- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 10, 2006

Out of his Cage

After more than 55 films, Nicolas Cage plans to cut back on acting to pursue other interests, such as helping develop independent cinema in his new home of the Bahamas.

“I’m thinking about taking more time in between movies,” the Oscar winner told Associated Press backstage at the third annual Bahamas International Film Festival.

“I’ve made a lot of movies already and I want to start exploring other opportunities that I can apply myself to, whether it’s writing or other interests that I may develop,” he said.

Mr. Cage was in Nassau late Friday to receive the Chopard Award for career achievement. Fellow actor Sean Connery, Mr. Cage’s co-star in the 1996 thriller “The Rock,” presented the award at the Atlantis Theater in Paradise Island.

Mr. Cage, who won a best-actor Oscar for 1995’s “Leaving Las Vegas,” owns a house in Paradise Island and bought an undeveloped private island in the Exuma Cays this year.

Cleaning houses

Jewelry, designer clothes and antique furniture went up for grabs on Friday as actress Tori Spelling invited the public into her Los Angeles home for a garage sale.

It was not immediately clear why Miss Spelling, the daughter of legendary late television producer Aaron Spelling and the star of hit show “Beverly Hills 90210,” is offloading her possessions.

However, local press reported that people entering the actress’s home in Studio City were asked to sign a release form because the event was being filmed for a reality television show.

An online ad for the event said Miss Spelling’s sale includes antiques and vintage items, along with “French, Italian, Continental, American white wicker, shabby chic and traditional furniture, pictures, paintings, Tori’s personal jewelry, bric-a-brac, memorabilia, designer and casual clothes, shoes, accessories, photos etc.”

Valuable Velvet

Forty years after it was made, The Velvet Underground’s first recording has become a financial hit — in cyberspace.

Bought for 75 cents four years ago at a Manhattan flea market, the rare recording of music that ended up on the influential New York band’s first album, “The Velvet Underground & Nico,” sold on EBay for a closing bid of $155,401.

The buyer is a mystery, only identified by the EBay screen name: “mechadaddy.”

But a greater mystery endures: How did the 12-inch, acetate LP end up buried in a box of records at a flea market?

Warren Hill, a collector from Montreal, bought the record in September 2002 at the flea market, according to an article written by his friend, Eric Isaacson of Mississippi Records in Portland, Ore., in the current issue of Goldmine Magazine.

Mr. Isaacson helped Mr. Hill decipher the nature of the lucky find.

“We cued it up and were stunned — the first song was not ‘Sunday Morning’ as on the ‘Velvet Underground & Nico’ Verve LP, but rather it was ‘European Son’ — the song that is last on that LP, and it was a version neither of us had ever heard before,” Mr. Isaacson wrote.

The recording turned out to be an in-studio acetate made during Velvet Underground’s first recording over four days in April 1966 at New York’s Scepter Studios. The record reportedly is only one of two in existence; the other is privately owned, with rumors circulating about the owner’s identity. Columbia Records rejected the album.

Velvet Underground left its musical stamp on hundreds of other bands.

The band, named after a book about edgy sex practices in the 1960s, was fueled by Moe Tucker’s hard-driving drumming, John Cale’s anxious viola, and lead singer Lou Reed, whose lyrics spoke of drug-induced beauty and gritty Lower East Side realities.

The first album featured Nico, the European model-actress-singer in a first and last recorded appearance with the band.

No to nuclear

Actor Alec Baldwin has lent support to New Jersey residents worried about the relicensing of a southern New Jersey nuclear power plant.

Mr. Baldwin moderated a Friday night discussion at Rutgers University Law School in Newark about the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant, which is seeking a 20-year renewal for its license; the license is set to expire in 2009.

Area residents have expressed concern about the plant’s safety. The 630-megawatt plant, which is owned by Chicago-based Exelon Corp., is the oldest commercial nuclear power plant in the United States.

“The people who are in favor of the license renewal are looking to line their pockets,” Mr. Baldwin, who has a leading role in the NBC prime-time comedy “30 Rock,” told the Asbury Park Press of Neptune for Saturday’s papers. “We don’t stand to make any money. Our goal is purely public health and safety.”

The Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry lobbying organization, sought permission to participate in the rally, but was denied. Mr. Baldwin made no apologies.

“Only the NEI would make themselves out to be some sort of political prisoner in this debate,” he said.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from wire reports.

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