Originally created 04/27/04

People in the News



PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Jackie Chan, who's best known for his daredevil stunts, was named a goodwill ambassador Monday for the United Nations' Children's Fund and U.N. AIDS agencies.

The Hong Kong action film star will help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and discrimination against people affected by it, and advance the causes of children, particularly those who suffer through armed conflict, said Rodney Hatfield, UNICEF's representative in Cambodia.

"Let me know whatever I can do, wherever I can go. I promise you I'll do it," Chan said at a news conference, where he wore a turquoise T-shirt bearing the word UNICEF.

Chan, a box-office star of Hollywood and Chinese-language movies for more than 20 years, will visit children suffering from AIDS and tour land mine rehabilitation centers during his three-day stay in Cambodia, which ends Wednesday.

"We are confident that Jackie's prestige, great talent and genuine concern for children will help the United Nations send a powerful message on the impact of HIV/AIDS and conflict on children that will reach the hearts and minds of people throughout the world," Hatfield said.

Cambodia has Southeast Asia's highest HIV infection rate, although it dropped to 2.6 percent in 2002 from 3.8 percent in 1997.

Chan, whose movies include "The Legend of Drunken Master," "Shanghai Noon" and the sequel "Shanghai Knights," will likely begin shooting the third film in the "Rush Hour" series later this year.

"I always think I am so lucky," he said. "So, now it's time to give back."

Other UNICEF goodwill ambassadors include actors Roger Moore and Jessica Lange and singers Harry Belafonte and Ricky Martin.

On the Net:

UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/

Jackie Chan: http://www.jackiechan.com

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LONDON -- The Beatles' psychedelic cartoon "The Yellow Submarine" is being adapted for a children's book, the group's record label said Monday.

Apple Corps Ltd. said it had joined with Walker Books to create the book, which is expected to arrive in stores in September - 36 years after the original animated feature film was released.

The book was inspired by the success of the release in 1999 of a digitally restored DVD version of the 1968 cult classic.

"'The Yellow Submarine' was made as a psychedelic film in the sixties, but it has had a timeless appeal, particularly for children, over the last four decades," Apple Corps. said.

The film followed the release of the "The Yellow Submarine" single in 1966, which was a hit in Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden.

It was translated into many languages, including Yiddish and Latin, and was taken up as an anthem by American activists opposing the war in Vietnam.

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- A Danish artist who made headlines by painting an iceberg red has given South Africans an unusual gift to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the end of apartheid.

Chilean born artist Marco Evaristti poured a gallon of red organic dye into a fountain at Johannesburg's upmarket Mandela Square shopping mall late Sunday. He said the gesture was to beautify a "very badly proportioned and really ugly" statue of South Africa's first black president, Nelson Mandela, standing next to the fountain.

"I want to make something pretty for the country to celebrate its 10 years of democracy," he said in a telephone interview Monday with The Associated Press. "I want to bring some happiness."

Evaristti, who turned 41 Sunday, called the work "Pink Elephant in Mandela Square."

"I first wanted to paint a real elephant pink, but authorities wanted $7,490 for it. So I rather went for the statue," he said.

Officials at Mandela Square declined to comment, saying they were still dealing with the matter.

"The management wants me to pay for damages, but I refuse," Evaristti said. "I will rather go to trial and exercise my right to free speech."

South Africa celebrates 10 years of multiracial democracy Tuesday, the same day President Thabo Mbeki is inaugurated for a second term.

Last month, Evaristti and a small team spray painted an iceberg off the Greenland coast blood red.

On Thursday, he brings his unique brand of art to Canada before continuing to France. He declined to say what he has planned in those countries, because he said authorities might try to stop him. "But it will be beautiful," he said.

Evaristti also drew attention in 2000, when he displayed 10 working blenders filled with goldfish at a Danish gallery.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Sharon Stone has been recognized by the National Center for Lesbian Rights for her support of gay and lesbian civil rights.

The actress who has helped raise millions of dollars for AIDS research and has portrayed lesbian characters in movies including "Basic Instinct," received the NCLR Spirit Award at the organization's 27th anniversary celebration Saturday night in San Francisco.

"Sharon Stone has a very long history of leadership and involvement with volunteer groups," said Ruth Harris, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based center. "We're honoring her for a whole range of things over a many year period."

Stone's contributions include raising money for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, founding the homeless youth camp Planet Hope, and working with Project Angel Food, a Los Angeles County program that brings food to homebound victims of AIDS.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who sparked a national debate by issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, presented the 46-year-old actress with the award at Saturday's event.

On the Net:

http://www.nclrights.org/

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CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A painting by South Carolina native Jonathan Green will appear on this year's poster for the Spoleto Festival USA.

The painting, titled "Eyelets," shows a woman in a red dress heading skyward on a swing, the dress billowing beneath the white eyelet embroidery at the hem.

