The Black Eyed Peas' will.I.am said he wanted to bring fresh life into the
career of Brazilian music master Sergio Mendes, and is he ever! Not only is their
collaboration yielding the forthcoming 'Timeless' album -- it also has Mendes getting
ready to set out on a major world tour in 2006.
Along for the trek will be Mendes'
songstress wife Gracinha Leporace, plus some hip-hop and rap talents to perform the
striking new renditions of Mendes' favorites found on the Valentine's Day release
produced by will.I.am. 'Course, there's no telling what superstar pals might stroll
onstage at certain engagements. 'Timeless' features names including The Black Eyed
Peas, Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Justin Timberlake, Jill Scott, India.Arie, Q-tip,
and R&B 'It' Artist John Legend.
Mendes tells us it started with a phone call he got
about three years ago from the president of A&M Records, telling him that the leader
of the Black Eyed Peas wanted to 'come to my house to see me. I said, 'Sure.' He
walks in with a bunch of old vinyls of mine -- even before Brasil '66, the old
Atlantic instrumentals. He said, 'As a kid here in L.A., I discovered your music and
it changed my life.'
Mendes subsequently guested on the Black Eyed Peas' 'Elephunk'
album at the invitation of will.I.am. The 30-year-old music whiz kid and the Latin
legend, who's roughly twice his age, became friends and will.I.am signed Mendes to his
I.Am.Music talent roster. Next came collaborating on the full album of 'hip-hop samba
bossa nova urban classico' as will.I.am describes it. 'Once word got out that we were
working together, people started wanting to work with us,' says Sergio. In less than
three months, they had the recording he calls 'adventurous and different' and most
people are bound to call sexy. It's being released by Concord Records/Starbucks Hear
KNOWING WHEN TO FOLD 'EM: 'It's not really a game. It's a study of
humanity and what level of calculated risks somebody will take to possibly change
their life,' says comedian Howie Mandel of his latest hosting gig, 'Deal or No Deal,'
airing next week on NBC. On the show, contestants choose one briefcase out of 26.
They must either stay with their original choice or make a 'deal' to accept a cash
offer in exchange for whatever dollar amount is in their case. 'I had my mom and my
kids at the taping and everybody went nuts. Everybody gets involved in the game
because you watch these people, who one minute are ecstatic, and the next minute are
passing out because they may have made the wrong decision,' he tell us. 'It's played
in 41 countries and in most of the places it's number one. In Spain, the King
actually offered the host millions of dollars to stop playing because it was knocking
his own broadcast station off of primetime.'
With Mandel doing over 200 live
stand-up?gigs a year, he was just happy he got a chance to be a part of?'Deal.' 'When
I was taping the show, I was on stage in Hollywood until 8:15 at night. Then I'd have
to be on stage at 9:30 at the MGM in Vegas,' he explains. 'They'd cut, run me
upstairs to the roof to a helicopter, and it would land at the airport where I'd get
on a plane to Vegas. It was quite an experience.'
RACHAEL'S WAY: With her
quick wit, blond hair, and thick-framed glasses, it's hard to forget comedian Rachael
Harris, who has become a staple on VH1. Next up for the actress is the Christopher
Guest flick 'For Your Consideration,' which comes out next year. 'I play an actress
in the movie whose love interest is Parker Posey,' notes Harris. Having already
portrayed a lesbian in Will Ferrell's 'Kicking & Screaming,' she jokes, 'Yeah, I've
cornered the market on lesbians.' When asked what we can expect from the movie, she
responds, 'It's all about Hollywood and what happens when three people possibly get
nominated for an Oscar. They don't even get nominated for sure. It's just the buzz
about what happens.' The cast, of course, includes the typical Guest lineup -- Eugene
Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Michael McKean, and Jennifer Coolidge. Harris adds, 'I've had
small parts in 'Best in Show' and 'A Mighty Wind' so this time to be able to do
something more substantial was great. It's truly an honor to be a part of that
NOW THERE'S AN IDEA: A late January production start has been set for
'The Genius Club,' writer-producer Tim Chey's unique movie, in which a demented soul
has a nuclear bomb set to go off on Christmas day -- unless the President of the
United States and a group of the world's greatest minds can come up with solutions to
the world's problems in one single night. We're told those problems include hunger,
war, cancer, terrorism, the meaning of life, rush hour traffic, and jerks.