Brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein, the masterminds behind Miramax Films, had a difficult job to do on Friday--fire about 75 employees a week before the Oscars. A spokesperson for Miramax told PageSix.com, "It was cost-cutting. Since October, we had increased staffing 17 percent, and so we reduced it by almost the same amount. It was simply growing pains--we grew too fast and we needed to take a step back and streamline our operations." The spokesperson insisted, however, the firings did not have anything to do with the $50 million Miramax blew on Talk magazine. A now ex-Miramax employee told PageSix.com that many of them knew the end was nigh in December when "they stopped giving us free bottled water."
A man who broke into a Malibu home thinking it was owned by actress Meg Ryan pleaded no contest Friday to trespassing, Reuters reports. John Hughes, 30, believing he is married to the Kate & Leopold star, broke into an unrelated family's house to wait for Ryan to come home. He claimed she had "forgotten to leave him a key under the doormat." Ryan had a restraining order placed against him in January and psychiatrists have deemed him a threat to the actress' safety.
Euro Disney in Paris opened a new theme park and resort dedicated to world of cinema and television on Saturday. Walt Disney Co.'s executives, including Michael Eisner and Roy Disney, were on hand to celebrate the opening. It also coincided with the 10th anniversary of Disneyland Paris, which has become one of Europe's top tourist attractions.
Organizers of the biennial Arab and Iranian Film Festival in Seattle, Washington, which had its opening night Friday, hoped the festival would show Americans how real Arabs live beyond what they see on television. Said Washington Rep. Jim McDermott at the festival's opening,"We are all together in this. Once we start pointing at anybody...we are in serious trouble." Films from countries such as Morocco, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria, Syria, the United States and Palestine will be screened during the seven-day festival through March 21.
Rocker Neil Young, down with the flu, had to postpone the Tour of America concert tour with fellow bandmates David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash in Washington and Oregon. The dates have been rescheduled for April 28 and 29, respectively.
Although some British legislators were opposed to the idea, Grammy winner Alicia Keys performed a short concert for an audience of reporters and schoolchildren at London's Portcullis House, a building next to Parliament. Older lawmakers felt the concert demeaned the establishment while lawmaker David Lammy, 29, who organized the event, hoped it would show Parliament as being "hip," not dull, reports The Associated Press.
Russell Crowe likes to groove to his music, but apparently no one else does. His new album with his band Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts, Clarity, will not make it into the U.K's Top 100, having only sold 156 copies after being in stores for two days. Stick to acting, Russell.
Veteran singer/actress Connie Stevens received the Army's Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service Medal for her tireless USO efforts during the Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf wars. That's what you get for entertaining the troops.
Sylvester "Pat" Weaver, the creator of NBC's Today and Tonight shows, as well as shaping how Americans watched television, died of pneumonia Friday night in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 93. He is survived by his daughter, actress Sigourney Weaver, wife Elizabeth, son Trajan, five grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
Eminem wants to start a fire
Residents and officials in Highland Park, Mich., protested Eminem's plans to burn down a house during the filming of his untitled movie. About 50 residents protested the fire during an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue; however, no final decision was made. Highland Park's emergency financial manager, Ramona Henderson, will have the final say on whether the house will burn, The Detroit Free Press reports. Eminem's movie will be released next summer.
Creed "weathers" their way to the top, plans new tour
Creed's third album, Weathered, soared the top of The Billboard 200 chart this week, after selling a whooping 887,000 units in the U.S., according to SoundScan. That's 142,000 more albums than Britney Spears' Britney sold when it released two weeks ago. This marks Creed's best week on the chart, blowing away the 316,000 first-week units the band's Human Clay album sold in October 1999.
In related news, Creed will begin a year of heavy touring Jan. 14 at the Lakeland Civic Center in Florida in support of their new album, Billboard reports. The band will hit 19 U.S. arenas through Feb. 17 and head to Australia in March. Creed will play more U.S. shows in April, play throughout Europe in May and June, and finish up the tour in the U.S. from July through November 2002.
The Doors are out to lunch
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet someone who knew The Doors' vocalist, Jim Morrison, intimately? Now you can. Rhino Entertainment is auctioning off a lunch with Doors' keyboard player Ray Manzarek, longtime Doors manager Danny Sugerman and producer Bruce Botnick. This exclusive gathering, to take place at Benvenuto Café in Los Angeles--The Doors Office until 1972--is being auctioned off on ebay Dec. 4 through Dec. 14,Virgin.com reports. The celebrates the release of The Very Best of the Doors, a collection of the group's most popular recordings. All proceeds from the winning bid will benefit the Musicians Assistance Program, a nonprofit organization.
Everclear's Alexakis to record solo album
Everclear's frontman, Art Alexakis, is planning to begin work early next year on a solo album for Capitol Records. "I'm not defined by Everclear," he told Billboard. "There are things I want to do, even if the music isn't worlds away. This can be just my thing; it's not a committee." In 1997, Alexakis toured small venues in the U.S. as a solo artist, playing songs from the unreleased Everclear album, Something for the Afterglow, the Art Alexakis Fan Club reports. In addition, Alexakis has contributed a solo song to the soundtrack of the 1998 Ben Stiller starrer Permanent Midnight.
