For The Record: Quick News On Jacko, Jay-Z, Nelly, Alicia Keys, Green Day, Ghostface, EPMD & More

Jacko celebrating Thriller in Japan; Jay, Nelly in poker tournament; Keys launches new site.

Although he bombed at the World Music Awards last week, Michael Jackson is going to give another celebration a try. The singer will go to Japan for a December 19 Christmas celebration that is also commemorating the upcoming 25th anniversary of the release of Thriller. "I look forward to visiting Japan again, and greeting my fans and friends," Jackson said in a statement. ...

Jay-Z recently joined forces with another New York heavyweight — New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez — for a celebrity-poker tournament that benefited their respective charities, the A-Rod Family Foundation and Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation. The tourney, which raised a half-million dollars, was held at Jay's 40/40 Club in Manhattan and also counted Nelly, Cedric the Entertainer and baseball vets Cal Ripken, Gary Sheffield and Mariano Rivera among the players. ...

Alicia Keys' new Web site launched Tuesday (November 21), and one of the features on the way is a book club. "I always loved the way Oprah did that," she told MTV News. "To do that with my style and the books I like to read would be really fly." Keys plans to start the group with "The Temple of My Familiar," a novel by Alice Walker. "She is insane, in the best way, when it comes to writing. There's something about a book that engages you, when you become enraptured in the whole thing like it's your life and you're yelling at the book." Keys also plans to recommend the W.E.B. DuBois novel "The Souls of Black Folk," which she just finished recently. "I love to read. It makes you write better, and I just want to open that conversation up, to talk about many things, many styles." ...

Green Day have teamed up with the Natural Resources Defense Council for the Move America Beyond Oil campaign. "People are sick of our oil addiction and feel like nobody is doing anything about it," frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said in a statement. "Our message is that it's OK, and very rebellious, to take on that responsibility." Visitors to GreenDayNRDC.com can access a tool to send text messages directly to lawmakers and corporate leaders to demand change. ... Rock the Bells is about to get a little bit louder. The hip-hop festival's first world tour will now include Ghostface Killah, Pharoahe Monch and EPMD, in addition to previously announced acts Redman and Raekwon. The jaunt begins Tuesday in Washington, D.C. ...

Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin has updated fans of the reunited rockers on the progress of their comeback album in a post on the Pumpkins' MySpace page. "We are moving along nicely in the studio," the drummer wrote. "[Frontman Billy Corgan] pulled off a magnificent guitar symphony last night and it is still ringing in my ears this morning. Eight guitars resonating in one big harmonic handshake. ... Today we will be working on vocals and solos. Tomorrow, who knows?" The Pumpkins' forthcoming LP, which is being produced by Roy Thomas Baker (Queen, the Cars), is slated for release next year. While Corgan and Chamberlin are back on board, it remains unclear who else will be in the resuscitated band. ... Come 2007, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will be a year older and a day longer. The now-three-day fest will take place April 27-29 in Indio, California. ...

It's a good thing the "Borat" movie is making so much cash, because the lawsuits just keep coming. The latest is from two residents of Glod, Romania, who claim they were tricked into participating in the movie and were depicted as thieves, racists and "simpletons," according to a $30 million suit against 20th Century Fox and the filmmakers that alleges fraud and civil-rights violations. The Los Angeles Times reports that the suit, filed in New York federal district court by Nicolae Todorache and Spridom Ciorebea, claims the pair fall into a group protected by the laws of the U.S. and the United Nations and that, unlike the others depicted in the satirical film, they don't speak or read English. Also Monday, Fox hit back at a pair of fraternity members who sued over their depiction in the movie, calling the lawsuit a "fatuous" attempt to thwart free speech, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "Plaintiffs may claim that they were tricked 'into making fools out of themselves' and becoming 'unsuspecting players' in the movie 'Borat,' " the studio said. "They never contend ... that bigoted and misogynistic statements were put into their mouths." A temporary restraining order against the film's continued distribution was denied November 9 and a hearing is set for December 7 to take up the students' subsequent request for a preliminary injunction. ...

Three fresh tunes from the revived Blind Melon have been posted online at the band's Web site. The cuts, called "Make a Difference," "For My Friends" and "Harmful Belly," are the first new songs the group has written since the death of frontman Shannon Hoon more than a decade ago. They're also the first ones Blind Melon have worked on with new singer Travis Warren, formerly of Rain Fur Rent. ... Hopesfall have entered Vu Du Studios in Freeport, New York, with producer Mike Watts (As Cities Burn, As Tall as Lions) to start tracking the follow-up to 2004's A Types. The band has been writing material for about a year and say there's been a serious progression in its sound. ...

Bloggers across the country were popping corks on Monday after a California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Internet users and providers can't be held liable for posting defamatory material written by someone else. "The prospect of blanket immunity for those who intentionally redistribute defamatory statements on the Internet has disturbing implications," wrote Justice Carol Corrigan, adding that immunity, however, "serves to protect online freedom of expression and to encourage self-regulation." The ruling, supported by such heavy hitters as Google and Yahoo!, upholds the Internet's status as a forum for free speech. "The reason the Internet is such a tremendous forum for free speech is it provides the opportunity to exchange and debate ideas and to pass along what someone else had to say," Ann Brick, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who took part in the case, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "That would all stop if the liability rules were different."

