Amidst protestation, a church in Alamogordo, New Mexico burned Harry Potter and other books Sunday. Jack Brock, pastor and founder of the Christ Community Church, called the book burning a "blessing" and called the literary works "masterpieces of satanic deception," teaching children witchcraft, according to The Associated Press. Across the street from the church, protesters held signs saying, "Book burning? Shame on our town."
Britain honored some of their best when the Queen's New Year Honors List for 2002 was announced Monday. Actor Ben Kingsley, boxer Lennox Lewis and pop sensations The Bee Gees were among some of the lucky Brits to make the cut.
American Music Awards producer Dick Clark is mad at the King of Pop. Michael Jackson has backed out of appearing on the awards show Jan. 9, due to a conflict with the Grammy Awards, where Jackson is also scheduled to perform. Clark has filed suit against the Grammy organizers for what he calls "blacklisting" where the Grammys stipulate an artist cannot perform on the show if they also perform on the American Music Awards.
Rosie O'Donnell held a $250 per person private fund-raiser Sunday for Janet Reno, the former U.S. attorney general and current Democratic candidate for Florida state governor. "When I heard that she was running I called her office and told her I would do any and everything I can," O'Donnell told the AP.
Brian Warner, aka Marilyn Manson, has escaped jail time when a U.S. judge dropped the sexual misconduct charges against the rocker. Manson now faces fines of $2,000 for an assault and battery charge.
Who says the 1970s Bill Cosby cartoon Fat Albert isn't still the bomb? First, UPN's Christmas Eve special The Fat Albert Christmas Special won its 8 p.m. time slot and now a big screen version will be released in 2003, directed by Forest Whitaker. Hey, hey, hey!
One of the main roads in Austin, Texas was shut down Friday, but lined with fans, when the 68-year-old country singer Willie Nelson rode a horse down the street while filming a music video. The video is for a duet Nelson did with Lee Ann Womack.
The Clintons got into the holiday spirit in New York Thursday night, at the Brassiere 81/2, according to The Post. Dad Bill, mom Hillary and daughter Chelsea partied on, especially Bill and Chelsea who reportedly were hitting the vodka pretty hard. Reportedly ex-pres Bill lost his cell phone between the restaurant and his limo.
Crooner Barry Manilow isn't talking--quite literally. Manilow has been ordered to be completely silent for a few days due to severe bronchitis and had to postpone three weekend concert appearances. His New Year's Eve show, however, will go on as scheduled. Thank God.
Four Weddings and a Funeral star Andie MacDowell accepted an engagement ring from her college sweetheart, Rhett Hartzog, 43, last week, The Associated Press reports. "I am very happy for her," said MacDowell's father, Marion McBride. The couple plans to marry in November in Asheville, N.C, where MacDowell lives, McBride said. This will be her second marriage. MacDowell is currently promoting her new HBO movie Dinner With Friends, starring Dennis Quaid and Greg Kinnear. The movie will begin airing Aug. 11.
Madonna settled a $5 million breach-of-oral contract last week involving a film that she had allegedly agreed to appear in but later backed out of making. According to court papers, the case dates back to 1998 when Madonna made an agreement with independent filmmaker Millennium Films to make a cameo appearance in the movie Going Down, Launch.com reported. In exchange, the singer and Madguy Entertainment, the production company that she oversees with Maverick Records partner Guy Oseary would receive a co-producer credit in the film. The settlement was reached after Madonna and her lawyers were sanctioned by the court for walking out on a court-ordered deposition. The lawsuit was dismissed once the settlement was reached.
Actors Burt Reynolds and Julianne Moore will receive tributes at the 27th annual Deauville Festival Cinema, joining previously announced honoree producer Joel Silver. Among the movies in the competition are Bart Freundlich's World Traveler, starring Billy Crudup and Moore, as well as Reynolds' Tempted, directed by Bill Bennett and costarring Saffron Burrows. In addition to a Stanley Kubrick retrospective, and a sidebar programmed by Oliver Stone, the festival will honor James Dean's memory with screenings of the three features in his short filmography, capped by Mark Rydell's new biopic, James Dean, starring James Franco, Reuters reports. Among the artists confirmed to appear at the Aug. 31- Sept. 9 event include Steven Spielberg, Shannon Elizabeth, Johnny Deep, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Helen Hunt, Charlize Theron, Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.
French Canadian diva Celine Dion and husband Rene Angelil, baptized their six-month-old son Rene-Charles on Wednesday at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, Quebec, Reuters reports. Among 250 friends and members of the family attended the event while more than 1,500 onlookers and photographers cheered the singer outside of the church. The child, born Jan.25, was conceived through in vitro fertilization in New York. Dion, 33, is on a three-year sabbatical from show business to take care of her son. She will make a comeback in a musical in Las Vegas in 2003.
Russell Simmons, founder of the Def Jam record label, crashed a Senate hearing Wednesday on the entertainment industry and told Congress not to censor music or blame society's ills on violent and sexually explicit lyrics. Congress and entertainment figures have clashed over whether and how the industry targets explicit content to young people, Reuters reported. "Some of the songs you may find offensive, protest songs and other songs, are actually a reflection of the reality that needs to be expressed. The real issue is how do we address these issues," Simmons told members of the Congress. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee chairman, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), had rejected a request from Simmons earlier this week to speak to the committee, saying the witness list was full. The hip-hop recording mogul spoke his mind after having sat through actor William Baldwin's testimony, in which the actor said the media did not cause violent behavior.
