My Last Hipster Run

(Photo by: Han Vance)

My hair was overgrown, so I took out my peanut and shaved the sides up – way up. I looked a bit like Crispin Glover as I made a deposit in my bank and quickly walked the rest of the way down Ponce to get my haircut. I wanted to make sure the sides were right, and the line was perfect. I trusted only myself. I had the rest done relatively short and usually left it product-mussed. I broke out my dad’s old cover sunglasses, as huge as any they wore in Manchester and Miami. I started wearing bright tight shirts everyday, which almost fit me, as I’d recently lost ten pounds. I longboarded as much as I could and strutted to the transit station or took cabs everywhere else, except on the weekend mornings when my curvy fiancee’ drove me to work at the Euro-cafe’ in Midtown. Those mornings, I would finish a can of Coors Light in the bath to rally. Then we would sit in her car and make out while I swayed about to the space age Athens weirdness of Of Montreal. Then I would walk inside and make myself a double espresso. I was drunk in bars with thirty-somethings, with twenty-somethings to the point of belligerent incoherence and laughed and talked too loudly. I proudly peacocked amongst fellow urbanists whom would never have my flair for extravagantly varied fashions or my honed way with words. I worked a final lunch shift, had a huge late lunch, walked back to the cafe’ and had my free birthday shot, a Strega. Shared a toast with the definitely-old-enough-to-know-how-to-live-way-better-but-still-clinging-to-it-for-some-reason bartender, had a drink with the actor Paul Walker as we discussed Hawaii and my California book and my afternoon pool party planned for the next day. Walked away and had a few drinks in various haunts with a career student. Met my love in our suite. Went out by taxi for sushi and for wine by candlelight. The city glowed around and for me, as we stumbled to the disco lounge without panic or pretense. An off night in the Southern sprawl of summer ATL, but an on one for me, I suppose. My last as a hipster. As she and I had done so many times in the old loft where we deeply fell, we sat perched atop our city as midnight neared. I counted it down like it was New Year’s Eve. Five-four-three-two-one. Suddenly, I was 40. And I went to bed.

The 4 types of elopement

(Photo by: Han Vance, Hotel Oceana)

We each came to understand that we wanted to be together forever, well before we dared to utter. Then we did, eventually, and it was just letting the truth out more than it was any sort of a revelation. And considering I was still in rewrite and final edit of my Cali travel adventure memoir at the time, we – I – postponed. It was untoward to move forward while clinging back like I was. And a memoir is nothing if not a cling back, especially when one of the strong themes of said memoir is divorce.

Speaking of divorce, she’d been through it, too. More recently, so her wounds were fresher. Mine were deeper, as I’d made grave mistakes last time around and though we all fall – I’d really fallen and failed. And I have two children; she has none.

Of note: we were married in the same facility in Atlanta, just not to the final spouse. This is final. This is real. This is forever. Forever – ever…

Her mom’s in poor health and shouldn’t travel. We’ve both done the whole big wedding thing before. We both know everybody and would have to offend or invite everybody. So, elopement was an obvious choice.

We traveled to Augusta and being a Southern gentleman I asked her dad, the Colonel’s permission, and he gave consent.

Dreaming of getting married in a beautiful out of country location like on a beach in Mexico or in the rainforest in Vancouver. Means legally nothing in the United States of America. You have to do it again, and we are trying not to do too much. So, USA.

The Texas hill country spawned me and is one of the least known-for-its-beauty, breathtakingly beautiful spots in America. It’s far enough – Charleston is not, Rosemary Beach is not – but Austin is not a beach. Hawaii is something we did last year to great expense and exhausted elation; we want a relaxation vacation. Since I’ve traveled Cali extensively, Jami said pick a place that’s not LA yet in Cali, maybe. So, Santa Barbara, the American Riviera.

And the Spanish-tiled Santa Barbara County Courthouse is noted as the prettiest government building in America. So, there.

This is a planned elopement. Dinner at Bouchon. Hotel on the beach. The dress. The rings. Thoughtful this and that. And here I’d like to mention my guys at JFL Corp. in Atlanta’s Apparel Mart. I’ve bought suits from Jerry and his dad for over 15 years now, and I recommend you fellas do the same. Selection, prompt onsite tailoring, and the unrivaled eye of Jerry Junior are reason enough to go. There prices are unbeatable, too. By appointment only: (404) 523-2498 or 1 (800) 767-2498, www.jflcorp.com. My new suit is midnight blue and totally crushin’ it. My tie and shirt are a gorgeous, regal lavender, and Jerry picked that out too.

