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WMAA tasting tour scheduled

The 7th annual “Art in the Kitchen” tasting tour will be held 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 4.

The self-driving event highlights unique kitchen’s of six homes in Greensburg and Ligonier and also features cooking demonstrations at Mt. View Inn, east of Greensburg. Food samplings offered at each stop are recipes from “Art in the Kitchen,” the Women’s Committee of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art’s cookbook. The cookbook will be available at each tour participant’s home and is priced at $15 (tax included) on the event day only.

Tickets are $20, in advance available at the museum. Tickets the day of the event can be purchased for $25 from 9 a.m. to noon at the museum. Locations of participants are printed on the ticket. Information or tickets: 724-837-1500, Ext. 27.

Once again, Oscar going Crystal

Billy Crystal is planning a reunion with Oscar.

The star of “City Slickers” and “Throw Momma from the Train” has signed on to host the Academy Awards for the eighth time.

“I’m really excited about coming back,” Crystal says about resuming his hosting job for the first time in three years. “I’ve had a nice, long sleep.”

Crystal, who often launches the Oscar ceremony with a song-and-dance number poking fun at the top nominees, has won Emmys for his Oscar hosting performances in 1991, 1992 and 1998.

Like the late Bob Hope, who hosted the show 18 times, Crystal is a favorite of TV critics who praise his easygoing style as master of ceremonies and the touch of class he brings along with the laughs.

Since he last hosted in 2000, when “American Beauty” was the best-picture winner, two other comedians have handled the responsibility: Whoopi Goldberg once and Steve Martin twice.

The upcoming Oscar show on Feb. 29, 2004, will mark another collaboration between Crystal and movie producer Joe Roth, who is overseeing the telecast. They previously worked together on the 2001 comedy “America’s Sweethearts.”

Roth says that when he agreed to produce the 76th Academy Awards, Crystal was “the one and only call to make.”

Crystal says he has one tradition whenever he appears at the Oscars: He carries a toothbrush in his jacket pocket.

As a child growing up on Long Island, the 55-year-old said he’d rehearse Oscar speeches in the bathroom mirror while holding his toothbrush like an award.

“I always carry it” while hosting, Crystal says. “It’s not the one I grew up with as a kid — I’m doing better than that — but it’s a great remembrance to not forget where your love of performing started.”

– The Associated Press

‘Lions’ gets help from the ‘Lord’

The coming-of-age film “Secondhand Lions” is getting a firsthand box-office boost from the final “Lord of the Rings” movie.

New Line Cinema is debuting the first theatrical trailer for “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” this weekend exclusively before showings of the family comedy, which stars Haley Joel Osment as a young boy raised by two eccentric uncles, played by Michael Caine and Robert Duvall.

The two-minute, 30-second trailer will then debut online and at www.lordoftherings.net on Monday. It will come out later on television.

“Secondhand Lions” opened in theaters nationwide last week and ranked in second place at the weekend box office with $12.1 million.

Promos for hyper-anticipated films have previously been credited with helping sell tickets to films they precede — such as the “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” trailer before 2002’s “Scooby-Doo” and the animated “The Matrix” short before “Dreamcatcher.”

“The Return of the King” is set for release Dec. 17.

– The Associated Press

King’s push for author lands deal

Actor Ron McLarty, whose long struggle to publish a novel was greatly boosted by a plug from Stephen King, has agreed to a two-book deal with Viking Penguin.

King, in his featured column for Entertainment Weekly, recently cited McLarty’s “The Memory of Running” as a novel “that can do more than walk; it has a chance to be a breakout bestseller.” The book, which had only been available in audio form, soon became the object of a seven-publisher bidding war.

“It’s a fantastic story,” Viking associate publisher Paul Slovak said Tuesday. “It’s full of humor, very warm. It’s very readable, an incredible page turner.”

Financial terms were not disclosed.

McLarty’s novel, the story of a 279-pound toy factory supervisor on a cross-country journey, is scheduled to come out next year. Another novel will follow.

McLarty, whose acting credits include the television series “Law and Order” and “Sex and the City,” had tried to find a publisher years ago, with little success. He is a popular narrator for audio books, including Richard Russo’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Empire Falls,” and ended up releasing “The Memory of Running” in audio form.

McLarty met King several weeks ago and sent him a tape of his book.

