Year's Top Tour Act: The resurrected KISS Army, not to mention loads of face paint and pyrotechnics, helped make the reunited '70s rock group KISS the year's No. 1 concert draw, according to Performance magazine, which released its year-end tally Tuesday. KISS--whose members Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley strutted their now over-40 stuff in full costume and makeup--grossed more than $41.7 million and drew nearly 1.2 million people with 88 shows this year. The rest of the year's 10 top-grossing acts, in order: Garth Brooks ($34.6 million from 119 shows), Rod Stewart ($28.2 million, 63 shows), Bob Seger ($26.4 million, 64 shows), Neil Diamond ($22.6 million, 50 shows), Alanis Morissette ($21.8 million, 88 shows), Hootie & the Blowfish ($21 million, 73 shows), Ozzy Osbourne ($20.4 million, 96 shows), AC/DC ($19.5 million, 62 shows) and Sting ($19.1 million, 56 shows). Actual year-end totals may vary slightly, as some performers have more shows in 1996.
Ailey Offerings: The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will include five Southern California premieres among its 13 performances Feb. 12-16 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and Feb. 18-23 at the Wiltern Theatre, presented by the UCLA Center for the Performing Arts. At Cerritos, the local premieres include Judith Jamison's "Riverside" on Feb. 12, Ulysses Dove's "Urban Folk Dances" on Feb. 14 and Shapiro & Smith's "Fathers and Sons," with an original score by Scott Killian and vocals by Carol Lipnik, on Feb. 15 (matinee). Also included among Cerritos' programs is the company premiere of Lar Lubovitch's "Cavalcade," marking the first time Lubovitch has allowed an outside company to perform his work. At the Wiltern, Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen's "Polish Pieces" gets its Southern California premiere on Feb. 18 and Jamison's "Sweet Release" premieres Feb. 20. Among other Wiltern offerings are a new presentation of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's "Shelter" (performed here in 1993 with an all-female cast; it will be danced this time by the Ailey men) and the company premiere of Lubovitch's "Fandango."
Hello, New Venue: "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!," the Allan Sherman revue that enjoyed a successful run last summer in Thousand Oaks, will open Jan. 25 at a little-known venue in West L.A., the 500-seat Brentwood Theatre on the grounds of the Veterans Affairs building. Scheduled for eight weeks, the show is believed to be the first commercial production staged in the facility. Producer Michael Callan will employ four of the five actors who did the show in Thousand Oaks.
Good News and Bad News: KCET-TV Channel 28's annual December fund-raising drive, which ended Sunday night, produced mixed results. KCET reported that viewers pledged $928,220 to the public television station--a $3,720 improvement over last year--and did so even as on-air pitches were reduced by five hours from last year's 15-day campaign. However, the number of contributors actually declined by 420; the number of first-time subscribers also dropped. What that means, according to KCET Vice President Barbara Goen, is that the station's existing financial supporters remain very loyal but that KCET continues to have difficulty convincing nonsubscribers to join.
Flynt vs. Falwell, Again: Just five days before Milos Forman's much-anticipated "The People vs. Larry Flynt" begins playing in theaters, the real Hustler publisher and his legal nemesis, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, will face off on CNN's "Larry King Live." The debate on 1st Amendment limits will air Friday at 6 p.m. Viewer calls will be accepted during the hourlong program.
No Otis Regrets: "Karen Carson: But Enough About Me," a retrospective of the Los Angeles artist's work organized by Anne Ayers for the Otis College of Art and Design, has won the 1996 International Art Critics Assn. award for best show in an alternative space. Among other winners in Southern California, "Lari Pittman," curated by Howard N. Fox at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and "The San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism," organized by Susan Landauer for the Laguna Art Museum, tied for second place in the best regional museum show category.