- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Meat Loaf’s beef

Someone else might have written the song “Bat Out of Hell,” but Meat Loaf claims he should be the only one entitled to use the phrase in connection with music.

In a federal lawsuit dated May 26, the rocker, whose real name is Michael Aday, said the expression had been publicly associated with him since the 1977 release of his “Bat Out of Hell” album, Associated Press reports.

The suit claims defendant Jim Steinman, who wrote the original song of the same name, wrongly claims ownership of the phrase. The album and its 1993 follow-up, “Bat Out of Hell II,” sold 48 million copies worldwide, according to the suit which — seeks damages of more than $50 million.

Mr. Steinman and Meat Loaf’s manager, defendant David Sononberg, have been trying to disrupt the October release of the third “Bat Out of Hell” album by telling the singer’s distributors that Meat Loaf had no right to use the phrase, the lawsuit said.

“This contention is blackmail and a holdup,” says the complaint, which claims Mr. Steinman and Mr. Sononberg have infringed Meat Loaf’s trademark rights in the phrase and are interfering with distribution contracts.

The lawsuit claims Mr. Steinman wrote and produced the second album and would have produced the third, but he and Meat Loaf had a falling out. Attempts by AP to reach Mr. Steinman and Mr. Sononberg for comment were unsuccessful.

On the mend

Eartha Kitt had a good excuse to postpone the opening of her monthlong gig at New York’s famed Cafe Carlyle from April until last night: She had colon cancer.

“I never expect anything to happen to me,” the iconic singer, 79, told the New York Post. “I’m the healthiest person in the world.”

Back in April, however, her hand was hurting from carpal tunnel syndrome, so she went to the doctor, who found she was anemic. Further tests discovered the cancer. “They operated right away, and I’m fine,” Miss Kitt said.

She’s also pleased that Beyonce has taken an interest in starring in a biopic that could be based on her three volumes of memoirs. “My life has been so … interesting,” Miss Kitt said.

Dueling masters

Picasso versus Velazquez. Picasso versus Goya. It’s a show of dueling masters.

The unprecedented exhibit “Picasso: Tradition and Vanguard” opened yesterday at Spain’s Prado and Reina Sofia museums, AP reports. On display are more than 100 works by Pablo Picasso alongside the works of the 17th-and 18th-century masters who influenced him most — Diego Velazquez and Francisco de Goya.

The exhibit, certain to be Madrid’s cultural highlight of the summer, was organized to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the arrival of Mr. Picasso’s most famed work, “Guernica,” in Spain from the United States in 1981 following the country’s return to democracy after the decades-long dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

The show, which runs through Sept. 3, also celebrates the 125th anniversary of the artist, who was born in Malaga, Spain, on Oct. 25, 1881. Mr. Picasso died in Paris in 1973.

“It’s not enough to describe it as a great exhibition,” said Francisco Calvo Serraller, one of the show’s curators. “It’s inconceivable, unheard of, a historic event which transcends art and demonstrates how the tragedies of war were reflected in Spain.”

The Prado, normally dedicated to pre-19th-century works, has given over its elegant central gallery to contrasting Mr. Picasso’s works with those of painters he acknowledged were his inspirational mentors. The star attractions of the Prado leg will be comparisons among Velazquez’s a “Las Meninas,” painted in 1656, and Mr. Picasso’s black, gray and white versions of the work from the 1950s.

All hail the Queen

After her Oscar-nominated turn as feisty prison matron Mama Morton in “Chicago” — not to mention her self-empowering lyrics in her Grammy-winning rap hit “U.N.I.T.Y.” — Queen Latifah certainly knows a thing or two about confidence.

She’ll share her views on the subject this morning by joining Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat, on Capitol Hill to commemorate the first National Women’s Confidence Day. The ceremony, organizers said, will kick off a day of events that will “celebrate and encourage confidence in women.”

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

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