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MORNING REPORT

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

October 23, 1998|ELAINE DUTKA

TELEVISION

Targeting Taliban: Jay Leno and his wife, Mavis, have donated $100,000 to a campaign calling attention to inequities against women by the Taliban militia. Since the group took control of Afghanistan in 1995, women have been banned from working and are forbidden to leave their homes unless accompanied by a male relative. Taxi drivers are beaten if their fare is a woman traveling alone. The Taliban defend their edicts in the name of Islam. "Two years ago, women in Afghanistan could work, be educated and move freely," Mavis Leno said. The donation was made to the Feminist Majority Foundation for its Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid.

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Deja Vu: A woman who showed up at the driveway of David Letterman's Connecticut home has been charged with trespassing and ordered to stay away from the talk-show host's property. Nellie Ruth Shirley, 30, of Honea Path, S.C., was released after her lawyer asked a judge to wipe her record clean if she completes the terms of her probation and is not arrested again. Shirley was charged Sept. 28--a week before the suicide in Colorado of Margaret Ray, 46, who had been repeatedly arrested for trespassing at Letterman's house.

THEATER

Hocus Bogus: Illusionist David Copperfield has filed a $30-million lawsuit against the French publication Paris Match in response to a story about him and his fiancee, model Claudia Schiffer. Herbert Becker, the source of the story, has provided Copperfield with a sworn affirmation that the piece was not only false but also written by a rival magician. The story contended that the relationship between Copperfield and Schiffer was a contractual one in which she was being paid for her services. The contract, which he provided the magazine, turned out to be bogus, Becker said. Though he alerted magazine executives when he became suspicious, they disregarded his warning. The suit was filed Tuesday afternoon in Manhattan Federal District Court. If Copperfield wins, proceeds will be divided among battered women shelters and pediatric AIDS organizations. The magazine has not issued a retraction.

POP/ROCK

A Bang of a Show: Aerosmith fan Mark Nieto got an earful, attending the band's concert at Northern California's Concord Pavilion last year. So much so, in fact, that he has sued the band and the city-owned amphitheater for permanent hearing loss. Nieto contends he was "not aware of warnings for ear damage" when he attended the "Nine Lives" show. The suit seeks unspecified damages for medical expenses and wage losses. "We'll look into it, but this is a new one," said City Attorney Richard Doyle. "This is a first."

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Second Thoughts: After the death of his wife, Linda, from breast cancer in April, Paul McCartney has softened his position on animal testing for drugs. "If a drug has got to be used on humans, then legally it has to be . . . tested on an animal," the singer said in an interview with BBC Radio. "This was difficult for Linda when she was undergoing her treatment." McCartney, who, like Linda, is an animal rights activist and vegetarian, came close to tears when describing life without her. "We fancied each other something rotten," he said. "That's all it was. To me, she was always still my girlfriend."

QUICK TAKES

Garry Shandling's $100-million day in court is set for June 30. In a lawsuit, he accuses former manager Brad Grey of using his relationship with the star to cut more than $200 million worth of deals with studios and networks without sharing the money with Shandling. . . . West Hollywood City Council candidate Jerome Cleary has organized a comedy fund-raiser for Matthew Shepard, an openly gay University of Wyoming student who died last week after being viciously attacked. Proceeds from the event, to be held at the Comedy Store at 8 p.m. Saturday, will establish a scholarship in Shepard's name. . . . USC is setting up the Institute for the Study of Jews in American Life, whose first offering, a conference titled "Eye & Thou: Jewish Autobiography in Film and Video," will be held at its Norris Cinema Theater Saturday-Monday. . . . Beginning in November, the Sundance Channel will feature four new programming options: premieres (Fridays at 9 p.m.), short films (Sundays at 8 p.m.), documentaries (Mondays at 9 p.m.), and favorite or watershed films (Saturdays at 9 p.m.). . . . The 15th annual Israeli Film Festival will be held at Laemmle's Music Hall in Beverly Hills Dec. 3-17. . . . Stevie Wonder will be honored as the 1999 MusiCares Person of the Year at the Century Plaza Hotel on Feb. 22, joining past recipients such as Bonnie Raitt and Tony Bennett. Money raised will aid music industry people who are ailing or indigent.

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