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'Indecision 2008' comes to Boston

(josh reynolds for the boston globe)
By Mark Shanahan and Paysha Rhone
Globe Staff / October 18, 2008
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Jon Stewart took a break from skewering politicians on "The Daily Show" to skewer politicians at Northeastern last night. The comedian worked a sold-out crowd of enthusiastic students at Matthews Arena.

A Marked man
Mark Wahlberg told Jimmy Kimmel Thursday that he planned to "crack that big [expletive] nose" when he sees Andy Samberg, who spoofed him recently on "Saturday Night Live." And now Samberg really should worry: Wahlberg is slated to appear on the show tonight, according to "Access Hollywood." We hope the star was joking, though he didn't look at all amused when Kimmel played a clip from the skit, in which a monotone Wahlberg talks stupidly to barnyard animals.

Protesting Leary
New York-based Autism United plans to protest Denis Leary's Comics Come Home appearance at the Agganis Arena on Nov. 15. Evelyn Ain, the group's president, said in a release yesterday that Leary characterizes kids with autism as "stupid and lazy" in his new book, "Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid." In response, the group is calling for a boycott of the book and is working to rally hundreds of kids and parents to picket the comic showcase, which benefits the Cam Neely Foundation and the Neely Cancer Fund. Leary has said he respects those dealing with the disease and that his writing was taken out of context and over-simplified.

Authors' pen pals
For the first time, student writers will share the stage with the big-wigs at tomorrow's Four Stories readings at the Enormous Room in Cambridge. Series founder Tracy Slater said she did a special prep with students from the Grub Street and Beacon Academy writing centers, to ready them to read with "House of Sand and Fog" author Andre Dubus III and "Homework" and "Criminals" author Margot Livesey (inset). "I wanted to give [them] a sense of what it is to be a professional author and read your work aloud," said Slater, who'll receive the PEN New England Friend to Writers award Oct. 28.

Pixie shows some pluck
He's not a vegetarian, but Black Francis is a friend of the chicken, and more specifically, of PETA. The Pixies frontman and Boston native (born Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV) recently signed a petition asking Kentucky Fried Chicken to improve the lives of birds, which the animal rights organization says suffer in crowded factories. "I guess I'd describe myself as a pescatarian, someone who eats animals from the sea," Francis said. His wife, Violet Clark, who got on the horn to voice her passion for the cause, and their five children are all vegetarians. Francis said he's eaten healthy since his college days at UMass. "I'm not really anti-meat, but I am anti-meat production," he explained. Rick Maynard, spokesman for KFC, said the company is committed to the humane treatment of the birds, and requires suppliers to follow expert animal welfare guidelines. Beyond that, he wrote in an e-mail, "We don't comment on PETA's activities and publicity stunts, which speak for themselves."

Worth the wait
She freaked organizers out by hanging in her hotel room till the last possible moment, but when Donna Brazile finally hit the Park Plaza Hotel ballroom yesterday, she more than made up for dawdling. The Democratic strategist and CNN commentator got two standing Os and lots of laughs from the hundreds of supporters of the Commonwealth Institute, which helps female entrepreneurs. Following talks by Bentley University president Gloria Larson and local business leaders Andrea Cohen and Michele Flynn, Brazile talked about growing up in the segregated South and her pride in seeing both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama run strong campaigns. She also gave a shout-out to our fair state, home of her favorite politician. "I would not be where I am if it weren't for a president named John F. Kennedy," she said. "I want to thank you for always putting such good senators in office. I've lit a lot of candles for Ted Kennedy."

The '80s and beyond
Rick Springfield was prepping for his show at Kowloon yesterday, where he planned to play songs off his new album, "Venus in Overdrive," as well as old faves from the '80s. The "General Hospital" star just hoped he'd remember all his new tunes. "I'm terrible with lyrics," he admitted. "I have cheat sheets, but sometimes the fans steal them before the songs come up." WWE wrestler John Cena and his dad, John Sr., fresh off a flight from New York, were spotted at the Chinese food palace the other night.

Post-Madonna party
Madonna's official tour deejay, DJ Enferno, and her musical director, Kevin Antunes, made their way to an after-party at Felt after rocking the Garden Wednesday night. The two were joined by members of her Madgesty's "Sticky & Sweet" dance crew, who awed partiers on the dance floor while Enferno spun his exclusive Madonna remixes.

Powerbrokers in town
The Cambridge-based American Academy of Arts and Sciences has welcomed several Washington powerbrokers into its ranks. Former senator Sam Nunn, former secretary of defense William Perry, former secretary of state George Shultz, and arms-control expert Sidney Drell were all in Boston over the weekend being honored for their work to eliminate nuclear weapons. There were just as many muckety-mucks in the crowd, including Richard Meserve, former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, MIT president Susan Hockfield, Purdue president France Cordova, and Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella . . . Former mayor Ray Flynn must be on the mend because he was in the house at "According To Tip" at the Stuart Street Playhouse the other night.

A true Presley fan
Elvis Presley impersonator Steve Connolly so loves the king that his tenderness even extends to Lisa Marie Presley. The Winchester native sent Presley two-dozen pink balloons to celebrate the birth of her twin daughters, Finley and Harper, last week. . . . Boston's favorite crime writer Dennis Lehane and his wife, Angie, were spotted scoping out the newly renovated Millennium Bostonian Hotel yesterday.

A friendly game of golf
The celebs hit the links yesterday for the 19th annual Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Golf Tournament in Hyannis Port. Among those joining the fun were (from left) Ethel Kennedy and actors Martin Sheen and Bill Murray.

Pillow upgrade
Jacob's Pillow has a new grant to create a dramatic online presence in the next few years. The Nonprofit Finance Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, made the Becket organization one of just 10 in the country to receive the grant, which amounts to $75,000 in its first year and potentially more than $1 million, according to Pillow reps. The "Virtual Pillow" will draw on the institution's vast archive, which includes extensive interviews with choreographers and dance films, some of which date back to the 19th century. Jacob's Pillow will also consider streaming performances live across the Internet. "There is absolutely no replacement for the live performance experience, however it is a tremendous form of outreach and access," said Ella Baff, executive director.

Geoff Edgers of the Globe staff contributed. Names can be reached at names@globe.com or at 617-929-8253.

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