COLORBEARER OF ATHENS AFTER SCHOOL
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MAY 15, 2013 · VOL. 27 · NO. 19 · FREE
(Just Kidding. Don’t.)
But Seriously, the Drought’s Over p. 6
Hey, Commissioners! Is Anybody Paying Attention? p. 7
Discusses the New Record Song by Song by Song p. 12
Selig’s Plans p. 8 · Author’s Advice p. 9 · Radio’s Easy Listening p. 13 · Diplomat’s Wisdom p. 16
VOTE ONLINE: musicawards.ﬂagpole.com
ONLI�E O�LY: THE FLAGPO�� THEM� SONG C��T�S�! HEAR THE 3 FINAL�ST� AND VOT� F�R YOU� FAVORIT�
JAZ� / WORLD q q q q q q q
Athens Ta�go Pr�je�t Ele�tro�h��ia Ike Stub�leﬁ��d Kenosha Kid Old Sko�l Trio Rand Li�es Trio _________________________________
PO� q q q q q q q
Bub�ly Mom�y Gun Dream Bo�t The Dr�am Sc�ne Easter Island Grap� So�a kids _________________________________
FOLK/AMERICAN� q q q q q q
Four Eyes Moths (Jac�b Mor�is) Pat�erson H�od The Skip�erd�es Wer�wolv�s _________________________________
C�UNTRY/BLUEGRAS� q q q q q q
The Cordu��y Road The Darnel� Boys Fest�r Hago�d High Strung String Ba�d Mat� Hudgins _________________________________
E��CTRONIC/DJ q q q q q q q
Feral Youth Harouki Zombi Im�uzikat�on DJ Mahog�ny paciﬁ�UV DJ Winsto� Parke� _________________________________
JAM q q q q q q
Lazy �o��motive Mam�’s Love Prisma Sumilan Swe�t Kniev�l _________________________________
EXP�RIM�NTAL q q q q q q q
Cult of Rig�on�a Fut�re Ap� Ta�es Hand S��� Hands I Come t� Shang��i Pret�y Bird Quiet Ev�ni�gs _________________________________
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Ab�ey Road Live The B-53s Los Me��ﬁts Pigs on the Wing Powerl�ad _________________________________
RO�K q q q q q q q
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HEAVY RO�K q q q q q q
Dead Confe��rat� Manr�y Maser�ti The Powd�r Ro�m Utah _________________________________
The An�ual F��gp��e Ath�ns Mu�ic Awards Show is d��igne� to hon�r a�d c�le�rat� �hose who make Ath�ns, GA a c�nter of musical �reativ��y, enjoyment & ac�omplishment. The show kicks off AthFest, Athens’ annual music and arts festival, and will be held on Thursday, June 20. You, the local music fan, will choose the local performers you wish to recognize by filling out this ballot. All awards are decided by a majority people’s choice vote, so YOUR VOTE IS VERY IMPORTANT. A panel of local music judges has selected this year’s finalists; just check the box next to your choice and fill in the blank for Band of the Year. You do not need to vote in every category. Please mail form to Flagpole Magazine, PO Box 1027, Athens, GA 30603; drop it off at our office at 112 Foundry St., or submit an online ballot at musicawards.flagpole.com.
THE VOTING DEA�LINE �S FR�DAY, M�� 31! PUNK/HARD�O�E q q q q q q
Grip� Mu�y Bi�en RITVALS The Ro�ney Kings Shave� Christ _________________________________
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Jub�e and the Morni�g Af�er Mad Axes murk da�dy ﬂex Tony B Zazu Times Two _________________________________
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LIVE q q q q q q q
Gras� Giraﬀes Like Total�y! Manr�y Mu�y Bi�en of M�ntreal Re�tar _________________________________
PRO�UCER/�NGI��ER q q q q q q
David Barb� Drew Vand��berg Jes�� Mangum Jo�l Hats��t Kyle Sp�nce _________________________________
ALBUM OF THE Y�AR
q q q q q q q q q q q
Dead Confe��rat�: In the Mar�ow Easter Island: Frighten�� Fut�re�i�ds: Bab� Y�ga Gras� Giraﬀes: Transp�rta�ion EP murk da�dy ﬂex: c�mpilat�on (Vols. 1-3) Mu�y Bi�en: This �� What Your Mind Imagines New Madri�: Yard�o�t Quiet Ev�ni�gs: Impres�ion� Twin ��gers: Death Wis� Wer�wolv�s: Ge�rgia _________________________________
BEST C�VER A�T
(Covers can b� view�� at musicaw�rds.ﬂagp�le.com)
Gras� Giraﬀes: Transp�rta�ion EP Jac�b Mor�is: Moths Mat� Hudgins: Bet��r Days �re Coming Moti�n S�cknes� of Time �ravel: Moti�n S�cknes� of Time �ravel q Mu�y Bi�en: This �� What Your Mind Imagines q _________________________________
q q q q
BAND OF THE Y�AR (write-�n) ________________________________________________________
! E T U N I M A T I A W STER & EASIER to vote online:
THIS PART IS REQUIRED!!! Your Name ___________________________________ Address ___________________________________ ___________________________________ ___________________________________ Email ___________________________________ Phone ___________________________________
No photocopied ballots allowed. Ballots will be accepted ONLY if they include name, address, phone number and email address. Only one vote per category. Only one ballot per person.
FLAGPOLE.COM ∙ MAY 15, 2013
p. 6 CONGR A GRADS TS !
The Tao of Joe
Pete McCommons email@example.com
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LIVE MUSIC WITH SNOWCONE FOR PRESIDENT EDITOR & PUBLISHER Pete McCommons ADVERTISING DIRECTOR & PUBLISHER Alicia Nickles PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Larry Tenner ADVERTISING SALES Anita Aubrey, Dede Giddens, Jessica Pritchard Mangum MUSIC EDITOR Gabe Vodicka CITY EDITOR Blake Aued ARTS EDITOR Jessica Smith CLASSIFIEDS, DISTRIBUTION & OFFICE MANAGER Jessica Smith ASSISTANT OFFICE MANAGER Sydney Slotkin AD DESIGNERS Kelly Hart, Cindy Jerrell CARTOONISTS Lee Gatlin, Missy Kulik, David Mack, Jeremy Long ADOPT ME Special Agent Cindy Jerrell CONTRIBUTORS Rachel Bailey, Tom Crawford, Derek Hill, John Huie, Jyl Inov, Gordon Lamb, Ballard Lesemann, John G. Nettles, Dan Mistich, Drew Wheeler CIRCULATION Charles Greenleaf, Will Donaldson, Matt Shirley, Emily Armond WEB DESIGNER Kelly Hart ADVERTISING INTERNS Charlotte Hawkins, CD Skehan MUSIC INTERN Will Guerin
COVER PHOTOGRAPH by www.exophoto.com (see feature story on p. 6) STREET ADDRESS: 112 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 CLASSIFIED ADS: firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING: email@example.com CALENDAR: firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL: email@example.com
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VOLUME 27 ISSUE NUMBER 19
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Joe Causey’s flying fingers are taking a rest now. It is incredible what an impact he has had in his life with his quick mind channeled through the keyboards of typewriters, newspaper composition machines, computers and pianos, not to mention the fingerboard of a violin. He’s using his time to fight cancer now, but he has always made the most of his time and has been sure to “fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run.” Joe is a man of many contradictions—extroverted, loving family, friends and colleagues; yet forever spending long hours in solitary work—getting out the statements for his family business, practicing for a piano concert, teaching himself to play violin, writing long letters of inquiry and advice to public “servants,” knowing that he would only get back their formletter responses. Observing Joe over the years, watching him work and play, suggests how his rapid-fire wit could be so seamlessly translated through his fingers to the keys with such accuracy and clarity. Practice and training and discipline for sure, but also a pure connection “between the impulse and the act.” Joe is direct, honest and unsparing of himself and others. He always says what he thinks. He does not beat around the bush. He does not sugar-coat. He does not pull his punches. What you see is what you get. Joe is one of those rare people, particularly for a Southerner, who doesn’t dissemble. Oddly enough, to Joe Causey those of us who tiptoe around confrontations, Joe is all that much more beloved because you don’t have to wonder what he really thinks about you. You know exactly where he stands, even if his stance makes you uncomfortable. You can be at ease around Joe and not wonder what he really thinks about you, because if he thinks you are an idiot, he will have already told you, though in the most sympathetic way possible and with suggestions about how you can be less of an idiot if you want to change. Joe is not a “shoulda, woulda, coulda” kind of guy. His love is active. His regard for you translates into thinking about how he can help you and then doing it. If your ox is in the ditch, Joe won’t be calling you up to say how sorry he is; he’ll be down there hooking a rope to his midnight blue Mustang convertible to yank that beast out of there. Joe is always ready to play, to have a good time, because he has already done his work; his responsibilities come first, and, being Joe, he doesn’t put off doing what he needs to do. So, when it comes time to have fun, Joe can throw himself into pleasure just as single-mindedly as he throws himself into work. He’s not dragging along a lot of unfinished stuff that is going to interfere with a good time, because he didn’t let anything interfere with getting that stuff done when it was supposed to be done. Why can’t we all be like Joe? Sounds like the Tao of Joe, and it is: a zen-like purity that flows from a mind accustomed to accepting life as it comes and holding up his end of it, rough-hewn though it may be: serving his country, running the store, the constant care of a specialneeds son, helping parents, settling the affairs of elderly relatives, and now the crisis of his own health—a blow to one who loves so much his life and the family and friends who populate it. It’s especially cruel because he has finally reached the point where he could do more traveling and visiting and enjoying the fruits of his hard work and prudent management. We love Joe. His wit and warmth live among us and always will, as long as we can remember his zany antics and his fierce love for us and for our world.
