April 14, 2011
“Why do we live in this city?” I ask my friend Eric as we walk across West Carson Street. I’ve got a show tonight and he’s tagging along for the ride. The city is dead. Station Square was once a flourishing hotspot of activity. Now all that is left is a cigar shop, a Buca de Beppo’s and Buckhead Saloon. Only the strong survive.
The sky spits out tiny rivulets of rain, just enough to keep the ground wet and the locals depressed. This weather makes me want to retreat to dry land. It makes me long for sunshine. It’s the type of longing where you’re almost comfortable knowing that you’ll never find what you’re looking for. Like searching for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow or trying to have a non-ironic conversation with a hipster.
Judging by these streets, I’m expecting the show will be empty. Same old story. I’ll be yelling in a vacuum. Telling everyone what I think without the confirming echo of laughter to validate my thoughts.
Eric and I walk past the window at Buckhead and much to our surprise, there is a massive crowd inside. They are all moving in unison. Dancing, thrashing about, jumping up and down. Maybe Buckhead is a swinging Happy Hour spot. Maybe I’ve got the wrong night. Maybe it’s just a cult meeting.
“What the hell is going on in here?” I ask comedian Tom Kupiec as I duck inside and shake off the rain. It smells musty in here. Like an old gym mat.
“Zumba,” he replies.
He takes a sip of beer.
“There’s a Zumba class right before comedy.”
“Oh,” I stammer. “So Zumba is our opening act?”
“Yep. They’ll be done in a little bit. You want a beer?”
“Yes,” I say. “Yes, please.”
* The show actually went really well. And Buckhead has now turned into a swinging happy hour spot / aerobic training facility / comedy club. Now that’s multi-tasking!