For The Record: Quick News On Alicia Keys, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Lance Bass, Beyonce & More

Keys goes to 'Mars'; Diaz files assault report against photographer; Bass writing tell-all book.

Alicia Keys is becoming a mom — Mommy Martian, that is — in an upcoming episode of “The Backyardigans” called “Mission to Mars.” She is voicing the green alien who joins the gang in a musical space adventure, while her real-life niece, Shakyra Lipscomb, plays baby Martian Boinga. Keys also contributes an original song, “Almost Everything Is Boinga Here.” The special episode airs October 9 on Nick Jr., exactly one week before the second season of the animated children’s show begins. “Mission to Mars” will be released as a DVD on October 10. …

Cameron Diaz is accusing a photographer of assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly drove his car at her and boyfriend Justin Timberlake, The Associated Press reports. The couple were leaving a friend’s house in Hollywood early Wednesday morning (September 20) when a photographer jumped out of the bushes and tried to photograph them. Diaz and Timberlake then chased after the man, who got into his car and drove at them. No one has been arrested, but an investigation is under way. …

Lance Bass is writing a tell-all book. “With ’NSYNC, all my experience with space travel and Russia and the whole coming out thing, I have a lot to say, so I decided to go ahead and start writing it down,” he told “Access Hollywood.” … Beyoncé has been nominated for four Music of Black Origin awards, including Best Song, Best Video, Best R&B (artist) and Best International Female. …

A court order barring the “Rock Star: Supernova” band (featuring Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted, Gilby Clarke and now vocalist Lukas Rossi) from using the moniker Supernova has forced the act to amend its name to, er, Rock Star: Supernova, in deference to a California band that already holds the rights to the name. According to Reuters, an Epic Records spokesperson confirmed the altered name. The label will release the band’s debut LP on November 21, and two tracks — “It’s All Love” and “Be Yourself & 5 Other Cliches” — are available for download. Rock Star: Supernova will launch a 28-city North American tour with the Panic Channel (which features the show’s co-host Dave Navarro) in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve. …

Ashanti has settled a lawsuit brought by her first producer, Genard Parker, after just one day in court. According to AP, the parties would not discuss whether any money changed hands in order to end the dispute on Tuesday, but Parker, who helped the singer record some demos at his apartment when she was 16, said he was happy it was over. Last year, a jury ordered Ashanti to pay Parker $630,000 over claims that she broke a contract with him, but a judge later rejected all but $50,000 of the award. Parker was granted a new trial, in which he’d been seeking $2.3 million. … The release of Pitbull’s second studio album, El Mariel, has been moved to October 31. …

Benzino says he’s far from done with the publishing world. He and fellow Source founder Dave Mays — who both lost control and ownership of the publication several months ago — have teamed up with former Vibe Editor-in-Chief Mimi Valdés to launch a new magazine, Hip Hop Weekly. It’s slated to hit newsstands October 16. … Good news and bad news for fans of the Clipse: The group is planning to shoot a video for its new single “Wamp Wamp” next week, but its LP, Hell Hath No Fury, has been pushed back again. Last slated for Halloween, Clipse’s label now says the album isn’t coming out until December. …

Angels & Airwaves will hit the road — again — in support of their debut album We Don’t Need to Whisper. The jaunt kicks off November 3 in Las Vegas and runs until November 21 in Hartford, Connecticut. Swedish rockers the Sounds have been tapped to appear at all dates, with Long Island, New York’s Envy on the Coast joining up for select shows. … Teddy Geiger is about to be the first male in five years to grace the cover of Seventeen. In anticipation of the November issue, the magazine has set up a contest allowing 50 fans to attend an exclusive pre-party before 10 upcoming gigs and watch him play a brief set two hours before the regular show begins. The concerts begin October 3 in San Francisco and end November 4 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. …

George Lucas is donating a whopping $175 million to his alma mater, the University of Southern California, AP reports. The Lucasfilm Foundation gift is the largest donation the school has ever received, and $75 million of it will go toward construction of a building for the institution’s cinema school. Lucas’ gift was announced Tuesday, shortly after the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena named the “Star Wars” director as the grand marshal of next year’s Rose Parade. His duties will include tossing the coin before the 93rd Rose Bowl Game on January 1. … Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are up to some new philanthropic efforts of their own. The couple are making $1 million donations to Global Action for Children and Doctors Without Borders. …

Writer/producer/director J.J. Abrams (TV’s “Lost,” “Alias”) commissioned Jakob Dylan to write and record the theme song for his new series, “Six Degrees,” which premieres Thursday. The song, titled “Here Comes Now,” will be available on iTunes, along with other new Dylan tracks that will be featured in early episodes. … A video Bono made on U2’s most recent tour helped debut a series of new broadband channels on Wednesday (September 20), AP reports. The four youth-centric outlets are a joint venture between Al Gore’s Current TV and Yahoo. …

