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But Nancy was a huge chart-topper and still resonates to the point where her California Girl album (due in April) is the culmination of her long-brewing attempt to pay tribute to the Golden State. "Now I feel bad even thinking of promoting a California album in New York," she admitted, "for obvious reasons. It seems kind of callow and cavalier." Oh, that self-dep thing again! I convinced Nancy that the entire country's under siege, and none of us mind celebrating each other's culture at this point, even California's.

The fab record—which mixes old and new tracks—is a crisply sung glide through West Coast feelings, from a midtempo "California Girls" (with Brian Wilson) to a mournful "California Dreamin' " and beyond, providing the ultimate L.A. confidential. Flawlessly enough, it will be used as a soundtrack for Disney's California Adventure theme park!

As for former Disney adventures, Nancy envies the support system around Britney, "though I do question the music." Miraculously, pop culture has brought both stars to the same level; Brit will soon appear on Sex and the City and Nancy's "Boots" has already popped up there. Naturally, Nancy turned it into a learning experience. Watching the show, she noticed that, as Carrie strutted down the street, the song ended way too soon. "So I called my sound guy," Nancy related, "and said, 'We have to extend the fade.' In the future, the song will continue longer." It can never be long enough for me.

Britney Spears in Crossroads: Glitter rehash in which the lead tramp is a valedictorian.
photo: Paramount Pictures
Britney Spears in Crossroads: Glitter rehash in which the lead tramp is a valedictorian.

And now, to make this column longer, I'll supply my totally wild guess as to what Edward Albee's The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? will be like: "We had a goat once." "No, we didn't. The goat never existed." "Didn't it? Anyway, I said to the goat . . . " "There was no goat. All right, there was, but it died a painful death." "Nooooo!" "I ran it over when you became too attached to it. Remember? I had to kill Billy for your own good." "How could you be so cruel? Anyway, I said to the goat . . . " (Breaks down crying. They hug. A bleating sound is faintly heard.)

BONUS ITEM: Do you believe in life after "Believe"? Well, Cher does, and I have Living Proof (her new CD title) of it. The diva will perform a top-secret gig this Saturday, March 2, at New York's Roxy gay dance club. I'll be busy elswehere. Kidding!

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