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Battle of the 'Housewives' ...
They may appear sultry and ready for summer on the May cover of Vanity Fair, but according to the magazine, the stars of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" were actually steaming mad.

Vanity Fair's cover proclaims: "You wouldn't believe what it took just to get this photo!" The article acknowledges that the poolside photo shoot, with the five women in different-color bathing suits, was manned by an ABC representative who was to make sure that certain demands were met -- including that Teri Hatcher didn't pick her suit first or appear in the center of any group photo. "Whatever you do," the ABC rep said when he arrived on the set, "do not let Teri go to wardrobe first."

Despite the plea, Hatcher was the first to visit wardrobe. At one point, the rep proclaimed: "I'm getting text messages from Eva (Longoria). Everything is not fine."

The struggles continued once the photographer started snapping. When Marcia Cross saw Hatcher standing next to her in the center of the shot, she grabbed her bathrobe and stormed off, spewing expletives at the ABC rep, according to the article. Hatcher later walked to the other end of the set, where "she got into a tearful, heated conversation on her cell phone."

In the May cover, which hits newsstands April 12, Nicollette Sheridan is in the center, flanked by Hatcher and Cross, with Longoria and Felicity Huffman on a chaise beneath them.

Cross said she ignores the media blitz about the show. "Honestly, I don't read it," she told Vanity Fair. "And I don't even watch the show right now. It's too much."

Words and music ...
Astronaut Neil Armstrong's first words from the moon, speeches by President Woodrow Wilson and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and songs by Al Jolson, Muddy Waters and Nirvana are among 50 recordings being set aside for special preservation in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry.

Also included are Victor Herbert's "Gypsy Love Song" of 1898, and Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" from 1939. Performances must be 10 years old to qualify. This is the third group of recordings to be added to the registry. The library also announced the discovery of a previously unknown recording by jazz masters Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane.

Shields' Brit debut ...
Brooke Shields will make her British stage debut this month in "Chicago," starring as the hard-boiled jailbird Roxie Hart.

Her previous stage appearances include the New York productions of "Cabaret," "Exonerated" and "Grease."

Springsteen live ...
Some 350 fans gathered at the Two River Theatre in Red Bank, N.J., Monday night to watch Bruce Springsteen perform during a taping of VH1's "Storytellers" series.

"Talking about music is like talking about sex," he told fans in Monmouth County, where he was raised and still makes his home. "Can you describe it? Are you supposed to?"

Springsteen launched the program with "Devils & Dust," the title track of his new album, scheduled for release April 26. He said the song was written when U.S. troops entered Iraq and deals with the struggle between the personal and the political. "What if we do destroy our ideals?" he asked. Springsteen said he used a rhyming dictionary and a notebook when he wrote "Blinded by the Light." During the two-hour show, he also discussed the lyrics and sang "Thunder Road," "Brilliant Disguise" and "Nebraska."

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