- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 2, 2006

Going solo, Simon says

Paul Simon’s new tour is about music, not Art.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer kicked off his first solo tour in five years with a Wednesday show in Cleveland, supporting his critically acclaimed album “Surprise.” In 2003-04, his last time on the road, Mr. Simon teamed up with old friend and former singing partner Art Garfunkel, rather than going alone.

“The situation with Artie was unique,” said Mr. Simon about their collaboration. “I really had to think about what would serve that show the best. … But when I’m doing my own show, I do what I want to do with the show. I don’t have to share responsibilities.”

Mr. Simon, 64 — who performs July 12 at the Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, Md. — said one of the challenges of this tour is re-creating the soundscapes from the album that came out of a collaboration with avant-garde musician Brian Eno.

“To a degree I try to do it; to a degree I don’t,” Mr. Simon said. “Every live performance is essentially different from the album. Everything stretches out, gets bigger, louder, longer. Here, the main thing is I don’t have Brian. But to a degree, I can use some of the album sounds.”

Royal lineage

Brooke Shields has a pretty impressive pedigree.

Her family tree includes Catherine de Medici, Charlemagne and William the Conqueror.

Miss Shields also descends from five popes and a whole mess of early New England settlers. By the way, don’t leave out Renaissance pundit Niccolo Machiavelli or conquistador Hernando Cortes.

Still, that’s nothing special — at least genealogically, researchers say. Even without a documented connection to a notable forebear, specialists say the odds are virtually 100 percent that every person on Earth is descended from royalty.

“Millions of people have provable descents from medieval monarchs,” Mark Humphrys, a genealogy enthusiast and professor of computer science at Dublin City University in Ireland, told Associated Press.

By the same token, for every king in a family tree, there are uncounted nobodies whose lives went unrecorded by history. We’ll never know about them because until recently vital records were a rarity for all but the noble classes.

It works the other way, too. Anybody who had kids hundreds of years ago is likely to have millions of descendants today, and quite a few famous ones.

Take King Edward III, who ruled England in the 14th century and had at least nine children. Among his documented descendants are presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams and both Roosevelts — Theodore and Franklin); authors (Jane Austen and Alfred Lord Tennyson); a general (Robert E. Lee); a scientist (Charles Darwin); and actors (Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn — and Miss Shields).

No. 3 for Stone?

Sharon Stone has adopted a third child, a newborn boy, Quinn, says the Denver Post, citing a story in the New York Post.

Miss Stone’s publicist, however, refused to confirm or deny the adoption.

The actress also has two sons, Roan, 6, and 13-month-old Laird.

Joining the ‘Bucket’

Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman will star in Rob Reiner’s “The Bucket List” about two terminally ill friends who check off a mad wish list before kicking the bucket, reports Agence France-Presse citing a report in Thursday’s Variety.

Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Freeman, both 69, play patients who break out of a cancer ward and head out on a spree, to indulge in the finest food, auto racing and high-stakes poker in Monte Carlo, Variety said.

According to the trade publication, shooting will begin in October. The film will be financed by Mr. Reiner, who also directed “When Harry Met Sally” in 1989, and more recently helmed “Rumor Has It” with Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Costner.

Mr. Nicholson, a 12-time best actor nominee, won the Academy Award twice as best actor, in 1976 for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and in 1998 for “As Good as It Gets.”

Nominated three times with “Street Smart,” “Driving Miss Daisy” and “The Shawshank Redemption,” Mr. Freeman won the Oscar in 2005 for a supporting role in “Million Dollar Baby” directed by Clint Eastwood.

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

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