Boyle 'Dreamed' a hit
A failed contestant on "Britain's Got Talent" has become one of the biggest and most surprising music stories of the year as Susan Boyle shot to No. 1 on the U.S. pop charts Wednesday and scored the highest-selling debut week of 2009.
A TV-fueled sensation, Boyle's collection of pop standards, "I Dreamed a Dream," sold 701,000 copies last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Her orchestral-pop covers hit a holiday season sweet spot, with Boyle topping Eminem's "Relapse" to score the best debut week of 2009. The rapper's return arrived with sales of 608,000 earlier this year.
Adam Lambert, the week's other TV-driven media craze, fared well, if not exactly landing with a blockbuster debut. His "For Your Entertainment" sold 198,000 copies in the days after his American Music Awards scandal.
-- Todd Martens Leonardo exhibit on a small scale
The mystique of Leonardo da Vinci has arrived at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles in the form of a tiny exhibition.
The long-planned project of the institute's director, Francesca Valente, will open today with two drawings by the Italian Renaissance master and a video installation by Bill Viola, a leading contemporary artist.
One drawing, "The Theatre Sheet," and two accompanying fragments -- cut out of the sheet in the late 16th century -- contains sketches of theatrical sets and productions.
The other Leonardo, "Angel in the Flesh," is an erotic image of an androgynous nude, said to have been purged from the British Royal Collection during Queen Victoria's reign because it was deemed pornographic. Both drawings are on loan from unidentified private collections in Germany.
Viola's video, "The Last Angel," made in 2002, is the final segment of a series featuring figures plunging into and emerging from rushing water. Leonardo's "Angel," Valente says, "stands for the annunciation of life in all its complexity," while Viola's work represents "the eternal cycle of life and death."
-- Suzanne Muchnic Lambert a no-go for 'Kimmel'
ABC, which disinvited Adam Lambert to "Good Morning America" last week following his naughty performance on the network's telecast of the American Music Awards, on Wednesday canceled his Dec. 17 appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
In a statement to The Times, an ABC spokeswoman said, "We decided not to move forward with the booking at this time." ABC declined to be interviewed about the issue.
In a Twitter post, Lambert told his fans not to blame ABC but said, "It's the FCC heat," referring to the Federal Communications Commission.
-- Maria Elena Fernandez Strike shutters Paris museums
On a gray, drizzly day just made for a Paris museum visit, workers at the city's premier art institutions went on strike Wednesday, leaving tourists out in the cold.
The Pompidou Center modern art museum and the Musee d'Orsay, with its famed paintings by the Impressionists, were closed Wednesday after workers angry over a government cost-cutting measure voted to strike.
Workers at the Louvre, the crown jewel of Paris museums, also voted to strike, but by midmorning parts of the sprawling complex had been opened to visitors.
Strikers are upset about a policy of not replacing half of retiring public servants, which they insist will prove catastrophic for the country's national museums. They voted to continue the strike today.
-- associated press HuffPost LA section goes live
Internet news and opinion site the Huffington Post has launched a section devoted to Los Angeles featuring news compiled from other outlets and a blog devoted to the city.
Locals who blogged on the site's launch day Wednesday included philanthropist Eli Broad, "The Office" actress Ellie Kemper and L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.
"HuffPost LA features our signature mix of up-to-the-minute news -- curated from the best local coverage -- and a group blog with some of the city's most compelling voices," co-founder and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington wrote in an introductory blog post.
The L.A. section is being run by former NBC and CNN reporter Willow Bay, now a senior editor for the Huffington Post, and editor Billy Silverman, a former aide to producer Brian Grazer.
Founded more than four years ago as a home for liberal opinion and news, the Huffington Post has expanded into areas such as sports, comedy and technology, and has several sections devoted to specific cities. Los Angeles is the fourth, following New York, Chicago and Denver.
The Los Angeles Times is a news source for the Huffington Post L.A.
-- Ben Fritz