Lady Gaga Manila show warned
Lady Gaga has been warned to refrain from nudity and blasphemy when her tour reaches the Philippines after her concert was banned by Indonesia. Antonino Calixto, the mayor of Manila's Pasay district where she is performing tomorrow, said inspectors will be at the venue to ensure she does not overstep the mark. Religious groups have also expressed concern over the show and the city hall was picketed on Friday by a group offended by her song Judas. - AFP
Neil Sedaka takes on children's books
Neil Sedaka is making his way into the hearts of a new generation, through picture books accompanied by mini albums offering playful takes on some of his hits. At 73, he enlisted the aid of his granddaughters as backup singers on the three-song CD tucked into Dinosaur Pet, out this month and inspired by his 1960 hit Calendar Girl. It's Sedaka's second book using child-tailored lyrics, a popular marketing hook for performers looking to bring their music to children. - AP
Private funeral for Donna Summer
Donna Summer's funeral will be a private one for family and close friends, her publicist announced on Friday, refusing to provide further details. Summer died on Thursday morning of lung cancer at age 63. The US President Barack Obama said in a statement he and his wife Michelle were saddened to hear of her passing: "Her voice was unforgettable, and the music industry has lost a legend far too soon." Tributes poured in on Twitter, where Summer became the top trending topic. "She was truly the #Disco Queen!" said La Toya Jackson. Mary J Blige tweeted: "You were truly a game changer!!!" Elton John said in a statement: "Her records sound as good today as they ever did. I will miss her greatly." - AP
American Idol down to final 2
Joshua Ledet, a 20-year-old vocal powerhouse, won't be belting it out on American Idol's final showdown, after receiving the fewest viewer votes on Thursday. This leaves the 21-year-old bluesy crooner Phillip Phillips and the 16-year-old Filipina-Mexican diva Jessica Sanchez to compete for the show's record deal prize. The two will face off on Tuesday night in Hollywood, with the 11th Idol champion crowned on Wednesday. Special guests in the finale include Rihanna and Aerosmith. The episodes will be broadcast in the UAE on Wednesday and Thursday at 9pm on OSN.
Larry King to return to TV
Larry King announced on Thursday his return to television this summer, via the new digital network Ora.TV. The show Larry King Now will mark the start-up of the network financed by the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. King, 78, said he expected the format of his show to be similar to Larry King Live, which was broadcast on CNN for 25 years, and he has retained much of his old production staff. - AP
Egyptian film makes a splash at Cannes
The 65th Cannes Film Festival opened on Wednesday night, with its jury headed by Italy's Nanni Moretti, a former Palme d'Or winner, and no fewer than five other Palme d'Or winners in competition: Austria's Michael Haneke, Iran's Abbas Kiarostami, Romania's Cristian Mungiu, Thailand's Apichatpong Weerasethakul and the UK's Ken Loach.
Moonrise Kingdom, the opening night offering by the American indie filmmaker Wes Anderson, tells of two 12-year-old outsiders (beautifully portrayed by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward), whose first love disrupts the lives of all the adults on the remote New England island where this comic/melancholic mid-1960s tale unfolds. The film is scheduled to open in the UAE later this month.
The next day, inspiring a packed house to offer a standing ovation at 1am, was Yousry Nasrallah's After the Battle, the first Egyptian film in 15 years to be selected to compete at Cannes. The film made a strong impression on some western critics, but its loose structure vexed others.
Nasrallah found his inspiration - and his co-screenwriter - in Tahrir Square in last year's upheaval. But his bold film goes beyond the headlines and explores some of the complexities of a revolution still far from resolved.
Menna Chalabi, Bassem Samra and Nahed el Sebai (pictured, far left, with Nasrallah, Chalabi and Samra) give skilled performances in this impressive film which will make its Middle East premiere in October at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival which - full disclosure - made a modest financial contribution toward its production.
* Peter Scarlet, the executive director of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival