Morning Links: Justin Bieber has a situation, Martha Stewart’s a grandmother

● Nickelodeon is looking to win back the generation of early watchers who were raised on their early ’90s programming. They are dedicating the too-late-for-current-Nick-viewers midnight-to-2 AM time slot to golden-era favorites like Pete and Pete, Rugrats and Clarissa Explains It All. The ’90s Are All That, indeed! [EW] ● The numbers are in and this years richest rappers are as follows: Diddy, $475 million; Jay-Z, $450 million; Dr. Dre $125 million; and tied for fifth, 50 Cent and Birdman with an easy $100 million a piece. Diddy’s got Ciroc, 50’s got a burgeoning career in cinema, and Jay’s got a kingdom — how did Birdman, a fairly middling rapper with little output, make this list? It had to be swag. [Forbes] ● There was something of a situation yesterday outside Justin Bieber’s London hotel where hundreds of screaming girls had gathered to get a glimpse of the pop god. Ironically, as a result of the mania, Justin had to cancel the Beatles tour he had planned. [TMZ]

● Martha Stewart is a grandmother, but don’t call her that! Baby Jude will be referring to her as “Martha,” just like the rest of us. [People] ● The end of this relationship has been teased almost since it began four years ago, but it looks like Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel have finally parted ways. Justin has had his chances of love and will surely have many more. Also, we’re single! [NYDN] ● After years of being banned for his anti-authoritarian bends, China is finally warming up to the idea of Bob Dylan. Or maybe he has just cooled down enough for them. “He evokes more nostalgia than notoriety,” said a Chinese-American musician, noting a probably pleasing change in Dylan’s brand. Dylan will play two shows, one in Shanghia and another in Beijing, tickets should still be available. [Yahoo/AP]

Morning Links: James Franco Takes On Sex, Violence, & the Oscars; Charlie Sheen Passes a Drug Test

● If this is as intimate a moment as we’ll ever share with James Franco, we’ll take what we can get. The Oscars, live from James Franco’s pocket. [WhoSay] ● The night before the Oscars, Franco and Lindsay Lohan did a possibly-nude photo shoot with Terry Richardson. Sources say the photos are for a classed-up take on Madonna’s iconic 1992 Sex, and that Lindsay hopes the naked pics will help people see “the real her, not this drunken, out of control caricature she has become.” [NYD/Mirror] ● And where sex goes, violence may follow. Franco is also working with Harmony Korine on “a violent new art film” that will pit two actual armed L.A. street gangs against each other in an actual street gang fight. There could be actual blood. [Page Six]

● Will an auto-tuned Pitbull be the one to sing the death-throes of the Qaddafi regime? A satirical YouTube clip that sets Muammar’s megalomanic “inch by inch, house by house” speech from last week against Pitbull’s wholly apolitical “Hey Baby” has gone viral, and according to Libyan opposition, when the regime falls, “We will dance to ‘Zenga-Zenga’ in the square.” [NYT] ● Charlie Sheen seems to have passed a RadarOnline-administered drug test, giving us reason to believe him when he makes the claim “I’m on a drug, it’s called ‘Charlie Sheen'” on tomorrow’s 20/20. [Radar/Gawker] ● Suze Rotolo, writer, artist and the girlfriend whose arm Bob Dylan takes on the cover of Freewheelin’, passed away quietly in New York last Friday. Rotolo was said to have been important in shaping Dylan’s politics, and of her, he has said, “Right from the start I couldn’t take my eyes off her.” [Rolling Stone] ● Lil Wayne was searched by DEA agents at the Opa-Loca Airport in Miami and was found clean, as per his probation. Only thirty-two months to go, Weezy! [TMZ]

Morning Links: Bob Dylan to Perform at the Grammys, A New Strokes Song Is Released

● Bob Dylan will perform alongside Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers at this year’s Grammy Awards, reminding us that what’s old is new but there’s nothing new under the sun. Or something. [LAT] ● Pete Wentz was totally blindsided by Ashlee’s call to end things: while she was drawing up divorce papers last weekend, Wentz was busy in Dallas posing for pictures with fans atop livestock. [TMZ] ● Three-months after its release, Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday has climbed its way to the number one spot on the Billboard charts, the first female rap record to hit the top since Eve’s 1999 Let There Be Eve and the first non-debut album to do so since Ray Charles’ 2005 Genius Loves Company. [VV]

● After five years away, The Strokes have released the first single from the forthcoming Angles, “Under Cover of Darkness.” And it’s nice! So nice, eager down-loaders crashed the site where they are giving it away for free. Today, let’s all take a cigarette break and enjoy the way it used to be. [The Strokes] ● Drake’s just being honest when he says, “I am one of the best jews to ever do it!” Apologies go out to Adam Sandler, Albert Einstein and Jesus. [TMZ] ● Wait, Alanis Morissette look’s so happy in this picture with her husband, Souleye, and newborn son, Ever Imre. Life has a funny way… [People]

