Sideshow | Commending a brave journalist

This year's SideShow award for excellence in celebrity journalism goes to my new hero, MSNBC TV anchor Mika Brzezinski, for not doing a report about Paris Hilton.

In a segment from Tuesday's Morning Joe show, which has been viewed more than a quarter million times since it was posted on, Mika told host Joe Scarborough she refused, despite her producer's insistence, to lead the newscast with Paris, who had been freed from jail that morning.

"I just don't believe in covering that story especially as the lead story on a newscast on a day like today," the visibly angry Mika said.

The newscaster, whose father, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, led with a story about Republican Sen. Richard Lugar who had just launched an unexpected attack on President Bush's Iraq policy.

MSNBC better not fire, suspend, yell at or otherwise punish such a brave journalist. Or else.

Paris pays a Kingly ransom

Larry King, who had an ¡exclusive! TV interview with Paris on Wednesday, did good business: The avuncular CNN softball lobber's show had 3.2 mil viewers, three times its average and twice as many as its Fox competitor, Hannity & Colmes, enjoyed.

Simulations & simulacra

Virtual reality's many boons are not limited to sex alone: Now the Net can help you become a virtual free citizen in a virtual democracy who can defend your virtual autonomy with virtual protests and fake civil disobedience to boot.

Stella McCartney, a longtime animal-rights activist, is taking advantage of virtual activism with a virtual anti-fur protest in the online fantasy island realm called Second Life, a sort of perpetual game-world where millions of real people live out alternate (fake) lives.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says it's real excited about Stella's project: During the weekend of July 12, the Second Life island will feature protests, info, and (stupid) fun stuff like "I'd rather be pixilated than wear fur" (virtual) T-shirts and veggie-burger (virtual) stalls named after Stella's late mother, Linda McCartney.

"Sometimes it's nice to have a bit of humor on serious subjects," said Stella, 35, a renowned British fashion designer.

Kudos to DeVito

We in the West generally do not utter the words Danny DeVito and world cinema in the same breath. But the Czechs know better. DeVito, best known at home for the TV show Taxi, will be presented with a special award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema at the 42d Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, which opened Friday and goes through July 7.

"Danny DeVito first caught the attention of Central Europeans when he performed so brilliantly in our countryman Milos Forman's masterpiece One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," festival president Jiri Bartoska said.

Bartoska noted that DeVito, who directed and starred in Throw Momma From the Train and The War of the Roses, is not only an actor but an accomplished producer and director. DeVito, 62, who is presenting his latest film, The Good Night, in the festival's competition, will be awarded the prize at the close of the festival.

Potter: A sex-crazed beast

Sexuality has reared its troubling - if pretty - head in Harry Potter's life.

In Tokyo for the premiere for the latest H.pot film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Brit star Daniel Radcliffe made giggly Japanese girls go all atwitter with the revelation that Harry has his first kiss in the film.

The smoochee? That'd be Cho Chang, the Ravenclaw babe Harry first met in J.K. Rowling's third installment (Prisoner of Azkaban) and who is played by 19-year-old Scottish actress Katie Leung.

Ever mindful of craft, Radcliffe shared some juicy, un-salacious technical details: "When we started [the kiss], we were both a bit nervous," he said. "But after the first few takes, it was sort of like any other scene, which is never really what people want to hear. It doesn't really feel any different, because you are still acting." Yeah right.

A princess remembered

Diana: A Princess Remembered, an exhibit of photos, videos and memorabilia from the life of Princess Diana, goes on display Saturday at Diana's London digs, Kensington Palace.

Organized chronologically, the show opens with a photo of Diana as a toddler, then tells the story of her education, her marriage to Prince Charles, and the birth of their two children. Diana, who would have turned 46 today, died in '97 in a Paris car crash.

The exhibit is timed to coincide with a slew of other events to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Diana's death. The second-largest collection of its kind, it will differ in tone and content from various other Diana-related exhibits.

"This is a more formal exhibition," said Sarah Watson, spokeswoman for Historic Royal Palaces, which is organizing the show. "It brings together previous exhibits and tells the story of her life."

The exhibit will be open through December.

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