There's nothing like a full-scale freak tragedy to get the creative and entrepreneurial juices flowing, and as you'd expect, the Heaven's Gate feeding frenzy has been swift and barefaced. Heaven's Gate: Cult Suicide in San Diego hits bookstores this week, and it's not surprising to discover that the quickie publication has strong ties with Rupert Murdoch's New York Post - which was still treating the suicides as front- page material a week after the story broke. Witten by Post reporters Bill Hoffman and Kathy Burke, the journalistic tour de force, which took five whole days to complete, is being published by - you'll never guess - Murdoch's HarperCollins. Double-quick publishing stunts are becoming increasingly common. Last year, a Unabomber book was thrown together in less than two weeks; the nearly finished story about Jon Benet Ramsey (above), Death of a Little Princess, will be wrapped up as soon as a suspect is charged. With Heaven's Gate, ABC snapped up the rights to the story of ex-cult member Rio D'Angelo a week after he found the bodies; D'Angelo reportedly captured the 39 corpses on video before the police arrived. The big picture continues to get weirder, even by Californian standards: just before the suicide, cult members were apparently peddling their screenplay to Hollywood studios - to be called Beyond Human.

The loudest buzz in US rock music circles - apart from the UK techno/trip- hop/drum-and-bass invasion, saddled here with the ungainly umbrella term, "electronica" - is centred on a couple of teen bands, younger even than the likes of Ash and Bis. Texan trio Radish were at the centre of a bidding war recently that left 15-year-old singer-songwriter Ben Kweller with a multi-million-dollar deal. Marginally cooler and much cuter are the Dust Brothers-produced Hanson, three delightful boys aged, 16, 13 and - no, seriously - 11. Get this: Beck's dad guests on their album.

When Ellen DeGeneres finally emerged from the closet, reactions were predictable all round: Time mistook it for news and put it on their cover, lesbian groups announced a Come Out with Ellen Day (which shouldn't be taken as come out like Ellen, or else it'll take forever,) and the televangelist Jerry Falwell, frothing about Ellen "DeGenerate", called on advertisers to boycott the sitcom Ellen. If anything, there now seems to be a clamour for commercial spots on the episode in which DeGeneres's character comes out, and ABC is keeping certain advertisers away - it has, ironically, refused to run an ad from a cruise company that caters to gay customers. The promo, which shows two women kissing on the deck of an ocean liner, has been branded an "advocacy ad" - strange excuse for a network that last month declared an official "March against drugs".

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