Two nights before Halloween, a sliver of moonlight danced in six long knives as the surging crowd waited for the slicing to begin.
All right, so it was more like chisels and this sliver of moon hung over the Atlanta Botanical Garden, where a half-dozen star chefs set upon huge pumpkins for a charity carving contest. After about a half-hour of frenzied whittling, the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead's Victor Dagatan was declared the winner. Audience applause determined who wore the embroidered chef's hat presented as a trophy, and Dagatan's pumpkin, expertly carved into a jaunty pirate's face, was the clear favorite.
"A sharp chisel, and some sketches" were the keys to success, Dagatan told us afterward. He also carved up a practice pumpkin about a week before the contest. After the blades came to rest, all six pumpkins were auctioned off to benefit the garden. Want to see Dagatan's handiwork for yourself? His next big carving gig comes next month, when he'll create something magnificent out of a huge hunk of ice for the Ritz-Carlton's Thanksgiving buffet.
Buzz in our ear
In talking to area celebs over the last few days we slipped in questions about today's ghoulish holiday. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy said his favorite costume growing up was a hobo, since putting that costume together wasn't much of a stretch, while hip hop's Dallas Austin was always a superhero and Big Boi used to dress as a clown. Meanwhile Braves catcher Brian McCann said he and wife Ashley would be going all uptown tonight, handing out full-sized candy bars.
The touring musical "In the Heights" runs at the Fox Tuesday through Sunday with a couple of names you might recognize on the roster. Rogelio Douglas Jr., who plays Benny, recorded here years ago as an aspiring musician, and ensemble member Wilkie Ferguson is a Morehouse man. Information: www.foxtheatre.org.
"I get pitched everywhere I go. I walk into a restaurant and someone will say, you have got to do a show about this laundromat."
- Dunwoody High School alum turned "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest, who was in town last week for a gala benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities. He digs dialogue with fans though, telling us that he enjoys Twittering and claims each tweet as his own.
Remembering Sean Costello and his music
Northside Tavern was packed last weekend for the release of the CD in memory of the late Sean Costello (www.seancostellofund.org). The blues guitarist died April 15, 2008, the day before his 29th birthday, after battling bipolar disorder. His bandmates Paul Linden, Matt Wauchope, Terrence Prather and Matt Sickles were joined by musicians who came from all over the country for a night of music and memories.
"I was kind of afraid I wouldn't be able to handle it," said Costello's mom, Debbie Costello Smith. "The sentiment was so beautiful, it was joyful. I feel like Sean would have been smiling."
Anchorman Dan Rather is 78. Folk singer Tom Paxton is 72. Actor Ron Rifkin is 70. Actress Sally Kirkland is 68. Actor David Ogden Stiers ("M.A.S.H.") is 67. Actress Deidre Hall ("Days of Our Lives") is 61. Director Peter Jackson ("Lord of the Rings") is 48. Drummer Larry Mullen of U2 is 48. Guitarist Johnny Marr of Modest Mouse (and The Smiths) is 46. Actor Dermot Mulroney is 46. Drummer Mikkey Dee of Motorhead is 46. Country singer Darryl Worley is 45. Actor Rob Schneider is 45. Guitarist Adrock of the Beastie Boys is 43. Musician Adam Schelsinger of Fountains of Wayne is 42. Musician Rob Van Winkle (Vanilla Ice) is 41. Singer Linn Berggren of Ace of Base is 39. Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas ("American Pie") is 29. Guitarist Frank Iero of My Chemical Romance is 28.
Contributing: news services
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