Originally created 02/04/05

People in the News

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - R&B star Alicia Keys led an array of singers and other international celebrities who entertained an enthusiastic audience of thousands to raise money for tsunami relief work.

The MTV Asia Aid event in Bangkok Thursday night brought together Western musicians and actors from India's Bollywood film industry to aid relief efforts in countries devastated by the Dec. 26 disaster.

Thailand's own sultry pop singer Tata Young was an early performer on a bill that included India's Asha Bhosle, Good Charlotte from the United States and Taiwan's Jay Chou.

Sting, 50 Cent and Robbie Williams voiced their support in taped messages. The crowd also saw a tape of Ricky Martin touring the devastated areas of southern Thailand last week.

Jennifer Lopez gave a performance on video, as did Irish pop star Ronan Keating, which showed him singing and playing guitar last week on Thailand's tsunami-hit Phuket island, accompanied by Thai children.

Chester Bennington of rap-rock band Linkin Park, who just returned from visiting Phuket, was among the presenters.

MTV Asia Aid will be available free to broadcasters globally to raise money for UNICEF, the primary recipient of the funds, and local charities. Organizers hope to reach an audience of more than 1 billion people.

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A court hearing for former child star Macaulay Culkin on his drug possession case has been delayed until April so that lawyers can work on a plea bargain, court officials said.

Culkin had been scheduled to appear in Oklahoma County District Court Thursday, but the hearing was moved to April 6. His lawyer, Catherine Burton, couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Culkin, best known for his role in the "Home Alone" movies, was arrested Sept. 17 during a traffic stop on Interstate 44 in Oklahoma City.

Police said officers found about 17 grams of marijuana and 16 milligrams of Xanax, a prescription drug used to treat depression and panic disorders. Culkin, 24, wasn't driving the vehicle.

Oklahoma County prosecutors charged Culkin with misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and possession of the Xanax. He pleaded innocent to the charges in October.

Culkin was freed on $4,000 bail shortly after his arrest.


KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) - Popular reggae dancehall singer Sizzla was sentenced to 15 days in prison for using profanity during a Christmas Day performance.

Sizzla, whose real name is Miguel Collins, began serving the prison term immediately after a court sentenced him Wednesday in Yallahs, just east of Kingston, the Jamaican capital.

He was arrested Dec. 25 after swearing while performing at the East Fest concert in St. Thomas parish in eastern Jamaica. He was released on bail pending the court hearing.

Sizzla, whose songs include "Thank U Mamma" and "Black Woman and Child," made HEAD:s in 2004 after gay advocacy groups in Britain said his lyrics promoted homophobia, prompting the cancellation of several shows in London.

His 2003 album, "Da Real Thing," was a big seller in Jamaica.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The $1 million that the Dave Matthews Band raised during a charity concert at Golden Gate Park will go toward a summer camp for children with life-threatening illnesses, building a playground at a San Francisco public housing project and the city's programs for the homeless.

The Sept. 12 concert was free, but the 60,000 fans who jammed the park were encouraged to make voluntary donations. Concession sales and VIP tickets provided more of the money that was distributed this week by the Charlottesville, Va.-based band.

Some $250,000 will be used to replace the run-down playground at the Sunnydale housing project, while $500,000 has been earmarked for homeless programs, Mayor Gavin Newsom said.

The Taylor Family Foundation's camp for ill children received the balance.

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - Catherine Zeta-Jones and Tim Robbins will be this year's recipients of the annual Hasty Pudding awards, given by a student drama group at Harvard University.

The awards, announced Wednesday, are given to performers who have made a "lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment" by Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the nation's oldest undergraduate drama troupe.

Zeta-Jones will lead a parade through the streets of Harvard Square on Feb. 10 with Harvard students dressed in drag.

Zeta-Jones, 35, earned a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in "Chicago." Her screen credits also include "Intolerable Cruelty," "America's Sweethearts" and "Traffic."

