People talk 9/16/03

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Swampstock combines country music, charity

RAYVILLE, La. -- Thousands of people converged on this north Louisiana town for Swampstock, the annual charity event that country music star Tim McGraw sponsors.

McGraw, Faith Hill, singer Chris Cagle and actor Rick Schroeder were among those who participated. Events included a celebrity softball game and a Sunday afternoon concert.

Shane Mabou, of Monroe, La., and his group of friends started their tailgate party at 9:30 a.m., and were a surprised by the size of the crowd that showed up for the event.

"Everybody always talks about how great it is, and we wanted to come and see the hometown guy," Mabou said of McGraw, who's from Monroe.

Proceeds from the event benefit Rayville's Dixie League Baseball, the Steve Colvin Memorial Scholarship Fund and other local youth causes.

Cookbook sale to raise funds for Clinton library

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Now everyone can eat like former President Bill Clinton.

"The Clinton Presidential Center Cookbook" includes 250 recipes and is on sale to raise funds for the foundation building Clinton's presidential library.

Co-author Shannon Butler tracked down celebrities, politicians and former White House workers to fill a 264-page book featuring entrees, side dishes and desserts.

Included in the book are Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's chocolate chip cookies, Bill Clinton's chicken enchiladas, Elizabeth Taylor's spicy chicken and Barbra Streisand's Southern lemon ice box pie.

"This dessert was made for a luncheon on August 13, 2000, that we had on our front yard for President Clinton," said a note from Streisand that accompanied the recipe. Many of the recipes include personal notes.

The cookbook was released Friday and is currently available only by direct mail and through the Clinton Library's Web site. The $35 cost includes $15 as a tax-deductible contribution to the foundation.

Partygoers get morning treat from Spears

LAS VEGAS -- Partygoers hit the jackpot at the Palms hotel-casino over the weekend when Britney Spears hit the stage unexpectedly.

The pop star, along with a group of dancers, belted out three songs from her upcoming album at the popular Rain nightclub early Sunday morning.

"We tried to keep it a secret," said Rain co-owner Scott DeGraff of the Chicago-based N9NE Group. "We wanted to make it a surprise for people. I know people were shocked. No one knew."

Her performance began about 1 a.m. and lasted thirty minutes.

Not only did the 1,800 people inside Rain get an up-close look at Spears, DeGraff said, but they also each saved hundreds of dollars. The nightclub didn't charge extra for the Britney bash.

DeGraff said MTV was on hand to film Spears, as were a number of celebrities in Las Vegas for the boxing match between Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand.-- From wire reports

"It was just a crazy night," DeGraff said. "The place was just mobbed."

Jackson hosts celebrity fund-raiser at Neverland

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Michael Jackson hosted a fund-raiser at his Neverland Ranch with a celebrity invitation list that included boxer Mike Tyson and musicians Patti LaBelle and Boyz II Men.

About 700 people were invited Saturday and paid $5,000 to attend. The proceeds were to go to Make-A-Wish Foundation, Oneness, and E Ai Como E Que Fica, a Rio de Janeiro organization that provides food, clothing and medical care for poor children.

Fans outside the ranch gates traveled from as far as Denmark and Croatia to catch a glimpse of Jackson and other celebrities.

"I'm here to show love and support for Michael," said Tea Kos, 23, president of the Michael Jackson fan club for Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia.

"I'm a fan, but not a fanatic," said Jay-Kid, a 13-year-old Michael Jackson look-and-sound alike. "Michael has always been a big part of my life. My own songs will come later."

Lithgow sings praises of Florida manatee

HOMOSASSA SPRINGS, Fla. -- John Lithgow is singing the praises of the Florida manatee.

The actor was at Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park on Saturday reading and singing to hundreds of children, parents and fans. He was visiting to promote his fourth and newest children's book, "I'm a Manatee."

The Save the Manatee Club made Lithgow an adoptive parent of Rosie, the biggest manatee in the park, about 58 miles north of Tampa. After the performance, many waited in a long line through heavy rain to have Lithgow sign their books.

"You are so lucky because you live on the west coast of Florida, where there are lots and lots of manatees," Lithgow told the children. "Most of the kids in the country don't know about manatees and how wonderful they are."

The 57-year-old, who starred in the sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun," said he got the idea for the book a few years ago, when he was giving a concert for children at an Ohio zoo. When it started to rain, he and others huddled in the manatee house for cover.

"I thought, 'What a marvelous animal! What a marvelous name!'" he said.

In his new book, which has an accompanying CD, a boy dreams he's a manatee.

While Lithgow hopes children fall in love with the story and song, he said the book also includes a message: "Love the manatee and save the manatee."

-- From wire reports

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