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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Archive for April, 2009

A Televised Arrest, More Allegations in AIDS Charity Scam

In the end, Atlanta fraud suspect James Sanders was foiled by the old flower-delivery ploy Wednesday. That’s how WSB-TV Action News producers, reporter Tom Regan and Hapeville police officers finally nabbed Sanders and in time for the evening newscast.

You’ll recall that Sanders was initially sought in an alleged connection with various scams using Sir Elton John and his Elton John AIDS Foundation to score free cakes and furnace repair work. After Regan’s first piece aired this week (featuring Sanders running out of a prior residence and screaming at the investigative reporter), a Hapeville neighbor reported her new shady neighbor to Regan.

Hapeville police, with guns drawn, yanked Sanders out of a closet Wednesday and transferred him to DeKalb County where he was due in front of a magistrate court judge late Thursday afternoon to answer to two felony counts of theft by taking and two counts of forgery.

Before staking out the courthouse, Regan told us: “It was a great …

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The Chance To Hang Backstage With The Boss? Priceless

Sometimes the global rock superstars you grew up admiring can become all too human if you ever actually meet them one-on-one.

So it’s understandable that Atlanta Bruce Springsteen fan Tyler Edgarton had some trepidation about meeting The Boss backstage at Philips Arena Sunday night.

Especially since Edgarton donated $15,500 to the Atlanta Community Food Bank to make the meeting happen.

“He couldn’t have been nicer!” Edgarton told Buzz in between e-mailing his video clips of the rocker to friends this week. “He was just hanging out in a room and was like, ‘Hey man, come on in. Nice to meet you!’ We just hung out and talked about [E Street Band drummer] Max Weinberg’s son [Jay] filling in on some of the European concert dates [due to his dad's new role as band director on the 'The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien' currently in rehearsals]. He was just very genuine.”

The private meeting came at the request of Springsteen who is challenging fans on each of his tour stops to donate …

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Sir Elton’s Phoning, Asking For Free Cakes? Call the Cops

Elton John AIDS Foundation representatives were expressing gratitude to WSB-TV Action News reporter Tom Regan Tuesday after his investigative report exposed an alleged local thief using the pop star’s name.

Regan’s highly promoted sweeps piece aired on multiple newscasts Monday and Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, with the state of the economy, we’re probably going to see more of this kind of fraud,” Elton John AIDS Foundation Atlanta board member Barron Segar said Tuesday.

The singer's U.S. hometown has hosted many of Elton John's AIDS fund-raisers, including the successful "Elton's Closet" sale at Neiman-Marcus in 1996. Photo: Rick Diamond

The singer's adopted U.S. hometown has played host to many of his EJAF fund-raisers, including the successful "Elton's Closet" sale at Neiman-Marcus in 1996. Photo: Rick Diamond

Segar said he was especially dismayed that good-hearted Atlantans were victimized by someone using Sir Elton’s name who traded on the Atlanta-born charity’s stellar reputation to acquire baked goods and furnace repair work.

Regan reported that an arrest warrant had been issued for the alleged scammer, identified by WSB as James …

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Newly Hatched Falcon Gonzalez Feted At Chops

The Atlanta Falcons’ latest pricey acquisition, Tony Gonzalez and his wife October were warmly initiated into the city’s sports elite during a dinner at Chops in Buckhead over the weekend.

For starters, the posh eatery’s owner, Pano Karatassos Sr. treated the transplants to a complimentary batter-fried lobster tail (one of his Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s signature dishes).

Then, NFL Hall of Famer and Chops regular Fran Tarkenton introduced himself and greeted Gonzalez with a hearty handshake. NBA legend Charles Barkley, who was watching the NBA playoffs in The Club at Chops, came upstairs and bought the couple a round of drinks.

According to dime-dropping diners, Gonzalez has already taken a liking to the local microbrew, Sweetwater Beer.

Overscene

A shoeless Barkley and his TNT sports commentator buds, including Kenny Smith, were later spotted at Whiskey Blue atop the W Atlanta Buckhead with a group of 15 guests. Whiskey reps tell us the very thirsty group put away …

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Oscar, Elmo Origins Revealed In Dishy “Sesame Street” Tome

Author and former TV Guide reporter Michael Davis knew he had the interest necessary to write “Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street” (Viking, $27.95) after he put two years into researching the book.

Without pay.

“To be honest, I was obsessed,” Davis told Buzz Saturday. “By the time I approached ["Sesame Street" co-founder] Joan Ganz Cooney they were already familiar with me. I’ve always loved the show but I forged an emotional connection watching it with my daughters in the early 1980s.”

Three generations of viewers who share that connection will no doubt be on hand tonight when Davis meets local “Sesame Street” fans during a book-signing at 6:30 at the Atlanta-Fulton County Central Library downtown.

Davis translates those years of research into a fascinating page-turner chock-full of juicy revelations.

For example, it’s a minor miracle that, given its early financial hurdles, the ground-breaking educational children’s program ever made it onto the airwaves to …

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Hawks Mascot Takes Spirit-ed Flight With Atlanta Media

Like their basketball brethren on the court, the Atlanta Hawks marketing team knows how to pick up a ball and run with it.

