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Entertainment news for April 24, 1998

Hanson and the VW Beetle made headlines this week

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MMMBrat

Do Hanson need a nap? At Nickelodeon’s 11th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards, held April 4 at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, the flaxen-haired threesome known for their wholesome piety met the media with a surprisingly less-than-Christian attitude. At a press conference following their wins for Favorite Group and Favorite Song (”MMMBop”), one reporter inquired about the teen rockers’ religious convictions. Though the group offered a diplomatic response about the matter ”being private,” the reporter persisted, asking whether they sought out churches while on the road. The query sparked an annoyed Zac Hanson, 12, to blurt out, ”You’re a weirdo.” And when another journalist attempted to break the stunned silence by asking ”How does it feel being sex symbols at such a young age?” Zac was again quick to snark: ”Oh, we have another weirdo in the room,” which quickly put an end to the interview. Has the pressure finally gotten to the adolescent superstars? A spokesman declined to comment on Zac’s cranky behavior. Then again, maybe he was just trying to promote the group’s new single. Its title: ”Weird.”— Carrie Bell

Bugging out

It doesn’t have a wet bar like a limo, it can’t handle a hairpin curve like a Porsche, and it doesn’t have the muscle of a Hummer. Indeed, Hollywood has gone decidedly downscale for its current ride of choice: the new Volkswagen Beetle. Among the stars who have cottoned to the ”people’s car” are Lyle Lovett, Larry Hagman, Pat Sajak, and Mick Fleetwood. Cindy Crawford and Jerry Seinfeld, meanwhile, are on a waiting list to get their Bugs. (No VIP treatment here — like any average Joe, they’ll have to wait three weeks to three months, depending on color and options.) In fact, VW of America says it has had so many celeb requests that it has appointed a special entertainment-industry liaison to hand-deliver the autos. Why the sudden Beetlemania? It could be the miniature price tag — starting at $15,200 — but the real draw appears to be nostalgia. ”Lyle was the first one in the city to get a [Beetle],” says a spokesman for Lovett. ”He had a Bug at one time, and it’s bringing back a lot of great memories.” But there are those who still long for luxury. Though Shaquille O’Neal recently test-drove a ’98 Beetle, the 7-foot-1 basketball player opted to rent a relatively roomier Lexus instead. — Kim Ratcliff