*Beyoncé’s lyrics “I slay” from hit song “Formation” plays softly in the background while approaching the fierce, B.O.L.D. Trevor Blake*
Making statements through the use of individual style influenced by the chaotic beauty of the world surrounding him, Trevor Blake blesses the Athens community with his riveting fashion trends that are impossible to go unnoticed. Just like his sense of style, Blake does not fail to realize one of the basic cardinal rules of fashion: that rules are meant to be broken.
Blake’s involvement in the Athens fashion scene coincides with local, vintage boutiques and student organizations, one in particular, that compose this sense of urgency in bringing culture to the community. Blake describes his personal style as “very glam rock, 80s kid with their parents’ credit card.” The saying ‘go big or go home’ undoubtedly serves as an aphorism here.
Black Ostentatious Lawless Daedal—what does this mean? B.O.L.D. is an inclusive modeling student organization that came out to “celebrate the unrepresented” in fashion. Blake represents B.O.L.D. in varying ways and works in the internal/external affairs of the agency. His tasks include, respectively, scouting models of color and helping these ambassadors network with each other in hopes of presenting to the Athens community, as well as other regions, that “they are here, expressive, and ready to slay!
“We are just trying to create a presence in people of color in Athens through fashion,” Blake comments. He also wants to remind everyone that B.O.L.D. is not just a representation of black culture; it is open to all cultures, however it emphasizes black culture the most due to the lack of notice and recent degradation expressed towards this particular group. Blake’s fierce yet humble character also stressed to me how he, by no means, is taking credit for this amazing organization—he is simply just a proud, fabulous contributor. The magic started with the one and only, Kayla Hutchinson.
Hutchinson is an impeccable example of defying social norms—although she is a sociology major with a minor in health, her passion for fashion inspired her to create this platform for diversity. There is no specific look B.O.L.D. possesses nor wants to obtain—Hutchinson’s goal is to bridge a gap with other regions such as Atlanta and, of course, create a basis for urban couture and black culture. Basic social media pages, posters around campus, and friends all helped in spreading the word to getting B.O.L.D. registered through the university. The response from all the promotion created a positive outlook in going through with the agency and now allows all contributors to dare to be different.
Just for fun, we asked both Blake and Hutchinson what three items of clothing/accessories they would pick to wear for the rest of their lives. For Blake, “a jumpsuit all on its own, earrings, and some kind of obnoxious neck game,” and for Hutchinson, she “LOVEs cardigans, some pumps, and a perfect pair of jeans.”
Trevor, Kayla, and ALL renown affiliates of B.O.L.D. are making their voices heard through their classy, unbiased organization. Society should not tell you how to self-express by any means, especially if it includes pride in your own culture.
B.O.L.D. will be hosting their first ever fashion show on Wednesday, October 26th at the Caledonia Lounge right by contributing boutique Atomic on Clayton Street! Make sure to join us for this fabulous event and also check out Trevor, Kayla and B.O.L.D. on Instagram! Style on and stay B.O.L.D.!
The following photos, as well as the photos above, were photographed by Harold Faison and styled by Trevor Blake with clothing from local boutiques Atomic, Dynamite, and Community!
I walk through the entrance of the Georgia Museum of Art, my heels click, click, clicking against the floor. The evening sun streams in through the lobby’s floor-to-ceiling windows and bathes the room in soft glow. The museum’s latest show, the Brooklyn Bridge exhibit, has not yet opened to the public, and for a moment, all is still and quiet.
Catherine Huff, the museum’s art curator intern, greets me warmly and ushers me into a side office where we sit on a velvety couch and conduct the interview.
An Indiana native, Huff transferred from Indiana University last year to complete her undergrad here at the University of Georgia. She is currently a senior studying art history and romance languages.
What brought you to UGA—what was it about Athens or maybe the art school here that attracted you to come to Georgia?
I was originally at IU for the first two years of my college career. Indiana is where my family’s from, but as soon as I started my undergrad at IU, my parents moved to Atlanta for my dad’s job. Those first two years were hard. I loved IU, but I wanted to be close to my family and getting the HOPE scholarship was an added bonus. I looked into the art school here at UGA, was really impressed and became sold on coming here. I didn’t really know anything about Athens, but now I love this city. It really fosters a creative atmosphere, which is something I really like. I never expected to come to such a cool place. I’m happy.
What initially sparked your interest in art?