Tonight in NYC: Rick Moody & David Lehman Talk Bob Dylan

It’s fun when someone’s become such a figure of myth and legend that even though they’re still alive, people discuss them as if they’ve been dead for thousands of years. Like Bob Dylan, who has inexplicably survived longer than all sixties icons except Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who don’t count because a) they’re British and b) Richards is literally indestructible. Dylan is technically still with us, a canonized figure who’s life and work must be prodded at, speculated over, theorized on, and extrapolated from. And even though the guy just signed a six book deal that will include two more volumes of his memoirs, Chronicles, anyone who read Chronicles Volume 1 knows that “memoir” is a pretty inaccurate description of a book that plays fast and loose with the facts, mixing vaguely remembered events with conflations, mis-truths, intentional vagaries, and, in some cases, purely fictitious red herrings, like when he claims to have based an entire album on Chekhov stories, but doesn’t say which album. Which is all to say that there’s still a lot we don’t know about Bob Dylan, like how he and The Band ended up jamming with Cher in this photo. Lucky, then, we have authors Rick Moody and David Lehman to sort it out for us, which they’ll be doing tonight at the 14th St. Y.

In partnership with QuickMuse — a website dedicated to “improvisational writing” — and the Jewish lit blog JBooks, the 14th St. Y is presenting these two acclaimed and accomplished authors discussing said photo, Dylan, poetry, music, and whatever else they feel like talking about. And who knows, maybe they’ll even get a visit from the “real” Bob Dylan. That is, if such a person exists.

The Tallest Man On Earth Is Not Bob Dylan

When I was a kid my dad had a friend who was the tallest person I’d ever seen. The guy towered over me, a gaggle of limp limbs, elbows like loosely screwed hinges barely holding things together. As far as I knew, he was the tallest man on earth. Years later, I found out the dude was only like 6’2, and I was understandably disappointed—not that it was his fault for being only pretty tall rather than inhumanly gigantic. But he was also a rogue tattoo artist (tattooing had not yet been legalized in Massachusetts), and I thought was pretty cool. This kind of how I feel about The Tallest Man On Earth, the Swedish singer-songwriter most notable for sounding uncannily similar to Bob Dylan—a bit disappointing, but still pretty cool.

There was a good piece in last week’s New Yorker by Sasha Frere-Jones about revival acts, and how they must further the genre if they’re going to be successful. The Tallest Man On Earth’s new EP, Sometimes The Blues Is Just a Passing Bird, keeps running with the Dylan thing, but expands on it, adding an odd and hard to describe Swede blues, Devendra-Banhart-meets-Karen-Dalton feel to the whole thing that’s almost—but not quite—there on his last full length, The Wild Hunt. You can download a free track from the EP over at his record label’s site.

Tracklist: Brandon Flowers Takes Stock of His Favorite Songwriters

“I’m sorry this is so uncomfortable,” Brandon Flowers says apologetically during a long and, yes, rather painful silence. The 29-year-old musician is trying to round out a list of the 10 vocal performances that most influenced him, and in a group dominated by guys, he needs a woman. Shy and hesitant in person, Flowers is nothing like his onstage persona. Whereas that one—the superstar who fronts the Las Vegas–based arena rock band The Killers—sweats swagger and breathes bombast, this one fidgets in his chair inside New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel. This fall, Flowers will take the stage without his three bandmates when he tours Europe in support of Flamingo, his solo debut. If the first single, “Crossfire,” is any indication, the album (named after a road in Las Vegas) will stay true to the Killers’ synths and soaring vocals. But Flowers can’t help it. He’s never been one to conceal his roots and he isn’t about to start now.

U2’s “With or Without You.” This is quintessential U2. There’s great contrast in how low Bono’s voice goes in his verses and how he builds to this explosion of emotion at the end. His sound breaks through the clouds.

Lou Reed’s “Men of Good Fortune.” Lou isn’t the greatest singer in the world, so he uses a speaking voice to deliver his songs. He has such great lyrics: “Men of good fortune often cause empires to fall/ While men of poor beginnings often can’t do anything at all.” How can you not get sucked in when that’s the song’s first line? We were going to perform the song “Tranquilize” together on Saturday Night Live and it was going to be the highlight of my life, but then the writers’ strike happened.

Morrissey’s “Interesting Drug.” It’s as Morrissey as Morrissey gets. He has his own inflections, his own quirks, and they all surface on this song. I was his busboy once at Spago Las Vegas in Caesars Palace, but I didn’t have the guts to say anything. Years later, the Killers were asked to open for him in L.A. and Chicago. The highlight of the whole thing was when he came to watch us rehearse before the first show. He’s had such an impact on my life, and it felt like everything had come full circle: he was just standing there, watching us.

Annie Lennox’s “No More ‘I Love You’s’” She pushes the envelope and looks great doing it. I often wonder about [Lennox’s partner in Eurythmics] Dave Stewart’s genius. It turned me off that he was involved with making that dildo [for sex toy manufacturer JimmyJane’s collaboration with Stewart’s Rock Fabulous line]. His face was on it or something? Tom Waits’ “Ruby’s Arms.” My wife and I bonded over this song when we first met. I’d never heard it before and she played it for me while we were driving through Las Vegas. Both of us were crying in the car at some point. There are a lot of myths that Waits used to scream in closets to mess up his voice. What amazes me is how dirty it is, but how romantic he can be with it.

