MTV persuades New York City to temporarily rename streets after pop stars while museum exhibitions are now featuring celebrity-narrated audiocassette tours

STREET CRED Want a New York City street named after you? Well, you can become an explorer (Columbus Ave.), a president (Madison Ave.), or … a teenybopper sensation (‘N Sync Ave.). As part of a promotion for its 1999 Video Music Awards, airing Sept. 9, MTV has persuaded the city of New York to temporarily rename 19 midtown streets after nominees like Kid Rock and Ricky Martin. (The network paid less than $6,000 for the privilege.) Which makes us wonder:

Can you mail a letter to Busta Rhymes Blvd.?
As Elvis would say, it’d be returned to sender. The post office wasn’t notified of MTV’s gimmick.

The band Orgy was nominated as Best New Artist — where’s Orgy Alley?
Sadly, nowhere. Only the highest-profile of the nominees got a street.

Is there a plastic surgeon on Britney Spears St.?
Nope. But Limp Bizkit Boulevard does have a bagel stand. And you can buy M&M’s on Eminem Ave.

SPEAKING PARTS Everything’s going Hollywood — even stodgy old museums. A growing number of highbrow exhibits now include celebrity-narrated audiocassette tours. Glenn Close explains sculpture’s finer points at Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. David Bowie will lend his tones to the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s upcoming tour of young British artists. And Meryl Streep gives an accent-free tour of New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage (sample line: ”These wooden clogs were an 1898 wedding present to 14-year-old Rachel Rabih-Sutton”). ”Glamorous spokespeople attract visitors who might not otherwise go,” explains Jewish Heritage director David Altschuler. And those glam spokespeople (who usually donate their voices for free) grab some intellectual cachet. Past guides include Pierce Brosnan on Flemish art at a Mississippi museum and Dennis Miller on trinkets at the Santa Barbara Museum. And Steve Martin cracked ’em up on his ’96 Picasso tour at New York’s Museum of Modern Art: ”Identity [is] something no longer objective and fixed, but subjective and mutable.” Wild and crazy, indeed!

ETC. So it’s not as wacky as Kramer’s Calvin Klein modeling job. But David Puddy in an indie film? Patrick Warburton — who played Elaine’s fur-clad beau on Seinfeld — stars as a lothario with a midlife crisis in the dark comedy The Woman Chaser, debuting next month at the New York Film Festival. ”Puddy was kindhearted but misunderstood,” says Warburton. ”This character is a bit diabolical.” But there’s a whiff of Puddy left over: The Seinfeld sidekick sold Saabs for a living; Chaser‘s protagonist is a used-car salesman. Get out!