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'No' to rehab, 'yes' to the huppa
Breakout English R & B star Amy Winehouse will get married under the huppa this summer, The Sunday Mirror reported this week. The London media have been writing about the 23-year-old singer's impending marriage for weeks, but the Sunday Mirror article, quoting the mother of groom-to-be Blake Fielder-Civil, adds that he'll convert to Judaism and stand under the huppa as part of the ceremony.
The fast-rising Winehouse earned a British Female Solo Artist prize at the Brit Awards earlier this year and successfully launched her international career in the spring with Back to Black, an album that climbed back up to 11th-place on last week's American Billboard chart. The album's lead single, "Rehab," describes the singer's refusal to give up her heavy-drinking ways, but musically at least, the song wouldn't sound out of place on an Aretha Franklin record from the 1960s.
Back to Black is expected to go triple-platinum in Winehouse's native UK. The singer is currently selling out concert venues across England, and is preparing for her first American tour later this year. - Nathan Burstein
McCartney recruits Portman
Jerusalem-born actress Natalie Portman will make her music video debut this summer opposite Paul McCartney, Rolling Stone reported this week. The Star Wars and Garden State performer will star in the clip for McCartney's next single, "Dancing Tonight," the lead single off his latest album, Memory Almost Full. A 2005 Oscar nominee for her supporting role in Closer, Portman's already logged a busy 2007, shooting four dramatic features set for release later this year.
The American music magazine noted that McCartney isn't the only Sixties musical titan to recruit a Hollywood "It Girl" for a recent music video. Portman's co-star in The Other Boleyn Girl, actress Scarlett Johansson, starred last year in the clip for "When the Deal Goes Down," a single off Bob Dylan's Modern Times.
Perlman plays for president, QE2
It was a meeting between the American and British heads of state, but the featured entertainment was Israeli. Jaffa-born violinist Itzhak Perlman provided the music Monday at a white tie dinner at the White House, where President George W. Bush hosted Queen Elizabeth and guests ranging from former US Secretary of State Colin Powell and one-time Enron president Richard Kinder to Calvin Borel, the winning jockey at Saturday's Kentucky Derby. Perlman, who studied music in Tel Aviv and has played extensively with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, provided the after-dinner music.
The violinist, who performed on American TV at age 13 on The Ed Sullivan Show, is no stranger to presidential pomp and circumstance. Perlman has received awards from two of Bush's White House predecessors, accepting a Medal of Liberty from President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and a National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton in 2000.
The dinner was part of the Queen's fifth state visit to the US during her five-decade reign. The New York Times reported Tuesday that 7,000 ticket-holding well-wishers turned out to greet the 81-year-old monarch before the dinner at the White House's South Lawn.
From 'Borat' to Freddie Mercury
Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen will play Queen singer Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic about the band, Rolling Stone magazine reported on its Web site Monday. An article on the Entertainment Wise Web site said that actor Johnny Depp had initially been filmmakers' favorite for the role, but that Baron Cohen moved into front-runner status as the production took shape. The role would mark a major genre shift for the English comedian, who certified his drawing power at the box office last year playing a gay French race car driver in Talladega Nights and an anti-Semitic Kazakh journalist in Borat.
The Cambridge-educated son of an Israeli mother and English father, Baron Cohen is currently shooting a film version of Sweeney Todd opposite Depp. Baron Cohen is also attached to appear in Dinner for Schmucks, a comedy slated to arrive in theaters next year.
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