Originally created 03/16/05

People in the News



NEW YORK - A Manhattan judge dismissed charges against Rosario Dawson and two others who were arrested while filming movie scenes near the location of last year's Republican National Convention.

Charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing government administration were dismissed Tuesday by Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson. The charges were filed against Dawson, director Stephen Marshall and Viaja Grosgalves following their arrest near Madison Square Garden, site of the 2004 GOP convention.

"I'm happy how this all went down," said Dawson, 25, as she left the court. Dawson's screen credits include "Men in Black II" and "Alexander."

The trio had been shooting scenes for "This Revolution" when they were seized Aug. 29, 2004, along with hundreds of anti-GOP protesters at 35th Street and Eighth Avenue.

Police said at the time that Dawson was wearing two handkerchiefs on her face with only her eyes showing and that the group had refused to move when police told them to. They were arrested after Marshall tried to show police a city film permit.

Assistant District Attorney Eric Arnone, in asking the judge to dismiss the charges, said his office had reviewed videotapes of the area at the time of the arrests.

"Of all the tapes we have reviewed, none of the footage establishes that the defendants were given a command to leave the area, much less that the defendants intentionally disobeyed a command to leave," Arnone said.

The prosecutor also said the defendants were using the protests as a backdrop for the film and weren't part of the protests themselves.

---

CLEVELAND - Usher is a hands-on NBA owner.

The Grammy-winning R&B artist, who is part-owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has unveiled a symbol from his floor seats that he calls the "Double C."

During the team's game Sunday, Usher crossed his arms over his head and curled his hands to form letter C's. Fans made the symbol as the Cavaliers downed the Indiana Pacers 98-86.

Usher said his hometown of Atlanta has a special sign called the "A-town down."

"This is my way of showing my Cleveland Cavaliers' pride," he said in an e-mail to The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.

On the Net:

http://www.usherworld.com/

---

NEW YORK - Maureen McGovern, who plays the mother of four spirited daughters in the Broadway production of "Little Women," will take the musical on the road when it begins its 30-city national tour this summer.

McGovern, best known for her recording of the Oscar-winning song "The Morning After," plays Marmee in the show, which stars Sutton Foster as Jo, the lively daughter who wants to become a writer.

The musical, based on Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, starts its tour in San Diego, Aug. 30-Sept. 4. It will later play cities such as San Jose, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Washington. Exact dates and more cities will be announced.

"Little Women" opened Jan. 23 at Broadway's Virginia Theatre.

On the Net:

http://www.littlewomenonbroadway.com

http://www.maureenmcgovern.com/

---

NEW YORK - On a mid-March night, Oscar-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden is making her New York Philharmonic debut.

Harden, who won a supporting-actress Academy Award for 2000's "Pollock," is among the ensemble cast performing a semi-staged version of Mendelssohn's complete incidental music to Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Also in the cast: Campbell Scott, whose acting credits include the Broadway production of "Long Day's Journey Into Night" with Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst; Hope Davis ("About Schmidt"); Linda Emond; Reg Roberts; Lorenzo Pisoni; and Jeremy Shamos.

The Philharmonic performances at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall are scheduled for Thursday, Saturday and March 22. Soprano Susan Gritton and mezzo-soprano Patricia Risley also perform in the concert conducted by Sir Neville Marriner.

On the Net:

http://www.nyphilharmonic.org

---

BURBANK, Calif. - Former "Baywatch" actress Alexandra Paul and another woman were arrested at a vigil meant to save General Motors' EV1 electric cars.

On Monday, Paul and Colette Divine were in a car that blocked the path of trucks hauling the cars to Arizona to be destroyed, police said. Both women were booked on suspicion of failing to obey an officer, police Lt. William Berry said. They were released on their own recognizance and were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

A call to Paul, who played Stephanie Holden on the TV series, wasn't immediately returned Monday night.

Paul and Divine were among dozens of electric car supporters holding an around-the-clock vigil outside a General Motors Corp. training center in Burbank, where more than 70 EV1s had been stored en route to a recycling plant near Mesa, Ariz.

"The one thing they (Paul and Divine) asked to relay to media was that it was a very peaceful act and they are very committed to saving these cars," said organizer Chelsea Sexton, a former GM employee responsible for promoting the EV1. Sexton now advises environmental groups and automakers on alternate-fuel vehicles.

GM, which says the cars never became popular enough to turn a profit, has declined the group's offer to pay $1.9 million for the vehicles. The company said the cars must be destroyed because there isn't enough supply of the car's 2,000 parts. That could make the vehicles unsafe and lead to lawsuits, GM contends.

