Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Jackson Street Books

To me what makes a town a town is its bookstores. You can’t just have a Barnes n Nobles or Borders and still be a good town. You have to have a store with local charm, namely a used bookstore. In Athens, Jackson Street Books is that store. So many others have come and gone but Jackson Street is here to stay. Jackson Street Books is the only used bookstore in Athens since the closing of Blue Moon. There is another out in Winder, but I don’t recommend it. The reason it has been around so long is because its such a good store. Its not a large book store, but it’s not small one either. They have decent prices and just about anything you would want, unless you're into very rare and hard to find books. That doesn’t mean they won’t have it, if its rare or hard to find, they’re just not as likely to have it.

The titles are organized pretty logically into categories, -Scifi, mystery, gardening, literary, biography, war books, etc. Basically they have whatever people in Athens buy and sell, and a few rare oddities or books that people ask them for. They get a lot of their books from people who trade books for credit. There are plenty of university students trying to pass off a good book they didn’t like for beer money, so there’s usually a good selection. They also trade and sell CD’s and DVD’s but they don’t have many of those.

One of the other nice things about this bookstore is that they trade books. If they don’t have anything you want right away you can get a coupon good for future purchases. Their system is a little skewed though... Sci Fi and gardening are listed as academic, while mystery and history are listed as popular. This is important because you can only trade like for like. They also buy books (but you don’t get as much for them) so if you need the cash or whatever you can do that as well.

Monday, November 7, 2005


This is a nice local CD store . They have a good selection of local and used records and cd's. They have the biggest selection of records in town, some of which have never been opened. They have everything from Janis Joplin to Bob Dylan to Count Base to Johnny Cash to the Rolling Stones to motorcyle sound effects to some more recent local bands. Basically they have anything you can think of on record. They certainly don't have every record ever recorded, but they do have a good number. Some of the prices are a little non-sensical, but still pretty decent.

They also have new and used CD's, but they have more used than new. They've been around for a good number of years now. It's a cool little place but sometimes its hard to find what your looking for because it can be organized in an unusual way.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Resevoir Dogs

This movie by Quentin Tarentino is excellent, but it hits you like a train wreck. It's violent, bloody and somewhat senseless. But you have to remember that its about the mob. The set up is that 5 or 6 guys go to rob a diamond wholesaler and somehow botch the job. Horribly botch the job.

Steve Buschemi is Mr. Pink, the only guy who really has his head on his shoulders. The movie is set up so that you grow to like all the characters, except Vince Vega aka Mr. Blonde. Yet, they're all scumbags, including the cop (Mr. Orange). In one scene the cop is talking to his buddy and the buddy says "He's not a good guy, he's selling out all his friends", which ultimately is what Mr. Orange is doing. He's also the only person seen killing a civilian.

The scene in the diner shows humanity of the characters. It's a great scene. There are a number of scenes like this- Mr. Pink wanting to be a different alias, Vince Vega and Nice Guy Eddie wrestling in Eddie's dad's office, etc.

The style is very interesting. It goes back and forth between current events and the past, basically what brought the characters to that point. Their movie does not flow linearly and this makes it hard to tell what happened when. Even so,the robbery is never actually shown.

The movie is well worth watching, because of the acting, the directing, and the writing but it is very violent (one character slowly bleeds to death and another has his ear cut off), so if you are at all squeamish do not watch it. The violence is senseless, but that is the point. The movie does have a point, but I still cannot say whether or not I enjoyed watching it.

Thursday, October 6, 2005


Angelo's is a local Italian Restaurant downtown on Clayton street. It features a more traditional menu than Depalma's, however the food is not quite as good. Most of the food is good, but I would stay away from the spinach lasagna. The calzones and some of the meat dishes are much better. However all the food is made in advance and reheated upon order, which is the main problem with the food. I seem to remember that they had good pizza, but its been a long time since I've had any.

What really makes this place is the atmosphere. The walls are decorated with photos of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and actors from famous mafia movies like Al Pesci (Goodfellas). They also play classic American- Italian songs like Frank Sinatra's Luck Be A Lady and Dean Martin's That's Amore.

Although the food leaves a little something to be desired, its still good and worth a try. I would recommend the calzones or the stromboli and save the lasagna for your Italian grandmother (what? you don't have an Italian grandmother? well neither do I, so learn to cook it yourself).

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct is a new crime show on Fox. It stars Johnny Messner as Detective Lifer, a rough cop who takes the cases he wants and doesn't really follow orders from anyone. He has a new partner, Detective Hale, having just returned to the force after a six month absence after his old partner "kim" was killed in the line of duty. Unfortunately the character development stops here.

As this season's new shows go, Killer Instinct is not all that promising. The theme song Marilyn Manson's ________ Animals is probably the best part of the show. The acting is pretty bad, although not the worst I have seen and writing and dialogue could use some improvement.

Killer Instinct does have one other thing going for it though. It is very attention grabbing. The plot is unique and action driven. There are plenty of exciting scenes, inparticular the well publicized opening sequence where rare spiders crawl all over a young woman and paralyze her while her killer watches. As spook fest go, this show is definately creepy and may prove to be a cult hit among the Goth set and Marilyn Manson fans. 0therwise there are plenty of other better shows and things to do with your time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Good Dirt and and Gallery

Good Dirt is a pottery studio that caters to the general public. Its a good asset to the community. They have lots of workshops ranging from Friday's try clay night to workshops and semester long classes and week long intensive clay camp in the summer. They have classes for adults, teens, and kids, however the summer camps are for kids and teens. The nice thing about good dirt is that they have something for just about everyone interested in clay. The only thing they are truly lacking in that department is good accommodations for local artists. You can rent studio space there, but as my brother has pointed out to me time after time, you have no control over when and how they fire anything.

The Gallery is a more recent addition to Good Dirt. They normally don't have any one prominent artist and instead feature a jumble of local potters and the occasional painter or photographer. The artwork kind of rotates in and out, with no set pattern. Currently they have quite a few local potters including Jeff Bishop and Rob Sutherland. Almost everything in the gallery is available for sale with prices ranging from $15 for small basic mug or bowl to $400+ for a large highly decorated piece of art.

Right now they are featuring some excellent pottery by artist Soon Bae Kim. Kim's artwork features a form of very colorful milifori . You can preview the show on the Good Dirt site or you can visit the Gallery at 510 B North Thomas St. Soon Bae Kim's pottery will be on display until November 5th.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Expresso Royal Coffee

This is my favorite coffee shop in this college town, although its hard to say why. It may because I've been going here so long that its where I had my first cup of coffee (or one of my first at any rate). Technically its not local at all, but that doesn't stop me. It's a small chain (18 stores mostly in the Northern Midwest),but it' a good one. They do have good coffee. Unlike Starbucks and Jittery Joe's the coffee is nice and nutty instead of sharp and bitter. The prices are pretty decent, and they have a good selection. Basically you can get just about any non-alcoholic beverage you might want.

One of the neat things about this place is that they have board games you can play while drinking your coffee. I don’t see very many people playing them, but its good to have anyway. They also have just about every free publication in town including the flagpole, the blotter, a weird new age magazine, and copies of Athens banner herald. The only truly bad thing about this place is that since the closing of Blue Sky, Expresso Royale has gotten quite crowded. It's still my favorite place in town to sit and have a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

School Kids Records

This local record store is one of two located downtown. School Kids is located on Clayton Street . Its more or less a locally run business, with only three stores and all of them in the southeast. The store is really well organized and really well lit so its easy to find things. They do cater to smaller labels so you will find a lot of that kind of stuff as well as older less recently released stuff. There's more of that than in places like the mall. Honestly I don't even know where other people buy records now, maybe Sam Goody and Best Buy or Sprawl-Mart?Basically you'll find stuff at School Kids you won't find there and the stuff you buy there your less likely to find at School Kids. There's not so much used stuff and they don't have any records but that's what Wuxtry's for. .

It's a good store and the prices are much fairer than most places (although from what I understand the record labels usually set the prices). Just because they cater to a local hipster crowd doesn't mean you won't find stuff that average joe likes, your just probably not going to find Nirvana, Tori Amos , Rage Against the Machine, the killers. They don't have stuff that MTV is telling the teeny bopper's to like.

The other thing they have a lot of is used bands. Other than athens music , School Kids is the source for local music. So if you like the local scene or your friend is in a band that's where you should go to pick up the cd.

Check it out.

Friday, August 5, 2005


One of Athens local theater groups, Town and Gown, is finishing up running a production of Rumors by Neil Simon (The Odd Couple, The Apartment, Star Spangled Girl and a whole library full of other plays ). There are three more performances, but they are probably already sold out. Simon is known for his comedic wit and the incredible overuse of his monologues by amateur auditors and theater students. Not to say that the monologues are worthless, but I digress.

