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Archive for Friday, June 7, 2002

People

June 7, 2002

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Grads have outgrown Mr. Rogers

Hanover, N.H. Television's Mr. Rogers greeted many of this year's Dartmouth College seniors daily when they were children, but some are not pleased he will be greeting them on graduation day.

Fred Rogers, of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" fame, is this weekend's commencement speaker.

"It's like Barney the dinosaur speaking at our graduation," said history major Michael Weiss.

Past Dartmouth commencement speakers have included Robert Reich, Bill Clinton, George Mitchell and Madeline Albright.

Rogers, 74, attended Dartmouth for two years during the 1940s before transferring to Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.

Ebert comes to bat for Woody

New York After The New York Times deconstructed Woody Allen, Roger Ebert built him back up with a letter to the editor.

The longtime Chicago Sun-Times film critic wrote a letter printed Thursday, pointing out that movies from the writer-director-star have earned 14 Oscar nominations and two wins during the past decade.

"What offended me most about 'Curse of the Jaded Audience: Woody Allen in Art and Life' (front page, June 5) was the chart showing the box office performance of Mr. Allen's recent movies," he wrote. "Surely you don't equate box office with quality."

Wednesday's story, timed to Allen's $10 million lawsuit against producer Jean Doumanian over eight movies they made together, suggested that at 66, Allen may no longer be a cultural icon. It also quoted fans who said they were disappointed in his latest offerings.

Ebert argued that a more relevant judge of Allen's work could be found at www.rottentomatoes.com, a Web site that tracks film reviews. "Husbands and Wives" and "Bullets Over Broadway," for example, both got 100 percent positive reviews. "Mighty Aphrodite" got 89 percent good reviews, with "Deconstructing Harry" getting 80 percent.

Death blamed on promoters

Sydney, Australia A tour manager for the rock-rap band Limp Bizkit blamed concert organizers Thursday for the death of a young fan.

Jessica Michalik died after suffering a heart attack when she was caught in a crowd crush during a performance by Limp Bizkit at the Big Day Out festival on Jan. 26, 2001, in Sydney.

Chris Gratton, part of Limp Bizkit's tour management, told an inquest into Michalik's death that festival promoters should have taken better control of the "absolute crowd mayhem."

"This is one of the scariest things I have ever seen I have been doing this for over 12 years and I have never, ever seen something so frightful," he said, after watching video footage of the night.

Gratton also rejected claims that lead singer Fred Durst provoked the crowd by screaming obscenities at them.

He said Jessica's death could have been prevented if promoters had stopped the show. He said security staff "just stood back and did nothing."

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