- The Washington Times - Monday, December 1, 2003

Beats her

Writer-director Sofia Coppola is as surprised as anyone that her movie “Lost in Translation” reached such a wide audience.

“It’s hard for me to say, but I think that everyone knows the feelings of longing, of unrequited love and being in a moment, whether romantic or not, that you know is not going to last,” she told Associated Press.

She also said she cast the film’s leads, Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, before the two ever met. “They met at a Japanese restaurant two days before we started filming, and it was like a blind date or something; we were all nervous,” she said.

Wolfe barks

Novelist Tom Wolfe has long been an outspoken critic of public architecture and design, bemoaning, for example, the blandness of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the District.

Now, however, he’s sticking up for a New York museum whose windowless white-marble design has been derided widely.

The city is selling the Huntington Hartford Museum, on Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, to the Museum of Arts and Design, which plans an overhaul.

Mr. Wolfe, author of novels including “The Bonfire of the Vanities” and “A Man in Full” and nonfiction works such as “The Right Stuff,” told the New York Post he admires the Edward Durell Stone-designed building and doesn’t want it changed.

“Stone was the most prominent architect in America, and he decided that the modernist movement in architecture — in other words, the parade of glass boxes that marched across America — had become exhausted, not worth pursuing anymore,” Mr. Wolfe said.

“He did this as a way of saying, ‘Enough is enough.’”

Ramone Place

Before anyone even walks into CBGB, he’ll know who helped put the legendary punk-rock club on the map.

The Manhattan corner where the Bowery meets Second Street was renamed Joey Ramone Place on Sunday, 2 years after his death from cancer at age 49, Associated Press reported.

“Joey was a true New Yorker,” said band mate Marky Ramone. “This honor today conveys what a monolith of talent he was.”

World celebrity day

Entertainers have been out in force to tout World AIDS Day, crisscrossing the globe and stretching a 24-hour news cycle into a weekend-long attention grabber.

Actor Richard Gere turned up yesterday in Bombay, India, visiting clinics that care for prostitutes and encouraging the country’s celebrities to do more to raise awareness of the disease.

Fem-pugilist Laila Ali and singer Jermaine Jackson appeared at the United Nations headquarters in New York City to promote an AIDS benefit boxing match in Nigeria, but according to Washington Times reporter Betsy Pisik, most reporters were more interested in Mr. Jackson’s embattled brother, Michael, than in AIDS.

Over the weekend, Beyonce Knowles, Bono, Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldolf, Annie Lennox and other musicians took to the stage for a star-studded AIDS benefit concert in Cape Town hosted by former South African President Nelson Mandela.

‘Lord’ of Wellington

It was like a real-life “Return of the King.”

Director Peter Jackson was welcomed in the New Zealand capital by about 100,000 “Lord of the Rings” fans for the world premiere yesterday of the trilogy-concluding “The Return of the King.”

Mr. Jackson, a New Zealand native, led “Rings” stars Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen three miles through central Wellington flanked by characters clad in armor atop black horses, Reuters News Agency reports.

“These movies are made for people to enjoy them, and it makes us feel incredibly humble, and proud,” Mr. Jackson said.

Touted to win an Oscar for best director at next year’s Academy Awards, Mr. Jackson said he wasn’t concerned with accolades.

“I’m just going to let everybody else decide that,” he said. “You can only do what you can do. You do the very best job you can … I don’t think I have any regrets.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff, wire and Web reports.

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