Duran Duran on Comeback Trail
Sarah Hall, E! Online (3 October 2003)
The Wild Boys of the 1980s are back--and ready to run wild at a venue near you.
It's been 20 years since Duran Duran's meteoric rise caused teenage girls everywhere to paper their walls with posters of the pop phenoms and fixate on MTV for hours on end.
Now, a longer-in-the-tooth Duran Duran is back on the scene--and touring. On July 15, 2003, the band reunited its original five members for a performance at a Sunset Strip club, playing their first set together in more than 15 years as a precursor to a just-announced North American tour. Vocalist Simon Le Bon and keyboardist Nick Rhodes reunited with the unrelated trio of Taylors--guitarist Andy, drummer Roger and bassist John....
The band's upcoming reunion/25th anniversary tour kicks off November 8 in Atlantic City and will play small theaters and clubs. The question is, will the concertgoers of Generation Y be as susceptible to, say, "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "Girls on Film" as the teens of two decades ago? Heck, does Generation Y even know who Duran Duran is?
At least we know the answer to the latter--the band got a rousing ovation at the August 29 2003 Video Music Awards, when It girls Kelly Osbourne and Avril Lavigne presented Duran Duran with a surprise Lifetime Achievement Award....
For their part, the boys of Duran Duran seemed shocked and flattered by the honor, but ready to be back in the limelight. "This is a bit of a surprise," Le Bon said. "I gotta say thank you to all you people out here. We've had an amazing time over the last couple of months. We've been writing songs. We've been recording. And last night we played our first show in New York, and it really kicks ass."
Taking its name from a character in the Jane Fonda cult sci-fi flick Barbarella, the band was originally formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England. The group's first album, Duran Duran, came out in 1981, followed by Rio in 1982.
In 1983, Duran Duran picked up a pair of Grammys--one for Best Short Form Music Video for "Girls on Film/Hungry Like the Wolf," and one for Best Long Form Music Video for Duran Duran.
"Video to us is like stereo was to Pink Floyd," Nick Rhodes said in a 1984 interview with Rolling Stone. "It was new, it was just happening. And we saw that we could do a lot with it."
The band racked up enough hits to fill a jukebox, including "Planet Earth," "Is There Something I Should Know," "Union of the Snake," "The Reflex," "Save a Prayer," "Wild Boys" and the James Bond theme "A View to a Kill." But plagued by infighting and defections over the past decade, the band became a shadow of itself--Le Bon and Rhodes were the only original members on the band's last studio album, 2000's critically panned Pop Trash.
The true test of the reunited Duran Duran's longevity will be to see if the teenagers of 20 years ago have remained loyal to their pop idols of yore. Tickets to Duran Duran's 16 U.S. shows go on sale on October 18. The tour will make its way from east to west, wrapping up in San Diego. Additional dates may be added.
The band also plans a summer 2004 amphitheater tour in support of an in-the-works studio album, due in the spring. A video anthology, Greatest, is set for a November 4 release.
Copyright © 2003 E! Online, Inc.
Remains ID'd As Green River Killer Victim
Melanthia Mitchell, Associated Press (1 October 2003)
SEATTLE - For the third time in less than two months, authorities have identified recently discovered remains as those of a presumed victim of the Green River serial killer, believed to have killed dozens of women in the early 1980s.
Bones found near the Seattle suburb of Auburn have been identified as those of Marie M. Malvar, an 18-year-old last seen in 1983, the King County sheriff's office said Wednesday. A human skull and jaw were found Monday by searchers in a steep wooded ravine.
Dental records were used to identify Malvar's remains, the sheriff's office said....
Investigators believe at least 49 women may have been victims of the Green River Killer, so called because the first bodies were found in or near that river south of Seattle.
The sheriff's office and defense lawyers refuse to comment on published reports that serial murder defendant Gary Ridgway has been directing detectives to the remains in hopes of winning a plea deal that would spare him from execution.
