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DRIVE TIME Look…up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Actually, it’s just a promo ad for Disney’s doomsday thriller Armageddon (due July 1). On May 23, the studio draped a 14-story office building in Los Angeles with a 25,000-square-foot banner designed to look as if an asteroid had hit the structure and left a fiery hole behind. The very effective trompe l’oeil had commuters along the city’s busy San Diego Freeway hitting the brakes, resulting in a traffic jam of apocalyptic proportions. ”People were actually thinking [the building] might have blown up or something,” says producer Scott Burt of Metro Networks, a company that provides traffic reports to area radio and TV stations. Although no accidents have been blamed on the ad, the bumper-to-bumper bungle became the top local news story. Police and city officials, meanwhile, were less enthusiastic. ”The building got a citation because it created a huge stir — and evidently the proper permits hadn’t been obtained,” says Terry Curtin, a Buena Vista senior VP, who adds that the studio was forced to remove the banner after only three days. ”We hadn’t expected to create absolute gridlock,” says Curtin. ”But the happy result is that we did get a lot of attention.”

— Tricia Laine

RADIO DAZE The latest from the rumor mill: On May 16, just five days before he was hospitalized for an overdose, Charlie Sheen allegedly phoned L.A. radio station 97.1 FM TALK to request ”Hooch,” a song by alterna-rockers Everything that’s oft thought to be a drug-use anthem. Even band members believed the actor had made the call, and were quick to deny their ditty glorified drugs. ”It is kind of funky that Charlie Sheen called in,” says Everything lead singer Craig Honeycutt, ”but [drugs] are not what the song’s about. It’s one interpretation, but it’s about whatever you want it to be.” Was the call evidence that something was brewing with Sheen? Truth is, ”Hooch” did air that night, and Sheen did call the station — but not to request the song. Station operations manager Ron Escarsega says the actor was on the line only to play a trivia game with three on-air guests, including ex-MTV VJ China Kantner and Hits magazine editor Julia Trainor. ”I don’t think he got any answers right,” says Trainor, ”but he was a total sport.”

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