News Archive: October 2006

Fabolous Shot And Arrested In New York
In a bizarre sequence of events, New York rapper Fabolous was shot in the leg early Tuesday morning (October 17) as he stood in a Manhattan parking garage, was arrested and then transported to a hospital for treatment.

Fabolous (born John Jackson) was shot once in the right thigh by an unidentified man who approached the MC and three members of his crew and opened fire shortly after the group left an NFL players' event at Diddy's downtown restaurant, Justin's, according to New York Police Department spokesperson Sergeant Mike Wysokowski.

Following the hail of gunfire, Fabolous and the other three men hopped into a white Dodge Magnum and sped away, running a red light one block away from the scene of the shooting, which attracted the attention of police responding to the call of shots fired. Wysokowski said the officers stopped the car found two unlicensed, loaded guns — a 9mm and .40 caliber handgun — during a search, which led to the arrest of all four men. Charges have not yet been filed, but Wysokowski said they will likely include criminal possession of a weapon.

As police continue to search for the shooter, Fabolous was taken to a local hospital for treatment and was in stable condition. A Def Jam Records spokesperson could not be reached for comment at press time.

In March 2003, Fabolous was arrested and charged with criminal weapons possession after police stopped a van he was riding in and found a loaded 9mm gun. At the time, the rapper said he planned to sue the city for $5 million for what he claimed was damage to his career (see "Fabolous Plans To Sue New York For False Arrest"); one of his bodyguards later provided proof of ownership for the gun. Wysokowski explained that in New York anyone found in a vehicle with unlicensed firearms is considered to be "in possession" of that firearm.

Justin Timberlake Announces North American Arena Tour Dates
Justin Timberlake's not going to rest until he brings his love to every town in America. Well, perhaps that's a bit of a stretch, but the singer is planning to spend a good part of next year taking it to the bridge on the 2007 FutureSex/LoveShow, an  arena show on a far grander scale than his August club gigs.

"I've been rehearsing the band, getting the show ready and tight," Timberlake said in a video statement on Tuesday (October 17). "What do we got? Ten dancers, 14 bandmembers, a million tricks up my sleeve, a crazy light show — and I might even show up. So that's pretty exciting. No, seriously, come out. I'll see you guys there."

Accompanying Timberlake on this mission will be his labelmate Pink, who will have just wrapped up a several-months-long European tour herself. The FutureSex/LoveShow kicks off January 8 in San Diego and hits 34 cities before it concludes on March 29 in East Rutherford, New Jersey, at which point more dates may be added.

On-sale dates will be announced locally in each market. Dates for a complete worldwide tour also remain to be announced.

Ashlee Collapses Onstage At 'Chicago' Debut — But This Time, It's Intentional
'I was a little bit nervous,' singer says about opening performance; 'It was her stage tonight,' Jessica declares. 

LONDON — Ashlee Simpson collapsed onstage again on Monday night, during her theatrical debut at the Cambridge Theatre in the West End. But this time it was on purpose. As Roxie Hart, the lead in "Chicago," Simpson was playing a character who works the media: To gain attention and sympathy for her upcoming murder trial, she pretends she is pregnant and faints. Roxie's coverage returns to the front pages, and she gets off.

While the producers of "Chicago" could rightly be accused of pulling a little stunt of their own — casting a notorious lip-syncher to do live theater — it too worked. Despite her previous live mishaps, Ashlee turned in a nearly flawless performance, converting some haters into believers, at least in London.

(Click here to watch Ashlee onstage in London, on Overdrive.)

"Earlier today, I was a little bit nervous," she said after the show, "and then I put on a show for my family. They came to my dress rehearsal, and then the nerves went away. It was more like happy little butterflies."

Her father, Joe Simpson, said it was actually the other way around. "I think she was more nervous about performing in front of her family than in front of a crowd," he said. "She was nervous all day. She was afraid. 'Am I going to make it?' So we just got that out of the way."

"I try my hardest not to read [all the criticism], but it's obviously around and in your face," Ashlee said. "My family, my mother especially, taught me to be a fighter, and that's the thing Roxie is: She always finds a way to pick herself up."

Maybe it's the role Ashlee was meant to play. Roxie is by no means a pro — she's a wannabe vaudeville act who desperately wants to be famous, and through circumstances unrelated to her talent (or lack thereof), she becomes a star. Roxie's actually disappointed at the end of her trial when the media move on to the next case. Her manipulative lawyer, Billy Flynn — currently being played on New York's Broadway by Usher — points out that she got away with murder, that he saved her from the noose, but she's fixated on the fact that nobody wants to take her picture anymore. Ashlee says she found enough of Roxie in herself to make the part her own.
"Roxie's a fun character to play," Ashlee said. "For me, it wasn't like I ever wanted to have my name in the papers. It was usually like, 'Oh, no!' But I know what the feeling is. And I know what the celebrity life is like, so I tried to bring a little comedy to that."

It was more than a little comedy — audience members after the show described the singer's take on Roxie as the funniest one they'd seen, mostly because Ashlee was so physical with her performance. She contorts her face, pushes up her breasts with pads and gives her co-stars the raspberry — all the little things that add up to a Roxie who is both child and woman. She's a character who's caught between needing the parental guidance her lawyer and prison warden provide and rebelling against them at the same time. Ashlee's Roxie is sexy and stupid, knowing and naive, all at once.

"She's the youngest Roxie we've ever had, and she just has certain qualities that make the role so delicious," "Chicago" producer Barry Weissler said. "The lines and the steps and the blocking and the songs are all the same, but because of her personality, it's different. Her beats are different."

"You get to act out a lot with your body in theater," Ashlee said. "You have to be sharp with your movement and whatnot. It's silly and out there, which is nice. It's kooky."

