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November 07, 1991|ELENA KELLNER

Vikki Carr's new Sony LP, "Cosas del Amor," includes the No. 1 single by the same name, a duet with Mexico's Ana Gabriel. Penned and produced by Argentina's Roberto Livi, the poignant lyrics have Carr (who was born in El Paso, and whose full name is Florencia Vicenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona) advising Gabriel on "matters of love." Carr admits the song is personally meaningful. While filming its video July 11, the day of the lunar eclipse, Carr decided to divorce her husband after a 2 1/2-year separation. Her message for today's woman is to "have faith in oneself, to move forward and not feel guilty." The singer, who heads the Vikki Carr Scholarship Foundation, which has awarded 175 scholarships to Mexican-American students since 1975, also has a message for children: "Education Is fundamental." This is Carr's 50th album, with 37 in English and 13 in Spanish. The entertainer next hopes to star in and produce a television series. And look for her in an upcoming "Esta es tu vida" ("This Is Your Life") special of "The CristinaShow," to air on Univision.

Carr and Gabriel's "Cosas del Amor" video has been nominated for a Billboard Music Video Award in the category of "Best Duo or Group." And nominated in the "Best New Artist" category for the Nov. 8 awards ceremony is Tokyo-based "Orquesta de la Luz," a salsa band whose 12 members are Japanese. They learned to play the catchy Afro-Cuban rhythms by listening to salsa records and receiving lessons from Latino musicians touring Japan. Currently on their third U.S. tour, they were a hit during their local debut at the Universal Amphitheater's "L.A. Salsa Festival 2." Salsa queen Celia Cruz headlined the show, which also featured the Dominican Republic's Jose (El Canario) Alberto. A third "L.A. Salsa Festival" is planned for next year.

"I've been very lucky in my profession," Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa said humbly. "I placed all my power in my image of Mexico. I merely put it on the screen." And, among other praise, it earned him a gala tribute, presented last month by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, the Mexican Film Institute and Chicanos '90. Edward James Olmos, Pedro Armendariz Jr., Luis Valdez, Silvia Pinal and Lupita Tovar were among the notables honoring the 84-year-old maestro. His distinguished career of more than 50 years includes such films from Mexico's Golden Age of Cinema as "The Pearl" and "Maria Candelaria," as well as the international classics "The Fugitive," "Two Mules for Sister Sara" and "Night of the Iguana." Performers captured through Figueroa's lens include Mexican legends Maria Felix and Dolores del Rio, as well as Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Shirley MacLaine, Henry Fonda and Clint Eastwood. Figueroa's tribute inaugurated "Mexican Film and the Literary Tradition," a series of 29 screenings. The films, including 11 featuring Figueroa's classic cinematography, will be shown in Spanish with English subtitles at UCLA'S Melnitz Theater until Dec. 14.

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