At the Melting Point

Is there a more inviting performance space in Athens than the Melting Point? Are there five guys in Athens with more jazz chops than the Athens Latin Jazz Quintet? And yet, we didn't stay last night beyond the first set.

When we put on our wristbands at the door, the odds already were stacked against our sticking around. One, I was down on myself for making a hash of Satin Doll at the keyboard at the Ciné jam. I managed to redeem myself a bit with Miles Davis's Tune Up, but only with the generous help of Melvin and Art and their saxes. Two, we had a couple of thirteen-year-olds in tow, and their appreciation of jazz is, shall we say, still developing. Three, we were still in the throes of PADS -- post-Athfest distress syndrome.

We grabbed a table stage right, not too close to the speakers, and the odds quickly increased that the evening would prove challenging. We ordered soft drinks -- two Diet Cokes and two Sprites. What the server brought had the coloration of Diet Cokes and Sprites, but neither the fizz nor the taste. Apparently, the fizz thing was on the fritz. It happens. But the replacement drinks were nothing to write home about, and Pat had the impression that the server had better things to do than to bring her a water to replace a "Diet Coke" that obviously had developed the tell-tale two-tone look of the abandoned soda.

We ordered. Pat picked the turkey wrap. Ian and I succumbed to the siren song of the Cuban pork sandwich. I don't remember what Chad chose. "After awhile," as we say down here in Georgia, the food came. The longish interval between the handing back of the menus and the arrival of the edibles was no big deal, at least for me. I wasn't starving. And maybe they plan it that way to allow you to enjoy the music a bit before you dine.

Anyway, the food came, and I reached for the right half of my Cuban pork sandwich, anticipating that glorious moment when the toasty warmth of tender meat and melted cheese would dock with my taste buds. But when my fingers closed around that sandwich half, well, room temperature is not toasty warmth. Later, during our debriefing, Pat said that her turkey wrap, which should have had a chilly freshness, also was room temperature. The lettuce was room temperature. The turkey was room temperature. On the plus side, we all devoured our fries and onion rings. They were special and yummy.

Technically, the quintet rocked. The rhythms were locked in the groove, Preston pulled some sweet solos from the bass, and Rand had a really inventive night at the keyboard. The full house gave it up for the guys enthusiastically. But there I sat, a bit disappointed. For one thing, my ears never really adjusted to the acoustics of the performance. The quintet seemed to be playing in a cave. I don't know whether it was the construction of the performance space or where we were sitting or the way the sound board was set or that my ears are still recovering from Athfest, but the keyboard and the vibes sounded tinny, and I didn't get nearly enough differentiation among instruments. Also, I think there might be a missing piece in the make-up of the group. I'd like to hear them as a sextet, adding a horn, or maybe as a quintet with a vocalist out front for some of the numbers.


Art event coming up

Don't forget -- coming up tomorrow! Your chance to check out some cat themed art and even bid on stuff including this huge mixed media cat painting (from yours truly) as well as an ORIGINAL Pete the Cat item from James Dean.

What: Art reception and auction
When: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Cat themed art donated by local artists, including Robin Fay, James Dean, Cecile Moore, Josh Payne, Cathy Dailey and more! Pieces will be on display and for sale through the month of July.
Proceeds benefit the non-profit group Cat Zip Alliance.Earth Fare on Lumpkin St.

The Gardens at UGA Tour


Saturday, July 11, 2009 8:00 am – 12:00 noon rain or shine
Donation of $5.00 is appreciated.

Directions: Detailed directions are located at http://ugatrial.hort.uga.edu

The Trial Gardens at UGA are nationally known for trialing annuals and perennials for the Southeast, and developing new plants for the Horticulture Industry. For example, you can find the Athens Select plants and the new Southern Living line of plants in the Gardens at UGA. “If you really want to know what plants perform well in Georgia visit our Gardens in July and August to see which plants are thriving in our heat and humidity,” states Trial Garden founder Dr. Allan Armitage. Although this garden is open to the public year-round, this special open house on the morning of July 11th also offers:

-Guided tour by Dr. Allan Armitage
-Plant Sale
-Book Sale and Signing of Dr. Armitage’s books
-Rain Barrels for sale
-Area gardeners and UGA Horticulture Club members to offer advice
-NEW Art in the Garden!

