Yoko Ono and Amnesty International awarded the Russian punk band Pussy Riot this year’s LennonOno Grant for Peace.
Ono presented the award to Pyotr Verzilov, husband of Nadia Tolokonnikova – one of three imprisoned members of Pussy Riot sentenced in August to two years in prison for performing an irreverent song mocking Russian President Vladimir Putin inside Moscow’s main cathedral.
“It’s a terrible thing that all three girls have been jailed for not doing anything wrong. They were just standing for freedom of speech,” Ono said at a ceremony in New York City.
The LennonOno Grant for Peace is given every two years to honor Yoko Ono’s late husband John Lennon’s dedication to peace and human rights.
Grandkids spurred Crystal’s new film
Actor Billy Crystal baby-sat for his granddaughters for five days, and from the experience, a movie was born.
On Friday, Crystal walked the red carpet for a screening of his latest film, “Parental Guidance,” which opens in theaters later this year and co-stars Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei.
“It was exhausting,” Crystal said of his baby-sitting experience as he walked the red carpet in New Orleans. Crystal said the movie is a fun, touching and comedic take on “the phenomenon of being able to take care of your kids’ kids.”
Crystal turns 65 next year and has made a career of turning his life into comedy: “City Slickers” was a story of midlife crisis. The actor is also working on a book that will be part memoir with jokes about getting older.
Eastwood still ‘hero’ to Washington
Clint Eastwood has taken a lot of barbs over his empty chair routine at the Republican National Convention, but Denzel Washington still holds the film legend in high regard.
“I have the utmost respect for him as an actor and as a director,” Washington said. “He’s my hero.”
Although Washington supported Obama in 2008, he graciously declined to address an empty chair or do any “Eastwooding,” as it’s come to be known on the Internet. He calls himself an independent and said in this election he isn’t committing to either side.
Washington was in the nation’s capital along with Olympic champion Michael Phelps and R&B singer Ashanti for an event sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of America.
The birthday bunch
Actor Paul Le Mat is 66. Rock singer David Coverdale (Deep Purple, Whitesnake) is 61. Actress Shari Belafonte is 58. Singer Debby Boone is 56. Classical crossover singer Andrea Bocelli is 54. Singer-musician Joan Jett is 54. Actor Scott Baio is 52. Actor Tom Felton is 25.