19 June 2007

A Whirlwind French Biennial

Sadly, the thrill that is fave friend French visiting Atlanta lasted just 30 hours over the weekend. But we did a helluva lot in those 30 hours.

French is one of my five most beloved non-DNA-sharing humans on this earth (that list includes my moon-based friends, too, come to think of it). We’re both single, we’re both obsessed with live music and movies and travel, and each thinks the other is the cat’s meow — as great friendships should be. I visit him nearly every summer in D.C., and he’s averaging an every-other-year Atlanta trip.

We met cute at the end of 1991. French had just moved to Atlanta to start grad school, and he was rooming with an old college buddy of mine. She had a brunch to introduce him to her multitudes, and introduced us with: “This is French. He loves R.E.M., and he can’t wait for you to take him on a tour of Athens!” As she flitted away, French looked me in the eye and said, “I hate R.E.M. and I have no interest in seeing Athens.” I laughed and demanded that he show me his CD collection that minute before we could consider continuing the conversation. He was redeemed by his extensive Elvis Costello collection. I loved him — and his honesty — from that moment to this one.

Back to the weekend recap. French landed on Atlanta soil around 10:30 Saturday morning, and I gave him the 45-minute what’s-changed tour as we headed for lunch at one of his best-remembered spots: La Fonda (fan-damn-tastic paella and fish tacos).

The rest of the day was spent hangin’ in my ‘hood:

We started out, of course, at Decatur CD — one of the best CD shops in town — where French picked up an Atlanta Rhythm Section disc (you started something, Write Procrastinator).

Then on to Twain’s, where we sampled many, many IPAs (so many, in fact, that my elbows are rubbed raw from propping my tipsy head) and fed the cute waiter, Powell, many, many Jelly Bellies.

What else after an afternoon of beers but an evening showing of Knocked Up (which we both enjoyed and recommend)? Post-movie, we ended the day on the patio of The Angel, a pub off the square, toasting each other’s brilliance and nibbling away the night.

Sunday began with breakfast at Crescent Moon.

Fortified by eggs and grits and a shared appetizer of biscuits with sausage gravy, we hit Wordsmiths Books, which opened in the neighborhood this weekend. I picked up a couple of must-reads and perused the Baby Got Books shelf.

Sorry, Perry, but I love having a bookstore down the street!

The CD and books joneses were fed, so we headed to historic Oakland Cemetery, which has been interring Atlanta’s crème de la crème — including Margaret Mitchell and Bobby Jones — and hoi polloi since 1850.

Oakland Cemetery is a very cool spot in Atlanta, one I rarely get to. We spent more than an hour there, and still didn’t cover every section.

Former Mayor Maynard Jackson, who died in 2003, is buried here. One of the guides told us his widow comes out regularly to talk to him.

There are a lot of old magnolias throughout Oakland Cemetery, and most are beginning to bloom.

This lion status honors the CSA soldiers who died during the Civil War.

Isn't this warped cement cool? No cracks!

It was hot, damn hot, so we cooled off our cemetery-dead feet over my beloved margarita swirls. Damn, I love me some swirls.

With tequila coursing through our veins, we headed for the new World of Coca-Cola museum.

This was a bittersweet stop on the French tour. My father spent his career with Coca-Cola Bottling, and he loved all things Coke. This being my second Father's Day without him, I got a wee bit sad as we raced through the museum. He would have loved it.

These bottles were created around the world for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. They were on display at the Coca-Cola headquarters back when I worked there, so it was great seeing my old friends again.

From there, we raced to the airport so that French could make his 6 p.m. flight back to reality.


I’m already lonely. I miss my boy. But I’ll see him in a month, when I hit D.C. for The Wedding of the Year.

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At 6/19/2007 08:22:00 AM, Blogger Dan said...

You two had more fun than humans should be allowed to have. I'm so jealous! I love old cemeteries, and bookstores, and museums, and restaurants ... and ... um ... big bottles.

Not fair!

At 6/19/2007 10:17:00 AM, Blogger Bubs said...

