Singer Janelle Monae performed for U.S. President Barack Obama at a star-studded political fundraiser in Los Angeles on Wednesday (23Jul14). The event took place at the home of Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes, and was co-hosted by the show's star Kerry Washington.
As well as Obama, attendees included Scandal actors Tony Goldwyn and Scott Foley, and veteran music mogul Berry Gordy.
Obama addressed the crowd, and singled out Monae for particular praise, saying of the Tightrope hitmaker, "She's played so often at the White House, there should be a room named for her."
According to reports, the politician revealed Monae is in possession of a video showing him dancing with pop star Usher, adding, "She can blackmail me at any time. I did not drop and split, but I did bust a move."
Proceeds from the gathering will go to the Democratic National Committee.
Authors Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler have made literary history by becoming two of the first four American writers ever to make it onto the Booker Prize list. The 2014 'longlist' was announced on Wednesday (23Jul14) - the first time Americans have been eligible for the coveted best fiction award in the 46-year-old history of the prize.
The literary honour has previously only been handed to citizens of Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth.
In announcing this year's list, members of the prize committee revealed 154 books had been entered for the 2014 Booker Prize.
The list, which includes fellow Americans Siri Hustvedt and Richard Powers, now stands at 13 and a shortlist of six books will be announced on 9 September (14). The winner will be named in mid-October (14).
The books on the long list are:
Joshua Ferris' To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Siri Hustvedt's The Blazing World
Howard Jacobson's J
Paul Kingsnorth's The Wake
David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks
Neel Mukherjee's The Lives of Others
David Nicholls' Us
Joseph O'Neill's The Dog
Richard Powers' Orfeo
Ali Smith's How to be Both
Niall Williams' History of the Rain.
Demi Lovato had to give up her raw food, gluten-free diet at a recent house party because she did not want to offend host Robert Rodriguez or special guest President Barack Obama.
The singer is obsessed with healthy eating after learning she has allergies to gluten and dairy, but she had to dine and dare at moviemaker Rodriguez's home in Austin, Texas last month (Jun14), when she realised he was making pizza for everyone.
She tells Extra, "I try to eat raw food whenever possible. I don’t eat it all the time just because I’m the type of person that if I do something, if I go all one way, I get burnt out... I’m gluten-free and dairy-free because I’m allergic to them. I just eat vegan and raw as much as possible and it's really changed my body and made me feel better. "But you kind of can’t turn down pizza that Robert Rodriguez handmade - and that you are also eating with the President."
Rodriguez's star-studded house party served as a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. Jessica Alba and Rosario Dawson were also among the guests.
Director Robert Rodriguez hosted a star-studded fundraising party for U.S. President Barack Obama at his home in Austin, Texas on Wednesday night (09Jul14). The Sin City filmmaker was joined by the stars of his upcoming sequel A Dame To Kill For, Jessica Alba and Rosario Dawson, plus his frequent collaborator Danny Trejo and pop singer Demi Lovato.
The guests paid $32,000 (£18,823) for a ticket to the event, with proceeds going to Obama's political party, the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Obama gave a speech while the guests dined in a poolside marquee.
Lovato showed her excitement on Twitter.com, writing, "Dinner w/ (with) @BarackObama tonight at @Rodriguez's castle (sic) tonight... No big deal..."
The creator of political TV drama Scandal, Shonda Rimes, and the show's star Kerry Washington will host a similar event for Obama in Los Angeles on 23 July (14).
Actress Cynthia Nixon is expanding her working relationship with New York Mayor Bill De Blasio by joining an advisory board. The Sex and the City star, who was an early supporter of the politician, has signed up for the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, a non-profit organisation which raises money from private investors for public programs.
Nixon was previously appointed to De Blasio's transition committee to help the Democrat fill key positions in his administration and advise him on policy ideas at the start of his tenure in January (14).
Her wife, Christine Marinoni, is also working with the Mayor, serves as a special adviser for community partnerships in the Department of Education.
Singer Rosanne Cash is set to testify before the U.S. Congress about music licensing and illegal downloading. Johnny Cash's daughter is heading to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday (25Jun14) to speak in front of the House Judiciary Committee.
She says, "I am honoured to have been asked by the Americana Music Association to represent musicians, songwriters and recording artists in these hearings.
"As a singer-songwriter who has been in the music business for 35 years, I look forward to sharing with Washington leaders some of the deep concerns all musicians share in the new digital economy. Creative people deserve fair compensation when their work is used by others."
Actress Piper Perabo has become a voice for refugees around the world thanks to her latest role with the International Rescue Committee. The Coyote Ugly star has been named an IRC Voice for the World's Most Vulnerable, and joins celebrities like Rashida Jones, John Legend and Morena Baccarin among the organisation's celebrity supporters.
As part of her new role, Perabo will raise awareness of "the needs of refugees and people who have been displaced by conflict, religious persecution or political oppression around the world".
She says, "I have tremendous admiration for the work the IRC does both in the United States and around the world. Whether it's assisting refugees who have been forced to flee the Syrian conflict or guiding refugee youth through the New York public school system, their work is important, impactful and transforms lives. I am excited and honoured to join the IRC's team."
Perabo first learned about the IRC from a relative who serves as a caseworker for the organisation's refugee resettlement program in Boise, Idaho.
The IRC was founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein. Since then, the organisation has enjoyed the support of many high profile artists, including Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Paul McCartney and Paul Newman.
Hollywood director Steven Spielberg is embroiled in a property dispute over the garage at his New York estate. The Jaws moviemaker is fighting allegations the structure at his home in East Hampton, New York breaches regulations, while his lawyer is also attempting to secure approval for an extension to the guest house.
If Spielberg is found to have breached planning restrictions by building the garage too close to the property line, he could be ordered to have it torn down.
The director's lawyer, Richard Whalen, appeared before a local committee on 13 June (14) to argue the case, saying, "The building (garage) has no impact on neighbours or on the public at large," according to the New York Post's gossip column Page Six.
The hearing continues later this month (Jun14).
Daniel Radcliffe, Pitbull, Pharrell Williams and Will Ferrell will be among the celebrities unveiling stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.
The selection of next year's inductees was announced on Thursday (19Jun14). The Hollywood Chamber and the Walk of Fame Selection Committee members will also welcome author Raymond Chandler posthumously, Jennifer Garner, filmmaker Peter Jackson, Paul Rudd, Melissa McCarthy, Christoph Waltz, chef Bobby Flay, Seth MacFarlane, Julianna Margulies, Chris O'Donnell, Jim Parsons, Sofia Vergara and Kool & The Gang, among others, to Hollywood Boulevard.
Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi has been feted for his contribution to television in his native Scotland. The Oscar-winning director and actor, also known for his turn in political comedy The Thick of It, received the RTS Scotland Award in honour of his career achievements at the Royal Television Society Scotland prizegiving this week (beg09Jun14).
A statement from the award show's jury reads, "An acclaimed writer, performer and director, Peter has achieved phenomenal success at home and abroad. Original, memorable, engaging and definitive - his contribution to television has been exceptional, and the committee feel he is a worthy and much deserved winner of this inaugural award."