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Cameron plans solo voyage to the depths

James Cameron has gone two and a half miles underwater dozens of times to view the wreck of the Titanic. Now the “Avatar” and “Titanic” filmmaker aims to go nearly three times as deep with his latest ocean dive.

Cameron said Thursday he plans to take a submersible craft down seven miles to the world’s deepest point, in the Mariana Trench of the Pacific Ocean, 200 miles southwest of Guam.

The journey later this month reportedly would be the deepest solo dive ever, breaking Cameron’s own record set this week, when he descended five miles off the coast of Papua, New Guinea, in the South Pacific.

Cameron will be the first person to descend to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, known as the “Challenger Deep,” since a two-man U.S. Navy expedition did it in 1960.

Those explorers spent just 20 minutes on the ocean floor, according to the National Geographic Society, a partner in the Cameron expedition and for whom the filmmaker was named an explorer-in-residence in 2011. Cameron will spend six hours at the bottom of the trench, collecting scientific samples.

Cameron, who has been an oceanography enthusiast since childhood, has made 72 deep-sea submersible dives, including 33 to the Titanic, the subject of his 1997 blockbuster. A 3-D version of “Titanic” comes out April 4, timed to the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking.

Wright to open LGBT center

Chely Wright, one of the first country artists to come out as gay, is opening a community center this weekend in Kansas City, Mo.

The new center, called the LIKEME Lighthouse, is meant to serve as a place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their supporters to meet and hang out. It’s also the most ambitious project undertaken by Wright’s LIKEME Organization.

The facility will feature a library and offer exercise and craft classes and events such as health fairs.

Wright’s hits include “Single White Female” and “Shut Up and Drive.” She grew up in nearby Wellsville, Kan. She came out in May 2010 and married her partner, Lauren Blitzer, last summer.

The birthday bunch

Actress Joyce Van Patten is 78. Country singer Mickey Gilley is 76. Singer Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere and the Raiders) is 70. Former ABC anchorman Charles Gibson is 69. Actress Jaime Lyn Bauer is 63. Magazine editor Michael Kinsley is 61. Actress Linda Fiorentino is 52. Actress Juliette Binoche is 48. Actor Emmanuel Lewis is 41. Actress Brittany Snow is 26. Rapper Bow Wow is 25.


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