Want to check into Britney Spears' Onyx Hotel? Soon you can, when the real Onyx Hotel opens May 17 in Boston, with a Britney Spears suite to open in June that will be designed by the singer and her mother. As the hotel itself is still under construction, the room isn't exactly finished yet, but a rep for the hotel said that the room's decor will reflect Spears' preferences, down to the style of furniture and carpeting, and will also contain memorabilia from the pop princess' career. A portion of the room fee will go to the Britney Spears Foundation. ...

Both Madonna and Christina Aguilera are offering opportunities to get up close and personal with them on their concert tours. Aguilera is auctioning off a charity ticket package where the highest bidder would get two front-row seats and meet-and-greet passes, with proceeds benefiting a family crisis center in Los Angeles. Madonna's VIP package offers premium seats in the first 25 rows, VIP laminates and a VIP entrance to the concert, but no charity is designated just yet. Both VIP packages are available via Stubhub.com. ... Don't look to get any Madonna tickets for a Friday night, though. That's because the singer, who was born Catholic, is taking her Kabbalah studies very seriously and is now observing the Sabbath on Friday evenings — the Jewish day of rest — and has structured her tour accordingly. ...

C-Murder won a new murder trial last week, but he's not a free man. The judge in the case denied a request to release him on bond Monday because he also faces charges involving a 2001 altercation in which he was booked for attempted first-degree murder and a weapons charge after allegedly trying to shoot the owner of a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, club. The rapper's defense lawyer argued that prosecutors never pursued those charges, but bail was denied anyway. C-Murder also faces a charge of battery on a prison guard and has a June 14 court date on that charge. ...

Thanks to the persuasive power of Morrissey, the New York Dolls are reuniting for London's Meltdown festival, for which the ex-Smiths frontman serves as artistic director. Former Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin will fill the slot left vacant by Johnny Thunders, who died of a drug overdose in 1991, and Libertines drummer Gary Powell will do the same for the late Jerry Nolan. Meltdown 2004 runs from June 11-27 at London's Royal Festival Hall. ... The parents of Grammy-winning music satirist "Weird Al" Yankovic were found dead in their San Diego-area home Friday, apparently of carbon-monoxide poisoning. Yankovic performed in Mankato, Minnesota, on Saturday night and said he will finish out his current tour, which runs two more dates, and then return home. ...

A lawsuit against Whitney Houston by her own father has been thrown out, according to a New Jersey Superior Court clerk. John Houston, who died in February 2003 at the age of 82, was suing his daughter for $100 million for breach of contract, claiming that his company acted as her management team but was never paid. ... Pink, Moby, Ice-T and Flea are among the celebs speaking out in The Advocate's next issue about gay marriage. Pink, who's on the cover, tells the magazine, "If you're a celebrity and you want to marry your sweetheart for 55 hours, go right ahead. If you're J. Lo and you want to marry 18 people for six days each, go right on ahead! But if you want to marry your soul mate and make a life of it — and you just so happen to be the same sex — then no, how dare you! We'd rather you just buy gasoline and support our war and continue to consume and fear in our country so we can make money off you. But do us a favor: Don't hold hands in public." The issue hits newsstands this week. ...

Months after releasing the Jay-Z a cappellas for The Black Album as a promotional item, only to set off a flurry of bootleg remix albums like Danger Mouse's The Grey Album, Def Jam will officially release the vocals-only version of Jay's swan song for the masses. The Black Album - Acapellas will hit stores on May 11 so that any aspiring producer can put their beats to Jay's voice. ... Rhino will issue De La Soul Live at Tramps NYC 1996, a live disc featuring one of the group's memorable shows just prior to the release of their album Stakes Is High, on May 25. A young Mos Def, Common and fellow Native Tongues posse members the Jungle Brothers made cameos at the performance. ...

Vince Neil was cleared for one battery case last week — after completing 100 hours of community service — and now he's pleading no contest to another. Accused of attacking a prostitute, the Mötley Crüe singer appeared in Dayton Justice Court in Nevada on Thursday to enter his plea. He was fined $1,000 (plus court costs of $132) and ordered to complete anger-management classes within 60 days. ... Elvis Costello is planning to release two albums simultaneously this fall. The first, with his band the Imposters, is a rock album being recorded in Oxford, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee; the other LP was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra. ... Following a postponed spring tour, due to frontwoman Siouxsie's sinus infection, Siouxsie & the Banshees' fall tour is set to begin September 2 in Chicago and wrap up September 27 in Vancouver, British Columbia. ...

