Bill Cosby joins boycott of Cincinnati

Posted: February 08, 2002

Bill Cosby has canceled performances in Cincinnati next month, honoring a boycott called by black groups unhappy with the city's response to last year's riots. "I feel very uncomfortable playing the concerts at this time in this climate," Cosby said.

The Coalition for a Just Cincinnati, one of 14 groups that have called for economic sanctions, asked the Philly-born comedian and other performers to boycott Cincinnati until city leaders pay more attention to police, racial and economic issues.

The push for a boycott came after three days of rioting over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in April. The officer was acquitted of charges of negligent homicide and obstruction of official business.

Broadway beckons

Jerry Lewis is returning to Broadway for the first time since his successful run in 1996's Damn Yankees. Lewis, who canceled a March appearance at Madison Square Garden because of ill health, is due to transplant his Vegas show to a New York theater early next year, the New York Daily News reported. The 77-year-old funnyman, who'll work clips from his movies into the act, is also ready to write a book about his years with Dean Martin.

Malaysia gets squeamish

Authorities in Malaysia's capital have banned a second run of the international hit play The Vagina Monologues, its promoter said yesterday.

Maron D'Cruz, executive producer of Five Arts Centre, told Reuters that Kuala Lumpur officials had refused permission for more shows because there were "complaints from many people." The work, which was written by Eve Ensler and premiered in New York, had a brief Malaysian run in January, when three local actresses played to packed houses. Rape, visits to the gynecologist, the wearing of miniskirts, and the dress codes and treatment of Muslim women all featured in the often-explicit scenes acted by the trio. Malaysia is a generally conservative country whose multi-racial population includes a majority of Muslims.

Don't worry, be happy

India's newest spiritual phenomenon is a perpetually smiling guru who styles himself His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar. He is packing in crowds across India with his tension-busting breathing technique and "don't worry, be happy" recipe for living. Ravishankar, dubbed "the fastest-growing guru in the marketplace of happiness" by news magazine India Today, also carried his message to world leaders at the recent World Economic Forum in New York.

Some of his sayings: "Make the divine your Valentine," "I can put a toffee on your tongue, I can't make you taste it," or "Take life as it is."

A sign in doll's return

A redheaded rag doll found in the World Trade Center wreckage has been returned to its owner, a children's charity founded by Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson.

"I took [the doll's recovery] as a sign that Chances for Children has to continue," Ferguson said after the doll was presented to her at the Bolivar Arellano Gallery in the East Village. The charity, which helps American children affected by AIDS, had offices in the trade center, though no one was there Sept. 11.

Nelly gets the nod, sort of

While Gov. Bob Holden and members of the Missouri House honored St. Louis rapper Nelly - who's in Philly for this weekend's NBA All-Star do - some questioned whether the state should praise a group that sings about illegal drug use and sexual promiscuity. Nelly and his group, the St. Lunatics, were honored for promising to play basketball with high schools that show more participation in standardized state tests.

"Hip-hop has run into a lot of resistance, period. We are the voice of the youth. Any time you are the voice of the youth, you run into resistance," said Nelly, who's nominated for a Grammy for his hit "Ride Wit Me."

Green Berets revisited

Robin Moore, author of Green Berets, is just back from his first investigative trip to the battle zones where U.S. Special Forces are stationed in Afghanistan. He's now working on Green Berets II: The Hunt for Osama bin Laden, a book commissioned by Random House editor Bob Loomis, the New York Post reported.

Moore has been given complete access to the crack unit. He was the only civilian allowed to patrol with the Green Berets, and was billeted at their secret base in Uzbekistan. He's looking for a quick movie sale.

'Sex,' 'West Wing' nominated

Emmy winners Sex and the City and The West Wing have garnered multiple nominations for the 54th annual Directors Guild of America Awards, which will be announced March 9. In other award news, the Writers Guild of America has decided the scripts for In the Bedroom and Memento are ineligible for its awards. The writers weren't members when the films were made, USA Today reported.

Locally connected

Channel 10 sports anchor Howard Eskin is among the first eight candidates competing for the male title in the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's 2002 Man & Woman of the Year competition. Channel 10 news anchor Sharon Reed is the chairwoman for the fund-raising competition, which begins Monday and runs for eight weeks. Last year, more than $3 million was raised to fund research for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma cures. Anyone interested in nominating himself or another person can call Katie Rogers at 610-521-8274.

Mariel Jessup, Dee'Ann Lisby and Susan Mandel are among the Penn Health System physicians who will be featured in four episodes of Women Docs, a Lifetime TV series that's shown nationally on Sundays at 11 p.m. The nonfiction episodes highlighting the local docs are this Sunday ("Second Chance"), Feb. 17 ("True Hearts"), Feb. 24 ("A Shot in the Dark"), and March 17 ("A Critical Difference").

Inquirer wire services contributed to this report.

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