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spaces like a new park and plaza outside of City Hall, Maureen McLaughlin said. Nor does it fit with plans to extend the greenway and build the Firefly Trail, Lauren Blais said. â€œIt doesnâ€™t make sense to me to take an avenue people use in the morning and afternoon and deprive them of it at night,â€? she said. Denson called their comments a â€œtotal mischaracterization.â€? â€œWe do not have curfew legislation before the committee,â€? she said, even though three members of the commissionâ€™s Legislative Review Committeeâ€”Kelly Girtz, George Maxwell and Doug Lowryâ€”asked ACC Attorney
Lyndon House Takes a Hit
it may not bring in more money. And while Caterpillarâ€™s eventual 1,400 employees should be able to take the bus to work, service to Stonehenge was dropped, not because of the cost, but because hardly anyone was using it. â€œWe decided in some situations itâ€™d be cheaper to buy folks a car,â€? Hoard said. Commissioners regrouped Tuesday, May 14 to continue budget talks. (See Flagpole. com for an update.) Theyâ€™ll take public comment Tuesday, May 21 at 5:30 p.m. and GOP Convention: The Thursday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. number of Republicans in in the commission chamber at Athens will about double this City Hall. weekend, when the state GOP Oh, and by the way, the ventures behind enemy lines Clarke County School District and holds its biannual conis finalizing its budget, too, vention at the Classic Center. and plans to eliminate 32.5 The two-day convention is jobs, including 15 teachers expected to draw more than and 14 Office of Early Learning 3,000 delegates who will employees, the latter due spend about $750,000 while to an expired grant. Public theyâ€™re here. Sure, two-thirds You can check out these rain barrels painted by local artists at the Lyndon House, but donâ€™t hearings on the school budof us voted for Obama, but expect a guided tourâ€”theyâ€™re on the chopping block. get are Thursday, May 16 at their money is as good as Alps Road Elementary School anyoneâ€™s. and Tuesday, May 21 at the central office on Bill Berryman last month to draft language Unfortunately, Flagpole might not be able Mitchell Bridge Road; both are at 6 p.m. allowing officials to set hours of operation for to cover it. Brian Keahl, executive director public spaces. Theyâ€™re scheduled to discuss the of the Georgia Republican Party, says theyâ€™re Occupy Ordinance: Opposition seems to be draft at another meeting Tuesday, May 21. â€œextending press credentials to television, growing to the â€œOccupy ordinanceâ€? aimed at â€œI assure everybody out there thereâ€™s no radio and print media with daily distribution,â€? shutting down protests on public property by intention to disenfranchise or eject homewhich apparently ainâ€™t us. Scared of a lilâ€™ olâ€™ setting hours for public spaces like the City less people or infringe on anybodyâ€™s First lefty rag, guys? Hall grounds. Amendment rights,â€? Denson said. â€œWhat About a dozen people spoke out against weâ€™re trying to do is make sure our laws on But Wait! Thereâ€™s More: As usual, too the ordinanceâ€”first proposed by Denson the books are clear and understandable by much is going on to talk about it all in one last yearâ€”during the open mic time at the everyone.â€? print column. Check out the In the Loop Tuesday, May 7 Athens-Clarke Commission Girtz said he is â€œspecifically disinterestedâ€? blog at Flagpole.com, where you can find meeting. In addition to First Amendment conin an urban camping law like Atlantaâ€™s. out how Clarke County public schools scored cerns, speakers wondered how the law would As Commissioner Jerry NeSmith, whoâ€™s not on the stateâ€™s new College and Career Ready affect the homeless. â€œIf you are using [Occupy on the LRC, put it: â€œI havenâ€™t perceived a Performance Index and read a League of Athens] to kick out the homeless people, problem to be solved.â€? This is a solution lookAmerican Bicyclists report that ranks Georgia a thatâ€™s really despicable, so Iâ€™m assuming itâ€™s ing for a problem. Just drop it. surprisingly not-terrible 24th among the bikenot that,â€? Chris Dowd said. friendliest states. A curfew is in conflict with the downtown Dissing Denson: The last commission meetmaster planâ€™s emphasis on public gathering ing also included a sign that, as we approach Blake Aued firstname.lastname@example.org Blake Aued
ACC Budget: Of all the spending cuts and tax and fee hikes in Athens-Clarke Countyâ€™s 2014 budget, one of the smallest is getting the most attention. Mayor Nancy Densonâ€™s $106 million proposed budgetâ€”a statement of community values as well as a spending planâ€”would eliminate guided tours at the Lyndon House Arts Center, saving $8,200. Commissioner Kathy Hoard said sheâ€™s already received â€œseveral inquiriesâ€? about the cut, which, at a budget hearing Thursday, May 9, led to a broader discussion of how to make the most of the Lyndon House, a beautiful but underused space. â€œWe envisioned there would be wedding receptions, meetings and other activities at night and on weekends,â€? Hoard said, but no one seems to know itâ€™s available. ACC Manager Alan Reddish promised that staff will â€œexplore ways for the Lyndon House to be used more widely for events it hasnâ€™t been used for in the past.â€? And the same goes for the Morton Theatre. The proposed budget includes a total of $488,000 in cuts, in addition to $2.2 million in new spending. Denson proposed a quartermill tax hike ($12.50 on the average $150,000 home) to fund a 2 percent raise for employees and operating costs for new SPLOST facilities like the expanded Clarke County Jail and the tennis center at Southeast Clarke Park. $93,000 included in the budget to staff the tennis center, in particular, riled up Commissioner Jerry NeSmith, who wondered why so much money was being devoted to something that benefits only a few, especially when many of those few are from other counties. He said that money could be better spent helping the Athens-Clarke County Library pay utility bills at its recently expanded building. NeSmith also floated the idea of raising bus fares (for the second year in a row) to extend Athens Transit service to the westside Stonehenge neighborhood and the Caterpillar plant. Not a bad idea, but as Assistant Manager Blaine Williams explained, raising fares leads to a drop in ridership, so
campaign season, the frosty relationship between Denson and the commission is about to break out into open warfare. In an almost unheard-of move, commissioners unanimously voted to override the mayor and force an item onto the agenda that she had blocked. Commissioner Jared Bailey wants the planning commission to start reviewing the pre-Internet law regulating what types of businesses people can operate out of their homes, which he said will encourage entrepreneurship. Denson refused to let that review move forward because it initially grew out of a request to allow dog-boarding in residential neighborhoods, which she opposes. But, of course, just because thatâ€™s what started the discussion doesnâ€™t mean youâ€™ll have a kennel full of yapping Yorkies next door.
