- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Grammy weekend

Never mind that the Who never earned a Grammy or that it took the Rolling Stones until 1994 to win their first — plenty of music fans will still watch the 46th annual music awards show this weekend.

The live Grammy telecast, beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday on CBS, will include a tribute to the late Warren Zevon by Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Timothy B. Schmit, Dwight Yoakam, Jorge Calderon and Billy Bob Thornton.

Yes, that Billy Bob Thornton.

The telecast also will look back at the Beatles’ first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Performers lined up to sing between award presentations include Prince; Christina Aguilera; George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic; Chick Corea; Celine Dion; Earth, Wind & Fire; 50 Cent; the Foo Fighters; Alicia Keys; Martina McBride; OutKast; Sting; the White Stripes; and Beyonce Knowles.

And the Black Eyed Peas with — wardrobes, be warned — Justin Timberlake.

Sweet ‘Desserts’

“Picket Fences’ ” Lauren Holly plays a pastry chef who stumbles upon the recipe for love in an original film from the Hallmark Channel.

“Just Desserts,” airing at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Sunday, finds Miss Holly teaming up with a baker (Costas Mandylor, one of Miss Holly’s “Fences” co-stars) to win a prestigious Golden Whisk Competition.

Local ‘Trekker’

This weekend’s episode of WETA-TV’s “Globe Trekkers” takes aim at some very landmarks in and near the District.

The travel show, airing at 8 p.m. Sunday, includes such familiar sites as the U.S. Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, Lincoln Theatre, Hill High Farms and Colonial Williamsburg.

Taped in the fall, the episode finds show host Justine Shapiro tagging along with Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch for the Capitol tour and a trip on the Metro system. She also briefly joins a political protest on the Mall and examines Dorothy’s famous ruby red slippers at the National Museum of American History.

She even visits Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street Northwest, a destination singled out by WETA-TV viewers.

Showtime lights up

The increasingly edgy Showtime network is tackling the evils of marijuana in its latest production.

The network has signed on to broadcast a new version of “Reefer Madness,” the off-Broadway musical satirizing the evils of marijuana, as an original film, the Reuters News Agency reports.

“Reefer” will reunite the creative team behind the stage version — writers Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney and director Andy Fickman — which won numerous awards and had an extended run at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Hollywood in 2000.

Acknowledging that green-lighting a comedy musical is an unusual choice, Showtime entertainment president Roger Greenblatt told Reuters that the network has diverse ambitions for its original films.

“I do want people to see that we are open to doing all kinds of different things,” he said.

That isn’t in doubt anymore, not after the pay cable channel aired the inflammatory miniseries “The Reagans” and produced “The L Word,” a series focusing on lesbian couples.

“Reefer” is a parody of the 1930s propaganda film that exaggerated marijuana’s harmful effects. Later generations of college students snickered at its unintentionally funny lessons.

The stage version made light of the hysteria-whipping “Reefer” by imagining marijuana as a gateway to ghastly consequences such as animal cruelty and cannibalism.

Mr. Murphy acknowledged that premium cable is the only place the racy “Reefer” could run without compromising the content.

“We don’t have the restrictions on where we can go for humor that we would have had on broadcast television,” he told Reuters.

Mr. Fickman said he always envisioned the production as a musical movie.

“From the very first time Kevin and Dan gave me the script, it was impossible for me not to think ‘Rocky Horror’ or ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’ ” he said.

The addition of an orchestra and the elimination of a few songs is expected for the Showtime version of “Reefer,” but fans will still recognize the finished product.

No casting has been set, but Mr. Greenblatt promises cameos aplenty.

“Reefer” will be shot on a Vancouver, British Columbia, soundstage starting in April in anticipation of a 2005 airdate.

Very special ‘Family’

The subject matter of tonight’s “Like Family” strikes close to home for its star.

The WB’s family comedy deals with Parkinson’s disease on the episode, airing at 9:30 p.m.

Tanya (Holly Robinson Peete) discovers that her father (George Wallace) is suffering from the debilitating illness and must come to grips with the diagnosis.

Off-screen, Miss Peete’s father, “Sesame Street” star Matt Robinson, suffered from and ultimately died of Parkinson’s, giving the episode added gravitas. The actress’s family established the HollyRod Foundation to help those with the illness (www.hollyrod.com).

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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