Proceeds from donations and plant sales will be used to fund upkeep of these world-renowned gardens. This is a unique opportunity to learn about and buy plants that thrive in Georgia gardens.

Contact: Camille Evans

Jazz Monday

Farewell to Athfest for another year. Hello to another week of great local jazz. At six tonight over a Ciné, Sonny Got Blue sets up as the house band for the Monday jam session. Bring your ax and join the fun, or just grab some liquid refreshment at the Ciné bar and soak up some swingin’ sounds. I’m hopin’ to make it over this week.

My plan is to hang at Ciné for 30 minutes or so, then head directly to the Melting Point to hear the new band in town — the Athens Latin Jazz Quintet. Rand Lines will be on the keys. Nuff said. Ryan “Manito” Wendel (Grogus and One L) will be coaxing the rhythms from the congas. Dusty Brown (Grogus) will be on the lionel hampton. Preston (One L) Smith will go walkin’ with his bass. And Philip Mayer (Rand Lines Trio, Carl Lindberg Trio, Grogus) will bring his magic to the drum set. Tickets will be seven dollars at the door. That’s less than a burger, fries, and a drink at Five Guys. And these five guys are gonna cook.

Keep up with the local jazz scene at my athensjazz411.

Sunday Pix

Over at my athensview.com, I'll be serving up some of my images from a Sunday afternoon at Athfest. I'll feature a new image every quarter hour.


AthFest 2009

There are very few things that really surprise me about the depth of the music scene in Athens. That being said, I am truly surprised by the incredible quality of the musical talent (with only a few exceptions) of the bands that played the main stage and the Morton Theatre Flagpole Awards. I consider myself to be a tough critic, but when I was blown away by Dead Confederate, I needed to reconsider the myriad of excuses I had used to remain deaf to the up-and-coming Athens bands.

You see, I was raised on old-school rock-n-roll radio. It seemed that Athens was more of a town for the college/indie music scene. While I mean no offense to the genre or talented artists from this sector, I will have to admit I was a bit of a rock snob.

I am not a rock snob anymore, most specifically because the spacey Pink Floydish riffs that fill your ears on dead Confederate tracks like "The News Underneath" and the Verve-like vocals of Hardy Norris's "All the Angels" gave me a new understanding of what rock in 2009 should sound like. Since I was so wrong to be that judgemental, I decided to write this blog and bare all my musical sins for the world to hear, lest you fall into the same bad habits of the rock snob. Seriously, though, I really want to talk about some great bands from Athens as they move fans to ear-piercing "woooos" and hard-core devotion.

A final note for today's blog regards the fine leadership I have witnessed in the Athens community since the tragic burning of the Georgia Theatre. The Morton Theatre generously took over the venues that had been originally planned to be staged at the Georgia Theatre during Athfest. Kudos to all who un-selfishly made this possible. I'll be writing more on the Morton Theatre later, but suffice it to say that it is a rich jewel of an era gone-by. Its recent total restoration was just in time for the 100th year it has been part of Athens' heritage.

Thanks for reading my first blog- I hope you return for many more to come!

What Pepper Found

A few minutes ago, Pat woke me from my second nap of the morning (too much Athfest). Our black lab, Pepper, had begun sniffing the air in the backyard. She'd sniff, then move, then sniff. She sniffed her way to a big tree near the garage. She'd found this little critter, a baby possum.

More Athfest Pix

Again today over at my athensview.com, I'm featuring my images from Athfest 2009. Every quarter-hour, I'll post a new image. Drop by for some virtual coffee or, later in the day, mass quantities of something really cold.


Street pianist

Come listen to the piano player on College Square.

In the Backyard

Not everybody's headed downtown to Athfest today. Pat found this little one in a backyard flower pot this morning. What a cooperative model! Stayed right there throughout a long shoot and even turned sideways for a profile at one point.

Pinkerpage Presents

Faces of Athfest 2009

Every quarter-hour today, I'll be posting a new image from my Friday evening at Athfest. Drop by athensview.com to check out the Athfest scene from my point of view.


Dock Diving Dogs

Registration is now open for The Fishing Creek Outfitters Throwdown, a dock diving event presented by Dixie Dock Dogs, August 28-30, 2009. You will find more info on the event at Dixie Dock Dogs . Dixie Dock Dogs is a non-profit organization benefiting various canine charities, among them being Chase Away K9 Cancer . For further information regarding participation or sponsorship of this event, or joining our club, please contact me by email at skyhawk@dixiedockdogs.com or call 706-540-6539.

