Story By: G. H. HARDING
Dionne Warwick

JONI RISES --- As this past Tuesday ended, there were reports that singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was in a coma and unresponsive . . . and then, several hours later, came news that Mitchell is "alert and . . . has her full senses" and is "not in a coma.”

The statement followed reports that the 71-year-old, hospitalized last month after being found unconscious at home, is not able to care for herself.

A friend filed a petition this week to become Mitchell ‘s guardian. Confidant Leslie Morris has now insisted that "a full recovery is expected.”

"Contrary to rumors circulating on the Internet today, Joni is not in a coma," said our source close to both.

"Joni is still in the hospital—but she comprehends, she's alert, and she has her full senses.”

"The document obtained by a certain media outlet simply gives her long-time friend Leslie Morris the authority—in the absence of 24-hour doctor care—to make care decisions for Joni once she leaves the hospital.”

Our source continued, "As we all know, Joni is a strong-willed woman and is nowhere near giving up the fight."

The petition was reportedly accompanied by a doctor's declaration, stating that the singer would be unable to attend a court hearing for four to six months.

Mitchell was rushed to intensive care on March 31, but was subsequently said to have regained consciousness and to be “in good spirits."

The Canadian-born singer, known for such hits as “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Chelsea Morning,” as well as classic albums like Blue, Clouds and Hejira, revealed last year she had a rare skin condition that prevented her from performing.

SHINER'S RAPP --- Singer Frank Shiner, whose current single is “The Real Me” (the title track off his current album, The Real Me, which has soared to the #5 spot making Shiner the second of only two artists to land consecutive Top 5 AC records so far this year) performed at a fundraiser for The Guidance Center of Westchester, at the Glen Island Harbor Club Monday night in New Rochelle, and was joined at the benefit by Anthony Rapp of Broadway’s Rent and If/Then fame.

Shiner performed Tom Waits’ “Temptation” and Rapp joined Shiner and his band and performed the REM song “Losing My Religion” which was the song that nabbed him his role in Rent.

Shiner, who just performed at NYC’s Cutting Room to much acclaim, will be the headline performer on Friday, May 15 at the 60th annual Fine Arts Fiesta in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania with Marshall Crenshaw.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE --- X-Files creator Chris Carter has released the first spoilers about Fox’s upcoming six-episode revival, and they include Intel on more returning characters, the state of Mulder and Scully’s relationship and much more.

Herewith are the five scoops from the man himself, Chris Carter, per an interview in the Vancouver Sun:

1. There’s “a big chance” the Lone Gunmen will join returning X-vets Mulder, Scully, Skinner, and The Smoking Man.

2. Per X-Files tradition, the six episodes will blend “ongoing Mulder and Scully conspiracy saga” with “stand-alone episodes,” says Carter, adding, “It will all be of a piece, meaning that it won't feel disconnected.”

3. Although Mulder and Scully will still be a couple, “When we come back, we will find that [their] relationship is not where we left it,” Carter teases.

4. That elusive Mulder and Scully love scene may be naught. “It was part of the mystery of The X-Files,” says Carter when asked why the pair’s relationship was never explicitly consummated (despite having a son together). “That relationship was kind of mysterious. Did they get together? Didn’t they get together? If they’ve got a child together, when did they get together? These are questions that we will deal with and answer in good time.”

5. The cold open, a staple of The X-Files that started with the pilot, will be back. “We had to get a special dispensation to do a teaser—a little two- or three-minute segment in the beginning that sets up the show,” explains Carter. “They had done away with that approach on Fox, so they allowed us to go back to, I would call it, ‘old-style.’ ”

Well, here’s what I want to know: Are they still at the FBI?; will Mulder‘s sister be involved at all?; and will we see any more aliens?

Can't wait for this one—and btw, NBC has begun to roll out trailers for David Duchovny's miniseries Aquarius that look great!

CLOSING NOTES --- We heard that Micky Dolenz killed last night onstage at the Saban Theatre in L. A., performing “Pleasant Valley Sunday” at the Jammin’ for Jones benefit. Other performers included Stephen Bishop; Dionne Warwick; Brit-star Rumer; Howard Jones; and video-tributes from One Direction, Randy Newman, and Michael McDonald. Dolenz is back in NYC next week . . .

Talking with Ides Of March man Jim Peterik yesterday, I asked him how such a prolific writer worked. What was his daily schedule? He said he often did his best work when he was working on other things. Funny! Look for him in New York mid-May. He has just issued the 4-CD/1 DVD set Last Band Standing, chronicling brilliantly the Ides Of March ride . . .

Gloria Reuben’s final NYC performance this time around tomorrow night coincides with International Jazz Day, which MCG‘s Marty Ashby had a hand in starting. Congrats . . .

And, finally: Audiences are assembling in force to see Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend, in what is shaping up to be a blockbuster debut with few equals.

AMC is reporting dozens of opening-night sellouts, Movietickets.com is moving tickets at four times the rate of the first Avengers movie, and Fandango says pre-sales for the latest chapter in the saga of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes matches those for all previous Marvel Studios films combined. Given that kind of fanboy fervor, it’s unsurprising that Disney, Marvel’s corporate parent and the film’s distributor, is pegging a debut north of $200 million. Outside tracking firms are even more bullish, projecting the picture will bow to $215 million or higher.

Barring a machine uprising, Avengers: Age of Ultron will be only the second film in history to top $200 million in its debut.

To help further stoke fan enthusiasm, major theater chains are hosting Marvel movie marathons and double bills with the first installment before the film opens domestically tomorrow. The film will roll out across 4,247 theaters — 2,761 of which will be 3D locations, 364 will be Imax screens, 400 will be premium large-format screens and 143 are D-Box locations. Excelsior Rex! ...

Happy Birthday Beth Wernick and William Schill!