Lorraine Ali

Stories by Lorraine Ali

  • True or False: 'Idol' Airs in Every Continent But Antarctica

    They're bungling ballads in Kazakhstan, mauling Bollywood favorites in India and shout-singing Beyoncé numbers in Bolivia. Most every country—even those that lack running water and free elections—has its own version of "American Idol." This is not necessarily a bad thing. The very American idea that anyone can be a star has helped break down rigid class barriers in several countries. In places where the concept of democracy is still shaky, "Idol" lets viewers have the vote—last year alone, the global number of votes cast for contestants within the "Idol" franchise exceeded 2 billion. But as for "Idol" 's influence on music? Let's just say now that regional productions of the show have infiltrated 39 countries, "Idol" has lowered the artistic bar so drastically that Britney and 'N Sync sound like creative geniuses by comparison.Listen to singing amateurs from Argentina to Afghanistan, and you'll discover that they all sound the same, down to the Céline Dion melodrama in their voices...
  • Nancy Drew Is Back … On the Silver Screen

    Go get your flashlight—there's a mystery we need to solve. Nancy Drew, girl sleuth, who vanished from movie theaters nearly 70 years ago, suddenly reappears this week. Where has she been? And can the teenager time forgot appeal to a generation obsessed with the Pussycat Dolls? Let's get to the bottom of this.Before the new "Nancy Drew" movie, the 16-year-old crimefighter had last hit the silver screen in 1939. Back then, the Stratemeyer Syndicate's series of novels (by the pseudonymous Carolyn Keene) was just nine years old. Now, nearly 200 books later, the Nancy of the novels has traded the blue roadster for a hybrid, and she's been one of Simon & Schuster's most bankable brands since 1979, when it bought the rights from Stratemeyer. Apparently that didn't impress the movie industry, which has co-opted just about every other boomer-era character, from Inspector Gadget to the Brady Bunch. In Hollywood, Nancy Drew couldn't get, as they say, arrested.Nancy did have a short-lived ...
  • Media Coverage of Muslims Bombs

    According to a Pew Research Center poll released earlier this week, Muslim-Americans are “largely assimilated, happy with their lives, and moderate with respect to many of the issues that have divided Muslims and Westerners around the world.” The poll showed the majority surveyed have close non-Muslim friends, believe in a strong American work ethic and feel there is little conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society. Overall, an encouraging picture, right?Not according to a cavalcade of major media outlets. On Tuesday and Wednesday, coverage of the poll was downright foreboding. “Supporting Terror?” read the CNN crawl at the bottom of the screen as John Roberts interviewed a group of young moderate Muslims about the poll. On CBS News online, the headline incorrectly stated that 26% OF YOUNG U.S. MUSLIMS OK BOMBS.  And in USA Today, more misinformation and scare tactics: POLL: 1 IN 4 YOUNGER U.S. MUSLIMS SUPPORT SUICIDE BOMBINGS.The fear-inducing reports...
  • Q&A: A Prudential VP on Her Transition

    Margaret Stumpp, 54, is a vice president at Prudential Financial Inc. A 20-year veteran, she is the first openly transgender person at the firm, which has nearly 40,000 employees. Stumpp transitioned from Mark Stumpp to Maggie in February 2002, all while maintaining her position as chief investment officer for Quantitative Management Associates (a subsidiary of Prudential). When Stumpp returned to the office as Maggie, she sent this memo to her fellow employees: "From: M. Stumpp. Subject: Me." "This will be new ground for all of us," Stumpp wrote. "However, if September 11 taught us anything, it was that life is far too precious and short. Each of us must strive to be at peace with ourselves." She signed the note "Margaret."  She spoke with NEWSWEEK's Lorraine Ali. ...
  • Alexis Arquette on the Politics of Gender Change

    Seventeen-year-old Alexis Arquette landed her first acting role in 1986 playing a transgender in "Last Exit To Brooklyn." Eighteen years later, she went through a real transition from man to woman. Arquette, an actress, musician and cabaret drag performer, comes from a family of actors that includes siblings Patricia, David, Richmond and Rosanna Arquette, father Lewis Arquette and grandfather Cliff Arquette. She's done almost 70 films—mostly indie, some adult—but one of her most memorable roles was as the Boy George character in  1998's "The Wedding Singer." "I did play transgender characters that were comedy roles and I feel bad about that now," says Arquette, 37. "That Boy George character, it's offensive to me now."  She's now starring in a forthcoming A&E documentary about her transition, "Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother," which just debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. ...
  • Music: Ibrahim Ferrer's Swan Song

