne. Through Jan. 15. Flicker Theatre & Bar New paintings by Matt Blanks. Through January. Just Pho and More Paintings by Bob Croft. Through Feb. 1. Last Resort Grill “Travels with Sally: An Artist’s Eye,” featuring 39 photos from England, Scotland, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Italy and the southern U.S. Through Feb. 2. Lyndon House Arts Center “Deck the Walls” holiday market with hand-made seasonal items, including wreaths, candles, greeting cards and ornaments. Features a wide variety of work by over 100 local artists. Thursday–Saturday, Noon–5 p.m. Through Jan. 10. “For the Love of Labels: The Art of Designer Ready-to-Wear,” an exhibition featuring selected items from the UGA Historic Clothing and Textiles Collection. Through Jan. 20. “Visual Stories” showcases the experiences, emotions, thoughts and values of eight artists through fiber, photography, clay, painting, drawing, mixed media prints, design and the written word. Artists include Diane Barret,



through the basics of researching family history. Bring a pencil and paper. In Heritage Room. Jan. 15, 2–4:30 p.m. FREE! 706-613-3650 Good Dirt (Good Dirt) Now registering for winter clay, drawing and glass classes that begin Jan. 11. Schedule online. Also offering weekly “Try Clay” class that provides instruction on the potter’s wheel and the opportunity to make and decorate several pieces of pottery (Fridays, 7–9 p.m) . “Family Try Clay” every Sunday from 2–4 p.m. for adults and children to make pieces using hand-building methods. $20/person. 706-355-3161, Hoopdance Workshops (Canopy) Learn basic hoopdance moves in a series of three workshops. Locally made hoops available to try during workshop and to buy afterward. Contact Allison Workman ( to order a hoop in advance. Space is limited; sign-up to reserve spot. Jan. 11, 18 & 25, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. $25/ workshop, $60/all 3 sessions. 706549-8501, Mind Body Institute (Athens Regional Medical Center) Offerings include Beginner Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga, Back Care Yoga, Chair Yoga, Yoga for Bone Health, Yoga for the Unbendable Man, Tai Chi and Qi Gong. Classes start the week of Jan. 12. 706-475-7329, Native Plant Symposium 2009 (State Botanical Garden of Georgia) Day-long program that looks at native plants and related landscape issues. Includes box lunch. Jan. 21, 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. $45. 706-5426156, Natural History of Georgia Plants (State Botanical Garden of Georgia—Callaway Building)

Catherine Hartley, Carol Downs and more. Through Jan. 20. Madison County Library Face jugs and other pieces from Georgia Mudcats Pottery (Janice Hall and Pat Shields) of Danielsville. Through January. Madison-Morgan Cultural Center Curated by Kristen Bach, Angela Nichols and Ryan Sterritt, the “Hand.Craft.It” exhibit investigates the DIY ideals and socio-economic impact of selling directly to consumers. Through Jan. 20. Mama’s Boy Paintings by Angie Grass featuring “creature costumes with face holes and thought bubbles.” Through mid-January. Oconee County Library Mosaic artwork by J. Elizabeth Wright. Through Jan. 31. State Botanical Garden of Georgia “Hanging Gardens,” an exhibition of botanical paintings on silk by renowned fiber artist Margaret Agner. Jan. 11–26. Reception Jan. 11. UGA Aderhold Local artist and UGA faculty member Jamie Calkin helps the College of Education recognize its centennial year with “Celebration,” a rotating exhibit of original watercolors of the UGA campus and downtown Athens. Through Aug. 30, 2009. Visionary Growth Art Center (Danielsville) Show featuring works by legendary American visionary artists Annie Wellborn and Carter Wellborn. A host of local artists with disabilities also showcased. Through Jan. 8. Wild Child Arts (Monroe) “Teapots,” featuring work by local artists. January through February.

