by Michael Thurston


LOS ANGELES  (AFP) - Sean Penn sat grim-faced at Hugo Chavez's funeral Friday -- one of a clutch of Hollywood stars who lionized the late Venezuelan leader, in defiance of America's fierce antipathy to his regime.

Following a long tradition of Hollywood liberals, Penn was joined by Oliver Stone, Danny Glover and documentary maker Michael Moore in lauding the charismatic Venezuelan president after his death this week.

Only Penn appears to have made the trip to Caracas for the lavish funeral of Chavez -- who died aged 58 on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer -- but the others made their feelings quite clear.

"JFK" and "Natural Born Killers" director Stone, interviewed Chavez for a 2009 documentary "South of the Border," called him "a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world.

"Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live forever in history," he added in a statement released after his death, adding: "My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned."

Glover, a long-time Afro-American activist and star of the "Lethal Weapons" films, praised Hugo Chavez as a "social champion," in a full-page statement issued by his publicist.

"I join with millions of Venezuelans, Latin Americans, Caribbeans (and) freedom-loving people around the world who embraced (him) as a social champion of people-centered democracy," he said.

Penn, wearing a black suit and tie, did not comment publicly at Friday's funeral, where he sat among the crowd of foreign dignitaries paying tribute to the leftist firebrand leader.

But in a statement after Chavez's death he said: "The people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion. I lost a friend I was blessed to have."

Their support for Chavez fits into a tradition of actors-turned-activists stretching back to Charlie Chaplin accused of communist sympathies, Jane Fonda in Vietnam, and up to George Clooney, arrested over Sudan last year.

Fonda was dubbed "Hanoi Jane" when she visited north Vietnam during the war there and accused of being anti-American.

Such outspoken political activism is not without its career or commercial risks for the actors or filmmakers involved -- especially when it runs counter to US interests.

"Americans in general want their stars to speak out praising what is right with America," said Steven Ross, a University of Southern California professor and expert on Hollywood's links with politics.

"They don't want to hear Jane Fonda, Sean Penn, Oliver Stone or Danny Glover telling us what is wrong with America or how foreign leaders such as Chavez, for all his limitations, have also furthered the cause of democratic reform."

Ross, author of "Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics," said the career costs vary.

He cited examples including Chaplin and Edward G. Robinson, accused of being "premature anti-fascists" after World War II, and Harry Belafonte in the 1950s accused of participating in groups seen as being too far to the left.

More recently celebrities including Penn, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and others spoke out against the 2003 Iraq war.

"In the case of the latter group, they managed to keep their careers. But Chaplin and Robinson found their careers as stars ended by being accused of Red sympathies."

Despite the risks, some in Hollywood are clearly happy to pin their political colors to the mast -- Penn, speaking before going to Caracas, threw his weight behind Chavez's chosen sucessor Nicolas Maduro.

"Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice President Maduro," who faces elections within 30 days after formally taking over as interim president following Friday's funeral, he said.

Coincidentally, the issue was highlighted in Washington this week, when Republican Senator Rand Paul asked if it would have been right to order a drone strike on Fonda, as he led a nearly 13-hour filibuster in Congress.

"Is objecting to your government or objecting to the policies of your government sympathizing with the enemy?" Paul asked during his symbolic bid to block new CIA chief John Brennan's appointment over the use of drones.

"Some openly were sympathetic. No one will ever forget Jane Fonda swiveling around in North Vietnamese armored guns, and it was despicable.

But he said: "It's one thing if you're going to try her for treason, but are you just going to drop a drone hellfire missile on Jane Fonda?"


By Taryn Ryder | omg! 
Oscar winner Kate Winslet is opening up to Harpers Bazaar U.K. about life after divorce.
In a new interview released this week for the magazine’s April 2013 issue, the actress is finally talking about her personal life. “I’ve really learnt a great deal about myself, in the last four years in particular,” the 37-year-old actress explains.
Winslet split from her second husband, “Skyfall” director Sam Mendes in 2010. She was also married to Jim Threapleton from 1998 to 2001.
“I think I can see more clearly now — about how the pattern of past experiences has shaped who I am, and the characters I have played — and I’m grateful for that,” continued Winslet.
The star up of the upcoming YA-adaptation “Divergent” is now married to Ned RocknRoll, whom Winslet refers to as her soul mate. The couple quietly wed in December 2012. Rocknroll is the nephew of British tycoon Richard Branson.
“I have so much more material to draw on for work — rubble, bricks — and I know I can carry it now,” elaborated Winslet. “I’m not going to drop it, and if I do, I’ll sift through it. Does that make any sense at all? Probably not.”
Huh? Well, no, it doesn’t exactly make sense Kate, but we still love you!
Winslet’s third marriage certainly seems to agree with her though because she is looking hotter than ever in these new pics for the mag!
More Celebrity Features on Yahoo!:
Selena Gomez Reminisces About Spending Quality Time With Her Dad … at Hooters!
Rihanna Wears 'Double Top' Jeans From Her Own Line: Are They Ugly Or Is It Just Us?
Taylor Swift Reportedly Makes $1M After Flipping Hyannis Port Home


