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New & Noteworthy Lord of De-fense

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Eileen Murphy

It’s a good thing Michael Flatley was a champion boxer before he became a word famous Irish dancer. The blond hoofer had to call on his fighting instincts last week when an intruder broke into his home in Monte Carlo.

The Daily News reports that Flatley was asleep in his Monagsque mansion when the prowler entered the house. The dancer awoke to find the man hovering over him.

"He was standing there waiting for me," Flatley said.

The dancer gave chase, but the man escaped. Cops at the scene told Flatley that they think the man was an obsessed fan rather than a common thief, but we’re not sure how they came to that conclusion. Did the guy, like, ask for an autograph?

Anyway, we don’t want to tell the police how to do their job, but we suggest they should be looking for someone who can run reeeealllly fast, since Michael’s known for being rather fleet of foot himself.

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Bread and circasia

One of our favorite events of the year is the Irish Repertory Theater’s annual benefit concert. You never know what boldface names will drop in — Kevin Spacey, Liam Neeson, Natasha Richardson, Swoosie Kurtz, Christopher Reeve, Rosie O’Donnell, Peter Gallagher, Lynn Redgrave, and Angela Lansbury have all appeared in recent years, which keeps things pretty exciting.

This year’s show, "Circasia: A Celtic Circus," will be presented on Monday, June 4, at 7 p.m. at the John Golden Theater, 252 West 45 St., NYC. The show, a heady mix of clowns, comic singers, jugglers, poets, musicians, fire-eaters and contortionists, will be hosted by legendary actress Shirley Jones, and will feature Sean Campion and Conleth Hill, stars of the critically acclaimed Broadway show "Stones in His Pockets." Also lending some star power will be Macaulay Culkin, star of "Madame Melville."

Also showing off their crowd-pleasing skills will be the members of the Irish Repertory Theater company, including Terry Donnelly, Pauline Flanagan, Marian Tomas Griffin, Celeste Holm, Rusty Magee, Tommy Makem, Christine McCabe, Frank McCourt, Malachy McCourt, Ciaran O’Reilly, Milo O’Shea, Carmel Quinn, Ciaran Sheehan, Eric Stoltz, Kitty Sullivan and surprise guests, whom they won’t tell me about because they know I can’t keep a secret from you guys.

Immediately after the show, the Irish Rep will hold a gala supper at Sardi’s. Tickets for the show and supper start at $100. It’s all for a good cause, and trust us, the craic is mighty. For information, call (212) 727-2737.

Mumba siblings

Just in case you thought that Irish pop princess Samantha inherited all the talent in the Mumba family, we should tell you that her little brother Ornero is getting ready for his close-up as well.

The 11-year-old schoolboy is making his acting debut playing Samantha’s brother in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming blockbuster, "Time Machine." But even though this is his big acting break, we’ve got to say, the kid has his priorities straight. He recently took a leave of absence from the film so that he could fly home to Drumcondra in Dublin for a really important gig: his Confirmation.

"We made it just be the skin of our teeth," said Ornero’s beaming mother, Barbara. "They rescheduled the shooting of the movie to allow Ornero to come back."

Big sister Sam wasn’t so lucky. She had to remain in Hollywood to shoot some key scenes, and so missed out on Ornero’s big day. The plucky singer was philosophical, but clearly disappointed.

"I’m ragin’ I can’t go home for it," she moaned to the Sunday World last week.

Ornero’s mother thinks the break from Hollywood will do him a world of good.

"It’ll be good for him to go back to school and be with his pals," she said.

"He needs a shot in the arm of normality as well."

Meanwhile, we hear that Samantha is winning the admiration of all her coworkers by insisting on doing her own stunts in the movie. Actually, she’s got the admiration of everyone except her stunt double.

The energetic Mumba has been running, leaping and jumping off cliffs as the cameras rolled, collecting some cuts and bruises in the process, But she says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

"I said at the start that if there’s anything I can do, I’d love to give it a shot," she said.

"I’ve really got a buzz out of doing it," she continued. "I’ve done all my own falls, [and] I’ve even jumped off the side of a cliff!"

Understandably, Mumba’ stunt woman is getting a little restless with nothing to do but watch.

"She said to me the other day, ‘Will you let me do something?’ " laughed Mumba.

