- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Abdicating the throne

Lindsay Lohan doesn’t want to be called a teen queen.

In an interview in the March issue of Allure magazine, on newsstands now, the 19-year-old says she wants to be considered a serious actress and rejects her youthful, party-girl image.

“I hate it when people call me a teen queen,” Miss Lohan says.

The actress, star of family-friendly movies such as “Freaky Friday” and “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” recently graduated to more grown-up roles, acting opposite Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin and Tommy Lee Jones in Robert Altman’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” due in theaters in June.

She also has been working on “Chapter 27,” a film about the death of John Lennon, starring Jared Leto.

Far East soul

The city: Shanghai. The venue: a drafty People’s Liberation Army acrobatics theater. The event:James Brown.

The 72-year-old Godfather of Soul made his mainland China debut belting out classics such as “Get Up Offa That Thing” before a capacity crowd.

Behind him, the nine-piece Soul General, complete with gold epaulets on their suits, put on a virtuoso display of rhythm and horns. His quartet of backup singers, the General Sweet, egged on the cheering, clapping crowd that filled the Yunfeng Theater in the heart of Shanghai’s once-thriving nightclub district.

Mr. Brown is little known in China, and yesterday’s audience was overwhelmingly European, American and Japanese — evidence of Shanghai’s increasingly international, cosmopolitan complexion.

We are going to funk you up before we finish,” Mr. Brown said three songs into his set, which he kicked off with “Make It Funky.”

Dressed in a cherry red satin suit, he shimmied, shook and leapt — although not quite as high as he once did. In an interview last year with Associated Press, Mr. Brown shrugged off talk of retirement and said his work is the root of much of today’s music.

“Retire for what? What would I do?” he asked rhetorically. “I made my name as a person that is helping. I’m like Moses in the music business.”

Honors for Freeman

Morgan Freeman will be honored with UCLA’s Spencer Tracy Award, which recognizes outstanding screen performances and professional achievement.

Jason Kaminsky, UCLA campus events commissioner, made the announcement Tuesday. An awards ceremony is scheduled for March 7, AP reports.

“It was said that Spencer Tracy’s natural style set him apart from actors of his time and set performance standards for future generations,” Mr. Kaminsky said. “We think that the same can be said for the acting of Mr. Freeman.”

Mr. Freeman won an Oscar for his role helping Clint Eastwood toughen up a female boxer in 2004’s “Million Dollar Baby” and received earlier Oscar nominations for roles in “Street Smart,” “Driving Miss Daisy” and “The Shawshank Redemption.”

The Tracy Award ceremony will include a video retrospective of Mr. Freeman’s career, including his newest film, “Lucky Number Slevin,” which co-stars Ben Kingsley, Bruce Willis and Josh Hartnett.

“Spencer Tracy is known by many as one of the finest actors in film history,” Mr. Freeman said. “Receiving this award is truly an honor.”

Previous Tracy Award recipients include Jimmy Stewart, Michael Douglas, Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks and Anthony Hopkins.

L.A. story

Placido Domingo has been given a five-year contract extension as general director of the Los Angeles Opera, taking him through the 2010-11 season, the company announced Tuesday.

Mr. Domingo, 65, became artistic director of the Los Angeles Opera in 2000, then was promoted to general director in May 2003, according to Associated Press. He also has been with the Washington National Opera since 1996-97, at first as artistic director and since May 2003 as general director.

The Los Angeles Opera will have increased visibility next season, James Conlon’s first as music director. Verdi’s “La Traviata,” which opens the season Sept. 9, is to be recorded on video in a production starring Renee Fleming, Rolando Villazon and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Mr. Conlon conducts, and Marta Domingo (Mr. Domingo’s wife) directs.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from wire reports.

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