Springsteen follower moving to North Carolina
CARRBORO, N.C. -- A popular fan magazine and Web site devoted to Bruce Springsteen soon will be based in North Carolina. Chris Phillips, editor and publisher of Backstreets, which has covered Springsteen since 1980, will relocate to Carrboro from Washington. Phillips, 33, and his small staff track and review concerts, give news updates about Springsteen and his E Street Band, sell merchandise and host a lively message board where fans can chat and exchange tickets. The decision to move south was strictly personal, Phillips said recently. He and his wife, Laura, are both Duke University graduates, and have always considered relocating to the Triangle area.
Actor's hometown makes plans for birthday tribute
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Don Knotts' hometown is planning several tributes to one of its favorite sons, including a possible film festival next year. Knotts, who celebrated his 80th birthday Wednesday, will be honored over the coming year for his contributions to the film industry, Mayor Ron Justice said. That includes a possible site where people could learn about the comedic actor, his films and his connection to Morgantown. "He's always remembered his roots," Justice said. "He is our favorite son." Knotts, who lives in Beverly Hills, Calif., is still mainly identified with the role that won him five Emmys, that of bumbling deputy Barney Fife on the 1960s family comedy "The Andy Griffith Show."
Jerusalem visited by 'Mr. Big' Chris Noth
JERUSALEM -- Chris Noth, who played Mr. Big on HBO's "Sex and the City," greeted fans in Israel at Judaism's holiest site, the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. Noth is on a 10-day tour of Israel, sponsored by the Israeli Tourism Ministry. He also filmed a commercial Monday for a brand of Israeli deodorant. "I feel great solidarity, as a New Yorker, being here in Israel," the actor told reporters Tuesday. "I hope to show Americans that they should come here."
Incoming Tourism Minister Gideon Ezra presented Noth with a certificate of appreciation.
"This visit is very important to us," Ezra told The Associated Press. "Many celebrities have come to Israel, and we take very good care of our visitors."
"Sex and the City," starring Sarah Jessica Parker, was shown on a local TV channel and gained wide popularity among Israelis. Noth played one of Parker's boyfriends on the show, which ran for six seasons.
Earlier this year, Madonna canceled three Israeli stops on her Re-Invention tour because of violence in the region.
Noth dismissed the dangers of visiting Israel as "nonsense."
He recently finished filming a new movie, "The Perfect Man."
LONDON (AP) -- A London art gallery plans to document the doomed punk romance between Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.
Among the items in a retrospective punk show opening at the Hospital gallery in September is a blood-splattered poster from room 100 of New York's Chelsea Hotel, where Vicious allegedly stabbed Spungen to death on Oct. 12, 1978.
Art dealer Paul Stolper and editor Andrew Wilson, who own a trove of original Pistols' posters, T-shirts and handwritten lyrics displayed in the show, told the Independent on Sunday newspaper that items from the couple's hotel room had been sold by Vicious' mother, Anne Beverley, who died in 1996.
They couldn't say where the blood on the poster for the Pistols' album "Never Mind the Bollocks" came from.
Vicious was charged with second-degree murder, but died of a heroin overdose, at age 21, before standing trial.
The gallery's show, which also includes clothes from the shop run by punk pioneers Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, runs Sept. 24 to Jan. 23.
TORONTO (AP) -- "Shark Tale," a computer-animated comedy featuring the voices of Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renee Zellweger and Angelina Jolie, will be a gala presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival Sept. 9-18.
"Shark Tale" also features the voices of Jack Black and Martin Scorsese. It is set in the underwater underworld when a timid vegetarian shark named Oscar is fingered as the killer of a shark mob boss' son. It is set for release Oct. 1.
Organizers also announced this week that there will be a pair of matinee galas for the first time in the festival's 29-year history. The North American premiere of "Shark Tale" will be one, and another title will be revealed later, bringing the total number of galas to 20.
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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- The steeple of St. Mary's Episcopal Church, where the band R.E.M. first performed together in 1980, is in dire need of restoration and its owners are offering to give it away to someone willing to take on the expensive job.
The 135-year-old steeple is all that remains of the church after it was destroyed in 1990 to build a condominium complex. The owners of the Steeplechase condos kept the spire as a historic artifact, but the group is too small to raise the funds necessary to restore it. Replacing the roof alone would run about $8,200.
"The association can, in no way, collect that much money," said condo association manager Kate Hinton recently, adding that the owners want to give the artifact to someone able to afford the restoration.
In 1980, R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe and guitarist Peter Buck moved into converted apartments in the church and held the band's earliest practices there. The group, which also included bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry, gained international prominence with hits including "Losing My Religion" and helped solidify Athens' reputation as a launching pad for popular music.