Rumors is Simon’s farce of a farce, complete with the usual slamming doors, as well as jokes about slamming doors. It involves a bunch of successful friends arriving at a anniversary party where both the host and the hostess are missing, and every couple has a secret they are trying to keep from all the other couples. Of course being friends (as well as insufferable gossips) they are unable to do so.

Last nights performance was excellent. It did have both its good points and its flaws. It featured a whole bevy of Town and Gown repeat offenders including Cindy Nason as Claire Ganz, John Vance as Ernie Cusack , Catherine Clayton as Cookie Cusack ,and Speedy Arnold as Lenny Ganz. All the performers were good, however I was not quite so impressed with Cindy Nason. She is supposed to be excellent, but I found her “acting” detracting and annoying. While Catherine Clayton and John Vance were obviously excellent and accomplished actors, they did not give their characters quite the degree of kookiness I was expecting. Michael Brogndon as Ken Gorman, Dawn Garland as Chris Gorman and Emma Bowers Stephens as Cassie Cooper all deserve mention, because they all did standout jobs.

I really liked the scene where Ken Gorman comes out after he has lost his hearing. Also Cookie's back spasms and Lenny’s wild monolouge at the end were great. Look out for the scene at the end of the second act. This scene is trademark of the wild action of a farce and really works well. I thought the directing was fair, but Hope Vance is a young director. It’s also hard to tell without seeing her in action. Nothing really put me off about the play, but it wasn’t as tight a performance as it could have been, but it was still absolutely hysterical (and intelligent). I really urge you to rush out a buy a ticket if you can get one and if not go see their next play Taming of the Dude (an adaptation of Taming of the Shrew.

Monday, August 1, 2005

Vision Video

This is my favorite video store in Athens. As far as I can tell its the only locally run chain, but that's not the only reason I like it. Aside from there localness, the five for five deal, and thier Mondy night dollar special, the thing Vision Video really has going for it is the movies.

Unlike most national chains Vision Video has a wide selection of rare and otherwise hard to find movies. Instead of trying to influnce what people rent like Hollywood Video they actually listen to their customers and try to buy what they want. They have a whole wall of costomer requests. Additionally they have a large selection of TV series ranging from Buffy to The Simpsons to Alias , and a selection of cult movies including such classics as Reefer Madness and VHS. So if you don't have a DVD player you're better off sticking to Hollywood Video or Blockbuster, just as long as you like high prices and confusing polcies.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Angels in America Part Two

I have to say that as amazing as this play is, it is so much more amazing when you actually see it. There are some things that cannot be imagined, they must be seen.

While watching the second part I really noticed the score, by Thomas Newman. The music is just amazing, and gives it an other wordly feel. The scene where Hannah and Joe meet at the Mormon choir’s song was brilliant, and it really added to the the devolpment of their characters to hear the song.

Although it is obvious that this was written as a play, what with conventions such as Hannah (Merly Streep), Belize (Jeffery Wright), Louis (Ben Sheckleman), and Pryor (Justin Kirk) breaking the third wall in the last scene, this play really adapted well to film. It really helped to get a fuller picture of the splendor and vast immensity of heaven. I also liked how when Prior entered heaven virtually everything was colorless. This is something that would be impossible to do in a live production, for obvious reasons. Another scene that really lent itself to film was the over the top funeral of Prior and Belieze’s fabulous Queen friend.

The special effects were great. For example in the scene where Roy Cohen (Al Pacino) dies , the effect of the star on the monitor turning into a shooting star in the sky, really added to the movie. The scene with the angel entering hospital entering the hospital, and blowing the walls apart was more beliveable in a movie. Like wise, Ethel Rosenberg's ghostly effects worked much better in a movie. The only problem that I had with the effects was that the Angel and Pryor's "plasmaorgasm" was a too comical. I get the symbolism, but I couldn't help laughing. There has to be a better way to do that scene.

This does not mean that I don’t think Angels in America works as a live production. Instead, watching the DVD made me want to see it live even more, and certainly to watch it again.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lydon House Gallery July 2005

The Lyndon House Arts Center is a local gallery funded by the Athens-Clarke Government. It’s located on Hoyt St. on the outskirts of downtown. It's rather large compared to other galleries. Not at all lacking in space. It also includes kitchen, artist studios, conference room, stuff for sale. open, stars in middle like a museum. In addition to the rotating exhibits, the Lyndon House Arts Center has a number of works by local artists for sale in its shop, including blown glass by various members of the Benzunas family, and silk screen items and paintings by Margret Agner

Currently the south gallery has no exhibit. The three exhibits that are currently up will be on display until August 6, 2005.

There are two artists featured downstairs in the Ronnie Lukasiewicz Gallery, Sunny Taylor and Micheal Lachowski. Both of them are young contemporary artists. I did not find Micheal Lachowski’s photos and drawings highly impressive. They were nice but still missing something. The photos of his house, while technically fine, did not seem to have any artistic quality whatsoever. I did like the Marshmallow series of the young model. Lachowski seems to have an eye for portraits. They reminded me of something you might expect from New York gallery in the early 90’s .

I did like Sunny Taylor’s paintings and watercolors, particularly the portrait of David which was featured in the Athens Banner Herald Marquee. I found the paining of the baby in the jumper (Jolly Jumper) interesting and captivating and somewhat grotesque. Also her water colors had a certain sloppy style, that can be inviting. While looking at her website I noticed that she has a disabilty which requires her to paint with her mouth. I realize that this doesn't say anything about her ability as a painter, but it is interesting.

Upstairs was an exhibit sponsored by Nuci’s space, Head Spinning , featuring album covers and the art that inspired them . The only problem I have is that there wasn’t as much diversity as I would have liked. Most of the bands were of the indie/punk rock genre. The exhibit was filled with album art from bands like Pylon, Five Eight, R.E.M, the Talking Heads, Green Day, and Elf Power. There were only a few bands I had not heard of. But it was nice to see the art work that inspired album covers I have admired. Most of the art was by Terry Rowlett, the cover of Kevin Kinney’s “Sun Tangled Angel Revival”, and a nurse for the cover of Five Eight’s “The Good Nurse”. John Hawkins did a painting called The Young Professionals, that was reproduced on the cover of the Squalls CD’ No Time. These three paintings are all bright, clear oil paintings with vibrant colors and a distinctive edge. However the fourth cover (an Elf Power album) that I particularly liked was not a painting at all. Instead it was a muted college by Laura Carter (presimably of Elf Power). These four pieces of art are only a few of the many varied and excellent pieces currently hanging in the Lyndon House Arts Center.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Taqueria La Parrilla

This is a pretty excellent Mexican restraurant in town. Its located in the Homewood shopping center, next to Vision Video on Jefferson Road. Honestly, I've lived and worked in Athens for 10 years and I would not have found it by myself. According to some of the people I was with (and flagpole) the food is pretty authentic Mexican. All I can say for sure though is that its good.

There are two things that make a good Mexican restaurant for me , good vegetarian chiles rellenos , and agua horchata. This place had both. But it seemed like everything else was good too. Between everyone I was with we had just about everything on the menu and I didn't hear any complaints (and many of us had quite a bit of experience with the real thing). Although I can personally only vouch for the enchiladas, the agua horchaida, the chiles rellenos , the refried beans, and the guacamole, I'd give this place another try. I'm not going to go ahead and say it was earth shattering or anything, I'm not that hooked yet, but.. give me another chance and I might.
All the food was quality. The enchiladas were not too dry or soggy (like they are in many places), they were just the right consistency of corn and cheese. The beans were nice and soft, and not too hot. And the chile relleno was great. If I had any complaints about the food at all, is what that my chili still had all its seeds in it. I took a bite of one and started sweating and choking, which is not something I enjoy, but I'm not giving up the chiles just yet.

The atmosphere was decent, but nothing particular to speak of. It was crowded, but not so crowded that all 15 of us couldn't find a seat quickly. There were a lot of families and other groups coming for lunch after church (or whatever). But it was Sunday, so that makes sense.
We got served kind of slow, but that may have been because they tried to bring out all our orders together. The only other complaint I have is that I couldn't read the menu, but that may because I'm mostly blind, and it was pretty small type.

All in all Taqueria La Parrilla is a excellent restaurant that I would definitely want to come back to.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Rum Diary Hunter S. Thompson

After reading finally picking up Hunter S. Thomson's first novel, The Rum Diary, I can't help comparing him to JD Salinger (author of Catcher in the Rye). And I can't help wondering, why after numerous recommendations, I waited until he committed suicide to jump on the bandwagon and actually read one of his books instead of sitting around and talking about how cool he is/was.

But I wouldn't go and say that this novel is the greatest book I've read- unlike the aforementioned Catcher in the Rye. Its pretty close though. At the time he wrote this book, he was only 22 and just beginning to write. But the book is a great read, even if it has some obvious flaws, particularly at the end. I don't know if its because this is Thomson's first book and he merely had trouble finishing it without moving too fast ( a problem that seems to be common among first time novelists) or he does this with all his books, but I'm going to bet that it's the former rather than the latter.

