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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Archive for August, 2011

“The Help” prompts a look back

Shameeka Shy Ayers celebrates her Grandma Pinkie's birthday in May 2008 in Covington.

Shameeka Shy Ayers celebrates her Grandma Pinkie's birthday in May 2008 in Covington.

The movie “The Help,” based on Atlanta author Kathryn Stockett’s phenomenally popular novel, opens today.

Last week my friend Shameeka Shy Ayers, a lifestyle blogger who dispenses tips for the frugal and fabulous on her blog The Broke Socialite, and I went to an advance screening together. Before the lights dimmed, we began talking about our grandmothers.

Mine, a librarian in a tiny town in eastern North Carolina, employed the same African American domestic worker since my earliest memories.

The two women grew old together and in those final days, they would just sit and visit. “I love you!” Grandmother would say as her maid left.

The woman who worked for my family for so many years attended the funerals of both of my grandparents. Those are the only meals I can remember us sharing together. I am ashamed to say that it never occurred to my little mind growing up that the woman who cooked and …

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Justin Bieber to perform in Atlanta on September 17

Jan Smith counts Justin Bieber and Usher among her clients

Jan Smith counts Justin Bieber and Usher among her clients

Justin Bieber will perform at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Sept. 17. The event isn’t a concert but rather the 33rd annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards.

This year’s honorees include Bieber’s vocal coach and music mentor Jan Smith, and his performance will be a tribute to his professional companion.

“He’s working on a new record that’s going to be a benchmark for him,” Smith told us during recent interview. “His fans are certainly waiting to see what he’s going to do next.”

Known in the industry as “Mama Jan” because of her firm but supportive approach, Smith is glad that Bieber can enjoy time in Atlanta in relative peace. He and gal pal Selena Gomez showed up at Chops not long ago, and dined without anyone bothering them. In Jerusalem this spring, in contrast, Bieber was so beset by paparazzi that he and his crew were unable to visit holy sites until a special, private nighttime tour was …

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J-Lo jetting off for the Hamptons after filming in Atlanta

Happy Friday afternoon. Weekend starts in 3…2…1.

One final Jennifer Lopez update for you before we sign off. We’re told that “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” filmed today at Charlie Brown Airport. The place was done up as an Ethiopian airport, say our on-site sources. An earlier casting call for extras asked for Ethiopian actors. So it is a good bet part of the film takes place in Ethiopia. Or at least the airport there.

Anyway we also hear from another source that J-Lo was not planning to stick around after things wrapped up today. Instead she was jetting off for a weekend in the Hamptons. Luckily, she was already at the airport.

Next week, the project will be filming in Inman Park. Here is an East Atlanta Patch article that cites a letter sent to area businesses informing folks of the filming schedule and planned detours.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.

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

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Jason Bateman says made-in-Atlanta movie “The Change-Up” is “crap”

CNN

CNN

First Ryan Reynolds told Jay Leno that Atlanta was a nice place he couldn’t wait to leave.

Now Jason Bateman, in an appearance on Jon Stewarts Comedy Central show, joked that “The Change-Up,” the body-swap buddy flick the guys filmed here, is “crap.”

In case that was unclear he piled on, quipping that the movie is “garbage.” (”The Daily Show” is a comedy show, where sarcasm rules, of course).

Wow. Is that Oscar buzz we’re hearing?

The movie, also starring Leslie Mann and Olivia Wilde, opened today. It’ll be interesting to see how well it does in Atlanta, since it was shot here. Scoutmob held an advance screening this week and demand was so great they had to cut off the RSVP list.

We haven’t seen it but we probably will, to see how Atlanta looks on screen. Reviews are pretty underwhelming, though. Sums up the LA Times: “Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds switch bodies and struggle to find laughs.”

buzz.0806The movie filmed at numerous locations around town, including Turner Field, the …

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Toni Braxton, Kenny Leon to join Georgia Music Hall of Fame

WE TV

WE TV

The Georgia Music Fall of Fame in Macon shut down this summer after years of poor attendance, but the entity’s lack of a physical structure hasn’t scotched the 33rd annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards. The show, you know, must go on.