A View of the Athfest Volunteer Tent

Lights ... Mics ... Athfest

Ian and I are just back from a noontime stroll along the 40 Watt end of Washington St. The set-up crews are already hard at work getting things ready for the 5 p.m. kickoff of Athfest's outdoor music.

Athens Native Tittus Burgess Lights Up the Tony Awards

I last saw Athens native and Cedar Shoals High School/UGA graduate Tittuss Burgess in the 1990's when we both appeared on the Morton Theater stage in Camelot. I had no idea how successful he had become on Broadway until this morning. This meant I had to look up this video from the 2009 Tony Awards.

Way to go Tittuss!

I Survived the Flagpole Athens Music Awards

Last night's Flagpole Athens Music Awards had all the zany exuberance of a high school skit night, complete with hula hoops, adolescent humor, and recurring technical problems. A highlight of the night might have been the screening of the three finalists for best music video. What we saw of them was brilliant. But the dvd must have been damaged, so we were treated to freezes and jerks. The dominant theme in the musical acts was loudness. I had to check my ears to make sure they weren't bleeding. Don't get me wrong. I understand that rock is loud. I grew up with rock. But there's loud and then there's, well, Dead Confederate at the Morton last night. Dead Confederate and Casper and the Cookies offered up some fresh, interesting musical ideas, but the decibels got in the way. Congrats to Deaf Judges on a delightfully high-energy hip-hop opener, and my award for most entertaining musical performance at a Flagpole music awards show goes to Art Rosenbaum, whose unplugged mountain music spoke to all of the generations represented in the Morton audience. I'm also giving special awards to Jeff Fallis, who read his funny and touching poem "The True Golden Era" about Athens over the years, and Wilmot Greene -- the owner of the Georgia Theatre -- whose plea for help in rebuilding the theatre drew an outpouring of heartfelt goodwill. All in all, I left the Morton last night with good vibes about the future of music in our town.


View of Candler Hall Across Herty Field

With the help of consultant BarkleyREI, UGA's law school will debut a remodeled website this fall. I'm helping out with the photography. This week we strolled the campus a bit to photograph the beautiful setting the law school shares with the university and with Athens. Here's a shot of Candler Hall from the other side of Herty Field.


Johnny's prediction for the Flagpole Music Awards 2009 Athfest

Looking for this guy

Update on June 25: We're no longer looking for this guy.

From the Athens-Clarke County Police:

Please cancel the previous lookout. The suspect has been identified as Richard Looney, 37 years old, of Nicholson, Ga. He has been arrested and charged with robbery for these incidents.
From the Athens-Clarke County Police:


On June, 24 around 11:00 p.m. Papa John’s Pizza, 498 Baxter Street, was robbed. The suspect was described as a white male in his 30’s, curly hair, beard/ goatee, wearing a black tank top, white shorts, and black tennis shoes. He has a large tattoo on his right upper arm. He was seen driving a black Ford Taurus.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. Anyone with information on this subject is asked to call Sgt. Jerry Saulters at (706)613-3888 Ext. 296.

Local restaurants and franchising

Is it ironic that someone who promotes local unique restaurants is trying to franchise them? Read this letter from Diana Fairbairn of Five Star Franchising.

First of all, I am not against franchising. It is an important mode of doing business, and it provides options for local people to operate locally-owned businesses. The concept covers not just restaurants but dealers of products. For many businesses it is a better option than risking a new concept when you can get the support of a system that provides research and marketing. However, if your interest is in unique local businesses, doesn't franchising work against that? Franchising is intended to promote uniformity across the franchise units. It is a process which is heavily regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, and it is hardly suitable for a business concept which is intended to stay local and small-scale.

I have patronized the Five Star Day Cafe on East Broad Street, and I find it has an interesting menu and concept which could easily be enjoyed across ten or 10,000 other restaurants. That is to say, I would be glad to see many other cities and states enjoy the food. But Fairbairn writes, "I know I love experiencing all the great local spots in town and would be devastated to see them be replaced with chain restaurants offering the same 'unique' menu as their other 1500 stores." Would her own restaurant concept's menu lose uniqueness if she franchised too many units? Would she want entrepreneurs in other towns to buy into her concept or develop their own?