Matt Blanks’ paintings are at Flicker Theatre & Bar through January. This course will introduce students to the diverse natural vegetation of Georgia. Led by UGA Professor Jim Hamrick. Jan. 10, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. $100. 706-542-6156, www. OCAF’s Art Classes (Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation) Now accepting registration for winter and spring classes. Offerings include drawing, oil painting, folk art, sculpture, bagpipes, floral arranging, book making, writing and more. Full schedule online. 706-769-4565,

Qigong (State Botanical Garden —Visitor Center, Great Room) Certified Qigong instructor leads class on the ancient Chinese art of self-cultivation that fosters health, relaxation and calm. Mondays, Jan. 12–March 2, 12–1 p.m. $80. 706542-6156, Salsa Dance Classes (Athens Wellness Cooperative) Enjoy Cubanstyle salsa dance lessons alone or with a partner. Mondays–Fridays, 8–10 p.m. Sundays, 5–7 p.m. $6/ hour or $120/10 classes.

Athens Area Humane Society


Inside Pet Supplies Plus at Alps Shopping Center • 706.353.2287 Celtic is a huge baby who loves to be held and cuddled. He is a young adult male who craves love and connection. He’s very gentle and fine with other cats. Cute Moxie has the slightest of milk moustaches. Poor girl was found in a wall and is a bit traumatized, but she is young (5 months) and will recover with TLC. M IL


From Dec. 25 to Dec. 30

Milkshake is described as being a “ton of fun” because he’s big and very playful. He’s good with kids, cats and dogs and has a long luxurious coat.

Poor Banjo gets a little depressed being cooped up in a kennel. He’s a great cat, good with kids, cats and dogs, likes to sleep next to you, very laid back and has huge soulful eyes. So HURRY and rescue him!





33 Dogs Received 33 Dogs Placed!

Solar Water Heating Installer Certification (Complete Resources Building & Repair) Full day of instruction on how to install the Power Partners Solar Water Heating System. Includes a hands-on mock system installation. Lunch provided. Register by Jan. 12. Jan. 15. $450. 706-369-7938, Square Dancing Lessons (Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens) Classic City Squares offering lessons starting Jan. 12 at 7:30

at Press Time

BANJO More cats and information at

p.m. First lesson is FREE! $5/session. 706-714-4350, csundland@ Tae Kwon Do & Jodo Classes (Live Oak Martial Arts) For kids and adults, beginner–advanced. Traditional forms, self-defense, Olympic-style sparring, grappling and weapons. Chase St. Warehouses, next to Canopy and ATHICA. Mondays–Thursdays, 3:30-8:30 p.m. 706-548-0077, www. Traditional Karate (AKF Itto Martial Arts) Athens Yoshuaki Karate now taking new students. Beginners and visitors welcome. Schedule online. FREE! Winter Art Classes (Lyndon House) A wide selection of classes in a variety of disciplines. Complete course listings on website. Sessions start in mid-January. 706-613-3623, Yoga Classes (Five Points Yoga) Offering classes based upon the Universal Principles of Anusara Yoga and Vinyasa Flow. Additional classes include Tai Chi and restorative Qi Gong. Full schedule online. $10/class. 706-355-3114, www.

HELP OUT! Adopt-a-Mile Cleanup (Barber Creek Fire Station) The Oconee Democratic Party conducting its cleanup along the Oconee Connector. Meet at the Barber Creek Fire Station on Mars Hill Road. Bring empty aluminum cans for the firefighters’ recycling project. Jan. 10, 9:30 a.m. 706-769-4464 American Red Cross (Red Cross Center—3525 Atlanta Hwy.) This month donors will be entered for a chance to win two Delta Airlines domestic round-trip tickets. 706-5460681, Hospice Volunteers Needed (Heartland Hospice of Athens) Heartland Hospice of Athens seeks people interested in assisting terminally ill patients and their families. Contact Amy to sign up for a training date. 706-369-0917 Volunteer ESL Teachers (Goodwill Career Center) Catholic Charities seeks volunteers to teach English as a Second Language to adults in the community. No experience necessary. 10-week commitment required. Classes held Mondays and Wednesdays, 6–8 p.m. Ongoing training provided beginning Jan. 24. Valerie Pflug, 706254-1371,

