- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The keymaster

Neo-soul singer Alicia Keys has chosen the District to introduce “The Diary of Alicia Keys,” the follow-up to her successful 2001 debut. She and record magnate Clive Davis will be at the Westin Grand Hotel tonight to preview the new disc.

Bring ‘em back

California’s governor-elect, Arnold Schwarzenegger, hasn’t even taken office yet, and already the movie business is hard on his heels.

Axium International , a movie-finance company, took out a full-page advertisement in Daily Variety to appeal for Mr. Schwarzenegger’s help in bringing the industry, which has fled to cheaper climes in Canada and the Czech Republic, back to Tinseltown, according to the Internet Movie Database.

In an open letter to the governor-elect, Axium Chairman John Visconti writes, “As a member of this vibrant, vital industry, we urge you please to exert your utmost … to enact legislation ensuring that the entertainment production business remains, for now and ever, in California.”

Sure, no problem. After he fixes California’s economy and takes care of that budget deficit, he’ll hop right to it.

The naked archipelago

The next time someone wants to make a stage play based on the work of Nobel Prize-winner and gulag survivor Alexander Solzhenitsyn, he or she may want to get Mr. Solzhenitsyn’s permission first.

Yesterday, Mr. Solzhenitsyn lashed out at director Andriy Zholdak’s controversial staging of his novella “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” in Moscow, a production that involves scenes of nudity, according to Agence France-Presse.

Mr. Solzhenitsyn decried the “savagery and insolence” of the Ukrainian troupe, which he said “stole the title of my play for their action.”

Mr. Solzhenitsyn’s wife, Natalya, told the Russian newspaper Izvestia that the writer had not seen the show but insisted that “such things should not be done with a work that lives its own life and whose title means a lot for its readers.”

The director “should have asked the author before using his title,” she said.

Inn trouble

Van Morrison’s latest CD is titled “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” — a question he may be asking himself.

The legendary Irish crooner canceled a gig at an English inn last year, and a judge ruled yesterday that the singer’s production company owes the landlord thousands.

Gary Marlow said his business almost collapsed after Mr. Morrison canceled an appearance at his inn in southern England, and he will receive $66,800 for his troubles, according to Associated Press.

Mr. Marlow claimed victory, saying, “Unfortunately, we didn’t get what we should have had, but nevertheless, we have beaten him.”

Mr. Morrison’s lawyer, Thomas Croxford, said the singer ditched the concert because Mr. Marlow breached a crucial condition of the deal that restricted publicity.

Kylie the scandalized

Kettle, the pot is saying some nasty things about you.

Kylie Minogue, an internationally famous Australian pop singer who rivals Madonna in the unabashed sexuality department, says there’s far too much sex in pop culture, according to Reuters New Agency.

“When I see some of these hip-hop videos, I’m as horrified as my grandmother and think, ‘What gross things are they doing there?’” the 35-year-old singer told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.

“In advertising and on lifestyle magazines, you see more and more of a pornographing of pop culture,” she added.

Miss Minogue also said her own forays into sexy video-making — her clip for “Where the Wild Flowers Grow” saw her floating naked — were a far cry from today’s oversexed media.

“That I once wore something very tight and short pants is nothing compared to a lot of things you see today,” she said.

Outside ‘The Matrix’

Keanu Reeves’ messianic “Matrix” character, Neo, is capable of extraordinary stunts, but some jobs are better left to ordinary mortals.

The actor reportedly is trying to reunite his sister Kim, who has leukemia, with their mother, Patricia Taylor. He’s afraid the two won’t speak again, according to the National Enquirer.

A source says, “Keanu loves his mother and his sister dearly, and it tears him apart that the two most important women in his life don’t talk.

“Getting Kim and their mother to make up has become a priority for him.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from wire and Web reports.

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