ARTS SCENE

THE NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE named ``Broadcast News'' best picture of the year. ``The Dead'' was runner-up in the 53rd annual awards. Other ``bests'': Actor Jack Nicholson (``Ironweed,'' ``The Witches of Eastwick,'' and ``Broadcast News''). Actress - Holly Hunter (``Broadcast News''). Supporting actor - Morgan Freeman (``Street Smart''). Supporting actress - Vanessa Redgrave (``Prick Up Your Ears''). Director - James L. Brooks (``Broadcast News''). Screenplay - ``Broadcast News.'' Cinematography - Vittorio Storaro (``The Last Emperor''). Foreign language film - ``My Life as a Dog'' (Swedish). THE GEESE THEATRE, America's only touring dramatic company working exclusively in prisons, plans to be operating again by Jan. 3, even though fire severely damaged its Dublin, N.H., headquarters last month. The company has mounted an emergency fund-raising drive to replace equipment and personal belongings lost in the blaze. Associate director Tom Swift says the group will keep its booking commitments for the winter. CONGRESS SAID NO to a request for $4 million to preserve on film the choreography of Martha Graham. A Senate-House conference committee killed the proposal. The measure had been controversial from the start. One objection was that such a government grant for one artist's work might set a troublesome precedent for the future. Proponents of the measure felt that the precedent had already been set by past government support of the National Symphony and the Kennedy Center. The proposal also struck some congressmen as badly timed, considering a general push for fiscal restraint.

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