- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Sagging sales

Barbra Streisand may be starting to wish her last “farewell tour” six years ago truly was her swan song. Sales for her upcoming gigs, which begin in October, have been disappointing, the New York Post reports, citing an unnamed top music industry source who says fans are resisting ticket prices as high as $800, not including service fees.

Tickets for Miss Streisand’s Oct. 13 performance at the Verizon Center range from $100 to $750.

The slow ticket sales are said to be a concern for Michael Cohl and Live Nation, the promoters who paid nearly $80 million for the diva’s 20 shows with opening act Il Divo. The tour kicks off Oct. 4 in Philadelphia. It continues in New York on Oct. 9 before rolling into the District; Detroit; Boston; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Atlanta; Atlantic City, N.J.; Chicago; San Jose, Calif.; Las Vegas; and Los Angeles.

However, with the promoters facing the possibility of losing $15 million or more, they’re said to be mulling offers to book Miss Streisand in Indian casinos.

Tour spokesman Ken Sunshine denied that claim, saying, “Tickets are going through the moon.”

Also at issue: Miss Streisand plans to “donate millions of dollars in proceeds to environmental, education and women’s health organizations through her own Streisand Foundation,” although she won’t say exactly how much — which means ticket buyers can’t write off part of the whopping ticket costs as tax deductions.

Babs also faces the wrath of fans who saw her on her last tour, which ended in September 2000 with two Madison Square Garden sellouts that grossed $14.4 million, the New York Post reports. Since then, she has sung live at a campaign fundraiser for John Kerry that took in $5 million and made a surprise appearance in October at the Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children benefit in Las Vegas.

Swank discusses split

Hilary Swank, who is divorcing actor-husband Chad Lowe, says Mr. Lowe’s “substance-abuse problem” was partly responsible for the breakup of their marriage, Associated Press reports.

“I knew something was happening, but I didn’t know what,” the two-time Oscar-winning actress tells Vanity Fair in its August issue. “When I found out, it was such a shock because I never thought he’d keep something from me. And yet, on another level, it was a confirmation of something I was feeling that was keeping us from being completely solid.”

Miss Swank, 31, says Mr. Lowe, 38, is “sober now.”

A call by AP to David Rose, Mr. Lowe’s agent, was not immediately returned yesterday.

In May, an attorney for the couple confirmed to AP that Miss Swank and Mr. Lowe would divorce after eight years of marriage. The couple had announced their separation in January. They married in 1997 and have no children.

Miss Swank famously forgot to thank a tearful Mr. Lowe while accepting her best-actress Oscar in 2000 for “Boys Don’t Cry.” Last year, she won again for “Million Dollar Baby” — this time thanking her husband. Mr. Lowe, the brother of actor Rob Lowe, won an Emmy in 1993 for his portrayal of AIDS patient Jesse McKenna on the TV series “Life Goes On.”

Serial bride

If it’s marital stability you want, Brigitte Nielsen may not be the girl for you.

However, that didn’t stop Mattia Dessi from popping the question. So on Saturday, the Danish actress, 48 — whose second husband was Sylvester Stallonewill make Mr. Dessi, an Italian bartender 15 years her junior, husband No. 5.

According to the New York Post, the couple will tie the knot on the island of Malta. Miss Nielsen will have Ivana Trump as her witness and all five of her children at the ceremony, the newspaper said.

Last year, the couple made an earlier trip down the aisle. Miss Nielsen and Mr. Dessi were “wed” in March 2005 on a Caribbean beach, but a few days later, she admitted the marriage was invalid because she was still married to hubby No. 4.

In 2004, Miss Nielsen began a romance with hip-hop star Flavor Flav when the two appeared on VH1’s “The Surreal Life.” The network later capitalized on the odd pairing by giving the couple their own reality show, “Strange Love.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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