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Morning Report

Arts And Entertainment Reports From The Times, News Services And The Nation's Press.



On 'The Basketball Diaries': Controversial similarities between the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colo., and a scene in the 1995 Leonardo DiCaprio movie "The Basketball Diaries," in which a student in a black trench coat shoots up a classroom, have not led to its removal from video stores--or sparked renewed interest in the film. A Wherehouse spokeswoman said Friday that she had heard of no plans to remove the movie, and Tower Video regional manager Ron Meiners said his stores also had not received any directive to do so. "We are not going to make a unilateral decision just based on similar events," Meiners said. "I am familiar with the film, and [the scene in question] is clearly a dream sequence. The film is a very strong message against drugs."


Award for Quincy: Composer and producer Quincy Jones will be honored with the Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime Achievement Tuesday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Jones, 66, who began his career as a jazz musician, is celebrating his 50th year performing and being involved with music. Ray Charles and Sidney Poitier will join ASCAP President and Chairman Marilyn Bergman as she presents the society's highest honor to Jones. While Jones has gone on to become the all-time most Grammy-nominated pop artist, the award specifically honors his achievements as a film and television composer. "Quincy Jones is an original," Bergman said. "There never has been, never will be another like him. His accomplishments trace the course of popular music itself over the second half of the 20th century."


Classical Hall of Fame: Fifteen composers, performers, educators and the music division of the Library of Congress will be inducted tonight into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in Cincinnati. Individual inductees, honored for their contributions to the growth, development and appreciation of classical music, include violinist Jascha Heifetz, mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne and composer Bela Bartok.


Libel Suit Open: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman have filed a libel suit against the supermarket tabloid the Star for a story claiming they needed a sex therapist to perform love scenes in "Eyes Wide Shut." In a March 30 story, sex therapists Tony and Wendy Duffield were quoted as saying they were hired to teach the couple love scenes for the Stanley Kubrick movie, which opens this summer. The Star is standing by the story.


Oh, Give Them a Home: Ted Turner apparently needs more room for his buffalo to roam. The media mogul is buying more than 50,000 acres of ranchland in central South Dakota, where he intends to raise buffalo. Radio station KCCR in Pierre, S.D., reported that Turner secured a deed to nearly 20,000 acres. Records indicate he'll pay about $200 an acre, or a total of about $4 million. He also has agreements to buy another 31,000 acres. CNN's founder has nine ranches in the West totaling more than 1.4 million acres, and owns one of the largest commercial bison herds in the nation.


Merengue Magic: Puerto Rican merengue singer Elvis Crespo, 27, walked away from the Billboard Latin Music Awards in Miami on Thursday with four awards, making him the only artist other than Selena to win that many in one show in the 10-year history of the awards. Crespo, whose album "Suavemente" got three awards in the tropical/salsa category, including album of the year, male. He also took home the award for Latin dance maxi-single. Other artists who took home multiple awards were pop singer Ricky Martin, with two citations for his album "Vuelve," including male pop album of the year, and Los Temerarios, album of the year in the Mexican regional category as well as the award for hot Latin track for the single "Por Que Te Conoci." The awards will be aired on Telemundo May 16.


'Taken' by Spielberg: Harkening back to the intergalactic themes of his movies "E.T." (1982) and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), Steven Spielberg will join forces with the Sci-Fi Channel for a 20-hour miniseries, "Taken," which will be presented in the latter half of 2000. The 20-hour original dramatic event, presented by Spielberg and DreamWorks Television, will weave together more than 50 years of alien abductions into the story of one man's experiences. "As a 20-hour miniseries," said Spielberg, "the project can give us the opportunity to involve viewers in a way that combines the narrative scope of movies with the luxury of unfolding that adventure over a much longer period of time."


A special edition of CBS' "48 Hours" called "After the Tears"--about the Littleton massacre--preempts "Early Edition" tonight at 8. . . . "The Practice" star Dylan McDermott makes his directorial debut with Sunday's episode of the ABC drama. . . . Production began this week on Ed Harris' independent feature, "Pollock," in which he directs and stars as American painter Jackson Pollock. . . . Grammy-winning singer Ray Stevens, 60, has prostate cancer but says he has "complete confidence in my physician's ability to help me fight this disease."

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