T his column is about the actor who helped E.T. phone home, a contest of Elvis tribute artists, a new James Brown DVD and George Strait slipping into Augusta last week. Does that whet your interest?
ELVIS CONTEST: There will be a lot of hunka, hunka burnin' love this weekend for a regional Elvis tribute artists contest. The winner will compete in the Images of the King contest in Memphis, Tenn., in August.
It takes place at Elks Lodge 205 at 205 Elkdom Court (off Furys Ferry Road near Washington Road) in Augusta. Tickets are $10 for the preliminary rounds at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday and $20 for the final round at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Show promoter Terri Futreal says there will be 18 contestants. Guest artists will be Cliff Wright of Athens, Ala., and Terry Turner of Lincoln, Ala.
HANK WILLIAMS' MOVIE: Guess who is going to portray legendary country star Hank Williams in a movie called The Last Ride due out late this year?
None other than Henry Thomas who played Elliott, the boy who helped lovable alien E.T. phone home in the 1982 film E.T., the Extra Terrestrial .
The film is about the last ride of Williams, who died at age 29 on New Year's Day 1953, in the back seat of a car near Oak Hill, W.Va., while heading to a concert. One of his last performances was at Augusta's Bell Auditorium less than two months before he died.
Director Harry Thomason has been filming around Benton and Sherwood, Ark. He and his famous wife, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, are responsible for such hit TV series as Designing Women and Evening Shade .
It's not known whether Thomas will provide the Williams' singing voice in the film, but he has been writing songs and singing and recording with a band called The Blue Heelers in Texas and California.
JAMES BROWN DVD: Last week I was contacted by Stuart Thornton, a writer for the Monterey (Calif.) County Weekly .
He wanted to know more about our town's late and great James Brown. It turns out a new DVD, James Brown -- Bodyheat: Live in Monterey 1979 , consists of concert footage of a marvelous show. The film contains an emotional version of Georgia , recorded just four years before Brown was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
Oddly, the concert footage originally was not released until 12 years after it was filmed because of some legal or financial problems. It then came out on VHS tape as The Lost James Brown Tapes .
GOLFING GEORGE STRAIT: Several good sources told me country superstar George Strait played the Augusta National course both Monday and Tuesday of last week.
It's not known whether he was singing on the course, but it is said that Strait walked into the main kitchen and sang All My Ex's Live in Texas a cappella for the kitchen staff after dinner.
That sighting reminds me of last year's Masters Week when a friend was cooking at a hospitality center across from the course. He said he left for just a few minutes. When he got back, another worker told him, "Oh, you just missed Garth Brooks," and showed him a digital photo of him and Brooks together.
NFL quarterback Peyton Manning has been spotted, too. Bet y'all could tell me some similar star-encounter stories.
YELLOW JASSAMINE FESTIVAL: If you're out and about this weekend, you also might want to try the Yellow Jessamine Festival in North Augusta from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Jackson Square (Buena Vista and Georgia avenues) and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday throughout downtown. Yours truly will be taking part in some book readings from 11 to 4 Saturday at Jackson Square, so drop by and say hello.
AMAZING SHARON JONES: How lucky are we to have the internationally-famous artist Sharon Jones plan on moving back to her hometown? Anyone who saw her mind-blowing concert last weekend at the Imperial will testify to that.
Matt Rogers, a New York City music writer and filmmaker who came down for the concert, said Jones led her Dap-Kings backing musicians on a walking tour of her old neighborhood in North Augusta including to the old North Augusta First Baptist Church where she sang publicly for the first time as a child.
"That sounds like the scene in the movie The Color Purple where Shug Avery is walking toward that old church and singing God Is Trying To Tell You Something ," I said to Rogers.
He replied, "That's exactly what Sharon said: 'This is my Color Purple moment.' "