Thursday, April 24, 2008

Athens, GA: back to the future

Hello, Jim Haverkamp here. I'm waking up in Athens, GA after the first stop on my Southern Circuit tour last night.

Appropriately, a lot of R.E.M. songs popped up on my iPod on the drive down. The local music scene still seems to be going strong, confirmed by Steve and Jeff, a security guard and the projectionist at the Georgia Museum of Art, the tour site, who are also working musicians. Both of them had to leave immediately after the show to go to band practice. Jeff said the hardest part about living the dual lifestyle is running sound for a band late into a Saturday night and then coming to work for a lecture early Sunday morning. 

Athens is also known for its local film scene, and I got to go to the legendary Flicker Bar downtown, which has a small movie theater attached to it. This is the place that Norwood Cheek, a Chapel Hill resident, visited in the mid-'90s and that inspired him to start a local film screening series back home, which he called Flicker. Flicker is still going strong, and now there are almost a dozen more Flickers around the world. Just goes to show how a good idea can spread. It's a funny that both Roger Beebe and I, the bookends of this year's circuit, were both organizers of the Chapel Hill Flicker for a couple of years. 

There are also some great thrift stores in Athens, and guess what you can buy there?