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'Rain' man ...
Offbeat rocker-actor Tom Waits returned to the British stage this week for the first time since 1987.

London's 3,000-capacity Carling Hammersmith Apollo sold out in 20 minutes when tickets went on sale for the only British date on his European tour promoting the "cubist funk" album "Blood Rain."

Music stars including Thom Yorke, Beth Orton and Jamie Cullum were in the crowd to see Waits perform new material, as well as old favorites from his 30-year career. The audience seemed to relish Waits' unique gravely singing voice.

Making fun of his long absence from London and his own age, the 54-year-old singer said: "It's good to see you.

"OK, all right, yeah, 17 years ... but you look good. The three ages of man: youth, middle age and 'you look good.'"

Shooting for some cash ...
Bruce Willis filed a negligence lawsuit against Revolution Studios for pyrotechnic injuries allegedly suffered during filming of the action film "Tears of the Sun."

The Superior Court lawsuit claims the actor suffered substantial mental and physical injuries during the October 2002 movie set accident in which he was struck in the forehead by a "projectile" after the movie's special effects personnel detonated pyrotechnic devices.

The explosions, known as squibs, were intended to "simulate the appearance of bullets striking the ground," according to the Oct. 20 lawsuit claiming Willis has endured "extreme mental, physical and emotional pain and suffering."

There were no details on the injuries.

Philosophy minor ...
Marilyn Manson: shock rocker. Self-proclaimed "Antichrist Superstar." Philosophy professor?

With an MTV film crew in tow, Manson surprised students in a Temple University Art and Society class this week with an hourlong guest lecture.

He opened the class with a question: Could he share a bottle of red absinthe with the students?

The liqueur stayed on the desk as Manson -- wearing an all-black suit with chrome-tipped platform shoes, dark lipstick and sunglasses -- responded to questions about art, politics and religion.

"I'm not someone who doesn't respect religion, but I don't care for the way religion is used to manipulate people," the 35-year-old singer said. "We create our own gods. We create our own devils."

MTV's college network, mtvU, filmed Manson's classroom appearance for a segment of the "Stand In" series scheduled to air Dec. 6.

Six strings down ...

Former Poison singer Bret Michaels has asked fans to help him find his custom-made guitar, which was apparently stolen at the end of a recent concert, reports The Associated Press.

Michaels' red-and-white Holden six-string electric guitar with a picture of a skull wearing a top hat disappeared during a Nov. 12 concert at McCool's bar in Valparaiso, Ind., according to Michaels' Web site.

The Porter County Crime Stoppers program has offered a reward of up to $1,000 for information about the theft.

A photo of Michaels with the guitar was posted on the singer's Web site. A message said: "This guitar has a lot of sentimental value to Bret and we just want to get it back."

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