- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Cruel encounters

Screen legend Jane Fonda has some shockers in store with her forthcoming autobiography, “My Life So Far.”

Miss Fonda, 67, says her late husband Roger Vadim bullied her into seducing women to join them in orgies. Mr. Vadim, who directed her in “Barbarella,” forced her to phone escort companies and approach women in bars so they could take part in his “cruel and misogynistic” sex sessions.

“It seems shocking that I did that, but I convinced myself that it was fine, even though it was killing my heart,” she writes in the book, due out in April.

Miss Fonda ended her six-year marriage to Mr. Vadim in 1973 and has never previously admitted to participating in group sex.

She also blames her ex-husband for the eating disorders that would plague her later: “I ceased eating except for crusts from his bread and rinds from his camembert,” she writes.

Maestro under fire

Milan’s La Scala opera house reopened only three months ago after extensive renovations, but a labor dispute has the famed theater in turmoil. Several performances have been shut down, and workers have pledged to strike for each scheduled premiere.

Hundreds of musicians, stage crew members and other employees voted yesterday for the resignation of Music Director Riccardo Muti, Associated Press reports.

Officials from the Communication Workers Union said about 1,000 members turned out for the vote in the theater. The flap reportedly is over a decision by La Scala’s board of directors to dismiss Superintendent Carlo Fontana, who had a difficult relationship with Mr. Muti

La Scala’s press office denied Italian news reports about rumors that Mr. Muti had submitted his resignation.

Unions are powerful in Italy and wield political and social weight, and the vote was aimed at cranking up the pressure on Mr. Muti to step down. (He is not required to abide by the union’s vote.)

Mr. Muti has been music director at La Scala for nearly 20 years.

Club jazzed

With money woes plaguing famous New York clubs such as the Bottom Line and CBGB, it was about time the city’s music fans got some good news.

The legendary, long-dormant Minton’s Playhouse — once host to the likes of Thelonius Monk, Count Basie and Duke Ellington — will reopen at the Cecil Hotel later this year, officials said Monday. A formal announcement is expected at a gala tonight, according to Associated Press.

The hotel is owned by Housing and Services Inc., which has transformed it into an 89-unit facility and social services provider for recently homeless people.

Minton’s, which closed in the early 1970s, will reopen in the street-level space where it used to be.

More warts, please

Dance-pop superstar Justin Timberlake promises a “warts-and-all” treatment of Elton John in an upcoming film about the British music icon.

According to Launch Radio Networks, Mr. John handpicked Mr. Timberlake to star in the untitled $40 million movie.

Mr. Timberlake recently told the British Web site Digital Spy that he has been hands-on in making sure the script is juicy enough: “Knowing what a wild existence Sir Elton has led, I thought ‘Wow, you’re offering me that role?’ but when I read the script, all the wild stuff had been left out. I told the studio that it would have to be warts-and-all, so that’s what it’s going to be. I can’t wait to get started.”

Shooting on the biopic is expected to begin later this year, with plans for a 2006 release.

‘Bills’ are paid

“Kill Bill” director Quentin Tarantino has shot down rumors that he’s interested in directing the next “Friday the 13th” installment. He also has revealed his retirement plans:

“I hope to give you at least 15 more years of movies,” Mr. Tarantino, 41, said, adding that he would then quit both filmmaking and Hollywood.

“I’m not going to be this old guy that keeps cranking them out. My plan is to have a theater by that time in some small town, and I will be the manager — this crazy old movie guy,” the ex-video-store clerk said, according to EntertainmentWeekly.com.

“I’ve made enough money that nobody even needs to show up at the theater. It’s just having something to do.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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