'Phantom Menace' Slotted for DVD 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Lucasfilm Ltd. have announced that "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace" will be released on DVD worldwide Oct. 16. The $29.98 two-disc set will be the first "Star Wars" installment in this format. Among the features: a running commentary by director George Lucas, an hourlong documentary on the making of the film and, most notably, seven new scenes deleted from the original. "That's what took so long," said Jim Ward, vice president of marketing at Lucasfilm. "Instead of relying on preexisting material, George had the artists create backgrounds and digital creatures for scenes shot against a blue screen." Of the furor surrounding an anonymous fan's new "improved" version of the movie being circulated on the Web, he adds: "We don't mind when fans do things in the spirit of celebration, but we've heard that they're handing out this version in front of theaters. When people profit from our copyrighted material or duplicate it illegally, we have to draw the line."
No Love Lost for Courtney The grunge music world collided with the theater set Monday night at New York City's Russian Tea Room. And the results weren't pretty. Some theater folks were shocked and puzzled by an off-key performance of pop standards by rock star Courtney Love at the end of a benefit evening for the New Group, one of the city's most acclaimed theatrical troupes. "She was appalling, screaming at the audience, stumbling around, and her act was a mess--worse than her language," said one Broadway insider of Love's loopy appearance. New Group artistic director Scott Elliott defended the singer, whom he's directing in the upcoming feature "Hello Suckers." It was irreverent but amazing," he said. "There's no more disciplined performer than Courtney Love." The singer isn't so sure. Asked if she'd ever appear in a Broadway show, she replied she had considered doing David Mamet's "Boston Marriage" in New York, "but forget it," said the notoriously late star, lamenting "the whole thing of getting there on time."
Pacific Symphony Re-Ups St.Clair The Pacific Symphony has extended music director Carl St.Clair's contract through 2006, ensuring the organization continuity and stability as it becomes the resident of Pacific Symphony Hall, scheduled to open in 2005. The new hall, designed by architect Cesar Pelli and acoustician Russell Johnson, will be part of an expanded Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa. St.Clair, 49, took over from founding music director Keith Clark in 1990 and is only the second conductor in the orchestra's 23-year history.
Sex-for-Seat Winner Announced A German Web site offering a ticket to a sold-out Madonna concert in exchange for sex picked a winner Monday after being bombarded with applicants. Thema1 publisher Bernd Heusinger said 120 readers applied for a chance to win the ticket to the Berlin concert. The winner was identified only as 26-year-old "Aaron" from Frankfurt, who will spend the night with the Web site's columnist Shelley Masters. Prostitution is not illegal in Germany, and Heusinger brushed off criticism of the offer: "I'm sure every prosecutor and lawyer in Berlin read about it, and if there were something illegal, you can be sure they would have been in touch with us by now."
Hoax Triggers Deejays' Dismissal KEGL-FM in Dallas has fired two disc jockeys who sparked a panic among Britney Spears fans with a phony report that the teen pop star was killed in a car crash with boyfriend Justin Timberlake, the radio station said Tuesday. Los Angeles police and fire officials were deluged with phone calls after the deejays, known as Kramer and Twitch, claimed that a source told them that the singer was dead and Timberlake, a member of the band 'N Sync, was in a coma after a crash in Southern California. The broadcast duo, whose real names are Keith Kramer and Tony Longo, told the Dallas Morning News they were surprised by the dismissal. Station management said that the episode in Dallas came on the heels of controversies sparked by the duo during a recent five-month stint at KSJO-FM in San Jose.