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Y2Kickoff

Corks were popped, confetti was tossed, and roofs were raised as the stars rang in the new millennium

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So you were too busy holed up in your bunker to attend any celeb-packed events on New Year’s Eve? Not to worry. We went for you and brought back these reports:

D.C. FOLLIES A festive Jack Nicholson eloquently summed up Washington’s millennium gala: ”This is America here! Yeah!” Indeed. The celebration was a study in lavishness — 300,000 revelers, a $13 million price tag, and over 50 performers, including a rousing turn from Bono and an ill-conceived duet from Kris Kristofferson and Usher. The spectacle also featured American enterprise (one man sold ”I survived Y2K!” T-shirts) and culture clash (Will Smith exhorted Bill Clinton to ”raise the roof!”). Other roof raisers included everyone from Slash to Mary Tyler Moore, who said, ”I’m so relieved we’ve gotten this far without an explosion.” True, but we did have to endure Steven Spielberg’s humdrum 18-minute history lesson of a movie, The Unfinished Journey. B

MTV SET At MTV’s bash in its Times Square studio, the attending rockers were nothing if not Y2K prepared: ”I’ve been stockpiling stool samples for about a week, just in case of a disaster,” said Blink-182‘s Mark Hoppus. Luckily, the biggest disaster of the night was probably No Doubt‘s midnight rendition of R.E.M.’s ”It’s the End of the World as We Know It…” (despite the cue cards, singer Gwen Stefani mangled the song). Other performances — including those by Christina Aguilera, 98 [degrees], and the recently arrested Puff Daddy — went more smoothly, as the crowd of 300 beautiful people danced eagerly for the four roving cameras. But was it a good time? In the words of Bush’s Gavin Rossdale, ”As the vodka increases, it gets more fun.” A-

GRAND PRIX Call us kvetchers, but Barbra Streisand‘s concert at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand was too light on buttah and too heavy on schmaltz. Celebrity guests consisted of Babs’ hubby, James Brolin, and Shirley MacLaine via video screen. Our $1,500 seats felt closer to Atlantic City than the stage. Gourmet food ranged from peanuts to hot dogs. And Streisand spent the final three minutes of our millennium belting out Y1K’s schlockiest pop hit, ”People.” Not that anyone else was complaining. ”She’s the most incredible talent of our generation, of any generation, period!” raved Atlanta fan Jeffrey Laymon. That seemed to be the consensus among the 13,000 or so believers who watched Babs do a duet with a video image of herself from Yentl and tell us she was ”verklemmt.” Yes, she has a powerful voice and a really big orchestra, but after three hours of the sentimental love-fest, we felt — as Babs quipped at the end of ”Miss Marmelstein” — like we could plotz. C+

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