News

Beyoncé called a halt to her concert in Nashville on Saturday night after news of George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict had filtered out.

MALE ORDER COMEDY

Comedian Geoff Schumann rolls up his ample sleeves and pitches into the sex war this week with Waiting to Inhale (below), a new character- based sketch show parodying Whitney Houston's women-bitching-about-men movie, Waiting to Exhale. Before launching himself on the comedy circuit, Schumann spent seven years teaching sociology at Acton High School, an experience which gave him not only the skills for observational humour but "a captive audience until three thirty every afternoon". Conversationally, waiting for Schumann to inhale is a thankless exercise. The man mountain talks a million miles a minute and audiences get their ears chewed about everything from virginity, pregnancy and PMT to why it is all black women want a guy like Alan from East Enders. ("He makes Frank Bruno look like a streetwise raggamuffin, doesn't he?"). So is Schumann getting his own back on women? "I'm not being nasty," he insists, "I'm just trying to redress the balance, explain things from the male perspective." The debate on the gender divide will run and run, but Schumann's comedy proves that confessional incontinence, at least, is an equal opportunity sport.

The bodyguard, the chess master and model vie for a taste of power

on the unlikely set of campaigners in the Russian city of Tula's elections

Christmas on the cusp of sadness and melody

ANDY GILL ON ALBUMS; Various Artists Just Say Noel Geffen GED 25107

Does not compute. Does not...

Comedy? Character development? Why try to extend Arnie's range when he's so good at doing robots.

They have a lot to smile about

It's the hit that's taken America by surprise, a black, middle- class feel-good movie with women in the leading roles (all of them positive). joined US audiences whooping or whimpering in the aisles

Obituary: Phyllis Hyman

Given the right breaks, Phyllis Hyman's soulful voice might have reached as many millions as Whitney Houston's, Patti Labelle's or Gladys Knight's have. Instead, Hyman had to settle for a cult following on the R&B and jazz scenes, though she did shine on Broadway in the early Eighties.

Are you an orificionado?

To survive the noisy Nineties, buy earplugs, advises Wendy Holden

Celebrating the sound of silence

Mention Radio 3 and most pop youths will squint at you like you're some crusty old slipper-wearing square. They'd be in for a surprise if they ever thought to tune in to The Music Machine (5pm R3), a breezy daily music magazine which encompasses all sorts of genres, from classical through pop to world music and beyond. "People think they know what Radio 3 is," Tommy Pearson, presenter, says. "We're trying to prove them wrong."

Guess what? I've got a message to ring Elvis Costello

THERE is a message on my answer machine from Elvis Costello. He wants me to ring him. When you join the wonderful world of showbiz, you quickly find yourself meeting all sorts of famous people. I've had dinner with two Beatles and a Rolling Stone;I've said "hello" to Whitney Houston and shared a cab with Larry Adler. But Elvis Costello is different from all these because he was one of my heroes between the ages of 15 and 17. I call these "the critical years" because if I meet a hero from this period, there is nothing I can do to stop myself reverting to my teenage self. I grin, giggle hysterically at their jokes, go bright red and hyperventilate. When I was 15 my great Aunt Nancy gave me a book of Alan Bennett plays, and I thought he was the bees knees. He lives round the corner from me now, and I occasionally see him in the street and start to shake. I can't help staring at him until he eventually locks eyes, and after a couple of seconds of embarrassed silence he tends to say "'lo". " 'Lo," I reply too loudly, and shuffle past him as fast as my fat legs will carry me.

POP / Secrets of staying single: Why has an old Troggs tune been No 1 for three months? Nicholas Barber reports

HOW PROPHETIC those lyrics seem: 'There's no beginning, there'll be no end.' Today we find out if Wet Wet Wet's 'Love is All Around' is at No 1 for the 15th week running. Already it's been there so long that people are starting to think it's the signature tune of Top of the Pops. Another week and it will equal Bryan Adams's '(Everything I Do) I Do It for You' as the single with the most consecutive weeks at No 1 in the British chart. The inevitable question is, Why why why? What makes a record a record-breaker?

The man with the golden pen: Lawrence Kasdan

Lawrence Kasdan is best known as the director of 'Body Heat' and 'The BigChill'. But he has also written some of the biggest box-office hits of alltime. In an extract from 'Projections 3', he talks to Graham Fuller about 'The Bodyguard', 'Raiders' and 'The Empire Strikes Back'; while (panel, right) Quentin Curtis looks back at a prolific career

FILM / Hits of 1993

Steven Spielberg's 'Jurassic Park' fulfils the hype by crushing the competition and scaling the top of the 1993 box-office chart (grosses calculated from 4 December 1992 to 28 November 1993). Even with the advantage of opening six months earlier, the runners-up - the Whitney Huston / Kevin Costner weepie 'The Bodyguard' and Macauley Culkin reprising the role that made him in 'Home Alone 2' - took less than half as much at the box-office. It's a sad reflection on Britain's film industry that every film in the chart was produced in America.

BEST-SELLERS / Top 10 Videos

----------------------------------------------------------------- BEST-SELLERS TOP 10 VIDEOS ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 The Jungle Book . . . . . . . . . . pounds 12.99 2 The Bodyguard. . . . . . . . . . . .pounds 10.99 3 The Muppets' Christmas Carol . . . .pounds 13.99 4 Sister Act . . . . . . . . . . . . .pounds 8.99 5 Beauty and the Beast . . . . . . . .pounds 12.99 6 Take That: Live at Wembley . . . . .pounds 10.99 7 Dracula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pounds 10.99 8 Bottom: Live . . . . . . . . . . . .pounds 12.99 9 Bad Golf Made Easier . . . . . . . .pounds 9.99 10 Roy Chubby Brown: Rise and Rise . . pounds 14.99 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Chart supplied by Virgin Megastore, 14 Oxford St, London -----------------------------------------------------------------

REVIEW / Me and you, and baby too: At Sheffield Arena, Whitney Houston danced, sang and introduced her new baby. Joseph Gallivan sat in the stalls and went 'aaah'

After all, it's not as though she needs the money. When your latest album has just sold its 23 millionth copy and everybody on the planet has seen the movie (The Bodyguard), you don't hack around the arenas of Europe with a husband and an eight-month-old baby in tow for the cash. No way. Whitney Houston does it because she loves the sound of her own voice. Fortunately, so do the rest of us.
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