Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

from Africa News blog:

At last: a positive look at Africa on U.S. TV

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American television audiences were treated on Sunday night for the first time to the show "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency", which is based on the best-selling series of novels set in Botswana by Alexander McCall Smith.

The series, being aired in the United States by HBO, has already been broadcast by the BBC in Britain. Like the novels, it follows the light-hearted adventures of Precious Ramotswe as she seeks to solve mysteries with her keen intuition and big heart.

My colleague Rebekah Kebede did an advance story on the U.S. premier which you can read here.

I have read most of the novels, and the TV premier seems to stick to the spirit of the books. African problems, such as AIDS or the use of body parts from kidnapped children to make traditional medicine, or "muti," are not swept under the carpet. But many of the tales woven by McCall Smith are uplifting or deal with profound ethical dilemmas that his intrepid lady detective always resolves.

The ice queen melteth

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 (Reporting by Jan Paschal)ITALY-FASHION/

 Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, famous for her chilly demeanor, surprised the black-tie crowd at amfAR’s New York Gala with her warm introduction of New York designer Donna Karan, an amfAR honoree, on Thursday night. The event packed Cipriani on 42nd Street on the eve of New York Fashion Week.

  Wintour recalled how years ago, “Donna enlisted the Calvin Kleins and the Ralph Laurens” and the rest of the Council of Fashion Designers of America to band together to fight AIDS, the disease that devastated the fashion industry in the 1980s. Out of that came the Seventh on Sale benefit and other work to USA/raise money for AIDS research to find a cure.
    “Everyone refers to Donna as an earth mother,” Wintour said. “When we go to visit her, she feeds us, drapes us in fabric and tells us about her latest cause.”
    Actress Natasha Richardson told the crowd how touched she was by “hearing Anna speak with such heart and passion, this so-called ice queen of fashion.”
    Karan, in a one-shoulder black gown, said thatafter seeing “all these designers dropping right in front of us” more than 20 years ago, she had to do something.
    Liza Minnelli, also honored by amfAR, got a standing ovation after she sang. She wore a brown sequined tunic and leggings designed by amfAR chairman Kenneth Cole. Among the celebrities there were Harry Belafonte, Dick Cavett and Mario Cantone.
    A Louis Vuitton vanity case, designed by actress Sharon Stone, was among items auctioned for amfAR by Jamie Niven, chairman of Sotheby’s North and South America. “Not much room for underpants,” he joked, holding up the case — a wink to Stone’s star turn in “Basic Instinct.”

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