That sounds like a great weekend. You do know you're a wonderful promoter for your city, don't you? My impression of Atlanta from a visit there 9 years ago was one of one big suburb. I wish we'd had you as a guide.

At 6/19/2007 12:55:00 PM, Blogger blog Portland said...

I don't suppose the Coke museum has a wing dedicated to rum, does it?

At 6/19/2007 03:49:00 PM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

Well I have been to Bicardi in Puerto Rico, I shall have to round things out some day by an Atlanta trip, although frankly I'm sure I would gravitate more to your record and book stores. Decatur sounds divine!

Sounds like a great whirlwind weekend!

At 6/19/2007 03:57:00 PM, Blogger BeckEye said...

Sounds like fun...except for the cemetery part. They creep me out. I'm a child that way.

At 6/19/2007 04:02:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

DAN: I have more fun than most humans every damn day. And I'm glad I could feed your big bottles fetish.

BUBS: Thanks so much! Atlanta, in many ways, is one big 'burb, so I try to concentrate on the more urban aspects of the city. There are very cool, funky spots all over the place.

BLOG PORTLAND: Not yet. Maybe you should come down here and spearhead that movement.

BARBARA: C'mon down! I'd love to show you our record and book stores — and you'd love our music-hisotry spots. Decatur is quite divine!

BECKEYE: Regular cemeteries scare me. Old ones such as Oakland and those in New Orleans fascinate me.

At 6/19/2007 07:27:00 PM, Blogger Mountjoy said...

You sure you aren't working for the Atlanta tourism authority, Beth? I want to visit Atlanta tommorrow, and Decatur and Crescent Moon are going to be at the head of my list if I do!

At 6/19/2007 09:10:00 PM, Blogger Travis said...

Very cool tour of Atlanta. I too must feed the CD and book need periodically.

Thanks for stopping by my place!

At 6/19/2007 09:53:00 PM, Blogger DJ Cayenne said...

LOVE the Twain's/Wordsmiths back-to-back action. That's going to be on my agenda - a lot.

I'm going to make sure a hip flask makes it inside on my visit to the new Coke museum.

At 6/19/2007 10:06:00 PM, Blogger chelene said...

Decatur CD would be about stop #1 for sure. And what are these margarita swirls of which you speak??

At 6/19/2007 11:29:00 PM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

"La Fonda (fan-damn-tastic paella and fish tacos)."

Dang, you get to hang out Jane's??? Ted Turner isn't even welcome there anymore and you got a personal invite.

"where French picked up an Atlanta Rhythm Section disc (you started something, Write Procrastinator)."

What you say?
Whattt you say?
Ah-ahhh, what you say, ahhhhhhh

Except, it looks instead of "Champagne Jam," you had a "Coca-cola Jam," instead. What an impressive pictorial essay of Georgia.

At 6/20/2007 12:20:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

MOUNTJOY: They should hire me. Atlanta would be repositioned as a hip music city within a week. And I'll personally take you to Crescent Moon when you get here.

TRAVIS: Then you are a smart man. I'll be back to your spot.

DJ CAYENNE: Kept an eye out for you at both Twain's and Wordsmiths. No doubt I'll run into you very soon.

CHELENE: Frozen margs with sangria swirled in. They're tasty and deadly!

WRITE PROCRASTINATOR: Everything in Atlanta revolves around Miss Jane. Ain't Atlanta purty? You need to come down and visit, son.

At 6/20/2007 12:28:00 AM, Blogger Moxie said...

I am also a big fan of Coke, and I agree with blog portland. But rather than just a wing for rum, what about "The Hall of Liquor"? Or the "Mixologists Wing"? Because let's not forget the simple yet timeless beauty of a Jack and Coke.

(You're on my links list on my blog, btw.)

At 6/20/2007 01:59:00 PM, Blogger Artful Dodger said...

That lion is so cool. I might have to visit just to get a pic of it for myself. Lions are my favourite animal. ^_^ Oh and to peruse through your CD store. Do they sell vinyl too?

At 6/20/2007 08:27:00 PM, Anonymous Glassmeow said...

I love old cemeteries!

