Thursday, February 14, 2008

Grammys’ royal tiff

Aretha Franklin apparently feels she didn’t get the r-e-s-p-e-c-t her Queen of Soul mantle demands, reports.

When Beyonce and Tina Turner hit the Grammy stage Sunday for their high-octane duet, most folks were left in awe. Miss Franklin, however, was left a bit dismayed after Beyonce introduced Miss Turner as “the queen.”

“I am not sure of whose toes I may have stepped on or whose ego I may have bruised between the Grammy writers and Beyonce,” quoted Miss Franklin saying. “However, I dismissed it as a cheap shot for controversy. In addition to that, I thank the Grammys and the voting academy for my 20th Grammy and love to Beyonce anyway.”

There was no immediate comment from either Beyonce or the Recording Academy, said.

Working his way up

Talk about humble beginnings.

Zombie wrangler George A. Romero (“Night of the Living Dead”) started his career bringing newsreels to various stations around Pittsburgh by bicycle.

“I would hang around with editors cutting the news. That’s how I learned the media,” he says.

His first time behind the camera, though, came courtesy of a Pittsburgh institution. He joined the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” production team for a brief spell in the 1960s. His first assignment? Shooting a segment on how to make a light bulb.

Mr. Romero — whose latest film, “Diary of the Dead, opens tomorrow, says he wasn’t the only Pittsburgher to get a start on the children’s show. Steel City native Michael Keaton also paid his dues in the “Neighborhood” as a production assistant and occasional extra.

Coens’ new project

The sibling filmmaking team behind Oscar favorite “No Country for Old Men” has reached a deal to adapt another Pulitzer-winning author’s story for the big screen: Michael Chabon’s best seller “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union,” Reuters news agency says.

Columbia Pictures has acquired movie rights to Mr. Chabon’s murder mystery, set in Alaska, for brothers Joel and Ethan Coen to write and direct. Their “No Country” collaborator Scott Rudin is signed as producer, a studio spokesman said.

According to Daily Variety, which first reported the deal, the Coen brothers will turn their attention to Mr. Chabon’s novel after they shoot the upcoming film, “A Serious Man.”

Based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name, “No Country for Old Men” has become the highest-grossing film for the Coens and has been nominated for eight Oscars, including the Academy Award for best picture.

Grudge match

It’s the rematch of all rematches, the comeback death wish of the century.

Performing illusionist Roy Horn (of Siegfried & Roy) will return to the ring to square off against the razor-toothed white tiger with an appetite for … well, illusionists named Roy, the New York Post reports.

It’s been five years since Mr. Horn was bitten, dragged and nearly killed by a white tiger during the magic duo’s live show — which, for obvious reasons, was their last gig. Since then, the wounds have healed (mostly); the ego, well, not so much.

Now, Mr. Horn has called a rematch. One year from now, he’ll get a second chance to show us who’s boss, man or beast, when he faces off against the tiger for round two in Las Vegas. The one-night-only live show is part of an Alzheimer’s fundraiser for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, the medical-scientific branch of the nonprofit Keep Memory Alive, the newspaper says.

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

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