- - Sunday, October 30, 2011

Adele facing surgery, cancels appearances for rest of 2011

Adele’s voice has given her the biggest success this year - and the most trouble. The singer will have throat surgery and has now canceled all tour dates and promotional appearances for the year.

According to the Associated Press, Columbia Records announced Friday that the “Rolling in the Deep” singer will have surgery “to alleviate the current issues with her throat.” A full recovery is expected.

Earlier this month, the 23-year-old canceled a U.S. concert run due to a hemorrhage in her vocal cords; she also canceled concerts in June due to laryngitis.

The statement said doctors have ordered the Grammy winner to rest her voice and “completely recuperate before looking to schedule any work commitments.”

Adele’s “21” is the best-selling CD of the year in the United States; it has sold more than 4 million units.

Manilow donation brings music back to Joplin, Mo.

Singer-songwriter Barry Manilow has come through on his pledge to help schools in Joplin replace musical instruments lost in the tornado that devastated the town last spring, according to the Associated Press.

The Joplin Globe reports that hundreds of band, choir and orchestra students looked on Thursday as Mr. Manilow delivered $300,000 worth of musical instruments for the high school and middle school.

Mr. Manilow made the presentation inside a stadium on behalf of the Manilow Music Project, which works to highlight the importance of school music programs.

The May 22 tornado killed more than 160 people and destroyed thousands of homes as well as businesses and schools in the southwestern Missouri city.

Martin’s book of tweets to benefit charity

Steve Martin’s tweets are coming out in book form, like it or not.

According to the Associated Press, the comedian tweeted Thursday, “Due to absolutely no demand, soon I’m publishing a book of my tweets.”

The title is long, but less than the 140 characters required on Twitter: “The Ten, Make that Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make that Ten.” Grand Central Publishing will release the book in June 2012.

And there may indeed be demand: Martin’s Twitter account, @SteveMartinToGo, has more than 1.7 million followers.

According to Mr. Martin’s tweet, followers’ replies to his tweets will be included. Profits will be donated to charity.

Director Jackson working on pardon for former inmate

Renowned New Zealand movie director Peter Jackson said Friday that he was working with a high-profile former American death-row inmate in hopes of getting the man a complete pardon.

Mr. Jackson, best known for his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, said he received an exemption to New Zealand law to allow Damien Echols to visit him. Mr. Echols was part of a group known as the “West Memphis Three” who were convicted of killing three boys in Arkansas in 1993. He and the other two men were released in August as part of an unusual arrangement with prosecutors.

At a news conference Friday in which Mr. Jackson stood alongside New Zealand Prime Minister John Key at the North Island set where Mr. Jackson is filming a two-part version of “The Hobbit,” the director said he’d gone through the same process open to everyone in applying for an exemption to immigration laws.

“There are all sorts of emotive headlines about Damien Echols, killer, coming to New Zealand, but the reality is that Damien Echols is an innocent man who has spent 18 years incarcerated in a tiny cell,” Mr. Jackson said.

The director told reporters that he and partner Fran Walsh had worked for seven or eight years to try and help free Mr. Echols.

“He’s come here to work with us on a couple of things,” Mr. Jackson said. “We’re doing investigative work, we’re doing forensic work … with the purpose of getting a complete pardon.”

Mr. Jackson clarified that Mr. Echols was not taking part in work on “The Hobbit.”

Mr. Echols is one of the highest-profile death-row inmates to be released in the U.S. Three HBO documentaries about his case brought national attention and sparked the involvement of several celebrities, including Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder.

Mr. Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley - who were teenagers at the time - were convicted of killing three 8-year-old boys who were found naked and tied in a drainage ditch in the Arkansas town of West Memphis. The case hinged on the testimony of witnesses who said they’d heard the teens talk about the killings.

In 2007, lawyers representing Mr. Echols claimed that new DNA tests taken from the crime scene didn’t match any of the men. In August, the men agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges and were released immediately for time served - all the while publicly maintaining their innocence.

Next ‘Iron Man’ sequel to film in North Carolina

The next installment in the Iron Man superhero film franchise will shoot in North Carolina, the Associated Press reports.

Marvel Studios will film “Iron Man 3,” starring Robert Downey Jr., in Wilmington, with pre-production starting soon and work in the state lasting about 10 months.

State film office head Aaron Syrett said Thursday it will be the largest production to shoot in North Carolina. The production is expected to create 550 jobs for tradesmen, technicians and other crew members and more than 1,000 spots for actors and other talent.

The previous films in the series are based on a Marvel Comics character and featured Mr. Downey as a billionaire weapons-maker who fights bad guys wearing a high-tech suit of armor he created.

Adele’s voice has given her the biggest success this year - and the most trouble. The singer will have throat surgery and has now canceled all tour dates and promotional appearances for the year.

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