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capitol impact Ethics Law Has Room for Improvement The new law also does not take effect until Jan. 1, which means lobbyists can continue to spend unlimited amounts of money on legislators for the next few months. In fact, several lawmakers have been spotted at Atlanta Braves games in recent weeks using tickets supplied by lobbyists. On top of all that, Speaker Ralston, who often blocked attempts to put limitations on lobbyist spending, still does not think that lobbyist influence is that big a problem. Ralston attended the bill signing ceremony for the ethics legislation, which he sponsored, and told reporters: â€œIs there a cause and effect between (lobbyist) spending and legislative action? No. I donâ€™t think there was a cause and effect.â€? The concerns about the new ethics law are valid ones, but the problems are not so bad that they canâ€™t be fixed in future legislative sessions. â€œItâ€™s not ideal, itâ€™s not everything I wanted, but it still represents progress,â€? said Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus), one of the most persistent advocates for a limitation on lobbyist spending. â€œWe all have work to do in this area. Iâ€™m intending to come back next year and seek some changes.â€? Despite all its flaws, the new ethics law is at least a foot in the door. The mere concept of a limit on lobbyist spending, however loosely defined, is now written down in state law. Legislators will have the authority, if they choose to use it, to amend the spending cap, eliminate the loophole for lawyers and change the lawâ€™s other provisions to put even more limits on what lobbyists can do. If enough of these amendments can be made to the ethics law, it is possible that one day lobbyists really wonâ€™t have the kind of influence over legislators that they now enjoy. It is something to hope for, anyway. Tom Crawford email@example.com
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Until last week, Georgia had been one of only three remaining states that put absolutely no limits on how much money lobbyists could spend to influence the passage or defeat of legislation in a General Assembly session. Gov. Nathan Deal removed Georgia from that list when he signed the ethics revision bill into law. Itâ€™s easy to criticize legislators for their reluctance to derail this lobbyist gravy train that so many of them have ridden over the years, but in fairness, there are some commendable aspects to the new law. For the first time, there will be a limit on what lobbyists can spend when they entertain a lawmaker: $75. Legislators can no longer accept tickets to concerts or sporting events unless they pay the face value of the ticket. In addition, lobbyists will no longer be allowed to pay for legislative trips out of the country. This provision was a response to the media uproar caused by the free junket to Europe provided by a lobbyist for House Speaker David Ralston and his family a few years ago. No legislation is perfect, and this particular ethics law has more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese. There is no limit in the new law on how many of these $75 gifts a legislator can accept. Several lobbyists could theoretically pool their resources and provide a lawmaker with something worth a lot of money so long as no individual lobbyist chipped in more than $75. The common practice of providing legislators with free airline travel upgradesâ€”a tactic employed by Delta Air Lines, which has received special tax breaks from lawmakers worth millions of dollarsâ€”is held to be legal under the new law. A section was added to the ethics bill that provides a loophole for attorneys. A lawyer can claim that he or she is â€œrepresenting a clientâ€? and would not be required to register as a lobbyist.
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Even Though the Drought Is Over
Heavy rains flooded the North Oconee River week last week.
four out of the past six years, Athens and much full. We had a waiting list. People are ready to be ready for the of Georgia have been mired in drought. next drought.” At one point in late 2007, it got so bad that There’s no telling when that next drought might come, but Athens-Clarke County officials considered importing bottled “I don’t see us going back into a drought anytime soon,” Knox water and tapping Lake Chapman in Sandy Creek Park, because says. the city only had six weeks’ worth of drinking water left. Weather patterns have been moving north-south, rather “If it’s yellow, let it mellow” became Athenians’ motto. than east-west like they usually do, which accounts for all the People wouldn’t flush a toilet, let alone wash a car or sprinkle recent rain, as well as the wild temperature swings, she says. a lawn. Not even former Gov. Sonny Perdue’s prayers would The rain was enough to drench the soil so that Georgia can open up the skies. withstand a dry period. “It’s like a bank account,” she says. The situation improved by 2009. But in 2011, drought “Even if we go through a dry period, you have something to struck again. build on.” Heavy rainfall this year—including a record nine inches Summer rains in Georgia mainly depend on whether any in February—has refilled rivers, aquifers and reservoirs and tropical storms drift over the state. Experts are predicting an recharged the soil. active hurricane season, but more of the storms are expected “I think the last six months, we’ve been back to normal, to hit the East Coast, not the Gulf Coast, she says. An El Niño but it takes a while for those things to recover,” Athens-Clarke weather pattern hasn’t developed off South America’s Pacific County Water Conservation Coordinator Marilyn Hall says. coast—which means more tropical storms in North America— Drought is lingering only in a small slice of the Georgia but if one does, the warmer water will mean fewer tropical coast near Brunswick, according to University of Georgia clistorms. However, such predictions are iffy, she says. matologist Pam Knox. “After this week, after all the rain we’ve The uncertainty is one reason why Chris Manganiello, policy gotten since January, the whole state director at the Athens-based Georgia will be drought-free,” Knox says. River Network, questions the decision Effective May 1, Mayor Nancy “After all the rain we’ve gotten to lift outdoor water restrictions. Denson eased outdoor watering He agrees that bodies of water like since January, the whole state the North and Middle Oconee rivrestrictions for the first time in two years, and the restrictions could go ers (Athens’ main water sources) will be drought-free.” away entirely within the next month and Bear Creek Reservoir in Jackson or two. County (our source when the rivers Athens’ water conservation efforts have been highly effecget too low) are “in pretty good shape.” In fact, the North tive. Residents and businesses are using an average of 11 milOconee flooded last week, as anyone who tried to go on the lion gallons of water per day this month. Last summer—the greenway can attest to. season when there’s the least rainfall, evaporation is highest “I can’t remember when the North Oconee and Trail Creek and people use the most water—the average daily use was almost jumped their banks, but of course it’s not going to rain 14 million gallons, down from a peak of 26 million before the forever,” Manganiello says. 2007-2009 drought. “It’s about on par with what we’ve been Changing the outdoor watering rules could get people out using since the big drought four years ago,” Hall says. of the habit of conserving, he says. “What makes me nervous is Part of that drop is due to more awareness of water issues people have gotten used to these restrictions,” he says. “Do we stemming from the crisis six years ago. “We used to think of really want to tweak them, particularly if we have to change water as an unlimited resource,” Denson says. “I think citizens them back?” and government alike are thinking about it differently now.” Old habits die hard, though. Denson says she hasn’t turned And even though the drought is all but over, Athens resion a hose outside since her husband died. “When Bob was dents continue to conserve, Hall says. Interest is still high in alive, we had huge water bills,” she says. “I haven’t watered events like Roll Out the Barrels, an auction of artist-decorated the yard in seven years. It’s still green. It’s not dead.” rain barrels to benefit environment education Friday, May 17 at Athens’ tiered pricing system is still in place, which should 5:30 p.m. at the Lyndon House Arts Center. “If anything, it’s tamp down on excess water use. The system, instituted in increased,” Hall says. “I think our last drip-irrigation class was 2008, during a previous drought, set a baseline for households’
FLAGPOLE.COM ∙ MAY 15, 2013
water usage, then charges extra for using more. “I’ve strayed out of that base rate a couple times, and it’s made me think hard about how I’m using that water,” Manganiello says. Denson says she receives weekly reports on local stream flows, reservoir level and soil moisture. The Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority—a partnership among Athens-Clarke, Barrow, Jackson and Oconee counties to run Bear Creek Reservoir—meets monthly to discuss outdoor watering restrictions and other issues. Any restrictions in effect in Athens are in effect in the other four counties, as well. “We’ll be keeping a close eye on it, but unless weather patterns change drastically, we should be fine through this summer season,” Denson says. Blake Aued
What Are the Watering Restrictions? People with odd-numbered addresses can water on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. People with even-numbered addresses can water on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays Spray irrigation, lawn sprinkling and hand watering without an automatic shutoff are still banned between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Non-commercial car washes, filling pools, watering food gardens, hand watering. pressure washing by homeowners and hosing off sidewalks are allowed anytime on the appropriate day. Drip irrigation, soaker hoses, commercial pressurewashing, irrigating newly installed turf for the first 30 days, watering golf course tee boxes and greens, hydroseeding, using well water and rainwater and reusing gray water are allowed any day, any time. A permit from the Athens-Clarke Public Utilities Department is required to spray-irrigate new plantings on weekdays.
Don’t Stop Conserving
Planning on Prince
Will It Ever Be a Complete Street?
If Not Now, When?
too. Perhaps to space out planning department assignments, commissioners decided last year to limit the discussion to zoning only. Nobody seems to remember when that happened, or why—work sessions are open to the public, but they are not televised, no official notes are taken and there are no formal votes.
