Jennifer Lopez And Marc Anthony Do Disney; Plus Gnarls Barkley, Mary J. Blige, Krist Novoselic, Bjork & More, In For The Record

Gnarls almost done with second LP; Blige responds to steroid allegations; Novoselic donates to Ron Paul campaign.

Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Whoopi Goldberg and Jessica Biel are among the celebs captured in a new Disney installment of work by esteemed Vanity Fair photographer Annie Leibovitz. In the images, Lopez is portrayed as Jasmine and Anthony as Aladdin in a “Whole New World” scene, while Biel is dressed as Pocahontas, running through a forest. “I was a huge Disney fan growing up as a kid, and Cinderella, Snow White, Pocahontas, Ariel — all those characters were huge for me,” Biel said in a statement. The “Disney Dream Portrait Series” will be featured throughout the year at Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida. …

Gnarls Barkley don’t have a release date or name yet for their second album, but it’s nearing completion, according to Billboard.com. Danger Mouse is busying himself with other projects in the meantime, including lending production to the Black KeysAttack & Release; Martina Topley-Bird‘s The Blue God; and Shortwave Set‘s new LP, which is tentatively titled Replica Sun Machine.

Mary J. Blige recently spoke with MTV Base about the ongoing New York steroid probe in which she was recently named. “I really don’t want to clear anything up, because I’ve been spoken about for so many years — rumors I’m pregnant, I’m a man, I’m this, I’m that, why? At the end of the day, I have nothing to prove to anyone. I am Mary and that’s that.” A report that surfaced in the Times Union last week claimed Blige was among tens of thousands of people who might have used or received prescribed shipments of steroids and injectable human-growth hormone in recent years, although law-enforcement officials said they don’t have any evidence that laws were violated. …

Krist Novoselic, the former Nirvana bassist who has been politically active in Seattle in recent years, has voiced his support for a 2008 presidential candidate, and it’s … Ron Paul? Novoselic alluded to the Republican long-shot candidate in his Seattle Weekly column earlier this month, saying, “The Internet is already doing this with campaign phenomenon like Howard Dean in 2004, and this year with Ron Paul.” The Web site PoliticalBase.com shows that he made a $250 contribution to the candidate in mid-September. …

Björk has nixed her planned appearance at the Big Day Out on Friday night (January 25) in Sydney, Australia. “Doctors have advised Björk to rest due to swelling of the vocal cords,” Ken West and Vivian Lees, who produce and direct the festival, said in a statement posted on the Icelandic singer’s Web site. “This is a great disappointment to Björk, who is on her first tour of Australia in 12 years.” She is slated to rejoin Big Day Out on Monday for a show in Melbourne, followed by performances February 1 in Adelaide and February 3 in Perth. …

The Reminder (Feist), Kala (M.I.A.), Neon Bible (the Arcade Fire), Cross (Justice) and Sound of Silver (LCD Soundsystem) have all made the cut as finalists for the Shortlist Music Prize. Also in the running are In Our Bedroom After the War (Stars), Sky Blue Sky (Wilco), Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Spoon), Businessmen and Ghosts (Working for a Nuclear Free City) and Untrue (Burial). The winner will be announced in February. … Dem Franchize Boyz will bounce back on April 1 with their third effort, Da Point of No Return, which is anchored by the first single, “Talkin’ Out Da Side of Ya Neck.” Also look for featured appearances by Mannie Fresh on “Mr. Feel Good” and Blaze on “Turn Heads.” …

Marvel Studios is the latest company to reach an agreement with the striking Writers Guild of America, it was announced Friday. “Marvel Studios’ signing of an interim agreement with the Writers Guild is more good news for our membership,” WGA East President Michael Winship and WGA West President Patric Verrone said in a joint statement. “Marvel is committed to fairly compensating their writers and now they can move forward with their planned production schedule.” … Yes! Will Ferrell has received the James Joyce award in Ireland, where he has been traveling with his dad and brother to trace their family roots, according to The Associated Press. The “Blades of Glory” actor accepted the award — which has been given to Jesse Jackson and others in the past — on Wednesday night and addressed more than 1,000 students at the University College Dublin. “As I perused my leather-bound volumes of ‘Ulysses,’ ‘Finnegans Wake,’ ‘Dubliners,’ ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,’ standing in my mahogany library, a lot of feelings ran across my mind. Like: ‘Damn, I should have read these books,’ ” he reportedly said. …

My Morning Jacket — who sold out their June 20 show at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall in just over 20 minutes — have arrived at a title for their new album. Evil Urges, the band’s fifth LP, is due June 10. … Bono hailed Bill Gates on Friday when the Microsoft chairman announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will spend $306 million on environmentally friendly technology and farming techniques to help aid millions of impoverished Africans. “It’s a very special moment in time, I think, for Davos, and people here,” Bono said in the Swiss city, according to The Associated Press. “This is Bill Gates’ last trip to Davos as Microsoft leader, and I think it is an extraordinary thing that this man has not just changed the world once, but has now set aside the next act of his life to change the world again, and I think we should just mark this moment.” …

