Degas Record: Edgar Degas’ 1879 pastel “Dancer at Rest” fetched $28 million at a London Sotheby’s auction Monday, more than twice the previous record ($13.6 million) for a painting by the French Impressionist artist. The work, depicting an exhausted ballerina massaging her foot, was purchased by an anonymous telephone bidder and sold in under five minutes of bidding. It had been expected to sell for up to $11 million. A second Degas pastel, “Woman Sitting Behind a Piano,” a study of a woman at a piano circa 1882-85, sold for $4.8 million.


Watch Those Ads: “There is no intention, directly or indirectly, to control content.” So said Federal Trade Commission Chairman Robert Pitofsky in a recent speech apparently aiming to ease the worries of filmmakers, musicians and others in the wake of President Clinton’s call for an FTC and Justice Department study into whether the movie, music and video-game industries are marketing violent materials to young people. “First and foremost, we will not judge the content of these products,” Pitofsky said in an address to the National Assn. of Attorneys General. “We will not be the modern embodiment of thought police. . . . Specifically, our goal is not to deny young people any opportunity to see ‘King Lear’ or ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ or to hear socially relevant rap lyrics, because they contain violent material.” Advertisers and marketing executives, however, will not be immune from the study. “At least at the outset,” Pitofsky said, “we intend to focus on industry self-regulation [including already existing ratings systems and parental guidance advisories] and on industry marketing practices. . . . This will help us answer the president’s basic question: Are age-restricted products being advertised or promoted to audiences composed primarily of young people?”



Festival Honors: Director Gus Van Sant (“My Own Private Idaho,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Psycho”) will receive the Outfest Achievement Award on July 8 at the Pantages Theatre at the opening night gala of Outfest ’99: The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. The award, honoring outstanding accomplishments of gays and lesbians in film, will be presented by singer k.d. lang. . . . Jack Lemmon will receive the Hollywood Lifetime Achievement Award at the third annual Hollywood Film Festival during the event’s Aug. 9 awards gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Additional Hollywood Film Festival honorees include producer-director Irwin Winkler (“Rocky,” “GoodFellas”) and actor James Caan (“The Godfather,” “Misery”), who will be feted for outstanding achievement in producing and acting, respectively.


Resuming Her ‘View’: Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench--who’s been out of Broadway’s “Amy’s View” for the past week while her husband, actor Michael Williams, has been treated in London for a serious lung infection--plans to return to the hit production on July 6 to complete the final two weeks of the play’s run. Dench won a best actress Tony Award for “Amy’s View” earlier this month, and the play has been a hot ticket. With her absent, however, many patrons were opting for refunds and the 1,096-seat Ethel Barrymore Theater was only about a quarter filled for the weekend performances.



Money Talkers: CNN has named Stuart Varney and Willow Bay as co-anchors of its financial show “Moneyline,” replacing founding anchor Lou Dobbs, who recently quit to launch an on-line site about space. Varney has been with the network since its founding in 1980 as a financial news anchor and economics reporter; Bay currently co-anchors CNN’s prime-time shows produced with magazines Fortune and Entertainment Weekly.


Radio Schedule: Classical radio station KKGO-FM (105.1), which in previous years has broadcast the L.A. Opera on a monthly basis, will switch this season to weekly broadcasts in a move the station says aims to create more “excitement” for listeners. The eight-week series of Monday night broadcasts will begin Oct. 4 with “Carmen,” followed by broadcasts of “Werther,” “Falstaff,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Madama Butterfly,” “La Traviata,” “Don Giovanni” and “Lucia di Lammermoor.” The broadcasts, which will air at 8 p.m., all come from the L.A. Opera’s recently concluded 1998-99 season.



As expected, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday that the 42nd annual Grammy Awards will be held in downtown Los Angeles at the new Staples Center. The Feb. 23 awards will be televised on CBS. . . . L.A. businessman and artist Steven J. Fogel has been elected chair of the California Arts Council. Fogel, the co-founder and chief executive of Westwood Financial Corp., recently was appointed to the 11-member council by Gov. Gray Davis. . . . UCLA’s Fowler Museum of Cultural History has named Mary Nooter Roberts as its chief curator, effective July 15. Nooter Roberts, formerly senior curator at New York’s Museum for African Art, is considered the world’s foremost scholar of the African Luba art style. . . . Fox News Channel is creating a new prime-time interview program for anchor Paula Zahn to replace the network’s 10 p.m. show “The Crier Report.” That show’s host, Catherine Crier, announced last week that she is moving to Court TV. . . . Marilu Henner replaces Chita Rivera in the Mandalay Bay Las Vegas production of “Chicago--The Musical” starting July 6. She’ll perform the role of Roxie Hart for seven weeks. Rivera, meanwhile, will move on to “Chicago’s” London production.