- The Washington Times - Monday, February 16, 2009

Press songs

Country music star Keith Urban performed a surprise two-song set for reporters to kick off his day at the Daytona 500, where he was the featured artist for Sunday’s pre-race concert.

“First time playing a press room,” he quipped before launching into “Sister Golden Hair” by America. “I just wanted to get in my comfort zone,” Associated Press reports.

He joked to reporters that he has never driven over 65 mph in his personal car, then added, “Maybe 130” was his fastest. “It was pretty insane.”

Bear time

The Berlinale, the Berlin international film festival, called it a wrap yesterday in the German capital and presented the Golden Bear for best picture to “The Milk of Sorrow,” a film about the scars left by Peru’s two decades of civil strife between the army and the Shining Path guerrillas.

Holding the award, director Claudia Llosa, 32, said, “We need this prize. It is important for us that people get to know our film.” It was Peru’s first entry in competition in the 59 years of the festival.

The Silver Bear for best actor went to Sotigui Kouyate, 72, of Mali for his role in “London River”; for best actress, the Silver Bear was won by Austria’s Birgit Minichmayr in the German drama “Everyone Else.”

Iran’s Asghar Farhadi won the Silver Bear for best director for his drama “About Elly.”

Day in court

An eccentric British book dealer appeared in court Tuesday, charged with stealing a rare first folio of Shakespeare’s plays from a university library.

Self-described “dilettante” Raymond Scott 51, arrived for the brief hearing about 250 miles north of London in a chauffeur-driven silver stretch limo. He was dressed almost entirely in white and holding a cigar and an opened cup of instant noodles. He read aloud from Shakespeare’s “Richard II” before entering the court, AP reports. Police say the 1623 folio is worth about $4.5 million. It was among seven centuries-old books and manuscripts stolen from Durham University library in northern England in 1998.

The book was recovered in June after a man walked into the Folger Shakespeare Library near Capitol Hill and asked to have its authenticity checked. Library staff contacted police, who traced the man and arrested Mr. Scott. He has previously denied theft.

Shepard fined

Actor-playwright Sam Shepard pleaded guilty to speeding and drunken driving charges in central Illinois, was fined $600 plus court costs and has been placed on 24 months’ supervision.

Mr. Shepard apologized to McLean County Associate Judge J. Casey Costigan in Bloomington during Wednesday’s hearing and said he never intends to drive under the influence again.

He also has to finish an alcohol treatment program and perform 100 hours of community service.

Compiled by Richard Slusser from wire and web reports

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