THIS FILM IS ON: Congratulations are due to filmmaker James Preston for his feature-length documentary Athens Rising: The Sicyon Project landing at streaming service Amazon Prime this month. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s cool that this is now available to a worldwide audience. It’s been noted by other critics that this is the best documentary on the Athens scene since the Bill Cody-produced 1987 film Athens, GA: Inside/Out. Because I’ve not yet seen all of Athens Rising, I can’t attest 100 percent to that, but I can tell you that it’s the first film of its sort in the past 32 years to be produced to this level of completion. I seriously could not tell you how many times someone has tried to do a film like this and then just given up, burned out, etc. So, heavy kudos are in order to Preston for seeing this through. Significantly, he explores several often unseen aspects of the Athens scene, such as dance, visual art and behind-the-scenes production. Visit athensrising.com for more information.
AND SPEAKING OF WHICH: The aforementioned Bill Cody has been pretty busy the past couple of years raising funds and shooting footage in pursuit of producing a sequel to his 1987 film. This new project is named Athens, GA: Thirty Years On, and as the name implies, it seeks to explore what all has happened in the Classic City scene since the parking meters stopped taking pennies. To this end, there’s a fundraiser happening at Southern Brewing Co. Friday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. The cost is 10 bucks, but you’ll get performances from Pylon Reenactment Society, The Grands (Members of The Glands playing Glands songs), Casper and the Cookies, David Barbe and Friends, Beto Cacao and Sunshine Slowdown. Also happening is a silent auction of Athens rarities and autographs, as well as screenings of already-completed excerpts from this new project.
BACK IN THE RING: The journalism program at Cedar Shoals High School is hosting its annual Battle of the Bands at the 40 Watt Club Saturday, Jan. 19 at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door, and proceeds go to benefit the school’s journalism outlets, including the steadily ongoing news production at cedarblueprints.com. Local acts to engage in battle are AD Blanco, Cheese Dream, Golden Cage, Snapdragon and Fish Bug. Additionally, WPLP-LP/Bulldog 93.3 FM will put the winner of the battle into radio rotation, as well as donate a cash prize for said winner. The whole shebang should be over by about 8 p.m., so you can still go do whatever after being a good citizen.
IT WAS (APPROXIMATELY) THIRTY YEARS AGO TODAY: On Thursday, Jan. 17, The Foundry will host a celebration in honor of Athens-area charity The Ark being around for three decades. It’s also a fundraiser for the nonprofit, which provides emergency financial assistance to those in our community with the greatest immediate need, i.e., low-income individuals and families. Tickets are $20 individually or $60 for a table for two and $120 for a table for four. Featured acts are Otis Redding III, Sam Burchfield, Pip the Pansy, Kara Waters, Seth Hendershot, Davis Causey, Tom Ryan and others. For more information, see thefoundryathens.com and facebook.com/athensark.
COUPLES SKATE: Since you’ll already be at The Foundry supporting The Ark, you should go ahead and make plans to return a few nights later on Sunday, Jan. 20 for the fourth annual Athens in Harmony concert. It’s a benefit/awareness-raiser for the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, and it pairs up artists from a cross-section of Athens, who then perform together on well-known songs. Some key pairings this night are LG with Erica Strout, Noc Da Don with Dan Horowitz, Chaniece with Eric Carter, Clarence Cameron with Don Chambers and many others. Also performing are supergroups comprised of Bertis Downs, Knowa Johnson, Neal Priest, Claire Campbell and Reggie Willis, and Marty Winkler, Susan Staley and Clara Ham-Daniel. The backing band is led by Michael Wegner. Doors open at 6 p.m., the show starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are $15.