Causes Celeb
From L.A. to Africa, stars play politics and push their agendas

Why would someone take "The Way We Were" and alter the lyrics to say "What we need is someone to cure us/ 'Cause baby we've got tsuris [Yiddish for trouble], the way we are"? Barbra Streisand, 60, did it (with help from songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman) to help raise $6 million for the Democratic party at a Sept. 29 benefit concert in L.A. It was a big week for celebs stepping into the political arena. On Sept. 26 Lisa Marie Presley, 34, testified before Congress about the dangers of overmedicating children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Kevin Spacey, 43, and Chris Tucker, 31, joined former President Bill Clinton, 56, on a tour of Africa to raise awareness about the continent's AIDS epidemic. But it was Streisand, who no longer performs paid concerts, who made the biggest splash, partly for her antiwar rhetoric ("I find George Bush and Dick Cheney frightening") and partly because it appears she made a boo-boo, attributing a quote about "the drums of war" to Shakespeare, even though critics say he never wrote it. No problem, said Streisand: "Whoever wrote this is damn talented, and he should be writing his own play."

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A Case of 'I Do' Déjà Vu

Hey, kids! Can you spot at least three differences between the photo of Gwen and Gavin's first wedding in London (left) and the photo of their nuptials in L.A. (right)? Check out the answers below.

Stop us if you've heard this one: No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani, 33, wed Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, 36, on Sept. 28 in L.A. If that sounds familiar, it's because Stefani also wed Rossdale on Sept. 14 in London. How to tell which ceremony was which? Well, the bride wore a white-and-blush pink Galliano gown in London. And L.A. But the groom's sheepdog, Winston, was in London (in a floral collar) but not L.A. The London ceremony was Anglican; the L.A. service Roman Catholic. And London had 150 close family and friends (Rossdale's a Brit) but not Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Stiller, David Arquette and Courteney Cox Arquette, who celebrated in L.A.

Answers: In L.A. Gwen shows off a pink nibble on her left shoulder. She also reveals a large necklace. And the bride and groom each have own cocktail glass—Big Gulp size—at the West Coast affair.

Rosie's Legal Thorn
And there goes the other shoe.... On Oct. 1,13 days after Rosie O'Donnell abruptly shut down her namesake magazine Rosie following an acrimonious feud with Gruner + Jahr about the monthly's editorial direction, G + J fired back. The publishing giant filed a lawsuit accusing the comic of "bizarre and ofttimes mean-spirited behavior" and seeking damages in excess of $300 million. In court papers, G + J claims O'Donnell began behaving erratically in July, just weeks after she quit her talk show and "began to transform her public persona from the warm, fun-loving 'Queen of Nice' to a self-proclaimed 'über bitch.'" Responds O'Donnell's publicist Cindi Berger: "Rosie will fight this aggressively. Her name and integrity are at stake. She is countersuing."

Dr. Phil Meets His Match
Despite striking visual evidence, in-your-face talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw, 52, and actor Jeffrey Tambor (The Larry Sanders Show), 58, are not the same person. Yet the bald, mustachioed, casually dressed doppelgangers did seem to enjoy commiserating about their oft-confused identities during Tambor's guest appearance on Dr. Phil's Oct 1 show. But for once, it wasn't loquacious Dr. Phil who came up with the commonsense solution to the problem: Tambor had grown a beard.

American Idled
A taxed throat has done what Justin Guarini couldn't: Silence Kelly Clarkson. The American Idol winner is under doctor's orders "to go on vocal rest to preserve her voice." Clarkson had to postpone taping an appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly, but a rep says her malaise is "not a big deal. She was just told to lie low until the [Idol] tour," which kicks off Oct. 8 in San Diego. Meanwhile, Clarkson, whose song "A Moment Like This" topped charts in its first weeks, can relish a prize rarer than stardom: sympathy from Simon Cowell. "She's had to take it easy," says the acerbic Idol judge. "She's been over-singing and she's exhausted."

Home Away from Neverland
For pop stars, life seems to offer three, not two, certainties: death, taxes and, at some point in their careers, Las Vegas. The latest proof: Since the summer, Michael Jackson has reportedly been spending a few weeks at a time at the Four Seasons hotel, and sighted all over town—in his own Michael Jacksonesque way. He has caught Siegfried & Roy's show four times and gone on several late-night shopping sprees (including a 1:30 a.m. trip to the Luxor's high-end gift shop, where he's considering buying a $27,000 brass-plated replica of a pharaoh's burial casket). He also visited the Guinness World of Records Museum, where a fan asked why he needed an umbrella in the afternoon sun. The reason, Jackson replied, was that doctors had just completed minor surgery on his nose.

POP QUIZ

with Rod Stewart

On his new album, It Had to Be You...The Great American Songbook, Rod Stewart sings the oldies. And we're not talking "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy." Or even "Maggie May." Instead, Stewart tackles traditional standards from the '20s and '30s. Why go retro? Stewart, 57, explained all in a chat with Scoop.

How is the industry different now from when you started in the '60s?

Nowadays, it seems every kid you meet wants to be in the music business. There's so much music being put out, it's hard to keep up.

Any new artists you like?

The band that did the song "Yellow." Coldplay?

And in the face of all that, you're putting out an album of...Gershwin? Cole Porter?

It's a long way from "Hot Legs," that's for sure.

Why the old tunes?

Most of these songs I heard growing up. My family would sing them at Christmas parties and things like that. And I've always loved the great singers like Ella Fitzgerald.

Why now?

I've finally plucked up the courage and I've found a record company [Stewart's new label, J Records] that believes in it.

Are you afraid some fans won't get it?
I absolutely think there will be a lot of people who won't get it. They're just going to have to put up with it.

Two years ago, you had a benign growth removed from your thyroid. Has it affected your singing?

After the operation, my voice dropped a little bit. Which I think has a lot to do with why this album sounds so good.

How did the recording go?

I'm not great in the studio: I've got the attention span of a flea. I have to say, "I'm going to sing this song for two hours, and if you don't get it by then, that's it—I'm going home."

Do blondes still have more fun?

I'm still having fun, very much so.

ON THE BLOCK

ARQUETTE ABODE

Joey has shown his carpentry skills on TV, but in real life Courteney Cox Arquette is the Friend who nurtures her inner Bob Vila. Since her days on Family Ties, when she restored a Santa Monica bungalow, Cox, 38, has made fixing-up and selling homes her hobby. Her latest: a Plantation-style retreat she shares with husband David Arquette, 31, in Brentwood, Calif. Purchased in 1996, the 5,200-sq.-ft. five-bedroom house features a gym, pool, guest suite and multiple skylights. Friendly asking price: $6.5 million.



  • Contributors:
  • Ting Yu,
  • Jennifer Wren,
  • Ruth Andrew Ellenson,
  • Lorenzo Benet,
  • Alexis Chiu,
  • Mark Dagostino,
  • Rachel Felder,
  • Michael Fleeman,
  • Angela Isidro Bresnahan,
  • Marisa Laudadido,
  • Michele Stueven.