When I was in art school in Eugene, Oregon we were often in the Pioneer Cemetery that the U of O Campus surrounds for "en plein air" landscape painting classes. It was a bit run down, lots of wildflowers, moss and weeds growing all over the monuments.

Didn't see the ones in New Orleans - it was getting dark and between us and the cemetery was a sketchy neighborhood. We turned around so as not to get robbed or worse. Haven't been back since the hurricane. Did Katrina trash the cemeteries along with everything else?

At 6/21/2007 12:07:00 AM, Blogger mellowlee said...

That's a lot of fun packed into such a short time, good job! Your friend sounds great..anyone who loves Elvis Costello has got to be cool :O) Glad you had a good time. I wanna go to that cemetery!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for posting the pix!

At 6/21/2007 09:31:00 AM, Anonymous HollyC said...

which ARS CDs? I have been hoping for years to get a copy of Dog Days, but don't think it exists....
also would love to go to Oakland sometime, I have people just up from Bobby Jones, and I love walking through old cemeteries, didn't know you did

At 6/21/2007 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

"Ain't Atlanta purty? You need to come down and visit, son."

The first book tour, I promise.

At 6/21/2007 04:19:00 PM, Blogger Grant Miller said...

I would like to live at the Coca-Cola museum.

Did French also have an extensive Serge Gainsbourg collection? I would hope so.

At 6/21/2007 10:50:00 PM, Blogger Allison said...

Sounds like a great weekend. I love going to old cemeteries especially ones that have above ground graves. This one looks like you could definitely get lost for a few hours.

At 6/23/2007 09:38:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

I figured Father's Day might be a little tough for you still but I'm glad most of it was spent happily. The mayor's widow is dressed awfully casually in that photo and such a stance!

At 6/23/2007 11:55:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

MOXIE: The World of Coca-Cola would definitely benefit from a Wing of Mixology. Think of what you could do with those tastings of sweet drinks from foreign lands!

ARTFUL DODGER: C'mon down. We'll get shots of the lion and spend hours in our great CD stories. My local one has a bit of vinyl — but there are two or three filled with it.

GLASSMEOW: I haven't been to New Orleans since Katrina, so I'm not sure. French put NO on our soon-to-travel-to list, so I hope to get there within the next year.

MELLOWLEE: C'mon down. I can show one helluva good time in Atlanta ... and I now own more Elvis Costello than French does.

HOLLYC: We need to hit Oakland together sometime soon. Across from the cemetery is one of my favorite margarita spots, too!

At 6/23/2007 12:08:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

WRITE PROCRASTINATOR: Then get that bad boy published this month!

GRANT MILLER: No, he doesn't have an extensive Serge collection ... but I do. Maybe that's why I love French so much.

ALLISON: It really is a great place to spend an afternoon. I didn't get any shots with the downtown skyline, but that adds to the place.

DALE: It was a bittersweet Sunday, but it was fitting to be at the World of Coca-Cola; OM would have enjoyed it.

At 6/24/2007 12:16:00 AM, Blogger Coaster Punchman said...

I love the visual of tequila coursing through one's veins.

At 6/25/2007 04:22:00 PM, Blogger jewgirl said...

beth... I love the image of the lion. that is the coolest tomb I've ever seen.

I'm sorry about your dad. really sorry.

At 6/25/2007 09:47:00 PM, Anonymous Glassmeow said...

The Coke Museum got a plug in the Sunday Oregonian! Looks like a fun place. Loved the red Coke Couch and would be fun to try the mixes they make for other countries and cultures.

At 6/25/2007 11:54:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

COASTER PUNCHMAN: I'll try to video it next time I experience it. Wouldn't that make for a cool blog vid!

JEWGIRL: Isn't it great? Worth the trip to Atlanta ... especially when it comes with Beth-supplied swirls. And thanks about my dad; it's been nearly two years, and it still stings.

GLASSMEOW: I have that same red couch, y'know ...

At 6/25/2007 11:58:00 PM, Anonymous glassmeow said...

*snort* So is it leather or Naugahyde?



At 6/26/2007 11:37:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

These thighs will never get stuck to Naugahyde; it's leather all the way.


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