If Not This, What? “Any project this extensive is going to be phased and prioritized,” Commissioner Kelly Girtz told Flagpole, but he didn’t remember the work session discussion. “To be honest, I don’t recall the specifics,” agreed Commissioner Andy Herod. If commissioners do decide to backtrack on a decision they don’t seem to recall having made, it will take awhile to undo it; the zoning question goes first to the planning commission, then back to the county commission no sooner than June. There are precedents for avoiding discussions of Prince Avenue, which have brought political firestorms in the past. In 1998, then-Mayor Doc Eldridge’s campaign included adding bike lanes to Prince Avenue, but it never happened. A 2001 study by ACC’s transportation department (which had received
“If you’re going to allow for more density and intensity of use along the corridor, make sure you have the infrastructure (in terms of traffic planning, pedestrian safety, protection of historic resources and other amenities),” wrote six members of a stakeholders committee Mayor Nancy Denson appointed to give feedback on the proposed zoning changes. County planner Bruce Lonnee, who has been working with the committee, told Flagpole that ACC commissioners had specifically directed planners at a work session late last year not to formulate any streetscape or traffic proposals for Prince. “They didn’t want us to initiate anything with GDOT at this point,” he said, referring to the state Department of Transportation, which must approve streetscape changes, because much of Prince is a state highway. The Oak/Oconee Street corridor, not Prince Avenue, will be the first test of the Complete Streets policy, Lonnee told Flagpole. Nor were members of the citizens’ committee encouraged to discuss historic preservation or transportation issues. “They did come up from time to time” at the committee’s meetings, said Dan Lorentz, a committee member and president of the Boulevard Neighborhood Association, but “we all sort of understood that [zoning] was the scope” of the committee’s input. “That’s a big, big problem,” said BikeAthens President Elliot Caldwell, who also served on the stakeholders committee. Several committee members and other citizens told the ACC Planning Commission earlier this month that zoning changes shouldn’t be considered in isolation from other Prince Avenue issues. “You’re putting the cart before the horse,” said Tony Eubanks, a longtime Prince Avenue activist. Planning commissioners seemed to agree: “Just picking land uses seems the wrong place to start,” said Chrissy Marlowe, citing dangers to pedestrians crossing Prince. Proposed zoning changes on Prince Avenue don’t include bike lanes. “We’re just not having the right conversation right now.” “numerous” requests for bike lanes on Prince Avenue) conACC commissioners need to apply the required resources to cluded that reducing the street from four lanes to three and questions about Prince, planning commissioner Lucy Rowland adding bike lanes would be “feasible” between downtown and said. Milledge Avenue; beyond Milledge, traffic counts are higher and “I just don’t want this to drag out for years, because everythe street is controlled by the state GDOT. one will be frustrated,” she said. The lane change could be accomplished with no loss of onPlanning Director Brad Griffin has estimated that a street parking, the study said. But the proposal became politiComplete Streets analysis by his department could take 18 cally charged, hysterical emails flew and then-Commissioner months; Griffin has insisted on spacing out assignments to his Hugh Logan orchestrated a dramatic vote that removed Prince department after having them piled on in the past. entirely from the county’s long-term Bicycle Master Plan. Nothing is likely to happen quickly on Prince. Commissioner David Lynn subsequently defeated Logan at Commissioners’ reluctance to raise issues of traffic or presthe polls, and a rather different group of commissioners later ervation may smack of politics—and changes to Prince have restored Prince to the bike plan. But the commission rejected certainly been controversial in past years, which is why they three-laning and bike lanes on Prince in 2005. haven’t already happened—but bureaucratic inertia is a factor,
Prince has also shown how negotiation can work to defuse conflicts like the threatened expansion of Athens Regional Medical Center into adjacent neighborhoods. In the early 2000s, CAPPA (Citizens’ Approach to Planning Prince Avenue), led by Eubanks, mounted a grassroots study to reimagine the entire corridor. It suggested adding trees along the right-ofway (as the county has since done) and parking lots, adding medians and bicycle lanes, putting utilities underground and turning some one-way street outlets into pedestrian malls. Some of CAPPA’s varied visualizations of Prince’s possible future are on view at www.historicboulevard.org. They influenced the county’s own 2012 Prince Avenue Corridor Study, which some feel that commissioners are ignoring along with the new Complete Streets policy. That corridor study, developed by the ACC Planning Department, recommends increasing densities, both residential and commercial, along Prince. “Increases in transit frequency and neighborhood-oriented and -scaled businesses both require greater residential densities to sustain these services,” it says. “A detailed, master streetscape plan” should be developed for all segments of Prince Avenue, according to the study, and a traffic study should be done, with consideration given to mid-block crosswalks and “lane configuration changes” (preBlake Aued
thens-Clarke County now has a Complete Streets policy, but will it apply to Prince Avenue? Passed in December, Complete Streets signals ACC’s intention to accommodate all users—not just cars—when street changes are being planned, but it includes no specific projects or money. And in the meantime, ACC commissioners have explicitly excluded streetscape changes from an ongoing study and discussion about making zoning changes along Prince—an exclusion that doesn’t make sense to some participants. The proposed zoning changes would loosen some square footage limits on new development and were recommended by last year’s Prince Avenue Corridor Study, along with transition zones between businesses and neighborhoods. But that study by county planners makes broad recommendations for Prince that go far beyond zoning tweaks: It recommends streetscape changes, accommodation of “bike routes along, across, and/ or through” the entire length of Prince, protection of historic buildings and more greenspaces. So far, though, commissioners have only authorized moving forward on the new zoning category.
sumably three-laning with bicycle lanes and perhaps taking control of Prince from the state with attendant maintenance costs). Buildings on the Piedmont College and UGA Health Sciences campuses should be considered for historic protection, the study said, stronger greenspace connections and pocket parks should be developed and a new zoning category should be formulated for some parcels. Meanwhile, a public hearing on the proposed Prince Avenue zoning changes will be held on Monday, May 20 at 7 p.m. at George Hall on the University of Georgia Health Sciences Campus. John Huie
MAY 15, 2013 · FLAGPOLE.COM
Still Big, But Better? Selig Development Up for Vote Next Month
residents will finally (finally!) get a chance to formally weigh in on Selig Enterprises’ controversial downtown development. A year and a half after the proposal was made public, Selig Enteprise filed plans with Athens-Clarke County earlier this month for a massive mixed use development on the Armstrong & Dobbs property between East Broad and Oconee streets. And, yes, it will require Athens-Clarke County Commission approval—but only for a small portion of the development. Part of the development would include ground-floor residential units, which are illegal downtown—ACC requires commercial space on the ground floor in the downtown area—so Selig will need a special use permit from the commission. The county planning commission is scheduled to make a recommendation on the request at its Thursday, June 6 meeting at 7 p.m. in the planning department’s Dougherty Street auditorium. (Public comment will be taken.) It’s only supposed to consider the narrow issue of whether ground floor residential should be allowed. “That’s what staff’s review is going to be held to, and that’s what the planning commission is supposed to focus on, not the big picture,” ACC planner Gavin Hassemer says. The “big picture” decision will be left to the ACC Commission at its Tuesday, July 2 meeting, should the planning commission issue a recommendation June 6, a time when many locals are likely to be out of town on vacation. However, even if the commission turns down the special use application, Selig could still build the development with retail on the ground floor. At the same time, Selig is also going through an alternative compliance process to get around minimum window requirements along Wikerson Street and part of East Broad Street because the topography and lack of space for on-street parking make ground-floor storefronts with windows impossible, says Jo Ann Chitty, senior vice president for the Atlanta-based firm. A public art mural could cover a blank wall along East Broad. “The way the topo goes with the road, and the way the buildings have to be constructed, it’s almost like a retaining wall,” Hassemer says. The alternative compliance process was put into place as part of downtown design guidelines approved in 2006 to give developers more flexibility to meet the guidelines. “It gives
them a chance to give and take,” Hassemer says. The ACC Planning Commission has final approval on that aspect of the plans. The requests prove that Protect Downtown Athens—the Patterson Hood-soundtracked activist group formed to fight, or at least positively influence the development—was right in saying that it wasn’t a “done deal” and didn’t meet the local zoning code. Co-founder Tony Eubanks isn’t ready to comment on it quite yet. “We appreciate Selig’s efforts to address some of our concerns with the previous plan,” he says. “It’s a significant change from the original proposal, and given the potential impact, we’re studying the plans to issue a careful analysis as soon as possible.”