Anyway, I came to realize there are four types of elopement:

1. Planned Elopement – as detailed above

2. Secret Elopement – hiding out from family, friends, ex-spouses, maybe the IRS

3. Emergency Elopement – bump of a bun in the oven and her dad has a big shotgun

4. Spontaneous Elopement – VEGAS, baby, VEGAS

Wisteria – Great Southern Restaurant

Today, I have late dinner reservations at Wisteria in support of Inman Park Restaurant Week. My friend, Chef Jason Hill and I grew up together in Marietta, and he is Proprietor. The place is well-entrenched among the Atlanta acclaimed for his command of Southern food: modern and gourmet while at the same time classic. The fried chicken is bar none the single best in town, somehow lapping in my love the bird at Watershed in Decatur. The pork dish could be from Faulkner or Cold Mountain. And the shrimp and grits is no low, but dern if I did not feel like I was in the low country when they reached my jowl last time I was in, a couple of weeks ago, for my one year anniversary. Jami was so sweet and the mini-desserts are larger than thought and easily, so easily, made multiple. We enjoyed the pairing of Ice Wine and Coconut Pie the most. The bar and staff and building and wine and art are all just right. Right up the street from me, Jason has delivered the perfect blend of Atlanta and America -which is where we live my friends. America.

Truman Show (Death Cab for Cutie at Fabulous Fox)

He has a mohawk, this dog. Truman is half UGA English Bulldawg and half Shih Tzu – a “Bullshit” – and his daddy had just moved him to Midtown ATL and was taking him for a walk near the Fabulous Fox.

Financial snafus had recently resulted in his daddy, my apartment sub-leaser in Atlanta, missing a Death Cab for Cutie show in which he had tickets, waiting in vain at will call, in New Orleans, while he was stuck in Mobile, where he was relocating from. And Truman is the biggest pimp on Bourbon Street, but that is another story.

Picture this. Today Truman and his daddy are on a walk, side of The Fox. And Death Cab’s lead guitarist, Chris Walla pops up near his bus to meet the four-legged mohawked star.

Ensuing went like this: ATL, Fox, Free Tickets, 5th row, great show. I was there too, man. How many cuties filled the place in body, with their lilting voices, as Ben Gibbard encouraged them to sing the chorus for him? Oh, those Southern Belles. They would follow their men through the dark, to the afterlife.

Romantic love expressed in big thoughtful words, carried by palatable punchy chord structures that are all about moments. Big, powerful drum moments, bass boom tricks, winding guitar riffs. Of Seattle, Death Cab is more child of REM, the Smith’s, the Replacements than of Nirvana and the legion of always predictable 1990’s grunge negativists that were of that ilk. They aren’t afraid to be fun and it shows.

This night the band emanated a sense of big show comprehension. It was a blossoming performance full of momentum and harmonic energy.

The Fox is just plain gorgeous, y’all. And the light show indicated money, the ultimate sign of big record label trust and hope. Death Cab gave the guys in the suits behind them a huge reason to smile with the ultimate success of this show. Large engaged audience, delighting to an “on” band. They were really on…and it was spring in The ATL, so y’all know we were “on.”

The lovely, artsy couple next to us were also guests of Chris Walla; he had met the her of the two that morning at the bank in which she works. America can be cool sometimes.

Julie C. May at pb&j (Kirkwood-ATL)

Friday March 20th was the opening for photog Julie C. May at pb&j Gallery in the Kirkwood district in Atlanta, GA. They have been in business for two years. And the charming little village as a whole is doing quite well and now has most of your major urban needs condensed for you into a couple of blocks – so Atlanta, y’all. Please Go!!!

Hailing from the Beverlywood area of LA for the past ten years, Julie C. May has meanwhile toured the world in pursuit of great shots. The front room at this quaint, super-cute gallery is full of her selected finds. It runs through May 3rd.

