Billboard Bits: Kennedy Center, Penn/Dylan, Matt Dusk

News on Kennedy Center, Penn/Dylan, Matt Dusk

JohnThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced six recipients of its annual honors for lifetime contributions to American culture. Two of the three musicians to be honored Dec. 5 are Brits: pop legend Sir Elton John and renowned opera soprano Joan Sutherland. British composer and conductor John Williams will also take a bow.

Also due to receive kudos are actor Warren Beatty and pioneering husband-and-wife acting team Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. James Brown, Loretta Lynn and Itzhak Perlman were honors last year.

-- Bill Holland, Washington, D.C.

BobActor Sean Penn will lend his voice to the audio book edition of Bob Dylan's memoirs, "
Chronicles: Volume One." Both the book and the audio edition (available on four cassettes or five CDs) will be released Oct. 12 via Simon & Schuster. "We knew he would be perfect for the material, and we are absolutely thrilled that an actor of his caliber will be reading 'Chronicles'," says Simon & Schuster Audio executive VP Chris Lynch.

Meanwhile, Dylan has confirmed an 11-date fall tour, kicking off Oct. 14 in Santa Clara, Calif., and wrapping Nov. 3 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

DuskWith his weekly stint on the NBC reality show "The Casino" complete, vocalist Matt Dusk has made plans for his first U.S. tour. Set to kick off Sept. 30 in New York, the run will make five stops before parking in Las Vegas for a 20-show stand at the Hilton Theater.

"Being on 'The Casino' has been a wonderful opportunity for me to be in front of millions of television viewers every week," Dusk says. "However, it's now time for me to get back to doing what I do best, which is performing."

Dusk and his five-piece band will be out in support of his Decca debut, "Two Shots," which in June reached No. 10 on Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.

In other news, Dusk has recorded the standards "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Sway" for the film "First Daughter." Starring Katie Holmes and directed by Forest Whitaker, the 20th Century Fox feature opens Sept. 24 in U.S. theaters.

Here are Dusk's upcoming tour dates:

Sept. 30: New York (Canal Room)
Oct. 1: Teaneck, N.J. (Mexicali Blues)
Oct. 5: Cambridge, Mass. (Regattabar)
Oct. 6: Philadelphia (Tin Angel)
Oct. 7: Cleveland (Night Town)
Nov. 1-5, 7-21: Las Vegas (Hilton Theater)

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.