Again, there is nothing wrong with Five Star Day Cafe or with franchising, but I am a bit confused. I think this franchise owner has presented an argument against her own business methods.


a1 Paste magazine Review

Create, Share Your Neighborhood, City Dream Maps


What dreams do you have for your neighborhood, for your city? What changes—or non-changes—would you like to see in your neighborhood? In the city?

Last week on My Athens I posted a map showing my dreams for my neighborhood. Now, I want to see what others are daydreaming about.

If you live in Athens, Ga., show me—send me—your ideas.

Drawings, Google Maps, Lists Are Acceptable Formats

Send me a hand drawn map highlighting where you’d like a park in your neighborhood. Or use Google Maps to create a map showing how you’d change zoning throughout the city and send me the link. Or compile a list of suggestions for improving downtown or the Prince Ave corridor or wherever and email it to me.

Nothing Elaborate is Required

If you want to do something as elaborate as I did last week, that’s fine. But very loose, free-hand, not-to-scale sketches like the one above (which, by the way, is intended only to illustrate what a hand-drawn map could look like and is not to be taken as a serious prediction) are perfectly acceptable. If writing is your preferred mode, this post I did about Lexington, Ky.—where I used to live—might serve as an example. But—again—something shorter, less punctuated, is good, too.

Plans and a Few Details

My plan is to occasionally post what you send to me—with your name attached (unless you prefer anonymity)—and then maintain an archive of what I’ve collected.

If you’re creating a map by hand, please email me (lorentz.d@gmail.com) a scanned copy in a jpeg, pdf or tiff file. To mail your hand-created map, email me to get my address. Don’t send any hard-copy pictures larger than an 8.5 x 11 page—that’s all my scanner can handle.

Kevan Williams, Flagpole’s development columnist, suggested I do something like this. It’s a good idea. Send me your ideas.

Poll Results

Many thanks to everyone who voted in my informal poll on your info sources for the Georgia Theatre fire story. Click here for the results so far.

Purrfect Pairings -- art, wine & a good cause

What: Art reception and auction
When: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Cat themed art donated by local artists, including Robin Fay, James Dean, Cecile Moore, Josh Payne, Cathy Dailey and more! Pieces will be on display and for sale through the month of July.
Proceeds benefit the non-profit group Cat Zip Alliance.

What: Purrfect Pairings - an evening of wine and fococcia bread tasting with Michael Perkins
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday June 23rd
Suggested donation: $20 per person
Proceeds benefit Cat Zip Alliance - Campus Cats & Kitty Crusaders

Both events will be at Earth Fare on Lumpkin St.
As many of you know the Campus Cats and Kitty Crusaders have formed to manage and control the local feral cat population many of which reside in the campus / downtown area. They practice Trap-Neuter-Release (and also vet & vaccinate cats during this process), while finding homes for any adoptable kittens. This not only is helping to keep the feral cat population size down but helps in reducing the spread of cat diseases such as Feline Leukemia and Feline HIV. So, these are very good folks working tirelessly for a good cause!

Summer music series at the Botanical Garden

Celebrate Summer with Music in our New Flower Garden!

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is excited about this summer’s Sunflower Concert Series. The very popular Modern Skirts and Grogus are returning, plus FiveEight. These popular Athens bands will be performing on the permanent stage within the new three-acre Flower Garden, with lush terraced lawns perfect for spreading a blanket, opening the picnic basket and enjoying music outdoors. These Tuesday night concerts are from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will move inside the tropical conservatory in wet weather. Tickets are $15 ($10 for Friends members) and $5 for children ages 6 – 12. Ticket prices include beverages and light snacks. Call 706-542-1244 or log onto www.uga.edu/botgarden for more information or tickets.

June 23: Modern Skirts (power-pop quartet)

July 14: FiveEight (three-piece rock band)

August 25: Grogus (Latin jazz, salsa, Afro-Caribbean jazz and reggae)

We thank our Sponsors: REM, Friends of the Garden, Northeast Sales Distributing, Inc., Athens Coca-Cola, Musicians Warehouse, Flagpole, WUGA, AthensMusic.net


If It's Saturday, It's the Farmers Market

Don't forget the veggies! It's farmers market morning out at Bishop Park. Fresh produce, fresh coffee, fresh music, fresh faces. The most delightful place in Athens to start the weekend.

