Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Beautiful View from Sarah's Apartment

Photos from my lovely friend's apartment on the 12th floor of a stunning historic building in downtown Atlanta. Shot through a window with longer exposures, thus the blurriness. Still love the Christmasy feeling of the city lights, Atlanta can feel like Chicago from this height.

The Georgia Dome
Looking down on Fairlie Poplar.
Focus on Forsyth Street


An ironic vehicle to be parked outside 81 Poplar.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Marina, Goodbye

I just read that Marina, the 25 year old beluga whale who lived at the Atlanta Aquirium, passed away this morning. She had been there for just two years. She's the second Beluga, in addition to two while sharks, to die there this year. Marina stopped eating two weeks ago and the vets discovered she had ulcers. Ulcers. She was worrying.

The other deaths also seem odd:

Gasper, another beluga, was euthanized after veterinarians determined he would not recover from a bone disease he contracted at another facility. Whale shark Ralph died from peritonitis, an inflammation of the stomach lining. Whale shark Norton was euthanized following months of declining health. Aquarium officials say they don't know what caused his ailments, but suspect a pesticide used to treat the tank for parasites may have contributed to his demise.

It just doesn't seem right to keep these giant beautiful animals like this. I wish they were out there swimming in the blue.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Salmon in the City

16 x 20, acrylic and glitter, Freedom Parkway skyline view of Atlanta. One of the very first salmon paintings, remains a favorite. Now a gift for Hank who loves it the most.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why Our Dad is the Greatest

Priceless moments from this year's Thanksgiving, featuring our father.
1) Pretending to play guitar while we played Guitar Hero III. Not just air guitar, he insisted on having a prop. P.S. Emil never changed out of his pajamas that day.


2) Playing dress-up in a jacket that he bought in London more than 30 years ago (he's so skinny!), a Panama Jack hat given to him by a patient and a dishdasha of course. All items "found" in the storage room which he would emerge from after donning each new piece proudly and demand "What do you think? Don't I look great?"

video

3) Singing "That's Amore" on the karaoke video game (as a shirtless/shoeless black man no less) and dancing all the while. This was repeated the following day as duets with my mother to "I Left My Heart in San Francisco", "I've had the Time of My Life", and an encore performance his Dean Martin greatest hit.

Lots of love to Dad!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Riot, Now Quiet

Kevin DuBrow, lead singer for Quiet Riot, is gone. 52 years old and gone and we don't know why. So sad! Metal Health was one of my first favorite records as a kid and helped introduce me to the harder edge of rock while making macaroni and cheese in my friend's kitchen after school.

Tonight, bang your heads a little bit harder, rock out a little bit louder and know that heaven just got a little bit crazier.

Cold November Rain

Lovely it is to wake in the arms of my lover. Outside the cold November rain rolls; inside we are warm in matching white tank tops under the weight of the down quilt. I can smell coriander, apricots and lavender on our skin.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Meat Markets, coming home

Check out the name of the new butcher in Chicago. Beautiful!

Speaking of meat markets, how bout the Kroger in the Edgewood shopping plaza on Moreland? I had no idea that this was the new spot to cruise.

When two different guys checked me out in the time from the car to the store I thought it was a bit peculiar. When it continued inside, dude after dude walking by, looking me up and down and smiling a little too friendly, and culminating in a guy asking me out after a brief conversation in front of the dried fruit I knew I wasn’t just grocery shopping- that there was all sorts of other kinds of shopping going on- know what am sayin ladies?!? Not that I blame the guys- I was looking unusually irresistible in my hair-is-too-dirty-to-go-out-but-I-don’t feel-like-showering hat and last night’s makeup. I think the Kroger is the new heterosexual equivalent of the Midtown Home Depot for gay men.

This has been a lovely first day back in town after being gone for the last couple weeks. I slept in till noon after having a wonderful dream where I was dating David Sedaris (then while dreaming remembered he was gay, but it was all good cuz I still got to hang out with Amy and saw her craft-filled apartment). I made a Moroccan lamb and apricot tagine and tomato, lentil and orange soup. I took a bath with lavender salts and burned rose candles. And now the Simpsons are on and the Secret Agent is on his way over for what I hope will be a delicious meal. It’s good to be home in Atlanta.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average..."

