- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 7, 2006

Jacko is furious

A recent GQ article spoofing Michael Jackson has the singer demanding the magazine apologize and pull the issue from circulation.

In a statement released Friday, Mr. Jackson’s representative, Raymone K. Bain, said the King of Pop is “furious” about a series of photos featuring a Jackson impersonator in the magazine’s May issue, now on newsstands.

The photos accompany an article called “Where’s Michael?” which documents writer Devin Friedman’s quest to find Mr. Jackson in Bahrain, the Middle Eastern country where he now lives.

In one photo, a Jackson look-alike sits in a darkened movie theater within a row of children. Another photo shows him standing in the desert draped in a black cloak and head scarf, with his trademark glittery white glove.

The statement said: “Mr. Jackson is furious that his image has been used in such a misleading way, and is demanding an apology from the editors of GQ and its publisher, Conde Nast. Mr. Jackson is also demanding that the magazines be pulled from newsstands.”

Jim Nelson, GQ editor in chief, responded Friday: “It is very clear that the pictures in the story … are satirical, whether it’s a picture of a Michael Jackson imitator sitting in a Bahraini cinema or an image of The Gloved One standing flamboyantly in the desert.

“Mr. Jackson may feel that the person in the photographs is an ‘imposter,’ but he is merely an imitator,” Mr. Nelson said.

Mr. Jackson, 47, moved to the Gulf state soon after being acquitted of child molestation charges in California last year.

Fight over trees

Several hundred people including Baroness Thyssen demonstrated on Saturday against the removal of century-old trees from Madrid’s Paseo del Prado, site of the Thyssen museum.

The baroness did not, however, chain herself to a tree, as she had threatened to do last month.

Forty environmentalist campaign groups organized the protest against Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon’s refurbishment plan for the avenue, which boasts three major art galleries: the Thyssen, the Prado and the Reina Sofia.

The demonstrators, including many artists and left-wing politicians, gathered in front of the Thyssen museum, which houses Baroness Thyssen’s art collection and that of her late husband, totaling around 1,000 masterpieces and now largely owned by the Spanish state.

Among the slogans on their placards were: “SOS Prado Avenue,” and “If We Were Quiet, The Trees Would Be Screaming.”

Officially, the plans for the Paseo del Prado only entail uprooting 29 trees in close proximity to the Thyssen museum. But according to the campaigners, the authorities plan to get rid of 738 trees in all, 461 of which would be transplanted elsewhere.

The baroness, a former Miss Spain and the fifth wife of the late Baron Hans Heinrich von Thyssen-Bornemisza, has said “it is impossible to transplant trees of this size … the majority will die.”

For Mr. Gallardon, however, the redevelopment program to widen the pedestrian portion of the Paseo del Prado and facilitate traffic flow will give Madrid “the best civic and cultural space of any city in Europe.”

Margaret’s garden

Queen Elizabeth II opened a garden dedicated to the memory of her sister, Princess Margaret, who died in 2002 at age 71.

The publisher Viscount Rothermere, whose company publishes the Daily Mail tabloid, on Friday showed the Queen and Margaret’s children the garden, which he called a tribute to the part the princess played in building Anglo-American relations.

The hedged garden at Oxford University’s Rothermere American Institute, with its sundial and water feature, is the work of designer Anouska Hempel.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from Web and wire reports.

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