Neon Dion

Celine Dion prepares to take Las Vegas with a new act and her very own coliseum

On March 25 Celine Dion will begin a three-year run—for which she's being paid $100 million—at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Thinking of going? Two hundred thousand tickets have already been snapped up, meaning the first 60 shows are sold out. Here's a quick guide to Dion's new domain:

•The singer's 2,400-sq.-ft. dressing room, featuring dining, living and massage areas, is the largest in Las Vegas. Will previous record-holders Siegfried and Roy (1,800 sq. ft.) need to expand?

•Not only was the 4,100-seat Colosseum arena precisely engineered to suit the acoustics of Dion's voice, the stage has built-in vents that pump moist air to protect the diva from "desert throat."

Justin Timberlake, Tim Allen, Wayne Brady and Barry Manilow have RSVP'd for opening night.

•Sixty dancers will back up Dion as she performs more than 20 songs.

•Watch for flying divas: "She will be airborne during the show," says a Dion publicist. "Lifted up, Peter Pan-style, with wires."

The Dixie Chicks Take Their Licks

No one was whistling Dixie last week—not country music fans, not George Bush and certainly not the Dixie Chicks. When Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines told a London concert audience on March 10 that "we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas," the backlash was swift. At least 40 radio stations nationwide yanked the band from their play-lists. Others plan to boycott the group's albums and concerts. In Shreveport-Bossier, La., 250 people showed up for radio station KRMD's "Chicks Bash," where, says program director Bob Shannon, "we let people bring their CDs, and we ran over them with a big tractor."

Even fellow singers took offense. "[The families of U.S. troops] don't need to turn on their favorite country music stations and hear these type of statements," says singer Travis Tritt. Though Maines subsequently apologized to President Bush for her "disrespectful" remark, she insists the comment was made in patriotism: "I love my country. I am a proud American."

Paris Is Burning
Shannen Doherty in a spat? Hard to believe, but ubiquitous socialite Paris Hilton swears that after running into Doherty, 31, at L.A.'s Bar Delux on March 12, the two got into an argument over Richard Salomon, an Internet-gambling entrepreneur and Hilton's former boyfriend—not to mention Doherty's ex-husband. Hilton, 22, alleges that the actress "grabbed my arm and my face" and says Doherty later followed her home and smashed eggs against—and scribbled profanities in lipstick on—a car near Hilton's Hollywood Hills house. "Shannen did not touch Paris," says Doherty's rep. "They had a conversation and that's it."

Schoolhouse Rock: Clapton
Some parents have bake sales. Eric Clapton, 58, gave a benefit conceit March 18 at his 18-year-old daughter Ruth's high school, the Birkdale School in Sheffield, England, to raise funds for music and computer equipment. Buyers of the 790 tickets (at $35 each) had their names drawn from a hat.

Faith, Tim and Charity
What does a $20 cover get you at a Nashville honky-tonk? Well, for 350 lucky patrons at the Broken Spoke on March 11, an impromptu concert by country's golden couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Accompanied by pal Kenny Chesney, the pair arrived at the club at half past midnight and played two hours of mostly covers—Hall & Oates's "Rich Girl," Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary," Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama"—for the crowd, taking requests for McGraw songs at $100 a pop. Proceeds—which, with the cover charges, came to nearly $8,000—went to the local Red Cross. McGraw plans to play similar charity shows as he tours through May. Said the singer: "People need to stick together and help one another."

Spider-Man Battles Back
Clearly, dangling upside down while making out with your girlfriend offers little in the way of lumbar support. But tell that to Spider-Man. Tobey Maguire, the wall crawler in last year's top-grossing film, may drop out of the sequel due to back pain. His spokeswoman says the actor is still healing from discomfort brought on by the physical demands of shooting Spider-Man and the horse racing flick Seabiscuit. If Maguire does bail (shooting begins April 12), Jake Gyllenhaal, who happens to be dating Kirsten Dunst, who happens to play Spidey's love interest, is the leading candidate to slip into the web slinger's tights.

Going for Bloke
A rakishly set hat. A jauntily tied scarf. An obscured pair of eyes. Noted Anglophiles Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna, always on the cusp of the latest trends, seem to have set their caps on a classic European fashion icon. Not convinced? Judge for yourself....

POP QUIZ

with Josh Brolin

NBC's defiant Mister Sterling, Josh Brolin, 35, will rev up to race in the 27th-annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, held on April 12 in Long Beach, Calif., to benefit children's hospitals. Having won the overall event in 2000 (dad James won the celebrity race back in '78), Brolin plans on once again demonstrating his need for speed, which has occasionally landed him in trouble off the track.

Have you always lived in the fast lane?

I totaled my first car four hours after I got my license.

Ever had a warrant issued for unpaid tickets?

Yeah. Sometimes I just forget to pay them. Then I have to go to court and handle it. There was one point in my life where I got so many tickets...this is not good to talk about.

Worried about what the network will think?

When I was up for the role of Mr. Sterling, the first thing NBC did was come to me and say, "You cannot race—period. We will not hire you." If they bring the series back, then they'll have a hold on me.

Why not just race cars professionally?

If I wanted to make myself 100 percent happy, I would. But I'm spoiled; that's why I act. I get good money out of it, and my kids [Trevor, 14, and Eden, 9] get to go to good schools.

Ever razz your dad about his old AAMCO commercials?

I used to leave messages on his machine every day: "Double A, honk-honk, M-C-O."

Your love of the road seems to have influenced your choice in women. Your ex-fiancée was Minnie Driver, and now you're dating Diane Lane.

That's hilarious. I never made that connection. I haven't talked about Minnie in two years. One thing I loved is that she had this friend who used to call her Tiny Motorist.

Cute. Who's better behind the wheel—you or Diane?

I'm a much better driver. But she's not bad.

So what do you think of the motto "Live fast, die young"?

I don't understand why it can't be "Live fast, live long."

ON THE BLOCK

ROSEANNE'S RETREAT

Roseanne's weekend getaway in the Southern California mountain town of Lake Arrowhead is on the market for $3.9 million. The secluded 11-acre property includes a 6,800-sq.-ft. main residence, separate guest quarters, tennis court, greenhouse, boat dock and even an outdoor dance floor. Real estate agent Nick LaCarra says Roseanne, 50, is selling the spread because the actress hasn't used it very much since her divorce from bodyguard Ben Thomas last year.

  • Contributors:
  • Ting Yu,
  • Greg Adkins,
  • Sona Charaipotra,
  • Jennifer Wren,
  • Carrie Bell,
  • Lauren Comander,
  • Liz Corcoran,
  • Alexis Chiu,
  • Julie Jordan,
  • William Keck,
  • Marisa Laudadio,
  • Shell Lewis,
  • Kwala Mandel,
  • Frank Swertlow,
  • Melody Wells.