Kanye West, Evel Knievel Enlist Mediator; Plus Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, John Legend, Harry Potter & More, In For The Record

Jeezy, Weezy nominated for Ozone Awards; Legend getting proactive post-Live Earth; 'Order of the Phoenix' midnight showings rake in estimated $12 million.

A lawsuit stunted? Kanye West and Evel Knievel told a federal judge on Tuesday that they are resorting to a mediator in an attempt to settle the suit the legendary daredevil filed over West’s “Touch the Sky” video, according to The Associated Press. In the clip, ’Ye takes on the role of Evel Kanyevel, which spurred the stuntman to sue the rapper for infringement over the use of his trademarked image. West and Knievel will share mediation expenses. …

Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne lead the pack of Ozone Award nominees with six and five nods apiece, including Best Rap Artist (Male) and Best Rap/R&B Collaboration. The show is set to take place August 13 at the James L. Knight Center in Miami in conjunction with the TJs DJs Tastemakers Only Conference, slated for August 10-12. UGK, Lloyd, Akon, Plies and Three 6 Mafia are set to make appearances at the Ozone show. …

John Legend isn’t taking his involvement with Live Earth lightly — even though the concerts ended Saturday night, he told MTV News on Wednesday (July 11) that he’s trying to get more proactive. “I’ve been reading different stories about the environment and I’m trying to learn more about different ways that, as [artists], we can do things about it. I know as [artists] we tour and we do other things that are pretty taxing to the environment and use a lot of energy, so I’ve been trying to learn more about … how to tour more efficiently.” On that note, the singer/songwriter is gearing up for a trip to the Caribbean’s Turks & Caicos Islands, for their Music and Culture Festival. He’s also planning to shoot a video for “Another Again,” after which he’ll get in the studio and start work on his next LP. He’s hoping to turn the effort around by the middle of next year. …

Order of the Phoenix” just hit theaters Wednesday, but the midnight screenings alone have already drummed up an estimated $12 million for the flick, CBS News reports. The movie premiered at midnight on 2,311 screens in the U.S., and the sum places “Phoenix” second behind “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” for best preview revenues ever. … In related news, count the Westin hotel chain among those eager to cash in on “Deathly Hallows” mania. The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, is offering fans of the J.K. Rowling novels the Stay for a Spell Harry Potter package (rates start at $179 with the code POTTER) to celebrate the July 20 release of the final chapter in the boy wizard’s saga. Events at the hotel include a Potter slumber party, costume contest, the chance to eat like Harry and the gang — including a feast of butterbeer, chocoballs and ice mice — and a Hogwarts Shuttle to a local Barnes & Noble, where guests get the first crack at buying “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” at midnight. …

A new start date has been set in Nicole Richie’s DUI trial: August 16. The delay will allow a defense expert, who is unavailable to appear in court until August, to challenge evidence in the case. … Snow Patrol’s Tom Simpson has hit a mogul — the keyboardist will face drugs charges in a British court later this month, BBC News reports. Simpson, who is accused of being caught with cocaine in June, was excused from a brief hearing at a Glasgow courthouse on Tuesday and is due back in court July 31. …

Phil Spector’s trial could get even more bizarre courtesy a new potential witness: one of late actor Raul Julia’s sons. A lawyer for the surprise defense witness said Tuesday that Raul Julia Levy has “intimate knowledge” of deceased actress Lana Clarkson, as the two were close friends. “If everybody believes my client like I do, he’s going to contribute to reasonable doubt,” said the lawyer, John DeHart, according to the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, Henry Lee — the famed forensic expert who has grabbed many headlines during the trial — says he probably won’t be testifying after all. “I’m off to China,” he told AP on Tuesday. “It’s up to the defense and my schedule whether I come back to testify. But it will cost a lot for them to bring me back.” Lee had been considered the defense’s secret weapon but became embroiled in controversy when a judge ruled that he removed a mysterious white object from the murder scene, violating evidence rules by not turning it over to police. The Times also reports that the California Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from former Spector lawyer Sara Caplan on Wednesday, which means she will be forced to testify before the jury. Caplan was previously held in contempt for not testifying about the white object. …

In celebration of the 10th anniversary (!) of Radiohead’s landmark OK Computer album, music blog Stereogum.com has posted OKX: A Tribute to OK Computer — a track-by-track reworking of the LP by some of indiedom’s brightest. Cold War Kids cover “Electioneering,” John Vanderslice does “Karma Police” and Vampire Weekend take on “Exit Music (For a Film).” You can hear it all — plus read notes from each band and download the whole thing for free — by swinging the ol’ browser over to Stereogum.com.

