The Sentient Bean

Savannah, Georgia

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the ‘great’ film paura nella città dei morti viventi was filmed in savannah. the film is often ‘lauded’ for its atmospheric quality and of course the tight soundtrack by fabio frizzi. it is a touchstone of fine fin de la décennie (the 70s that is) italian incoherence with a preference for evocative imagery and non-sequitur setpieces over continuity and plot. wandering through savannah, from river street south, through forsyth park, with the iconic presence of spanish moss, the painted ladies, and the looming presence of parks, dark in the night, and lightless shaded in day, leaves you with the notion that mr. fulci need not have made any great attempts to infuse his film with ominous atmosphere or absent causality, but merely turned his camera on the city and environs.

The Sentient Bean

nay, the sentient bean isn’t overrun with zombii, or haunted with lugubrious, pale isolation in the light cast through the moss over park avenue, or run through as if it were a pavilion with the black ground and white skies blocked off into a grid. but perhaps this is its saving grace. the shop does what those fine italian splatter films and the finest coffeeshops do best, make little to no sense in a context of continuity. the sentient bean upsets your expectations, it steps out from the repetition of heavy atmosphere and serves as a counterpoint to what, after walking for hours through a city that grows homogenous in its allegiance to a particular breath of historic air, not breathed in 300 years, begins to feel like tedium. at the end of the stroll that takes you up the long axis of forsyth park, you meet a dead end. this block, unlike the rest aligned with this path, is unbroken, and you are startled that you are now facing a building, rather than the continuation of your stroll. here is the end of the historic district, a clear border to the cultivated gloom, and a shop straddling worlds like so many do.

The Sentient Bean

falling at the edge of a fine district, the coffeeshop is never quite at home with the bistros, the boutiques, or the boulangeries. the coffeeshop, like the chameleon, eyes the world in two distinct directions, yet always connects them with its presence, its surety. it is always conscious of its base functions as a low lit drug den, where we converge, whether it be from a day of shopping for small female figurines with arms outstretched and antique porcelain platters or from sleeping long in a rubbish apartment to take a finely prepared espresso hit. it is so cognizant of this duality that it has bifurcated itself (since the last time we were here, when it was a single space), claiming an extra room next door, the border of the spaces rotated from the border that separates the districts, as if to add a distinct physical dimension to the cross section of customers. the middle aged jewish couple, the woman in athletic tights, the man with a cropped beard and a bomber jacket, on a morning stroll, the exceedingly tall college student, probably reading dfwallace or wgibson, with slender goatee, wire spectacles, and jeans tucked into loose boots talking about his need for a fifth cup of coffee, the family, about to leave town, with grandma and in-laws in tow, the asian male and female, talking about a break-up and about jungle music, the elderly black man, in a plaid shirt with a blank baseball cap drinking coffee next to the door, the flustered white woman who has come in and out three times carrying some sort of artwork packed in bubblewrap, the homeless men, on the sidewalk patio, talking about how they have convinced a local convenience store to carry their favourite cheap beer. just like all these people coming together in a space, the space of the coffeeshop, sentient bean does this same thing for itself in savannah, by being something different, somewhere different, and nodding good-day to the park and the bed and breakfasts every morning with the pleasure of a welcome reject.


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The Sentient Bean

13 East Park Avenue
Savannah, Georgia 31401
http://www.sentientbean.com

soymilk: extra charge
wifi: free access

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CAFE TABLEAUX
is a compendium of literary, anecdotal musings on coffeeshop and cafe culture.
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