## Wednesday, March 10, 2010

### Dunwoody Lands Freaknik

In a competition between several southern cities, Dunwoody has been chosen to host this year's "Freaknik" celebration. Speaking with two folks at the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Dunwoody, Sally Feurth and Mark Addol, emotions were running high and there was electricity in the air.
"This is quite a coup--we were up against some impressive offerings", remarked Sally. "We had stiff competition from Hanging Tree, Mississippi, Strange Fruit, Alabama and had it not been for the Governor's recent troubles I'm sure we would have some formidable opponents from South Carolina, with that flag and all."
"That's right, Sally", added Mark in a rather condescending tone, "but hands down, the legacy favorite had to have been Lynchburg, Virginia. They've got it all. The name. The heritage. And, as good as Dunwoody may be, they've got Williamsburg refined to an art--after all they are IN Virginia."
"But we knocked them off their throne, didn't we? And I think if you do your research you will find that in some quarters Dunwoody carries every bit as much cachet as Lynchburg."
Apparently Sally took the marketing initiative and would have nothing to do with sitting quietly in the shadows. At this point, she couldn't be stopped.
"See, we have not only a long, distinguished history to fall back on but we have very recent accomplishments--feather's in our cap--not the least of which is our recent victories in our campaigns against DeKalb. We also quite proud of  our heritage preservation efforts. We have farms and while these are not quite plantations, they really capture the essence of the plantation, don't you think? Really, we do get the same effect. And, if I'm not bragging too much, we have more than our fair share of woodsheds'', which I'm sure favorably impressed the selection committee."
Quite an accomplishment indeed. But what about events? What about city-wide preparations for this monumental event? Sure, Dunwoody has the roads, complete with the stop-not-go traffic a mainstay of the unofficial parade at the very heart of every successful Freaknik, but Freaknik is much more than a cruise-in.  Much, much more.

Understanding the magnitude of this event, the City Council has taken up some key initiatives.

The first, and most innovative, is City-supplied "free" vouchers for tanning salons. This will encourage the largely melanin-challenged population of Dunwoody to proactively "darken-up" to become more welcoming (and one hopes, less frightening) to our guests as we roll out the red carpet. What makes these vouchers "free", particularly to the City, is the addition of a small "fee" to every resident's power bill thereby ensuring that tanning services are available to all. Hopefully this includes those who might not otherwise tan. On a related note, local hair salons are slammed with requests for perms so make your appointment now.

They have also formed a Toady Citizen's Committee to plan and coordinate the various events and related activities.

First on this Committee's list is a parade, for after all what is Freaknik but a large, multi-day parade? The Committee plans to kick off the festivities with an official parade which means City Officials get to ride around in really nice cars. They have reached out to Queen Latifa, their first choice, to be Grand Marshal, but she declined, saying "Freaknik in Dunwoody? Are you EFFin' crazy?" The Committee's second choice, Cynthia McKinney, has gladly accepted remarking that "what I miss most being in Cali are the Dunwoody parades. I'm thrilled, absolutely thrilled." In addition, Vernon Jones is expected to be a keynote speaker at several events and head judge of the Rick James contest.

To say that Hiz Honor is jiggy with it when it comes to Freaknik is quite the understatement. Rumor has it that he not only intends to enter, but win the Rick James contest. Visitors to City Hall have reportedly heard strains of "Super Freak" and shouts of "I'm Rick James, Beeeich" coming from the men's room. He, or someone strikingly similar, has also been seen about town taking advantage of the City's Tanning Program.

Miz Honor  seems less enthusiastic about Hiz participation, perhaps fearing that some might suspect he has been practicing at home. And she is right to be concerned after that recent fuss with the ZBA, which was presented as an issue solely for Miz, not Hiz, leading some to conclude they maintained separate domiciles. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ever the loyal supporter, Miz Honor has reportedly said "I don't think he has a good chance to win, I think he's all but guaranteed the Blue Ribbon."

