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Cranberries are comin’

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

(c) 2002 Irish Echo Newspaper Corp. By Eileen Murphy

Time to wake up and smell the coffee, Cranberries fans. Your favorite tart popstars are back with a vengeance, and they’re planning to tour the U.S. for the first time in three years. You have been warned.

The band is said to be rarin’ to get on the road to promote their new album, “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee.” Which raises one question, namely, do they never tire of giving orders? The last album was called “Bury the Hatchet.” Sheesh.

The band sets out on a European tour in February, and will make it to the U.S in May.

In addition to the new album, the band plans to release a boxed set to celebrate their 10th anniversary of music-makin’ togetherness. Expect alternate tracks of some of their best-known songs, like “Linger,” plus oddities, rarities, B-sides and new artwork.

The mouth that roared

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We try — we really do — to like firebrand actor Sean Penn, given that he paid his tabloid gossip dues years ago by marrying Madonna. But it gets harder and harder to listen to Penn while he flaps his gums about all and sundry. After comparing hard-hitting Fox newsman Bill O’Reilly unfavorably with Osama bin Laden, Penn now takes aim at classic Hollywood movies.

For example, “Gone with the Wind” is “an abominable fraud of a movie,” according to Penn. Ditto other well-loved films like “The Grapes of Wrath.”

“I sometimes feel they should just burn them all and start anew,” he said.

We say, people in glass houses should be careful about chucking stones. We still want our money back on the ticket we bought to that Penn/Madonna opus, “Shanghai Surprise.”

U2: on Target with new EP

U2 may be hard at work on a new album, but diehard fans want some satisfaction — or, at least, a little Elevation — right now. So to meet the demand and, just maybe, to capitalize on the hype surrounding their upcoming appearance at Super Bowl XXXVI, the band has released e seven-track CD containing rarities and B-sides.

The U2 CD EP (how’s that for acronyms gone wild?) is titled “U2 7.” Tracks include remixes of “Beautiful Day,” “Walk On” and “Elevation,” as well as an acoustic version of “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t get Out Of.” B-sides include the unforgettable “Big Girls Are Best,” “Summer Rain” and “Always.” The CD is available exclusively at Target stores in the U.S., and will retail for $6.99, so point your nose and feet in the direction of the red bull’s eye.

Kelly’s statue to sing — but where?

The city of Pittsburgh plans to honor its most famous son, legendary movie hoofer Gene Kelly, with a statue depicting him in one of his best-known dance routines. The problem is, city fathers can’t agree on where to put the 14-foot-high thing.

Kelly, who died in 1996 at the age of 83, starred in some of Hollywood’s most popular musicals, such as “An American in Paris,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Anchors Away.” But the proposed statue will depict him swinging from a lamppost in a scene from — you guessed it — the quintessential (and greatest) MGM musical, “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Warring committees, however, can’t agree on where to install the statue.

The Gene Kelly Statue Committee, who hope to raise $350,000 to erect the work, lean toward the idea of placing the statue at the entrance to the city of Pittsburgh. But Richard Armstrong, the director of the Carnegie Museum of Art, retorts that the proposed site “just seems silly.” He wants to place the statue in the city’s theater district.

Putting the statue at the entrance to the city would make it easy to miss, insists Armstrong.

“It would be something you’d pass by without recognizing anything about it,” he said.

Stay tuned.

Branagh to cast a spell in “Potter II”

Producers of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” have apparently cast a spell on the normally Shakespearean-minded Kenneth Branagh. The Belfast native will play a dishy sorcery professor in the second installment of the wildly popular series.

Branagh’s character, Prof. Gilderoy Lockhart, is described as a newcomer to the Hogwarts School. His dashing good looks and comparative youth (well, compared to Richard Harris’s Dumbledore, anyway) make him the object of Harry’s pal Hermione’s schoolgirl crush. Of course, the handsome teacher has a few skeletons in his closet, or the movie wouldn’t be any fun, right?

