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Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - Page updated at 12:19 AM

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A&E briefs

Pulitzer cartoonists go Mad for march

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JAKE CHESSUM / PR NEWSWIRE

Robert De Niro and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson team up for the cover of Vibe.

Now here's a mad idea: Invite 10 Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonists to use their sharp-tongued political satire by illustrating an article on "Why George W. Bush Is in Favor of Global Warming" for the March issue of Mad magazine.

John Ficarra, the editor of Mad, and Sam Viviano, the art director, assembled the team. They told the International Herald Tribune that the artists were all happy to participate.

The contributing cartoonists and the years they won the Pulitzer are: Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press, 2002; Steve Breen, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 1998; Matt Davies, The Journal News, 2004; Jack Higgins, Chicago Sun-Times, 1989; Dick Locher, Chicago Tribune, 1983; Jim Morin, Miami Herald, 1996; Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News, 1981; Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader, 2000; Michael Ramirez, Investor's Business Daily, 1994; and Ben Sargent, Austin American-Statesman, 1982.

New album in works for Neko Case

Neko Case has been working hard.

The former Seattleite has spent the past few weeks writing songs, playing gigs, appearing on TV (in cartoon form) and getting ready to record the follow-up to her acclaimed 2006 album "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood."

"We haven't had a day off," Case says by phone from Vermont, where she and her band have holed up to write and rehearse songs between scattered performances in the Northeast.

Her diligence is paying off. Case has written eight songs, which she has worked into the live shows, and she's set to begin recording them in Tucson, Ariz., at the end of February. Yet she says it's too early to tell in which direction the tunes are headed.

"We're too close to them right now for me to know that stuff," says Case, 37.

Case and bandmate Kelly Hogan recently found time to lend their voices to an episode of the animated TV show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." Case and Hogan appear as sirens with (for some reason) former baseball player John Kruk, whom they've taken captive for arcane sexual purposes.

"He was such a good sport!" Case says, laughing. "It's totally disgusting, but it was funny."

Who's the sensitive guy: 50 or Bob?

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It's not every day that you see Robert De Niro on the cover of Vibe — with 50 Cent.

They posed for the magazine's March issue to promote their new crime drama, "Righteous Kill," co-starring Al Pacino and Brian Dennehy. The movie is expected to be released this fall.

De Niro won an Oscar for portraying a mob boss in "The Godfather: Part II." His screen credits also include "Goodfellas" and "Heat." The 64-year-old actor says he doesn't mind being famous for playing gangsters.

"Those characters are more exciting," he says. "People like to watch and identify with them in some ways. It's a fantasy. The other side is, for an actor, (those parts are) more fun, in a way, to do."

Is 50 that cold-blooded? "Yeah," says the 31-year-old rapper, who's famously been shot nine times.

When asked the same question, De Niro responds: "No, I don't know. I'm actually ... more sensitive."

Coroner: "Syrup" killed Pimp C

Influential Southern rapper Pimp C died of an accidental overdose of a combination of drugs he had named in his lyrics — codeine and promethazine, the Los Angeles County coroner's office ruled Monday.

The drugs are key ingredients in "syrup," a narcotic of choice in Southern rap circles that was most famously celebrated by Three 6 Mafia and Pimp C's group Underground Kingz in the 2000 single "Sippin' on some Syrup."

The coroner's office said Pimp C had sleep apnea, which causes people to stop breathing for up to 30 seconds at a time while sleeping. That illness combined with large amounts of prescription-strength cough syrup is what killed the rapper, coroner's Capt. Ed Winter said.

DJ Screw, another influential figure in the Texas hip-hop scene, died of a heart attack in 2000 after a reported overdose of codeine-laced cough syrup.

Pimp C, born Chad Butler, was 33 when he was found in his bed Dec. 4 at the Mondrian hotel in West Hollywood.

The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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