- - Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Secret Policeman’s Ball benefit to play Radio City Music Hall

The Secret Policeman’s Ball is letting America in on the party: The British-based music and comedy festival is coming to New York in March.

Coldplay, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Mumford & Sons and Russell Brand are among the acts that have signed on for the event at Radio City Music Hall on March 4, the Associated Press reports. The concert will benefit Amnesty International, as it has since it started in 1976 with celebrities such as John Cleese. Over the years, Bono, Sting and others have participated. This will be the first time it’s held in New York City.

“For us, it’s iconic and a very special thing and has provided the opportunity to really celebrate the presence of freedom of expression and free speech, and how we can move people and how we can bring people together, and just how powerful that is,” said Amnesty International spokesman Andy Hackman in an interview Tuesday.

The last Secret Policeman’s Ball was in 2008 in London. Mr. Hackman said the organization wanted to do something different and on a grander scale this year because it’s the 50th anniversary of the human rights group.

David “DJ” Javerbaum, the former head writer and executive producer for “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” said the show will feature sketches, music and more.

Tickets go on sale on Monday.

Oklahoma hospital must pay Brooks $1M in naming lawsuit

An Oklahoma hospital that failed to build a women’s health center in honor of Garth Brooks’ late mother must pay the country singer $1 million, a jury has ruled.

Jurors on Tuesday evening ruled that the hospital must return Mr. Brooks’ $500,000 donation and also pay him $500,000 in punitive damages. The decision came in Mr. Brooks’ breach-of-contract lawsuit against Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital in Yukon. Mr. Brooks said he thought he’d reached a deal in 2005 with the hospital’s president, James Moore, but sued after learning the hospital wanted to use the money for other construction projects.

Jury member Beverly Lacy said she voted in favor of Mr. Brooks because she thought the hospital went back on its word. As far as the punitive damages, she said: “We wanted to show them not to do that anymore to anyone else.”

The hospital argued that Mr. Brooks gave it unrestricted access to the $500,000 donation and only later asked that it build a women’s center and name it after his mother, Colleen Brooks, who died of cancer in 1999.

Demi Moore seeking help to treat exhaustion

A spokeswoman for Demi Moore said the actress is seeking professional help to treat her exhaustion and improve her health.

Publicist Carrie Gordon said the decision comes from the stresses in Miss Moore’s life, and she looks forward to getting well. According to the Associated Press, Ms. Gordon did not release any other details about the nature or location of Miss Moore’s treatment.

The past few months have been rocky for Miss Moore. She released a statement in November announcing she had decided to end her marriage to Ashton Kutcher following news of alleged infidelity.

Haggard on road to recovery after bout with pneumonia

Country music legend Merle Haggard said he’s nearly over the case of double pneumonia that kept him in a Georgia hospital for most of the last week.

Doctors found the 74-year-old had several other ailments while he was recovering in a Macon, Ga., hospital, according to the Associated Press. Spokeswoman Tresa Redburn said he was diagnosed with three stomach ulcers, eight polyps in his colon and diverticulitis of the esophagus.

“Thanks to all the wonderful people all over the world that prayed their special prayers. I’m a new man,” Mr. Haggard said in a statement issued through Ms. Redburn. “Another special thanks to the folks of Macon, Ga., for their kindness, intelligence and probably saving my life.”

Mr. Haggard checked into a hospital and postponed his January tour dates Jan. 17 after contracting pneumonia. He checked himself out Friday and tried to make the ride home to Redding, Calif., on his tour bus. Mr. Haggard quickly realized he wasn’t up to the trip and returned to Macon, Ms. Redburn said.

It’s unclear at this point how Mr. Haggard’s tour schedule to support his latest album, “Walking in Tennessee,” will be affected. His website shows his next performance date is Feb. 28 in Tuscon, Ariz.

‘Rio’ composer Mendes says sequel is in the works

Sergio Mendes, who scored an Oscar nomination for his song “Real In Rio,” said the animated film “Rio” most likely will have a sequel.

Mr. Mendes said director Carlos Saldanha may want to tie the sequel to the 2014 World Cup, which will take place in Brazil.

“I think the plan is for the movie to come three or four months before the World Cup,” Mr. Mendes said Tuesday afternoon.

“Fox has been talking about [it] and it looks like it’s going to happen,” he continued. “We’re going to have a meeting I think next week, and Carlos is coming to town to tell us the story, and it looks like it’s a go.”

Mr. Mendes and Mr. Saldanha are from Brazil. Mr. Mendes said creating music for the film - about birds adventuring to Rio de Janeiro with the voices of Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway - was special “because that’s my hometown.”

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.



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