By Suzy Byrne | omg! 
You never know exactly what will come out of Jessica Simpson’s mouth … and neither does she!
While appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Wednesday, the mom-to-be let it slip that she and her fiancé, Eric Johnson, are expecting a son.
[Related: Celebs Who Had Back-to-Back Babies]
“I never knew that a wiener could actually make me so nauseous,” the 32-year-old queen of the loose lips said when the talk show host asked how she was feeling during her second pregnancy. She then burst out laughing and covered her mouth with her hand.
“Wait … what did you intend to say there?” Kimmel asked her.
“Well, I guess I just told the whole world that I’m having a boy,” Simpson replied with a smile.
“Oh – I didn’t even know what was happening,” Kimmel laughed.
As the audience cheered, the “Fashion Star” went on to say that luckily had already confided to her family and friends that she has a boy on the way – and she was glad she did!
"I can't believe I did that," she said about her accidental admission. "That was not planned."
When Kimmel brought up the report in Us Weekly that the baby will be named Ace, she didn’t deny it. She just giggled – a lot.
[Related: Jessica Simpson Wants to Name Second Baby Ace]
As for having back-to-back pregnancies, Simpson, mom to 10-month-old daughter Maxwell, admitted it was rough – and this could be her last baby because of it.
“I really don’t want to be pregnant again because this pregnancy is rocking my world right now,” she said.
[Related: Jessica Simpson on Second Pregnancy: I’m Puking and Exhausted]
It’s also giving her “pregnancy brain” – in which she has a hard time finishing a thought.
“I had it last time I was on the show too,” she said. “Mid-sentence I forget what I’m talking about.”
However, Kimmel amusingly shot back to the Chicken of the Sea queen: “You used to do that on the reality show too, so it’s hard to tell [if it’s a result of your pregnancy].”
True, true! We hope that never changes because we love that you never know what she’ll say. And we love surprise admissions … like this new gender news.


 (The Philippine Star)
Derek Ramsay as Kidlat
MANILA, Philippines - Derek Ramsay has a lot to smile about these days. Kidlat, his first soap for TV5, is rating consistently well and continues to receive positive feedback from the audience. He even won an online poll naming him as the country’s favorite superhero. Adulations aside, perhaps the biggest perk of being the superhero ng bayan is getting the chance to be paired with a gorgeous leading lady or in Derek’s case, three alluring female counterparts. In the show’s recent press conference held at Plaza Ibarra in Quezon City, TV5 introduced the three stunning ladies who will stir some excitement into Kidlat’s life.
Kidlat’s leading ladies (from left) Ritz Azul, Nadine Samonte and Valerie Weigmann
Right from the start, Nadine Samonte (as the beautiful and intelligent Lara) has been the object of Kidlat’s affection. Fans of the show adored the palpable chemistry between Nadine and Derek that many of them lamented Lara’s shocking death. But viewers need not worry as Lara may not be as dead as they initially thought.
Another girl vying for Kidlat’s affection is Ritz Azul, playing the strong-willed Joey who falls in love with Kidlat while still despising his alter-ego Voltaire. Like her onscreen character, Ritz doesn’t deny that she once dreamed of being paired with Derek. “Kapag tinatanong ako kung sino ang gusto kong maging leading man, si Derek (Ramsay), yun lagi ang isinasagot ko. So dream come true talaga ‘to para sa akin,” she said. Ritz shares a lot of kilig-scenes with her leading man, but she admits that working with Derek makes her really nervous especially when the subject turns to their eventual on-screen kiss. Despite gracing the cover of FHM, Ritz is actually shy and conservative. The 19-year-old TV5 Princess has never had a boyfriend and has never been kissed. If the kiss between Joey and Voltaire ever pushes through, Derek will be Ritz’s first on and off screen kiss.


LONDON (AFP) - Teen superstar Justin Bieber faced fury from his British fans on Tuesday after he showed up late for a sold-out concert in London.

The Canadian singer played the first of four nights at London's O2 Arena on Monday, but hundreds in the audience took to Twitter to vent their frustration after he failed to appear on stage until nearly 10:30 pm.

The 19-year-old insisted on Tuesday that he was only 40 minutes late -- but many fans said they had been led to believe he would be onstage at 8:30 pm, making him almost two hours late.

"I was 40 min late to stage. There is no excuse for that and I apologize for anyone we upset," Bieber wrote on his Twitter account.

"However it was great show and I'm proud of that," he said, adding that the delay was due to "technical issues".

But parents of children in the 20,000-seat stadium complained that the singer kept young fans waiting on a school night -- with some forced to miss the gig altogether in order to catch the last trains out of London.

"I'm never going to a gig by Justin Bieber ever again," Louise Cooper, who had to leave the concert early to take her child home, told BBC television.

"Two hours we had to wait, and then because we had to go home early, all we heard were the new songs from the new album that we don't know."

Another mother, Charlotte Stapleton, told the broadcaster: "He arrived about two hours late on stage and there was no apology at all from the singer."

An AFP photographer said concertgoers booed as they waited, while the venue played Michael Jackson songs over and over again in an attempt to keep them happy.

A spokesman for the O2 Arena backed up Bieber's account of what happened.

"He was due onstage at 9:30 pm, which makes him 49 minutes late," the spokesman told AFP.

"He was always due on at 9:30 -- possibly the media have got the wrong end of the stick here.

"There were three support bands first who played on time -- Jayden Smith (Will Smith's son) played at 7:30, followed by Cody Simpson at 8 pm and Carly Rae Jepson at 8:30 pm."

He added: "We will do everything in our power to make sure Justin gets on stage tonight at a reasonable time."

Bieber insisted that his second London show on Tuesday night would run on schedule.

"Tonight we will run on time and look forward to putting on an amazing show for everyone in attendance," he wrote.

But he added a swipe at the British media's reporting of the delays.

"Since I have been here it hasn't been easy with the press at times... I'm not okay with things being exaggerated," he wrote.

Bieber's four nights at the O2 follow dates in the British cities of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Nottingham as part of his worldwide tour promoting his third studio album, "Believe".

The singer, whose Twitter account has 35 million followers making it the most popular in the world, shot to fame after homemade videos of his performances went viral on YouTube in 2007.

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