A Toned-Down 'Shine' at Starbucks: Buzzkill, Dudes

Joni Mitchell's 'Shine'
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, November 29, 2007

John Ashcroft must be smiling. The cover of Joni Mitchell's new CD, "Shine," features her name, the title and a photo of male ballet dancers wearing skintight shorts. But the CD is wrapped with a removable cardboard band, secured under shrink-wrap, that strategically conceals the dancers' tushes.

This modesty strip has Matt Mendelsohn, an Arlington wedding photographer and lifelong Mitchell fan, steamed. The veteran singer-songwriter released the album on the Starbucks label, Hear Music, so he headed to his corner store to shell out $15.95. But he can't believe the coffee behemoth censored the CD photo.

"Does Starbucks find it necessary to protect youngsters from ballet dancers?" he said. "It just smacks of some corporate dodo worrying that the rear ends of classical ballet dancers are going to be offensive. I can't think of any other reason for it."

A company spokesman told us the blue cardboard "belly band" wasn't a coverup -- it was added "to make the artist's name pop off the CD cover." The band appears on all copies sold in North America, he said, and Mitchell and her team signed off on the packaging.

Mendelsohn said he looked at all the other albums sold in Starbucks and none has protective covering. "There's no other CDs that have that kind of aftermarket wrapping," he told us yesterday. "This explanation is so bogus, it's laughable."

His Ship Has Come In: Saylor Man and Crew Drop Anchor Abroad to Celebrate

You get to christen your new yacht only once, so Michael Saylor did it in grand style. The high-tech wunderkind, 42, flew about a dozen friends from Washington to Amsterdam the week before Thanksgiving for a ceremony and assorted festivities. One of those pals, Camilla Loveid -- a gorgeous blond D.C. newcomer who is the local rep for Christiania Norwegian vodka -- then flew to her native Oslo to bring over some friends to balance out the guy-dominated party.

Why Amsterdam? The boat was built there, according to one source. (We'd originally reported that the MicroStrategy CEO had his eye on an Italian-made Azimut; sadly, he never called us back to clarify.) "He's such a generous, nice friend," said one pal.

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

Ehud Olmert shopping in the men's department at the Pentagon City Nordstrom on Tuesday around 8 p.m. The Israeli prime minister swept into the store with a huge security detail on the eve of his big White House meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, left with some shirts and ties.

Margaret Spellings dining at Blue Duck Tavern on Tuesday with five others, two of whom looked like Energy Secretary Sam Bodman and HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. (Also: three security dudes.) Enjoyed crab cakes, fries, s'mores, ice cream, wine. Any special occasion? Well, a certain education secretary turns 50 tomorrow!


Sharing too much: Christina Aguilera, who divulged to Marie Claire magazine that she thinks she got pregnant in Georgetown when husband Jordan Bratman came to visit her on a tour stop. Okay, we'll do the math: She was here twice last spring, but it was after her April 28 Baltimore show that Xtina was spotted with Bratman all over town (romantic dinner at Mie N Yu, nightcap at Play Lounge) . . . soooo, due late January, maybe? Hoping they name the baby in geographic tribute of some kind. How about George? Or Ritzi for a girl, Carlton for a boy? Ritz-Carlton officials said they're considering creating a promotional babymaking package in their honor.

Born: A boy, to pop star Usher and his new wife, Tameka Foster, on Monday night in Atlanta, a rep told reporters. The singer named his firstborn Usher Raymond V.

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