Remy Ma’s Request To Tour Europe Is Denied; Plus Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Rihanna, Josh Hartnett & More, In For The Record

Stewart, Colbert to return to TV on January 7; Rihanna addresses Hartnett rumors; Timbaland, others team with Designers Against AIDS.

Remy Ma‘s European tour plans appear to have fizzled — a New York judge has denied her request to travel overseas for a trek that was supposed to begin December 31 in Paris, The Associated Press reports. A lawyer for the rapper (real name: Remy Smith) argued Thursday (December 20) that his client needed to tour to earn money because she hasn’t been getting enough bookings in the U.S. since she was arrested in July for allegedly shooting a friend over missing money, but the judge said she couldn’t leave the country due to the seriousness of the charges. Remy Ma was ordered earlier this month to stand trail on charges of gang assault and witness tampering. She is due in court on January 3 for adjournment where prosecutors will decide whether to admit DNA evidence in the case. …

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert fans can breathe a sigh of relief — “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” will start up production again on January 7, albeit without their writers, AP reports. In a joint statement, the pair reportedly said, “We would like to return to work with our writers. If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence, but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence.” Stewart and Colbert are the most recent late-night hosts to announce their return to the airwaves amid the ongoing writers’ strike, joining the likes of Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, who will return January 2. …

So what’s really going on between Rihanna and Josh Hartnett? The singer addresses the rumors in the January issue of Allure, saying there isn’t much truth to them. “I went to [New York club] Pink Elephant, and he came by,” she said. “All of a sudden, the next day I’m seeing that we were kissing and hugging up each other. You can’t even go out with a friend who’s a celebrity and have a good time without people making sh– up … well, at least he’s good-looking, right?” Rih Rih also talked with the mag, which calls itself “The Beauty Expert,” about — what else? — beauty. “While in America beautiful is skinny, in Barbados it’s thick — girls with huge butts and nice curves,” she said, contrasting the U.S. with her homeland. In other Rihanna news, she — as well as My Chemical Romance, Good Charlotte, Timbaland, Rufus Wainwright and many others — have partnered with Designers Against AIDS to create men’s and women’s lines called “Fashion Against AIDS.” The lines will be available exclusively at H&M stores beginning in February, with one-fourth of the proceeds from the sales going to YouthAIDS, an HIV/AIDS prevention initiative that serves 60 countries worldwide. …

Jennifer Hudson and Queen Latifah will star in the silver-screen adaptation of the best-selling book “The Secret Life of Bees,” and Alicia Keys and Dakota Fanning are also in negotiations to star in the flick, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Keys and Latifah are due to play beekeeping sisters who take in Hudson’s and Fanning’s characters after they run away from home. Production will reportedly begin in January for the movie, which is targeting a 2008 theatrical release. … Rick Ross is blaming clearance issues for the delay of his second album, Trilla, according to Billboard.com. He said a DJ Toomp-produced song called “This Me” was one of the tracks in question. Ross is reportedly considering “Boss” (featuring T-Pain) as his second single. …

Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for My Valentine, Bless the Fall and Atreyu lead the lineup for next year’s Taste of Chaos trek, which will launch February 29 in Denver and continue through April 6 in El Paso, Texas. An Internet presale begins January 5 on the tour’s Web site, with tickets going on sale nationally January 12. … Death Cab for Cutie have posted on their Web site a new video teasing their next album. The clip features a portion of a song that will presumably appear on the group’s yet-untitled LP and announces that the effort will be out in May. According to the video, the album was recorded in 44 days at three studios, in Seattle; Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco. …

“Into the Wild” got some critical love Thursday as Sean Penn‘s flick scooped up four Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, including best lead actor for Emile Hirsch. Ryan Gosling, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie, Viggo Mortensen and George Clooney all got nods, although “Atonement” — which dominates the list of Golden Globe contenders with seven noms — was shut out altogether. … South by Southwest is taking a walk on the wild side — Lou Reed will be the keynote speaker at the music conference and film festival, which will take place March 12-16 in Austin, Texas. The Velvet Underground-er will speak March 13 at the Austin Convention Center in conjunction with a screening of Julian Schnabel‘s new documentary, “Lou Reed’s Berlin,” which revolves around the rock legend’s 1973 album. Sonic Youth‘s Thurston Moore, Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates and composer Steve Reich will also give talks at SXSW. …

