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THE ARTSConductor Reinstated: A French court tentatively...

<i> Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press</i>

THE ARTS

Conductor Reinstated: A French court tentatively reinstated conductor Myung-Whun Chung as musical director of the Paris Opera Monday, banning management from hiring substitutes to launch the new season. Chung, 41, was dismissed Aug. 12 in what Opera management called a contract dispute, saying Chung had rejected all compromise proposals to shorten his tenure. The judge ruled that Chung, whose original contract runs to the year 2000, should get his job back pending a final ruling on the dispute. The Opera was also banned from starting the season with another conductor, so at the least, the Korean-born, U.S.-trained Chung will conduct the Sept. 19 opening concert, Verdi’s “Simon Boccanegra.” Chung called the ruling a “first step” in his battle with the opera’s management, which he said “has violated virtually every rule of human decency, artistic rights and even legal rights.”

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British Voices: British actor Jeremy Irons will be the guest narrator for the UK/LA Festival’s Sept. 7 opening-night event, a concert by Manchester’s renowned Halle Orchestra featuring William Walton’s score for “Henry V” at the Hollywood Bowl. On Sept. 9, the Bowl series hosts two British actors as guest narrators for the orchestra: Timothy Dalton telling the story of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” and Lynn Redgrave doing Benjamin Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.”

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A Federal Offense: Congress has made theft from museums a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The provision, authored by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) with the help of the American Assn. of Museums, authorizes the FBI to begin immediate investigations of thefts of culturally significant objects from U.S. museums. The law covers objects that are worth more than $100,000 or are more than 100 years old and worth more than $5,000. Kennedy is said to have developed an ongoing interest in art theft after several works were stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Kennedy’s measure gained final congressional approval last week as part of the omnibus crime bill.

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Tanner Times Eight: Seven Justin Tanner plays previously presented at the Cast Theatre in Hollywood, plus a new one called “The Tent Show,” will be produced in repertory at the Cast’s two adjacent theaters for six weeks beginning with “Bitter Women” on Sept. 21. The L.A. playwright himself will direct the entire festival, and actress Laurel Green is expected to appear in at least five plays. The other titles: “Barbie & Ken at Home,” “Teen Girl,” “Party Mix,” “Pot Mom,” “Happytime Xmas” and L.A.'s longest-running show, “Zombie Attack.”

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TELEVISION

A TV First: Washington’s annual Congressional Black Caucus Town Hall Meeting will be broadcast on TV for the first time, airing live Sept. 16 on two NBC-owned cable channels, CNBC and America’s Talking. The 1994 meeting’s focus is “Generation X: Black Voices of Reason, Black Voices of Rage,” an exploration of issues concerning the future of black youths.

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Casting Laughs: Fox-TV will hold a “Make-Us-Laugh Contest” at Hollywood’s Laugh Factory tonight to audition aspiring comedic performers for two roles on its new comedy series “Wild Oats.” Contestants will have 60 seconds on stage to “make us laugh” by performing their own material before a panel of judges, including “Wild Oats” cast members. The first 100 contestants to report to the Laugh Factory by 6:30 p.m. will be given auditions.

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POP/ROCK

Traffic Court: James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul,” was cited for failure to yield the right-of-way Sunday after he apparently drove into a bicyclist in Augusta, Ga., police say. The 42-year-old biker was knocked to the pavement but refused medical treatment. Brown, 61, was released from prison in 1991 after serving two years for aggravated assault and failing to stop for a police officer. He completed probation last year.

QUICK TAKES

Rocker Bruce Springsteen will perform at the MTV Video Music Awards this year for the first time. Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” is nominated for two awards--best male video and best video from a film--at the Sept. 8 show. . . . Zsa Zsa Gabor will be on the set of NBC’s “Empty Nest” today taping a cameo appearance for an upcoming episode in which she gets arrested after a street scuffle with series star Dinah Manoff. . . . A spokesman said television magnate Ted Turner was in “excellent condition” Monday after undergoing a successful surgery Saturday to remove a cancerous growth from his lip. . . . “General Hospital’s” Genie Francis and Jonathan Frakes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” are the parents of a baby boy, Benjamin Ivor Frakes.

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