For The Record: Quick News On Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Gwen Stefani, Paris Hilton, 50 Cent & More

Spears juggles family, career; Jackson plans new album for 2007; Stefani debuts watch line.

Britney Spears has made it clear that she wants the press to give her a break, and she told OK! Weekly magazine that she’s beginning to think her pleas aren’t falling on deaf ears. “With the media, it’s like, ‘You really just have to leave me alone right now.’ I think they are getting the picture. It’s a blessing and I’m really thankful for it.” The pregnant singer, who poses in the magazine to accent her baby bump, says she’s not sure how she’ll balance family life with her music career. “I’m still trying to figure that out — taking it day by day,” she explained. …

Michael Jackson is going through another shake-up. While awaiting his civil case with former business partner Marc Schaffel, the singer has severed ties with much of his team. Jackson has fired his accountants, business managers and his Bahrani attorneys, hiring New York counsel and naming his publicist as manager instead. The singer is still planning to put out an album, which he says will be coming out in 2007, and he plans to tour within the next several months as well. And he won’t be staying in the Middle East much longer — he plans to relocate to Europe in the near future, his representative said. …

Paris Hilton frolics on a beach with a hot guy in the video for “Stars Are Blind,” but she doesn’t want you to think she’s the kind of girl who cozies up to strangers. “It was kind of embarrassing, making out with some guy on the beach,” she said. “And I’m worrying that [paparazzi] are going to use the pictures and make up some lie when it’s really just a music video, so that was kind of uncomfortable.” Hilton says she has readied another version of the video that will explain everything. “You see more of the love story and how I know the guy.” …

New mom Gwen Stefani knows what time it is — time to debut a line of L.A.M.B. watches. The singer/designer will have 28 timepieces in stores this July, with more due in time for the holiday season. The watches, which include pieces inspired by L.A.M.B. clothing as well as more classic signature pieces designed by Stefani, will debut at Nordstrom’s before hitting department stores and boutiques worldwide. … 50 Cent and Jermaine Dupri were named Songwriters of the Year at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards on Monday. The rapper and the producer were each lauded for their contributions to five hit songs. LL Cool J was presented with the ASCAP Golden Note Award, while 50′s “Candy Shop” took the Ringtone of the Year prize. …

“Promiscuous” is a hit in the U.S., “Maneater” is tearing up Europe, and now Nelly Furtado is contemplating which single she’ll release next. “There’s this hot track that we’re thinking about,” Furtado told MTV Radio. “It’s called ‘Te Busque.’ It’s a Spanish track featuring Juanes from Colombia.” But U.S. fans shouldn’t count out “Maneater” yet. “Maybe ‘Maneater’ will come to the States after it’s done invading Europe,” she said. … The U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday not to weigh in on the contract dispute between TVT Records and the Island Def Jam Music Group regarding Ja Rule‘s recording career, The Associated Press reports. Island Def Jam was originally ordered to pay TVT $132 million for backing out of a deal that would have the independent label releasing Ja Rule music. A New York appeals court voided the decision in June 2005, reducing the damages to $126,000. Lawyers for TVT sought to have the appeal overturned by the Supreme Court. …

The Arcade Fire have recorded 15 songs for their new album and hope to make a trek to Budapest next month to record a few more with a full orchestra. That’s according to frontman Win Butler, who took a break from the recording process — currently under way in a church in the band’s home city of Montreal — to post an update on ArcadeFire.com. In addition to big-upping the World Cup, Butler also wrote that the bandmembers are focusing on learning to play new instruments, including “a big f—ing pipe organ. … It’s going to be really interesting [to see] how we’re going to fit all of these new sounds on a tour bus.” There’s still no release date for the follow-up to the Arcade Fire’s breakout 2004 album, Funeral, but Butler promises that he’ll know more very soon. “The next couple of weeks we will be pulling our hair out,” he wrote. “I will say hi when we come up for air.” …

For the first time in more than 35 years, former MC5 members Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer and Dennis Thompson will share a bill with fellow Detroit rock pioneers Iggy Pop and the Stooges. The bands are playing this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival, curated by Sonic Youth‘s Thurston Moore and set for December 8-10 at Butlins Minehead in Somerset, England. … British rockers Starsailor have set an August 22 release date for their third album, On the Outside. Rob Schnapf (Beck, the Vines) produced the album in Los Angeles. …

Leigh Nash, who used to sing for Sixpence None the Richer — remember “Kiss Me”? — is releasing her debut solo album, Blue on Blue, August 15 on her own One Son Records. Nash worked with Pierre Marchand (Sarah McLachlan, Rufus Wainwright) on the release. … Stacie Orrico will follow up her self-titled 2003 release with Beautiful Awakening, due August 29. The first single is called “I’m Not Missing You.” … Barenaked Ladies have released online the 16 individual studio tracks for their new single, “Easy,” allowing fans to easily remix the tune. The band will do the same for four more new songs and then release a benefit EP collecting its favorite fan remixes of each. The band’s full-length Barenaked Ladies Are Me is due September 12.

