Best Underground Arts: Bohemian Circus

Words  by Ayanna Guyhto;  Photos courtesy of Apache Cafe
Atlanta Magazine has voted this the best adult art show in the city. Those who frequent Atlanta’s culturally juicy underground happenings are probably more than familiar with Bohemian Circus aka Art Mondays , a weekly event taking place in downtown’s Apache Café. Pull into one of the coveted parking spaces in front of the venue, and you might not realize that behind the flyer-cluttered veneer of the Apache Café, a blissful meditative experience awaits you. It also doesn’t hurt that during the evening you will get a chance to feast your eyes on some very interesting eye candy. Art Mondays is decribed as an “Interactive Art Evening” wherein patrons are encouraged to participate in group figure drawing sessions. Before going to Art Mondays, I was a little fuzzy on how such an event could possibly be enjoyable for more than an hour. But my recent foray into this tempting environment has revealed to me an entire world of nighttime bliss…
The Vibe – If you happen to drop into Apache Café on any other night of the week, you can be prepared for an uncomfortably thick crowd. Getting a table on these nights practically requires a leap of faith (or at the very least, a reservation). But on Mondays, the energy surrounding the club is surprisingly subdued. Upon arriving and paying the cover charge (one which the hosts politely call “donations”) I quickly discovered that despite the reasonable number of people in the room, there were more than enough tables to go around. Furthermore, event hosts have had enough preservation to cover each table with a huge sheet of complimentary drawing paper. To the left and to the right, various individuals had hunkered down at their tables and were deeply ensconced in the task of organizing their drawing materials. I felt immediately, that I’d been sent to a glorious “nighttime daycare” for adults, complete with refreshments and arts and crafts.
The Art  – Art Mondays isn’t all about the drawing. This particular event features many emerging local artists; and their work is heavily displayed along seemingly every surface of the venue. Suffice it to say, seeing the artwork alone is worth the meager donation requested at the door. Once I set up house at my own “workstation”, I began organizing my drawing implements and set to work.

The models themselves are essentially regular people, models who work in various industries and volunteer their services for a good cause. For the most part, one model is featured each evening, a male on some nights, and a female on others. The models are free to augment their modeling with props or whatever artistic enhancements they choose; they assume their position in the middle of the club, which has been cleared to make way for a large modeling platform. Ever so often, they change positions so that artists can have a fresh perspective to work with. I noticed that typically, with every switch, an item (or items) of clothing is removed. But in general, it depends upon the model and how he (or she) wishes to present himself. The nudity is presented in a very tasteful fashion, with models taking on benign expressions as they switch from one various position to the next. It was actually quite refreshing to see a group of men flanking the models’ stage with camera, pencils, and paper instead of lewd grins and dollar bills.

The Event  – What really helps to propel this event into what I like to call a “meditative” experience is the rotation of live DJs who have signed up to entertain and relax patrons as they dive into their artistic journeys. The DJs rotate and spin their own eclectic mixes of audible goodies. It is not entirely odd to float on a sumptuous mix of Metallica, followed up with some old-school hip-hop, blending meticulously into a jazz-laced remix of some obscure Top 40 hit from 1983. In essence, the musical atmosphere created by this solid rotation of DJs is also what helps artists submerge themselves in their own worlds. On several occasions, as I attempted to recreate on paper, the image of an attractive female model, I found myself engaging in some pretty energetic “chair dancing.” In fact, as I sipped my $6 RothschildChardonnay, I realized that for the better part of the evening, I had almost forgotten that there were other people in the room; the environment is just that relaxing. Non-artists need not feel left out during this event. The act of simply observing the happenings (which is what I did on my first visit) is engaging enough that those relegated to drawing stick-figures will still feel comfortable. Apache Café offers a full menu of delectables that extend well past most clubs’ typical fare of chicken fingers and fries. Peruse the menu, and you’ll find items such as tilapia with black bean relish, shrimp or tofu skewers, and a host of tasty coffees, martinis, and other treats. The next time you’re looking for something to do shake off your annoying case of the “Mondays”, it would behoove you to consider taking in dinner and a live art show.

  • Doors and Dinner at 7:00 p.m.
  • Figure Drawing at 7:30 p.m.
  • Live Experimental Music Set at 9:45 p.m.
  • Cost: $5 for photographers and sketch artist.
  • This event is free and open to others before 8:30pm, $5 after, 18+

Visit to learn more.


One thought on “Best Underground Arts: Bohemian Circus

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