- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

Festival of music

Soprano Jessye Norman remembers being an 18-year-old Howard University student studying music literature when she noticed a glaring omission in her textbook. “The study book for that two-year course was written by a man named Grout, and it was called ‘[A] History of Western Music.’ However, there was no mention of any African-Americans as a part of this history of American music,” the opera great recalls.

Miss Norman says she hopes the three-week festival she is curating on black music, titled Honor, will provide music fans with more knowledge about its rich tapestry, Associated Press reports. The festival began last week and runs through March 23.

Participants include Maya Angelou, the Roots, Shirley Caesar, Ben Vereen, Terence Blanchard and dozens of other artists at Carnegie Hall and other venues around New York City. On Monday, Carnegie Hall will host the world premiere of the Langston Hughes poem “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz,” which for the first time features a score - composed by Laura Karpman.

Miss Norman, 63, points out that Baptist preachers were using raplike rhythms in their sermons 100 years ago, “already sort of doing what these wonderful young people are doing now.”

Out of love again

College sweethearts Steve and Elaine Wynn were married in 1963. They divorced in 1986 and remarried five years later. In happier times, Mr. Wynn once said he bought the Desert Inn casino, the site of his Wynn Las Vegas, as a birthday gift for his wife. Vogue magazine once called her “the unofficial queen of Las Vegas.”

Happier times indeed. Associated Press reports that Clark County District Court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer said Tuesday that divorce papers were filed March 5 and sealed by a judge the same day. The sealing means no other details of the case are public.

Now Mr. Wynn, 67, is chief executive of Wynn Resorts Ltd. The casino company, based in Las Vegas, reported $210.2 million in net income for 2008. Mr. Wynn received $11.2 million in compensation for the company’s top job in 2007. Mrs. Wynn, 66, is a director on the company’s board. It was not clear how a split could potentially affect the company,

Now hear this

Singers Chris Brown and Rihanna are recording a duet together, according to TMZ.com. It is said to be a love song.

Pinup on mat

Jean-Paul Cluzel, head of Radio France, raised eyebrows when he appeared on a calendar for the AIDS activism group Act Up. It wasn’t the cause, it was the pose: He was stripped to the waist, in tattoos and a wrestler’s mask with his longtime boyfriend playing the role of a wrestling trainer. Agence France-Presse reports that the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine said President Nicolas Sarkozy was among those annoyed by a senior public official striking such a pose. Yesterday the daily Le Figaro published an interview in which Mr. Cluzel said, “I made an error of judgment and apologise to any colleagues at Radio France that were offended by it.”

• Compiled by Richard Slusser from wire and Web reports

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