Names & Faces

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Obamas to Honor Wonder

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama plan to host a concert Wednesday in the White House's East Room in honor of Stevie Wonder, reports The Post's DeNeen Brown. Wonder is to be awarded a Gershwin Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Library of Congress.

Wonder's songs "Higher Ground" and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" were played often during Obama's campaign. And it was the performance last month by Wonder, along with Usher and Shakira, that pulled the Obamas out of their chairs and set them to dancing during the inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

Wednesday's concert is scheduled to be shown Thursday on PBS as part of the network's "In Performance at the White House" series and to celebrate Black History Month, the White House announced yesterday.

Gabriel's Oscar Boycott

More details about the new-and-improved Feb. 22 Oscars telecast are leaking out, this time compliments of Peter Gabriel.

Gabriel, up for a Best Original Song award, says he won't perform at the ceremony -- his way of protesting the academy's revamp of how Best Original Song contenders are presented. Typically, each nominated song has a full-length, stand-alone performance. But Gabriel says the songs are being shortened to 65 seconds apiece and made part of a medley.

"It's a bit unfortunate because the songwriters, even though they're a small part of the whole filmmaking process, we still work bloody hard and deserve a place in the ceremony as well," Gabriel said in a video posted on his Web site.

Gabriel, who is nominated along with Thomas Newman for "Down to Earth" from "WALL E," says he'll attend the ceremony. But he hopes the organizers ask the Soweto Gospel Choir to stand in for him onstage.

Usher's Wife's Doc Talks

Tameka Raymond's surgeon is sharing details about her surgery-gone-awry in Brazil last weekend, saying the 38-year-old "is doing very well" after a week of recovery.

On Feb. 6 -- two months after giving birth to Naveid Ely Raymond, her second son with R&B star Usher -- Raymond traveled to Brazil to have liposuction, a rep for Sao Paulo plastic surgeon Silvio Sterman told People magazine Thursday. Raymond suffered a heart attack shortly after going under anesthesia, and Sterman halted the procedure, instead reviving Raymond and then inducing a coma.

"When an attack like this happens, the doctors put the patient to sleep . . . and make sure that everything is okay and that there has not been any damage," Sterman's rep, Ellen Dasptry, said. "This is the protocol every time, and this is what was done."

Dasptry discounted the idea that Raymond hadn't waited long enough after childbirth to have surgery on her stomach, saying pre-surgery tests showed the patient to be "in good health."

The only comment so far from Raymond's camp has been a statement Sunday from Usher's rep, saying she was "in stable condition after suffering complications from routine surgery in Brazil. . . . No further details will be released."

Usher and Raymond's first child, Usher Raymond V, is 1 year old. She also has three sons from a previous relationship.

End Notes

Celeb Baby Roundup: It seemed a particularly . . . fertile week in Hollywood. Kevin Costner's wife, Christine Baumgartner, gave birth to the couple's second child -- a son -- on Thursday; Costner has three children from his first marriage. Oscar winner Mira Sorvino announced she's expecting baby No. 3 with husband Christopher Backus. And Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins and his wife, Alison, are expecting their second child, People reports.

Spotted: Val Kilmer (jeans, mandarin-collared jacket, black-and-gold-patterned scarf) touring the Newseum yesterday. The movie star, sporting shoulder-length hair, was in town to drum up support for a potential gubernatorial bid in New Mexico.

-- Marissa Newhall, from staff, wire and Web reports

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