At last, New Kids on the Block are getting back together. A person involved in planning the long-rumored reunion told us yesterday that the mega-selling boy band will make their comeback official with an announcement Friday on the "Today" show. According to our source, all five original New Kids - Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, and Jordan and Jonathan Knight - have committed to the reunion, which comes on the 20th anniversary of the Boston band's biggest-selling LP, "Hangin' Tough." A tour is planned, the details of which will be announced soon on the group's newly redesigned website nkotb.com. Before breaking up in 1994, NKOTB was a worldwide phenomenon, selling more than 50 million albums. The band members, now all in their mid- to late-30s, have hardly been idle since. McIntyre continues to record, tour, and dance - he was on "Dancing With the Stars" - Wahlberg has appeared in several films; Jonathan Knight is a developer in the Boston area; Jordan Knight still records and made a regrettable appearance on "The Surreal life"; and Wood is a music producer.
A cut above
The last time Aaron Ward
shaved his head, he won the Stanley Cup. So yesterday the Bruins defenseman broke out the shears again and persuaded a few of his teammates to get trimmed as well. "If anything, it's good karma," Ward said, "and we're raising a lot of money." Partnering with WBCN-FM, the Bruins and a bunch of their fans happily cut off all their hair to benefit the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. Ward, who won the Cup with Carolina in 2006, said it took no arm-twisting to get his teammates - including Patrice Bergeron
, Phil Kessel
, Milan Lucic
, Mark Stuart
, and Dennis Wideman
- to take part in "Cuts for a Cause." "From what I understand, if we find someone to donate $100,000, Charlie Jacobs
has agreed to let that person shave his head," Ward said. (Jacobs, the B's executive VP, also ponied up $5,000, which was matched by the players union.) "We have an opportunity to do something good," Ward said. "So we're doing it."
Cooking up stories
Writer Susan Orlean
was back in town last night, hosting a fund-raiser for Cultural Kitchen, a Hostelling International program that teaches kids about cultures using cooking and cuisine. "It's kind of perfect, because my goal as a writer has always been to introduce people to new worlds and subcultures they might think they can't relate to," said "The Orchid Thief" author, who hosted the event at UpStairs on the Square. Orlean, who moved with her husband, John Gillespie
, from Boston to upstate New York not long ago, told us she's juggling several projects at the moment: There's a biography of Rin Tin Tin, a children's book, and a screenplay based on her recent piece in The New Yorker about pigeon racing in South Boston. (She's working on that with screenwriter John Gatins
.) "We get back to Boston pretty regularly," Orlean said. "We feel like we just live in a far outlying suburb now."
Cohen's new act has similar results Sacha Baron Cohen
is up to his old tricks again. The actor who played a Kazakh talking head to hilarious effect in "Borat" is now crisscrossing the country shooting footage for his next film. Another mockumentary, "Bruno" is about a gay Austrian TV presenter with a flair for the dramatic, and, like Borat, the character's causing quite a sensation. Authorities at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport were red-faced the other day when Cohen's alter ego took his clothes off in the terminal. "Officials are reviewing the media policies after a so-called German documentary film crew made a scene inside the main terminal. We were duped," said assistant airport director Brad Christopher
. And he's not the only one. The blog- osphere is buzzing with reports that Ben Affleck
was hoodwinked by the bogus Bruno, whom our Hollywood hero had been told was a "very famous openly gay fashion journalist." Here's hoping that the interview makes it into the movie, which is supposed to open next fall.
Here and there
Senator Ted Kennedy
did a little constituent service yesterday, delivering a talk at a WBZ breakfast at the Westin Copley and afterward chatting up Ted Jordan
. . . . It's a VH1 film, but the world premiere of "The Night James Brown Saved Boston" took place here at WGBH's studio. Directed by David Leaf
, the documentary recounts how Mayor Kevin White
decided to televise James Brown's concert at the Boston Garden because he was concerned about rioting downtown. (The film airs on VH1 at 9 p.m. Saturday, exactly 40 years after the Godfather of Soul's show here.) Last night's screening was followed by a discussion with Leaf, longtime 'GBH producer and director Russell Morash
, James Brown's personal manager Charles Bobbit
, and Northeastern professor Robert L. Hall
. In the audience were White's children Mark
, along with former press secretary Dick Flavin
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