Concrete Rodeo Rides into Town

Reminder: Some of our area's best skateboarders, and some of the southeast's, will be out at SPOA, the Skatepark of Athens, today to compete in the Concrete Rodeo Tour. Registration begins at 10 AM. The competition starts at noon. (Pictured: Athens area skater Shane Hicks during a practice session this week.)


Georgia Theatre Fire News Poll

I'd really like to know what info source was most valuable to you in keeping up with the news of the Georgia Theatre fire. So I've created an account at micropoll and set up a simple poll. Click here to go to it. If you have suggestions for refining it, let me know. And please vote :)

Georgia Theatre benefit show for tomorrow night

A message from Benjamin Ferguson:

Perpetual Groove has been forced to cancel their weekend shows at The Georgia Theatre, but will be hosting a concert at The Classic Center on Saturday Night benefiting the displaced staff at theatre. Doors will open at 8PM, the show will start at 9:00PM. All tickets sold for Perpetual Groove's performance at The Georgia Theatre (tonight/tomorrow) will be honored at The Classic Center. Tickets are $13.00 and available at Classic Center website and over the phone.

Thanks for your help, we hope to rally the community behind this horrible loss......

one more -- aftermath ga theatre

You can see more at flickr and robinart.

another Georgia Theatre photo



Concrete Rodeo Rides into Town

Some of the best local skaters and some phenoms from elsewhere will be donning pads and helmets tomorrow at the Skatepark of Athens on the east side for the Concrete Rodeo, a touring contest that then heads for Brook Run in the ATL on Sunday. Local photographer Jason Thrasher (pictured) was out at the skatepark yesterday evening to get in some runs and to photograph Florida skater Will Powers, who's in town to help with the Rodeo. Check my skate pix blog for more photos.

Twitpic Shot of the Fire

More theatre photos on Twitpic


Originally uploaded by false_profit65
The Georgia Theatre burned this morning.

Police ask citizens to keep away from Georgia Theatre fire

From the Athens-Clarke County Police:

The Georgia Theater caught fire around 0700 this morning. The Athens-Clarke County Fire Department is still working on extinguishing the flames. The Police Department is requesting that all citizens stay out of the Downtown Business District until the fire has been put out. There is a power shortage in the District and it is expected to stay out until late afternoon. Please treat all out traffic lights as four way stops. Please refer any questions or concerns to the ACC Fire Department.

Breaking News -- Ga Theatre is on Fire

Tweets and blogs are starting to post that the Ga Theatre is on fire and flames are threatening surrounding buildings. Any other info?

Drive-By Truckers "Nine Bullets"


Images of Athens

Over at athensview.com, I'm posting an assort of images from my archive, including this one of goslings at Memorial Park. Drop by.


Skatepark Update

This young lady and her family dropped by SPOA (the skatepark of athens ga usa) yesterday afternoon, braving some oppressive heat and humidity — a foretaste of August in Athens. If our young videographer had returned at around 6:30, she would have seen some amazing skating. Area phenoms Kaden Campbell and Lindsea Lumpkin played host to two of North Florida’s best young skateboarders — Juan and Steven Pineiro from Jacksonville, in town this week for Saturday’s Concrete Rodeo tour stop at SPOA. Need something to do this weekend?


Noise ordinance challenge dismissed

The Georgia Supreme Court has voted to allow the noise ordinance challenge filed by University of Georgia students to stay dismissed. Robert Manlove and William Hoffman challenged the constitutionality Athens-Clarke County noise ordinance last year by filing suit in Clarke County Superior Court. However, the Supreme Court by a vote of four to three agreed with the county government that the students did not have the right to bring the suit because they had never been issued a citation. Manlove and Hoffman's attorney Charles A. Jones Jr. explained in a statement that "the Court did NOT uphold the Ordinance itself, only ruled that my clients were not the proper persons to challenge the ordinance." Jones believes that there may be another opportunity to challenge the ordinance by someone who does receive a ticket for violation.

Chief Justice Leah Sears wrote a lengthy dissent explaining why the threat of a citation should be sufficient harm to allow Manlove and Hoffman to allow their challenge to be heard in court. She also acknowledged that the Athens-Clarke ordinance has potential problems that could be considered by a court, pointing out that it prohibits sounds from being heard farther than five feet outside of an apartment at any time of the day, even though such a restriction does not apply to single-family homes and it applies downtown despite all the noise that is allowed there until late at night.

