- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 21, 2004

Fired up

San Francisco Chronicle

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump wants to trademark the phrase “you’re fired,” thanks to his hugely successful “The Apprentice” on NBC.

Mr. Trump, who uses the phrase to vote people off the hit reality series, has filed a request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, World Entertainment News Network Ltd. reports.

The 57-year-old — who amassed his fortune through owning key New York properties such as the Trump Towers and the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, N.J. — has made the series a major hit that’s currently rivaling CBS’ “Survivor.”

On “The Apprentice,” contestants are competing for a $250,000 job within the Donald’s real estate corporation. At the end of each episode he tells one of the expectant candidates, “You’re fired.”

Gearing up

The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda is pulling out all the promotional stops prior to its formal opening next February — that’s right, 10 and months from now. Programming is in place through next May, with Yo Yo Ma on tap for the grand opening and inaugural concert Feb. 5 along with the Baltimore Symphony and a world premiere of an orchestral work by young composer Michael Hersch, a former Peabody Conservatory student. Tickets for the debut night are expected to go on sale in about six weeks.

“We’re pretty bullish. We think we have a stunning building and some of the best programming in the area,” says an ebullient Eliot Pfanstiehl, Strathmore’s president and CEO, of the institution’s planned performance schedule and auxiliary events. ” And we have what they say in the real estate business ‘location, location, location.’”

Meaning — there is a Metro nearby, a 2,000-car parking garage with a skybridge going straight into a concert hall that has three balconies pulled forward closer to the stage. It’s a more intimate venue, he brags — mentioning not-so-coyly that Kennedy Center Concert Hall claims 2,445 seats and the Baltimore’s Myerhoff Hall has 2,400.

Anybody detect a little smugness here?

The whole concept appears a marketers’ dream, with officials claiming an immediate potential audience of roughly 1 million in Montgomery Country alone. Strathmore’s so-called signature series —”designed to hit almost any demographic group we know of in this area,” says Mr. Pfanstiehl —will feature, among others, Tony and Grammy Award-winning chanteuses Dee Dee Bridgewater and Barbara Cook, Tony-winning choreographer Savion Glover in the first national tour of his latest show “Improvography,” and the Washington area premiere of the China Philhamonic.

Besides CityDance, Washington Performing Arts Society and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, other nonprofit partners in the venture will be a residence ensemble called the National Philharmonic, the Levine School of Music, and Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras.

The only thing missing, Mr. Pfanstiehl was pressed to note, will be Broadway shows and full-dress opera because the building lacks a full proscenium stage.

Ann Geracimos

Filet of ‘Soul’

Associated Press

OutKast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” won two awards, including R&B;/soul or rap album of the year, to lead the winners at Saturday’s 18th annual Soul Train Music Awards.

The Atlanta duo, who won the Grammy last month for best album of the year, also scored the Michael Jackson Award for best R&B;/soul or rap music video for “Hey Ya!”

The awards, named after the long-running television show, honor recording artists in R&B;, hip-hop, rap and gospel music. They were held at the International Cultural Center in Los Angeles and televised live via syndication.

The awards are chosen by a group of radio station professionals, talent managers and performers.

OutKast was the lone multiple-winner at the ceremony hosted by Alicia Keys and producer/songwriter Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.

Other winners included: Miss Keys, R&B;/Soul Single, Female; Floetry, R&B;/Soul Single, Group, Band or Duo;

Beyonce,R&B;/Soul Album, Female;R. Kelly, R&B;/Soul Album, Male; and Chingy,R&B;/Soul or Rap New Artist

“The Prince of Praise (Live at New Birth Cathedral),” by Byron Cage, who serves as minister of music at Ebeneezer AME Church in Fort Washington, received the award for best gospel album.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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