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Archive for Saturday, June 23, 2007

People in the news

June 23, 2007

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Smashing Pumpkins opens U.S. concert series today

Asheville, N.C. - When the Smashing Pumpkins reunited after seven years to plan a U.S. concert series, they made a surprising choice for their first shows: a small club in the mountains of North Carolina.

The Orange Peel, which has a capacity of 942 people, will host the alternative rock band when they open today for a nine-show run in Asheville.

"It's a legendary band in a small setting," said Cory Gates, 33, of Asheville, a longtime fan who saw the Smashing Pumpkins play in New England in the mid-1990s. "I don't know if you can get much better."

Locals hope the concerts - the band's first extended-stay performance in 13 years - puts this sleepy mountain town on the music map.

"It's an automatic home run for Asheville," said Mike Rangel, co-owner of the Asheville Brewing Co. brewpub and restaurant, just a few blocks from The Orange Peel. "It puts us up there with the big boys."

More bands reject rather than accept invitations to play at the club, said Karen Ramshaw of Public Interest Projects, which owns and operates The Orange Peel. But the Smashing Pumpkins sought it out, said Tennessee-based music promoter Ashley Capps, who helped coordinate the band's U.S. return.

Their Asheville shows will be followed by eight concerts at the historic Fillmore in San Francisco from July 22 to Aug. 1.

The band's new album, "Zeitgeist," is set for release next month.

Spice Girls set date to reveal 'future plans' for reunion

London - Talk of a Spice Girls reunion has swirled for weeks - boosted by Sporty Spice herself - and on Friday the vivacious five said they would make "an announcement to the world" next week.

Gossip took a major leap, and suddenly old film clips of the 1990s pop sensations were all over British television.

The statement issued by the quintet's management company seemed designed to move the rumors up a notch and stretch them out for a good week.

"Following weeks of speculation, the Spice Girls are set to make an official announcement to the world regarding future plans on Thursday, June 28," said the statement from 19 Entertainment. "Details regarding the announcement will be released in the coming days."

Victoria Adams Beckham (Posh Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice), Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) and Melanie Brown (Scary Spice) formed the Spice Girls in 1994. They became a global hit before splitting in 2001.

Chisholm, who had opposed a reunion, recently told the British Broadcasting Corp. she had changed her mind.

"For the first time ever, there is some truth in the rumors. We've been discussing it and it could possibly happen," the 33-year-old singer told BBC radio last week.

"I've always said, 'I don't want to do it, the past is the past. It was amazing, it was magical. We could never re-create it,'" Chisholm said. "But this year people have been talking about it and some of the girls have expressed an interest in doing it."

The Spice Girls' 2000 album, "Forever," had weak sales, and they began concentrating on their solo careers.

Clooney signs petition to stop construction on Lake Como

Rome - George Clooney has joined a protest to stop construction of parking lots and a promenade in the northern Italian lakeside town where he owns a villa because he fears his presence is turning the quiet town into a tourist attraction.

Clooney was among some 300 townspeople who signed the petition against the planned construction in the town of Laglio on Lake Como, according to organizers.

"Yes I signed it. Almost every member of the town signed it," the 46-year-old actor said in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Friday.

"My concern is that this village that has stood for hundreds of years would be destroyed simply because I happened to have lived there for the last six years. I told my neighbors that I would do what they wanted. And it seemed that they didn't want to demolish the harbor where all the local fishermen keep their boats," Clooney said.

Clooney, who won an Oscar for his role in "Syriana," said the petition appeared to have had the desired effect, and that the mayor had announced Thursday that at least some of the plans - which opponents say would damage the environment as well as the 18th-century old harbor - had been scrapped.

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