BROCKOVICH TO HOST HER OWN SHOW
A crusading young woman named Erin Brockovich became an international celebrity with the release of the 2000 movie named for her, starring Julia Roberts. Brockovich is legendary for her "David and Goliath" $333 million struggle against a huge West Coast energy company. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Brockovich will host her own weekly TV show, "Final Justice."
Like so many new shows, "Final Justice" is being billed as "reality TV." The project will be shown on the Lifetime network and 13 shows have been ordered initially. The series, to air next year, will focus on the real-life legal problems of ordinary people. One of the stories will center on a woman who accused a neighbor of illegally videotaping her.
By the way, it's interesting how TV genres run in cycles. In the early days of TV, there were tons of Westerns. Cheap to make, they dominated the TV landscape. Then someone did a successful medical drama and, overnight, the "medic" shows were everywhere. We've gone through the silly era ("Gilligan's Island," etc.), the rural phase (Green Acres," etc.), courtroom dramas, cop shows and now reality TV. Makes you wonder what theme will sweep TV next.
VIOLINIST TO GET RARE 'LOANER'
When musicians think of violins, two types usually come to mind: the treasured Stradivarius and the Guarnerius, both named for the men who made them. Now a rare Guarnerius violin dating from 1742 -- sometimes called "The David Violin" -- will be lent to the San Francisco Symphony for exclusive use by its concertmaster, Alexander Barantschik. The transfer will take place on Sept. 4, just in time for the orchestra's opening gala.
The violin was given to the San Francisco Fine Arts Museum by violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz, whose favorite it was. During the three years that Barantschik will use the violin, he will play it in performances to be sponsored by the fine arts group -- a kind of payback. After all, it was one thing for the museum to have the famed instrument, but unless someone played it ...
RACE DRIVER DIES IN SAD ACCIDENT
When aspiring young driver Neil Arendt first drove a renovated Model-T race car more than 50 years ago, he could not have known that he would drive the same car in his final race, half a century later. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune says that Arendt, as a young man, raced the car for nearly a decade. Eventually, he abandoned "the relic" for more sophisticated models.
But about ten years ago, he discovered that "the relic" -- his first real race car -- had been found in a farmer's field and was being restored. Would he race it again? Certainly. And that is what Arendt did in recent years: compete in races with restored antique cars, including the renovated Model-T. His son tells the publication that his dad made racing the old car the centerpiece of his activities each summer.
This past weekend, the elder Arendt drove his last race. He was killed Saturday in a crash, while competing in the old car in South Dakota. A Minnesota farmer with a love for racing, honored with the unique thrill of finding an original racer, living out the joys of his youth again, Neil Arendt was 74.
HATS OFF TO HIP-HOP'S BRANDY MOSS-SCOTT
It was only recently that hip-hop sensation Brandy Moss-Scott managed to achieve a first in that genre. She was able to ride a song to the No. 1 position on the charts, even though the CD had been produced by a small, independent label. It was the first time in the 10-year history of the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts that anyone, now associated with a major label, had accomplished that feat.
Now her publicist tells United Press International that she has proved herself again by taking the record, "I Don't Really Know," to the No. 5 position on the more mainstream Hot Singles list. Riding on that success, she's releasing another CD this week, "Fresh."
This latest compilation also sees Brandy as not only a singer, but also a songwriter and producer. She also plays keyboards on the album. And, in case you need more proof that she's quite a gal, she began her adult life in medical school, eventually assisting at the birth of more than 3,000 babies. She also volunteers much of her time to a group building housing for the homeless.
WARHOL TO BE HONORED AT FESTIVAL
The film lovers' group, American Cinematheque, will present the "Andy Warhol Does Hollywood" festival in the coming weeks. The group tells the indieWIRE news service that the month-long celebration (July 31-Aug. 28) will feature rare screenings of 16 films directed by the avant garde cinematographer. Additionally, a documentary about the life of Warhol, produced by a British group, will make its L.A. debut during the festival.
Warhol's remake of "Poor Little Rich Girl" (1965) will be shown on the same night as the 1936 original, which starred Shirley Temple. Several of the players from Warhol films will appear in conjunction with the screenings of their films.
For more information, visit the Web site for the Egyptian Theatre, the venue for the event: egyptiantheatre.com.
RALPH STANLEY UPDATE
In a previous report we mentioned that bluegrass "godfather" Ralph Stanley was about to do something new: star in his own music video. Now, just as he is taking his career into the 21st century, a group in Virginia says it wants to honor his roots.
The town of Clintwood, Va., says it's bought a building and is seeking funds to build a museum to honor Stanley, its best-known native son. The news site, country.com, says that a rambling, multi-story home, built in 1904, is being renovated to house the museum. Stanley has signed a contract with promoters to fully cooperate in getting memorabilia for the museum's archives.
A curator will be hired to oversee the collection of Stanley-related mementos and construction of exhibits. The home should be large enough: it has 16 rooms and once served as a boarding house.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 382
The other day I had an appointment with my doctor. I arrived a few minutes before the scheduled time only to find I had to wait more than an hour before being called to his office. The waiting room was not crowded and there is no flu epidemic here in Las Vegas this time of year. So, today's question: "Have you had any experiences waiting in line -- other than at the DMV -- where it seemed as though you were waiting forever?" Put WAIT in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 377 (STAGE)
Last week we asked about your favorite stage performances. From a sampling of replies, let's divide the answers in two: Broadway and non-Broadway.
On the NYC side, many wrote to say they regularly make trips to the Great White Way to see what's new. Kelly R. was among many to bemoan New York City ticket (and hotel) prices. She prefers to make a very long day of it, staying in a distant suburb and taking the train into and out of town. Andrew K. says that he doesn't care much for Broadway anymore because of the "gritty" nature of the plays. He gives "Rent" as an example. He does, though, love the revivals of old musicals.
On the non-Broadway side, many of you related happy times participating in school plays, from grade school to college. Of the plays mentioned, "West Side Story" seemed to be the favorite. "The Man Who Came to Dinner" and "Death of a Salesman" got votes, as did several of the Agatha Christie plays. By the way, those Christie whodunits are a big favorite in little theater groups. TOMORROW: More thoughts on fast food. GBA.