By Eileen Murphy
Sounds like Madonna needs to get over herself, at least when it comes to Irish actor Pierce Brosnan. The sooner the better, please. We hear that the Material Matron, who will share just one scene with the 007 star in the upcoming Bond thriller, “Die Another Day,” fears that even this brief contact could put her in a compromising position. She’s worried that sharing screen time with People’s Sexiest Man would inspire producers to write in an obligatory Bond seduction scene.
Now, while we’re pretty sure that Madge doesn’t have anything against snogging tall, handsome strangers, let’s all remember that she’s an old married lady these days, and the mother of two young children, to boot. Plus, her husband, British film director Guy Ritchie, reportedly gets a little cranky when she locks lips with other blokes. To sum it all up: no patty fingers for Pierce and Madonna.
To head producers off at the pass — literally — Madonna insisted that her fencing instructor character be written as a lesbian. Madonna’s involvement is limited to one scene in which she watches one of her minions cross swords with the suave spy.
The singer-turned-marginal-actress — who is currently drawing raves (and we don’t mean the good kind) from British critics for chewing the scenery in her hit West End show, “Up for Grabs” — has also engaged in an off-camera verbal duel with the film’s producers regarding her character’s lines. Mindful of her rather limited dramatic range — let’s put it this way: the girl couldn’t cough convincingly if she had the flu — Madonna demanded that her hubby be allowed to rewrite all of her dialog. Producers laughed off this notion, so the poor puddin’ will have to read someone else’s words. Which, like, totally blows her Oscar chances, in our opinion.
Michael asks, Lisa answers
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Don’t be alarmed at that high keening sound you heard over the weekend. That was just the sound of single gals all over the world mourning the official removal of “Lord of the Dance” star Michael Flatley from the international pool of rich, eligible bachelors.
The blond bombshell got down on one knee and popped the question to his Tallagh temptress last Friday night at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco. Under the guise of throwing a joint birthday celebration for himself and Lisa, Michael flew a flock of family and a rake of reporters to the tiny principality. When the party was in full swing, (and careful not to put his foot in it) he made the grand gesture to a surprised and delighted Lisa. The statuesque (that’s a euphemism for busty) blonde immediately accepted his proposal, to the cheers of the assembled audience.
Of course, Michael, being an old-fashioned, courtly type of guy, made sure to observe the proprieties, as they say. Specifically, before he popped the question to lovely Lisa, he popped the question to her poppa.
“Michael invited me to the bar for a drink before the meal,” proud father Des Murphy told the Sunday World. “[He] asked me if he could have my daughter’s hand in marriage.”
Des happily agreed, and even threw in the rest of her as a bonus.
“I’ve known Michael for three years and I have the utmost respect for him,” said Des. “He’s a total gentleman and Lisa is so happy.”
Though Michael’s pals like Irish team manager Mick McCarthy and members of the team were unable to attend the shindig, we hear that they sent a soccer ball inscribed with notes of congratulations. Which answers the question of what you can possibly get the guy who has everything.
So now that it’s all official, like, we can start speculating on the wedding date. Given Michael’s romantic leanings, we’re predicting Christmas nuptials. And, perhaps, in the not-too-distant future, the syncopated pitter-patter of little feet.
Memorial celebration to remember
We made a rare exception to our never-on-a-Monday socializing rule this week and attended the party celebrating the dedication of the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City. The event, held at the Embassy Suites Hotel, directly across the street from the memorial, was attended by Irish President Mary McAleese, New York Governor George Pataki, Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and a diverse group of community leaders, artists and entertainers.
We arrived in time to hear President McAleese’s speech about the legacy of the Famine on both the Irish and American psyches. Then Gov. Pataki, whose Irish heritage comes from his mother, spoke movingly about the significance of the memorial and the impact it will have on generations to come. Also on hand was Brian Tolle, the artist who designed the memorial, and Tim XXX, the chairman of the Battery Park City Authority.
Since politics is not really our bailiwick (all those elephant and donkey references are just too confusing) we found ourselves concentrating on the entertainment side of things, which was terrific. Adrian Flannelly and Aine Sheridan of Flannelly Promotions organized a wonderful lineup of performers. Performers included Eily O’Grady Patterson, Eanon Patterson and the Gaelic Singers and Harpists, as well as Gabriel Donohue and Eamon O’Rourke. Tenor Ciaran Sheehan sang the Irish and American anthems, after which members of the Petri School of Irish Dance dazzled the crowd with their fancy footwork and even fancier costumes. Milo O’Shea performed a wickedly funny version of “Phil the Fluter’s Ball,” and his wife, Kitty Sullivan, played the harp and sang.
