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Freed from labor 

Better than digital cable

Who knew? LABOR DAY is a creation of the labor movement, with New York City's Central Labor Union celebrating the first holiday in 1882. A mere 122 years later, Atlanta pretty much uses it as an excuse to throw weekend-long parties.

SOULFEST promises a ticket as hot as a summer day with performances by Chaka Khan, Mos Def, LL Cool J and Big Boi, among others on SEPT. 4-5. $45-60. 1-11 p.m. Turner Field's Green Lot, 755 Hank Aaron Drive. 404-249-6400.

He may play b-ball in New York, but Shandon Anderson now lives in his hometown of Atlanta, which is why we've got the SHANDON ANDERSON LABOR DAY WEEKEND. An opportunity to combine vacation fun with charitable work SEPT. 2-5, the lineup includes everything from a golf tournament and gala to an exclusive party with India.Arie at see-and-be-seen club Compound. Proceeds benefit Anderson's youth mentor programs. Locations and times vary. 678-564-0034.

Anyone who thinks that DRAGON*CON is a playground reserved for freaks and geeks needs a dose of alternate reality SEPT. 3-6. It's the largest sci-fi and popular arts convention in the country, and last year the Storm Trooper Parade took over Peachtree with such force, it landed in the pages of Entertainment Weekly. See Arts, p. 58, and Vibes, p. 89. $25-$85. Times vary. Hyatt Regency Atlanta, 265 Peachtree St., and Atlanta Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center Ave. 770-919-0115.

Here's a math question: What is the sum total of two nights, eight movies and 15 bands? Naturally the answer is the annual DRIVE INVASION at the Starlight Six Drive-In SEPT. 4-5. Now offering overnight camping, think of it as a slumber party for grown-ups who share a fondness for films including Revenge of the Cheerleaders, Switchblade Sisters and Easy Rider. See Flicks, p. 63, and Vibes, p. 89. $18-$25. Gates open at 1 p.m. 2000 Moreland Ave. 404-627-5786. -- Layla Bellows

Ousting the president is simply the filmmaker topic du jour, n'est pas? On SEPT. 2, IMAGE Film & Video Center presents a screening and discussion of Robert Greenwald's OUTFOXED: RUPERT MURDOCH'S WAR ON JOURNALISM, a documentary that explains how Fox News Channel has a become a 24-hour megaphone for Republican talking points. Greenwald's guerilla documentary includes footage directly from Fox News Channel, compiled by volunteers from as well as interviews with former Fox employees, Air America host Al Franken, and media experts. $5 (free for IMAGE members). 8 p.m. Echo Lounge, 551 Flat Shoals Ave. 404-681-3600. -- Heather Kuldell

Though the days may still be hot, nights have started cooling down, making it the perfect time to take part in downtown's FIRST THURSDAY on SEPT. 2. Strange Planet exhibits five internationally renowned artists who explore the concepts of cultural commodity and the globalization of ideas, such as the DVD installation by Candace Breitz (above), which explores the experience of entering into a foreign language. At both the GSU School of Design and Saltworks galleries, the show offers a chance to exercise your mind in addition to your walking shoes. Georgia State University, 10 Peachtree Center Ave. 404-651-0489. LB

Short List

September 2 - Thursday
PushPush Theater presents a politically charged, stripped-down version of Shakespeare's MACBETH with a cast of seven actors, including Matt Stanton as Macbeth and Shelby Hofer as Lady M. $10-16. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. Through Oct. 9. 121 New St. 404-377-6332. (Curt Holman)

September 3 - Friday
Comedians D.L. HUGHLEY and BRUCE BRUCE bring their stand-up to the ATL tonight. Bruce Bruce, of course, was immortalized in hometown crunk crew the Ying Yang Twins' "Salt Shaker." $27-$47. 8 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. 404-249-6400. (HK)

September 4 - Saturday
My favorite moment of GLORIA ESTEFAN worship was in 1996's The Birdcage when the houseboy played by Hank Azaria vigorously danced in a red wig, cut-off jean hot pants and an ill-fitting bikini top whilst cleaning house. Robin Williams' character interrupts and sends Azaria out of the house, to which he responds by sassily picking up his mini-boom box and says, "Come on, Gloria." $57-$127. 8 p.m. Arena at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway. 404-249-6400. (HK)

September 5 - Sunday
Props needed for interactive screening of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL at Dragon*Con: stuffed parrot, gold coins, pirate hat. Grab a script so you can salute Capt. Jack Sparrow accordingly. salute Capt. Jack Sparrow accordingly. Included in Dragon*Con admission ($25-$85). 10 a.m. Hyatt Regency Atlanta, 265 Peachtree St. 770-919-0115. (LB)

September 6 - Monday
No matter how hot, smoggy or muggy it is outside, Southerners seem to love spending their hard-earned holidays outdoors near fiery barbecues -- no wonder we're the home of the blues. The tradition continues at WRFG'S LABOR DAY BLUES BARBECUE, featuring performances by Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin and Atlanta's own Mudcat, among others. $12-15. Noon-8 p.m. The Masquerade, 695 North Ave. 404-523-3471. (LB)

September 7 - Tuesday
For 64 years, Atlanta was not the home of the Braves; it was the home of the Crackers, who played right about where Whole Foods on Ponce stands today. The Braves are hosting a commemorative luncheon with 10 former members of the ATLANTA CRACKERS as well as other festivities prior to their game against the Phillies. $30. Doors open 11 a.m. 755 Club at Turner Field, 755 Hank Aaron Drive. 770-416-4539. (LB)

September 8 - Wednesday
'Tis the season for elections, and there's no better way to celebrate than by attending Creative Loafing's POLITICAL PARTY. Hosted by CL Editor Ken Edelstein and held at Dad's Garage Theatre, Political Party is our twist on a live talk show. Guests this month include TV reporter-turned-arts advocate Bill Nigut and former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard, among others. Free. 8 p.m. 280 Elizabeth St. 404-523-3141. (Carlton Hargro)

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