    Ibrahim Ferrer was just a few weeks away from finishing his third solo album, "Mi Sueño," ("My  Dream") when the 78-year-old Cuban singer died after complications from emphysema. Up until that day in August 2005, Ferrer, who rose to international fame as the suave tenor of the Buena Vista Social Club, always insisted he had an angel on his shoulder, and it was hard to argue with him. A minor figure from Havana's big-band era, Ferrer was shining shoes, at age 68, when he was plucked from obscurity by American guitarist Ry Cooder in 1997. Cooder had heard that some of the great bandleaders and players from Havana's pre-revolutionary era were still around, and the producer wanted to capture some of the island's more traditional styles before they died out with the artists. With the help of Cuban bandleader Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, Cooder did just that. As the Buena Vista Social Club, pianist Ruben Gonzalez, guitarist Compay Segundo and Ferrer resurrected sounds from Cuba's big-band era...
  • Music: Amy Winehouse Tears Off the Roof

    She's only 23, but Britain's Amy Winehouse sings with all the pain—and power—of Judy Garland and Billie Holiday. Talent this big can't be rehabbed.Amy Winehouse is an odd musical spectacle. She's a skinny, 23-year-old British girl who looks like she should be cooing ephemeral pop tunes, but instead, belts out deep, resonant numbers as though she's possessed by Etta James, Lauryn Hill and Judy Garland. It reminds me of those creepy moments on "Star Search" when a preschooler would practically bleed Whitney Houston, even though the only pain she'd felt came from diaper rash.Winehouse has become known in England for her ability to riff about modern-day life atop 1950s-style soul and doo wop. She's a true blues and jazz crooner, but unlike Norah Jones, Winehouse possesses a punk-rock attitude. "Rehab," the quirky first single off her second album, "Back to Black," recounts the time when her management staged an intervention to get her off the booze: "They tried to make me go to rehab...
  • Only One Side Of The Story

    By age 14, Somalia-born feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali had survived genital mutilation at the hands of her grandmother, a fractured skull from her Qur'an teacher and brutal beatings from her devout Muslim mother. By comparison, her father was kind. The Somali rebel, who had largely abandoned his family to plan coups and marry three more women, only meddled when it came to arranging his 23-year-old daughter's marriage. When Ayaan refused, he disowned her.A violent, loveless childhood. The splintering effects of civil war. The pervasive misogyny of her culture. Hirsi Ali's exceptionally harsh life story--told in her new memoir, "Infidel"--would elicit empathy from the coldest of hearts. But that's not the book's only purpose. Hirsi Ali, a 38-year-old Dutch citizen and women's rights advocate who now lives in Washington, D.C., is one of Europe's most infamous critics of Islam. She renounced her Muslim faith after the 9/11 attacks, decried what she regarded as the religion's brutality in...
  • Mining the Middle East for Laughs

    Racial profiling and hate crimes are serious stuff ... unless you’re Arab-American comedian Dean Obeidallah. The New Jersey native is the co-creator of Comedy Central’s new online show, “The Watch List,” a six-part series where Americans of Mideast descent riff on everything from their parent’s arranged marriages to why it’s now hip to be Arab. “We’re so racially profiled now I heard a correspondent on CNN say ‘Arabs are the new blacks',” jokes Obeidallah. “And I have to confess, when I heard that, I was excited. We’re cool! White kids in the suburbs, instead of dressing and acting like blacks to be cool, they’ll pretend to be Arab.” His routine is brought to life by a sketch that includes white boys shooting hoops in galabiyas , pimping their rides to look like New York cabs and greeting each other with hot new phrases like “What Up, My Arab?" and "Arab, please.”“The Watch List” is named after a decidedly more serious (and arguably less effective) list kept by Homeland Security....
  • Common

    In person, Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr. is a soft-spoken man who prays before each meal--a mix of Christian, Buddhist and Muslim rituals--and speaks lovingly of writing children's books. This may come as a surprise to people who know him professionally as Common, the Isaac Hayes-cool rapper who brought groove, soul and stealth sexuality back to hip-hop. Then again, maybe not. Common is, after all, the street-smart dude from the South Side of Chicago who has made a trademark of wearing fine Italian tweed hats on his elegantly bald head. "I guess I'm a little schizophrenic," says Common, 34, with a laugh. "People think I'm laid back or even shy in person, then they see me onstage, or hear me on my records, and it's, like, Who is that guy? "There will be a lot more people asking that question in the new year. Common will costar with none other than Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe next fall in "American Gangster," Ridley Scott's film about New York City cops who take on a Harlem drug...
  • The Coolest Mogul

