- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fine designs

As the world awaits with bated breath about Michelle Obama’s choice of an inaugural ball gown, we can confirm that the District’s first lady, Michelle Fenty and inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander have selected New York designer b. Michael to create their ball finery.

Mr. Michael (shown here with two of his models) is mum about the designs, but a spokesperson tells The Washington Times “It has been said of Elizabeth Alexander that her ‘poems bristle with the irresistible quality of a world seen fresh, and her instinct for turning her profound cultural vision into one that illuminates universal experience’. This is b michael’s inspiration for the tone.”

Mr. Michael, whose past clients include Beyonce and actresses Halle Berry and Tamara Tunie, has also created designs for ABC’s “Ugly Batty” and the 2006 hit film “Madea’s Family Reunion.”

Dreamgirls, Keys compete

Beyonce Knowles, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson are all double threats for the NAACP Image Awards, earning nominations in both music and film categories, Associated Press reports.

Miss Keys, Miss Knowles and Miss Hudson are competing for outstanding female music artist and for best music video. They are also nominated for supporting film actress - Miss Keys and Miss Hudson for “The Secret Life of Bees” and Miss Knowles for “Cadillac Records.” Miss Hudson and Miss Knowles previously starred together in “Dreamgirls,” which earned the latter a best supporting actress Oscar in 2007.

The Image Awards honoring diversity in the arts will be presented Feb. 12.

“Cadillac Records” and “The Secret Life of Bees” are best-picture contenders, along with ‘s “Miracle at St. Anna,” “Seven Pounds” and ‘s “The Family That Preys.”

Becks shown door at Pepsi

Los Angeles Galaxy soccer star David Beckham has been dumped by Pepsi Co Inc. after 10 years of faithfully promoting the company, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.

“We wish David well with the many projects he is pursuing and look forward to the possibility of partnering together with him again someday,” the company said.

In a statement to Advertising Age, Mr. Beckham says, “I have nothing but good memories of my 10-year association with Pepsi.”

Free Obama at Tussauds

Stuck in Britain on Inauguration Day? Madame Tussauds, the famous London waxwork museum, is offering U.S. tourists the chance to see their new president up close for free, AP reports.

The attraction says it’s offering free entry to any visitor able to prove he or she is a U.S. citizen - a passport or driver’s license will do. The stunt is intended to celebrate the inauguration of the museum’s new attraction - a Barack Obama waxwork - on Jan. 20.

Sculptors are still adding the finishing touches, but the museum said Wednesday that Mr. Obama would be shown in an informal and relaxed pose, smiling with arms casually folded amid a reproduction of the White House Oval Office.

Museum spokeswoman Liz Edwards declined to say how many people she thought would show up for the free viewing. The museum typically charges 25 pounds ($38) at the door.

Smut king sues kin

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt has sued two of his nephews for selling their own line of adult movies under the same family name.

Mr. Flynt accuses the nephews of producing pornographic films that are “inferior products” and “knockoff goods.” Mr. Flynt said he filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court to protect his family name in the industry.

“To come into the adult-entertainment business and use my name not only confuses people who buy my products, but if they’re not maintaining a certain quality, it could also hurt my name,” he told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday.

Jimmy Flynt II and Dustin Flynt worked for their uncle for more than a decade before he fired them about a year ago. The brothers said they are trying to break into the business and have a right to use their family name.

“If I can’t use my name to do business, then what kind of society, what kind of world is that?” Dustin Flynt said.

Joe headed to war

Joe the Plumber is putting down his wrenches and picking up a reporter’s notebook.

The Ohio man (real name Samuel J. Wurzelbacher) who became a household name during the presidential campaign says he is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for the conservative Web site pjtv.com.

Mr. Wurzelbacher gained attention during the final weeks of the campaign when he asked Barack Obama about his tax plan. He later joined Republican John McCain on the campaign trail.

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

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