I’ve always loved art, even from a young age. According to my parents, I was like four or five and they would take me to museums, like the Smithsonian, and other kids would kind of be running all over the place, but I would just look at paintings and be completely enamored by them. I think it’s just part of my personality; I’ve always liked things that are aesthetically pleasing, and I really like the elegance art has to offer. When I first started college and was trying to decide what I wanted to do. I never thought about art history as something I could study because, you know, people are like, ‘There are no jobs in this field; you won’t make any money.’ Art history is honestly like a joke to a lot of people, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I just decided to go for it. I love museums. I love pretty things and I like writing and history and research, so art history—here we go! And it’s worked well ever since.
Describe your role at the Georgia Museum of Art and how you got involved in helping create the Brooklyn Bridge exhibit.
I am a research assistant to Sarah Kate Gillespie; she is the curator for American art. I started here as an intern last year. She offered me an opportunity to curate a side exhibition to her Brooklyn Bridge exhibit, which is very unusual because most curators would not let an intern do that. I was really lucky though – she is all about helping her interns learn and experience things for themselves. Overall, this has been a really big, fun learning process because this is something I want to do in the future. Even though my show is only fifteen works, it’s still a really big deal to me because this is my first show with my name on it.
What were some of your responsibilities? What does your job all entail?
First, I don’t think people realize how work-intensive the process is, to actually put together an exhibition starting by just trying to find a theme. I deviated a little from my boss’s work in the sense that none of my works include the bridge but are of the actual city, such as the skyline or Manhattan. Then you have to think about the medium: sculpture, painting, photography, etc. I decided to go with works on paper because the Georgia Museum of Art is lucky to have ample supply due to the fact that they are easy to store and many people donate pieces.
There were thousands of works. I spent a lot of time just sifting through and narrowing down countless files and data bases, pulling anything that could possibly work in my show. Most of the works are from 1880-1940s.
You have to pick pieces that are interesting and relevant for your viewer. You need to pick an artist that will be fascinating to people, because your viewers come from all different walks: students, experts, enthusiasts, and people who know nothing. I picked a piece by Lamar Dodd, which was cool, because here we are, at the Lamar Dodd School of Art.
After you pick your works, then you deal with the actual space. I had to pick colors for the wall and write captions and explanations and wall labels, which is a work of art in itself because it has to be so precise. You have the lighting, the hanging of the work. I had to take into account the input, opinions, and expertise of my boss, the preparators . . . it’s a big process.
What have you learned as a result of being a part of this process?
I’ve learned to be more creative and take to heart the input of others, which has truly helped me expand and develop my ideas. I think I’ve always trusted my own opinion a little too much, so definitely asking for help and listening to other people and outside sources are things I’ve learned as a result of being in this position. It’s really about team work; you can’t depend on yourself all the time.
What do you think has been the most challenging part?
I feel like in one sense I’ve kind of being handed this position of curator—like this is a kind of serendipity that happened. As an intern, people keep telling me, ‘Oh you totally have the freedom to do what you want with this show,’ but then at the end of the day I still have to ask permission. I don’t really know what my boundaries are yet. It’s just little stuff like am I allowed to say, ‘I want the walls to be blue instead of gray’? I’ve learned I’ve been given some creative control, but to answer your question, I guess it’s been a challenge to see how far my control stretches. Also, I’m totally inexperienced at this, so it’s scary to make decisions that are going to be so public.
Do you think being so young has impacted your art career in any way? Being ahead of the curve already and on your way to being an art curator, has your age affected your experience?
I think only being twenty-one-years-old and already having such a good experience so far has made me very optimistic. If I was maybe thirty and this stuff was happening I would think, ‘Okay, I’m in a pretty good position, but there’s already people who are curators.’ But because I’m so young and have been given the title of curator and if I’ve done this at twenty-one I’m like, ‘Wow, I can’t wait to see what I can do when I’m thirty.’
It’s really just optimism that my age has given me. Because like I said previously, an art history major is so looked down upon sometimes. Now I can be like, “Ha, look what I did,” when everyone was telling me I couldn’t do anything with my major. I’ve achieved a lot I think, and I’m very excited to see where life will take me during the next few years.
Leading into that, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I’ve been pondering this a lot recently, because just getting an art history undergraduate degree is usually not enough to become an art curator in a museum. I need experience, and it’s almost mandatory to get a PhD these days. So, finishing up my master’s degree and working on my dissertation is what I see myself doing in the next few years. I am really excited about school and the possibilities though.
