Look for a new full-length animated feature from the fertile brain of controversial actor-director Tim Burton. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film -- to be done in "stop motion" as were earlier Burton efforts -- will be called "The Corpse Bride." It will be distributed by Warner Bros. Interestingly, the project will be produced by Winton Studios, a growing moviemaking concern that is not based in Hollywood, but in Portland, Ore. Filming of the complicated movie will begin in the fall. The publication says the scenario is based on a European folk tale that dates back some 300 years. In the plot a young man suddenly finds he is married to a corpse. The text is being prepared by the same person who wrote "Edward Scissorhands," Caroline Thompson.
GREAT WHITE SURVIVORS MAY TOUR AGAIN
Even though the surviving members of the group Great White pledged never to tour again, two of them are back on the boards. Singer Jack Russell and guitarist Mark Kendall have agreed to work together on several benefit performances in honor of their late bandmate Ty Longley. He died, along with 98 others, in that horrific nightclub fire in Rhode Island earlier this year. The fire erupted when pyrotechnics being used by the band ignited highly flammable soundproofing and decorations. Monies from the tribute concerts will go to a charity being administered by Longley's parents to provide assistance to the rocker's child, due to be born soon. Since the tragic fire Feb. 20 at a venue in West Warwick, R.I., there have been numerous tributes and fundraisers for the surviving families. Reports say one this week in Hollywood marked the first time any members of the band had decided to reunite. There now is talk of taking the tour on the road. Immediately after the fire the band told the media it might struggle on, but without the old name. Now the survivors tell media they are determined to carry on the tradition, if for no other reason than to help Longley's family.
SEEGER BEATS ANTI-WAR DRUM AGAIN
Legendary folksinger Pete Seeger has revived his Vietnam-era anti-war song "Bring Them Home" for a new CD release. Billboard.com reports Seeger added new verses to update the protest anthem. It says one of the new verses contains the phrase: "The great part of America is that you have the right to speak your mind." Some of Seeger's modern-day singing companions helped in the session. Among them were Steve Earle, Ani DiFranco and Billy Bragg. The redone song will appear on the singer-songwriter's latest CD effort, "Seeds: The Songs of Pete Seeger, Volume 3." It's due out sometime in August on Appleseed Records. The double set will contain other history-inspired songs, including one Seeger wrote after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and one following the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
COUNTRY ARTISTS TO DO BASEBALL-THEMED TOUR
Some of the biggest names in country music will hit the road to commemorate the 100th birthday of minor league baseball's South Atlantic League. Billed as the Country Grand Slam Tour, the circuit kicks off in Greensboro, N.C., next week featuring Trace Adkins, Andy Griggs, the Charlie Daniels Band and John Michael Montgomery. During the following two months, the stars -- sometimes in small groups, sometimes the full compliment -- will perform at the league's current-day ballparks. The tour will go through North and South Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia, and Maryland, ending in early August. Promoters note many future major league players started their careers in the SAL, including Hank Aaron, Tommy Lasorda, Ty Cobb, Harmon Killebrew, Don Mattingly, Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Willie Stargell and Sparky Anderson. By the way, none of the concerts will be held in conjunction with a ball game. All will be "free-standing" events.
BRASH BANFIELD'S CAREER IN LIMBO
She took command during Sept. 11, 2001, coverage and became a national star, now Ashleigh Banfield could be job hunting. The New York Post says the energetic, take-charge reporter might have burned some bridges at NBC for her recent comments about the head of the network, Neal Shapiro. She reportedly criticized coverage of the war in Iraq during a speech at Kansas State University. Possibly seeing the handwriting on the wall, there are reports she might be vying for a job at CNN. Meanwhile, the publication says CNN isn't happy with the way she talked about her boss in an open forum. While Banfield's future is up in the air, those who watched MSNBC's coverage of the terrorist attacks remember her as a combination anchor, producer, director, camerawoman and organizer who seemed to have a bright future.
SHORTHAND EXPERT PROBES THE PAST
A retired librarian is using all her skills to read a "lost language" manuscript detailing the Underground Railroad. Willie Edwards' current labor of love is the tedious task of trying to translate notes of an early Michigan abolitionist. Unfortunately the notes were put down in an obscure form of shorthand that is now all but lost. The notes were written by Theodore Foster and are now more than 160 years old. Edwards tells United Press International when she first started researching Foster's writings she found pages of manuscripts that appeared to have been written in an obscure code. She found out Foster was trained in a now little-used kind of shorthand developed by Isaac Pitman in 1837. The shorthand was designed using the sound of the human voice. The Gregg system eventually would become the accepted form of shorthand in this country. Edwards currently is seeking people who can read the archaic form of writing. Call (734) 994-6513.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 559
Inspired by the obvious, here is today's question: "Can you write or read shorthand?" Put UPI-SHORT in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 554 (CLOSET)
Last week we asked: "How many articles of clothing do you have hanging in your closets that you will never wear again -- either because of size or style?" Our random dip into the e-mail inbox shows the following:
-The largest number was a whopping 78, sent in by ClancyRevs.
-The smallest, zero. TomTran says he has worn the same size clothing for decades. (Lucky you, Tom).
-The average was 13.
TOMORROW: Counting the days. GBA