- The Washington Times - Monday, October 13, 2003

Teller pens a tale

Associated Press

Teller, the single-named silent partner of the Penn & Teller magic act, is writing a book about a long-dead amateur magician who once drew the most famous practitioners of the craft to Omaha, Neb. David P. Abbott, who died in 1934, delighted guests with magic at his home in the early 1900s and investigated spiritual mediums and other magicians, writing about their techniques.

“People like Houdini would stop by to see what tricks Abbott knew,” Teller told the Omaha World-Herald. Abbott had a teapot that people could hold an ear to and hear a faint voice telling secrets. He also had a skull that would click its jaws in answer to questions. Teller was in Omaha last week to see Walter Graham, a retired businessman who also performs magic. Teller credited Mr. Graham with collecting Abbott’s manuscripts.

Crowe hints at no-show

Internet Movie Database

Russell Crowe has reportedly threatened to boycott the British premiere of his new movie if a new TV documentary about him upsets him. The native New Zealander, 39, is pondering the material in “Russell Crowe’s Greatest Fights,” screened last week on British network Channel 4 — and if he doesn’t like what he sees, he’s vowed to snub the Nov. 17 London premiere of his new epic film, “Master and Commander,” the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) reports. There’s no word yet on what he thought.

According to reports, the film includes video footage of bar brawls in Australia and London and alleges Mr. Crowe pulled a gun at a photo shoot for an American magazine. A documentary source says, “it is a mischievous biographical documentary.”

“It is about his violent streak,” the IMDB quotes another documentary insider as saying. The Oscar-winning “Gladiator” star sparked controversy after the 2002 British Academy Of Film And Television Arts (BAFTA) awards in London, when he threatened a television producer who cut part of his Best Actor acceptance speech from TV coverage of the bash.

Stones won’t rock

Associated Press

The Rolling Stones won’t be headlining a series of Harbor Fest concerts to help Hong Kong bounce back from SARS, officials said. Catherine Cheung, a spokeswoman for the promoters, told the Associated Press on Friday that the deal collapsed when the Stones didn’t respond in time to the latest offer from organizers.

James Thompson, head of the American Chamber of Commerce, told radio RTHK that egos had come into play and the Stones also were apparently unable to set up concerts in Beijing and Shanghai to coincide with their planned Nov. 7 and 9 dates in Hong Kong.

The Stones reportedly were to be paid $5 million. Although Mr. Thompson wouldn’t confirm that figure, he said: “There was too much money involved.” He said other acts would go on from mid-October to early November as planned.

“Even without the Stones, it can still be a success,” Mr. Thompson said.

Designing woman

Associated Press

In what is becoming a rite of passage for top music stars, Beyonce is adding fashion designer to her list of credits. Beyonce plans to launch two clothing collections by next year, the fashion trade paper Women’s Wear Daily reported last week.

Her design collaborator will be her mother, Tina Knowles, who is also Beyonce’s stylist and the author of “Destiny’s Style: Bootylicious Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Secrets From Destiny’s Child” (Regan Books).

The first line will be more “funky and hip-hop,” featuring T-shirts and jeans, while the other will be more like a designer collection with feminine dresses and separates, the duo described to WWD.

“We want to bring some of the couture look to a broader public,” Miss Knowles said. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs was among the first successful music-fashion crossovers with his Sean John collection, which has earned him several nominations from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Since then, Jennifer Lopez’s J.Lo line has been a strong retail performer, as has Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Wear. Meanwhile, Kmart gave Latin star Thalia her own collection, and clothes from Gwen Stefani and Eve should be in stores this spring.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from wire reports.

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