SouthEnd Soul - a neighborhood block party that was originally scheduled for April - will take place Saturday, June 22, at the corner of Camden Rd. and Park Ave. That’s the lot across from Phat Burrito where the food trucks set up on Fridays. Food trucks will be out in full force and the event features live music from Elonzo, Ida Divine, the Hot Gates, the Business People, and Tanner Wayne. DJ Brad Pressley will DJ between sets. Camden Road will be closed and feature art, craft beer, and ping pong.
I managed a coffee shop and art gallery (the building you see in the picture that’s now Hot Sake) back when the original Art and Soul of SouthEnd arts festivals began. Those were crazy days for our normally quiet shop when I’d utter the phrase “we don’t make frouffy coffee drinks, but I can steam some milk” and my spiel on the advantages of organic, shade grown, fair trade coffee a million times (before it was trendy).
I spent six days a week there for four years. I formed some of the best friendships of my life there and working there allowed my deceased father’s anxiety-ridden hound to spend the last years of her life in the company of a wonderful, welcoming group of people - not stuck at home in the crate that she’d spend all day escaping from while I was at work. I have fond memories of the space like when my boss lent us the shop for our wedding reception where we danced until the wee hours (or I did mostly) after all our guests were gone.
Back then the block wasn’t active enough to really sustain our shop for too long, but it has since blossomed - hence the reemergence of events like SouthEnd Soul. Many of the businesses that sprouted up around us remain (as do Phat Burrito and the Art League, which where there before us). The ones that came after brought new life to the neighborhood.
I still get my hair cut and my framing done next door to our shop where close friends have their art studio on the second floor. I'll be there this weekend seeing old friends introducing my children to the 'hood and thinking about the ghost of my dog (yes, that’s an Edie Brickel reference) prowling the patio at Common Market while watching the Hot Gates' opening set.
The schedule looks like this: The Hot Gates at 5 p.m., the Business People at 6:15, Elonzo at 7:15, Tanner Wayne at 8:30 and Ida Divine clsoing things out at 9:15. The block party runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and it’s free. Find out more here. (Photo courtesy of Historic SouthEnd).