Pennywise have cooked up an interesting album-release scheme with MySpace Records: The punks will make their yet-untitled new album available for free DRM-free download on MySpace for two weeks, starting March 25. That day will also see the release of an enhanced CD/DVD version of the effort for sale at retail outlets. To download the album for free, users have to add promotional partner “Textango” as their MySpace friend. “We know that this will piss off a lot of people in the music industry,” guitarist Fletcher Dragge said in a statement. “And what do we say to that? ‘Who cares?’ ” Cameron Webb (Social Distortion, Sum 41) will produce and mix the effort. … Are the Eagles too good for the Super Bowl? Apparently so — according to AP, the group turned down an offer to perform at the annual football extravaganza. As for a potential opportunity to play at the Grand Ole Opry, however, bandmember Don Henley said, “That would be an honor.” …

Live Nation has sewn up a deal with a German company that will allow the concert promoter to create its own ticketing service, according to Variety. The new service will reportedly allow Live Nation, which ended talks with Ticketmaster in August, to have more control over customer data, increasing sponsorship opportunities. There’s another plus for Live Nation in the deal: It will reportedly allow the company to get the fees charged to customers over the listed ticket prices. … A report issued Thursday determined that there were no violations in Paris Hilton‘s jailing in June but did find that three Los Angeles County sheriff’s employees violated policy when Mel Gibson was arrested last year for misdemeanor drunk driving in Malibu, California, according to AP. The sheriff’s employees have reportedly since been disciplined. The news service also said the report found that a sheriff’s supervisor considered holding back details about the actor’s anti-Semitic rant from an arrest report, but a captain eventually overruled him. …

As he awaits a retrial, disgraced record producer Phil Spector has filed suit again in an attempt to get a refund of the $1 million fee he paid to former attorney Robert Shapiro, according to AP. Five years after his arrest in the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson, Spector filed a second lawsuit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that Shapiro cheated him and used their personal relationship to enrich himself unjustly. In December 2005, Spector dropped an earlier suit against Shapiro, the first lawyer to represent Spector after his arrest, with the provision that he could refile at a later time. The new suit makes similar allegations that Shapiro “took unfair and unscrupulous advantage of his friendship and position of trust with Mr. Spector, and decided to use Mr. Spector’s arrest as an opportunity to make a financial windfall and garner publicity for himself.” It also named Shapiro’s law firm as a defendant, claiming it “stood behind and vouched for Shapiro’s work.” The suit alleges that Spector was under tremendous stress following his arrest and had not taken his medication for mental problems at the time he agreed to Shapiro’s $1 million retainer fee. …

Being an “American Idol” finalist ain’t what it used to be. For proof, look at the depressed mug on curly haired season-six wonder Chris Sligh, 29, who is the main attraction for the alcohol-free First Night Westerly New Year’s Eve celebration in the tiny Rhode Island town. After a day of face-painting, extreme sports video-gaming, karate demos, magicians, mimes, hayrides and swing-dance lessons, Sligh is slated to take the stage at the YMCA gym just before midnight. … Chuck D, Lil Boosie and, oddly enough, Buckethead will salute James Brown by performing at a tribute show on Saturday in Covington, Kentucky, Billboard reports. Bootsy Collins, who was mentored by the late legend, is putting on the concert, and proceeds will go to the future launch of a museum and the rebuilding of Brown’s early recording home. Brown’s most recent band, the Soul Generals; members of his original backing group, the JB’s; and MC Danny Ray will also play at the event. … The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions will take place in Cleveland in March 2009 — which is fitting, since the Rock Hall is located in the city. For the past decade, the event has been held in New York.

