- The Washington Times - Monday, August 1, 2005

Hendrix as Klinger

Maybe that “Purple Haze” lyric really is “Excuse me while I kiss this guy.”

“Room Full of Mirrors,” Charles R. Cross’ new biography of Jimi Hendrix, reveals the late guitar god pretended he was homosexual in order to avoid Army service in Vietnam.

Publicly, Mr. Hendrix always claimed he was discharged after breaking his ankle on a parachute jump, but his medical records do not mention such an injury.

However, in regular visits to the base psychiatrist at Fort Campbell, Ky., in spring 1962, Mr. Hendrix complained that he was in love with one of his squad mates and that he had become addicted to masturbating, Mr. Cross writes, according to Associated Press. Finally, Capt. John Halbert recommended him for discharge, citing his “homosexual tendencies.”

Mr. Hendrix’s obvious later interest in women negates the notion that he might have been homosexual, Mr. Cross reasons. Nor, Mr. Cross says, was his stunt politically motivated: Contrary to the mystical hippie image for which he would become famous, Mr. Hendrix was an avowed anti-communist who exhibited little unease about the escalating U.S. role in Vietnam.

House of fire

Rocker Tom Petty opens up in detail for the first time about the arson fire that destroyed his house in 1987, likening the deed to a rape and admitting he was rattled for years afterward, Reuters news agency reports.

Mr. Petty recounts the near-fatal incident in the upcoming memoir, “Conversations with Tom Petty,” written by Paul Zollo and set for November release.

“We were shaken for years by it,” Mr. Petty says of the deliberately set fire, adding that he could not bring himself to use the word “fire” in a song.

“It’s sort of like being raped, I would imagine. It really took a long time. And it was 10 times as bad, because you knew that somebody just went and did it. Somebody tried to off you,” Mr. Petty says.

Mr. Petty built a bigger house on the property, partly because he wanted to show the unknown arsonist that he would, as his famous song says, not back down.

War of the words

Lately, many people have begun to wonder if Tom Cruise has a screw loose. Lauren Bacall thinks he’s vulgar, too.

Says the legendary actress in the current issue of Time magazine: “When you talk about a great actor, you’re not talking about Tom Cruise.

“His whole behavior is so shocking,” she added. “It’s inappropriate and vulgar and absolutely unacceptable to use your private life to sell anything commercially, but I think it’s kind of a sickness.”

Miss Bacall was alluding, of course, to Mr. Cruise’s untoward displays of emotion and public courting of fiancee Katie Holmes in the weeks leading up to the release of his new film, “War of the Worlds.”

Bach from the dead

A recently discovered aria by Johann Sebastian Bach is to receive its first-ever modern performance in Weimar, Germany, in September, organizers of the city’s Kunstfest said.

German soprano Juliane Banse will perform with Hungarian pianist Andras Schiff on harpsichord and the French-Austrian string quartet Quatuor Mosaiques, Agence France-Presse reports.

The two-page handwritten aria, titled “Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn” (Everything with God and nothing without him), was discovered in May stashed away in a box of birthday cards by German musicologist Michael Maul, a researcher at Leipzig’s Bach Archive.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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