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Morning Report

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

April 27, 1999|SHAUNA SNOW


The Force Is With Ticket Sales: Twentieth Century Fox has reversed its decision not to sell advance tickets to "Star Wars: Episode I--The Phantom Menace" before the film's May 19 opening. Fearing interference by scalpers, the studio had announced last month that tickets would be sold only on a "same-day, first-come, first-served basis" for the film's first two weeks in theaters. However, in what is reported to be a bow to pressure from theater owners who didn't want huge lines outside their venues, advance tickets will go on sale at noon May 12--one week before the film's opening. Tickets will be sold simultaneously by MovieFone (both through the 777-FILM phone service and online at and at theater box offices. However, in what MovieFone is calling a move to "minimize" any scalping problems, there will be a 12-ticket limit per person.


In Support of Documentaries: After signing on such supporters as Michael Eisner, Martin Scorsese, Peter Guber, Spike Lee and Jeffrey Katzenberg, filmmakers who want to preserve an Oscar category for short documentaries will bring their case before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today. The academy's governing board voted in January to do away with the award category--combining feature-length documentaries and shorts into the same competition starting next year--because of a feeling that shorts are rarely shown in movie theaters nowadays and that the quality of the films has declined. But some filmmakers are crying foul, contending that the two formats are different and shouldn't be lumped together. After running full-page ads in the trades last week and producing a book against the combined award, the academy's short films and documentary branches are petitioning the board to reconsider. The academy eliminated the documentary short category once before, in 1993, but it was reinstated the next year after an outcry from members.


Priestly Moves: Singer Sinead O'Connor, who sparked controversy when she ripped up a picture of the pope on TV's "Saturday Night Live" in 1992, is taking on the Vatican again, by becoming the first female priest in a Roman Catholic splinter group known as the Latin Tridentine Church. "Anyone who knows me knows that what I have done makes perfect sense for me. I adore God and believe very much in the power of prayer," said O'Connor, who was recently ordained by Bishop Michael Cox, who pioneered a phone-in confession service in O'Connor's native Ireland. O'Connor said she had already celebrated Mass four times but will study with Cox for six weeks before starting her priestly career as Mother Bernadette Mary, a name she also plans to use in her music career.


Oh Baby!: "X-Files" star David Duchovny and his actress wife, Tea Leoni, welcomed their first child--a daughter--into the world Saturday at an undisclosed Southern California hospital. The 7 1/2-pound baby's name was not immediately announced. . . . Also joining the ranks of new parents were Woody Allen and his wife, Soon-Yi Previn. The couple were seen in New York over the weekend pushing 5-month-old daughter Bechet Dumaine Allen--reportedly named after swing-era jazz clarinetist Sidney Bechet--in a stroller. The couple haven't said whether the baby was adopted, but Previn didn't appear pregnant in recent photos.


Laguna Season: Laguna Playhouse will open its 1999-2000 season with the California premiere of the 1997 award-winning off-Broadway musical "Violet" (Sept. 16-Oct. 10), followed by Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" (Nov. 4-28), "The Glass Menagerie" (Jan. 6-30, 2000), the Southern California premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's "Communicating Doors" (Feb. 24-March 19, 2000), the U.S. premiere of Bernard Farrell's recent Irish hit "Kevin's Bed" (April 20-May 14, 2000) and the Southern California premiere of Richard Dresser's marital comedy "Gun-Shy" (May 25-June 18, 2000).


Whitney Estate Sale: A four-day auction of furniture, books and decorative objects from the estate of Betsey Cushing Whitney brought a whopping $13.1 million in sales--about twice as much as expected--Thursday through Sunday at Sotheby's New York. Among the record-setting items was British artist Aubrey Beardsley's pen-and-ink drawing "The Dream," purchased by the J. Paul Getty Museum. Valued at a mere $20,000 to $30,000, the 19th century work eventually went for $173,000. Paintings from the Whitney estate will go on the block May 10.


Singer-songwriters Alanis Morissette and Tori Amos will hit the road together for a 26-show tour that begins Aug. 18 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and will conclude with a Sept. 25 show at the Irvine Amphitheatre. The "5 1/2 Weeks Tour" is partly sponsored by, the Internet music site, which was expected to announce today that some performances from the tour will be offered to fans online for free download. . . . Mickey Rooney, Jo Anne Worley and Jessica Grove, stars of the Pantages Theatre's upcoming stage production of "The Wizard of Oz" (June 16-July 4), will attend a 10 a.m. public event adjacent to the theater today (on Argyle Avenue), in which Dorothy's house is scheduled to "fall to earth from the sky." In addition, Rooney will be presented with keys to the city of Hollywood, and Grove will sing "Over the Rainbow."

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