Lex Luthor’s evil genius must be addictive — Kevin Spacey has signed on to reprise the role for “Superman: The Man of Steel,” Variety reports. The film, to be helmed by “Superman Returns” director Bryan Singer, will hit theaters in 2009. … Just when you thought memories of Madonna’s 1985 flick, “Desperately Seeking Susan,” were gradually petering out along with its remaining VHS copies, the long-lost rom-com is getting resurrected — in the form of a stage production. A Blondie stage production, no less. BBC News reports that the musical — which is set to open October 12 at London’s Novello Theatre — will incorporate hits by the New Wave band in addition to an original composition written by frontwoman Debbie Harry. … In other stage news, Claire Danes is headed to Broadway — the actress will make her debut in a new revival of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” which opens October 21 at New York’s American Airlines Theatre. …

Liv Tyler names her favorite band in the August issue of Lucky — and it isn’t Aerosmith (fronted by her dad, Steven Tyler) or even Arckid (her husband Royston Langdon’s current act). So who’s the lucky artist? “Kings of Leon are my favorite band ever,” Tyler confessed. “They’re so special, and I never tire of their music.” … Forest Whitaker will be honored by Russell Simmons and his Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation at the eighth annual Art for Life event, taking place July 28 in Long Island, New York. Reverend Run, L.A. Reid, and Damon Dash and his wife, fashion designer Rachel Roy, are among those expected to attend. … Indie hip-hop guru El-P will play a free gig at the Urban Outfitters on 374 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, New York, on Saturday as part of the store’s Free Yr Radio series. … Superdrag’s original crew is getting back together for six shows later this year. On the menu: Nashville (October 5); Chicago (October 13); Knoxville, Tennessee (October 20); New York (November 2); Boston (November 3); and Washington, D.C. (November 8). …

Canadian indie-poppers Stars have put their new album, In Our Bedroom After the War, up for legal download — even though it’s not officially due until September 25 — and their label, Arts & Crafts, is totally cool with it. A post on the label’s site reads: “We hope you’ll choose to support the band, and choose to pay for their album. However, we don’t think it’s fair you should have to wait until September 25 to do so. We believe that the line between the media and the public is now completely grey. What is the difference between a writer for a big glossy music magazine and a student writing about their favourite bands on their blog? … As such, we are making the new Stars album available for legal download today, four days after its completion. … We hope you will continue to support music retailers should a physical album in all its packaged glory be your choice of format.” The band hits the road in support of the release starting October 17 in South Burlington, Vermont.

07.10.07

Diddy and girlfriend Kim Porter are splitting up, just months after she gave birth to twin girls, the couple announced Tuesday (July 10), according to The Associated Press. In a recent cover story in Essence, the two declared love for each other, although he admitted he was an “ex-player” and wasn’t ready to marry Porter. “Do you really think that God meant for a man to have just one wife?” he said in the magazine. Diddy and Porter already had a son when he was seeing Jennifer Lopez, but Diddy eventually reunited with his former girlfriend, even after she took him to court seeking increased child-support payments. …

More artists have been added to the bill for this year’s Bumbershoot festival, which will be held September 1-3 in Seattle. Fergie, John Legend, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, (+44) and the Apples in Stereo are the latest acts to join the bill, with Head Automatica, Menomena, the Bouncing Souls and others climbing onboard as well. This festival is being anchored by the Shins, Wu-Tang Clan, Crowded House and Panic! at the Disco. …

Justin Timberlake, T.I. and Usher made Stuff magazine’s “30 Power Guys Under 30″ list, which also includes actors Seth Rogen and Jake Gyllenhaal; athletes LeBron James, Reggie Bush, Tom Brady and Roger Federer; and blogger Perez Hilton. T.I. shares his secret to staying on top in the magazine’s August issue, which hits newsstands Tuesday. “You must create a demand and then supply it,” he explained. “You make so the market can’t function at its best without you.” …

A Springfield has been chosen to host the premiere of “The Simpsons Movie” — but is it big enough to handle the hype? Vermont’s Springfield — a small town of 9,300 people that has a 100-seat movie theater — will host the movie on July 27, thanks to an online poll it wasn’t even invited to take part in at first, AP reports. A local Chamber of Commerce executive appealed for the town to be included, after which a video shot by a 17-year-old cameraman was submitted for consideration. The clip — which features a talk-show host dressed as Homer chasing a pink doughnut through the town — drew 15,367 votes, earning the town the premiere. …

Alicia Keys is targeting October 23 as the release date for her next album, As I Am, according to Billboard. Keys debuted “The Thing About Love,” one of the songs featured on the effort, at the Live Earth concert in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Saturday. … Raekwon is polishing off his next solo LP, Ice Water: Polluted Water, for an August 28 release. Method Man will pay a visit on the disc, but Wu-Tang Clan members aren’t the only ones getting involved: Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, Three 6 Mafia, Remy Ma and Jagged Edge are also on the VIP list. …

Next time you strap on your “Guitar Hero” ax, you might want to have a top hat handy too — Slash will appear as an avatar in “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.” The Velvet Revolver guitarist, who is chipping in an original song for the game, will appear as a boss battle character. Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” will also be featured in the game. … Nicole Richie can breathe a little easier, at least for now — her lawyer has forced another delay in her DUI trail, People reports. “The trial will not happen [Wednesday],” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison told the outlet. “Richie’s attorney filed a motion … stating that their key witness, a drug expert, was unavailable for trial.” Both sides have been called to court Wednesday to discuss the motion — but either way, the trial will be delayed for at least another day. …

