Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

IN THE KNOW / A LOOK AT THE WEEK AHEAD

No Moonwalking in the Courtroom Please

July 29, 1996|Times staff writers and contributors

Unless you're headed overseas, your best chance to see Michael Jackson live this year might be at the Roybal Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles. The trial of a lawsuit involving the pop star filed by producer Gary Smith is scheduled to begin today in U.S. District Court and Jackson is expected to testify on a yet-undetermined date. Smith claims that the Jackson clan is responsible for losses incurred by the 1994 "Jackson Family Honors" TV special. Several charges against Michael were dismissed last week, but one charge remains to be resolved: whether he had promised to perform on the show. (He made only a brief, non-singing appearance.) Jackson, meanwhile, begins a foreign tour Sept. 7 in Prague. Asked why there are no U.S. dates planned, a representative of MJJ Productions said, curtly, "No comment." OK, then, we'll just have to surmise: Could it be that Jackson is afraid to test his drawing power here after the disappointing U.S. response to his elaborate, massively promoted "HIStory" album last year? That two-disc set, with a mixture of new songs and old hits, has sold only 2.1 million copies--about 22 million fewer than Jackson's record-setting "Thriller" collection in the '80s. Industry observers say Jackson could still fill 15,000- to 20,000-seat arenas here, but gone are the days when he could do several nights at 40,000-seat Dodger Stadium as he did with his brothers in 1984. "Certainly, internationally he's a much stronger attraction than he is here where the hysteria factor has waned," says Gary Bongiovanni, editor in chief of Pollstar magazine, which reports on the U.S. concert scene. "If he wanted to do an arena tour, I think he could sell out all around the [United States]. Whether he could do five nights at the Forum, I don't know." Possibly contributing to the absence of U.S. dates is continuing fallout from Jackson's settling of a civil suit involving allegations that he molested a young boy. That episode continues to dog Jackson, with the boy's father recently filing another suit, claiming the singer violated an agreement not to publicly discuss the case. And then there's always the possibility that Jackson won't tour the U.S. for this reason: fear that Elvis fans will hound him because of his divorce from the King's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.

He's Two, Two, Two Stars in One

Is he a rock star or an actor? And, if it's the latter, is he an action star or not? According to his agent, Keanu Reeves wants to steer his film career to avoid repeating roles. So, Friday, audiences can see him in the action thriller "Chain Reaction" (co-starring Morgan Freeman). But, in his quest to not duplicate himself, Reeves gave up the chance last month to reprise his role as SWAT team dude Jack Traven in the upcoming "Speed II"--and the chance to sock away an $11-million paycheck. Reeves has since signed on to star in "Devil's Advocate," a suspense (non-action) thriller about a young lawyer who joins a prestigious New York law firm only to discover his boss is an increasingly sinister character. "Devil's Advocate" is scheduled to start shooting in October and the actor will reportedly make about $10 million for that picture. In the meantime, Reeves fans can see him opposite Cameron Diaz in the quirky, romantic (decidedly non-action) comedy "Feeling Minnesota," which opens Sept. 13. Reeves, the bass player, is currently touring with his band, Dogstar, in Europe. The band recently released a four-song enhanced CD, "Quattro Formaggi," and will release its first full-length album in September. For the moment, it seems Reeves can have his cheese and eat it too.

From Rock's Top 10 (Recent Drug Cases)

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|