- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Leavin’ country

Launch Radio Networks

The Dixie Chicks want out of the country music scene, according to comments group member Martie Maguire made to German magazine Der Speigel.

“We don’t feel part of the country scene any longer; it can’t be our home anymore,” she said.

The musician’s attitude is reportedly based on the lack of support shown to the Chicks during the backlash against Natalie Maines’ anti-Bush comment to a London audience earlier this year.

Miss Maguire adds, “A few weeks ago, Merle Haggard said a couple of nice words about us, but that was it. The support we got came from others, like Bruce Springsteen.”

Miss Maguire points to the fact that country radio is still not playing the trio’s music much and that country awards shows have seemingly shut the door on the Chicks.

“Instead, we won three Grammys against much stronger competition. So we now consider ourselves part of the big rock ‘n’ roll family.”

Target practice

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are sticking to their guns. Literally.

Hollywood’s most overexposed couple set gossip pages aflame Monday when they popped into a south Georgia courthouse near Mr. Affleck’s island home, the Associated Press reports.

But it was a gun license, not a marriage license, that the on-again, off-again couple was seeking.

“Affleck wanted to know where he could apply for a gun permit,” Liberty County Sheriff Don Martin told the AP.

The appearance has unleashed a horde of paparazzi and celebrity reporters onto the small town of Hinesville, where a court clerk verified yesterday morning — apparently not for the first time — that the couple did not apply for a marriage license.

Johnny B. Smokin’

Associated Press

A suspicious blaze has destroyed a motel on Chuck Berry’s estate, fire officials said.

The assistant chief of the Wentzville, Mo., fire district, Austin Worcester, said no one was injured. The cause of the fire was being investigated.

Mr. Worcester said the 76-year-old singer-guitarist was out of state at the time of the Saturday evening fire.

The building had eight suites and was used to house Mr. Berry’s visitors, Mr. Worcester said, but had been used for storage in recent years.

Terrapin Muppets

Watch out for Kermit the Frog today in College Park.

The University of Maryland will be dedicating a new statue this morning at 11 in honor of a famous alumnus, the late Jim Henson.

The statue, which depicts the “Muppets” creator tending to Kermit on a park bench, was a gift from the classes of 1994, ‘98 and ‘99.

NBC’s Willard Scott will emcee the dedication in the Jim Henson Garden; the beloved Muppet master’s wife, Jane Henson, and other members of the Henson family, as well as the sculptor Jay Hall Carpenter, are scheduled to attend.

Blaine to quit?

Internet Movie Database

Madcap magician David Blaine is reportedly considering abandoning his death-defying “Above the Below” stunt amid fears about his image, his safety and the viciousness of the London crowds.

The 30-year-old American is currently ensconced in a Perspex box above the city’s River Thames, where he is attempting to live for 44 days without food.

But those who planned the stunt had no idea just how antagonistic the British spectators would be: Mr. Blaine’s box has been pelted with eggs and food, been attacked by remote control helicopters and had golf balls launched at it since he entered it 17 days ago.

In New York City, bosses at PMK, his management company, are desperately trying to find a way to save Mr. Blaine’s prestige.

One PMK insider told the London newspaper the Evening Standard: “What we saw appalled us. David is a huge star, a brand name in America on which an entire campaign was based, and suddenly all the hard work and planning was being blown away.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from wire and staff reports and entertainment publications.

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