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Morning Report

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

October 19, 2000|LISA BOONE

POP/ROCK

Rage Against Rage: Zack de la Rocha has left Rage Against the Machine, declaring that the best-selling band's "decision-making process has completely failed." In a statement Wednesday, the singer said, "[The band] is no longer meeting the aspirations of all four of us collectively as a band, and from my perspective has undermined our artistic and political ideal." Because of lingering tensions between band members, the break-up had been rumored for weeks. The politically charged quartet, which helped popularize the rap and rock fusion that dominates rock these days, is among the most acclaimed bands ever from Los Angeles. One of the group's last shows was a protest concert outside Staples Center on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention.

I Want Your . . . Piano: The piano on which John Lennon composed "Imagine" was sold for $2.1 million Tuesday during an online auction at the Hard Rock Cafe in London. British pop singer George Michael confirmed Wednesday that he was the buyer, reportedly outbidding Robbie Williams and Liam and Noel Gallagher. "He decided to do this because the piano was a part of music history, and because he wanted it to remain in Britain," a spokeswoman for the British singer said. The instrument has been on display since February at the Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool. "We won't go knocking on George Michael's door at this stage," museum curator Shelagh Johnston said. "But we have made our desire to keep the piano clear."

FILM

Look Who's Talking: Surprising journalists this week, John Travolta said he was delighted with "Battlefield Earth," the sci-fi thriller slammed by critics. "The bottom line is that I feel really good about it," Travolta said. "I am so thrilled, believe it or not, at the outcome because I didn't believe I could get it done." He said the movie was now winning fans on the Internet. Asked whether there would be a "Battlefield 2," he said: "Sure. Yeah."

Taymor to Direct "Frida": Julie Taymor ("Lion King") has signed on to direct Miramax's "Frida Kahlo" movie, and English actor Alfred Molina has agreed to play Diego Rivera. Only two roles remain uncast in the Salma Hayek picture--those of Frida Kahlo's sister Cristina, which actresses Penelope Cruz ("Woman on Top") and Michelle Rodriguez ("Girlfight") have been approached about, and Leon Trotsky. The cast already includes Antonio Banderas as painter David Alfaro Siqueiros, Ashley Judd as Italian photographer Tina Modotti and Edward Norton as Nelson Rockefeller. Filming is expected to begin in January.

QUICK TAKES

Actor Michael Douglas and his fiancee, Catherine Zeta-Jones, have finally fixed a date and venue for their wedding--Nov. 18 at the Plaza Hotel in New York. . . . Beck, Rufus Wainwright and Aimee Mann will headline the Silver Lining Benefit for the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic on Nov. 4 at the Paramour Estate. Tickets are available at http://www.hollywoodsunsetfreeclinic.org. . . . "Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks," a feature-length documentary focusing on the life of the famous photographer, will debut Nov. 30 on HBO. Perfect timing: The traveling survey "Half Past Autumn: Gordon Parks" continues through Dec. 30 at the California African-American Museum in L.A.'s Exposition Park.

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