12.19.07

The ongoing legal actions surrounding the 1997 murder of the Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace) hit another bump in the road on Monday when a U.S. district judge dismissed a second wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the rapper’s family against the city of Los Angeles and former LAPD officer Rafael Pérez. Judge Florence-Marie Cooper sided with the defendants and dismissed the case — filed in April — on the grounds that Biggie’s family didn’t file the claim against the city within the designated time frame. “This was not the primary civil-rights claim, that suit is still going forward,” explained Perry Sanders, the lead attorney in the Wallace family’s ongoing wrongful-death suit against the city and LAPD. “This was a standalone action based on state laws, but the rigorous rules state that if you don’t file suit within six months of the injury, then the suit cannot go forward, and we didn’t find out that Pérez was on duty until August 2006.” The April suit alleged that Pérez conspired with fellow former police officers David Mack and Nino Durden to murder the famous rapper and that the city of Los Angeles covered up the officers’ involvement to avoid being tangled in a lawsuit that would make the city liable in the killing. New evidence recently uncovered indicated that Pérez was on duty the night of the rapper’s death, though the officer has denied any involvement. …

Jessica Sierra has an unlikely ally in Dr. Drew, apparently. The radio personality will appear in criminal court on behalf of the former “American Idol” finalist at the request of her lawyer, according to TMZ.com. She is reportedly due to face a judge in Tampa, Florida, on Thursday, while Drew will attend at a later court date. Sierra was arrested December 2 outside a bar near Tampa and is facing charges of disorderly intoxication, resisting arrest and violating parole. She is currently in jail without bond. …

The Rolling Stone/ Camel ad fiasco is far from over — two indie-rock bands have filed a class-action lawsuit against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company; the magazine; and its parent company, Wenner Media, according to TheDailySwarm.com. The suit was reportedly filed by Xiu Xiu and F—ed Up on behalf of the 186 artists whose names appeared alongside a cartoon-heavy indie-rock feature in the magazine’s November 15 issue, and it claims the defendants had “unauthorized use of artists’ names; unauthorized use of artist names for commercial advantage [right of publicity]; and unfair business practices.” The bands are also seeking financial compensation for damages, and TheDailySwarm.com reports that Rolling Stone might have to pay close to $200 billion if found guilty. Nine state attorneys general have already sued Camel for its use of cartoons in the sale of tobacco products. …

Ice Cube has settled on Raw Footage as the title of his upcoming studio album. “It’ll be out next year,” he recently told MTV News of the release, before humbly adding, “It’s better than anything you’ve ever heard before.” … Jimmy Eat World will tag along with Foo Fighters for a handful of gigs early next year, in Sunrise, Florida (January 16); Orlando, Florida (January 17); Birmingham, Alabama (January 19); Pensacola, Florida (January 20); Houston (January 22); Dallas (January 23); and Memphis, Tennessee (January 25). Jimmy Eat World, who just wrapped their annual run of radio shows, have additional dates scheduled through March. … The People’s Choice Awards show is going to look a whole lot different next year, in light of the ongoing writers’ strike. The awards program has nixed its red carpet, acceptance speeches and live audience and will instead feature a “magazine-style format,” according to People.com. Queen Latifah is still slated to host the show, which will air January 8 on CBS, but the winners will be submitting their acceptance remarks in video form. …

Shakira wants your help — the singer is asking people to reach out to the victims of the Bangladesh floods after her recent trip to the South Asian country. In a recent press release, Shakira said she had planned to travel to Bangladesh before the cyclone, to observe the education-outreach efforts being made there, but that she felt more urgency to go there after the disaster. “Now that I’ve seen with my own eyes the destruction everywhere, it’s critical that the people of the world support the Bangladeshi and that they get more international help as they rebuild,” the singer said, adding that 8 million people have been affected and 3,000 schools were damaged or destroyed. Visit the United Nations Children’s Fund Web site to find out how you can help the victims. …

