For The Record: Quick News On Jay-Z, White Stripes, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Hicks, Diddy & More

Jay judges essay contest; Von Bondies singer testifies in Stripes case; defendant in Lopez case pleads guilty.

Jay-Z knows plenty about the power of words, and now he’s rewarded six student writers from a field of 700 essay entries with $5,000 each to help their schools. Jay, who had his New Jersey Nets-investor cap on for this venture, launched the contest as part of a rivalry with Charlotte Bobcats owner Robert Johnson. On December 14, the NBA teams raced to the 80-point mark and the owner of the team that hit it last (that’d be Jay’s Nets) agreed to donate the $30,000. “It was great to see the students’ school spirit in their essays,” Jay-Z said. “They showed they want a well-rounded education in a comfortable environment. I hope that these donations help them to achieve their goals.” Three schools in New York and three in New Jersey received donations. …

Von Bondies singer Jason Stollsteimer — who got into a much-publicized fracas with Jack White in 2003 — testified in record producer Jim Diamond‘s case against the White Stripes on Wednesday (June 14), according to The Associated Press. Diamond told a Detroit court he found a profane note pinned to his door, and Stollsteimer testified that he too was left with a note on his door — with a knife stuck in it. White denied posting a note to Diamond’s door and has previously called Stollsteimer’s claims that he also was responsible for that note “a laughable lie.” …

One of the defendants in Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony‘s stolen-wedding-video case pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny on Wednesday, according to AP. In a New York court, Tito Moses revealed that he had in fact tried to bilk the couple of $1 million through their “representative” — who turned out to be an undercover cop. Justice Bonnie Wittner said Moses will spend one and a half to three years in prison for the crime. The other man accused in the case, Steven Wortman, has pleaded not guilty to his multiple charges. …

Things keep turning up roses for “American Idol” victor Taylor Hicks. People magazine has named the 29-year-old crooner the hottest bachelor. That’s right — Hicks beat out the likes of Nick Lachey, Jake Gyllenhaal and Matthew McConaughey, giving even more hope to average Joes everywhere. … Bruce Springsteen is feeling the heat from an unlikely source: a labor union. AP reports that the Boss heard from the Milwaukee chapter of an artists union shortly before he staged his tribute to blue-collar folk hero Pete Seeger on Wednesday. The venue he chose, the Bradley Center, is non-unionized. …

Diddy, the master of promotion, will have to wait a little longer before he starts hyping his next LP, which he’s planning to call PD5. The album — due to feature Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera and Nas — has been bumped to October 3. … Dem Franchize Boyz member Maurice “Parlae” Gleaton was arrested Tuesday night in an Atlanta studio after it was raided by police, according to Dem Franchize Boyz’s label, Virgin Records. According to AP, police found drugs, weapons and money in the studio. Everyone present — except two minors, whose parents subsequently picked them up from authorities — were arrested. “Based on what we know, the facts will show that Parlae will be exonerated of any charges in this matter,” read a statement issued by the label. …

With a Cookbook already on the market, Missy Elliott is about to put her life story out there for big-screen consumption. Missy will come to theaters with a little help from Robert De Niro, who will produce the biopic through his Tribeca Films, Variety reports. Elliott’s manager, Mona Scott, will also be involved in producing the film, which is still untitled. … Russell Simmons celebrated the fifth anniversary of his Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Wednesday morning by ringing the opening bell of the NASDAQ Stock Exchange. He was accompanied by Diplomats member Jim Jones, Damon Dash, HSAN President/ CEO Dr. Benjamin Chavis and Warner Music Group Executive Vice President/ HSAN board member Kevin Liles, among others. Simmons is also promoting HSAN’s financial-literacy program, called Get Your Money Right. …

Who says punk rock isn’t educational? A 12-year-old girl from Halifax, England, is crediting the cover of Green Day‘s American Idiot for saving her life. According to BBC News, Ruby Wilson was clearing leaves in her garden when she found a hand grenade, which she recognized from the picture on her Green Day T-shirt. (The album’s cover features a hand clutching a heart-shaped hand grenade with blood dripping off it.) Wilson’s dad called the army, who blew up the grenade, a remnant from the weapons factory that used to stand nearby. … The Veronicas have had to pull out of their North American tour with Ashlee Simpson after doctors advised singer Lisa Origliasso, who has developed nodules on her vocal cords, to rest her voice and get treatment. A full recovery is expected in six weeks, and the band plans to tour the U.S. this fall. …

