- The Washington Times - Monday, March 2, 2009

Diva and doc

At Thursday night’s Kennedy Center benefit for her alma mater, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Denyce Graves brought the house down with her arias, but what really got the house rocking was the sparkly diamond ring the opera diva sported.

The Washington Times caught up with Miss Graves at the after-party, where she confirmed she is, in fact, engaged.

The lucky guy is Dr. Robert Montgomery, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins University and Hospital. “I am out of my mind with happiness,” Miss Graves said.

She also said they likely will marry in September and will reside in Maryland.

Stephanie Green

Art exchange

An art exchange between Los Angeles-area institutions and Washington’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is taking place this spring. Richard Koshalek, president of Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, will become the director of the Hirshhorn in April, while the Hirshhorn’s Anne Ellegood will join Los Angeles’ Hammer Museum in May.

Miss Ellegood has been curator of contemporary art at the Hirshhorn since 2005 and has worked on numerous exhibitions, including last year’s hit “The Cinema Effect: Reality, Illusion and the Moving Image.”

Deborah K. Dietsch

‘Slumdog’ slapped

The father of 10-year-old Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, one of the stars of the Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” slapped him for refusing to give media interviews, a report said Saturday.

Azharuddin — Azhar to his friends — plays the young Salim, elder brother of the film’s central character, Jamal. His father, who suffers from tuberculosis and sells cardboard to eke out a living, told the news agency, “My child was very tired and bored, but I had committed to one journalist [to give him an interview]. I felt badly when he refused [the journalist]. He is my child, and I just slapped him but I feel sorry now.”

Barraged by media attention since returning to his tarpaulin-covered lean-to home early last week, Azharuddin said, “I was being naughty. … I did not want to give the interview because I was tired, so he slapped me, but he loves me.”

On Saturday, Azharuddin won an award from his school for being the “most friendly and outgoing student” in his class, Associated Press reports.


Rihanna and Chris Brown are “definitely together” and focusing on a reconciliation, People.com reports. According to the Web site, they are spending time together at the home of Sean “Diddy” Combs on Miami Beach’s Star Island, staying indoors as they hash things out. The reconciliation comes nearly three weeks after Mr. Brown reportedly battered the “Umbrella” singer on Feb. 8.

Compiled by Richard Slusser from staff, wire, and Web reports

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