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Morning Report

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

January 05, 2002|Elaine Dutka

TELEVISION

Elmo, Big Bird and the Terrorist Attacks

The producers of "Sesame Street" will tackle the prickly topic of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks when the series launches its 33rd season on Feb. 4.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the first episode deals with Elmo's fears after he sees a grease fire break out at a lunch counter--and the comfort he receives during a visit with real-life firefighters at a station in Harlem.

Other shows this season focus on diversity and tolerance (Big Bird's visiting pen pal is aghast to find that his buddy is friendly with species other than birds) and the loss of a loved one (Big Bird learning to cope when his pet turtle wanders away).

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Real-Life TV Character Ordered to Stand Trial

Three days before the Sunday premiere of "Sins of the Father," an FX movie about the 1963 Sunday School bombings in Birmingham, Ala., a federal judge has ruled that a lead character in the movie, Bobby Frank Cherry, is mentally competent to stand trial.

Circuit Judge James Garret reversed his previous decision Thursday after Cherry--played by "Six Feet Under's" Richard Jenkins--underwent a court-ordered 71-day period of evaluation and observation at the state-run Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility. The finding, the judge said, was based on legal briefs and on psychologist testimony at a recent hearing.

Cherry, who was indicted in 1999, was one of a group of Klansmen under suspicion for the church explosion. The incident was the deadliest attack in reaction to the civil rights movement, killing four young girls.

The movie, directed by Robert Dornhelm and written by John Pielmeier, deals with the relationship between Cherry and his son Tom, portrayed by Tom Sizemore, whose decision to testify led to his dad's indictment.

Garrett scheduled a Jan. 18 proceeding to set a trial date. Two other men have been convicted of the crime--one who died in prison and another who's appealing his sentence.

(A story in Sunday's TV Times about the movie went to press before the judge's decision and reports that the matter is still pending.)

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'McLaughlin Group' Moves to Public TV

"The McLaughlin Group," dropped by KNBC, has been picked up by public television's KCET, which will broadcast the half-hour program at the same time, Saturdays at 6:30 p.m., beginning today.

As a result, "The BookShow With Patt Morrison" will move to the 6-6:30 p.m. time slot and the U.K. version of "Antiques Roadshow" will shift to 7 p.m.

The vociferous McLaughlin said he welcomed the move. "In the public television version, commercials are removed for an additional segment featuring back-of-the-book issues, most often culture-related or entertainment-oriented, which should appeal to Southern Californians," he said.

The program, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in April, airs on some 300 other public television stations nationwide. It will continue to run on NBC-owned-and-operated stations in New York and Washington, D.C.

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THE ARTS

New Museum Planned for Southwest Paris

Paris is adding another must-see attraction--an art museum that promises to be Europe's boldest cultural project since Bilbao's Guggenheim and London's Tate Modern, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Francois Pinault, whose art collection includes 1,000 works by masters such as Picasso, Warhol and Modigliani, picked 1995 Pritzger Prize-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando to design the trapezoidal building, which he described as "a spacecraft suspended on the River Seine."

Called the Francois Pinault Contemporary Art Foundation, it will house the largest private art collection in France and, according to experts, one of the finest selections of contemporary art in Europe.

The $140-million structure--as big as the Pompidou Center and twice as big as the Guggenheim Bilbao--will be built on an unused Renault car factory site in southwestern Paris.

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'Ground Zero' Photos Headed for Skirball

An exhibit of life-size "Faces of Ground Zero" opens Monday in New York's Grand Central Station before a nationwide tour that includes a stop in L.A.

The exhibit, sponsored by Time magazine and Morgan Stanley, features 85 photographs taken by Life magazine veteran Joe McNally using an enormous Polaroid camera that he set up near the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11 attacks. The photos--of firefighters, trade center employees, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and others--are tentatively scheduled to be displayed at Los Angeles' Skirball Center from June 13 to July 9.

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THEATER

Water Pipe Break Douses Guthrie Theater

Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater was damaged this week when two pipes broke--flooding administrative offices, dressing rooms, and production and archival storage areas with about 55,000 gallons of water.

"We've had better days and we will again," the theater's artistic director, Joe Dowling, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune as he slopped through as much as 8 inches of water. "This is fortuitous timing--I can't imagine what would happen if we had a show playing."

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