Former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp has already announced that he’s reforming his neo-new-wave act the Rentals, but now he’s taking the band on the road. Sharp had already announced a pair of California shows — July 2 in Solana Beach and July 7 in Los Angeles — but the band will embark on a proper North American tour July 21 in Bakersfield. They’ll venture outside California before returning to the Golden State to wind down the tour August 15 in Anaheim. Sharp also plans to record a new Rentals album, their first since 1999′s Seven More Minutes.Reggie and the Full Effect have pulled themselves off this summer’s Warped Tour, according to a message posted on the band’s Web site. “Instead, we are going to be in the studio working on a new record with Sean Beavan (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson),” James Dewees, a.k.a. Reggie, wrote. “We hope you understand, and look forward to seeing everyone in the late fall.” …

Pneumatic retro-futurists Stereolab have a long and eclectic career that Rhino Records will chronicle with the retrospective Serene Velocity — A Stereolab Anthology, which documents the band’s 1993-2004 stint with Elektra Records. Remastered by Stereolab founder Tim Gane at Abbey Road Studios, the collection features 16 tracks including 7-inch versions of “Jenny Ondioline (Part 1)” and “Wow and Flutter,” plus an interview with Gane and singer Laetitia Sadier. … Four suspects in the beating of dance artist Kevin Aviance were arraigned in a New York court this week, charged with first-degree gang assault and first-degree assault as a hate crime, AP reports. Akino George, Gregory Archie, Jarell Sears and Gerard Johnson did not enter pleas at their arraignments and are being held on $25,000 bail. They are scheduled to return to court Friday and face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Aviance, who suffered a broken jaw, was released from the hospital Monday and hopes to perform at gay-pride events scheduled later this month.

06.13.2006

Daisy Duke’s going to the disco. Jessica Simpson has chosen “A Public Affair” as the first single off her new album of the same name, and while some may assume the song would be a commentary on her divorce from Nick Lachey, it’s actually an ode to going out with the girls. “That was a statement she wanted to make,” said Epic Records President Charlie Walk at a Monday night listening session for the record. “Everything she does is a public affair … [but] this is about having fun.” The song has an early Madonna vibe with a touch of Motown and Earth, Wind & Fire‘s “Let’s Groove.”

“All the girls are stepping out for a public affair/ All night, let’s rock ’cause the party don’t stop/ You know the cameras come out for a public affair,” Simpson sings in a breathy, higher register. She actually debuted the Lester Mendez (Shakira, Carlos Santana)-produced tune Thursday at New York’s Butter during a Natasha Bedingfield party, where Wyclef Jean, Cheyenne and Swizz Beatz enjoyed the song without at first knowing whose it was. “It was cool to watch everyone dancing to it,” Walk said, “and people that heard it wanted to hear it again and again.” “X-Men: The Last Stand” director Brett Ratner is shooting the star-studded, roller-disco-themed video June 26 and 27 in Los Angeles. The single is due June 23 and the album will be out August 29. …

In the meantime, it appears Jessica’s sister has had enough of U.S. culture promoting bad body image. So now Ashlee Simpson is trying to do something about it by helping a group of teenage girls make a mural that celebrates the female figure in the new issue of Marie Claire. The girls from Los Angeles’ Green Dot Public Schools painted messages of empowerment such as “Beautiful Mind,” “Confidence Is Sexy” and “Women Rock” on the mural. “Everyone is made differently, and that’s what makes us beautiful and unique. I want girls to look in the mirror and feel confident,” the singer told the magazine. Still, that doesn’t mean Simpson hasn’t succumbed to the dangers she’s trying to discourage. Simpson reveals, for instance, that she was on the verge of having an eating disorder while studying dance at New York’s School of American Ballet. “I would eat half a Nutri-Grain bar and some Blow-Pops and call it a day. I was super skinny.” But whatever cosmetic changes she might make to herself, she says her beauty image is only skin deep. “Have there been times when I’ve been insecure? Hell, yeah! But have I ever felt unhappy with what I’m actually doing in my life? No.” …

Korn frontman Jonathan Davis has been released from the London hospital where he had been receiving treatment for a blood illness since Friday, and plans to return to the United States within the next day or two, The Bakersfield Californian reports. Davis’ father, Rick, told the Californian that his son will “remain under close medical attention. He’ll probably go directly to a medical facility.” British doctors diagnosed Davis with immune thrombocytopenic purpura, an autoimmune disorder in which a low blood-platelet count prohibits the blood from clotting as it should. The singer’s blood-platelet count fell critically low due to an allergic reaction to a medication he’d been taking. “His spirits have been good through the whole thing, but he appreciates the severity of the disorder and the importance of getting medical attention,” said Rick Davis, adding that the rest of Korn are still in London with Davis and will be on the same flight with him when he returns. “They said they would not leave their brother behind.” …