The development is still gargantuan: half a million square feet, including a Walmart’s worth of commercial space (though divided up into smaller stores) and 375 apartments. But “the design has improved, thanks to public input that Mayor Denson sought to thwart,” says Russell Edwards, part of the People for a Better Athens movement that fought the development when Walmart, which has since backed out, was supposed to be the anchor. As promised, the development’s big box anchor is much smaller: 35,500 square feet, as opposed to 90,000 in the original 2011 proposal, which was never filed. The anchor has also been moved from the corner of Wilkerson and Oconee streets to the middle of the development, near the Hickory Street extension that will connect Oconee Street to the Multimodal Center. Another common complaint was that the development turned its back on the future Firefly Trail. Retailers and apartments will now line the rails-to-trails project on the east side of the development. There will be bike racks, a tire pump and outdoor tables along Firefly Trail, too, Chitty says. The development will draw an estimated 5,900 car trips per day, according to Selig’s 460-page traffic study. To accommodate those cars, the company plans to add a left turn lane to southbound Oconee Street, as well as a traffic signal at the intersection with Hickory Street Extension. That street will connect Oconee Street and the University of Georgia campus to the Multimodal Center. It will, according to Chitty, be “beyond what’s called for in the (ACC) transportation plan,” and will be able to accommodate buses and include sidewalks, bike lanes and a pedestrian plaza at the East Broad Street entrance. All those drivers will need places to park, and so will the nearly 1,000 people who could live there. The development will include about 1,400 parking spaces in two decks that are mostly hidden by apartments and stores. “We anticipate that the primary residents will be students,” Chitty says. “That’s the market.” Some of them could be converted to condos down the road, she adds. Additional student housing was needed to obtain financing and attract retailers to the development, she says. “The more residential there is downtown, the better it’s going to be for the businesses, the retailers and the restaurants.” Chitty says Selig is seeking “a mix of national, regional and local retailers that will be a good fit for Athens and this space. “No leases have been signed yet, but there is strong interest in this project.” Blake Aued firstname.lastname@example.org
FLAGPOLE.COM ∙ MAY 15, 2013
the reader DRINKING FROM THE FIREHOSE Recently I was listening to Daddiâ€™s House, my friend Buggâ€™s Wednesday-night Internet show on Radio Free Athens, as Bugg was interviewing members of local punkbilly outfit Grim Pickins and the Bastard Congregation. Amidst the free-floating conversation, somewhere between the on-air beer run and the question of just what the hell happened to Metallica, the topic of local rock shows came up, specifically why straight-up rock and roll seems to be foundering in this town. While a number of theories about changing audiences and current trends were batted about, one thing popped into my head: marketing, or rather the lack thereof. Yes, itâ€™s a given that Athens is never going to recapture the glory of its heyday in the â€˜80s, when every bar in town had its doors thrown open or blown off by countless rock bands and every kid on the street was rushing between them to catch so-and-so before their set started. The lightning that struck then continues to crackle, however, and Athens remains a vibrant town for bands, artists, performers, writers, filmmakers and other creative types to practice and disseminate their respective arts. The problem is that while art is made in a thousand different ways here, it doesnâ€™t sell the way it should. Bands find the audiences of their friends dwindling rather than growing. Art openings are attended by other artists who come for the wine and cheese and leave emptyhanded. Community theater openings attract the season-ticket holders and members of the company and still draw half-houses. Across the board, the arts community remains a closed circle with diminishing returns. The reason? Poor promotion, inadequate publicity and lazy marketing. Facebook provides my news, my gossip and what passes for my social life. Itâ€™s also where I find out about upcoming shows and performancesâ€”that is, provided Iâ€™ve been invited or happen to catch it in my news feed, and recognize any of the bands or players, or get a wild hair up my ass to click on the link. Iâ€™m one guy who happens to have an interest in supporting local artists and itâ€™s a crapshoot to inform me of upcoming gigs. Flyers downtown are one piece of paper among hundreds of them. And much as I love this hippie socialist rag youâ€™re reading right now, one bandâ€™s blurb in the Calendar is just not enough. I know weâ€™re all artists here and weâ€™d rather be making art than hustling it, but in our current climate of information deluge, of drinking from the firehose, we have to fit our heads for an entrepreneurial hat. We have to become salesmen for our work. We need to become marketers, constantly on the hunt for new ways to make our work stand out and take off. We may not like to think of our creative endeavors as commodities to be bought and sold, but as author Joe R. Lansdale puts it, â€œHemingway cashed his checks.â€? The best marketing tool, in art and music as in any other product or service, is word-of-
mouth, but how do you go about generating it in our culture of constant and overwhelming noise? Fortunately, Wharton professor Jonah Berger addresses this issue in his crisp, tight new book Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster, 2013). This remarkable book is nothing less than a crash-course in viral marketing, and while it may not address the arts specifically, it outlines a simple but effective formula for spinning any product into widespread currency. Whether youâ€™re selling widgets or rock operas, the book is worth picking up. Bergerâ€™s book builds on years of research into a broad sampling of viral phenomena, many of which he recounts anecdotally here. That guy Jared who lost 250 pounds eating Subway and propelled the chain to toptier fast-food status. The inventor of the iPad-eating blender whose YouTube videos moved thousands of units. The creator of the hundred-dollar Philly cheesesteak. Berger uses these and other examplars of the ordinary rendered extraordinary to demonstrate how the right idea can infect the social consciousness and spread when administered with keen psychological and sociological insight. The formula Berger proposes boils down to six steps, to which he gives the acronym STEPPS: Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value and Stories. As he outlines each component of his viral-marketing concoction, Berger offers up an array of practical examples backed with hard data that avoids dry wonkiness and steps lively. Take Kit-Kat candy bars, a perennial favorite (the jingle now resides in our DNA) that was nonetheless on the verge of extinction from a market dip a few years back. While this seems surprising, what is more startling is the market surge the product received after one marketer hit on the unusual idea of pairing Kit-Kats with coffee in an ad campaign. Berger shows how this bit of wildcat wisdom worked through the application of the principles he outlines here, which boils down to a simple rethinking of the product from the consumerâ€™s point of view. Itâ€™s a concept all producers of goods and services should keep in mind but that few do, fundamental as it is. One neednâ€™t necessarily change the packaging, advertise it louder, or find ways to make it (ugh) â€œnew and improved!â€? Ultimately, itâ€™s not about the product; itâ€™s about us. Contagious is a great read, short (especially for a business-oriented book by an academic) and enjoyable throughout (ditto). More to the point, itâ€™s a useful read with practical applications for everyone with a product to sell, and if you are an artist of any stripe, youâ€™ve got units to move. I for one would love to see more musicians, writers, artists and creative people in this town be able to quit their day jobs. Learning to channel some of that creativity into marketing their work uniquely and effectively is a giant step in that direction. John G. Nettles
Take Me To Your Readers!
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movie dope Some releases may not be showing locally this week. • indicates new review 42 (PG-13) Something about the challenges faced by Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) as he broke the color barrier in professional baseball feels so much more singular than your average true tale of successfully bucking the odds. Boseman’s performance is not a skilled mimicry like so many other portrayals of famous persons; he imbues Robinson with such strength of character and composure. THE BIG WEDDING (R) The Big Wedding should be celebrated as a strong candidate for worst film of the year. The opening gag combines an exwife stumbling upon her former spouse and his girlfriend in the midst of sex. Oh the guffaws! They can only be matched by a grown daughter throwing up on her dad. Hilarious! Seriously, The Big Wedding is populated by offensive, meanly unfunny characters differentiated by their virginity or lack thereof. The sinking ship of a movie has nary one likable, nuanced character to grab onto like a life raft. Avoid these nuptials at all costs. THE COMPANY YOU KEEP (R) A lawyer (Robert Redford) goes on the run after a young reporter (Shia LaBeouf) outs him as a member of the domestic terrorist organization, the Weather Underground. Naturally, the newspaperman discovers more to the story than first thought. The mystery isn’t terribly hard to solve (the clues are dropped a bit too obviously), but the decrease in tension is made up for by onscreen talent. The Company You Keep isn’t hip (though one might wonder how Redford’s nearly 80-yearold fugitive doesn’t break one). It’s a natural, narrative extension of Redford’s career. (Ciné) THE CROODS (PG) Despite its underwhelming trailers, The Croods stands out as one of the best non-Pixar animated family films released in the last few years. A family of cavemen— dad Grug (v. Nicolas Cage), mom Ugga (v. Catherine Keener), teen daughter Eep (v. Emma Stone), dumb son Thunk (v. Clarke Duke), feral baby Sandy and grandma (v. Cloris Leachman)—are forced on a cross-country road trip after their cave is destroyed by the impending “end of the world.” ERASED (R) Mix a cut-rate Bourne Identity with a little Liam Neeson-ish Taken action and you wind up with the bland-looking concoction called Erased. Aaron Eckhart stars as a guy who wears a suit to work and happens