I wanted to write so much more about my terrific weekend in Minneapolis with the lovely Michelle and Michael. I’ve been running nonstop since I got back and am about to leave town again- this time for Ireland. Minneapolis, the weekend of November 9-11, 2007 was:

LOTS of art. Georgia O’ Keefe abstract exhibit. Frida Kahlo exhibit celebrating the 100-year anniversary of her birth. A walk in a beautiful sculpture garden with a giant cherry held by a spoon. A live recording of A Prairie Home Companion with the geeky and adorable Garrison Keillor in a red tie, red socks and red running shoes. The Mall of America with an amusement park inside. Sushi. Greek Food. Fresh Bagels for breakfast. Rock n roll competitions. Nikki Sixx’s Heroin Diaries. Great, great friends.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Get on the Carnival!

The Georgia Blog Carnival comes out every two weeks and features highlights from Georgia blogging. Two of the top issues are Genarlow Wilson and the Brian Nichols trial, both very relevant to my work. My piece on Dr. Lowery is featured in the Brian Nichols section.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Falafel, Zeytoons, Baba Ghannoush, oh my!

From today's Democracy Now!, the FBI was monitoring sales at Arab grocery stores as part of its assault on terrorism:

Congressional Quarterly is reporting that the FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian secret agents. The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian agents in the region. The program was the brainchild of top FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie Hulon. The datamining operation was eventually stopped after FBI officials determined it was possibly illegal to place someone on a terrorist list because of what they ate.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Grateful for Dr. Joseph Lowery

Dr. Joseph Lowery is truly an amazing man. His leadership in the human and civil rights movement in the South began in the early 1950s in Mobile, Alabama when he helped lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott after Rosa Parks' arrest. He was great close friends with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and together they founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. At a quite respectable 86, he still spends his days struggling for justice and today's unpopular issues.

I just returned from a press conference that we put on with Dr. Lowery and the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda about the indigent defense crisis and death penalty in Georgia. Dr. Lowery was joined by civil and human rights leaders in calling for the Fulton District Attorney to accept a plea to Life without the Possibility of Parole in the Brian Nichols case.

No one else has had the courage to step up and say these things until now in this notorious Atlanta case of the man who is to be tried for escaping from police custody and killing four people, including a judge on March 11, 2005. This case has become a nightmare in Georgia, with legislators threatening to defund the whole indigent defense system because they think Nichols’ defense is costing too much.

Dr. Lowery was fantastic. I shouldn’t expect any less; he could read my grocery list out loud and make it sound like justice. He spoke about how the civil rights movement has been consistent for decades in its response to the horrible murders that have traumatized their communities including include the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the murder of Dr. King’s mother, the serial killings of the Atlanta Children, and the Olympic Bombing. He declared that a sentence of Life without the Possibility of Parole was acceptable for Dr. King’s killer, Wayne Williams and Eric Rudolph and it is also appropriate for Brian Nichols.

While he did not call Paul Howard out by name, he did say it was time for the prosecution to end the “tenure, turmoil and trauma” and accept defense’s offer of a plea to Life without the Possibility of Parole.

It was clear from the beginning that this would not be one of the most popular or supported press conferences held by Dr. Lowery. Despite the fact that the meeting room held about 60 people and was standing room only, when we started assembling for the press conference Dr. Lowery had to practically drag people up there to stand with him while he made his statement. He kept asking the people gathered “Y’all are gonna let me take this heat alone?”

People in the audience were palpably hesitant to move to the front. There were a handful of solid, brave folks who joined him from the start including Rainbow/PUSH, SCLC, NAACP State Conference and a couple legislators. I also stood with them. By then end of the conference we had at least 15 more people (which is about all that could fit in the small space we were in) and heads were nodding throughout the audience. A small miracle, but in this hostile, hopeless climate, a miracle nonetheless.

A funny thing that happened was as I was walking to join the group Dr. Lowery made a joke about how it was no longer a panel of esteemed black men but that they were adding “a woman of color, a Latina woman…” then trailed off stumbling a bit because he was unable to identify my ethnicity. He looked at me and said, “What is your ethnic background dear?” to which I replied, “I’m an Arab, sir.” He then exclaimed “Well we have esteemed black men and the PLO up here today!” And I knew he meant it in the most positive and Palestine solidarity way – that was a first!

At the end of the event as I was saying my thank you’s to the panel and I came to Dr. Lowery. He leaned in close to me and asked

“Are you Palestinian, dear?”
“No sir, my father is Iraqi.”

