Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation’s press.


The Architecture of Disney: The Walt Disney Co. will represent the United States at the Sixth International Venice Architecture Biennale, Sept. 15-Nov. 17 in Venice, Italy. The exhibition, titled “Building a Dream: The Art of Disney Architecture,” will focus on the ways Disney has both inspired and commissioned works by many leading contemporary architects since the 1950s. The work of more than 30 internationally distinguished architects, as well as that of Walt Disney Imagineering, will be included. Thomas Krens, commissioner for the Biennale’s U.S. Pavilion and director of New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, noted that the decision to focus this year on Disney’s “long-term vision” differs from previous U.S. Pavilion offerings, which centered on individual architects. But he called the “cultural statement” made by the Disney company--including Disney hotels, production facilities, office buildings, sports centers and housing developments, as well as Disney Imagineering’s famous theme parks and resorts--"astonishing.”

Watts Artists in New York: Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, an annual summer festival at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts that spotlights local talents from various U.S. cities, focuses on the artists of South-Central Los Angeles--specifically the Watts district--on Sunday. Performing at the New York festival will be Los Angeles’ own Lula Washington Dance Theatre, jazz pianist Horace Tapscott, and the Mingus Big Band with Chico Hamilton and Buddy Collette. In addition, sculptor John Outterbridge will create miniature replicas of Watts’ best-known arts symbol--Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers.



Aussie Studio Boss?: Mel Gibson is getting his own movie studio in his native Australia. Gibson’s production company, Icon Productions, is teaming with Fox Filmed Entertainment to develop, produce and distribute movies down under. Fox Studios Australia is expected to be completed in Sydney late next year. Fox, which had earlier announced its decision to establish the film and television studio, already has what it called “major commitments” in place for three Australian productions--Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo and Juliet,” Bruce Beresford’s “Paradise Road” and Gillian Armstrong’s “Oscar and Lucinda.” Icon and Fox previously teamed on the production of Gibson’s Oscar-winning epic “Braveheart.” Since its inception in 1989, Gibson’s Icon has developed and produced such films as “Maverick,” “Hamlet,” “Forever Young,” “The Man Without a Face,” “Airborne” and “Immortal Beloved.”


Kinnear Returns to ‘Later’: NBC’s “Later With Greg Kinnear,” which had taken a production break to allow Kinnear to film the upcoming big-screen movie “A Smile Like Yours,” co-starring Lauren Holly, resumes production on Tuesday. Original episodes will begin airing Sept. 9; initial guests include actresses Rhea Perlman, Elizabeth Berkley and Jane Curtin; author Elmore Leonard; heiress Patty Hearst; and columnist Dave Barry.

Ali’s ‘Story’: Turner Network Television will take a look at perhaps the biggest sentimental hero of the Atlanta Olympic Games--boxing great Muhammad Ali, in “Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story,” premiering on the cable channel Tuesday at 5 p.m. The newly produced special includes interviews with those closest to Ali throughout his life and career, as well as never-before-seen clips culled from more than 1,000 hours of video footage.


Network No. 3: Andy Griffith’s “Matlock” character is making the network rounds again. Griffith’s crafty Atlanta lawyer was seen on NBC for six years, then ran on ABC for 2 1/2 seasons. Now, he’s about to turn up on CBS, when Griffith guest stars--as Ben Matlock--on Dick Van Dyke’s “Diagnosis Murder” series. The two-part episode, scheduled to film in November for airing during the February ratings “sweeps” period--features Matlock defending Van Dyke’s colleague Jesse (Charlie Schlatter), who is accused of murder. Gerry Sanoff and Joel Steiger, Griffith’s former “Matlock” producers, will produce the episode.


Singer Natalie Cole has added a third night--Sept. 29--to her previously sold-out engagement at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. . . . The late director Louis Malle is being honored at the 23rd annual Telluride Film Festival, which opened in Colorado Friday. It’s the same festival where Malle premiered his acclaimed films “My Dinner With Andre” (1981) and “Au Revoir Les Enfants” (1988). Malle’s widow, actress Candice Bergen, was scheduled to attend the festivities. . . . ABC’s “Murder One” will return for its second season Oct. 10, in the previously announced Thursday 9-10 p.m. time slot. . . . Ed Asner will guest star on the Sept. 17 season opener of ABC’s “Roseanne,” in which Roseanne imagines herself as a character on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “I Dream of Jeannie” and other old sitcoms. . . . The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen have been awarded the prestigious quarterly prize of the German CD review Deutsche Schallplattenkritik for their “artistically outstanding” new CD featuring the compositions of Witold Lutoslawski.