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Entertainment Briefs for April 14, 2010

| April 14, 2010 9:00 PM

Shakira visits Haitians in camps

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Hip-shaking Colombian pop star Shakira is meeting with Haitian earthquake survivors living in makeshift camps and she says she is searching for suitable land to build a school for needy children.

Arriving Sunday, the singer waved to onlookers and greeted infants living on a Haitian golf course that has turned into a sprawling makeshift camp for 50,000 quake survivors.

Her Barefoot foundation provides nutrition to more than 6,000 children in Colombia, and she is member of the ALAS foundation that advocates for children across Latin America.

Shakira was greeted by actor Sean Penn, who is providing humanitarian aid at Haitian refugee camps. The two stars spoke about challenges confronting Haiti since the Jan. 12 disaster.

Vatican makes peace with Beatles

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican has finally made peace with the Beatles, saying their drug use, "dissolute" lives and even the claim that the band was bigger than Jesus are all in the past - while their music lives on.

Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano paid tribute to the Fab Four in its weekend editions, with two articles and a front-page cartoon reproducing the crosswalk immortalized on the cover of the band's album "Abbey Road."

The tribute marked the 40th anniversary of the band's breakup.

"It's true, they took drugs; swept up by their success, they lived dissolute and uninhibited lives," said the paper. "They even said they were more famous than Jesus," it said, recalling John Lennon's 1966 comment that outraged many Catholics and others.

"But, listening to their songs, all of this seems distant and meaningless," L'Osservatore said. "Their beautiful melodies, which changed forever pop music and still give us emotions, live on like precious jewels."

It is not the first time the Vatican has praised the legendary band from Liverpool.

Two years ago, Vatican media hailed the Beatles' musical legacy on the 40th anniversary of the "White Album." And last month the Vatican paper included "Revolver" in its semiserious list of top-10 albums.

Now, L'Osservatore says that the Beatles' songs have stood the test of time, and that the band remains "the longest-lasting, most consistent and representative phenomenon in the history of pop music."

Giovanni Maria Vian, the editor in chief of L'Osservatore Romano, said Monday that he loves the Beatles.

He said that at the time of Lennon's sensational statement, Osservatore "commented that in reality it wasn't that scandalous, because the fascination with Jesus was so great that it attracted these new heroes of the time."

Walsh to appear in 'Dusk Rings a Bell'

NEW YORK - Kate Walsh plans to spend her summer vacation in a 99-seat off-Broadway theater.

Walsh, star of ABC's "Private Practice," will appear in the world premiere of "Dusk Rings a Bell," a two-character play by Stephen Belber, the Atlantic Theater Company announced Monday. She will co-star with Paul Sparks.

"Dusk Rings a Bell," which runs May 19 through June 20 at the company's Stage 2, concerns the reunion of Molly and Ray, who unexpectedly meet again more than two decades after a brief romantic encounter. Rehearsals begin April 27.

"It's the story of these two people who had known each other during one point in their life and are trying to reconnect," Walsh said in a telephone interview. "The fact (is) that their lives have gone in vastly different directions. (So) there is sort of this innate melancholy and lament (in the play). It works on so many different levels - particularly where these characters conflict with each other and where they connect."

Walsh described Molly, a successful career woman in media relations at CNN, as "very cerebral, ironic and confident but definitely missing something. She's a little broken and longing for something."

Belber is best known for his three-character drama "Tape," which was filmed as a movie starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Robert Sean Leonard. "Dusk Rings a Bell" will be directed by Sam Gold, who also directed "Circle Mirror Transformation," one of the biggest hits of the current off-Broadway season.

Sparks appeared on Broadway in 2009 in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler." He will be in the HBO miniseries remake of "Mildred Pierce," starring Kate Winslet.

"Dusk Rings a Bell" will be Walsh's off-Broadway debut, although she has worked extensively in theater in Chicago and Los Angeles as well as off-off-Broadway.

"I can't tell you how excited I am," the 42-year-old actress said. "I love doing new pieces and figuring them out."

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