That said, this book has a lot of things going for it. Its obvious that Thomson really identified with his characters and truly understood them. I don't know if this is because the novel draws from his own life or not (at the time he was living in San Juan writing for a newspaper there), but it doesn't really matter as they really come to life on the page. Thomson's style is excellent. He writes as if every word were true.

This book does an excellent job of describing the random destruction that the reckless drunkenness of the newsmen (and their women) accomplish. This is book about the consequences of living completely free, obsessed and consumed by whatever your current desires are.

I don't think I could do this book justice just by talking about it, so just go out and read it.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Angel's In America Part One

This two part play, by Tony Kushner, was adapted into a movie by HBO. I was reading the play at the time it aired so, I did not watch it until it came out on DVD. I have to say that the play itself is amazing, and I think it would be very hard to ruin it (you would almost have to try). That said I think it ended up being an amazing peice of work and I am looking forward to the conclusion.

Although I don't entirely agree with all the sentiments expressed in this play I find it very well written and still very relevant, not just to the "gay community", but to humans at large. I don't really care to discuss the details of the characters and plot now, as that would be more appropriate to a review of the play itself. If you are interested in that, there are excellent reviews at imdb and a detailed anylisis at Sparknotes. Instead I am going to focus on the adaptation.

The adaptation was excellent. Unlike many plays this one worked well as movie. The scenes were cut smoothly. Some of the split scenes seem to work better on film, such as the one wher e Joe and Louis leave their lovers. One of the best things about seeing the movie was the detail they were able to go to with the sets. For example, the vision Prior has where he is dancing with Louis, was much more spectacular and amazing than any stage production. Also the appearance of the Angel was incredibly well done. The effect of the wall being ripped apart was excellent. The hospital scenes were much more realistic than had they been on stage.

The acting was excellent. Al Pachino did an excellent job portraying a conflicted lawyer. The chemistry between the actors was excellent, particularly the tension between Louis (Ben Shekleman) and Joe ( Patrick Wilson). To me the best test of an actor is when the audiance is able to forget about the actors and focus on the characters. I feel that all the actors did an excellent job of this, with the possible exception of Meryl Streep. Justin Kirk's emotions were so real I thought he might actually be dying. Emma Thomson lost herself so completely in her characters I did not realize she played Prior’s nurse, the Angel, and the homeless woman. Mary Louise Parker also did an excellent job as ,Harper, the only sane character, a valium addicted Mormon housewife married to a closeted gay Republican. And Jeffery Wright rounded out the cast as both Belize,a flaboyantly gay nurse, and Mr.Luis, Harper’s travel agent halucination.

If you haven’t seen this yet, I highly recommend it, not only for the quality of the acting and production, but because of the excellent writing and sheer humanity of the play itself.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Death to Smoochy

This is one of my favorite movies, although I passed it up when it first came out. This movie stars Edward Norton as a kids show character named Smoochy, and Robin Williams as rival kids show star "Rainbow" Randolph Smiley. In the beginning of the movie Randy is fired for embezzlement, and Sheldon is hired as a squeaky clean character to replace him. Although the premise of the movie is one of kids t.v. this movie is not for kids. Its not really even for squeamish adults, but then neither was Good Morning Vietnam. Instead its a really good, really intelligent dark comedy. Its satire where the good guys are bad guys and the bad guys are good guys, most people are in between and some of them don't reveal what side they're on until the end.
Sheldon (aka Smoochy the Rhino) is a character that makes the movie all by himself. He's a naive, innocent, health food evangelist who created the character of "Smoochy" in order to teach kids right from wrong. In one scene a seemingly corrupted Sheldon is drinking at bar "Bartender: I never saw anyone get buzzed off of orange juice. Sheldon: Let me tell you a secret - if you squirt a little liquid alfalfa in, it's blast off time." A little quirky, a little odd, but totally honest, scenes like these are what make this movie great.
The movie is filled with great characters like this one. One of my favorites is Buggy Ding Dong, (Vincent Schiavelli) a heroin addicted criminal and former children's T.V. star who can't seem to get his act together long enough to accomplish anything. Danny Devito ( who also directed the film) plays Sheldon's double crossing agent and Jon Stewart (the Daily Show) plays the high level Kidnet executive who helps conspire against him. One of my favorite characters (and unfortunately the only stand out female role) is Tommy Cotton (Pam Ferris) the leader of the local Irish Mafia, who helps Sheldon get stay safe and incorruptible.
Another good scene involves Sheldon being set up as a

Monday, July 18, 2005


I like the concept of a drive in restaurant, but this business has some bad practices. I will admit that the frozen drinks are good. I can't vouch for the food since they don't serve anything vegetarian. They don't even have grilled cheese or vegetarian breakfast food. The prices are pretty decent, about $2 for a large drink. They have a nice verity of unusual items like their shushes and frozen cream pie drinks. They're open later than most places, which is nice.

I have two major problems with this place. First they pay thier car hops $3.15/hour, which is bad enough by itself, but nobody tips. If you think you can live with that I suggest you try living on it. I've had a few friends work there, and many of them complained that they paid more in gas and taxes than they made working there. Secondly their food is very processed and very unhealthy. It's just weird. Plus they use Styrofoam cups and containers, which even

Sunday, July 17, 2005


After listening to the soundtrack for this musical for years, I finally found a copy of the movie version- at the Athens-Clarke Library of all places! It was well worth the wait. The musical is based on a roving troupe of performers who run around New York City following Jesus and acting out the parables. The whole thing is based on the Gospel according to Matthew. There is plenty of dancing and singing as well. I admit it was a little campy and upbeat, but this was the late 60's and its just so much fun. One of my favorite things about it was Jesus as a hippie in a Superman shirt and rainbow pants (complete with suspenders). Very much born again Christianity 60's style.

I have to admit that this is unlike anything else I like, but having grown up with the movements that sprang out of this movement, such as Happening, this really spoke to me. Its one of those fun things you either get or you don't.

Many people have tried to compare Godspell to Jesus Christ Superstar. But there is no comparison. The two movies/rock operas are from very different ends of the spectrum. Both very real and very relevant, but very differnt. If I were to compare it to anything it would be the Cotton Patch Gospel. Although the latter is not a musical the two share certain other similarities.

Technically the movie was excellent. The acting,singing, and dancing were supburb, and as a result of this movie many previous unknowns went on to lead distinguished careers (even though they did not become superstars). Of course the songs are well written and the concept is excellent. Some of my favorite songs are Save the People and Alas For You. The directing and photography was also excellent, particularly for a seventies movie. I loved the colorful costumes, and the scenery. The business was above par. Instead of having the actors simply milling about the set, they were actually doing something realistic looking.

The two most contreversial problems with movie are the call to "drink wine" in Light of the World and the non-resurrection. As for the former, whatever your particular view on the theology and morality of drinking wine it is scripturally clear that both Jesus and his desciples drank wine on a fairly regurlar basis, so this is not an entirely unlikely call. As to the lack of a resurrection, I don't think this was really ment to be an theological descion, in fact it seemed like he did rise. It seemed like things happened to fast for it to be obvious.

All in all I highly recomend this movie, both for those interested in musicals and for Christians looking for a good movie for their next youth group meeting or retreat. Better yet buy the book and put on the play yourself. Its a timeless classic sure to attact new fans for years to come.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Athena Magazine for Women

I picked up the first issue of this magazine because I'm always interested in local media. This is a neat little women's magazine. Its not really what I'm into, but its more diverse than most fashion magazines. It seems to cater towards more conservative women. Like most women's magazines there is a section devoted to clothing and fashion, but there are also articles on remodeling and fixing the home, an article about cooking, and sections on exercise and relationships. The magazine strives to appeal to all women, not just the overly image and fashion conscious.

This magazine was well done. The photos and layout are high quality and professional. It is printed on sturdy high gloss paper that gives it a more professional look than some of the other small local magazines. It appears that the magazine was well researched as well. Some of the writing is a little sloppy, but I'm sure that will improve as the magazine grows and begins to attract better writers.

The nice thing about this magazine is that it is all local. The writers and staff are local, as well as the events and people they feature. In addition the fashion shoot and ads feature local business. While these are not necessarily businesses or events I would spend my time or money at, I know there are many people in this area who would and am impressed by the local nature of the magazine. Overall it seems to be a good magazine that will grow and improve. I recommend that if you are interested in such a magazine that you support local business and pick up a copy.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Salsa Night at the Ritz

I seemed to have stumbled upon a whole underground scene of dancing in this town. Every Wednesday night, the Ritz, a club I have previously not been to, has salsa lessons starting at 9pm followed by a night of dancing. It's pretty cheap, as the cover is only $3. You can look it up here in the flagpole.