Ridgway, a truck painter from Auburn, has pleaded innocent to aggravated first-degree murder charges in the deaths of seven women who disappeared from the Seattle area in the early 1980s. He was arrested in 2001, after investigators said they linked him through DNA evidence to some of the victims.
Malvar, who was last seen in 1983, was one of five young women whose remains were still being sought in the Green River case. Ridgway has not been charged in Malvar's death.
Last week, bones found near Snoqualmie were identified as those of April Dawn Buttram, who vanished in 1983. In August, remains found near Enumclaw were identified as those of Pammy Avent, a 16-year-old who also disappeared in 1983.
A fourth set of remains, found in Kent, has not yet been identified.
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press
A photo array of the Green River Killer's victims
Rock Singer Robert Palmer Dies at Age 54
Pamela Sampson, Associated Press (26 September 2003)
PARIS - British rock star Robert Palmer (news), who struck a hit MTV image in the 1980s with his sharp suits and a backup band of mini-skirted, glossy-lipped models on songs like "Addicted to Love," died Friday in Paris of a heart attack.
Palmer died suddenly at the luxury Warwick Hotel near the Champs-Elysees after a calm night of dinner and a movie, his manager, Mick Cater, said. The singer had received a clean bill of health from doctors in Switzerland just a few weeks ago.
Palmer, who has lived in Switzerland for the last 16 years, was on a two-day break in Paris with his partner of 20 years, Mary Ambrose, following a television recording session in Britain, Cater said.
The impeccably dressed rocker scored big in the 1980s with hits including "Addicted to Love." He won a Grammy for that single in 1987 as best male rock vocal performance and another two years later for "Simply Irresistible."
The "Addicted to Love" video, where Palmer sings in front of a band of sleek, lookalike models playing guitars, keyboard and drums, became one of MTV's most-played clips, and sparked protests from some feminists.
"I'm not going to attach inappropriate significance to it because at the time it meant nothing. It's just happened to become an iconic look," Palmer once said of the video.
It was a look he used in videos for several more of his hits. His GQ sense of style also won Palmer the title of best-dressed male artist from Rolling Stone in 1990.
A side project, Power Station, formed in 1985 with John Taylor and Andy Taylor of '80s supergroup Duran Duran, scored U.S. Top 10 singles with "Some Like It Hot" and a cover of the T. Rex hit "Get it On."
The son of a British naval officer, Palmer was born in Yorkshire, England on Jan. 19, 1949, and spent his childhood in Malta. He began developing his soul-rock style as early as 15, when he joined his first band, the Mandrakes. He had his first hit album and single, "Sneakin' Sally through the Alley," in 1974.
In his 20s, Palmer worked with a number of small-time bands including Dada, which later became Vinegar Joe, and the Alan Bown Band, occasionally appearing in opening acts for big draws including The Who and Jimi Hendrix....
Palmer is survived by Ambrose and two children — James, a musician who joined him on his last record, 2003's Drive, and Jane. A private ceremony will be held next week in Switzerland, said his publicist, Elizabeth Freund.
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press
Man-Eating Plant Is Back, Now on Broadway
Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press (2 October 2003)
NEW YORK - Some 20 years after its initial off-Broadway triumph, can a blood-lusting, man-eating plant find happiness in the big leagues of Broadway?
Yes indeed, if the leafy creature happens to be Audrey II in "Little Shop of Horrors," one of the more indestructible musicals of the 1980s.
This spiffy revival, which opened Thursday, has been visually enhanced to fill the stage of the Virginia Theatre, one of Broadway's least hospitable theaters. In the process, Audrey II has grown to be quite a behemoth — and a little scarier.
Yet outside of those enlargements, don't expect any startling revisions in director Jerry Zaks' musical, which he resurrected and mostly recast after a Florida tryout floundered earlier this year.
"Little Shop" has always been a small show, a good-natured yet cheeky concoction that exudes a brash buoyancy — a necessary ingredient for any musical comedy worth its sass.
