News on Jay-Z, Lance Bass, Queen's Jubilee
In what is shaping up to be one of the more intriguing treks of the summer, Jay-Z is set to headline the Sprite-Liquid Mix tour, which will hit 15 North American markets from Aug. 20 to Sept. 8. 311 is the only other confirmed act for the bill, but Ozomatli, Mos Def, De La Soul, Hoobastank, Nappy Roots, Quarashi, and members of Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella family are all in discussions to join for some dates.
Jay-Z has been off the road since last fall, and also canceled plans to tour with R&B star R. Kelly in support of their collaborative Roc-A-Fella/Jive album "The Best of Both Worlds." That set is No. 9 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart this week. Jay-Z can also be heard rapping on labelmate Scarface's new single, "Guess Who's Back," which is No. 7 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles tally.
The Sprite-Liquid Mix outing joins the Anger Management tour as one of the only summer jaunts with a hip-hop flavor. As previously reported, Anger Management features Eminem, Ludacris, and Xzibit, along with hard rock outfit Papa Roach and kicks off July 18 in Buffalo, N.Y.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
'N Sync's Lance Bass is competing with a former NASA official for a seat on a Russian spacecraft. Dmitry Malashenkov, spokesperson for Russia's Institute of Biomedical Problems, said yesterday (May 21) that Bass and ex-NASA employee Lori Garver were undergoing medical tests at the Moscow center to evaluate their fitness for space travel.
They must spend time in a pressurized chamber and undergo a centrifuge test to determine how their bodies would respond to the spacecraft's liftoff. The results will be forwarded to a state commission, which will deliver a final report on both candidates' fitness, Malashenkov said.
Russia's space agency continued to express reservations, however, that a space tourist would be ready in time for October's blastoff to the International Space Station -- primarily because of the complicated contract negotiations. But the agency will hold one seat in the three-person Soyuz spacecraft open alongside Russian flight commander Sergei Zaletin and European Space Agency astronaut Frank DeWinne of Belgium for as long as possible, space agency officials said, according to Interfax news agency.
As previously reported, the 23-year-old Bass has secured the support of Los Angeles TV production company Destiny Productions and electronics retailer Radio Shack to help fund his bid, while Destiny will film the training and trip for a TV special.
The free concerts being held to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee will be released on home video formats July 2 in the U.S. via Naxos Of America. As previously reported, the Queen will host a June 1 classical event, dubbed "Prom at the Palace," and a June 3 concert, known as "Party at the Palace," both on the grounds of Buckingham Palace in London.
The classical concert will feature Mstislav Rostropovich, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Thomas Allen and Roberto Alagna, and Angela Gheorghiu, as well as the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, among others. The June 3 pop event will boast Shirley Bassey, Ozzy Osbourne, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker, Tony Bennett, Atomic Kitten, Ray Davies, Aretha Franklin, Brian Wilson, Tom Jones, Annie Lennox, the Corrs, Ricky Martin, Rod Stewart, Steve Winwood, and Will Young, among others.
BBC Worldwide, which is handling licensing of the concerts for broadcast and video release, plans to donate proceeds from its commercial activity surrounding the Jubilee concerts to the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Trust, which is responsible for staging celebratory events around the U.K. to mark the anniversary.
For more information, visit the British Broadcasting Corporation's official Queen's Concerts Web site, or the official jubilee site.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
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