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Garth Brooks to take up shop in Central Park

Calling all friends in low places: Garth Brooks reportedly is cooking up an urban hoedown. The country music superstar will play a free concert in Central Park this summer in the only New York-area stop on his world tour, the New York Post reported Tuesday. Craig Konieczko, a spokesman for the city Parks Department, declined to comment on the report, but confirmed that Brooks and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will make a "special announcement" today. "This is going to be huge," said Darrin Smith, program director of Y-107, a country music station in the city's northern suburbs. "The entire New York area is so starved for country." Brooks, whose hits include Friends in Low Places, has not yet announced the date of the concert.

In other news

Fans from coast to coast snapped up copies of The Notorious B.I.G.'s posthumous album Tuesday, with the rapper's murder barely two weeks earlier fueling sales of the eerily titled Life After Death. At one point, Tower Records in New York's Greenwich Village sold 105 copies of the double CD in an hour.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell urged General Motors, Chrysler and Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday to withdraw their sponsorship of the April 30 episode of the sitcom Ellen in which the lead character announces her homosexuality.

Joanna Pacitti, 12, dumped as star of the revival Broadway production of Annie filed a lawsuit Monday claiming she has suffered depression, headaches and other maladies since being fired.

Elton John, who turned 50 on Tuesday, was given an honorary membership to London's Royal Academy of Music, where he studied piano in the 1960s before turning from classical music. Noted principal Curtis Price: "Elton was a prodigiously gifted child. Had he chosen to, he would certainly have progressed to our senior academy."

Fox has renewed the Friday night thriller Millennium for another 24 episodes next season.

Correction

Because of late scheduling changes, some movies and showtimes listed in today's Floridian for the Largo Mall 8 and the Palm Harbor 10 theaters are incorrect. Call the theaters, Largo at 581-5199 and Palm Harbor at 944-2282, for correct information.

_ Compiled from wire reports

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