Creators Howard Ashman (book and lyrics) and Alan Menken (music) didn't take their source material — Roger Corman's classic 1960 film — too seriously, and that irreverence paid off. Shades of "Hairspray" (which "Little Shop" proceeded by two decades), their pop score bubbles merrily; it manages to send up and pay homage to the music of an era when father knew best and mom was a cross between Betty Crocker and Donna Reed.
For those who came in late, our tale is set in a failing Skid Row flower shop, owned by the schlumpy Mr. Mushnik. Its hero is the sad-sack orphan Seymour, a shop employee who cultivates an unusual plant that happens to thrive on human flesh.
Seymour pines for Mushnik's ditsy salesgirl, Audrey, the namesake for his peculiar piece of flora. Audrey is a blond bombshell of the Marilyn Monroe variety, a woman who has a weakness for men who treat her wrong, particularly a masochistic, motorcycle-riding dentist.
Audrey II grows. Boy, does it, thanks to the outsized, outrageous new designs by Martin P. Robinson. The plant, which also acquires a voice (a booming Michael Leon-Wooley), is nourished first by drops of blood from Seymour's bandage-covered fingers and later from victims provided by the hapless Seymour. His Faustian bargain with the plant ensures not only success for the shop but hope for his relationship with Audrey....
If the production is tinged with a little melancholy for theater buffs, that's because the show is a sobering reminder that Ashman died of AIDS in 1991. After "Little Shop," he and Menken collaborated on Disney animated films, giving us at least one classic, "Beauty and the Beast," which eventually found its way to Broadway in a lavish stage version.
Still, those Disney movies and "Little Shop" provide a potent legacy, not to mention allowing audiences to again get reacquainted with that formidable stage presence known as Audrey II.
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press
Trial of Tyco's Kozlowski Begins in New York
Jeanne King, Reuters (29 September 2003)
NEW YORK - Jury selection began on Monday in the fraud trial of Tyco International Ltd. former top executives Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz, who are accused of looting the conglomerate of more than $600 million to finance lavish lifestyles.
Manhattan Supreme Court officials summoned 1,500 potential jurors, many of whom seemed shocked when they heard it could take four months to conduct the trial of Tyco's former Chief Executive Officer Kozlowski and former Chief Financial Officer Swartz....
The trial will focus on lavish spending, handsomely paid subordinates and sleepy watchdogs. Prosecutors will claim the two men looted Tyco out of $600 million in one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in recent U.S. history.
The defendants have pleaded not guilty and face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of enterprise (news - web sites) corruption....
Most of the first week will be taken up by efforts to narrow the pool of 1,500 prospective jurors to 100 prospects. The judge told potential jurors they must concentrate on the Tyco case specifically, not think about other recent U.S. corporate scandals....
The heart of the Manhattan District Attorney's case centers on Tyco loan programs, charging that Kozlowski and Swartz illegally tapped millions of dollars in company funds to pay for mansions, yachts, Harry Winston jewelry, paintings and a $2 million 40th birthday party for Kozlowski's wife in Sardinia.
Dating to the 1980s, Tyco loaned money to key executives to pay taxes on vested restricted stock, a program designed to encourage stock ownership among key Tyco leaders. Tyco's compensation committee administered the loan program, and the indictment against Kozlowski and Swartz says they caused loans to be forgiven without the board's knowledge.
Kozlowski, who built Tyco into one of the world's largest manufacturing conglomerates through a dizzying array of acquisitions during his 10-year tenure as chairman, and Swartz are being prosecuted under a racketeering statute usually reserved for hard-core organized crime activities.
Their lawyers say prosecutors have attempted "to distort and expand the reach of criminal law" to cover what is really a corporate governance dispute about an employee loan programs.
At the request of the defense, $100,000 worth of equipment -- including a 9-foot by 15-foot projection screen and dozens of flat-screen monitors, printers and laptop computers -- were installed last week inside the 62-year-old courtroom.
While most of the hundreds of exhibits will be financial documents, prosecutors will also introduce exhibits to show Kozlowski's lavish lifestyle that included the purchase of a $6,000 shower curtain, a $15,000 antique umbrella stand and a $2.1 million party that Kozlowski threw for his second wife that featured an ice sculpture of Michelangelo's David with vodka streaming from his penis into crystal glasses.
