- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Norah says no

San Francisco Chronicle

Norah Jones refuses to let TV commercials use her music to sell products because she doesn’t want to hear her tracks backing something like tampon ads.

The Grammy-winning singer has been inundated with offers from big companies that are desperate to use her hits in their ads.

“I turn them all down,” she says. “I remember Etta James’ version of a Billie Holiday song called “Trust in Me” being used in a tampon ad when I was a kid, and ever since, when I hear that song I just think, tampons.”

Polanski’s new ‘Twist’

Reuters News Agency

Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski says his next film will be based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel “Oliver Twist.”

Shooting is scheduled to begin in the Czech Republic by midyear. The book has been adapted for screen by Ronald Harwood, who also wrote the screenplay for “The Pianist,” directed by Mr. Polanski. “Oliver Twist” tells the tale of a boy who runs away from an orphanage in Victorian England and joins a gang of young pickpockets working for a thief. David Lean’s 1948 version starring Alec Guinness remains a film classic.

“The Pianist,” Mr. Polanski’s most recent work, won a best-actor Oscar for Adrien Brody last year. The movie is based on the memoirs of a Jewish musician who survived the German occupation of Warsaw. Mr. Polanski, whose mother died in a concentration camp, included elements of his own life in the film.

Elvis booked

Associated Press

Elvis Costello has agreed to a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster, but don’t expect any juicy music-industry gossip.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the publisher said Mr. Costello had “resisted the rewards for writing a traditionally scurrilous and scandalous biographical memoir.”

The first book, scheduled for fall 2005, will be a “series of intimate narrative chapters taking their cue from the styles, themes and characters found in a number of Mr. Costello’s lyrics.”

The second book will be a “work of comic philosophy” titled “How to Play the Guitar, Sing Loudly and Impress Girls … or Boys.”

Earlier this year, Mr. Costello and T Bone Burnett were nominated for an original-song Oscar for “Scarlet Tide” from the film “Cold Mountain.”

The 49-year-old singer married Grammy-winning jazz musician Diana Krall in December.

Love and hate

Associated Press

Fired “Apprentice” Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth — hated by some of her fellow cast members — got plenty of love Thursday at Ebony magazine’s awards luncheon.

Mrs. Manigault-Stallworth, a guest, received hugs, kisses and requests for photos at the fifth annual event, which honors outstanding women in marketing and communications.

Among the honorees were CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, Fox Sports reporter Pam Oliver, Black Entertainment Television’s “Nightly News” anchor Jacque Reid and television producer Suzanne de Passe.

Mrs. Manigault-Stallworth, who was “fired” from the NBC reality show March 4, was viewed as the most polarizing of the 16-member cast, in which contestants vie for real estate mogul Donald Trump’s favor and “the dream job of a lifetime” as his yearlong protege with a $250,000 salary.

After her “firing,” the 30-year-old said former contestant Ereka Vetrini had used a racial slur when addressing her. Miss Vetrini has vigorously denied the claim, as have executive producers Mark Burnett and Mr. Trump.

Mrs. Manigault-Stallworth is negotiating a book deal and a talk show and is interested in doing political commentary for the upcoming presidential election.

Royal recovery

E! Online

The Queen of Soul is getting her groove back.

Aretha Franklin’s doctor revealed yesterday that the singer’s mystery malady was an allergic reaction to antibiotics.

She has been hospitalized since Saturday at Detroit’s Sinai-Grace Hospital after her blood platelet count dropped significantly, Dr. Claud Young told the city’s WXYZ-TV. Miss Franklin, who turns 62 today, was returning home from a concert when she complained of feeling ill.

“She is really doing well,” Dr. Young said, “and she’ll be out and, of course, there is nothing that’s lasting as far as we can tell at this time. It should be a one-event type illness, and that is it.”

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

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