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is printed, so there’s no going back on the ending, but fans are calling on author J.K. Rowling to “Save Harry” — even if he’s already destined to die. In an online petition launched by British book retailer Waterstone’s, Rowling is being asked to keep the series going past this seventh installment, whether Harry survives the finale or not. “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously killed off Sherlock Holmes, yet brought him back after years of demand from his fans and publishers,” Waterstone’s Wayne Winstone said. “Couldn’t the same happen for Harry Potter?” …

Avril Lavigne’s alleged plagiarism ordeal has been grabbing headlines left and right, but fellow Canadian artist Chantal Kreviazuk isn’t about to keep piling on the singer. On Tuesday, the singer/songwriter issued a statement retracting statements she made to Performing Songwriter Magazine in which she doubted Lavigne’s writing abilities. “When I saw the track listing to Avril’s new record, it caught my attention that she had the same title as a song I had sent her a while back. When I heard it, I immediately realized that it was a coincidence. The songs have nothing in common. I have always maintained that the song on Avril’s album is completely different, having no similarity in melody or lyric, and Avril has in no way stolen my song. I simply never said that or thought it. My statements and any inference from my statements, which call into question Avril’s ethics or ability as a respected and acclaimed songwriter, should be disregarded and are retracted. Avril is an accomplished songwriter, and it has been my privilege to work with her.” Curiously, Kreviazuk issued the statement through Nettwerk Music Group — Lavigne is managed by Nettwerk Management. …

Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible and Feist’s The Reminder are among the 10 finalists up for this year’s Polaris Music Prize, which salutes the year’s best Canadian LP. The prize — which comes with a $20,000 bonus — will be announced September 24. … Against Me! have been added to this year’s Saints & Sinners Festival. The band will headline the November 3 date, while Glassjaw are all set to close out the event’s final night, November 4. Tickets go on sale July 20 for the festival, which will take over the Convention Hall Complex in Asbury Park, New Jersey. … Megadeth will be touring the U.S. this fall with Ozzfest 2007 performers In This Moment, as well as the Confession. The trek is set to launch September 4 in Anchorage, Alaska, and is booked through October 6 in Norfolk, Virginia. …

PJ Harvey — uh huh, her — has pegged September 25 as the release date for her eighth studio opus, White Chalk. Flood and John Parish, who previously collaborated with the singer/songwriter for To Bring You My Love and Is This Desire?, produced the effort, which also features contributions from Eric Drew Feldman and Dirty Three drummer Jim White. She debuted some of the new material at the Manchester International Festival over the weekend. … Watch out, CNN — Michael Moore has you in his sights. The controversial director appeared on “The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer” on Monday to discuss his new movie “Sicko,” only to find his interview prefaced by an unsavory segment on the flick by CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who attempted to dispel some of the film’s points about the U.S. health care system. Moore erupted after that, refuting the segment and bashing the network for its news coverage in the lead-up to the Iraq war. The director’s Web site quickly posted an extensive point/counterpoint response to Gupta’s segment following the Monday interview. On Tuesday, Blitzter’s program aired the more subdued second part of the interview. …

The Cure, who are in the midst of recording their 13th studio LP, have decided to make it a double: A two-CD set will hit stores in October. While not much is known about the yet-untitled offering, the disc’s new melodies will deal with relationships, politics, religion and materialism. A fall North American tour will follow. … Moby has some fresh beef with the organizers of the Live Earth concerts — he’s chiding them for selling meat at the shows. In a post on the vegan musician’s blog, he says livestock breeding and the gases the animals emit is a huge contributor to greenhouse gases, according to a United Nations statistic. “The one thing that still stuns me … is that almost no one in the ’stop global warming’ camp talks about the environmental ramifications of animal production,” he said. …

Pogues guitarist Philip Chevron has been diagnosed with throat cancer, according to a post on the band’s Web site. He will not join the Pogues on their North American tour this fall. A statement on the group’s site read: “This decision to suspend his live work has the complete support of the other Pogues who wish him a good and complete recovery. Though it is not yet known when Chevron will return to live work, it is hoped that he will again be available towards the end of this year.” … A Beatles monument will be constructed in Hamburg, Germany, where the band launched its international career, BBC News reports. … Want an iPhone? You might want to hold off on eBay for the moment — ABC News reports that Apple may be coming out with a cheaper Nano version of the device by the end of the year. “Our channel check suggests Apple is coming out with a second phone, a much cheaper one, in 4Q07,” JPMorgan analyst Kevin Chan wrote in a note that was released Tuesday (July 10). He added that the new iPhone would be sold for about $300 and that as many as 40 million of them could be sold by the company next year.