Who inspires you? Your mentors?
My parents, it’s a given. They are ones who always told me to do what you want to do in life. My mom and my grandpa have supported me especially in my goals to pursue working in a museum. In the museum world—my boss has been a huge mentor for me. She taught me everything I know.
Do you have other hobbies or passions outside of the art sphere?
I do, but a lot of them are still artsy though. I’m very into ballet. I didn’t do ballet when I was young, so I’m not very good, but I really like it nonetheless. I love things that are pretty. For instance, I like yoga because I find the poses beautiful and interesting. But honestly, I consider myself an old lady; I love to knit and cross stitch. I love taking pictures of my dogs.
Lastly, do you have a piece of advice for budding artists or just young people in general who are in the process of pursing their dreams?
It sounds cliché, but dream big and just go for it. Don’t let something that sounds pessimistic in society be something that will halt you from pursuing something. Pursuing a degree that most people are skeptical about is something I’m proud of myself for doing. If I’d played it safe, I’d probably always be thinking of the what ifs. So, my piece of advice: of course make good decisions that hopefully set you up for a good future, but ultimately you have to do something that you love, even if it’s not necessarily going to end up with a giant paycheck because that’s how you’re going to end up happy.
As for what’s immediately next for Huff, she is going to continue her internship with the Georgia Museum of Art and begin independent research with CURO next semester. Now that you know a little more about the person who helped make the Man’s Canyon’s exhibit possible, why not visit the Georgia Museum of Art and see the gallery for yourself? Be sure to follow the Georgia Museum of Art on Instagram here to keep up with the current exhibitions and events.
There is no better time than fall in Athens. The air gets crisp, the trees change colors, and our city swells with people. Our town virtually revolves around football this season and chances are if it’s a Saturday in Athens, you’ll find yourself invited to a tailgate. There’s an art to it all, even if you don’t like football. It’s about the perfect mix of friends, food, and fun. We want to help you find that perfect blend with some tasty options that will help you pull together the perfect day spent tailgating in the Classic City.
Everyone loves hummus, but not everyone wants to brave the traffic on game days to buy it. If you have your own food processor, or even a good blender (has to be built tough!), you can make your very own—with just a couple cans of chickpeas (3-4 cups), tahini (scant ¼ cup), olive oil (scant ¼ cup), garlic (2 tsp), and lemon juice, salt, and cumin or coriander to taste! Beyond this basic recipe that’s flexible to your taste preferences, you can add red bell peppers, sundried tomatoes, basil, sriracha—the options are endless!
Beer Cheese Dip
Melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a pan on low heat. Whisk in about 3 and a half tablespoons of flour and cook for a few minutes—hint: this is a roux, which is also how you make amazing homemade mac and cheese! Add a splash of milk and a squeeze of Dijon mustard. Pour in beer until you’re satisfied (your choice of ale or lager; My Athens recommends your favorite local IPA for a deep beer flavor, but no one will hunt you down if you use High Life). Sprinkle in a dash of cayenne pepper, minced garlic, and salt. Stir over heat until thick and bubbly. Shred and mix in some sharp cheddar and pepper jack by the handful(s). Another hint: smoked gouda is great if you want a softer, smokier flavor. Apart from the roux, this recipe is built off of your taste, so make sure to have fun with it! Serve with soft pretzel sticks, a crispy baguette, or broccoli and cauliflower.
Chunky, Sweet Guacamole
For a fresh new take on an old favorite, make guacamole with a little pineapple in there! It’ll surprise your friends and offer a sweet break from all the salty snacks at most tailgates.
Mash 4-6 ripe avocados. Add chopped tomato, pineapple, red onion, and minced garlic. Squeeze in lots of lime juice. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, and maybe a little cayenne, to taste.
1 cup pomegranate juice, 1 cup fresh raspberries & strawberries, and dash of sugar or agave nectar. Add ¾ cup of freshly squeezed OJ. A glass and a half of your favorite red wine. Freeze overnight and serve just as things are warming up.
New Creation’s The Pilgrim
Keep an eye out this season for the release of New Creation’s craft soda, The Pilgrim. Flavored with hints of plum and apricot make it the perfect autumn blend. Pair it with Bourbon to spice things up a bit.
