Thunderstorm of Talent Pours In for Rain Forest

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rock 'n' roll luminary Sting, fire-eaters, pie-throwing and Daffy Duck--hardly the usual rock concert bill of fare. But then, the "Children for the Rainforest" event, at the Greek Theatre May 9, is not the usual benefit. Organizer Nick Turner calls the star-studded family event "a 'Lollapalooza' for the under 10s."

A benefit for the Rainforest Foundation, the eclectic festivities include mainstage entertainment by Sting, Whoopi Goldberg, Bobby McFerrin, Disney's Craig 'n Co. and Nickelodeon's Double Dare Show folks, "throwing pies on stage," Turner said.

Additional adult- and kid-appeal will be supplied by Shari Lewis and puppet pal Lamb Chop, Shelley Duvall, Daryl Hannah, Adam Ant, Mayim Bialik of "Blossom" and the "Full House" twins Mary Kate and Ashley Olson, along with A&M; artist Bill Harley, Joanie Bartels and "Beakman's World."

"I don't like charities where you turn up and are bored for three hours," Sting said. "It's going to be a very entertaining day." Here, "you've got a good show for your money and the byproduct of that is that you have helped a good cause." The event, he added, was the brainchild of his manager, Miles Copeland.

Before the mainstage concert will be three hours of family entertainment hosted by Mara Bina Jaimes of KCET's "Storytime."

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the fair stage, local and national children's artists will perform, including the Santa Monica Playhouse's Actors Repertory Company, Richard Perlmutter and his Tin Pan Alley Band, Greg and Steve, Discovery Music's Bethie, the Jim Gamble Puppets, the Bumblebeez, the Lim Po Po Balalaika Band, cartoon characters called the Drip Dudes, plus assorted stiltwalkers, fire-eaters, jugglers and magicians.

Sting, whose own five children range in age from 3 to 16, played a major role in the creation of the Rainforest Foundation in 1989, an international organization committed to preserving the Brazilian rain forest. It works closely with the Indians of the Brazilian Amazon, according to Larry Cox, the foundation's executive director, to enable them to better protect themselves and their region by funding health, education and border protection programs. He added that Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, sit on the foundation's board of trustees.

All proceeds from the Mother's Day concert will go to the foundation and to the work that's going on in Brazil, according to Cox. Turner confirmed that "all the performers are doing this for free."

"A children's event is particularly nice," Cox said, "because it's such a natural link. For some reason, children are the most militant about this issue. The rain forest seems to grab their imagination. They seem to intuitively understand it better than some of us who are more jaded. We get tons of letters from kids saying, 'What can I do to help?' This is a struggle about what kind of future we are going to have on this planet."

"It's really a sense of community you have to provoke," Sting said. "The cause isn't hopeless, the world can be turned around, and I think it's important to start early. It's not a question of indoctrination, but a question of awareness."

* "Children for the Rainforest," Greek Theatre, Hollywood, May 9. Fair, 11 a.m.; mainstage show, 2 p.m. Adults: $22-$26; children under age 12: $12. (213) 480-3232, (714) 740-2000.

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