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Arabian horse scholarship founded in Patrick Swayze's name

Also: French Museum strikers, Pinetop Perkins, Bob Dylan and more.

November 28, 2009

Swayze scholarship founded

The Arabian Horse Foundation has established a scholarship in honor of the late actor Patrick Swayze and his wife, who both owned Arabian horses and competed in shows for several years.

The foundation is the charitable arm of the Denver-based Arabian Horse Assn.

The scholarship will be awarded each spring to a youth involved with Arabian horses who seeks a performing arts career. It was launched with a pledge from Iron Horse Farms in Canton, Ga.

Swayze died in September of pancreatic cancer at age 57. He is survived by Lisa Niemi, his wife of 34 years.

-- associated press Museum workers may extend strike

Unions representing French museum workers are threatening to extend and widen a strike that has kept Paris' Pompidou Center of modern art shut all week.

Seven unions sent a joint letter to the Culture Ministry warning that they will start a strike Wednesday at tourist attractions including the Louvre and Versailles Palace if the government proceeds with planned job cuts, said Kamal Hesni, a representative at the CFDT union.

The Pompidou Center, whose 5.5 million visitors last year makes it the second most-visited museum in Paris after the Louvre's 8.5 million, has been on strike since Nov. 24. Unions say the government's plans to replace only one out of every two retiring civil servants will cripple French museums, as will its plan to cut some subsidies.

-- bloomberg news 'Donuts' closing on Broadway

The comedy-drama "Superior Donuts" is closing up shop on Broadway.

Producer Jeffrey Richards says the show will fold Jan. 3 after a three-month run.

The play stars Michael McKean as the owner of a rundown Chicago doughnut shop and Jon Michael Hill as his young employee who wants to jump-start the fading business. It premiered at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2008.

The show's author, Tracy Letts, also wrote the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning "August: Osage County," which ran for more than 600 performances on Broadway and is now on a national tour.

-- associated press Perkins still going strong at 96

Noisy crowds in smoky bars don't bother 96-year-old bluesman Pinetop Perkins.

It's all part of his job. Most nights, after he snuffs out his menthol cigarette, Perkins slides onto the piano bench in some club and eases into a wail about hard times and treacherous women.

Perkins is believed to be the oldest of the old-time Delta blues musicians still performing. In an 80-year career, he's traveled through juke joints, nightclubs and festival stages shared with the likes of John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson and Muddy Waters.

And he's not done yet.

The two-time Grammy winner is at work on another album, due out in 2010.

"I thank the Lord for me being here all the time. I play any piano with a good tune," Perkins said.

He's outlived most of his contemporaries, though time has slowed his steps and impaired his hearing. His colleagues say the musical sagacity acquired from a lifetime in the blues remains strong.

"Perkins is appreciated in 2009 not just for his survival, but for being a classic Chicago bluesman," said guitarist Bob Margolin, a former Muddy Waters band member. "While many younger musicians pay tribute to that music, Pinetop is that music."

Asked about his longevity during a break at a recent music tribute to him in Clarksdale, Miss., Perkins replied: "I always try to do something different all the time."

-- associated press Dylan talks about charity choices

Bob Dylan reminisces about Christmas past, turkey dinners and his favorite holiday songs in a rare interview in a magazine for homeless people.

The 68-year-old singer has baffled fans and critics with his new album "Christmas in the Heart," a collection of carols and traditional yuletide songs delivered in his croaking voice.

All proceeds will go to charities for the homeless and hungry in the United States, Britain and 80 poor countries.

Asked why he picked those organizations, Dylan told the interviewer: "They get food straight to the people. No military organization, no bureaucracy, no governments to deal with."

The interview appeared in the Big Issue magazine in Britain and similar street papers in North America.

-- reuters Parade ratings may boost NBC

Preliminary ratings released Friday indicated a ratings uptick for NBC's coverage of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, with the network estimating that more than 45 million people watched at least a portion of Thursday's three-hour event in New York City.

NBC said ratings in 56 markets were 2% higher than a year ago. If that holds when the national figures are released Friday, the network said, it would be the largest audience for the parade in eight years.

-- from a times staff writer

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