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.

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 and we'll add them on here so we can all check them out.

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., 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.

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.


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.