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Archive for February, 2011

Author Randy Wayne White coming to Atlanta: Eagle Eye Books

P1020954“I avoid media types,” author Randy Wayne White’s protagonist, Doc Ford, says in White’s latest novel, “Night Vision.”

Luckily for us, White doesn’t feel the same way. We got a moment on the phone with him the other day.

He will be at Eagle Eye Books March 11 to sign “Night Vision,” a fast-moving thriller that takes place in a seedy Florida trailer park where illegal immigrant workers live in fear of the sadistic steroid junky who runs the place, knowing his tenants will never call the cops to report his abusive behavior.

“A shadow society,” White said. “People who have come here illegally. They part with their families. They’re terrified of breaking the law. It creates a great vulnerability. They’re essentially slaves.”

At the center of the novel is Tula, a 13-year-old with seemingly mystical powers. White said he drew inspiration for the book from his time in Central America, and from his observation that there is a capsule of time when girls on the precipice of their teen …

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Former Falcon Jamal Anderson works up a sweat for charity

Event chair Adrienne Mulligan with special guest Jamal Anderson

Event chair Adrienne Mulligan with special guest Jamal Anderson

Former Atlanta Falcons player Jamal Anderson was just in from a Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser in Miami on Saturday when he hurried downtown to another event benefiting children: the “I Have a Voice” gala at the Atlanta Ritz-Carlton.

Chaired by Adrienne Mulligan with co-chairs Reshell Baldini, Vivian Galletly, Laura Smith and Raul Trujillo, the event benefited Gigi’s Playhouse, a facility opening in Midtown this year that will serve children with Down syndrome and their families. For information click here for the Web site.

“I am so thrilled, so honored and so touched,” Mulligan said, addressing the packed ballroom.

The event featured performances by opera singer Elizabeth Saliers accompanied by pianist Don Saliers and the Mike Richardson Trio, and honored Dr. Jeannie Visootsak from the Down Syndrome Clinic at Emory University’s Department of Genetics.

Anderson, who worked the room personally …

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Favorite Oscars moment?

Associated Press photo

Associated Press photo

Anne Hathaway and James Franco co-hosted the Oscars last night.

She sang and made fun of Hugh Jackman. He wore a dress and wig a la Marilyn Monroe.

So, what did you think?

Not a lot of big surprises last night – “The King’s Speech” was the best picture, Natalie Portman was best actress, and so forth.

But what about the show itself?

The co-hosts seemed to be enjoying themselves, and pulled off a succession of costume changes including the one shown here, with Franco in his “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” get-up.

But when Billy Crystal showed up to present an award, and introduced a montage of old clips from back when Bob Hope was running things, we sort of wanted him to stay.

What did you think? Did your favorites win? Should Hathaway and Franco come back next year?

- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

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Mary Kay Andrews stars at celebrity chocolate night

Photo credit: Bill Miles

Photo credit: Bill Miles

Mary Kay Andrews‘ latest tome, “Summer Rental,” has consumed her over the past several months. Now it’s time she consumed…some chocolate!

“I’m the person who celebrates the completion of every book with a ritualistic Reese’s Peanut Cup orgy,” she said, explaining why she eagerly agreed to preside this Friday night at the Four Seasons’ Celebrity Chocolate Buffet event.

“They’ve asked for a favorite chocolate recipe the chef can create for that night. Hope he can do something along the line of Reese’s/Mr. Goodbar/Girl Scout Thin Mints,”  said Andrews, author of “Savannah Breeze,” “The Fixer Upper” and “Hissy Fit” and a former AJC reporter.

Her collaboration with Chef Robert Gerstenecker is sure to produce something decadent.

“When the Four Seasons peeps asked me if I wanted to be the ‘celebrity host’ for a chocolate buffet, I told ‘em they had me at chocolate,” Andrews said.

51ZykbCX7PL._SL500_AA300_“Summer Rental” comes out in June by the way. Just in time for your beach …

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Out On Film sponsors Oscar guessing game

41790_48290528156_877_nOut on Film, Atlanta’s LGBT film festival, is scheduled for Sept. 29 through Oct. 6 of this year, but festivities surrounding the Oscars are underway now.

The organization is sponsoring a guessing game, and will give away prizes to a winner and runner-up who correctly predict the most accurate number of winners.

To enter you need to make a $10 tax-deductible donation to Out on Film, via PayPal or by sending a check. Then download the entry form and email or mail it back with your guesses. Only one entry per person.

Predictions will be accepted through midnight on Saturday. Prizes include festival passes, DVDs from Turner Classic Movies, theater tickets to a number of shows coming to Atlanta  and original movie posters from “Brokeback Mountain” and “The Squid and the Whale,” signed by Jesse Eisenberg among other items.

For full details see the web site.

- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

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Dolly Parton, Queen Latifah movie filming in Atlanta today

Queen Latifah was happy to pose for this photo with Anna Foote

Queen Latifah was happy to pose for this photo with Anna Foote

Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah are in the Poncey-Highland area today, working on their film “Joyful Noise,” where they play two women who work to save a gospel choir that has hit hard times. Courtney Vance stars as the minister.

The project has done some filming south of town, in Fayette and Coweta counties, and also west of town, in Paulding County. Today it’s shooting on Linwood Avenue, from Ponce de Leon to North avenues. If you’re driving over that way today you’ll likely need to find a detour.

Resident Anna Foote has been enjoying watching the filmmakers work.

“I walked into my house about 4 p.m. yesterday and Courtney Vance was sitting at my dining room table, working on a laptop!” she said. Her son, Matthew Copello, broke the ice with the Queen for her.

“My mom is one of your biggest fans. Will you take a picture?” he asked.

“I about melted into the floor!” Foote said. But as you can see Queen Latifah was …

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“Hall Pass,” filmed in Atlanta, a dreadful mess

See the Whynatte on the table? Nice product placement, bad film. Photo credit: imdb.com

See the Whynatte on the table? Nice product placement, bad film. Photo credit: imdb.com

“Hall Pass,” which was filmed in Atlanta and stars Owen Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate and Jason Sudeikis, is out this Friday. If Gov. Nathan Deal sees it he’s going to rush through an executive order rescinding filmmaker tax breaks in Georgia.

It’s that bad.

Wilson and Sudeikis play two married dudes whose eyes bug out of their heads every time a pretty young female crosses their paths. (Never mind their wives are the lovely Fischer and Applegate).

Fed up with with their husbands’ antics the girls give them a week off from their obligations as married men, thanks to the advice of their sage counselor neighbor played Joy Behar - who sticks around long enough for one scene and wisely exits.

(Alyssa Milano also makes a brief appearance. Actually, her massively enhanced chest does. We can’t remember if she even has any lines.)

Left to their own devices the guys defile a golf …

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Ted Williams, the “Golden Voice,” to star in reality show

Doral Chenoweth III, Columbus Dispatch via AP

Doral Chenoweth III, Columbus Dispatch via AP

Ted Williams, whose “Golden Voice” propelled him from homelessness to instant fame, will be featured in a reality show, TMZ reports.

Who didn’t see this coming?

The site says that Williams, whose dulcet tones catapulted him off a highway ramp and into the national spotlight after Doral Chenoweth III, a video journalist from the Columbus Dispatch videotaped him talking, will start filming in a couple of weeks.

(That’s right – this YouTube sensation owes his instant fame to a newspaper journalist. Can we get a shout-out for our print brethren at the Columbus Dispatch? OK, we digress.)

Anyway, the show will be called “Second Chances at Life,” and will feature his story along with those of other people who somehow arrive at Act 2 in their own lives.

Williams’ instant success story hasn’t been a fairy tale, of course. After the initial flood of attention and job offers for voice work came a short-lived stint in rehab. Williams told …

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Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner are Atlanta Botanical Garden fans

Associated Press photo by Elise Amendola

Associated Press photo by Elise Amendola

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, in town while she films a movie called “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” are into the local green scene in a big way.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden, that is.

They’ve both been spotted there with their daughters. Most recently, Ben and the girls were seen there earlier today, touring the property. Previously, Jennifer had taken them by for a weekend sally through the gardens.

We hear the Affleck family has become so enamored with the Atlanta Botanical Garden that they’ve purchased a family membership! So if you are over there enjoying the exhibits you may see them strolling past.

By the way we’re sure the Atlanta Botanical Garden, where the “Orchid Daze” exhibit is running through April 10, would love for you to become a member too, even if you aren’t famous.

For information click here for the website.

Update: want a T-shirt? Say something NICE. I’m tired of the negative comments! Pleasant comments will …

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Former Falcon Jamal Anderson to appear at gala

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Former Atlanta Falcons player Jamal Anderson will be on hand this Saturday for a gala benefiting Gigi’s Playhouse, a Down Syndrome therapeutic center opening in Midtown this summer.

The event, themed “I Have a Voice, ” is 7 p.m. Saturday at the downtown Ritz-Carlton.

Dr. Jeannie Visootsak, medical director of the Down Syndrome Clinic at Emory’s medical school, will be honored at the gala and local radio personality Trevor Paschal will emcee the event.

Gigi’s Playhouse will offer free tutoring, support groups, therapies and other programs.

“Down Syndrome effects one in every 800 births in the United States today, ” said gala chair Adrienne Mulligan, president of The Skate Foundation, a benefactor for Gigi’s Playhouse. “By raising awareness of the importance of early intervention programs and the great contributions those with Down Syndrome can make to our society, we are giving them the voice they deserve.”

Event tickets are $175 each. See www.events.org/ihaveavoiceatlanta.

By …

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