Hence, Friday’s media day with Spirit the Hawk who became an instant ESPN SportsCenter highlights staple Wednesday night after he broke free from his handler at Philips Arena and took flight during the first quarter of Game Two of the playoffs against the Miami Heat. As Hawks fans will recall, the bird of prey had to be coaxed down from his lofty backboard vantage point.

First up Friday was a guest stint on WAGA-TV Fox 5’s “Good Day Atlanta.” And then, things got inexplicably weirder with radio appearances on The Regular Guys on Rock 100.5 FM and The Bert Show at Q100.

Radio?

Huh?

“Yeah, it really wasn’t about scheduling the interviews as much as it was about responding to the demand,” Hawks rep Kenan Woods told Buzz Friday. “We’ve been bombarded with media requests so we decided to get Spirit out there.”

The 10-year-old hawk has been flying out in Philips …

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Botanical Garden Concert Series Set to Bloom on Schedule

While lingering drought restrictions continue to evaporate some of the traditional summer fun from Piedmont Park, the Atlanta Botanical Garden will announce Friday its impressive 2009 SunTrust Concerts in the Garden series.

And as always, the shows will take place on the Midtown tourist attraction’s lush, blanket-friendly Great Lawn.

This year’s diverse line up includes: Americana artists Steve Earle on June 12 and Nanci Griffith on June 26. Jakob Dylan-led rockers The Wallflowers will perform on July 10, folk icon Joan Baez will appear on July 22 and baby boomer faves Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers will compete with the croaking frogs on July 24. Tex-Mex rockers Los Lobos will finish out the summer series on Aug. 28.

Tickets go on sale to the public on Tuesday, May 12 at 10 a.m.

Botanical Garden rep. Danny Flanders tells Buzz that staffers are excited not only about the stellar line-up this year but also the opportunity to show off the facility’s newly expanded gardens, …

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Gifford Tells Steve & Vikki: ‘I Invented Spanx’

Atlanta businesswoman and Spanx founder Sara Blakely and her patent attorney may want to tune into B98.5 FM Thursday morning at 7:20.

That’s when “Today” co-host Kathie Lee Gifford will repeat her claim that she, and not Blakely, actually invented the footless, slimming fashion accessory.

“I couldn’t believe it!” Vikki Locke told Buzz Wednesday. Locke and morning show partner Steve McCoy taped the interview with the daytime diva Tuesday.

Locke says she had heard speculation in recent weeks that Gifford has been taking credit for inventing the multi-million creation. The morning show personality has been close pals with Blakely for years and attended her splashy nuptials last year in Florida.

“I just decided to ask her to see what she would say,” Locke explained. “I said to Kathie Lee, ‘So, I understand that you invented Spanx.’ And sure enough, she told us, ‘I did!’ ”

Gifford went on to explain that back when she co-hosted “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee,” she went on-air one …

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‘General Hospital’ Actress Goes Greek Between Scenes

Author-actress Carolyn Hennesy

Author-actress Carolyn Hennesy

“General Hospital” actress Carolyn Hennesy took some time away from the bullet-riddled, drama-plagued Port Charles last week to introduce Atlantans to her latest creation, Pandora Atheneus Andromaeche.

“Pandy” is the spunky Greek mythology-based, 13-year-old heroine of Hennesy’s new “Pandora” series of young adult novels. The third in the series, “Pandora Gets Lazy,” (Bloomsbury, $14.99), hit stores last week.

Over tea, the author-actress explained the commonalities between Pandy and her “G.H.” mob lawyer Diane Miller, a role she’s helped to create over two years and 200 episodes of the ABC daytime drama.

“There’s spark, sass and smarts,” Hennesy explained laughing. “Diane possesses some of my personality. But Pandora is me. Just ask my husband. He’ll tell you that at any given moment, I’m a 13-year-old! But Pandora isn’t yet aware of her own fabulousness yet.”

During signings at the Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta and visits with school kids, …

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Austin Invites Atlantans To Dance Down Benefit Black Carpet

Given the current economic conditions, Atlanta producer Dallas Austin went in search of a fresh groove for his annual Don’t Stop the Music public schools music-program benefit.

“The times are really a trip this year,” Austin tells Buzz. “We had to change things up.”

Austin’s solution for his upcoming May 16 black carpet Dallas Austin Foundation benefit event at a private Buckhead residence? He’s scrapped the formality and hired his favorite Atlanta retro funk DJ, Romeo Cologne for a dignified dance party.

For years, local music fans have been digging Cologne’s vintage soul music at his weekly residencies at The Clermont Lounge and the Star Bar.

“This year, we’re losing the tables, the dinner and the long, boring speeches,” previewed Austin with a laugh. “This year, we’re just gonna get down!”

Among Austin’s many famous friends on the guest list: Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jermaine Dupri, “L.A.” Reid, Outkast and Russell Simmons.

Tickets are $150 apiece and the dress is black and/or …

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