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.