Names and Faces: Ludacris, Billy Crystal, Carmelo Anthony

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Jump-Start for Atlantans

Grammy-winning rapper Ludacris has teamed up with an Atlanta-based dealership to give away 20 cars to people in need, the Associated Press reports. Ludacris, 31, said he was moved after reading thousands of essays by people struggling to buy vehicles they required to get to work or find employment.

"To be efficient, you need some transportation of your own to get there. That's why I wanted to give back to those who need it," explained the rapper, who has sold 17 million records domestically.

"When I look at my new car, I say to myself, 'Is this really happening?' " said Crystal Beauford, a single mother who used to ride the bus to two jobs and school.

A Punk-Rock Reunion

A bit of good news for punk-rock fans now weary of Sex Pistols reunions (there have been three, at least, already): Singer John Lydon, who recently dropped the surname Rotten, will switch things up a little by getting his other band, Public Image Ltd., back together. The Guardian reports that the group, which disbanded in 1992, will reunite for five concerts this December, all of which will take place in Britain. Founding guitarist Keith Levene and bassist Jah Wobble will not be joining.

Moore Throws Stones

U.S. documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, whose "Capitalism: A Love Story" premiered in Venice, wonders when Italy plans on "getting rid" of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Bloomberg reports. "What I don't understand is who votes for him and his party," Moore told the Rome-based paper La Repubblica. "He is an embarrassment for Italy, and I know what I'm talking about because we've also done things in the U.S. that have been embarrassing."


-- Billy Crystal, in town to perform his one-man show, "700 Sundays," at the National Theatre, was seen dining at 701 late Sunday. The comedian ordered the fish, had a few glasses of wine and was joined for the meal by his wife and manager.

-- Carmelo Anthony, forward for the Denver Nuggets, paid an unexpected visit to Madam's Organ on Sunday, apparently with designs to catch a performance by local R&B singer Midian. However, the 25-year-old NBA star spent most of the evening in the back bar area, locked in a heated debate with his entourage over -- of all things -- the Old Testament.

"The argument was mainly about the genealogy of Cain and Abel," said bar owner Bill Duggan, who eavesdropped. The conversation, apparently quite spirited, carried on for an hour. "If you . . . saw the hands waving, you'd think maybe they were discussing the NBA Finals," Duggan said.

-- Aaron Leitko, from staff and wire reports

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