Monthly Archives: May 2008

Will Smith Donates Over $1 Million To Fund Scientology School

The Fresh Prince is also bankrolling his own sequel to “I Am Legend”, due out in late 2009, entitled “I Am Scientologist”.

Hollywood power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith have won critical acclaim for pumping nearly $1 million of their own money into a new private school that will offer organic meals, laptops for every student and an environment of learning based on “equity” and “respect” to create “citizens of the world.”

Here’s what the parents of the school’s pupils aren’t being told:

The New Village Academy plans to use some teaching methods developed within the Church of Scientology and has hired a team of Scientologists to put them into action.

Pinkett-Smith, who currently home-schools the couple’s two children, has long been talking about opening up a school where Jaden, 9, and Willow, 7, can continue to receive an education in line with their beliefs, friends told

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Amy Winehouse To Play Nelson Mandela’s 90th B’Day

Nelson Mandela doesn’t mess around when it comes to birthday parties. And he’s bringing out the big guns on June 27th, 2008 — for a big 90th bash in London’s Hyde Park. Musical guests include the likes of: Amy Winehouse, Annie Lennox, Queen, Dame Shirley Bassey, Razorlight and more…but no Eminem?

No matter, expected other celebriguests include the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, and Robert De Niro. Those are some powerful friends.

LONDON — Amy Winehouse says she will perform next month at a concert honoring Nelson Mandela.

The concert will be held June 27 in London’s Hyde Park to celebrate the former South African president’s birthday. Mandela turns 90 on July 18.

The lineup for the concert _ which will benefit Mandela’s AIDS charity _ also includes Queen, Simple Minds, Leona Lewis and the Soweto Gospel Choir.

Former President Clinton and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey are among those expected to attend.

Winehouse is scheduled to perform at a string of music festivals this summer as she tries to refocus attention on her music rather than on her tempestuous personal life.

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Austrian Abductee Becomes TV Talk Show Host

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this. “Natascha Kampusch meets…” is set to debut on Austrian television this Sunday, when she interviews motor racing star Nicki Lauda.

It is a brave move for Ms. Kampusch to put herself under the white heat of the media’s glare — but it feels vaguely exploitive to know that her “girl in the cellar” status will compel viewers to tune in.

Natascha Kampusch, the Austrian who spent eight years locked in a windowless cell after being abducted in Vienna, turns TV chat show host on Sunday when her debut program airs on national television.

In “Natascha Kampusch meets…” Kampusch, whose case returned to the spotlight after revelations that another Austrian woman spent 24 years locked in a cellar, interviews former Austrian motor racing star Niki Lauda, who comments they have both had extreme lives.

“Of course I have realized I will always be different, but what I have experienced hasn’t affected me in the way people think,” Kampusch tells Lauda in the pre-recorded show which was screened to journalists on Friday.

The first of six episodes of the monthly chat show is to be broadcast at prime time on the private PULS 4 channel.

Although the show was criticized as formulaic and lacking in spontaneity by some in the audience but commentators say it will likely attract a huge number of viewers.

“Recently the role of victim has weighed on her. She told us she wanted to do other things and show what she is capable of,” said Kampusch’s media advisor Dusan Uzelac.

“She doesn’t just want to be the girl in the cellar.”

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Over 100 Countries Agree to Ban Cluster Bombs, Key Nations Absent

As with seemingly every other international agreement that has the capacity to effect real change, from the Kyoto Accord to the International Criminal Court, those nations whose participation is most needed refuse to be involved in the talks or sign the accord.

That the United States, Russia, China and Israel did not participate or agree to today’s treaty to ban cluster bombs is an unacceptable affront to the international community and to all of the people whose lives have been affected by these devastating and unnecessary munititions.

For a heartbreakingly human portrait of this issue, I urge you to see Bahman Ghobadi’s incredible film “Turtles Can Fly“. It’s impossible to imagine any possible benefit for using these kinds of weapons, no matter what the conflict.

More than 100 countries attending a conference in Dublin, Ireland formally adopted a treaty Friday to ban cluster bombs — a large, unreliable and inaccurate weapon that often affects civilians long after the end of armed conflict. art.jpg

Ali Wansa, a 44-year-old Lebanese national, lost his leg to a cluster bomb.

The countries agreed never to use cluster munitions or the explosive bomblets they contain, and they also agreed never to develop, acquire, retain or transfer cluster munitions, according to the official treaty document.

