- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Not quite homesick

Crooner Aaron Neville knows what it means to miss New Orleans, but he’s in no hurry to return to his Big Easy home, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

“I have asthma and can’t inhale that stuff that they have in the air down there,” says Mr. Neville, who is now living in Tennessee.

The Grammy-winning singer will perform the national anthem at Sunday’s Super Bowl with Aretha Franklin and keyboardist Dr. John.

Mr. Neville hopes his appearance will call attention to the rebuilding efforts in New Orleans.

“I’m trying to keep this thing in the focus,” Mr. Neville tells Associated Press in a phone interview. “We can’t let it get out of people’s minds that something tragic happened in New Orleans.”

Known for his smooth voice and songs such as “Tell It Like It Is,” Mr. Neville says he’s excited about singing alongside the Queen of Soul.

“I’ll start it, then she’ll take the bridge and we’ll do some harmony stuff,” he says. “We’ll be singing to a track, but we’ll be singing live.”

Ailey immortalized

Files of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, one of this country’s best known ensembles, are going to the Library of Congress for permanent archiving, AP reported yesterday.

The material includes sketches of dances, costume designs, musical manuscripts and orchestrations, including scores by Duke Ellington and Leonard Bernstein. The collection also has photographs, audiotapes and film footage from performances.

Alvin Ailey, a 1988 Kennedy Center Honors recipient, died in 1989 at 58. Born in Rogers, Texas, near Waco, he studied at Lester Horton’s modern dance school in Hollywood, the first in the United States to be racially integrated.

He set up the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1959, organized a dance school and a repertory ensemble and choreographed for other companies, among them a production of “Anthony and Cleopatra” for the Metropolitan Opera.

The company has performed for more than 21 million people in 71 countries and opens a weeklong engagement Tuesday at the Kennedy Center.

All that Razz

Tom Cruise survived an attack from outer space in last year’s remake of “War of the Worlds” — but the superstar has failed to elude Hollywood’s movie police.

The actor is among the contenders for the annual Razzies, an Oscar spoof that pays heed to Tinseltown’s worst.

John Wilson, head of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation, panned Mr. Cruise’s portrayal of a working-class man in “War of the Worlds.” And while there were arguably worse performances, Mr. Cruise’s off-screen antics promoting Scientology and making out with Katie Holmes ensured that he made the grade, notes the New York Daily News.

Indeed, Mr. Cruise was also nominated in the category of most tiresome tabloid target, which salutes “the celebs we’re all sick and tired of,” Mr. Wilson says. Paris Hilton also was on that list of nominees.

Mr. Cruise is already a past Razzie winner, sharing the honor with Brad Pitt for worst screen couple in Anne Rice’s “Interview With the Vampire.” Other Razzie targets this year include Jennifer Lopez and wanna-be thespians Jenny McCarthy and Jessica Simpson, who both picked up three nominations.

Miss McCarthy was cited for worst actress, worst screen couple and worst screenplay for “Dirty Love.” Miss Simpson will vie for worst screen couple as well as worst supporting actress as Daisy Duke in “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

In all, “Dukes,” which did well at the box office, received seven nominations.

However, the Razzies’ biggest target was “Son of the Mask,” a sequel to the 1994 Jim Carrey hit, which led the nominated films with eight nods.

Winners will be announced March 4, the day before the Academy Awards.

Fancy footwork

Forget ogling the most beautiful gowns at this year’s Oscars. Some lucky actress will hit the red carpet wearing shoes adorned with jewelry once owned by ‘40s screen goddess Rita Hayworth.

“This is true Hollywood glamour,” shoe designer Stuart Weitzman says. “I am taking personal jewels from a screen legend and creating a one-of-a-kind pair of shoes, which will be worn by a movie star of today.”

Mr. Weitzman says Miss Hayworth’s daughter, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, had given him permission to use the jewels. The Oscar shoes and the actress who will wear them will be revealed by Mr. Weitzman on March 2, three days before the March 5 Oscar ceremony.

Mr. Weitzman has selected two pairs of earrings, one ruby and one diamond, and will choose one pair to coordinate with the color of the actress’s gown, Roger Neal of Neal Public Relations, which represents Mr. Weitzman, tells Associated Press. Mr. Neal estimated the value of the bejeweled shoes at more than $3 million.

The shoes, adorned with a replica of the jewels by Swarovski Crystal will be auctioned March 6, the day after the Oscars, with proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Association, Mr. Neal said.

Miss Hayworth, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, died in 1987 at age 68.

This is the fifth year Mr. Weitzman has created opulent shoes for the Oscars.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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