ADDRESS: 127 N Jackson St
KIDS/PETS: Yes/Yes (must be controlled)
ADDRESS: 127 N Jackson St
KIDS/PETS: Yes/Yes (must be controlled)
For the past five years, Penumbra has brought a different kind of Halloween treat to Athens. In late October, the empty space on Jackson street turns into a gallery celebrating the surge in creativity that Halloween inspires. Local artists Timothy and Jennifer Schildknecht started Penumbra back in 2009 simply because they both love Halloween.
Timothy said Halloween is "holiday that's for the sake of a holiday" and a motivation for a lot of creativity. He wants Penumbra to help inspire people to create, which is a great healing method. He also wants to share what the featured artists have done. Timothy said he gets thrilled just hearing people come up the stairs. Jennifer wasn't at Penumbra when I stopped by, but Timothy said that she enjoys Halloween itself and the interaction with people and artists that the holiday brings.
Most of the pieces on display are by local artists, but some of the work is from as far away as Canada. Several of the pieces are by the Schildknechts themselves. This year's show is Penumbra's biggest yet and will end on November 1. On closing night, Penumbra will host an event from 7-10.
During the rest of the year, Timothy and Jennifer respectively run Fringe Alternative and Over the Moon Creative Possibilities. But for now, the couple are happy to celebrate their favorite holiday in a way that makes a difference for artists and the community.
ADDRESS: 1911 Barnett Shoals Rd
Sometimes there are days when after two double espressos you still need a whole French press to yourself. Whether it's because of the weather (ha, pun!) or because you took Ambien last night, Two Story is where to go for a good French press. It's also a great place to study, which you know well if you're a college student. The majority of people I see in either Two Story location are my age.
There's a bit of an imbalance between the two Stories. The Five Points one came first, in 2008. Two Story Eastside came two years later. The Five Points shop gets more publicity and attention, and that's probably because it came first and is in a cute house instead of a strip mall. Still, the Eastside space is warm and pertains its older sibling's elements. The staff is friendly and helpful, and it's definitely easier to find parking. Plus the coffee is just as good.
There's comfortable seating, local art on display, and a designated quiet area. Not much is different aside from the type of building the shop is in. Of course, Like its sibling, Two Story Eastside sells pastries and baked goods from the Granary in Watkinsville. They also sells Cecelia's Cakes, which you might know as the cake they sell at the Last Resort. And I know I keep making terrible puns, but if you need to get a lot of work done or just want a good cup of coffee, give the Eastside spot a shot.
LOCATION: 2950 Atlanta Highway
The first time I rode by the Coffee Shop of Athens, I did a double-take. Part of me thought, "wow, that's a strange place for a coffee shop." The rest of me adored the coffee shop/body shop pun. But how long had the shop been there? Surely I would remember such a clever play on words.
It took a little (okay, a lot) of memory jogging to recall that this former Mitsubishi dealership once housed a Jittery Joe's. Now, the coffee shop is independent and just sells Jittery Joe's.
The Coffee Shop of Athens shares what was once a showroom with the Body Shop of Athens. Although two businesses exist in a single room, there is no competition over identity. The Coffee Shop of Athens doesn't try to hide that it's housed in a building originally intended for cars. Rather, that history is embraced, and the coffee and body shops seem married. Interestingly enough, the owners of the coffee and body shop are a wedded couple.
It's an atypical venue for an independent coffee shop. However, it doesn't really matter, because the Coffee Shop of Athens makes it work. The space is adorned with room dividers and local artwork. There's no huge divider between the coffee and body shop, but it works, like a continuous breath.
But is the coffee any good? Of course, it's Jittery Joe's. The shop also sells plastic and ceramic mugs, merchandise unavailable at certain Jittery Joe's franchises.
