Singer/writer Lee Greenwood courtesy Claire Cook (Webster and Associates PR)

“I wrote God Bless the USA about the love I have for this country and the struggle we have gone through to remain free,” Lee Greenwood told the New York Post today regarding a grade school principal’s decision (with the NY city schools chancellor’s backing) to cut his song from the graduation ceremony.

‘Our country was founded on the principle that it welcomes people of all cultures and gives them the same rights we have as citizens.

However, I feel compelled to echo the faith or our forefathers who all believed in God and a respect of a higher authority.

Personally, denying the children of PS 90 to sing God Bless the USA, offends me as a Christian.

My song is about hope, faith, spirit and pride. How could that be wrong on any level?”

As Reported by Susan Edelman in the New York Post.

More at www.nypost.com.

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Shape magazine cover with Malin Akerman courtesy Shape Magazine

With five films in the works, including Rock of Ages out in June, and a new ABC TV series debuting in the fall, Malin Akerman is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses.  She opens up to SHAPE about how she had to step up her diet and fitness routine before slipping on a bikini for this photo shoot.

On her fix-it list: I’m not going to lie: I was born with good genes [her mother was also a model]. But when I overindulge, I can get a paunch in my belly. And I’ve always wished I had more beef in my booty.

On her diet plan: I’ve never been on a fad diet or tried one of those crazy cleanses. I think they just mess up your system. I believe in eating as nutritiously as I can all the time—not just before I’m putting on a swimsuit. My mother raised me on fresh—rather than processed—foods, and that’s how I eat on a regular basis.

On her indulgences: I have my splurges. I can’t live without chocolate.  Though I barely consider it an indulgence because it’s good for you. I also love a thick steak and French fries. I try not to eat them more than once a week, but if they somehow land on the table in front of me, I won’t hold back . You’ve got to allow yourself the things you enjoy or you’ll just be miserable.

On her exercise routine: I prefer exercising in or near my home. I usually start my day doing some yoga poses and then go for a 45-minute hike in the park nearby. It’s hard to be consistent because of my schedule. There are days I only have time to do a few sets of crunches and push-ups in my living room or 10 minutes of jumping jacks. But no matter what, I try to do something each day.

On kissing Tom Cruise: The script called for the tonguiest tongue kiss of all time.  And we were like, ‘Let’s go for it.’ It was hilarious.  Working with Tom was a dream come true.  I can die happy now.

On how she’s feeling these days: I’ve learned that whether you’re stepping in front of the camera or slipping on your first bikini of the season, it’s not how you look but how you present yourself to the world.

More on Malin Akerman in the June issue of SHAPE on newsstands now and at www.shape.com.


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Memorial Day weekend is a time for barbecues, picnics and fun in the sun, right?

Well, it’s also the weekend when we honor the men and women of the military who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) and Gary Sinise (CSI NY) are men who want us to remember that fact – and have been hosting the PBS National Memorial Day Concert (Sunday, 8:00 p.m. ET) for over a decade.

Mantegna realizes we do get caught up in our well-deserved, three-day weekends, but as you’ll see and hear in the video below, taking time out to honor the actual reason for the holiday is a way to say thank you for being able to enjoy life as we know it here in America.

In fact, Mantegna is so committed to letting vets know he’s appreciative, he often hosts events at his Burbank, California restaurant Taste of Chicago.

Scheduled to appear at the concert this year include: Daughtry, Country Music singer Trace Adkins, plus Retired General Colin Powell.

Have fun this Memorial Day, but remember who makes it possible.

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Memorial Day weekend is a great time to get caught up on military movies.

There are the time-tested flicks like Battleground, The Dirty Dozen, Patton and The Best Years of Our Lives. Those films certainly cover the gamut from wartime to post-war adjustments.

Then there are a couple of exciting movies chronicling the first black military airmen. HBO, won all sorts of awards for their drama Tuskegee Airmen, paying close attention to detail and featured a heavyweight cast including, Laurence Fishburn, Courtney B. Vance, Andre Braugher and Malcolm-Jamal Warner.

But, what about the moviegoers who want a measure of the history in a big ole popcorn pic with fantastic aerial special effects?

Well, there is Red Tails, a fictional action-drama starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Nate Parker and Tristan Wilds. This story is produced by George Lucas (Star Wars), which means that those sky-high fighter sequences are beautifully orchestrated.

