- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Scandinavian surprise

After lighting up a giant Christmas tree at Union Station, followed by a proper embassy party, Norwegian revelers hadn’t had enough Tuesday night.

So they — and a surprise guest — trooped to gritty Madam’s Organ for late-late fun.

Between the sets of scheduled performers Ben Andrews and Hugh Feeley, “World Idol” winner and blues guitarist Kurt Nilsen wowed with two sets of his own.

Small in stature (he’s been called a hobbit) but big on talent, the Norwegian musician bested America’s own Kelly Clarkson in the international singing competition in January.

A left-handed player, Mr. Nilsen had no trouble improvising on a right-handed ax.

“He picked up Ben Andrews’ guitar, flipped it over and did an amazing job,” reports Madam’s Organ owner Bill Duggan.

“It goes to show you, even ‘World Idols’ end up where the beautiful people go to get ugly,” he added, paraphrasing the bar’s bibulous motto.

Whoa, nanny

A former nanny who worked for Don Imus has sued the radio talker, claiming that he wrongfully fired her, chased her off his New Mexico ranch in the middle of the night and then trashed her on his radio show.

Nichole Cathleen Mallette, 24, says in court papers that Mr. Imus flipped his lid over a small knife that she carried in a sheath on her belt and a cap pistol she had brought to the ranch for his 6-year-old son.

She says the boy had told her that he had permission to play with cap guns at the ranch, but the lawsuit, filed Monday, says she never gave the cap pistol to the boy.

Miss Mallette is seeking unspecified damages, saying she was wrongfully terminated, defamed and subjected to intentional emotional distress (he joked she was a “terrorist”), according to Associated Press.

“This isn’t a case of ‘he said, she said,’” said Miss Mallette’s lawyer, Benedict P. Morelli, in a pithy mood. “This is a case of ‘he said, she sued.’”

Swan song

The beloved supertenor giant Luciano Pavarotti plans to bring down the curtain on a 43-year career with an international tour jetting him from the Balkans to Buenos Aires via London, Paris and New York.

After that, retirement.

“The tour is long, but I never perform like a rock star, night after night. I shall do a maximum of two or three concerts a month,” Mr. Pavarotti said of a 40-city global finale that could take him well past his 70th birthday in October.

The ink is dry on the touring contract he signed with British producer Harvey Goldsmith, Reuters News Agency reports.

“It is exactly 43 years I have been going around here and there. Sometimes I don’t know which bed I am waking up in,” the singer said.

Scot-free

A love-struck fan who pursued singer Sheryl Crow for 15 months is now free to soak up the sun.

A New York City jury deliberated for three hours before finding Ambrose Kappos, 38, not guilty of burglary and stalking charges. He had faced up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Mr. Kappos ostentatiously kissed his lawyer on both cheeks and said, “That’s a Greek kiss, brother.”

Outside court, according to AP, Mr. Kappos said he believed he was “delusional” when he thought he was communicating telepathically with Miss Crow.

“Clearly, there was no telepathy,” Mr. Kappos said, adding that two unhappy marriages, an infatuation with Miss Crow and other emotional difficulties created a psychological “perfect storm.”

He said he was “still lookingfor love, and if I can find a really good woman who can stir my emotions the way Miss Crow did,” a real relationship might still be possible.

We’ll hold our breath.

Band-Aiding Darfur

An international group of musicians is set to perform next week in London’s Royal Albert Hall to raise money for starving refugees in Sudan’s western Darfur region.

The singers — including Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall, Pretender Chrissie Hynde, Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis and disco star Jocelyn Brown — will perform Cole Porter songs backed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.

“Living conditions in the camps are dire. But even worse, people are too frightened even to leave them, let alone return home,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees field officer Jake Morland told Reuters.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff and wire reports.

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