Jim Uhls, the man who adapted the “unadaptable” Chuck Palahniuk novel “Fight Club,” has been hired to turn Johnny Depp into an Indiana Jones-like character. The Los Angeles Times reports that Uhls is working on an adaptation of the graphic novel series “Rex Mundi,” that Depp plans to star in and produce through his Infinitum Nihil (Infinite Nothing) production company. Depp would play a pathologist investigating the mysterious death of the priest who found him as an orphan in an alternate-reality 1933, in which the Reformation never happened, the Inquisition is still in full swing and Europe remains dominated by the Catholic Church (got all that?). Uhls called the story a “noir-ish ’Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ ” complete with murders, a mystery and a massive biblical conspiracy uncovered by Depp’s character. …

Avenged Sevenfold are taking the creation of their next LP very seriously: The bandmembers recently axed a U.K. tour with Bleeding Through so they’d have more time to write, and now they’ve also postponed a U.S. run with the band. Avenged plan to record the follow-up to 2005’s City of Evil early next year. … Master P and his son Romeo will fly to the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, next month in a U.S. Navy-sponsored trip to boost the morale of the troops stationed there, according to a press release. Guantanamo Bay — a small U.S. enclave in the communist-ruled island — is the site of the controversial prison where the U.S. is holding a reported 455 prisoners in the “war on terror,” most without charge. …

Supermodel Kate Moss has been tapped for Topshop. In a long-rumored move, the U.K. chain — which features knockoff items of high-end designer fashion wares, vintage clothes and sets the trends for practically all British style — has hired the runway goddess to create and design an exlusive collection. “Kate has a unique position as a true fashion icon and I look forward to helping develop Kate Moss for Topshop into a global brand,” Topshop owner Sir Philip Green said in a statement to Reuters. The line is expected to launch in spring/summer 2007. … Godsmack and Breaking Benjamin will be teaming up next month for a 25-date U.S. run. The tour kicks off October 19 in Uncasville, Connecticut, with dates scheduled through December 2 in Manchester, New Hampshire. … North Carolina-by-way-of Beirut DJ Waleed Coyote has hooked up with former 3rd Bass member Michael “MC Serch” Berrin to produce a hip-hop compilation featuring Jewish and Arab artists titled Peace in the Middle East. The project is aimed at raising awareness in the rap community about the unrest in the Middle East, according to Waleed’s Web site.

09.19.2006

Diddy spoke to 750 students at Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin High School on Tuesday (September 19), telling them to stay in school and work hard, according to The Associated Press. “Take responsibility for your future. No excuses!” he told the students at the school, which is planning to use his message as part of an anti-truancy effort. Later in the day, he visited Winston Middle School in Baltimore and held a press conference at the Baltimore Hyatt Regency to promote his new album, Press Play, Baltimore Business Journal reports. At the conference, Diddy reiterated that he is still boycotting Cristal, an effort Jay-Z launched after reading a July Economist article in which the company’s CEO made some allegedly racist comments. Diddy’s promotional tour will resume in Maryland on Wednesday and last through October 13 in Chicago. Press Play streets four days later. …

Justin Timberlake will host and perform at this year’s MTV Europe Music Awards, to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 2. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who lead the nominee pack with four, will also play, as will Nelly Furtado, Muse and others. … Eminem’s second divorce from wife Kimberly Mathers is making some progress. Tuesday morning, the couple met during an hour-long private hearing, after which Macomb County Circuit Judge Antonio Viviano revealed to AP that the Mathers case has been referred to a mediator, although a mediation date has not been set. Lawyers for both sides said they hope the matter can be settled amicably. Em filed for divorce in April, just 82 days after remarrying Kim in January. …

Usher just can’t get enough of “Chicago.” The R&B star, who made his Broadway debut in the revival of the popular show in the role of shady lawyer Billy Flynn last month, has signed on to do an extra two weeks of performances, with his engagement now ending on October 14. Co-producer Barry Weissler said in a statement, “I am so happy to have concluded the negotiation for the extension, which certainly makes Usher the King of Broadway!” Usher’s presence has boosted box-office sales for the musical since he joined the cast on August 22 — the show played to more than 97 percent capacity at the Ambassador Theater last week. …

