Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation’s press.
Back From the Brink: Tonight’s Pantera/White Zombie heavy-metal bill at the Forum will go on as scheduled, despite a revelation that Pantera lead vocalist Philip Anselmo was briefly hospitalized in Dallas last weekend for an overdose of heroin. Joining the growing list of rock music figures hit by drug problems (recent overdose deaths include Sublime singer Bradley Nowell, Blind Melon singer Shannon Hoon and veteran keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin), Anselmo released a statement over the Internet on Wednesday saying that after injecting a “lethal dose” of heroin, he “died for four to five minutes” before being revived in an ambulance. “There was no lights, no beautiful music, just nothing,” Anselmo said in his missive. “You see, I’m not a heroin addict. But I am (was) an intravenous drug abuser. The lesson I learned here is that every nightmare I ever heard about O.D.'ing and/or heroin, is terribly true.” Anselmo went on to say that he has “recovered completely” and that the band’s current tour will not be disrupted.
Playhouse Season Announced: The Pasadena Playhouse has announced its winter/spring 1997 season: Ed Schmidt’s “Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting” (Jan. 19-Feb. 23), a play about the emergence of Jackie Robinson as major league baseball’s first black player, staged by Sheldon Epps, who directed the play’s premiere in San Diego in 1992; Peter Shaffer’s “Equus” (March 23-April 27), with Jules Aaron repeating his 1993 West Coast Ensemble staging; and “The Emotions starring in Bigger Than Bubble Gum” (May 18-June 22), a musical with the R&B; trio the Emotions, about their lives, as written and directed by Larry Heimgartner and Chuck Alvarez. Seen last year in a limited run at Los Angeles Harbor College, the Emotions’ show will be presented by Dick Scott Entertainment, which last spring co-produced Pasadena Playhouse’s biggest hit ever, “Sisterella.”
Internet Participation: Can’t make it to Atlanta, but still want to be part of the scene surrounding the Games? The House of Blues, which has set up a temporary facility within walking distance of the Olympic Village, today opens a World Wide Web site, Java Joint On-line, to allow Internet users live access to the venue’s Atlanta concerts, as well as chats with performers and athletes. The Web site, at www.hob.com or www.sun.com, will also allow Olympic visitors to log on at nearly 100 terminals at the club to e-mail friends and family throughout the world. Meanwhile, cable’s VH1 will be at the Atlanta venue tonight to tape a performance by Blues Brothers Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and Jim Belushi. The concert airs on VH1 Saturday at 7 p.m.
More Calls for ‘Family Hour’: Senate and House lawmakers on Thursday joined in urging TV networks to voluntarily restore “family hour” programs to prime time. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and a number of senators are introducing parallel resolutions asking the major networks to set aside the hour of 8 to 9 p.m. for family-oriented programs. “This is not a matter of left or right, but what is seriously wrong with our culture,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), one of the Senate sponsors.
Prince Case Dismissed: A Los Angeles federal judge has dismissed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the artist formerly known as Prince, brought by a Los Angeles singer named Nikki Shau, who had claimed the pop star unlawfully used her picture on the cover of his “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” single. The judge found that Shau relinquished her rights to the picture when she sent the former Prince a cassette of one of her songs (with her picture on the cover) in response to a 1993 contest advertisement.
Busfield Ordered to Pay: A Los Angeles federal judge has ordered actor Timothy Busfield (“thirtysomething”) to pay nearly $150,000 in attorneys’ fees to a law firm he had claimed fabricated sexual assault charges against him. Busfield, whose defamation suit was dismissed in April, had contended that the Minneapolis-based law firm of Messerli & Kramer invented allegations that he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl working as an extra on his 1993 movie “Little Big League,” and then took the story to the media. Busfield eventually settled the sexual assault case for an undisclosed amount. According to court documents, the law firm took sworn statements from 18 other women who alleged sexually aggressive, harassing or inappropriate behavior by Busfield.
The first play in the Geffen Playhouse’s first season, “Quills” (opening Oct. 9), will be staged by Adrian Hall, whose work was last seen in L.A. at the Mark Taper Forum in 1990 (“Hope of the Heart”). . . . Actor Gregory Peck, 80, left the Czech Republic for Paris Thursday, five days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy there. Peck plans to complete his recovery in France. . . . Actor-dancer Ben Vereen, 49, is recovering from surgery performed on his knees Monday in New York. The actor’s spokesman said that the surgery was to correct problems caused when he was hit by a car several years ago and to help the performer regain that “extra little spring” that his dance moves had prior to the accident. Vereen is scheduled to dance again on Aug. 10-11 with the Utah Symphony Orchestra and should be ready, the spokesman said. . . . The Landover, Md.-based Epilepsy Foundation of America has established a fund in memory of Margaux Hemingway, the 41-year-old model-actress and granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway who suffered from the disease and died July 1. The fund will go toward national research and education programs.