At Comic-Con, X marks the virtual reality spot

A fan dressed in the costume of Cyclops from the X-Men walks down the hallways of the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con 2008 on July 25, 2008 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

IF YOU'VE ever wondered what it might be like inside the mind of the X-Men's Professor X, make like Quicksilver to San Diego for this week's Comic-Con.

Twentieth Century Fox has created an "X-Men"-themed interactive digital experience utilizing the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, which is not yet available to consumers, to simulate the fictional Cerebro technology used to track down mutants by the character portrayed by Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy in the "X-Men" films.

The 360-degree, 90-second virtual adventure will take place on the Comic-Con show floor inside Fox's booth, where attendees will sit in a replica of Professor X's wheelchair and virtually hunt Mystique in the San Diego Convention Center. Each experience will be recorded and made available for users to share on social media, which Fox hopes will promote the Oct. 14 Blu-ray release of "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

Outside the convention center, at an interactive zone in Petco Park, Fox is also employing the VR technology to transport users to the fictional town depicted in the TV series "Sleepy Hollow," whose second season starts in the fall.


Billy joins exclusive club

The Library of Congress is honoring Billy Joel with its Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

Librarian James Billington said yesterday that the "Piano Man" will receive the prize in Washington in November.

The Gershwin Prize honors a living artist's lifetime achievement in music. Previous recipients include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, and Carole King and the late Hal David.


A genital reminder

Freida Pinto ("Slumdog Millionaire") has joined forces with girls'-rights campaigners in calling for an end to the practice of female genital mutilation, still common in Egypt, Sudan, Mali and Somalia.

The Indian actress yesterday called for more progress to abolish the practice, as she addressed Britain's inaugural "Girl Summit."

The one-day event also focused on child marriages, which UNICEF says affects 700 million girls, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Also addressing the summit was Malala Yousafzai, the teenager who was shot by the Taliban and recovered to become a global campaigner for education and women's rights.

"Traditions are not sent from heaven, they are not sent from God," she said. "It is we who make cultures and we have the right to change it and we should change it."



* The "Colbert Bump" is the new "Oprah's Book Club."

Edan Lepucki, whose novel California became a best-seller thanks to a plug from Stephen Colbert, has paid it forward. During an interview on Monday's "Colbert Report," Lepucki recommended Stephan Eirik Clark's Sweetness #9. By yesterday morning, the novel was in the Top 5 for Powell's Books, an independent store based in Portland, Ore., that has been a leading seller of Lepucki's book.

Both books are part of Colbert's campaign to help works published by Hachette, which is in tense contract negotiations with

Bright Eyes singer-songwriter Conor Oberst has dropped his federal libel lawsuit against a woman who accused him of sexual assault in online comments.

The move comes after Oberst's publicist released an apology from the woman that says she falsely accused Oberst to get attention.

* In a bit of heterographic irony, a tree planted in L.A. to honor the late George Harrison has been killed by an infestation of beetles.

(Harrison was a member of the Beatles, a British rock group of some importance.)

Councilman Tom LaBonge says the pine grew to more than 12 feet tall before succumbing.

At least no one blamed Yoko.

The tree will be replanted in the fall.

* The Environmental Protection Agency's fight to clean up water pollution got a splash of reality (TV) yesterday, thanks to a tweet Monday night about the online game, "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood." An agency spokeswoman said the off-topic tweet was done by an intern.

The tweet was removed within hours from @EPAwater, but not before a tweet from the account of 88-year-old congressman John Dingell, D-Mich.: "Staff has now informed me of what a Kardashian is. I'm only left with more questions."

We're right there with you, congressman.

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.




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