Three more dates have been added to Guns N’ Roses’ current U.S. tour: October 31 (Greensboro, North Carolina), November 8 (Worcester, Massachusetts) and November 24 (Cleveland). Wednesday night, the band will perform at the Warfield in San Francisco. … Fast-rising Chicago MC Lupe Fiasco has been forced to cancel several appearances due to strep throat. He was diagnosed on Friday and canceled shows over the weekend and interviews this week. While Fiasco will be participating in three (non-speaking) in-store appearances in Chicago on Tuesday, the status of his show in the city on Tuesday night had not been determined at press time. It’s unfortunate timing for Fiasco, whose Food & Liquor LP — which features contributions from Jay-Z, Kanye West, the Neptunes and others — came out Tuesday. …

Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor joined Korn onstage during the Camden, New Jersey, Family Values Tour stop on Friday. Taylor performed “Freak on a Leash” with the band, sharing vocal detail with frontman Jonathan Davis. … Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler joined Mötley Crüe onstage for a suitably shambolic version of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” in New York on Monday night. The Crüe were playing a special set at the Times Square Hard Rock Cafe, celebrating the company’s 35th anniversary. Luminaries spotted at the gig included Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run-DMC, Anthrax’s Scott Ian, comic Jim Breuer, Bruce Springsteen drummer Max Weinberg and several “Rock Star: Supernova” finalists, including Jill Gioia, who said she’s hoping to work on a single with Tommy Lee. Aerosmith and the Crüe begin their two-month North American tour Tuesday night in Long Island, New York. …

Lady Sovereign has recorded a cover of the Sex Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant” for an upcoming episode of “The O.C.” and a subsequent soundtrack. The U.K. grime gal’s first single, “Love Me or Hate Me,” which is available exclusively through the Verizon Wireless V Cast Music, will also be featured on the show. Sov’s debut, Public Warning, is due October 17 and will be promoted with a North American tour kicking off October 23 in Montreal and wrapping up December 1 in Atlanta. … DJ Shadow, whose The Outsider dropped Tuesday, kicks off a U.S. tour Wednesday in Seattle. The outing lasts through October 17 in New York. … Director Penelope Spheeris (“The Decline of Western Civilization,” “Wayne’s World”) has ramped up production on her long-delayed Janis Joplin biopic, “The Gospel According to Janis,” and has chosen Zooey Deschanel (“Almost Famous”) to replace Pink in the lead role, according to Variety. Pink pulled out of the flick earlier this year; Deschanel has spent four months working with a vocal coach in preparation for filming, which is scheduled to begin in November. The movie is slated for release in 2008. …

Aaron Carter popped the question to Playboy Playmate and former Miss Teen USA 2003 Kari Ann Peniche in Las Vegas over the weekend. According to People magazine, Carter, 18, did the deed onstage in front of 200 people during the Playboy Hollywood Comedy Tour at the Palms Casino Resort on Saturday night. “I’m very excited about it,” Peniche, 22, told the magazine. “Aaron is the most genuine person I know. He’s kind, loving, and I love him so much.” Peniche was stripped of her Miss Teen title after posing for Playboy. Carter will next appear on the E! reality show “House of Carters,” which premieres next month. … Björk is set to reunite with her old band, the Sugarcubes, for a one-night-only gig in Reykjavik, Iceland, on November 17. The group, which split more than 14 years ago, is getting together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of its first single, “Birthday,” according to Björk’s Web site. All proceeds from the show will go to Smekkleysa SM (“bad taste”), the independent label the group formed to release “Birthday,” and which has continued to function as a nonprofit aimed at helping to popularize Icelandic music and art. …

In other reunion news, the Afghan Whigs are about to begin rehearsals in their native Cincinnati before heading to Ardent Studios in Memphis to record their first new material together in eight years. Singer Greg Dulli posted the news on his Web site, saying that the group is prepping to cut two new tracks for an upcoming Rhino Records career retrospective titled Unbreakable. … The reconstituted INXS are no longer with Epic Records in North America. The group, which recruited new frontman J.D. Fortune via the first season of the CBS reality series “Rock Star,” sold approximately 375,000 copies of its 2005 album Switch, according to SoundScan. … The youngest son of famed “The Lord of the Rings” author J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, is wrapping up work on one of his father’s most famous unfinished works. Christopher Tolkien has spent 30 years editing together “The Children of Hurin,” a novel his father started in 1918 but abandoned without finishing, BBC News reported. Excerpts from the book, which features the familiar elves and dwarves that appear in Tolkien’s other works, have been published in the past, but the full book is finally scheduled to hit shelves next year. … Mel Gibson’s only daughter, Hannah, 26, married blues-rock guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 29, on Saturday, The Shreveport Times reports. Louisiana native Shepherd proposed to Gibson — the eldest of the actor’s seven children — on New Year’s Eve 2004 in Rome.