“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 white attire. Austin says to think classic Hollywood. Austin advises that the ladies bring a wardrobe change for their feet as well.
“It’s OK to show off those fancy designer high heels on the carpet but you’re gonna need some sneakers too!” Austin explains.
The money raised will continue the efforts of Austin’s Don’t Stop the Music program that has supplied 10 metro area public schools with tricked-out recording studios where students write, record, perform and produce their own material.
The foundation’s namesake himself occasionally drops in for a listen.
“They have the same stuff I use when I’m in the studio,” explains Austin. “My goal is for this to become a curriculum-based program. I want these kids to get a letter grade the same way the kids who play trombone in the band get a letter grade.”
Austin says his mentoring sessions with the students remain incredibly gratifying.
Says Austin: “You walk in there and you can see their dreams floating around them every day. That’s a wild thing to see.”
For tickets and more info: www.dallasaustinfoundation.org/
Italian Added To Joel’s Menu
Some local foodie jaws unhinged Monday when the latest e-mail from Joel Restaurant hit their in boxes. The seven-year-old ritzy French brasserie and Mediterranean and Asian-influenced restaurant opened by chef Joel Antunes announced its new Thursday “Pizza & Beer Night.”
In the e-mail, Joel reps informed loyal diners that the pies and suds “will be offered on the terrace and in the bar only. Enjoy a tasty small pizza for $6, large for $10.” Beers, meanwhile, will be half-price.
Our take? Anything it takes to keep the doors open will likely be embraced by the Northside Parkway restaurant’s many fans. Plus, the scrappy restaurant is accustomed to adverse economic conditions. Atlantans will recall Joel first opened its doors to the public less than a month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Funny Farm Shutters
The Funny Farm Comedy Club in Roswell had its last laugh Sunday after more than eight years and an estimated 250,000 patrons.
The comedy club was part of Startime Entertainment, a complex which included a miniature golf course, Go Karts, a video arcade, a sports bar and batting cages. Funny Farm manager Marshall Chiles said the operation was in debt and could no longer pay its bills.
The Funny Farm itself was the most successful component of Startime, Chiles said, but it alone could not carry the load anymore.
On Sunday, more than 30 comics showed up to bid the club farewell and reminisce on stage about what impact the club had on their careers.
Kenney Johnson, who went by the name “Big Kenney” on stage and taught comedy classes at the Funny Farm, was given the honors to close out the four-hour show Sunday night. “It was frustrating to see the place shut down due to no fault of its own,” he said Monday.
Johnson gave kudos to Chiles for running a top-notch operation, one that took care of its employees, its customers and the talent.
For now, Chiles will be operating the Laughing Skull Lounge in Midtown, a smaller venue he opened a couple of months ago. And he is entertaining offers to place the Funny Farm in a different location, preferably near the Funny Farm location.
Quote of the Day
— Film critic and “Frankly My Dear” author Molly Haskell explaining the eternal appeal of doomed “Gone with the Wind” couple Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler at the Margaret Mitchell House Saturday night.
“Rescue Me” actor Denis Leary dining with friends at the Four Seasons in Midtown. Leary and his “Rescue Me” co-stars Adam Ferrara and Lenny Clarke were in town for a stand-up gig at the Fox Theatre.
Actor Charles Grodin is 74. Singer Iggy Pop is 62. Actress Patti LuPone is 60. Singer Robert Smith of The Cure is 50. Actor-director John Cameron Mitchell (”Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) is 46. Actor James McAvoy (”The Last King of Scotland,” “The Chronicles of Narnia”) is 30.
Contributing: Rodney Ho and news services.
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