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Morning Report

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

February 06, 2001|SHAUNA SNOW

POP/ROCK

Still Blue: Singer LeAnn Rimes, embroiled in a legal battle with her label, Curb Records, has posted a notice on her Web site (http://www.rimestimes.com) apologizing to fans for her new album. "This album was made without my creative input," Rimes wrote, referring to "I Need You," released last week. "It consists largely of unfinished material and songs that didn't make other albums. I have not heard the album so I cannot tell you my opinion on it. But . . . this album is not a reflection of myself as an artist . . . and for that I am truly and deeply sorry." Curb Records, meanwhile, issued a statement Monday saying: "We believe that ["I Need You"] is the best album that she has ever recorded. Nevertheless, we are excited about the new musical directions that LeAnn is exploring for the future, and as always we respect her talent and her opinions." Rimes, 18, has sued Curb in an effort to get out of her contract, but the company said Monday that Rimes had "dismissed" the lawsuit last month. Rimes' publicist, however, said that Rimes "still maintains an action" against the company, and has merely refiled in state court in Tennessee after dropping her federal court claim.

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Gone for a Year: Family, friends and fans of Christopher Rios, the platinum-selling rapper known as Big Pun, will gather in the South Bronx today to commemorate the first anniversary (actually on Wednesday) of his death. The 698-pound Rios, known for his imaginative lyrics and smooth delivery, was 28 when he died of complications from obesity. As part of the commemoration, a mural painted last year at 163rd Street and Westchester Avenue will be whitewashed and a Bronx-based hip-hop graffiti artist will paint a new one. Meanwhile, Loud Records plans to release "Endangered Species," featuring hits from Big Pun's two albums, along with unreleased songs, in stores in early April.

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KISS and Breakup: Original KISS drummer Peter Criss says he still wants to rock 'n' roll with the band but its leaders--Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley--don't want him on the rest of their farewell tour. A statement posted on the band's Web site says Criss will be replaced on upcoming tour dates in Japan and Australia by Eric Singer, who played with the band from 1991 to 1996, before Simmons and Stanley's much-publicized reunion with original bandmates Criss and Ace Frehley. The site gives no reason for Criss' departure, however. In a statement, Criss said: "It is unfortunate that Gene and Paul chose to terminate their association with me. . . . I am healthy and will truly miss performing."

TELEVISION

Regis' Co-host: As expected, "All My Children" star Kelly Ripa was named Monday to join Regis Philbin as co-host of his daytime talk show, which will be renamed next Monday as "Live With Regis & Kelly." Ripa, who will continue her soap opera gig, replaces Kathie Lee Gifford, who left the show last summer. Ripa was making her 10th appearance as a guest co-host on Monday when Philbin told viewers that she'd gotten the job permanently.

WORLD NEWS

Mona Lisa's Bedroom: Paris' Louvre museum said Monday it would soon begin building a separate room for the Mona Lisa to give the 5 million visitors who throng past the painting each year a more lingering look at her enigmatic smile. The $3.6-million project--expected to open in late 2002--aims to provide a better view of the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece and a larger area for other Venetian Renaissance art overshadowed by the 500-year-old lady. "There will be a room for her alone--it's the painting that everyone who comes to the Louvre wants to see, but at the moment there are so many people that you cannot see it very well," a Louvre spokesman said. The Mona Lisa will remain on view elsewhere until her own salon in completed.

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Paris Salutes Josephine Baker: The mayor of Paris has dedicated a square in the city to Josephine Baker, the American dancer and jazz singer who wowed Paris audiences with her sultry songs and exotic moves. The square, beside the Montparnasse Cemetery in the 14th district, will now be called Place Josephine Baker. The mayor described Baker as "one of the greatest music-hall figures, but also a committed woman, a member of the resistance from the beginning and above all, a woman with a big heart."

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