- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2008

Star wattage for D.C.

As if you needed another reason to tune in on Jan. 20, President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony is already shaping up to be one of the most star-studded events in the city’s history, the New York Daily News notes.

While Mr. Obama and his crack team of political heavy hitters will take center stage at the event, half of Hollywood is clamoring for a chance to shine in his glory. Beyonce Knowles wasted no time in clearing her calendar for the ceremony in the hope of being invited to perform, the newspaper says. She might make the evening a family affair, as rumors are that her husband, hip-hop heavyweight Jay-Z, is also in talks to perform.

A source close to British singing sensation Leona Lewis also says that “various inquiries have been made to Leona’s people about her availability on Jan. 20,” according to the British newspaper the Sun. Other high-profile names, including Sean “Diddy” Combs and Mary J. Blige, also have been thrown into the mix of possible performers.

Bruce Springsteen, meanwhile, revealed that his hotly anticipated album is due for release “around the time of the presidential Inauguration in January 2009,” suggesting a performance from the Boss could make for the highest-profile record-release party in history.

A whopping 52 celebrities have confirmed that they will be attending the inauguration ceremony as guests of the Creative Coalition, an organization dedicated to partnering the entertainment industry with social and political issues.

These guests will include Anne Hathaway, Spike Lee, Kerry Washington, Susan Sarandon, Jane Krakowski, Alfre Woodard, Barry Levinson, Dana Delany, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Wendie Malick, Josh Lucas, Matthew Modine, Rachael Leigh Cook, Alan Cumming, Connie Britton, Richard Schiff, Ellen Burstyn, Giancarlo Esposito, Gloria Reuben, Lynn Whitfield, Tamara Tunie and Tom Fontana.

According to the Daily News, the celebrities also will attend a lavish inaugural ball organized by the Creative Coalition Jan. 20 at the Harman Center for the Arts in Northwest.

Judge says Mel must talk

A judge says Mel Gibson will have to answer questions about planning and filming “The Passion of the Christ” in response to a screenwriter’s lawsuit.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon on Tuesday ordered Mr. Gibson to appear for a deposition by mid-January, Associated Press reports. Mr. Gibson’s attorneys had tried to keep him from having to answer questions regarding his blockbuster film about Jesus Christ’s last hours.

Screenwriter Benedict Fitzgerald is suing Mr. Gibson, claiming he was underpaid for his work on “Passion.”

Mr. Fitzgerald’s attorneys claimed Tuesday that his payments were eroded by Mr. Gibson’s spending habits while filming the movie in Italy, including “tens of thousands” of dollars spent on Mr. Gibson’s children’s education and a $78,000 chiropractor bill.

Bobby, Whitney may reunite

We’ve heard it before, but folks inside Whitney Houston’s circle of pals again insist the on-the-rebound diva and ex-husband Bobby Brown may be getting back together, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The official word from Camp Houston sticks to the old line about the divorced couple remaining separate “but good friends whose primary interest is the well-being of their daughter.”

Yet several Georgia sightings of Miss Houston and Mr. Brown in recent days - clearly looking very romantic while dining together - seem to boost the reliability of the rumors.

Daly to be a daddy

Talk-show host Carson Daly will have a full-time guest beginning next year.

Heather Lylis, Mr. Daly’s publicist, says the 35-year-old TV personality and his girlfriend, Siri Pinter, are expecting a child, AP reported Wednesday.

It will be the first child for both the “Last Call With Carson Daly” host and Miss Pinter, who has worked as an assistant on the show.

cCompiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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