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Morning Report

Arts And Entertainment Reports From The Times, News Services And The Nation's Press.

May 03, 2000|ELAINE DUTKA

POP/ROCK

Deja Vu: Seattle-based Pearl Jam ended its boycott of Los Angeles in 1997 when it played the Great Western Forum--returning to the city it had avoided in part because of a high-profile feud with Ticketmaster, which controlled ticket sales at all the city's key venues. The band is again bypassing L.A. on its upcoming 39-date tour--but this time it's a matter of logistics. Pearl Jam spokeswoman Annie Ohayan says the dates that worked for the band on its Southern California swing (which includes San Diego on Oct. 26) were not available at the city's arenas. As a result, the band will only be playing an Oct. 28 engagement at the Glen Helen Blockbuster Pavilion in Devore. While there's a chance a show in or closer to L.A. could be added, local promoters say it's more likely that the band will return at a later time.

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On the Mend: Latin percussion legend Tito Puente was released from Pavia Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday after two days of treatment for an irregular heartbeat. He is resting in his New York home and has canceled all appearances for May, including three shows with the Symphonic Orchestra of Puerto Rico. His cardiologist, Dr. Miguel Campos, said Puente's arrhythmia was "relatively benign." He put Puente on medication to prevent blood clots as a precaution. "He's stable and feels well," Campos said. "I anticipate a full recovery." Puente, 77, won his fifth Grammy in February for best traditional tropical Latin performance for "Mambo Birdland."

THE ARTS

Property Dispute: Protesters scuffled with police outside a Hong Kong hotel where auction house Sotheby's was selling a looted 18th-century Chinese imperial vase back to the Chinese for $2.69 million--despite objections from Beijing. The buyer came from a company under China's State Administration of Cultural Relics, which had condemned the auction and tried to stop it. The sale, and a similar one Sunday by rival auction house Christie's, stirred outrage among many Chinese. "Return our national treasures immediately," a group of demonstrators chanted, referring to the vase that French and British troops had taken from the Old Summer Palace in 1860. (Sotheby's later received an additional $1.98 million for a 1744 bronze tiger sculpture seized from the same spot.) Though no arrests were made, the Chinese warned that the auction houses--which hope to increase their business on mainland China--faced dire consequences if they went ahead with the sale.

STAGE

Follow-Up: The producers of Arthur Miller's "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan" filed charges Tuesday with Actors Equity against its star Patrick Stewart for making curtain speeches that they maintain are in violation of union rules because they were "not authorized by the producer nor directed by the director of the show." This action was taken, said Gerald Schoenfeld, chairman of the Shubert Organization and lead producer of the drama, in response to Stewart's addresses to the audience after performances of "Ride" on Saturday in which he publicly attacked the producers of the drama for failing to properly promote and advertise the show as promised. Michael Hartman, a spokesman for the show, elaborated that Schoenfeld and the producers are demanding a public apology from Stewart in "the same manner in which his charges were made against them," that is, in a curtain speech from the stage of the Ambassador Theatre where the drama has been playing to near-capacity audiences. The producers' complaint now goes to a union grievance committee where it will be adjudicated. Kelly Bush, a spokeswoman for the star, who gained international fame as Capt. Luc Picard on "Star Trek," said that the actor would have no comment on the charge or the proceedings. "He doesn't have anything further to say on the matter. He just wants to get on with his work," she said.

TELEVISION

Filling the Void: In the fall, Nickelodeon plans to give kids their own programming block on Friday nights, pushing the adult-oriented "Nick at Nite" back an hour to 10 p.m. The expansion announcement was made amid speculation that ABC's family-friendly "TGIF" lineup will be discontinued. "Friday is the first night of the weekend and obviously important to kids," explained Cyma Zarghami, executive vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon--the No. 1-rated cable network for the past four years. In response to a trend of co-viewing among kids and parents, the network says, it will also air family-oriented weekday shows a half-hour earlier, at 8:30 p.m.--kicking off with "The Facts of Life" on Sept. 15.

QUICK TAKES

The third annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American humor will be presented to writer-comedian Carl Reiner on Oct. 24 . . . The American Film Institute, whose controversial list of the 20th century's top-100 films was released two years ago, is launching a campaign to select America's funniest films of all time. The top comedies will be announced on CBS in June . . . "The Blair Witch Project" has been turned into an attraction at two Sega theme parks in Japan. According to distributor Artisan Entertainment, it marks "the first time an independent film has been the inspiration for a major tourist attraction."

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