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Chicago's Field Museum aids lovebirds

December 29, 2009

Museum aids lovebirds

Neelam Patel couldn't believe it when she saw her boyfriend, Neal Patel, reach his hand into a case at the Field Museum in Chicago and grab the diamond ring sitting inside.

"I thought, 'What is he doing? He's breaking into this case at the Field Museum! He's going to get arrested,' " she said.

A second later Neal, 24, got down on one knee and asked Neelam, 25, to marry him.

The case, identical to the others in the newly refurbished Grainger Hall of Gems and specifically lit to hold a diamond ring, is part of a new offer by the museum to pop the question there. The $350 fee includes a champagne toast, with optional add-ons like flowers, music and limo service.

"We're kind of floored by the response," said Megan Williams Beckert, who is in charge of special events at the Field. They've had seven proposals since they installed the case in mid-October, and several inquiries a week.

-- chicago tribune Tyler Perry hitting the road

In the last year, the prolific Tyler Perry directed two movies released in 2009, directed another one that will be released next year and served as an executive producer on the movie "Precious." He also continued to work on his two sitcoms, "Meet the Browns" and "House of Payne."

In the moments between all of these, Perry has apparently found time to write and produce a new stage play that will tour the country in 2010.

"Madea's Big Happy Family" will star Perry in his most famous role: the hot-tempered, full-figured, firearm-brandishing Southern grandmother known as Madea.

The play is scheduled to tour the country from January to May, with two stops in Southern California. Perry will perform at San Diego's Sports Arena on Jan. 6. He will also stop at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood for a six-day run Jan. 19 to 24.

-- David Ng '2012' is boffo in China

The disaster movie "2012" has become China's biggest-grossing movie in history, a publicist said Monday.

A spokesman for state-owned film importer China Film Group said that "2012" has made $67.3 million as of Dec. 23, eclipsing the previous mark set by another Hollywood blockbuster, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."

In third place, Weng Li said, is the Chinese propaganda movie "The Founding of a Republic," also released this year.

-- associated press Tyra Banks sets TV show's end

Tyra Banks is strutting away from her daytime talk show.

"The Tyra Banks Show," which has won two Daytime Emmys and is currently in its fifth season, will wrap in the spring.

The former supermodel will shift her concentration to Bankable Studios, a New York-based film production company, although she will continue to host the prime-time series "America's Next Top Model."

The announcement of her exit from daytime TV comes on the heels of the announcement by her longtime mentor, Oprah Winfrey, that she'll leave her daytime post in 2011 to focus on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

-- Yvonne Villarreal Polanski thanks his supporters

Roman Polanski, in his first public comments since being arrested in Switzerland three months ago, thanked his supporters and said he has "full hope" in the future.

Polanski posted a message on the website of French author Bernard-Henri Levy, who has been a supporter of the director as he fights extradition to Los Angeles in connection with child-sex charges involving a 13-year-old girl more than three decades ago.

"I would like every one of them to know how heartening it is, when one is locked up in a cell, to hear this murmur of human voices and of solidarity in the morning mail. In the darkest moments, each of their notes has been a source of comfort and hope," Polanski wrote. "These messages have come from my neighbors, from people all over Switzerland and from beyond Switzerland -- from across the world."

-- Shelby Grad Finally

Broadway bust: The $8-million Broadway revival of "Ragtime" will close Sunday after only 57 performances.

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