Art Rocks Athens Festival May 23-25; Kickstarter Campaign Winding Up


Just a few days left for the Kickstarter… full details below, along with a video of the B-52s’ classic“Private Idaho”.

 By Blurt Staff

 It’s The Bit-52’s of YouTube Rock Lobster fame! They have reunited to promote the Art Rocks Athens Festival and Kickstarter with a delightful cover of “Private Idaho” by the B-52’s.  Check it out:

Meanwhile, the May 23-25 Art Rocks Athens Festival will celebrate the Athens art explosion that predates the music scene of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. According to the organizers, “The musicians who came after were deeply connected with the featured artists. The exhibitions and performances happening in Athens, Georgia on Memorial Day Weekend 2014 explore the art of Athens from this time and the connection to the famous music scene that came after.”

 You can pledge to the ARA Kickstarter campaign right here – as of this writing, there are 6 days left to go in the campaign. Heck, you should click on that link anyway just to view some of the images and artifacts and read about the Athens scene! From the Kickstarter page: “Art Rocks Athens is a non-profit foundation dedicated to the preservation and celebration of art in Athens and its influence on music. The purpose of the current Kickstarter is to raise funds for our flagship 2014 exhibitions, primarily in May, with many scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. Artists have been uploading digital images of their art for collection in a museum-quality database, where the work is being cataloged. Graphic artists have been uploading images in staggering numbers of posters, flyers, album cover art and other ephemera.  Additionally, Art Rocks has located many rare artifacts [such as B-52s member Ricky Wilson’s guitar, below] from this time period.”  


Additionally, Kate Pierson of the B-52s (pictured at the top of the page with Cindy Wilson) offered her own observations about Athens and its storied heritage:

 When I moved to Athens in 1973 to do a ‘back to the land’ thing, I had no idea what wonders were in store for me. I lived in a tenant farmer’s shack, owned by Eloise Maxwell, that had no running water or heat, for $15 a month.Certainly, there was no big music scene in Athens yet, and downtown had two feed stores, the Farmer’s Hardware, and a bizarre used shoe store featuring a huge pile of old shoes in it’s center. Most famously, there was The Potter’s House Thrift store – a treasure trove of mystery and delight.

       After a year of living off the land I finally got a job in town, and met the ‘bohemian underground of Athens’, partly fueled by the Art School at the University of Georgia. There was a strong fraternity and sorority element at the school but my new friends ran with the wild crowd! Together, we formed a creative group of people including art students, poets, writers, experimental musicians, storytellers and true eccentrics. We crashed parties for free beer, crashed the Circus, the only disco in town, and danced crazy. When UGA showed Fellini’s films, Jeremy Ayers hosted a Fellini party where blazing cocktails were served and Felliniesque costumes were required.

       We had Parties where we would dance to ‘silent music’ at the secret garden on UGA campus – we’d dance in the cemetery and at John Taylor’s house. Once, out in the cow pasture by my house, we listened to an African tribal music tape on loan from the UGA music library. Ricky Wilson placed his boom box in the field where we drew a circle of cows around us who bobbed their heads to the music while we danced. Everything we did was for ‘art’ and for pure amusement, since we had to make our own fun. Everyone was interesting and we all in the ‘deadbeat club’ had time to listen and cherish the moment and each other. Anyone could join in, as long as they were open to all possibilities. The mantra was, ‘everyone is a genius’ ! Or, as Megan Timberlake famously said, ‘Together we’re a genius’ !

       This scene was truly the beginning of many imaginative endeavors, including the birth of the B-52s. This creative atmosphere, born in part from the Art School, and UGA film series and music library, sparked ’the scene’ that was to become the new Athens, GA.”

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