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18 March 2005

To all the bookstores I've loved before

Got a real scare at lunch today when I read Cliff Bostock's column in Creative Loafing about Teaspace taking over A Capella Books's storefront.Yikes! That's my neighborhood bookstore, sure there'd still be Charis but they have an extremely eccentric selection and I know there's supposed to be a Barnes & Noble at the Edgewood Retail District but A Capella was a special little place.

Tonight I walked in and saw the tell-tale bargain discount shelves throughout the store but thankfully they're just moving. Over next door to the 5 Points Pharmacy on Moreland (down from Criminal Records and Junkman's Daughter). They're just selling the stuff they'd rather not move and plan to be open at the new location by next month.

After all that mental anguish, I started thinking about our other lost bookstores. Most recently was Mark Steven's Science Fiction & Mystery Bookstore which closed last year after moving from the Highlands (where Planet Smoothy just closed) to Cheshire and finally to Shallowford. It was one of the best genre bookstores in the US. Stars Our Destination in Chicago had a better location before they moved to Evanston then closed. NYC never had any contenders (SF Bookstore on Chambers, come on!) Second Foundation in Chapel Hill was pretty good but still no comparison. The best part of the store appeared after Oxford II closed and the vintage first editions were added as a mini-store inside the Cheshire location.

Which brings us to the Oxford Problem. The Pharr Road location was maybe the best browsing bookstore I've ever been to: Awesome magazine, non-fiction & fiction sections; quirky ex-auto-dealership space and one of Atlanta's best Classical music sections.

I wasn't a huge fan of Oxford II (Smith & Hawkins near Peachtree Battle) just because of the mediocre service and selection but have definitely since noticed just the loss of such a large used book store. The former basement comic store is now the only vestige left of the once mighty Oxford empire on Piedmont

The last of the Oxford clan I went to much was the Peachtree Battle location that sported an unparalleled computer book selection and great science and sociological sections. I acquired the large psychedelic posters that used to hang over the doors from the owner and am storing them in an undisclosed location.

Got any other lost treasures?

10 March 2005

Bobby Hutcherson recording guide

McLean "One Step Beyond" does nothing for me
Moncur "Evolution" Hutch's work on The Coaster & Evolution is alright but in general don't dig it
McLean "Destination Out" none can defeat Moncur's "Love and Hate" (perhaps because of the Cassandra Wilson version?) and "Riff Raff" swings just right
Green "Idle Moments" Oh my! Everything here is amazing. With Atlanta's own Duke Pearson he finds nearly as worthy a rhythm mate as Herbie (5stars)
Dolphy "Out to Lunch" I'll recuse myself from the one. I know it's well-loved but still leaves me cold
Hutch "Dialogue" Yowza, him and Hill just cook. Favorite cuts: Catta, Idle While and Ghetto Lights (Mingus shout-out?)
Dex "Gettin' Around" Everything is great here but his playing on "Heartaches" is especially nice
Hutch "Components" Amazing piece of work. Only "Movement" & "Air" don't completely grab me
Henderson "Mode for Joe" Paired with the amazing Cedar Walton, Hutch is somewhat invisible but has memorable solos on "Granted" & "Free Wheelin'"
Hutch "Happenings" My favorite of his solo records, in a 4tet with Herbie Bob Cranshaw & Joe Chambers. Everything but "The Omen" is 5 star and "Bouquet" is infinite stars -- I've loved this tune from the first time I heard it (ca 1988). Amazing album
Hutch "Stick-Up!" I always love dates with Herbie Lewis, and it's good but too much like a re-run of Happenings :(
Hutch "Oblique" another session with no horns (not again that I know of till "Time for Tyner" in May 1968). From beginning to end a great recording!
Hutch "Patterns" Another great date. I swear "A Time to Go" reminds me of every fusion act from 20 years later (Yellowjackets, Brecker, etc) but with Workman, and James Spaulding this is wonderful stuff.
Tyner "Time for Tyner" Wow! Not sure anything needs to be said here except to emphasize how much Hutch adds to Tyner's best solo recording -- fully integrated
Hutch "Total Eclipse" (cheesiest cover award) a fairly straight-ahead date with mostly avant-guard sidemen. Good but not great

08 March 2005

Smoking the State

OK, I don't really dig smoke in clubs & restaurants. This isn't a health issue, this is simply an unpleasantness issue. Food tastes like crap and my clothes reek of smoke when I get home which makes more laundry which goes against my lazy nature. But I love hanging out with the peeps, so I've made that concession to reality. I could just frequent places that have a non-smoking section or that ban it all together, but I prefer to drink in places within a block or two of the house for obvious reasons -- hell, that's why I live where I do. But of course, the government wants to get involved and usually with plenty of voter support but sometimes reality slaps them in the face.

This was in Reason magazine back in April 2002 (byline Charles Paul Freund). Winnipeg, Manitoba decided to "protect the children" and passed a law banning smoking where minors are present. Instead businesses from donut shops to bars and restaurants are banning minors instead!

Unfortunately the proposed Georgia ban doesn't include such clever loopholes.

07 March 2005

Edgewood Retail District

Via Atlanta Larry, here's an awesome overview of the new Edgewood Retail District. With many architectural drawings of the various housing and shopping configurations. I went to some of the early presentations Sembler gave in Inman Park, but I didn't realize how nice Caroline was going to end up. This is a real bonus!

Now, how are we going to fill in the east side of Moreland from Front Page News to the tunnel under the tracks? That used to be a line of large Victorian homes. I'd like to see a Summit's Wayside Tavern and maybe an auto parts store but the big question is: will anybody choose to walk through the dank tunnel under the tracks?

Even the Estoria/Krog tunnel connecting Cabbagetown to Inman Park is more inviting. And that one's scary!