11.20.2006

He's touched the sky, now Kanye West is aiming for a much lower, and yet equally lofty, target: the pavement. The rapping producer will sponsor a race car in the Formula BMW World Finals, to be held Friday and Saturday in Valencia, Spain. West's car will feature decals from his College Dropout bear mascot as well as those of two charities, the Kanye West Foundation and the United Nations World Food Programme. ...

Paris Hilton, Xzibit and Wilmer Valderrama are among the presenters scheduled for the Arby's Action Sports Awards Show, airing December 10 on Fox. The cast of "Jackass Number Two" are hosting the show, which is taping November 30 in Burbank, California. ... Red Hot Chili Peppers will follow up "Dani California" and "Tell Me Baby" with "Snow (Hey Oh)." The video features performance footage shot at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on October 17 and 18. ...

Carrie Underwood will perform at halftime during Thursday's Dallas Cowboys football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The show will serve as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Christmas campaign. ... U2 and Green Day's collaboration, "The Saints Are Coming," is now available via iTunes, with proceeds benefiting Music Rising, an organization that is helping replace the musical instruments that were lost in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The song is also featured on the U2 album U218 Singles, due Tuesday. ... A partner in the Game's Black Wall Street East recording studio was arrested in Newark, New Jersey, on Friday for alleged money laundering linked to a faction of the Bloods street gang, The Associated Press reports. John "Johnny Hooks" Abbey was charged with laundering more than $100,000 for the 9 Tre Gangsters, a group that runs drugs and guns throughout the state, according to police. Authorities, who would not say whether they suspect that Game has any involvement in the alleged gang activity, searched Black Wall Street East offices in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as well as a home that Abbey owns in nearby Little Egg Harbor. ...

A Malawian high court ruling scheduled for Monday (November 20) on Madonna's adoption of David Banda has been postponed until next week, when a judge will consider challenges to the adoption by a coalition of human-rights and child-advocacy groups, AP reports. In related news, Yohane Banda, David's biological father, was remarried on Friday. The 32-year-old, whose wife of 10 years died a week after giving birth to David in October 2005, wed 22-year-old Flora Kamanga in a civil ceremony in his Lipunga village. ... Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic has ended his retirement and plans to slap his bass for influential San Francisco punk/noise band Flipper, on that band's first tour in more than a decade. Flipper, who counted Kurt Cobain as one of their ardent fans, kick off the tour December 1 in Seattle. ...

Tom Cruise married Katie Holmes in a medieval castle near Rome on Saturday in a Scientology ceremony comparable to a Hollywood premiere. Among the stars in attendance at the lavish, $2.5 million trip down the aisle — the third for Cruise and first for Holmes — were Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, John Travolta, Victoria Beckham and former Cruise adversary Brooke Shields. They joined 150 guests at the 15th century Odescalchi Castle, which was lit by torches burning in its battlements and a fireworks display from a castle tower after the ceremony, according to an AP report. Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli serenaded the couple at the reception, while their first dance was to Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird." A spokesperson said the couple officially married last week in Los Angeles. ...

Taking Back Sunday will release their first-ever DVD, "Louder Now: Partone," December 12. The performance elements were shot earlier this year at the Long Beach Arena in Southern California. ... The Offspring have returned to the recording studio with legendary producer Bob Rock (Metallica, Mötley Crüe) to begin tracking their first LP since 2003's Splinter. The album's slated for release next year, with a world tour set to follow. ... David Gray is releasing a DVD called "Live in Slow Motion" on Tuesday. The 19 performances were taped at London's Hammersmith Apollo earlier this year. ... Everclear and indie-rockers Jonny Lives!, whose "Get Steady" is the first single on the "National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" soundtrack, are touring together to promote the compilation. The outing will kick off in January, while the comp is due Tuesday. ... Unwritten Law have set a January 2 release for their greatest-hits album, The Hit List. The band re-recorded its hits for the album, which includes some alternate arrangements. ...

After breaking up and then reuniting earlier this year, Cold have once again decided to disband. "We had a great career," the band said in a statement. "We thank the Cold Army for all their support and love throughout our span, and the members of Cold are grateful for the music we made and the accomplishments we have. We were blessed to make music and let it be heard." Several of the bandmembers will embark on a new project called When November Falls. ... Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson has filed for divorce from estranged wife Kate Hudson, three months after the couple first announced their split. According to People magazine, Robinson, 39, is asking for joint legal and physical custody of their son, Ryder, 2. He is not seeking spousal support from Hudson, 27, who has been romantically linked to one of her former co-stars, Owen Wilson. ...

Pioneering 1950s R&B singer Ruth Brown, whose hits included "Teardrops From My Eyes" and "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean," died Friday in a Las Vegas hospital from complications after a heart attack and stroke. She was 78. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Grammy- and Tony-Award-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, who went from being a major star in the 1950s to cleaning houses and driving buses in the 1960s and '70s to support her two children, spent much of the past two decades working to get unpaid royalties and musical credit for early R&B and blues musicians through the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, an organization she helped found in 1988. Known as "Miss Rhythm," Brown had such a strong string of hits early in her career at then-fledgling Atlantic Records that the label became known as "The House That Ruth Built."