Prince, Ray Sharkey, and Exene Cervenka made headlines this week

PURPLE PROSE: What does it take to get an interview with reclusive Prince, who just signed a $108 million deal with Warner Bros. Records? Well, for starters, you costar in Cheers. Prince’s press representative is offering a rare, on- the-record chat with the former wunderkind, on one condition: that Kirstie Alley, who also makes a few cameos on Prince’s symbol-titled new album, do the questioning. So far, no takers.

UNSUITABLE: As a widower in Triumph’s Zebrahead, a drama (due out in October) about Detroit teenagers and a young interracial couple, Ray Sharkey has elicited groans from preview audiences when he asks his son, a high schooler who has just had sex, if he used protection. In real life, Sharkey has been hit with a lawsuit by Elena Monica (daughter of comedian Corbett Monica), who claims the HIV-positive actor transmitted the virus to her during unprotected sex.

IRAQ ATTACK: Seminal punk band X’s coleader Exene Cervenka has written the text for Just Another War, a photo book documenting last year’s Persian Gulf crisis by photojournalist Ken Jarecke; some of Jarecke’s large-format, black-and-white pictures of Iraqi soldiers hit by smart bombs were deemed too gruesome for print by several American magazines during the war. ”If we’re big enough to make war, we ought to be big enough to see what we made,” Cervenka says. ”The press covered it like a World Series.” The book will be distributed by former Black Flag member Henry Rollins’ publishing company, 2.13.61 (Rollins’ birthdate).

REEL LIFE: Marriage hasn’t cramped Ross McElwee, who won the top documentary prize at the 1987 Sundance Film Festival for Sherman’s March, a quirky first-person account of what happened when he revisited his old girlfriends. For the sequel, Time Indefinite, due this fall, McElwee, who seems to live his life with a 16 mm camera fused to his shoulder, focused on his family. The toughest shot: his own wedding. ”About 60 seconds before the ceremony, I gave up and handed the camera to someone else,” he confesses. ”Otherwise it might have been the world’s first simultaneous marriage and divorce.”

DON’T TELL TIPPER: The big song in Little Rock, Ark., right now is ”Hillary Clinton” by San Francisco-based folk rocker Lach. Sample lyric: ”Think of all the great political wives of history/Who outshined their husbands just like Hillary/…From the great State of Arkansas/She looks like she just got off the set of L.A. Law.”

David Browne, Stephen Schaefer, Dan Burkhart, George Mannes, Harold Goldberg