– The Associated Press

Wardrobe guru invites folks to her ‘Closet’

Jackie Walker has been conducting style seminars all across the country for 15 years, and the audience reaction is always the same:

“The women crowd around me afterward,” she says. “They ask, ‘Do you have a book• I want to take this information home with me.’ ”

Now, at last, the wardrobe guru does have a book: I Don’t Have a Thing to Wear: The Psychology of Your Closet (Pocket Books, $12). It is co-authored by Judie Taggart, a fashion writer.

“My mission is to give women self-esteem. I don’t tie image to size or weight or age. It’s all about understanding who you are, becoming comfortable in your clothing, then going out and enjoying your life. That’s dressing from inside out,” says Walker, a slender woman with a mass of dark curls, a huge smile and boundless energy.

Clothing is a costume, she says. “When your costume fits right, you can go out and get any role in life.”

Nicknamed “doctor of closetology,” Walker discusses in her book what a closet reveals about the woman who uses it, and provides a guide for clearing up closet chaos and establishing order. She also covers topics such as shopping strategies, accessories and travel wardrobes.

But the key chapter, she says, is the one titled “Discover Your Fashion Persona.” It describes seven fashion types: classic, natural, modernist, romantic, trend-tracker, mood dresser and dramatic. Then it offers a detailed quiz to help readers determine their persona.

Women share one thing, says Walker. “When they look in a mirror, they see every insecurity they’ve had in their entire life.”

But once they identify their true persona, she says, they can forget their insecurities and select clothing that makes them feel confident and beautiful.

People in the News


Aretha gets tennis elbowed by officials

Township officials have fined Aretha Franklin for not removing a tennis court at the site of her Detroit-area home, which burned down.

The $225 fine issued Wednesday is the latest in a battle between the singer and township officials over clean-up responsibilities following the Oct. 25, 2002, fire at her 10,000-square-foot Oakland County home.

Franklin had received three prior citations from townships officials for failing to promptly clean up the debris outside the nearly gutted mansion. Along with demolishing the tennis courts, officials also want her to remove other debris from the lot.

Without a house on the lot, township property should look like country land, “not a vacant lot,” Tina Burton , code ordinance enforcement officer, told the Detroit Free Press.

Also, once the site is cleared, it must be seeded or sodded, said Burton, noting it’s “a mud mess now.”

The 61-year-old singer’s attorney, David Bennett , said the case “should be over, as far as I’m concerned.”

Franklin also issued a statement Wednesday thanking state Attorney General Mike Cox , who said Monday that no charges would be filed against Franklin’s son. Officials had investigated Edward Franklin , 45, as a suspect in the fire.

The singer, who owns two other homes in Bloomfield Township, was on tour in Houston at the time of the fire that nearly gutted the $1.2 million mansion.

Bass still fishes for space mission

While his plans to fly to the international space station were canceled last year, ‘N Sync singer Lance Bass remains an avid supporter of space travel.

He’ll return to Houston, where he trained a year ago at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, to promote space, math and science to students as part of World Space Week.

“I’m very excited about flying in space one day,” Bass said Wednesday. “What excites me even more is the possibility that eventually nearly anyone will be able to travel in space just as easily as taking a plane from L.A. to Houston. But that day will only arrive if today’s young people choose to build an extraordinary future for themselves. The keys to that future are a solid foundation in math and science.”

During World Space Week, from Oct. 4 through 10, Bass will visit several Houston elementary and middle schools and review design proposals for “Lance’s Lab,” a competition in which students will create a hypothetical space station module in which the singer could live.

Bass, 24, would have been the youngest person ever in space. He had to cancel plans to fly to the space station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft last October because he failed to raise the estimated $20 million fare.

World Space Week, which the United Nations General Assembly established in 1999, is a celebration with events around the world.

Illness affected Presley’s first tour

Lisa Marie Presley says she was suffering physically when she went on her first tour, opening for Chris Isaak .

“I was having a lot of stomach problems and acid reflux and this and that,” she said in a telephone interview published Thursday in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“I had to fly home at one point and get an endoscopy on one of my days off. … I flew back, and I was onstage the next night.”

A number of subsequent reviews were negative.

“It was like a crucifixion to some degree,” she said of the reviews. “I was on the frying pan. Every reviewer was there every night. That’s not going to happen with the normal opening act. So I’m trying to be upfront about it. I wasn’t trying to be dramatic about it, but I was having a really hard time.”

As the daughter of Elvis Presley and a celebrity since birth, she attracted attention the moment she decided to make a record at age 35.

“It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, but it is an enormous amount of pressure on me,” said Presley, who’s scheduled to perform Sunday in Milwaukee. “The crowds are great, the audiences are usually awesome, but then they come and try to review me. Get out of here. You’re looking to find something wrong• You’re going to find it.”

