People in the News

Eds: Sara Chang, Jimmy Buffett, Ricardo Montalban and John Grisham

AP Photos NY134 of Buffett, NY132 of Montalban and NY133 of Grisham

MIDDLETON, Wis. (AP) – Violinist Sarah Chang began studying music at age 4 and has performed with major symphony orchestras, but she’s also a fan of pop culture.

Chang, 23, said she was frustrated when a rehearsal for Saturday’s performance with the Madison Symphony Orchestra forced her to miss the final episode of “Friends.”

“I’m staying in a hotel, so I couldn’t videotape it and I couldn’t reach any of my friends to find out how it turned out,” Chang told a group of Middleton High School orchestra students.

Chang said she is also a fan of almost every reality television show ever aired.

Chang’s taste in music might surprise a few classical music devotees. She prefers listening to rapper 50 Cent and Carlos Santana in the car.

“I have a hard time switching my mind off. If I hear a violin piece, I have to pull over and listen,” she said. “So, when I’m driving, I pop in a popular music or a rock CD.”

Chang said she winces when she enters a restaurant and the manager, as a gesture of respect, plays one of her CDs. “The last thing I want to do when I’m eating is listen to me,” she said.

GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) – City officials say they are going to crack down on loud music at Lulu’s, the coastal restaurant owned by singer Jimmy Buffett and his sister, Lucy Buffett.

“It sounds like we need to have some serious discussion with them about what is expected over there,” said Mayor David Bodenhamer at a city council work session.

Jason Newsom, manager of Lulu’s, said the restaurant has made compromises to accommodate its neighbors, including limiting outdoor performances to the daytime.

“It’s tough, you know, it’s 2 p.m.,” he said. “We’re next to an airport, for goodness sake.”

Resident Phillip Dierks asked officials to stop the outdoor music at Lulu’s.

“My windows actually vibrate, and I’m almost a third of a mile away from them,” Dierks said. “As long as that band is outside, we’ve got problems.”

Buffett, a native of nearby Mobile, made it big singing about the vagaries of life in the tropics. His hits include “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Celebrities gathered for the opening of the Ricardo Montalban Theatre, owned by a group that advocates greater roles for Hispanics in Hollywood.

The theater is a “dream come true,” said the 83-year-old actor, who has long sought a home for Nosotros, the nonprofit theater group he founded in 1970.

The audience Saturday included Hector Elizondo, Robert Goulet and Valerie Harper.

The 1,200-seat theater, the largest theater in the country bearing the name of a Hispanic artist, is the latest remodeling of a historic Hollywood building dating to the 1920s. Most recently named the James A. Doolittle Theatre and previously the Huntington Hartford, it is co-owned by Nosotros and a nonprofit foundation.

Nosotros – “Us” in Spanish – set goals of increasing employment for Hispanics in the industry, improving the skills of actors and attracting new talent. Its original board included Desi Arnaz, Vicki Carr and Anthony Quinn, and it became a training ground for actors such as Edward James Olmos, Salma Hayek, Lupe Ontiveros and Lorenzo Lamas.

LITTLE ROCK (AP) – The farmhouse featured in the film version of author John Grisham’s best-seller “A Painted House” will open to the public.

Mayor Dale Dunlap said residents of Lepanto in northeastern Arkansas, where many of the movie’s scenes were shot, hope the house will attract Grisham fans and curious travelers passing by on nearby highways.

“Lepanto being a small town out here in the middle of nowhere, the only thing we’ve been known for until this year is the (annual) Terrapin Derby,” he said.

“A Painted House” is Grisham’s 2001 tale of life in Arkansas cotton country in the 1950s. He was born in Jonesboro, about 25 miles northwest of Lepanto, in 1955 and lived on a cotton farm until age 7. The book became a Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-TV movie.

Many of the house’s furnishings are from the movie set. The interior is period-authentic, even down to the canned goods in the kitchen, Dunlap said.

AP-ES-05-09-04 1244EDT

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