The pair of men understand how well timed the release of this movie is.

“Yeah, with Memorial Day, it’s great to celebrate our country and celebrate the heroism of the people who fight and serve is just a huge blessing,” Nate Parker analyzes.

And they both changed from the experience.

“For me, I think through this I was forced to recognize the importance of our history and how it pertains to just being a patriot,” Parker says. “I don’t think it’s possible to love a country and not love the people who serve for the freedom of your country. The fact that there were able to make it through the discrimination back home and the war and what they came through, I think it’s important for every American to know and even getting excited about. What they did has a huge effect on our freedom right now.”

I think it was the entire experience that changed me,” Tristan Wilds stresses. “Being around these men – Nate and (fellow actor) David (Oyelowo), George (Lucas), (Director) Anthony (Hemingway) and having everyone surround me and just learning and picking different things from each person. The Tuskegee Airmen are mentors and people to look up to and learn from. Especially me being so young (22), I kind of leave with a sense of pride as an American and as an African-American. I guess I have a new swagger, a different gait.”

There is no getting around the fact that Red Tails received quite a bit of flack from critics for having more potential than it delivered in terms of historical accuracy, but audiences enjoyed the heck out of it despite the criticisms.

“We are a democracy,” Parker points out adding, “the people speak and we listen. That’s how I see it. In every screening that I saw people cheered and clapped and there were tears. To be able to watch it next to the actual airmen and to see tears in their eyes, to watch them during the flight sequences banking left, banking right, pulling up and then they look you in the eye and say, ‘My character was like you’ or ‘I knew the guy that was like your character,’ they were so engaged. If everyone in the world hated it, but the Tuskegee Airmen, if they responded, loved it and felt that we did them justice, then I’d be happy.”

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MOB WIVES star Renee Graziano chats with reunion host Joy Behar between takes - Photo credit: Elizabeth Black/ VH1

After all coming together for Big Ang’s dinner on the season two finale, the Mob Wives sit down with host Joy Behar for an intense and explosive reunion. 

In part one, Renee and her sister (MOB WIVES executive producer), Jennifer address the questions swirling around Junior becoming an informant for the FBI. Ang reveals the truth about her ever changing body parts and Carla finds herself on the defensive as Ramona and Karen question her integrity and morals. Even though Karen and Drita called a truce, Ramona and Drita’s simmering animosity boils over into complete and utter chaos.

MOB WIVES Season 2 Reunion – Part Two Airing on VH1 Sunday, May 27, 2012; 8:00 PM ET/ PT

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Academy Award arrivals

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and CIM Group announced May Day that the Academy Awards® will remain in Hollywood under a new 20-year deal.

Concurrently, in a separate agreement, Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) and CIM announced a 20-year agreement  to name the Dolby Theatre™ — the iconic theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center®and home of the Academy Awards since 2002– a showcase of technology innovation.

“Our ability to swiftly conclude two significant contracts with global entertainment leaders affirms Hollywood as a thriving district, the Dolby Theatre as the ultimate entertainment showcase and Hollywood & Highland Center as a cornerstone for both the local and entertainment communities,” said Shaul Kuba, Co-Founder of CIM Group, owners of the Hollywood & Highland Center.  

CIM is an investor in communities throughout North America and the largest commercial real estate owner in Hollywood.  In 1998, CIM Group identified Hollywood as an emerging urban district that meets the firm’s strategic investment guidelines and is headquartered there.  Since then, it has acquired and developed a portfolio of properties that include office, retail, hotel and multifamily residential properties.

Under the new contract with the Academy, the Dolby Theatre will host the Academy Awards through 2033.  The Dolby Theatre features 3,400 seats on four levels and 20 opera boxes, one of the largest stages in the United States with state-of-the-art infrastructure designed for a variety of programming including live broadcast.

“The Academy’s Board of Governors believes that the home for our awards is in Hollywood. It is where the Academy and the motion picture industry are rooted,” said Tom Sherak, Academy President. “We are pleased to have a new agreement with CIM that will continue our longstanding partnership.”

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will celebrate canine stardom with “Hollywood Dogs: From Rin Tin Tin to Uggie” on Wednesday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The evening will feature Susan Orlean, author of Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, animal trainers Sarah Clifford and Omar von Muller sharing behind-the-scenes secrets, and a screening of Clash of the Wolves (1925), starring Rin Tin Tin, with live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.

