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People in the News

Eds: Updates with items on Jeff Tweedy, ABBA, Liu Xiaoqing and Soledad O’Brien. Contains items on Brad Pitt, Trace Adkins, and Martin Scorsese, Sharon Stone and Peter Jennings.

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By The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) – Wilco singer-songwriter Jeff Tweedy has entered rehab for addiction to painkillers, a spokeswoman for the band said.

The treatment follows Tweedy’s battle with migraine headaches, spokeswoman Deb Bernardini said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

To accommodate his recovery, the band’s label, Nonesuch Records, has moved its release date of Wilco’s latest album, “A Ghost is Born,” from June 8 to June 22, Bernardini said Tuesday night.

The band, which is known for its idiosyncratic sound and personal lyrics, was the subject of photographer and filmmaker Sam Jones’ 2002 documentary “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.”

The film follows the band’s making of the album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” and its record label’s decision to drop them.

After Reprise rejected “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” the band signed with Nonesuch, and the album was released in April 2002 to rave reviews.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) – The sounds of ABBA, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones have bounced off its padded walls.

Now, Sweden’s most famous recording studio, Polar Studios, must shut its doors because the owners can’t pay the rent.

“It’s a mistake being made right now,” said Lennart Oestlund, part-owner and one of the studio’s original sound engineers. “I see it as a museum of Swedish music history, especially ABBA.”

The Swedish pop quartet’s record label started the studio in 1978 and the group recorded its last three albums there. But the first big album recorded at Polar Studios was Led Zeppelin’s “In Through the Out Door” in 1978.

Hundreds of bands and solo artists followed, including the Backstreet Boys, Genesis, the Beastie Boys, the Cardigans and Roxette – making Polar Studios a hot spot on the international music scene.

Oestlund said he and studio co-owners Tomas and Marie Ledin pay $184,000 a year in rent to the housing cooperative that owns the building on Kungsholmen, one of many islands that make up Stockholm.

“It’s almost double the market rent,” he said, adding that attempts to bring payments down had failed. “Two-thirds of our revenue goes to rent.”

Oestlund said the five-room studio would close in May and probably be turned into office space. He hasn’t given up on music, though, and hopes to set up a new studio elsewhere.

“I’ll keep a mixer board and some microphones and try to start a new operation on a smaller scale,” he said.

BEIJING (AP) – A manager for a former Chinese film star caught in a high-profile tax crackdown has been sentenced to three years in prison, state media said Wednesday.

Jing Jun, the manager of actress Liu Xiaoqing’s company, was sentenced Tuesday to prison in a ruling that closed the case, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It said the Chaoyang District Court in Beijing found Jing bore primary responsibility for the tax evasion.

Liu was detained for more than a year and state media publicized her case in an attempt at assuring China’s public that the government was fighting abuses by its elite. Thousands of entrepreneurs and professionals who evaded China’s rudimentary tax system were snared in the crackdown.

The case ended without charges being filed against Liu; her company was fined $860,000.

“Considering the company had already paid back all the evaded taxes before the ruling, the court had shown leniency in penalty,” Xinhua said.

Liu, whose film career peaked in the 1980s, later expanded into off-screen businesses ranging from real estate to cosmetics that made her one of China’s richest women. In 2001, Forbes magazine ranked her as China’s 45th-richest person, with up to $70 million in assets.

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) – Soledad O’Brien knows something about diversity and balance.

The anchor of CNN’s daily “American Morning” program has parents who are Irish, black and Hispanic. She has been named one of America’s top 100 Irish people and she is a member of both the National Association Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

O’Brien left NBC last year for her new job with CNN. The Harvard graduate also takes a handful of speaking engagements, hoping people will be inspired by her story. She spoke Tuesday in North Platte.

Perhaps the best legacy today’s young professionals can leave for people who follow them is a lesson in better achieving balance between work and family life, she said.

The 37-year-old is an example of the challenges of balancing family and work life. The mother of two young daughters is pregnant with twin boys due in August.

“Finding joy in constant chaos” is how O’Brien says she survives and thrives in her family and work. She said she bites off more than she can chew – and chews it anyway.

LONDON (AP) – Brad Pitt will narrate a British Broadcasting Corp. radio series about one of his musical idols, Nick Drake.

The BBC said Tuesday that the actor had recorded a two-part documentary about Drake, which will air on music station Radio 2 next month.

The plaintive singer-songwriter recorded three albums before his death from a drug overdose in 1974 at 26. Although he was a commercial failure during his lifetime, many bands have said he was a major influence, from R.E.M. to The Cure.

“I was introduced to Nick Drake’s music about five years ago, and am a huge admirer of his records,” Pitt said. “When Radio 2 approached me to get involved in this project, I was delighted to be asked and pleased that I was able to fit it into my schedule.”

Pitt, due to start filming soon on “Ocean’s Twelve,” the sequel to “Ocean’s Eleven,” recorded his voiceover in Los Angeles last week, the BBC said.

“Lost Boy – In Search of Nick Drake” is scheduled to air May 22.

On the Net:


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Country singer Trace Adkins has gotten some good-natured ribbing from fans since he became the voice for KFC’s national television campaign last month.

“I had a woman come up to me at one of my shows recently and say, ‘You know, I’ve had this uncontrollable urge to eat more chicken lately. Do you know why that is?”‘ Adkins said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press.

He’ll soon be appearing in front of the camera for KFC as well as behind it. He’s set to film a commercial in Charlotte, N.C., next week with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The singer’s baritone makes him a natural for voice-over work. His narration is heard in the film documentary “The Dance” and in specials for HGTV, The Food Network and Country Music Television. He’s also been a guest on the animated Fox series “King of the Hill” and is starring with Reba McEntire in Disney’s “Fox and the Hound II, Friends Forever,” scheduled for release in 2006.

The 42-year-old native of Springhill, La., says it’s a challenge to tame his deep drawl.

“I have to try to sound professional and not like I have a mouthful of snuff,” he said.

Adkins’ hits include “This Ain’t No Thinkin’ Thing,” “Chrome,” “Then They Do” and his latest, “Hot Mama.”

NEW YORK (AP) – Martin Scorsese, Sharon Stone and Peter Jennings are among the celebrities scheduled to take part in panels during next month’s Tribeca Film Festival.

Scorsese, who helped found the festival with Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal of Tribeca Films, will talk about the use of music in his movies, from the concert film “The Last Waltz” to his historical epic “Gangs of New York.”

Stone, known for racy roles in films including “Basic Instinct,” will discuss the evolution of sex in the cinema along with John Cameron Mitchell, the director, co-writer and star of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

And Jennings, the ABC News anchor, will moderate a discussion on “Jesus as Celebrity,” following the blockbuster success of “The Passion of the Christ.”

“These panels really offer something for everyone,” De Niro said in a statement this week. “We’ve got some great people and great topics and I think people are really going to have fun.”

Now in its third year, the Tribeca Film Festival will run from May 1-9. It was established after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to help lower Manhattan rebuild economically.

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