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Archive for Wednesday, September 21, 2005

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September 21, 2005

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Plea deal helps Slater avoid groping charges

New York - Groping charges against Christian Slater will be dropped if the actor stays out of trouble for the next six months, under a plea agreement reached with prosecutors.

In July, the actor had rejected a plea bargain that would have required him to perform three days of community service in exchange for pleading guilty to second-degree harassment.

Slater, 36, was arrested May 31 and charged with forcible touching for allegedly groping a woman during a late night run-in on the Upper East Side. He faced up to a year in jail if convicted.

It was not his first run-in with the law. The actor was sentenced to 90 days in jail for an August 1997 incident where he reportedly bit one man in the stomach and threw a police officer against a wall during a rowdy Los Angeles party.

Clothing chain changes mind, drops Moss from campaign

Stockholm, Sweden - Swedish clothing chain Hennes & Mauritz will drop a planned advertising campaign with model Kate Moss after she admitted to recently using cocaine.

H&M, Europe's largest fashion retailer, had planned to use Moss to help launch a new collection designed by Stella McCartney that will hit stores in 22 countries in November.

The decision to drop the campaign came after Moss acknowledged last week that British tabloid reports of her recent cocaine use were true.

H&M initially said it would proceed with the campaign, but company spokeswoman Liv Asarnoj said Tuesday that "after evaluating the situation, we have decided that a campaign with Kate Moss is not consistent with H&M's clear disassociation from drugs."

The company will call in another model for the campaign, Asarnoj said.

Kirstie Alley loses weight, 'Fat Actress' reality series

New York - Kirstie Alley is dropping the "fat" from "actress."

Alley, who starred on Showtime's reality-comedy series "Fat Actress," has lost 50 pounds. She says she's managed the loss through dieting and exercise.

"I am the Jenny Craig evangelist!" Alley, a spokeswoman for the company, declares in Monday's issue of People magazine, now on newsstands.

By limiting calories with the diet program, the 54-year-old actress - who had ballooned up to about 200 pounds - has slimmed down noticeably and is 30 pounds away from her original goal.

"When I got fat, I was being stupid. It was a little bit like when I used to do drugs," says Alley, who has long been sober. "Before I stopped doing drugs, I had to spiritually get a grip and go, 'What do you want your life to be like?"'

She says the full revelation didn't come until seeing early episodes of "Fat Actress."

"I didn't realize I was that fat," the 5-foot-8 actress says. "Seriously."

Hall of Fame nominees named

New York - Heartland rocker John Mellencamp is among the nominees for a new class of inductees at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, joined by jazz legend Miles Davis, rap pioneers Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and Blondie.

Mellencamp quickly ditched the cheesy nickname Johnny Cougar and banged out a series of rock hits in the 1980s, including "Pink Houses," "Jack & Diane" and "R.O.C.K. in the USA."

Grandmaster Flash, whose "The Message" and "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" were among rap's early hits, will test whether the rock hall is willing to open its doors to one of today's top styles of music.

The late Davis was one of jazz's most iconoclastic musicians. Blondie, led by pinup model Debbie Harry, fused pop with the aggression of punk and mixed in rap and disco.

Cat Stevens, who had folk hits in the 1970s before converting to Islam and largely retiring from music, also was nominated, along with punk rock pioneers The Patti Smith Group, the Sex Pistols and the Stooges.

"Free Bird" singers Lynyrd Skynyrd, heavy metal band Black Sabbath, the '60s beat group Dave Clark Five, Boston-area blues-rockers J. Geils Band, dance masters Chic, and Texans Joe Tex and the Sir Douglas Quintet were also on the ballot.

Musicians, industry professionals and journalists vote, and results of the 21st annual election will likely be announced in December.

Artists are eligible to be inducted into the Rock Hall after at least 25 years have passed since their first record was released.

Universities receive gifts from Grammy winner

Syracuse, N.Y. - Syracuse University is receiving a $320,000 gift from Grammy winner Billy Joel to help aspiring musicians.

Syracuse's Setnor School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts was one of seven East Coast schools chosen by Joel to receive seed money, musical scholarships and endowments as part of his recently launched music education initiative, said Carole Brzozowski, the college's dean.

Syracuse will use the money to establish four Billy Joel Fellowships in Composition and hopes to enroll the first two students next fall, Brzozowski said.

The money will cover full tuition for the two-year master's program, provide some support money for each student and, at the end of their studies, possibly help pay for either a high-level album with their music or a concert of their work in a prominent place, Brzozowski said.

Joel also made grants to the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester; New York University; The Juilliard School; State University of New York at Purchase; New England Conservatory; and Tanglewood Music Center, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Academy for Advanced Musical Study. Each institution will use the money for different needs.

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