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Morning Report

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

March 11, 1997|ANGIE CHUANG

POP/ROCK

Notorious B.I.G. Release Won't Be Delayed: Bad Boy Entertainment and Arista Records have no plans to delay the release of the Notorious B.I.G.'s album "Life After Death . . . 'Til Death Do Us Part" in the wake of the rapper's slaying early Sunday morning in the Mid-Wilshire district. The two-disc set, due in stores March 25, was expected to enter the Billboard sales chart at No. 1 even before the death of the rapper, whose 1994 debut album, "Ready to Die," has sold 1.5 million copies, according to SoundScan. If "Life After Death" debuts at No. 1, it will follow the lead of chart-topping posthumous albums in recent years by Nirvana (after the suicide of frontman Kurt Cobain), Selena and Tupac Shakur. A single from the album, "Hypnotize," was released to radio last week but will not be released for sale as a single. A video for the single, which incorporates parts of Herb Alpert's 1979 chart-topping hit "Rise," was shot in Los Angeles during the first weekend in March, but editing has not yet been completed, according to an Arista spokesman.

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Dion, Morissette Win Canadian Awards: Celine Dion capped an extraordinary year Sunday night as she took top honors at the 26th annual Juno Awards, Canada's celebration of home-grown musical excellence, in Hamilton, Ontario. Dion led Juno hopefuls with four awards in the categories of female vocalist of the year, best-selling album (foreign or domestic) for "Falling Into You," best selling Francophone album for "Live a Paris" and international achievement. Alanis Morissette and Shania Twain, who were also honored with international achievement awards, a new trophy created specifically to honor Canadian musical success abroad, managed to steal a little of Dion's thunder as they took home Junos in all categories for which they were nominated. Morissette and collaborator Glen Ballard also picked up the single of the year award for "Ironic."

MOVIES

Next 007 Installment Announced: Jonathan Pryce ("Evita") will make like a villain and face off against Pierce Brosnan in the upcoming James Bond feature. "Tomorrow Never Dies" will be the 18th installment in the adventures of Agent 007, and sports a $56-million budget. It will be released for Christmas 1997. Pryce's villainous mogul, in control of media systems powerful enough to reach every television set on earth, tries to trigger World War III in order to create a television ratings surge. Newcomer Michelle Yeoh, a former Miss Malaysia who played opposite Jackie Chan in "Supercop," becomes the latest in the long-running tradition of Bond babes. The last Bond flick, "GoldenEye," also starring Brosnan, grossed $350 million worldwide--nearly twice the total of any previous 007 film.

THE ARTS

Not What He Seemed: Indigenous Australians were outraged last weekend to learn that an Aboriginal artist who won acclaim for his vibrant paintings and photographs was the invention of a rich and elderly white woman. Aboriginal art experts accused Elizabeth Durack, the 81-year-old scion of a famous outback pioneer family, of stealing indigenous culture through her deception. "It's the last thing left that you could possibly take away other than the rest of our lives or shoot us all," Aboriginal art curator John Mundine told Reuters. "It seems to be some sort of personal whim, but basically she is white and can never be black." Mundine is a senior curator at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art. Durack, a cattle queen from the remote northwest Kimberley region, has admitted working under the name and background of a character she created, an Aboriginal farm worker aged in his 50s whom she named Eddie Burrup.

TELEVISION

All About Della Reese: G.P. Putnam's Sons announced that it has acquired the autobiography of Della Reese, the 65-year-old singer and actress who currently co-stars in the hit CBS television series "Touched by an Angel." The book, titled "Angels Along the Way," is scheduled for hardcover publication in October 1997. It is the story of Reese's life, with an emphasis on those who have touched her personally. Putnam vice president and senior editor Stacy Creamer, who acquired and will edit the book, said he hopes to highlight the lesser-known milestones in the well-loved television personality's career, from her early days as a jazz and blues singer in the 1950s to her work in the pioneering days of television.

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