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Madonna Recovering from Surgery; New Orleans to Host Jazz Festival


Madonna looked physically fit during her opening performance at the February 7 Grammy Awards show, but the following day she was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital for hernia surgery. The procedure repaired a tear in the superstar's abdominal muscles. She recovered quickly enough to return home to London to attend the Brit Awards on February 15. Madonna received the Brit Award for Best International Female Artist of the Year.

41-year-old Country singer John Michael Montgomery was arrested in the early morning hours of February 16 for driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance. Police in Lexington, Kentucky also charged Montgomery with two counts of carrying a concealed deadly weapon, disregarding a traffic control device and making an improper turn. He was released from police custody and appeared in court later that same day. John Michael is the younger brother of Eddie Montgomery, who performs in the Country duo Montgomery Gentry.

The New Orleans Fair Grounds suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina, but repairs to the site will be made in time for the city to host its annual Jazz & Heritage Festival. The 2006 "Jazz Fest" is scheduled to take place April 28-30 and May 5-7. Hundreds of performers have signed on for the event. They include Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Lionel Richie, Keith Urban, the Dave Matthews Band and New Orleans favorites Fats Domino, Buckwheat Zydeco, Dr. John and BeauSoleil.

Michael Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe gave up all parental rights to their two children in 2001. She had a change of heart, however, when Michael was charged with child molestation. Last week, California's 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that the judge presiding over the 2001 motion handled it improperly. Since Michael's acquittal, he's spent much of his time in Bahrain with 9-year-old Prince Michael, 7-year-old Paris and 4-year-old Prince Michael II, a.k.a. "Blanket." The biological mother of Blanket has never been named.

The Broadway revival of The Pajama Game opens on February 23. The comedy about labor strife in a pajama factory stars Harry Connick, Jr. as factory superintendent Sid Sorokin, a role played by John Raitt in the 1954 original. Cast opposite Connick is Kelli O'Hara, who plays his love interest and factory employee representative Babe Williams.

On February 21, Shout Factory Records will release singer-songwriter Jessi Colter's first album in more than 20 years. Colter's late husband, legendary Country singer Waylon Jennings, and their son Shooter Jennings appear on Out of the Ashes. Colter is best known for her 1975 Number One Country single "I'm Not Lisa."

MUSICAL EVENTS/FESTIVALS/BENEFITS

On February 19, Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich will share the stage at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. They'll headline the "All for the Hall" benefit concert to raise funds for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Other artists scheduled to appear include Jon Nicholson, Cowboy Troy and James Otto.

AWARDS PRESENTATIONS/WINNERS

MTV will air its 4th annual TRL (Total Request Live) Awards on February 25. The honors recognize the best artists and best guest appearances from TRL during the past year. Two special awards will also be handed out. Madonna will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement award and U2's Bono will receive the Most Inspired Artist honor.

The 2006 NAACP Image Awards will take place on February 25 in Los Angeles. Mariah Carey, Kanye West and Alicia Keys lead this year's contenders with four nominations. Following close behind with three mentions is Mary J. Blige. FOX-TV will air the show on March 3. (Complete list of nominees available at www.imageawards.net )

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