Tyco paid for most of the party that Kozlowski is accused of booking as a business expense.
Copyright © 2003 Reuters Limited
Smallpox Vaccine Could Prevent AIDS
Matthew Barakat, Associated Press (29 September 2003)
FAIRFAX, Va. - Could a smallpox shot protect you from the AIDS virus? It's a tantalizing idea that scientists at George Mason University are studying. Early findings are very preliminary and based on lab tests of a small number of blood samples.
Other AIDS researchers caution against putting too much faith in such early tests, and the George Mason study has not been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal that is standard for major medical breakthroughs.
But Ken Alibek, director of the university's National Center for Biodefense, said the early results are encouraging....
The research was based on a hypothesis that the spread of HIV in central Africa coincided with the decline of smallpox. As smallpox was eliminated and people stopped receiving vaccinations in the early 1980s, the AIDS virus began to spread rapidly.
Alibek said Raymond Weinstein, a fellow researcher at George Mason, approached him with the hypothesis.
"My first reaction was this sounds like some kind of crazy idea. But after some analysis, I realized maybe this is not so crazy," Alibek said.
To test the theory, Alibek and Weinstein studied blood samples from 10 people who received the smallpox vaccination and 10 who did not.
When HIV was introduced into the blood samples of those who had been vaccinated, the virus either failed to grow or its growth was slowed considerably. The study results were statistically significant despite the small sample size, Alibek said.
Wayne Koff, senior vice president for research and development at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, expressed caution about drawing too many conclusions from such early research.
He also said that pox viruses, like the one used in the smallpox vaccine, have been shown to have a general antiviral effect, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will be effective specifically against the AIDS virus....
Koff also was skeptical about the hypothesis that the emergence of AIDS in Africa had any connection with the decline of smallpox.
Alibek acknowledged that the research so far cannot tell if the smallpox vaccine produces a response that is specific to the AIDS virus, but on a certain level, he said, it's irrelevant.
"For a person who would be protected, it would not matter if it is specific to HIV" as long as it provides protection, he said.
Based on the research, George Mason University has filed patent applications on the smallpox vaccine's therapeutic use against HIV and AIDS.
Scientists declared smallpox eradicated in 1980, and the widespread vaccination program that contributed to its demise ended. In the early 1980s, the AIDS virus began its rapid spread through central Africa....
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press
Aloha, Magnum, P.I.
Lia Haberman, E! Online (24 September 2003)
That 'stache, those Hawaiian shirts, the red Ferrari.
Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment are teaming up to bring CBS' long-running hit Magnum, P.I. to the big screen, the studio confirmed Wednesday.
With the feature film rights secured, Imagine chairman Brian Grazer will team with series cocreator Donald Bellisario to produce the movie based on Thomas Magnum's Hawaiian capers.
The proposed project also joins a growing list of upcoming flicks based on classic TV series, including the Dukes of Hazzard and Starsky and Hutch.
Conceived by Bellisario, who also came up with JAG and Quantam Leap, and Glen Larson, the series was set in Oahu in the vacated studio space of that other surfside detective drama, Hawaii 5-0.
The show was a launching pad for a young Tom Selleck, who starred in six failed TV pilots before striking TV gold with Magnum. The series, which ran from 1980 to 1988, would score him an Emmy and an executive producer credit but also typecast him as the offbeat private eye.
The mustache will likely be optional for the adaptation's P.I., since the '80s icon won't be returning as the titular lead, according to his rep. "Tom knows nothing about it and has no comment," Esme Chandleen told E! Online on Wednesday.
For those who forget, or are too young to remember, Magnum was a Vietnam vet and former Navy intelligence officer hired as head of security on the Hawaiian estate of absentee owner Robin Masters. Magnum used the estate as a base to solve his own detective cases and had to put up with the perpetually exasperated groundskeeper Jonathan Higgins and his dogs Zeus and Apollo.
