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What I did and what I ate

Babyface was here, but then he left

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Last week, I received a press release from Bridgetown Grill's publicist telling me that Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds ate lunch at the restaurant's Buckhead location. The announcement didn't offer many details, only that Babyface ate chicken and declined an offer of hot sauce.

Since I know that slick R&B and chicken are two things that Scene & Herd's readers can never get enough of, I contacted the restaurant and Babyface's publicists with follow-up questions that would have made the story suitable for this column. Did he wash his hands before eating? Is he a good tipper? Sadly, neither publicist responded to my questions. Surely someone who'd take an hour of their life to publicize a celebrity's lunch can afford to take five minutes to respond to me. In the meantime, here's what I did this week, along with what I consumed while doing it.

Tuna sandwich on wheat: Last weekend was the grand opening of a new bar in Midtown called red. When a club uses all lowercase letters in its name, it's an assertion of hipness in much the same way that adding an "e" to the end of "grill" connotes fanciness. The club owner admits as much, boasting that red caters to a hip clientele. That puts it in stark contrast to all of the Midtown bars and clubs that cater to limping, burping trolls.

The space is beautiful. Along with downtown's Trinity, it's the only club I've been to that I kinda wish my house looked like. It's a softly lit, cozy rectangle decorated with paintings, an enormous mural and great lamps. (I'd tell you what color the room is, but I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise.)

I went Friday night and spent most of my time sitting at the bar looking down the shirt of the attractive female bartender every time she bent down to reach for something. I'm certain that I wasn't the only one.

Ginger candy that my mom mailed to me: After a short stop at home to fold my laundry (do you think Babyface folds his own laundry?), I drove to Smith's Olde Bar (note the fancifying "e") to see Mandorico. Opening for them was Tonohoney, which plays the sort of vaguely funky, laid-back frat-rock that has an iron-grip on Atlanta's white 27- to 33-year-old college-educated, pot-smoking professionals. Tonohoney ain't bad, just not my thing.

Mandorico, on the other hand, is anything but laid-back. They play a jumble of styles, all of which are very rhythmic (their first CD is called AfroCubanHipHop-CarribeanRock, if that gives you an idea). On Friday, they were a fantastic, all-devouring, remorseless percussive monster. Just in case you can't figure out by listening that Mandorico is about rhythm, they helpfully placed a drummer at the front of the stage as a visual reminder. The nearly sold-out crowd danced throughout, although some of the band's more complex mid-song rhythmic shifts caused the dancing to occasionally devolve in awkward jerking.

Chocolate (me) and beer (my date): I went to see Lord of the Rings Saturday. It was dark in the theater, so I can't say for sure if Babyface was there.

Decaf coffee: On Sunday afternoon, I took a stroll around the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. The sidewalks on either side of Auburn Avenue between King's birth home and the Ebenezer Baptist Church were crowded with people marking what would have been King's 73rd birthday.

I stopped by all of the sites, including King's tomb and the visitors' center, which shows short films about the Civil Rights Movement. Between the film screens is a sculpture with statues depicting freedom marchers. If you ever go, notice that almost every child who sees it walks up on the platform and pretends to be a statue. It made me very happy to watch.

Tea that my mom mailed to me: Jane Monheit and I made our Spivey Hall debuts Sunday night. Monheit sang. I took her picture while she sang. I thought we worked well together.

Monheit is a young jazz vocalist who is both a critical favorite and a top-seller. Sunday night's sold-out performance was her first show in Atlanta. She focuses on classic American songwriters like Gershwin and Cole Porter, but also has an affinity for Brazilian composers like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Sergio Mendes, whose sultry, jazzy compositions perfectly suit her, well, sultry and jazzy singing.

The highlight for me was her rendition of one my favorite songs, Rodgers and Hammerstein's People Will Say We're in Love. The song was written as a duet for Oklahoma!, but Monheit has rearranged the lyrics to make it suitable for one woman to sing. Her key lyrical edit was the exclusion of the verse that contains the classic line: "Why did you take the trouble to bake my favorite pie?"

If any of you bootlegged the show, that loud noise after the third song is me accidentally dropping my pen on the hardwood floor. Sorry about that. If it's a really good bootleg, you might be able to hear the young woman in the fourth row laughing at me for doing it. Babyface did not attend.

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