The crowd is pretty diverse. There was a nice range of ages and social types. The event doesn't seem to attract any particular kind of crowd, except one that likes dancing. Many of the people there have little or no experience, but there was also a nice group of people taking the advanced lessons, who seemed to really know what they were doing. Some of them were quite impressive. What really surprised me was how many guys were there. I don't know if they were dragged by their girlfriends/wives or if there is just a large crowd of guys who like to dance, but either way it surprised me.

The club was a lot bigger than it looks from the outside. The bar is at the front. I don't know about the prices, but when they were club 386 they were pretty high, but I've been told they have changed since then. They have a dj that plays pretty much just salsa music, so if you don't like that kind of music you probably won't enjoy it.

A lot of people left their purses and drinks on the counters and tables during the lessons, which surprised me, but I didn't here about anyone's stuff getting stolen or anything so it seemed like a pretty safe crowd. Not particularly friendly, as most people stuck to themselves and their friends (pretty typical of the bar scene here). But I did get asked to dance by a few people I didn't know, and so did the friend I was with.

If you enjoy salsa or you just want to try something new and have a good time with your friends, come down to the Ritz on Wednesday nights and salsa, salsa, salsa.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

UGA Ballroom Dancing Swing Night

Every Tuesday night the UGA Swing club holds a swing dancing night in the upstairs ballroom of Memorial Hall. As soon as I got to the building I could tell something was going on because I could hear the music.

It's helpful to have some idea of what your doing, but they are open and welcoming to anyone. Many of the guys (and some of the girls) are perfectly willing to teach beginners. Last night there were about 20-30 people there, so it was a fairly large crowd. The event is open to both UGA students and non-UGA students, but most of the people there are in their early to mid 20's. The event is free but they accept donations.

I was really impressed with the talent of some of the people there. I had never tried swing dancing before and quickly realized how much harder it is than it looks. It's not something you can pick up quickly unlike square dancing or contra dancing or the waltz.

There was a wide veriety of music, including tradtional swing music, but also things like Outkast and the B-52's, which was very interesting. One of the things I found the most difficult was that because of the wide veriety of varations on the steps, every time I had one down the song would end and I'd end up learning a differnt dance from a differnt guy (some of whom were good teachers and some who were not). There were actually quite a few beginners there. All in all its a good thing and if you like swing dancing or are up for something new I suggest you check it out.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


This restaurant is located on Washington street next to the X-Ray Cafe and near the 40 watt. Its a nice little diner style place that serves burgers/sandwiches in a retro atmosphere. Clocked has a rather large selection of vegetarian sandwiches/burgers (which is always nice)! Its a little pricey ($6 for a sandwich, $2 for a drink)but well worth it.

The decor is nice, dirty, and retro. Its a nice place to hangout with friends. Local, rock, folk, and obscure music comes from the speakers. T.V on bar plays retro cool shows like thunderbirds and Dr. Who. Clocked has become popular with local hipsters and is a hangout for many of them. It was a little crowded on a Sunday evening( when most people are at church or at home or relaxing from a busy weekend).

I ordered a Philly cheese "steak" sandwich and fries; both were very good (they also offer a version with steak for you carnivores and omnivores). The cheese fries were excellent, made with real cheese (two kinds) and fresh steak fries. They are famous for their cheese tots, but I am not a fan, so I didn't try them. The cheese "steak" was excellent, almost perfect. It had plenty of onions and peppers and just the right amount of mayonnaise and tomatoes. The bread was not fresh baked but was still very good. It was white, and while I normally prefer wheat, this was much better. Nothing was stale, and nothing was too salty. A Philadelphia, but it was excellent. Of course I gave up meat so long ago I don't ever expect that to happen again.

A word to the wise, the last time I was there I had a falafel burger, which I did not like, mainly because it was too much falafel, but if you like that kind of thing- go for it.

Clocked also serves a wide variety of specialty and ice cream drinks including soft punch, watermelon lemonade, and orange creamsicles, so check those out as well. They also serve wine and beer, as well as the usual cokes and sodas.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Vineyard Live

Vineyard live is a local open mike night sponsored by the Athens Vineyard, a member of grassroots nationwide church. It's a nice little informal thing. In fact although we were told to be there at 8, the event didn't get started until closer to 9:30. One of the nice things about this event is that it is really open to people not associated with the church. I don't know what their purpose is other than to have fun and promote live music, but it is worth checking out.
Last night they had a number of performers. The two that were the most notable were Eben Mallory and the yet to be named Gabe Zorbanos project (of Gabriel Young) currently going by the name Someday.

Eden Mallory was the first act, and I was really impressed by what this guy had to offer. He is a very talented young singer/songwriter who plays both the guitar and the piano. One of the things that impressed me the most about this guy besides his style and technical proficiency was his songwriting. Both lyrically and musically he was excellent. I also thought he had a good voice, but he strained a bit more than was probably necessary, which made him go a bit flat, which gave me the indication he learned how to sing on his own. You can judge for yourself at his myspace site here. One of the other things I liked about his music was how he would alternate between singing and speaking. He is playing at tasty world later today and cups coffee cafe on the 23rd.

I've been following Gabe's music for a while now, and I have to say that it just keeps getting better. This time he's working with a full band Will Harrison on guitar and keyboard, Jess Billings , back up vocals, and last night they had a mouth harpist. They played some of the new material he's been writing including Slower (which I finally got to hear), Breathe, and Saving Grace. They are also working on recording an album which I will be sure to pick up when it comes out (tenatively late August). I don't have any further dates except tentatively the next vineyard live date (aug 19), and they don't have a website yet, but I will be sure to post an update when I get it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

War of the Worlds

This movie was much better than I thought it would be when I first saw the previews. It wasn't perfect but it was of two of the best versions I have seen. In this version Tom Cruise stars as Ray Farrier, a divorced father whose children are visiting him while his wife is away with her new husband. His two children Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie (Justin Chatwin) have lost respect for him. The movie begins with Ray coming home late to meet his children after a long work night. We are shown the lousy condition his house is in. He doesn't have any food in his fridge and his children don't respect him. Most of the reviews I read said that his character was one that we had to develop respect for, but I really felt sypathetic towards him from the beggining, even sorry for him. His wife and her new husband seem to have ruined his life.

I think the greatest thing about the movie (besides the plot) was the characterization. Giving Ray a family was an excellent move. It gave depth to his character he wouldn't have otherwise had. Both Rachel and Robbie were excellent characters as well. I liked how Robbie had to leave and go after the machines as a form of senseless revenge.

Everything about the movie was excellent. From the beginning narration with the bacteria, to the plot (adapted from the book by H.G. Wells), to the special effects and the visual detail.
I really enjoyed seeing all the people walking from town to town trying to get away from the aliens, even though they didn't know where they were going. It really added to the feeling of an exodus.

Some idiot on imdb is complaing that the plot isn't very good, because we don't get very many details, but I don't think that we really need to know how and why the aliens came. Like many important events in our life we often never know the whole story. One of the reasons why this movie works so well is because it is told from the point of view of one average guy (Ray Ferris) who somehow managed to live through the event.

Overall I felt Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds was excellent. Good enough to watch again and good enough to get me to read the book and try to figure out why I thought it was overrated.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I picked this book up at Jackson Street Books looking for something interesting to read. I was not dissapointed. This is an excellent book. It is well written and imaginative. In this book, Gaiman's 3rd or 4th novel, a paroled convict "Shadow" enters into a contract with a mysterious man named Wednesday who turns out to be a god, after his wife and bussiness partner die in a horrible car accident. Along the way he meets up with a host of colorful characters including other American gods, a rather intersting small town community, and his dead/living wife.
Neil Gaiman is an incredible writer. His book is gripping from the first page to the last. I really hated to put it down. The book is full of plot twists and mystery. I really liked all the folklore and American history that Gaiman added to his book. One of my favorite things was how Gaiman included a quote from a poem at the begining of each chapter and a mythlogical story at the end. Gaimans descriptions are amazing. It is very easy to believe that everything in the novel actually happened.
Two of my favorite characters from the book are Laura, shadows wife, and "Wiskey Jack", an old wise Indian man. Laura is intruiging to me because although she is dead and decaying, she is an interesting enough character that she is not repulsive. I also liked Wiskey Jack, a character based on Wiskedjak a character from Algonquin folklore. There are many dynamic characters in this book, that make it very interesting.
I can see why this book is a bestseller and I look forward to reading more of Gaimans books. I'm also looking forward to his next book, Anansi Boys ,which is a sequel to American Gods.