He shook his head and took my hands in his hands and said

“I am so, so sorry for what we have done to your loved ones and your beautiful country. My heart is broken for the Iraqi people.”
“Thank you so much, sir. My heart is broken too.”
“I am so, so sorry for what we have done. My heart is broken.”
"Thank you."

I’m so grateful for this amazing man.

Photos: Cabbagetown during Chomp & Stomp

Another lovely and fun Chomp & Stomp weekend!










Sunday, November 4, 2007

'like PLO I don't surrendo' - M.I.A.'s Atlanta Halloween show



If Bjork is a panda, M.I.A. is an iguana. Or komodo dragon. Or a gila monster or some kind of crazy looking, beautiful exotic lizard that moves awkwardly but with more grace than you can fathom with their bony adorable body.

Halloween night at Center Stage in Atlanta was alive. From before it even began, the space was filled with rainbows of costumes, underwear over fishnets, and more wigs and leg warmers than you’d find in Cyndi Lauper’s closet circa 1983. Girls were dancing on top of speakers; friends were greeting each other with hugs that spun each other around. (What an amazing contrast to the previous night’s snooze of a crowd. I'm just sayin'.)

The show opened up with video footage of Japanese nihilist Kouichi Touyama in his bout for Governor of Tokyo- a perfect way to kick off the show of the daughter of a Tamil activist-turned militant. This revolutionary spirit carried through the entire evening, no doubt due in some part to her extensive travels in India, Trinidad, Liberia, Jamaica, Australia, and Japan while she was writing her new album Kala.

That’s the best word: revolutionary. MIA is revolutionary. She is one of, if not the most fierce performer I’ve ever seen. In iridescent white stretch pants and a baggy t-shirt, she, her DJ and the woman who danced and sung back up (so sad I don’t know her name) commanded the stage. The energy flowed from their lips hips fingertips to the crowd infectiously. Eyes remained glued on the small bodies that glided across the stage. Every song was a journey -- sometimes intentional “now we’re going to Africa!” she cried jubilantly as the screen behind her turned to jungle and machine guns. At one point she invited all people wearing costumes to join her on stage for a dance party (pictures on this are included in the slideshow- click on the image to go to a larger size). She perched on the edge of the stage singing and became part of the fan-based MIAnimal that moved with her.

I'm including two videos in this one this time because I just have to share them. I didn’t want the show to end; hell I want to be back there right now. As MIA said in Sunshowers, 'like PLO I don’t surrendo' and she didn’t and she doesn’t and I can’t emphasize enough that if you have a chance to see this lovely British Sri Lankan imp in real life, go go GO!

And if you were there, tell me how much she blew your ass away. Please. Take me back there immediately.


video

Performing Pull Up the People: you no like the people they no like you, then they go set it off with a big boom, every gun in a battle is a son and daughter too, why you wanna talk about who done who? what you wanna talk about?


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Performing Bucky Done Gun. Despite the arm constantly blocking my camera, the crowd footage on this one makes it all worthwhile. Everyone loved her!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Kinda Lackluster Pornographers

I just got back from the New Pornographers show at the Variety Playhouse. I’ve listened to NP for a few years, at times constantly while I work. I was excited to finally see them live; I’ve missed them their last few times through Atlanta. What I found out though was that I prefer their recorded music to their live performance- at least tonight, anyway.

For a band with such a risqué name, this performance couldn’t have been more G-rated. Even though the songs tend to be high energy, the crowd seemed subdued and still. It reminded me a little of a Peter, Paul & Mary show-- like, pass me the wine from the picnic basket, I'm gonna need to get a bit more of a buzz on to get through this. Or like they were saying to each other “let’s all harmonize as loud and earnestly as possible”, but with 5 more people on the stage than PP&M, and one of those five I found to be annoying and a bit of a knob, as my sister would say. Neko Case didn’t feel anywhere near as strong as she sounded when I saw her solo this summer.

The highlight of the show for me was Kathryn Calder, who plays keyboard and accordion and harmonizes heavenly. I also loved the band name in lights on the stage and the fact that they have a shark on their new album. And they did play Mass Romantic, the song I was hoping for.

