News, Aug. 7: Jen Supposedly OK With Ben’s Strip Bar Visit, Marilyn Manson Banned From Venue, Madonna Launches First Children’s Book, More…

Top Story: Jen Supposedly Knew of Ben’s Strip Bar Visit

Sources told Reuters Wednesday that Jennifer Lopez was aware that Ben Affleck had patronized a Vancouver, British Columbia strip club last month but shrugged off the entire incident. One source denied reports in British newspapers that Lopez had dumped Affleck over the episode, adding, “She knew he went to the strip club … and her attitude is: ‘What’s the big deal?’ Moving on.” Adding fodder to the story is Ryan Haddon, the wife of actor Christian Slater, who was quoted in the current issue of Us Weekly magazine saying they and actress Tara Reid had joined Affleck at the club on July 17, the same night Dateline NBC aired a telecast of the duo talking about their relationship and new movie, Gigli. Haddon told the magazine their entourage, including several strippers, returned to Slater‘s rented home for a private after-hours party, but dismissed tabloid reports that Affleck had been unfaithful to Lopez.

DGA Sets New Date for Awards

The Directors Guild of America will hold its fourth annual DGA Awards Nov. 16 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, Variety reports. The event celebrates individuals, institutions and organizations that have made distinguished contributions to filmmaking and television. Nominees for this year’s event will be announced after Labor Day. The DGA honors, which in the past have served as a near-perfect barometer for the Best Director Oscar, were traditionally handed out in March just weeks prior to the Academy Awards. Reasons for the date change were not given.

Is Wes Craven’s Cursed Cursed?

Dimension Films, the horror genre arm of Miramax Films, shut down production on Wes Craven’s Cursed last month–just four weeks before the film was set to wrap–because top executives at the studio weren’t happy with the film’s ending or how the special effects were progressing. According to Variety, production on Cursed, described as a contemporary werewolf tale, is now set to restart in September but it is unclear whether this will cause problems with the cast and crew’s availability. Cursed stars Christina Ricci, Skeet Ulrich, Shannon Elizabeth, Omar Epps and Scott Foley.

Jennifer Connelly Has Baby Boy

Hulk star Jennifer Connelly and her husband, Paul Bettany, became proud parents of a baby boy Tuesday, The Associated Press reports. Connelly won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2002 for her role as the wife of schizophrenic math genius John Forbes Nash, played by Russell Crowe, in A Beautiful Mind. Bettany, also 32, played Nash’s mysterious classmate but Connelly has said they didn’t start dating until about a year after filming ended. They were married last December during a private ceremony in Scotland. Connelly, 32, has a 5-year-old son, Kai, from a previous relationship.

Marilyn Manson Banned From N.Y. Ozzfest Stop

Marilyn Manson has been banned from the Six Flags Darien Lake stop on the 2003 Ozzfest tour in Darien Center, N.Y., the AP reports. Manson is one of the headliners of the tour, which also includes artists Korn, Disturbed, Chevelle and Ozzy Osbourne. But the amusement park says the shock rocker’s act is not appropriate for the venue. “Contractual agreement gives us the right to restrict artists from performing in our concert venue,” Six Flags in a statement. “We decided to pass on the Marilyn Manson performance.” Darien Lake, which is about 24 miles east of Buffalo,
is the only venue on the 30-city tour so far to refuse a performance by Manson, whose provocative stage show has made him the target of religious and conservative groups.

Dixie Chicks Draw $60 Million in Ticket Sales

The Dixie Chicks, now on the final leg of their North American Top of the World tour, are closing in on $60 million in gross revenues–enough to make them the top touring country act of 2003, Reuters reports. “The bottom line is, for all the so-called controversy, the Dixie Chicks’ fans remained totally loyal throughout the tour,” Chicks manager Simon Renshaw told Billboard. Renshaw said that after 56 shows, the trio has been averaging 15,878 in paid attendance, with an average gross of $980,337. The North America dates wrap Aug. 13 in Calgary. The Chicks begin a 10-day European run Sept. 6 in Stockholm, then play six Australian dates ending Oct. 5 in Sydney.

Madonna Publishes Children’s Book

Madonna is planning a global assault on bookstores September 15 with the release of her first children’s book, The English Roses, which will be published simultaneously in 30 languages and 100 countries, Reuters reports. Madonna will be in Paris to unveil the first of five volumes, the first published novel she has written. Details of the highly anticipated first book remain under wraps until the release date but media reports said the fables would contain elements from kabbalah, an esoteric, mystic offshoot of Judaism.

Lane, Broderick in Talks for Producers Run

Actors Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are in talks to return for a three-month stint of the Broadway production The Producers starting in January, Reuters reports. The news sent some 200 fans prematurely flocking to the St. James Theater before it opened at 10 a.m. Lane and Broderick played the roles of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom for a one-year run of Mel BrooksThe Producers, which won a record 12 Tony Awards in 2001. Tickets for The Producers are put on sale in three-month blocks, with the next batch slate