Laureate nominees narrowed

Los Angeles � A veteran of the Beatnik era, a noted Chicano writer and a friend of the late jazz legend Miles Davis are finalists to become California's first official poet laureate.

By July, Gov. Gray Davis will nominate either Diane di Prima, Francisco Alaron or Quincy Troupe for confirmation by the state Senate.

Di Prima, 67, was born in New York but is a longtime San Francisco resident whose poems and other writings helped capture the Beat Generation. She co-founded "The Floating Bear," which featured works by William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.

Alaron, 48, heads the Spanish for Native Speakers program at the University of California, Davis. One of the nation's most prominent Mexican-American poets, Alaron's 10 volumes include "Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation," which won the 1993 American Book Award.

Troupe, 59, of La Jolla, is a teacher at the University of California, San Diego. His work has won at the annual Taos Poetry Circus in New Mexico. He collaborated with Miles Davis on an autobiography and has a radio show, "The Miles Davis Project."

Lee skeptical about Oscar wins

Toledo, Ohio � Denzel Washington and Halle Berry made history with their Oscar wins, but director Spike Lee says he's going to wait and see if Hollywood will do the right thing.

"Is this a signal that once and for all Hollywood is colorblind and we're all on the same playing field? I don't think so. We have to see what happens," Lee told students at the University of Toledo Wednesday night.

"Let's not get too hyped up. Let's not go crazy and think we've been delivered because of what happened," Lee said. "When Sidney (Poitier) won for 'Lilies of the Field,' people probably felt the same way and it was another 40 years until Denzel won."

Lee said the problem is that the gatekeepers of the film industry � directors and studio executives � also have to be people of color.

Eminem accused of stealing tune

New York � Eminem and his record label have been sued in federal court by a French composer who claims the Grammy-winning rapper stole one of his songs.

Filed Thursday in Manhattan, the copyright infringement lawsuit accuses Eminem and Interscope Records of lifting parts of "Pulsion" � a jazz fusion work by Jacques Loussier � for the caustic rap song "Kill You." The suit, which names Loussier as plaintiff, seeks unspecified damages.

A call to Interscope Records was not immediately returned.


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