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Archiving Athens

Athens1

Last night we watched Athens, GA: Inside Out and wallowed in nostalgia. Seems like everyone I know has told me about this movie. It’s a low budget documentary about the influential ‘80s Athens music scene. There are performances and interviews with the B-52s and REM and underground icons like Pylon and Love Tractor and Limbo District. Good stuff.

Athens2

Of course it was a trip to see the musicians (Michael Stipe- so young! Flat Duo Jets- totally a White Stripes prototype!), but it wasn’t the music that made me sentimental. It was the B-roll footage and the establishing shots that seem so precious now. Those grainy drivebys of cattle farms and kudzu-wrapped storefronts. Pedestrians wearing overalls, roadside BBQ stands. The film is a repository of any small town Georgia landscape during my childhood. 20 years ago, Athens was surrounded by cow fields and a lush southern landscape that is by now heavily paved over with big box stores and suburban sprawl.

I bet people all over the world have fallen in love with this movie and flocked to Athens, searching for remnants of the scene. I wonder if they find it?

Comments

Kimberly Julie

At least compared to my home town of Woodstock, Athens is still so local-business-oriented. Going to Lawrenceville and other suburbs reminds me how lucky we are to have such wonderful one-of-a-kind restaurants and shops everywhere.

hspalmer

@Kimberly Julie- You have a good point. Athens is still delightfully weird... it just doesn't feel like a little outpost in the country anymore.

Kimberly Julie

"delightfully weird"... perfectly coined. :)

hspalmer

This morning I read that Pylon's Randy Bewley just passed away.

Here is a sweet remembrance of the legendary guitarist that also highlights the profound influence of the documentary:
http://happyhappybirthdaytome.blogspot.com/2009/02/randy-bewley.html

Listener Greg G.

Very cool photo of Dexter Romweber you posted there. I went to the Star Bar last night (3/13) and caught the Dexter Romweber Duo (his sister Sarah drummed). To say that it was fantastic would be an understatement.

I always thought the Flat Duo Jets footage was the best part of that movie.

hspalmer

@Listener Greg G.- at the Star Bar? That sounds epic. Sorry I missed it, but glad to hear he's still illuminating dark corners of the southland.

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