Lauded for the attention paid to the character's tour of duty, the show also featured plenty of hot babes, fast cars and action sequences....
Copyright © 2003 E! Online, Inc.
Suit Filed Over Album Lennon Signed for Killer
Mary P.Gallagher, New Jersey Law Journal (26 September 2003)
Many people will never forget where they were when they heard that John Lennon had been gunned down by a crazed fan outside his New York apartment on Dec. 8, 1980.
But Philip Michael of Hamburg, N.J., took away more than an indelible memory of the tragedy. Arriving outside the Dakota apartments after the shooting, he found a copy of the album "Double Fantasy," which Lennon had autographed for the shooter, Mark David Chapman, a few hours earlier.
The album, which became an important piece of evidence in the murder case, is now at the center of litigation.
In a suit filed Sept. 9 in Sussex County, Michael alleges that an online memorabilia auction house in Washingtonville, N.Y., breached a 1998 agreement to sell the album and to give him 95 percent of the proceeds.
The Web site of the company, Moments in Time, boasts it sold the album, referred to as "the most important piece of historic rock memorabilia ever," to an unnamed buyer for $460,000 on Jan. 20, 1999.
Michael's share of the proceeds would have been $437,000 but he never saw a cent, he claims.
Michael is suing Moments in Time and its owner, Gary Zimet, for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence and violation of the Consumer Fraud Act. Michael v. Moments in Time, SSX-L- 501-03. Superior Court Judge Karen Russell has been assigned to the case.
The album bears Lennon's autograph, "John Lennon 1980;" a police identification number,"WJT-2;" and the fingerprints of Chapman, who is serving a 20-year to life sentence. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on June 22, 1981, but the prosecution would have used the album had the case gone to trial.
The story of how the album got onto the auction block begins on the day of the shooting. According to contemporary accounts, Chapman loitered outside the Dakota for much of the day. A widely circulated photograph taken by a fan shows Lennon autographing the album with Chapman looking on.
The shooting occurred late that evening, around 11 p.m., as Lennon returned from a recording studio. Witnesses saw Chapman call out to Lennon before firing four shots into his back and shoulder from a .38 caliber revolver, killing him almost instantly. Hordes of Beatle fans and other onlookers, including Michael, swarmed to the scene soon after. He found the signed album in a planter, where Chapman had stashed it.
Michael turned over the album to the authorities, as evidenced by a letter of thanks to his New York lawyer, Joan Berk. "By coming forward with the record that Mark Chapman abandoned at the murder site, your client provided us with an important piece of evidence," wrote Assistant New York County District Attorney Allen Sullivan on Aug. 26, 1981.
After Chapman's plea and sentence, the district attorney returned the album to Michael, who kept it until 1998, when he decided to put it up for auction and contacted Moments in Time. That August, Zimet's company offered the album for sale at $1.8 million. A company press release described it as containing Chapman's "forensically enhanced fingerprints" and stated that police reports, fingerprint documentation and letters from the district attorney supported its authenticity. The announcement of the auction drew international media attention, leading to the 1999 sale.
Yet, it was almost five years later that Michael came to court claiming he was cheated out of his proceeds. Michael's lawyer, Paul Hunczak, a partner with Newton, N.J.'s Morris, Downing & Sherred, says he had a hard time at first believing the tale told by his personal injury client, until Michael showed him a People magazine article about the album.
Chapman, too, apparently recognized the monetary value of the album. On Dec. 6, 1981, Rich Hampson of The Associated Press reported that Chapman was trying to regain possession of it so he could sell it and donate the proceeds to "a worthy cause such as gun control."
....Zimet did not return calls seeking comment.
After the shooting, "Double Fantasy" rose to the top of the Billboard charts and became one of the best-selling albums of 1980.
Last October, the New York State Division of Parole denied Chapman's application for parole for the second time. The first denial was in October 2000, when he first became eligible for parole.
The Eighties Club is not affiliated in any way with any of the publications from which these excerpts were derived, and does not profit in any way from the purchase of the complete articles. These excerpts are provided for educational purposes only.