CROWE 'TAKING A BREAK' FROM ACTING
Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe has released a statement explaining his decision to take a break from performing.
In addition to refusing further acting roles for an unspecified time, Crowe has also canceled the United States tour of his rock band, 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts.
"Though I love all aspects of my work, the success of the last three or four years has also brought with it an undeniably massive level of stress, not only to me but to my immediate and extended family and to my friends and friendships," said the star of "A Beautiful Mind" and "Gladiator."
"My father will begin a series of operations in December to try to relieve the excruciating pain of what has been diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome in both of his wrists. With the recovery period plus the physical rehabilitation between operations I need to be at home and available to him and my family during this time. Let me clarify something else.
"I am in love with Danielle Spencer, but I don't get to spend nearly enough time with her. Dani has been very patient with all of the speculations of the past year or so, which I thank her for. I feel a great need to wake up with her as many days of my life as I can," Crowe added.
POTTER KIDS: 2 NOT TOO SCARY
The pint-sized stars of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" admit the sequel is definitely scarier than the first film, but they swear it is not too frightening for young audiences to enjoy.
"I personally don't think (it's too scary,)" Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) told reporters in New York recently. "It's all in the book and if you take away the darkness from the film then you haven't done the book justice and if they read the book I don't think they will be scared at all."
Radcliffe's co-stars Emma Watson and Rupert Grint agreed.
"I think the fans of the book will be really, really happy with it," Watson piped in. "I think it depends on the parents, really. I was a little scared at times. What about you, Rupert?"
"Yeah, so was I," Grint admitted, laughing. "It is pretty scary. It is up to the parent if they want to put their child through that."
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is in theaters now.
NEW BOOK DEBUNKS SEPT. 11 MYTHS
A new book by Alex Boese, "curator and creator" of the popular Web site, museumofhoaxes.com, clarifies several myths regarding the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.
"During the weeks that followed, panic, grief and confusion reigned," Boese writes in "The Museum of Hoaxes."
"This was a recipe for hoaxes and fear-driven rumors. The wild stories that circulated through e-mail included the following: that terrorists were going to strike again by blowing up malls on Halloween, that a large number of Ryder vans capable of being converted into truck bombs had gone missing, and that secret terrorist messages were coded into the Wingdings font of Microsoft Word," he said.
Noting all of these turned out to be false claims, most likely started by people with the "longing to gain a sense of personal power," Boese also sheds some light on the following myths:
-- Nostradamus predicted the attacks on the World Trade Center. False. The 16th century astrologer never said, "On the 11th day of the nine month, two metal birds will crash into two tall statues in the new city, and the world will end soon after." According to Boese, these statements were "of completely modern invention."
-- A widely circulated e-mail urged Americans to light candles and stand outside their home at a specified time so NASA could take a satellite photo of the entire nation illuminated by candlelight. False. Boese says NASA never intended to take such a photo, since the candlelight would never be visible from outer space.
-- A photograph of a man, now known as "Tourist Guy," showed a heavily clad tourist standing on the observation deck of the World Trade Center as a plane approached from behind. E-mailed to millions of people, a message accompanying the photo explained the picture had been taken seconds before the plane struck the building with a camera that had been found in the rubble at Ground Zero. False. "Of course, the picture was completely fake," Boese says. "The man was wearing heavy clothing on what was a warm day. Also, the view behind him indicated that he was standing on the deck of the second tower that was attacked. The first tower would therefore have been burning fiercely while he happily posed for this snapshot."
'BABAR' MUSICAL RETURNS TO NY
Composer Raphael Mostel's acclaimed new musical, "The Travels of Babar: An Adventure in Scales," returns to New York next month for a nine-performance stint at the French Institute Alliance Francaise.
Based on the beloved 1932 children's book by Jean de Brunhoff, the musical features guest celebrity narrators and is performed in three different languages: three days in English and one day each in Spanish and in French.
This will be the show's third run at New York City's Florence Guild Hall.