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A wonk down memory lane

23 Nov

There are days and weeks when we literally cannot remember why we live in Atlanta other than because all our stuff is already here. Only a force as powerful as the History Twins can nurse us back from full-on fatigue to just dull listlessness.

Hey, snap out of it, you! This is truly one of the most amusing, ineffable episodes of them all. Especially if you like grand sweeping staircases and the letters “DOT” flying in your face. Oh, and more visuals with FOOD. You’ll see soon enough.

Here’s how the third-to-last episode of The Making of Modern Atlanta starts:

WHOA WHOA WHOA!! What is this? Clearly we are impeding on some sort of fancy dinner and similarly fancy conversation…

Dr. White: “…Maybe when we’re shooting The Making of the Modern Riviera.” [Inhales goblet deeply.]
“Mmm, delicate fragrance. Fine taste. Robust but not ill-mannered. Ah, what’s the vintage?”
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History Twins, will you mayor-y me?

25 Oct

We are officially over the hill with The Making of Modern Atlanta. The second installment aired in 1993, two years after the first four episodes. The History Twins were still high off their regional Emmy nomination for “How We Played The Game” and ready to rock the PBA audience demanding more, more, more History Twins! This reinforced confidence in their game led to a few new snazzy enhancements on the series, like wackier introductions to each episode, Dr. White accenting his safari jackets with a little color base, and a new design to the titles and whatever it’s called that tells you the name of the person talking on the screen.
Our fifth episode of TMOMA starts at City Hall, with the words we all dream of hearing spoken to us one day…

“Mr. Mayor, Professors Crimmins and White are here to see you.”“Who?” Continue reading

The episode with the inevitable Field of Dreams allusions

18 Oct

Wow, it’s been a while! We have not abandoned you, gentle readers, and have in the past month learned a valuable lesson about unplugging one’s DVD player from all those other things. And during football season! Of all the times to not be able to watch this:
That’s a baseball field but later on they get to football.

In our last viewing of The Making of Modern Atlanta, the History Twins explored the mysterious suburbs and exurbs, where all the Pier 1 Tuscan Heritage Collection wine racks and Rubbermaid bids used as children’s furniture in the world cannot keep up with the sprawling tentacles of cul-de-sacs and Colonial Williamsburg strip malls. (I know, I know; that run-on sentence is inconsistent because this show was filmed in the early ’90s and Tuscan decor didn’t hit big time until a decade later.) And if this is the first time you’re joining us on our serial exploration of The Making of Modern Atlanta, please start back here.)

Now we will explore the next means by which Atlanta has expanded beyond its capabilities for quality and long-term sustainability: major league sports. The History Twins LOVE sports.

Literally the first sentence of this episode has a Field of Dreams reference. “Atlantan Billy Payne heard a voice: ‘If you build it, they will come.'” So now we know that this, like many of the episodes of TMOMA, will be framed in the context of Olympics anxiety: “Have we made it? Is Atlanta Losersville or a big-league city?”

Somehow, I feel the answer to that question will be both.
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The Making of Modern Suburban Atlanta; or, The Great Dunwoody Tennis Boom of 1991

14 Sep

Now we all know how everyone left the city (on roads, in their cars) but to where did they go? That’s what episode three of The Making of Modern Atlanta is all about.“The development of suburbs and exurbs raise many thorny issues for the making of modern Atlanta.”

The History Twins meet us by Arabia Mountain in DeKalb County. I love when they both go casual at the same time. Continue reading

The History Twins: Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares…

1 Sep

How could there even be another episode of The Making of Modern Atlanta after that last one? What more is there to say about Atlanta?

First of all, it may take a bit of explaining to tell you what’s going on in this picture below. Once upon a time, there was a “construction” industry in Atlanta. They actually “built” “buildings” rather than just setting off news stories about planned developments. These “buildings” and their corresponding “construction” required a great deal of “money” that came from “jobs” and “investments”.
Now you might better comprehend the context of this episode.

It begins with our good friend Tim Crimmins anxiously scaling the heights of the Peachtree Plaza.
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The Making of Modern Atlanta: 20 years later

30 Aug

The year: 1991. The Olympics: Five years away. Atlanta: Hadn’t done a thing to prepare itself for the event it was pinning its every hope and dream for the future on.

