SPREADING THE WORD As part of her role as U.N. goodwill ambassador, Geri Halliwell visited the 84 percent-Catholic Philippines on Tuesday to promote contraception, and boy oh boy did that steam the Roman Catholic Church. Monsignor Pedro Quitorio of the Philippines said that sending Halliwell to his country was like ”sending Salman Rushdie as an ambassador of goodwill to a Muslim country.” Hundreds of Manila’s kids were more welcoming, however, and met her at the plane, cheering. After visiting a birth-control clinic and a college which is planning a sex-education program, Halliwell praised the groups, according to the Associated Press, saying that everyone deserves to be in ”control over your own fertility.”
TOUR TROUBLE The first of Limp Bizkit‘s promised guerrilla performances ended when Boston police arrived and shut the concert down after only five songs. Some 1,500 fans (who heard about the concert from a local radio host) turned up to watch the group play their secret show on the roof of a Boston garage Sunday afternoon. The cops gave the band’s managers a summons, but Bizkit promises it’s going to play two more surprise shows in Detroit and Chicago…. A far-too-adoring fan bruised Ozzy Osbourne‘s ribs when the audience member rushed the stage and gave him a big ol’ hug at a June 2 Ozzfest show in Charlotte, N.C. A doctor recommended that Osbourne take a few days off, but he refused, and narrowly avoided reinjury when another fan leaped on the stage in New Jersey a few days later, according to MTV News. Luckily, Osbourne saw the second mad hugger coming and dodged him until security jumped into action.
POWER PLAY Tom Hanks is the most bankable star in Hollywood, according to a the Hollywood Reporter, which surveyed 135 executives, bankers, buyers, and sales agents. Following him on the list (in descending order), are Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Travolta, Julia Roberts, Robin Williams and Brad Pitt.
GOING PUBLIC Unable to resist documenting more of their lives on camera, The Spice Girls are releasing a new 90-minute home video called ”Spice Girls in America: A Tour Story,” which documents last year’s ”Spice World” tour (both onstage and behind-the-scenes). It hits stores on Aug. 10.
TOUR UPDATE Bruce Springsteen may be playing his first Las Vegas concert as part of his upcoming tour. But he won’t be on the same stage as Siegfried and Roy: He’s in negotiations to play at the Thomas and Mack Center at UNLV in October, and if the deal goes through he could take home almost $1 million.
TALKING TOUGH Phil Collins is all over the news for writing the music for ”Tarzan,” and he’s using his pulpit to come down on his three-dimensional peers. In this weekend’s USA Today Weekend magazine, he nitpicked at today’s divas, saying, ”Just tell me what you’re singing about. Don’t embroider everything. She’s a fantastic singer, Mariah Carey. Fantastic singer, Whitney Houston. But I get tired of the embroidery, to be honest.” He then took a swipe at rap music: ”Music can do two things. It can build bridges and make people understand each other and their differences. Or it can dig the ditch and make the problem bigger. Rap is making the problem bigger.”
REAL ESTATE MAGNATE George Lucas has finally been given the right to turn 23 acres of land in San Francisco (once the home of the Presidio army base) into an enormous film compound called the Letterman Digital Arts Center, which will be the home to offices for his ILM, THX Group, and LucasArts companies. Now where the heck do you suppose he got all the money for that?
CASTING Steve Buscemi has recruited Edward Furlong for his second directorial effort, ”Animal Factory.” Furlong will play a law student who has to adapt when he’s wrongly imprisoned in a brutal jail. Willem Dafoe will play his mentor in the clink.
REEL DEAL Richard Curtis, the writer of ”Notting Hill” and ”Four Weddings and a Funeral,” has signed a two-picture deal with Working Title Pictures, which produced these two hits. Working Title is owned by Universal.
NEW HOST ROUND-UP Have a very Brady morning: Florence Henderson will be the cohost of NBC’s new morning show, ”Later Today,” which will air at 9 a.m. starting this fall. The show is technically a news show, but it will focus more on fluffier stories. This isn’t Henderson’s first try at news: She did interviews and features for ”Today” back in 1959…. Candice Bergen will host ”Exhale,” a nightly one-hour chat show for the budding all-female Oxygen network that will cover entertainment, media, and politics. Here’s hoping she doesn’t hog all the Emmys like she did with ”Murphy Brown.”