'Uggie' and 'Rin Tin Tin' courtesy Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®

Man’s best friend has gotten a wonderful publicity boost from the movies. Canine cinema mythology has enhanced human appreciation of the dog’s loyalty, heroism, humor and intelligence from the earliest days of film with such immediate audience favorites as Rescued by Rover (1905) and The Whole Dam Family and the Dam Dog (1905).

More than any other four-legged actor, the dog has achieved a unique stardom with such long-lasting box office stars as Strongheart, Teddy, Lassie, Pete the Pup, Benji and particularly Rin Tin Tin. The original Rinty (there would be several over the years) was rescued in Germany during World War I by a U.S. soldier, and with his molding for Hollywood stardom, Rinty became one of the biggest box office draws of the late 1920s. The popularity of Rinty’s films would practically underwrite a struggling studio known as Warner Bros. and afford a young writer named Darryl F. Zanuck some of his earliest success.

For more information visit www.oscars.org.

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HAPPILY DIVORCED - Pictured left to right: Rosie O'Donnell, Fran Drescher, Rita Moreno. Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/TV Land

Rosie O’Donnell is making an appearance on Fran Drescher’s hit sitcom Happily Divorced (Wednesdays, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, TV Land), just in time for Mother’s Day.

O’Donnell plays Fran’s (Drescher) junior high school buddy, who convinces Fran to spend a day of fun with her mother Dori (Rita Moreno) rather than chowing down at her mom’s favorite restaurant. Her mother’s idea of a good time is relentless shopping for wedding dresses for Fran.


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Jennifer Love Hewitt stars in the new Lifetime Original Series, The Client List. ©2012 A&E Television Networks, LLC. All rights reserved. Photo Credit: Michael Desmond

Jennifer Love Hewitt is sitting pretty. Her new series The Client List just got the go-ahead for a second season, President and General Manager of Lifetime Networks, Nancy Dubuc announced Monday.

The Client List represents everything we want to be — fresh, exciting and original with attitude,” Dubuc said. “We love Jennifer and this series – and are equally thrilled that they have connected with our audience.”

“I couldn’t be happier about Lifetime’s decision to renew The Client List for a second season,” Hewitt added. “It has been so much fun working with such a great cast and crew on the wonderful stories we tell – and I’m ready to see where The Client List takes all of us next year.”

The show has become an instant hit since its April 8th premiere – and an additional 15 all-new episodes have been order to air next year.

The Client List airs Sundays, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

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Pictured: Claire Coffee stars as Adalind the Hexenbiest in 'GRIMM.' -- (Photo by: Scott Green/NBC)

Claire Coffee is beautiful – that is until she becomes Adalind the Hexenbiest on the hit TV series Grimm (Fridays, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, NBC). Then she’s positively striking…frighteningly so. And it’s about to get oh so scary as her character develops.

“Tonight there’s a huge fight,” Coffee tells us.

That fight will lead to some important reveals, one of which is Adalind’s beauty regime.

“It’s pretty gnarly,” the actress laughs. “It involves leaches. [The production] made leaches so I had those on my face. I couldn’t look in the mirror. They looked too real. They’re scary – and appropriate.”

If you’ve been watching the show, you already know that Adalind has a super-secret association with Police Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz) as well as having placed a spell on Detective Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby).

Now both of those storylines are about to become clearer to fans.

Hank’s under a spell and you’ll find out why I’ve put him under that spell and what I hope to gain,” she promises. “It all culminates into that huge fight with [Detective] Nick [Burkhardt] (David Giuntoli) in the middle of the forest in Portland.

“A little bit more of Captain Renard’s (Roiz) character will be revealed tonight and you’ll meet my mom (Jessica Tuck), who comes into play with my relationship with Renard. Every episode forward from this one is more about him and the network of people that he represents.”

The beauty of Grimm is that regardless of which episode you watch, you’ll be up to speed immediately. No episodic game playing is involved. Sure, the base of Detective Nick Burkhardt (Giuntoli) being a descendant of the Brother’s Grimm is an unfolding mystery, but each episode has a satisfying resolution that keeps the fan base satisfied and entices new viewers into the Grimm world.

“They’ve definitely laid the groundwork for all these mysteries in such a way that it doesn’t feel confusing,” she points out. “But you do want to know what’s going on and it gets to the root of it.”

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