#FreeArtDecatur and Sodabooze


Image courtesy of Emily Chapman. Art courtesy of _CheckTheBox_. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I grew up just outside of Decatur, an intown suburb of Atlanta that bills itself as “a city of homes, churches, and schools.” (Yes, really.) Though it’s not really Atlanta, in a metro area that still includes suburbs 2 hours outside of town, it is close enough. The town is basically what Berkley would be if it happened to be in Georgia; there are competing, longstanding independent coffee shops, and art fairs, and an annual book festival. A lot of earnest high school students are always around, playing ultimate frisbee.

It’s a lovely town. I would be charmed if I discovered it as an adult. But I didn’t, and as a result I’ve maintained an uneasy relationship with it into adulthood: I like it, I should like it, I am a product of it, but it seems like cheating to stay in it. I’m not establishing myself as an adult in any meaningful way if I’m still getting coffee at the same coffee shop I’ve been loitering at since I was 15, even if it’s a wonderful coffee shop (and I drink beer in it, now). So, I’ve been staying away, finding new coffee shops in my new neighborhood a few miles away. It’s been a good choice, I think.

But I was reminded how much I like the place this weekend, when I went back for the second annual Great Decatur Art Hunt. The event grew out of Free Art Friday/#FAFATL, a city-wide group of artists (loosely affiliated in some cases, unrelated in others) which drop art around town for folks to find. This was a concentrated version of that: starting at noon on Saturday, the artists gathered to drop art and watch as folks gathered it. Decatur was such the neighborhood for it: lots of families with small kids who wanted to participate, high walkability for finding drops on foot, a huge number of earnest people who Want to Support Art. Continue reading

One Week Out

Wedding Flowers

In the Venn Diagram of things that are both terrifying and true, the fact that I just meandered through my first post-graduate week is pretty firmly in the middle of the circle. And it wasn’t even like I had a boring, quiet week to help ease the transition–I managed to attend the (lovely, tasteful) wedding of a (lovely, tasteful) friend, pack the vast majority of my belongings, and haul my life across town.

So that’s been fun.

But in between assembling furniture and crowding six to a hotel room in south Georgia, a weird thing has happened. I’ve begun to gather glimpses of my looming adult life. The end of moving is in sight, and that means that soon enough I will have substantial free time in the mornings. I could take up running! Or sit in my local coffee shop and flirt with baristas before work! My tiny studio, which seems Parisian if you click your heels together three times and just believe, is within walking distance of Atlanta’s largest park, most famous art museum, and (to my knowledge) only botanical garden.

Y’all, I signed up for an improv class. On weekends. To expand my social circle. Truly, this is a brave new world. Continue reading

Notes From Boston

Hello, friends! I am back from the frigid wastelands of Boston, which–though lovely–caused the lower part of my face to peel off. I am pleased to be back in my swampy, humid, grey homeland. (Besides, does Boston have a Twin Peaks-themed bar with a heated outdoor patio and funnel cake on the menu? Psh.)

The frozen tundra really was lovely, though. Boston is basically a European city, but in the US. I had a moment while I was there, where I was standing outside a CVS. Except across the street from me was the Boston Public Library, which is built as a fantastic public temple (it is so cool, you guys, I am a complete sucker for publicly funded monuments to education), and then on the remaining two corners that I could see were gigantic, cathedral esque Catholic churches. The library and the stained-glass church were in some sort of across-the-street staring contest. And I was sitting there with some hydrocortisone cream for my skin rash. And that is the kind of thing that just does not happen in Atlanta, or in any of the other places that I have lived. So that was wonderful. (Also wonderful: cannoli.)

There was a hilariously weird moment, however, that happened in the Boston Public Library. Led in to the space by my fantastic traveling companions (were it not for them, I would have missed the door), I spotted some big lion statues flanking one of the stair cases. We went up to get pictures in front of the big lions, because statuary! And then, we realized what the inscription on the lions was commemorating. (You can play along at home with this person’s vacation photos.)

The lions were a monument to the men of Massachusetts who had died or participated in Sherman’s March to the Sea. For those of you reading this from the UAE (WordPress tells me there are a few of you), Sherman’s March was a campaign during the civil war in which Sherman marched through the Southern US and–from Atlanta to Savannah–set All The Things on fire in order to capture them.

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You were named for your Yankee grandmother.

Today was almost unimaginably lovely. After a Very Long Night (I had RA duty, and a drunk person jumped out of a window to avoid capture), I woke up to the most perfect early-autumn-in-Georgia weather. The sun was shining and there was a breeze and it was maybe 80 degrees outside. It’s not late enough in the year that I’m stressed out about homework. It was good.

I even managed to be appropriately collegiate and go on over to the Student Center for pizza and drinks with classmates for college football season kickoff. (It was for the free pizza, I admit, but still. I went!) I took the shuttle into Atlanta with a friend and went with her and my family to the Decatur book festival. In addition to the perfect festival weather, it was my friend’s first time going to an event like that and it is always so much fun to see people get really excited about these things. And it was fruitful! I got the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? tabs for banjo, and an issue of McSweeney’s (number 33–it’s a several-hundred-page newspaper). We even got to go to a recording of The Moth, which was fabulous. The theme was Southern Gothic, and Hollis Gillespie told a story, as did the founder of The Moth. He’s from Saint Simon’s, and his story was fabulous. Continue reading