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Half the carbs of Access Atlanta

But twice the ho's


The best-selling, wittiest, most melancholic and orchestral pop band in all of Scotland, Belle & Sebastian, began its latest American tour last Sunday night with a show at the Tabernacle. Opening for them was a tuneful group called Slumber Party. The woman next to me said, "They're like zombies." I agreed at the time. But the more I think about it, the more I think actual zombies would've been more interesting. Rising from the dead in search of fresh human brains to eat is awful. But you've gotta admit, it's pretty interesting.

Despite some "first show of the tour" hiccups (one of the band members showed up from the airport in the middle of the show, another tried to introduce the members by name at a moment when half of them were taking a break off-stage), Belle & Sebastian band sounded mighty. Highlights included "Stars of Track and Field" and the new song "If You Find Yourself Caught in Love," lead singer Stuart Murdoch's glorious declaration of faith.

Live, the band's sound is every bit as lovingly detailed as it is on record, an amazing feat when you consider just how lovingly detailed their records are. The band is fronted by Murdoch, who looks and sings like an angel (my girlfriend added him to her "I'm allowed to cheat on you with him" list) and guitarist/singer Stevie Jackson (who announced a new song called "Roy Walker" by agreeing with the critic who called it an excerpt from a bad musical). Playfully arguing the merits of the Smiths vs. Aerosmith, Murdoch and Jackson came off like a shy, sensitive, adorably geekish Mick & Keith. Call them the Glummer Twins.

Tattoo U.: It wouldn't be a late-October column without a little Halloween stuff, so here goes. Last weekend, the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Powers Ferry hosted the second annual Atlanta Pre-Halloween Tattoo Arts Festival. I showed up early Saturday, and mostly saw the people who were working the convention tattooing one another. Once you got past all the bad-idea tattoos (e.g., tattooing your wife and child's face on your chest with the caption, "My Earth, My Seed, My Heart"), there was plenty of interesting stuff to peruse.

A man with a Björk face tattooed on his arm was tattooing a lovely image of a woman with "big boobs and a sword" on his friend's thigh. Another guy was getting a Balinese mask tattooed onto his calf by a woman who had the exact same wide gap in her front teeth as the mask.

Later in the day, I indulged in Halloween at the perpetual tattoo festival known as Little Five Points. The occasion was the Little Five Points Halloween Festival & Parade. Even before the parade, the festival was paradise for people-watching and strangeness. In front of the Yacht Club, I heard a fun bluegrass band called Whoa, Nelly! comprised of four pirates and Jesus. Jesus played banjo. The best costume I saw was a loving father/daughter grim-reaper duo. It's nice to know that, all the grim reapering aside, he's still a dad.

There was even a celebrity -- Robyn Watson, a little person once featured on a great episode of the MTV documentary series "True Life." I wanted to talk to her, but she was on a motorized bike and I couldn't catch her. I did find her online at Really.

Every day is a holiday: Last Friday night, a group of concerned citizens led by Atlanta City Councilman Derrick Boazman took their poster boards, Sharpies and righteous indignation to Midtown to confront one of Atlanta's most nagging social ills: people dressing up like pimps and hookers for Halloween. Mugging for the local TV news (and leaving soon after the 11 o'clock news aired), the concerned citizens protested the Velvet Room's annual pimp-and-ho-themed Halloween costume party.

Patrolled by a battalion of Atlanta police officers (whose time might've been better spent addressing issues like, um, maybe crime or something), the event was peaceful and civil. The only evidence of incivility I witnessed was my own laughter at the "No Pimping Zone" sign that one of the demonstrators held up.

Thanks for the concern, Mr. Boazman. Now, how about taking the streets to protest the real prostitution I saw in my own neighborhood while on my way to your protest? Unlike the Velvet Room, my neighborhood is actually in your district.

They do the sand dance, doncha know: Last week, Atlanta's royal watchers bid farewell to the city's most esteemed ex-monarch, King Ramesses I. The ruler of Egypt from 1293 to 1291 B.C., Ramesses vacated his post at Emory University's Michael C. Carlos Museum and is now headed back to Egypt, where he has taken a job with that country's Supreme Council on Antiquities. Owing to the fact that Ramesses was mummified in 1290 B.C., the post is largely ceremonial.

There to escort Ramesses I back to Egypt was Dr. Zahi Hawass, the Supreme Council's general director. While he was here, he also signed copies of his new book, Secret From the Sands: My Search for Egypt's Past, and gave a lecture at the university's Glenn Auditorium.

Born in the Delta (Nile, that is), Hawass is a gritty, charismatic man whose presence elicited giddiness and starstruckedness among several attendees. I wrote, "He's a rock star," in my notebook as a joke to myself. But then, in the video that preceded his speech, he pulled a total rock-star move by complaining about how fame robs you of your freedom because everyone is staring at you all the time. (Damned Discovery Channel paparazzi!)

His lecture was informative and engaging, its goal to prove, beyond a doubt, that the Pyramids were built by ancient Egyptians. I didn't know that anyone doubted it, but apparently there are bunch of New Agers who've found secret messages on their Enya CDs saying the Pyramids were built by aliens -- or by enterprising residents of Atlantis.

Hawass calls these people "Pyramidiots." Who can tell though? Only time.

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