- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

CD celebrates Gaye

Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of the death of D.C. native and Motown superstar Marvin Gaye, who would have turned 70 today.

To mark both occasions, Motown/UMe on Tuesday released the digital-only “Then & Now,” which features 14 rare Gaye songs, including “Soulie,” a song he wrote with Syracuse, N.Y. native Jennifer Lambert and her husband, Mickey Gentile, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports.

Meanwhile, Motown/UMe is also issuing a vinyl-only edition of “United,” Mr. Gaye’s classic duet album with the late Tammi Terrell, on April 14. Mr. Gaye and Miss Terrell first teamed on the 1967 album, which included “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You,” “Your Precious Love” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

Opry debut for Martin

Steve Martin is coming to the Grand Ole Opry, and he’s bringing his banjo.

The comedian, actor, author, playwright and musician will make his debut on the long-running country music program May 30, Associated Press reports.

An Opry spokeswoman says Mr. Martin will perform songs from his first musical album, “The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo.” Performing with him will be friends Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Stuart Duncan, Tim O’Brien and John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Mr. Martin, who has been playing banjo since he was 17, wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the new album, which features several guests, including Mr. Gill, Dolly Parton and bluegrass great Earl Scruggs.

The album is being sold exclusively through Amazon.com but will be available at other music retailers later this year, AP says.

Albright baubles on view

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, a tenacious negotiator, loved to communicate her mood and intentions in a more subtle way - through her brooches.

Now the Museum of Arts & Design in New York is planning the first-ever exhibition of her pin collection, featuring about 200 of her favorites, including the golden snake pin she wore after Saddam Hussein’s government called her a serpent.

Mrs. Albright “found that what she wore and how she presented herself had a lot of interpretive meaning to those she was with,” Holly Hotchner, the museum’s director, tells Associated Press. “The pins became an added way that she communicated as secretary of state.”

“Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection,” scheduled to open in September, comes 10 years after the museum presented “Brooching It Diplomatically,” a show of pins created by contemporary artists inspired by the ones Mrs. Albright wore.

The nation’s 64th secretary of state became so famous for her pin diplomacy that when she wore a necklace to a nonpolitical event where she was the featured speaker, the organizer insisted the secretary go out and buy a brooch before taking the podium. Miss Albright, now a professor at Georgetown University, is said to have complied.

“She started acquiring pins because of their inherent messages, their whimsical and pictorial quality,” says David Revere McFadden, the museum’s chief curator. “It’s not about jewels and gems, it’s about jewelry as a communication device.”

Biden sighting

Our eagle-eyed spies happened upon Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill, during a March 22 shopping excursion in Georgetown.

Two young shoppers walked away with this photo of the veep and second lady in their shopping bags.

Which begs the question: Should the vice president of a country running a multitrillion-dollar deficit be shopping at a store called Banana Republic?

Just asking.

• Compiled by Stephanie Green and Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff and wire reports

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