KIDSTUFF Gymnastics (Bishop Park) Now registering for fall gymnastics programs that start in January. 706613-3589, www.accleisureservices. com/gymnastics.shtml Modern Dance Classes (Floorspace) Taught by Julie Rothschild. Ages 6–8: 3:30–4:30 p.m. Ages 9–12: 4:30–5:30 p.m. Tuesdays, through Feb. 24. $90/8 weeks, $12/class. 706-372-4830, Naturalist Assistant Program Training (Sandy Creek Nature Center) For teens interested in working at SCNC. Preregistration required. Ages 13–18. Jan. 31, 1 p.m. Kate, 706-613-3615 Red Cross Babysitting Course (Memorial Park) A Red Cross certified instructor teaches basic leadership, safety and supervisory skills needed to babysit. Bring a bag lunch. Pre-registration required. Call for fee info. Ages 11–15. Jan. 10, 9 a.m. 706-613-3580

Shining Stars Gym ‘N Learn (Bishop Park) Registration underway for fitness-based learning program open to students ages 3–5 that includes a 45-minute gymnastics class each session. Term starts Jan. 12. $140. 706-613-3589 Winter Art Classes (Lyndon House Arts Center) Offerings include Woodworking for Teens, Painting for Ages 6–8, Teen Painting, Intro to Pottery and more. Sessions start mid-January. 706-613-3623 Yoga Sprouts (Memorial Park) Learn fun, playful yoga poses and breathing exercises. Pre-registration required. Ages 3–6: Tuesdays, 4–5 p.m., beginning Jan. 13. Ages 7–12: Thursdays, 5–6 p.m., beginning Jan. 15. $0–$48. 706-613-3580, www. Yoga Sprouts (Full Bloom Center) Fun, playful yoga for kids ages 2–8. Call to register. Wednesdays, 3:30 p.m. $14/per class, $60/6 classes. 706-353-3373,

SUPPORT Domestic Violence Support Group (Call for location) Dinner begins at 6 p.m. and group at 6:30 p.m. Children are welcome for supper and childcare is provided during group. Call Project Safe hotline at 706-543-3331 for location. 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month in Clarke County. 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month in Madison County. 6–8 p.m. Emotional Abuse Support Group (Call for location) Childcare is provided. Call Project Safe’s hotline at 706-543-3331 for location. Wednesdays, 6:30–8 p.m. Emotions Anonymous (Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens) Informal and supportive 12step program open to anyone with a desire to become well emotionally. Sundays, 4–5 p.m. 706-227-2354, Meeting for 12-Step Groups (Call for location) Emotions Anonymous is seeking to build bridges between interested local 12-step groups. EA proposes an “interfaith” meeting one evening a month beginning in January. 706227-2354 Mental Health America of Northeast Georgia (Call for location) Weekly group for those with mental illness and their families. Thursdays. 706-549-7888, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Call for location) Support group for family members of service members and veterans with PTSD. Contact Jamie at 706725-1077 for details.

ON THE STREET AthFest Compilation CD Accepting submissions for 2009 AthFest compilation CD. Music must be on standard audio CD or CD-R format and must be delivered in person to the AthFest office on the third floor of the Fred Building, located at 220 College Avenue, Suite 318. Deadline is Jan. 30, 2009. Classic City Rollergirls Skater Boot Camp (Skate-ARound USA) Now recruiting new skaters. At the boot camp sessions you’ll learn derby basics and will later have the opportunity to try out. Sessions on Jan. 12. Try-outs will be held Jan. 24. There will be a $20 fee for the entire set of sessions to cover equipment. Contact to register. www.classiccityrollergirls. com f




