Aretha Franklin has a lot more than her 70th birthday to celebrate: She’s reuniting with one of her musical mentors, Clive Davis, for a new album.
In an Associated Press interview at her swanky birthday party on Saturday, Ms. Franklin said she and Mr. Davis, who helped engineer her comeback in the 1980s, would be working on new music.
“I have re-signed with Clive Davis, so I’m recording with Clive again,” Ms. Franklin said of the music mogul, who is associated with Sony Music Entertainment.
Ms. Franklin said that after Mr. Davis’ birthday next month, “we’re going to sit together and decide what it is we’re going to record.”
Mr. Davis sat next to Ms. Franklin for most of the night at the soiree at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel, which included a sit-down dinner, a dance performance and a miniconcert that featured rising jazz pianist Kris Bowers.
Other guests included Diane Sawyer, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Willie Wilkerson, Ms. Franklin’s longtime companion and briefly this year her fiance.
Mr. Wilkerson stood by Ms. Franklin’s side as she cut her three-tier, lime-green birthday cake while the crowd serenaded her with Stevie Wonder’s version of “Happy Birthday.”
When asked whether marriage might once again be in her future, the Queen of Soul simply said: “We’ll see what happens.”
As far as future work-related plans, she was looking forward to performances in California and said she was helping negotiate a record contract for her grandson. Her planned biopic is on hold. “It’s in a limbo position,” she said. “It’s just a lot going on.”
Ms. Franklin said she planned to spend her actual birthday - which was Sunday - relaxing with a paper, her feet up and watching TV.
But Saturday night, she hung out with friends long after the party’s designated end time.
At one point, she joked that she was turning back the hands of time.
“I was wondering, ‘What is it going to be like to be 50?’ I can tell you now it feels like 40,” she said as the crowd laughed.
Queen Elizabeth surprises bride and groom at wedding
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has become a wedding crasher.
The monarch dropped in moments after the nuptials of John and Frances Canning at Manchester Town Hall in northern England on Friday, the Associated Press reports.
The newlyweds said Saturday the queen chatted and posed for wedding photographs. The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, were visiting the venue for lunch at the same time the wedding took place.
“It was very special - it was so lovely that she took the trouble to speak to us,” the bride told the Sun newspaper.
The 48-year-old groom knew beforehand that the queen would be visiting the town hall, and jokingly wrote to Buckingham Palace to invite the monarch, the tabloid reported. He received a polite reply declining the invitation, but palace officials secretly arranged the meeting, the paper said.
Mr. Canning said he spoke with Prince Philip while photos were being taken.
“He was a charming fella - for me it was the icing on the cake,” he told the Sun.
The 44-year-old bride was impressed the queen addressed them by their first names.
“She said I looked lovely and she wanted to wish us all the best for the future.
“We’re going to have to get a bigger wedding album now,” she was quoted as saying. “Not many people will have pictures like that.”
The British monarch was in Manchester to visit a number of sites, including a new BBC headquarters building in nearby Salford, as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour. The queen is celebrating the six decades since she ascended to the throne in 1952.
PEN/Faulkner Foundation announces fiction award
Julie Otsuka’s “The Buddha in the Attic,” a brief, poetic novel about young Japanese women who emigrate to the U.S. and marry men they have never met, has won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
The PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced Monday that Ms. Otsuka will receive $15,000 for the prize, which has been given in previous years to Philip Roth and John Updike among others. Her novel was a finalist last fall for the National Book Award.
Faulkner finalists included novels by Anita Desai and Russell Banks and short story collections by Don DeLillo and Steven Millhauser.
Movie poster collection sells at auction for $503K
A collection of rare movie theater posters found in a northeastern Pennsylvania attic has fetched a total of $503,000 at auction, the Associated Press reports.
The sale of 33 posters from the Golden Age of Hollywood ended Friday at Heritage Auctions in Texas.
The auction house said a rare 1931 poster for the movie “Dracula” topped the list with a selling price of $143,400. It sold to an anonymous overseas buyer.
A surprise of the auction was the $101,575 price paid for the rare poster of the 1931 movie “Cimarron,” the first Western to win the Best Picture Academy Award.
The posters were stuck together with wallpaper glue when they were purchased for around $30,000 at a country auction last fall in Berwick. The rare find was revealed as they were steamed apart.