- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 1, 2007

Tie a wish

Yoko Ono will dedicate a Wish Tree for Washington D.C. this afternoon at the Hirshhorn Museum’s Sculpture Garden, part of her longtime effort to encourage the public to make art. Visitors will be invited to write wishes on paper and tie them to a tree. Miss Ono, widow of John Lennon and a musical artist in her own right, will tie the first wish onto the Hirshhorn’s flowering dogwood, one of 10 trees being installed throughout the city and the only one that will remain here as a permanent installation.

The gift evokes the spirit of international good will signified by the original 1912 gift of cherry trees to the United States from Japan.

Additional trees will be placed at the steps of the Jefferson Memorial as part of this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Town Hall Education Arts and Recreation Campus in Anacostia.

Visa problems

Snoop Dogg says he was shocked at being denied a British visa last week, although he remains hopeful authorities will allow him to share a “message of love and harmony.”

“I was shocked by the decision but am optimistic that the British authorities will soon realize my global efforts to promote peace and grant me the opportunity to come back for my fans,” the rapper said Wednesday during an interview for the documentary “In Prison My Whole Life.”

The 35-year-old rapper, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, has been touring Europe but was forced to cancel British dates after authorities denied the visa.

Segments of Snoop Dogg’s interview were released Thursday by a publicist for actor Colin Firth, who is producing the documentary on death-row inmate Mumia Abu Jamal. The interview had been scheduled for London but was filmed in Amsterdam instead.

Legal troubles are not new for Snoop Dog, who also was barred entry into Britain in last May.

In April 2006, he and five others were arrested on charges of violent disorder and starting a brawl after a fight erupted when members of the rapper’s group were denied entry to British Airways’ first-class lounge at Heathrow Airport. The case was resolved when police said the rapper accepted responsibility. They declined to take further action.

Brooke’s 106th

After a turbulent 105th year, Brooke Astor marked the start of her 106th Friday with a birthday so quiet that she dozed through a visit from her son.

The philanthropist and socialite, ensconced at her property in a tony area north of New York City, was asleep when her son Anthony Marshall, 82, came by with a pink azalea, said his attorney, Kenneth Warner.

“She does spend a lot of time sleeping,” Mr. Warner said. “It can be difficult to catch the lucid moments. But he did see her.”

Banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller and Annette de la Renta, both of whom figured in a nasty family feud over Mrs. Astor’s guardianship, also went to see her Friday, said Fraser Seitel, a spokesman for both.

He said Mr. Rockefeller was bringing sweet-pea flowers, “Mrs. Astor’s favorite.”

Mr. Marshall’s son Phillip Marshall accused him last year of allowing Mrs. Astor to live in squalor while he looted her estate. Mr. Rockefeller supported the grandson’s case. The settlement removed Anthony Marshall as Mrs. Astor’s guardian, replacing him with JPMorgan Chase bank and Mrs. de la Renta, the wife of fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.

Mrs. Astor is the widow of Vincent Astor, a great-great-grandson of John Jacob Astor, who made a fortune in fur trading and New York real estate.

In the decades after her husband’s death in 1959, Mrs. Astor gave away nearly $200 million to New York’s great cultural institutions and a host of humbler projects, winning a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1998.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from staff and wire reports.

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