Williams honored at Rose Parade

The theme of the 2004 Rose Parade is “Music, Music, Music,” so it was only fitting that composer John Williams should be the grand marshal of the New Year’s Day extravaganza.

Williams was named to the honorary post Wednesday by the Tournament of Roses.

“I’ve never been to the Rose Parade, so I can’t wait,” said Williams, who added that he was excited the parade would be a “celebration of music and musicians.”

Williams has won five Oscars: for the original scores of “Jaws,” “Star Wars,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and “Schindler’s List,” and for adaptation and original song score on “Fiddler on the Roof.” He has received 42 Oscar nominations, making him the most nominated living person, and he is an 18-time Grammy winner.

The 71-year-old has written the music and served as musical director on more than 90 productions, including the “Indiana Jones,” “Harry Potter,” and “Jurassic Park” films.

Tournament President Michael K. Riffey said the theme was chosen because music touches everyone.

The 2004 celebration will be the 115th Tournament of Roses. Past grand marshals have included Walt Disney, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bob Hope, Gregory Peck, Fred Rogers, Jimmy Stewart, Shirley Temple, and Kermit the Frog.

John Lennon stamps a hot item

Stamps that John Lennon designed to support a postal workers’ strike sold for $2,000, double the pre-sale estimate, auctioneers at Sotheby’s said.

The stamps, which depict a clenched fist, were part of a sale of rock ‘n’ roll and film memorabilia auctioned Wednesday at London’s Olympia exhibition hall. The buyer and seller weren’t identified.

A 1960s table from Lennon’s former home at Weybridge, south of London, went for $3,800, and a signed copy of “Revolver,” one of the band’s most celebrated albums, sold for $34,000. But a collection of photographs of the Beatles in Adelaide, Australia, which had been expected to fetch $24,000, failed to sell.

Reservoir re-named to honor Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

New signs will go up around Central Park’s reservoir identifying it as the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

The reservoir, which the City Council named in 1994, will have signs signaling the new name inside its fence and at various points around the reservoir, Christopher Ward, commissioner of the city Department of Environmental Protection, said Tuesday.

“Today, the city unveils the signs in recognition of her attachment and affection for New York City and Central Park,” Ward said of Onassis.

The reservoir served as the city’s water source from 1862 to 1993, delivering water from the Croton Reservoir in upstate New York. Today, it serves as a source of recreation. The 1.6-mile path around the reservoir is popular with joggers and its shores are a haven for turtles, waterfowl, woodchucks and a variety of fish and plants.

Babs says her songs are boring to sing

Barbra Streisand says one reason she gave up performing in public is that listening to her own songs is boring.

“I never listen to my records for maybe 10 years. Then I can appreciate it, but really, I just get sick of it. That’s why I gave up concerts — in addition to having stage fright and the exertion of singing 30 songs a night,” the 61-year-old singer tells Reader’s Digest in its October issue.

“It’s boring to sing your own songs,” she said. “I remember going into Tahoe once, and I sang all new material because I was so bored with mine. The reviews, ‘How dare she not sing ‘People?”‘

Her latest release, “The Movie Album,” is scheduled to come out Oct. 14.

Martina might serve — in public office

Martina Navratilova plans to get into public service after she stops playing tennis in 2005.

Navratilova, who turns 47 next month, said Wednesday at the Sparkassen Cup tournament that she plans to serve and volley through the end of next season. Then she wants to get involved with politics, perhaps running for office.

“If Arnold Schwarzenegger can run for governor in California, then who knows• I have the muscles,” said Navratilova, a Czech-born U.S. citizen who lives in Colorado. “I will be involved, especially the way things are going right now. The conservative party is too strong.”

Navratilova retired in 1994, then returned to action in 2000, playing mostly doubles. “I enjoy playing tennis but I also enjoy not playing tennis,” she said. “I love life whether it’s with or without tennis.”

‘Celebrity Poker’ has actors playing bluff

Are Matthew Perry and Martin Sheen bluffing?

They are actors, after all. But TV viewers will see their abilities tested in a different way when they participate in a new Bravo series “Celebrity Poker Showdown.”

The six-episode series will air sometime this winter, the cable network said Wednesday. Other participants include Coolio , Jack Black , Hank Azaria , David Schwimmer and about half the cast of “The West Wing,” including Allison Janney , Bradley Whitford , John Spencer and Richard Schiff .

Five celebrities will compete each week, in a winner-take-all game of No Limit Texas Hold ’em.

– The Associated Press


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