Friday, December 6, 2002

Bono takes message on road

The lead singer of U2 has embarked on a seven-day bus tour through seven Midwestern states to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

"We look like we're coming to town with the cause du jour," Bono told the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. "But the first thing we have to put right is . . . the AIDS emergency is not a cause. It is an emergency."

Above, Bono examines a tattoo on truck driver Harold Clement's arm during a stop Thursday at Hoosier Heartland Travel Center in Remington, Ind.

De Niro gives troops preview

Tampa, Fla. " The usual military order that pervades U.S. Central Command was immediately suspended when Robert De Niro and friends showed up.

De Niro, who came to visit troops Wednesday at MacDill Air Force Base and screen his new movie, "Analyze That," brought along co-star Billy Crystal and pal Kevin Spacey, touching off a frenzy of several hundred uniformed soldiers clamoring for autographs and pictures with the stars.

"We need to come support everybody and tell them we're behind them, we're with them," said De Niro, whose Tribeca Film Institute hopes to make a habit of screening movies at military installations.

'Bachelor' faces newfound fame

Lincoln, Neb. " Hundreds of people flocked to a tanning salon to see Aaron Buerge, better known as "The Bachelor."

Two weeks ago, an estimated 26 million people watched the 28-year-old banker from Springfield, Mo., propose to psychologist Helene Eksterowicz, 28, in the finale of the ABC hit reality series. Since then, Buerge has been traveling the country.

He said he'd see Eksterowicz this weekend in Springfield for only the fourth time since the show's final taping in September, and he's taking the relationship slowly.

"Our parents have been married for decades," Buerge said. "We only want to get married once."

TLC keeps it in the family

New York " Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas says one reason Grammy-winning TLC is one of the best-selling female groups of all time is that it doesn't revolve around one prominent member.

"They often compare us to The Supremes," but they were "all about Diana Ross," Thomas said.

Thomas said TLC had always treated one another like family.

TLC recently released "3D," its fourth " and possibly last " album. Thomas and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, 32, finished the disc after the death of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in April. Thomas has said Lopes won't be replaced.