Plus Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes and more news from the music beat

MISSION TO MARS Move over, Hilary Swank: Some other 90210 alums are launching film careers. The Flaming Lips (who played the Peach Pit in 1995) are shooting a movie. Due in December 2002 and starring the band and their friends, it’s a black-and-white sci-fi Christmas flick set on Mars in a future where science has proven Jesus never existed. ”The main character is Major Syrtis, who becomes obsessed with Christmas,” says Lips frontman Wayne Coyne. ”Everyone else is a pragmatic scientist, but he tries to convince them of the power of belief. I’m hoping it will be absurd and funny and dramatic.” The tentatively titled First Christmas on Mars will also have a soundtrack. ”It’s a lot of space sounds mixed with Wagner, or something like that,” says Coyne. Meanwhile, the Lips are working on the follow-up to 1999’s The Soft Bulletin, which promises to be a typically oddball project. ”We’re in this thing where for one song, my backup band may be a drummer and a guitar player and bass player. But for the next song, I could be backed by 10,000 women riding bicycles.”

KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS He has the girth, but nobody’s likely to mistake ex-jailbird and Tha Row (formerly Death Row) Records chief Marion ”Suge” Knight for Santa. That doesn’t mean he’s averse to doing a little Christmas shopping for himself. On Nov. 9, Knight squired TLC firebrand Lisa ”Left Eye” Lopes to the Lakers/Grizzlies game in L.A., where the two discussed the possibility of Lopes recording a solo album for Knight to be called N.I.N.A. (which Lopes says stands for ”New Identity Non-Applicable.”) ”Suge told me the last time he took an artist to a Lakers game, it was Tupac,” says a source who was present. ”That resulted in [Tupac’s] Makaveli project for Death Row. Now he’s taken Lisa, and the N.I.N.A. project is being born.” Says Lopes of the possible team up: ”I was visited by a man in my dream, one that sweated me all night about Mr. Suge Knight. He was right, but that’s a whole other story.”