"I think Ashlee made Roxie who she wanted to make Roxie [into]," her sister Jessica said. "It was her stage tonight. She was brighter than the lights. She was it. My girl!"

"This was just the opening night," Ashlee said. "I'm excited to see what the rest of my five weeks onstage will be like."

Christina Aguilera Reveals European Tour — Next Up, U.S. Clubs
Christina Aguilera may have set the stage all summer for a proposed tour where she'd torch up America's legendary blues and jazz clubs, but before she does that, she's going to make the rounds in Europe. But don't despair — she hasn't given up her dream, she's just deferred it till next year.

"At a certain point, we are fitting in the more intimate blues/jazz club tour," she said, "which I'm really excited about. It's going to be an amazing, amazing show that I can't wait to put on, but dates are to be determined for that whole shebang."

Not so for the European tour, the singer's first such tour since 2003 — dates for that were announced Monday (September 11). Tickets go on sale Friday for the month-long trek, which kicks off November 17 in Sheffield, England, and wraps December 17 in Prague, Czech Republic. In between, Aguilera hops around most of the countries where her Back to Basics album hit #1, including Ireland, Holland, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

While Aguilera's set list for the arena tour is likely to be mostly composed from the 20 tracks on her double album, she's planning something a little different for the upcoming club tour. "We're definitely going to mix it up, change it up, do some things that are not on the record, do some favorite classics of mine," Aguilera said. "We're really going to have fun and experiment with new ideas and interesting places to go to that have a throwback appeal and vibe."

Instead of working with the now defunct Fans Rule company, which is in the midst of arranging refunds for the singer's canceled 2004 tour (see "Two Years Later, Aguilera Fans Finally Getting Their Due: A Refund"), Aguilera has partnered this time around with I Love All Access to offer fans VIP ticket packages.

Americans Pause To Remember 9/11
At Ground Zero in New York, at the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the solemn rite of reading the names of the people who died in the September 11, 2001, attacks took place on Monday morning — five years after terrorists hijacked four planes and killed nearly 3,000 people in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.

In New York and across the country, moments of silence were observed at 8:46 and 9:03 a.m., the times when passenger jets struck the World Trade Center's towers, and again at 9:59 and 10:29 a.m., the times when the two buildings fell.

President Bush, whose leadership was tested and defined early on by his response to the attacks, and who continues to make frequent reference to them in speeches about the war on terror and in Iraq, began the national memorial process Sunday night, when he and First Lady Laura Bush laid wreaths in the pools of water that commemorate the site of the World Trade Center.

They then attended a church service at Trinity Church near Ground Zero. The Bushes began Monday with a breakfast and memorial ceremony with first responders at the Fort Pitt Firehouse in New York.

The ceremony concluded with bagpipers playing "God Bless America," a fire department officer singing "Amazing Grace" and a police department choir's a cappella rendition of "America the Beautiful."

"It's hard not to think about the people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001," Bush said after the service, according to CNN. "You know, you see the relatives of those who still grieve, and I just wish there was some way we could make them whole. So [Monday is] going to be a day of sadness for a lot of people." Bush then flew to a wreath-laying ceremony in Shanksville and was scheduled to attend a third at the Pentagon — the first time Bush has commemorated the attacks in all three locations since their first anniversary — and give a prime-time address at 9 p.m. on Monday.

The commemorations in New York — where the rebuilding at Ground Zero has still barely begun — included the reading of the names of the 2,749 victims at the site by hundreds of the victims' spouses, partners and family. Some held framed photos of their lost loved ones in silent tribute and queued up to lay flowers at the site throughout the morning.

"Five years have come, and five years have gone, and still we stand together as one," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the Ground Zero ceremony.

"We come back to this place to remember the heartbreaking anniversary and each person who died here — those known and unknown to us, whose absence is always with us. ... It surely cannot be easy to come to this site and speak out loud the name of the person that you had always thought would be next to you, the one with whom you had hoped to face the world, to stand by your side. Yet who can know what is in your hearts?"

Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who famously spearheaded the city's response to the attacks, added, "We've come back to remember the valor of those we've lost, [including those] who innocently went to work that day and the brave souls who went in after them."

On Sunday night in Washington, D.C., thousands of people gathered for the second annual Freedom Walk from the National Mall to the Pentagon's south parking lot, near the site where American Airlines Flight 77 struck the building. The Pentagon will shine 184 lights into the sky until Tuesday, one for each of the people who died in the U.S. military's headquarters when the plane crashed into it.

Vice President Dick Cheney attended a morning ceremony in Washington Monday morning, where he escorted former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who joined senior Bush administration officials and White House staffers as they bowed their heads in silence to commemorate when the first plane struck New York, the Washington Post reported.

At a Pentagon service, Cheney praised the ongoing war on terror and the U.S. response to the 9/11 attacks. "In the conduct of this war, the world has seen the best that is in our country," Cheney said, lacking the palpable emotion that had marked the preceding speech from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who seemed to choke up at several points. "We have shown that Americans are a resolute people, clear in our purposes, steady in difficult tasks. We have answered violence with patient justice. ... This struggle is fierce, and it will be lengthy. But it is not endless. Our cause is right, our will is strong; this great nation will prevail."

On the morning of the attacks, Bush vowed to "hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act." And as a grim reminder that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remains free and that the war on terror continues, a lengthy video statement from bin Laden deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri was issued on the eve of the five-year 9/11 anniversary.

Images of the chaos and fear that enveloped the country five years ago were played and replayed on news channels on Monday, with CNN running a crawl bearing the names of the victims and re-broadcasting its live footage from the morning of the attacks on its Web site.