Fri, Jan 27, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Planet Pop

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PHOTOS: AP AND AFP

Kanye West, with a crown of thorns atop his head, poses as Jesus Christ on the cover of the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone. He is also pictured posing as Muhammad Ali.

``In America, they want you to accomplish these great feats, to pull off these David Copperfield-type stunts,'' he says. ``You want me to be great, but you don't ever want me to say I'm great?''

West also says his hit song Gold Digger was the best song last year and that it should have been nominated for the Grammy's best rap song category: ``That's a gimme Grammy.''

Nevertheless, the 27-year-old is nominated for eight awards, including album of the year for his sophomore album, Late Registration. The Grammys will be presented Feb. 8.

West has always been forthright in saying what he feels, most famously when he said, ``George Bush doesn't care about black people'' during a telethon for Hurricane Katrina victims.

"If I was more complacent and I let things slide, my life would be easier, but you all wouldn't be as entertained,'' he says. ``My misery is your pleasure.''

The strangest tangent of the Rolling Stone story, however, is when West says he's addicted to pornography. He remembers first seeing his father's Playboy magazine when he was five years old. ``Right then,'' West says, laughing, ``it was like, `Houston, we have a problem.'''

A wealthy Austrian playboy who keeps the Viennese in suspense each winter over his date to the lavish annual Opera Ball says he's taking former Baywatch star Carmen Electra this year.

Vienna businessman Richard Lugner confirmed Tuesday that Electra would be his guest to the exclusive Feb. 23 ball, the most prestigious event on Vienna's society calendar.

Lugner invites a celebrity every year and his past ball dates have included another ex-Baywatch star, Pamela Anderson, as well as actress Andie MacDowell, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, singer-actress-model Grace Jones and the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson.

Tickets to the annual ball cost about US$265 and typically sell out months in advance. With extras such as gowns and tuxedos, flowers, limousines, high-end champagne and lavish dinners, the night typically runs to US$1,225 or more.

Victor Willis, the original policeman in the 1970s disco band the Village People, skipped a court hearing where he was due to be sentenced on drug and gun charges and now faces more than three years in prison, prosecutors said. Willis, 54, had been scheduled to surrender Tuesday after four months on the run but he failed to show up for the hearing in San Mateo County Superior Court, prosecutors said. It was his second no-show.

He was facing a maximum of 16 months in state prison after pleading no contest to charges he had cocaine and a loaded handgun when he was arrested in Daly City in July. Prosecutors said he was on probation for another cocaine conviction at the time.

Hawaiian crooner Don Ho has returned to the stage, less than two months after undergoing a stem-cell procedure in Thailand to strengthen his heart.

The 75-year-old Ho sang for 90 minutes before a sellout crowd last weekend of 300 people at the Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel.

It was his first performance since November.

On Dec. 6, Ho underwent a new treatment that hasn't been approved in the US. It involves multiplying stem cells taken from his blood and injecting them into his heart in hopes of strengthening it.

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