Wednesday, August 26, 2009

News and Pop Culture Round-Up

Who is this mystery hunk? Click 'Read more' below...

Perez Hilton/Black Eyed Peas assault case postponed

The assault case involving the manager of the U.S. hip hop group Black Eyed Peas and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton has been put over until next month. Liborio (Polo) Molina faces an assault charge for allegedly striking Hilton outside a Toronto nightclub on June 22. Molina didn't appear in court Wednesday as the case was adjourned until Sept. 16. Molina allegedly punched Hilton — whose real name is Mario Lavandeira — following a heated argument between the blogger and Black Eyed Peas leader at a party after the MuchMusic Video Awards. In the ensuing days, Hilton and insulted each other in videos online, and Hilton also filed a civil lawsuit against Molina. The celebrity blogger sued for alleged battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress and is seeking more than $25,000 US. The suit states Hilton is seeking to protect his rights to free speech and claims Molina attacked him because he made critical comments about the Black Eyed Peas' new album, The E.N.D. The allegations have not been proven in court.

Famed author, Dominick Dunne, dead at 83

Dominick Dunne, the Vanity Fair writer and chronicler of celebrity life, died Wednesday at his Manhattan home, according to the magazine. He was 83. Dunne had been suffering from bladder cancer. Dunne became widely known for his coverage of the trials of O.J. Simpson, the Menendez brothers, Michael Skakel, William Kennedy Smith, and Phil Spector, as well as the impeachment of former U.S. president Bill Clinton. A former Hollywood producer, he had been a contributing editor for Vanity Fair since 1984 and a special correspondent since 1993. His monthly column on celebrities captured readers with its insider's view of high society. He also wrote novels such as The Two Mrs. Grenvilles and People Like Us and the memoir The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper. Born in Hartford, Conn., on Oct. 29, 1925, Dunne is the brother of author John Gregory Dunne and brother-in-law of the writer Joan Didion.

Early Streisand recordings to be auctioned off by Ex (who's now gay!)

Private, early recordings of Barbra Streisand are being auctioned off by an ex-boyfriend of the superstar, whose lawyers are said to be considering legal action. Barry Dennen, the former flame, has set a starting bid for the tapes at $1 million. The entertainer’s never-before-released recordings include the songs "A Taste of Honey" and "Two Brothers," as well as audition material recorded prior to Streisand's first solo album. Streisand asked Dennen to return the recordings to her in 1965, but he tells the New York Post, "I said, 'No. They are the only thing I have left of our collaboration.'" He also told the Post, "I'm a little trepidatious. I don't know what the fallout will be. I don't like upsetting Barbra, and I don't want her fans angry at me." Dennen met Streisand in 1959, when both appeared as butterflies in an off-Broadway play called The Insect Comedy. The two became friends and eventually lovers. He has since come out as gay and writes on his website, "Barbra and I were kids. We were both thrashing around with our own sexuality, and the love we felt, and trying, at the same time, to get our careers together." In 1997, Dennen published a memoir about their time together titled My Life With Barbra: A Love Story. The tapes are being auctioned on Streisand's latest album, a collection of jazz standards titled Love Is the Answer, will be released on September 29.

Iceland's lesbian PM, Johanna Sigurdardottir makes Forbes list

Iceland prime minister Johanna Sigurdardottir has made Forbes magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women” list, becoming the only openly gay woman on the magazine's annual list. Sigurdardottir is Iceland’s longest-serving parliamentarian, and in February 2009 she became the island nation’s first female leader and the world’s first openly gay head of state. Her leadership is instrumental in leading Iceland out of economic ruin. The worldwide financial crisis hit the country early and especially hard after its three largest banks collapsed. Sigurdardottir has two kids from a previous marriage, and in 2002 she was joined in a civil partnership with journalist and author Jonina Leosdottir. She is ranked 75th on the magazine's power list.

Harvey Milk inducted into California Hall of Fame

Slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk is among the newest inductees to the California Hall of Fame. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver unveiled the list of 2009 inductees on Tuesday. They said the latest 13 “embody California’s innovative spirit and have made their mark on history.” Schwarzenegger last year vetoed a bill that would designate a day each year to honor Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. He was assassinated in 1978. A nearly identical bill by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, has passed the Senate and is expected to be taken up in the Assembly in the next few weeks. It would designate Milk’s birthday, May 22, as a “day of special significance,” but not an official holiday. “This honor, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to Harvey by President Obama, should only underscore to the governor the need for Harvey Milk Day in California,” Leno said in a statement Tuesday. Francisco Castillo, a spokesman for the governor, said Schwarzenegger would not take a position on Leno’s bill before it reaches his desk. The nominees will be inducted in a Dec. 1 ceremony at the California Museum in Sacramento. Shriver started the program to honor artists, sports figures and others who’ve helped shape the state.

Apollo Theater to induct Michael Jackson into Hall of Fame

The Apollo Theater, the famed New York performance venue in Harlem, will induct Michael Jackson into its Hall of Fame next year, organizers announced on Tuesday. The non-profit theatre will posthumously honour Jackson at a 2010 gala and install a plaque commemorating the entertainer in its forthcoming Walk of Fame. After Jackson's death on June 25, the iconic theatre has been one of the sites where his fans gathered to honour his memory. Jackson was just nine years old when he made his debut singing at the Apollo with his brothers, as part of The Jackson 5. They won the theatre's famed Amateur Night competition, which garnered them fans like Gladys Knight and helped launch the group to fame.

Legendary '60s songwriter, Ellie Greenwich, dead at 68

Ellie Greenwich, the 1960s songwriter, singer and producer who wrote such enduring pop songs as Chapel of Love, Be My Baby, Do Wah Diddy Diddy and Leader of the Pack, has died in New York. She was 68. Greenwich died of a heart attack on Wednesday at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital, where she had been admitted a few days earlier for pneumonia treatment, according to her niece, Jessica Weiner. Greenwich was inducted as a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1991, as one of pop's most successful songwriters. Throughout the years she maintained a stable musical partnership with the legendary Phil Spector, whose "wall of sound" technique changed rock music. With Spector, she wrote some of pop's most memorable songs, including Da Doo Ron Ron and River Deep, Mountain High. She also produced many hits with her ex-husband, Jeff Barry, including Leader of the Pack for girl group the Shangri-Las in 1964. In 1984 a Tony-nominated musical also called Leader of the Pack was created, based on Greenwich's life. Greenwich also worked as an arranger and singer with such legendary artists as Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. Her background vocals are featured on records as diverse as Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl, Blondie's Eat to the Beat and Cindi Lauper's She's So Unusual. She co-produced Neil Diamond's early hits Cherry, Cherry and Kentucky Woman, and is credited with discovering Diamond and helping him get his start. "She has remained a great friend and mentor over the years and will be missed greatly," Diamond said in a statement. Greenwich is survived by her sister, brother-in-law, nephew and niece.

Mystery hunk is the gorgeous model, Philip Fusco.