- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Teacher’s pet

“Daily Show” host Jon Stewart is promoting a two-CD compilation by singer-songwriters to benefit the Parkinsong Foundation, a charity set up by the children of Selma Litowitz, Mr. Stewart’s former English teacher, who is afflicted with Parkinson’s disease.

Mr. Stewart was a self-confessed smart aleck while in high school in Lawrence, N.J., and most of his teachers constantly ordered him to pipe down.

Not Mrs. Litowitz.

“She was very patient; she was very understanding,” Mr. Stewart told the Associated Press. “She was the only one who made me feel that there was some kind of useful skill behind what I was doing.”

How did she do that?

“She laughed,” he said.

Parting tenor

Irish Tenor Ronan Tynan is taking a sabbatical from the Celtic vocal group to focus on a solo career and pursue opportunities in movies and television, the singer announced.

“It has been a fantastic six years working with my good friends Anthony Kearns and Finbar Wright, but I have been spread too thin,” Mr. Tynan said.

“It is not fair to these extraordinary singers and the success they have achieved thus far to have them waiting for me to be available to tour in the future.”

A July 1 appearance at Wolf Trap will be one of the last times to see Mr. Tynan in concert with the Tenors.

Stars collide

The son of Ringo Starr will drum for the Beatle-revering lads of Oasis at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, according to a giddy Noel Gallagher, the band’s guitarist and chief songwriter.

Mr. Gallagher said Zac Starkey was already rehearsing for the three-day mix of mud, music and mayhem in June — Britain’s biggest open-air music event.

“We’re not doing ourselves any favors because Zac’s first gig will be to 150,000 people,” Mr. Gallagher told BBC radio’s “6 Music News.”

“We’ve known Zac for a while, and we asked him if he’d play on a few songs, and he said ‘Yeah’ … and it’s been absolutely fantastic.”

Mr. Gallagher said the fact that Mr. Starkey is not from the style-conscious band’s hometown of Manchester should not be an obstacle. “He’s a good boy. He’s got a good haircut … good shoes, which is important.”

Real estate travails

Madonna is having trouble keeping the hoi polloi off her country estate in England.

Philip Eddell, a consultant estate manager for the pop star’s 1,200-acre Ashcombe House, told a public inquiry the impact of allowing public access to 12 plots of land would be “devastating.”

The singer and her film-director husband, Guy Ritchie, claim about 100 acres of land at Ashcombe House have been classified inaccurately as open country on a provisional map, according to Ananova.com.

Cheers for piracy

Quentin Tarantino is torn on the movie piracy issue, the “Kill Bill” director said during a conference at the Cannes Film Festival.

“For me, it’s not 100 percent black and white,” Mr. Tarantino said, according to Agence France-Presse.

The former video-store clerk said he had bought bootleg copies of old, hard-to-get films in New York to help re-create scenes in “Kill Bill.”

“I would be a liar to say across the board ‘No piracy,’” he said.

Mr. Tarantino did acknowledge that copying threatens moviemaking.

“There’s a whole lot of livelihoods at stake,” he said, adding that he was forced to open “Kill Bill” in cinemas everywhere at nearly the same time to counter losses from film pirates.

Nevertheless, when it came to some countries where his films were never officially made available — notably China, where he shot part of “Bill” — he advocated piracy.

“In the case of China, I’m glad they’re pirating it. In a closed communist country, I’d rather be seen than not seen,” he said.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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