Stars start giving: The celebrity world is already busy pitching in to do what it can to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast. Diddy and Jay-Z announced they would donate $1 million to the American Red Cross, and called on others to do the same. "This is our community," said Jay-Z. "When I turn on CNN, I see a lot of black people on the streets. I know it's other people too, but those projects have been hit hard." Celine Dion and Nicolas Cage also both announced $1 million donations, and Morgan Freeman, who lives in the Mississippi Delta, started an online auction to raise money. "If every single person in America just donated $1, it would help so much," Kelly Osbourne told MSNBC. (MSNBC, AP, USA Today)
Turnaround is fair play: Just days before Brooke Shields was scheduled to go on "Oprah" to respond to Tom Cruise's attack on her postpartum depression, the actress found herself looking for a new publicist's help. Who better to turn to than Cruise's ex-publicity rep, legend Pat Kingsley? Kingsley and Cruise split up about the same time that Cruise and Katie Holmes got together, and people within the industry can't help viewing Kingsley's decision to represent Shields as anything other than a way to get back at her former client. Kingsley, of course, denies it has anything to do with her newfound dislike of all things Cruise. "I know where you're going with this, and it's not really the case," says Kingsley. "Those two dots don't connect. The situation with Tom Cruise is over. She is going on with her life, and I'm sure he's going on with his." (Radar Online)
Creepy prison music: Lindsay Lohan has been working on a song about her father Michael for her next album, tentatively titled either "Confessions of a Broken Heart" or "Daughter to Father." The two have a checkered past, to put it mildly: Michael's long-running bid for control over his daughter's career was dragged into the bitter divorce and custody battle he's still fighting with Lindsay's mom, Dina, who's seeking $1 million in damages and full custody of their three children. Michael is currently serving out a four-year prison term for drunken driving and attacking his brother-in-law with a shoe. But in response to Lindsay's latest work, Michael has been working on a father/daughter song of his own, which he sent in to the New York Daily News. A choice verse:
I loved and protected you, I was THERE through it all./ I do admit, I did at times fall./ But these things you know were due to "THEM"/ The ones that want to have a piece of my gem!
Michael has at least six verses written so far, but writes, "I'm still working on a chorus!!!" Representatives for Lindsay and Dina Lohan had no comment. (N.Y. Daily News)
With a nearly four-hour opening statement by the prosecution, the civil trial against Robert Blake for the death of his wife opened on Thursday. Blake was acquitted of murder charges in Bonny Lee Bakley's death last March, but her children are now suing Blake for damages Fans of actor Michael Vartan are doing their best to make Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck look bad after Vartan was booted off "Alias." Before Affleck came along, Garner and Vartan were an item, and fans of the show think Garner and Affleck arranged to have his character killed off Michelle Pfeiffer was the victim of a carjacking during a break in filming in London. Pfeiffer was loading shopping bags into the back of her car when she and her driver were distracted by an accomplice. The thief simply hopped in and drove off One of Mississippi's last great bluesmen, R.L. Burnside, died of heart failure on Thursday in Memphis at 78 The lease at CBGB's ran out on Thursday, but the famed music club's owner, Hilly Kristal, vowed to keep it open at least a few more months. After months of rallies and fundraisers, CBGB's hasn't managed to come to an agreement with its landlord, but Kristal says, "It's a fight, a hard fight, and we're going to keep fighting."
George Clooney on why he enjoys directing movies rather than just appearing in them: "Acting is, as I've proven time and time again, not my greatest forte. Balancing the two is interesting." (BBC)
Spike Lee talking about the sorry state of the American movie industry: "I'm not naming any individual films, but it's the worst it's ever been. It's full of sequels and remakes of TV shows. There's no originality, and that has not always been the case." (BBC)
In an effort to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Katrina, NBC's Matt Lauer hosts a "Concert for Hurricane Relief" (8 p.m. EDT). The aftermath of the storm is sure to be a big topic of discussion on "Real Time With Bill Maher" (HBO, 11 p.m. EDT). And if you want to escape from it all for a bit, Encore is running it's Big 80s Weekend movie marathon, starting Friday with "Karate Kid" (8 p.m. EDT).
-- Scott Lamb