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'Corpus Christi' Protests: More than 100 demonstrators held an outdoor prayer vigil Tuesday at the Manhattan Theatre Club before the first preview of Terrence McNally's new play about a gay, Christ-like figure, while theatergoers submitted to airport-style security because of death threats. "Corpus Christi" had initially been canceled by the New York theater because of the threats, but was reinstated after outcries from artists and writers. Holding signs saying, "You call this art?" and "Don't support blasphemy," the protesters--including a group of robed monks--gathered across the street from the theater, holding rosaries, singing hymns and praying. The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, organizer of the vigil, called the play's premise "viciously offensive." The protest was the first in a planned series of demonstrations; the Catholic League, known for its protests of the former ABC series "Ellen," has vowed to be out in force for the play's official opening Oct. 13.

Life Imitates Art: Jim Carrey was briefly hospitalized with a minor neck injury Tuesday after a scuffle with professional wrestler Jerry Lawler on the set of a movie about the late Andy Kaufman. In a break from filming a scene about a 1982 wrestling match in which Lawler put the real Kaufman in the hospital, Carrey, who plays Kaufman in "Man on the Moon," spit in the wrestler's face, prompting the attack. Carrey's manager Eric Gold said the comedian was "immersed in the role," and termed Lawler's behavior "unprofessional." A spokesman for Lawler denied the wrestler "savagely" attacked Carrey. Carrey was back on the set Wednesday wearing a neck brace.


Marilyn Manson's "Mechanical Animals" has landed atop the nation's pop chart, debuting at No. 1 with about 223,000 copies sold last week, according to SoundScan. "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," which had a three-week run at No. 1, was second with 194,000. Hootie & the Blowfish's "Musical Chairs" debuted at No. 4. . . . ABC fared well in the new TV season's first matchup of popular comedies Tuesday night as "Spin City" topped NBC's "Just Shoot Me" at 9 p.m., with 15.8 million viewers to the latter's 15.3 million. ABC's "Home Improvement" won its new 8 p.m. slot, but the second half of CBS' military drama "JAG" beat three new comedies at 8:30 p.m.: ABC's "The Hughleys," NBC's "Encore! Encore!" and Fox's "Costello." Fox's "King of the Hill" ran a distant fourth at 8 p.m. . . . Pepe Barreto, the city's top-ranked morning deejay for most of the last three years, has been taken off the air at KLVE-FM (107.5). He had been working without a contract and the station manager had said they wouldn't enter today's new ratings period without an agreement.

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