A motion was filed last week by the prosecutorial team who’ll be trying rapper C-Murder (whose real name is Corey Miller) a second time for the January 2002 fatal shooting of 16-year-old Steve Thomas outside a nightclub in Harvey, Louisiana. According to The Associated Press, the motion seeks to place Miller, who has been under house arrest since late March when the Louisiana Supreme Court overturned his second-degree murder conviction, back behind bars while he awaits the start of his second trial. The AP reports that in the motion, the prosecution suggests Miller violated the terms of his house arrest with an unauthorized visit to a drive-in restaurant. The filing also claims Miller returned home late from a court-approved trip and has traveled beyond the range of his electronic-monitoring equipment twice. A judge has yet to rule on the motion. …

Usher is the latest celebrity to lend New Orleans a hand, AP reports. The singer showed up at the International School of Louisiana on Tuesday (June 13), hooking up with volunteers to help clear vines and brush at the charter school, which has been closed since August 29. Usher visited neighborhoods in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish on Monday. “I’m here to physically do something and hopefully motivate other people to do the same,” he told AP.Jack Black has a big weekend ahead, with “Nacho Libre” hitting theaters Friday, and Sunday marking his first Father’s Day. The actor announced the arrival of his son, who was born Saturday to Black and his wife Tanya Haden, to “Access Hollywood” at Monday’s Los Angeles premiere of “Nacho Libre.” And Black explained to Us Weekly that he’s got his eyes on the poppa prize: “I’m going to be the best daddy on the planet, and I’m going to enter the best daddy competition. And I’m going to win it.” … Black may face some competition from Matt Damon, who welcomed his first child with wife Luciana Bozan on Sunday, AP reports. Daughter Isabella was born in Miami, and mother and baby are “wonderful, fine,” Damon’s publicist said. …

Jennifer Lopez has won a court battle over her “Flashdance”-inspired video for “I’m Glad.” The dismissal of the 2003 copyright-infringement suit filed by Maureen Marder, the former welder/dancer who inspired the 1983 film, was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit on Monday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Marder’s suit, which named Lopez along with Sony Music Entertainment and Paramount Pictures, alleged that she’d refused to grant sequel rights or permit further use of her story after “Flashdance.” The court found that the terms of the release Marder signed in 1982 were broad enough to OK the “I’m Glad” video. … Kylie Minogue made a brief return to the stage on Saturday with her first live performance since she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, Reuters reports. Kylie joined sister Dannii Minogue onstage at London’s G-A-Y club, performing Dannii’s song “Jump to the Beat.” …

Rapper El-P has enlisted the talents of Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and the Mars Volta for his forthcoming LP. A posting to El-P’s MySpace page reports he’s about four songs away from completing the record, which will feature Reznor on the track “Flyentology” and the Volta on an as-yet-untitled cut. … In other Mars Volta news, the band has completed work on their forthcoming album — the follow-up to 2005′s Frances the Mute. The album will be called Amputechture, and should be out later this summer. No official release date has been set, and there is no additional specific information about the offering. The Mars Volta will be hitting the road on August 11 in Portland, Oregon, as direct support on the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ North American tour. Dates for that trek run through November 5 in St. Paul, Minnesota. …

The unidentified architect behind the National Day of Slayer campaign — which directed Slayer’s fans to commemorate June 6 by, among other things, listening to the metal band’s music and spray-painting “Slayer logos on churches, synagogues or cemeteries” — has taken credit for inspiring the desecration of a Catholic seminary in Yonkers, New York, last week. Police have yet to apprehend the vandals who’d painted the building with pentagrams, upside-down crosses, and Slayer-related messages, including “Reign in Blood,” the title of the group’s classic 1986 album. A message posted on the National Day of Slayer Web site states that “reports of activism surrounding [the fledgling holiday] have been coming in by the hour. One notable instance was the desecration of a local church in Yonkers, where celebrants spray-painted a pentagram, and more significantly, ‘Reign in Blood,’ on the steps of the church. We are overwhelmed with the response.”

[This story was originally published at 2:01 p.m. on 06.14.06]