    No flashbulbs go off when Jay-Z enters the small downstairs lobby of Soho House, an exclusive hangout looking down on Manhattan's trendy meatpacking district. In fact, no one really even notices the 6-foot-2 guy in droopy jeans and zip-up hoodie until coming face to face with him in the elevator. "Jay!" shrieks a surprised passenger. The passenger's with a shorter friend who's stunned into silence. If only they'd known they'd meet the premier music mogul, entrepreneur and hip-hop MC of their generation--they would've worn their good sneakers. The taller one chatters nervously about some club in Jersey, as his stout buddy's face settles into a frozen smile. Jay-Z puts them at ease with a few simple interjections. "Really?" "Yeah, that's cool." By the time they reach the fifth floor, the guys are comfortable enough to shake hands with him. They even give him a slap-on-the-back goodbye.No civilian could ever get that close to Diddy--let alone dare touch him. But Jay-Z, a.k.a. Shawn...
  • Oops. She Split Up Again

    If you’re wondering why a lean and fit Britney Spears (sans wedding ring) would bother to drop in on David  Letterman on Monday night for a few short minutes, today’s news of her split with husband Kevin Federline made it clear that her surprise visit really was code for “I’m a survivor.”The divorce papers, filed with the Los Angeles Supreme Court yesterday, appeared on the Web today.  In them, Spears, 24, cited “irreconcilable differences”  with her husband of two years and requested legal and physical custody of  their two children—1-year old Sean Preston and 2-month old Jayden James. She’s hired celebrity divorce lawyer Laura Wasser, who has repped Angelina Jolie, Nick Lachey and Kiefer Sutherland in their divorces.Many a Britney fan rejoiced. On DivorceKevin.com, where you can buy T shirts that read I MARRIED AN OUT OF WORK, BADLY DRESSED BACK UP DANCER AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS CRAPPY T-SHIRT, they’re on overdrive: BREAKING NEWS, BRITNEY LISTENS TO FANS AND DIVORCEKEVIN.COM AND...
  • Homegirl From London

    Even at 15, Lady Sovereign knew she was the odd girl out. All the 5-foot-1 rapper had to do was put a few of her tracks--and a photo--on some music Web sites: "They'd say, 'You're white. You're a girl. You're British. You're crap'," says Sovereign (born Louise Harman), now 20. Not long ago Sovereign would have been another underground fizzle, snuffed out by the preconception that Brits, let alone white girls, can't rap. But since American rap has become so predictable, listeners are even willing to give England a second chance. Lady Sovereign's first video off her debut "Public Warning"--on Def Jam records, no less--has hit No. 3 on MTV's "Total Request Live." The press now calls her Britain's Eminem--a title she loathes. But it makes sense given her sharp rapping skills, smart, irreverent lyrics--and pasty skin.Sovereign isn't the only British woman to make waves on this side of the Atlan-tic. The Sri Lankan-born M.I.A. topped critics' lists after the release of her first full...
  • Down and Dirty Tours

    It's unlikely you'll see the "Vice Guide to Travel" featured on Oprah, Expedia or the Travel Channel anytime soon. The DVD, produced by the editors of pop culture's irreverent Vice Magazine and under the creative direction of video and now film's Spike Jonze (Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice," "Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation"), forgoes the gated resorts of Jamaica and spas of New Mexico to run with illegal-arms dealers in Pakistan, converse with dirty-bomb dealers in Bulgaria and shoot wild, radioactive boar in Chernobyl. In one segment, a Vice reporter goes to Paraguay to visit the failed Nazi commune of Nueva Germania and finds its last two inhabitants living in squalor. He interviews locals who remember Dr. Josef Mengele, dubbed "The Angel of Death" during World War II because of his horrific surgical experiments on Auschwitz prisoners. The villagers recall that during his last days, he ate out of tin cans and spent each night screaming in his sleep.Odd but telling details...
  • Worlds Away

