NEW YORK -- Linda Ronstadt says today's music industry values sex appeal more than talent.
"It puts a huge amount of pressure on kids" who are aspiring performers, said Ronstadt, 57, whose singing career began in the 1960s.
"If you are someone like Beyonce who happens to be gorgeous and talented, well, great. But there are a lot of people who are not paid attention to because they don't look like a fashion model," she told the Daily News.
Ronstadt, a native of Tucson, Ariz., was a sex symbol herself, with such hit albums as "Heart Like a Wheel" and "Simple Dreams." She no longer plays those recordings, though.
"I never go back. I never listen to them," said Ronstadt, who is scheduled to perform Tuesday at the Beacon Theatre. "Music is a work in progress. On a record, it gets frozen in time, and it's oddly unnatural."
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MIDLAND, Texas -- "Baby Jessica," who held the attention of the nation as a toddler when she fell into an abandoned well 17 years ago, is now a high school graduate.
Crews struggled for 58 hours to rescue Jessica McClure from an 8-inch-wide pipe in October 1987.
Now 18, McClure joined more than 100 other seniors at Greenwood High School near Midland in receiving their diplomas Friday night.
"We're just trying to get back to having a normal life," said her mother, Cissy Porter, commenting on her daughter's behalf.
The case of 18-month-old Jessica created a nationwide sensation. Emergency crews rescued her - a dramatic moment covered on live television - after digging a parallel shaft and then breaking through the wall of the well.
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FLINT, Mich. -- Missed the Sundance Film Festival in January? Couldn't get a hotel room in Cannes?
Consider Flint. But don't expect to rub elbows with native son Michael Moore while you're here.
The blue-collar city of 125,000, the backdrop for Moore's 1989 documentary "Roger & Me," is preparing for its inaugural Flint Film Festival.
It begins Friday with an opening gala and concludes Sunday with an awards party. Festival-goers will have their choice of 29 works by independent filmmakers from as far away as Germany.
"People who've never been to a film festival will quickly find out this is the real heart of film making," said festival chairman Greg Fiedler.
But Moore, who now lives in New York, was not invited and his latest film, the anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11," will not be shown, Fiedler said.
Organizers "wanted this to be about local filmmakers and not about one famous one who has a way of bringing all the attention on himself," Fiedler said. Moore could have offered to submit something, but he didn't, he added.
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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Roy Teicher made a good living in the other Hollywood as a joke writer for "The Tonight Show," "Newhart" and "Mork & Mindy." Now in Hollywood, Fla., he's going after an audience that's a little different - Florida voters.
Teicher, 46, is the new press secretary for U.S. Senate candidate Peter Deutsch, an old friend from school. He hopes to use his talents to soften the Democratic congressman's brash reputation and help people see his "relaxed, amusing, comfortable" side.
At 19, he was the youngest writer hired by "The Tonight Show." But he later turned to journalism and found a meaningful story "meant more than going to a run-through of a television show and saying 'That's my line in the second scene."'
Said Deutsch of his buddy's new role: "If nothing else, we'll have better jokes than anyone else."
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Actor Morgan Freeman drove the pace car. Pop star Jessica Simpson sang the national anthem. Television host David Letterman co-owns the team that had the winning driver, Buddy Rice.
Some of the celebrities at the Indianapolis 500 had local roots. Letterman, former NBC "Today" host Jane Pauley and Rupert Boneham of "Survivor" fame are Indiana natives.
Also attending the race were chef Wolfgang Puck; actors James Garner, Judge Reinhold and Patrick Dempsey; and New York Giants quarterback Jesse Palmer, who recently finished his stint as "The Bachelor."
"It's been wild, been great," Palmer said Sunday. "It's one of the biggest events in sports and now you can see why."
Also representing the sporting world: University of Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins and Cleveland Browns quarterback Kelly Holcomb, a former Indianapolis Colts' quarterback.
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Country singer Kathy Mattea has a personal interest in this week's fund-raiser for the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute. Her mother, now 83, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in the late 1990s.
"When I go home and visit my mother, I always have a period of grief," Mattea said. The Cross Lanes native said her family has rallied around their mother. She worries that the disease, which runs in her family, will strike her.
On Friday, the two-time Grammy Award winner and her husband, songwriter Jon Vezner, will be part of a benefit to raise money for the institute at West Virginia University named for the late mother of Sen. Jay Rockefeller. She battled Alzheimer's disease for nearly 10 years before her death in 1992.
St. Louis Rams football head coach Mike Martz, whose late mother also had Alzheimer's, also will speak.
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TORONTO -- He banged, they cheered.
William Hung butchered "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch of Sunday's matchup between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers, much to the delight of 22,225 at SkyDome.
The "American Idol" reject, best known for his hyperactive, tone-deaf rendition of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs," shrugged off a brief smattering of boos and belted out the baseball classic off-key while fans egged him on. Some even joined in.
Hung's presence brought a gaggle of media usually indifferent to baseball to the game, including staff from Rolling Stone magazine. A team official said more media credentials were issued Sunday than on opening day.
His debut album, "Inspiration," is nearing 100,000 copies sold.
"I still am surprised," Hung said before the game. "I can't believe it."
The record deal is certainly testing the limits on the Hong Kong native's 15 minutes of fame. A civil engineering student at the University of California, he's spending most of his time these days touring to promote the album.
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THORNTON, Colo. -- President Bush plans to get a second helping of Dan Tang's Chinese food this week.
Tang, owner of the Heaven Dragon Chinese restaurant in the Denver suburb, said he was asked to deliver duck, chicken and shrimp dishes to the president and about 20 traveling with him on Tuesday. He first served the president in 2002.
"I feel excited, even more excited than the first time," Tang said. "He came back like a return customer."
The first meal was made possible by Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard. Tang told Allard that he dreamed of cooking for the president and Allard passed along a recommendation.
Tang and two other chefs are preparing the presidential meal, which will include Peking duck, sesame chicken, Hunan chicken and crispy shrimp. Bush will give the commencement address at the Air Force Academy on Wednesday near Colorado Springs.
Tang said he's registered as an unaffiliated voter.
"I'm a middle-of-the-road guy," Tang said. "You don't pick sides. It's best for business if you don't pick sides."