04.09.2004

Jessica Simpson will perform on next week's season finale of "The Apprentice," as one of the final tasks for the show's contenders is to organize and promote her benefit concert at the Taj Mahal. Proceeds go to the nonprofit medical-services organization Operation Smile, which provides reconstructive facial surgery for children. "Nick and I have gotten a lot of attention for doing a 'reality' show on television, but the ability to give a child his or her smile back is the kind of reality that really deserves attention," Simpson said in a statement. The finale airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. ...

PETA is asking glamour queen Beyoncé to change her tune when it comes to her wardrobe. In an open letter to the singer, which will appear as a full-page ad in Monday's Billboard magazine, the animal-rights activist group describes how many dogs and cats are accidentally killed in the fur trade, with an accompanying picture of a dead dog caught in the jaws of a trap. "Dear Beyoncé," the letter reads, "won't you do the decent, humane thing and stop wearing fur?" ... The audience for the Ladies First Tour in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday got a surprise when Jay-Z joined Beyoncé onstage to perform their single, "Crazy in Love." The next day, Jay was seen rooting for the New York Yankees at the team's home opener in the Bronx. ...

Call it "The Passion of the Ice." Kanye West is hooking up with Jacob the Jeweler to create a new line of Jesus-themed, diamond-encrusted chains and rings. Meanwhile, earlier this week, Kanye shot a video for the song "Jesus Walks." ... He's lived in Queens, New York, for more than the required five years. He writes in English. And he's been known to rock some rhymes. So Joseph "Run" Simmons is openly campaigning to be the poet laureate of his home borough. For his application, the Run-DMC rapper included lyrics to his group's hit "Christmas in Hollis." A decision by the borough is expected by summer. ...

A college student is suing Prince and his bodyguard, claiming he was assaulted after snapping the Purple One's photo at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in December. Anthony Fitzgerald of Edina, Minnesota, is accusing the superstar of assault and battery, loss of camera, and emotional distress. ... The gag order in effect for the Michael Jackson child-molestation case remains in dispute, as a lawyer representing the media has asked an appeals court to allow those involved to speak publicly. At the last hearing, Judge Rodney Melville modified the order and said that if attorneys on either side wished to respond to reports in the media, they could submit written statements to the court for review, and when permitted, might be able to release limited statements. A preliminary hearing date is expected to be set in the case on April 30. ...

Madonna is slated to play a concert at Slane Castle in Ireland on August 29, but apparently the fact that the show falls on a Sunday is not sitting well with the locals, Reuters reports. Joe Deegan, Slane's parish priest, said the decision to play on the Lord's Day was insensitive given that 90 percent of the Irish population is Roman Catholic. The castle's owner countered that that was the only date feasible for the performance. The last time Slane Castle hosted a major concert on a Sunday (Bob Dylan in 1984), riots broke out. ... Organizers of the Rock in Rio festival in Lisbon, Portugal, have filled the headlining slot left vacant by the departure of Guns N' Roses with the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl and company will play May 30. ...

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the major music labels are looking for ways to increase the prices of legitimate digital-download services, from 99 cents per song up to $1.49 or even $2.49 per song. WSJ also found that despite being freed of manufacturing and distribution costs, albums such as those recently released by N.E.R.D., Bob Dylan and Shakira actually cost more to download ($14.99 at iTunes) than to buy as a CD in stores ($13.49 at Amazon.com). ... New Found Glory will play a handful of dates as a warm-up to the Vans Warped Tour. The band's five-show string of dates begin May 23 in Dewey Beach, Delaware, and end May 29 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. ...

Mandy Moore and Michael Stipe have recorded a cover of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" for the soundtrack to her upcoming movie "Saved!" The R.E.M. singer co-produced the comedy, which co-stars Jena Malone and Macaulay Culkin. ... Gina Gershon rocks — and she's got a show on IFC to prove it. "Rocked With Gina Gershon" documents her recent tour with backing band Girls Against Boys to promote her independent film "Prey for Rock & Roll," in which she sings and plays guitar in her role as a struggling musician. The six-part series will begin airing Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET. ... Eminem's ex-wife, Kim Mathers, failed to return to a court-ordered drug treatment program in Michigan, so a warrant for her arrest was issued on Wednesday by a Macomb County judge. It's the second time Mathers has dropped out of the mandated program. ...