30 Days of The Plaza, Day 12: Oh, Taboo La La! BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS Is Not A Sequel, There’s Never Been Anything Like It

Posted on: Jun 1st, 2012 By:

By Jeremy “Puck” Turman
Contributing Writer

BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1970); Dir: Russ Meyer; Writer: Roger Ebert; Starring Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Marsha McBroom, Phyllis Davis, Charles Napier; Taboo-La-La Series hosted by Blast-Off  Burlesque at Plaza Theatre, Sat. June 2; 10 PM; arrive early for a sexy live stage show courtesy of Blast-Off Burlesque, all-girl band action from Catfight (featuring Kool Kat Katy Graves) and special guests Baby Doll, Patricia Lopez, Poly Sorbate and Turnin’ TriXXX! And enjoy Psychedelic Trip Punch while DJ Westwood-A-Go-Go spins in the lobby, compete in a Dance FREAK OUT Contest and win prizes from Libertine; $10; age 18 & over only; trailer here.

The first thing that came to mind when I was younger, and BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS was brought up, would have been a porno. I mean it is an X-rated title (or was until 1990 when it was re-classified as NC-17 ) It is in fact a Russ Meyer production—the [man with the] same creative energy that unleashed such classic american sleaze as THE IMMORAL MR. TEAS , FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! and VIXEN! upon the masses. It also boasts a healthy dose of nudity-laced scenes littered with culturally taboo topics of the time, which has led to this film being widely considered the zeitgeist of exploitation cinema.

Now that I’m an adult, I have a much broader opinion of the film than just a porno. The story falls into place as three devilishly good-looking young girls in a band looking to make it big head to Hollywood to fulfill the most youthful of dreams, to be rock stars. Hollywood embraces the girls as quickly as a candy bar at fat camp and thus our adventure begins. Along the way they come across everything AND the kitchen sink . Here’s a quick rundown:

This girl Kelly (Dolly Read), band[Casey (Cynthia Myers) and Pet (Marcia McBroom), along with Kelly, form The Kelly Affair) and with boyfriend/band manager Harris (David Gurian) high-tail it to Los Angeles to make it big and find Kelly’s aunt Susan (Phyllis Davis), who has something to do with some money that could somehow be rightfully Kelly’s as well. Susan has an accountant that’s real sleazy and thinks the band are nothing but a bunch of hippies looking for a free ride. The band meets this totally awesome rock producer at a party, and, of course, he demands they sing/play and, of course, they do and, of course, they rock! So now this guy takes over as their manager and has them change their name to The Carrie Nations. This pisses Harris off and he goes on a bender. At this point a lot of nakedness and sex begin happening. Seeing as I haven’t seen this film in over 10 years and knowing the age I was at that time, being a younger man focusing in on the eye candy, the plot begins to fade. Although I can truly say the one thing that sticks out in my mind the most are the colors. Vivid rainbows of tacky print burned into my memory. What were they thinking?

The three gorgeous stars of Russ Meyers' BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (20th Century Fox, 1970).

BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS has stood the test of time as an example of an era when moral fiber was more prominent in the culture of America and to release a film with such a lack there of was a slap in the face to the establishment from which it bears roots. It screams where’s the line and how far can I get past it before you stop me? How about a film filled with love, rape, murder, sex, dope, abortion and suicide? Sounds deep, doesn’t it? But it’s not. It’s really a film about nothing. Call it Cult Classic. Call it Sexploitation. Hell, call it Rabid West Coast Surrealism, but keep in mind what the narrator clearly states to close out the film’s trailer: “This is not a sequel, there has never been anything like it.”

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Kool Kat of the Week: Making Whoopie Pies with Widdi Turner of No Big Whoop Bakery, Just in Time for the Turnin’ Trixx Bake Sale and Valentine’s Day!

Posted on: Feb 8th, 2012 By:

Widdi Turner's whoopie pies make a delicious Valentine's gift.

By Jennifer Belgard
Contributing Editor

Widdi Turner is one of the most talented and busiest gals in the ATL. She’s an actor, producer, crafter, a baton twirling-go-go dancing-performer, and an adventurous baker. She’s a one woman whirlwind taking Atlanta by storm. This month celebrates the one-year anniversary of her No Big Whoop Bakery, and Widdi is taking it to new heights. Her delectable treats are the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day.

