Just in time for the Fourth of July! There's an art exhibit at New York's Whitney Museum called "The American Effect" that includes visions of our country by foreign artists. The headliner is a piece by Shanghai-born Zhou Tiehai that depicts former Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a Mao-like pose -- looking up, against a dramatic sky -- with two pieces of elephant dung resting at the bottom of the canvas. You may remember that in 1999 Rudy tried to have a Brooklyn Museum show closed down because of a Chris Ofili work that depicted the Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung. No word on what the ex-mayor thinks about the piece, which is called "Liberty, May the Gods Protect You!" (New York Daily News)
It's good to know that a film career can help a gal get dates. Poor Lucy Liu had been having a hard time attracting guys, since they all thought that she was her tough, mean character Ling on "Ally McBeal." Guess now those same guys think that she really is the kinder, gentler person she plays in "Charley's Angels" so now she's getting asked out. Harrison Ford is a brave guy for taking a chance on Calista. But maybe he knew she was just acting. (Ananova)
Every other reality show can move over, because "The Restaurant," premiering July 20, will surely be the most compelling of all. What, after all, can cause more anxiety than trying to open a restaurant, from the ground up, in five weeks? Sexy New York restaurateur Rocco DeSpirito does just that for "Survivor" creator Mark Burnett and the whole thing is captured by the cameras for the new show -- which sounds like it won't be a very good ad for the eatery. In one scene DeSpirito quizzes his wait staff: "What's in Mama's meatballs?" and one waitress says, "Um, meat?" (MSNBC)
-- Karen Croft
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A certain someone can uncross (and recross and uncross) her legs now. Looks like it's over for Sharon Stone and Phil Bronstein. The actress and her newspaperman hubby, who have an adopted 2-year-old son, are reportedly living in separate houses. They're "no comment"-ing, but insiders say they headed their separate ways after she returned from London and Moscow, where she was filming "A Different Loyalty." Chances are high that her leading man on that film, Rupert Everett, was not the wedge that came between them. (New York Post)
Jack Osbourne is back from rehab and -- in true Osbourne fashion -- speaking out about his addiction. His drug of choice? OxyContin, a painkiller as addictive as morphine. Osbourne, 17, says he realized he needed help after taking a look around him at a party. "I took myself out of the picture for a second and I looked around at every single person in the room -- at who they were, how old they were and what they had going on in their lives. A lot of them were near 30, unemployed, living off their parents. There were heroin addicts -- there were the world's biggest couch potatoes," he told MTV in a recent interview. "I don't want to be like that. I don't want my life to be controlled by a drug." (DotMusic)
Sharon Osbourne helped her son get the help he needed, but she and Ozzy blame themselves for letting matters get to that point. "The mistake that Sharon and I both made, and we both agree on this, is we never set any boundaries," Papa Osbourne tells MTV News. "We never said, 'You must be in the house by a certain time.' We just let them have the freedom. Sharon and I are still learning. We're not the parents that say, 'We're always right,' because we're not." (MTV)
The New York Post on Bruce Willis' NYC performance with his band, the Accelerators: "Willis is a good actor and blows a fair blues harp. But the man's singing ability is dicey. His grits-and-growl baritone has trouble reaching a low C ... His is a novelty act with Blues Brothers pretensions, although without the sense of humor." Ouch.
Things are getting ugly between Jennifer Lopez and her former manager Benny Medina. She's filed a lawsuit against him, claiming he siphoned away money that was rightfully hers. "Jennifer feels wronged and misrepresented and misled," her lawyer, Barry Hirsch, told the press. Medina denies the allegations and says he's saddened by his former client's aggressive move, adding, "Unfortunately, having worked with Ms. Lopez for years and being familiar with her tactics, I guess I should not be surprised." (New York Daily News)
And as you head off to the fireworks this weekend, think on this: Smithsonian Magazine asked its readers which artist they'd most like to see create a new U.S. national anthem. Readers chose film composer John Williams (a fine choice) and ... Andrew Lloyd Webber. The singers they'd most like to hear give voice to said new anthem? Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler and Whitney Houston. Makes you downright proud to be an American, don't it?
-- Amy Reiter