Everyone knows it’s the details that make the difference, so set the scene! Grab some flowers from the Athens Farmers Market that add a pop of color. Then, stream your favorite playlist, start a game of corn hole, and you’ll be well on your way to the perfect fall day with friends. Oh, and don’t forget to represent the Dawgs with all your red and black! Happy Tailgating & Go Dawgs!
Meet one of the faces at the forefront of the Athens fashion scene: Rachel Barnes. From being a personal stylist and organizing fashion shows, to managing one of Athens’ favorite vintage shops, Dynamite, Barnes has quickly made a name for herself here in the Classic City. Though she didn’t major in fashion directly when she first moved to Athens as a UGA student 13 years ago, she didn’t let her degree stifle her aspirations and goals for the eclectic fashion scene right outside our doors.
For Savie Arnold, proprietor and mastermind behind Sweetie Pie by Savie, embracing her passion meant moving to the other side of the world. Arnold grew up without an oven in her house – in Thailand, kitchens are typically outdoors, and bread is seldom eaten. She learned stovetop basics and prep work from her mother, who ran a restaurant, but discovered baking via television. Unfortunately, as a scholarship student, Arnold had neither the means nor the time to bake until 2005, when she came to the University of Georgia to develop her thesis.
If you’re going to view art and possibly critique it, you have to look the part. That means no oversized t-shirts, no nike norts, and absolutely no sweatpants. Okay we’ll make an exception for sweatpants if they are Kanye West fashionable, but other than that NO sweatpants. We’re talking about real true clothing here: expensively tailored t-shirts, flamboyant bow ties, trousers (no not pants, TROUSERS cause we are classy), oxfords that look like they’re from the thrift store but you spent $410 dollars for them, and yes button down shirts (gasp)! You have to look like a person who can stand in front of an artwork piece for hours on end scratching their chin, and saying “mhmmm”…”MHMMMMM”..”Picassco, you’re alright”.
2) Buy an art book, then look up big words in it.
Go out to your favorite book store (may we suggest some local Athens favorites like Avid?), find an art book written by some big shot New York City art publicist that never leaves the MET and read it. Don’t just read it, absorb it, get it tattooed on your arm even. Or even better (if you’re a student) take an art appreciation course (if you’re not a student, still take the course), then become friends with the teacher. The only goal here is to find those big artsy describing words that’ll leave all your friends in awe at how pompous you are. These words are the ones that if you toss around in any normal day conversation the person across the bar would give you a weird look and think you’re either a know-it-all or a philosophy major (do me a favor and don’t show philosophy majors this article, they may get angry and send me an irate email about why Immanuel Kant should give me a lecture about morality). ANYWAY, learn big words, then use them to impress all your friends, and that philosophy major at the bar.
3) Go to a bunch of random Facebook art events.
Facebook nowadays is brimming with events that local artists put on. Heck, that weird kid that you saw once freshman year of high school is throwing some weird, silent artsy party with a DJ that only plays country-techno-pop-Asian-fusion.
Make sure you go to these and discover who is a big name in your local community. You could even find one guy who you actually really enjoy their artwork and want to hire him out to do a piece for you (or give you that tattoo you’ve always wanted ~shoutout to David Hale~). But if you really want to get into the art scene then find what is around you, go to it, make friends (even that kid from freshman year), and use the words that you learned beforehand to show just how smart and cultured you are (make the philosophy kids jealous).
4) Study abroad in some European city (or for added culture benefits, some East Asian or Latin American city).
We all know how cultured we become when we travel. That is why it is a cornerstone of college and university to travel to different parts of the world to gain different perspectives. You’ll leave the states in your bro-shirt and 7-inch shorts then come back wearing a scarf and a European shoulder bag (not a murse or a man-purse you uncultured, insensit…). The fact of the matter is, traveling to different places in the world changes you. Walking into the Sistine Chapel or climbing the road to Machu Picchu (side note: doesn’t Machu Picchu sound like a supercilious place to go to?), even going to the MET in New York will make you change your view on art and the world. It may even make you into a better person able to understand the complex socio-economic problems surrounding our digitally modern age (I’m pretty sure that’s the goal).
5) Stare at it.