Sunday, July 3, 2005

Caldonia Lounge July 2, 2005

The first band up was television buzz. TheFlagpole music directory lists them as "Post-punk, post-rock, post-office music" and I would have to say that that is a pretty acurate description. They are a three piece consisting of bass, guitar, and drums. There isn't much to be said for the singing as its pretty hard to hear and understand. They've been around two years or so and they have a rather nice tight sound. I would definately give them a second listen. You can also check out some of there music at myspace here
The next band has become what is probably my favorite local band. Nutria, who after scouring the web for them turned up nothing but thousands of references to a type of rodent. They have a track on the most recent AthFest comp so you can check that out as well. But they do actually have a website so check that out. The band is a four piece consisting of a drummer, bass, guitarist, and keyboardist. All four members sing, so they have some nice 3 and 4 part harmonies as well. They are a good tight modern rock band with a nice unique sound. This band formed recently after the breakup of their last band Possibilites. They have some nice well written songs and are totally worth checking out.
The last band , Hayride the headlining act, turned out to be kind of dissapointing. While I wouldn't go so far as to call them talentless hacks, they certainly weren't all that great. In any other town they might actually be considered quite good, but they just didn't have it together. They were the kind of band you have to be drunk to appreciate. There CD sounded much better, so maybe it was just last night's performance. Either way they didn't win any new fans last night.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Angelina Jolie) and John Smith(Brad Pitt) are two compeating assasins that just happen to be married. The two are lead double lives, each unaware of the others true occupations, until they go after the same target. One of the things that makes this movie work is the fact that Jane and John are forced to attempt to kill one another after discovering they are both assasins
Jolie and Pitt did a convincing job of portraying a married couple whose life has becomes quite stale. I've never realized what a fine actor Pitt is until quite recently, and this movie is no exception. The chemestry between Pitt and Jolie was amazing.

Vince Vaugh was also in this movie, and while I liked his character, (an divorced assasin living at home with his mother) it wasn't my favorite part.

Seth Cohen had a cameo role as the Smiths target-"Tank". I''m a little torn about this. He either did a bad job playing a creep or a good job playing an annoying brat. Either way it worked. (Yes, I know his real name isn't Seth Cohen, but that's who Adam Brody was in this movie).

Although some of the plot is quite predictable, it was still quite well written. I particularly liked the extended metaphor using comparing spy life to married life, with all its little secrets and heated battles. A few other things I noticed was Angelina Jolie catching notice of a department store display of a Leave it to Beaver family and Jane and John waiting in the elevator for there next fight (complete with elevator music). Plus Jane winning a stuffed bear after showing John up ( and later trashing said bear).

One thing bothered me quite a bit. Some of the camera work was terrible. In the begining the camera shakes a bit (I may have missed something here). Througout the film the picture was occasionally blurry or dark. This is not something I would expect from such a high budget film.

I highly recomend this film and can see why it is doing well. The film has something for everyone and is widely appealing, althought not really appropriate for teenagers (but probably ok for younger children).

Friday, July 1, 2005

The Sultan

This local restraunt is a nice little middle eastern place. It has a nice veriety of both meat and vegitarian dishes. Almost all there dinners come with "Greek" salad, that unfortunatly was not greek at all-iceberg (it was fresh though).
The atmosphere was a little unique being both a grocery store and a restraunt, but I could get used to that. The large screen t.v. blasting greek/indian (I think it was a mix of both) music was nice touch. The one thing that did bother me (other than the small size) was the lack of booths. I always sit in a booth when I go out to eat, but I didn't let that bother me.
The food was good. Every thing was fresh. I particularly liked the grape leaves. Nothing was perticularly spectacular, but considering the fact that Athens doesn't have too many other Middle Eastern restraunts, it was still good. I wouldn't drive far to go to it (unlike some others in town- the grit for one) but would definitely go back. The food was a little pricey ($8 for dinner, plus drink and dessert) but still good. I also would recomend the pomagranate drink. Nice and sweet, but not too sweet. I would not get dessert. It was good, but small and expensive. Not worth it unless you really want to try it and really don't know how to cook ($3 for 1'' of pastacio baklava).
All in all the Saltan is a nice little restruant that seems to show some promise.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Star Wars Episode III The Revenge of the Sith

I finally saw this movie and I loved it. I put it off for so long because I thought it was going to be terrible and I have to say that I thought it was the best one yet. Although I hate to say that b/c I grew up with the first 3, but.. it was.
There were some flaws. Most notobably Hayden Christian is a horrible actor. Fortunately this was only obvious in the first couple of scenes. Then again Mark Hamill wasn't much better.
I enjoyed watching Anakin Skywalker transform from a Jedi Knight into a Sith Lord. The transformation was very intersting and I thought that the way Palpatine cons him into coming over to the dark side was very clever. Of course much of the movie was expected and predictable for those familiar with the earlier movies, but I can understand why the films were made in the order they were.
This movie definately makes up for the last two (no annoying Jar Jar!) . Could have used more time with the wookies and Yoda, but overall it was definately worth the $7.50.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Batman Begins

I've been a fan of batman ever since I can rember and the one really great thing I can say about this movie is that it was the best movie I have seen. I realize that doesn't say much as most of the recent batman movies have been pretty disapointing. Even with a less than stellar cast, (Katie Holmes plays Bruce Wayne' love intrest- Rachel) I really enjoyed this movie.
The plot was what made the movie. I have to admit though that there were some pretty big scientific blunders (which my scince geek friends were all to happy to point out) but I tend to not let that kind of thing bother me.
The movie is about the origins of Batman. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) spent many years coming to terms with his parents senseless murder, eventually becoming a rouge ninja (after rejecting his teacher's philosophies). Through help from a silenced employee (played by Morgan Freeman) the butler who never gave up on him (Michel Cane) and his girlfriend at the DA's office (Holmes) Bruce Wayne become Batman, an icon set on saving his hometown. The movie explains the origins and histories of all the characters including the good cop (Jim Goldman) and the joker. One thing that I especially liked was the use of flashbacks to tell some of the backround of the story. The plot was weel written and unlike other Batman movies it was well fleshed out. I thought that the characters were difinitively well rounded, and that overall the movie was fun and enjoyable. Theere were plenty of fight scenes and action, ena little bit of romance and some horror at the end. I don't think it was too scary for young children (think wizard of oz), and wis certainly deep enough for a second or third movie). I encourage you to see this movie and am looking forward to other Batman movies from the films creators.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Gabriel Young's last show (for now)

Tasty World June 11 2005
I wanted to say something really amazing about this show b/c Gabe (and Kalen) are such great singer/songwriters (if you happen to read this Gabe I'm sorry about the label), and I was looking forward to the show. But aside from the fact that I got to hear Gabe do some of his own songs Saturday's show was not all that spectacular. It was much to short and there were too many technical difficulties. But I really enjoyed it anyway, as did the rest of the audiance. The set was short. They began with a song off their album that I can't rember the name of. Then Kalen did a much changed version of Don't Wait on The Rain which I didn't particularly care for, Gabe did an amazing song called Saving Grace, Kalen did another song -it was a new love song, Gabe attempted a song-amazing song called Slow. They ended with-actually I belive they ended with Don't wait on the Rain. I don't belive they played that song twice so I don't know what Kalen played.
In case you are interested Kalen has his own website and has his own CD. I heard it and did not like it because it was too produced. But if he likes it and other people like it, fine. People are entitled to thier own wrong opinions.
I don't know what they are going to do when Gabe gets back from Honduras. I could have asked Gabe what he thought, but this is one of those rare times when I don' t want to know, mostly because I don't want to have any input in that.
I really enjoyed listening to them. Over the last year that I've been following them they have changed a lot. And I like it. But there are things I don't like. I'd like to hear more of Gabe by himself. But Kalen is talented too, and they do seem to work pretty well together, although I'm not sure that they are going in the same direction musically. I have to say that I was really impressed by the fact that Kalen kept going even after he broke a string. I thought that was really professional in a "the show must go on" kind of way.
If you haven't already check out their website at
The opening acts were worth checking out as well, in particular the girl Larissa Delorenzo. She had some good stuff. I would compare her to a cross between Jewel and maybe that singer from the sixties that died of a drug overdose. She's a chick with a guitar, but she's not just a chick with a guitar. I was particularly impressed with one song that was called Richford or something. It was the name of her home town. Anyway it was cool.
Darien Cunning was up next. He was o.k. Unfortunately he had taped a lot of what he was doing and most of it was not live. I did not like that.

