Jacko: First Show July 9 | ‘Milk’ Star to Be Published Writer | Sightings: Jessica, Geoffrey, Placido; Broadway Stars

Jacko: First Show July 9

Circle July 9th as the day Michael Jackson takes the stage at the O2 Arena and tried to moonwalk back into our hearts.

Here are some of the details that will be revealed at tomorrow’s press conference in London for the Michael Jackson comeback concerts.

The press conference, by the way, will begin at 4 p.m. in London and 11 a.m. in New York. It’s open to the public, which should be interesting: the promoters will be able to gauge interest in the shows by how many people show up tomorrow. Jackson will appear at the press conference and actually make a statement, I am told. The whole spectacle is supposed to be webcast on www.michaeljackson.com and www.michaeljacksonlive.com.

Jackson’s first shows will be on July 9th and 10th at the O2 Arena. R&B superstar NeYo has already booked July 11th, so Jackson will skip that date. But after that, the rest of July is free on the O2 calendar. The first round of Jackson shows calls for 10—as this column has reported exclusively several times. The next eight shows will be scattered through the month.

Sources inside AEG Live assure me that the tickets will be priced within reach. Of course, there will be VIP packages, and all sorts of things that could make individual tickets cost as much as $1,000. But those deals would include private sessions with Bubbles the Chimp, that sort of thing. (Just kidding!)

‘Milk’ Star to Be Published Writer

James Franco, the hot young actor who won an Indie Spirit Award a couple of weeks ago for his work in "Milk," is about to be a published writer.

Franco has sold a collection of short stories to the Scribner imprint of Simon & Schuster. His powerhouse agent, Richard Abate, of Endeavor, confirmed it yesterday.

This is great news for Franco, who’s enrolled in the graduate creative writing department at New York University and is also taking writing classes at Columbia. At age 30, he takes his writing career seriously, and has even turned down acting work to continue with his education.

Publishing also runs in the family. Franco’s mom, Betsy Franco, is a well known bestselling children’s book author.

It’s unknown how much Scribner’s paid, or when the book will be published. Franco still has this semester and at least all of next year to go in the writing programs. Certainly, the celebrity value of his name will help sell books. But Scribner is a quality imprint; they wouldn’t have taken the stories if they didn’t think they were good.

Franco is keeping his acting life literary, too. He’s just signed to play late poet Allen Ginsburg in Howl, a film about Ginsberg’s obscenity trial for the poem of the same name.

Sightings: Jessica, Geoffrey, Placido; Broadway Stars

Yes, that was Jessica Lange having a quiet supper last night at the Waverly Inn with publicist extraordinaire Leslee Dart. Lange is getting ready for the premiere later this month of her HBO movie "Grey Gardens" based on the Maysles brothers famed documentary. Drew Barrymore co-stars. And yes, Jessica Lange in person is hot stuff, no doubt about it…

Also in the Waverly on a crowded Tuesday night, braving frigid subzero weather: owner Graydon Carter fresh from his Vanity Fair victory in Hollywood, Revlon’s Ronald Perelman, and financier Vivi Nevo

…And yes, that was opera star — no, legend — Placido Domingo on the red carpet at the Oscars last week. Somewhere in the mix mention of this towering artist got lost. But really, wasn’t he the biggest star there?...

…Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush — he won for "Shine" in 1997 — at the opening of "Guys and Dolls" on Broadway. He’s in town for his own Broadway play, Ionesco’s "Exit the King," in which he will star opposite another Oscar winner, the formidable Susan Sarandon…Are all these people really going to be on Broadway at the same time? Rush, Sarandon, Jane Fonda, Oliver Platt, plus the God of Carnage cast (Gandolfini, Harden, Daniels, Davis), Mercedes Ruehl, plus Brian Kerwin’s in "August Osage County," Mary Louise Parker’s in "Hedda Gabler," Angela Lanshury and Christine Ebersole are in "Blithe Spirit," Joan Allen, Jeremy Irons, and Marsha Mason are in "Impressionism," as well as that whole all-star gang out there in Brooklyn at BAM finishing up "Winter’s Tale" and "Cherry Orchard." And the show everyone’s raving about? The new production of "Our Town," produced by Jean Doumanian at the Barrow Street Theater…