Baez questions ban
Washington - Folk singer and anti-war activist Joan Baez says she doesn't know why she was not allowed to perform for recovering soldiers recently at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as she planned.
In a letter to The Washington Post published Wednesday, she said rocker John Mellencamp had asked her to perform with him last Friday and that she accepted his invitation.
"I have always been an advocate for nonviolence and I have stood as firmly against the Iraq war as I did the Vietnam War 40 years ago," she wrote. "I realize now that I might have contributed to a better welcome home for those soldiers fresh from Vietnam. Maybe that's why I didn't hesitate to accept the invitation to sing for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In the end, four days before the concert, I was not 'approved' by the Army to take part. Strange irony."
Baez, 66, told the Post in a telephone interview Tuesday that she was not told why she was left off the program by the Army. "There might have been one, there might have been 50 (soldiers) that thought I was a traitor," she told the paper.
The Post reported that Walter Reed officials did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday, but that in an e-mailed statement published Monday on RollingStone.com, spokesman Steve Sanderson said the medical center received the request for participation by Baez just two days before the concert.
"These additional requirements were not in the agreement/contract and would have required a modification," Sanderson told the magazine's Web site.
Spears returns to stage
San Diego - In a drop-in at the House of Blues on Tuesday, Britney Spears drew screams and tears as she took the stage for 14 minutes. She lip-synched and went through costume changes. She even had a pack of backup dancers.
Tuesday marked the first time in three years the mother of two has played live. She's warming up, and she plans to do more shows in the next few weeks.
Tokyo - Is director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Babel" actually a secret weapon?
Seems so. The Japanese distributor of "Babel" on Wednesday said it has received 15 complaints of nausea and headaches, apparently contracted since the film opened on Saturday. And 300 theaters nationwide posted notes on Tuesday warning that the film contains scenes with powerful images that have already made some viewers sick.
Japan is the only country to experience this phenomenon.