The space emphasizes the importance of community, with various flyers for local groups and events hanging on the ample windows. And you know, I really do like those windows. It's a clean, well-lighted place. You can judge the principle all you want, but step inside. You can't deny that the Coffee Shop of Athens has made its unusual home work.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Five Points
ADDRESS: 1625 S Lumpkin St
Independent Baking Co. came to Five Points in August. It's a quaint venue with a menu that is limited at times. However, the bread here is awesome. If you've eaten at an Athens restaurant that focuses on local products, there's a chance you've eaten Independent's bread. You can also get Indie bread at the Athens Farmers Market at Bishop Park and Daily Groceries on Prince Ave.
This place is all about bread. Independent Baking also makes viennoiserie, a type of baked good that's similar to bread, but also contains ingredients that maker it richer and sweeter, like a pastry. A good example of viennoiserie is a croissant. There's a large array of samples right on the counter, so you don't even have to feel awkward about not knowing what kind of bread to buy.
Independent Baking also serves 1000 Faces coffee in case you want some caffeine to go with all those carbohydrates. Or, you know, for morning reasons.
There are also some baked available. Desperate for sugar, I tried the ginger crinkle. If you are at Independent Baking while these cookies are available, I urge you to get one. They taste even better than they look.
I'm trying to stay away from bread for health reasons, but it's nice to know that there's a good local product to fall back on when I crack. Maybe starch is one of the last things I need, but I know I'll be back here: I still haven't bought any olive bread.
Last night at the 40 Watt, the Modern Pin-Ups held their third annual Debut Revue, part of the Dance Athens celebration. As soon as I read about the event on Flagpole's calendar, I knew I had to go. I really enjoy watching burlesque and the Modern Pin-Ups' mission really appealed to me. The crowd was much larger than I anticipated - my friend and I actually sat on the floor, which turned out to be a really great spot because the dance routines were only a few feet away from us.
I took a bunch of pictures and a few videos since I was so close, but when you combine high energy, changing lights, shaky hands, and an iPhone, media doesn't come out how you'd hope. I tried, and hopefully you can at least get a feel of the event and see how talented these women and men are.
The event started with the Modern Pin-Ups' "Bang Bang!" Energy was established and the crowd quickly became excited. As the Pin-Ups danced feet away from my face, I knew I made an excellent decision in going to the revue.
Next came "A Little Party Never Killed Nobody," performed by Contact. I guess it was just dumb of me to assume there wouldn't be any male dancers at the event. They were really good dancers, though. This performance was more of a contact dance, like the name suggests.
Next, the mood changed with the Modern Pin-Ups' Apprentice Company's "Tango de Roxanne." This dance was more sultry and "classically" burlesque-style to me.
Then came the Tap Company's "It Don't Matter," a wave of energy and color. Whenever the Tap Company danced, I didn't know where to look. I mean that in a good way. I was mesmerized by the dancers' feet, but also didn't want to miss out on what else was going on. They're really great dancers.
After that, the Modern Pin-Ups performed "Zombie Apocalypse," which I thought was a really great symbol of how burlesque has become modern. Have I mentioned that these choreographers are really creative with how they relate dance to music? Because they are. What's a better way to modernize dance than incorporating zombies?
Next, the Tap Company returned to perform "Know What You Did." Once again, the choreographer did a great job of relating the dance to the music. The last band I ever expected people to tap dance to is Fall Out Boy, but the Tap Company made it work.
After that came "The March of the Hookers," which was performed by Swung and the Modern Pin-Ups. I liked this dance a lot because it was divided into two parts (matching the pace of the song). The second half was a commentary on slut shaming, which I really admired. The dance told a powerful story.
Then the Modern Pin-Ups performed "Pour Some Sugar on Me." I liked this dance a lot. It was very 80s - there were even leather pants and shorts! I also thought it was really clever how the dancers utilized both the floor and the stage in this performance. Yet again, I had to keep bouncing my eyes to make sure I got everything in. And as you can see below, the dancers on the stage kept things interesting by using glitter as a prop.