Some of the best moments of the evening were provided by the city’s Irish cultural organizations. The Irish Arts Center presented an excerpt from their marvelous student outreach program, “The Great Potato.” The show is an interactive performance piece that travels to New York City schools, teaching children about the Famine. Written by the Irish artist Macdara, the play tells the story of Irish immigrants during the mid-19th century, and is quite touching in its simplicity. The IAC’s executive director, Pauline Turley, introduced the performers, sisters Sophia and Anaka, last night (we hear that their teacher, Jacinta O’Mahoney, was too nervous to do it). The girls, with the ease of seasoned performers, told their stories and charmed the socks off the audience, who gave them a rousing ovation.
Also terrific were the performers from the Irish Repertory Theater, who performed an excerpt from Frank McCourt’s “The Irish — And How They Got That Way.” The performances of Ciaran O’Reilly, Terry Donnelly, Marian Tomas Griffin, Rusty Magee and Ciaran Sheehan resonated; the contemporary accounts of the horrors suffered by the Irish during the Great Hunger gave power and poignancy to the memorial, situated just yards away. Ciaran Sheen’s rendition of “Skibbereen” ended with the actors’ arms raised in a salute, and the audience on their feet giving them an enthusiastic ovation.
It was a hard performance to follow, but Carmel Quinn’s very funny song-and-story act gave the audience a change of pace and a way to channel their energy into laughter. To cap off the evening, Joanie Madden of Cherish the Ladies, fiddle virtuoso Eileen Ivers, Gabriel Donohue and Eamon O’Rourke had a major seisiun onstage, which inspired a conga line through the room and riotous dancing in front of the stage, with Frank McCourt swinging Charlotte Moore around, as his brother Malachy cut a rug with Enterprise Ireland’s M’ve O’Malley.
Afterward, Irish Hunger memorial artist Brian Tolle introduced a documentary on the creation of the piece. Adding to the sense of poignancy were shots taken of the memorial on Sept. 10, 2001 and then in the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy. Then the party broke up, and it was down to the hotel pub for more socializing . . . er, make that serious discussions.
We took a stroll across the street to check out the memorial, with its roofless Irish cottage, brilliantly authentic landscaping and a tunnel featuring illuminated quotes. It is powerful, haunting, evocative, and, simply magnificent.
On a practical note, we found that navigating the rocky paths by moonlight meant that it was much easier climbing up than coming down. We prayed we wouldn’t wind up falling arseways down one of the hills, or plunging headfirst over one of the stone walls, which would have been too embarrassing in front of the poker-faced security guard and the other people at the base of the monument.
One thing about Oasis bad boy Liam Gallagher: he’ll never need to see a shrink about low self-esteem. The Mouth from Manchester is second to none in his admiration of his own talent.
Discussing the band’s forthcoming album, “Heathen Chemistry,” with reporters, Gallagher said that the album was not their greatest work. That, it seems, is yet to come.
“I think this is a good album,” he told the Sunday World. “But I don’t think this is the best album we’ll ever do.”
Here’s a refreshing item: there exists in Ireland a band that is so cool, so hip, so popular, that they won’t tell anyone their names.
Those in the know are apparently hooked on the duo known as Super A.D. The band, which specializes in electronic stews of rock, beats and vocals, is made up of Wicklow-based brothers Neils and Torsten. No last names, please. It’s soooooo five minutes ago.
The pair made a name for themselves (or rather, made no name for themselves) as producers and remixers. They’ve worked with acts as diverse as the Irish rock act The Devlins, ’60s pop star Donovan and “Lord of the Dance” composer Ronan Hardiman. Now they’ve come out with their own album, “Revive,” which will probably be available in the imports section of cooler record stores.
The brothers are quite enthused about “Revive,” which should push them to the next level of the business as stars in their own right.
“[The album] is dark and serious with weird electronic sounds,” said Torsten. Didn’t Daniel O’Donnell say the same thing about his last album?
Pirates to force U2 off the plank?
Hey, the next time you download music from one of those peer-to-peer file-sharing sites, just remember: you’re filching money right out of Bono’s pocket. And he’s not happy about that. Or, rather, the head of his record company isn’t happy about that.
As the band gets ready to release its second greatest hits album (part of a three-part series which netted the group a cool $50 mil), Universal Music International president John Kennedy is worried. He questions whether the band can realistically expect to match the numbers of its first greatest hits album, which sole 10 million copies.
“You have got to ask, are these figures still attainable?” Kennedy said last week.
The music honcho stopped just short of predicting drought, pestilence and universal bad hair days “if the prevailing music for free mentality is left unchecked.”
“Record companies will no longer be able to reinvest up to 15 percent of their revenues in discovering and nurturing artists of the future,” he threatened. And Bono might have to reconsider running for president, taking that pay cut and the smaller house in the park . . .