ZEN AFTER ZEN: Filmmaker Bill Cody is set to return to Athens this summer to make a sequel to Athens, GA: Inside/Out, which he produced in 1987. For many of us, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to understate what a profound impact that film had on our choice to move to and live for many years in Athens. I can personally attest to having completely devoured every frame of the original to such a degree that, even now, I can pretty much recite all the dialogue while watching it. For all of its controversy and jealousy-engendering among the artists populating our town at the time, it created an idealized and romantic vision of Athens and, basically, meant a whole lot to a whole lot of people. To facilitate this new project, 30 years removed from the original, Cody has set up a fundraising page. Last week, he told me, “The plan right now is… showing Athens as this oasis of progressive and artistic people who have made a mark on the outside world… Right now, the world needs Athens. So much of the current content [being produced] is so angry on both sides. Athens has always been a group of people who try to make people better. Not perfect, but better.” Thus far, donations have been slim, but it has also not been heavily publicized. Cody says the new film's format will be based on the 1963 French documentary Le Joli Mai. See gofundme.com/athensgathirtyyearson for more information, and to throw some bucks in and reap your attendant rewards.
REST IN PEACE: As reported on Homedrone, Americana singer-songwriter, friend, father and husband Mark Cunningham died suddenly the morning of Friday, May 26. The main showcase of Cunningham's songwriting, The Burning Angels, released several full-length albums, and he was most recently working a near-completed new album for the group. A true Athens native, Cunningham graduated from Clarke Central High School in 1986, attended college at Georgia Southern and returned to town several years later. Tributes have been flourishing across social media in testament to Cunningham’s gentle nature, beautiful and thoughtful songwriting and all-around goodness as a human being. Please take some time to explore his songs at markcunningham.bandcamp.com and angelband.bandcamp.com.
CLEAR THE DECK: Songwriter Matt Grogan, operating under the name Headicus, released a single for Record Store Day and, while I can't be entirely sure, I think that was an impetus to empty his vaults, so to speak. Although his most recent song, “Get Free,” came out in April, it was the first new music he'd done in 14 years. Or, at least, the first he'd let anyone in on. At any rate, Grogan’s archives are a neat place to spend some time exploring the stuff he did—always at home and mostly alone—between 1997–2003. Generally speaking, Headicus explores psychedelia, power-pop and indie singer-songwriter-ish territory. Sometimes it rocks out in surprising shoegaze-y ways that wind up being totally on par with any then-contemporary peers (like “Starset,” from 2000's Ice and Crucial Elements). It's a lot to get into, but I've enjoyed my time with it, so head to headicus.bandcamp.com and do your thing. If you dig it, be a fan at facebook.com/headicusrex.
PLAY NICE: In celebration of the full moon, the White Rabbit Collective has joined up with Kilroy Kobra, Couchlocked and Lucky Kitty to present “Full Moon Gathering: A Battle of the Collectives.” In an email, it was alternately described as an event that will “share the spirit of inclusivity and unconditional love” and also play host to “a beat-battle to the death between brothers.” Thus, I encourage all takers to gleefully cheer this celebration of the duality of man. They're also calling on artists, painters, poets and anyone who wants to bring instruments and play something to show up and do it. This all takes place at the 40 Watt Thursday, June 8 and starts at 9 p.m.
ONE THING THEN ANOTHER THING: Art Contest celebrates the release of its anticipated new album, Two Songs, at the Caledonia Lounge Saturday, June 10. The whole bill is pretty damn good, with openers including Nihilist Cheerleader, Killick and Atlanta's Fuiste. By the time you read this, the entire album should be streaming at artcontest.bandcamp.com. Once you're there, go ahead and dig through their back catalog. You probably didn't know it goes all the way back to 2013, did you? There's a party after the show with DJ sets from Art Contest and We Roll Like Madmen, but I can't print the location in the paper, so just go to the show and ask around. You'll find it.