August 21, 2002 01:00 PM

EXPLAINED: Paul McCartney has backed out of the prestigious Kennedy Center honors ceremony because the event conflicted with his niece’s wedding, his spokesperson told Reuters. The Kennedy Center announced Monday that singer-songwriter Paul Simon will replace the former Beatle at the December 7 gala, and McCartney will receive his award next year … SILENCED: Syndicated radio deejays Opie & Anthony (aka Greg “Opie” Hughes and Anthony Cumia) were pulled from the air this week by the brass at Infinity Broadcasting for coercing a couple to have sex inside New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Associated Press reports. The stunt, which aired last Thursday, prompted enraged Catholics to bombard the FCC with complaints. Meanwhile, the couple, Brian Florence, 37, of Quantico, Va., and Loretta Lynn Harper, 35, of Alexandria, Va., faced a judge Wednesday on charges of public lewdness, and a court date was set for Oct. 2. Show producer Paul Mercurio, 42, who described their actions on the air via cell phone, was charged with acting in concert. Infinity has promised to look into the matter … HURT: Rick McMurray , drummer for the Northern Ireland rock band Ash, was injured in a bus crash over the weekend while en route to Detroit, where they were scheduled to perform at the Area: Two festival featuring David Bowie and Moby, Reuters reports. McMurray is believed to have cracked several ribs when the band’s bus hit a tire in the road. The group’s upcoming shows have been put on hold … RECOVERING: Actor Jason Priestley, 32, was moved out of the intensive care unit and his condition has been upgraded to stable as he recovers from injuries suffered in a racing accident last week, reports the Associated Press. The “Beverly Hills, 90210” actor’s car spun out of control and hit the wall at 180 mph during a practice run for the Infiniti Pro Series, a developmental circuit for the Indy Racing League. Priestley, who underwent operations on his foot, back, eye and nose, is expected to make a full recovery and could begin rehabilitation as early as this week, reports the news service … EXITING: After six seasons on “Saturday Night Live,” Ana Gasteyer, 35, best known for her celebrity impersonations of Martha Stewart and Celine Dion and original characters like loopy middle school teacher Bobbi Culp, is leaving the show. Gasteyer, who was the first “SNL” performer to appear on the show pregnant, gave birth to a daughter, Frances McKittrick, in June. She plans to remain in New York, star in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s upcoming production of “Kimberly Akimbo” by celebrated playwright David Lindsay-Abaire and record a cabaret CD … CONTROVERSY: Designer Calvin Klein was reprimanded in Britain for a billboard ad deemed too sexually explicit for public display, reports Reuters. The advertisement, which shows a topless couple sharing a passionate open-mouthed kiss, generated dozens of consumer complaints to the British Advertising Standards Authority, who ruled today that the image was unsuitable to be viewed by children, the news service reports. Klein’s design company, for their part, protested that the photographs were “tastefully photographed” and “reflected the glamour, beauty and sensuality of the Calvin Klein brand,” according to a statement on the ASA Web site. Calvin Klein, which has survived similar controversies in the U.S., was warned not to use similar photos again, reports Reuters.

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