POLITICS & CELEBS As we know, this week’s Federal Trade Commission report on the entertainment industry called for – surprise! – more regulation on the marketing of violent music, movies, and TV shows to kids. Now, the censorious pols have happily uncovered a real controversial gem: Eminem. In a hearing yesterday before the Senate Commerce Committee, Lynne Cheney (wife of Republican VP candidate Dick) brought out a lyric sheet to the Slim Shady’s song ”Kill You,” and passed it around the room, reports SonicNet. She not only blamed Em, Interscope, and its parent company Seagrams for the wild popularity of his music, but the industry as a whole. ”This man just won three major awards,” she said. ”Can you imagine that the entire industry honors this man who makes such despicable material?” Or, maybe she just wanted to update them on the VMAs?… Even while the industry is under attack, it has little trouble resolving its status as a Democratic campaign sugar daddy. Last night, VH1, Rolling Stone, and Miramax threw a star studded fund-raiser at Radio City Music Hall for the Gore/ Lieberman campaign. Julia Roberts , Matt Damon, and Selma Hayek were among those who attended the glitzy shindig, where the candidates made no apology for their position on showbiz regulation. ”It’s wrong to market inappropriate material to children,” intoned the current VP. Later, Gore turned up on the ”David Letterman Show,” where he was given the opportunity to prove himself a far better comedian than his campaign rival. (You bet!) Oh, they give and give and give! And what do they get in return?
REUNIONS Thanks to the British tabloids, we may soon have the REAL story behind Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan’s on again/ off again relationship. The paparazzi investigating this complex tale – which first showed that the two were a couple, then that Meg and her soon to be ex Dennis Quaid might reunite – has uncovered photos revealing that the ”Gladiator” star cum rock musician and Ryan may be back in the sack. Fresh images of the two kissing and hugging were splashed all over England’s papers yesterday. Of course, there is no word as yet on whether the tabloid editors have been trained in Photoshop.
WALK OUT Elton John left about 1,250 fans in the lurch last night, when he ditched a sold out show in Portugal 30 minutes before it was supposed to start. The singer was apparently disturbed that the auditorium was not full. But the management said the ticket holders – including several diplomats and heads of state – were merely slow to arrive. Really, how could he possibly think they would miss a John show?
LEGALESE Nope, no violence in our music industry. Grammy winning Bones Thugs N Harmony member Flesh N Bone (né Stanley Howse) pled no contest yesterday to charges of possession of a sawed off shotgun. Prosecutors say the rapper, 27, will likely be sentenced to 2 years in the slammer for the offense. Howse will also face charges next month in an assault case in which he allegedly threatened a pal with an AK-47 machine gun. The defendant’s lawyers could not be reached for comment.
MUSIC BIZ Clive Davis has finally found a high profile act for his new BMG label startup, reports SonicNet. R&B star Luther Vandross announced yesterday that he would be the first to sign with the ex Arista head. Vandross, who is currently touring with Boyz II Men, says he’ll begin working on his first J Records release after returning from the road. ”I’m looking forward to getting down to business,” he said. No doubt Davis is looking forward to the same thing.
REEL DEALS Spike Lee is planning to do a little TV. Variety reports that the director has signed on to do ”A Huey P. Newton Story” about the late cofounder of the Black Panther Party for PBS and the African Heritage Channel…. Director Kathryn Bigelow has found a distributor for her latest flick ”The Weight of Water.” Variety reports that Lions Gate picked up the film – which stars Sean Penn, Elizabeth Hurley, and Sarah Polley – in the last days of the Toronto Film Festival…. ”Sex and the City”’s Mr. Big is expanding. Chris Noth has signed on to produce and star in an NBC sweeps miniseries ”The Judge,” based on the Steve Martini bestseller. He’ll undoubtedly call for a twist.
AILING Poet Maya Angelou was taken to a hospital emergency room today shortly after an appearance at the University of Nebraska. lllness forced the 72 year old writer to speak from a wheelchair. ”She was extremely exhausted and needed the wheelchair to get around,” said an organizer. She canceled an appearance later in the afternoon in Omaha. The ”I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” author suffered from pneumonia last year.