FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West was shuffled out the backdoor of a new urban boutique after a fight cut short the entertainer’s autograph-signing session, police said.

Owners of the FTK store abruptly canceled the grand opening event and locked the doors after the fight broke out Saturday between a patron and a security guard. The brawl erupted about 40 minutes after West began signing autographs.

Authorities spent nearly a half-hour clearing about 1,000 fans from the store’s parking lot as a police helicopter hovered above.

“Once security couldn’t control it, we had to shut it down,” store employee Aron Hekimian said.

An after-party at a nearby club with the producer-turned-rapper went on as planned, said Sam Hensen, the store’s co-owner.

“Everybody’s chance to meet Kanye West was ruined,” said Anna Reyna, 19, who waited in line for the rapper’s autograph but never got to see him.



DETROIT (AP) – Concerns about rehearsal scheduling caused opera star Jessye Norman to drop out of next month’s performances of the slave drama “Margaret Garner.”

Norman, a 59-year-old soprano, had been scheduled to play the role of Cilla – a sympathetic mother-in-law to Margaret Garner – during the May 7-22 performances at the Detroit Opera House, according to a statement released Saturday.

The Michigan Opera Theatre announced Friday that Norman would be replaced by Angela M. Brown, who created a sensation last year with her performance in Verdi’s “Aida” at the Metropolitan Opera.

“Margaret Garner,” a collaboration of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison and composer Richard Danielpour, is based on Garner’s escape from Kentucky to the free state of Ohio in 1856. The story inspired Morrison’s 1987 novel “Beloved.”

When slave-hunters tracked down Garner, her husband and children, she slit her baby daughter’s throat in a thwarted attempt to kill the family and avoid returning to slavery.

She was found guilty of “destroying property” and returned to slavery.



On the Net:

Margaret Garner: http://www.MargaretGarner.org

SALINAS, Calif. (AP) – More than a hundred supporters turned out Sunday for the end of a 24-hour “read-in” to help save the libraries in John Steinbeck’s hometown.

People gathered to hear writers, actors, musicians and activists read passages from their favorites works outside Cesar Chavez library, one of the Salinas libraries facing closure.

Facing record deficits, the City Council voted in December to shut all three libraries in the city memorialized in Steinbeck’s 1952 novel “East of Eden.”

If they close, the blue-collar town of 150,000 could become the most populous U.S. city without a public library.

Salinas is the 1902 birthplace of the Nobel Prize-winning author of “Cannery Row” and “Of Mice and Men.”

The read-in began Saturday and concluded Sunday with a march and music festival.

Actor Hector Elizondo, of the TV hospital drama “Chicago Hope,” attended the event. “The last thing we need is to have libraries closed,” he said.

Mary Mecartney, a spokeswoman for the UFW, said thousands of people signed petitions asking state legislators to reconsider the budget cuts.


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