Featured locations: Venice, Italy…Russia…Berlin…Poland…Puerto Rico…St.Kitts…CHI-Town…the girl really gets around. Her photography, shot in black and white with a 1976 Nikon and in shiny-today-digital-color, has so much life. As she says: “Every wrinkle tells a story.” These photos capture people “not reacting, living.”

Not much for self-promotion, the striking and radiant Julie C. May instead chooses to focus on her true passion – her business.  She founded the “Unscene Tour” to give a sense of home and a big boost to emerging photogs across the nation.  Check it: www.unscenetour.com

Back to the show, my companions were my adorable girlfriend, Jami Buck and my uber-hip Bromance from Cafe Intermezzo (via Cali), Duane. I wore lime green seersucker and a white belt and spring was underway. Spritzers are nice and so are almonds and art. Check it: www.facebook.com/hanvance

May got into photography originally “to get more boys to flirt with me.” Provocatively sexy statement for a married woman, I thought. Duane and I were the best heterosexual options on this night, as “the boys” were out in full force to support the gallery and kick back some free wine. They dress quite well, too. Check it: www.facebook.com/bobburkhart    (the b of pb&j)

From elderly Venetians that are clearly Old Souls to a Navyman resplendent in that one ray of light amongst the Chicago skyscrapers, personalities of people and the commonality of life experiences throughout diverse areas of the world are conveyed in a show perhaps more about face than space.

And then my baby paid half for me to get a small piece of Jack Simmonetta’s stuff. He is the j of pb&j. Just thinking to myself I was: the thousands of colors of blue are a nice color, and it is getting late.

So we said bye and headed to Poncey-Highlands for a post-pre-party at my babe’s townhouse, with too much of that Absolut Mango vodka and yet another adorable Jaimie, and then the four of us were up the street to the basement of the Highland Inn for the single best dance party in town. We listened to the Detriot to ATL transplanted rapper Stewart House along the way. And then we finally hit the dancefloor.

No Marr Drama

SO, LAST NIGHT HAD TO BE THE CRAZIEST FRIDAY NIGHT EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE SUBURBS. FIRST, I ATE MUSHROOMS. NO, NOT THOSE ‘SHROOMS – PORTOBELLO WITH SPINACH AND CHEESE. THEN I SMOKED ME SOME MINI CIGARS UNTIL MY THROAT HURT AND I WAS DIZZY. THEN, I WAS REPEATED TO THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR PROPER HOUSESITTING WHILE THE FOLKS ARE AWAY AT HILTON HEAD. THEN, I SAW MY SISTER’S NEW THRIFT STORE CLOTHES. THEN, I WATCHED A THE SMITHS CONCERT FROM 1984 IN GERMANY. MORRISSEY DANCES WITH HIS ARM OVER HIS FACE AND SIDEWAYS LEG KICKS UNTIL HE NEARLY TOPPLES, ALL ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY POUNDS OF HIM. ANY GOOD SMITHS’ SONG HAS AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF HIM WHINING IN SOUND RATHER THAN WORD, AND THEY HAVE NO BAD SONGS. SIS HEARD HIS WHIMPER AND VENTURED AWAY FROM PACKING TO JOIN ME IN MOM’S LIVING ROOM. IN 1984, THEY DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH MATERIAL FOR THREE ENCORES, SO THEY PLAYED MANY OF THE SAME (GREAT) SONGS TWICE. THE GERMANS CLAPPED. JOHNNY MARR IS THE GREATEST RYTHM GUITAR PLAYER OF ALL-TIME, BUILDING A SUBTLE WALL OF SOUND THAT WOULD STAND TO BE NOTICED IN ANY BAND WITHOUT THE DRAMA QUEEN AS FRONTMAN…AND OH WHAT A QUEEN HE IS. GREAT HAIR AND WORDS AND THAT VOICE. PLUS, HE HAD FLOWERS IN HIS POCKET. IN POETIC TERMS, THE QUEEN IS DEAD. BUT SHOEGAZING SHALL HALF-LIVE ON IN ETERNITY, I CRY. I LOVED IT WAY TOO MUCH. THEN, I HAD A BEER WITH A NEIGHBOR AND WENT HOME TO MY ART LAIR AND WENT TO SLEEP…ALONE… I WAS NOT HAPPY AND I WAS NOT SAD. AND THE SUMMER NIGHT: CRAZY I TELL YA.