- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Lynch all giggles

Feeling stressed this holiday season? Tired of war? David Lynch has an answer: transcendental meditation.

The director of bizarro classics such as “Blue Velvet” and “Mulholland Drive” was in Bethesda yesterday at the Maharishi Peace Palace for a press conference promoting the University of World Peace.

Along with Washington real estate developer Jeffrey Abramson, former Ziff-Davis executive Robert Brown and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (who beamed in via satellite), Mr. Lynch touted the prospective foundation, for which they’re seeking a $1 billion endowment, as a “lighthouse of peace.”

“There’s a ton of skeptics out there,” Mr. Lynch told Reuters News Agency yesterday.

“On the surface there’s the giggle,” he said. “I would just encourage people to look more deeply into this, and the giggles go away, unless it’s just a giggle of pure happiness at the beauty of this.”

A press release from the Peace Palace said the foundation’s 8,000 peace experts “will accomplish what no military force can do: calm the acute political, ethnic and religious tensions that fuel the violence in Iraq, Israel and other global hot spots.

“And they will do it through the power of meditation.”

Passion’ heating up

Everyone wants a piece of Mel Gibson’s hot potato of a movie, “The Passion of Christ.” Some, like the New York Post, have succeeded through questionable tactics, while the more scrupulous Vatican has been told to wait in line.

According to World Net Daily, Mr. Gibson has opened an official channel to buy advance tickets for the movie, which opens Feb. 25.

The actor-director’s company, Icon Productions, has set up a toll-free number (800/353-6102) to handle the purchases.

Meanwhile, the independent Internet movie critic Harry Knowles has posted reviews of the “The Passion of Christ” on his Web site, www.aint-it-cool-news.com, one from a Catholic and another from an atheist.

Says the Catholic, identified only as “Saffy”: “The visual look to this film was one part silent movie, one part mystic awakening and one part nightmare.”

Saffy continues: “I don’t know how critical I can actually be about this movie because … I wept. It hit me like an emotional anvil and opened up and healed many battle scars I have had with my spiritual convictions.”

The atheist, Jason Byrons, weighed in thus: “This film is brutal. Christians have turned the phrase ‘Jesus suffered for your sins’ into a cliche.It’s lost all meaning by now. This film does an amazing job of making you know what that phrase means.”

Altar Krall

Singer Diana Krall tied the knot with Elvis Costello in a wedding held outside London, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported.

The pair were married Saturday night in a ceremony held at Elton John’s castle,according to the report.

About 150 guests turned out, including Mr. Costello’s friend and occasional collaborator Paul McCartney and Canada’s consul general to New York, Pamela Wallin.

KenCen dish

Money raised by the Kennedy Center Honors weekend for its education programs is said to be in excess of $2.5 million, which comes from ticket sales and corporate underwriting.

A listing of Boeing as a primary corporate sponsor for the festivities was possibly the most positive mention given that beleaguered company all week, although Boeing wasn’t mentioned by name by outgoing Center Chairman James A. Johnson during a brief onstage recognition of event sponsors of Sunday’s gala.

Speculation over the naming of the next chairman for the center is rife. President Bush will ultimately decide who fills the prestigious post. Mr. Johnson’s last day is Jan. 20.

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

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