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Archive for August, 2009

B-52’s Fred Schneider takes a fresh spin through Atlanta

Fred Schneider

Fred Schneider

If you happened to hear a dance beat-accompanied, distinctive Southern twang yelling “Who threw that ham at me?!” blasting through a car window on North Highland Avenue late Sunday night, it could only mean one thing.

The B-52’s frontman Fred Schneider is back in town.

On Sunday night, after dinner with friends at Sotto Sotto, the vocalist opted to world premiere his brand-new single ”Who Threw That Ham at Me?” with his side group, The Superions. The song’s kooky lyrics pay homage to a particular urban legend involving a canned ham, a grocery store, an overcoat and an ill-fated shoplifting attempt.

Joked Schneider: “It’s destined to become a holiday hit!”

Buzz was treated to an advance spin of the track while Schneider was in-studio Monday to co-host “Radio Free Lunch” with Mara Davis at Dave FM. The pop star is in town to DJ at the VIP post-party at Monday night’s annual Jeffrey Kalinsky’s Fashion Cares soiree.

Off air, Davis asked Schneider how he comes up …

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Folk singer Cheryl Wheeler brings wit to heavenly songs

By April Hunt

For a stand-up comic, Cheryl Wheeler sat down a lot in her show Saturday night at the Red Light Cafe.

True, Wheeler is actually a singer-songwriter — you know, a folk singer — whose is probably best known for penning hits for the likes of Bette Midler and Dan Seals.

But anyone expecting an earnest folkie warbling and strumming through songs about moonbeams and unicorns was surely disappointed.

A Cheryl Wheeler concert is more heavenly songs about life and daily scenes, sung to a crowd guffawing over her witty behind-the-scenes about crafting certain pieces to unsettlingly funny stories about cremated pets.

“If people are buying tickets, it seems my job to entertain,” Wheeler told me before the show. “There is so much funny stuff in the world и why would I not mention it?”

And so she did.

After a song celebrating the 15th birthday of her cat, Penrod, Wheeler said her pet lived to nearly be nearly 19.

He had since joined other cremated animals on her homeуs …

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Bill Campbell surprises guests at Tom Houck’s birthday

Atlanta politico Tom Houck

Atlanta politico Tom Houck

The Georgian Terrace’s grand ballroom was packed for Atlanta politico Tom Houck’s annual birthday celebration with pal Temi Silver in Midtown Sunday night. The bold-faced names on hand to pay tribute to the pair included: Congressman John Lewis, V-!03 morning man Frank Ski, Mother Nature Network eco columnist Vanessa Vadim, WXIA 11Alive reporter Doug Richards and news anchor Brenda Wood were among the estimated 600 guests.

Lewis was delayed getting into the ballroom due to well-wishers stopping to inquire about Ted Kennedy’s funeral Saturday (Lewis was among the dignitaries who attended).

Naturally, all of the city’s mayoral hopefuls were there to press the flesh. The most diligent in the handshaking department, according to Houck?

“That had to be Mary Norwood,” Houck dished to Buzz. “She worked that room like the Energizer bunny!”

One of the coolest birthday presents scored by Houck, who is hard at work writing a memoir of his former stint driving …

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Drama aplenty at 36th annual Daytime Emmys

The Emmy-winng cast of "The Bold and the Beautiful."

The Emmy-winng cast and executive producer Bradley Bell of "The Bold and the Beautiful."

Even after finally winning the coveted Daytime Emmy for Drama Series (the first in its 22-year history), CBS soap “The Bold and the Beautiful” still didn’t earn respect in primetime Sunday night.

The live telecast rolled the credits and went off the air before the cast and executive producer Bradley Bell could even get on stage to make an acceptance speech. The gesture was a particularly sharp poke to the eye for the 30-minute drama that, in 2009 remains one of the most commercially viable soaps on daytime due to its success as an export to viewers overseas.

Of course, this was the same awards show that honored “Guiding Light” and invited its entire cast to the stage for a standing ovation after CBS pulled the plug on the genre’s oldest soap after 72-years earlier this year.

But Emmy voters weren’t afraid to reward some of the gutsiest performances of the year, even if they weren’t the …

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Celebrity birthdays

Aug. 31: Actor Warren Berlinger (”Operation Petticoat,” “The Joey Bishop Show”) is 72. Drummer Jerry Allison of Buddy Holly and the Crickets is 70. Singer Van Morrison is 64. Guitarist Rudolf Schenker of Scorpions is 61. Actor Richard Gere is 60. Singer Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze is 52. Drummer Gina Schock of The Go-Go’s is 52. Singer Tony DeFranco of The DeFranco Family is 50. Keyboardist Larry Waddell of Mint Condition is 46. Guitarist Jeff Russo of Tonic is 40. Singer Deborah Gibson is 39. Bassist Greg Richling of The Wallflowers is 39. Actor Zack Ward (”A Christmas Story,” “Titus”) is 39. Actor Chris Tucker (”Rush Hour”) is 37. Actress Sara Ramirez (”Grey’s Anatomy“) is 34. Singer Tamara of Trina and Tamara is 32.