Dance Real Slow by Micheal Grant Jaffe

I really liked this book. It was one of those easily digested books that are perfect when you just want to relax. Michael Grant Jaffee is a talented writer.
This book concerns a young single father Gordon Nash who has just moved to small town Kansas from a large city in Michigan after his wife left him and his 4 year old son Calvin. The books deals with Gordon struggles with his new life, with his past and with the people he meets. Gordon is a man who both loves his son and struggles against him. On reading this book I felt that Jaffe must have lived this life himself because he knows the characters and their feelings so well. However I could find very little about him on the web, and the short bio on the book cover didn't tell me anything either.
The characters and the changes they go through are what make this novel such a compelling read. This is Jaffe's first novel, and I look forward to seeking out and reading the two novels he has written since.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Comedy of Errors - UGA

Interesting play. I don't particularly like Shakespeare and I don't particularly hate him either.. Although the more I see Shakespeare I see the more I like. I had never read or seen the Comedy of Errors before so I was on pretty much the same level as most of the audience and was a bit confused.
If you haven't seen it before, the play concerns two sets of twin brothers who don't know they are twins and end up being mistaken for each other, several times over the course of a few days. It is basically what the name implies.. a comedy of errors.
This particular production was a free one put on by a maymester drama class at UGA. It had virtually no set, and the costumes and props were all found pieces from the cast members closets. I found this a bit distracting in the beginning, but as I got into the play I actually liked this.
For the most part the acting was decent. Not particularly memorable (they were mostly underclassman and all undergrads for the most part doing their first Shakespeare play). There were a few obvious flubs. One girl kept forgetting parts of long speeches and would repeat them. And there was one character who was played by someone holding the script who had apparently gotten it five minutes earlier (but no one was missing from the cast.) The main characters for the most part did a good job. I was not bored, I was enthralled . I enjoyed it. There is one more performance (Saturday at 8pm) so if you are in Athens and you want some good free entertainment go see some of the young local talent at the cellar theater at UGA's Performing Arts School (appropriately located in the basement).

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Panera Bread

A bit pricey.. (between $5-10) but its worth it every once in a while. They make good soup and sandwiches, salad too. Very simple, and good. Of course the bread is the selling point, nice freshly baked bread from scratch. Sometimes you can see them kneeding it in the back. Everything is fresh and flavorful.
I like to get a half salad or half soup and sandwich combo. My favorite is the tomato and mozerrlla pannini or portabella and mozzerrella panninni
They also have a very good french onion soup which can be served in a sourdough bread bowl, but I haven't found a vegitarian soup that goes with it (the french onion soup is probably not vegitarian but that doesn't really bother me)
They make good and bagels and sell them by the loaf or by the dozen. My favorite are the asiago cheese. They also have some lower carb options .
The store itself is kinda tacky, as its fast food. I don't really like that. I think if I'm going to have gormet food I should get a nice restraunt. Not trays and stuff. They don't have waiters which is fine, that reminds me of a deli. But its the cheap plastic containers which get me..
They have lots of choices everything from pbj to roast beef to
You can check out there menu on the website here

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Athens Area Arts Open House Weekend

I have to say that this is a rather broad topic for a review, but as its one of the greatest things about living in Athens (not the weekend, the arts in general), I'm going to try to say a little something.
We spent all afternoon driving around looking at pottery. Some of the highlights were Farmington pottery, which had a nice selection of mostly unique pottery. His pieces were some of the nicest I saw today. It's pretty much all functional. This guy has a has a large wood burning kiln (two in a barn) which my brother says is neat. I have to take his word for it since I don't know much about the kilns themselves except the ones I've seen have all been gas or raku.
Another highlight was J.B (Jeff Bishop) and friends open house and sale. They had some pretty unique stuff. It was very colorful.
We also went to happy valley which I had forgotton was all production. Sure everybody does some production, but these guys do nothing but. I don't really like it. If that's what you want they do a good job of it though.
We did not go to the Bendzunas's (Comer) http://www.bendzunasglass.combut they are good glassblowers . They do a lot of production work as well, but they also have a lot of very interesting experimental works. They are a family bussiness as all the kids (20's) do some glasswork as well. It's definately worth the drive out.

Friday, June 3, 2005

Their Eyes Were Watching God- Movie

I had trouble with this post when i first posted it. So I'm going to post it again. movie, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” did not stay as true to the book as it could have. The movie left many things out particularly many of the metaphors and folk traditions, which made the book so colorful. It was very oversimplified and focused on Janie’s search for romantic love that was only part of the theme. Additionally the speech was modernized.
Many of the metaphors were left out. For example in the first chapter Janie compares her self to a peach tree blossoming while she receives her first kiss. This was not discussed at all in the movie. The scene at the end with the flood was taken to be more literal in the movie than it appeared in the book.
Another thing that was greatly disappointing about the book was the modernization and clarification of the language. One of Zora Neale Hurstons’ accomplishments was her brilliant ability to capture of African-American speech during the early 20th century. This was almost completely destroyed by the movie. As far as Halle Berry’s interpretation goes, the only allusion to this is how she refers to her friends as “girl” that may be more modern.
The movie did retain some of the important themes from the book, including that of women’s place in society and the ideal of romantic love. One of the themes that Hurston wrote about in the book, was Janie’s strong need and will to simply be herself, which I felt was sidestepped in the movie in order to place emphasis on the romance in Janie’s life.
The movie that was well done seemed to oversimplify many of the aspects that were important in the novel. The movie is a decidedly different interpretation of the novel focus on romance and the search for it.

Taco Stand

I love this place. Sure its not authentic at all, and they microwave lots of things (I think) BUT ITS LOCAL! and where else can you get a tofu burrito (outside of california). As far as I'm concerned the taco stand is the best.
It used to be great because it was the cheapest place and very affordable but now that I've gone from broke to completely broke, and gas prices have doubled its not as cheap as it used to be, but its still pretty affordable. You can still have a pretty decent meal for less than $3 bucks (higher than than toco bell, yes, but taco bell sucks).
Taco stand is kinda like a cheap sports bar, except that instead of showing sports on mute they show the news, and the music is much better (usually WUOG, plus its a great place to people watch (especially downtown).
I have to admit that Mean Bean is pretty good too, but the taco stand holds a special place in my heart b/c I discovered it first.
Like I said the food is great. You just have to take my word out there. And don't worry all you carnivores, there's plenty of meat filled options to satisfy you. So grab some friends, head on down and support local bussiness.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Donnie Darko

There's just something about this movie. I don't quite get it yet at the same time its very simple to understand.
This movie, stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Donnie Darko, a paranoid schitophrenzic, whose daytime hallucinations are actually real. The movie begins with a plane engine falling on Donnie's room. Actually the movie doesn't begin there, but this is very important and surreal. I belive that this happens in an episode of wierd tales or something, but I can't find any evidence of that.
The movie goes from surreal to ordinary just like that. Part of the trouble this movie had box office wise stems from the fact that it transends genres. It has become a cult hit, and is definately one of my favorites. In fact it has become so popular that a director's cut (which I have not seen and intend to see) has been released.
Honestly I can't say that it totally makes sense- I don't understand a lot of the whys, but its not totally ambiguos, like many people think. I think one thing you have to understand in order to understand the movie, is that everything Donnie sees is real, including Frank.
I just love the way Jake Gyllyenhaal's eyes look in this movie. They really contribute to the darker side of Donnie's character. Donnie is not evil despite the fact that he does many troublesome things. He is troubled though, but I don't think this is why he does what he does.
There are lots of interesting things in this movie, that have been speculated about ad naseum, but I really think you should just see the movie, and once you have check out the website Its really well done and adds a lot to the movie.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Bear Vs. Shark by Chris Bachledor

This novel is amazinly innovative. It is set in the near future, but much like Orson Well's 1984 is not about the future and instead satires current society. In this novel a family, the Normans, is traveling to the independant country of Los Vegas (formerly of Nevada) in order to watch a much anticipated wrestling match between an electronic bear and shark. This contest is supposed to be the culmulation of the "age old" question of who would win in a contest between a bear and a shark, given that all things were equal, of course.
In actuality the book doesn't really have anything to do with bears and sharks, but instead is more of a cultural comment. This is a world wear t.v. has no off switch or remote, and no one really knows anything because of the constant influx of wrong information from the internet.
Each of the chapters is short satire of a differn form of contempary media. The chapters all weave to form a plot that forms an intricate portrait of just what has happened to american families.
Best of all this book is entertaining. It's better than the internet. And it's much much better than t.v. So while you can, go turn them both off, get a copy of this book, and find out what its all about.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

THX 1153

Interesting movie. This is one of George Lucas's ( Star Wars) first films. It was developed from a student film he did. The film was incredibly well shot and the concept is interesting, but I don't think its one of the most remarkable film's I've ever seen.
I enjoyed it, but possibly not as much as I could have. Although I've noticed I don't really like science fiction as much as I thought I did. Not even political science fiction. Although.. that may not be true. Because I do like political fiction a lot. But I degress.
The movie is about a world were people are numbered , cataloged, and otherwise treated like machines. Kind of like a doomsday thing. The plot follows a man (THX 1153) who breaks these regulations and attempts to escape. Everyone is drugged in order to keep them from feeling anykind of emotion. The movie has lots of interesting aspects and ideas and is worth watching just for that. Although to be honest, I feel that as visually stunning as it is, it would make a better book.
One thing I really liked about the movie was the absoulute lack of color in the film. Everything was dull oridanary and regimented, so there wasn't any color. I believe that color says a lot about people and who they are. The lack of color went well with the lack of emotion.
I think it might have done well as a short film. In fact the movie came from a full length film, which I did not see. However there were certain themes that could have been expanded upon that would have made the film more interesting. I think it would be interesting to see the short film and see how the two compare.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Garden State