Widdi’s homemade Nutella Whoopie Pies are the number-one selling dessert at Wisteria Restaurant in Inman Park.  Her weekly specialty flavors are also available online, or at Casseroles in Morningside.  You can pick up her goodies and many others at the Turnin’ TriXXX Bake Sale Sunday, Feb. 12 at the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club in Little 5 Points from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

ATLRetro: Tell me a little about yourself.

Widdi Turner: Well, I do a little this, I do a little that!  I’ve worn a lot of hats in my life, which is probably why I first became an actor – I figured then I could be anything. In addition to acting – my biggest claim to fame would be appearances on GOOD EATS with Alton Brown – I also produce commercials, have my own crafts business [called] widdiwoo; twirl with Turnin’ TriXXXLittle 5 Points’ premier baton twirling troupe!; but mostly these days, I make whoopie pies – lots and lots of whoopie pies.

What led to the creation of No Big Whoop Bakery?

Speaking of Turnin’ TriXXX, we have a semi-annual bake sale at the Euclid Ave Yacht Club. Last year – one year ago this Valentine’s Day, in fact! – I introduced my whoopie pies along with cake pops and macaroons. The whoopie pies were the easiest of the three, so thankfully they were also the most popular!  And literally, after that day, the orders have never stopped coming in.  I had no intention of starting a business. It basically took on a life of its own, and I’m just tagging along for the ride.

Widdi Turner making whoopie pies.

I have about 10 that stay in constant rotation.  I recently cut the list down a little, although there are more flavors that I make if requested.  I do special events such as showers, wedding receptions, birthdays, etc.  I can personalize the wrapper that the treats come in with a special message, or display them unwrapped on platters in a decorative way.  I did one wedding reception where the bride was from Brazil and the groom was from India, so I created a whoopie pie of cardamom pistachio cake with mango buttercream filling.  They were a big hit!

Where do you find your inspiration?

It doesn’t hurt that I’m addicted to Food Network, Cooking Channel and TOP CHEF!  And of course, I could spend days exploring food blogs.  I try to think of foods I enjoy that demand to be recreated in whoopie pie form.  Being half-Asian, I’m familiar with flavors in Asian desserts, so I made a Japanese whoopie pie as a tsunami recovery fundraiser. It was a matcha tea cake with red bean paste buttercream and a swath of chestnut paste.  I called it the “Kibou Cake”; kibou means “hope” in Japanese.  Drinks can also be an inspiration, as the case is with one of my most popular flavors, the Irish Whoopie Bombe (Guinness chocolate cake, Jameson chocolate ganache and Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheese filling).

What has been your biggest challenge?

Basically I feel like I’m working 2+ full time jobs as I grow this business but still have to work “the day job.”  And it has grown to the point where I have to take the big leap soon of making it full time, but that takes money.  Right now I’m working on the business plan and fundraising ideas,  Wish me luck!

Widdi Turner's best-selling Nutella Whoopie Pies.

I am the baker at Casseroles in Morningside (1393 North Highland Ave behind Meringue), so they carry the pies, and Wisteria (471 North Highland Ave) carries my pies on their dessert menu. Currently they serve the Nutella Whoopie, and it’s their top selling item.  Did I mention I make my own Nutella?  You can also order from me by checking out my Facebook page and emailing me your order [at] widdi@nobigwhoopbakery.com.

Any specials for Valentine’s Day?

Agh!  Thanks for reminding me!  Well, I’ll be baking something – probably some new items to test out for the bakery – for the Turnin’ TriXXX Bake Sale that will be Sunday, Feb 12 at the Euclid Ave Yacht Club from 2 to 6 p.m.  And my Valentine’s Day specials will be posted on my Facebook page, so check back often!

All photos are courtesy of Widdi Turner and No Big Whoop Bakery!

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ATLRetro Holiday Gift Guide #3: A Holiday Inn-dependent Spotlight on Avondale Estates

Posted on: Dec 19th, 2011 By:

By Jennifer Belgard
Contributing Writer

The holidays are almost upon us.  Frost is finally on the ground.  Some of us are still scurrying to find gifts.  Don’t fret, pets!  The shops of Avondale Estates can help.  I recently spent the day there with three talented ladies from Blast Off Burlesque: Astrid, Barb and Sadie, their righthand-man Coleman, and my good friend Lori from Third Half Studios.

