Paging Dr. Page: Zep axeman honored
Former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page has been honored with an honorary doctor of music degree from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Page delivered the commencement address Saturday to nearly 900 graduates of the private college known for its music program, telling them that their love of music will sustain them through the unexpected twists and turns that lie ahead.
The school also presented honorary doctorates to Motown and R&B songwriter Valerie Simpson, jazz pianist and educator Geri Allen, and American Music Program youth jazz orchestra founder Thara Memory.
Drag queen named Eurovision’s best
Austrian bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst won the 59th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday with a James Bond-inspired entry.
The power ballad, “Rise Like a Phoenix,” helped Wurst – the alter ego of 25-year-old Thomas Neuwirth – secure Austria’s second victory in the competition with 290 points. The country also won in 1966.
“This is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom,” a tearful Wurst said, accepting the trophy from Denmark’s Emmelie de Forrest, who won the contest last year. “We are unity.”
Pushing the boundaries of gender identity is nothing new at Europe’s annual song contest, an extravaganza known for its eclectic, sometimes unlistenable lineup of techno beats, love songs and pop tunes. The winner in 1998 was Israel’s Dana International, who had male-to-female gender reassignment surgery several years before competing.
Still, Wurst had been faced with some protests before the competition, highlighting a rift between Europe’s progressive liberal side and the traditional values and nationalist rhetoric of Russia and some other nations taking part.
The birthday bunch
Comedian Mort Sahl is 87. Rock singer Eric Burdon (The Animals; War) is 73. Actress Frances Fisher is 62. Actress Martha Quinn is 55. Actor Jeffrey Donovan is 46.