I think this movie,, is going to quickly become one of my favorites. It's a little sappier than what I usually go for, but its really good and really cool. I've been watching Zach Braff on Scrubs for a couple of years now, and I really liked what I saw. It' s really powerful, not only is it about a guy who can't feel anything (Andrew- Zach Braff) that changes that, but its also about characters that are real and true. I know the people in that story. I don't know any millionares per se, but everybody knows someone who's all set up for life, only to discover that they're really bored.
The whole thing was really well written, and I really liked it. The begining, with the dream on the plane that's crashing and he I think it was a perfect metaphor for Andrew's life up until that point. The nice thing is that this movie talks about some deep important issues, without being too contrived or sappy. If anything the movie was a little surreal. But sometimes life is surreal. Even everyday things are a lot weirder than we think they are.
The only weak point is at the very end. There's nothing wrong plotwise with how it ended, although I could forsee several different ones, its just that it was badly described. I don't like how the audience learned the end of the story. It came totally out of left field. It made sense but I still had to say WHAT? I'm not going to go into more detail because I don't want to give anything away.
The soundtrack was awsome. Perfect and awsome. I want it. I will probably buy it. Great indie rock stuff.
Great movie. Awsome stuff.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The DaVinchi Code- Dan Brown

After more than a year of trying to find this book in library or at a used book store (Jackson Street Books is a good one), I randomly got this copy for my birthday. It's pretty interesting, but I can definately see why all the controversy. A lot of what is said in the book is either true or at least belived to be true by different groups of people, but I think this book would be very dangerous or atleast confusing if you didn't know the facts behind it.
But I really enjoyed this book. It was a great mystery/thriller. Plus the theologies, ect were very interesting. I don't think it was accurrate or factual which leads me to the books downfall.
The writing is utter crap. The characters were not developed. The main character ( Robert Langdon) has almost no personallity whatsoever except we are told he is a Harvard professor. At one point there is a hint of unrequited love, but this is quickly dropped. Some of the characters are merely plot devices (Sophie, Remey). Plus the dialouge is contrived and illogicall. It is if Dan Brown has never heard a real conversation. The use of French phrases was cute.. but irritating. In the beginning Brown solves this problem by having Langdon not understand French, but he is revealed to be a master linguist as well so.. what the f**. The discriptions were pretty basic. I have to say that the beggining of the book was much better written than the end. It appears that Brown has fallen into the trap of quickly finishing a book to meet a deadline.
However I recommend this book, because, although I do not find it especially well written it is still interesting and is entertaining. But I don't think I would have been as interested in the book had it not been so controversial. Its a great compelling one time read, compelling and suspenseful, but I wouldn't buy it.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Amores Perros

This movie is in Spaninsh. So if you don't speak spanish or don't like subtitles you mind find this movie a little difficult. But don't let that stop you from watching it.
I love this movie. It is very violent and very disturbing, lots of cussing sex, ectera, and there were dog fights and bank robberies as well as some violent deaths, so its not a movie for the faint of heart or children, but I think it has a lot of redeaming quailities. I like violent movies and this was very disturbing to me, so don't say I didn't warn you. The first scene is a violent car wreck/chase though a crowded street in Mexico.
Like I said I loved this movie. Not because it violent. It's not really positive at all, although there is a lot you can learn. None of the characters redeam themselves, but the movie makes you realize why.Its a very intelligent movie, great writing, directing, acting-everything.Gael Garcia Bernal, ,as Octavio, is one of the main characters in this movie. He's a great actor, and a piece of eye candy to boot. I learned a lot about people and Mexican culture from this movie. The movie is more about relationships than anything else. The violence, particularly the car wrecks, are a metaphor. Also each dog is supposed to be a metaphor for a differnt person. It is partly this metaphorical aspect which appeals to me, as I really like movies that have a lot of deep meaning to them.
The story centers on three characters whose lives are intersected at a car accident. The movie is more or less segmented into three parts, which is difficult for most people the first time they watch it. But I think this was done very well, and made the movie all that much more interesting.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

DaVinchi's Pizza

We went here for my birthday and one of my favorite things about this place is that it is just about the only place in Athens you can get whole wheat pizza. I love pizza and whole wheat is my favorite, so that's what I ordered. But I don't think that's what I got.. so.. that kinda sucked. I think the waitress may have been just a little confused. We were just about the only people there, but she was kind of a ditz. It's a little on the expensive side ($17 for a 12") but even so its normally worth it. Just not as often as I thought. I They make mostly deep dish pizza (the only place in Athens you can get it) with just about every topping. Plus they have a full menu of apptizers and Italian entrees, and they're slightly more authentic than DePalma's. The atmosphere leaves something to be disired, the music is nice with( they pipe in Rock 103.7) and the low lighting is pretty standardard fare for Italian restruants, but the Viking /Italian oil can decor is just a little wierd. It looks like some art student designed it back in the 1980's which considering the fact that it hasn't changed since we moved here and this town is full of artists, I really wouldn't be surprised. Its on Broad Street near the library, and its pretty easy to get into. They also have a lunch buffet, which I don't recomend for vegitarians (too much trouble, no veriety) but is probably great for meat eaters ( I am a veggie, so I did not enjoy being stared at and ignored every time I asked what was in something). In summary, great food, not cheap, good carnivore buffet, bad decor, decent location.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy (movie)

Not Bad.

O.k. That wasn't really fair. I liked this movie. Not as much as I liked the book but considering that Douglas Adams is dead, and its a Disney movie it could have been a lot worse. It's still basically an inside joke, and true to form it didn't really follow any of the books (particularly the first) , but it did keep all the essential parts (famous). I really liked how they did the actual book itself. That was pretty cool. While I'm glad I didn't dress up and go on opening day (which I wasn't going to do anywa) I'm glad I saw the movie.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Bombay Cafe- Broad Street, Athens

The Bombay Cafe is an example of a small independently run ethnic
restaurant. I choose this restaurant because Indian culture, including its
food, interests me and I've never been there. Also from talking to friends I
knew it was a good restaurant and was in my price range.
The Bombay Cafe is located on Broad Street downtown. It's a casual
restaurant with both North and South Indian food. Before going I called the
cafeand talked to the owner about what I was doing. He was very helpful. I
went there on a Saturday night and ordered dinner.
When I walked into the restaurant I noticed two things. First, it was
divided by a long wall, possibly originally meant to separate a smoking and
non-smoking section. Secondly, the restaurant was decorated by a number of
Hindu artifacts and artwork. At the front, next to the menus, was a large
basket of fennel seeds, instead of mints like in many American restaurants.
Also there was a gong with a sign that invited patrons to strike it as they
left as a "thank you". No one did while I was there, but I do not think that
was because they were ungrateful.
The menu was laid out like an American menu with appetizers, soup and
salad, and beverages on one page, South Indian dishes on the next, North
Indian dishes on the next and South Indian on the next, and desserts on the
last page. There was one significant difference. On the page in between
North and South Indian dishes was a page with chutneys, flat breads called
naan, and batsami rices.
The restaurant offered a variety of food, including both North and South
Indian dishes. Although Indians do eat some meat, this particular restaurant
was a vegetarian restaurant and many of the dishes were vegan or could be
prepared vegan. The North Indian foods were mostly curries, which are spicy
dishes (not necessarily hot spicy) of sauces and vegetables. They look
almost like thick soups. Some of them are sweet, like Navantah Koran, and
some are bold or cheesy, like Mutter Panner.
The curry dishes were eaten with flat bread and rice. We used the naan to
scoop up the rice and curries. The chutneys and yogurt dressing called Raita
from South India were eaten the same way. One of the most unique things
about Indian food is popularity of yogurt and chickpeas or garbanzo beans.
Although eaten in other parts of the world, they are not as much of a staple
and do not appear in such a variety of recipes.
There was a smallish crowd of people in their late 20?s and early 30?s. The
people in the restaurant were equally male and female of mixed ethnicities.
They were mostly young professionals and academics. As I stated earlier,
this is a restaurant that caters mostly to vegetarians, so this may be an
indicator of the type of vegetarians in Athens more than anything else.
The cooks were mostly native Indians, and as I don?t speak any Indian
languages, I did not have an opportunity to speak to them. I did talk to the
waitress, who was local. She said the type of people who where there was
pretty typical. She said that the busiest times were weekday lunch rushes
during the academic year, due to the fact that most of the patrons were
academics or worked downtown. She also said that they have a few local
regulars who kept the place open the rest of the time and that groups of
visitors to Athens would keep the place busy during festivals and game days.
I talked to the owner, P.S. about the Bombay Cafe. He is co-owner with his
cousin. The two of them began the restaurant as a Mexican restaurant after
P.S. returned from studying in Bombay. P.S. was familiar with Mexican
restaurants because his father started several in Huston, Texas. However,
there are many in the Athens area, (as well as other Hispanic restaurants)
most run by Hispanic restaurants and their restaurant did not do well. In
fact, I had never heard of it despite having had lived in Athens for 10
Because P.S. and his cousin are Indian and P.S. had studied in Bombay
people began asking them about Indian food. Because their business was not
doing well they began looking for an Indian cook and incorporated Indian
food into their menu (as a trans-national restaurant). Shortly after that,
about 2 1/2 years ago they converted the restaurant to a full Indian menu
and changed the name to the Bombay Cafe.
While I was at the restaurant one of the things I tried was an appetizer
called Dahi Puri. It was a crunchy pastry filled with cold yogurt, garbanzo
beans, and a yellow pastry that tasted like cheese. It was very good and
very different. I liked that it was well balanced, flavorful, and healthy.
I also liked the contrasting textures. It was very smooth and very crunchy.
It was also very cold, but not frozen. It had a unique taste to it that I
really liked.
Going to this restaurant, the Bombay Cafe was a very unique experience that
I rather enjoyed and learned a lot from. I would definitely do it again and
I would recommend it to my friends. The Bombay Restaurant is a nice
moderately priced restaurant in downtown Athens.

