- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2004

Jer-li girl

When the promotional campaign for the upcoming Ben Affleck movie “Jersey Girl” kicks into high gear, chances are you won’t see the actor’s name alongside that of Jennifer Lopez.

The execs over at Miramax Studios will want to avoid a repeat of last summer’s “Gigli” debacle, which Mr. Affleck believes is a blessing in disguise for “Jersey.”

“The one thing it prevents from happening is for the marketing people to sell it in a dishonest way,” Mr. Affleck told Associated Press at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

Miss Lopez has a cameo as the wife of Mr. Affleck’s character, but she dies 12 minutes into the movie, he said. “Jersey Girl” opens in March in area theaters.

Grammy cold feet

If Bette Midler had been nominated for her “Rosemary Clooney Songbook” in an ordinary Grammy year, she would have been tickled pink — but this is no ordinary year.

In the best traditional pop-vocal category, the singer-actress is up against Rod Stewart, K.D. Lang, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett — and Rosemary Clooney.

The late Miss Clooney, who died in 2002, was nominated posthumously for the live recording “The Last Concert.”

“I’m mortified. I’d really like Rosemary to win that Grammy. I can’t believe I’m up against her,” Miss Midler told the Boston Globe. “I’m going to look into withdrawing. … You know, she never won a Grammy.”

According to Grammy historian Craig Bechtloff, the situation, in which a tribute album and a recording by the actual artist are nominated in the same category, is “probably unprecedented.”

Rotten career move

Punk legend Johnny Rotten (born John Lydon) will join the ranks of “Stuttering” John Melendez and Melissa Rivers. Well, sort of.

According to Associated Press, the Sex Pistols frontman has agreed to appear on the British reality show “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” on which B-list celebrities are stranded in the Australian jungle.

Punk fans are mystified, especially given Mr. Lydon’s history of iconoclasm.

“I’m gobsmacked,” said Tony Wilson, a British journalist and music entrepreneur who knows Mr. Lydon.

“The announcement made me feel instantly old. … If it has come to this for the prince of punk, then mediocrity really does get us all in the end,” Lee Randall wrote in the Scotsman newspaper.

The show has been a huge hit in Britain, drawing up to 14 million viewers — nearly a quarter of the population, AP reports.

At 47, Mr. Lydon must be softening — and hell must be freezing over.

Black and white

What do you get when you mix black and white? Gray, of course.

Producer Danger Mouse has taken the vocal tracks from rapper Jay-Z’s “Black Album” and recorded them over music from the Beatles’ self-titled set commonly known as “The White Album,”according to the British magazine New Musical Express.

The unlikely hybrid, which the producer plans to call “The Grey Album,” is due in March.

Kidman bails

Just a short while ago, there were rumors of an impending marriage between Nicole Kidman and Lenny Kravitz. No longer. The tabloids are reporting that Miss Kidman called it quits amid rumors that Mr. Kravitz was romancing Brazilian artist Isis Arruda and actress Michelle Rodriguez on the sly.

The Internet Movie Database quotes a gossip source as saying, “When Nicole found out he was flirting with other women, she had to end things. She was very much in love with him — and still is — but she has her pride.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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