06.26.2006

Designer Marc Jacobs said he wanted to bring Louis Vuitton “a touch of the street, elevated to a rich, modern chic” — and Pharrell Williams has been picked to embody that fashion philosophy as the new face of Vuitton’s fall/winter 2006-07 menswear campaign. Pharrell will be flanked by classic LV suitcases in monogrammed canvas and will hold a new suede Innsbruck bag with a V motif in ads for the prestigious line. The Vuitton women’s campaign will be led by several models, including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss. …

After the Reasonable Doubt 10th anniversary show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall Sunday night, Jay-Z and Beyoncé walked just across the street to the afterparty at the Rainbow Room, where virtually all the stars who performed onstage or attended the show came over to celebrate. Foxy Brown, Alicia Keys, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Tucker, Jadakiss and Irv Gotti were sprinkled through the room as the DJ spun old-school new-jack swing — including Guy‘s “I Like” and Bell Biv DeVoe‘s “Poison” — along with early Michael Jackson and Prince. …

Harry Potter” fans know the end is near for the wildly popular book series — but is Potter himself ready to meet his fate too? J.K. Rowling revealed Monday (June 26) that at least two characters will perish in the last “Harry Potter” installment, according to The Associated Press — and that Harry himself might bite the dust too. “I have never been tempted to kill him off before the final because I’ve always planned seven books, and I want to finish on seven books,” the author told a London TV station. “The last book is not finished. But I’m well into it now.” …

Wearing a vintage Who T-shirt, Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder took time out from his band’s show Saturday night at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati to pay homage to the 11 fans who were trampled to death at the venue (then named Riverfront Coliseum) before a Who concert in 1979. He said show opener Robert Pollard, former leader of Guided by Voices, reminded him before the concert that the arena was a place where “great music happened and a tragedy took place.” Vedder than alluded to his own band’s tragedy, the deaths of nine fans at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival in 2000, and mentioned that Who guitarist Pete Townshend and singer Roger Daltrey called Pearl Jam to help them through the aftermath. The singer then dedicated a moving version of “Wishlist” as a “little prayer for those who passed and all the survivors.” PJ ended the show with a raucous, houselights-up duet with Pollard on the Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” …

Lil Scrappy is shooting two videos in Los Angeles this week from his upcoming Bred 2 Die Born 2 Live album: the Lil Jon-produced “Gangsta Gangsta” and “Money in the Bank” featuring Young Buck. … Apparently being close to the crowd for one night isn’t enough for Ozzy Osbourne, who has bumped three more of his Ozzfest appearances to the second stage: Albuquerque, New Mexico (July 4); Pittsburgh (July 18); and Darien Center, New York (July 27). Osbourne will also perform July 14 at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Bonner Springs, Kansas, for his only headlining solo show this year. Zakk Wylde‘s Black Label Society and two additional Ozzfest acts to be announced will open for Ozzy at the show. …

Boy George (real name George O’Dowd) was warned by a Manhattan criminal-court judge Monday that he won’t be given another chance after breaking the terms of his drug-charge sentence, AP reports. The former Culture Club singer didn’t perform the community service that his plea deal had required for his conditional discharge, and the judge promised him that he would serve jail time if he did not fulfill those requirements. … Patricia Arquette married actor Thomas Jane in Venice, Italy, over the weekend, AP reports. The actress was previously married to Nicolas Cage. …

A California Superior Court judge ruled Friday that producer Phil Spector will go to trial in January for allegedly killing actress Lana Clarkson in 2003. Spector, who has pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail, was not present at the hearing. … Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman, 39, married a fellow Aussie — country star Keith Urban, 38 — in Sydney, Australia, over the weekend in a small but lavish ceremony. The wedding was attended by more than 200 family members and friends, including actors Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman and Naomi Watts and director Baz Luhrmann, according to media reports. …

High School Musical” star Zac Efron has scored a role in “Hairspray,” Variety reports. Efron will play heartthrob Link in the film, an adaptation of the Broadway musical that was inspired by John Waters‘ 1988 big-screen comedy. The movie — which co-stars Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah and John Travolta — is set to begin shooting September 5. Efron plans to defer his enrollment at the University of Southern California to take the role. … With the world going “Superman” crazy, “American Idol” finalist Kimberley Locke is ready to release “Supawoman,” the first single from her second album, Based on a True Story. Locke says the song is about “telling your man that it’s OK to be with a strong woman.” The track hits radio and iTunes on July 4. …

Elvis Costello and Diana Krall have announced that they are expecting a baby, AP reports. The couple confirmed Sunday that their first child is due in December — just in time for their third wedding anniversary. … Twisted Sister are celebrating their 30th anniversary by signing to a new label, Razor & Tie, and putting out a new album. What the band is calling its final disc, A Twisted Christmas — featuring metal versions of holiday classics including “Deck the Halls” and “O Come All Ye Faithful” — is due October 17. Twisted Sister are currently recording and have had to cancel performances at European festivals this summer to have the LP completed for the holiday season. …

G. Love — sans Special Sauce — has set an August 1 release date for Lemonade, his first album on Jack Johnson‘s Brushfire Records. Johnson, Ben Harper, Marc Broussard, Blackalicious, Los LobosDavid Hidalgo, Donavon Frankenreiter and Tristan Prettyman guest on the album. … Producer Arif Mardin, who won multiple Grammys for his work with Norah Jones, died Sunday after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 74. Mardin had also worked with Jewel, Barbra Streisand and Aretha Franklin. …

Moby takes on factory farming in a video released by the Humane Society of the United States and posted at AnimalChannel.org. In the clip, Moby talks about the conditions on industrialized farms where animals are raised for meat, eggs and milk. He also offers tips on how consumers can help reduce animal suffering. “Factory farming is abominable, with billions of animals being treated in the most inhumane ways,” Moby says in the video. “Each one of us can make a difference for farm animals every time we sit down to eat.” …

Aaron Spelling, a film and television producer behind dozens of hit series — from “Charlie’s Angels” and “Starsky and Hutch” to “Beverly Hills, 90210″ and “7th Heaven” — died in his Los Angeles home on Friday. He was 83. The prolific producer, who was responsible for a third of ABC’s primetime programming in the 1970s and 1980s, had suffered a stroke June 18.