to be a decommissioned black ops agent. Former music video director Philipp Stolzl received higher marks for his Young Goethe in Love, but this action flick looks in dire need of a stronger script. With Liana Liberato as the endangered daughter and Olga Kurylenko. FRANCES HA (R) Could this be Greta Gerwig’s big, Lena Dunham-ish break? She co-wrote this comedy with director Noah Baumbach (The Squid & the Whale), and judging from the trailer, it could be an indie smash. Think “Girls” on the big screen (but no Dunham). Frances (Gerwig) works for a dance troupe, though she’s not a dancer, and goes all in for her dreams. With Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver (“Girls”) and another daughter of Meryl Streep, Grace Gummer. FROM UP ON POPPY HILL (PG) 2011. Legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki collaborates with his son Goro’s second feature. (His first was Tales from Earthsea.) As the 1964 Tokyo Olympics approach, a group of teenagers in Yokohama seek to save their school clubhouse. Japan’s biggest domestic hit of 2011 won the Best Animation Film prize from the Awards of the Japanese Academy. • THE GREAT GATSBY (PG-13) Like all Baz Luhrmann’s films save Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby left me highly conflicted. A creative, stylistic tour de force, the film starts off kinetic to the point of claustrophobia. The constant moving and zooming camera and non-stop edits choke the air out of the first act; the film just needs to stop and catch its breath for a moment. The film doesn’t stop its constant Charlestoning until Nick Carroway (Tobey Maguire) meets reclusive millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) at one of the latter’s renowned parties. Finally, the film takes a hiccupping breath. Luhrmann’s always favored style over substance, and the Roaring ‘20s are a great place to indulge his whims. However, his hyperactive visualization fill his adaptation of Fitzgerald’s classic novel with the air of parody. The film often feels like a musical with the song-and-dance numbers cut out. Still, its liveliness bests Jack Clayton’s dull 1974 adaptation starring an especially wooden Robert Redford. DiCaprio better imbues Gatsby with the decade’s decadent hopefulness. THE HOST (PG-13) What Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight novels did to horror,
C I N E M AS Movie showtimes are not available by our deadline. Please check cinema websites for accurate information. CINÉ • 234 W. Hancock Ave. • 706-353-3343 • www.athenscine.com GEORGIA MUSEUM OF ART • (UGA Campus) 90 Carlton St. • 706-542-GMOA • www.uga.edu/gamuseum/calendar/films.html TATE STUDENT CENTER • (UGA Campus) 45 Baxter St. • 706-542-6396 • www.union.uga.edu/movies Beechwood Stadium cinemas 11 • 196 Alps Rd. • 706-546-1011 • www.georgiatheatrecompany.com Carmike 12 • 1570 Lexington Rd. • 706-354-0016 • www.carmike.com Georgia Square value cinemas 5 • 3710 Atlanta Hwy. • 706-548-3426 • www.georgiatheatrecompany.com
FLAGPOLE.COM ∙ MAY 15, 2013
she does to science fiction in The Host. Alien invaders have conquered Earth. Most of humanity has had their bodies taken over by an extraterrestrial tenant. When the invaders implant a soul named Wanderer into the body of Melanie Styder (Saoirse Ronan), Melanie fights back, eventually convincing/leading Wanderer to Melanie’s human family and friends, a group of desert-living rebels. Once there, Wanda, as the humans call her, falls for one boy, while Melanie continues to love Jared (Max Irons). You knew Meyer would work her love triangle (or in this case, love rectangle?) into the plot somewhere. IDENTITY THIEF (R) With two kids and another on the way, Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) is struggling to make ends meet. Having his identity stolen by friendless Diana (Melissa McCarthy) only further aggravates his financial distress. Strangely, the gags work best when Bateman’s straight man and McCarthy’s manic criminal bond rather than fight. Too bad the mean-spirited comic scenarios cooked up by screenwriter Craig
have a taste for human flesh. Of course, this new telling has to involve a love interest, headstrong Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson), who Jack sets out to rescue. • MUD (PG-13) Boasting a star-studded cast of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepard, Ray McKinnon, Michael Shannon, Sarah Paulson and Joe Don Baker, Jeff Nichols’ third feature offers this promising rising filmmaker with his best chance of widespread success. A coming of age tale set in the disappearing wilds of the small town south, Mud aims high, as Nichols attempts to channel Mark Twain, and hits the target square in the bull’s eye. Two teens—Ellis (Tye Sheridan, Tree of Life) and Neckbone (newcomer Jacob Lofland)—discover a boat in a tree. They also discover McConaughey’s Mud, a fugitive living in the boat in the tree, while he waits to escape with the love of his life, Juniper (Witherspoon). Ellis also feels the sting of family troubles and first love/first heartbreak. Mud watches like a work of modern literature, capturing the last gasps of
I can’t hear you, Captain. I’m only getting two bars. Mazin (Scary Movies 3 and 4 and The Hangover: Parts II and III) lack originality. Director Seth Gordon and his hilarious stars have done and will do comedy better. IRON MAN 3 (PG-13) Happily, Shane Black has taken over the Iron Man franchise from Jon Favreau (Black also co-wrote the script), and it’s mostly a blast right out of 1987. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) may be the rare superhero alter ego that is more interesting out of costume, but watching him investigate a mystery in Small Town, Tennessee (child sidekick in tow) felt more like episodic television than the initial, post-Avengers solo adventure. The Iron Man franchise goes 0 for 3 on villains; none are in Iron Man’s league. The potential of The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is wasted with a twist that, while amusingly executed, leaves the film villainously bereft. Such minor quibbles don’t devalue Iron Man 3’s entertainment worth; it’s one high quality blockbuster. JACK THE GIANT SLAYER (PG-13) While far from a bad fantasy film, this retooled telling of the classic children’s stories, Jack the Giant Killer and Jack and the Beanstalk, does little to fire the imagination once the credits roll. We all know the story: young Jack (Marcus Hoult, whose romzom Warm Bodies showed loads more creativity) gets some magic beans, from which a giant beanstalk grows. At the top of the leafy, green ladder is a land full of giants who
a dying culture as one boy becomes a man. As one of 2013’s more challenging films, Mud dethrones its closest competitor, The Place Beyond the Pines, as it reminds me of early David Gordon Green, before all his releases blended into the same, artless marijuana-addled haze. OBLIVION (PG-13) The new Tom Cruise action, sci-fi spectacle is a doozy of a looker. Everything from the set design to the vehicle design to the music (scored by M83) is stylishly crafted and a visual/aural knockout. After fighting off an alien invasion via nuclear destruction, humanity has moved off-planet to Titan, a moon of Saturn. Two people, tech Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and his communications liaison Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), have been left behind, tasked to protect the giant hydroreactors that power Titan using remnants of the alien invaders. But Jack’s world is turned upside down by the arrival of a NASA scientist (Olga Kurylenko) of whom Jack has been dreaming, and by the discovery of human survivors, led by Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman). Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski co-scripted Oblivion from his own graphic novel, and despite its derivative pieces, the whole narrative coheres rather well. PAIN & GAIN (R) With the subtlety of an 18 wheeler, Pain & Gain chronicles the true story of three bodybuilders— Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) and Adrian
Doorbal (Anthony Mackie)—who turn to crime in order to achieve the American Dream. If you were hoping director Michael Bay had a quirky indie crime caper in him, he doesn’t. The film is too long, sledgehammeringly artless and mindnumbingly dumb. It’s a film created in the image of its characters and equally as appealing as those amateur criminals. Would I have preferred a shorter, pulpier version of this tale (or better yet, an award winning documentary)? Yes. Will I accept this musclebound, meathead movie? Certainly, but only once. • PEEPLES (PG-13) The directorial debut of Tina Gordon Chism, the writer of ATL and Drumline, might as well be called Meet the Peeples. Stop me if this plotline sounds familiar. A guy, Wade Walker (Craig Robinson, who makes more out of his time in the spotlight than most comic actors would), in love with a girl, Grace Peeples (Kerry Washington, Django Unchained), who is way out of his league, seeks to please her domineering father, federal judge Virgil Peeples (David Alan Grier, whose believability as Washington’s father does more to make me feel my age than the increasing gray of my beard). The “chocolate Kennedys,” as Wade calls the Peeples, have their own problems, which lead to sub-sitcom problems and hijinks. Wade’s brother, a doll doctor (Malcolm Barrett), refers to a “black ‘Three’s Company,’” a fairly fitting description of the entire movie. I wouldn’t be shocked to see producer Tyler Perry turning this flick into his latest TBS sitcom. Imagine the hilarity of the Browns-Peeples crossover. No seriously, you’ll have to imagine the laughs because they won’t exist. A PLACE AT THE TABLE (PG) This new documentary from the same production company that released Food, Inc. examines the hunger pangs felt by millions of Americans every day. Thankfully, filmmakers Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush also offer solutions. The inimitable Jeff Bridges appears as himself, as do five-time James Beard Foundation Medal winner Tom Colicchio, Ken Cook and Raj Patel. A Place at the Table was nominated for the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize. The music is coolly provided by The Civil Wars and T Bone Burnett. (Ciné) THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES (R) Writer-director Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up to Blue Valentine is constructed like three short stories, all connected by one major event. In the first story, Ryan Gosling stars as Luke Glanton, a stunt bike rider who turns to bank robbery to take care of his young son and baby mama (Eva Mendes). The second story stars Bradley Cooper as Avery Cross, a rookie police officer turned hero turned whistleblower. The final arc connects the two men via their similarly aged sons in ways much less profound than the somber film or its imperious running time imply. An ambitious character study of fathers and sons, The Place Beyond the Pines isn’t an easy watch, but is ultimately more rewarding than arduous. (Ciné) SAFE HAVEN (PG-13) One thing I enjoy about reviewing movies is having a readymade excuse for watching sappy romances like Safe Haven. Unfortunately, the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation, set in another North Carolina paradise, is one solved