After an intermission, the Modern Pin-Ups performed "Ice Cream Paint Job." This was one of my favorite dances because the costuming cracked me up. I love that dancer who dressed like an auto shop worker. Plus the dancers made the song (another song I'd never expect to hear at a burlesque) work.
Next, Sweet Dreams performed "Body Party." This one was awesome. All of the moves here had an R&B feel to them and reflected the song really well. There were a lot of really low movements, which was awesome since I was sitting on the floor. "Body Party" was actually one of my favorite routines.
Next came the Tap Company's "Heart Attack." Since this song was older, the choreography here was a little more traditional. It was still really good. By this point I've realized that I'm enthralled by anything the Tap Company performs.
After that, Zumba! Group performed "Sports, Sex, and Food." I feel like I missed out with this one since I sat on the floor. This act was cool because the girls used a different style of dance.
Then the Modern Pin-Ups hit the floor to perform "I Will Survive." This act was cool because all of the women sang the song too, hence the video.
Then Amanda Cook performed "Doctor Wannado," which was probably the most traditional act of the event. Cook was cheeky and sassy and used really good facial features here that left everybody in the audience laughing. Also, she's very pregnant, so she's kind of my hero.
The Modern Pin-Ups finished the event with their "TLC Remix." It was awesome. I'll let these videos do the talking.
Overall, the revue was awesome and I'm so glad I went. The whole time, I was bobbing my head and watching everyone dance with the stupidest smile on my face. It was so empowering and inspiring to see all kinds of women (and some talented men) do something they love and get real appreciation for it. Plus the groups are always looking for more members, so if you're interested in performing with them or just taking a few classes, check out Dance FX Athens. By the way, you can get a free class if you mention Debut Revue 2013, so now you have one less excuse not to go.
ADDRESS: 283 East Broad St.
Have you heard about the new bar downtown? No, it's not that kind of bar. Now that Juice Up: The Original Juice Bar is open, you can finally go downtown and get a drink that's actually good for you. They actually even have a hangover remedy juice.
Juice Up opened Tuesday and specializes in juices and healthy snacks. All of the produce Juice Up uses is locally grown. Juice Up also sells organic coffee. Since the store just opened, there is more to come. Juice Up plans on selling more food, such as veggie wraps and getting a coffee drip in order to provide a bigger variety of coffee. Merchandise including t-shirts, tank tops, coffee mugs, and tumblers will arrive soon.
I'm a full supporter of the juice trend, so when I found out Juice Up was opening, I knew I'd end up there a lot. And yes, the juice is good. Juice Up also features a variety of add-ins you can get in your drink, like maca powder and wheatgrass. The menu is flexible, which I like.
My favorite thing about Juice Up is the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. The employees are open to questions and good at describing how certain blends of juice taste (the strawberry lemonade, for example, is said to taste like a pink Starburst). They also don't mind if you don't like something you ordered and are happy to provide you with a substitute at no extra cost. The staff also let me get all up in Juice Up's kitchen to take these photos, which was awesome. They're really nice people! Talk to them sometime!
Juice Up hopes to open another store with a to-go window if the downtown location succeeds. I don't think that will be a problem, though. Juice Up's products are good and good for you, and the employees are really welcoming and helpful. Guys, I'm about to lose a lot of money.
ADDRESS: 909 East Broad St. Suite 400
It is so nice to finally see something in the years'-empty space that was once the Whistle Stop Cafe. Farmer's Market favorite Mama Bird's Granola now has its own store, which opened today. I have been pumped for Mama Bird's to open. Chicopee-Dudley is a weird area because it doesn't have many businesses. Hopefully though, Mama Bird's will pave the way for a more defined neighborhood.
There's a lot to take in, so look around. There are several pieces of local art on the walls, and owner/baker Jennie Phillips De la Vega plans on adding more. Jennie wants to use her new space to encourage Athenians to be more empowered to start their own business. She also hopes for the store and restaurant to embrace community, which is important in a fledgling area.
