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People talk 5/22

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Singer Stevie Wonder sings and swings

NEW YORK -- We all know Stevie Wonder can sing -- but can he swing?

He proved he could do both Monday night, jamming with Wynton Marsalis and his septet at Jazz at Lincoln Center's spring gala at the Apollo Theater.

Wonder not only played piano as the band performed John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," he also sang a jazzed-up version of his own hit, "Living for the City" in front of an adoring crowd.

"It is truly an honor to be at the Apollo," said Wonder, noting his own performances at the historic theater when he was a child prodigy.

Other performers at "Comin' Home To Harlem," were Tony nominee Vanessa Williams, musician Roland Hanna and Savion Glover, who received a standing ovation after delivering a dazzling tap performance. Whoopi Goldberg served as the evening's hostess.

Wonder also provided some comedy. When the 52-year-old sat at the piano, he grabbed the sheet music in front of him, then put it aside and quipped: "Didn't really need to read right now."

The gala was a benefit for Jazz at Lincoln Center, which bills itself as the world's largest arts organization dedicated to jazz.

Photographer, singer trade suits over photo

LOS ANGELES -- A photographer has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against singer Rod Stewart, claiming that pictures she took have appeared on T-shirts and in the musician's concert program books without her consent.

Pat Morris-Evans of Gainesville, Va., filed the lawsuit Monday in federal court. Stewart, 57, has filed his own Superior Court lawsuit against Morris-Evans and her daughter for allegedly trying to extort $500,000 from him for the use of two photos of the singer.

Stewart's lawsuit said the daughter, Laura Morris, was hired to produce a music video for "I Can't Deny It," which appears on his 2000 album "Human." She brought along her mother, who "surreptitiously" took several photos of Stewart, despite being told not to do so, the suit claims.

Morris-Evans later persuaded Stewart's manager to buy two of the photos, which appeared in a concert tour book. She was paid $1,000 for the shots, the lawsuit claims.

Chelsea Clinton named for trendy London area

LONDON -- When Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton visited the trendy Chelsea section of London in the 1970s, they decided they would give its name to the child they hoped to have, Chelsea Clinton said.

"My parents were here during Christmas in 1978," the daughter of the former U.S. president said Monday as she visited the Chelsea Flower Show. "They were hoping to have a child and if it was a girl they said it would be called Chelsea."

She continued, "They also loved the song 'Chelsea Morning' by Joni Mitchell, which is great because I love my name."

Chelsea, in west London, was a center for trendy fashion and a celebrity hangout in the 1960s. It's now a relatively quiet, upscale residential area.

The 22-year-old, who's studying international relations at Oxford University, posed for photographers in front of a patch of tulips at a special preview of the Royal Horticultural Society's famous flower show.

Prince wins medal for garden design

LONDON -- Prince Charles won a silver medal for a garden he designed to promote the use of medicinal herbs and plants, organizers of the popular Chelsea Flower Show said Tuesday.

Charles' "Healing Garden," which he dedicated to his late grandmother, the Queen Mother Elizabeth, received the Silver Flora in the Best Show Garden category.

The prince is a believer in the use of natural substances to complement medical treatment. He created the wild-looking patch of green with garden designer Jinny Blom. They focused on plants with medicinal and culinary uses.

Charles won a silver medal at the prestigious show last year for a garden designed with Islamic patterns.

Springsteen honors man who let band practice

FREEHOLD, N.J. -- Bruce Springsteen dedicated a park in his hometown over the weekend in honor of a resident who supported the town's youth and took in the Boss' first band.

Former Castiles bandmate George Theiss joined Springsteen at the ceremony Saturday, paying tribute to Gordon "Tex" Vinyard, who in the 1960s let the fledging group practice their repertoire of Beatles and Rolling Stones tunes at a duplex he owned.

"Tex was someone who opened his house completely and let us come in and turn it up as loud as we wanted when everybody else was trying to get us to turn it down," Springsteen said of Vinyard, who died in 1988.

Theiss said the band's association with Vinyard and his wife, Marion, began in the opposite fashion. Theiss and the band's drummer were practicing next door when Vinyard came over to complain about the noise.

"We just started talking about music, he took an interest and became our manager," Theiss said.

The Vinyards were like second parents to the band. "They fed us, talked to us, bought us guitar strings and whatever else we needed to make music," Theiss said.

Keillor told graduates to have interesting failures

ST. PAUL. Minn. -- Before Macalester College's graduating class picked up their diplomas, Garrison Keillor gave them license to fail.

"Have interesting failures," Keillor told the 396 graduates Sunday. "If you need to have a personal crisis, have it now. Don't wait until midlife, when it will take longer to resolve."

Keillor -- the host of public radio's "A Prairie Home Companion" -- gave the commencement speech, encouraging his audience to "get free of your parents."

"Be cheerful," he said. "Don't pity yourselves. Lighten up. Seek people with a sense of humor.

"Avoid humorless people -- and do not marry one, for God's sake."

-- From wire reports


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