- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sexiest vegans named

Years of shunning meat and eating spinach apparently have paid off for Carrie Underwood and Kevin Eubanks.

The two have been named the “world’s sexiest vegetarians” in PETA’s annual contest.

Results were released yesterday by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Associated Press reports.

Miss Underwood, 24, the 2005 “American Idol” champ and a Grammy-winning country singer, won the title in 2005. Mr. Eubanks, 49, leader of NBC’s “Tonight Show” band, is a newcomer to the winner’s circle.

Runners-up in the contest, which the animal rights group said drew more than 110,000 votes on its Web site, included Joaquin Phoenix, Milo Ventimiglia, Kristen Bell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jared Leto and Lisa Edelstein.

Last year, Prince and Miss Bell — star of the “Veronica Mars” TV series — were picked as the two sexiest vegetarians.

Hef, the movie

Hugh Hefner’s Playboy lifestyle is set to hit the big screen, AP reports.

The film, to carry the title of his magazine, will be directed by Brett Ratner, whose credits include the “Rush Hour” movies and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” It will be produced for Universal Pictures by Brian Grazer, who won the best-picture Oscar in 2002 for “A Beautiful Mind.”

Mr. Hefner, 81, sold the rights to his story to Mr. Grazer several years ago. He approved the project last week.

“Hef came from a puritanical upbringing and reinvented himself to be the godfather of the sexual revolution,” Mr. Ratner told Variety. “He also used his magazine to advocate civil rights and free speech and put James Brown on his show ‘Playboy After Dark’ when they didn’t put black performers on national television. He broke all kinds of taboos, especially in sexuality. I want to show it all.”

‘Purple’ seeing green

Although more than a year old, the Oprah Winfrey-backed musical “The Color Purple” is finding new life on Broadway since season three “American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino took over the lead role of Celie, the New York Post reported yesterday.

According to the newspaper, the show regularly grosses more than $1 million a week, and advance ticket sales are nearing $10 million. Church groups attending the show represent an enormous — and relatively untapped — market for Broadway, which has long struggled to attract black audiences, the New York Post noted. Fort Washington’s Ebenezer African Methodist Church, for example, has a 10,000-member congregation and already has sent two groups to “The Color Purple.” It plans to send more in the fall, the newspaper said.

Hootie sidelined

Hootie & the Blowfish will reschedule 13 shows, including a July 8 engagement at Wolf Trap, because of the illness of its lead singer, Darius Rucker, the band’s publicist said yesterday.

Mr. Rucker suffered a staph infection in his left knee and has undergone three surgeries to clear the infection, spokeswoman Ebie McFarland said.

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

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