The Shelf: Pat Conroy and The Confederate General Rides North

Pat Conroy Fourteen years after the unwieldy B

Broken windows and shattered expectations

Q: Why the hold-up in getting the Westin’s windows fixed? On March 14 of last year, I got a frantic call from my mother, who was barricaded in her Midtown basement. There was an edge to her voice I hadn’t heard since she phoned me the morning of September 11, 2001, as I slept through world history in my Providence, Rhode Island, dorm room. “There’s a tornado in Atlanta,” she said. It seemed as likely as locusts, or a

In Tune: Collective Soul

The four members of Collective Soul spent nearly three months in lead vocalist Ed Roland’s South Carolina lakeside cabin earlier this year, swimming, playing Ping-Pong, and most importantly, writing and recording their latest release, due out August 25. Their second self-titled album, referred to as the “rabbit record” be

In Tune: Maestro.fm

Greg Shrader, cofounder of online start-up Maestro.fm, is outside a Decatur coffee shop listening to his favorite Atlanta band, The Constellations, on his iPhone. He has never downloaded the tune onto his phone, and it’s not taking up any space there—his copy of the song is miles away on his personal computer. But as long as Maestro.fm’s Connector software is

Stripping for cash, praising the lord, and cursing our traffic lights

Q: Whatever happened to the Gold Club strip joint? I heard it became a church. In 2001, when the Gold Club was revealed to be both the sexual playground of pro athletes and financial Laundromat of the Gambino crime family, I was almost old enough to get in. Owner Steve Kaplan went down in a racketeering and prostitution trial feat

Hit-and-runs, bicycle safety, and ninjas

Q: I’ve been thinking about commuting by bicycle. Are our streets safe for cyclists? When I was eight years old, I was hit by a car while riding to a friend’s house in Midtown. It was a bright summer day, and I was blithely pedaling uphill, beside the curb, wearing a helmet. There was a noise behind me, a telephone pole in front of me, and then an impact. I came to my senses next to my bent Schwinn, covered in blood. The car was gone. I spent thr

In Tune: Big Boi

In a ten-minute conversation with Big Boi, you can learn a lot, such as the perils of robbing his wife’s boutique, the ways in which Shirley Franklin has let down Atlanta, and how he wishes his financial advisers had told him to invest in gold. Big Boi, whose Christian name is Antwan Patton, is one-half of Outkast and one hundred percent his own man. We sat down with him in Austin, Texas, minutes before he took the stage for a 12:40 a.m. set at the annual South-by-Southwest music conferenc

Love and law at the drive-in, kissing, and telling

Q: Is heavy petting legal at drive-in theaters? What about making whoopee? I hear they look for rocking cars at the Starlight. Having fogged up a few windows in my day, I share your concern—though not your fondness for outdated sex slang. I’ve consulted three lawyers (well, two eager law students and one retired attorney) and have concluded that, as one member of my crack legal team says, “It looks like you could get away with a fair bit.”

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