    It's three in the morning and thick clouds of dust roll across the rural Mexican dirt road like New England fog. Nearby, strings of bare-bulbed lights illuminate an outdoor fiesta where dozens of Tecate locals in cowboy boots and chunky heels dance to the rowdy ranchero band Los Incomparables. But not everyone's having fun. A cameraman on the perimeter of the set has had it with all the errant chickens underfoot. "Get the f--- out of here!" he orders, but this chicken doesn't speak English. "¡Silencio, por favor!" yells a stage manager from the other side of the clapboard fence, and the bird stops in its tracks.Communication breakdowns and cultural rifts drive Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Babel," a film that spans three continents, seven languages and many leagues' worth of buried emotion. It's his latest in a trilogy that includes "Amores Perros" and "21 Grams," but this time, the Mexican director's overlapping stories have gone global. Two Moroccan brothers testing their dad's...
  • Living Legend

    The couple seated opposite John Legend are playing footsie under the table. All that's missing from this scene inside a cozy New York café is a little intimate music. That's where Legend should come in: love, romance and heartbreak lit up the singer's stellar debut, "Get Lifted." But right now the 28-year-old looks more queasy than inspired. "Wow, they're playing footsie in Birkenstocks," he says, stirring his tea distractedly. "Now that's true love."There are some scenes that not even John Legend can render poetic. Still, he's managed to reinvigorate urban music with graceful, soul-filled ballads and simple but transfixing pop. Despite minimal airplay, Legend won best new artist at the 2006 Grammys and, along with his mentor Kanye West, raised the creative bar for a generation of MTV hopefuls. "I think we made something really cool and enjoyable, but I don't think we changed pop music," says Legend, a pianist who writes all his own songs. "Maybe it did push record labels to go with...
  • The Way They Move

    Seersucker slacks, saddle shoes, suspenders and a crisp white jacket. It’s hard to say why Andre Benjamin (a.k.a. Andre 3000) thought it was good idea to wear this dapper ensem­ble into the pot-smoke-permeated, pit-bull-loving, Red Bull-drinking crowd at Stankonia studios in Atlanta, but he did it nonetheless. As the more ec­centric half OutKast, he’s proven he can pull off just about any look—a Little Richard pompadour, a Native American head­dress--but his partner Antwan (Big Boi) Patton still gives him the critical once-over. Big Boi’s wearing baggy jeans, a T shirt emblazoned with a porn shot of a naked woman, three-day razor stubble and a smirk. “What the f--- is that?” he asks, gesturing toward Dre. “Are you wearin’ a Member’s Only jacket?”The crew, most of whom subscribe to the Big Boi school of dress, bust up laugh­ing. Dre knows the drill: “I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about,” he says in a cool Georgia drawl. “You the one still wearin’ the same outfit you did in 1998.”...
  • Christina Aguilera Comes of Age

    Christina Aguilera shows up for dinner at an L.A. restaurant looking like Jean Harlow. Her platinum-blond hair is curled just so, her lipstick a perfect shade of retro red; her eyelashes are so long they cast shadows on the wall. The 5-foot-2 bombshell turns heads among the clientele: some recognize her, some just assume that anyone who looks like this must be famous. Aguilera, 25, seems cool and composed. Then she orders a banana split for dinner. "Wanna share?" she asks. When it arrives, it's so big she finds it "a turnoff"; she talks about "pushing artistic boundaries" and "thinking outside the box" while stirring the melting ice cream. At one point, she pulls one of her own shimmering hairs out of the dish. "Ew." She scrunches her face. "I mean, like, ew! Now it's even more gross."Aguilera has been a Mouseketeer in starlet's clothing, a bubblegum pop star in S&M gear ... and so on. She's changed her look as often as other girls change handbags, and with each new image comes...
  • This Is Your Street Mid-Bombing

    Remember the egg, the frying pan and the message? "This is your brain," the ominous narrator told us before cracking an egg over the sizzling skillet. "This is your brain on drugs." Public service announcements have changed a lot since that foreboding culinary lesson. They now include exploding cars, flying Matrix-style stuntmen and exceedingly dire messages like "Don't Suicide Bomb." A new, American-made PSA aimed at discouraging these deadly attacks is currently in production. The ad is slated to air as a 60-second spot on Iraqi television this summer.It's a tall order considering that post-occupation Iraq is now rife with militant groups and plagued by increasing sectarian violence. In March alone there were an estimated 175 suicide bombings. There’s also the question of just who will be able to see the PSA. The cost of owning a TV is often prohibitive for the average Iraqi, and those who are affluent enough to get Iraq’s state-sponsored programs are not always thrilled by what...
  • He's Jack of All Trades

