Usher's summer camphelps out minority youths
ATLANTA -- Usher, who began singing at age 6, has opened a summer camp to help some other prodigies-in-training. Usher Raymond, the 26-year-old R & amp;B star, dropped by for the first day of Camp New Look, an Atlanta program he recently started for minority youth in his home city. 150 campers aged 8 to 18 hole up at Clark Atlanta University for two weeks, honoring their specialties -- either singing, dancing, or basketball -- and learning about the respective industries. "This is truly about learning the business side," Usher said. "You're not going to learn it all overnight, but maybe, just maybe, you'll learn enough to change your life." The children also sit in on panels and discussion sessions with agents, managers and sports executives to learn the financial side of entertainment and sports. Guest teachers will include Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony and Atlanta Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Their lessons will be put to the test July 23, when they are expected to coordinate a charity celebrity basketball game and headline the halftime show. The camp, Usher said, will be the first of many summers where kids are pushed to aim higher than just playing for a basketball team, but owning one. The singer is co-owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.
'Transformers' morphsinto a live-action movie
NEW YORK -- Some big names in show business are getting behind some big "robots in disguise." "Transformers," the popular cartoon and toy franchise, is being transformed into a live-action film by director Michael Bay, screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and executive producer Steven Spielberg. "Under the direction of Michael Bay, and with Steven Spielberg executive producing, we know that 'Transformers' is going to be the kind of explosive action movie that is perfect for the height of the summer movie season," DreamWorks head of distribution Jim Tharp said Wednesday. The movie is set for a July 4, 2007, release. No casting decisions have yet been announced. "Transformers," which debuted in 1984, featured battling "robots in disguise" with names such as Optimus Prime, Megatron and Override. They could convert into vehicles such as tanks, firetrucks, jet fighters and helicopters. The TV show earlier spawned a 1986 animated movie that, oddly enough, included narration from Orson Welles in one of his last performances. Bay, 40, has also directed "Armageddon," "Pearl Harbor" and "The Island," which hits theaters July 22.
Trump heads to Stripfor newest hotel-condo
LAS VEGAS -- Donald Trump broke ground Tuesday on a luxury hotel-condominium designed to be the tallest residential building on the Las Vegas Strip, and promised a second identical tower nearby. The 64-story building -- in gold glass with white trim and Trump's name at the top -- will be built on a portion of the New Frontier hotel-casino property. "We're going to be the top of the heap," Trump said as he arrived for the catered affair, which featured billionaire partner Phil Ruffin, owner of the New Frontier, and more than 150 invited guests. Trump said condos, priced from $600,000 to $6 million, sold out within a week. He said he expects to break ground soon for a second tower on Ruffin-owned land. The Trump International Hotel & amp; Tower Las Vegas is expected to cost $500 million and feature 1,282 luxury residential and hotel units, a spa and restaurants. It won't have a casino, but Trump said Tuesday that he plans eventually to build one elsewhere. The Trump tower is expected to be completed in early 2008.
'Desperate' stars on QVC
Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman of "Desperate Housewives" will be starring in public service announcements to promote a fund-raising shoe sale. The event, to air live on QVC on Oct. 26 from 7 to 10 p.m. in Philadelphia, will be co-sponsored by QVC and the Fashion Footwear Association of New York. More than 100,000 pairs of shoes will be offered for sale at half the suggested retail price, with all net proceeds from the program going to breast cancer research and education institutions.
Actor Philip Carey is 80. Actor Alex Karras is 70. Actor Ken Kercheval is 70. Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio is 69. Actor Patrick Wayne is 66. Actor Jan-Michael Vincent is 61. Rhythm-and-blues singer Millie Jackson is 61. Rock singer-musician Peter Lewis (Moby Grape) is 60. Singer Linda Ronstadt is 59. Actor Terry O'Quinn is 53. Rock musician Marky Ramone is 49. Rock musician Joe Satriani is 49. Country singer-songwriter Mac McAnally is 48. Model Kim Alexis is 45. Actor Willie Aames is 45. Actor-director Forest Whitaker is 44. Actress Lolita Davidovich is 44. Actress Brigitte Nielsen is 42. Actor Kristoff St. John is 39. Rock musician Phillip Fisher is 38. Actor-comedian Eddie Griffin is 37. Actor Stan Kirsch is 37. Rock musician John Dolmayan is 33. Actor Scott Foley is 33. Actor Brian A. Green is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kia Thornton (Divine) is 24.