WHAT’S IN A NAME? Boy, is Marilyn Manson influenced by Prince. First he prances around on stage in butt-cheekless pants à la his Funkiness, and now he’s ditching his name for a symbol. On the official Manson website, the shock rocker announced that instead of his previous mellifluous name, he will be known only as a glyph that he calls ”Omega.” (What next, a single called ”Party Like It’s 666”?) ”From now on you will recognize me as this symbol and this symbol alone,” he writes. The Artist Formerly Known as Only SEMI-Freaky also said he won’t make any personal appearances until his new album ”In the Shadow of the Valley of Death” comes out next year, and will communicate only through his website.
VIEWING BONUS Giving kids an incentive to see ”Toy Story 2” again, Disney is adding a blooper reel similar to the ones seen after ”A Bug’s Life,” possibly by next week. ”Once you break the $100 million mark, you have a lot of repeat business,” a Disney source told the Hollywood Reporter. ”It’s our way of thanking those repeat viewers.” Luckily, he stopped himself before he finished the sentence, which was ”thanking those repeat viewers’ wallets.”
CHARGED Jason Priestley’s arrest for suspicion of drunk driving has become much more than a suspicion: He was officially charged with DWI on Thursday, and will be arraigned on Dec. 28. Priestley was arrested on Dec. 3 after he crashed his Porsche into a telephone pole and a parked car in the Hollywood Hills, and his passenger broke his arm.
ON TOUR Okay, white-boy funkateers, start heading to Ticketmaster: Beck has announced the initial dates for his North American tour. It kicks off on Jan. 25 in Austin, Tex., and wraps up Feb. 14 at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
AWARDS Largely ignoring mainstream fare, the New York Film Critics Circle has voted ”Topsy-Turvy” the best film of 1999, and also named Mike Leigh best director for that comic look at Gilbert and Sullivan’s partnership. Richard Farnsworth (”The Straight Story”) and Hilary Swank (”Boys Don’t Cry”) were the top acting winners, and supporting-actor awards went to two ”Being John Malkovich” costars Catherine Keener and John Malkovich himself. The Circle invented a new category this year for best animated film, and gave it to the profane ”South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut”…. The American Cinema Editor organization has named James Cameron its filmmaker of the year, citing his innovations in moviemaking but apparently not caring that he hasn’t put out a movie since 1997. What’s the matter, Billy Wilder turned them down?
ON STAGE Matthew Broderick and Parker Posey will team up on Broadway in April for ”Taller Than a Dwarf,” a new comedy written by Elaine May (”Primary Colors”). Adding to the high-profile lineup, Alan Arkin will direct…. Kathleen Turner will practice the art of seduction, Brit-style, when she plays Mrs. Robinson in a stage adaptation of ”The Graduate,” debuting in London in April. Finally, her weird, vaguely Euro accent will be put to good use.
TICKET SCANDAL Just because you haven’t heard them whining recently, don’t think Pearl Jam has given up their crusade against high-priced tickets. The band recently severed ties with House of Blues’ concert promotion arm when Pearl Jam discovered Blues was selling a chunk of its seats to ticket brokers, who then charge more money than your ATM can handle. ”Every time we’ve caught a promoter scamming us in some way,” Kelly Curtis told the Denver Post, ”we’ve just never used them again.” After the Backstreet Boys discovered a similar scalping situation in one of their shows, the House of Blues claimed ignorance and announced that it would instill new restrictions to prevent this from happening again. HOB had no immediate response.
SEE YA, SPARKY Before Charles M. Schulz bids farewell to ”Peanuts,” he will write one more strip for Jan. 3 as a farewell. (The new strips that will appear until then were written and drawn before he went into the hospital last month.) His editor, Amy Lago, told the Associated Press that she wasn’t sure if he would use a collage of old drawings for the finale or draw it himself, since the small strokes he suffered during his colon cancer surgery have impaired his vision for drawing. Lago won’t reveal the content of the final strip, but says that knowing Schulz, it’s unlikely that it will provide closure by having Charlie Brown kick Lucy’s football and Snoopy finally shoot down the Red Baron.
WORLD OF BESSON The Cannes Film Festival has elected a French native to head up the 2000 jury: director Luc Besson. It will be interesting to see the reaction to this announcement from the French film community, some of whom are angry with Besson for largely abandoning his home country to make movies with American studios in English. Another sticking point may be that his last movie ”The Messenger” was, to coin a French phrase, crappé…. Meanwhile, his ”Messenger” star Milla Jovovich didn’t strike gold as Joan of Arc, so she’s going for a more literal translation of that phrase in her next movie, ”Kingdom Come,” which is set during the Gold Rush. She’ll play a saloon crooner who befriends the estranged daughter of a rich landowner.
REEL DEAL Tom Cruise’s production company has optioned the story of the Shaggs, a little-known 1970s band comprised of three awkward teenage girls forced by their father to form a pop group. A New Yorker article this year described how the trio was completely devoid of musical talent (a kind of tone-deaf Hanson), but Frank Zappa discovered their album and convinced the music intelligentsia that the girls were brilliant innovators in dissonance. Thank goodness Zappa was around to teach us the difference between masterfully atonal and just plain lousy.
HOSTING AGAIN Game shows are back, and so are all the old game-show hosts. ”The $100,000 Pyramid”’s Dick Clark will dust off his podium to be the M.C. for ”Winning Lines,” a new quiz show debuting Jan. 8 on CBS. This certifies that Clark will have ALL the money, since he’s also the executive producer of Fox’s ”Greed.”