Jessica Simpson is still catching heat for her appearance at Sunday’s Dallas Cowboys game, which the team lost 10-6 to the Philadelphia Eagles. Fans have voiced anger over a purported link between the actress’ attendance and the career-worst performance by quarterback Tony Romo, and now wide receiver Terrell Owens has joined the chorus, saying, “Right now, Jessica Simpson is not a fan favorite — in this locker room or in Texas Stadium,” according to The Associated Press. Romo’s previous worst game reportedly was a December 2006 contest attended by then-girlfriend Carrie Underwood. “Obviously with the way Tony played, and the comparison between [Simpson] and Carrie Underwood, I think a lot of people feel she has taken his focus away,” Owens said. “Other than that, she was high on my list until last week. Oh, I got a message for her when we make the playoffs. Just stay tuned.” …

Lily Allen is expecting her first child with boyfriend Ed Simons, who is one-half of the Chemical Brothers. A representative for the 22-year-old singer told BBC News that Allen has been dating Simons since September and that they were “obviously both thrilled by the news,” but would not comment any further. “As the pregnancy is at a very, very early stage, the couple ask that you respect their privacy, as the health of Lily and their child is their paramount concern,” said the spokesman, who was not named. … Hawthorne Heights frontman JT Woodruff, former Dead Kennedys leader Jello Biafra and Chris #2 from Anti-Flag make cameos on the upcoming A.K.A.s (Are Everywhere!) album Everybody Make Some Noise! The hardcore-punk band’s effort will drop March 18. … The Breeders are back — not just with their upcoming April 8 album, Mountain Battles, but with a U.K. trek surrounding it, according to Pollstar.com. The band will kick off its trek April 7 in Dublin, Ireland, and continue playing through an April 16 show in London. Plans for the Breeders to play at Coachella and South by Southwest are also reportedly in the works, the site said. …

The Smashing Pumpkins have cobbled together a four-song acoustic EP, and it’s coming right around the corner. According to a post by Billy Corgan on the band’s Web site, American Gothic will be available January 2 on iTunes and feature the following songs: “The Rose March,” “Again, Again, Again (The Crux),” “POX” and “Sunkissed.” Corgan added in the rambling post that the band will play the new songs on their upcoming European and Australian tours, and he closed the missive with these remarks: “Thanks to New Orleans for showing Us the meaning of hope…and thanks to the old guard for showing the same dull move, you know the one that never works? Art band that said old guard wishes they were in so bad that they wish importance upon it? Check! No matter what you crutches all dream up, Led Zep is still a 100 times better! Go Zep! Go Team! Rock on! Long Live the Mighty SP!” …

The Chris Brown/ Bow Wow tour is going to keep rolling. The duo have expanded their double-bill outing into February, adding another dozen dates to their itinerary, mostly along the East Coast, as well as a second Madison Square Garden show in New York and a New Year’s Eve gig in Universal City, California. The tour is now scheduled to wrap up February 2 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu. Bow Wow recently left the tour briefly after being hospitalized, later telling MTV News that he had injured himself after throwing a fit in his dressing room. …

Ozzy Osbourne has scratched his Thursday concert at Cleveland’s Wolstein Center “due to an unforeseen personal family matter,” according to a post on his Web site. The show won’t be rescheduled, although tour partner Rob Zombie will instead play at the House of Blues with In This Moment. Ticketholders for the Wolstein Center show can get refunds at point of purchase. Meanwhile, Zombie has also added two more dates to his 2008 calendar: January 26 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and January 27 in Lubbock, Texas. … Hellyeah have broken out dates for the second leg of their Balls Volume Strength Tour, which also features Machine Head, Nonpoint and Ankla. The next stretch will take the hard-rockers from Clifton Park, New York, on January 25 to Milwaukee on February 15, although more dates are expected to be announced. …

