Diana Ross is bringing fans from around the country and the world to the May 3 PACER benefit.

“We’ve never had this many people come from so far away, and we are very excited about the overwhelming response to Diana Ross’ performance!” PACER’s executive director Paula Goldberg said Tuesday.

“There is a man from Germany coming who runs the Diana Ross International website, dianaross.de. His name is Andreas Barber-Hirsch, and he is one of Diana Ross’ biggest fans. He has been a fan since childhood in the 1970s. He asked for a front-row seat. Andreas is among more than 20 people who are coming a great distance for the benefit: from L.A., New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Texas, Chicago, Indiana and Maryland.”

I’m thinking that Ross, or Miss Ross as Barber-Hirsch refers to her on his website, will recognize this fan who’s followed her all over the globe.

One photo from France in 2008 captures Barber-Hirsch’s face buried in Miss Ross’ bosom. There is also a funny photo of him seated a row or two behind her on a flight from London, with an arrow pointed to a head of hair that could only be Diana Ross’.

Barber-Hirsch’s bio states that he’s been infected with what he calls “DR Syndrome,” since “I got my very first Diana Ross Record LP (the good ole times) which was ‘Diana & Marvin’ as a gift from my aunt. It hit me right on my head and I was just blown away. Since that time I called myself a fan. I blame it on my aunt :-)”

If I do “Just Say, Just Say” so myself, that’s a darn good album she cut with Marvin Gaye.

“My friends are always asking me, isn’t that boring to see all the shows of Miss Ross and I say NO,” wrote Barber-Hirsch. “Miss Ross is so special, always something special!”

And when Miss Ross calls you up on stage for a dance, probably even more so!

Miss Ross’ dressing room will be adorned with beautiful white flowers, Goldberg told me. Among the live auction items at this year’s gala are a private tour of PACER 2013 headliner Jay Leno’s famous car collection and a September trip for two on a private jet to NYC for Fashion Week.

I can’t believe there are still tickets available at www.pacer.org. This is Diana Flippin’ Ross, people!


Stretching for a local angle

“Which TV station goes with Kevin Ollie couldn’t have done it without what he learned in MN as Timberwolf angle?” wrote Twitter’s @DanBarreiroKFAN.

Barreiro’s sentence structure was better when he wrote regular columns for the Strib. Then again maybe the 140-character limit tripped him up.

In case you were not caught up in March Madness, Ollie is coach of NCAA champions UConn Huskies men’s team.


Case of mistaken mis-identity

There was an unsettling sight at the MyTalk107.1FM ice cream giveaway by show hosts Jason Matheson and Alexis Thompson Tuesday on Peavey Plaza.

From afar I observed Matheson talking to a guy whose back was to me. My immediate assessment of the energy level told me this: Jason is flirting with that guy. Not good. Matheson became engaged to Collin Haas in October.

When the guy with whom Matheson was dallying turned around, I probably still had a pained expression on my face. I still didn’t recognize the man as Haas, but it was. The U employee has a new haircut. Very nice.

Whew. When I told them what had gone through my mind, Haas said, “You’ve got my back?” ’Deed, I do.

Another observation from the ice cream giveaway — 55 degrees may not be warm enough for this social because product was not flying off the truck, stocked by Big Bell Ice Cream. Or maybe passersby were suspicious of people standing on the street and giving away ice cream. It’s also possible that Thompson’s being dressed up like a tongue (don’t ask) was scaring people.


C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.