I should probably offer the disclaimer at this point that I'm sick and was having a hard time even standing during the show. Perhaps my illness could have impacted my level of enjoyment. It wouldn’t stop me from going, you know. Hell no. I'm a fuckin rocker. And besides, for all the shows I see, it’s probably good that I don’t love all of them. No one would trust me if I gave 7 thumbs up to every show I saw. So just to remain credible, I’ll give this show only 5 thumbs up. And here’s some video for you to enjoy.

video
Mass Romantic played by The New Pornographers, October 30, 2007 Atlanta GA

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Do They Know It's Halloween?

"They don't know the fear/we endure once a year... do they know it's Halloween at all?"

A seasonal favorite! This is last year's parody/cheeky-homage of classic/infamous 80s Band-Aid charity record, by a group calling themselves the North American Halloween Prevention Initiative, includes Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Beck, Rilo Kiley, Thurston Moore, Malcolm McLaren, Karen O, Peaches, David Cross and lots of others. Lots of fun... all profits benefit UNICEF. Read more about it at Vice Records:
Maybe what Bono doesn’t realize is that belting out groaners such as “tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” is a tad patronizing—but we do. So we wrote our own charity song.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Heavenly Halloween Party from Hell



What a fabulous night we had on Saturday at this year's Hodi-Totonchi Family Halloween Party! This year the theme was Stairway to Heaven, Highway to Hell, and after this weekend, we know we have friends in both places.

From angels to villains and dead presidents to revolutionaries, we had it all this year. There were beautiful goddess and devil-horn worthy rock n' rollers. We saw friends and enemies of Batman, a chainsaw-wielding pumpkin king and even the biggest Cookie Monster in Atlanta. And who even knew that Iraqula was such a karaoke superstar?! We're so happy you all came and made this year's Halloween party the best ever.

Our pictures are in the slideshow above and bigger versions are here as an album. Also be sure to check out our friend Delicious Food's report and photos of the party. Be sure to give ol' DF a much-deserved hard time.

We would love to see the pictures you took. Please send links or files to sara.totonchi at gmail.com and we'll add them on here so we can all check them out.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
NEW: Pictures from Malissa -the Slutacious Fires of Hell and Dawn - the Black Widow (raise your hands if YOU scrubbed Dawn's lipstick off your cleavage on Sunday!)
Both get Gold Skull Awards!



Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jamaican me jealous!

If only I had this bathing suit featured on KABOBfest for last summer's trip to Jamaica... or maybe one with the Iraqi flag. I love the idea of a matching kuffiyeh swimming cap.

...joy, inspiration, and love in abundant measure

A wise & wonderful piece from one of our favorite lawyers, Bill Quigley, who has not only represented scores of people who act with conscience and disobedience in opposition to the School of the Americas but also has put his shoulder to the wheel in nearly every one of the many, many battles for justice ongoing in post-Katrina New Orleans.

A Letter to Law Students Interested in Social Justice

It's such a rich piece, but the part that stands out to me on this cool, early morning is:
Finally, remember that we cannot give what we do not have. If we do not love ourselves, we will be hard pressed to love others. If we are not just with ourselves, we will find it very difficult to look for justice with others. In order to become and reamin a social justice advocate, you must live a healthy life. Take care of yourself as well as others. Invest in yourself as well as in others. No one can build a house of justice on a foundation of injustice. Love yourself and be just with yourself and do the same with others. As you become a social justice advocate, you will experience joy, inspiration and love in abundant measure.

Monday, October 22, 2007

SO grateful its raining

After days and days of serious drought in Georgia, I am so grateful to have woken up to the sound of pouring rain. This makes me think of a million rainy songs, but most of all this one, Prayers for Rain by the Cure.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Blah Girl Weekend

A new Blah Girl, at the corner of Chester and Fulton Terrace in Reynoldstown.

I really love this one, sideways and cheery.

The original Blah Girl -the one featured on my blog banner- was on Boulevard in between the Fulton Cotton Mill lofts and the Oakland Cemetery wall. The first time I saw her I couldn't stop smiling and thanked my lucky stars that I always carry my camera. Sadly, she was painted over a while ago.

I'm happy to share that the original spot once again is ornamented with a new Blah Girl- saw her for the first time today.

Again, I want to send out gratitude to the Blah Girl creator.

