Political Entertainment: South African President Nelson Mandela will speak in New York Oct. 23 at the world premiere of Miramax Films' "Cry, The Beloved Country," starring James Earl Jones, Richard Harris and Charles Dutton. The benefit event, at the Ziegfeld Theatre, will launch the new U.S.-based charity Friends of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. Mandela's address will be broadcast via satellite to invitation-only crowds at four Los Angeles theaters as part of the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton is the event's honorary chair, and actors Whoopi Goldberg and Denzel Washington are among the co-chairs. Anant Singh's "Cry, The Beloved Country," scheduled for release Dec. 15, is based on Alan Paton's classic South African book, and is the first film to originate from the democratic South Africa. The movie deals with themes of brotherhood, racial harmony and reconciliation.


Broadcast Unity: Radio stations KKBT-FM (92.3 "The Beat") and KROQ-FM (106.7) will team up for a joint live broadcast on Oct. 15 examining the issue of affirmative action. The three-hour broadcast, co-hosted by KROQ's Scott Mason and Doc on the Roq and KKBT's Dominique DiPrima, will originate from the Los Angeles Hard Rock Cafe from 8 to 11 a.m. The stations--KKBT, an urban outlet with a largely African American and Latino audience, and KROQ, an alternative rock station with predominantly white listeners--called the joint broadcast "an attempt to smash barriers and break down color lines." Said DiPrima, host of KKBT's community action show "Street Science": "Both radio stations are getting together to . . . get a real dialogue going to help erase the color lines. By uniting, maybe we can set an example for our listeners."


Mauceri's New Post: American conductor John Mauceri, leader of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra since its founding in 1991, has been appointed music director of Teatro Regio Torino, the Royal Theater of Turin, Italy, for three years beginning this week. Under the new contract, Mauceri, 50, will be responsible for the orchestra and chorus and will share programming decisions with the artistic director. Mauceri's first production will be the Italian stage premiere of Kurt Weill's "Street Scene," scheduled for December; thereafter, he will conduct Christmas and Easter concerts in Turin, plus a production of Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" in the spring. He returns to Hollywood Bowl for the summer season of 1996.

'Norma' to Open Season: Nina Rautio, the Russian soprano (and former member of the Bolshoi Opera) who made a successful debut appearance at the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of Verdi's "Aida" Tuesday night, will take on another challenging title role, in the Los Angeles Music Center Opera's opener for next season, "Norma," according to Opera News. The magazine also says that company artistic adviser Placido Domingo will conduct the Bellini opera. A Music Center Opera spokeswoman did not dispute the report, but said all information on the 1996-97 season would not be announced until December.


International Industry Gathering: Hundreds of television industry leaders from around the globe will convene in New York Nov. 20 for the First Worldwide Television Summit Conference that will address the challenges posed to broadcasters by emerging technologies. Nobuyuki Idei, Sony Corp.'s recently named president and chief operating officer, will make his first major U.S. address as the event's keynote speaker.

Fighting Breast Cancer: In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, cable's Lifetime Television is committing $5 million this month in an on- and off-air campaign to promote breast cancer awareness. In addition to the October efforts--which include special programming, public service announcements and awareness campaigns in 500 communities nationwide--the station will air in December a two-hour entertainment special, "Lifetime Applauds: The Fight Against Breast Cancer."


The Dick Clark Film Group has announced plans to produce a feature movie based on Howard Stern sidekick Robin Quivers' book "Quivers, A Life." The story centers around Quivers' "odd couple" pairing as a "big sister" to a disadvantaged girl who is white. . . . The reunion of nine former Mouseketeers, including Annette Funicello, Bobby Burgess and Tommy Cole, will take place at Disneyland today in a 10 a.m. cavalcade down the park's Main Street. The reunion was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was postponed because of the O.J. Simpson verdicts. . . . Cable's VH1 will broadcast the "VH1 Fashion & Music Awards" live from New York City's Lexington Armory on Dec. 3. The new event will honor musical artists known for their fashion style and designers who influence the music video scene. . . . The cast recording of the hit musical spoof "Forbidden Hollywood" will be taped at the Coronet Theatre during evening performances tonight, Saturday and Sunday. One audience member will be selected through a drawing to take part in the live album, to be released in November on Varese Sarabande Records.

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