- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 3, 2006

KenCen notebook

Seen and heard at the weekend doings for the five recipients of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors:

• Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman has his hands full helping the arts center to reach new heights each season.

But sometimes, the gig has its perks.

Mr. Schwarzman gets to drapethe Kennedy Center Honors ribbons around the winners every December, a simple act thattookon a new flavor this year when it came time to decorate Dolly Parton.

Ever the gracious Southern gal, Miss Parton, kissed Mr. Schwarzman twice, once on each side of his face, after he looped the award around her.

He stood there, beaming, while Miss Parton’s smile only got brighter.

“He’s enjoying it too much,” she cried to the crowd’s delight.

• CBS newscaster Julie Chen looked smashing in form-fitting fluorescent purple and made a graceful entrance on the arm of her hubby, network chief Leslie Moonves—despite a wee problem with a ripped hemline.

• Wardrobe malfunctions weren’t on the mind of Jessica Simpson, stunning in basic black with flaxen tresses pulled back in a graceful chingon. Also fetching: India.Arie, stunning in silver; and Shania Twain — radiant in white chiffon.

Notes from elsewhere

In other celebrity news:

• A sport-utility vehicle carrying Lane Garrison of TV’s “Prison Break” and three teenagers struck a tree, killing a 17-year-old boy, Associated Press reported yesterday.

According to police, two 15-year-old girls inside the vehicle were also injured, one critically, during the late Saturday night accident in Beverly Hills, Calif. Mr. Garrison, 26, had minor injuries. The boy was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he died. His name was not released. The conditions of the girls were not immediately released.

The vehicle jumped a curb and hit a tree. Authorities were trying to determine who drove the SUV, which was registered to Mr. Garrison.

The actor, a Dallas native, plays “Tweener” on Fox’s “Prison Break.” He has worked mainly in television, but appears in the upcoming film “Shooter,” which is due out next year. His publicist, Catherine Olim, did not immediately return a call seeking comment, AP said.

• Mel Gibson’s effort to find an indigenous cast for his new movie “Apocalypto,” which depicts the end of the Mayan civilization, is drawing praise from American Indian leaders.

The actor-director wanted an indigenous cast for the project, so the filmmakers found people from the Yucatan, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Xalapa, Veracruz and other spots. Two of the cast members are from the United States, three are from Canada and the rest hail from Central America.

“It is very important to note that Mr. Gibson has gone to great lengths to cast indigenous people in this film,” Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby said. “This not only helps make the film more realistic, it serves as an inspiration to Native American actors who aspire to perform relevant roles in the film industry.”

Mr. Gibson screened the movie for a sold-out audience last weekend at Chickasaw Nation’s Riverwind Casino in Goldsby, Okla. Tickets were $55, proceeds going to American Indian health organizations and charities. The film opens nationwide on Friday

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse and Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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