- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Change of plans

Beyonce Knowles has scrapped plans to stage her first concert in Malaysia and will instead perform in neighboring Indonesia, which has less stringent rules about how performers should dress and behave, Associated Press reports.

The announcement followed recent speculation that Miss Knowles, who is famous for her sexy image and skimpy outfits, was reluctant to fulfill the Malaysian government’s demand for female performers to cover up from the top of their chests to their knees, including their shoulders.

Rock solid gift

Wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his estranged wife Dany Garcia Johnson yesterday announced a $1 million gift to the University of Miami’s football facilities renovation fund — the largest gift former Hurricane student athletes have ever made to the university’s athletic department.

The Hurricanes’ football locker room will be renamed in Mr. Johnson’s honor, AP reports.

“Dany and I have always said that being a student athlete here at the University of Miami has always been a tremendous part of our lives,” the Rock, 35, said.

The Johnsons, who announced their separation in June after 10 years of marriage, met as Miami students. The couple say they remain close. Dany Garcia Johnson was a rower for the Hurricanes and is now an alumni trustee. She graduated in 1992; he graduated in 1995. They made a $2 million gift last year to help fund the construction of an on-campus alumni center.

The Rock plays a quarterback in his latest film, “The Game Plan,” which premiered in the top box office spot last weekend.

Trouble for band czar

Lou Pearlman, the boy-band honcho who created *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys and launched the careers of Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter, is accused of being a pedophile who preyed on the young men he mentored, reports the New York Post, citing a story in Vanity Fair magazine.

“I would absolutely say the guy was a sexual predator. All the talent knew what Lou’s game was,” Steve Mooney, an aspiring singer who was Mr. Pearlman’s assistant, told Vanity Fair’s Bryan Burrough.

Phoenix Stone, an early member of the Backstreet Boys, tells Vanity Fair that Mr. Pearlman — reportedly known as “Big Poppa” — was “definitely inappropriate” with Nick Carter. Nick’s mom, Jane Carter, wouldn’t get into specifics, but said, “Certain things happened and it almost destroyed our family. I tried to warn everyone. I tried to warn all the mothers … I tried to expose him for what he was years ago.”

Tim Christofore, a member of Take 5, recalls that during a sleepover at Mr. Pearlman’s house, the music czar swan-dived onto his and another boy’s bed and wrestled with them wearing only a towel, which came off. “We were like, ‘Ooh, Lou, that’s gross.’ What did I know? I was 13,” Mr. Christofore told the magazine.

Mr. Pearlman, 53, is in a Florida jail awaiting trial on bank fraud charges. Prosecutors say he scammed more than 1,000 investors out of $315 million. He had been a fugitive until June, when he was busted in Indonesia living under a fake name. His lawyer did not return calls, the New York Post said.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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