“Halt! I am the Sausage that Guards This Castle!”

30 11 2007

This 1888 illustration begs the question: what is more disturbing? A fox trying to eat its natural prey (like say a chicken) or a fox attempting to murder an anthropomorphized sausage?

The illustration above and others can be found in an excellent history of children’s books slideshow on Slate.com, called “Where the Wild Things Came From”. (Click here to view)

If the slideshow makes you nostaligic for great children’s books (like it did for me) might I suggest stopping by Little Shop of Stories on the way home and picking up a couple of classics under the pretense that you’re buying gifts for your 5 year-old nephew’s birthday party?

In-Town Living Popular or Unpopular?

30 11 2007

A couple days after Fresh Loaf reported on an ARC report that “attributes the reduction of forested- and agricultural-land development to the recent housing-market slump and, to a lesser extent, the growing popularity of living intown and mixed-use developments.”, another report out of Haaaavaard University says the exact opposite.

Harvard smart dude, Mark Duda, says “The data indicates Atlanta’s strong suburban housing stock and lack of geographic barriers has hindered in-town reclamation and gentrification of neighborhoods hardest hit by foreclosures. Rather than moving inside the city and buying foreclosed properties, local residents have a plethora of housing options along the city’s perimeter.”

To sum up…sprawl has slowed because of the housing market and people’s desire to live in-town, but people aren’t buying in-town because there’s plenty of housing options amongst the sprawl.

Confused? Me too.

Decatur Art Walk Tomorrow Night (Nov. 30th)

29 11 2007

The last Decatur Art Walk of 2007 is tomorrow night, Friday, November 30th.

To see participating galleries and an Art Walk map click here.

Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur to Open in January

29 11 2007

In a press release announcing the newly hired campus director of the new Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur satellite campus, it states that the institute will “open its doors” on January 7th, 2008.

Does that mean all class and programs will be offered at that time?  I’d be surprised, due to the current state of the renovations of West Courthouse Square.

[Hattip: InDecatur]

Franklin’s Arts Funding Promise Falters

29 11 2007

Earlier this year, Mayor Shirley Franklin announced the creation of a “Cultural Investment Fund” that would annually disperse $10 million of city funding to artists and cultural orgs citywide. Great! A report by the city’s Arts and Culture Task Force (pdf) asserts that such an investment would rank Atlanta in the top 15% of cities nationwide in arts support (as of 2005), and above and beyond all cities the mayor deems comparable with an investment of $21.25 per resident.

Well, fast-forward to now and it sounds like the money hasn’t been that easy to come by and now the mayor’s office is backing off the original sum. AccessAtlanta reports that the fund “may come out of the box with $1 million or $2 million” instead of the originally proposed $10 million. Currently the city only gives $600,000 to the arts. So much for blowing away the likes of Miami ($11 million) or Denver ($23 million).

It’s time for Atlanta to grow up.

It can’t be the adolescent city of the 1990’s anymore, dead set on growth and tax revenue at any cost. This city needs to move out of its parents basement, get its own place and start playing with the big boys in terms of world-wide recognition.

A healthy arts community is a telltale sign of a city’s maturity. It won’t give the city an immediate cash fix like with property tax-style returns, but its long term benefits are invaluable. As noted in the Task Force report, beyond the obvious perks, arts funding supports education (improved SAT scores), development (entertainment for residents), the workforce (the caliber of workers you attract), jobs, and tourism (we need to be known for something other than the GWCC concrete wasteland conventioners see!).

I’m quite glad the mayor created this task force, thereby recognizing the need for increased arts funding, but we really need to move beyond the planning stages and give just a little support to the city’s already insanely creative and promising arts community. Then maybe, just maybe, Atlanta can move beyond the stigma of “the Coca-Cola city” and become an innovative U.S. arts mecca of the 21st century. (Hey, why not shoot for the moon?)

[Hattip: ATLarts]

P.S. Ain’t it kinda ironic that the AJC does an article about a lack of arts funding just months after it attempted to completely ax its book, arts, and music reviewers??

Ted Turner Wants Your Land

29 11 2007

…to house his army of mutant U.N. aid workers. “You need immunization! ARRRRGHH!” (Because mutants talk funny)

OK, I made that up. But conspiracy theories abound about Turner’s excessive land-purchasing, according to the AP. They want to know if Ted’s just buying land for his furry, cuddly and delicious bison or if he has a more malicious reason.

Some think he’s trying to grapple control of an underground aquifer out West. Others believe he wants to give all the land to the Feds and deprive Nebraska kids of school funding. “Will someone please think of the children?!”