Ready to blow the lid off this whole “Atlanta” thing – for the entire world to see, on Public Broadcasting Atlanta, with the help of that shadowy group called the Georgia Humanities Council.

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A special television event

13 Dec

Oh, we forgot to tell you about being mentioned in Atlanta magazine‘s annual Best of Atlanta issue! They generously gave us the superlative “Best Blog for Understanding Atlanta.” This accolade plus Creative Loafing‘s “critics’ pick” divided by the memory span of the internet equals us screeching “I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy” alone with a case of vodka by no later than mid-January. MARK MY WORDS.

But really – go check out the December issue of Atlanta as it highlights other Pecanne Log favorites like My! My! My! and City Issue.

In keeping with the trend of vintage cable access gems, here are two we’ve been hanging onto for a while. The main reason we’ve waited until now to post them is that it they are kind of boring but, sorry, you have to watch them because they are from the hit series Club Scene with your host Brian Smith, which aired on North DeKalb Community Television in 1985. I mean:

And the theme music for the opening credits is the kids’ choir singing, “Na-na-na-nananana…” from Tears for Fears’ “Suffer the Children.” What?

WAIT. Before we go any further, picture in your mind what you think this “Brian Smith” who hosts a cable access show called Club Scene in mid-’80s Atlanta might look like. Got an image?

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Old news

4 Feb

Are you guys ready for one of the most emotionally stirring anthems you’ll ever hear?

Two things: 1) Maybe in 1974 you could “see for a million miles on a starry night,” but now the Fulton County landfill gets in the way; 2) I love how awkward yet harmonious the closing is: “Atla-anta-a Georgia (WXIA!) Atla-anta-a Georgia (WXIA!)” I’ll be singing that all weekend.

This was from the day when local news promos were really cheeky and fun. Here the WAGA guys play in a crappy quartet on the lawn of the Atlanta History Center. (1975)

News intros from 1976-1977. These are so dramatic! I wish The Mary Tyler Moore Show had been about these people instead. It would be called The Monica Kaufman Show. On second thought, that sounds kind of boring.
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Boob tube

24 Jan

Just wondering if Thomas Wheatley got his new television from Love TV Rental.

Previously: The most fantastic disco in the South

Fact, fiction, and mystery

15 Jan

If there is one thing Atlanta doesn’t have enough of, it is CRIME. Or at least that’s the only reason I can think of that would have made Jessica Fletcher wait until the very last season of Murder, She Wrote to visit Atlanta! In previous seasons she makes a few visits to the Deep South, but the characters she meets in these places are either missing teeth and only interested in lynching OR they dress and act like they are in Auntie Mame when Mame goes to meet Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside’s family.  Finally, by 1996 the viewers of Murder, She Wrote had probably heard of Atlanta so it wouldn’t be too daring for J. B. Fletcher to solve a mystery there in the episode “Mrs. Parker’s Revenge.”

We are to believe that Jessica is a guest at the glamorous Gambier Hotel for the Georgia Amateur Mystery Writers Conference. All of the shots inside and outside of the hotel were definitely filmed in California. In fact, everything was filmed in California. The episode was not very faithful to maintaining accuracy about Atlanta. To begin with, the conflict in the story revolves around this place:
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Summer sweeps

7 Jul

n43466614396_1293383_6073It’s the summer doldrums in TV land – don’t even talk to me about NYC Prep, okay? If you need something to hold your attention and where the lead characters aren’t emotional cripples, I recommend digging through the archives of PBA 30’s This Is Atlanta with Alicia Steele website or YouTube page. The short episodes explore our city and its environs’ wonders and eccentricities, such as the Cotton States Cat Club, Burn Unit B-Boy Dance Crew, The Great Speckled Bird, the Pallookaville corn dog wagon, Legynds LARPers, &c., &c., &c.

How can you not love a show that plays Close to the Edge over merchant prince battle scenes?

We are one degree closer to Chuck Bass

17 Apr

gossip-girl-chuck-shark_lRemember when Michelle Trachtenberg, aka Georgina Sparks, was in town for the W Hotel opening and she also hit up the Drunken Unicorn and it blew everyone‘s mind?

