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Oprah Winfrey will mark the 50th birthday of her former chef, Art Smith, with a $250,000 donation to his nonprofit.
Oprah Winfrey will mark the 50th birthday of her former chef, Art Smith, with a $250,000 donation to his nonprofit.
George Burns, Associated Press

Oprah's gift to chef targets kids' obesity

MIAMI — When Oprah Winfrey recently asked her former personal chef what he wanted for his 50th birthday, Art Smith's first thought was a new treadmill.

Aim higher, she told him.

How about a check to help fund the sort of healthy eating programs for children called for by another of his high-profile clients, first lady Michelle Obama, recently called for?

Done. On Monday, during a party hosted by celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, Smith says he'll formally announce the $250,000 donation from Winfrey to his Common Threads nonprofit. Smith's program runs more than 20 afterschool programs around the country. The programs teach children how to cook healthful, ethnically diverse foods.

'Hurt Locker' producer in trouble over e-mails

LOS ANGELES — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is considering action against a producer of "The Hurt Locker" who sent multiple e-mails urging academy members to vote for his movie in the Oscar best-picture race and "not a $500 million film" — an obvious reference to close-competitor "Avatar."

The e-mails by Nicolas Chartier, one of four nominated producers for "The Hurt Locker" and who put up the financing to make the front-running film, violated the academy's rule against sending mailings that "attempt to promote any film or achievement by casting a negative light on a competing film or achievement," according to academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger.

The initial e-mail was sent Feb. 19 showed Chartier giving more specific instructions, asking Oscar voters to rank "The Hurt Locker" at No. 1 and "Avatar" at No. 10 on this year's preferential ballot for the newly expanded best-picture category.

"Hurt Locker" distributor Summit Pictures said in a statement it was "completely unaware of any e-mails that were sent until we were alerted by the academy earlier this week."

Carnegie Hall concert benefits Tibet culture

NEW YORK — Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Regina Spektor and many others rocked Carnegie Hall Friday at the 20th annual Benefit Concert for Tibet House US, a non-profit organization charged with preserving Tibetan culture.

An avid fan of Tibetan art since his teen years, Pop says the world cannot afford to lose it.

"(Tibetans have) been getting kind of a bum deal for like 50, 60 years now ... sort of losing their spot on Earth," said Pop.

Spektor, who was born in the former Soviet Union and later immigrated to the Bronx, said her familiarity with hardship makes her sensitive to the Tibetan people.

"I'm all about protecting people's heritage," she said.