Fri, Apr 06, 2007 - Page 14 News List

Pop Stop

Compiled by Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

The invincibility of Asia's king of pop Rain has been called into question after tickets for his Taoyuan (桃園) concert last week failed to sell like hot cakes. An unwise choice of location and hasty preparation are said to have contributed to the lackluster sales with 40 percent of tickets left unsold: Could the South Korean megastar's sex appeal be waning?

A poor turnout didn't seem to dampen Rain's high spirits and superman-like vigor. During his four-day stay, the star was spotted regaling himself at feasts sometimes with mentally challenged kids as a gesture of philanthropy. He was also spotted going late-night bowling after physically demanding rehearsals that would exhaust an untrained body.

The concert itself was hot, just as expected, but the eye-popping fire spectacle got out of control and set fire to the stage roof that failed to alarm the absorbed crowds but sent two Korean staff members to hospital with slight burns.

After the post-concert party on Sunday night at Barcode, and three-hours of bowling Rain, hit the sack at the break of day.

Rain's first movie I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK is scheduled to hit local screens in the middle of next month, which could indicate the direction of his popularity.

On the other side of the Taiwan Strait, local girl outfit S.H.E. had a slipshod party to celebrate Hebe's 24th birthday last Saturday at Muse, one of Carina Lau's (劉嘉玲) lucrative investments and now the hottest nightspot in Shanghai, since it is the place where the actress and tycoon Terry Gou (郭台銘) first met.

The S.H.E. trio in fashion-deficient outfits immediately became the focus of the night as the liquor quickly kicked in.

The intoxicated Hebe was heard talking in odd English throughout the night and local paparazzi dutifully recorded the birthday girl's last mumble as she paid the check and called it a night: "I bought the YSL by myself, I am an independent woman."

After Tony Leung's (梁朝偉) withdrawal from John Woo's (吳宇森) Battle of Red Cliff (赤壁之戰), the film may yet suffer another last-minute change of cast as recent rumors suggest actor Chang Chen (張震) could be replaced by Chinese actor Liu Ye (劉燁).

When asked by local media about the replacement, Woo didn't give a direct answer but hinted at Chang's dismissal by saying, "Liu is an actor I admire a lot and I've wanted to work with him for a long time."

Four years have passed since Hong Kong legend Leslie Cheung (張國榮) jumped from a hotel roof and ended his colorful life on April 1, 2003. Though fans in Hong Kong and China held commemoratory events on Sunday in remembrance of the late actor and singer, to some the late star is still alive, at least in the widely-circulated tales saying Cheung is spotted living safe and sound in various places across the world.

Some say the actor is in fact leading a reclusive life in China's remote mountains while others believe Cheung now lives in Buenos Aires. And the most farfetched story involves director Zhang Yimou's (張藝謀) meeting the actor for film projects in Singapore last year.

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