News on Tim McGraw, Manson, Sonic Youth/Stooges

TimCountry star Tim McGraw will make his acting debut in the independent film "Black Cloud," which begins shooting this week in Arizona. He will also contribute original songs to the soundtrack of the film, written and directed by Rick Schroeder ("NYPD Blue").

Described as an inspirational story about a Native American fighting for a spot on the U.S. Olympic boxing team, "Black Cloud" will see McGraw play a sheriff. He will star opposite Russell Means ("The Last of the Mohicans"), Wayne Knight ("Seinfeld"), Peter Greene ("Pulp Fiction"), and Eddie Spears ("The Slaughter Rule"). The High Maintenance Films production is expected to premiere at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

McGraw recently wrapped up a tour in support of his latest Curb album, "Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors." The set, which debuted at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart. It has sold 2.2 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

MansonIn spite of vocal opposition from local political groups, Marilyn Manson's Saturday (June 7) concert at Milan's Mazda Palace will go ahead. The artist was originally to have appeared in nearby Monza, but was prevented from doing so by its city council. The venue was subsequently switched to Milan, where members of the city council also protested. Milan's city council was due to vote on the matter on May 22, but the debate did not take place and, as a result, the concert will.

Locals had objected on such grounds that the performance was offensive and would likely corrupt the youth audience. Monza's decision to ban Manson and Milan's threat to do so were described by Roberto Meglioli, president of the concert promoters association Assomusica, and Enzo Mazza, director general of record industry body FIMI, as a dangerous case of "cultural censorship."

Manson plays London tonight and joins the annual Ozzfest tour beginning June 28 in Selma, Texas.

-- Mark Worden, Milan

YouthSonic Youth will join a reunited version of Iggy and the Stooges for an Aug. 14 concert in Detroit, according to a post on the former's official Web site. For the influential Stooges, considered progenitors of punk rock, the concert will be a rare appearance -- only their second with frontman Iggy Pop in 28 years, following an April performance at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif.

As previously reported, the reunited Stooges have also recorded four new songs together, which are set for inclusion on Pop's upcoming Virgin album, "Skull Ring." Due Sept. 30, the album will be led by the single "Little Know It All" featuring Sum 41, and also features Green Day and Pop's band the Trolls.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.