By Emily Heil - 12/05/06 12:00 AM EST
That’s right, folks. We’ve got the riders from the Kennedy Center awards in our hot little hands, and let’s just say that country-music diva Shania Twain is picky, picky.
“Rider” is the Hollywood term for those lists of demands that stars make, such as wanting a bowl of M&Ms with all the blue ones removed in their dressing rooms.
All of the celebrity guests at the KenCen celebration, including Tom Hanks, Jessica Simpson, Aretha Franklin, Reba McEntire and Reese Witherspoon, got a dressing-room setup complete with tea, honey, lemon and hot water — and most didn’t ask for more than that.
But some stars had more, well, specific demands. Twain asked for a veritable grocery list that included “avocado, lemons, red/green seedless grapes, dried figs, dried dates, ripe bananas, cucumbers, papaya, salt/pepper, freshly squeezed no-sugar orange juice, flat bottled water.” She also demanded a cutting board and a paring and a chef’s knife, presumably to dice up the aforementioned fruits.
The sheet listing dressing-room demands also reveals what kind of entourage our A-list guests were traveling with. Country singer Alison Krauss had the most members in her posse, including a stylist, a stylist’s assistant, a tailor and a hair-and-makeup artist.
There were a few hair stylists backstage who are practically stars in their own right. Simpson’s stylist, Ken Pave, has been featured in plenty of slick fashion mags and also snips the tresses of starlets like Eva Longoria. Witherspoon’s hair man, Oscar Blandi, has an eponymous NYC salon, which is popular with the likes of Jennifer Garner and Katie Holmes.
Lewis’s civil rights story booked
As one of the leaders of the groundbreaking civil rights movement of the 1960s, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) has certainly earned his spot in the history books. But Lewis also has made his way into another kind of book, a children’s story about the activities of his youth and his role in the movement.
“John Lewis in the Lead: A Story of the Civil Rights Movement” hit bookstores Nov. 17. Collaborators on the book are nearly as distinguished as their subject: The text of the story was written by Jim Haskins, an author who penned nearly 100 books on African-American history, many for children, and Kathleen Bensen. Renowned folk artist Benny Andrews, the son of a sharecropper whose work has hung in galleries all over the country, provided the illustrations.
Haskins and Andrews both died before the book was published.
Lewis spokeswoman Brenda Jones said her boss is thrilled with the book.
“He feels so honored that these two individuals who worked on the project meant so much to him,” she said. Lewis, an avid art collector, owns several of Andrews’s paintings.
Fake representative headed for TV pilot
The mystery surrounding pop star-turned-Broadway-chanteuse-turned-Congresswoman Sherri Davis has been solved, and truth, as they say, is stranger than fiction. Last week, Under the Dome reported on the zany doings of a fake congresswoman who was passing herself off as Rep. Sherri Davis (R-Calif.).
An eagle-eyed reader e-mailed us to point out that the Web page for a fledgling musical titled “In Your Dreams” claimed that Davis is a cast alum. We caught up with Zeke Farrow, who wrote the musical, a story of high school students scheming to win the titles of prom royalty. Farrow revealed that he and other collaborators invented Davis while thinking of ways to create buzz for the musical. Her creators wound up making her a minor character in the musical, and now have big plans for Davis, including a possible television pilot.
Farrow and other “In Your Dreams” cast and crew also had produced a mockumentary about the making of the musical, and created a character named Sherri Davis who had played a part in the musical and then went on to become a member of Congress. From there, Davis took on a life of her own, Farrow said. He made Davis a part of the musical; she appears on CNN as the high-school characters look to politicians to emulate as they campaign for prom queen.
Davis’s story is the stuff of a political reporter’s dreams: She was an aspiring Broadway actress who catapulted to Congress after she won her late husband’s House seat. She became a “puppet” of Republicans, Farrow said, and spouts conservative proposals like rounding up illegal immigrants and forcing them to “clean up” the desert.
Farrow says the purpose behind the creation is not just hyping the musical, but also making a political statement, since all of Davis’s proposals are cribbed from real-life conservative policy prescriptions.
“You hear all these horrible things that politicians are suggesting coming out of the mouth of this batty, airheaded actress,” he says.
He hopes to make a TV pilot about Davis, which he imagines along the lines of fast-paced, witty comedies such as “30 Rock” or “Arrested Development.” In it, the congresswoman’s district would encompass both Tribeca and Chinatown, forcing her to deal with competing constituent demands from celebrities and the Chinese mafia.
As for the musical, it’s still getting off the ground…
Advocate for now, Drescher says public office run possible
She sure sounds like a member of Congress.
Fran Drescher, best known as the actress who portrayed “The Nanny” in the sitcom of the same name, has her congressional lingo down pat. She tells us she’s on Capitol Hill today to lobby to get a “UC” (that’s Senate-speak for “unanimous consent”) on legislation promoting early detection of gynecological cancers.
“I think it would be such a positive way to end the 109th,” she says. As in the 109th Congress, natch.
Drescher, a uterine cancer survivor and author of “Cancer Schmancer,” is reluctant to talk about her own political ambitions, although she admits to harboring some.
“It’s an exciting time for women in politics, an exciting frontier that I someday hope to explore,” she says. She’s also coy about what party she would identify with or when she’d consider a run.
On this visit to Washington she wants to focus on her lobbying efforts for S. 1172, a bill aimed at educating healthcare providers about screening for and diagnosing uterine and ovarian cancers.
“They are so often misdiagnosed, because the early warning signs are similar to more benign diseases,” Drescher says. And doctors often don’t screen for cancer because doing so is often expensive, she adds.
Drescher is targeting Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), because his committee has jurisdiction over the bill.
And displaying the savvy of a veteran K Streeter, Drescher has mapped out a way to pass the bill in the last few days of the 109th.
“Maybe we can attach it to something else heading to the floor,” she says.