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Archive for March, 2009

Cash-Strapped ATL Shakespeare Co: To Be or Not To Be?

Shakespeare Tavern artistic director Jeff Watkins

The Atlanta Shakespeare Company is dealing with offstage drama worthy of The Bard himself.

In a frantic e-mail to 8,000 subscribers this week, Atlanta Shakespeare Company artistic director Jeff Watkins disclosed that the downtown theater company’s revenues are down $213,000 and that it needs to raise a quick $10,000 in order to keep the nonprofit “alive and well.”

To further emphasize the point, the e-mail contained a photo of Watkins dramatically grabbing for the end of a length of rope.

“I’m used to doing my suffering in silence,” Watkins told Buzz Friday. “It’s not my nature to send out an e-mail like this. But the bottom line is, I didn’t have much choice.”

Like countless others waging battle with the economic downturn, the 25-year-old theater company is caught in the current credit drought. Watkins said the theater’s American Express credit line was closed without notification. Watkins discovered that financial fact only after a $10,000 check bounced this …

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Carroll ‘Growing Up,’ Crooning at Cowboy’s Tonight

Country singer Jason Michael Carroll. Photo: Erick Anderson

Country singer Jason Michael Carroll. Photo: Erick Anderson

Sure, Raleigh, N.C. country star Jason Michael Carroll is opening for Carrie Underwood in stadiums and performing live concerts on “Good Morning America” these days.

Lucky for us, he’s still got a soft spot for Cowboys in Kennesaw. The 29-year-old bearer of that crazy beer-soaked baritone returns to the Kennesaw club tonight at 10:30 to introduce local fans to the songs from his excellent upcoming sophomore album, “Growing Up is Getting Old.”

Prior to our interview Thursday, Buzz got an advance listen to the CD, and fans will be pleased to know that the Walmart shopping, young father of four hasn’t gone all Nashville on us.

In fact, the Carroll co-penned opening track, “Happened on a Saturday Night (Suzie Q)” could have been written at a Cowboys gig.

“I’ve seen a lot of drama playing in honky tonks the past 13 years!” Carroll told us laughing. “Oh man, people get into some things! That song is really about all I’ve …

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A Sexy, Sudsy ‘Dream’ Assignment

Atlanta photographer Timothy Dolph’s work may be coming soon to a MARTA bus stop or grocery store display near you. Dolph’s heavily stylized beer advertisement, shot in 40-degree weather in East Atlanta Village this winter, just won the 2009 photography division in the third annual Pabst Blue Ribbon Art Contest.
On his website, Dolph explains that the concept, “I Dream of PBR,” literally came to him in a dream.
Or dare we suggest, a brew-induced blackout.
Dolph rounded up 13 gorgeous models in skimpy outfits to pose in frigid temps to portray characters from “Alice in Wonderland” and “I Dream of Jeannie,” and to dress as sleep-inspiring sheep (essentially, a sly way to get leggy models to wear cotton ball-decorated bikinis and ears, if you ask us).

Atlanta photographer Timothy Dolph's winning photo for a PBR ad campaign.

Atlanta photographer Timothy Dolph's winning picture for a PBR beer ad.

Dolph knows his way around a sexy photo shoot, routinely snapping for Playboy, Penthouse, Cosmopolitan, Maxim, Stuff, FHM, Men’s Health and Muscle and …

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Oprah Sends Clean Up Crew to Tidy Up Tech

The "before" photo of Georgia Tech students Ashley Bush and Kali Watson's dorm room. Courtesy: Harpo Studios

The "before" photo of Ashley Bush and Kali Watson's Georgia Tech dorm room. Courtesy: Harpo Studios

Thanks to talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, things are about to get a bit more orderly over at Georgia Tech. On today’s program dedicated to messy spaces (WSB-TV, 4 p.m.), Tech students Ashley Bush and Kali Watson’s Hefner Residence Hall dorm room will receive a much-needed makeover via organization expert Peter Walsh and carpenter and Tech alum Chip Wade. Also featured: Tech’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity house and frat brothers Joe Madden, Kevin Smith and Jack Nuttmann, who also will receive a much-needed house call from Walsh and company.

Tech spokeswoman Lisa Ray Grovenstein tells us the students scored the national exposure after sending in videos of their unkempt spaces.

After getting a peek at the retina -damaging “before” photos, Buzz can only pray that the first offending piece of clutter to be jettisoned at Hefner Hall was Bush and Watson’s …

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Sir Elton Dishes on New Album Project, Perry

We’re always gratified to hear from a satisfied AJC subscriber. It’s even better  when it’s a seven-day-a-week diehard celebrity subscriber with scoop.

After thumbing through Monday’s editions of the AJC, USA Today and The New York Times and finishing his morning tennis match, Buckhead resident Sir Elton John rang the BuzzBerry to thank us for mentioning the woman who oversees his Atlanta household.

Lucy’s over the moon that her name was in the paper this morning,” John told us, laughing.

The singer said he’s having as much fun on his current tour with Billy Joel as the ticket-holders (to read some of the glowing comments from fans who attended Saturday night’s Philips Arena show, go to our new brand-new Peach Buzz blog at blogs.ajc.com/peachbuzz/).