But apparently, Georgians don’t have to worry about having bison as neighbors. Ted only owns 537 acres in the state (compared to over 1 million in New Mexico) and I bet most of those are parking lots for Ted’s Montana Grill.

Come Early to Winnona Park Elementary Tree Sale

29 11 2007

If you want to buy a Christmas tree from Winnona Park Elementary this Saturday, Dec. 1st, you’ll have to set your alarm clock. The lot opens at 9am and the school’s website warns “Come early in the morning to purchase your holiday tree. There are a limited number so get here early!

The city of Decatur’s events list has this description…

Winnona Park Elementary School will host its annual Christmas Tree Sale in the school parking lot. The trees, fresh Frasier firs, will be delivered on the day of the sale from Banner Elk, North Carolina. Prices range from $55 for a seven-foot tree, $65 for an eight-foot tree, and $75 for a nine-foot tree. A portion of your purchase is tax deductible. Trees are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, contact Leah Vaughan, 404-377-7578. [hattip: InDecatur]

I can barely get up that early on the weekend, let alone get in the car and be somewhere at that time.  Any suggestions on other school tree sales around Decatur?

Josh Joplin Group Reunion Coming to Eddie’s Attic

28 11 2007

Georgia-grown band, The Josh Joplin Group is scheduled to perform three, count them, three reunion concerts at Eddie’s Attic next weekend. The first two concerts are on Saturday December 8th at 7p and 9:30p (sold out), and a third concert has been added on Sunday Dec 9th at 3:30p.

If you like R.E.M., Joplin is your man. His lead vocals are quite reminiscent of Decatur native Michael Stipe.

Buy your tickets for the show here.

Or listen to a few tracks off Josh’s solo albums here.

Collegiate Quidditch Replacing Ultimate Frisbee?

28 11 2007

Middlebury Battles Vasser in Quidditch (Photo Courtesy of USA Today)

In case you haven’t noticed or (more-likely) have never visited this site before, Decatur Metro, aside from bringing you all things Decatur, Georgia, also has a bit of a Harry Potter slant. I continually justify it by noting that Decatur was Amazon’s 18th “Harry-est” town in the country.

First we brought you the British school that was improving test scores with Harry Potter inspired lessons. Now, we bring you a USA Today article that details real, live Quidditch matches taking place on college campuses. Sounds to me like a dorked up version of Ultimate Frisbee.

MIDDLEBURY, VT – The broomsticks they hold between their legs can’t help them fly. The Snitch is not a winged golden ball but a young man who sprints across the field at lightning speed. And at times, the game looks like the mongrel offspring of rugby, dodge ball and soccer. But somehow it all works.

The first intercollegiate Quidditch match was held here this month, and though this version of the game is earthbound, it’s taking off. Originally played by wizards darting about on broomsticks in the Harry Potter novels, the game is now taking root on college campuses.

“We were all Harry Potter’s age when the books started,” says Sam Libby, 20, a Middlebury College junior geography major from Richmond, Vt. “And Quidditch is one of the most creative things that came out of the books. We were able to create that here, follow all the rules, except the ability to fly. It just caught on.”

Quidditch surfaced at Middlebury two falls ago when a handful of students gathered to play a rudimentary form of the game on Sunday afternoons, making up rules extrapolated from the books.

Read the full article here.

I can’t wait to see Emory battle arch-nemesis Wash U for the golden snitch! That’ll be a bloodbath of beaters!

All Talk, No Action

28 11 2007

The endless saga of City vs. State continues.

Atlanta area mayors Shirley Franklin, East Point’s Joseph Macon, and Decatur’s own Bill Floyd participated in a meeting of the Urban Land Institute on Tuesday.

From the AJC article, it seems that Floyd was most out-spoken (or most quotable) on the city’s transportation problems. As the state’s most liberal city, our mayor has the political backing to often take an unpopular position in a conservative state. Like raising taxes to improve infrastructure.

Floyd said the Georgia Legislature should reconsider the idea of allowing areas to tax gasoline to pay for transportation improvements. In an interview, Floyd conceded the idea could hit some potholes because of rising gas prices.

The Decatur mayor also suggested the state should let the entire Atlanta region take over MARTA’s rail service and fund it with sales tax money.

“It’s a great idea, but there’s not enough confidence [among state lawmakers] in MARTA right now,” he said after the hourlong meeting.

Unfortunately, the state’s still asleep at the wheel when it comes to helping curb and control urban growth. Perhaps we should just pray for an expanded, reliable MARTA system?