Many Athens residents have expressed the view that the challenge is frivolous and misplaced. For instance, the Athens Banner-Herald reported on January 25, 2008 that "The challenge 'defines a frivolous lawsuit,' Athens-Clarke Commissioner David Lynn said." To this view Jones said, "The issue was very close, and the fact that three Supreme Court Justices agreed with our position demonstrates that this case is not the 'definition of a frivolous lawsuit' as some have suggested."

I would like to point out that the legal challenge was not about whether a noise ordinance is constitutional at all; rather, it was about whether this noise ordinance is constitutional. I have compared the Athens-Clarke County noise ordinance to other noise ordinances, and it is unique. It is not the copy of an ordinance which has survived a challenge. It has unique and restrictive rules as well vague terms, problems that other noise ordinances do not have. Our community's proper response to the challenge brought by Manlove and Hoffman is to acknowledge the ordinance's defects and urge the Mayor and Commission to replace it with a more clear and sensible ordinance.


Jazz This Week

Monday morning's a good time to give thanks again for the Athens venues that serve up live local jazz week in and week out. If you have the time, why not support America's music by joining the audience at one of these venues this week?

  • Mondays: Jam session at Ciné

  • Tuesdays: Jazz night at Farm 255

  • Wednesdays: Jazz night at Porterhouse Grill

  • Thursdays: Jazz night at Girasoles in Watkinsville

  • Sundays: Brunch jazz at Square One Fish Co.

For more on these gigs, check out my calendar.


Who Skates?

Dustin Peckham, an active member of the skateboarding community in Athens, is finishing an advanced education degree focusing on the needs of severely emotionally disturbed children. Find out more about Dustin, and watch his nice run this morning at SPOA, the Skatepark of Athens, over at my athens skate pix blog ...

Back to Square One? Soon.

Drummer Carlton Owens brought his trio (our friends Dennis Baraw on the bass and Rand Lines on the keyboard) to the bricked patio of the Square One Fish Co. on Thomas Street this afternoon, adding a spicy jazz garnish to the well-prepared and presented brunch entrees. It turns out that our old friend Arva manages the new eatery. Small world! She’ll do a great job. She’s already doing a great job, judging from my grits and shrimp and Pat’s Caribbean shrimp salad. I ate every single bit of mine. Shouldn’t have, but did. Great music, guys, as always. And Arva says jazz will be on the menu every Sunday brunch. Sweet. We’ll be filling up our frequent eater card very soon. For more photos, check my jazz blog.

Buy local; whine local at Five Star Day Cafe (eastside)

Local restaurant owner Bill Hamby whines about the economy in an opinion piece in Flagpole, "Buy Local -- Like You Mean It." He essentially begs his customers to buy overpriced beverages so that he can stay in business. I found his piece offensive to customers, but I don't have to go off on my own rant since he has already been excoriated in the comments.

"So the fact that I come in and spend what I comfortably can these days isn't enough? We've taken pay cuts too. Deal with it," writes one reader. "So, you think telling me that you've been ripping your customers off when they order soft drinks or tea makes me want to eat at your restaurant?" writes another. And this comment really sums it up: "While I completely agree with your tipping argument I'm shocked you are demanding your customers get ripped off on drink orders. ... Everybody is feeling the pinch, berating your customers is not going to help."

Jazz on the Brunch Menu

As Pat and I returned from the farmers market yesterday morning, we cruised by the new Athens eatery, "Square One Fish Co.," on Thomas Street just north of the Classic Center. A solitary young man -- wearing a white apron, I think -- was hosing down the lovely-looking outdoor dining area. There's something urban-pastoral about the morning rituals of downtown restaurants -- young folks (and not-so-young folks) sweeping up, placing chairs and tables, arranging condiments, dressing a city for another day. Anyway, we were doing some recon. Our plan is to do brunch at Square One today, partly because there's jazz on the menu. Maybe we'll see you there.


A New Crop of Farmers Market Images

We're back from another delightful Saturday morning at the Bishop Park Farmers Market. I'll be posting a new image from today's visit every half hour at athensview.com. The first one's already up :)


Planning Your Weekend

Reminder: The farmers market at Bishop Park opens tomorrow (Saturday) at 8 a.m. This week's musical guests are the Athens Folk Society Band and Lera Lynn of Birds and Wire. See you there!