"This is about a woman who is truly enjoying the moment," said Green, whose paintings reflect the Gullah culture of the South Carolina sea islands. "She represents the pride of womanhood, the women who go beyond what is customary to allow the mind and body to be expressive and to look to the future."

Green told The Post and Courier recently that this is the last in a series of 30 paintings depicting people on swings.

"I wanted to symbolize the strength of the women that I grew up with, women who were cooking, cleaning and raising children and burying the dead," said Green, who was born in Gardens Corner near Beaufort. "They were the ones keeping the culture together, and in the midst of this all, they were also able to have a kind of self-joy."

Nigel Redden, the festival's general director, said the image is familiar and uplifting.

"In it, Jonathan establishes a clear sense of history and place by recording a visual narrative of a community and culture that is unique to this region," he said.

The Spoleto Festival runs May 28-June 13. This year, it includes performances by dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and a production of the 18-hour Chinese opera "The Peony Pavilion."

On the Net:

http://www.spoletousa.org/

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SYDNEY, Australia -- Australian tennis star Patrick Rafter married his longtime girlfriend, Lara Feltham, at a resort in Fiji, according to a report.

Quoting a staff member at Fiji's Musket Cove Island Resort, the Australian Associated Press said Rafter, 31, and former model Feltham married Saturday afternoon at a private home on the exclusive island.

About 50 guests attended the secret ceremony, said the staff member, whose name was not reported.

The couple met in 1997 at a charity event in Sydney and have a 20-month-old son Joshua, who flew out to Fiji with Rafter on Friday for the ceremony.

The 593-acre resort is on Malolo Lailai Island, 9 miles west of Fiji's third largest city, Nadi.

A two-time U.S. Open champion, Rafter retired in late 2002.

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ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Pirouetting and moving to the rhythm of a swing band, British film director Ken Russell received the Istanbul film festival's special honor award.

The festival's award for best international film went to Taiwanese director Tsai Ming Lian for "Goodbye, Dragon Inn," while Turkish director Ahmet Ulucay grabbed the "Golden Tulip" in the best Turkish movie category for "Boats out of Watermelon Rinds."

The festival honored Russell in the "Tribute to the Masters" category, saying he was responsible for some of the best films of the 20th century. Six of Russell's films, including "Women in Love," "Tommy" and "Valentino" were screened in movie theaters during the festival.

"I am delighted to be here on two counts," said the 76-year old British director wearing a sparkly shirt and jacket as he accepted the prize Sunday.

"It is a great honor to be receiving an award from the most swinging film festival, and, this is the greatest swing band on the planet," he said pointing to the musicians as he continued to dance.

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ASPEN, Colo. -- A company that Don Johnson owns has filed for bankruptcy to protect his Pitkin County ranch from being sold at auction, according to a published report.

Timber Doodle Glade Equity Venture LLC, a company controlled by the former "Miami Vice" star, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy April 14 in Denver Bankruptcy Court, the Rocky Mountain News reported in weekend editions.

Johnson's bankruptcy lawyer, Lee Kutner, said Friday that Doodle Glade is one of two entities that hold title to the Woody Creek property that Johnson bought from Aspen socialite Terry Butler in 1987.

The bankruptcy filing follows a Pitkin County lawsuit brought by City National Bank of Los Angeles in March, asking the court to allow the ranch to be auctioned to collect $930,000 Johnson owes the bank.

A judge in Los Angeles County ruled in September that Johnson owed the bank $921,891, and owes $21,891 in lawyer fees.

Johnson's publicist, Elliot Mintz, said the actor is refinancing the ranch and the bankruptcy filing will stave off creditors until Johnson can get the financing he needs.

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DIX HILLS, N.Y. -- A house where jazz saxophonist John Coltrane once lived will be saved from demolition and turned into a museum under a plan that local officials are considering.

A developer had bought the house, where Coltrane composed his classic 1964 album "A Love Supreme," in 2002 and had planned to turn the 3.3-acre property into a subdivision.

But jazz historians and preservationists have been pressing the Huntington Town Council to designate the house a historic landmark, which would prevent its demolition and allow it to become a museum. The Council held a hearing on the proposal Tuesday, and several local officials told The New York Times for Sunday editions that they favored the plan.

"The house absolutely qualifies for historic designation," said Susan Berland, one of Huntington's four town council members. "John Coltrane lived there and wrote his best work there."

She said the council would offer to compensate the developer, Ash Agrawal, for the house's "fair market value." Agrawal had no comment on the proposal, the Times said.

But at least one neighborhood group, the Ripley Manor Civic Association, fears the museum would bring traffic, loud festivals and other disturbances to an otherwise quiet suburban community.

"So he lived there two and a half years while he did his best work," said Ron Kahn, treasurer of the civic association. "Should we landmark every house Billy Joel lived in on Long Island?"

Coltrane lived in the house from 1964 until his death in 1967. His family lived there until 1973.