In July, Stone Soup, a popular Grant Park restaurant, started a monthly cabaret show hosted by my friend Clay Spurz and his company of performers. It was a grand time. One of the highlights was Joe Kelly, accompanied by Spurz, reciting the poem Nevermore, as seen in this YouTube video below. The August Buffet and Cabaret will be Friday August 9th and Saturday the 10th. This time Alana Cheshire will join Joe Kelly, “Scooter” Fredman and Spurz with lots of new songs and scenes.
Stone Soup Kitchen is an eclectic restaurant. It’s normally open for breakfast and lunch and is filled with folk art you won’t see anywhere else. Sometimes called a “hippie outpost,” it’s a laid back soup and sandwich shop heavy on vegetarian options. Their clientele may be aging flower children, but it’s hard to imagine a better fit with the Grant Park/Cabbagetown community.
I lucked into the first cabaret, a musical experiment, this past Friday at Stone Soup. The performance space is a covered porch with an intimate greenhouse feel, and it was completely sold out. With only ceiling fans (air conditioning coming very soon!) we were lucky for a break from both the incessant rain and the usual summer temperatures. The crowd was mostly friendly middle aged couples. They were chatty enough that it was almost hard to get them to stop visiting long enough to start the show! For $25 (if you called ahead, $30 if you didn’t) you got a buffet dinner of two kinds of soup and salad, plus one adult beverage and the floor show. There was even peach cobbler for dessert. This seems a terrific value to me and I hope this won’t be the last cabaret.
The show was put on By Clay Spurz & Company, a group of longtime friends and performers. Clay Spurz is a talented, electric mix of musician, song writer, performer, Chinese philosopher & linguist, and skit comedian. The “& Company” includes Britt Dean (who sings with Spurz in the trio, The Band of Desperate Men); Lesly Fredman (organizer/operator of Cold Soup Theatre, a creativity coach, and the show’s director), Joe Kelly (former Artistic Director of the Atlanta Contemporary Dance Company) and Marian “Sundance” Sanderson (a multilingual translator, actor, dancer and singer).
This cabaret is not about perfection. It is about fun. The get the idea that a million things could possibly go wrong with the performance, but the player know how to roll with the punches and audience will still have a good time. This is a troupe that has worked together for years in various combinations and they genuinely enjoy each other’s company. The camaraderie is infectious. The night included dance and a Poe recitation by Kelly (seen in this YouTube video). Also, storytelling, singing and dance by Sanderson; an audience sing along and comic relief with Dean; and character comedy by Fredman. Spurz was in virtually every skit, sang several original songs and accompanied almost every act on his guitar.
My hope is that the cabaret will become a monthly event, but that decision isn’t firm yet. If another is scheduled, I’ll be sure to post it here.
Stone Soup Kitchen is located at the intersection of Woodward and Boulevard. A small parking lot is located behind the restaurant with an entrance off Boulevard. They typically close midafternoon, but opened for this special, sold out event.
584 Woodward Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30312