Chinmoy Kumar Ghose, aka Sri Chinmoy, a longtime cult leader and favorite of music celebrities, has died. According to sources, a service will be held tomorrow afternoon at the Sri Chinmoy Center in Jamaica, Queens, New York for the fabled self appointed guru and weight lifter. He was 76 years old.
Sri Chinmoy’s followers included at one point Carlos Santana and his wife Deborah; Olympic athlete Carl Lewis; and record producer Narada Michael Walden, who derived his Indian name from Chimnoy; and E Street Band member Clarence Clemons. John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra was spawned by the musician’s interest in Chinmoy.
Music fans with long memories will recall that during the 1970s, Santana also took an Indian name—Devadip—from Chinmoy. But in the 1980s, Santana renounced his membership in the cult. He told one reporter that everything to do with Chinmoy had “turned to vinegar.”
In the end, probably record executive Clive Davis—who helped revive the legendary musician’s career— was more of a guru for Santana.
Interestingly, the pre-eminent Indian musician in the world, Ravi Shankar, also a Bengali, never had much to do with Sri Chinmoy. He once accepted an award from him but otherwise, notably, kept his distance.
Chinmoy came to the US from Bangladesh in 1964 and rode a wave of popularity for new age religions and meditation that was in vogue during the 1960s hippie movement. Eventually, attaching himself to celebrities and politicians he set up the Chinmoy compound in Queens, and various Chinmoy centers around the world. In 1985 he became a weight lifter, although his claims of being able to hoist hundreds of pounds –much like his religious beliefs—were questioned for their veracity. His group also sponsored running marathons. Running was a big part of the Chinmoy philosophy.
Yesterday the New York Daily News reported Chinmoy’s death online and suggested that he might win the Nobel Peace Prize after talking to one of his followers at the compound. That, of course, did not happen, nor was it likely. Chinmoy, according to cult specialist Rick Ross, had been mired in controversy for years over his treatment of disciples and methods used in his cult.
They may be getting headlines, but Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears are being ignored by radio stations.
According to Radio and Records, the publication and Web site that monitors airplay of hit records, both Lopez’s “Do it Well” and Spears’ “Gimme More” are at the bottom of the Top 40 charts and almost nonexistent at dance or disco-oriented stations.
On top of that, Lopez’s album, “Brave,” which debuted on Tuesday, has fallen to No. 87 on Amazon.com. And even though the single “Do It Well” is in the 80s on iTunes for downloading, the album has managed to climb up to No. 13 right now on the digital music site.
Hitsdailydouble.com predicts that physical sales of “Brave” will be a mere 55,000 to 60,000 copies this week. Digital sales won’t do much for it.
This is a far cry from the millions Lopez used to sell. It’s apparent that Lopez’s terrible performance on “Good Morning America” — where she lip-synched and barely moved around, letting dancers do calisthenics around her rather than endanger her reported (and obvious) pregnancy — turned off whoever might have bought the album apart from her core fan group.
Meantime, while Spears’ “Gimme More” is still the No. 1 downloaded track on iTunes, radio stations just don’t seem enamored of it. Maybe this is because while Spears is busy in family court trying to get more visitation with her kids — she was just awarded one monitored overnight a week — radio listeners aren’t interested in her “It’s Britney, bitch!” proclamation.
Maybe radio will be more excited about Spears' new tracks, which we reviewed Thursday and are now all over the Internet. As for Lopez, motherhood may supplant her troubled recording career.
New Yorkers in a small circle have been speculating that Ivanka Trump, the bright, beautiful, 25-year-old daughter of Ivana and Donald Trump, may be heading to the altar. She’s been dating the very wealthy Jared Kushner, 25-year-old publisher of The New York Observer and son of New Jersey zillionaire real-estate mogul Charles Kushner.
But Ivanka told me Thursday night that she has no plans to marry anyone right now.
“I’m only 25!” she cried when I mentioned the gossip.
She doesn’t even like to admit to dating Kushner. But it’s true. Still, Ivanka has bigger fish to fry. She was down at Trump’s Taj Mahal Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City to launch her jewelry line.
That’s right: The Wharton School grad, who works for her dad developing hotel and residential properties, has started a line of baubles. She’s just opened her first store, too, on Madison and 61st Street in New York City. Talk about chip off the block. She’s got her mother’s taste and looks, and her dad’s savvy.
“We’re going to have a store in Japan and Las Vegas and Beverly Hills,” she told me. In typical Trump fashion, she’s bucked the system of going to a traditional jeweler like Tiffany. Instead, she’s just going into business and being successful, no questions asked.
The staff at the Taj was buzzing for Ivanka’s arrival and departure, since there was a huge rainstorm up and down the East Coast last night. Almost as soon as she arrived in A.C., Ivanka had to depart because her helicopter was going to get grounded. She had to get to Toronto to help with a Trump building launch up there.
Won’t she get tired doing all these jobs, I asked?
“I’m young, I don’t need much sleep!” she laughed.
Meantime, the Taj is gearing up for a Nov. 3 show by The Police. All the piped-in music to the hotel between now and then, in every crevice and corner, is a Sting or Police record. And I mean, it’s everywhere, from “sending out an SOS” to “when we walked the Fields of Gold.” It’s a Sting cacophony.
After Ivanka left, I joined a grand dinner at the Marc Anthony Italian restaurant in the hotel. Even though I was skeptical, it turns out the Marc Anthony has amazing food, a beautiful décor and one of the funniest waitresses — named Terry — we ever encountered.
Ask for her if you get down there. She makes losing at the tables a lot easier!
Opening in limited release Friday is a new film not to be missed: Ryan Gosling in “Lars and the Real Girl.”
Yes, Gosling’s co-star is a blow-up sex doll. But his other castmates include Patricia Clarkson, Paul Schneider, Emily Mortimer and Kelly Garner, as well as a group of character actors who actually seem like small townsfolk who come to care for Lars and Bianca (the doll’s name).
Craig Gillespie’s film is one of those rare gems, like "The Station Agent" or "Pieces of April," that takes you by surprise.
Gosling, who started out with Britney and Justin as a Mouseketeer in Orlando, has become a terrific and important young actor. He makes Lars, who seems simply crazy, understandable and sympathetic.
And Bianca may be the breakthrough actress of the season!