- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Sir stentorian

Paul McCartney’s concert Sunday near St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum was so loud, it was “damaging” to valuable artworks, according to the museum’s director.

“Something has to be done so there are no more of these types of shows,” Mikhail Piotrovski told the BBC.

The show, Sir Paul’s first gig in the Russian city, attracted 60,000 fans and was officially counted as the Beatle legend’s 3,000th show.

The problem Sunday: noise vibrations.

Mr. Piotrovski said, “We do not ship any of our paintings by airplane” because of the danger from vibrations, and the sound levels during the McCartney concert were “incomparably more powerful than that of any airplane.”

Now that sounds like a rock ‘n’ roll concert.

Fear of flying

Doris Day was delighted to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, recognizing achievements in a range of fields, but a certain phobia kept her from traveling to the District yesterday to collect the award.

“I am deeply grateful to the president and to my country,” said the singer-actress, 80, “but I won’t fly.”

“My first reaction was ‘For what?’” she told Associated Press of the honor. “I’m not being coy or looking for a laugh. I have never thought about awards, whatever I do.”

Miss Day blames her fear of flying on too many overseas trips with Bob Hope to entertain U.S. troops.

“Bob would fly even if a cyclone was coming,” she recalls. “I saw him on his knees many a time. In fact, we were all on our knees. We flew in snowstorms, whatever, to get to the next show.

“When I hit the ground, I said, ‘Never again.’”

Judd’s new deal

Internet Movie Database

Ashley Judd has landed a lucrative cosmetics deal with beauty giant Estee Lauder, the New York Post reports.

The actress, who next stars in the Cole Porter biopic “De-Lovely,” which opens next week, was announced yesterday as the spokes-model of Lauder’s latest brand, American Beauty.

Estee Lauder is one of the biggest cosmetics and fragrance giants in the world and owns the Clinique, Aramis, MAC, Tommy Hilfiger and Donna Karan beauty lines.

Singer slain

Agence France-Presse

Ben Shabalala, a former star of South Africa’s a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was fatally shot in the country’s eastern port city of Durban last week, police said yesterday.

“On June 18, he was driving in a motor vehicle when three unknown persons appeared and one of them shot him in the head,” provincial police spokesman Bala Naidoo told Agence France-Presse.

Mr. Shabalala joined the 10-member vocal group in the late 1970s and was part of Paul Simon’s Grammy-winning “Graceland” album as well as Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s “Shaka Zulu” recording, which won a Grammy for best traditional folk album in 1987.

Mr. Shabalala’s brother Joseph founded the group, which was born amid the mines of South Africa when poor black workers entertained themselves after a six-day workweek by singing traditional songs on a Sunday morning.

The group traveled with South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela to sing at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 1993 and also performed at his presidential inauguration in 1994.

Mr. Shabalala retired from the group in 1993.

Mr. Naidoo said the motive for his killing was still being investigated, but he added, “He was also a taxi owner, so it is possible that the murder could be related to that,” referring to notorious rivalries between taxi associations.

Claudia in family way

Reuters News Agency

Supermodel Claudia Schiffer is expecting her second child, a spokeswoman for the 33-year-old said.

“I can confirm that she’s four months pregnant,” the spokeswoman added.

The German-born Miss Schiffer, who is married to British film producer Matthew Vaughn and lives in Suffolk, England, gave birth to the couple’s first child, Caspar, in January last year.

Compiled by Scott Galupo and Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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