The Backstreet Boys are taking globetrotting to the extreme.
The world's top-selling boy band is about to set off on a 100-hour, 26,000-mile tour around the world to promote their latest album, "Black and Blue." The global trek will take the Boys to Stockholm, Sweden; Tokyo; Sydney; Cape Town, South Africa; Rio de Janeiro; and New York, Reuters reports.
By the time it's all over, they will have spent 55 hours in the air and 45 hours on the ground performing and attending news conferences. Their journey will begin Thursday in Stockholm, where they're scheduled to perform at the MTV Europe Awards.
PAY UP, MP3.COM: Universal settled its court battle with MP3.com on Tuesday when the online company agreed to cough up $53.4 million. The agreement puts Universal in good position to buy a significant portion of the Internet music company.
In return, MP3.com now has full access to Universal's catalog of artists, including Shania Twain, U2 and Dr. Dre.
RICKY MARTIN TALKS ABOUT SEX: It's OK to shake your bon-bon with anyone you want, says Ricky Martin, just as long as you do it safely. The King of Latin Pop fronted an MTV campaign today to teach teenagers about the importance of safe sex and the dangers of AIDS.
The cable music channel will air a documentary with Martin on Dec. 1 for World AIDS Day. The doc features six victims of the deadly disease and encourages compassion to those who have been stricken with the AIDS virus.
MARILYN MANSON CENSORED: If you're looking for Marilyn Manson's latest record featuring its controversial cover art, don't bother looking for it at Wal-Mart, K-Mart or Circuit City. You won't find it.
The retail stores have decided against carrying "Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)" because of its graphic image on the cover: A crucified Manson without his bottom jaw and his eyes rolled back. Circuit City will instead use an alternate cover art, Reuters reports. The stores' decision proves the point that Manson set out to make with the graphic cover, the singer says.
"The picture itself is composed of a statue of Jesus taken from a place of worship. My jaw is missing as a symbol of this very kind of censorship. This doesn't piss me off as much as it pleases me, because those offended by my album cover have successfully proven my point."
GEORGE HARRISON ATTACKER SENTENCED: Michael Abram, the man accused of attempting to stab to death ex-Beatle George Harrison and his wife Olivia was found not guilty by reason of insanity in England today. Instead of jail time, Abram has been sent to a mental facility indefinitely.
Abram first denied ever attempting to kill Harrison and his wife at their mansion in December but later referred to the guitarist as an "alien from hell."
ELTON JOHN DEEMED AN OVERSPENDER: Lawyers representing Elton John's former bookkeepers portrayed the flamboyant musician as an overspending rock star who lost track of his money because of his past addiction to drugs. From January 1996 through September 1997, lawyers for Price Waterhouse Coopers say John spent $40 million, $419,000 of it went to flowers alone, Reuters reports.
``I don't have anyone to leave my money to. I'm a single man. I like to spend money,'' the 53-year-old singer replied to the accusations in court Wednesday. And when questioned about the excessive spending on flowers, he said: "Yes, I like flowers.''
The suit filed by John says that he's missing more than $14 million from his musical empire. John is also suing his former manager, Andrew Haydon.
My friends and I wanted to see Marilyn Manson, plain and simple.
And if our instinct was anything to go by, so were most of the cell-phone-toting set gathered at THE ... GALLERY in Hollywood for the (invite only, woo hoo!) Monday night opening of "Holy Wood" -- an exhibit of photo artwork conceived by the shock rocker and his collaborator P.R. Brown.
Being an art thing, we arrived a requisite hour and a half late at the Hollywood spot, each and every minute of the way mulling in our heads who (celebs!) and what (weirdos) awaited our entrance.
After passing the door guy and the door, we set foot into a commonplace tableau -- by Los Angeles standard -- where people of largely similar hairdos and hipness (besides a couple of Goth kids) crowded the space, drinking wine and rubbing elbows to see and be seen.
And unless he was going incognito in a baseball cap and khakis, there was neither Marilyn Manson nor his galpal Rose McGowan nor anyone recognizable at the event.
And rather than the rock provocateur, we had to settle instead for his art.
And the art ...
Now we don't claim any expertise in the area of art history or anything, but to our untrained eyes at least, the photos -- with titles such as "Evolution 1," "Holywood," "Cruci-Fiction In Space" -- were visual knock-offs of artist-photographer Joel-Peter Witkin mixed with long, and no doubt laborious, hours of Photoshop slave work.
According to the press release, the photos -- with Manson looking gothically freakish over and over again in almost every one of them -- are a comment on America's obsession with celebrity.
And it was only upon leaving the gallery that the irony of this whole thing became apparent to us: Isn't that the only reason why everyone (OK, including us) were there in the first place.
Holy Wood, indeed.