Classic City Rollergirls -- June 13

The Classic City Rollergirls are looking to start their home season off right this June with a win over the rollergirls from Charleston, SC. "Lowcountry Brawl" will pit the High Rollers from the Lowcountry against the Athens rollergirls for the first time. A portion of the proceeds from "Lowcountry Brawl" will help support HandsOn NE Georgia, the CCRG sponsored charity for the 2009 season. HandsOn NE Georgia helps individuals, families and corporate and community groups find flexible volunteer opportunities at various organizations in Athens-Clarke and Oconee Counties. Hands On Northeast Georgia volunteers are at work every day of the year building the community and meeting critical needs in schools, parks, senior homes, food banks, pet shelters, low-income neighborhoods and more. CCRG is proud to sponsor this incredible organization for the entire season.

On Saturday, June 13th the Classic City Rollergirls will compete in their first home bout of the season against the Lowcountry High Rollers from Charleston, SC. "Lowcountry Brawl" will feature 2 periods of fast-paced roller derby. The action begins at 7pm (doors open at 6pm) at Skate Around USA, 3030 Cherokee Road, in Athens. Roller Derby is family friendly so bring the kids! Admission at the door is $10 for adults, $5 for children 6 – 10 and children under 6 are free! Adult tickets can be purchased in advance for $8 through any rollergirl or online. Please also join the rollergirls for the after-party at Kingpins in the Homewood Hills Shopping Center.


Images of Athfest

In anticipation of Athfest 2009, I'm revisiting my images from last year's event. Here's a shot of Heidi Hensley in overdrive.

Images of Athens

I've been rummaging through my photo archives for images to display on my new tumblr blog, athensview.com. This afternoon I came across an image that strikes me as especially evocative, capturing something of what makes a walk downtown so enjoyable on a weekend morning.

Green Thrift Grocery to Open in Athens

[NOTE: This was originally posted June 9, 2009 at My Athens, a new personal blog about Athens.]
By Dan Lorentz

Here’s a news story I’d like to read one day…

ATHENS, GA. (PDN*) — Green Thrift Grocers, Inc., a national franchise specializing in neighborhood grocery stores featuring locally grown produce at discount prices, today announced plans to open a small-format store here. Company officials said they had acquired a site for a 10,000 square foot store in Boulevard, a largely residential neighborhood just northwest of downtown.

Green Thrift Location
Future site of Green Thrift Grocery

Boosting walkability is part of mission

Green Thrift started in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1999 as a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing fresh, affordable produce into low-income urban neighborhoods not being served by larger grocery stores.

Since then, the mission has broadened—and so has the customer-base.

“We quickly realized that grocery stores don’t just help people get access to food,” explained Darrell Evans, Green Thrift’s founder and chief executive officer. “They can also spark economic activity, perk up property values, and create a more walkable, healthier neighborhood.”

Green Thrift still serves low-income neighborhoods with limited access to fresh foods. But now the organization—which has become a very profitable, for-profit corporation—seeks out what it calls “tipping point” neighborhoods to locate in.

In Green Thrift’s corporate parlance, “tipping point” neighborhoods are compact, well populated mixed income neighborhoods with a strong identity. Typically, they are also already fairly walkable, but require a full-service grocery store to make it possible for residents to take care of most of their daily needs without a car or other transportation.

Once such a neighborhood is identified, Green Thrift works with neighborhood residents, local investors and local farmers to gauge the interest in and the financial feasibility of opening a grocery franchise there. If local interest from residents, investors and farmers is sufficient, Green Thrift will move forward with the project.

“Low-income folks love what our stores bring into the neighborhood, but so do plenty of middle and upper income folks,” Evans said. “And more and more of them are looking for walkable neighborhoods to live in. They also don’t mind the lower prices for locally grown food.”


Neither a Kroger’s nor a hippy co-op

Fresh, locally grown foods sold in season at low prices—that’s the message Green Thrift highlights in its advertising. But customers can also pick up a gallon of non-organic milk or bleach because the stores also offer much of what conventional grocery stores stock, including cheese and deli meats, dry groceries like pasta, spices, sugar bread and other baked goods, wine and beer, frozen foods, cleaning detergents and paper products.

To keep costs down, Green Thrift avoids fancy displays and like other grocery franchises, uses its buying power to leverage lower prices.

