People Talk 7/28

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Springsteen returns home for new album

ASBURY PARK, N.J. -- Public works crews, a nightclub owner and even a fortune teller are busy making sure everything is just right when The Boss comes home.

Bruce Springsteen returns Tuesday to the shabby seaside city where he got his start. This time, he'll be belting out tunes to some 6.2 million fans as he headlines a three-hour remote broadcast of NBC's "Today" from the boardwalk with co-hosts Matt Lauer and Katie Couric.

The rocker is promoting the Tuesday release of his new CD, "The Rising," by performing four songs live at Convention Hall.

"We always try to make the city look good, but now it's especially important, with all the Springsteen fans coming in and the 'Today' show," said public works director Gary Giberson.

Even Madame Marie is coming out of retirement. The fortune teller, who once ran a Boardwalk booth, was immortalized on Springsteen's second record, "The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle."

Black Sabbath gets medieval

TALLINN, Estonia -- Some classic heavy metal tunes are making a classical comeback with a medieval makeover.

An Estonian record company has released an album of Black Sabbath songs played by a quintet specializing in music from the Middle Ages and singing in the main literary language of that era, Latin.

"If you take away the massive wall of sound from many Sabbath songs, what you have is pure 14th century music," producer Mihkel Raud claimed Friday.

The album -- called "Sabbatum," Latin for "sabbath" -- includes "Wheels of Confusion" ("Rotae Confusionis") and "War Pigs" ("Verres Militares") in slow, minimalist versions that wouldn't seem out of place in the Sistine Chapel.

"We went at it with the fantasy that these songs in Latin were actually the original versions, and that Black Sabbath found and used them," Raud said. "Usually ... albums try to add modernity to known music. We did it the other way round."

Jane Austeen book sets world-record price

LONDON -- A first edition of Jane Austen's classic novel "Pride and Prejudice," discovered by chance in a Scottish castle, sold for $62,500, setting what auctioneers say is a world record price for the author's work.

Auctioneers had estimated that the rare three-volume copy would fetch around $18,700, and were stunned when it sold Friday for more than three times that amount.

Philip Gregory, of the Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull, said people flew to Edinburgh from as far away as the United States to bid for the set, which was published in 1813. The buyer was an anonymous private collector.

Chinese actress to head film festival jury

VENICE, Italy-- Actress Gong Li, known for graceful and sensitive performances in internationally acclaimed Chinese films, has been selected to head the Venice Film Festival jury.

Her films include "Red Sorghum," "Raise the Red Lantern" and "Farewell My Concubine." She won the best-actress award at the festival in 1992 for Zhang Yimou's "The Story of Qiu Ju."

This year's festival will run from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8.

Celebrities defend rapper against deportation

LOS ANGELES -- Will Smith has come to the defense of fellow rapper "Slick Rick" Walters, who could face deportation because he was convicted of attempted murder 11 years ago.

"I have known Rick for over 15 years," Smith wrote in a letter to the Immigration and Naturalization Service that was cited Saturday by the Los Angeles Times. "While I'm aware of his past problems, I've also had the pleasure to watch him develop into a good person."

Comedian Chris Rock, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and New York state Sen. David Paterson also have lent their support, the Times reported.

Walters, 37, is a legal resident but not a U.S. citizen. He served more than five years in prison for a 1991 shooting in New York. U.S. law requires the deportation of any non-citizen who serves more than five years in a U.S. prison.

The British-born rapper is in custody in Florida pending an immigration hearing.

"I don't believe I'm a bad person," he told the newspaper. "The whole incident was years ago. I've been out and six years crime-free. All this now seems like an extreme measure."

-- From wire reports

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: