Todd Nelson of the Pioneer Press reports that "it wasn't quite a UFO landing at Lake Wobegon, but the appearance Tuesday (September 2) of shock rocker Marilyn Manson in a federal courtroom in St. Paul did have its surreal moments. And not the way you might imagine.
"For all the gender-bending antics of his outrageous stage persona, Manson arrived nattily, not naughtily, attired in a black suit, white shirt and gray tie, his jet-black hair neatly combed and parted. Peering through wire-rimmed glasses and paging through legal papers, he could have passed for a trial lawyer, albeit a rather pale one, who may or may not have been wearing a touch of makeup.
"Manson was in court as jury selection began in the trial of a civil lawsuit brought by a security guard seeking damages of more than $75,000 for battery he alleges occurred during Manson's October 2000 concert at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis.
"David M. Diaz of Anoka County, working at the front of the stage that night, claims that Manson grabbed his head, held it against his hips and 'proceeded to gyrate his hips,' humiliating him and causing him mental anguish. Manson's lawyers concede that the contact occurred but contend it was not offensive, did not embarrass him, and did not amount to civil battery or warrant any damages. Frank told prospective jurors that he expected the trial to last five days or less.
"The proceedings were free of tabloid-headline moments, perhaps because Manson's lawyers, as they began questioning jurors, took pains to try to distinguish 'the character of Marilyn Manson,' who once appeared on a CD cover as a gray-skinned androgynous space alien, from the provocative artist who portrays him, known simply as Brian Warner, the 34-year-old Ohio native who was on his best behavior in court.
"Though Manson's act has been described in Rolling Stone magazine as creating 'a powerful concoction of Satanic imagery, face-splitting guitars and performance spectacle that has drawn the ire of countless keepers of the public good,' prospective jurors saw only the Brian Warner who quietly drank a Coke in the hallway during a break. The Brian Warner who, cutting a surprisingly tall, thin figure, stood and offered a polite 'hi' when Frank introduced him and the other parties in the lawsuit to prospective jurors." Read more.