Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation’s press.
Critics’ Choices: Bob Dylan’s “Time Out of Mind” edged out Radiohead’s “OK Computer” as the best album of 1997 in the Village Voice’s annual poll of more than 400 U.S. pop critics. Dylan’s album, a stark collection of tunes about the boundaries that age places around one’s ideals and goals, received 1,655 points in the balloting, versus 1,475 for the British rock group’s package. Both works are nominated for album of the year in the Grammys, being held Wednesday in New York. Rounding out the poll’s Top 10 were albums by, in order: Cornershop, Sleater-Kinney, Yo La Tengo, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Erykah Badu, Belle & Sebastian, Bjork and Pavement. Hanson’s “MMMBop” was voted the year’s top single, followed by Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and the Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony.”
Too Spicy?: A top Indian classical dancer has asked the Indian government to ban a performance by the Spice Girls scheduled for November at an archeological site known for its erotic sculptures. The concert, in the central Indian town of Khajuraho, will “marginalize the delicate spiritual context in which the temples were constructed nearly 1,000 years ago. . . . Eroticism sans spirituality will be reduced to pornography,” dancer Geeta Chandran said. Indian performers have previously been kept away from the temples of Khajuraho by archeological authorities. Government officials had no immediate comment.
He’s the ‘Enemy’: Ian McKellen will star in the only U.S. engagement of Trevor Nunn’s staging of Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People” at the Ahmanson Theatre, July 22-Sept. 6. Nunn’s revival of the 1882 drama, about a man who blows the whistle on a case of water pollution, opened at the Royal National Theatre in London last fall and will resume there in a spring run before coming to Los Angeles. Under an Actors’ Equity agreement, Center Theatre Group must export a production of its own to London in exchange for “Enemy.” Although nothing has been set yet, CTG artistic director/producer Gordon Davidson said he would like the Mark Taper Forum’s upcoming staging of “The Cider House Rules” to be CTG’s return ticket.
Titanic Discovery: With all things Titanic making a mint these days, a German film collector who apparently owns the sole copy of the world’s first Titanic movie, a 30-minute silent film made just two months after the famed ocean liner sank, said Thursday he will not sell his treasure, despite inquiries from journalists and film collectors worldwide. Horst Lange, a 74-year-old retired film archivist, said he had no idea until this week that the 1912 film “In Nacht und Eis” (In Night and Ice) was so rare. Lange said his phone had been ringing nonstop since an article on the unexpected discovery appeared in a Berlin newspaper Wednesday. Lange--who guessed that he paid about $120 for the reel about 20 years ago--had called the paper after an earlier article said there were no known copies of the film. The movie is believed to be the first of at least eight features on the doomed ship. It was directed by a man named Mime Misu and made in a Berlin studio in June 1912.
Rauschenberg Works Returned: Fifteen Robert Rauschenberg works seized a week ago from Houston’s Menil Collection by authorities, who threatened to sell them if the artist does not pay off a $5.5-million debt, were returned to the Houston museum Thursday. In a brief statement, the museum, which was exhibiting the works as part of the traveling exhibition “Robert Rauschenberg: A Retrospective,” said other issues surrounding the works and Rauschenberg’s debt--which resulted from an earlier court judgment--"will be addressed by the appropriate parties at the appropriate time.” In September, a Texas judge had ruled that Rauschenberg owes the Austin Art Consortium and art dealer Alfred Kren $1.8 million for unpaid commissions, libel, slander and interference with prospective business relationships. The remaining $3.7 million was for punitive damages. Rauschenberg has not publicly commented on the situation.
MTV Host Joining Y107: Another personality-driven morning radio team is set to debut in Los Angeles. KLYY-FM (107.1) has hired Chris Hardwick, co-host of MTV’s long-running “Singled Out,” and Courtland Cox, a former producer of KROQ-FM’s (106.7) Kevin & Bean morning team. The duo will debut on the alternative-rock station, known as Y107, sometime in the next two weeks in the 5:30-10 a.m. slot.
NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” will pay tribute to Chris Farley this weekend when it airs a collection of Farley’s skits from the show. Farley, who died in December of an accidental drug overdose, starred on “SNL” from 1990-95. . . . Blink 182, Korn, Redd Kross and Reel Big Fish were named best punk, hard rock, rock/pop and ska artists, respectively, at the first Southern California Local Music Awards held Thursday at the Hollywood Athletic Club. Additional winners of the awards, an offshoot of the long-running Bammies (Bay Area Music Awards), include the Alkaholiks (outstanding hip-hop/rap artist), Crystal Method (dance/electronic artist), Rome (R&B; artist) Los Illegals (Spanish-language artist) and Long Beach Dub Allstars (world beat/reggae artist).