- The Washington Times - Monday, May 1, 2006

Depp’s point of view

“Pirates of the Caribbean” star Johnny Depp has crossed swords with city officials over a proposed Sunset Strip commercial development project that he says would block the scenic view from part of his Hollywood Hills estate.

Mr. Depp contends in a lawsuit that the city of West Hollywood violated environmental quality laws by approving the development of retail shops, a restaurant and a parking structure on a lot beneath his gated, 2-acre property, Associated Press reports.

The actor, 42, also argues that the project would block the view his two children have while playing on a terrace outside their 7,430-square-foot home.

However, developer Joseph Emrani of Venice Investments argued that the youngsters — Lily-Rose, 6, and Jack, 4 — are being raised in France, where Mr. Depp and French actress-singer Vanessa Paradis also have a home.

Mr. Depp’s attorney declined to discuss the case.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled against Mr. Depp last year. The case is being appealed on his behalf by his sister Christi Dembrowski, who is also his personal assistant and president of his film production company.

Dissin’ Lady O

Spiritual, culinary and literary leader Oprah Winfrey might be the most popular figure in history, but can she defend herself from her newest foe, a former crack dealer who has been shot nine times — and survived?

That would be 50 Cent, who is upset at Miss Winfrey because she’s not gangsta and rarely has rappers on her show, DenverPost.com notes.

“I think she caters to older white women,” 50 Cent says. “So, I could care less about Oprah or her show.”

His resentment is shared by actor-rapper Ludacris, who told GQ that the talk-show queen edited out some of his comments when he was on the show last year. No comment from Miss Winfrey’s camp.

All they are saying

John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, voiced her disdain at last week’s pay-per-view seance to summon her late husband from the world beyond.

Now May Pang ,the ex-Beatle’s ex-mistress, is having her say, calling the event “a bunch of junk” although producers of the show say Mr. Lennon did, indeed, appear.

According to the producers of the seance, Mr. Lennon, who was fatally shot in 1980, implored the world — or at least those gullible enough to shell out $9.95 for the April 24 event — to give peace a chance.

“Please,” Miss Pang told the New York Daily News, “If they had really contacted John, he would have talked about the music.”

Big man’s big plans

Fats Domino is coming out of his post-Katrina seclusion to help a cause near to his heart — getting instruments into the hands of New Orleans’ young musicians.

The portly 78-year-old performer was to sign autographs in the city last night for his new album, “Alive and Kickin,” before the Tipitina’s Foundation’s fifth annual “Instruments A-Comin’” concert, AP reports.

The album was released as a benefit for the foundation, associated with the city’s historic nightclub. Tipitina’s Foundation helped local musicians find housing and new instruments after the storm.

Money raised from the concert and silent auction will go toward getting instruments for the city’s school music programs.

Foundation director Bill Taylor says one of Mr. Domino’s biggest concerns, especially since Katrina displaced more than half the city’s musicians, has been the next generation of musicians. “He’s always asking about the kids, how they’re doing,” Mr. Taylor says.

So far, the foundation has provided more than $500,000 worth of donated instruments to the next generation of New Orleans musicians.

Eyeing motherhood

Halle Berry has motherhood on the brain, and the Hollywood beauty told the syndicated TV show “Extra” that if having a baby doesn’t happen “naturally,” she has no qualms about adopting.

“I will adopt if it doesn’t happen for me naturally,” the Oscar-winning actress said. “I will definitely adopt. And I probably will adopt even if it does happen naturally.”

Miss Berry, 39, has been keeping mum about her personal life, although she has been dating 30-year-old model Gabriel Aubry since November, the Boston Herald reports. The couple met while shooting a Versace ad in Los Angeles.

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

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