Late November 2002

This is one of three stories on holiday shopping The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked me to write in late November of 2002. This particular one contains the word "penis" many times; of course it was edited out by the AJC. I heard it provided some water cooler talk at the paper, though.
By Art Howard

If you're like most people, a hula girl lamp and penis-shaped door knocker are at the top of your holiday gift list. Right below that is the opium bed, followed by a "Dork!" comic book. But the hours are ticking away! Where are you going to find all this stuff? Thank goodness for the Little Five Points shopping district.

The funky little area between Moreland and Euclid Avenues has long been a hangout for punks, hippies and anyone else who dwells on the fringes of mainstream society. As a result, the shops that cater to this crowd are a wonderful place to find something unusual to surprise the folks on your gift list. Pam Majors, owner of Junkman's Daughter, says you'll find items not just for punks or Goths, but something for grandma, too. "We have a lot of grannies that shop here. If you take a look around you'll notice that our clientele, especially on the weekends, is people from the `burbs and a lot of tourists." Majors opened her store 20 years ago after closing her parents' salvage business. In that time Junkman's Daughter has gone from a corner shop to a 10,000-foot megastore of the odd. The hula lamps and penis-shaped doorknockers are here, but so are religious artifacts, old 1970s John Travolta fanzines and works by local artist Ronnie Land. "There's a lot of flavor in the neighborhood, a lot of things from around the world," Majors observes. A hot item right now is Afro Ken, a stuffed dog with a rainbow-colored afro. The dolls come from Japan and Majors explains, "Afro ken is Japanese for 'dog.'"

Around the corner from Junkman's Daughter you can get a criminal record. That would be Criminal Records, a store packed full of CDs by cutting-edge artists as well as magazines, DVDs and comic books. The DVD collection on this day included "Naked Evil" and "Exorcism at Midnight" on a single disc. Batman and Spider Man are in the comic book section, along with more unusual fare like "Gloomcookie," "Dork!," "Eightball" and "Johnny, the Homicidal Maniac." Watch your honey's eyes light up when they find their stocking stuffed with a copy of "Bitch" magazine.

A more laid back vibe can be experienced at Soul Kiss Imports. Owner Brian Atkinson originally opened a Soulkiss jewelry store that is still in operation across the street, and then expanded his business to include this exotic furniture store. "We started to go to India, Nepal, Thailand, and saw so many things that we liked and enjoyed about these other cultures. We decided to bring some stuff back and it sold really well," he says. Most popular in the store now are the opium beds, one of which was featured on MTV's "Cribs" show in the home of rapper C.Lo of the Goody Mob.

"Different is the word in Little Five Points…What we like about Little Five Points is when you come here, if you're black, white, Hispanic, Asian - you're one color," says David Patterson. Patterson sells his graphic art in Bazaar, an artist's market that occupies Junkman's Daughter's old space. Patterson's intricate black-and-white art addresses a range of human spiritual conditions, sometimes in a surrealistic fashion. He emphasizes that the draw of Bazaar is that you buy the art - whether its graphics, clothing or music -- directly from the creator. "Right here this sister (Miles' Creations), she makes clothing. If it don't fit you, she can make it fit you, but at the same time she just creates her own style," he points out. Other tenants in Bazaar sell music, jewelry, oils, incense and homemade remedies.

A Cappela Books is the place to head when shopping for the bookworm on your list. Here titles by Huey P. Newton and Ralph Nader are more prominently displayed than those by Bill O"Reilly and Ann Coulter. These heavy political texts are complimented by an assortment of used books, both fiction and non-fiction on a variety of subjects. Owner Frank Reiss says, "As far as new books we have different selections than most book stores, but the most unusual books we carry would be rare, first-edition, older things." If it isn't here you can employ the store's search service.

There are a few restaurants around, and the food is much more conventional than the surrounding shops. Little Five Points Pizza sells…pizza. Bang is a bistro. A short car ride takes you to the venerable Manuel's Tavern. The bar and grill, established in 1953, is the sometime hang for local politicians and those who report on them.

If it seems like grandpa is the man who has everything, check to see if his front door has a penis doorknocker, then head to Little Five Points.

2002 Art Howard