People in the News

Eds: Contains items on Takashi Murakami, Ahmad Rashad, Joey Lauren Adams, and Jerry Brown.

AP Photo of May 28: CASP102 of Murakami, NY108 of Rashad, NY109 of Adams, NY110 of Brown

By The Associated Press

Imitation isn’t flattery

LOS ANGELES (AP) – They say imitation is a form of flattery, but the artist who’s been called Japan’s “Andy Warhol” isn’t convinced.

Pop artist Takashi Murakami – who designed the pastel-hued flowers that appear on Louis Vuitton handbags – said the thousands of knockoffs sporting his design leave him uneasy.

“Sometimes I’m happy about it, sometimes I’m not happy about it,” Murakami said through a Japanese interpreter on Saturday during a visit to a Los Angeles art gallery.

“I don’t always take it as a compliment,” said Murakami, 43.

Murakami was in Los Angeles to promote the works of Chiho Aoshima, a 30-year-old artist who works at his Kaikai Kiki production studio outside of Tokyo.

Murakami also curated an exhibition of contemporary Japanese art at the Japan Society in New York as part of his effort to promote contemporary Japanese art abroad.

NFL star comforts namesake

FLINT, Mich. (AP) – Just days after 16-year-old Ahmad Rashad’s mother died of pancreatic cancer, he got an unexpected phone call from his namesake, the former NFL star.

The other Ahmad Rashad, now a television sports broadcaster, offered condolences and encouragement to the teen during their five-minute phone conversation in the high school’s athletic office on Friday.

“He told me how sorry he was for my loss and also that his mom died of the same type of cancer,” the high school junior told The Flint Journal.

“He told me I was doing really well in track. He saw some articles about me,” the track standout said. “He told me to keep up the good work and also to keep my head up.”

The younger Rashad won the long jump and 200-meter dash at the Big Nine meet on Wednesday, a day after his mother’s death.

Ronda Miller, the school’s athletic secretary, said someone who read a newspaper article on the student told the older Rashad about the situation.

“He got off the phone and was grinning from ear to ear,” Miller said.

Actress hosts yard sale

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – Actress Joey Lauren Adams is having a yard sale.

Adams has finished filming her directorial debut, “Come Early Morning” starring Ashley Judd, and began selling pieces of the movie’s set on Saturday in a North Little Rock hotel parking lot.

Film producers say the sale will let locals own a piece of movie history.

Mitchell Patterson, who was in charge of purchasing items for the set, said most came from second-hand stores and flea markets and a few were bought at Target.

Most of the items – couches, coffee tables and cooking utensils – are priced at 10 percent of the original cost for quick sale.

“We’d have to store it,” Patterson said. “So we’re selling it for real cheap.”

Shooting began in April on the independent release film by Adams, an Arkansas native who has appeared in films including “Chasing Amy” and “Big Daddy.”

“Come Early Morning” is about a small town woman who has never committed to a serious relationship. It is set to debut in January at the Sundance Film Festival.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Mayor Jerry Brown has angered some of his neighbors by selling his multimillion dollar home to a group that wants to make it into a homeless shelter.

The two-time governor and three-time presidential candidate’s 7,000-square-foot warehouse home is in Jack London Square, where lofts sell for $700,000. Covenant House officials are preparing to convert it into a shelter for 30 young adults.

Fears about safety, damage to property values and future development were voiced at a hearing on the project in May. The zoning board will consider the proposal Wednesday.

Brown’s spokesman, Gil Duran, said the property had been on the market for about six months and sold for between $3 million and $4 million. He called the controversy a “back-fence spat with a disgruntled neighbor.”

Brown, once satirically dubbed Gov. Moonbeam for his futuristic thinking, moved to the warehouse in 1995 and lived there with a with a revolving group of roommates, including political activists, writers, artists, friends and intellectuals.

He moved in with his longtime girlfriend two years ago and they recently announced plans to marry.

AP-ES-05-29-05 1212EDT

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