Robbins will appear Feb. 17 at the opening night performance of "Terms of Frontierment."

Robbins, 46, earned a best supporting actor Oscar for his work in "Mystic River." He also has appeared in "The Shawshank Redemption," "The Hudsucker Proxy" and "The Player."

Last year's recipients were Sandra Bullock and Robert Downey Jr.


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ATLANTA (AP) - Filmmaker Spike Lee says black representation is stronger than ever on screens, big and small, but the true power in entertainment lies behind the camera.

"We have to get in gatekeeper positions," he said Tuesday. "We have to get those dual law and MBA degrees and work up the corporate ladder because everybody can't be an actor, everybody can't make a record."

Joining a discussion panel at his alma mater, Morehouse College, Lee led a retrospective of his films and shared his thoughts on the challenges facing blacks in the entertainment industry.

Acting is not where the power is, he said. "Even Denzel (Washington), he's getting $20 million a movie. But when it comes time to do a movie, he has to go to one of those gatekeepers."

Lee also told aspiring young filmmakers in the audience not to ignore nontraditional routes to getting a movie made, including raising funds independently and releasing movies straight to DVD.

"It's a huge market. It's not something that should be looked upon as a stepchild," the 47-year-old director said.

Tuesday's event coincided with the DVD release of Lee's "She Hate Me" and a special collector's edition DVD of his 1988 comedy, "School Daze," which was based on life at Atlanta's historically black colleges.


SEATTLE (AP) - Plans to turn a house where rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix once lived into a youth center are again on shaky ground.

Members of the foundation that owns the house and has moved it once already are worried the city of Seattle will demolish it if they can't find another place to move the dilapidated piece of rock history.

The home owned by Hendrix's father from 1953 until 1956 - when Jimi Hendrix was 12 to 15 - was moved a few blocks from its original address three years ago to make way for a housing development.

The city offered a vacant lot, giving supporters a chance to find a permanent location or buy the land and fix up the house. Now the house is falling apart, and the city says the foundation never made a proposal to buy the property.

City officials want to end the month-to-month lease and take back the land. The foundation has been given until Feb. 22 to move the house.

"There are other potential opportunities associated with the site; we need to extinguish the lease," said John Franklin, director of operations for the mayor's office.

"Seattle should be involved in building this community center and this tribute to Jimi," said Ray Rae Goldman, research director for the James Marshall Hendrix Foundation. "When we made the original agreement, it was inferred that the city was going to help us out a little more than they did."

Hendrix died in 1970, when he was 27.


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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Singer Clay Aiken is helping to reinvigorate his hometown's downtown.

A new eight-minute promotional video, proclaiming "Downtown Raleigh Open for Business," includes a brief appearance from Aiken, an "American Idol" runner-up.

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance, a booster organization, started distributing 200 copies of the video Monday to real estate brokers and others with their sights on downtown.

Viewers can see interviews with Harvey Schmitt, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce; Mayor Charles Meeker; and Orage Quarles III, president and publisher of The News & Observer of Raleigh.

Then Aiken appears and says: "I've traveled all over the country and seen lots of downtown areas, but one of the reasons that I really love coming back to my hometown of Raleigh is to see all the exciting changes that are happening in downtown, right here in Raleigh."


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GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) - Amy Fisher is a new mom again.

The woman, who as a teenager became known as the "Long Island Lolita" after shooting the wife of her lover, gave birth to a girl, Ava Rose, on Jan. 26, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Fisher, now 30, is married to a retired police officer. She comments on the events of the day in a column for the Long Island Press, a free weekly. She also wrote an autobiography published last year, "If I Knew Then..." in which she takes responsibility for shooting Mary Jo Buttafuoco outside the victim's Massapequa home in May 1992. Fisher spent seven years in prison after admitting to the shooting during an affair with Buttafuoco's husband, Joey.

Besides their daughter, Fisher and her husband, Lou, have a 4-year-old son, Brett.


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