H’wood rock ‘n role

Stars move the spotlight from theaters to arenas

Femme stars are getting their rocks off just as easily as male counterparts on the celeb-friendly club and charity circuit.

This summer, Juliette Lewis, Jada Pinkett Smith and Minnie Driver have been making the rounds of shopping malls, casino openings and nightclubs as each prepares for the release of her debut album later this year. They’ve plugged into the same groove as Keanu Reeves, Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton, who’ve each indulged rock star fantasies onstage.

Pinkett Smith juggled tour dates for Wicked Wisdom to promote the album “My Story” with tubthumping duties for “Collateral.” She performed at MTV’s Rock the Vote kickoff in June and squeezed in an Aug. 11 show at L.A.’s Grove shopping mall the week after coast-to-coast “Collateral” preems. Husband Will Smith, who made a reverse transition from rapping to acting, couldn’t help but grab the mic to sing “Summertime” at the outdoor mall.

Some of the musical femmes, like “Will & Grace’s” Megan Mullally, have been belting it out for years, while tyros such as Gina Gershon have only recently found their voice. Latter started performing to promote the pic “Prey for Rock & Roll” and has been dubbed L.L. Cool G (Lesbians Love Cool Gina) for her following.

Lewis, meanwhile, makes no secret of her desire to be the next Iggy Pop. Juliette and the Licks performed on the Warped tour this summer and have scored gigs at venues such as the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. On Aug. 21, however, her band, along with Pinkett Smith’s Wicked Wisdom, rocked out at the Foxwoods Resort & Casino in decidedly less glamorous Mashantucket, Conn.

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