'Sex' guest star 'shocked' when he first saw series
New York - When he was invited to play a role on "Sex and the City," Mikhail Baryshnikov says he had two questions: "Which sex, and which city?"
The legendary dancer told an audience at The New Yorker Festival that until then he'd never seen the HBO series, because he only watched news and golf on TV. So the producers sent him a few episodes to watch.
"I was kind of amused, and shocked," Baryshnikov said Saturday of the racy series, which ended early last year. "At first I was watching it with my children. Then I said 'Children, OUT!"'
Baryshnikov played a self-involved artist named Aleksandr, a love interest of Carrie Bradshaw, played by series star Sarah Jessica Parker.
Baryshnikov's latest project is the Baryshnikov Arts Center, a new home for various art forms that will open in November on Manhattan's West Side.
Young's new album recorded days before brain surgery
New York - Neil Young acknowledges that a lot of personal reflection went into his latest album - he recorded it in the days before he underwent surgery for a brain aneurysm.
Young, 59, told Time magazine he wrote the first song on "Prairie Wind" on his way to a Nashville studio after getting the news from his doctor earlier this year.
"Then I went back up to New York on Monday for a pre-surgery thing, flew back to Nashville, wrote and recorded (songs) four, five, six, seven, eight and most of nine and 10. And then I got admitted, and they put me under," he told Time.
Young says he would have made the album anyway but acknowledges his experiences in March shaped "Prairie Wind," due out Tuesday. One song, "Falling Off the Face of the Earth," draws from a voicemail left by a friend who had heard about what Young was going through.
"I don't feel like I'm slowing down, but these things happen," Young said. "Yeah, there's a lot of reflection. It affected all the songs."
Gates donating $40 million to his alma mater
Seattle - Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates' foundation is donating $40 million to the private school he attended.
The money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be used to create scholarships for low-income children and to support programs to help students become better global citizens.
Gates, who graduated from Lakeside School in 1973, announced the gift Friday during a speech kicking off the school's fundraising campaign.
His friend and Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, also is a Lakeside alumnus and has donated more than $20 million to the school in the past two decades.
The north Seattle school enrolls more than 730 students in grades five through 12. Tuition this year is between $19,480 and $20,100, depending on the student's grade.
Singer Marilyn Horne nabs lifetime achievement award
New York - Marilyn Horne at 71 - singer, teacher, grandmother - and now, winner of a lifetime achievement award.
"I think that I'm making a difference for a lot of young singers," said the mezzo-soprano, who will officially receive the award Monday from London-based Gramophone magazine, considered an authority in the classical recording industry.
After a performing career that spanned nearly a half century on the world's top stages, the Pennsylvania native heads a nonprofit foundation launched in 1994 at Carnegie Hall to encourage young talent and nurture audiences for vocal recitals.
Horne is to be the guest of honor today at an industry event hosted by Gramophone at Manhattan's Steinway Hall.
Town to memorialize playwright O'Neill
Danville, Calif. - The town that playwright Eugene O'Neill called home during the twilight of his life will dedicate a $100,000 memorial honoring him near a public library.
The memorial's centerpiece is a large plaque that features bronze letters spelling out a passage from "Long Days Journey Into Night," one of his most famous works.
Eight pedestals have been installed along a path featuring photos of the author, his wife and his plays, as well as O'Neill quotes.
The playwright's remote ranch, known as Tao House, is a National Park Service historical site that is open to visitors who book visits in advance.
O'Neill lived and wrote at Tao House from 1937 to 1944, completing six of his better known plays, including "Long Days Journey" and "The Iceman Cometh."
He died in 1953.
He purchased his home in Danville, east of San Francisco, with money he received after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, saying he wanted a "safe harbor" from fame.
Gazzara, Dafoe receive lifetime achievement awards
Madrid, Spain - Ben Gazzara and Willem Dafoe are this year's recipients of the Donostia Prize for lifetime achievement at the San Sebastian Film Festival, Spain's leading film festival.
"I love awards, especially if I get them," the 75-year-old Gazzara said Thursday.
Gazzara said working with directors such as John Cassavetes proved to him that the only virtue needed to shoot good movies is courage.
"It's up to the courage of the filmmakers to make art in cinema, not just business," he said.
Gazzara worked with Cassavetes on "Husbands," "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" and "Opening Night."
Dafoe's screen credits include "Platoon" and "Shadow of the Vampire."