Just a big, uuuummmm, kitty cat

Quick! Cover the children’s ears, and for god’s sake, turn off the radio! That Richie Kavangh person is at it again, and RTE is scrambling to put a stop to his subversive carry-on.

Deep breath.

What are we on about, you ask? Well, we hear that Kavanagh, the cheeky git who, a few years back, brought us "Aon Focail Eile," the touching musical tribute to Irish language lessons, has a new song in the works. And this song, like its predecessor, is raising eyebrows, hackles and just plain hell whenever it’s played.

The song, "Pussy-Pussy Cat," has caused such an uproar that it’s been banned by radio stations in the west of Ireland. Listeners object to what they consider suggestive lyrics, but Kavanagh insists that they’re just reading things into his art.

"Sure, it’s a totally harmless song about an auld pussy cat," he huffed. "Some people might take a different meaning from it, but it’s only old-fashioned comedy."

Or, as he notes in the chorus, "Oh, ya thought it was so naughty/But it’s not a naughty song./Ya thought it was so naughty,/But I was coddin’ all along." Some people have such dirty little minds, eh?

Briefings

It’s all good fun until somebody gets hurt, as mothers always say. Well, it’s a good thing Mrs. Filan wasn’t in the vicinity when her son, Westlife heartthrob Shane, wound up flat on his back last week after a bit of roughhousing with some mates. The poor boy would probably have gotten a healthy portion of "I told you so" while he was writhing around in pain.

Shane says that he and his friends were "having a laugh," when he fell straight on his back.

"I’ve never felt so much pain in my life," he told the News of the World. In fact, poor Shane wound up in a wheelchair for a couple of days, which should put an end to the horseplay for a while. But fear not, teenyboppers; Shane says, "I’m fine now."

Ronan: fly me

Pop starsom is a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Take poor Ronan Keating, Boyzone alum and suddenly hot solo artist. On his current concert tour, the singer makes his grand entrance by flying 60 feet over the heads of the audience. The only problem is, he’s afraid of heights.

"It’s all I can do to look out of a second story window," he admitted. "Getting on an airplane is pure torture."

But Ronan’s willing to give his all — and risk losing his lunch — for the benefit of his devoted fans.

"I thought it would be nice if the fans in the back got a good view," he said. We can’t help thinking that most of them just got a good look at his backside, but, hey, his heart’s in the right place, right?

Stephen’s celebrity primer

Stephen Gately, the ex-Boyzoner who "came out" and announced that he was gay a couple of years ago, recalls that male groupies never targeted him when he was in the band.

"They fancied Ronan," Gately told the News of the World.

The singer, who recently released a new single, "Stay," got all chatty with the newspaper, saying that fans sometimes forget that famous people have basic needs just like everybody else. He told a story of a German fan who recently demanded his autograph — in the men’s room.

"Someone slipped a pen and paper under the door," recalled Gately.

Stephen also reveals the real reason celebrities shroud themselves in floppy hats and sunglasses when they’re out in public. Yes, he admits, sometimes it’s so that they can shop without being recognized. But more often, he says, "It’s usually more to do with having a hangover."

So, was he hung over at the premiere of "Billy Elliot," to which he wore a wooly hat? As if.

"I wore a wooly hat because I was having a bad hair day," he said. (In case you’re wondering, that’s a fashion don’t.)

Quotable

"We got started on the poetry and punk rock of New York City. More than anybody, the band that got us started when we were 15, 16 — Larry was 14, still is — was the music of the Ramones."

— Bono on the death of Punk legend Joey Ramone.

"I don’t sing the girly high notes. I leave that to boy bands like Westlife."

— Robbie Williams

Building bridges

Film director John Boorman, who has made a number of films in Ireland, was underwhelmed by one Irish performance last year: that of an Irish construction crew.

During the making of the Pierce Brosnan-Jamie Lee Curtis thriller "The Tailor of Panama," the crew was flown to South America ahead of the cast to build the location sets. But when Boorman, Brosnan and the rest arrived in Panama, they found that not even one nail had been hammered.

"It turned out that some of [the crew] had been spending a lot of time in these brothels," explained Boorman. Which left them, as one would imagine, "too exhausted to work," he told Now Magazine. Hmmm . . . wonder if that’s covered under workman’s comp?

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