The group, which includes environmentalists, technology enthusiasts and entertainment industry workers, said the monthlong vigil would continue.

Police said Paul and Divine were in a car that blocked the center's driveway for two hours as trucks loaded with EV1s were attempting to leave.

Four trucks hauled away 28 EV1s after the driveway was cleared, said GM spokesman Dave Barthmuss.

---

LONDON - David Beckham is preparing for life after soccer.

The English star unveiled plans Monday for The David Beckham Academy, which opens this summer next to the Millennium Dome in east London, where he grew up.

"There is that certain kind of buzz when you step on a football pitch," Beckham said. "I want to be able to get that same kind of buzz with the soccer school."

"I'll play up to the point where I feel my legs are getting too old and I can't do it anymore at the top level," he added. "When that time comes, that's when I'll go into the soccer school."

After this season, Beckham has two years remaining on his contract with Real Madrid. He arrived at the club 20 months ago, and he's won nothing. He'll turn 30 in May, and he knows Madrid fans are demanding and impatient.

"I'm happy at Real Madrid and want to stay at Real Madrid as long as I can," he said. "But in football and life, you never know what is going to happen."

Real Madrid was knocked out of the Champions League last week and is nearly eliminated from the Spanish league, trailing Barcelona by 11 points.

The midfielder star, who is married to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, is bracing himself for the day he leaves soccer, and he knows he doesn't have the temperament for coaching.

"Management has never been a thing for me and never will be," he said. "I'm just one of those players who has never fancied going into management."

And so his academy beckons.

Beckham is setting up the school with "several million" of his own money. He is working with the Anschutz Entertainment Group, which is developing the vacant Millennium Dome into a 26,000-seat arena and entertainment complex. The school will have two full fields, indoor facilities, classrooms and a dining area. The school will be open to boys and girls ages 8-15.

About 15,000 are expected to enroll, with 10,000 enrolling for free. Others will pay a $480 fee for a five-day training camp.

---

LONDON - Elle Macpherson set the 2006 Commonwealth Games baton off on its yearlong journey to the Australian host city of Melbourne.

The Australian model carried the Queen's baton through the gates of Buckingham Palace Monday before handing it to 2000 Olympic 400-meter champion Cathy Freeman.

Queen Elizabeth II put a microchip containing her message to athletes competing at the games from March 15-26, 2006, into the high-tech baton, which also contains two miniature TV cameras and a GPS tracking device.

The technology will allow the baton's progress to be followed on the Internet as it is carried by thousands of runners on its 110,000-mile relay through all 71 Commonwealth nations.

Freeman gave the baton to Kelly Holmes, the British gold medalist in the 800 and 1,500 at last year's Olympics, who passed it on to 2004 Olympic boxing lightweight silver medallist Amir Khan.

The relay will pass through the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and Cyprus before moving to Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Asia and Oceania.

---

ROME - Andrea Bocelli and other top Italian musicians will perform in a concert next week to raise funds to help victims of the tsunami in Sri Lanka.

The March 21 concert will be held at the Forum di Assago in Milan, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Monday.

The agency said on its Web site that it would distribute funds raised in the concert to help tens of thousands of people who have been displaced in Sri Lanka following the Dec. 26 tsunami.

"We welcome this event... to assist the internally displaced people in Sri Lanka who have experienced not only the effects of a protracted civil conflict, but now a natural disaster as well," said James Lynch, head of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Sri Lanka.

More than 30,000 people were killed and an estimated 1 million others were displaced in Sri Lanka by the tidal waves. The tsunami hit areas already devastated by the island's two-decade civil war. Funds from the concert will also be channeled to those displaced by the conflict, Lynch said.

---

NEW ORLEANS - Frankie Beverly and Maze will close out the 2005 Essence Music Festival in July, as they have every year since the festival began.

The festival will kick off a yearlong celebration of the 35th anniversary of Essence magazine, a lifestyle publication aimed at black women.

Along with familiar acts, festival organizers also have booked some of urban music's brightest new stars for the 11th annual "party with a purpose," set for July 1-3 in the Louisiana Superdome.

Joining Aretha Franklin on the main stage the first night will be Alicia Keys, John Legend and Ruben Studdard. On July 2, Destiny's Child will top a roster also featuring Kanye West, Teena Marie and Fantasia. On July 3, Maze will close out a night that includes Lionel Richie, comedian-actress Mo'Nique and Kem, the festival announced recently.

On the Net:

http://www.essence.com/essence/emf