Pretty simple: you’ll look weird, but you’ll probably feel weirder. The person on the other side of the room might get uncomfortable. But the longer you stare at art the more it makes sense (at least that’s the goal here). 95% of the time this will work, then the other 5% of the time the artwork is so far out there that you’ll leave questioning your own life decisions and wondering where you went wrong in life. This is proven (from personal experience). There are some art pieces that confuse you and won’t make sense unless the artist spoon-feeds it to you like an airplane. You need to squint, stare, literally watch globs of acrylic paint dry (yes, stare at paint drying). THIS is what art critics like to call the process. The process of trying to make sense of what a person is saying to you with paint and food particles smeared all over a beer can.
6) Have fun.
Art is about experience. That means you don’t need to be awkward; standing in the corner, staring at the ceiling (exceptions for the sistine chapel though). Go and drag your roommate to an art event despite them having a test the next day; or even take your mom to that weird, silent art party and have her question how she raised you. Get to know your favorite local artist, then proceed to to become inebriated with them and have long talks of why artists these days suck. Shave a side of your head cause you got bored at 3 AM. Go to home depot, buy a can of paint, and paint your bed. Then lie in it and throw your body against a wall and call it ‘artistic self-expression’ (only until your landlord shows up and fines you). Even write an article about art trying to act all groovy, sophisticated, and witty but in reality you googled ‘synonyms to cool’ cause you just wish you were that cool. But real talk here, art is pretty awesome and will make you into a total badass to have a conversation with. Support your art guys. #RIPharmabe
Staying cool during the summer in Athens is no joke. My favorite way to beat the heat? A cold, dripping ice cream cone. Nothing says summer quite like a giant scoop of mint chocolate chip in a waffle cone that takes fifty napkins to clean up. La Michoacana, an ice cream shop (found at 1635 Glenn Carrie Rd, in Hull, GA, if you’re curious!) offers up everyone’s favorite refreshing cold treat with its own authentic Mexican twist.
When we first walked into La Michoacana, my first thought was, “Wow.” Bright green splashed the walls and the counters were bubble gum pink. The atmosphere was perfect for an ice cream store. It’s inviting and fun, and reflects the tropical vibes of south Mexico. We learned that La Michoacana is actually a large ice cream shop franchise in Mexico, with the same kind of popularity that Ben and Jerry’s has here in America.
Jessica Martinez and her husband wanted to bring La Michoacana to Georgia seven years ago but ran into problems. “It was hard to get the equipment to the United States,” says Martinez. “All of our equipment comes from Mexico.” They opened up a Mexican restaurant called Los Reyes instead, but still held onto their dream of bringing all-natural, authentic Mexican ice cream to Athens. What really sets La Michoacana apart is that all of their ice cream is made in-house. “All ingredients are local and natural,” Martinez told us. “There are no preservatives, the fruit is all fresh, and there is no artificial coloring.”
As I spoke to Martinez, I couldn’t resist trying almost every flavor she talked about. They offer the classic flavors, such as chocolate chip cookie dough and vanilla. But it was the quirky flavors that caught my eye. There was pine-nut, rum raisin, dulce de leche with almonds, etc. The most unusual flavor? Tequila. Martinez noted that there was no actual alcohol in the ice cream, but it was just the flavors tequila resonates. Even without the alcohol, I couldn’t help but want salt and a lime.
I saw another label for “cheese queso” and needed to know if this was cheese-dip flavored ice cream (which wouldn’t be a bad thing!). In Mexico, cheese queso is actually a cheesecake flavor. Martinez mixes it with strawberries and blackberries to create different combinations of fruity cheesecake ice creams. The strawberry cheese queso was better than Cheesecake Factory, and that’s saying something! In keeping with their tropical roots, La Michoacana has an abundant amount of fruit flavors. Their flavor of the season is mamay, a fruit found in south Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, and warmer Spanish countries. It resembles mango, but tastes unlike any fruit I’ve ever had. Embarrassingly, I threw away almost 10 spoons… I have no regrets.
La Michoacana offers more than just ice cream. In a freezer just to the right there are stacks and stacks of popsicles, some beautifully crafted with fruits inside. They offer blackberry cheesecake, kiwi and yogurt, a refreshing lime flavor, along side classic favorites. Martinez showed us a popsicle with cucumbers, lime, and chili; a flavor combination I wouldn’t have put together myself but somehow seems to work.
In the end, I left La Michoacana with a giant cone of key lime pie and a smile on my face that only comes from eating too much ice cream. Their refreshing flavors are a great addition to any ice cream lover’s collection!