The Recording Industry Association of America is launching a new campaign to attract attention to the Parental Advisory stickers placed on albums containing explicit sexual or violent content, Rolling Stone reports. The RIIA will produce public service announcements for TV and radio featuring legendary record producer Quincy Jones and print out a new Parental Advisory brochure to PTA groups, school principals, as well as local and federal officials involved with children's issues.
A trip to see Planet of the Apes this weekend could cost you as much as $10 a ticket if you live in Boston. Loews Cineplex recently opened its Boston Commons 19 megaplex movie theatre, with tickets costing $10 on weekends and $9.50 weekdays. According to Reuters, for a $15 ticket price, patrons can get reserved theater seating and the availability of valet parking, with $2 of the extra ticket charge refundable if moviegoers patronize the theater's bar.
Nicole Kidman will star in Danish director's Lars von Trier's new project Dogville, costarring Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgaard. The plot of the movie will be set in a small American mountain village in the 1930s and filmed in Sweden next year, has not been revealed, The Associated Press reported. Last year, von Trier won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for
Late-night TV host David Letterman underwent emergency multiple-bypass heart surgery in New York today, one day after revealing on his CBS program that he was to undergo tests to determine if he had arterial disease.
Letterman's prognosis for recovery was said to be excellent. CBS will air reruns of "The Late Show with David Letterman" until its titular host returns.
"Dave has the heart muscle of a 20-year-old,'' Letterman surgeon Dr. O. Wayne Isom told reporters following the surgery.
Still, it appears the entertainer also had blocked arteries. Some reports said Letterman underwent a quintuple bypass.
The comic was at work as late as Thursday, when during a taping he told guest Regis Philbin that was to undergo an angiogram today. That show will air tonight.
Letterman, 52, said he has high blood cholesterol and a history of heart disease in his family. Letterman's father Harry died of a heart attack in 1974 when he was in his 50s.
Earlier, Letterman spokesman Howard Rubenstein called the test precautionary only and said that the talk-show host could walk away with a clean bill of health.
BRING AN APPLE FOR OPRAH: Oprah Winfrey can do a lot of things well. She can act, produce movies, ward people off meat and make people cry. Now she's inspiring business students.
Winfrey, who taught a class called "Dynamics of Leadership" last fall at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, had such a good time and received such great reviews from her students that she's agreed to return next fall and teach again. She teaches the class with her boyfriend, businessman Stedman Graham.
"Students said she truly provided a class they learned something from," assistant dean Rich Honack told the Associated Press. Honack said Winfrey's reviews were among the best for any Northwestern professor. Winfrey, however, thinks she needs a little improvement.
"I gave myself a B and I'm coming back to get an A because I now know how to get it," Winfrey told the Daily Northwestern campus newspaper.
HANOI JANE, CHURCH LADY: Holy Communion, Batman! Jane Fonda has reportedly accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal savior.
Rumors are swirling on the Internet and in newspapers around the country that Fonda's recent split from husband and media mogul Ted Turner may have been prompted by her newfound, yet hush-hush, faith in God. Turner has been an outspoken critic of Catholicism and Christianity, which he has called a "religion for losers."
According to an article published Thursday in the Washington Times, Fonda, who has refused comment on her marital break-up, is "regularly attending church services and Bible studies in Atlanta."
The Rev. Gerald Durley, pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church, a predominantly black congregation where Fonda spends her Sunday mornings, told the newspaper: "I am extremely impressed with the genuineness and sincerity in [her] search for spirituality and wholeness. I think she's found a certain sense of peace among people who've found peace with Christianity."
Meanwhile, hubby Ted has said that, although he once accepted Christ as a boy at a Billy Graham crusade, he lost his faith after his sister's death.
In February 1999, at a symposium of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, Turner was asked what he would say to Pope John Paul II, who opposes abortion and artificial contraception. Turner responded with an ethnic joke: "Ever seen a Polish mine detector?" Turner said the pope should "get with it. Welcome to the 20th century." He also ridiculed the Ten Commandments. Later he recanted in front of an Atlanta-area Baptist congregation, saying, "From the bottom of my heart, I apologize for the things I said about Christians."
Long known for her left-wing political views, and for a series of fat-busting workout videos, Fonda has pretty much kept her opinions (and her exercise regimen) to herself since marrying Turner in 1991. She's won Oscars for the films "Klute" (1971) and "Coming Home" (1978) but is more remembered for her 1972 sojourn to communist North Vietnam, a trip that branded her as a traitor among U.S. service members and hardcore patriots. She was previously married to liberal California politician and former "Chicago Seven" war protester Tom Hayden for 17 years.
Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, told the Washington Times that Fonda may have been turned on to Christ by her chauffeur, who shared his faith with her while ferrying her about. "We should be kind and gracious and thoughtful and respectful," Baehr said.