Wahlberg's "Dragon," Megadeth, More To Play L.A.

An '80s metal costume ball is being planned for May 13 in Los Angeles, and the event will help provide the crowd scenes for the movie formerly known as "Metal God."

The yet-to-be-retitled film stars Mark Wahlberg and was inspired by the story of salesman Tim "Ripper" Owens, the frontman of a Judas Priest cover band who wound up becoming the new lead singer in the actual group (see "Mark Wahlberg Weighing "Metal" Role For Next Film"). The big-screen version of Judas Priest has been dubbed Steel Dragon, with the tribute band carrying the moniker Blood Pollution.

The L.A. Sports Arena will provide the venue for the costume ball, and bands scheduled to appear onstage include Great White, W.A.S.P., Metal Shop, and the fictional Steel Dragon (with Wahlberg front and center). The event is also touting "a rare appearance by Vic & The Rattleheads," which some metalheads may recognize as pseudonym for Megadeth.

Billed as an "'80s Heavy Metal Charity Party,"the event is expected to attract roughly 12,000 fans, who'll tease up their hair and pay a nominal $5 cover charge with the proceeds benefiting the T.J. Martell Foundation for pediatric AIDS research. Celebrity MCs will include Poison's C.C. Deville, and the usual array of Playboy Playmates and exotic dancers will also be on hand.

When Steel Dragon takes the stage at the event, concert footage will be shot for the Stephen Herek-helmed film. The "band" also features Zakk Wylde on guitar, Dokken's Jeff Pilson on bass, and Jason Bonham on drums, as well as actor Dominic West ("A Midsummer Night's Dream"). The departing singer is played by Jason Flemyng ("Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels").

Blood Pollution, the onscreen cover band that spawns Wahlberg, also includes a number familiar faces, including The Verve Pipe's Brian Van Der Ark, Slaughter's Blas Elias, and Zakk Wylde bandmate Nick Catanese. Stephan Jenkins of Third

Eye Blind also has a small role in the film as the lead singer of a rival cover group.

The movie's soundtrack will feature mostly original music, some written by the musicians themselves, and some by outside writers.

In related news, Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society has just released a second album, "Stronger Than Death," and recently finished shooting a video that includes Wahlberg for the first single, "Counterfeit God," which is also expected to be included in the movie.

The Black Label Society's tentative touring plans include North America in June and July. Wylde told fans he had been hoping to land a spot on the pending Mötley Crüe-Megadeth-Anthrax tour; a source close to the production says that road trip will most likely be sticking with just the three acts, and that Wylde is lining up his own dates.