- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 16, 2004

‘Twist’ snit

Chubby Checker isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he thinks he knows why.

The singer, 62, whose song “The Twist” created a popular dance craze in the early 1960s, is peeved over what he considers a lack of radio airplay for the classic song and his new material.

So he staged a protest — semi-serious, according to reports — outside Monday’s induction festivities in midtown Manhattan.

“I’m not doing it to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at all,” the twist king, born Ernest Evans, told Associated Press.

“I don’t get the airplay that one in my position deserves. ‘Twist and Shout’ gets more airplay than ‘The Twist,’ and that’s not right.”

Detox-bound

Whitney Houston confirmed this week what many have been speculating — that she still has a drug problem.

The pop singer has entered a drug rehabilitation facility, according to Associated Press.

Miss Houston “thanks everyone for their support and prayers,” publicist Nancy Seltzer said in a statement Monday. She declined to offer further details.

Miss Houston, 40, admitted in a December 2002 TV interview that she had abused drugs in the past but told interviewer Diane Sawyer on ABC’s “Primetime” that she had beaten her addiction through prayer.

Vagrant alert

A doorman at a luxe Italian hotel was doing his job. He prevented two men who appeared to be vagrants from entering his building.

Those vagrants, however, were Brad Pitt and George Clooney.

In Rome filming the sequel to “Ocean’s Eleven,” the actors reportedly were caught in a rainstorm while jogging. When they returned to the Exedra A’Boscolo, their temporary exclusive residence, the doorman told them to move along.

Britain’s Empire magazine reported: “Bedraggled and dripping, they returned to their hotel, only to be told to hop it. The pair were eventually able to tell him that they were not, in fact, vagrants and were permitted shelter amid a flurry of apologies.”

Still a contender

“Sugar” Ray Leonard is stepping back into the ring, this time with Sylvester Stallone, for an upcoming NBC reality show called “The Contender.”

Reuters News Agency reports that Mr. Leonard, 47, will serve with the “Rocky” star as an on-air adviser and mentor to aspiring pugilists competing on the show for $1 million in prize money and a shot at becoming America’s next boxing superstar.

Fairy-tale reality

Look out, J.K. Rowling. Another rags-to-riches children’s writer may soon be nipping at your heels.

After 11 years and more than 30 rejections from publishers, Clive Woodall’s novel “One for Sorrow, Two for Joy” was published this week amid superstar hype, according to Reuters News Agency.

If that’s not lucky enough, Mr. Woodall, a British supermarket manager who wrote the fairy tale as a bedtime story for his children, also reached a film-adaptation deal with Walt Disney Co. to the tune of $1 million.

Confusing ‘Alice’

Folk singer Arlo Guthrie won’t be playing his classic song “Alice’s Restaurant” on his current tour. He says he has to relearn the 2,622-word epic in time for its 40th anniversary in 2005.

Mr. Guthrie, son of lefty troubadour Woody Guthrie, is continually perplexed by the fact that radio stations play the anti-war diatribe on Thanksgiving mornings.

“I’m still amused and amazed it has transformed from a ‘60s song to a Thanksgiving song,” Mr. Guthrie told the News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash.

“I don’t know how that happened. But it’s right up there with Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas.’”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from wire and Web reports.

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