Alicia Keys tops 2001 Billboard Music Awards nominations
R&B Newcomer Alicia Keys leads the nominees for this year's Billboard Music Awards in eight categories, including female artist of the year, new artist of the year, and R&B/hip hop album of the year for her album Songs in A Minor, Billboard reports. The awards, to be presented live on Dec. 4 on Fox from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, will include performances by No Doubt, Destiny's Child and Incubus.
The mood was somber and celebrity little more than a means to an end when tonight's telethon, America: A Tribute to Heroes, was shown on every major network and most of the major cable channels. There was no audience applauding; there was no audience, period, except those at home. There were no introductions; that wasn't the point, as celebrity speakers made clear throughout the night by telling the stories of the many heroes who lost their lives and saved the lives of others.
To commemorate Sept. 11, a day that could easily be thought of as "the day the music died," talented and famous faces came together for an evening of songs, stories, and yes, the occasional call for contributions.
The speeches tonight came in all varieties, all impassioned, some tearful, others awkward. A clearly nervous Jim Carrey spoke of Winston Churchill, then told the story of heroes who saved a woman by carrying her down 68 flights of stairs. George Clooney spoke of John Perry, a New York City policeman who'd filed his retirement papers the morning of Sept. 11, but heard of the tragedy and went to help. He never came back, Clooney said.
Cameron Diaz told stories of teachers who saved children at schools near the World Trade Center. Robin Williams talked of a hero who'd saved lives in the 1993 bombing and again this time, only last Tuesday he didn't make it out himself. Jimmy Smits spoke of police heroes, "cops who are willing to sacrifice their lives in an instant, for people they do not know." Julia Roberts spoke tearfully of heroes at the Pentagon, and the flying of the flag and the applause that greeted it.
Kelsey Grammer, who lost a co-worker aboard one of the flights that crashed, quoted words of strength from John F. Kennedy. Clint Eastwood talked gruffly of a day that would live in infamy.
Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Calista Flockhart, Conan O'Brien, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ray Romano, Jane Kaczmarek, Sela Ward, Chris Rock and Dennis Franz also spoke.
With some of the biggest names in music on the bill, America: A Tribute to Heroes was bound to be good. Bruce Springsteen opened with a candlelit acoustic performance of "My City of Ruins." Willie Nelson closed the two-hour event with "God Bless America," backed by an all-star cast of celebs who had been manning the phones all night. Does it get any better than that? Cut the album; give the proceeds to charity. We're there.
Of course, there were those who pointed out the reason for the event in their songs. Stevie Wonder, who followed The Boss, sang, "Love's in Need of Love Today," with the rather pointed line, "Don't delay, send yours in right away." Wyclef Jean's version of "Redemption Song" was peppered with cries of "Brooklyn" and "New York City" and "we've got to full-fill that book," which he sang while pointing to the phone bank.
The much-maligned Mariah Carey sang the only song she could under the circumstances, "Hero," of which she said, "When I wrote this song," she said, "it had a lot of meaning for me, and tonight it has even more meaning." Well said.
U2 appeared from London. Billy Joel tossed off a powerful rendition of "New York State of Mind" with a firefighter's helmet perched atop the piano. Faith Hill, Enrique Iglasias, Alicia Keys, a bearded and shaggy Tom Petty (with requisite Heartbreakers), a cowboy-hatted Neil Young performed as well. The Dixie Chicks were spot on, and Dave Matthews did an impressive solo acoustic tune.
Jon Bon Jovi did "Living on a Prayer"; Sting dedicated his performance of "Fragile" to a friend who died in the attacks. Sheryl Crow performed, and Paul Simon sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, James Woods, Meg Ryan, Cuba Gooding Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Ben Stiller, Penelope Cruz, Danny DeVito, Halle Berry, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Benicio Del Toro, Cindy Crawford, Sylvester Stallone, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton, Brad Pitt, Sally Field and other famous faces were seen answering phones at the telethon bank or singing backing vocals on the finale of "God Bless America."
The stars also took the time to make a point about the evils of racism and hate. Several Arab children spoke of the tragedy and its affect on their lives, then Will Smith appeared on stage, with Muhammad Ali, whom he'll be portraying in the forthcoming Ali.
"It was hate, not religion that motivated the attacks," Smith said.
Then Ali spoke. "I'm here because of the troublin' thing that happened the other day. I'm a Muslim, and I've been a Muslim for 20 years…. I think people should know the real truth about Islam. You know me, I'm a boxer…and a man of truth, and I wouldn't be here defending Islam if it was really like the terrorists made it look…. Islam is peace."
Later in the show, Lucy Liu said "America's greatest enemy is hatred itself."
The telethon was Hollywood's effort to generate contributions for the September 11th Telethon Fund, which is administered by the United Way and guaranteed to be distributed 100% to the victims of the terrorist attacks on America last week and their families.
ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox confirmed reports Tuesday that they will jointly produce a two-hour, celebrity-studded telethon on Friday to benefit families of the victims of last week's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The program will also be offered to the "fifth" networks, UPN and the WB, and to cable outlets, the Big 4 networks said. The program is scheduled to be carried live from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on the East Coast. It will be seen via tape-delay on the West Coast.
Titled America: A Tribute to Heroes, the program will feature performances by the Dixie Chicks, Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow, Neil Young, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Tom Petty, Billy Joel, Faith Hill and Paul Simon. Celebrities including Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Robin Williams and Julia Roberts have also agreed to appear, but it was not clear how they will be integrated into the program.
In the bubble gum kingdom of pop princesses, Mandy Moore is seen by media and fans alike as the only goody two shoes left of what was once a Bubblicious bunch.
Perhaps it's because Moore doesn't wear navel-revealing hip-huggers or low-cut shirts like the other teen singers. She seems happy being herself.
And for that, we love her.
"I'm probably the most boring, lame 17-year-old out there," Moore told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I'm not necessarily sending out the message that you shouldn't dress provocatively."
Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera have been criticized in the past for being too sexy too soon, but when it comes to Moore there is nothing but praise for her work and her image.
Our message to Mandy?
If you think you're "boring," then you are the most talented, "boring" teen performer we know. Keep it up!
Elegy for Jackass
If you thought comedian Tom Green went a little too far when he sucked a cow's udder in order to drink his milk, then you haven't seen MTV's controversial series Jackass. And perhaps now you won't, since the show's host, Johnny Knoxville, has walked to focus on his film career.
And I, for one, am glad to see it go. Jackass is television at its most foul. Green was sick but funny. Knoxville, on the other hand, is purely disgusting.
I still cringe when I remember the one (and only) time I saw the show. Knoxville organized an eggnog-drinking and raw egg-eating competition, then laughed at the contestants who puked yellow slime into an empty bucket--and onto each other.
I was this close to puking myself.
Fortunately, Knoxville told the Knoxville News-Sentinel on Monday that he wanted to quit the show because "people [had] become inured to the shock value.".
I may not be quite inured, but I can't tell you how glad I am that this useless show is over. Perhaps it had to do with the bodily functions involved. Maybe I don't enjoy being puked on. But that's just me.
No more Woodstock reunion
A planned celebration of Woodstock's 32nd anniversary has been scrapped, Jim Cuttler, the organizer of a Woodstock reunion/political rally told the AP on Wednesday.
Apparently, the city of Bethel, N.Y., site of the original Woodstock festival in 1969, was granted a temporary restraining order to hold off the reunion and make the town off limits for camping.
"It was just too much to try and deal with all the hassles," Cuttler said.
And we don't blame him.
It will not be easy to forget the scenes from 1999's Woodstock after widespread riots and even fires in the campgrounds injured fans at the event.
I guess the "peace, love, and rock 'n' roll" motto the hippies who attended the 1964 Woodstock created can only be found in the pages of music history.
Spears, J.Lo, Staind to perform at 2001 VMA's
With Britney Spears and J.Lo performing at this year's MTV Video Music Awards, we should be in for a treat. After all, Spears stripped into an incredible skin-colored bikini last year. This year can only be better.
Believe me, she will surprise all of us.
Most musicians use their MTV performances to be innovative and even to re-create their image, since the music channel serves as an open door between the artists and their fans.
Also on the list of performers scheduled are 'N Sync, Ja Rule, Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys, Staind and U2, MTV News reported on Tuesday.
Hosted by comedian Jamie Foxx, the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live Sept. 6 from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.
Music fans swamped with new album releases
If you're getting bored with your music collection, now is the time to indulge yourself with new material from your favorite artists.
Ozzfest 2001: The Second Millennium hit stores on Tuesday, and the furious, nonstop grindfest features tracks from various performers on this year's tour. Songs by Black Sabbath, Linkin Park, Papa Roach and Marilyn Manson will bring back memories of one of the hottest tours of the summer.
David Bowie will release two albums showcasing some of his unreleased work on Sept. 11. The first album, All Saints, is reportedly a collection of rare instrumentals Bowie compiled in 1993. The second release, Christiane F., originally the soundtrack to the film of the same name on vinyl, will now be re-released as a CD.
Jam band Phish will release the first wave of a series of Live Phish albums this fall, Rolling Stone magazine reports. The collection includes six CDs of live, unedited concerts in their entirety. The first five albums will come out Sept. 18 with the sixth making its way to stores in early October.
DMX will release his fourth album, The Great Depression on Sept. 25. The album has been delayed since the rapper starting an acting career (he appeared in 2000's Romeo Must Die).
And finally, the burning question. What color will Gwen Stefani's hair be on the cover of No Doubt's fourth album, Rock Steady when it's released on Dec. 18? "This is going to be the most adventurous and eclectic No Doubt album yet," guitarist Tom Dumont wrote on the group's official Web site. We have no doubt about that. Stefani's recent performances have included a duet with ever-eclectic Moby and a collaboration with rapper Eve on the single "Let Me Blow Ya Mind."