People

Smash hit 'Springer' hopes to draw younger crowd
London -- The hit stage show "Jerry Springer -- the Opera" is staying in London, with top ticket prices kept low to encourage a younger audience, theater officials said Friday.
The critically acclaimed production, based on Jerry Springer's tell-all TV show, will open Oct. 14 at the Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden in London's West End. It has already had a sell-out run at the National Theatre.
Producers are offering 35,000 top-price tickets at a reduced rate. "We think it is vitally important to get more young people into the theater and it is a show which has proved hugely appealing to a younger audience," a theater spokesman said.

Australian police block screening of banned U.S. film
Sydney, Australia -- Police shut down a public screening of a U.S. movie banned in Australia because of its explicit sex and violence, sparking outrage from free speech advocates.
"Ken Park," a provocative film by "Kids" director Larry Clark and Edward Lachman, catalogues the dysfunctional lives of teenage skateboarders in the suburbs of Visalia, Calif.
Its underage sex scenes and graphic violence led Australian authorities to refuse it a classification -- effectively banning it from cinemas across the country.
To protest the move, about 500 people attended a public viewing of the movie last week in the upscale Sydney suburb of Balmain. No one was arrested, but police seized the DVD on stage and took the names of four people who admitted to pressing the play button. They face a maximum sentence of a year in prison.

Brockovich casts wider net
Los Angeles -- Erin Brockovich's law firm has added Beverly Hills and the city school district to a suit that claims toxic fumes from an oil well on a Beverly Hills school campus caused 21 former students to get cancer, including three who died.
The students attended the school between 1977 and 1996.
The firm, Masry & Vititoe, filed the negligence and wrongful death suit in June.
A spokesman said the city was unaware of the expanded filing and had no immediate comment. However, city officials have said repeated state and private testing of the air around the school found no evidence to support the allegations.
The suit already named 25 oil and gas companies, including Chevron-Texaco Corp. and the derrick's operator, Venoco Inc.
Brockovich, whose earlier legal crusade inspired the film "Erin Brockovich," is a graduate of Lawrence High School.

Griffin looking to unload hotel
Los Angeles -- Entertainment mogul Merv Griffin says he is working on a deal that could result in the sale of his Beverly Hilton hotel, site of countless Hollywood award shows.
Griffin said he had been in discussions with Beverly Hills real estate developer Probity International Corp. The hotel would retain its name if sold, Griffin and Probity said.
No other details of the discussions were disclosed.

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