Saturday, August 29, 2009

Living's easy on the Vineyard

By Mark Shanahan & meredith Goldstein
The living on Martha’s Vineyard was easy again yesterday as the commander-in-chief took a leisurely bike ride with his wife and children, and then hit the links for yet another round of golf.

If there was anything notable about the presidential pedal along Lobsterville Beach in Aquinnah, it was that Obama - wearing a black short-sleeve shirt and sunglasses - rode without a helmet while his wife, Michmet while his wife, Michelle, and daughters, Sasha and Malia, played it safe and donned protective headgear.

Why would Obama, a role model to millions of young people, not wear a helmet while riding a bicycle? At a press briefing yesterday, deputy press secretary Bill Burton said he didn’t know why his boss was without a helmet because he generally wears one.

“He supports the wearing of bicycle helmets,’’ Burton said.

Having golfed earlier in the week at Farm Neck and Mink Meadows, Obama played yesterday at Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown in a foursome that included D.C. insider Vernon Jordan.

At least during the day, the first family has had spectacular weather during their Vineyard vacation - blue skies, full sun, and a slight breeze. But overnight on Tuesday, we’re told, the seas were roiled and a few unexploded World War II munitions washed up on South Beach and were promptly detonated.

For all of the rumors about visits to the island by Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and perhaps Oprah - there were (untrue) whispers that the talk-show queen lunched yesterday at Larsen’s in Menemsha - there’s been little celebrity sizzle this week. (That said, ABC’s Carole Simpson did stop by Cousen Rose Gallery and buy a painting by Glenn Tunstull, and a few Lloyds from London - yes, those Lloyds - perused the Alfred Eisenstaedt exhibit at the Granary Gallery.)
With a little help from Spike
In other Vineyard news, New Jersey/Oak Bluffs resident Tom Murro claims he got the chance to shake the president’s hand because of director Spike Lee. Murro was at the Farm Neck Golf Club earlier in the week, just in time to catch Obama during his visit to the green. While Murro was waiting around for a glimpse of the prez, he spotted Lee. The two struck up a conversation, and Lee confessed to Murro that he was also loitering at the golf club to see Obama. “I said, ‘Do you have to wait around like me?’ ’’ Murro said. “He said yeah.’’ Eventually the president did arrive, and Secret Service personnel cleared the golf course. Murro and his daughter Lauren were asked to leave the green, but Lee invited them to wait with him on his Vineyard property, which is at the golf course’s 18th hole. When the president finally pulled up in his golf cart, he yelled to Lee, “Hey Spike! I see you have your own entourage here.’’ The president then walked over, hugged Lee, and introduced himself to Murro and his daughter. Murro said that when he told Obama it was an honor to meet him, the president responded casually, “It’s Barack.’’ “Then I almost passed out,’’ Murro joked. Obama stuck around to take pictures with Lee, Lee’s family, and both Murros.
The stars are in town, thanks to the 36-hour WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, which broadcasts from Fenway Park yesterday and today. Celebs such as Donnie Wahlberg, Jim Belushi, “Desperate Housewives’’ actor James Denton, Michael Chiklis, Steven Wright, Donald Trump, Ben Affleck, Ethan Zohn, and a number of Red Sox players were expected to call in or stop by to take part in the benefit broadcast. Grown-up teen idol David Cassidy was tapped to sing the national anthem before last night’s game, and “Rescue Me’’ stars Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke threw out the first pitch. Tonight, Aaron Neville sings the anthem, Dane Cook throws out the first pitch, and “American Idol’’ diva Kelly Clarkson performs “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.’’ That reminds us of the YouTube clip of a seemingly-tipsy Clarkson singing “Sweet Caroline’’ at Fenway Park last year. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth visiting . . . Hometowner Leary was in the Hub as of Wednesday. He was spotted dining at Scampo that night with Cam Neely.

Fits him to a T
Don’t you just love a man in uniform? Ben Affleck was spotted around the Hub on Wednesday wearing a T uniform for a scene in his movie “The Town,’’ which is based on Chuck Hogan’s novel “Prince of Thieves.’’ Affleck was seen both in front of the camera and in the director’s chair.

Gisele vogues for India
Vogue India’s September cover model is the expectant mother of Tom Brady’s child - Gisele Bundchen. The issue, which comes out today, features Gisele wearing fashions by top Indian designers and talking about Brady and her interest in all things India. Gisele appears on the magazine’s cover wearing a cardigan over a bikini. There’s no baby bump, so we have to assume the photo was taken a while ago - or that the image was altered like her recent ads for London Fog.

Encore for Umoh
Stephanie Umoh, the Boston Conservatory musical theater major profiled in a yearlong series in the Globe, will star as Sarah in the Broadway return of “Ragtime,’’ the Tony-winning musical opening in November. Umoh, a 2008 graduate of the Conservatory, is no stranger to the part: She played Sarah - a role made famous by Audra McDonald - in a New Repertory Theatre production in 2006. “I mean, it’s like unreal,’’ Umoh (below as Sarah) said yesterday from New York. “I don’t know how to describe it.’’ The folks back home are thrilled too. “To get a major role in a Broadway show a year out of school is a dream come true for a young actress,’’ said Fran Charnas, Umoh’s teacher at the Conservatory. “She is so blessed right now; Stephanie is so worthy and so humble,’’ said Jacqui Parker, who directed Umoh in SpeakEasy Stage Company’s “The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin’’ in 2006. “It’s a perfect role for her. And I’ve been looking for a reason to go to New York.’’

Disco queen reunion
Boston-bred disco diva Donna Summer - who still tours hard for the money - told us yesterday she expects a pack of friends and relatives to join her in Connecticut tonight when she performs at Foxwoods’ MGM Grand Theater. Summer said that whenever she plays around Boston, dozens of family members show up, and sometimes her sister tags along with her for a few extra gigs. “Then I kick her out,’’ Summer joked. “She thinks it’s so much fun. She lives a totally different lifestyle.’’ Summer expects tonight’s local crew to include a number her of old school chums. Before she became a radio star, Summer attended the Jeremiah E. Burke High School, the Farragut School, and Brighton High. “I went everywhere,’’ she said, laughing. “It’s going to be a little reunion.’’

Celeb tweets honor Ted
As Massachusetts mourns the loss of its lion, so do celebrities on Twitter. Lance Armstrong wrote: “So sad to hear about Senator Ted Kennedy. I had the opportunity to work with him dozens of times & he was a good man. May he rest in peace.’’ Surprisingly, reality expert Dr. Drew and “Punky Brewster’’ actress Soleil Moon Frye both tweeted Kennedy’s famous quote, “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.’’ New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre told fans: “Ted Kennedy was a lion for so many great causes. His work inspires us to continue the fight . . . ‘to try, to seek, to find and not to yield.’ ’’ Pittsfield-bred actress Elizabeth Banks tweeted: “My home state senator and political icon Ted Kennedy will be missed. My heart is with the Bay Staters today.’’


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