Pop Beat: Vitamin C, Macy Gray, Eminem ...

Toy maker announces dolls in likeness of 'Smile' singer.

Toy maker Mattel Inc. announced on Wednesday (Aug. 16) a Vitamin C doll, based on the appearance and style of the "Smile" singer. The doll, which retails for about $16, comes with a microphone, platform shoes and multicolor hair extensions. ...

Singers Macy Gray and Madonna are judging poetry contests at alloy.com, part of the Alloy Books imprint, according to publicists for the artists. Alloy also is releasing a book called "Slam," which collects poetry and lyrics from artists including Missy Elliott, Ani DiFranco and Tom Waits. ... Eminem's mother, Debbie Mathers-Briggs, has filed a second defamation lawsuit against the rapper following an interview published in Shooting Star magazine, according to the office of his lawyer, Peter Peacock. Mathers-Briggs is seeking damages of $1 million in the new complaint, in addition to the $10 million demanded in the suit she filed against her son last year. Eminem recently rejected an offer to settle the original suit for $2 million. ...

Pop-rockers Barenaked Ladies have come on strong at radio with "Pinch Me," the lead single from their album Maroon, due Sept. 12. The song is the most-added track at several formats this week, including Pop and AAA, according to radio research reports. "Pinch Me" also appears on the soundtrack to the VH1 movie "At Any Cost," alongside tunes by Eagle-Eye Cherry and Beyond Gravity. (Sonicnet.com's parent company, Viacom, also owns VH1.) ... Prince has posted two audio clips on his Web site (www.npgonlineltd.com) and asks visitors, "would this b copyright infringement?" The samples are from "The Calling," the final song on Santana's blockbuster 1999 LP Supernatural and "People," from Graham Central Station's 1974 debut album. Both samples feature a chorus repeating the word "People" in similar fashion. ...

Former Beastie Boys collaborator DJ Hurricane has set an Oct. 10 release date for his album Don't Sleep. The LP boasts several guest artists, including the Flipmode Squad, Beastie Boy Ad-Rock, Money Mark, Kool G Rap and Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland. ... Punk-rockers the Offspring are eyeing a mid-November release date for the follow-up to their multiplatinum 1998 LP, Americana. The band is finishing production on the LP with Brendan O'Brien (Stone Temple Pilots) and will move on to the mixing stage in the coming weeks, sources said. On Wednesday, the Offspring posted new video footage from the studio on www.offspring.com. ...

After a stint on the Vans Warped Tour, Weezer are finishing the summer with a short outing of their own. Weezer will hit the road Aug. 23 in New York and play around the East and Midwest through a Sept. 3 date in Chicago, a band representative said. ... The members of Boyz II Men will appear in four UPN comedy shows Sept. 25. The group, which will release its fifth album, Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya, in September, will show up on "Moesha," "The Hughleys," "The Parkers" and "Girlfriends," according to a label spokesperson. (Sonicnet.com's parent company, Viacom, also owns UPN.) ... 98° will do a series of U.S. radio shows in January, a spokesperson for the band said. ...

Friday's birthdays (Aug. 18): Johnny Preston, 70; Nona Hendryx, 55; Nigel Griggs (Split Enz), 51; Dennis Elliott (Foreigner), 50; Marvin Isley (Isley Brothers), 47; Patrick Swayze, 46; Ron Strykert (Men at Work), 43; and Everlast, 31.

— sonicnet.com staff report