Flirty, edgy, thrifty, and eclectic are all words that describe Athenians’ unique style. With the city’s history of oddball bands, funky artists, and memorable townies, one does not have to travel far to find some of the best and most innovative fashion out there. The My Athens Style team decided to set out and feature the city’s best dressed in our brand new “Street Style” section! Get ready to be inspired by that girl totally pulling off the purple lipstick at Walker’s or the guy bringing new meaning to ‘all black everything’ at Creature Comforts. We hit the streets and found some of the chicest and the coolest Athenians to ask about their personal style, check it out:
My Athens Style: Where did you get the clothes you are wearing?
Jordan: Everything I have on is from America’s Thrift and Goodwill.
Taylor: My jacket and shoes are from Pope on Prince and my dress is from Rag-O-Rama in Atlanta.
MAS: What are your favorite Athens boutiques?
J: Probably Community because they take older clothes and make them into modern pieces I would actually wear. I really like Pope on Prince too. That’s where a lot of my staple pieces are from.
T: Definitely Community and Pope on Prince, but Atomic too because you can find things that not everyone will have and it’s more ethical. You know no one is getting ripped off when you shop at these places.
MAS: What’s one piece of clothing you wear constantly?
J: Black boots.
T: White Nike sneakers.
MAS: Who do you look to for fashion inspiration?
J: Jane Birkin and Winona Ryder, but a lot of my style evolved from thrifting.
T: Mostly other Athens residents and students. I always see people on the street and think, ‘Oh that’s cute. I should wear something like that.
MAS: What’s your fashion advice to others?
J: Wear what you want even if you’re scared, because you’ll regret it more if you don’t wear it.
T: If you decide to wear a sweater or jacket in the summer, walk quickly from building to building or just don’t be like me and avoid sweaters in the summer.
My Athens Style: What’s your favorite Athens boutique?
Josh: Atomic because it’s eclectic and more varied, but I also really like Dynamite and all of Trevor Blake’s clothing.
MAS: Are any of your clothes local?
J: My jeans were locally distressed by one of my friends.
MAS: Who do you look to for fashion inspiration?
J: Kanye, not as a person, but his style is cool. I think in a way his clothes are kind of nerdy because they are similar to anime style and are, in a way, cartoonish. He took stuff that is different and apocalyptic and made it mainstream and is able to add details without over-embellishing.
MAS: What’s your fashion advice?
J: Don’t just look at magazines. Go on Instagram and Tumblr to see how people are actually wearing Kanye’s or other designers’ clothes and mixing it with other stuff to create a look.
Written by Zelda Speight and photos by Ella Ferguson, we are revamping this piece to shine a light on the incredible Nuçi’s Space. Originally written in May or 2014, Nuçi’s Space still has the coolest things going on. Check out the calendar on their webiste here and get involved!
Nuçi’s Space was founded on love. Many don’t know the story of Nuçi’s Space or the extent to which it benefits our community. The non-profit began in 2000 by Linda Phillips—the mother of Nuçi.
Nuçi was diagnosed with clinical depression as a teenager. He came from a supportive family but struggled with the complications that mental illness often creates. He was a student in Athens and a locally recognized guitarist. Music was his gift, his outlet, and a coping mechanism. As he felt the negative symptoms of depression worsen, he sought help but was told he would have to wait for one month before seeing a doctor. Within that month, he took his own life—November 26, 1996.
An incredible tragedy as this shakes families, friends, and entire communities. Unfortunately, mental illness and other related issues commonly go unrecognized and often lack sympathy from individuals. It is a difficult realm of health to understand and even more difficult for the victim to live with. After Nuçi’s passing, his family sought to create an organization in honor of him and his devotion to music, while reaching others in a timely manner who are challenged with similar diagnoses.
I met with Bob Sleppy, the Executive Director of Nuçi’s Space, to learn more about the non-profit because I, like so many others, have a limited knowledge of the organization and mental illness. My time with Bob was not only educational but evoked compassion, a sense of humanity, and empathy. Ella (our photographer) and I both felt ourselves emotionally connected to Nuçi’s Space’s cause once we left. Bob was involved from the beginning. He was a student in Athens and also a musician. He attended one of the beginning fundraisers for Nuçi’s Space and he found himself with a desire to help. He had connections in the Athens music scene and also received his MBA—both very helpful to a non-profit. Eventually they were up and running and as he says, “I volunteered myself into a position”. They were creating an organization “for musicians by musicians” that would meet the needs of creative expression as well as mental health.
