Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Welcome to March!

I typically try to work on my blog on Sundays (I find it relaxing!), but this past Sunday I was volunteering at the Foodie! awards, so the blog got pushed back. My husband and I had a great time at the Foodies enjoying all the great food and atmosphere. I'll definitely try to go again next year.

On Wednesday, Grant's Lounge in downtown Macon is celebrating its 40th Anniversary. Grant's Lounge calls themselves the "Original Home of Southern Rock" and back in its day included performances by the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. They'll be honoring the many bands that have come through there, and at 8:30 the Lee Boys will be performing with Davin McCoy & the Coming Attractions.

I hope you've been out and about enjoying this beautiful spring weather. It's supposed to stay in the 70s this week as well, so NewTown Macon's Friday Fest festivities are moving back outside to Third Street Park in downtown Macon this weekend. From 5-7 pm they'll have inflatables for the kiddos (and the young at at heart) to enjoy, so bring your family downtown for some fun. And hey, if you don't have kids, you might want to borrow some so you have an excuse to go on the inflatables without looking silly. From 7-9 pm Joey Stuckey Band will playing out in the park, so you can enjoy some free music that night, too.

A little later on Friday, local rock band Mag Tard will be performing at The Rookery. The audience will be called on for a little participation as they will be taking footage that night for Mag Tard's DVD release that will accompany their new record. If you go, you might be asked for an interview. So, if you want to help make history with Mag Tard, be at The Rookery at 10 pm on Friday night. The cover is $3, plus there will be $3 drink specials.

Most Saturday nights (including this one), Bare Bulb Coffee in Warner Robins has an open mic night. If you want to perform, show up at 7:30 to get your name on the list. If you just want to watch, head over at 8 pm for some coffee, dessert, and live music. They have a pretty wide selection of coffee drinks and teas, and their dessert comes fresh from Wilson's Bakery. If the warm weather is making you crave ice cream, they've got that, too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

From the Free to the Extravagant

The Golden Bough, an independent bookstore in downtown Macon, regularly brings bands to their store for concerts in an unusual, intimate setting. This Friday night The Black Lilies, an Americana group, will be performing from 10:30 pm to 12:30 am. The cost is $5. If you're a book lover, you definitely should drop by the store Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 7 pm to check out their selection of new and used books, including a special section of local books. If they don't have a book in stock, they're happy to order it for you. Their specialty is finding hard-to-find books.

On Saturday morning, you can get your fitness fix for free in Warner Robins at Fort Valley State University's Warner Robins campus. They offer yoga classes every two weeks. The class runs from 9 to 11 am.

Saturday night, Cox Capitol Theater presents Popovich: Comedy Pet Theater. With a mix of comedy, juggling, acrobatics, and over 30 performing cats and dogs, the show's sure to entertain all ages. The show starts at 7:30. Tickets start at $22.50 for adults, $17.50 for children.

On Sunday night, the magazine Macon Food & Culture presents their 5th Annual FOODIE! Award Show at the Grand Opera House. The awards are given to honor the best local independent restaurants, ranging from the most expensive fine dining establishments to the best pizza places and barbecue joints. The show includes an opportunity to sample foods from some of Macon's great restaurants, as well as entertainment by the presenting local celebrities. Tickets are $25. Get yours soon, they're sure to sell out. If you want to party with a really fun group of people, get a ticket to the after party at the Library Ballroom. For $10, you'll get a fabulous breakfast buffet, DJ Old Flame, and a cash bar. You can get tickets from the Grand Opera House.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Enjoying the weather and more

The weather is beautiful this week! Take a scenic stroll along the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail in Macon. It's perfect for walking, jogging, or a leisurely bike ride. It winds along the Ocmulgee River and wanders through the Ocmulgee National Monument, Gateway Park, and Central City Park. It includes fountains, statues, and views of the rolling hills of Macon's historic cemeteries. There's a parking area for the trail on Spring Street, just off I-16, that's easily accessible.

NewTown Macon has a monthly happy-hour networking event at a different restaurant every third Thursday. It's a chance to grab a drink, maybe an appetizer, and get to know some of Macon's business and civic leaders as well as other professionals. This Thursday they are meeting at Dolce Vita from 5 to 7 pm with live music by local singer-songwriter Chelsea Hughes.