THANK YOU for the surprise and joy seeing her always gives me.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Love those Bloggin' Girls

I just found out that my lovely friend Lori has a new blog. Stop by and give her some love: Sew Sew Def

Lori posts about her wonderful sewn crafts - check out the fabulous pirate tissue covers. I am lucky enough to be the proud owner of my very own Lori-made skull potholder. She sells her wares around Atlanta street fests where you have a chance to check out her bright, beautiful and rock n' roll quilts- I covet them. You will too.

Also, my brilliant and amazing friend Rebecca blogged about a study that showed how feminism can actually improve heterosexual relationships:

They found that having a feminist partner was linked to healthier heterosexual relationships for women. Men with feminist partners also reported both more
stable relationships and greater sexual satisfaction.

No surprise that Rebecca notes this- she is just months from marrying lovely Garrett who I know loves every bit of her feminist heart and soul. Ah, love... sigh. Congrats again, y'all!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dedicated to all those who have watched me lovingly while I twirl in my dining room

One of my favorite pastimes is dancing by myself in my house. My dancing is less dance-like, more straight-up spinning in circles. People marvel that I don’t get dizzy and fall; I always get dizzy but I rarely fall. Those who have had the experience of being in my audience (a.k.a indulging me) for such a display are all part of a handful of people in Atlanta who are the most dear to my heart.

My favorite music to spin to for the last year or so has been the first Band of Horses album, Everything All the Time. Just last Tuesday they released their second album Cease to Begin and I'm happy to say that it is just as twirl-worthy. Pitchfork Records wrote a great review and observed:

Thousands of land-locked miles from the Great Salt Lake, this cross-country change of scenery is subtly apparent: If Everything All the Time was a Pacific Northwest indie album with flourishes of country and Southern rock, then Cease to Begin reverses the equation.

So here is Band of Horses performing their wonderful song Great Salt Lake from last night’s show at the Park Tavern. The boys in the band were lovely, warm, and rockin as always and indeed, felt more Southern than ever. This video post is dedicated to the people who have watched me twirl on those wonderful nights and to my sister Reem, the other biggest Band of Horses fan I know.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What are YOU doing for Halloween?

Are you a Led Zeppelin fan, or more of an AC/DC girl? An Officer or a Gentleman? A (sexy) angel or (sexy) devil? A Lacey or a Sammie Spades? A cop or one of us? Will Santa be visiting your house this year?

Whatever your fancy may be, we're exploring where heaven and hell collide over here for Halloween this year. We would love for you to join our well-behaved and classy soiree and/or debaucherous hellraising blowout.

As always, we suggest the theme to help those brains get going on costumes ideas: think about what your ideas of heaven and hell are. Our top three hellish notions are: 1) vacuuming 2) going to the dentist and 3) anything that has to do with Carrot Top. (Fair warning, Carrot Top- you'll get kicked in the teeth if you show up at this party.) Heaven includes delicious food, scrumptious cocktails, and fabulous friends- all of which will be present and accounted for this Halloween. As Mark Twain said, Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.

Saturday, October 27, 10pm
Sara's house, contact her for the address

Bring your imp, goblin, and fairy friends. Beer, wine, and vodka are also requested and very much appreciated.

The Donnas Fuckin' Rock.

The Donnas rocked my socks off. Pursed lips, power chords, hair flipping, hips swayin- unbelievable. To see them in a club as intimate as The Earl was stunning- and to know that one year ago on that very same stage my friends created the Sara Tribute Band for my 30th birthday… again, knocked my socks off.

I saw Poison a month ago with Bret Michaels ruling the stage. He ran back and forth and even did the backwards kick thing in sync with Bobby Dall, but it was a mere gesture compared to what happend on the stage in East Atlanta tonight. These girls were of a different world that boys can't even compete in. Lovely strong beautiful raw raunchy loud cathartic rock and mother fuckin rolllin GIRLS. YES! ANd I got a t-shirt that looks like the girl version of the cover of Look What the Cat Dragged In.

