Archive for Wednesday, December 12, 2007

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December 12, 2007


iTunes releases top sellers of the year

Los Angeles - Maroon 5 and Fergie hold the top spots on iTunes' year-end sales roundup.

The online music store released its top-selling albums and singles Tuesday, though it declined to release actual sales figures.

Maroon 5's sophomore album, "It Won't Be Soon Before Long," was the No. 1 seller on the site, followed by Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" and Kanye West's "Graduation." Winehouse and West are also leaders heading into the 50th annual Grammy Awards - he has eight nominations, she has six.

Rounding out the top five best-selling albums were "American Idol" alumnus Chris Daughtry's band's self-titled debut, "Daughtry," and "Coco" by newcomer Colbie Caillat, who has the hit "Bubbly."

Fergie came in at first and fifth place in single sales. Her hit "Big Girls Don't Cry" was the top-selling single of the year for iTunes, while "Glamorous" finished fifth. Gwen Stefani's "The Sweet Escape" came in second place, followed by Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah" and Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend."

Gwen Stefani sets up scholarship fund

San Diego - Gwen Stefani is contributing $166,000 from her local concert to provide scholarships for students who lost their homes in San Diego's recent wildfires.

Proceeds from her Oct. 30 concert in San Diego were donated to The San Diego Foundation's fire relief fund.

"When I heard about the devastation of the fires, at first I felt I should cancel my show out of respect. But then it occurred to me there might be a more useful solution," the 38-year-old singer said in a recent statement.

The Gwen Stefani After-the-Fires Scholarship will be open to college students and graduating high school seniors who lost their homes or their source of income in the October fires, which killed at least 10 people and destroyed more than 1,700 homes.

The scholarship application deadline is Jan. 28.

Lock of John Lennon's hair on auction block

London - A lock of John Lennon's hair is being put up for sale.

Lennon gave Betty Glasow, the Beatles' hairdresser, the lock of hair in a copy of his book "A Spaniard in the Works." In the dedication he wrote, "To Betty, Lots of Love and Hair, John Lennon."

Today, fans will have the chance to bid on the hair and other autographed photos and Beatles memorabilia when they go up for auction in Worthing, in southern England.

The book - with the hair still inside - could fetch as much as $6,200, said Nick Muston, director of Gorringes auction house.

Glasow, who kept the Beatles' moptops trimmed on the set of the films "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!" decided to sell the items because she wanted fans to have them, Muston said.

"She feels that rather than these things being stuck in a drawer with nobody enjoying them, real enthusiasts (could) get their hands on these things," Muston said.

NY Philharmonic to play Americana in N. Korea

New York - When the New York Philharmonic plays in North Korea - a nation that President Bush has described as part of an "axis of evil" - the musical program will be steeped in Americana, complete with "The Star-Spangled Banner."

At a news conference Tuesday to announce details of the historic visit, Zarin Mehta insisted the program was chosen because "it's just great music."

"We are not trying to send a political message," Mehta, the orchestra's president and executive director, told The Associated Press, adding, "You cannot go on isolating repressive regimes - talks have to start sometime."

The orchestra will fly to the North Korea capital Pyongyang from Beijing on Feb. 25 for a 48-hour visit.

The program, chosen by the Philharmonic, starts with the national anthems of both countries, followed by Wagner's Prelude to Act III of "Lohengrin," Dvorak's "New World Symphony" - written while the 19th century Czech composer lived in the United States - and Gershwin's "An American in Paris." The orchestra will be led by conductor Lorin Maazel.

'Masterpiece Theatre' gets revamped

A reinvented "Masterpiece Theatre" will unveil major changes in January when actress Gillian Anderson begins as host of "The Complete Jane Austen" on "Masterpiece Classic."

The 37-year-old PBS series also will introduce an "elegant on-air look, a redesigned, feature-rich Web site and a schedule that will help make our content easier to find," executive producer Rebecca Eaton said. That schedule will break the year into three "seasons," each with its own host, graphics and new take on the series' familiar theme music.

In winter and spring, "Masterpiece Classic" will feature signature period dramas. In summer, "Masterpiece Mystery!" will present British mysteries, and in fall, "Masterpiece Contemporary" will showcase dramas set in modern times.

Anderson, the former "X-Files" star who is known to "Masterpiece Theatre" fans for her performance as Lady Dedlock in "Bleak House," will be the first host, beginning Jan. 13, with the others to be named.

'Citizen Kane' script goes for $97K at auction

New York - Orson Welles' personal working script of "Citizen Kane" sold for almost $100,000 Tuesday, but his Oscar for the 1941 film was withdrawn after bidding failed to rise above the seller's minimum price.

Sotheby's auction house said it immediately received inquiries about the Oscar and may consider selling it privately. The Academy Award for best screenplay had been estimated to fetch $800,000 to $1.2 million.

The Oscar for "Citizen Kane," considered one of the greatest movies of all time, was believed to have been lost by Welles himself. It resurfaced in 1994.

Welles' 156-page script, the last revised draft before the final shooting script, was sold for $97,000 to an anonymous buyer bidding on the telephone. Its pre-sale estimate was $80,000 to $120,000.


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