    Is there anything Jack White can't do? The White Stripes front-man is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, actor ("Cold Mountain"), pianist, theremin player, marimbist--in fact, he plays just about everything but drums. (That's what Meg White's for.) He's a deconstructionist who can dismantle rock and blues and reassemble them as minimalist, passionate (and remarkably accessible), Grammy-winning songs. It's even possible that his fashion sense inspired Willy Wonka's undertaker-meets-sideshow-barker look in the new version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."White's not nearly finished making the rest of us feel lazy and untalented. Now he's the power behind "Broken Boy Soldiers" (nominally by the Raconteurs), one of the most charismatic pop/rock albums this year. This band is yet another of White's side projects, though he insists the quartet isn't just an outlet for more superfluous energy. The Detroit-bred rocker collaborates with singer-songwriter Brendan Benson--another...
  • Music: Sounding Off on Bush

    Mr. President, how do you sleep at night while the rest of us cry?" asks Pink on her new album, "I'm Not Dead." George W. Bush has yet to answer the pop star's question, but he may as well brace himself: Pink's acoustic number is part of an anti-establishment avalanche in music, and this time it's personal. The protest songs of the Vietnam era railed against the war and The Man, but the new wave of dissent is aimed directly at Bush. On his new album, Neil Young sings, "Let's impeach the president, for hijacking our religion and using it to get elected/Dividing our country into colors, and still leaving black people neglected." Songs on upcoming CDs by Merle Haggard, Dashboard Confessional and Paul Simon deal more blows against the war and Bush. Even The Boss's new CD, featuring Springsteen's own renditions of protest songs by Pete Seeger, is clearly more than an ode to the folk hero; it's an arrow aimed directly at the White House. "This whole idea that we have to temper our moral...
  • Pearl Jam Comes Alive

    Eddie Vedder writes songs on a manual typewriter, carries important papers in a 1940s suitcase, keeps his credit cards in a plastic Batman wallet and wears his beat-up lumberjack boots over a pair of blue argyle socks. He prefers to talk politics rather than Pearl Jam, and has a 21-month-old daughter who likes to sing Daddy's new single, "World Wide Suicide," during play group. "She dances around singing 'Suicide, suicide'," says Vedder, "and I have to wonder what the other parents are thinking."Such personal tidbits feel like a full-length tell-all memoir when you consider that Pearl Jam has been, and remains, a band that guards its privacy. After the success of their 1991 debut, "Ten," which sold nearly 10 million copies, the Seattle group stopped making videos, shunned endorsements and shied away from almost all self-promotion. And each subsequent album proved less accessible than its predecessor. (Can you name the last two Pearl Jam records?) But despite their refusal to play...
  • The Kiss of Death

    The Flaming Lips started out as yet another weird art band destined for the small performance spaces of '80s bohemia. But somehow, despite their boom-box orchestra--singer Wayne Coyne conducting 40 people wielding boom boxes--their occasional onstage bunny suits and their splattering of audience members with fake blood, they've not only survived for 24 years, but thrived. The most bizarre part of the story: they were actually signed to a major label (Warner Brothers), actually produced a pop hit (1993's "She Don't Use Jelly")--and the critically acclaimed "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" has actually just gone gold. (True, it came out in 2002.)Their new CD, "At War With the Mystics," and their well-timed biography--Staring at Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma's Fabulous Flaming Lips" by Chicago pop-music critic Jim DeRogatis--marks one more artistic (and perhaps commercial) high point for the band. The Lips are one of the few experimental acts who seem to remember, and care, that...
  • Snap Judgment: Music

    Prince '3121'When Prince sings "Stop writing checks that your body can't cash," on a track titled "Lolita," it makes you wonder how we've survived all this time without his pervy charm. Half the CD is fueled by his breathy grunts and groans, his exploding falsetto and, of course, big fat beats. The other half? Soul ballads and even some love songs. But mostly, Prince reminds us that the sexy bump and grind isn't just a she thing. Hallelujah.
  • The Kid Stayed in the Picture

