Stephen Colbert keeps adding to his fan base. On Monday night, the Comedy Central talk show host of "The Colbert Report" officially launched his own Ben & Jerry's ice-cream flavor, AmeriCone Dream, and over the weekend, he was honored as the person of the year at HBO's US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo. But Colbert told us he still hopes to win back the support of Newton Congressman Barney Frank, who infamously appeared in an Oct. 27, 2005, interview as part of his show's "Better Know A District" segment. "It was the second interview we'd ever done in the series," Colbert explained. "He called my work sub-'Three Stooges.' Whenever I'm anywhere near the Stooges, I'm happy." Colbert had joked about Frank's sexuality, and thought Frank was in on his shtick. "I was so wrong. But I really thought he was enjoying himself," Colbert said, adding that he wants to have Frank on his program again. "I would love it. We're [in Washington] all the time and I'm always hoping to run into him. I was as silly as I could be with him and I hope he knows it wasn't in any way malicious."
Ex-lawyer now a Hemingway winnerBen Fountain quit his job with a law firm in 1988 and spent the next 17 years writing a failed novel and the stories that became his first book. That effort, however, has landed Fountain the 2007 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished freshman work of fiction, "Brief Encounters with Che Guevara." Patrick Hemingway, the son of writer Ernest Hemingway, will present the $8,000 prize at the April 1 ceremony at the Kennedy Library in Dorchester. And Edward P. Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Known World," will deliver the keynote address. Among the other awards and citations are K.C. Frederick's novel, "Inland," Louise Gluck's book of poems, "Averno," and Sebastian Junger's nonfiction narrative, "A Death in Belmont." All three will receive the 2007 L.L. Winship/PEN New England Awards celebrating New England authors and settings.
All's fair when it comes to the love of arts. At least that's the explanation given by Democratic bigwig Steve Grossman for why he and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Kerry Healey were at the same table -- and appearing to be very chummy -- at the American Repertory Theatre's gala fund-raiser on Monday night. It was a serendipitous crossing of paths by Healey and Grossman in Harvard Square that led to Healey joining the ART's advisory board, the former head of the Democratic National Committee explained. That and some campaigning by Grossman's wife, Barbara, a Tufts professor and member of the ART's board, who convinced Healey to return to her theatrical roots. The news that Healey was involved in stagecraft back in her Harvard undergrad days made us wonder whether there were photographs of such merriment floating out there? "No, I was a producer," she told us. "I wish I had done some acting." But the real star of the evening was Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner who was given the Robert Brustein Award by Brustein, the founding director of the ART. Kushner's speech included nice words about Brustein, who, while wearing his critic's hat, had a few unkind words about Kushner's work over the years; and Kushner called outgoing artistic director Robert Woodruff, who was not at Monday's event, a "genius."
Globe correspondent Sean L. McCarthy and Jan Gardner of the Globe staff contributed. Names can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 617-929-8253.