All-Star Tribute: The first Elvis Presley tribute authorized by the late entertainer's estate will take place Oct. 8 in Presley's hometown of Memphis. The lineup for "Elvis Aaron Presley--the Tribute" has not been confirmed, but those expressing interest so far include Elton John, U2, Lyle Lovett, the Judds and Bon Jovi. The tribute, featuring all-star performances of Elvis classics, will be broadcast live on pay-per-view, and will later be turned into a live album and home video. The event is co-produced by Avalon Attractions, PolyGram Diversified Entertainment and Elvis Presley Enterprises, and proceeds will go to the Memphis-based St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the music industry's T.J. Martell Foundation. And although organizers are remaining mum about the reported wedding between Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie, and pop star Michael Jackson, they say the Gloved One is rumored to be among the event's performers.
Christmas in July: Latin American music legends Celia Cruz, Jose Feliciano and Tito Puente are among the artists getting together for "Navidad En Las Americas" (Christmas in the Americas), a compilation compact disc and companion TV special featuring international holiday standards recorded in styles from salsa to mariachi. Also featured on the upcoming Walt Disney Records CD are hot younger performers including Juan Gabriel, Luis Enrique and Xuxa. Proceeds from Latin American sales will aid Mexico's first AIDS hospice, Casa de Tina, while part of the U.S. proceeds will go to the group Reading Is Fundamental.
Helms Amendment Killed: A controversial amendment by Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) was effectively killed Monday when the Senate voted 49-42 to table a Helms' amendment that would have forbidden National Endowment for the Arts funds for any project or artwork depicting human body mutilation, invasive body procedures or bloodletting. The vote, which Helms proposed in response to a controversial performance by artist Ron Athey at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, took place after Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) argued that the amendment would effectively forbid portrayals of Christ on the Cross. The Senate is still considering a 5% budget cut that would target theater, visual art and presenting programs, trimming the endowment's 1995 budget to $161.6 million. The House version of the same budget stipulated a 2% cut.
NEA Grants: In other NEA news, the endowment on Monday announced $31.5 million in grants to 1,127 arts groups and individual artists, including close to $5 million in grants designed to "help make the arts a basic part of K-12 education." Also included in the grants was $4 million for public television, $4.6 million for museum exhibitions and $7.1 million for theaters. Among the largest local grants are $215,000 for the Mark Taper Forum's 1994-95 theater season; $115,000 for South Coast Repertory's 1994-95 theater season; $90,000 to UCLA's Wight Art Gallery for the exhibition "Pacific Dreams: Responses to Surrealism in California Art, 1954-1957"; $60,000 for "Exiles and Emigres: 1933-1948," an upcoming exhibition at the L.A. County Museum of Art; and $45,000 to the Craft & Folk Art Museum to support a touring exhibition by master woodworker Sam Maloof.
'X-Files' Goes Online: Fans of Fox's TV series "The X-Files" will be able to share close encounters with the series' creators in an online service from Delphi Internet. Creator/executive producer Chris Carter, along with the writers and producers of the series, will participate in online forums and live conferences designed to "not only discuss specific episodes of the show, but also share ideas and information about paranormal activities and unexplained phenomena." The service will also offer database information about the series, a programming schedule and episode guide, as well as polls focusing on specific episodes and paranormal activities. "The X-Files" stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as a pair of FBI agents who investigate cases that seemingly involve paranormal phenomena.
More Otherworldly Views: "Nick at Nite's" Will Miller, a licensed psychotherapist, ordained minister and stand-up comic, will host "The Other Side," a weekday morning series on NBC that will tackle subjects ranging from alternative medicine, dreams and near-death experiences to romantic ghost stories. The program, which premieres in October and is being billed as an alternative to talk shows, will feature experts, guests and a studio audience.