Washington Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon is sure sporting. She's offered a bet on today's Redskins-49ers game to San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos. If the Redskins win, San Francisco has to pick up the District's $300 million budget deficit. If they lose, she will sing the national anthem -- Milli Vanilli-style, says her press spokesman, Paul Costello, "since she's not a vocalist."
gnos agreed to the singing part but choked on the deficit. If Washington wins, he will a wear a Redskins T-shirt for a week. Note to a Knight
Actor Ian McKellen has been under pressure from members of England's gay community toreject his recently announced knighthood in protest of the British government's antipathy toward homosexuals. But in a letter published in Thursday's Guardian newspaper, McKellen, who is openly gay, was encouraged to accept the title with pride. The letter, signed by 18 theater and film folks, said McKellen's acceptance of the knighthood would mean that never again "would public figures be able to complain that they have to keep secret their homosexuality in fear of damaging their careers." The signatories included director John Schlesinger, actor Alec McCowen and "Miss Saigon" producer Cameron Mackintosh. Giving 'Peace' a New Chance
Yoko Ono has given permission to prominent rockers to do an updated version of John Lennon's anti-war song "Give Peace a Chance" in an attempt to quell pro-war sentiment. A video of the new version will have its TV debut on Tuesday, the U.N. deadline for Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait, and will feature Peter Gabriel, Paula Abdul, M.C. Hammer, Iggy Pop and Cyndi Lauper among the performers. Directed by Lisa Bonet's husband, Lenny Kravitz, the video features the song's new lyrics relevant to the Persian Gulf situation and includes an appearance by Lennon's son Sean. Artsy Move
Michael Botwinick, who stepped down as director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1987, was named director of the Newport Harbor Art Museum in Newport Beach, Calif., after a 14-month search, the museum announced Thursday. While at the Corcoran, Botwinick presided over a $10 million endowment campaign that helped to expand offices and classroom space, and it was during his tenure that the Corcoran School of Art gained accreditation. Between his museum positions, Botwinick, among other things, handled art investments for Chicago's prominent Pritzker family. In a statement, Botwinick said he "missed the satisfaction that came from nurturing an institution." Now Everybody Has a van Gogh
So you think you have a priceless oil painting by an old master on your wall? So does the rest of the country, apparently, since news of the discovery of an authentic van Gogh in a Wisconsin home has gotten around. Discovered by a part-time appraiser from Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, the painting was authenticated by Dutch experts and is expected to fetch $500,000 at auction in March. Meanwhile, Hindman has been inundated with calls from people claiming to have valuable museum pieces in their parlors. A Florida man called claiming to have several van Goghs, a Rembrandt "and a da Vinci, I think," said Hindman. How many of these claims will turn out to be authentic? "None," she said. "I mean, really: none." Stephen Wade: On the Way Away
Local theater fixture Stephen Wade will celebrate his 10th anniversary of performing at Arena Stage's Old Vat Room tomorrow. The seemingly indestructible Wade has performed his two one-man shows, "Banjo Dancing" and "On the Way Home," more than 2,300 times. All things must pass, however, and Wade will close "On the Way Home" on Jan. 27 and take "Banjo Dancing" on the road. Wade is also having a record-release party for his debut slab of vinyl at the Barns of Wolf Trap on Wednesday.