Sharp Notes January 15 2004

GREAT COMBINATION: Rock royalty graces Atlanta this week as Bono of U2 comes to town as an honoree in the King Center's "Salute to Greatness" Awards Dinner on Jan. 17, part of the center's Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance. As it does each year, the event honors one celebrity (helps in garnering press) and one major corporation (helps in paying the bills) — for instance, Stevie Wonder and AOL Time Warner (2001).

This year, Bono — who, besides being a great sunglass model has also worked effectively to raise awareness about the need for African debt relief — is teamed with Target Corp., the great retailer and maker of slushy drinks. Hopefully, Bono has picked up on the King Center's hint: Clearly what Africa needs is more Target stores. With all the money they'd save on store bargains, the Africans will be out of debt in no time.

ASK EARSHOT: Is it possible that you can get an update on __Joi? I would like to know how her album did and what is her next move. She is cold and very underrated.

-- Much Love, Andreda Harris, Cleveland, Ohio

Hello Cleveland,

First, let us say this: Despite the evidence provided by ATLien soul-funk diva Joi's penchant for wearing sheer tops, Earshot has no direct proof that Joi is cold. However, we wholeheartedly agree that she is underrated.

Her 2002 album, Star Kitty's Revenge, was just the latest — and likely the best — in her string of records that were released on major labels and disappeared into commercial oblivion.

Though we don't have specific sales figures, suffice it to say Star Kitty was her first and last album for Universal Records.

Joi's manager, Barbarella Bishop, reports, however, that Joi has bounced back quite well from Star Kitty's commercial disappointment. She's now signed to Pookie Records, the label started by her former Lucy Pearl groupmate Raphael Saadiq (Tony! Toni! Tone!). Joi's working on her new record, which Pookie plans to release in May, with producers Saadiq and Sleepy Brown. Though her husband, Goodie Mob's Big Gipp, does not appear on the record, Bishop offers the lukewarm testimony that "they're still together, right now."

Meanwhile, it's possible to peep this underground ghetto superstar around town, at joints like the Apache Cafe, where she recently joined local favorites Whild Peach on stage. However, if you're in Cleveland, (at the risk of stating the obvious) you're shit out of luck.

-- Your friend, Earshot

YOUR BIG CHANCE: Music Midtown is looking for Georgia-based bands to once again play the 99X Locals Only Stage at this year's festival (April 30-May 2). Interested bands should download the application at www.musicmidtown.com, fill it out and send it with a band photo, CD, bio and contact information to: Music Midtown 2004, Attention: Local Stage Submission, 3110 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA, 30305. Then sit back and bask in the dream; they'll let you know in March if they want you. In other words: Don't call them, they'll call you.

Centennial Park's On The Bricks Friday-night concert series is also looking for bands to perform. Same deal: Send in photo, bio, CD and contact info to: Mad Booking, Attn: Tania Taschereau, 644 Antone St., Suite 3, Atlanta, GA, 30318. Deadline for submissions is Feb. 13 — and as always, don't bug them with your damn phone calls.

REAL MEN: In observance of the King holiday, hip-hop author and "Real World" pioneer Kevin Powell joins a panel of locals including CL contributor Edward Garnes Jr. and rapper Killer Mike to discuss "The State of Black Men in America," Jan. 18 at 5 p.m. The free program takes place at Hillside Chapel and Truth Center, 2450 Cascade Road. Call 404-763-1973 for info.

Suggested topic: Does it help the cause to call yourself "Killer"?__