Jacko surfaces: For the first time since he was seen leaving the courthouse in Santa Barbara a free man, Michael Jackson has popped up in photos -- looking healthy, happy and in Dubai. The photos show a smiling Jackson posing with United Arab Emirates rally champion Mohammed Bin Sulayem and the son of the king of Bahrain. Sulayem says, "Michael had a wonderful time and he was surprised and impressed by what he found in Dubai." Jackson fled the U.S. following the trial, and has been spending a lot of time in the Middle East, and reportedly bought a 14-acre property in Bahrain. Germany's nice, too: There has also been talk that the singer is planning to move to Berlin and re-create his Neverland ranch somewhere on the outskirts of the city. (BBC, N.Y. Post via Middle East Times, Deutsche Welle)
Honeymoon's over: No longer newlyweds Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey aren't going out of their way to put a brave front on their marriage. Rumors of major relationship trauma have been swirling around the couple for months, and their public appearances together over the weekend during the MTV Video Music Awards weren't exactly lovey-dovey. Simpson went without her wedding band, and a source for Lloyd Grove's Lowdown overheard her asking Lachey, "Are we gonna do this together?" as they approached the red carpet, to which he just shrugged. And they apparently hardly spoke to one another at other VIP events. Simpson's P.R. spokesperson responded with a standard non-denial denial: "More nonsense. The kind of stuff people make up to get press for their events and clubs in the tabloids." (N.Y. Daily News)
Reaching for the ice pick?: When Catherine Zeta-Jones landed the role of Lana Turner, playing alongside Keanu Reeves as gangster Johnny Stompanato, for an upcoming biopic about the actress, Sharon Stone was none too pleased. Stone, who was close to Turner and thinks she "really rocked," had the understanding she would get to play Turner in any future movie about her life. "I met Lana in her final years and liked her a great deal. She was every inch the movie star and we got along really well. She said if there was a film to be made on her life, then I was her choice." (IMDB.com)
Martha Stewart may have decided on the catchphrase for her version of "The Apprentice." Hold onto yours hats and glasses, people, here it is: "You just don't fit in." Somehow, it lacks the punch of the Donald's "You're fired!" ... It's not exactly life-or-death drama, but a number of major film productions had to be abandoned in the face of Hurricane Katrina's arrival in New Orleans. Among films already shooting or about to start were "Deja Vu," starring Denzel Washington; "The Guardian," with Kevin Costner; Michael Keaton's "The Last Time"; "Vampire Bats," with Lucy Lawless; and "The Reaping," starring Hilary Swank. ... Lindsay Lohan has been trying to play peacemaker in her long-running, Aaron Carter-fueled feud with Hilary Duff, all to no avail. Lohan told an interviewer recently, "I called her last week, and I was like, 'Do you wanna hang out?' And her sister hung up the phone on me!" ... Art Garfunkel was busted again for pot possession in Woodstock on Sunday after being pulled over for missing a stop sign at an intersection. A state trooper noticed a "strong odor of marijuana" and found a joint in the ashtray after searching the car. Garfunkel also pleaded guilty to possession and paid a small fine last year in Woodstock after his limo was pulled over for speeding. ... Pete Doherty watch: The increasingly unhinged singer of the U.K. band Babyshambles got into a fight, or something like it, with Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell at the Leeds festival over the weekend. Doherty strode up to Borrell in the Razorlight dressing room and, unprovoked, head-butted him. Borrell then knocked Doherty to the ground and left before security escorted Doherty back to his band's bus.
Actress Laura Linney on the many talents of Jennifer Carpenter, with whom she stars in the upcoming film "The Exorcism of Emily Rose": "She is just absolutely the most astonishing and versatile young actress ... you have to be really trained vocally to be able to scream like that for 15 hours a day on a film set." (Page Six)
See Madonna's first starring role in "Desperately Seeking Susan" (E!, 8 p.m. EDT). Also: The competition for the role of lead singer gets ever-tighter as CBS airs a new episode of "Rock Star: INXS" (9 p.m. EDT).
-- Scott Lamb