Will Ferrell will hit the road with three other comedians — Zach Galifianakis, Nick Swardson and Demetri Martin — in February for a short run of shows at universities and colleges. The Funny or Die Tour will make stops at Kansas State (February 4); Michigan State (February 5); Ohio State (February 6); Penn State (February 11); the University of Rhode Island (February 12); Boston College (February 13); Butler University (February 18); and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (February 22). … Feist are working on new material — gently. “I’m tiptoeing into some new terrain,” Leslie Feist told Billboard.com. “There’s no necessity and no timeline. … I’m not quite at the point where I think I should be thinking about another record. … These songs, there’s nothing forcing them to come, yet here’s some ideas. It’s really a ways away though.” The singer did reveal, however, that the band hit the studio during a recent day off while on tour. Feist are up for four Grammys.Beck‘s Odelay — the 1996 album that ranks as one of Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time — is getting polished up for a two-CD deluxe edition due January 29. The first disc has two unreleased session tracks produced by the Dust Brothers — “Inferno” and “Gold Chains” — and a soundtrack cut, while the second has 16 hard-to-find B-sides and compilation contributions. …

While Weezer fans have to make do for now with the recently released Alone – The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo, the rest of the bandmembers are busy working on their own side projects. According to Weezer’s Web site, rhythm guitarist Brian Bell is working on an album with his other band, the Relationship; drummer Pat Wilson is recording an album with his long-running side project, the Special Goodness, that is due in the spring; and bassist Scott Shriner is getting ready to answer questions for Weezer fan site Weerez.com. … Michael Jackson‘s Thriller is among the 70 new recordings that will be added to the Grammy Hall of Fame, which honors songs that have been in release for at least 25 years. Other new honorees include: “Free Bird” (Lynyrd Skynyrd), the soundtrack to the classic reggae movie “The Harder They Come” (Jimmy Cliff), “Help!” (the Beatles), Hotel California (the Eagles), 1999 (Prince), Off the Wall (Jackson), “Roxanne” (the Police), “Shining Star” (Earth, Wind & Fire), “Always on My Mind” (Willie Nelson), The Wall (Pink Floyd) and The Velvet Underground & Nico. The new 25th Anniversary Edition of Thriller — which will include unreleased bonus tracks mixed by or featuring Kanye West, Will.I.Am, Akon and others — drops February 12. …

One of Seattle’s legendary rock venues, the Crocodile Café, unexpectedly shut its doors over the weekend after 17 years. The small downtown club, which was one of the prime spots that nurtured the early ’90s grunge scene, played host to everyone from Beck to R.E.M., Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie and, most famously, Nirvana and Mudhoney on a 1992 double bill that cost only $3. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that the venue’s owner left voicemails for club employees on Sunday telling them not to come to work following Saturday night’s gig. She reportedly said the club was shutting down due to financial difficulties. … Prince has given his CDs away in newspapers and at shows, but the diminutive R&B superstar doesn’t do freebie performances. According to the Miami Herald, the purple one pulled down an estimated $2 million payday Saturday night when he played a private 40th birthday party for Jeffrey Soffer, an heir to the Turnberry Associates real-estate fortune. The gig reportedly took place at the Turnberry Aviation hangar at the Opa Locka Executive Airport and featured elaborate open bars, gourmet food, a hit-filled set from Prince and a guest list that included director Brett Ratner, baseball player Alex Rodriguez and actor James Caan. Oh, and KC & the Sunshine Band were Prince’s opening act. …

Tom Sizemore was released from prison December 10 after serving time for violating his drug probation stemming from a 2004 meth conviction, TMZ.com reports. The actor was sentenced in mid-June to 16 months in state prison and awarded 213 days credit for time he had spent in county jail and live-in drug programs. Sizemore is still in a drug program, according to the site. …

Boys and girls in America, it’s time to rejoice. Brooklyn, New York, band the Hold Steady recently revealed on their Web site that they’ve wrapped preproduction on the follow-up to 2006′s critically acclaimed Boys and Girls in America. “For the last few weeks we’ve been holed up in our rehearsal space in Greenpoint finishing up preproduction with John Agnello [who produced Boys] for the new album,” read the post, which was simply attributed to “The Hold Steady.” “Since the band’s beginning, this is the longest we’ve gone without being in the studio. I’ve never looked forward to being placed in a giant aquarium with headphones like I have been lately. We’ll be recording for most of January and February, and I’ll post updates and photos for those interested. No release date yet, but you all will be the first to know.”