Monday, May 26, 2008

Raikkonen buys Stone's Corvette

This article was sent to you from MONACO (Reuters) - Ferrari's Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen paid 200,000 euros (159 thousand pounds) for a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette owned by Hollywood actress Sharon Stone at a Monaco Grand Prix charity auction, organisers said.

The car, stored in Los Angeles and said to have just four miles on the clock, was one of the top lots at a glittering Amber Fashion show in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation on Friday night.

Indian drinks and aviation billionaire Vijay Mallya, co-owner of the Force India Formula One team, paid 226,000 euros for a concert piano used by Elton John to write his "Songs from the West Coast" album in 2001.

Mallya also donated a one-week cruise on his 95-metre "Indian Empress", one of the largest privately-owned yachts in the world, with that going under the hammer for 375,000 euros to a private bidder.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, Honda's Jenson Button, Red Bull's Mark Webber and Renault's Nelson Piquet were among drivers modelling a collection designed by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone's daughter Petra.

The auction, at Monaco's Meridien Beach Plaza hotel, raised almost 1 million euros.

Sunday's race through the streets of the Mediterranean principality is the highlight of Formula One's social calendar, with billionaires, chief executives and movie stars among the celebrity audience. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Sonia Oxley)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Madonna's "private concert"

This article was sent from

Madonna auctions "private concert"

Friday, May 23, 2008 By Mike Collett-White

MOUGINS, France (Reuters) - Madonna auctioned a "private concert" late on Thursday at a star-studded dinner, raising 350,000 euros (278,000 pounds) for AIDS charity amfAR.

The biggest lot on a night of conspicuous spending was a restored 1976 Porsche 911, which went for 500,000 euros after rap mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs stopped bidding at 450,000 euros.

A diamond-encrusted Christian Dior mobile phone also fetched 120,000 euros.

The annual Cinema Against AIDS gala, hosted by Sharon Stone, is one of the hottest tickets at the Cannes film festival each year, with hundreds of guests travelling to nearby Mougins for an auction dinner held in a giant marquee.

The rich and famous lined a packed red carpet on Thursday, including Madonna, Combs and Stone, actor Dennis Hopper, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and actress Natalie Portman.

"I hope we all leave a little poorer," said amfAR chairman Kenneth Cole in his opening speech.

He need not have worried, with the cheapest seats going for around $4,000 each, rising to $15,000 for seats nearer the stage. The overall tally for the night was over $10 million.

Stone, who having just turned 50 called it her "birthday amfAR", showed clips of her travels around the world raising funds for the charity, while Madonna, 49, was in Cannes to promote her documentary about Malawi children orphaned by AIDS.

In what the Cannes media dubbed the "battle of the blondes", the two stars shared the stage and engaged in friendly banter.

"I don't say this about many people, but you're a hard act to follow," Madonna said. She described co-host Weinstein as "possibly one of the most, I won't say irritating, but unstoppable human beings I know."


Madonna offered to sing two songs backstage during her upcoming tour to two "very lucky people".

"People have offered me millions to play at their Bar Mitzvahs," Madonna joked after making the offer. When the bidding stalled at 300,000 euros, she added "Don't humiliate me," before leaving the stage.

Combs auctioned 24 hours in his company, promising: "I will fulfil your wildest dreams for amfAR and the children," and "I will wake up with you." The winning bid was 200,000 euros.

Weinstein could not resist lobbying at least two Cannes jury members in the audience to vote for Steven Soderbergh's competition entry "Che" as the festival headed towards its final awards ceremony on Sunday.

"If you haven't seen 'Che Guevara' you haven't seen a masterpiece. If that hasn't worked there will be cash on the way out."

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

(To read more about our entertainment news, visit our blog "Fan Fare" online at

Monday, May 12, 2008

Neil Young gets new honour -- his own spider

This article was sent to you Sunday, May 11, 2008 LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Iconic singer and songwriter Neil Young has had an honour bestowed upon him that is not received by many musicians -- his own spider.

An East Carolina University biologist, Jason Bond, discovered a new species of trapdoor spider and opted to call the arachnid after his favourite musician, Canadian Neil Young, naming it Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi.

"There are rather strict rules about how you name new species," Bond said in a statement.

"As long as these rules are followed you can give a new species just about any name you please. With regards to Neil Young, I really enjoy his music and have had a great appreciation of him as an activist for peace and justice."

Young, 62, is a veteran rock musician who rose to fame in the 1960s with the band Buffalo Springfield and later became a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, whose 1970 release "Deja Vu" has become a classic rock album.

The singer/songwriter, whose solo work ranges from older albums such as "Harvest" to newer CDs like "Living with War," has long been an activist for social and anti-war causes.

Bond discovered the new spider species in Jefferson County, Alabama, in 2007. He said spiders in the trapdoor genus, who tend to live in burrows and build trap doors to seal off their living quarters, are distinguished from one species to the next on the basis of differences in genitalia.

He confirmed through the spider's DNA that the Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi is an identifiable, separate species of spider within the trapdoor genus.

