That Other Event ...
Not everyone in New York is obsessed with the impending Republican National Convention – some people are actually getting psyched up for a local late-summer tradition: The U.S. Open Tennis Championships, which, like the convention, kicks off on Monday. For example: Wimbeldon darling Maria Sharapova. "I'm really excited," the 17-year-old beauty told us at a recent tennis clinic for kids in Central Park. "I'll go out and do my best. You know, I mean, after winning Wimbledon, there are many expectations. But I'm very excited. The U.S. Open is such an exciting event because it is here in New York and the fans here bring a different kind of energy that makes the Open a lot of fun. It is very different from Wimbledon. Everybody is so into it and everybody is so energized." Sharapova has been enjoying her newfound celebrity since Wimbledon – but not too much. "People recognize me and it's a lot of fun," she says. "It's a lot easier to get into places. The most overwhelming part is that so many people know you now. (But) it hasn't taken away from my training. It only happens when you go out and they say, 'Well done.' But when I'm on the court it's all business."
Going to one of those Vote for Change concerts to see artists like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and the Dixie Chicks? Don't look for Carlos Santana on the lineup. "I don't believe in politics," the guitarist told Mexican newspaper Reforma recently. "There's a lot of corruption, lies, destruction and hunger for power, which is what corrupts people." Between President Bush and John Kerry, Santana says he's for the latter – but just barely. "I support him a little more because he's the lesser of two evils," Santana told the paper, adding that he would have more confidence in a female candidate. "I'd trust a woman president more," he said. "They are in another dimension because they are more conscientious." Santana, who is at work on his 38th album (including songs with Sting, Sheryl Crow, Sean Paul and Los Lonely Boys), will be honored Aug. 30 as the 2004 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year.
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Usher and Alicia Keys, filming part of his video in a duplex penthouse at New York's Hotel Gansevoort. Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter visited the hotel another night, to attend teammate Jorge Posada's birthday party on the rooftop.
Defending U.S. Open tennis champ Andy Roddick, dining at New York eatery Nobu Next Door with five male buddies, including coach Brad Gilbert. Roddick, who failed to win a medal in Athens but stuck around to cheer on fellow Olympians, is in New York for the U.S. Open.
By JON WARECH, CAROLINE HOWARD, ADRIENNE BARD, LIZA HAMM and COLLEEN DEBAISE