Access Hollywood reports that Billie Jean Jackson is suing singer Michael Jackson for the second time. In 1987, 60-year-old Billie Jean filed a $150 million paternity suit against Michael claiming he's the father of three of her children. The suit was thrown out of court. Now, Billie Jean, whose real name is believed to be Lavon Powlis, claims she's married to Michael and the mother of his six-year-old son, Prince Michael II. She's reportedly seeking $1 billion and joint custody of the child, who goes by the nickname Blanket.
John Lennon Featured in New TV Commercial
Nearly three decades after the death of John Lennon, the late Beatle can now be seen in a digitally-created television commercial. The ad benefits the One Laptop per Child Foundation, which was created in 2005 to give the world's poorest children solar-powered laptop computers. In the commercial, the voice and video image of Lennon says, "Imagine every child, no matter where in the world they were, could access a universe of knowledge. They would have a chance to learn, to dream, to achieve anything they want. I tried to do it through my music, but now you can do it in a very different way. You can give a child a laptop and more than imagine, you can change the world."
'Phantom of the Opera' Sequel to Open in Late 2009
Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical, Phantom: Love Never Dies, is expected to open in late 2009. The sequel to his 1988 Broadway production, The Phantom of the Opera, is set at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. Lloyd Webber told The Times of London, "It was the place. Even Freud went because it was so extraordinary… people who were freaks and oddities were drawn towards it because it was a place where they could be themselves." He added that the production hasn't yet been cast, but says, "We are pretty clear who our Phantom is going to be - I can't say who." Lloyd Webber hopes to have a simultaneous premiere in London, New York and possibly Shanghai. He says, "We've been into the feasibility of rehearsing three companies at once and opening very fast in the three territories."
Rapper DMX Enters Guilty Plea
On December 30, rapper DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, theft, possession of marijuana and a second felony drug charge. In 2007, sheriff's deputies in Maricopa County, Arizona raided the 38-year-old's home near Phoenix. They reportedly discovered three dead dogs, guns and ammunition, and drug paraphernalia. In April 2008, he was charged with felony theft and identity fraud after giving a fake name and Social Security number to a Scottsdale, Arizona hospital. DMX will be sentenced on January 30.
Jazz Trumpeter Hubbard Dies
70-year-old jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard died on December 29. The Grammy-winning musician suffered a heart attack on November 26 and had been hospitalized since that time. During a career that spanned six decades, Hubbard played on more than 300 recordings and influenced generations of musicians. A memorial tribute will be held in New York later this month.
Britney Attends Brother's New Year's Eve Wedding
Britney Spears spent New Year's Eve in Louisiana, where she attended the wedding of her brother, Bryan Spears. People magazine reports that the 31-year-old married 36-year-old Graciella Sanchez in a private ceremony attended only by close family members. Among them were Britney and her two children, Spears' parents, and sister Jamie Lynn, her fiancé Casey Aldridge and their six-month-old daughter Maddie. Graciella Sanchez is Jamie Lynn's longtime manager.
New Album Releases - January 6:
"Waking Up Is Hard To Do" - Neil Sedaka
"Love Save the Empty" - Erin McCarley
"Glasvegas" - Glasvegas
"Undone: A Musicfest Tribute To Robert Earl Keen" - various artists
Look Who's Going On Tour!
The Grateful Dead have announced plans to perform their first tour in nearly five years. Dates will begin on April 12 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Nineteen shows are scheduled through May 10. The band's lineup includes original Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. Joining them on the outing will by keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and guitarist Warren Haynes, who also performs with the Allman Brothers Band and Gov't Mule.