The summer music-festival scene just got a bit less crowded. Less than two months after announcing their plan to host a three-day camping music festival on a 500-acre farm in Vineland, New Jersey, the forces behind Lollapalooza (C3 Presents) and England’s Reading Festival (Festival Republic) have announced that they’ve pulled the plug on the event. Originally scheduled for August 8-10, the Vineland Festival, which never announced a lineup and had faced considerable opposition from area residents concerned about noise and traffic, will now attempt to launch in 2009. Organizers cited “overall festival traffic in the Northeast”— apparently referring to the just-announced All Points West Festival, which is scheduled for the same weekend in Liberty State Park, New Jersey, and is being coordinated by the people who bring you Coachella every year. Organizers also noted big bands touring the area around the same time as the reason for scrapping the event. …

Heads up, straight-edge hardcore fans: Ex-Minor Threat drummer Jeff Nelson has thrown up for auction on eBay a bunch of rare and unique items from the band and other hardcore acts. Items include fliers, posters, 7-inches and more. … Want your name to appear in a Saosin release? The band is launching a contest with mobile marketing company Mozes that will give fans the chance to have their name featured in the credits of the booklet that will accompany their forthcoming “Saosin Live” DVD/CD package. Interested? Text SAOSINDVD to 66937 and join the band’s mobile list and follow the prompt. … UB40 might want to rename themselves “UB39,” at least for the time being: The British group, which was huge in the ’80s, has lost its frontman. “No words can express how upset I feel today that I have been forced to make this decision,” Ali Campbell wrote in a Friday post on his Web site. UB40 said in a statement of their own that they will continue without Campbell, a founding member of the band.

1.24.08

Despite widespread reports that Sean “Diddy” Combs had changed his name to Sean John, his rep clarified the situation to MTV News on Thursday (January 24). “Recent reports of a name change are totally false, he is still Diddy,” the rep wrote. “He is currently in ‘Sean John’ mode as the upcoming Sean John fashion show is scheduled for February 8 in New York.” …

One of Britney Spears‘ friends was deposed Thursday by Kevin Federline‘s lawyer Mark Vincent Kaplan as he prepares for an April trial involving a request by Spears’ ex for primary physical custody of their children. Sam Lufti had previously avoided a notice to appear by Federline’s team of lawyers but was eventually served in November. … Lionsgate said Thursday that it had reached an agreement with striking writers to work on its projects, according to Reuters. “Lionsgate signed an interim agreement with the Writers Guild of America today,” the entertainment company reportedly said in a statement. “The writers’ issue seems on its way to being solved, and Lionsgate felt it was an important time, particularly in view of our TV series, to have our writer partners get back to work. We look forward to a broad industry agreement soon.” …

John McCain is getting support from another Vietnam veteran, albeit a fictional one: Rambo. Sylvester Stallone recently voiced his support for the Arizona senator, who is in a tight race for the Republican presidential nomination, on TV’s “Fox and Friends,” according to a press release from his campaign. “I like McCain a lot,” Stallone said. “A lot. And you know, things may change along the way, but there’s something about matching the character with the script. And right now, the script that’s being written — and reality — is pretty brutal and pretty hard-edged, like a rough action film. … You need somebody who’s been in that to deal with it.” When host Brian Kilmeade informed McCain of the “Rocky Balboa” star’s endorsement on Thursday morning (January 24), he reportedly replied, “I’m going to Philadelphia and running up the steps.” …

Bono swung by the Pentagon to talk about Africa and global poverty with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday, according to Reuters. The two reportedly met for 20 minutes and discussed plans to construct a new U.S. military command for Africa. The U2 singer was reportedly in Washington, D.C., to meet with congressional budget committees, and his meeting with Gates was not publicized ahead of time. … Trey Anastasio spent the weekend in the pokey for violating the conditions of his drug-treatment program last year, The Associated Press reports. The former Phish frontman was punished for an unspecified violation of a court contract that resulted after he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in April. Anastasio, who lives in Richmond, Vermont, was in a jail in upstate New York for two days. …

Scarlett Johansson has finally firmed up details surrounding her first music album, a collection of mostly Tom Waits covers. Anywhere I Lay My Head will drop May 20 and feature 10 Waits tribute tracks plus an original cut. The “Nanny Diaries” actress hammered out the effort in Maurice, Louisiana, during a five-week visit at Dockside Studio in spring 2007. She got some assists from Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, Sean Antanaitis from Celebration and TV on the Radio‘s David Sitek, who produced the LP. … The 35th annual Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll has named Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem as its top album of 2007. The rest of the top 10 albums in the poll, voted on by hundreds of rock critics, included In Rainbows (Radiohead), Kala (M.I.A.), Back to Black (Amy Winehouse), Neon Bible (Arcade Fire), Graduation (Kanye West), Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Spoon), Raising Sand (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss) and Magic (Bruce Springsteen). Winehouse topped the singles list with her hit “Rehab,” followed by “Umbrella” (Rihanna), “All My Friends” (LCD Soundsystem), “1234″ (Feist), “D.A.N.C.E.” (Justice), “Paper Planes” (M.I.A.), “Stronger” (Kanye West), “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” (UGK) and “Young Folks” (Peter Bjorn and John). …

