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Arts organizations seek submissions

| Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Artists, take note. Organizations throughout the region seek submissions for a variety of events, shows and venues.

Picturesque Photography & Gifts: Seeks handcrafted, animal-theme (dog, cat, horse, etc.) gift works, including figurines, collars and leashes, for an exhibit opening May 28 to benefit Animal Friends, the no-kill Strip District shelter. Picturesque Photography & Gifts is at 4300 Butler St., Lawrenceville. Details: (412) 688-0240.

Planned Parenthood: Seeks submissions for a fund-raising auction of artwork which interprets the theme "Stiff Competition: When Politics Makes for Strange Bedfellows." Submit entries through Friday to offices of Planned Parenthood, 209 Ninth St., Downtown. Details: (412) 562-1900.

Schoolhouse Arts Center: Seeks handcrafted items and artwork to sell in its Heritage Box Gift Shop. The center also seeks vendors for an arts and crafts festival scheduled for June 27 as part of a community picnic. Schoolhouse Arts Center is at 2600 South Park Road, Bethel Park. Details: (412) 833-0862.

SkinnyBuilding: Seeks works by painters, photographers, multi-media artists and graphic designers for a June-July exhibit honoring the late Fred Rogers. Twenty-two selected artists will be assigned one window of a display area in the building at Forbes Avenue and Wood Street. Details: (412) 606-5621.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Council for the Arts: Seeks artwork for the ninth annual juried regional exhibition. Deadline for slide entries is June 25. Call for prospectus. Details: (724) 837-5592.

Waynesburg Prosperous & Beautiful Organization: Seeks photographs of local people, livestock, pastoral scenes and humorous subjects for a photo contest during the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival scheduled for May 22 and 23. Entries should be 4- by 6-inch to 8- by 10-inch in size, with no personal identification on front. Submit entries through Saturday to the Frame Up & Gallery, High Street, Waynesburg, Greene County. Details: (724) 627-2040.

-- Deborah Deasy

Met Opera's radio announcer signs off after 29 years

Peter Allen is signing off after 29 years as announcer of the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts.

Allen is retiring after having completed the Met's 2003-04 broadcast season on April 24.

"Except for my marriage, the broadcasts -- and preparing for them -- have been the richest experience of my life. I'll miss them and the many helpful friends I've been lucky enough to work with," the 84-year-old said Tuesday. "But the broadcasts are demanding, and it's probably best for them and me to sign off while I'm ahead."

Allen said he still planned to be involved with opera in some way.

"We have been very fortunate to have Peter Allen as the voice of the Met on the air for so many years," said the opera's general manager, Joseph Volpe . "His vast knowledge of opera and his assured, unflappable presence have added interest and dignity to our broadcasts, and we will sorely miss him."

Allen, a Toronto native, took over as host in January 1975 after Milton Cross , the broadcast's original announcer since 1931, died suddenly. He also has worked as an actor, announcer and narrator in radio, television and film.

-- The Associated Press

Fitness expert takes 'Go Active!' challenge

The fitness guru who trimmed Oprah Winfrey and is riding his bicycle across the country to promote health and wellness is sticking up for his sponsor, McDonald's.

Bob Greene is biking 3,000 miles over 36 days as part of the fast food restaurant's "Go Active!" challenge. Greene said that those who criticize McDonald's -- like Morgan Spurlock , director of the new documentary "Super Size Me" -- are just taking cheap shots at the restaurant.

"It's the movie coming out or lawyers," Greene said Monday during a rest stop in a Little Rock, Ark., McDonald's parking lot, alluding to a pair of class-action lawsuits the restaurant chain faced accusing it of making consumers fat. The U.S. House voted in March to ban class such lawsuits.

"Those things just don't have teeth," Greene said.

Greene said McDonald's is spending money to promote fitness and healthy menu items, like salads.

"They don't need to be doing that," he said. "They're taking it to another level."

Spurlock's movie opened last weekend. In it, the filmmaker chows down on a McDonald's-only diet for a month in an examination of American obesity.

McDonald's introduced new Happy Meals last month specially for adults with salad, bottled water and pedometers.

Greene and Winfrey co-authored the book "Make the Connection: 10 Steps to a Better Body and a Better Life."

-- The Associated Press

Arnold sends regrets to Taiwanese president

Taiwan hoped to inject some star power into its May 20 presidential inauguration by inviting terminator-turned-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger , but he was too busy to come, an official said Tuesday.

Schwarzenegger's invitation attracted the most attention when the Presidential Office released the list of 400 foreign guests who've been asked to attend President Chen Shui-bian 's inauguration. Most of the visitors are heads of state or diplomats.

"There is a superstar who really wanted to come, but he cannot come because of his official business," presidential spokesman James Huang told reporters.

"That is the governor of California, the terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger," Huang said, adding a bit of showmanship to a routine news conference.

Instead, Schwarzenegger will send his lieutenant governor, Cruz Bustamante , Huang said. The governor, famous for starring in "Conan the Barbarian" and the "Terminator" movies, sent a congratulatory message to Chen after he was re-elected March 20, Huang said.

Chen's narrow re-election prompted calls for a recount, which began Monday and was expected to be finished just before the inauguration.

-- The Associated Press

Celine Dion cancels shows

Celine Dion canceled three performances of her nightly show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas this week after a doctor told the singer she needed to rest.

Dion won't perform "A New Day ..." today, Thursday or Friday.

The star has been hampered by a sprained neck for the past week, which she aggravated while doing her show, show spokeswoman Kris Lingle said Monday.

Dion, 36, will resume performances on Saturday.

The singer is in the second year of a three-year engagement at the Las Vegas Strip hotel-casino.

-- The Associated Press

Cambodia experience touched Jackie Chan

Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan said he was deeply moved after digging up land mines for a week during a recent trip to Cambodia to raise awareness about the issue there.

Chan, a newly appointed U.N. goodwill ambassador, spent three days in Cambodia in late April, visiting land mine explosion victims and HIV/AIDS patients.

Cambodia has Southeast Asia's highest HIV infection rate at 2.6 percent for 2002, according to the United Nations. The country's remote areas still are strewn with land mines and unexploded bombs left over from three decades of fighting.

The 50-year-old actor, a star of Hollywood and Chinese-language movies for more than 20 years, told reporters Monday he walked through an area once sown with land mines that has since been mostly -- but not entirely -- cleared.

Chan said he wasn't afraid, but "for a week, whenever I had a dream, I dreamt about digging (up) land mines."

"A child could go to buy milk and return without legs," he said.

-- The Associated Press

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