My consistent fear for downtown Macon has been that the people developing and the people who are actually living in, using, and frequenting downtown are not working together. Yes, having high end lofts is nice, but having places where hippies and hipster can afford to stay, where creative types can set up shop to work and practice without sacrificing an arm and a leg for their craft, that has always been what downtown was about and something for which those who worked earlier for the revitalization of Downtown Macon strived.
Be prepared to spend the next 4 days with everyone you know.
The Reader’s Choice Awards are back and yours truly was not nominated this year. However, that means that instead of the stomach clenching pain of the possibility of this local only blog winning and then the disappointment of finding out a national website won, I will be able to sit back and watch all the action happen. What that also means is that my friends have all my attention and don’t have to spend the night feeling sorry for me. Also, no one will buy me sympathy shots. Bummer.
But all the things that make Macon great, as nominated by you, dear readers, will be out in full force, usually in their finest and ready to have fun. They will cheer when they win, laugh when they lose, and drink champagne/beer/mixed drinks like champions. Because if you’re out, you’re a winner.
Now does it mean you’re not a winner if you don’t make it to the Awards on Thursday? Maybe if that was the only thing that was going on this weekend, but you will need plenty of rest as you consider where to expend your energy this weekend. Whether you spend the obvious school night and stay out with the people most of Macon considers the best or you decide to indulge in a small park beer fest, whether you consider watching cars built by your friends racing down a very steep hill (nothing could go wrong, right?), or you decide that the music you want to hear is played by a band named KOPECKY and Sunday is the best day for it, you definitely have a lot to consider. So what’s on tap for this weekend? The big things and the small things that equal the awesome things? Check it out below!
I’m a cheerleader for Macon. I don’t deny it. I want to write in a way that puts a spotlight on the positive things that Macon has to offer. The people, the places, the experiences, and all the things that make Macon great. I’m not a fool, as some would think to call me, because of my eternal optimism. I just believe that thinking and acting positively towards the things that are positive and putting your shoulder to the grindstone to make the negative things better is a much better system of changing things than constant complaint, throwing your hands up, and lack of interaction.
Sometimes it’s frustrating.
I was born in Macon, Georgia. I spent the first years of adulthood trying to get the hell out of this town. And I did leave and live in some fantastic places and some not so fantastic places, but when I came back I knew I had to make the city I was in a place I would love to call home.
Macon has everything a city needs to be spectacular. Great dining worth broadcasting in regional and national publications. Affordable living and landlords that are not slumlords. Charming neighborhoods where you can walk across the street and borrow a cup of sugar, just like your grandmother did in the old days. Historic preservation that gives us a sense of place and attracts more visitors than many suspect. A governmental body that, despite its in-fighting, disagreements, and unfortunate racial divide, still manages to get things done for its citizens and continually works to do more. Unique businesses that drive commerce from outside of the city. The fact that I could go on from here is a testament to how far the city has come since I moved back in 1996.
The blessing and the curse of Macon is the people. In 2003, when I was living in Los Angeles, I found that despite falling in love with the weather; the diversity of activities, food, and people; and the beauty of the coast, not to mention the mountains that were only a few hours drive away, I missed the unique friendliness that makes up Macon, Georgia. For example, when I moved back in 1996, there was a little coffee shop on Cherry Street. I’d moved from Boston and wanted just a good cuppa. John Relyea, the proprietor, not only had a great selection of teas but an eclectic group of customers that basically informed what I have come to think of when I think of downtown Macon. It was the only place I could go after 8pm. Now, I have a variety of places to plug in my laptop, so to speak, and though there is a different group of them, I wouldn’t trade the eclectic, diverse groups that make up my downtown experience for the world. I have made friends just by sitting at a bar and saying hello, something I have not been able to duplicate anywhere in the United States as well as I have here.
All That To Say…
The kid watched me as he walked by, me at the front door waiting in vain for someone to open the door. I say kid because, though he’s taller than me, his peach fuzz has peach fuzz. I’m hot and sweaty from my walk up Orange Street, the dogs inside are barking their fool heads off, and I hope that the kid carrying a guitar is heading to where I was asked to be.
“Are you here to meet Floco?” I ask. He’s sizing me up maybe wondering if he could take me. He nods and inclines his head towards the back of the house where Star Motel Studios is housed. Even though I’m wondering who he is and what I’m in for, I follow him gratefully towards the back because I know I’ll find a cold drink inside.
I’m sipping on a Coors Light and wondering how Rob Evans could possibly consider himself a downtown Maconite and not have whiskey on tap. But as he explains it, the summer is for clear liquids. Since I’ve been incorporating more gin and tonics into my repertoire, I ain’t mad at it. It is, after all, a nice way to begin a behind the scenes recording session that I was invited to earlier that day. My Macon contemporaries Y.O. Latimore and Molly McWilliams Wilkins are invited as well and it’s nice to watch the other writers in action.
For the first part of the Locals Showcase, I will be at the Patron Party. Now, don’t mind if I give anything away, but…
This year, the Patron Party is New Orleans themed and being held at the Marriott Conference Center. That’s right, you can snack on andouille sliders and suck the head of crawfish for most of the night. Drinks abound, including the new Macon Beer Company IPA, Macon Music. And you can gamble… for prizes. Why didn’t you get your tickets already??? Never fear; if you decide you want to go, you can buy a patron party pass the night of the event, which includes a concert crawl ticket, at the Marriott.
So, real talk.
I’m not Justin Cutway or Chris Nylund, people who have learned to play music, taught themselves about music, immersed themselves in music, etc. I’m not an expert. Never claimed to be. But I love music.
I love to sing, even though I can’t carry much of a tune.
I love to dance and will dance until the things required for dancing have long broken down. And as long as my shoulders can move, you know they’ll move!
And I love live music. I enjoy listening to an album over and over again and then discovering the difference between the album and the live set. I enjoy sinking my teeth into the personality that comes out on stage that gets hidden behind the vinyl, plastic, and paper of albums.
But I wasn’t always like that. I would get angry when the artist would deviate from the album. I used to only want to hear covers so I could sing along. And if you were a local band, I only followed a couple of local bands so that I could know them as well as those with albums.
But live music won me over and I’m not looking back.
I’ve been writing a lot about music, so I’m going to take it to it’s most essential. I made a Bragg Jam 2014 playlist. I used Spotify because it is the easiest way to put it together to share, but it was missing Madre Padre.
So, in order of how I’m going to try to see these bands:
Madre Padre: 5:45 – 7:15
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires – 6:30 – 8:00
Family & Friends – 7:30 – 8:15
Cusses – 7:45-9:15
The Black Cadillacs – 8:30 – 10:00
Kopecky Family Band – 10:15 – 11:30
Moon Hooch – 10:15 – 11:45
American Aquarium – 10:30 – 12:00
Back City Woods – 12:00 – 1:30
JuBee & the Morning After – 12:15 – 1:45
The Whigs – 12:30 – 2:00
Feel free to like, share, copy, listen, etc. And if you make your own playlist, tag me in twitter (@angelcollins1) or leave a link in the comments!