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Wasted from Bitchin' by The Donnas shot by my shaky hand. Enjoy, ladies! Jealous? Yeah, me too!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Carnival is in Town

The new Georgia Blog Carnival is hot off the press- check out some great writing from Georgia bloggers in the last two weeks. I just love Living Among the Dead, about some of the history of Oakland Cemetery, which I recently photographed. Though I've spent countless hours sitting at Potters Field, painting, writing, drinking champagne, I had thought only poor people were buried, there. Not so says Elementary History Teacher:
Another section, Potter’s Field, possible contains the remains of more than 17,000 people. Traditionally with a name like Potter’s Field you would expect to have only indigent people buried there. However, once all the lots were gone Atlantans still wanted to be buried at Oakland, and were willing to go to an unmarked grave by choice simply to have the privilege of resting within its confines.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Eid Mubarak

Sending warmest Eid greetings to all who are celebrating the end of Ramadan! May the sacrifices you have made compel happiness in your homes, fill hearts with love, and breath peace throughout our planet.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Le Luth Sacrilège

"Every serious and sincere musical work reflects revolution, the artist is by nature a rebel," said the wonderful, the legendary, the beautiful Marcel Khalife.

His music has brough joy, hope, rebellion, solidarity and light to the Arab world for so many years; he songs have been a collective voice of the region and her people. He has been banned, prosecuted, hailed and awarded for his courage and audicity. And we are so lucky because he is playing a concert in Atlanta on November 4th.

Always Auspicious

In addition to being a delight in her green bikini and encircled by floating hearts and an ice cream cone, this time the Blah Girl was a sign of hope and home for another lovely girl.


This one lives at the corner of Pearl and Marcus Streets in Cabbagetown.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Oakland in October: Photos

It was a wonderful Sunday in the Park. I can't wait till the leaves really start falling.

Regressing

Green painted toenails, black glittery fingernails, purple streaks in my hair, a vampire book in my bag, and the iPod alternating between Concrete Blonde and Pigface… have I time warped back to high school? Yikes- “time warp” makes me think of Rocky Horror… maybe I should go see that sometime. Okay, don't let me.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Both Hands

Reem just texted me to tell me that Ani DiFranco is about to be on Conan. She’s on now and playing “Both Hands”—the more than 10 year old but the quintessential Ani song that made me love her. However I just can’t seem to get around the fact that I am also terribly bored with all she’s done for about the last 8 years… that is of course other than the thousands of dollars she’s given our office that has supported my job. Oh yeah, and the fact that she narrated the documentary about our work. As Reem would say, whoops a daisy!

My stomach turns a little while watching her, but then she does the “I am watchin’ your chest, rise and fall like the tides of my life…” line and I have to smile a little as she tugs on my heartstrings.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sunday at Oakland Cemetery

There's nothing like a beautiful fall day at Oakland Cemetary.

Next Sunday is even more special with their annual Sunday in the Park Victorian festival. There will be bands, food, walking tours, story tellers, an artists' market, even antique cars. One of my favorite things about this day is that they open up some of the mausoleums and you can check out the stained glass & engravings close-up.

If you've never been to Oakland before, this is a great day to go and easily avoid various silly stigmas generally associated with cemeteries. Not that those bother me... I just love it there.

Reporting Back: Amy Sedaris, Rilo Kiley in Atlanta

There is no doubt in my mind that Amy Sedaris is a genius. Who else would have the foresight to be led in to her Decatur book signing on Friday night by a dragged-out marching band in boas and sequins?

You’ll be glad to know that Amy and her long-time imaginary boyfriend Ricky are still together (he’s not dead anymore; she reported that he had been ‘murdered’ on Letterman a couple years ago). They had a baby but they lost it. “Not LOST IT, lost it- but lost it, lost it. As in, we can’t find it.”

Earlier this week Amy appeared on Martha Stewart’s talk show. I missed it but Reem told me all about it and then I watched the video. They were making cheese balls and Amy kept referring to A1 Sauce as bong water. Martha would reply, “bog water?” “Yes, Martha, BOG water” replied Amy with a big ol’ wink towards the camera.

One of the audience members in Decatur on Friday night asked Amy if she were ever on Martha’s show again if she thought she could make Martha cry to which Amy quickly replied “Oh honey, most men don’t cry.” Zing!

The most exciting part for me personally was that I got to ask a question directly to her in the Q & A section of the program. I asked her what her 3 favorite garage sale purchases have been. She stumbled and stuttered for a moment and then exclaimed “Bitch!” in my direction- mine was the only question she didn’t have a stock answer for! I am SO proud. Amy Sedaris called ME a bitch! She finally decided that her three favorites are:
  • a curlicue wig that her brother David found for her. Its used in the Grieving section of her book;
  • A gold tooth that she used in the Dentist episode of Strangers With Candy;
  • A tiny porcelain skull that she gave to David as a gift.