Now we can all be validated again like we always are in Atlanta whenever “we” have some slight brush with celebrity, because our very own Newt Gingrich will be inexplicably sharing a table with Gossip Girl‘s Ed Westwick and the White House Correspondents Dinner. Maybe now that Westwick is growing his own Republican-esque jowls Newt can recruit him to the cause.

Previously: OMG!!!! Gossip Girl and the Gay South!!!!

Welcome, Top Chef!

17 Feb

colicchioTop Chef is finally coming to Atlanta! I would like to thank Kevin Rathbun for beating Bobby Flay on Iron Chef so that they believe us when we tell them that Atlanta really does have good food. I’m sure Richard has been gabbing on the phone with Tom Colicchio every night about how he has to come too, especially after the two were so chummy last season.

The casting call will be at Craft (Tom’s restaurant) February 22nd from 10-2 p.m.

Let’s all make sure to think positive thoughts for sweet, expressive eyebrowed Carla tomorrow night as she heads for victory!

Let the spin-offs begin!

6 Jan

Remember how intrigued I was by NeNe’s friend Dwight on Real Housewives of Atlanta, and then I never watched the show again? (Although that could change this weekend.) Well, one of our favorite readers alerted me to Dwight’s “new reality show” about his salon Purple Door Salon that is so fancy and exclusive that there is a fountain in the middle of it. Here’s the trailer for Behind the Purple Door:

I have no idea if this will air on television (I am guessing no), but this is another indication that the stars and sub-stars of RHOA WILL NOT BE IGNORED.

Someone should do a reality show about Key Lime Pie because I bet that would be some crazy salon drama. When I used to go there, every stylist always looked like they were about to be fired. Sorry, but I don’t want to get my hair cut by a bunch of scared animals. I never had a bad cut but always felt like it was only a matter of time before a bang trim disaster.

I know it’s horrible, but it has to be done

10 Oct

Ugh, what kind of blog of ladies in Atlanta would we be if we didn’t comment on The Real Housewives of Atlanta? I never watched the series before (booooring) and I don’t know if now is especially a good time, economically and politically, to start. But it’s on, and we already have Thomas Wheatley hooked, and Project Runway is almost over, so whatever.

You know, I don’t feel like this show straightens out any misconceptions; therefore the “real” in Real Housewives of Atlanta is unnecessary because you can watch people tastelessly flaunt their money almost anywhere in Atlanta or the suburbs. (I don’t think there are many secrets left about how this class really lives, although the excess is still shocking.) They don’t seem especially picky in their appetites for luxury; for example, DeShawn and her husband build a gigantic home (seen in the photo above) that ends up costing way more than they planned, and when it comes down to decorating it DeShawn only meets with the decorator for three hours before leaving her to fill up the enormous house with stuff. Even the decorator seems a little miffed by this hands-off approach, and when the family enters their new home for the first time they look like one of those families on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition because they have literally never laid eyes on any of the contents of the place they are about to live. If you have ever seen a wealthy person build and decorate a new home, you know DeShawn’s approach is far, far out of the norm. If we were Parisian university students, we would totally take to the streets in protest of this gauche display of bourgeoisie horror.

Anyway, there’s no need for us to beat a dead horse and analyze the show since it’s so hollow, but Amanda Brown’s posts on Pop-o-Matic have been informative since she gets to talk with the housewives and was invited to the depressing opening night party and all. If you need a good introduction to the ladies, Videogum has an enlightening rundown of each one.

I just hope to see NeNe‘s friend Dwight in future episodes. Maybe he’ll get his own spin-off show where he doles out advice to mollycoddled wives, all while wearing three strands of freshwater pearls. What is his story, does anyone know? Is he really a celebrity hairdresser?

Courthouse drama!

15 Sep

A horrible television pilot for Lifetime is being filmed in the old Decatur Courthouse. Called “Drop Dead Diva,” the show is about “a model in training who dies and finds her soul entering the body of an overweight attorney.” I have a number of questions about the spiritual logistics of this storyline, but the main thing I want answered right now is if John Fitzgerald Page is an extra in this pilot, as he manages to work his way into every single thing filmed in Atlanta.

