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August 20, 1994|ANNE BERGMAN | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press


Woodstock Jackpot: Music lovers who chose to avoid the rain and mud and watch Woodstock '94 at home made the 44-hour concert the biggest pay-per-view musical event in history. PolyGram Diversified Entertainment issued a preliminary report Friday claiming that 1.2% to 1.5% of U.S. households equipped with pay-per-view bought all or part of the event, translating to between 250,000 and 310,000 homes. That would make the record-breaking take between $10 million and $15 million. Woodstock '94 beat out the previous record holder, a 1991 concert by the squeaky-clean pop group New Kids on the Block.

* KCBS' Jordan Resigns: KCBS-TV Channel 2 News Director Robert Jordan, who has come under fire by station management during the past few months for the news staff's coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder case, is resigning, station officials said. Jordan, who was appointed news director in September, 1993, is leaving to start up the news operation at WFTS-TV in Tampa, Fla. He became the eighth news director at the embattled station to leave in 11 years. No replacement has been named for Jordan, who will leave effective Aug. 26. KCBS has been criticized for sensationalizing aspects of the Simpson case and for a factual error in a hotly disputed story by investigative reporter Harvey Levin, which questioned the conduct of prosecutors in the case and resulted in the station running an on-air retraction. However, officials did not specify whether the Simpson coverage led to Jordan's resignation.


An Unforgettable Mistake: While Nat King Cole himself is unforgettable, his birth date apparently is. The musician's widow said the birth date inscribed along the margin of the U.S. Postal Service's new 29-cent stamp honoring Cole is off by two years. Maria Cole pointed out the error Thursday when the stamp was unveiled at a ceremony at her home. She said her husband's birth date was incorrectly reported during his life, and the error stuck. "I remember years ago that happening, and it was never corrected," she said. Nat King Cole was born March 17, 1919, she said. Some reference books--and the Postal Service--set the date at 1917. A post office spokeswoman said 36 million stamps have been printed and will be issued Sept. 1.


Getty Museum Threatens Court Action: The J. Paul Getty Museum has threatened court action in its five-year battle to buy Antonio Canova's neoclassical sculpture "The Three Graces" and export it from Britain. In a letter sent Friday to British National Heritage Secretary Stephen Dorrell, Getty Museum Director John Walsh charges foul play in the latest deferral of the Getty's export license, which gives a consortium of museums a Nov. 5 deadline to meet the Getty's $11.6-million price and keep the sculpture in Britain. "We are exploring the remedies available to us and, if necessary, we will take the matter to the courts," the letter says, stating that the Getty expects a reply from Dorrell on Monday. The letter further claims that the National Heritage Memorial Fund is playing an inordinate role in the fund-raising campaign. In addition to its $4.6-million pledge to the campaign, the NHMF would have to loan $930,000 to the National Galleries of Scotland in order for that institution to meet its pledge of $1.7 million, the letter says.

* 'Mikey' Turns 100: "The Ballad of Little Mikey," a gay musical in West Hollywood, celebrates its 100th performance Sunday with a party following the 7 p.m. show and the release of a cast recording. The production began at the Celebration Theatre but has recently been revised in its new home at St. Genesius Theatre. Playwright Mark Savage said one Catholic priest has seen the show 45 times--and yes, he has asked St. Genesius to bless it.

* LACE Performance Program in Doubt: Different interpretations of city codes have dealt a significant setback to Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, which recently opened a new Hollywood Boulevard location largely funded with funds from the Community Redevelopment Agency. LACE originally designed its performance space, called the Alternative Media Gallery, for 91 seats and was given city permits to accommodate that number of audience members. But shortly before completion of construction, an inspector issued a stop-work order, saying the original permit should never have been issued. According to Gwen Darien, LACE executive director, the inspector "disagreed with the usage and occupancy load of the original permit," reducing it to allow a maximum of 49 seats. LACE is appealing the decision while continuing its scheduled performances to smaller audiences.


Rock band Soundgarden announced Friday that it will postpone its European tour set to begin Aug. 25. The band cited severe strain to singer Chris Cornell's vocal chords as the reason. . . . NAACP Executive Director Benjamin Chavis is scheduled to appear live on BET's "Lead Story" Sunday at 9 a.m. . . . "J. Edgar," the musical satire by Tom Leopold and Harry Shearer on the life of J. Edgar Hoover and starring John Goodman and Kelsey Grammer will air Sunday from 6-9 p.m. on KCRW-FM.

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