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Music festival
Where CL will hang
Monstrous MUSIC MIDTOWN is finally here, swallowing our fair city APRIL 30-MAY 2. Don't fight its gravitational force -- even the oft-skeptical CL staff is excited about some of this year's lineup. Here's a peek of what we plan to see, so you can say hi. For more on the festival, see Vibes, p. 99. $40 (single-day pass), $45 (three-day pass). Intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Ralph McGill Boulevard. 404-249-6400. www.musicmidtown.com.

Michael Wall, news writer: Friday I'll be up front and dead center for the STEVE MILLER BAND 'cause I've wanted to be a Midnight Toker my whole life. Saturday I'm gonna shake my ass to THE STROKES and maybe watch FOO FIGHTERS do that one song that I like. For sure I'll see THE TOM COLLINS, 'cause every time I've seen them at clubs around town, they've blown me away. Sunday I'll hit the WEEN show to remind me of the days when mushrooms were cool. After that, I'll skip over to the Miller Lite stage, throw something that's either really heavy or really sharp at that skank COURTNEY LOVE, and then catch the rest of JOURNEY.

Salina Joseph, intern: YOUNGBLOODZ and J-KWON have overlapping show times Friday. The Drankin' Patnaz aka YoungBloodz get my vote as they are sure to bring the Colt 45 and tequila. Fastest rapper in the world TWISTA takes the stage late Sunday. Personally, I prefer my men a little fast. Get your minds out the gutter! I just hope he performs some of Adrenaline Rush.

Lea Holland, operations editor: It's the 96 Rock stage for me Saturday: THE SMITHEREENS (my hubby's old and remembers them from way back when); DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS (we know all the names of those people who died, died); CHRIS ROBINSON (I luuuuuuv him); and THE DOORS OF THE 21ST CENTURY. Sure, Ian Astbury is no Jim Morrison, but let's see what he's got.

Mara Shalhoup, news editor: The dilemma: Do I go to the glorified parking lot that is Music Midtown, where the best they have to offer is THE STROKES (OK, I love them), CEE-LO (love him, too), WEEN (ditto) and THE WHIGS (check) -- or, do I go to the California desert for the coinciding Coachella festival, easily the greatest lineup this millennium: Radiohead, the Pixies, the Cure, the Flaming Lips and more? The answer: California, all the way.

Chante LaGon, copy editor: Saturday is all about BIG BOI, oh yes, because I like the way this Aquarius moves. Did I mention that I'm a compatible Gemini with the same birthday as his musical partner, Andre?

Steve Fennessy, senior writer: I have a theory that JESSICA SIMPSON is a long-lost daughter of COURTNEY LOVE. Look at the similarities -- sublime musical ability, gorgeous blond tresses, good-natured exhibitionism. Why, then, WHY are they both playing at the same time on Sunday but on different stages? What will I do? I want to see Jessica's face when she finally meets her sister, Frances Bean!

Dining
Chow for charity
Looking for justification to blow some buck on a swank meal? Project Open Hand's DINING OUT FOR LIFE on APRIL 29 is just the nudge you need. The charity provides freshly prepared, nutritious meals to people with HIV/AIDS, homebound seniors and others with critical illnesses. Check out www.diningoutforlife.com for the admirably long list of participating restaurants that will donate at least 20 percent of your tab to the cause.

Special props go to Nicola's (1602 La Vista Road, 404-325-2524), which will contribute 40 percent of that evening's proceeds to charity. Other standouts on the list include perennial Inman Park fave Babette's Cafe (573 N. Highland Ave., 404-523-9121); sublime Greek spot Kyma (3085 Piedmont Road, 404-262-0702); Sala (entree pictured), whose margaritas are the best in the city, (1186 N. Highland Ave., 404-872-7203); and posh Joël (3290 Northside Parkway, 404-233-3500), which will be offering a three-course prix-fixe menu for $49.-- Bill Addison

Short List

April 29 - Thursday
Georgia State University theater majors toss political correctness off stage in RANT: WELCOME TO THE FREE SPEECH ZONE. The students tackle such polite society discussion no-no's as gay marriage and religious intolerance. Closed-minded people need not attend. Free. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m. Continues through May 1. Alumni Hall Theatre, 30 Courtland St. 404-651-2225. www.gsu.edu. (Heather Kuldell)

April 30 - Friday If you don't have tickets, you ain't gettin' in: PRINCE is sold out. He's playing all the old stuff, possibly for the last time -- except when he returns to Atlanta Aug. 9. A few upper-level seats for that show are still available. $49.50-$77. 8 p.m. 1 Philips Drive. Don't call 'cause it's sold out! www.philipsarena.com. (Lea Holland)

May 1 - Saturday
In case you're dying to see another movie about the Titanic, here's your chance. GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS opens today on the IMAX screen. Directed by James Cameron, the film explores the actual wreckage of the ship still on the ocean floor. This few hours may be well worth watching since Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio sat this one out. $6-$10. Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Road. 404-929-6300. www.fernbank.edu/museum. (Janey Pritchett)

May 2 - Sunday
Actor's Express opens Lanford Wilson's BURN THIS. The sexy romance follows choreographer Anna, who is mourning the loss of her dance partner when she meets his brash, married brother, Pale. Then things start to get hot. $45-$65 (opening night gala), $21.50-$26.75 (regular performances). Sundays, 5 p.m.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m. Continues through June 5. Actor's Express, 887 W. Marietta St., Suite J-107. 404-607-SHOW. www.actors-express.com. (HK)

May 3 - Monday
Seriously, after a Music Midtown weekend, "you should take it easy and play our "CSI: MIAMI" drinking game. Here are the rules: Take a shot every time David Caruso delivers an such an overly dramatic line that it becomes comedic. Take two if he pauses inappropriately and takes off his sunglasses during that line. Not a lot of rules, but you'll be trashed, anyway. CBS, Mondays, 10 p.m. (HK)

May 4 - Tuesday
Atlanta Inner Circle kicks off its MONEY, POWER AND RESPECT DISCUSSION FORUM by discussing Kwame and Omarosa's performance in "The Apprentice," and whether young African- Americans can succeed in corporate America. 6 p.m. Auburn Avenue Research Library, 101 Auburn Ave. 404-351-2413. www.atlantainnercircle.org. (HK)

May 5 - Wednesday
Alliance Theatre presents the world premiere of A DEATH IN THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR TO KATHLEEN TURNER'S HOUSE ON LONG ISLAND. Chaos ensues when two acting students break into what they think is the actress' house to take a picture with her Academy Awards only to find out it's the wrong house. $15-$45. Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Continues through May 30. Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000. www.alliancetheatre.org. (HK)

By the way, happy CINCO DE MAYO!

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