San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

On This Year’s Christmas Wish List: Fake Ears

Ah, December in Costa Rica. The Christmas winds are blowing through San José, as are some delightful star-studded holiday tidbits – from an unusual auction of fake, gold-plated ears to benefit the country’s youth, to an intriguing performance by the Black Eyed Peas’ “Dutchess” Fergie, to a sunny advertising shoot by a tennis star in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.

_ Yes, you read it right. Gold-plated ears. That’s the movie prop Mauricio Amuy, the Costa Rican actor who portrays a Mayan chief in Mel Gibson’s upcoming project “Apocalypto,” is auctioning on the Internet to benefit the Teletón Costa Rica 2006. The annual event, which will be broadcast live today and tomorrow on all national TV channels, raises money for the National Children’s Hospital. Bidding on the ears, each of which features a golden sun, and which come with a signed photo of Amuy taken during filming in Mexico, will start at $5,000, according to ACAN-EFE. Amuy told the wire service his actions were inspired by the death of his 4-year-old brother of meningitis.

The U.S. release of “Apocalypto,” an epic saga set during the decline of the Mayan era, is scheduled for today. It’s the fourth feature film from “Braveheart” and “The Passion of the Christ” director Gibson, who – as dedicated Star Watch readers are well aware – has visited Costa Rica on at least two occasions. He was here in April and also in November 2004, when he scouted out potential movie locations for the film.

 International hip-hop group the Black Eyed Peas hit Saprissa Stadium in Tibás, north of San José, Nov. 21, for a show that set bum-bummas shakin’, though it left plenty to be desired in the sound-system department. Local media have since blamed both the stadium and the band for this performance faux pas. According to Star Watch correspondent Amanda Roberson, lead singer Fergie (“The Dutchess”) appeared a little addled during the show, seemingly needing help to stand up and later to descend a flight of stairs onstage.We hope it was nothing more than a little travel fatigue. “The Dutchess” did perk up a bit while giving Tico fans a sample of two songs from her solo album by the same name. Still, her energy level never reached that of her flygirl dancers, who shadowed her with some impressive moves.

_ Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, on the other hand, needed little help staying on her feet Nov. 21 during a six-hour shoot for a Gatorade commercial, according to the daily Al Día. The shoot, held at a private property near the northern Pacific coast, involved the nattily dressed Wimbledon (2004) and U.S.

Open (2006) champion facing off against three opponents, one Brazilian and two from the United States; fueled by Gatorade, Sharapova vanquishes her fatigued foes. She left Costa Rica Nov. 23 after an eight-day stay, according to the daily.


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