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Pop/rock

August 07, 1993|SHAUNA SNOW | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

9,999 Maniacs: As long expected, 10,000 Maniacs lead singer Natalie Merchant announced Thursday that she is leaving the popular band, which has been together for 12 years. "I've given this decision two years of thought," Merchant said. "No irrational or explosive events brought it about--only a desire for change and a need for growth. There is no ill will between the members of the group." Merchant said she delayed announcing her departure until after the group's recent concerts to "avoid the distractions of a 'farewell tour.' "

*He's No Deadhead: Santa Fe, N.M., is still talking about Lyle Lovett and Julia Roberts' visit there last weekend. But the reviews aren't all good. During a concert at the Paolo Soleri Saturday, Lovett reportedly left the stage for five minutes, complaining that he smelled marijuana and that he preferred fans "shoot up drugs" or something less bothersome. Several audience members left, according to a report Friday in the local New Mexico newspaper, and others continued to leave when Lovett returned with a 45-minute set of "lackluster singing."

*Bum Rush the Beatles: Several little-known rappers who want to remake Beatles songs appealed for help from Michael Jackson, who owns the rights to the music. "Come together with us to make this happen. Give peace a chance," said producer Jay Bildstein, during a New York press conference Thursday. Bildstein, who has filed a lawsuit to get access to the music, claims Jackson approved a plan to have rap stars Run-DMC and Public Enemy do Beatles songs. Jackson changed his mind after checking with Paul McCartney and John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, his spokeswoman said last month. Bildstein still wants to do the project, which would raise money for housing for the needy, with lesser-known artists.

THE ARTS

NEA Inquiry: The National Endowment for the Arts says it will look into a congressman's complaint about a controversial art project in which San Diego artists David Avalos, Louis Hock and Elizabeth Sisco gave $10 bills to immigrant workers in "celebration" of their contributions to the U.S. economy. The project, commissioned for $5,000 by the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and the Centro Cultural de la Raza as part of the multi-year project "La Frontera, The Border," was partially funded by an NEA grant. The inquiry comes after complaints from U.S. Rep. Randy Cunningham (R-Escondido), who called the project a "contemptuous use of taxpayers' hard-earned dollars."

TELEVISION

Yet Another Entry: "Shirley," the Canadian talk show hosted by Shirley Solomon, joins the already-crowded late-night competition Sept. 13 when the show premieres at midnight on KCAL-TV Channel 9. Solomon, a broadcast journalist and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Canada with her family at age 5.

*Long-Form Video: "Wind in the Wire," a Randy Travis special airing Aug. 25 on ABC, features Travis ostensibly filming a Western movie in which he performs songs from his new recording of the same title, which will be issued a week earlier. The mock film stars Burt Reynolds, Lou Diamond Phillips, Chuck Norris, Melanie Chartoff, Dale Robertson, Denver Pyle and Charles Nelson Reilly, all playing themselves.

LEGAL FILE

Stalking Charges: Actor James Farentino has been charged with allegedly stalking and threatening television producer Tina Sinatra, the daughter of Frank Sinatra, following the breakup of their stormy five-year relationship. An attorney for Farentino denied the charges Friday. According to the city attorney's office, Farentino had repeatedly threatened to kill Sinatra both in writing and over the phone over a period of several months. Sinatra obtained a restraining order against the actor, but he allegedly made a phone threat after that time. Farentino is scheduled for arraignment on the criminal charges on Aug. 27.

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