RALPH STANLEY TO DO BOSTON POPS SHOW
The folks at the Boston Pops have tapped one of the founding fathers of bluegrass music to perform. As the popularity of that genre of music increases, it was a natural inviting Ralph Stanley to play at an upcoming concert. The orchestra says the performance will be recorded for later broadcast on PBS. For decades, the Boston Pops concerts -- initially under the baton of fire truck-chasing conductor Arthur Fiedler -- have been a staple on public television. The Stanley evening will be May 12. According to CMT, not much more has been released about the concert, but more details are expected in a few weeks. Stanley recently won a Grammy for his work with Jim Lauderdale on "Lost in the Lonesome Pines."
MUSIC STARS CRANK OUT ANTI-WAR SONGS
The age of the anti-war folk song has gone modern with many of today's groups pressing special CDs with their pacifist messages. Billboard magazine says Billie Joe Armstrong and Lenny Kravitz have joined the ranks, working on their own protests. Armstrong's effort is called "Life During Wartime." The Kravitz creation is "We Want Peace." To get the message out, each has placed his effort on a Web site for instant downloading. Lenny's song was recorded with the help of an Iraqi artist, Kadim Al Sahir. Also on the song is Palestinian artist Simon Shaheen with drumming provided by a Lebanese percussionist. During the past few days John Mellencamp, DJ Shadow, the Beastie Boys and Zack de la Rocha all have done anti-war songs.
SUBDUED OSCARS CREATED NEW FOCUS
One of the nation's best-known gossip columnists says the "quiet" Oscars returned the focus to where it should be. Liz Smith says she didn't see the awards this time around, opting to spend the evening at home, in front of the tube with her longtime housekeeper. Smith expresses the sentiments of many saying the lack of all the usual "red carpet hoopla" meant the focus was on the movies themselves, not on who wore what -- or didn't wear what -- and who arrived with whom. Additionally, the choice of Peter O'Toole as an honoree brought an additional sense of dignity to the global videocast. People still are talking about the restraint shown by many who might have expressed their anti-war views: Susan Sarandon settling for just a peace sign prior to her remarks and Barbra Streisand settling for the task at hand.
PRIEST HOLMES UNDERGOES HIP SURGERY
Officials of the Kansas City Chiefs say halfback Priest Holmes had arthroscopic hip surgery this week. The coach of the Chiefs, Dick Vermeil, tells the Kansas City Star Holmes had gone to a specialist in Miami, complaining of pains and movement problems. Holmes' rehabilitation could be pushed back as much as six weeks but Vermeil, when asked if he thought the hip operation would be a setback for Holmes, told reporters at an NFL meeting in Phoenix he actually thought it would have a positive effect on the player's long-term chances in the game.
MICHAEL MADSEN IS A ONE-MAN ZOO KEEPER
Police in California have released actor Michael Madsen's snake from custody after it slithered down an office hallway. The New York Post says it learned Madsen, the tough-guy actor, keeps quite a private zoo. Not only does he have a Florida king snake named King, but he also has parrots, bulldogs, geckos and iguanas. The problem with King started when the reptile reportedly made its way down a hallway in the professional building where Madsen maintains an office. Someone called the cops. The snake was carted away. When Madsen found out what had happened he refused to immediately bail out the animal. He was quoted as saying: "Let him sit in 'snake jail' for a few days. That will teach him not to run away."
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 553
Our second week of cross-country bus trip questions continue. Today we ask: "If you had to spend a week sitting on a cross-country bus with a single seat-mate, which of these two would you chose -- John Wayne or Annie Oakley?" Put BUS8 in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 548 (STAR)
Last week we asked: "Do you think that Hollywood stars and others in the entertainment world should use their popularity to speak out on controversial issues, such as war?" From our random dip in to the e-mail inbox, here is what we found:
-Stars should not be spokesmen for political issues, 85 percent.
-Stars should speak out on national issues, 15 percent.
TOMORROW: Watching the war from a distance. GBA