We met at Avondale Pizza Cafe to strategize our day, have a HUGE slice, and enjoy a Wild Heaven Craft Beer.  The Georgia-based craft beer company plans to have its own brewery in Avondale by 2013, but you can currently find them at the Beer Growler, along with many others.  A whiskey gal myself, I don’t really drink beer, but this place may convert me. I’m a sucker for good marketing and these craft beers have my number.  Southern Tier Brewery (my old stomping grounds in Western New York) has a Krampus Lager and a Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout.  Each with their own distinct personality and perfect for a couple characters on my list.  Prices start around $16.99 a growler.  Grab a Beer Growler Koozie while you’re at it.  The koozie has a strap for easy portability.  Great idea and design, $16.99.

 

What do you need to go with all this malty goodness?  Artisan meats, of course!  Pine Street Market is where you’ll find it. We were treated to samples of their drool-inducing Coppa, a dry cured pork shoulder spiced with black pepper and chiles. Alongside their more traditional meats you’ll find specials like Spiced Pear Sausage (Applejack Brandy, nutmeg, ginger, and pear; fall and winter only), Roasted Poblano Sausage (roasted poblano peppers, ancho chiles, garlic, and cumin; spring and summer only) and the Applewood Bacon Burger (applewood smoked bacon ground with fresh pork for the ultimate rich, smoky burger).  Can’t decide what to get the meat lover in your life?  Buy them the Meat of the Month Club, $40.00 per month.  Each month includes a pound of Applewood Smoked Bacon and a featured salami or sausage.  They also carry condiments and specialty items.  A special someone in my life enjoys Bloody Marys, so I picked up a couple jars of pickled okra and green beans from Phickles, an Athens-based gourmet pickle company.

 

At this point we’d had about all the food and drink we could handle (or so we thought), and we headed to Second Life. This organization is wonderful and one of my new favorites. Second Life is a nonprofit, thrift store that donates proceeds to animal rescues.  Barb found a brand new BCBG dress for just $14.00.  Vintage ornaments starting at $1.00.  If I had the space, I would have a collection of creepy dolls (much to my boyfriend’s chagrin) and this is a great spot to find them!  They also hold in-store adoptions once a month featuring other nonprofits like Royal Potcake Rescue USA, Inc.  Their goal is to save homeless pets from Atlanta, Georgia and Abaco, Bahamas.  We lucked out and met a few of their sweet pups on our visit. I am in no way advocating buying someone a pet for the holidays, but if you’re searching for a furry friend of your own, check them out.

 

 

 

Our last stop was Sweet-n-Sinful Bakery.  Layne Lee is the sweet and sassy brainchild behind this boutique bakery. Sweet-n-Sinful boasts 24 cake flavors from Vanilla to Green Tea, 30 cake fillings like Fresh Strawberries, Black Forest and Lemon Curd, and 14 different frosting options, including 11 different types of Butter Cream.  Her brownies are so good that Whole Foods has picked them up for two of their Georgia stores and hope to take them nationwide.  Layne’s cupcakes are available in yummy seasonal flavors like Chocolate Peppermint,  Pumpkin and French Toast.  Need something for Christmas morning?  Take along some fresh bread or over-sized muffin tops.  Shipping & delivery is also available.  Whatever you choose is sure to please!

I’m off to wrap this haul of goodies!  Hopefully our trying day of shopping, eating, and drinking will help you complete your holiday shopping while helping our independently-owned businesses.  Shop local.  Happy Holidays!

Jennifer Belgard is Co-Conspirator at Libertine, Curator of Curios at Diamond*Star*Halo,  Barkeep at Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, and Co-Coordinator of Chaos for the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade & Festival.  In her spare time she enjoys Turnin’ TriXXX and playing Queen of Your Distraction.