Today Nuçi’s Space is a resource center for counseling and doctors, a practice space, and hangout spot—essentially it’s a support center and much more. Their staff act as liaison to the appropriate resources, assist with payments, provide affordable practice rooms, and people who will listen—because don’t we all need someone who will just listen? They work with several small practices in Athens — the Athens Nurses Clinic, Family Counseling Services, and many other equipped individuals. When speaking with Bob, he spoke of the importance of investing in somebody and “letting them know that you are present”. I agree when he says that too often we forget the importance of relationships, and Nuçi’s Space strives to provide that. And from the looks of it, they’re succeeding.Since their beginning, Nuçi’s Space has increased their funding and the individuals that they reach. Whether you’re looking for a practice space, for a counselor or doctor, or a friend, the folks at Nuçi’s Space will “be present”. Practice spaces are always available and if you’re in need of services related to mental or physical health, you are always welcome to pop in, email, or call. As for upcoming events, they host a summer camp for teens ranging from eleven to seventeen years old. At camp, they expand their music knowledge and talents, while increasing self-development, coping skills, and addressing issues that come with being a teenager and a musician. For example, Bob mentioned an exercise that they do at camp called “Survival Skills for Creative Minds”. Each day they address topics that may come up in the life of a creative and a teen. Topics range from embarrassing moments that could happen on stage to addressing drugs and alcohol. This is a two-week camp in the summer time where at the end of the second week, the kids get to perform on stage in front of their peers. Personally, this would terrify me to no end but Bob explained it as not only a time for the kids to gain experience but also a time to be “surrounded by encouragement so that there’s room to fail. It’s powerful”. When said like that, it does sound powerful and influential in not only the musicians’ creativity but also their self-image and confidence.
My experience at Nuçi’s Space and the feeling that I walked away with cannot be fully expressed in this article. The impact that this organization has made on so many individual lives in astounding and joyful. It’s an incredible feeling to see people who genuinely love what they do and are dedicated to the relationships built. Bob reflected on the Athens community for a moment mentioning that in Athens, “when someone needed help, we bind together”. The Athens community takes care of its own and Nuçi’s Space is essentially a center for that. So if you’ve never been to Nuçi’s Space or you’re curious about what they offer, drop by, grab some coffee, maybe play piano for a minute, and get to know some really kind folks. Check out their website (linked above) to learn more about their cause and how you can help.
I hail from the swampy farm lands of Valdosta, Georgia where we only experienced two seasons. I’m sweating just thinking about it. Moving to Athens was like a breath of fresh air for my boyfriend, Clay, and me. There are so many vegetarian-friendly restaurants, and there is an excellent beer selection. From IPAs to Goses, from pizza and burgers to creamy bisques, the plant-eaters and beer drinkers of Athens have it made. Of course, I do not intend to suggest that meat-lovers are unable to enjoy these meat-free dishes. In fact, I dare you to indulge in the delectable entrees that I have joyfully put together with Clay’s help.
Automatic Pizza & Creature Comforts’s Athena
Nestled in the heart of Normal Town, adjacent to Ike and Jane’s, is my favorite pizza joint in all of Athens. Clay and I happily look forward to our weekly pizza night because it always means a small (eight slice) cheese pizza with extra marinara sauce from Automatic Pizza. The service at Automatic is always quick and friendly, and the hand-tossed pizza is always delicious. Once you pay for your pizza, the cashier hands you one of many rubber animals that are used as table markers. Yes. They use rubber animals as table markers. Aside from the pizza, this quirky practice really just makes my night. It’s truly the little things that make Athens restaurants special. Accompanied by our orca whale, I ate four slices (including the crust!) without feeling like I needed to change into some more forgiving stretchy pants. What I actually mean to say is that the pizza is not heavy and greasy, so it is easy to indulge without feeling guilty. I chose to pair a Creature Comforts Athena with the cheese pizza. The sourness of the Athena, a crisp Berliner Wiesse beer with an ABV of 4.5%, accentuated the sweetness of the pizza’s tomato sauce.