Jennie also wants to utilize Mama Bird's for teaching classes in baking, cooking, and nutrition. Mama Bird's is even slated to hold a laughing yoga class. If you're interested in teaching a class or featuring your art here, you should totally stop by the store or contact Jennie at email@example.com.
If you're a local baker in need of a kitchen, you're in luck. Mama Bird's features a community kitchen, a great example of helping out smaller businesses. Again, just ask her. She's really nice.
Now let's get to the products. I shockingly wasn't hungry when I stopped by the store today, but I took lots of photos so you could see what is available. I will say that I've had the granola before and it's great - the granola contains a lot of nuts, like pistachios, so it's really filling. In addition to granola products, Mama Bird's also sells baked goods, local produce and meats, pre-made meals, and 1000 Faces coffee. It's a pretty well-rounded selection.
But wait, there's more. Mama Bird's sells local body care products too.
Honestly I am just so pumped now that Mama Bird's is open. I eat granola almost every day and can't wait to show this local product off to my extremely health-conscious family. Plus more people are coming to this edge of downtown, so this store is a great way to spread the word on local food products. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.
ADDRESS: 1035 Cleveland Rd, Bogart
PRICE: $$ ($10 per person)
The Athens Corn Maze is one of those places I had never visited despite wanting to for the past three years. I've never been able to find enough people to come with me or commit to organizing a venture myself. Last night I finally visited the corn maze and had a great time.
If you know how to navigate the loop, you can get to the maze. Cleveland road isn't that far from the Georgia Square Mall, off exit 18. Admission is $10 per person and covers all activities. There's also a cart that serves fair food, but if you want to eat something from it I recommend going earlier. The whole experience won't take more than two hours.
The first thing my group did upon arriving was take a hay ride around the grounds. Like I mentioned before, the $10 entrance fee covers everything except food, so we didn't have to pay any additional costs for the hay ride. It's a nice way to get pumped up for the maze or relax after you've just navigated through five acres of corn. The hay ride lasts between 10 and 15 minutes and takes you to areas you wouldn't otherwise walk to, such as the barn and down a path surrounded by trees.
After the ride, it was time to go through the maze.
The corn maze isn't terribly difficult to navigate. If you want, you can rent a map from the entrance for 25 cents - and you'll get your quarter back if you return the map. You can definitely get through without a map, though.
There are six checkpoints within the maze, each equipped with a hole puncher. You should get a punch card when you enter the site - if you stamp the card at each station and hand it in before you leave, you'll be entered in a weekly drawing for a $25 gift certificate to the 3 Minute Carwash.
The Athens Corn Maze also has a petting zoo that has goats, baby cows, chickens, a few rabbits, a horse, a pony, and a baby pig.
But my favorite part was the corn box, which is just a huge wooden box filled with corn kernels, kind of like a sandbox. The corn is really soft and the whole concept seems silly, but it's really fun to play in - and this is coming from an adult.
One last thing - you'll probably want to take a shower after playing in the corn box. The whole corn maze experience is a little sticky.
ADDRESS: 493 Prince Ave.
On October 12th, Boulevard's beloved Avid Bookshop celebrated its second birthday with an impromptu sale. For 10 hours, Avid's inventory overflowed into the adjacent Fire Hall #2, providing loyal readers and customers with tables full of discounted books. Toys, stationery, and diaries were also available, and free gifts, namely posters and book bundles, were given as rewards to shoppers who spent over $30.
The universe showed its appreciation by giving Athens a beautiful day to hold a bookshop's birthday party. I arrived around 11:30 and ran into several of my fellow logophile friends. Even though the sale hadn't been going on for very long, I could sense that lots of people had already been there - many of the available books and free gifts had been picked up. Luckily, I still picked up some good finds and got a free poster. Then I darted next door because, well, I love Avid. After completing a round there, I returned to the sale site and chatted with the booksellers, who are always really helpful and friendly.
From what I saw, the sale was a great success not only as an event, but also as an experience to hang around and talk about books and writers. I'm thankful for my experiences with Avid and look forward to year three.