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Funny Fridays wraps up its first season

What a long, hilarious trip it's been. But alas, it's time for the first season finale of Funny Fridays at the Aurora Theatre in downtown Lawrenceville.

Take heart, fans of funny: The Aurora folks are sending featured performers The Blacktop Circus (as well as a cabal of other comics) off in grandiose fashion, putting them on the main stage for a special show that will include more comedians, more laughs and, for the first time, live music.

Sure, converting a theater sidestage into a bonafide comedy club was something of a risky endeavor, but it's paid dividends in the form of sold-out shows and lots of belly laughs.

The Blacktop Circus (presented by Uptown Comedy Corner, which helped give stars like Chris Tucker, Damon Wayans, Mo'Nique and Bruce Bruce a push into the celebrity stratosphere) is an inventive improv troupe that takes suggestions and scenarios shouted from the audience and constructs them into instant comedy. And if you haven't seen them in action before, now is your last chance.

Catch Funny Fridays at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Aurora Theatre, 128 Pike St., Lawrenceville. Tickets are $15 general admission, and $12 for Aurora subscribers. For more information, call 678-226-6222 or visit www.auroratheatre.com.

Sharp-dressed men

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other bands known as much for the fuzz growing off their faces as they are for their music. But that's undoubtedly the first thing most people think of when they hear the name ZZ Top.

Make no mistake, though: Bill Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard (ironically, the only one sporting just a mustache) are more than the sum of their ridiculous facial hair. The trio lasted remarkably long on the charts, boasting three decades of platinum-selling albums.

They're also one of the few (of very, very many) '70s/'80s era rock bands touring with all the original members, which, considering most groups have only slightly more staying power than a Hollywood marriage, is pretty impressive. Also they appeared in a "Back to the Future" movie, which automatically makes them like three kinds of awesome.

The band, and their beards, will be back in action at 8 p.m. Saturday at Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive, N.W., Atlanta. For more information, call 404-233-2227 or visit www.livenation.com.