A Life Precocious

by Matthew J. Ziemer

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reality check Matters Of The Heart And Loins I have a very hard time thinking about things of a sexual nature when I masturbate. I have a clear image in my mind of what I enjoy sexually, and there is usually something that perks my interest that starts my hand-topanties motion (rather than boredom alone). After a minute or two, I find that my mind’s attention is diverted to a book I am reading, what thing I left off the grocery list, and so on and so on… I try watching porn, which helps keep my mind focused, but it doesn’t really do it for me. I have had this problem since puberty and have tried toys and pornography. Still, nothing really seems to do the trick. I honestly don’t mind not having sex (just haven’t had the appetite recently), but not being able to get off at all is really troubling. Sometimes I spend the better part of an hour trying until I give up or settle for a mediocre orgasm. My life overall is quite simple and free of stress. What can you tell the girl whose problem is not cold feet but frigid hands? Happy Holidays, Cute Little Indie Type As they say on YouTube, CLIT, read a book. Your mind can wander in too many directions on its own, even with visual stimuli, but reading a book forces you to focus in a different way. There are all kinds of genres in erotica, too, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding some that suits you. You’re probably better off going to a bookstore so you don’t have to rely on reviews and titles, but if you’re too shy you can always find some good stuff online. Happy (one-handed) reading! I would actually like to comment to the submission from “In Love and Can’t Say It.” Jyl, you hit the nail right on the head! I dated, not one, but several guys who displayed the same behavior. It is worth it to look for someone who doesn’t “high tail-it” when you express your feelings. You also shouldn’t stay in a relationship where you feel your relationship is in danger if you’re too honest, especially when what you’re being honest about is the fact that you care for them. I’m living proof that making a change can make a big difference. I’m currently in a happy and healthy relationship with a wonderful man, and when I say “I love you,” he says it back. One more thing, if your family is unhappy that you’re dating this person, and their reasons have nothing to do with race or religion— listen to them. Sometimes, they can see what you can’t. Been There, Never Going Back Thanks, BTNGB. Sometimes a little reinforcement goes a long way. I am 23 and have been in a relationship for almost three years now. It is my first “real” relationship (I didn’t get a lot of male

attention in high school or the early years of college). He treats me wonderfully, and I really feel like I should be happy. The thing is, sometimes I’m not sure if I’m in love, or love him more like a friend/brother. At times I wonder if I should date around and get more experience before settling down, and my curiosity has been exacerbated by a couple of guys who recently, about three months apart, confessed their feelings of attraction/infatuation to me. (The first one came out of nowhere with no encouragement from me; the second I admit to flirting with, but viewed it as meaningless fun.) Well, after the second guy made his grand pronouncement, I realized there was something more there than I thought. I ended up making out with him. (I know, this sounds like high school, not college.) I felt terrible about it and confessed everything to my boyfriend. He wasn’t even angry! It confuses the hell out of me. His take was that as long as I agreed to cut off contact with this guy, was very remorseful about my actions, and was sure I’d rather be with him, there was no reason for him to be angry. He was upset and said that if we broke up he’d be “devastated,” so it’s not that he doesn’t give a shit what I do. I guess the questions I have now are: Does he lack the self-respect to get angry that I cheated on him, or is he simply not wired to get angry? Why did I cheat on him in the first place? Am I with him because I’m comfortable? Is he with ME because he’s comfortable? Obviously, I need to decide in order to be fair to him and me, but I’m terrified of making the wrong decision. Not Sure Three years is a long time, NS. I’m sure that’s what your boyfriend thought when you confessed to making out with somebody else. That’s a lot of time invested to throw something away over meaningless tonsil-hockey. So, no, it isn’t necessarily a lack of self-respect on his part, but rather a rational response. And I’m not sure what that means. You claim that he wasn’t angry, and if he wasn’t at least a little bit angry I would have to question his true feelings as well as his ability to feel. However, is it possible that he was at least a little angry, and that he chose to act rationally to avoid a big fight? As to why you cheated on him, only you can know for sure, but I would guess that you feel a need, like most young people, to sow some proverbial oats. This is totally normal, and there is nothing wrong with it, only with your decision to act on your feelings before breaking up with him. Are you comfortable? Not any more, obviously. Is he? Who knows? So, what to do? Think of it this way: Are you ready to marry this guy? Are you sure? Do you think you can be reasonably sure without dating other people first? Jyl Inov





