Annie Lennox won't be posing for photographers anytime soon—including photo shoots for magazine and newspaper stories hyping
her third solo album, Bare, which falls to earth in early June. The singer has announced that from now on, the only photos taken of her
will be self-portraits. 'I've probably had hundreds of pictures taken of me,' says Lennox to New York Magazine. 'Some of the
photographers were outstanding, masters of their craft, and others were petty thieves. All visual images [of me] from now on are going
to come from the source, as it were.' In fact, the album cover for Bare features a naked 48-year-old Lennox 'pale, with pale make-up'
according to news wire reports. 'I have never been known to toe the safety line in terms of how I represent myself,' mused the singer.
'I am not a young artist in her early 20s. I need to be authentic, to take risks, to break the mould when necessary.'
Never one afraid to take risks or break the mould himself, Elton John has announced that he and longtime writing partner Bernie
Taupin are collaborating on a Broadway musical adaptation of novelist Anne Rice's vampire trilogy. Tentatively titled The Vampire
Lestat, this will be the pair's first joint venture in musical theater, reports RollingStone.com. Elton promises there won't be any 'tap-
dancing vampires,' but rather a serious, artistic musical that combines Interview with a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and Queen of
the Damned into one 'sweeping narrative.' The duo are hoping to finish the music by September and have targeted opening night for
In other stage news, Liz Smith reports that Taboo writer Mark Davies-Markam 'wants nothing to do' with what he calls 'the
camped up' New York production of his play, set to open on Broadway this fall. 'It's going to be a hairdressers' convention,' sniffed
the writer. Taboo, based on the life story of Boy George, is being produced by Rosie O'Donnell.
And here's Robbie Williams, who offered $1.1 million for the rights for the movie-musical about the Village People, reports U.K.'s
Daily Star, so that he could play Randy Jones, the gay Cowboy who sang 'YMCA' and 'In the Navy.' 'Some of the Village People
were gay, some of them weren't. But they were great entertainers—and their story deserves to be told, so I'll tell it.'
If stage productions based on the lives of The Vampire Lestat, Boy George, and The Village People aren't enough to fill your little
gay heart to capacity, THIS will: Charlotte Caffey, of the Go-Gos, has been given the green light to write the music for a musical based
on the life of the infamous porn star, Linda Lovelace ('Deep Throat'). Lovelace: The Musical will star Tina Yothers, (Yes, of Family
Ties), according to the Australian site Undercover.com, with Caffey's former Go-Go band mate, Jane Wiedlin, serving as a 'creative
consultant' for the project.
One final musical news nugget: Paramount has announced a third installment of Grease, according to the Hollywood Reporter,
which will take place in the '70s disco era.
Read more story below....
Endquote: 'Some of the songs have a definite sort of ambient quality to them. We've been listening to a lot of everything from Zero
7 to Telepopmusik, [so] there's a little bit of that.' — Jimmy Jam to VH1.com, describing part of the vibe imprinting itself on Janet
Jackson's new album, due sometime next year.
Bonus Item: 'We hope to offer people a place that they can come to relax with friends after work as well as a place to dance late
into the night,' said Mark Liberson, one of the owners of Hydrate, the new bar that will occupy the space formerly held by Manhole.
'Our feeling is that the community needs both, and we don't believe that you have to either be a 'late-night club' OR an 'early
mainstream club,' we believe that you can be BOTH.
'One of my goals has always been to own a gay nightclub,' said Liberson, publisher of UR Chicago. ' I almost did it before in
Washington D.C., in partnership with the owners of Sidetrack. But the Manhole was a no-brainer: It has clearly not received the
attention that it deserved from its owners for years. It was also the only 'straight owned/operated' gay club in Chicago (not quite).
Given that the community has a clear need for more options, and I would like to see Halsted remain a center of the community, it was
a clear choice for me [to launch Hydrate].'
Coming up with just the right moniker for the new bar was by far the biggest challenge. 'Numerous friends have contributed
literally hundreds of names. The name 'Hydrate' stuck and communicated something on multiple levels to us. It's really hard to
describe what the new bar will look like; however, you will not see anything left of the old Manhole, except the energy that had been
centered on the dance floor.'
Look for the bar to open on or before Gay Pride in June.