- The Washington Times - Monday, July 24, 2006

Aguilera: no regrets

Christina Aguilera says she has toned down the sexuality on her new double-disc album, “Back to Basics,” but has no regrets about the sultry image she has projected in the past.

“The sexuality coming forward on this record is more softened,” the 25-year-old singer says in the July 31 issue of Newsweek. “It’s more pinup, tongue-in-cheek. It’s playful. People take sex far too seriously.”

According to Associated Press, Miss Aguilera says she was proud of the image she projected on her last album, “Stripped,” in part because it elicited strong opinions.

“If you liked it, you wanted to root for me — ‘Look, she’s empowered.’ If not, well, you’d stick all those labels on me,” she says.

Miss Aguilera also told Newsweek there never was a feud between her and fellow ex-Mouseketeer Britney Spears.

“We were like best friends, but the media saw a navel and blond hair and had to create some drama,” Miss Aguilera says.

“Back to Basics” is set for release Aug. 15.

Swayze resumes show

Patrick Swayze will make his debut in London’s West End on Thursday after a chest infection forced him to postpone his opening night, a theater spokesman said yesterday.

Mr. Swayze, 53, will play gambler Nathan Detroit in “Guys and Dolls” at the Piccadilly Theatre, Agence France-Presse reports. He was due originally to appear on July 10 but had to reschedule his debut after the infection forced him to miss rehearsals.

The multitalented actor-dancer-singer-songwriter — best known for his roles in the films “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost” — denied rumors that he was suffering stage fright.

Cyber-thieves hit Lohan

Someone has found the password to Lindsay Lohan’s BlackBerry and is sending the actress’s friends “disgusting and very mean messages,” the Denver Post reports, citing a story in the New York Post.

Paris Hilton had a similar problem two years ago when her T-Mobile was hacked into and her private messages were put on the Internet. Miss Lohan’s representative is threatening legal action if the messages do not stop, the Denver Post reports.

Pricey strings

A guitar once owned by Robert Johnson, the Delta-blues icon known as the “grandfather of rock ‘n’ roll,” is for sale for $5.9 million, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The Gibson L-1 is one of three instruments used by Mr. Johnson — mythologized as the musician who, to play as he did, surrendered his soul to the devil at a crossroads in Clarksdale, Miss. Since his premature death at 27 in 1938 (the womanizing musician reportedly was poisoned by a jealous husband), he has become an icon for rock ‘n’ roll, with his style influencing Ry Cooder, J.J. Cale, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, among others.

Eric Clapton, who recorded the album “Me & Mr Johnson” in 2004, said that his music was “like my oldest friend, always in the back of my head and on the horizon.” If the guitar fetches the asking price, it will be the most valuable ever sold.

Seven years ago, Mr. Clapton’s guitar, on which he recorded “Layla,” sold for a record $573,472. Since then, classic guitars have rocketed in price. Nine months ago, a Fender Stratocaster, signed by Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Brian May, Mr. Page, Mr. Clapton and Mr. Richards was bought for $2.9 million.

Sneaks peek

Converse has tapped rapper and actor Mos Def to design a line of its iconic sneaks, the New York Daily News reports. The body of the shoe is laser-etched with famous New York imagery such as the Brooklyn Bridge, and the star’s signature is displayed on the shoe’s tongue.

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

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