IT LOOKS AS IF WE'RE STUCK WITH HIM
It was one giant leap backward for pop stars in space last week when the Russian space agency denied 'N Sync member LANCE BASS a place on its October mission. The agency raised the velvet rope after a consortium of Bass backers failed to cough up the $20 million cover charge required for entry onto the Soyuz space capsule. Bass had been training in Moscow and Houston, completing maneuvers in zero gravity and learning Russian, but his backers, including a production company hoping to film a documentary of the trip, missed several payment deadlines. Bass's seat will not go empty. In his place the Russians are sending a cargo container packed with supplies for astronauts already on the International Space Station--a replacement perhaps less photogenic but probably more useful in orbit.
Who Killed Tupac? One of the rap world's most notorious crimes may be closer to a solution, thanks to some press sleuthing. The Los Angeles Times last week published the conclusions of a yearlong investigation into the murder of rapper TUPAC SHAKUR, who was shot in Las Vegas in 1996. While it has long been suspected that Shakur was a victim of feuding between East Coast and West Coast rappers and their affiliated gangs, the Times dropped a bit of a bombshell by placing Notorious B.I.G. at the scene of the crime. The paper says that B.I.G., one of Shakur's chief rivals, was in Las Vegas at the time of the killing and alleges that he paid members of the Crips gang $1 million and offered his own gun for the murder. Orlando Anderson, the man who the Times says fired the gun, was later killed in gang warfare. B.I.G. himself was shot dead six months after Shakur. B.I.G.'s family has called the report false, saying he was in New Jersey at the time of Shakur's killing.
Creating the sort of confusion perhaps not seen since the papal schism of 1378, two women claim to be the rightful holder of the title of Miss North Carolina. In June REBEKAH REVELS, bottom, won the state pageant and the honor of competing for Miss America. But then a former--and clearly still bitter--boyfriend wrote pageant officials offering to share two topless pictures of Revels he took several years ago (without her knowledge while she was dressing, she claims). Revels resigned, and the crown passed to first runner-up MISTY CLYMER, left. Revels, however, had a change of heart and sued the North Carolina and the Miss America organizations to get her title back. A state judge found in her favor, but Clymer, already attached to the feel of rhinestones on her head, refused to relinquish the tiara. Now a federal judge is set to decide which contestant the national organization should recognize for the Sept. 21 pageant. It's anyone's guess how heavily he'll rate the talent portion.