Pop's teen vixen, Britney Spears, lands at No. 1 next week with 746,000 copies sold of her new album, Britney, according to SoundScan. That's a whopping number of albums during a time when the record biz is in the sales doldrums. You have to hand it to her and her handlers. A constant media blitz led up to this release, and it paid off. She's lip synching all the way to the bank.
Britney's debut did significant damage though to Michael Jackson. His comeback album Invincible fell to No. 3, with 202,000 copies sold. According to SoundScan, which supplies the numbers, Invincible has now sold a total of 570,000 copies. If this week's sales follow suit, Jackson will be in a dire situation regarding the money he owes Sony Music Corp. from loans. His rights to The Beatles' song catalog hang in the balance.
Pink Floyd, a group that hasn't been together for years, outsold Jackson with a greatest hits collection and landed at No. 2 this week. They sold 215,000 copies of a CD that contains music already available in about 12 different places and formats. On the R&B side, Faith Evans — widow of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. and the lynchpin of Sean "Puffy" Combs' Bad Boy Records — debuted at No. 14 with 101,000 copies sold of her new Faithfully CD. With Bad Boy being subsumed into Arista Records, and the accounting department at Arista calculating Comb's debts and assets, that's good news for the man now known as P. Diddy.
Arista, Bad Boy and Jive — Britney's label — all fall under the umbrella of Bertelsmann Music Group. Pink Floyd's greatest hits is on Capitol/EMI.
Business in lower Manhattan has been suffering since the World Trade Center disaster. So, Sigourney Weaver and Bill Murray are going to do something about it. The two former Ghostbusters stars have agreed to perform in a one-act play at the Flea Theater Company on White St., directly in the shadow of Ground Zero.
Jim Simpson, Weaver's husband and the Flea's artistic director, will direct the pair. The play — called Guys — concerns "life after September 11th." The run begins around Dec. 11, the three month anniversary of the tragedies.
You may recall Weaver and Murray as the romantically linked couple in Ghostbusters I and II. Weaver kept getting slimed. Murray was constantly trying to rid her of demons. Now they will try to rid lower Manhattan of the September 11th stigma.
Stay tuned for more information. Weaver also says they haven't decided how many performances there'll be. It's still open-ended.
It's not enough to be the Best Actor, the actor most in demand and the actor everyone's girlfriend is interested in.
Russell Crowe, you know, is a rock star — at least in Australia, where his group 30 Odd Foot of Grunts is big stuff.
Now the Gladiator star is coming to the big screen as…himself. Miramax has quietly picked up distribution rights to a 78-minute documentary that was made about the Grunts and supervised by Crowe himself. Texas is already a bestselling DVD Down Under.
Texas was shot before Crowe won his Oscar, in the summer of 2000. The main locales are London, England and Austin, Texas where the Grunts did a bunch of shows at Stubb's Barbeque. The footage should be especially interesting since this was the time when Crowe hurt his shoulder so badly he had to pull out of Jodie Foster's feature Flora Plum. The circus movie was subsequently scrubbed, but Crowe was able to make Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind, which opens next month and has Oscar buzz.
In an interview with a Grunts Web site, Crowe observed: "We played Stubbs Bar-B-Q, and some of the greatest names in rock 'n' roll have played there. We sold 4,500 tickets in less than two hours and they were stunned. It was funny as hell. One day it was like, 'Oh look, we don't know if we really want to have you,' and the next day it was, 'Can you do another show? Y'all can stay here another week if you want.'"
Miramax says it doesn't have finalized plans yet for the documentary, but expect a short theatre release and then a big push for the American version of the DVD.
Snow fell in Manhattan last night. White winged angels flew about. Gamins in sheer lingerie strutted down a runway. It all took place in a big tent in Bryant Park fashioned by the folks from Victoria's Secret.
The annual Victoria's Secret show — which airs tomorrow night on ABC — was just the lift everyone needed. When you see it, you'll agree.
Top models like Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks and Gisele Bundchen stripped down to the very barest of essentials to show off the lingerie maker's Christmas line.
The "Christmas Dreams and Fantasies" show began with blind opera singer Andrea Bocelli in a non-sequitir performance of "Mascagni." He's the Celine Dion of opera singers, with a shallow voice. But at least he made for a much needed joke. Who else would you pick to be backstage with all those luscious, nude beauties? At least the girls felt safe.
But then came the models. The descriptions of their outfits says it all. "Red Victoria's Secret Beaded Very Sexy Waist Cincher and Very Sexy Thong."
Some of the very sexy thongs were in fact invisible. Let's call most of the ensembles I saw cheeky, with a clear rear view. Not much was left to the imagination. I can't complain. The bottom part of almost every costume was as sheer as a linen hanky and half the size. And you can imagine, this was already the underwear.
R&B powerhouse Mary J. Blige gave us some smokin' intermission raves with her hit "Family Affair." Forget Bocelli — this was just what the audience needed after swooning to Shimmer Thong, String Thong and Bare Thong. That, and cold compresses.
In the second half of the show, director Alexandre de Betak decided to marry lingerie with whimsy. Flying female acrobats wearing Victoria's Secret outfits flew across the sky, sporting large white wings. As they twirled and tossed in the air, the models came again, this time with either wings or in one case, 6-foot peacock feathers.
Confetti snow poured down on the audience, which included actress Sigourney Weaver, rapper Jay-Z, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Baldwin, Tara Reid, Rupert Everett, magician David Blaine and the always enthusiastic Robin Leach. They all loved it, and why not? The Broadway Gospel Choir, all dressed in white, shouted out a version of "The Flesh Eaters/Let the Sunshine In" from the musical Hair.
Gisele, who gives an interview every few days claiming to be Leonardo DiCaprio's girlfriend, actually tried to pull down her halter and pull up her hanky-skirt. Maybe she was cold.
There were Santa outfits for late night lounging — complete with fake fur knee pads. And a wedding ensemble which was a teddy attached to a short gauze train.
Heidi Klum wore a "Heavenly Star" on her back that featured "a Specatacular 90 carat Flawless Diamond and matching panty." No one I spoke to later noticed the diamond.
The outfits got tinier and tinier as the show wore on. The music got louder. The applause became more fervent. The show was a hit. And it came at just the right time.
Put me down for everything in that catalogue.
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