Young is not the first musician to have a creature named after him. A species of beetle that looks as if it is wearing a tuxedo -- the whirligig beetle, or Orectochilus orbisonorum -- was named earlier this year after the late rock 'n' roll legend Roy Orbison and his widow Barbara.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Kylie Minogue gets French cultural honour

Monday, May 05, 2008 PARIS (Reuters) - Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue received one of France's top cultural awards on Monday, the day before her world tour kicked off in Paris.

Minogue was made a Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et Lettres (Knight of Arts and Letters) for "the cultural pleasure she has given French people" and for her love of France, a French Culture Ministry official said.

"Princess of pop, uncontested queen of the dance floors, you are a sort of Midas of the international music scene who turns everything she touches into gold, from records to micro-shorts," Culture Minister Christine Albanel said presenting the award.

"Even if it isn't the part of your anatomy which is the most often praised by the media, you have a big heart," she added.

Pop group Police won the award in October 2007 and other knights include U.S. film stars Sharon Stone and Clint Eastwood.(Reporting by Swaha Pattanaik)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Lindsay Lohan mug shot launches drunk driving ad

Friday, May 02, 2008 LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A U.S. restaurant and liquor group used a mug shot of troubled actress Lindsay Lohan on Friday to launch a national campaign against the use of new technology aimed at keeping drunks off the road.

A full page advertisement in the newspaper USA Today used the police shot of Lohan after her arrest in Los Angeles last year for drunken driving under a caption saying "Ignition interlocks. A good idea for:" (Lohan) "But a bad idea for us:" showing pictures of adults drinking at weddings and restaurants.

The ad says ignition interlocks, which prevent intoxicated drivers from starting their cars, are "a great tool for getting hard-core drunk drivers off our roads."

But putting one in every person's car, as some people advocate, "means an end to moderate and responsible drinking prior to driving ...", the ad says.

Lohan, now 21, became a poster child for under-age drinking last year when she checked into rehab three times and was arrested and briefly jailed for drunken driving and cocaine possession. The "Freaky Friday" and "Mean Girls" star has since kept mostly out of trouble.

Lohan's lawyer Blair Berk said on Friday that the actress "fully endorses ignition interlock devices."

But in her statement, Berk added that it was irresponsible to suggest that drinking and driving "is some kind of American 'tradition' we should protect."

The advertisement was paid for by Web site htps://, which is described as a "special project" of the American Beverage Institute. The ABI is a restaurant trade association with strong links to U.S. wine, beer and spirits suppliers that promotes responsible drinking by adults.

The ABI said it planned to use the mug shots of other celebrities arrested for drunken driving in further campaigns but did not give details.

"These are public images. A lot of publications have used this (Lohan) shot. We are not worried about any legal fallout," ABI managing director Sarah Longwell told Reuters.

Longwell said the campaign was aimed at highlighting moves in the United States to incorporate interlocking technology into all cars to stop drunken driving.

Nine U.S. states have passed laws allowing the installation of in-car breathalyzers used to lock ignition switches into cars of those who have been convicted of first time drunk driving. The federal government has also funded a research program into other devices.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Eric Walsh)

Second nanny sues Rob Lowe in sex case

Friday, May 02, 2008 By Syantani Chatterjee and Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A former nanny for Rob Lowe has countersued the couple, claiming she was sexually harassed while working for them in 2007 in a case filled with sordid accusations and a claim of extortion.

It is the second time that Lowe, 44, who stars in U.S. television drama "Brothers & Sisters," has been sued since he and his wife, Sheryl, filed their own suit against two former nannies and a chef claiming the three violated confidentiality agreements by divulging personal information about the couple.

In the latest suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, former nanny Laura Boyce claims that Sheryl Lowe subjected her to "sexually offensive and hostile conduct" by walking around at home naked in front of Boyce and asking Boyce questions about her sex life.

The suit says Sheryl Lowe made a racially motivated statement about the genitals of Boyce's black boyfriend.

Boyce also claims she regularly worked 15-hour days without being paid properly for her overtime. She worked for the couple last year from April through November, helping to care for their two teenage sons.

"We are on top of this ... and we are not going to stop until there is justice," Gloria Allred, Boyce's attorney, told reporters at a news conference as Boyce stood close by with tears in her eyes.

Last month former nanny Jessica Gibson countersued the Lowes, saying that Rob Lowe stuck his hand into her pants, grabbed her bottom and exposed himself to her.

Allred, a prominent attorney in high-profile Hollywood cases, also represents Gibson.

In an April blog posting when the Lowes initially sued, Rob Lowe wrote that one of the nannies demanded $1.5 million (758, 307 pounds)from the couple, or she would "accuse us of a vicious laundry list of false terribles." He did not say which one.

In a statement released to celebrity television show "The Insider" on Wednesday, Sheryl Lowe called Boyce's lawsuit baseless.

"The charges against me are lies meant to embarrass and humiliate. I find it deeply offensive the false allegation that I would use racially insensitive comments," she said.

Lowe rose to fame in the 1980s in films such as "The Outsiders" and "St. Elmo's Fire." But he suffered a setback in 1988 when a videotape surfaced showing him having sex with two young women, one of them a teenager.

He rebounded on stage and television, and eventually won a starring role in Emmy-winning TV show, "The West Wing" that returned him to Hollywood's limelight.

Sheryl Lowe, 46, was a television and film makeup artist. The two have been married since 1991.

(Editing by Bernard Woodall and Xavier Briand)