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Life of the Party 

CD releases and generous hearts

If you're in a band, there's few bigger shows on a local level than the "CD Release Party." First, you can advertise your show, use the word "party," and somehow avoid coming off like a dork cover band. Second, if you're ever going to sell any of your CDs, this is the night. People know the record's coming out, and come prepared to drop a little cash your way. Knowing all this, the guys (and gal) in Poprocket officially released their product Friday night at the Evening Muse. Attendance was high -- to a Poprocketeer, it must have looked like big walking dollar signs coming through the door. Taking the stage after a stellar early show by songstress Danielle Howle, Poprocket were brilliant. Jay Garrigan howled like Bon Scott. Bassist Jenny Plyler did her best Kim Gordon impersonation. "Drummist" Shawn Lynch wore a maroon paisley suit that would've made Elvis (Mach III) salivate. Playing songs off their new record, Indie Rot, Poprocket exhibited the kind of reckless enthusiasm that a band should have when playing in front of an easy, "home" crowd. Garrigan led the band through songs like "Hey Andy" and "Kill Your Boss," in between shilling product from the stage. At the end of the show, the band joined friends and family and fans out in the audience, before jumping back up on stage to do a blistering version of The Who's "My Generation" with The Rachel Nevadas. Hands clapped people's backs. Beers were hoisted to the Bacchanalian gods who oversaw such a fine affair. People shuffled home, and the band loaded up their gear. "See you soons" were delivered with a flourish, and the band was gone. All except for the life of the party, that is -- alone in the darkened bar like a person not wanting their birthday to end sat a box, filled to the brim with copies of Indie Rot. See you soon, indeed.

United Family Services held their great annual "Art With Heart" auction Saturday night in SouthEnd's Design Center, with proceeds benefiting domestic violence programs, The Shelter for Battered Women and Victim Assistance. Folks who pay $40 and $50 each to attend get to socialize, have a cocktail or two, and bid on donated art in both silent and live auctions. A woman named Gail Marshall -- who has a molasses-thick Southern accent that Stonewall Jackson would be proud of -- emcees the whole event. Every year, Art With Heart gets a name artist to contribute to the event. Last year, it was Ben Long. This year, it was George Pocheptsov. I mean, "Georgie" Pocheptsov. Never heard of Georgie Pocheptsov? Why, you must be overlooking the apparently lucrative Child Prodigy Art Market. You see, little Georgie is a painter, one who some art folks think exhibits a sensibility similar to a young Picasso or Chagall (which, likely, has a lot to do with the fact that most of his paintings look like cubist-y Picasso subjects interjected into a lush Chagall-like background). George, who is 11, looks like your typical tousled-hair kid and can sit looking bored with the best of them. His painting, a dreamy musical-themed number called "Art With Heart," went up for bids about midway through the auction. Bids started at a respectable two grand, and flittered their way upward over the next 10 minutes like origami birds made of hundred-dollar bills. Remember, said guest host Sonya Gantt, little Georgie has been on Oprah, and Colin Powell owns one of his paintings. Bids continued shooting skyward. To the uninitiated art collector, fame is a good substitute for limited knowledge -- see Basquiat, for instance. The bids kept climbing -- $6,000, $7,000, $8,000 -- and I began to reconsider my line of work. If this kid can get this kind of dough at 11, imagine my faculties at near three times his age! Why, I might be a regular Jackson Pollock, and not even know it! Bids continued -- $10,000! -- and little Georgie started happily clapping, and folks broke into spontaneous applause that lasted for quite a while. Not for little Georgie, mind you, though his star power was considerable (Admission: when little Georgie approached later that evening, I held the elevator for the mini-Monet). The cheers were for the fact that the city has more than a few locals who are good enough to drop a big bundle for an organization that isn't necessarily the sexiest of charities. As a thank you, they get a little piece of imagination. It's a trade off this town could stand to make a lot more of.

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