A cappella meister Bobby McFerrin and cello maestro Yo Yo Ma have teamed up for an unconventional, high-concept crossover record, as yet untitled, that will hit the racks in January. The two do both new music and classical numbers, such as Rachmaninoff’s ”Vocalise” and four new pieces by McFerrin, including ”Grace” and ”Stars.”

The just-published, paperback edition of Alex Ben Block’s Outfoxed, a history of the Fox network, contains a new chapter on The Simpsons and some surprising news about the show’s origin: It was created in 10 minutes, while cartoonist Matt Groening waited for a meeting with producer James L. Brooks. ”It’s true,” says Groening. ”Originally I was going to do my comic strip, Life in Hell, for Brooks. Then I found out whatever I did would be owned by Fox. I had 10 minutes to come up with something else: a family that drove each other crazy. I was inspired by my own family. It took me the whole 10 minutes to draw them.”

The social mores of 1870s New Yorkers might seem a leap for Martin Scorsese. Yet the filmmaker (whose Cape Fear comes out in November) is taking a trip back to The Age of Innocence, adapting Edith Wharton’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1920 novel as his next feature. Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer are likely to play Wharton’s tale of doomed romance. Scorsese starts filming in upstate New York early next year. No word on whether Pfeiffer will dye her hair and skin to achieve the exotic ”almost foreign-looking” dark look Wharton so meticulously described.

What does Robert Redford have to do to rebound from his $45 million Havana flop? Follow the old formula of seeking safety in big casts. Redford is joining a cast that will include Oscar winner Ben Kingsley, Oscar nominees River Phoenix and Mary McDonnell — and possibly Sidney Poitier and Dan Aykroyd — for Sneakers, a comedy/adventure that begins filming Oct. 28 in San Francisco. Says Phoenix: ”The script’s really good. I play a computer hacker. We’re a team of five. Redford — gosh! Kingsley — gosh!”

Robin Williams is considering a change of pace in what is becoming one of the most interesting movie careers around: the role of Harvey Milk, the gay supervisor of San Francisco who was assassinated in 1978. The film, The Mayor of Castro Street, based on Randy Shilts’ 1983 book of the same name, will be coproduced by Oliver Stone. The rumor that Stone will also direct is not true, yet. ”There’s no director set,” says Stone’s press agent, Andrea Jaffe. ”Oliver is just developing the project.”

Written by: Lawrence O’Toole, Lou Aguilar, Stephen Schaefer, Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

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