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Briefs: Cultural events in the city

| Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006

City Theatre presents "Late Nite Catechism 2" at 7 p.m. Performances continue in an open-ended run at the Lester Hamburg Studio Theatre of City Theatre, 1300 Bingham St., South Side. $35. 412-431-2489.

Boy George gets extra attention sweeping streets

With a city-issued broom in his hand, Boy George started his court-ordered community service early Monday, sweeping the streets of New York for the Department of Sanitation and getting in a dust-up with the media.

It took less than an hour for the former Culture Club frontman to get into a spat with the media.

"You think you're better than me?" he yelled. "Go home. Let me do my community service."

The 45-year-old singer was swarmed by reporters and photographers while he stood by the median of a Lower East Side street. He used his broom to sweep dust and leaves into the lens of a video camera.

"This is supposed to be making me humble. Let me do this," he said. "I just want to do my job."

His sweeping, interrupted by the confrontation, later resumed in a gated Sanitation parking lot.

"This is for everyone's safety," Deputy Sanitation Chief Albert Durrell said as photographers crowded outside the gate. He said the day's work also might include mopping inside the depot.

The singer, born George O'Dowd, was ordered to spend five days working for the Department of Sanitation after pleading guilty in March to falsely reporting a burglary at his lower Manhattan apartment. The officers who responded found cocaine instead.

-- The Associated Press

Thousands turn out for 'Idol' auditions

LaShonia Hunter left her home in the Poconos about 3:30 Monday morning for a shot at her dream to become a professional singer.

She arrived at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., less than two hours later to find throngs of other aspiring contestants lined up to audition for the Fox network's "American Idol," which returns to the air in January. She stood among a crush of thousands in a line that wrapped around the arena.

The tryouts are part of a series of auditions for the show's sixth season, taking place across the country in seven cities.

Hunter already has endured the drill, where contestants have 20 seconds to impress the judges with their vocal ability. She tried out last year in Boston.

"I'm a lot more seasoned," said the 23-year-old Hunter, who books appointments for a plastic surgeon when she's not singing. For this tryout, she packed a blanket, food and a funky platinum blond, curly wig.

New Jersey state police estimated the crowd at about 16,000. But Patrick Lynn , the show's coordinating producer, said he's less concerned about crowd size than discovering talent.

"To me it's not about the numbers. It's about finding the right person," he said, standing outside the arena before the 8 a.m. tryouts began. "We need very few people out of this group."

-- The Associated Press

Kate Hudson, hubby split after nearly 6 years

Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson are splitting up after nearly six years of marriage, said her publicist, Brad Cafarelli.

"Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson have confirmed that they are separated," Cafarelli told The Associated Press on Monday.

The couple married in 2000. They have a 2-year-old son, Ryder Russell Robinson .

Hudson, 27, is the daughter of Goldie Hawn . She was nominated for a supporting actress Oscar for her role as rock groupie Penny Lane in 2000's "Almost Famous."

Robinson, 39, is the lead singer of The Black Crowes.

-- The Associated Press

Jagger's laryngitis forces Stones to cancel

The Rolling Stones canceled a concert Monday in the northern Spanish city of Valladolid after Mick Jagger was ordered by his doctor to rest his voice.

Jagger developed laryngitis over the weekend, the Stones said in a statement on their Web site.

The British rockers had sold 37,000 tickets for yesterday's appearance at the city's Zorilla soccer stadium, said Carmen Carnero , a spokeswoman for the show's promoter.

Their concert will likely not be rescheduled, Carnero said.

"I am very sorry to be canceling this show," Jagger, 63, said in a statement. "I always love playing in Spain, but unfortunately I have no other choice and I apologize to everyone who bought tickets for tonight."

-- The Associated Press

Springer, Carlson to dance with stars

Tucker Carlson of MSNBC and talk-show host Jerry Springer will be among the celebrities competing on the third season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

The new season of the show -- which pairs 11 competitors of sometimes dubious celebrity and varying skill with professional dancer-partners -- will premiere at 8 p.m. Sept. 12, the network announced Monday.

Also heading to the dance floor: Vivica A. Fox , Harry Hamlin , Joe Lawrence , Mario Lopez , Sara Evans , Willa Ford , Monique Coleman , former beauty queen Shanna Moakler and three-time Super Bowl champion Emmitt Smith . Hamlin's wife, Lisa Rinna , competed last season.

This season, the celebrity and professional dance pairs will perform choreographed Latin and traditional ballroom routines to popular live music.

Len Goodman , Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba will return to judge the performances, ABC said.

-- The Associated Press

Growing fame doesn't change Chinese actress

Zhang Ziyi didn't act like a prima donna on the set of a recent Chinese movie despite her newfound Hollywood fame, agreeing to shave her eyebrows for the role and even serving homemade soup to the crew, the film's director said.

"Before we worked together, I might have thought, 'Oh, Zhang Ziyi, a big star, it won't be easy to work with her,'" director Feng Xiaogang , who cast Zhang in his upcoming film "The Banquet," said.

"But when the work got underway, I asked her to shave her eyebrows. She did it. During filming, she was very thoughtful. When she saw people in cinematography and the art department were working hard, she'd make soup and bring it to them," Feng recalled.

"Our collaboration was especially happy," he said.

Feng said Zhang was sad when she had to leave "The Banquet" to promote the film "Memoirs of a Geisha" in the U.S., and had been eager to get back to the set.

Zhang shot to international fame after appearing in the Oscar-winning martial arts hit "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." She has gone on to make Hollywood movies like "Rush Hour 2" and "Memoirs."

-- The Associated Press

Ephron says marriage got easier with age

Nora Ephron says at least one thing gets easier when you're older: choosing a spouse.

The 65-year-old author of a new book on aging, "I Feel Bad About My Neck," who has been married to writer Nicholas Pileggi for almost 20 years, said the "third time's the charm" in her marriage.

"I don't think I could have stayed married to anybody that I married at 25 or 26. I wish I could have. That's probably one of the things that, if you're lucky, does get better when you get older," she told Time magazine for its Aug. 21 issue. "You get a slightly better sense of who you are, and you learn something from mistakes.

"But I don't mean to say anything positive about old age, you understand. That just slipped out of my mouth."

-- The Associated Press

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