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Pop/rock

August 13, 1993|SHAUNA SNOW | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Joining Arms: Controversial author Salman Rushdie was the surprise guest on stage when Irish rock band U2 played before an estimated 72,000 fans Wednesday night at London's Wembley Stadium. The crowd gave a warm response to Rushdie, who went into hiding in 1989 after the Ayatollah Khomeini called for his execution over his book "The Satanic Verses." This was the most public of the handful of appearances he has made since breaking his exile in February, 1991. "I've been thinking about how we can show our support. . . . I think the British government has let him down very badly (in defending his rights)," said U2 singer Bono backstage after the concert. "If they gag writers, rock 'n' roll is just around the corner." A relaxed Rushdie, 46, spent an hour at the post-concert reception and said, "These people did something very brave for me tonight. They stood up and showed their support. A lot of people, I'm sorry to say, have not had the guts to stand up. And it's not a tiny thing. I was very touched by what they did and by the response of the audience."

*Country Nods: Vince Gill led the pack with eight nods and Alan Jackson was close behind with seven in the 27th Annual Country Music Assn. Award nominations, announced Thursday. Both were nominated in all categories in which they were eligible, and Gill's eight nods are the most received by one artist since Merle Haggard earned nine in 1970. Both are nominated for Entertainer of the Year (along with Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn) and top male vocalist (with Brooks, John Anderson and George Strait). Female vocalist nominees were McEntire, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Pam Tillis, Tanya Tucker and Wynonna Judd. Single of the Year nods went to Dwight Yoakam's "Ain't That Lonely Yet," George Jones' "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair," Tucker's "Two Sparrows in a Hurricane," Jackson's "Chattahoochee" and Gill's "Don't Let Our Love Start Slippin' Away."

TELEVISION

New Academy President: Walt Disney Studios President Richard H. Frank has been elected the new president of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, effective Oct. 13. Frank, who succeeds Leo Chaloukian, served a previous term as academy president--1985-87. Frank's election may prove controversial because he headed the committee that upset CBS, NBC and Fox this year by signing a long-term pact to air the Emmys on ABC.

THE ARTS

Keeping Southwest Museum?: The battle rages over Highland Park's Southwest Museum, which is searching for a possible new location. On Wednesday, City Councilman Mike Hernandez, who represents the area, called for various city departments, including Cultural Affairs, to take immediate action to keep the museum at its current site. The museum, founded in 1914 and dedicated to the art and anthropology of American Indians, has solicited bids for relocation from 140 Southern California cities. Los Angeles has until Nov. 1 to submit a proposal.

LEGAL FILE

Divorce Proceedings: Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone filed for divorce less than three months after his wife did the same thing and then quickly withdrew her petition. Stone, 46, cited "irreconcilable differences" in seeking to dissolve his 12-year marriage to his wife, Elizabeth. He is not seeking joint custody of the couple's two sons, Sean, 8 and Michael, 1, who have lived with their mother since the couple separated in April.. . . The Japanese ex-wife of martial arts film star Steven Seagal filed suit in Los Angeles to put their divorce under California jurisdiction so she can seek alimony and an increase in support payments for their two children, now 14 and 18. Seagal and Miyako Fujitani were married in Osaka, Japan, in 1977 but he filed for divorce in that city six years later. Seagal is now married to actress Kelly LeBrock.

*Joel Sued: A struggling songwriter is suing Billy Joel for $10 million, claiming Joel's 1989 hit "We Didn't Start the Fire" and current song "River of Dreams" are rip-offs of a song he offered to the singer years ago. On Thursday, Joel called the federal court suit absurd and said he has neither met plaintiff Gary Zimmerman, nor heard his music. Said Joel: "This is another example of why true, struggling songwriters can't get anybody, including me, to listen to their songs." Zimmerman said he gave Joel a demo of his song "Nowhere Land" in 1986 and never heard back from him.

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