Originally created 02/03/06

Godfather's statue can be on stage for his fans



Augusta doesn't need to put James Brown on a pedestal.

He needs to be on a stage.

On Monday, the Augusta Commission discussed the possibility of lifting the bronze statue of James Brown on Broad Street from its sidewalk level to something more elevated. The fear is that, as it stands now, the statue is just overlooked.

There might be some truth to that, but to put the Godfather on a pedestal would mean taking the man of the people away from the people.

Right now, the statue has become a gathering point for admirers who, unable to meet the man himself, are able to have photos snapped with his bronze likeness. There were, predictably, early worries that the statue would become a target for vandalism, but those fears seem to have been unfounded. Nobody, it seems, wants to mess with the Godfather.

Placing the statue on a traditional pedestal, such as Gen. James Oglethorpe's perch at the Augusta Common, might improve Mr. Brown's visibility, but it would mean taking him away from fans. My suggestion is a compromise. Instead of building a pedestal for the statue, how about a stage?

It's doesn't have to be big, just large enough to elevate the statue and allow happy snappers the opportunity to clamber up and have a picture taken. Perhaps a platform 2 or 3 feet high and 15 feet or so in diameter. Throw in some lights - my vote would be for something that mimics multicolored stage lighting - and the statue becomes a visible and accessible tribute to Augusta's living legend.

I'd like to ask readers to help me prove my point. If you have had a photo taken with the James Brown statue, send it in. We'll run a selection, illustrating for the commission that James Brown's place is with his fans. The mailing address for photos is Steven Uhles, The Augusta Chronicle, 725 Broad St., Augusta, GA 30901 and the e-mail address is steven.uhles@augusta chronicle.com.

Hair tomorrow

Hairspray, the movie that became a Broadway musical, is becoming a movie again. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the producers of Chicago, are adapting the stage version of the story for the screen. It's all very confusing, I know.

Here's the thing, though. The filmmakers are coming to Atlanta on Saturday in search of a big girl with big talent to fill some big shoes in the film's starring role. Open auditions will be held for the roles of Tracy Turnblad, Seaweed and Li'l Inez from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the second floor of the Georgia State University student center, 44 Courtland St., Atlanta.

For the role of Tracy, producers are looking for "Female, caucasian, age 16-21 to play age 16. Overweight girl with a pretty face, infectious grin and indomitable spirit. Must be a 'triple threat' talent - singer/dancer/actress with a powerful Broadway-caliber singing voice."

The role of Seaweed will require "African-American male, age 16-21 to play 18. Charming, handsome, excellent singer and dancer. Dynamic."

For L'il Inez, the producers want someone who fits the following description: "African-American female, age 10-13. Seaweed's younger sister. Smart, strong, and the kind of girl who stands up for herself. She is one of the best dancers and singers around, and she knows it."

Feeling Hollywood? Give it a shot.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.