Afterwards, she signed my copy of I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence- she drew a magic wand coming from a ghost’s hand and wrote “Magic Happens”.

In other genius news, I got to see close up and live the lovely kids of Rilo Kiley on Saturday night at the Variety Playhouse. The ambiance on the stage felt like the 1940s- Malissa noted it was reminiscent of the bandstand era. The backdrop was a luminescent glimmering curtain that changed colors depending on the lights. The band wore black, white and silver- the boys with ties and suspenders, Jenny Lewis in a playboy bunny-like number with a silver bowtie.

Simply put, they were fantastic. Great performers, changing and rotating instruments the whole time. One of the many treats was their ‘cover’ of a song that Jenny wrote with the Watson Twins, “Rise Up with Fists!”- but they did it sorta reggae/ska-style. They didn’t play my favorite song this time around, but I suppose that is reason enough to see them again next time.

Thank god there is finally some rock n roll happening in this city! And there is SO much more to come in October.

This Girl Gets Around

The lovely Blah Girl is making more and more appearances in Atlanta. This one on the left is off of the side of a truck and was taken by my lovely roomie Anne with her cell phone camera. Blah Girl fever is spreading!

This other one smiled back at me from the girl's bathroom at El Myr. Apparently Mademoiselle Blah and I travel in the same circles. But we already knew that, I suppose.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Last Days of September

This was a lovely weekend- complete with almost no plans- other than of course the Amy Sedaris book signing on Friday and the Rilo Kiley show on Saturday. I’ll post words and picture about both of those very soon.

Thursday night I finally got a picture of this parking lot painting that I’ve wanted forever. It’s at Piedmont and Pine, across the street from the Task Force for the Homeless. I assume it was the Task Force that painted it. It reminds me of that Oscar Wilde quote.


I spent the weekend days hanging at my house, crafting, cleaning, writng, playing with pictures. I cleaned out my closet, resulting in:

  • 3.5 bags of clothes, purses and shoes to give away on Freecycle
  • ten hangers with suits and jackets also up for the taking
  • 1 big box of t-shirts for altering into much cuter t-shirts (margarita and craft day at my house on Oct 14th ladies!!)
  • 1 big "archive" box of sentimental clothes, meaning old handmade patchwork hippie dresses, rock n roll concert t-shirts, great thrift store finds, outfits I wore on days I remember well- all this stuff I haven’t worn in years but want to keep.

While I was sorting things into the archive box I kept thinking about how much I would have loved to have a box like this as a kid to play dress-up in. I do remember having a similar bag of my mother’s clothes that we wore for years for play, for Halloween, I think there may have even been a piece or two that made it into my goth-repertoire in high school. Like this black and gold scarf that was a part of every witch costume that came out of our home. God we loved that scarf.

Tonight I had Iftar dinner with Secret Agent Man and his cousin- both are fasting for Ramadan. Since the meal is to break the fast I wish they would just own up and call it “breakfast”.

And of course the cherry on top of the weekend was the finale of Rock of Love. The ending was the sort that I suppose would be satisfying to people who actually believe love can come from reality television. I was underwhelmed. Bored. My prediction is that on next week's reunion show Jes will anounce that she and Bret have "gone their separate ways but remain great friends." Bored!

However, this show did give us some great train-wrecks, trash, and reached new levels of slutacious-ness. I give Rock of Love two Reality TV awards for the show overall:

  1. Best Ever Elimination Exit- Sammie Spades' hot as hell make-out session with Bret and leaves “with guns blazin’!”
  2. Best Ever Final Line of a Series- After she gets eliminated, Heather leaving in the limo crying and slurring while cussing Bret out she’s all “And I have this asshole’s name tattooed on the back of my neck?!?” and the show ends…

AND LIGHTS!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

If you ever wanted to throw a Senator out of a plane...

On Saturday, October 13th Georgia State Senator Preston Smith is planning to jump out of an airplane to help support the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia, which provides services and support for survivors of sexual violence in the Rome, GA area.

In his email announcing the event, Senator Smith says, “The way I figure it, some will want to help support me in this charitable endeavor. Others would just want to pay to see me thrown out of an airplane." You can make a donation to support him and the SAC by visiting: http://www.firstgiving.com/prestonsmith

As a former volunteer of the SAC in Rome, I'm grateful to Senator Smith for throwing caution – and himself – to the wind! However, I'm not as grateful for the hard time he's giving the public defenders- thus I went ahead and made my donation to support his plane jump. It works on so many levels!

