- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Jackson’s Trump card

If Michael Jackson beats the rap, Donald Trump has work waiting for him: a long-term residency in Las Vegas.

Mr. Trump’s Las Vegas partners have been courting Mr. Jackson to perform at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino, Us Weekly magazine reports.

New Frontier owner Phil Ruffin and partner Jack Wishna reportedly have spoken to Mr. Jackson’s representatives about the gig. (Mr. Trump and Mr. Ruffin are partners in Trump International Hotel & Tower, which is being built behind the New Frontier.)

“Everything I do is the best, and everything Phil Ruffin does is the best, and this would be no exception,” Mr. Trump said.

Red squares

Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre was embroiled in protests yesterday by a Kremlin-backed youth group over the premiere of an opera by a writer the demonstrators call a “pornographer.”

Moving Together, a nationwide youth movement devoted to President Vladimir Putin, previously has burned books by Vladimir Sorokin, who was commissioned to write the libretto of the new opera, according to Associated Press.

It condemned the state-funded Bolshoi for staging the work, called “Children of Rosenthal.”

“We are protesting that a man who is a pornographer and uses foul language is being given a platform in the Russian state Bolshoi Theatre, with state funds,” the group’s head, Vasily Yakemenko, said.

Moving Together activists have been demonstrating daily but have no plans to disrupt performances, he added.

“If people want to go to the opera of a pornographer, that’s their choice,” Mr. Yakemenko said.

Profitable ‘Trash’

Boston University professor Ha Jin won this year’s PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction for his Korean War novel “War Trash,” earning $15,000.

Four finalists (Jerome Charyn, “The Green Lantern”; Edwidge Danticat, “The Dew Breaker”; Marilynne Robinson, “Gilead”; and Steve Yarbrough, “Prisoners of War”) will receive $5,000.

The judges — David Anthony Durham, Herbert Gold and Kathryn Harrison — considered more than 300 novels and short-story collections published in the United States in 2004 by American authors.

The PEN/Faulkner organization, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, will honor all five authors at the Folger Shakespeare Library May 14.

Horsing around

David Cassidy says his life’s passion is to win the Kentucky Derby.

Mr. Cassidy has a contender in Mayan King, an undefeated 3-year-old who will run Saturday in the Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. According to Associated Press, the ex-“Partridge Family” heartthrob owns the horse with several partners.

“If I could win the Kentucky Derby, there would be nothing on the face of the Earth, other than the birth of my son 14 years ago, to compare to the thrill and the high of it,” he said.

The colt is named for a street near Mr. Cassidy’s home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

‘Gone,’ not forgotten

With so much bad luck in front of the camera recently, Ben Affleck figures he’ll try his luck behind it.

Disney confirmed this week that Mr. Affleck will make his feature-film directing debut this fall on “Gone, Baby Gone,” E! Online reports.

Based on the best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane (author of “Mystic River”), the mystery-thriller centers on two private detectives searching for a kidnapped 4-year-old girl in working-class Boston.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff and wire reports.

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