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Morning Report

April 17, 2001|SHAUNA SNOW


Virgin Mary Debate: Santa Fe Archbishop Michael Sheehan and other Roman Catholics on Monday urged the removal of a photo collage by Los Angeles artist Alma Lopez from Santa Fe's state-run Museum of International Folk Art, saying the work depicted the Virgin Mary as "a tart." But while one Catholic deacon said that the work, in which the Holy Mother is clad only in strategically placed roses, had caused splits in families and friends and that its removal would prompt "a healing process," others said that the work's removal would be unconstitutional. About 600 people gathered at a 1,200-seat convention center to discuss the work; an April 4 meeting on the issue at a smaller venue was postponed after 800 people turned out. The artist, meanwhile, said she meant no disrespect in her attempt to portray the Virgin Mary as a strong, independent, modern woman. Tom Wilson, director of the museum's parent institution, the Museum of New Mexico, promised that the governing board of regents would "carefully consider" participants' opinions before deciding whether to remove the work, which stirred no controversy when it was shown in Southern California. The regents' vote is expected in two to three weeks.

Courthouse Designer Selected: Chicago-based Perkins & Will has won a competition to design a $300-million federal courthouse for downtown Los Angeles. Sponsored by the U.S. General Services Administration, the competition was part of the government's Design Excellence Program, which was established to raise the standard of federal architecture across the country. Government officials are currently considering a site at 107 Broadway for the building, which is scheduled for completion in 2007. Perkins & Will was selected over three other finalists: Rafael Vinoly Architects, Skidmore Owings & Merrill and Los Angeles-based Cannon Dworsky.


Headed to Washington? Ben Affleck is the latest Hollywood actor to suggest he may one day make a political run. "My fantasy is that someday I'm independently wealthy enough that I'm not beholden to anybody, so I can run for Congress on the grounds that everyday people--be they singers or poets or bankers or lawyers or teachers--should be in government," Affleck, 28, says in the May issue of GQ magazine. "Not to get too Susan Sarandon on you, but part of what I'd get off on would be the oration, the speechmaking and the idea of leading." Affleck, who won an Oscar for co-writing "Good Will Hunting" with pal Matt Damon, was a big supporter of former President Clinton and of Hillary Rodham Clinton's U.S. Senate campaign.


Score One for Ol' Blue Eyes: Frank Sinatra beat second-place finisher Elvis Presley in a British Broadcasting Corp. poll of the 20th century's greatest voices. The rest of the list's Top 10 (in descending order), compiled by votes from listeners of BBC Radio 2 and a panel of singers and music experts: Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, John Lennon, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Barbra Streisand and Queen's Freddie Mercury.

Rap Woes: Grammy-winning rapper Jay-Z and three other men were arrested outside a Manhattan nightclub and held on weapons charges early Friday after a plainclothes officer saw one of the men--identified as the rapper's bodyguard--take a loaded handgun from the rapper's vehicle, police said. Police said the bodyguard was later found with the gun in his waistband. Jay-Z, the bodyguard and two other men who police said had been riding in the vehicle were all charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. "Once the facts come to light, Jay-Z will be fully exonerated," the rapper's attorney said. The arrest comes less than a month after a jury acquitted rap mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs and his bodyguard of gun possession and bribery charges from a 1999 shooting inside a different Manhattan nightclub.

More Rap Woes: Layzie Bone of the Grammy-winning group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony suffered an eye injury Friday while shooting a video for his debut solo album at a defunct mental health hospital in Camarillo. According to the rapper's publicist, Layzie Bone suffered a quarter-inch scratch on the pupil of his right eye caused by special-effects chemicals used to create the illusion of sweat. He was to be treated by an eye specialist Monday, and has canceled several upcoming promotional appearances.


VH1 will air a 30-minute tribute Wednesday at 8 p.m. marking the passing of punk icon Joey Ramone. "Hey! Ho! Let's Go: The Story of the Ramones" celebrates the Ramones, their music and their legacy. Joey Ramone, the band's singer, died Sunday at age 49 of lymphoma. . . . Bernie Cullen, a 30-year-old graduate student from Santa Barbara, became "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire's" eighth top-prize winner, taking home $1 million on Sunday night's ABC episode. . . . KNBC reporter Ana Garcia, former anchor of the midday newscast, has left the station to become communications director for Republican congressional candidate Noel Irwin Hentschel. . . . Barbara Walters will interview Denise Rich--the Democratic donor whose ex-husband, fugitive financier Marc Rich, was pardoned by Bill Clinton--on April 27 on ABC's "20/20." . . . First Lady Laura Bush guests Wednesday on CNN's "Larry King Live" to discuss her first 100 days at the White House.

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