Good works: V-Day sheds light on violence against women

When Eve Ensler thinks V-Day, she doesn't think valentines. She thinks victory. She thinks an end to violence.

As the author of "The Vagina Monologues" and founder of the V-Day Worldwide Campaign, Ensler is spreading her message of strength, awareness and courage internationally. She will be making a stop in Atlanta on Wednesday with the premiere of her new show, "A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer: Writings to End Violence Against Women and Girls."

A collection of new works from Ensler to be read aloud, the show is an effort to raise awareness about domestic violence. It will be performed throughout 80 communities worldwide.

Joining Ensler on stage will be 19 performers, including the likes of Jane Fonda, Doria Roberts, Emily Saliers, Melissa Carter, Jenn Hobby and Jaquitta Williams. And don't forget Kenny Leon and three male actors, who will be making history as the first men to perform the monologues.

"This is just an amazing cast," said Nikki Noto, event organizer for V-Day. "The monologues is a powerful collection of writing from Maya Angelou, Alice Walker and just amazing writers. It will be an incredible night."

With this show, the Atlanta V-Day chapter is hoping to raise awareness in equal measure among men and women. Noto is hoping the show, which will feature male actors and serve as a fundraiser for the Men Stopping Violence organization, will help start a dialogue between the sexes.

"This is an issue that does affect both men and women," she said. "I'm hoping the show will spark conversations, as well as bring the community together."

This is the second V-Day monologue reading this year, with the first held in April. As Ensler's book was released in June, it seemed appropriate to put on another show, Noto said. However, with $52,000 raised in the spring, she and her crew were unsure what the response would be this time around.

"You can only ask so much of people," she said.

It seems her fears were unwarranted. As it stands, the event is on track to exceed the April numbers.

Tickets to the show are $50. All funds raised from the performance will support Men Stopping Violence, as well as V-Day Atlanta's adopted Safe House in Haiti. The show will be held at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Opera, 1150 Peachtree St., Atlanta.

Food bank benefit features chefs

It will be a meeting of the minds, hearts and stomachs on Friday, when some of the city's brightest chefs dish out a five-course meal to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Hosted by Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison, owners of Bacchanalia, Floataway Cafe, Quinone's, Star Provisions, Provisions To Go and Star Meats, the wine-paired dinner will kick off the James Beard Foundation's Taste of America Festival.

Guest chefs slated to help out in the kitchen include Kevin Rathbun, chef-owner of Rathbun's, Joël Antunes, chef-owner of Joël, Jeremy Lieb, chef of Trois, and Kathryn King, pastry chef of Aria.

Tickets are $175, and proceeds will benefit the food bank. A pre-meal cocktail hour starts at 6:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m. at Floataway Cafe, 1123 Zonolite Road, Atlanta. Call 404-888-9348.

Chef, auction series to help preemies

The March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction series will kick off Thursday.

Each auction will feature gourmet food from area chefs, and live and silent auctions featuring items such as travel and dining packages. All proceeds from the auction will go toward the March of Dimes.

Auctions will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Marietta Country Club, 1400 Marietta Country Club, Kennesaw; 6:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Ford Pavilion at Zoo Atlanta, 800 Cherokee Ave., Atlanta; and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 8 in the Thomas Hughes Ballroom at the Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth.

Kaiser launches run/walk program

Kaiser Permanente will launch the Corporate Run/Walk and Fitness Program at 7 p.m. Thursday. The program will begin with a run/walk through three miles of downtown Atlanta, starting at Turner Field.

Designed to promote healthier lifestyles, the program is a six-month initiative for metro Atlanta companies, their employees as well as self-employed individuals.

Registration is $25 per person. Call 404-843-8727 or visit www.kpcorporaterunwalk.com.

Hi Life to host golf tournament

Hi Life Kitchen and Cocktails will host a charity golf tournament Wednesday at St. Marlo Country Club, 7755 St. Marlo Country Club Parkway in Duluth. The tournament will be a fundraiser for Special Olympics Georgia. For more information, call 770-409-0101.

Home group to host concert for Megan

Sharp Residential will host the Music for Megan benefit concert with Todd Fields and Steve Thomason at 6 p.m. Friday at Wills Parks Equestrian Center, 11915 Wills Road, Alpharetta.

The concert, a benefit for The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, is being held in the honor of Megan Sheridan, a 4-year-old who has been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease. Tickets are $15 each or $35 for a family pass. Call 770-518-4896 or visit www.sharp-residential.com.

Walkers aim to give research a leg up

The Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer will be held Saturday and Sept. 30, beginning and ending at Centennial Olympic Park. The 10-to-30-mile walk benefits Atlanta-area breast cancer organizations.

Registration is $125 for 2-Day walkers and $100 for Sunday walkers or crew members. Call 404-531-4111 or visit www.2daywalk.org.