    A live album. A nationwide tour. A leaked sex tape. A lawsuit. Kid Rock's (a.k.a. Bob Ritchie's) multitasking skills have been put to the test over the past few weeks. His new CD, "Live Trucker," was released right around the time a graphic 40-second video clip hit the Web; it showed Rock and the Detroit rapper (and former Creed frontman) Scott Stapp—strange bedfellows to say the least—having sex with four women on a tour bus in 1999. The entire tape (45 minutes in all) belonged to Stapp, but it somehow ended up in the hands of the online distributor Red Light District; legal teams for both artists blocked its sale. Rock spoke with NEWSWEEK’s Lorraine Ali about sex, rock and videotape. Excerpts:NEWSWEEK: You've been quite busy lately, haven't you?Kid Rock: Yes. I should have called my new record "Now That I Have Your Attention."A live album seems like a weird choice for you. They were such a '70s phenomenon—and even then, they usually weren't very good.There's a couple good things...
  • Cashing In on a Legend

    Did you ever think the rebel angel of country music would make it to Broadway? Believe it or not, the day has come: "Ring of Fire," a show dedicated to the work of the legendary singer Johnny Cash, opens this week. It consists of 38 songs, 14 performers and more smiles than Cash exhibited over his entire lifetime. Created by Tony winner Richard Maltby Jr. (who did "Ain't Misbehavin' " and "Fosse"), the show spans Cash's career, from 1957's "Country Boy" to 2002's "The Man Comes Around." "Ring of Fire" is the latest in a series of mostly doomed efforts to pull off a successful jukebox musical. The Abba-based "Mamma Mia!" is still making money, but the songs were originally contrived with glittering synchronized dance moves in mind. Musicals based on the material of more substantial and influential artists--Elvis, the Beach Boys, John Lennon--have failed big time. So why even try bringing the Man in Black to the Great White Way?Probably because Cash was a great storyteller whose...
  • Music: Where the Indies Are

    Madonna announced last week that she would play the seventh annual Coachella festival next month--and legions of underground-music fans went into mourning. "MADONNA?????????????" wrote Jamesc2929 on Ezboard.com. "What the F***!!! This is an insult to those who have supported the Coachella Idea from the start. I was waiting to see if you added Death Cab, Morrissey, Kasabian, the Strokes, and now we get the Material b---h. What a let down."So where does a guy in a retro Pixies T shirt go when the premier indie festival lets him down? To Chicago for the two-day-long Pitchfork festival in July. Sponsored by music Web site pitchforkmedia.com, the festival features 36 bands, like the Mountain Goats, who truly aren't signed to major labels. There's also Chicago's Intonation festival (June), sponsored by the snarky-but-spot-on pop-culture magazine Vice. Headliners include U.K. rapper The Streets. Both festivals run about $15 a day; Coachella is $85. That means money left over for a new T...
  • Bright Side of the Moon

    When the members of Pink Floyd reunited--after 22 years--to play last year's Live 8 benefit concert, the buzz around these rock senior citizens upstaged the appearances by Mariah, Madonna and even the controversial Kanye. "It's a powerful thing, this old Pink Floyd business," says David Gilmour, the band's singer and guitarist. "Look at all the stories that followed Live 8--'Will they get back together? Will they tour together?' It's all so mysterious."Well, maybe it's mysterious--although Pink Floyd's 1973 "Dark Side of the Moon" does happen to be the second best-selling album ever. (The first is Michael Jackson's "Thriller.") And the band has no plans to get together for a Rolling Stones-like reunion blitz. But on March 7, the day after he turns 60, Gilmour is releasing a rare solo record, called "On an Island." It's only his third, and the last was 22 years ago. His singing voice is still hushed and brooding, such new songs as "The Blue" and "Castellorizon" are still intricate,...
  • Married to the Mobs

    It wasn't enough for Kevin Federline to be the tabloids' most hated man. When he left his pregnant girlfriend for Britney almost two years ago, the rags deemed him a heartless scoundrel; more recently he's endured accusations regarding his loyalty to Spears, and even his devotion as a dad. But it's all getting old. So Federline, 27, has taken on a brand-new thankless role: white-boy rapper. "Sure, there'll be the initial shock and awe," says Federline, sitting in the Malibu, Calif., studio where he's recording his debut album. "But they've already said so much s--t about me it can't get worse. 'He hates his children, he treats his wife like dirt, he gets high all day.' If I was that bad, you think anyone, let alone Britney, would put up with it?"The bigger question is, who will actually tolerate K-Fed's rapping? Judging by the reaction to Federline's first single, "PopoZo" (he calls it "a Brazilian ass-shaker"), far more people than you might think. The ex-backup dancer for both...