Grindhouse Burgers & Red Brick’s Brother Leo
Grindhouse is a classic American burger joint that offers amazing black bean burgers as a meat substitute. It has an industrial aesthetic, and it usually has some interesting movies playing on a few of the flat screens. Every time I go to Grindhouse, there is a Miyazaki film on the downstairs TV and a grindhouse film playing upstairs. Overlooking Lumpkin St. at their upstairs, open-air bar, Clay chose Red Brick’s Brother Leo – a bitter, thin, citrusy IPA – to accompany his burger. Red Brick Brewing Company is based out of Atlanta, Georgia, and it is one of the larger breweries in the state. Once he received his beer, he ordered his “usual”: a junior (a.k.a. a single patty) black bean burger with pepper jack and Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and diablo sauce (a spicy house sauce) with some sweet potato fries. The burgers are served on a potato bun (or wrapped in lettuce if one prefers to skimp on the bread). Grindhouse burgers are indeed “killer.” This burger was divine, the sweet potato fries were crisp and sweet, and the Red Brick IPA really helped to wash it all down.
The Grit & Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale
The Grit is the vegetarian mecca of Athens. This restaurant only serves vegetarian and vegan entrees. There is no way that I could write this article without paying homage to this meat-free haven. The relaxed atmosphere is for people of all palettes. There is a plethora of food choices ranging from sandwiches and wraps to nachos to hearty bowls of beans and rice and cheese. On this particular evening, Clay chose the pairing: Loaded Nachos with extra cheese (no onions) paired with Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale. Bell’s is a craft brewery that is based out of Missouri. This particular ale is a high gravity IPA with a full hop flavor and a nice crisp, floral finish. The loaded nachos – a tantalizing mountain of tortilla chips, house-made fresh salsa, cheese, black bean chili, sour cream, and fresh greens – paired very well, accentuating the hoppy, floral notes of the beer.
Trappeze & Southbound’s Shakedown Street
Located in downtown Athens, Trappeze is an excellent spot to camp out and experience different wines and beer. They boast a simple, yet thoughtful, menu with plenty of vegetarian as well as some vegan options. When we have a little extra money to spend, we like to treat ourselves here. The bartenders and wait staff are well-versed in everything on the menu, as well as all of the wines and beer that they stock. We seated ourselves at the bar and were immediately offered drink and food menus. I ordered Southbound’s Shakedown Street, a tart Saison from Savannah, Georgia, to drink. For my meal, I ordered the IPA tomato bisque (with pesto drizzle) and a grilled cheese sandwich. I tend to like my beer either floral or sour, or both. The Southbound Shakedown Street was both floral and sour, and it boasted a refreshing, yet bitter, finish. The bisque was creamy and bittersweet. The grilled cheese sandwich was cooked to perfection: the sourdough bread was crispy, not greasy and the swiss and cheddar cheeses were, to my delight, perfectly melted. The fresh and thoughtful ingredients coupled with the tart Saison offered a great twist to the classic tomato soup and grilled cheese combo.
Cali N Tito’s & Red Hare Brewing Co.’s Long Day Lager
When we first moved to Athens, Clay and I had no idea that Cali N Tito’s would become one of our favorite restaurants. We initially though that it was a seafood restaurant. (I don’t know why.) Needless to say, we were thrilled to find out that it is actually a Latin American restaurant that offers vegetarian options on its menu. Cali N Tito’s is unique in that it has a B.Y.O.B. policy. For a nominal fee, one can bring in outside beer (any kind, any amount) with a valid I.D. I would also like to save you the trouble and warn you that the Cali N Tito’s on Lumpkin St. has a very strict cash only policy. They do not accept any plastic. (Also, fun fact, this Cali N Tito’s is a Pokemon GO gym! The reigning team of the week gets a 20% discount.) I chose to bring in the Long Day Lager by Red Hare Brewing Company. Red Hare brews out of Marietta, Georgia, and this particular bohemian style lager actually uses Pilsner yeast. It is light, crisp, and quaffable. Shortly after taking our seats, all of our food was delivered to the table. I ordered a side of chips and salsa to go with a vegetarian cubano sandwich. The cubano sandwich was stuffed with zucchini, jalapenos, red and green bell peppers, cilantro, cheese, avocado, and salsa verde. (I asked them to leave off the onions, mayonnaise, and mushrooms that would typically come with the sandwich.) The ingredients were fresh, the bread soft, and the chips crispy. The salsa was flavorful and mild. If you go to Cali N Tito’s, be ready to grub, and make sure that you grab plenty of napkins. This restaurant is all about chowing down and stuffing your face full of delicious food.
There you have it, folks! Eat good food. Drink good beer. Tip your servers.