- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Band aid

Associated Press

In an unprecedented series of concerts in mostly swing states, more than 20 musical acts — including Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and the Dixie Chicks — will perform fund-raising concerts one month before the Nov. 2 election in an effort to unseat President Bush.

The idea was hatched by several of the acts’ managers and quickly expanded.

The shows, which begin Oct. 1 in Pennsylvania, will take an unusual approach: as many as six concerts on a single day in cities across some of the states expected to be most important in deciding the November presidential race.

Other stops on the tour are North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin — and the key state in 2000, Florida.

“We’re trying to put forward a group of progressive ideals and change the administration in the White House,” Mr. Springsteen said.

The artists, of different generations and genres, will tour under the name Vote for Change, with shows Oct. 1 through Oct. 8. The money generated will go to America Coming Together, which promises on its Web site to “derail the right-wing Republican agenda by defeating George W. Bush.”

The shows will be presented by MoveOn PAC, the electoral arm of the liberal interest group Moveon.org.

There was no immediate word on prices for tickets, which will go on sale for all shows Aug. 21. The concerts — 34 shows in 28 cities — will pair artists such as Mr. Springsteen and R.E.M. or the Dixie Chicks and James Taylor.

“A change is in order,” said the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines, who memorably told a London audience last year that she was ashamed to share her home state of Texas with Mr. Bush.

Others participating in the shows include Jurassic 5, John Mellencamp, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Babyface, Bright Eyes and the Dave Matthews Band. Most have a history of social activism, including Mr. Browne’s anti-nuclear concerts and Mr. Mellencamp’s Farm Aid shows.

Mr. Springsteen said he didn’t fear any backlash over his personal politics.

“It’s a pretty clear-cut decision in November,” said the artist, whose songs have provided a backdrop for some events featuring Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

“We’re chipping in [R]our two cents,” Mr. Springsteen said. “That’s all we’re trying to do.”

‘Garden’ variety

Zach Braff, an up-and-coming writer-director, would like to weed out some mistaken impressions about his home state, New Jersey.

“Most people who come in and out of New Jersey go through [R] Newark [R][R][R]International Airport,” Mr. Braff said in an interview with Associated Press. “They see the environment around there, and people make jokes, and it [creates the perception] that it’s a gross place to live.

“But anyone who goes south of Exit 14 [on the New Jersey Turnpike] knows that it looks like this,” he continued, referring to the leafy environs of [R]his Maplewood, N.J., stomping grounds.

Mr. Braff’s first movie, appropriately titled “Garden State,” opens tomorrow in [R]area theaters.

Poker-face payoff

New York Post

Tobey Maguire knows when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

The “Spider-Man” star finished 15th out of 281 players at the $10,000 no-limit hold-‘em main event last weekend at the Mirage Poker Showdown in Las Vegas, winning $16,201 and beating dozens of professional players.

The New York Post says Mr. Maguire crippled cantankerous poker pro Phil Hellmuth when he made four of a kind against Mr. Hellmuth’s full house, prompting a tirade from the card shark.

But Mr. Maguire was beaten by “Welcome Back Kotter” creator and star Gabe Kaplan, who finished third, taking home $256,519.

Trib’s tribute

Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson, whose work explores the black American experience in the 20th century, was awarded the 2004 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize for lifetime achievement.

Mr. Wilson, 59, is famous for such plays as “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Fences” and is a native of Pittsburgh who currently lives in Seattle.

“August Wilson’s work has shown him to be not only one of the luminaries of American playwriting, but one of the great thinkers of our time,” Tribune Editor Ann Marie Lipinski said.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse and Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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