Billboard Bits: MTV VMA Latinoamerica, Keb' Mo', Malkmus

News on MTV VMA Latinoamerica, Keb' Mo', Stephen Malkmus

KebMTV Video Music Awards Latinoamerica '02, MTV Networks Latin America's inaugural awards ceremony, has been slated for Oct. 24 at Miami's Jackie Gleason Theater. The event will feature local and international recording artists, and will air live throughout Latin America, with portions of the show to be seen on MTV's 35 channels worldwide. Although the voting process has not been finalized, the majority of categories will be voted upon by the audience.

Last month, the Jackie Gleason Theater was the setting for the 13th annual Billboard Latin Music Awards, where veteran Mexican singer/songwriter Juan Gabriel took home four honors, including songwriter of the year, hot Latin track of the year, and Latin pop airplay track of the year for his hit song "Abrazame Muy Fuerte."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

"Thunder Knocking on the Door" -- a production featuring music written by contemporary bluesman Keb' Mo' -- will open June 20 Off Broadway at New York's Minetta Lane Theatre. The musical, which has been in previews since June 4, stars Leslie Uggams and Chuck Cooper. Set in rural Alabama in 1966, "Thunder" was written by Keith Glover, with additional music by Anderson Edwards. The show has been playing and developing in regional theaters around the country for the last several years. Tickets ranging from $45 to $65 for the New York run are available via Ticketmaster. Keb' Mo's latest album, the family oriented Sony set "Big Wide Grin," debuted a little more than a year ago at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Kid Audio chart and No. 10 on the Top Internet Albums tally. The artist has tour dates set through the balance of the year, beginning with a two-night stand Thursday (June 13) and Friday at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks, Nev., and including visits to the New Haven, Conn.'s Blues & Roots Festival (July 19), the Pittsburgh Blues Festival (July 21), and the Edmonton Folk Festival (Aug. 10).

Stephen Malkmus is finishing work on his second solo album, tentatively titled "Pig Lib," for Matador Records. The upcoming set, his second with backing band the Jicks, was recorded last month at an unnamed Bear Creek, Wash., studio, according to a post by the former Pavement singer on his label's official Web site . The set is expected to be released this fall, and should feature the tracks "Doctor Drop," "Do Not Feed the Oysters, "The Calories," "Vanessa From Queens," "Chromatic Advisor," "Grab It and Gone," "Fractions and Feelings," "1% of 1," and "Animal Midnight." Malkmus' self-titled solo debut debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart in March 2001 and has sold 65,000 copies in the U.S. to date, according to SoundScan. As previously reported , Malkmus and the Jicks are scheduled to headline a one-off concert at Atlanta's I-FI Festival, to be held July 4 in Masquerade Music Park. J Mascis, Ugly Casanova, and the Kingsbury Manx are also slated to appear.