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Culture Monster

Place of honor for 'Lion King'

September 27, 2009|David Ng; David Colker; Tami Dennis; Todd Martens

Costumes from the Tony-winning Broadway production of "The Lion King" now have a permanent home in one of country's largest museums.

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has acquired objects from the musical's costume wardrobe designed by Julie Taymor. The gift from Disney Theatrical Productions includes items worn by the characters of Simba and the tribal shaman Rafiki.

Simba's lion mask and headdress plus Rafiki's costume, custom shoes and hat will join the museum's permanent entertainment collections.

The gift from Disney was made on the occasion of the show's reaching the 50 million worldwide attendance mark. "The Lion King" has been produced so far in 13 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Holland, France, Mexico, Australia, China, Taiwan, South Africa and South Korea.

Taymor, who won two Tonys in 1998 for her work on "The Lion King," and Michael Curry designed the masks for the show.

-- David Ng

From Culture Monster: All the arts, all the time

For more, go to latimes.com/culturemonster

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TECHNOLOGY

Comedy sites are big Web gainers

Americans need a laugh right now.

Humor sites on the Web scored the biggest gains of all categories of subject matter tracked by comScore Media Metrix in August. The category was up 21% in visitors compared to the same time period last year, according to the ratings group. Overall, the laughter sites attracted nearly 33.7 million visitors during the month.

The leading the humor site in the survey was Break.com, which features video clips -- often of accidental, painful falls -- for laughs. Second most popular was Comedy Central. And third was Wimp.com, which is a collection of mostly PG comedy clips that avoids face plants.

The education category scored the most visitors -- nearly 97.5 million. That was a 10% hike over last year, and the leading site was Pearson Education, which produces print and digital materials in a variety of fields.

The top sites tracked in the survey were from Google.

Together, they attracted more than 161 million visitors. They were followed by the Yahoo sites at 158 million and Microsoft sites at 130 million.

Of social networks, Facebook took top honors with 92.2 million visitors. EBay was the winner in e-commerce with 71.8 million visitors, followed by Amazon.com with 68.1 million.

-- David Colker

From Technology: The business and culture of our digital lives

For more, go to latimes.com/technology

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BOOSTER SHOTS

Women recount 'chemo brain'

Once a little-discussed side effect of cancer treatment, the mental fogginess known as chemo brain is finally getting the attention it deserves. Researchers at Mayo Medical School and UCLA offer a closer look at breast cancer survivors' experiences with the condition.

Their new study, "Confronting chemobrain: An in-depth look at survivors' reports of impact on work, social networks, and health care response," is published in the September issue of Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

The introduction states: "An increasing number of women survive breast cancer. Of the 11.4 million cancer survivors in the United States alone, female breast cancer survivors represent the largest population at 23%, or 2.6 million women. However, survival may come at a cost for some, as biomedical researchers have begun to acknowledge that cancer treatment itself (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy) can result in long-term physiological damage, which in turn can vastly impact quality of life."

One woman described her experience in this way:

"You have to fight to make yourself remember numbers, words, places that you go. Sometimes I would leave the house to go somewhere and I really couldn't remember how to get there . . . it almost made me break down because of the fact that you think you're losing your mind."

-- Tami Dennis

From Booster Shots: Oddities, musings and news from the world of health

For more, go to latimes.com/boostershots

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POP & HISS

Knitting Factory sets closing date

The days are officially numbered for Hollywood's Knitting Factory. The club, says a spokesman, will host its last show on Oct. 25, with pop-punk band Hit the Lights booked on the venue's final day.

Pop & Hiss reported in July that the Knitting Factory intended to leave its location at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. at the end of October.

The club's lease is up Oct. 31, and there were no last-minute changes of heart.

"We are definitely not staying here," says the club's head of promotion and publicity, Bruce Duff, via e-mail.

The Knitting Factory's flier for its final Hollywood shows teases a new venue opening in 2010. Duff says nothing has yet been finalized on a new locale, although "several are in the running."

Earlier, Knitting Factory Chief Executive Morgan Margolis told Pop & Hiss that he was open to other neighborhoods. "I've been looking two years now for the right space," he said. "I'm looking all over -- downtown, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, North Hollywood, Studio City. I've looked as far as Alhambra."

The Knitting Factory opened in Hollywood in 2000, about a year before the official opening of the outdoor mall at the nearby intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. The neighborhood has undergone significant changes since the club debuted. A Virgin Megastore has opened and closed, and the club now sits on the end of a tourist-friendly stretch of Hollywood that is home to a Gap, a Hooters, an H&M and Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

-- Todd Martens

From Pop & Hiss: The L.A. Times music blog

For more, go to latimes.com/pophiss

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