The Basie beat:
An expanded four-hour tribute edition of the radio series "Jazz Straight Ahead" tonight features nothing but the music of the late Count Basie, whose 87th birthday would have been today. The show airs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on WEAA-FM 88.5. Host John Tegler says the special edition of his weekly program will track the career of the beloved jazzman from his earliest work in Kansas City, Mo., to his death in 1984.
GLAAD to be protesting:
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is launching what it calls a national protest aimed at the Public Broadcasting Service for its decision to pull "Stop the Church," a segment on "P.O.V." that was scheduled for broadcast Tuesday on Maryland Public Television. "They are not treating us as part of their public, and they are censoring what little material there is," said Richard Jennings, GLAAD's Los Angeles executive director. Last week PBS deleted "Stop the Church" from the program, saying the ridicule of the Roman Catholic Church was excessive. The segment documents a massive demonstration at St. Patrick's Cathedral in December 1989 by gay activists. MPT will still show the altered "P.O.V." in the 11:30 p.m. time slot, a spokeswoman said. In addition, GLAAD officials are upset by PBS' decision to remove "Son of Sam and Delilah" from its schedule. The short AIDS-related film was to have been part of an experimental video series "New Television." GLAAD is planning a demonstration Tuesday in front of PBS' national headquarters in Washington.
Soviet tears at pageant:
It should have been a joyful day for Muscovite Elena Starova when she was tapped to be Lady Europe 1991, but the coup in her homeland tempered her happiness. The 23-year-old model-dancer won the contest in Switzerland the day the world found out Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had been ousted. "Gorbachev is a fair man but was unable to control ethnic problems and this caused major confusion in the country," she said after her victory, adding that the turmoil back home made her sad. Starova said she studied ballet dance and choreography at the Bolshoi theater of Moscow and has been working as a fashion model in Italy for several months. She was one of 18 competitors in the beauty pageant, including two others from the Soviet Union.
There's still more than VHS:
According to the LaserDisc Association, there are now 650,000 laserdisc households in the United States. More than 5,400 movies and concerts are available on disc, and 4,000 retail outlets will be carrying them by year's end. The delay between tape and disc release is gradually being eliminated. When "Home Alone" comes out on videotape later this week, Image Entertainment promises to have the disc in stores at the same time as the videocassette. Also making the format more attractive is the audio-visual quality of some of this year's releases. Disney's "Fantasia," the 1940 sight-and-sound spectacular for which the laser format might have been invented, will make its video debut in November. The disc is scheduled to arrive on the same day as the tape. Speaking of minority formats: There are still more Betamax than laser households in the United States. The format is hanging on in some Beta-exclusive stores and a few companies such as Paramount Home Video, which offers new Beta releases for just $30.
Pele quits playing the field:
World soccer star Pele plans to marry a Rio de Janeiro physician in January, according to newspapers reports. Pele, 50, said he will marry 29-year-old Luciene Tassi. They met two years ago at a party in Rio, according to O Jornal do Brasil and O Estado de Sao Paulo. "I have finally found the woman of my life," O Estado quoted him as saying. The news came as a surprise to Brazilians, who closely follow the private life of their greatest soccer hero. Pele has been a bachelor since his divorce in 1978. He has three children from that marriage. Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, retired in 1977 but remains extremely popular. He is a regular in newspaper society columns and television shows and often is seen with fashion models and beauty queens.
Roseanne by any other name:
Don't call her Roseanne Barr. The star of ABC's "Roseanne" wants to be known by her married name, Arnold, but the media aren't getting the message. "I know it'll take some people a long time to remember, but if they don't get it, they're idiots," she said in an interview in this week's Entertainment Weekly. When she renewed wedding vows June 23 with Tom Arnold, the executive producer of "Roseanne," she promised to take his name if he converted to Judaism. He did, and she now is officially Roseanne Arnold.
City of stars:
Singer Andy Williams is the latest star to open a theater in the southwest Missouri town of Branson. Roy Clark, Jim Stafford, Boxcar Willie and Cristy Lane are among other performers who have theaters in the city. Williams, 60, had a television show in the 1960s and has had more than two dozen pop hits, including "Can't Get Used to Losing You." The theater will be near Silver Dollar City's $13 million Grand Palace of Country Music, which is under construction.