TaleSpin: Val Kilmer Joins Mardi Gras & Stevie Wonder Pays Emotional Visit To Sacramento

The Stars are starting to line up for America’s biggest party — Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Val Kilmer was announced today as King of the Krewe of Bacchus. He will mount their big float in a regal costume for a ride through the streets of the Crescent City on the evening of February 22nd.

They are creating a doubloon with Val’s image on it, though the coins will be made out of aluminum rather than the traditional gold. He’ll throw a few thousand of them into the crowd.

Another name, another party — Kid Rock is King-ing for the Krewe of Endymion for their mega-parade and party. It’s the biggest of all the Mardi Gras events. The economic crunch is hitting Carnival-time hard, though. Four different organizations say lack of funds and/or lack of members have forced them to put off their parades until, perhaps, a better year. And the jury is still out on how many tourists will come to town.

If you’ve never been it’s one of those, “Things To Do Before You Die. “

We remember sleeping off a hangover in Jackson Square with a wine bottle for a pillow but, alas, that was a different decade.

Missing Man: Lot of buzz the last few days about what, exactly, happened to Patrick McDermott. The buzz comes after news magazine “Dateline” did some looking around.

You’ll remember McDermott as the handsome ex-boyfriend of Aussie beauty Olivia Newton-John. It’s been a mystery since 2004 when he disappeared off a boat coming back into the Los Angeles harbor. He either accidentally fell overboard (not likely) or jumped. And he either drowned (no body was recovered) or swam off into hiding somewhere.

Private investigator Philip Klein is on the case, and in fact has devoted an entire Web site to the investigation. According to his site there have been lots of sightings, the latest near Puerta Vallarta. Some say McDermott is living on a fishing boat using the assumed name “Patrick Kim.”

The real question, I guess, is who cares. And why. The Coast Guard is no longer investigating — McDermott apparently hasn’t done anything illegal. And Olivia has married somebody else. 

Coast-to-Coast: A couple of items from our Eyes and Ears across the country.

Baltimore: Ex-“Idol” Taylor Hicks is in Baltimore where he’s doing the road show version of “Grease.” Also in Crab-town, A-List director Barry Levinson asking the Maryland legislature to create more financial incentives to bring movie and television productions to Maryland.

Sacramento: Stevie Wonder quietly came to California’s Capitol city on Monday to take part in a memorial service for Ben Underwood. Ben lost his eyes to cancer when he was three and he and Stevie became fast friends after that. But the cancer eventually returned. Ben died about a week ago and was buried the day he would have turned 17. Stevie sang for the family at the service.

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