We shall see, for unlike his earlier anointing, there are rumors of formidable competition. Sources close to Fran Millar aren't prepared to make a public announcement but neither will they deny he is considering entering the fray. Dan Weber's closest associates on the other hand have made it clear that the Senator has no intention of entering the Rick James Contest or any similar event. At this time. But the likely front-runner is Dunwoody's long-time favorite,  Jill Chambers. She already has the voice down pat.

And what would any Dunwoody event be without church involvement--without fully engaging our tax-exempt mega-churches? Nothing, that's what. And true to form, the United Baptist Bank of Dunwoody is riding the Soul Train to Freaknik.

Dr. Richard Head, Music Minister, sees this as "a great opportunity to pump up the music offerings for our congregation", while Delburt "Del" Doe, Social Activities Director, is planning a Grand Marshal "Roast and Revival" for opening night and these two are working very closely together to make this event a success.
Dr. Head seemed quite excited about a casual music event bridging traditional and contemporary genres. "We'll have an open mike night for Negro Spirituals..."
"...can you say that?", a slightly embarrassed Doe quizzicalled.
"you mean Negro?..."
"...yes...can you really say Negro?"
"well, I did, and we are OTP..."
"...then I guess you can."
"as I was saying", Dr. Head continued in a slightly, well, pissy tone, "we're hosting open mike and in respect for our visitors and contestants we're asking all congregants to don unadorned albs and since this event is under a tent, head covers are inappropriate. Nonetheless it should be quite the sight from the stage."
While Dr. Head took a much needed breath, Mr. Doe, all a-buzz, continued "And what a site it will be. We'll will have a huge tent with a large white cross adorned with red neon lighting directly behind the elevated altar..."
"What a Friend We Have In Jesus"
"and a water feature reminiscent of the River Jordan..."
"Down in the River to Pray"
At this point, the conversation became uncomfortably like a lover's spat, but let it be known by all that UBBoD will be putting on quite a show.

Of course, safety throughout Dunwoody is a top consideration, no less so to those in our police department than anyone else. While no one with the police would speak on the record, a unnamed passerby was more than eager to speak on their behalf.
"The Dunwoody PD will be in charge of ticket sales with their main service center on the south side where the majority of attendees are expected to arrive."
Oh, are they supporting pre-sales, perhaps through Ticket Master?
"Well, it isn't exactly that kind of ticket, and the final cost is yet to be established. However the Dunwoody PD will be offering complementary DWB'' citations, but framing is extra."
Nice touch that. Framing. Who would have imagined?
"And while it should go without saying, we will keep with tradition, and shut down all official activities by sundown."
At this point this mysterious passerby got into a large black sedan with government plates and sped away.

But this event does not come without dissent. The Itty Bitty Titty Committee is not at all happy with the tanning plan. Barbara Beacoup, Committee Chair, contends that "extensive tanning blurs the line between skin and areola, making the existing ordinance virtually unenforceable."  She believes it is "bad enough that people are doing this on their own, but it is unconscionable for the City to pay for this." Vera Vadeveist, a Committee co-founder takes serious issue with some attendees. "Many of the young ladies we expect to attend Freaknik are not only, what is their term, bootylicious, but are equally well equipped on top. This is simply not consistent with what our members want to see in Dunwoody."

The Lemonade Days Committee voiced some initial concern that Freaknik would be scheduled too close to their own event. Freaknik organizers offered a convincing argument  the Freaknik crowd generally did not like citrus and probably would not return for Lemonade Days even if it were conveniently scheduled, greatly allaying the Committee's fears.

As expected there was also some complaints from the losing cities who suggested that the competition might not have been totally on the up and up. A quick call to the City Attorney's Office degenerated into an hour of IVR hell resulting in a canned statement: "The City of Dunwoody cannot comment on any pending or current litigation, complaints or negative comments except to say that any negative assertions leveled at this City are patently absurd. All of them, bar none are unactionable." So there you have it. If you were looking to patent absurdity, Dunwoody beat you to it.

It is hard to say just how well Freaknik In Dunwoody, The 2010 Edition, will play out but it is almost certain to be unlike any other event since the referendum.