The 111 countries attending the two-week meeting agreed to the treaty Wednesday but formally signed it Friday.

The countries said they are “deeply concerned” about civilians suffering the long-term effects of cluster bombs.

They are “concerned that cluster munition remnants kill or maim civilians, including women and children, obstruct economic and social development, including through the loss of livelihood, impede post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction, delay or prevent the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, can negatively impact on national and international peace-building and humanitarian assistance efforts, and have other severe consequences that can persist for many years after use,” the document said.

In addition to calling for a total, immediate ban of the weapons, the international accord calls for strong standards to protect those injured by them and to make sure that contaminated areas are cleaned up as quickly as possible and that the weapons are immediately destroyed, a spokesman for the Cluster Munition Coalition told CNN.

Some of the biggest makers and users of cluster bombs cited by human rights groups — such the United States, Russia, China and Israel — were not involved in the talks and did not sign the accord. Organizers expressed hope that those nations would nevertheless be pressured into compliance.

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Donnie Darko Sequel Adds A ‘Showgirl’

This is a very questionable call. I didn’t even know that a Darko sequel was in the works. Now I’m a little concerned. Casting Jessie Spano in a Darko flick just don’t feel right.

Having fronted Paul Verhoeven‘s infamous 1995 sleazefest, Showgirls, Elizabeth Berkley knows a thing or two about the dark side.

So it makes sense the actress will feel at home in S. Darko, 20th Century Fox’s upcoming sequel to 2001’s indie sci-fi cult hit Donnie Darko, which launched Jake Gyllenhaal to stardom as a troubled teen plagued by visions of an evil, large rabbit.

Per the Hollywood Reporter, the story picks up seven years after the original, with Daveigh Chase reprising her role as Donnie’s now 17-year-old sister, Samantha, who is suddenly besieged by similar scary hallucinations.

Berkley plays a “speed freak turned Jesus freak” who seeks to rid the world of sin while flirting with her handsome pastor.

The 35-year-old Saved By the Bell alum can currently be seen on the tube hosting Bravo’s reality dance competition, Step It Up and Dance.

S. Darko costars Ed Westwick (Gossip Girls), along with Justin Chatwin and Briana Evigan. The film, helmed by newcomer Chris Fisher, has begun shooting in Utah.

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Condi Rice Joins The Kiss Army

“You and whose army?  / You and your cronies…”

It’s anyone’s guess whether or not Condi would have joined the Kiss fan club if it wasn’t an army, but at least she’s willing to admit that she wants to rock & roll all night and party ev-er-y day. Except for the whole all night part and the whole partying part.

The Kiss Army fan club has an enthusiastic new recruit: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Rice was in the Swedish capital Thursday for an international conference on Iraq. Kiss had a sold-out concert to play Friday.

“I was thrilled,” Rice said of her late-night encounter with Kiss frontman Gene Simmons and bandmates Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer in the executive lounge of the Sheraton Hotel where they signed autographs and handed out backstage passes and T-shirts to her staff.

“It was really fun to meet Kiss and Gene Simmons,” she told reporters, noting that they seemed well-informed about current events. The band had asked if she could stop by after she finished dinner with the Swedish foreign minister and Rice readily agreed, she said.

Rice, a classically trained pianist, said she has eclectic musical tastes ranging from Beethoven to Bruce Springsteen.

Hard rockers such as Kiss are included in the mix, and Rice said her favorite Kiss tune is “Rock and Roll All Nite.”

But, Rice conceded, she has never seen the band in concert.

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‘Beverly Hills Cop’ Returns

Apparently this was Eddie’s idea. To which I say: No, No, No…rbit.

Stick to talking donkeys, dude. Axel Foley’s time has passed.

LOS ANGELES – If Indiana Jones can make a successful comeback after almost 20 years, why not the Beverly Hills Cop?

Paramount Pictures has given the go-ahead for a fourth instalment of its “Beverly Hills Cop” franchise, with Eddie Murphy on board to return to the role that launched his movie career, the studio said on Thursday.

Brett Ratner, the filmmaker behind the similarly themed “Rush Hour” movies starring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, is in negotiations to direct the latest “Beverly Hills Cop” adventure, a Paramount spokesman said.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura (“Transformers”) will produce.

The film is expected to begin filming next year for a summer 2010 release.

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