Johnny Cash’s “Give My Love to Rose.” I love the way Cash tells this story of a guy getting out of jail and basically dying on his way home. When he asks the stranger who finds him to tell his boy that his daddy is proud of him… I don’t know why, but that gets me every time.

Pet Shop Boys’ “Tonight Is Forever.” I’ve had two weird experiences with Neil Tennant’s voice. One night, on my first trip to London, I heard Ladytron was playing. We got to the show for the encore, and we heard this guy talking. I knew it was Neil Tennant without seeing him. That’s how distinct his voice is. Later, we were working at [producer] Stuart Price’s house on [the Killers’ third studio album] Day & Age. He had a little studio and his wife had just started managing the Pet Shop Boys. So I was upstairs, and in between songs I could hear Tennant’s voice downstairs. He actually came up and sang on a Christmas song we were recording.

Bruce Springsteen’s “Youngstown.” He’s able to make statements while still being romantic. “Youngstown” is about a mine for the materials that make weapons. He writes of smokestacks reaching up like the arms of God. Springsteen helped me understand my roots and helped me to connect with America.

Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” This one doesn’t sound like Bob Dylan to me, not that I don’t like the way it sounds. The lyrics are amazing as always, but I chose it because of his vocal versatility, which I think is important in singers. There is something to be said about having that recognizable quality in your voice, but I really like it when people are able to switch it up a bit.

Chairlift’s “Evident Utensil.” We made a video for “Spaceman” with [music video director] Ray Tintori, and he’s in the same circle as Chairlift. He had just done their video for “Evident Utensil.” The video was fine, but the song was amazing. The synth lines reminded me of Erasure. I couldn’t believe these young people from Colorado who now live in Brooklyn were doing this. Caroline Polachek and Aaron Pfenning are great singers. Hearing them for the first time was a breath of fresh air.

Brandon’s Favorite New York Spot: Gramercy Park Hotel

Links: China Boots Bob Dylan for the Greater Good; Nic Cage’s Bad Hair Day

● Bob Dylan’s shows in China were canceled. Some might say it’s political oppression, but God bless a place where the government knows best: no one needs to see a Bob Dylan show in 2010. [Popeater] ● Woman nearly suffocates lover with 40LL breasts; saves town from flooding. [News of the World] ● An interactive map shows the best corners in New York City to hail a cab depending on the time of day. Useless, maybe, but definitely if you’re a nice looking woman. [NYT]

● Nic Cage’s hair looks like Hulk Hogan’s on a bad day. In this ‘press conference,’ he runs down why. [Celebuzz] ● New York magazine’s engrossing new cover story is about women who are not quite prostitutes, but “VIP concierges” or “ambassadors of client desire.” Half-hooker probably sounds best, though, as mothers everywhere are proudly showing their friends what little Rachel has been up to. [NYM] ● Smart women drink more alcohol. Presumably, they also fight, spit and screw more, as well. [Runnin’ Scared]

Links: Beyoncé Is With Jay-Z’s Baby?; Amanda Seyfried Will Soon Be Naked, Which Worries Her

● If every single day a celebrity blog posted an EXCLUSIVE report that Beyoncé is pregnant with Jay-Z’s baby, one day they would be right because soon there will be a Little Hov or Hovita and soon after that he or she will be the best celebrity child of all time and soon after that he or she will own you. [Media Take Out] ● When was the last time you watched a video of Bob Dylan and John Lennon holding a conversation while their bodies work to balance copious amounts of drugs and their egos and geniuses try to squeeze into one car? [The L Magazine] ● You should probably start stockpiling drugs now if you’re going to be ready for the Phish 3-D concert film coming at the end of April to a theater near you, in your mind. [Arts Beat]

● Amanda Seyfried is worried that some fans won’t want to see her upcoming nude scene in Chloe, an anxiety that is totally valid if you’re clueless or faking humility. [Vulture] ● A 12-year-old Texas boy led police on a 100 mph car chase, which probably ended with a parade and a big sign that read “Atta Boy!” [NYT] ● Ke$ha totally looks like John Travolta. But, really. [Totally Looks Like]

Links: Lars von Trier Scares Tourists; Spider-Man Gets Old

● What if Lars von Trier was making tourism ads for Denmark? Watch the ‘harrowing’ results. [The Onion] ● One homeless New Yorker, a regular at the public library, also predicts Sandra Bullock will win an Oscar. She can’t lose. [NY Times] ● Bob Dylan sings LL Cool J’s “Mama Says Knock You Out.” Let’s start the facebook page asking him to cover “Gin and Juice” five minutes ago. [Kottke] ● You don’t dislike classical music because you’re a philistine; you dislike classical music because your brain is too slow for it. [Telegraph]

● “You need to see me as a man who made his first phone call at the age of 17, so you’re dealing with an unusual sort of filmmaker:” So says Werner Herzog about Werner Herzog. [WSJ] ● For the DIY nerd-hipster in your life: Kurt Vonnegut embroidery. [Mr. X Stich] ● What Spider-Man and other superheroes will look like when they get old. Diapers involved. [Urlesque]