Garth Brooks coming out of retirement
Las Vegas — Garth Brooks is coming to The Strip.
The country superstar and casino owner Steve Wynn announced Thursday afternoon that Brooks will be taking over the Encore theater at Wynn Las Vegas about 15 weeks a year, perhaps for the next five years.
And it only cost the entrepreneur a jet.
“I told him he couldn’t afford me,” Brooks said while sitting on stage with Wynn. “I was wrong. Wow.”
Wynn bought the jet for Brooks so the best-selling solo act could continue to spend a maximum amount of time with his three teenage daughters and still perform. His youngest child has five years till she’s off to college, and the deal Brooks and Wynn struck is flexible enough to guarantee the singer won’t miss a precious moment.
He’ll play shows on select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning Dec. 11. The plane lets him leave his Oklahoma home at 6 on Fridays and return home in time on Sundays so he can be ready to drive his girls to school the next morning.
“Every argument we ever had about why we shouldn’t do this, he had an answer to,” Brooks said of Wynn.
Comedian: End world hunger? Sell the Vatican
Rome — Comedian Sarah Silverman has a new proposal for ending world hunger: Sell the Vatican.
In a new profanity-laced monologue making the rounds on YouTube in time for U.N. World Food Day today, Silverman suggests that it’s time for the pope to “move out of your house that is a city” and use the proceeds to feed the world’s poor.
“On an ego level alone you will be the biggest hero in the history of ever!” she exclaimed. “Sell the Vatican. Feed the world.”
The Vatican clearly has no plans to follow suit. On Thursday, a spokesman declined to comment. But the Catholic League, the U.S. Catholic civil rights organization, denounced Silverman and cable broadcaster HBO for her “obscene” and “filthy diatribe.”
In a statement, it noted that such an attack would never have been leveled against, say, the chief rabbi of Jerusalem or the state of Israel and added that the “Catholic Church operates more hospitals and feeds more of the poor than any private institution in the world.”
Anheuser-Busch sponsoring SNL
Milwaukee — Anheuser-Busch is buying all the national ads on this week’s edition of comedy mainstay “Saturday Night Live” to launch its new brew, Bud Light Golden Wheat.
The brewer — part of Anheuser-Busch InBev — and NBC Universal announced the sponsorship deal Thursday. This Saturday’s episode will mark the first time in the 35 seasons of “Saturday Night Live” that one advertiser has bought all of the national ads for the show.
Both Anheuser-Busch and NBC declined to say what the sponsorship, which includes airing 11 commercials, will cost. The sponsorship will mean an additional 6 to 7 minutes of extra show time, NBC said.
St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch released its wheat-flavored version of best-selling Bud Light last week and has been using music and entertainment to promote the brand.
The “SNL” sponsorship also includes a segment called “Backstage with Bud Light Golden Wheat” that will show never-before-aired clips from “SNL” through the years.
Black Eyed Peas singer brings aid to Philippines
Manila, Philippines — Black Eyed Peas singer apl.de.ap has flown to his native Philippines following devastating back-to-back storms to perform a benefit concert and deliver much-needed aid.
Apl staged the concert Thursday evening in Manila during a brief trip to the country.
“I just want to tell everybody that my heart goes out to you guys, and I will try my best to help out,” he told reporters ahead of the event.
A Los Angeles resident whose real name is Allan Pineda Lindo, apl said he was concerned when he saw television footage of the devastation and decided to make a brief visit.
The worst flooding in 40 years struck the rice-growing northern Philippines and the capital Manila late last month when a typhoon after a storm dumped heavy rains that triggered landslides and inundated towns, killing 712 people and affecting more than 7 million.
In addition to a concert with local artists, apl brought canned goods from California, donated cash and appealed for more money for victims from around the world.
The hip-hop singer, who was adopted at 14 and moved to the United States, said he remains proud of his roots.
Judge bars talk of relationship
Los Angeles — Saying he wanted to avoid “a circus sideshow,” a judge barred prosecutors Thursday from asking a witness whether a sexual relationship existed between celebrity model Anna Nicole Smith and the woman psychiatrist accused of providing her with excessive medication.
Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry objected when the issue was raised during questioning of Smith’s bodyguard.
“What’s the relevance?” he asked Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose.
Rose said it would show motivation for Dr. Khristine Eroshevich to grant Smith’s demand for increasing amounts of medication.
Search warrants executed in the case and released a few weeks ago described photos of Smith and Eroshevich in a bathtub in a sexual situation.
“This is a preliminary hearing,” Perry told the prosecutors. “It’s not a trial. It’s to determine if there’s probable cause for a trial. I’m just not going to turn this into some circus sideshow.”