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Hot Glam? Hollywood Gets Ziggy With It but Bowie's Moved On


The current movie, "Velvet Goldmine," chronicles the strange days and wild nights of a Bowie-esque glam rock icon during the decadent whirl of 1970s. But while the rest of the world is going gaga for glam and all things platform and glittering, the real David Bowie has long ago put away such childish fancies as stardust, body makeup and ambiguous sexuality.

Indeed, Ziggy Stardust has gotten downright corporate. While other aging stars may be the subject of innumerable fan sites on the Web, Bowie has launched Bowienet, Bowieart, Bowieworld and, his eponymous Internet Service Provider. People Magazine recently dubbed Bowie (in its "Sexiest Men" issue) as one aging rocker who gets better with time. Other press noted this year that Bowie had surpassed Paul McCarthy as Britain's wealthiest rocker. Clearly the digital revolution and wife Iman's fashion tips are doing very well by the Thin White Duke.

Ordained "The coolest ISP on the planet" by PC Magazine, BowieNet, like American Online, offers Web service, e-mail and a scintillating world unto itself, with prices ranging from $5.95 a month for premium service to $19.95 a month for the ISP.

While the official movie site for "Velvet Goldmine" (through is fairly lame, houses an exclusive gallery from glam rock photographer Mick Rock's chronicle of the Ziggy Stardust days, including about 25 previously unpublished prints. (Other Rock shots can be seen at

The site was launched in late August as a full-blown Internet provider and is picking up new features every day. The Web site features a blizzard of bona fide Bowie memorabilia with Bowie-made art (to browse and to buy), clips from every music video and movie featuring Bowie since 1978, as well as over 400 full songs or song clips. You can get up close and personal with Bowie through his frequent journal entries and personal photographs and the site also offers several contests in which participants are invited to lend their creative talents to the furthering of the Bowie canon.

On Monday the Web site was hacked into by a number of would-be song writers determined to win a recently announced contest by any means possible. Fans are invited to listen to Bowie's new song, "What's Really Happening," and submit lyrics that will be judged by the Internet community, with Bowie himself selecting a winner from 25 finalists.

Since the winner is invited to a VIP weekend, including a day in the studio recording with Bowie, such a treat was no doubt too too thrilling for a few mischievous contestants; Monday morning, the site staff noticed that eight contestants had amassed almost 600,000 votes. Meanwhile, the rest of the thousands of entrants combined didn't come close to that number.

In another interactive project, fans are invited to participate in the production of the music world's first virtual CD. Titled, the CD-in-progress will feature music from the 1997 Earthling Tour. Bowienet members are encouraged to design the artwork for the CD, the jewel box and the liner notes, send in personal photos, write concert reviews, submit bootleg videos, etc.

On Nov. 30, Bowienet ventures into yet another realm of community-based interactivity, launching its 3-D chat capabilities. Designed in part by Bowie's son, Duncan Jones, 26, Bowieworld will incorporate 3-D graphics that include a library of some 80 avatars (such as birds, skeletons and space aliens) that will communicate in a virtual space based on the stage sets from past Bowie tours.

In other Bowie-related developments, the artist will serve as program director and deejay of his own radio station, Channel 13 of Rolling Stone Radio, the new worldwide, 24-hour radio network, created by JAMtv/Rolling Stone Network and Real Networks (

If all this Bowie-mania has you itching for a dose of Bowie, he'll be rapping with his public at noon today.

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