Lady Gaga canceled her sold-out show in Indonesia after Islamist hard-liners threatened violence, claiming her sexy clothes and provocative dance moves would corrupt the youth.
The controversy was a blow to the predominantly Muslim country’s reputation for combining free speech and democracy with a mostly moderate brand of the faith.
The group Islamic Defenders Front called Lady Gaga a “messenger of the devil” and vowed to turn out at the airport by the thousands if she tried to step off the plane. Others said they bought tickets so they could wreak havoc from inside the 52,000-seat stadium in the capital, Jakarta.
Police responded by denying the necessary permits. Then, after public outcry, they said they’d reconsider – but only if Lady Gaga agreed to tone down her act.
Instead, she pulled the plug on what was supposed to be the biggest stop on her Asian tour.
Dropout De Niro gets degree
As he received an honorary doctorate Sunday, Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro told Bates College graduates that despite his own lack of formal education, he made out OK.
During a 15-minute address that was by turns sincere and irreverent, De Niro drew a steady stream of laughter from the 463 graduating seniors and more than 5,000 onlookers at the private, liberal arts college’s campus in Lewiston, Maine.
De Niro, who quit high school to pursue an acting career, was one of three high-profile guests who received honorary degrees at the Bates commencement. PBS “Newshour” senior correspondent Gwen Ifill and Princeton University molecular biologist Bonnie Bassler also were honored.
But it was De Niro who stole the show.
“In many ways, leaving school when I did it was an advantage. I saved nearly $6,000 by not having to pay tuition and expenses for four years of education,” he said. “I feel a little foolish, because if I had waited until now not to go to college, I could have saved around a quarter of a million.”
Looking back, he said, “it worked out just fine. I saved the money, and I got the degree.”
The birthday bunch
Actress Carroll Baker is 81. Singer Gladys Knight is 68. Actress Sondra Locke is 68. Singer Billy Vera is 68. Singer John Fogerty is 67. Actor Brandon Cruz (“The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”) is 50. Country singer Phil Vassar is 48. Singer Kylie Minogue is 44. Rapper Chubb Rock is 44. Actor Justin Kirk (“Weeds”) is 43. “The View” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck is 35. Actress Monica Keena (“Dawson’s Creek,” “Undeclared”) is 33.