The store encourages walking by allowing customers to roll their grocery carts home and have them retrieved by the store. The carts have air-inflated tires and a simple suspension system so they are easy to push and steer in the store’s aisles and on sidewalks and streets.

On average, Green Thrift grocery stores are about 10,000 square feet. Many conventional supermarkets are at least 30,000 feet. More intimate feeling, the small-format Green Thrift stores often evokes memories among older customers of neighborhood groceries from the 1940s and 1950s.

Residents welcoming, says neighborhood leader

“For the most part, people living in the neighborhood are really excited about the Green Thrift store,” said Elliot Mattison, president of the Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition, a group representing more than 250 neighborhood residents.

Daily Groceries Co-op, located near the Boulevard neighborhood, already provides residents with access to fresh, local produce. But because the store is not a full-service grocery and is located just outside of the neighborhoods boundaries on the south side of the very busy multi-lane Prince Av., Mattison said the new Green Thrift store “will do more to really help make Boulevard a truly walkable neighborhood.”

According to Mattison, the location of the store, on the southeastern corner of the intersection of Dubose Av. and Chase St., has some residents concerned about increased traffic on the already busy Chase St. Green Thrift officials downplayed the concerns and pointed out that their stores boost foot-traffic much more than car-traffic. At present, the site is used as a parking lot for medical offices located across the street. A parking garage will be built nearby to accommodate for the lost parking spaces.

* This post is a work of fiction. PDN is the acronym for Pipe Dream News, a fake news service that syndicates (actually, pretends to syndicate) fictional news accounts of people, places, things and happenings that do not exist but would be cool if they did.

The Food Trust’s Super Market campaign inspired parts of this post.

Recent grad faces DUI charge following fiery crash (w/police report) - News

Recent grad faces DUI charge following fiery crash (w/police report) - News

Who Skates?

If you haven't been a regular out at SPOA (the Skatepark of Athens), you might wonder just who the daredevils are that you glimpse on the way to a soccer match or a softball game. Let me introduce you to one of them. He's Jason Steelman, a college student who lives in Oconee County. Jason's just back from a semester in Quito, Ecuador, honing his language skills and doing a bit of skating as well. Here's his take on skating in Ecuador.


Art & more for Catzip

Yep, I will indeed have a very large and funky cat painting at earthfare this month.

Wednesday June 17th 7 p.m. in the Earth Fare community room
Dog & Cat Treat Baking Workshop - $8/person suggested donation
Participants will take home fresh baked treats, recipes, and a sample from Z Dog Bakery. Thanks to The Rolling Pin for supplying cookie cutters and oven mitts!

Saturday June 20th 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Earth Fare
Dogs for Cats Barbeque
Come for a grilled hot dog lunch, decorate your own reusable shopping bags, let the kids enjoy having whiskers painted on their faces, and bring your questions for Dr. Will, our local cat/dog whisperer!

Tuesday June 23rd 7 p.m. in the Earth Fare community room
Purrfect Pairings wine tasting - $20/person suggested donation
An evening of wine tasting and food pairing with Michael Perkins, Culinary Specialist

date to be determined
Art gallery opening, wine and vegan appetizer sampling - free
We will have cat art for sale donated by local artists, including Robin Fay, James Dean, Cecile Moore, Josh Payne, and more!


Tasty World

Will someone please fill us in on the developments at Tasty World?



Eine kleine farmers market

Back from the Farmers Market

A Saturday morning stroll through the Bishop Park farmers market has congealed from lark to ritual for us. We filled our Publix bag with veggies and flowers, lingered in the music corner to hear Hope for a Golden Summer, sipped some 1000 Faces coffee, chatted with old friends and new, and snapped some pictures.


Public presentation on proposed parking deck

From Athens-Clarke County:

The Athens Downtown Development Authority (ADDA) will host a public information open house to view conceptual plans of the proposed downtown Parking Deck and Mixed-Use Facility to be constructed on Lumpkin Street between Clayton Street and Washington Street. The open house will take place on Tuesday, June 16 with a drop-in format from 5:30 until 7:00 p.m. at the Dougherty Street Governmental Building Auditorium at 120 West Dougherty Street.

Members of the ADDA, along with SPLOST Program Management staff, will be available to review information about the project and answer questions. Citizens throughout the community are encouraged to attend and learn more about this project and what it means to downtown Athens.