The 6th Annual Macon Film Festival is this weekend! The film festival is a chance to view independent films in a variety of genres on the big screen. Screenings will be held at Macon's two historic theaters--Douglass Theater and Cox Capitol Theater--as well as the Marriott Hotel. There will also be a few additional events, including free workshops for aspiring screenwriters and filmmakers. Tickets to the screenings range from a $100 all-access pass that lets you in the after parties to a $10 daytime pass good for admission to any and all daytime screenings. If you see more than one, it's much cheaper than the movie theater!

Live music comes to Warner Robins, too. Jubee and The Morning After, who recently released their first music video, is playing at Yesterdaze bar on Moody Road on Friday. The music will start at 9:30. The band's music is a blend of pop and funk, and they always bring a good time. If you want more good bands to show up in Warner Robins, head over to Yesterdaze this weekend and show your support. Check out the facebook event for more details.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Flowers with a Football Coach and International Arts

I guess I'm in more of a cultural mood this week. With the weather being so cold and drizzly, I just felt drawn to activities that would sort of let me get away from it all, either literally (with the gardens), or figuratively through journeys of the mind to other cultures in far away places. I hope you can enjoy one of these activities during this dreary weather. Don't worry, spring will be here soon with so much going on you won't know what to do!

If you just can't wait for spring, head down just past Fort Valley to Massee Lane Gardens. Massee Lane is the home of the American Camellia Society, and has a beautiful old garden full of more varieties of camellias than you can count. The best part is that when everything else is pretty much dead and dormant right now, camellias are green, lush, and in full bloom with a range of colors. They also have a neat little Japanese garden that's just perfect for sitting and enjoying some peace and quiet. The cost is only $5 for adults, and kids 12 and under are free. The entire month of February they have their annual Camellia Festival. If you call ahead, you can book a deluxe guided tour that includes lunch for $15. This Saturday from 10 am to noon they are offering a painting class to learn to paint camellias. The $35 fee includes all materials. On February 26 & 27, they are hosting the National Camellia Show, which is free and open to the public in the afternoon. Vince Dooley, former head football coach at the University of Georgia, will be available to sign his book, "Vince Dooley's Garden: The Horticultural Journey of a Football Coach." So, if you've ever wanted to talk about flowers with a UGA football coach, this month you'll have your chance!

The Museum of Arts & Sciences in Macon has two new exhibits that sound really interesting. The first, titled "Fashioning Kimono: Art Deco and Modernism in Japan," includes a collection of 100 different kimonos from the late 19th and 20th century. These include kimonos for men, woman, and children, ranging from formal to casual. The second, titled "Out of China: Four Centuries of Export Porcelain," will display several hundred works of finely-crafted porcelain. I am sure both exhibitions will be beautiful, as well as informative about the history and culture behind the pieces on display. The Museum always does a great job of making their displays interesting for all ages.

On Thursday at 11:15 am, Yemen's first woman filmmaker, Khadija al-Salami, will be speaking at Wesleyan College. In addition to being a filmmaker, she also serves as the Director of the Communication and Cultural Center at the Yemeni Embassy in Paris. On either Wednesday (at 7:30 pm) or Thursday (at 7 pm), you can attend a screening of one of her films, followed by discussion. Even if you can't make it to hear her speak, seeing one of Khadija al-Salami's films will open you up to the realities of a culture entirely different from our own. All of the events are free.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cycling, Dancing, Ladyfest, and Travis Tritt Tickets

If you're a cyclist, or want to become one, there are plenty of opportunities in Middle Georgia. Warner Robins has an active group of cyclists that ride together regularly, including group rides for beginners. You can find out all the details at The Bike Store. If you live in or near Macon, there's a smaller group that rides in Macon, and you can find out their latest schedule at Bike Tech Macon.

Most First Fridays you can dust off your dancing shoes at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame thanks to the Greater Macon chapter of USA Dance. The First Friday Dance costs only $5 for admission, and includes a dance lesson from 7:30-8:00. Then, from 8:00-10:00, you can dance the night away to a variety of musical genres. This Friday is not most First Fridays. Thanks to Facebook, I've just learned that this Friday the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame will be having a fundraising dance. Doors open at 6, music starts at 7:30. Tickets are $25 each. You can bring your own food & beverage. E-mail bigdance@gshf.org for more info. If you're looking for dancing lessons, free lessons will be happening at 10 pm on Friday at La Galerie, an art gallery at 391 Second Street.