Monday, March 28, 2005


Very good, very accomidating. Although they didn't have any vegitarian items
on the menu they wer able to make me something special, eggplant parmesean
-my favorite. It was kinda dark which is perfect for an Italian restraunt.
Not only did they make me something that was not on the menu, they gave us
very excellent brushetta on the house. This restraunt new to athens is in
the $10-15 dollar item, with most menu items emphazing fish and chicken,
however as I said they are perfectly able and willing to accomidate people
with food from off the menu. Everything was great. I don't normally like
chain restraunt's but this one is very good. Not too over priced or exotic
(like DePalma's).

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Their Eyes Were Watching God- Movie

I had trouble with this post when i first posted it. So I'm going to post it again. movie, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” did not stay as true to the book as it could have. The movie left many things out particularly many of the metaphors and folk traditions, which made the book so colorful. It was very oversimplified and focused on Janie’s search for romantic love that was only part of the theme. Additionally the speech was modernized.Many of the metaphors were left out. For example in the first chapter Janie compares her self to a peach tree blossoming while she receives her first kiss. This was not discussed at all in the movie. The scene at the end with the flood was taken to be more literal in the movie than it appeared in the book.Another thing that was greatly disappointing about the book was the modernization and clarification of the language. One of Zora Neale Hurstons’ accomplishments was her brilliant ability to capture of African-American speech during the early 20th century. This was almost completely destroyed by the movie. As far as Halle Berry’s interpretation goes, the only allusion to this is how she refers to her friends as “girl” that may be more modern.The movie did retain some of the important themes from the book, including that of women’s place in society and the ideal of romantic love. One of the themes that Hurston wrote about in the book, was Janie’s strong need and will to simply be herself, which I felt was sidestepped in the movie in order to place emphasis on the romance in Janie’s life.The movie that was well done seemed to oversimplify many of the aspects that were important in the novel. The movie is a decidedly different interpretation of the novel focus on romance and the search for it.

The movie, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” did not stay as true to the book as it could have. The movie left many things out particularly many of the metaphors and folk traditions, which made the book so colorful. It was very oversimplified and focused on Janie’s search for romantic love that was only part of the theme. Additionally the speech was modernized.
Many of the metaphors were left out. For example in the first chapter Janie compares her self to a peach tree blossoming while she receives her first kiss. This was not discussed at all in the movie. The scene at the end with the flood was taken to be more literal in the movie than it appeared in the book.
Another thing that was greatly disappointing about the book was the modernization and clarification of the language. One of Zora Neale Hurstons’s greatest accomplishments was her brilliant ability to capture of African-American speech during the early 20th century. This was almost completely destroyed by the movie. As far as Halle Berry’s interpretation goes, the only allusion to this is how she refers to her friends as “girl” that may be more modern.
The movie did retain some of the important themes from the book, including that of women’s place in society and the ideal of romantic love. One of the themes that Hurston wrote about in the book, was Janie’s strong need and will to simply be herself, which I felt was sidestepped in the movie in order to place emphasis on the romance in Janie’s life.
The movie that was well done seemed to oversimplify many of the aspects that were important in the novel. The movie is a decidedly different interpretation of the novel focus on romance and the search for it.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Cedar Shoals and Clarke Central's production of Chicago-The Musical

Nice, well, put together, worth the 4 bucks.
Ali Sanders as Roxie was good , great actress, exceptional singer. Not loud,
would have liked to have heard her more.
Velma. Nice singer. Great singer
Not an actress. Not bad, however with enough practice the role could at
least be pulled off by almost any beginning actor.
Billy Flynn. Great actor, sounded like he had a sore throat, fortuanately a
great singer was not needed for this role.
The Matron mama. great. great great. The role didn't require a great actor
but she gave it her all and made it a standout.
Amos was a standout. This was onee of the roles that required a lot of insight and
preperation. He obviously knew his stuff.
For the most part the ensamble, along with the costumes and the coreography
really made this play. Like the other two musicals I've seen at Cedar
(cindrella 2002, the man eating plant -2003) for the most part the ensamble
really added to the whole experiance by staying in character and true to the play. There were a few people who were a little off or just didn' t get it however.
Mary Sunshine was a horrible singer. I'm not sure if that was intentional or not.
I loved how they ended the show by dancing to hot mama rag.
dancing and other coreography was amazing.
They used simple sets but that was fine. Part of the reason for this was because they transported the entire set from one highschool to another.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Love Charm Song

The Chippewa poem, “Love-Charm Song” is a short repetitive piece from Chippewa culture. The song was sung acappella, in the lower(tenor) register by a woman. This song was sung as a spell and was supposed to be very powerful.
The first line of the song, ”What are you saying to me?” is a question. This is significant because, the singer continues by telling her audience how beautiful she is, “I am arrayed like the roses/as beautiful as they”. This simple three line poem is repeated over and over again, slowly and rhythmically in order to mesmerize and enchant the listener. The purpose of the song is to get the listener to fall in love with the singer.
This poem is a good example of Chippewa culture. It tells us how much they valued music. The Chippewa believed that songs were sacred and were inspired by the spirits (p995). Obviously women where also highly regarded in there society because the singer is a powerful and highly skilled woman. The Chippewa placed a high value on love and beauty, for that is what the song is about. Also the Chippewa must have valued nature, as the woman compares herself to roses “I am arrayed like the roses”, which are a part of nature.
This simple short Chippewa song is more interesting than it appears on first inspection . It is a powerful example of a love song. It also provides insight into the Chippewa way of life.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Art by Yasmine Raza

This incredible Tony Award Winning play was sponsored by both Town and Gown (a longstanding local 'community" theater) and The Georgia (as in University) Museum of Art This dynamic play that explored the questions of "What is Art?" and "Why am I your best friend?" starred the incredibly talented Speedy Arnold as Yvan, Rick Rose as Marc, and Jeff Evans as Serge.

When I read this play I was very impressed with it. I really liked how the only difference between these men (as far as their apartments go) was the painting on their wall which symbolized the man. For Serge it was the white painting, which symbolized how he was "a man of his time" and proud of it. For Marc it was the pseudo-Flemish painting which symbolized how he valued traditional things. And for Yvan it was the "hotel painting" that his father painted which symbolized how he cared more about people than about the values they held.

I could go on and on about this play itself, but I'd rather talk about the particular performance I saw and just leave you with the recommendation that if you haven't already you either see it or read it as soon as possible.

I loved this play when I read it but seeing (as usual) was much better than reading it. For example Yvan was a much more dynamic character than I imagined. Speedy Arnold brought warmth and humor to the character that made me realize why he was as indecisive and easygoing (and unable to form an opinion as he was) . It really impressed me to see such a veteran actor as Rick Rose play a father-figure like Marc. I'm not sure, but I think he and Serge are and were supposed to be older than Yvan. I liked that.

One scene that really stood out to me was where Marc destroys the painting. When I read the play I saw it as a negative destructive act but through the exellent direction of Allen Rowell, the cast brought out how this act was a step forward in reconciling their friendship.

The lighting and set weren't all that impressive, but the GMOA has a small auditorium and limited resources. I thought they did an excellent job (as always) with what they had. The only problem I had a was I couldn't see everything because the stage was on the same level with the audience.