This year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest will take place April 25-27 and May 1-4 and feature sets from the Roots, Raconteurs, Keyshia Cole, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Santana, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Sheryl Crow, Galactic, Ozomatli with Chali 2na, Jimmy Buffett and dozens of other roots, blues, soul, Cajun and jazz artists. … Motion City Soundtrack, Phantom Planet and the Hush Sound have slipped onto the bill for the Honda Civic Tour, which will be anchored by Panic at the Disco. The cities the trek will hit have also been announced: San Francisco (April 10); San Diego (April 12); Phoenix (April 13); Tulsa, Oklahoma (April 15); Ruston, Louisiana (April 17); Dallas (April 18); Austin, Texas (April 19); Houston (April 20); Clearwater, Florida (April 22); Miami Beach, Florida (April 23); Lake Buena Vista, Florida (April 24); Atlanta (April 26); North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (April 29); Washington, D.C. (April 30); Orono, Maine (May 2); Troy, New York (May 3); Rochester, New York (May 6); New York (May 7); Philadelphia (May 9); Wallingford, Connecticut (May 10); Boston (May 11); Montreal (May 13); Toronto (May 14); Cleveland (May 16); Columbus, Ohio (May 17); Indianapolis (May 18); Detroit (May 20); Chicago (May 23); Milwaukee (May 25); Minneapolis (May 27); St. Louis (May 30); Council Bluffs, Iowa (May 31); Kansas City, Missouri (June 1); Denver (June 3); Salt Lake City (June 4); Vancouver, British Columbia (June 6); Seattle (June 7); Portland, Oregon (June 8); Las Vegas (June 13); and Anaheim, California (June 14). …

Uncle Murda was shot in the head late Tuesday night but the injury was not serious, according to New York’s Daily News. The popular upstart rapper, who was signed to Roc-A-Fella Records by Jay-Z and backed by DJ Green Lantern, suffered a minor head wound after he was grazed by a bullet while sitting in a parked car in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. There is no word on whether the rapper has been released from the hospital. Calls made by MTV News to reps for Uncle Murda were not returned as of press time. … Danny Glover was convicted for trespassing on Thursday (January 24) in Niagara Falls, Ontario, according to AP. Canadian Niagara Hotels had charged the actor and two other men after they protested at a Sheraton in September 2006. The protest was part of a larger effort to boost salaries and improve working conditions for hotel workers in North America. They will be sentenced February 8. …

Los Angeles city officials have asked a judge to ban members of the Mob Piru street gang from congregating in a neighborhood of Compton, California, and included on their list of 200 gang members was former Death Row Records boss Marion “Suge” Knight. The Los Angeles Times reports that Knight’s name was on the request, which would ban members of the gang from congregating, carrying guns, drinking alcohol in public or staying out past 10 p.m. Knight, who has struggled to get his label back online after a number of legal tangles and prison time, told the paper he thought the injunction was a “publicity stunt” and that it should not have included him. “This is crazy,” he said. “I’m a 42-year-old businessman, not a gang member. I don’t even live in Compton anymore.” A hearing on the matter is slated for Thursday (January 24). …

Perez Hilton won an $85,000 judgment on Wednesday in a defamation lawsuit brought by celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson. According to AP, a judge ordered Ronson to pay the blogger $85K, plus an additional $2,000 if Hilton (born Mario Lavandeira) requests it, in the suit over a report on Hilton’s blog last year. The post repeated a claim from CelebrityBabylon.com that said Ronson planted cocaine found in friend Lindsay Lohan‘s car during a May car crash involving the actress. “Perez Hilton will take steps to make sure every dime is collected,” his lawyer Bryan J. Freedman said. “This should make one careful before filing a lawsuit against him.” The judge removed Hilton from the suit in November after the blogger’s attorneys argued he was protected by free-speech rights. Ronson’s attorney unsuccessfully argued that Hilton’s lawyers’ fees were excessive and that he should get no more than $13,400 to recover his legal costs. …

And the hits just keep coming … just not the ones the music industry is looking for. According to numbers released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, global music sales fell by around 10 percent in 2007, falling at a faster rate than they did in 2006, despite a growth in digital-music sales of around 40 percent. The IFPI said illegal downloading continues to be a major problem, with the ratio of illegally downloaded tracks to legal tracks sold at around 20 to 1. Also included in the report was news that the first-ever global music-download sales chart was topped by Avril Lavigne‘s “Girlfriend,” which sold 7.3 million downloads across the world. …

Gallows, a punk band from England, are the latest act to be banned from playing the House of Blues at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, according to The Onion‘s A.V. Club. The group was reportedly barred from playing its scheduled show there Tuesday night because Disney objects to the group’s lyrical content. Machine Head and Cannibal Corpse suffered similar fates at venues located on Disney property last year.