Clooney recovers from surgery

Singer Rosemary Clooney — who was the famous one in the family before her nephew George became a superstar — has reportedly undergone surgery to remove part of her left lung.

The legendary big band singer and movie star, best known for her hit “Come Onna My House,” was diagnosed with lung cancer during a recent checkup. The surgery was a success, and, according to her publicist, the 73-year-old Clooney’s prognosis is good.

Putting the Sheen on film bio

New York Post gossip Cindy Adams hints that film producers are hoping to cast “West Wing” star Martin Sheen in a more heavenly light. They’re planning to offer the actor the role of another high-profile Irishman: the late Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.

Bishop Sheen, for anyone who came of age during or after the disco years, was a star of radio and television. His homespun wit, folksy anecdotes and genial nature demystified the image of Roman Catholics in America. The wheels have been set in motion to canonize Sheen, and already one miracle has reportedly been attributed to him.

Sheen the actor, who plays fictional president Josiah Bartlett on the popular NBC political soap opera, is said to be the first choice among “the Catholic hierarchy” to play the late bishop. Adams cites the belief that Sheen (Martin, that is) dropped his real surname, Estevez, in favor of Sheen as a tribute to the bishop. A nice story, to be sure. But according to other reports, the half-Irish, half-Mexican actor merely adopted his mother’s maiden name.

Coincidence? Well, perhaps. But maybe the late bishop Sheen works in mysterious ways . . .

When it ‘Rains,’ it pours for Enya

We gave up long ago trying to understand what Enya was singing about, and we suspect that not even her most fervent fans have a clue. But she sure sounds great, soothing and ethereal, and that translates into big bucks and big album sales in any language.

The Irish-born singer, who is the sister of Clannad chanteuse Maire Brennan, made a rare public appearance at the Golden Globes in Los Angeles last weekend, where she was nominated for XXXXX. To no one’s surprise, the soft-voiced singer took home a statuette.

In more Enya news, Hot Press reports that she is the first Irish artist in history to simultaneously have three albums on the Japanese record charts: “A Day Without Rain,” “The Best of Enya” and “Themes Calmi Cuori” (a Japanese film) are all selling briskly in the land of the rising star. Oops! We mean, sun.

Sarah, Matthew wow fair city

“Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband, Matthew Broderick, who’s currently starring in a Broadway show you might have heard about, called “The Producers,” have jetted in to Ireland for some rest and relaxation.

The high-profile pair frequently vacation in Ireland, and own a holiday home in Donegal. This time around, we hear that they’re enjoying the sights and sounds of Dublin. Sarah has reportedly told pals that Ireland is the only place that the couple can get some peace and quiet.

The fashionable pair were spotted dining in the equally fashionable Unicorn restaurant recently. We hear that the fashion-conscious star (Sarah, not Matthew) was also seen strolling on Grafton Street wearing a very fashion-forward peaked cap. (Good thing she’s pretty.)

Roma Downey believes in angels

For Irish actress Roma Downey, playing an angel on TV is not a pure fantasy role. The Derry native firmly believes in the existence of the heavenly creatures.

The “Touched By an Angel” star, who plays Monica on the hit CBS show, feels that each of us is protected by his or her own guardian angel. She says that her conviction was cemented after hearing the story of a 3-year-old boy who survived a horrific car crash that killed his mother.

The toddler, who was thrown from the car when it skidded off a cliff, told rescuers that “two angels with wings” looked after him throughout the cold and rainy night before he was found.

Downey told the Sunday World, “I hear stories like this all the time. And I believe them.

“I know God works through angels, especially when it comes to taking care of His wee ones.”


Actor-screenwriter-director Ed Burns continues the upward career trajectory he never imagined back in 1995 when he financed his $15,000 first film, “The Brothers McMullen,” with credit cards. The actor, who’s still engaged to supermodel Christy Turlington (they postponed their wedding in the wake of Sept. 11), will play a journalist in his upcoming film, “On Green Dolphin Street,” covering the 1960 presidential race between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

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