mystery away from just being one couple’s two hour how we met story. Pretty, young Katie is on the run from a constantly drunk, really sweaty cop (“Revolution” star David Lyons). Lucky for her, a hot widower, Alex (Josh Duhamel), with two cute kids is ready to love again. Wondering how this romance is ultimately different from Sleeping with the Enemy? Then prepare for the laughable, Shyamalan-esque, climactic twist. THE SAPPHIRES (PG-13) Based on a true story, this comedy follows four Australian Aboriginal women and their manager as they form a singing group in 1968 and tour Vietnam to perform for the troops, featuring feel-good musical numbers mixed with political conflict. (Ciné) SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (R) 2012. After being released from a state mental hospital, Pat (Bradley Cooper) meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who lost it after the death of her husband. Instead of exacerbating each other’s unhealthy flaws, the relationship between these two cracked souls heals both, much to the surprise of everyone. Silver Linings Playbook has an awkward edge that makes even the smallest successes so much sweeter. David O. Russell’s fiery demeanor and beautiful writing certainly ignites his actors. Silver Linings Playbook should not be missed. SNITCH (PG-13) Construction bigwig John Matthews (The Rock, né Dwayne Johnson) will do anything to lessen his son Jason’s jail time after a drug arrest. Matthews convinces one of his ex-con employees, Daniel (Jon Bernthal, late of “The Walking Dead”), to introduce him to a drug dealer, Malik (Michael K. Williams), in order to cut a deal with federal prosecutor Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon), who could use a big bust to boost her congressional campaign. Refreshingly, Johnson spends most of the movie in desperate dad mode as opposed to real life action figure. Appearances be damned, Snitch is no ‘80s action rehash; the movie’s got too much gravitas for Ah-nuld, even in his prime. l STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (PG-13) J.J. Abrams (recently picked to helm Star Wars VII) continues his reboot of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew—Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho) and Chekhov (Anton Yelchin)—go after a terrorist (Benedict Cumberbatch, best known for the BBC’s “Sherlock”) that many people are wistfully hoping to be Khan, the antagonist from the best Trek movie, Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. We’ll find out soon enough. STORIES WE TELL (PG-13) Sarah Polley follows up her Academy Award nominated Away from Her with this extraordinary looking, quite personal documentary about her own family. Using Super 8 footage and family interviews, Polley seeks to uncover the mystery of her parentage. Apparently, her dad isn’t really her dad, and she uses her chosen medium to find the truth. Stories We Tell has won several Canadian Film Awards and was an official selection of the Sundance, Venice, Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals. TO THE WONDER (R) 2012. Terrrence Malick delivers a second movie in two years after a lengthy hiatus. This one is a romantic melodrama featuring an indecisive man (Ben Affleck) caught between the love of two very different women (Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko). Early reviews seem to suggest that the visuals are at least slightly reminiscent of the gauzy, sun-soaked Tree of Life, but that the story is more linear. (Ciné) Drew Wheeler
movie pick Writing on Water TO THE WONDER (R) An American abroad Lubezki), use of classical music and sophisti(Ben Affleck) falls in love with a woman (Olga cated editing patterns. While Malick heavily Kurylenko) in France. He brings the woman relies on interior monologues rather than and her daughter back to Oklahoma, but actual dialogue to convey his thematic contheir relationship is tested. She goes back cerns, much of the movieâ€™s real power is purely to Europe and he falls in love with an old cinematicâ€”how that precarious mix of shot girlfriend (Rachel McAdams). Their love frays selection and editing rhythm miraculously too. Meanwhile, a priest (Javier Bardem) in heightens our awareness toward meaning. Oklahoma undergoes a crisis of faith. For anyone unfamiliar with Malickâ€™s work, Is there any living film director better at To the Wonder is not the movie to start with. evoking the numinous than Terrence Malick? The opening scenes (set in France) feel like Throughout his career, a self-parody. You Malick has challenged wouldnâ€™t be repriaudiences with quesmanded if you mistaktions regarding how we enly thought you were engage or reject the watching an overlong presence of divinity in fashion commercial the world. By the time with beautiful people the reclusive director cavorting in beautireturned after a 20-year ful places signifysabbatical with his ing only a directorâ€™s masterful World War II pretensions. But once epic The Thin Red Line Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko Malick repositions the in 1998, he examined movie in Oklahoma, To how some could catch a glimpse of the numithe Wonder begins to shape into something nous in the most unlikely of placesâ€”a battlemore interesting. Concrete, crass advertising fieldâ€”while others felt only the agony of its billboards and fast food joints surround his absence. It was also the movie where Malick characters now. This is a landscape seemingly embraced his penchant for poetic voiceover void of the spiritual, and itâ€™s the lack that and visual lyricism like never before. haunts the most. Is this a lesser Malick work? To the Wonder is similar to The Tree of Life, Yes. But saying that is like pointing out that in that it strips plot to its skeletal requireBeethovenâ€™s â€œSymphony No. 6â€? is a lesser ments and plunges us into a sometimeswork. Ultimately, itâ€™s still damn good. powerful emotional state due to its luscious cinematography (courtesy of Emmanuel Derek Hill
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MAY 15, 2013 Âˇ FLAGPOLE.COM
music After the Dream You Are Awake
pacificUV’s New Album, Track By Track
Tuesday, May 14, local dream-pop outfit pacificUV released its fourth full-length, the dense, engaging After the Dream You Are Awake. The new record comes on the heels of Weekends, the group’s 2012 album, which ended up on more than a few yearend lists, including Flagpole’s. We sat down with pacificUV frontman Clay Jordan and new bandmember Laura Solomon to discuss the new album, song by song.
1. “24 Frames”
Flagpole: There was a pretty substantial time gap between Longplay 2 and Weekends. But After the Dream You Are Awake drops only about a year after its predecessor. Does it feel like a particularly fertile period for pacificUV? Clay Jordan: I am 37, which isn’t that old, really, but in Athens, where it seems like everyone is 22, I feel like an old man being issued his last rites. Couple that with rock music being a youthful art form, and I do feel a sense of urgency to be more prolific. My mid-20s were pretty much spent at the Manhattan. If I had spent half of that time working on music, the pacificUV discography would now be twice as big. Our next record will either be a masterpiece or it will be our last.
FP: So, um. Who’s Christine? CJ: This song is super creepy and told from the point of view of a stalker. At first we only had the chorus and kind of worked backwards from there, imagining who this term would apply to. I have never written with a character in mind, and it is quite liberating to try on another persona and not feel like you have to express your own feelings in every song. There are some stellar stalker songs out there, like “Every Breath You Take” by The Police and “Climbing Up the Walls” by Radiohead. Not sure “Christine” can be mentioned in the same breath as these, but hopefully it fits in somewhere.
FP: Darkwave-y. Laura, how did you join the fold? Laura Solomon: I was hanging out with Clay a lot and kept hearing all these demo tracks and started having ideas. Eventually, I woke up one morning with all of the lyrics and melodies for “Wolves Again” in my head, made a demo, gave it to Clay, who gave it to Suny [Lyons], and then they both invited me in to start collaborating. CJ: I think “Russians” foreshadows the direction that our next record will go: darker, faster, more electronic. I have been threatening for a while now to make an abrasive electronic record (like XTRMNTR by Primal Scream), and now is the time. I have gotten the four-minute electro-pop genre thing out of my system.
FLAGPOLE.COM ∙ MAY 15, 2013
4. “Eyes Without a Face”
FP: Lyrically, this song’s pretty bleak. Or is it? LS: No question about it, it’s bleak. But it’s another story of awakening and the role dreams play as both purveyors of illusion and revelation. And it’s totally catchy, especially with Billy Idol’s questionable bridge removed. CJ: I have always loved this song, but the Idol version was always a bit cheesy, with the ‘80s production coupled with his pompous croon. I hope our version captures a bit more of the melancholy and wistfulness of the lyrics.
a portrait of an afternoon, coming home from school and all that, the emotional depth hinging on a paradox: the desire one experiences as a child to run toward adulthood juxtaposed against the nostalgia one often experiences as an adult to run backwards in time. But after we finished editing in Pro Tools, all I could hear was this warning, the car horns, the crickets— everything seemed like an alarm that whispered or screamed “Run, get away from here.” It was two days after the Newtown shootings, and I think without our directly realizing it, we were also meditating on that.