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Why I’d Be Really Popular in Prison


’m the kind of guy who recognizes my weaknesses just as readily as I do my strengths. Sure, I only have a cursory knowledge of quantum physics, and I’d barely be able to distinguish a sub-prime loan from a Subway sandwich, but today while watching “Prison Break” I realized something: if I ever get sent to prison, I think I’d be really popular with the other inmates. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I wouldn’t survive a day in prison. You probably think a bunch of hardened criminals would relish the chance to rip a guy like me to pieces. I couldn’t disagree with you more. Please, don’t let my thick-rimmed glasses and collection of corduroy jackets fool you. I can adapt to any given situation. Would you believe I once spent an entire winter in Eastern Europe sleeping on an air mattress next to a drafty window in a flat with no heat? And then there was that time I sat through an amazingly lifeless version of Eugene O’Neill’s four-hour long play, Long Day’s Journey Into Night. I think I can handle a prison cell.

And after they loosened up a bit, they’d probably have me in stitches, too. Figuratively speaking, of course. But while my adaptability and sense of humor are nice, it’s my genuinely inquisitive nature that is bound to earn me the respect and admiration of my fellow inmates. Thanks to my liberal arts education at a top-tier private college, I’m a great conversationalist with broad interests. I think even the prisoners who might be intimidated by my confident demeanor and well-trimmed beard would respond nicely to my attempts to engage them in civil conversation. Plus, it would provide me with an opportunity to put my editorial skills to work as an impromptu grammar coach. Finally, I think the other prisoners would respect me for not resting on my laurels in prison. Though the heaviest thing I’ve lifted in the past year is my dog-eared copy of War and Peace, in prison I would take advantage of the opportunity to work on my physique. For example, I’m sure my fellow inmates would happily show me how to “clean and jerk.” Whatever that means.

In fact, my success behind bars would begin with my prison cell. I’d make sure to bring some LP covers to hang on the walls, as well as backstage passes from various shows I’ve attended. You can’t tell me prisoners wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to pick my brain about the current state of the music industry. And as for those prisoners who aren’t fans of rock music, I don’t move anywhere without bringing along a couple of my favorite Doonesbury comic strips. They’re hilarious and great conversation starters. We’re talking major credibility points right off the bat. You know, it’s no secret I’m a bit of a humorist myself. Over the years, I’ve developed a reputation as a real cornball. I’m usually the first one out of the gate with a light-hearted pun or an obscure popular culture reference. I see myself surrounded by a group of prisoners hanging on my every word as I riff on the warden (“A character straight out of Dickens!”) or the quality of the food in the cafeteria (“I’ve had better food in the dimly lit hostels of Amsterdam!”). With hilarious oneliners like those, I’d have those hardened criminals in stitches.

And did I mention my interest in Native-American history and collection of arrowheads is sure to make me an excellent shiv maker? Granted, I’ve never been arrested, and though I enjoyed Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, I do not condone violence of any kind. How then, you ask, would I ever find myself in prison? If push comes to shove, I could imagine a situation in which someone not unlike myself might be unfamiliar with the age of consent in a given state, and therefore, do something considered improper or even illegal in some societies. However, I’m sure prisoners would forgive any such lapses in judgment from an otherwise well-rounded and likeable individual such as myself. Like I said, I know my weaknesses. I may not know much about professional sports, or how to defend myself in a fight, but one thing I do know is, if I get sent to prison, I’ll leave with a couple of hundred new friends, a scrapbook filled with memories, and yes, probably some rectal tearing. John Seay



Flagpole Magazine: January 7, 2008  

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Flagpole Magazine: January 7, 2008  

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