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ATLRetro Holiday Gift Guide #2: A Noel Neighborhood Spotlight on Little 5 Points

Posted on: Dec 17th, 2011 By:

By Jennifer Belgard
Contributing Writer

Shopping can be a wonderful experience, but for many, it’s the REAL nightmare before Christmas.  The traffic, humdrum selection of gifts, mobs of people shoving each other about. The mall.  Yikes!  It hurts my head just thinking about it.  There is another way.  We can have fun shopping, help out our independently owned shops, and give some really kick ass gifts without depleting our bank accounts or losing our minds!

Little 5 Points is often thought of for Halloween and… uh, people-watching.  It should be one of the first places you think of for your holiday list.  Wax N Facts, Coyote Trading, Stratosphere Skateboards, Stefan’s Vintage, Rene Rene, Cherry Bomb… there are so many reasons to shop here year-round.

Junkman’s Daughter is known far and wide as the Alternative Super Store.  Shoes, clothes, and accessories from Lip Service, Bettie Page Clothing, Too Fast and many others.  My friend, Kool Kat Barb Hays of Blast-Off Burlesque, gave me the highlights of the season.

Keep your head and face warm with this fun Beard Hat from Beardhead.  Available in several colors, $29.00.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who wouldn’t want Frankenstein, Tiki or Shrunken Head Plush Dice by Sourpuss? Just $10.00.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quirky Soap Spitters like Florapus and the chubby Sock Monkey by Allen Designs instantly perk up any sink.  Each dispenser is $24.99.

 

 

 

What’s on Barb’s Wishlist?  Yummy Tofu Soft Tacos from El Myr.

Next, Barb and I headed over to Criminal Records.  Criminal is home to more records, CDs, comics, toys, tees and art than you can imagine.  Right now they are host to the Indie Craft Experience’s Pop Up Shop through December 24.  Inside the Pop Up Shop you’ll find truly one of a kind gifts for everyone on your list.

Messenger Bags featuring Crypto Zoo, Zombie Woodland Creatures, Killer Unicorns, and Sugar Skulls by Third Half Studios.  They also make double-sided necklaces (I especially love Gamera) and Sugar Skull Aprons. Prices start at $25.00

 

 

 

 

 

Earrings and Hair Adornments by Hustle-N-Bustle.  These creations add a touch of vintage glamour and romance to any outfit.  I’m fond of the ranunculus flowers, $14.00-$44.00.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crocheted toys like Cthulhu, Grim Reaper, Giant Squid, and Vikings by NeedleNoodles, $19.00.

 

 

 

 

I ended this trip at my very own little shop of curios, Libertine – a small, but fully stocked shop known for corsets, wigs, and makeup.  But, wait!  There’s more.  Indie designers like:  Wanderlust, SweetHeartSinner, Pop Art by Zteven, as well as brands like Special Effects, Tokyo Milk and Living Dead Souls.  My partner in crime, Tim Scott, showed me a few of his favorite things.

Happiness Head To Toe. A 10-piece kit including: clementine-scented shampoo, conditioner, shower creme and body lotion, sugar scrub, lip scrub and lip butter. A facial scrub, facial cleanser and facial moisturizer by Love & Toast, $24.00.

 

 

 

 

 

Wristlets, wallets, totes, messenger bags and backpacks featuring critters like deer, whales, hummingbirds, foxes and the oh-so-popular, Youtube favorite, otters holding hands.  All by Bungalow 360, $12.00-$48.00.

 

 

 

Ornate Flasks by Diamond*Star*Halo.  Great gifts for guys or gals with designs like Conjoined Twins, Dead Elvis, Unicorns, Owls, Anchors, and much more!  $28.00- $34.00.

 

 

 

 

What’s little Timmy asking Santa for this year?  The Dusty Springfield box set, Goin’ Back, from Wax N Facts.

 

 

 

 

Me?  I’m headed down to the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club for a cup of Boozy Hot Cocoa.  I managed to whittle my shopping list down quite a bit, but there’s more shopping to do.  Next week I’ll hit the shops in Avondale with Astrid Lyons and a few of other friends.  I hear talk of beer growlers and sausage.  Gotta love the holidays!!!

Jennifer Belgard is Co-Conspirator at Libertine, Curator of Curios at Diamond*Star*Halo,  Barkeep at Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, and Co-Coordinator of Chaos for the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade & Festival.  In her spare time she enjoys Turnin’ TriXXX.

 

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