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Morning Report

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

September 11, 2002|Elaine Dutka

PEOPLE

Reeve Shows Progress on Medical Front

Christopher Reeve has regained some movement and sensation in his hands and feet, seven years after a horse-riding accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

The "Superman" star also can breathe on his own for 90 minutes at a time, feel pinpricks on most parts of his body, raise his right hand to a 90-degree angle and tell the difference between hot and cold, according to the Sept. 23 issue of People magazine.

The actor has received treatment for the last three years through the "activity-based recovery program," a mix of electrical muscle stimulation and repetitive motion exercises created by his doctor, John McDonald.

Reeve documents his progress in a new book, "Nothing Is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life," and in a TV special to air Sept. 18 on ABC.

"No one who has suffered an injury as severe as Chris', and failed to have any initial recovery, has regained the amount of motor and sensory function he has," said McDonald, the medical director of the spinal cord injury program at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Asked if Reeve might walk again, the doctor said, "The fact that he's having some recovery could make that a possibility."

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MOVIES

Catholic Hierarchy Protests Venice Film

The Vatican has criticized the Venice International Film Festival for giving its top prize, the Golden Lion, to Scottish director Peter Mullan's "The Magdalene Sisters," a depiction of brutality in Ireland's 1960s-era Catholic Magdalene convent schools, which have since been abolished.

"This film does not tell the truth about the church and is a disgrace for the festival, which risks losing its stature," the Hollywood Reporter quotes Cardinal Ersilio Tonini as saying. At least one board member of the Venice Biennale, the parent organization of the festival, also took issue with the Golden Lion choice.

"My opposition to this is total, and I'm not talking as a Catholic," said Valerio Riva. "Mullan's film is just bad propaganda."

The artistic director of the film festival, Moritz de Hadeln, defended the movie.

"We are in a democracy where everyone can state their opinion," he said. "But Riva's opinion does not coincide with that of Italian audiences, as the film's box office results show." Since its Aug. 30 release in Italy, the movie has taken in $62,000 on 27 screens, a credible showing there for an art house film.

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MUSIC

Jerusalem No-Show Triggers Controversy

Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert has charged the deputy director of the British Council in that city with using "cultural terror," convincing two prominent violinists to cancel their participation in a major concert later this month.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Nigel Kennedy and Max Vengerov had agreed to play in the Sept. 19 gala, a fundraiser for an arts and cultural center for disabled youth sponsored by the New Jerusalem Foundation, which Olmert heads.

The musicians changed their minds, the mayor claimed, when the official, David Codling, broke "all the rules of diplomatic etiquette" by telling them that "their lives would be endangered" and they would "incur the wrath of millions of Muslims" if they attended such a "political" concert.

A spokesman for the British Council in Tel Aviv denied the allegations. When Kennedy's agent called its Jerusalem office, he said, Codling merely referred him to a British government Web site, which contained a security travel advisory.

"Strings Above Jerusalem" will go ahead as planned, featuring a French singer, an Israeli countertenor and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

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POP/ROCK

Harrison Tribute Album Is Due Next Year

On the heels of an announcement that a CD containing new material from George Harrison will be released in November comes the news that some high-profile artists will be taking part in a tribute album to the former Beatle, who died last year.

"Songs From the Material World" is due out from KOCH on Feb. 25, which would have been Harrison's 60th birthday. The Byrd's Roger McGuinn, the Kink's Dave Davies, Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green and John Lennon's son Julian are among the confirmed participants.

McGuinn is expected to tackle "If I Needed Someone," Billboard reports. And various artists will team up on Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."

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QUICK TAKES

Glenne Headly (TV's "Lonesome Dove," "ER") and David Hyde Pierce ("Frasier") will star in "The Guys," Anne Nelson's play about the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, at the Actors' Gang theater, Sept. 17 through Oct. 11.... George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's "This Week," and his wife, Alexandra Wentworth, are the parents of their first child, a girl, Elliott Anastasia, born Monday.... "Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones," digitally remastered for a large-screen format, will be shown at Imax theaters beginning Nov. 1

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