When we inquired about the possibility of a new studio project from him (John has made no secret of his displeasure over the less-than-stellar promotion of his last album, 2006’s “The Captain and the Kid”), the singer ended up …

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John, Joel Bring Songwriter Stimulus Plan to Philips

For generations of fans, their decades of albums rest next to each other in the “J’s” of their music collections. On Saturday night, Sir Elton John and Billy Joel brought their successful “Face 2 Face” tour back to Philips Arena downtown. For nearly four hours, the singers enthusiastically banged through their hit catalogs, deep album cuts and, for good measure, a couple of rockers from The Beatles, a joint influence on the singers-songwriters.

In these tough economic times, the piano men made sure the ticket holders more than got their money’s worth.

“Thank you for purchasing the tickets and keeping us in work,” Joel told the sold-out, screaming crowd. Pointing to the rafters, Joel couldn’t resist adding: “Those people up there in Decatur, we want to thank you too for purchasing those seats. But you probably paid too much!”

The evening was expertly paced with John and Joel leading off with trading verses on their iconic ballads “Your Song” and “Honesty.”

Eventually, both …

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Gash Leaving the Alliance for NYU’s Tisch School

Kent Gash (right), associate artistic director of the Alliance Theatre since 2001, is leaving to run a new program in the drama department of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Gash’s last Alliance show — for now at least — is the world premiere of Quiara Alegria Hudes‘ “26 Miles,” opening March 25.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Gash told Buzz of his new gig. The man behind the Alliance’s “Jelly’s Last Jam” and “Pacific Overtures” said he will be “heading an exciting new training program.” But he said he couldn’t get into specifics.
“It is true that, because of this economy, it’s very rare that there are opportunities where someone is actually growing something or starting something new,” Gash said.
Before coming to Atlanta, he was associate artistic director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. He said he expects to continue his work as a “free-lance” director.
The Alliance said it won’t be replacing Gash anytime soon.
“We’ll maintain both our friendship and …

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Filene’s: Burglars Won’t Thwart Annual Bride Run

Ashley Purrington led the charge of women in to the Filenes Bridal sale in Buckhead last year.

Ashley Purrington led the charge of women in to the Filenes Bridal sale in Buckhead last year.

After smash-and-grab burglars hit the Buckhead Filene’s Basement for a second time in weeks Thursday, Buzz rang company reps to see how the retailer planned to amp up security before next week’s seventh annual Running of the Brides mayhem.

“In light of what occurred again early this morning in our Atlanta store, we have had additional conversations about that today,” Filene’s Basement spokeswoman Patricia Boudrot told us Thursday. “But we always hire an extensive security detail and an Atlanta detective is assigned every year. It’s just beyond me how this keeps happening on one of the most-high profile, high-end street corners in Atlanta. None of our other stores are encountering anything like this.”

Boudrot also joked about the store’s potential best security device next week: ‘Do you really think those brides are going let a robber anywhere near those dresses?!”

She has a point. …

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Barnes Holding Out For a Hero, Contemplating Gov Run?

Former Georgia governor Roy Barnes greets former first lady Barbara Bush at the opening of UGA's biomedical research facility, The Paul P. Coverdale Center in Athens.

By Richard L. Eldredge
reldredge@ajc.com

Former Gov. Roy Barnes spent part of Wednesday morning showing us around his new Marietta home (it will be featured in an upcoming edition of ”Private Quarters,” natch). But talk soon got around to the chatter that he might just run for the state’s highest office again.

“I’m enjoying life,” Barnes said, noting that the past six years mark the longest period of his adult life that he’s been out of public service. “It’s been very pleasant.”

At the same time, he said, he gets riled up at some of the goings on in the General Assembly. The ongoing stem cell debate, for example. Banning stem cell research sends the wrong signal to biotech companies interested in doing business here and to Georgia research universities, rendering the state a “laughing stock in the nation,” …

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Thrifty Atlantans Hit Front Page In NYT, Gawker

Atlanta socialite Sacha Taylor and Four Seasons pastry chef Christopher Jennings prepare for Celebrity Chocolate Night at the hotel.

Atlanta socialite Sacha Taylor and Four Seasons pastry chef Christopher Jennings prepare for Celebrity Chocolate Night at the hotel.

You might say it all began innocently enough Tuesday when The New York Times ran a front page trend story featuring various notable Atlantans and how they’re modifying their spending habits in these tough times. The story, “Conspicuous Consumption, a Casualty of Recession,” written by Shaila Dewan, included quotes from Atlanta socialite Sacha Taylor, local lawyer Monica Dioda Hagedorn and Atlanta money manager Jack Sawyer Jr. on how they’re responding to the economic downturn.

Said Hagedorn in the NYT: “It’s disrespectful to the people who don’t have much to flaunt your wealth. I have plenty of dresses to last me 10 years.”

Some of the locals quoted in the story were so pleased by the piece they even sent out a link to the story in a flurry of e-mails Tuesday.

But then, nasty New York media Website Gawker.com got a hold of the story, and the …

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