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MORNING REPORT

Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press.

July 02, 1996|ART BERMAN

POP/ROCK

Dropping By: Former Beatle Ringo Starr and country music legend Willie Nelson turned up unannounced at a small benefit in a Canadian park Sunday and joined for a few impromptu tunes. The pair signed autographs for shocked fans in the crowd of 500 at Peterborough, Ontario, and were coaxed onto a makeshift stage on the back of a flat-bed truck to perform, Canadian Press reported. Starr played a local high school student's drums and signed them when he finished. Starr and Nelson attended the benefit to raise funds to fight schizophrenia at the invitation of Canadian rocker Ronnie Hawkins, whose 33-year-old son is schizophrenic. Hawkins, leader of an early '60s group whose members later formed the Band, had promised a surprise for the fund-raiser. "We had no idea," said one of the event officials.

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Staying With a Pair: Lollapalooza '96 organizers said Monday that there are no plans for a third Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre date for the Metallica-headlined trek even though the Aug. 3 show sold out its 18,000 tickets quickly Saturday and a second show, added immediately for Aug. 4, also sold out. The high demand for the Irvine tickets was good news to the tour producers, who have been stung by slow sales in some markets, especially where they are using fairgrounds, fields or other nontraditional sites.

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Helping the Churches: The Elektra Entertainment Group will hold a benefit concert on July 10 in Atlanta to aid the rebuilding efforts for African American and interracial churches that have been burned by arson fires in recent months. The concert, at Atlanta's Variety Playhouse, will feature both new and established R&B and hip-hop stars, including Goodie Mob, A-Kon and Mista. All proceeds will be distributed to displaced congregations through the National Council of Churches.

MOVIES

Hollywood Beckons: Joey Buttafuoco, who became a celebrity when his wife was shot and wounded by his underage lover, is moving his family to California so he can concentrate on his budding movie career, he said Monday in Massapequa, N.Y. "We're well accepted out in California," Buttafuoco said. "They have a different attitude there. . . . I'm not this image built up by the media. . . . I'm not a bad guy. I'm just a regular kind of guy." Buttafuoco served four months in jail after pleading guilty to the illegal liaison with Amy Fisher, who was 16 when she shot his wife, Mary Jo, in the face in May 1992. Fisher is serving a five-to-15-year prison term. Buttafuoco was given five years' probation, and last year he went to jail for violating that probation by soliciting sex from an undercover cop on Sunset Boulevard. Buttafuoco said he has three movie projects in the works. The first, to begin shooting in about six months, is "The Underground Comedy," with onetime Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith, in which he'll play "a Mafia-type heavy," he said.

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Late-Night Hype: CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" will have featured seven stars from 20th Century Fox's "Independence Day" in the two weeks ending July 12. Appearing separately on different days are Will Smith (tonight), Harry Connick Jr., Jeff Goldblum, Randy Quaid, Bill Pullman, Margaret Colin and Brent Spiner. Maybe Dave's angling for a role if there's a sequel.

RADIO

In the Groove: A new format has been launched on 103.1 FM, which calls itself Groove Radio and features "pop music of tomorrow and dance favorites from the past." Veteran deejay Egil "Swedish Eagle" Aalvik heads the dance rhythm-oriented station, a partnership of KACD, Santa Monica, and KBCD, Newport Beach.

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Talking With Castro: CBS anchorman Dan Rather has interviewed Fidel Castro in the past; but, in his latest interview, Rather said, "I've never seen him so reflective--I think he hears the clock ticking on his life." The 70-year-old Cuban leader gave CBS unusual access for an upcoming "CBS Reports" documentary on Castro's life and times, traveling with Rather to the mountains where the Cuban revolution was launched 40 years ago. The documentary airs July 18.

QUICK TAKES

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