Georgia on My Mind

Georgia Blog Carnival #19 is up! Featuring all sorts of writing from across our peachy state, I'm happy to say that one of my posts was included:

"Having a picnic at Oakland Cemetary…It sounds like a blast….a blast from the past. Ok, bad teacher humor, I know. Ashes and Glass makes its carnival debut with Friends in Cemeteries. Check the picture out….the thrift reminds me of my grandmother."

Thanks EHT for the mention and the love! Thanks in particular for sharing that it made you think of your grandmother- memories of my grandmother are never far from my thoughts and all that she brought to my life remains always in my heart. In fact, my mother, my sister and I just got tickets - we're going across to Ireland in November. it won't be long before I'm standing once more on the soil of my grandmother's country.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Another New Blah Girl

This one is at the corner of Moreland and Glenwood, heading into East Atlanta Village.

Looks like this one might have been a bit rushed... still love it in contrast with the "Wage" and "Fatso."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Amy Sedaris in Decatur!

Thanks to my old pal Warren G for this great tip: Amy Sedaris wil be in Decatur next week!

She will be in town to accept her Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance award for best cookbook of 2007 for I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. This book is just wonderful; I've given it as a gift many times. There's a chapter on cooking for your pet rabbit, and one on pantyhose crafts and "good ideas." This includes illustrated instructions for putting them on, how to make an "eye burrito" compress for tired eyes or a pantyhose plant hanger.

Its pretty great, having both her and Bjork here in the same month, Atlanta is getting more than our fair share of the craziest of crazy people- crazy in the best way possible, of course. Amy is one of the most untethered, fearless women I have ever known. It is purely a joy to watch her let her brilliance and craziness just flow. And she's not afraid to get wasted while she's baking, to boot!

Her happiness is in the pursuit- whether its of laughter or of delicious confections. Or even not so delicious food like some of the items on her munchie list (page 95, I think?): bananas dipped in Jell-O powder and crushed pretzels with cream cheese on toast.

Wordsmiths Books presents
Actress, Comedian, Author, Icon: Amy Sedaris
At the Decatur Recreation Center
231 Sycamore St, Decatur GA
September 28th, 7:30 PM
FREE! FREE!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Coming Home

Heading home to Chicago this afternoon for the weekend. I miss the City, the people, the Lake. I've been obsessing about Deep Dish Pizza, mmmmm.

I love Falltime in Chicago, even though I think its still a bit warm there now. I love the breeze.

These pictures are from a year ago, my September 2006 trip. This trip was also the one where I blinged out Reem's cast after she fell at Little River Canyon and we had to airlift her out. What a day! The bonus was that she got to have the most glam cast ever.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

City Love

I love Atlanta. Every bar I go to is playing metal. Everyone smiles and pours a strong drink and talks shit. Tonight Carwash was on the sidewalk polishing a table-full of what looked like bells. Friends are everywhere and those who aren't friends yet overhear your conversations and chime in their support.

I'm so glad that the weather is starting to cool and I get to wear sweaters with buttons.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Car parts, bottles, and cutlery... or whatever I find lying around."

Bjork! Tonight at the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

She is part panda, part butterfly. She dances like a child listening to her favorite song. Waves her hands palms out, skips and marches at the same time, her arms pierce the air replicating the exact sounds of the percussion. Every note from her lips, throat is perfect, true, whole. She wrestles with space then breaks free from invisible chains in an explosion. She is supported by an Icelandic brass orchestra made up of young women in tribal wear while the men in her band weave complicated tapestries of electronic sound. She charges controls masters the stage, the space. In the audience boyz dance widely with abandon and girlz clasp their hands near their lips in anticipation. Green beams of light and silver confetti fill the air above our heads. She utters "thank you, thank you." quickly quietly adorably.

Thank you, thank you William for taking me! Here's some shaky video of Bjork performing Hyperballad. The boyz kept dancing in front of me and my camera- not that I'm complaining. They were beautiful and the sound is what's important. Keep watching, at about 2:30 she dances like a beautiful crazy person and the lights start sweeping.


video

Monday, September 17, 2007

Possibly Maybe

Tonight in Atlanta! Bjork! I can't wait! More later after the show.