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Emerson remembered: ‘Renaissance man at high volume’

William Emerson Jr. Credit: family photo

William A. Emerson Jr’s funeral, held at the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta Saturday afternoon, was a celebration the veteran writer and editor would have delighted in attending.

Any any given moment throughout the hour-long service, passersby on Peachtree Street were treated to a brass band banging out a boisterous “Down by the Riverside,” great humor, gut-busting laughter, the telling of tall tales, liberal use of 50-cent words and multiple members of his family acting impish.

Blame it on genetics.

Emerson, the former Saturday Evening Post editor, Newsweek Southern bureau chief and civil rights reporter died last week at age 86, following a stroke.

His old friend and former Atlanta Constitution editor Gene Patterson, who described the prolific public speaker in his New York Times obituary as “A Renaissance man at high volume,” eulogized the writer Saturday, saying: “He loved to find the comedy in life. He appreciated the …

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Celebrity birthdays

Aug. 30: Country singer Kitty Wells is 90. Actor Bill Daily (”I Dream of Jeannie,” “The Bob Newhart Show“) is 82. Actress Elizabeth Ashley is 70. Actor-turned-politician Ben Jones (”The Dukes of Hazzard”) is 68.Actress Peggy Lipton (”The Mod Squad”) is 62. Comedian Lewis Black (”The Daily Show”) is 61. Actor Michael Chiklis (”The Fantastic Four,” “The Shield”) is 46. Actress Michael Michele (”ER,” “Homicide: Life On The Street”) is 43. Country singer Sherrie Austin is 38. Guitarist Lars Frederiksen of Rancid is 38. Actress Cameron Diaz is 37. TV personality Lisa Ling (”The View”) is 36. Singer-guitarist Aaron Barrett of Reel Big Fish is 35. Singer Rich Cronin of LF0 is 34. Guitarist Ryan Ross (Panic At The Disco) is 23.

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Celebrity birthdays

Aug. 29: Actor-director Richard Attenborough is 86. Movie director William Friedkin is 74. Actor Elliott Gouldis 71. TV personality Robin Leach (”Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”) is 68. Keyboardist Dan Truman ofDiamond Rio is 53. Actress Rebecca DeMornay is 50. Bassist-singer Me’Shell NdegeOcello is 40. Singer Carl Martin of Shai is 39. Actress Carla Gugino is 38. Guitarist Kyle Cook of Matchbox Twenty is 34. Actor John Hensley (”Nip/Tuck”) is 32. Bassist David Desrosiers of Simple Plan is 29.

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Record shopping with one ‘Cool’ customer

Athens, Ga. — While we were catching up with Supercluster and Pylon vocalist Vanessa Briscoe Hay in Athens this month, we decided to go for broke (literally!) and ask the resident godmother of the Athens music scene to recommend some of her favorite local bands during a stroll through Wuxtry Records on East Clayton Street.

She immediately handed us a vinyl copy of Casper and the Cookies‘ fun, experimental “Modern Silence” along with a limited edition copy of Of Montreal’s “Hissing Fauma, Are You the Destroyer?”.

Hay then introduced us to Mike Turner, the founder of Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records whose prolific indie record label will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend with shows at The Caledonia Lounge featuring many acts from HHBTM.

From the HHBTM racks in the store, Hay turned us on to the EP from electronic pop duo The Lolligags and the hilarious, loud Cars Can Be Blue’s “Doubly Unbeatable” CD. Whispered Hay: “You’ve got to see them live. I took [B-52’s …

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New Supercluster album pays tribute to Pylon guitarist

Athens super group Supercluster. From left to right: Kay Stanton, Bill David, Hannah Jones, the late Randy Bewley, Vanessa Briscoe Hay and husband Bob Hay. Photo by: Mike White/Deadly Designs.

Athens super group Supercluster. From left to right: Kay Stanton, Bill David, Hannah Jones, the late Randy Bewley, Vanessa Briscoe Hay and husband Bob Hay. Photo by: Mike White/Deadly Designs.

With 10 billion bands all seemingly tweeting, My Space and Facebook status updating their latest soy latte consumption around her, Supercluster vocalist Vanessa Briscoe Hay remains one of the least self-involved, self-promoting artists in music.

Just before we met Hay for some iced coffee at Walker’s in Athens this month, we had to read about the Athens supergroup’s successful opening slot for the B-52’s at Mable House Amphitheatre in Flagpole newspaper (B’s frontman and Hay’s old pal Fred Schneider told us: “They were amazing. We had a blast!”).

Still, Hay had plenty of scoop to share with us. First up, this fall, Supercluster’s full-length debut record “Waves” will hit stores and iTunes. The album will feature some of the final recordings from Supercluster guitarist Randy Bewley, who …

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