NEWS & POP CULTURE

Rufus Wainwright and New York Metropolitan Opera part ways: Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright has dropped plans to write an opera for the Metropolitan Opera after the New York opera company rejected his plan to write it in French. The Montreal-raised Wainwright has written most of the libretto for Prima Donna in French and says the language fits too well with the music to change it at this point. According to the the New York Times, Met manager Peter Gelb would have preferred a libretto in English. "Presenting a new opera that is not in English at the Met when it could be in English is an immediate impediment to its potential success with audiences," he told the Times. Wainwright was one of several pop and stage composers commissioned to write new works in English by the Met and the Lincoln Centre two years ago.

Ben Affleck in Denver: Affleck seen here participating at the box packing competition at the America’s Second Harvest Send Hunger Packing. When he was asked at the food bank event about his support for Barack Obama, Ben wisely declined to take the bait. “I appreciate that this is a political convention,” he said. “But I’d like to keep the discussion focused on these guys and what they’re doing.”

REM frontman Michael Stipe slams Bush: In an interview with BBC 6 Music, the rock star disclosed that his band's latest single 'Man-Sized Wreath' was written about the outgoing US president. He noted that the track's opening lyrics, 'Turn on the TV and what do I see/A pageantry of empty gestures all lined up for me', are "a reference to our current president, who I very publicly despise". Stipe continued: "I just can't stand the guy or his administration and it was about him going to the graveside of Martin Luther King, one of my heroes, and I think desecrating the memory of that great man and his work by being there during the Iraq war. "I found it pathetic so I wrote that song about it."

Hopeful news out of the Golden State: A new poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California suggests that a majority of California's likely voters are unlikely to support the cruel, divisive ballot initiative known as Proposition 8. The research suggests that 54% are against the equality-robbing proposal, with only a meager 40% of overall likely voters showing support for the freedom-stifling, unAmerican, civil liberties-threatening nastiness. More at GAY.

Actress Diane Farr gives birth to twin girls: Numb3rs actress Diane Farr welcomed twin girls in Los Angeles on Wednesday, PEOPLE has learned exclusively. "I'm so thankful that my midwife and doctor paid such wonderful attention to me and the little ladies," said Farr, 38. "And I’m really glad that I got to 36 weeks with multiples." First born Sawyer Lucia weighed in at 4 lbs., 12 oz., and Coco Trinity, who was born one minute later, weighed 5 lbs., 14 oz., according to Farr's rep. The girls, who are both 19-inches long, were born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. As for the babies' names: Sawyer is a family name for Farr, and Coco is an island in the Maldives where Farr and her husband honeymooned.

Interview: Matt Bernstein Sycamore, gay activist and author of So Many Ways To Sleep Badly: "...as someone who has grown up with certain expectations of what it means to be male and white and class-privileged, I think it's important to challenge the violence of those expectations, which includes the violence of sexual abuse at the hands of the people who are supposed to keep us safe. I like when you say "a bit of an eccentric in a world that says it likes eccentrics for really doesn't”-- that's so so true, and I knew that early on, and I think it has helped to shape me in embracing an outsider status to challenge the hypocrisy of those on the inside. Although, speaking of insides, I identify as a genderqueer faggot and a queen, so there's certainly overlap with a gay male identity (like many of the things I do sexually), but to me “gay” has become a dead end, a commodified, consumerist identity and I'm more interested in flamboyance and resistance and celebration of difference." FULL INTERVIEW

As he turns 50, is this what Michael Jackson should really look like? "...As a journalist who has reported more on Jackson in the past 30 years than anyone else - including having written three best-selling books about him - I can't help but be deeply saddened by the way his life has turned out. After all, I was the journalist who penned an article entitled 'Michael Jackson Turns 16' back in 1974 when his future looked bright. I also wrote Michael Jackson Turns 21 when he reached that milestone. And then there was Michael Turns 25. 'He's the kid who has it all,' I wrote at the time. In fact, I covered all the important birthdays, always with optimism because he was one of the most positive entertainers I'd ever known." MORE

Gay youths canvass Phoenix against Prop. 102: A team of six gay and lesbian young adults trekked across Phoenix through blazing heat to raise awareness about Arizona's upcoming ballot initiative to constitutionally define marriage as between a man and a woman, aimed at banning same-sex marriage in the state. Temperatures during the week-long, 96-mile pilgrimage averaged 105 degrees. The "equality walkers," organized by Soulforce Q member Meg Sneed, spoke with people they met about Arizona's Proposition 102 and its negative impact on young people. The youths also visited several churches along the way, including the Unitarian Universalist Church and Church of the Beatitudes. MORE

Ten overlooked films that deserve a look on DVD: Ryan Reynolds stars in Chaos Theory as an obsessively organized efficiency expert whose life unravels when he finds out some potentially dirty little secrets about his marriage. Throwing caution to the wind, he goes on the run to explore the nature of love and forgiveness. This is probably one of the best performances we’ve seen from Ryan Reynolds, who is certainly no slouch. As well, we also get a few great supporting performances from Emily Mortimer and Stuart Townsend. Chaos Theory is one of the intelligently written, well-acted gems of the year — and if you missed it, you should certainly go back and check it out. It’s on DVD now. More overlooked films that deserve a look on DVD HERE

The Dalai Lama has been taken to hospital in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) complaining of stomach pains: The 73-year-old exiled Tibetan spiritual leader had cancelled all his international trips on Wednesday saying he was suffering from exhaustion. A spokesman said the ailment had not yet been diagnosed but it appeared there was no cause for concern. The Dalai Lama has lived in Dharamsala, northern India, since fleeing Tibet after an abortive uprising in 1959.

Birmingham gays sue mayor: Gay pride organizers in Birmingham have filed a civil rights lawsuit against Mayor Larry Langford over his refusal to allow Pride Week banners to be hung in the city. The lawsuit by Central Alabama Pride accuses the mayor of violating the organization’s constitutional rights when he barred city workers from hanging the banners on city property in June. MORE

Lindsay and Samantha both slam Michael Lohan: "He has become a public embarrassment and a bully – to my family, my co-workers, my friends and a girl that means the world to me," she writes on her MySpace Celebrity blog, listing her current mood as "betrayed." Lingering tensions came to a head this week, when Michael Lohan dissed Ronson in the media. "Samantha is using my daughter," he told E! News, as reports swirled that Ronson was planning a tell-all memoir. "People never even knew who Samantha Ronson was until she met Lindsay. She was just some Los Angeles deejay. And now she's writing a book?" But Lindsay insists her dad "has no idea what is going on in my life." She adds, "Samantha has not, and would never, sell me out.” Ronson has also joined in the family feud, posting her own response on MySpace. "I am not the reason that he has no contact with his daughter – he is," she writes. The deejay – who says she has no plans to write a memoir – also claims Michael is "so desperate for attention that he goes to the media whenever possible."

Noah's Arc headed for theaters: The main character in Logo's Noah's Arc will marry his partner in the feature film adaptation of the show. Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom stars Darryl Stephens as Noah, who will marry Wade (played by Jenson Atwood) in a small ceremony in Martha's Vineyard, Mass. He invites his three closest friends, Alex (Rodney Chester), Chance (Douglas Spearman), and Christian Vincent (Ricky), for a weekend of new revelations about each other. The film will be in theaters October 24.

David Duchovny enters rehab for sex addiction: Duchovny's lawyer, Stanton "Larry" Stein, tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I have voluntarily entered a facility for the treatment of sex addiction," the actor says in an exclusive statement. "I ask for respect and privacy for my wife and children as we deal with this situation as a family."

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