5. “Wolves Again”
8. “American Lovers”
FP: This album seems to veer away from the textural, atmospheric stuff that characterized Weekends and more toward an upbeat direction. CJ: I kind of see this song as the counterpart of “Christine,” only told from the female’s perspective. Talking with women of all ages, it’s kind of astounding how often they get catcalls on the street and ogled by men. For a lot of women, these “wolves” are an incessant problem. Just last week, my friend in New York got harassed by a man who followed her for blocks. LS: I guess for the reasons Clay cites, and despite its disco beat, I’ve never really thought of “Wolves Again” as upbeat— but maybe I should. It’s definitely an empowering song in which a would-be victim gains momentum and ultimately undergoes spiritual transformation after having taken some hard hits. So, maybe it’s literally an upbeat song? Musically speaking, I’d say we were going for something darkly powerful and pummeling.
6. “I Think It’s Coming”
FP: As soon as I say that about the album being upbeat, here’s the downeriest of all downer jams. Are you suckers for the sad, slow stuff? CJ: In our culture, there has been a proliferation of apocalyptic songs, films, etc. in the past few decades. With global warming, wars and the myriad of other horrible things happening on a daily basis, it seems like our civilization has a collective death wish… Freud posited that we all secretly want to die, and the more I experience humans’ tendency to selfdestruct, I think he might be right.
FP: What’s the sample around the one-minute mark? CJ: Laura went out with a microphone and recorded kids as they left school for the day. LS: The exact words are “Bye Arthur, have a good weekend, see you Monday. Harswell, stay in line!” I can’t reveal where this was lifted, because I got in trouble with the principal for recording it. Originally, our idea with the samples was to create
FP: Many things about After the Dream suggest to me that it’s meant to be heard as an album, one of them being that this song, super-poppy and obviously single-worthy as it is, is held until near the end. LS: Thank you. I definitely hope that people listen to it as an album. It’s meant to be read like a book. CJ: This is my favorite song on the record and, in my opinion, the most fully realized. We made a concerted effort to keep the instrumentation minimal so that the nuances of the tone and texture come through… Each instrument is clear and resonant. One of the highlights of recording was coming back from lunch and hearing the astounding harmony that Suny added to the final chorus.
9. “I Wanna Be You”
FP: “In the world you know/ The dream won’t last.” What’s this dream you keep harping about? LS: It’s actually “In the world you know/ A dream won’t last.” I point this out only because we’re bringing up dreaming in various contexts throughout the album, as delusion from which you’re eventually forced to wake, as a heightened state of consciousness that reveals some existential beauty or a mystery to which you might ordinarily remain oblivious. There’s the past as a dream; the future, too. There’s probably a political implication, a nod to music in general as a dream you participate in for a while, a protest against the specific genre we might get lumped into—and there are inevitably some “life is but a dream” overtones. Gabe Vodicka
WHO: pacificUV, Brothers, White Violet WHERE: 40 Watt Club WHEN: Saturday, May 18, 9 p.m. HOW MUCH: $6
Athens’ Oldies Radio Revolution If you’re one to scan the dial in five o’clock traffic, you’ve likely noticed that a new radio station has cropped up in the last year, one that presents programming unlike any other station in town: EZFM, the only oldies/easy listening station in Athens (at 88.1) and Lake Oconee (89.9). Its slogan? “Music to Your Years.” EZFM, a commercial-free 501(c)(3) that relies on listener donations and sponsorships to stay on the air, was founded in June 2012 by James Hutto, a heavyset man in his early 30s who jokes, unfairly, that he has “a face for radio.” He projects
saw a lot of ugliness at the corporate level,” he explains.) After stepping away for a few years, during which time he married and started a family, Hutto decided to return both to his hometown and to the industry he loved. He returned to WMSL as programming director in 2006 and stayed on until last year, when he hatched the idea for EZFM. At the time, 88.1 was a foundering station specializing in Christian programming. Hutto was consulting with the station on technical issues, and one day, he says, its owner asked him, “If you had the opportunity, what would you format this with? How would you change the station?” Drawing from the example of his father, the programmer for one of the standardbearers of easy listening radio, Atlanta’s WPCH, Hutto proposed EZFM. “The end game was always to take care of… the older generation, because they’re not really serviced,” Hutto says, noting that technology and consumer culture have largely left that market behind. “Those are the people who helped define who we are. They are the generation that helped stabilize this country through wars. And I felt like their needs weren’t being met.” In the age of smartphones and Spotify, many younger people take for granted that they have access to virtually all media, from anywhere, at any time. But their parents’ and grandparents’ generations often don’t have that luxury, having either not adopted or been assimilated into the culture of the digital age. A favorite song is not necessarily just a click away. With his station, Hutto has created access where there was none before. “A lot of our transportation vehicles listen to the station, and several people who came into the office recommended that we sponsor them,” says Kadee Holt of the Athens Community Council on Aging. “We’re serving the same demographic.” But it’s not only older folks who have taken notice. Hutto reports that he also has a strong fanbase among college students, and he regularly gets phone calls from listeners moved to tears by hearing songs from their youth. “There’s some song this woman [requests] all the time—Vic Damone. She loves that guy. Calls up and says, ‘Thank you so much for playing Vic Damone. My mom used to always listen to him when we were doing laundry. And it just reminds me of that smell and being at home.’ That’s what we do. That’s why we say ‘Music to Your Years.’ This is the soundtrack of your whole entire life.” Above all, Hutto is a believer in the family aspect of radio. “I got to learn from someone who really believes in this as a craft,” he says. “My most memorable times in my life were watching my old man do his thing and being good at it. We go out to remotes, and my kids get to grow up around radio. They get a kick out of it—and they love wearing the [EZFM] t-shirts.” As Hutto prepares to head out from the station this particular afternoon, a well groomed man in his 50s wanders into ABC Printing, the West Broad Street building from which EZFM broadcasts. Tapping lightly on the door, he enters. “I’m with the pastors over at Beech Haven [Baptist Church],” he says, beaming and reaching out to shake Hutto’s hand. “Just wanted to say I listen all the time!” The smile on Hutto’s face could not be wider. He’s practicing his craft, and the people love it.
a calm and confident air that puts others at ease. Red-headed, with a quick smile and arrestingly blue eyes, he leans forward in his office chair in conversation, fully engaged, sometimes studying his fingers when he’s lost in thought. Hutto began his career in radio in 1992, at the age of 12. His father was a radio man and worked with the likes of Marlin Taylor, who went on to help found XM Radio. At the time, he was working for 88.9 WMSL in Athens. “They had interns, and a bunch of people didn’t show up. And they had some shifts at night they needed filled,” Hutto says of his first gig in the radio business. “I went in and did like a six-hour shift… it was carts and reel-to-reel machines and some CDs, that kinda thing.” Hutto has rarely stepped away from the mic since. He worked with WMSL through junior high and high school, before dropping out in 1997 and joining Southern Broadcasting, which managed such local stations as Rock 103.7. He bounced between companies in the Athens area for a few years before relocating to Atlanta to work for Clear Channel, a move that eventually caused him to walk away from radio altogether. (“I
We’re 1 year old!
And we have you to thank! This has been a great year, thank you for all your support, we are so happy that you voted us as one of your Athens Favorites our first year out of the gate. Thank you to all of our loyal clients who made the leap with us, and thank you to all our new clients - we’re so glad we met! We owe the biggest thank you to our families, and most importantly to our TOP NOTCH staff/salon family!
6[T_TJ\fba - We are so proud of you and can’t wait to meet Milo!
FgXc[Ta\XJXTiXe- WEAVES! You light up our lives! You keep us sane, and lookin’ GOOD! 8e\a@bee\f - You are a force of talent and the kindest soul. 8_lfX@TmTag\- We’re so lucky you call MCS hair home now.
@\V[X__X?T\eW - You were the missing
piece to this band of misfits- welcome aboard!
@\fgl7Xaa\fTaW>TfXl?bjX - Thank you for letting us teach you - we love it! Thanks for saving our biscuits! FTeT@TV[Xa - that goes for you too.
8e\a5blWfgha - you’re a superstar! AND 4??<8@<??8E- Thank you for
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MAY 15, 2013 · FLAGPOLE.COM
ATHICARDS : A Deck of Athens Art May 25 - June 9, 2013
Opening Event: Saturday, May 25, 6-8PM Member Preview 5:00-6PM / Open to the public 6-8PM 54 local artists to participate in a collaborative project: a full deck of cards! Original artwork will be exhibited and for sale beginning May 25. Decks of cards can be ordered at: www.tinyurl.com/athicards. Only $20 per deck!