Archive for Sunday, October 20, 2002

Arts notes

October 20, 2002

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Woman files lawsuit after MTV stunt injury

Los Angeles A woman who participated in a stunt on MTV's daredevil show "Jackass" has sued the music network, claiming she was injured and humiliated during filming.

Wendy Linden claims in the lawsuit filed Wednesday that the show's producers recruited her at an April 21 taping to ask scripted questions of the cast. She said producers assured her that cast members wouldn't touch her, and that she wouldn't be exposed to any "hazardous activities."

Instead, according to the lawsuit, as Linden stood at a podium to ask questions, cast member David England ran across the stage and crashed into a lectern behind her. The lectern allegedly hit Linden and threw her backward onto the concrete floor to the delight of the "cheering Jackass crew."

Linden said she suffered spine and knee injuries. Taping continued while she waited backstage for an ambulance, according to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

The action filed in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges negligence, battery and intentional emotional distress. It was filed against MTV Networks, MTV Music Television, Viacom, Montana Productions and England.

A call to MTV after hours Thursday was answered by a recording, and Viacom officials did not immediately return a message left after business hours.

Linden said she received a letter of apology from England.

Verizon pulls bill insert for 'Phone Booth'

Albany, N.Y. Verizon has pulled a bill insert promoting the movie "Phone Booth," a thriller about a sniper in New York City, because of the deadly shootings in the Washington, D.C., area.

Verizon spokesman Cliff Lee said customers in upstate New York and parts of New England received the item in their bills, praising the movie.

The inserts weren't distributed in the Washington, D.C., area, which has been terrorized by a series of sniper attacks over the past two weeks.

"We apologize to any customers that we've made uncomfortable, that was not our intention," Lee said Wednesday.

"We decided to endorse the movie because it promoted one of our products. It's not something we usually do," he said. "We sent the inserts out before the attacks started. We stopped including them as soon as we recognized a problem."

The company did not receive any customer calls regarding the promotion of the sniper movie, said Mark Marchand, another Verizon spokesman.

20th Century Fox this week delayed the release of the movie, which was to open in theaters Nov. 15. The plot centers on a man (Colin Farrell) who picks up a public phone and hears a sniper (Kiefer Sutherland) threaten to shoot him if he hangs up.

New Jersey Orchestra posts $1.1 million deficit

Trenton, N.J. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has lost nearly $1.1 million this season, a deficit it blamed on the sour economy and last year's terrorist attacks.

Orchestra officials said they were concerned about the loss, but noted that it was partly because of problems beyond their control. They said ticket sales did not return to normal levels until about four months after the Sept. 11 attacks, and a fall subscriber drive, which typically brings in $900,000, yielded no money in the 2001-02 season.

"I'm very concerned but I'm not panicked," NJSO board president Victor Parsonnet told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday's editions. "My mood goes up and down with the market these days."

According to an audit released this week, money from ticket sales fell $352,000 to $4.535 million. Government grants fell $129,000 to $1.545 million. Meanwhile, expenses increased by 5 percent.

The orchestra also received less money from the state arts council, its largest contributor. The council gave $1,520,227, a drop of $57,918 from the previous season.

Momentum on the orchestra's endowment drive also slowed, with donors contributing $3.5 million so far, compared with $5.7 million last season. The endowment stands at about $10 million in cash, plus $13 million in pledges

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