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Two of hearts

Cashing in on Cupid

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Last year at about this time, I offered some suggestions to the entertainment industry about how to capitalize on Valentine's Day, but, alas, Master P never launched No Limit greeting cards, Jewel missed her opportunity to release a collection of romantic poetry, and PitchWeekly failed to host a "St. Valentine's Day Metal Massacre" featuring the likes of Krokus and Dokken. This year, Hollywood again has failed to cash in on Cupid. The best available date movie is the amazingly insipid Down to You, and "Cake is my world" is unlikely to supplant "You complete me" in the lexicon of love anytime soon.

Still, the potential for musicians to profit from star-crossed lovers on the holiday that Hallmark built remains too powerful to ignore, so, as the sea captain on The Simpsons might say, I've decided to make this annual custom into a yearly tradition. Here are some items musicians should give and receive as tokens of affection for their management, their fans, and one another Feb. 14, 2000:

ð Kid Rock: an appropriately violent and unromantic card to Satan along with his monthly check for a substantial amount, because the Prince of Darkness no longer works on a strictly soul-for-success basis.

ð Ricky Martin: a request that fans send lasting, practical gifts in lieu of flowers, because the erstwhile heartthrob sees decaying roses as an alarming metaphor for his fleeting fame.

ð The Smashing Pumpkins: plenty of Valentine's loot to whoever came up with the ingenious idea for them to play unannounced gigs in small venues, thus creating the illusion of Beatles-esque frenzy for a boring live band that most people haven't cared about in years.

ð TLC: lavish gifts for all image consultants and publicists involved in hypnotizing fans and the media into believing that this trio of spruced-up Spice Girls deserves respect as serious artists. In turn, these supposed feminist spokeswomen will receive accolades from various girl-power groups for their male-bashing tune, "No Scrubs," despite the fact that it was written by three outside songwriters, one of whom is a man.

ð Alanis Morisette: "Thank U" cards go to Kevin Smith, for casting her as God in Dogma and thus keeping her in the limelight despite the fact that no one bought her most recent album; to the current bubble-gum pop crop, for making her seem like a songwriter of substance by comparison; and especially to the Grammy voters, who inexplicably decided that she deserved a nomination this year for "Thank U," a song that is only slightly less dated than "The Macarena."

ð The Get Up Kids: They should receive lots of belated hugs and kisses from the Kansas City/Lawrence music scene when they appear at El Torreon on Friday, Feb. 18, for "representing" during their appearance on a recent 120 Minutes episode, in which they name-dropped local bands and venues.

ð Fiona Apple: a refusal to acknowledge the holiday, saying in a rambling speech that roses are living, feeling creatures. Her benefit single, "Who Will Hear Their Cries?", will raise a small sum of money for her Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Foundation. In related news, Apple's boyfriend, director Paul Thomas Anderson, will release a six-hour film on the subject, titled Rose, which will feature an awkward scene during which the movie's 14 characters trade off singing lines from Apple's song.

ð Obscure one-man band Scritti Politti: at least a card to every major record label for failing to release big-name albums during December and January, thus making this '80s footnote's comeback from an unlamented 11-year absence into national news.

ð Melissa Etheridge: a tasteful "Thanks for the Sperm" singing telegram for David Crosby and a postcard photo of herself wearing a "Hi, my name is ..." sticker to Star columnist C.W. Gusewelle.

ð Chris Cornell and Trent Reznor: a heart-shape box of protein powder for their personal trainers for helping them change, as current trends dictate, from angry yet scrawny geeks to brooding yet beefy pin-up boys. Cornell's stylist gets a holiday tip for making him even more "now" by sculpting his Backstreet Boys-style facial hair.

ð Fifteen-year-old pop-tart Mandy Moore: receives a sizable Mr. Bulky's gift certificate, thus ensuring she'll never again have to croon the ludicrous lyric I'm missing you like candy.

ð Beck: As a sick joke, he sends out deceptively packaged fecal matter in a Russell Stover's box to music critics. Seventy-five percent of the scribes promptly review his crappy offering as "brilliant -- the year's best candy."

ð The Backstreet Boys reign as Valentine's

kings for the second year in a row, collecting millions of cards and gifts. Even more exciting for the group is the news that one of this year's letters actually came from a woman over 20. However, as per their contract, management will make off with most of the crop, and the crooners will be left to split one card and one piece of candy five ways.

ð The execrable Limp Bizkit/Eminem duet, "Valentine's Day Date Rape," is widely denounced as one of the most offensive singles in history, until it is overshadowed by John Rocker's country ditty, "No Candy For You (If You Don't Speaky No English)."

ð And finally, now that local act Adam Blue and the Groove Agency are buddy-buddy with Chiefs bruiser Donnell Bennett, who will perform with the band at The Levee, perhaps I should send the group a box of candy so they can pig out.

Contact Andrew Miller at 816-218-6781 or andrew.miller@pitch.com.

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