On Saturday night you can enjoy three great female singer/songwriters for only $5 at Ladyfest 2011. Don't worry, guys are invited, too. Locals Chelsea Hughes and Anna Mae Kersey will be performing along with Emily Kempf of Atlanta-based group The Back Pockets. Chelsea Hughes is one artist I've only listened to online, but I'm looking forward to finally getting a chance to see her live on Saturday. If you want to sample their music, you can find all three of them on MySpace. Each of them has a very different sound. All this fun will be happening at The SoChi Gallery from 8 to 11:30 pm. Make sure you get there in time to see all three.

Do you remember when I told you about the Chuck Leavell concert a couple of weeks ago? It was, of course, sold out by time I told you about it. I told you to keep an eye on Cox Capitol Theatre's website to see when concerts are announced. Well, this time I'm giving you a head's up. If you're a country music fan, tickets just went on sale a few days ago for a rare solo acoustic performance by Travis Tritt on February 25. It's a small theater, so there are no bad seats, but tickets will sell fast. General admission is $30, the good seats are $75. It could make a great Valentine's Day gift for your sweetheart.

Have a fun-filled week!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Yoga, Wine, Horses, and More Music

If you're interested in yoga, there's an actual, honest-to-goodness yoga studio in downtown Macon. Whether you're a beginner or have considerable experience doing yoga, the instructors at Yoga Moga welcome you. They offer classes 7 days a week, including a 45-min "Yoga Quickie" class during the lunch hour. They even have classes for kids! Classes range from "Gentle Yoga" that focuses on relaxation to "Vinyasa Flow" that keeps you moving around more. You can try out a quickie class for $10, or buy a group of passes for a discount if you're dedicated.

Speaking of relaxation, at Wine Styles in Macon they have wine tastings every Tuesday from 6 to 8 pm. For $6 you can enjoy appetizers and sample several different wines. If you go on Thursday nights, you can try their new selections, but it costs $10. Wine Styles really focuses on providing a good selection of high-quality, affordable wines, so you're sure to discover a new favorite.

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the world-famous Lipizzaner Stallions are coming to the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry. This special breed of horses of European descent has been touring the world for 41 years. The horses and their trainers perform choreographed routines set to music, as well as stunts. I saw them as a child in Florida, and I still remember watching the riders jump from one horse to the other while the horses maintained a synchronized trot.

The Hummingbird Stage & Taproom is bringing local bands to the stage on Saturday from 12 noon to 2 am for the Big Bird Bash. The $10 cover lets you enjoy as many of the bands as you like and goes to a good cause. Bands will include Back City Woods, Chelsea Hughes, Xavii, Trendlenberg, Stoopgrass, The Royal Fireworks, The Josh Daniel Band, The Vineyard, Good Country People, Gringo Grande, and Lance Daniel. If you haven't heard of ANY of these guys, you've got to get out and experience some of Macon's great local music scene.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fun for all Ages!

I promised in my introduction to try to give you variety, so here's my sampling of events in the area in the hopes that you'll have something to suit your tastes this week.

You can start your weekend early on Thursday night at The 567 in downtown Macon. Lost in the Trees will be performing live with Butterflies. If you haven't heard of them, Lost in the Trees is an orchestral folk-pop band who just released their first album this year and already caught the attention of NPR's music blog. One NPR blogger even picked their album in the top 9 of 2010. Doors open at 8, tickets are $7.

If you're looking for a party, the good people at The SoChi Companies know how to throw a party. Friday night at 9 pm head to the SoChi Gallery in downtown Macon (534 2nd St) for The Electric Social.

Saturday morning you can learn a new skill at Mossy Creek Soap Studio in Warner Robins. They offer different soap-making classes every Saturday. This week's class will be an introduction to glycerin soap-making and design. It lasts from 10 am to noon, and the cost is $28. Contact the studio about reserving a spot because space is limited.

Macon has several creative people that it's proud to claim as Maconites, and one of those is Chuck Leavell. If you're not from Macon, you might not have heard of him, but I am certain you've heard of at least some of the bands he has performed with: Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, Indigo Girls, Blues Traveler, and many others. He's performing Saturday night at the Cox Capitol Theater. Of course, the show is already sold out, but I had to tell you about it as part of my mission to prove that there are interesting things to do in Middle Georgia. Keep an eye on the Cox Capitol Theater's web page so you can plan ahead to catch some of their more popular events.

If you have kids, the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon is having one of the best kids' activities I've heard of in a while. On Sunday from 2 to 4:30 pm they are having what they call an "Instrument Petting Zoo". Kids can come meet members of the Macon Symphony Orchestra and try out their instruments. There will be two performances by the Youth Orchestra as well as several other activities going on to entertain those short attention-spans. Best of all, it's free!