Can you believe that the release of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Belmont Stakes, the Loya Jirga in Afghanistan and the announcement that Mick Jagger is going to be knighted, all happened on the same weekend? I'm so breathless and tingly from it, I could just pinch myself.
I'm suddenly overcome with the fear that someone is reading this column for the first time and won't know that the above paragraph is intended ironically. Oh well.
Actually, one of last weekend's super-hyped events that I sincerely would have enjoyed seeing was the Lewis-Tyson fight. In addition to being one of the rare Mike Tyson fights that lasted longer than the "Star Spangled Banner" preceding it, it was also a fine opportunity to watch a rapist get his ass kicked.
Abrupt Transition From Introduction: A couple of weeks ago, I received two laminated VIP passes in the mail for Vanilla Coke On the Bricks, the free Friday night downtown concert. Excited to witness life on the other side of the velvet rope and report it to you, I called a friend last week and headed to the show --- VIP-style, of course. I normally take MARTA to downtown events, but this time, I drove and even paid $10 for parking. VIPs don't skimp.
The first evident perks of VIPness are the envious looks you get when people see the VIP pass dangling from your neck. It's important to remain cool and aloof when that happens. A VIP should always be cool and aloof. The second perk was getting politely waved through security without anyone searching my bulky camera bag. There's no need to search VIPs. After all, they never commit crimes. Just ask the O.J. Simpson jury.
Next, my friend and I were each greeted with a hug by a beautiful young woman staffing the event, who then escorted us back to the VIP area. At this point in the story, I'm in a bind because of the unspoken rule that whatever happens in the VIP area shall remain there. It's kind of like a fraternity initiation or a meeting of the Freemasons. We've all heard the rumors of rivers of champagne, comely handmaidens serving golden trays of exotic fruit, and muscled men fanning away the heat with peacock feathers. To adhere to the code, I will neither confirm nor deny the rumors. I will tell you that there were buckets of ice-cold Vanilla Coke and brownies, but I'm only telling you that because they were visible from the non-VIP area.
There was music, too. Local favorites Drive-By Truckers were swampy and great, sounding at home on a big outdoor stage. Headliners G. Love and Special Sauce, who play sort of a lazy folk hip-hop (think Beck-naked Ladies), started slow, but midway through their set had the crowd bobbing in unison, particularly after they were joined by rappers who ordered the crowd to wave their hands in the air and bob in unison.
Happy Birthday: On Friday, Square Hat Supper Club honcho Patroski Lawson held a mini-Square Hat party at Joel to celebrate his 35th birthday. Instead of the usual million people that come to regular Square Hat events, this one had only 100 or so, accompanied by live jazz. Guests included Nathan Abbott of Wednesday Night Drinking Club, and Eric Saperston from the movie The Journey.
The highlight of the party was when I overheard a man explaining to a woman that Square Hat parties usually have much larger crowds. When she said that a larger crowd would be too much, he replied suggestively that, "When you're single, too much is never enough." That's my new mantra.
Speaking of meditation: Wondering what art would be like if it wasn't surrounded by chatty people sipping Chardonnay, I decided to go to an art show not on the opening night. I went to Alex White's Pore show at the Mattress Factory lofts on MLK Drive. I walked in Saturday afternoon and White was sitting alone at a table sketching. Behind him was an enormous warehouse with lit candles scattered about the floor. In a side room was Pore. It's a sculpture show of moonscape-like patterns on wood and Plexiglas. Seeing the work alone in the room, accompanied only by ambient music, was strangely emotional. Some guy I'd never met built the display, probably over months, and I got to sit and enjoy it by myself. I don't know why it was so affecting, but it was.
Crazy Train: On Saturday night, the Decatur Preservation Alliance threw its second concert event to raise money to keep the Decatur train depot standing. The depot was built in 1891 and, after years of serving its original purpose, also served as the bar/music venue The Freight Room. The railbarons at CSX have willed the depot to the city of Decatur, on the condition that they pick the building up and move it 30 or so feet from the tracks. The concert headliner was Delta Moon. They played happy blues music. Their biggest fan was a literal-minded little boy who, every time they sang about "gettin' down," dropped to the ground.