- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Dance hall of infamy

A homosexual rights group is miffed that three dance-hall reggae acts whose lyrics suggest that homosexuals be hanged, drowned, burned or shot will be among those performing at a reggae festival Sunday in Newark, N.J.

Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel and Capleton are headlining the fourth annual New Jersey Reggae Fest.

“When an artist like Capleton sings, ‘Burn out a queer, blood out a queer,’ that’s an extremely violent statement that needs to be challenged,” Glennda Testone, a spokeswoman for the national Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, told the Record newspaper of Hackensack, N.J.

Miss Testone said liberal multicultural considerations shouldn’t be extended to dance-hall music, a Caribbean rock-reggae hybrid. “These dance-hall artists can’t hide behind the word ‘culture’ to mask the violent homophobia in their music,” she said.

Before he was Boss

While awaiting Bruce Springsteen’s scheduled arrival in the District Oct. 11 for the Vote for Change finale, the Boss’ fans can tide themselves over tomorrow afternoon with National Public Radio broadcasts of what are believed to be his earliest recordings.

NPR’s “All Things Considered,” which airs from 4 to 6 p.m., will chat with Fred Coleman, a retired Episcopalian priest who in 1967 hired Mr. Springsteen (then the singer of the Castiles) to play at a Freehold, N.J., recreation center for teens.

Mr. Springsteen, who was 18, is heard covering songs such as Donovan’s “Catch the Wind.”

According to Mr. Coleman, the tapes sat in his closet for 30 years before he finally unearthed them.

Year of Usher

R&B; heartthrob Usher received a leading four nominations yesterday for the annual American Music Awards.

Usher was nominated as favorite male artist in both the pop-rock and soul-R&B; categories, and his “Confessions” also has best-album bids in both groups.

Rapper-producer Kanye West got three nominations, the most after Usher.

Elsewhere, the AMA nominations — winners are selected by a survey of about 20,000 music fans — retread last year’s victors. Two categories feature all the same nominees as last year, AP notes: The male country category again includes Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw.

It also was deja vu for contemporary inspirational music, as 2003 winner Steven Curtis Chapman is competing once more against MercyMe and Third Day.

The AMAs will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and telecast live Nov. 14 on ABC.

Daisy Dukin’

Pop-singer-turned-reality-TV-star Jessica Simpson has been tapped to fill the shoes of Catherine Bach: She’ll make her feature-film debut as short-shorted Daisy Duke in the big-screen remake of the 1970s sitcom “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville already have been cast as Bo and Luke Duke, respectively. Jay Chandrasekhar (“Broken Lizard’s Club Dread”) will direct.

Dropping the ‘Bomb’

The long-awaited new U2 album has a confirmed name: “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.” The 11-track set will be released Nov. 23 on Interscope Records.

Billboard magazine notes that the album’s name lives up to its early description by author and U2 friend Neil McCormick in Ireland’s Hot Press magazine: “an interesting title, an interesting philosophical idea as a title, and quite a difficult title.”

On the mend

Comedian Jerry Lewis was once in so much pain that he regularly contemplated suicide.

A “pain pacemaker” implanted in 2002 enables him to trigger electronic impulses through his spine to his brain that eliminate the pain, AP reports.

“It’s like a mini vibrator,” Mr. Lewis, 78, quipped at a news conference yesterday on Capitol Hill to promote federal research for pain treatment. “It’s also my garage opener.”

“I’m reborn, absolutely pain-free,” he added.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff and wire reports.

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