An indecent proposal? Redford's gift-giving idea in Sundance catalog

The Baltimore Sun

TODAY, WHILE many are out returning gifts or catching year-end bargains, let's muse on Robert Redford's words in his most recent Sundance catalog of merchandise: "Holidays again. Forgive me while I dodge the rumble of the million-footed throngs that have succumbed to the marketing ether for Christmas and its days. Can we, without disappointing the children and others who long for the surprise of gift giving, just look to a different value to digest?"

One might say -- if in a jaundiced mood -- that this is a little holier-than-thou, appearing in a catalog of things to buy! But the money spent on Sundance knick-knacks supports American craftspeople, emerging young artists in film, music, dance, and the preservation of the environment. You can look at it that way!

Stone's good will

Still contemplating those who give, Sharon Stone, right before Christmas, appeared at AmfAR's Cinema Against AIDS event in Dubai, sponsored by Dubai's fledgling International Film Festival.

Miss Stone ran the auction with her usual va-va-voom. She managed to roust up $600,000 for a Rauschenberg painting, and put on the block her own 1961 vintage Lincoln Continental. The car's value was $50,000. Sharon stood beside the vehicle, and would not surrender till the bidding peaked at $400,000.

Miami parties

But now we have to move beyond Christmas. New Year's and all that carousing, contemplating and resolving awaits.

In Miami, there'll be a battle royal on Dec. 31, with four big parties luring stars and celebrants.

Dreamgirls Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson will host the Setai Hotel's "Beyond Paradise" bash ... Entourage star Adrien Grenier and his Honey Brothers band hold sway at the Hotel Victor ... actress Shannon Elizabeth is slated to countdown to 2008 at the Sagamor's fete ... and Kim Kardashian, whose claim to fame is claiming she's famous, will star at the champagne-drenched gala over at Mansion, another deluxe Miami Beach hostelry.

Lulu's comeback

Remember England's Lulu? Her smoky, plaintive rendition of "To Sir, with Love" helped that Sidney Poitier movie become a huge hit in 1967.

Lulu still sings. In fact, she recently opened for Elton John at several U.K. concerts. She was impressive. She was so impressive that Paul McCartney went backstage, chatted her up, had a dinner or two at London's famed Dorchester, and Sir Paul will now produce a couple of tracks on Lulu's coming album. Lulu, nearing 60, but looking 35, is set to record at the Abbey Road studio, of Beatles immortality.

And if you can't wait for Lulu's next work, try to find a CD she did a year or so ago. It's called A Little Soul in Your Heart, on which she covers many '60s pop tunes.

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