This year’s honorees include Toni Braxton, the singer turned reality show star; actor-director Kenny Leon, and vocal coach and music mentor Jan Smith, who counts Justin Bieber and Usher among her clients. Other honorees will be the group Mothers Finest and promoter Paul Cochran. Jazz cabaret star Judy Argo will be honored posthumously.

“We are excited to continue recognizing Georgia’s outstanding contributions to the music industry and will continue the awards show as we have done for 32 years,” said Dr. Bobbie Bailey, president of Friends of Georgia Music Festival, Inc. “Our first ceremony was in 1979 when Ray Charles and Bill Lowery were inducted.”

The event is planned for 8 p.m. Sept. 17 at the  Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. It …

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Hard Rock’s one-day display features Madonna, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber gear

Jessica Forkel, the producer for the Vikki and Kelly Morning Show, is a serious Michael Jackson fan.

Jessica Forkel, the producer for the Vikki and Kelly Morning Show, is a serious Michael Jackson fan.

A rolling museum parked outside the Hard Rock Cafe today features dresses worn by Madonna and Katy Perry, Justin Bieber’s skateboard, Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics, Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” jacket and more.

Admission to the temporary feature – here through 4 p.m. today – is free.

“We’re not trying to sell you anything,” stressed Jeff Nolan, the rock historian for the Hard Rock. The chain’s 162 properties display about 73,000 items on a rotating basis.

Here's one for Doors fans

Here's one for Doors fans

“We like to completely redecorate every seven years,” Nolan said. “It’s a very big job.”

The mobile venue in Atlanta for the day contains more than 60 pieces, a tiny fraction of the collection.

The items include Snoop Dogg’s coat, Bob Marley’s guitar, a letter handwritten by Janis Joplin, Buddy Holly’s eyeglasses, Steven Tyler’s outfit and microphone stand, and a funny note written to Sting from …

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Ryan Reynolds: Atlanta was trying to kill me

Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Wilde filmed this scene for "The Change-Up" at Ecco in Midtown.

Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Wilde filmed this scene for "The Change-Up" at Ecco in Midtown.

Ryan Reynolds spent a good amount of time in Atlanta last year and some this year filming “The Change-Up.”

It wasn’t the greatest experience, he told Jay Leno on Monday night.

“I know you shot this movie down in Atlanta? That’s a fun town,” Leno said as he welcomed Reynolds to “The Tonight Show.” “You like Atlanta?

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful place, it’s a gorgeous place,” Reynolds answered. “But I was pretty convinced early on that Atlanta was trying to kill me.”

He then detailed a harrowing few months. On the first day of filming his trailer caught on fire.

“They had to find a replacement trailer,” Reynolds said. “One of the guys on ‘Fast and the Furious 5′ had had it. It was the most ostentatious, gigantic two story trailer. It looked like Donald Trump’s rolling fantasy mansion. I felt terrible going in and out of that thing every day. It just did not suit me.”

Two days later a pipe …

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Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer join Kathryn Stockett at screening of “The Help”

Viola Davis, left and Octavia Spencer meet the press before the Monday night advance screening of "The Help."

Viola Davis, left and Octavia Spencer meet the press before the Monday night advance screening of "The Help."

Actresses Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, who play maids in the movie adaptation of “The Help,” joined author Kathryn Stockett and screenwriter-director Tate Taylor at an advance screening of the film Monday night. The movie will hit theaters Aug. 10.

On Monday, following a pre-show cocktail party, the theater at Atlantic Station was absolutely packed. There was not an empty seat or a dry eye, at the end.

Afterward the actresses, author and director participated in a discussion moderated by Judge Glenda Hatchett.

“I think it’s wonderful that these women are ordinary,” Davis said of Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson, the characters she and Spencer play. “I didn’t want them to just see a maid. I wanted them to see the woman. Octavia and I were committed to making these women as authentic as possible.”

The longtime New York Times bestselling novel, currently at the top of …

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