Previously: Discover the Tiger


29 Aug

Because you can never have too many posts on Hollis Gillespie (I count this fifth on Pecanne Log in the last six months), or the Decatur Book Festival for that matter, I thought that everyone who has succumbed to Gillespie’s girl-crushability, or just crushability will be excited to know that she will be womaning a kissing booth at Twain’s tomorrow night at 6 p.m. for the Writers Conference Happy Hour of the Decatur Book Festival.

In other Hollis news, her first book, Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch is being turned into a TV series. And a legit TV series at that: Accoring to NPR this morning, Paramount has the rights to the books and has cast Laura Dern to play Hollis. I only hope Laura can live up to the job. I don’t have any other information on a timeline or channel to expect this, but I will try and keep an open ear/eye.

The manic-depressive WAGA of the ’80s

20 May

Hey guys, remember how much it sucked to be a yuppie in Atlanta? In 1987, office jobs were not as cool as they were in other cities. That’s why the only thing anyone had to look forward to was making out with their dog to The Jeffersons on channel 5 at 5:30 every weekday.

But WAIT A MINUTE! Just a year before that, Atlanta was a euphoric carnival of good news, colorful bunches of balloons, new skyscrapers, horse-drawn carriages, cheerleaders in saddle shoes, news reporters pulling puppies out of trucks, and Ken Cook’s mustache. What went wrong between ’86 and ’87?

Also check out these WAGA promos for Magnum, which feature a Zack Morris phone, ninjas driving a red sports car, and some extraordinary kid acting – one kid actually says, “You know, Mom says if we watch too many cartoons, we’ll turn into a cartoonhead.” You’ll never guess what turns them back…

Must-see TV

30 Apr

In 1969, a piece of technology was released that would help propel America into previously-unknown worlds of visual psychedelia and television-induced ADD: the video mixer.

So along came Atlanta’s very own pre-MTV The Now Explosion (which is one of the most ’70s names ever). First on channel 36, then channel 17 (it was only about 2 years old at this point and not yet called TBS), then national syndication, The Now Explosion was basically hours and hours of amateur local performers dancing and singing to the Top 40 hits of the day with lots of crazy video effects that had never been seen before, like cuts and dissolves. In other words, the WORLD’S FIRST MUSIC VIDEOS.

The Now Explosion website details (with many pictures and videos) the show’s history, production, cutting-edge (and really expensive) editing techniques, personalities, and how it was lost and then found by media archivists at UGA.

My favorite is at 2:31 when three shirtless guys dance to “If I Had a Hammer” like they are in Jesus Christ Superstar. Check out Now Explosion medley #2 that excerpts some fantastic choreography (with matching turtlenecks!) to “Light My Fire” at 2:03, and a creepy game of Simon Says at 3:41 in medley #3.

Previously: How do you say Decatur? How do you say Dacula?

Real Atlanta

30 Apr

If you’ve been bored since One Punk Under God left Atlanta for Brooklyn (okay, HOW was someone who preaches at the Masquerade able to afford a condo on Ponce overlooking the Fox?), then you haven’t been watching the current reality tv show in filmed Atlanta – BET’s College Hill: Atlanta. The episodes are online, but if you can’t pay attention to anything for 17 minutes, Videogum is filling us in on all the dramatic nuggets – which basically just revolve around one guy, Dru, being slutty and at one point holding a table knife at Maggiano’s. Oh, and once a guy cried because he was so excited to meet Ludacris in person.

Also, there are two Ashleys on the show, which is an accurate ratio when you have any assemblage of Gen Y-ers (50% of all females must be named Ashley). The Ashleys are awesome because they are morally outraged by Dru’s failure to change his sheets between one-night stands instead of by his actual one-night stands. Ashley L also has a shirt that says, “I LOVE MY CRAZY FRIENDS.”

Unlike the Real World, where the roommates have “jobs” like promoting bars or running a spray-tan salon, the College Hill kids are volunteering with the Ludacris Foundation. Still – maybe you will see a girl you know come home with Dru one night! OR MAYBE IT WILL BE YOU!

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