- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2006

Willie, band busted

Willie Nelson and several members of his band were issued misdemeanor citations for possession of narcotic mushrooms and marijuana early yesterday during a traffic stop in Louisiana’s St. Martin Parish, Associated Press reports.

The traffic stop was conducted on Interstate 10 near the town of Breaux Bridge. Trooper Willie Williams says police smelled a strong odor of marijuana when the driver opened the bus door. A search of the bus produced 1 pounds of marijuana and 0.2 pounds of narcotic mushrooms, according to state police. The citations were issued after a commercial vehicle inspection of the country music star’s tour bus, state police said.

Mr. Nelson, 73, of Spicewood, Texas; Tony Sizemore, 59, of St. Cloud, Fla.; Bobbie Nelson, 75, of Briarcliff, Texas; Gates Moore, 54, of Austin, Texas; and David Anderson, 50, of Dallas, were issued citations for possession of mushrooms and possession of marijuana and released.

Elaine Shock, Mr. Nelson’s publicist, declined immediate comment.

Beyond method acting

Johnny Depp may be as straight as an arrow, but he enjoyed donning women’s clothes during the filming of “Ed Wood,” in which he played the real-life cross-dressing movie director, the New York Post reports.

In the upcoming bio “The Secret World of Johnny Depp,” author Nigel Goodall says that as a young boy, Mr. Depp, just like Ed Wood — the infamous director of “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” considered one of the worst films ever made — realized he had a thing for Angora sweaters. Mr. Goodall quotes the star as saying: “I love angora sweaters. Oh man, they’re unbelievable. They really feel good. This girl I dated when I was a teenager, she had an angora sweater. When we broke up, I was upset, but not about her. It was the sweater.”

But his interest in all things soft and slinky really peaked when he was signed by director Tim Burton to play the quirky Mr. Wood and began parading around as a woman in full drag to get into character. At first, it had Mr. Burton worried that Mr. Depp might get beaten up because people in drag “were real easy targets, but Johnny was so credible” that he pulled it off.

New MacArthur fellows

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation yesterday named 25 new MacArthur fellows for 2006 — among them seven innovators in the arts — who will each receive $500,000 in “no strings attached” support over the next five years. They are:

• Improvisational jazz violin master Regina Carter, whose work draws upon a wide range of musical influences— including Motown, Afro-Cuban, swing, bebop, folk and world music.

• Visual storyteller David Macaulay, whose illustrated books demystify the workings and origins of objects as mundane as a stapler and as monumental as a cathedral.

• Sculptor Josiah McElheny, who draws from the decorative and functional traditions of glass to craft a new, multifaceted form of contemporary art.

• Versatile playwright Sarah Ruhl, whose 2003 play “Eurydice” — written while she was a graduate student at Brown University — adapts a classic myth to modern times.

• Artist Anna Schuleit, who brings back to life historic sites and structures through her original interpretations.

• Artist Shahzia Sikande, whose visually striking, resonant works merge the traditional South Asian art of miniature painting with contemporary forms and styles.

• Improvisational musician John Zorn, an accomplished saxophonist, versatile composer and ardent promoter of experimental music.

The inaugural class of MacArthur fellows was named in 1981. Including this year’s fellows, 732 people, ranging in age from 18 to 82 at the time of their selection, have been named MacArthur fellows since the inception of the program.

New Tolkien tale due

An unfinished story by J.R.R. Tolkien has been edited by his son into a completed work and will be released next spring, American and British publishers announced yesterday.

According to AP, Christopher Tolkien has spent the past 30 years working on “The Children of Hurin,” an epic tale his father began in 1918 and later abandoned. Excerpts of “The Children of Hurin,” which includes the elves and dwarfs of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and other works, have been published before.

The new book will be published by Houghton Mifflin in the United States and HarperCollins in England.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings Trilogy” has sold more than 50 million copies and was also adapted into a blockbuster Academy Award-winning trio of films. A stage version is scheduled to open next year.

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

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