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October 29, 1998|SHAUNA SNOW


Butterfly Sidelined: Elizabeth Hynes will replace Marie Plette in the title role of Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" for Opera Pacific on Wednesday and Nov. 6 and 8 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa. Plette has withdrawn on doctor's orders because of complications with her pregnancy. Paula Delligatti will sing the role Tuesday and Nov. 5 and 7. Information: (800) 346-7372.


Small Spices: Thousands of scantily clad preteen Spice Girl wannabes lined a Manhattan block Tuesday to try out for upcoming ads hawking a line of dolls and other Spice-related merchandise. Producers were looking for one set of girls, ages 5 to 12, to portray the foursome. The competition in the line of platform shoes, rub-off tattoos, bare midriffs and phony navel rings was fierce, with mothers coaching daughters and girls sizing up their opposition while rehearsing dance steps.

Arcadia Replaces Ash Grove: More than a year after the Ash Grove nightclub on the Santa Monica Pier closed its doors after failing to make its rent payments, a new club is set to take over the site. A group of investors, headed by Unity Entertainment CEO Robert Tauro, has leased the space and will open an upscale club and restaurant called Arcadia. Plans call for the club to feature music, comedy and children's theater. The first performance, on Nov. 5, is a benefit featuring guitarist Craig Chaquico.


Broken Promise?: Geraldo Rivera should put his money where his mouth is and make good on a $10,000 promise, says a New York attorney who contends that the CNBC host reneged on an on-air pledge to pay that amount to anyone who could document a case of criminal prosecution for lying about sex. In a lawsuit charging fraud and breach of contract, criminal defense lawyer Marc Bogatin claims that Rivera issued the challenge on a Sept. 24 "Rivera Live" show devoted to the Clinton investigation. Bogatin says that he sent five such cases to Rivera, but received no response despite several letters and phone calls, including a threat to sue if he got no reply. A spokesman for CNBC and Rivera declined to comment, saying that neither had seen the suit.

Waxing Dietary: Proclaiming that she eats "whatever I want, whenever I want," including three meals a day, "Ally McBeal" star Calista Flockhart addresses persistent rumors about the cause of her thinness in the Nov. 9 People magazine. When asked point-blank if she is an anorexic, People said Flockhart responded: "I guess I don't know the exact definition of anorexia. . . . I guess my answer would have to be no."


Rapper Jay-Z and hip-hop diva Lauryn Hill remain king and queen of the pop album chart, holding on to the No. 1 and No. 2 positions, respectively. According to SoundScan, Jay-Z sold about 185,000 copies last week of "Vol. 2 . . . Hard Knock Life," while Hill's "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" sold roughly 126,000 copies.

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