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Quick Takes: Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer honored

December 16, 2010

Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer celebrated his 103rd birthday Wednesday with the launch of a museum dedicated to his career.

The Oscar Niemeyer Foundation outside Rio de Janeiro will house exhibits about the legendary architect's 70 years of work.

Niemeyer is responsible for more than 600 modernist projects around the world. They include the sweeping concrete structures that house Brazil's government in the capital, Brasilia, and U.N. headquarters in New York.

Niemeyer is still working and has won numerous awards, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1988.

—Associated Press

T.I.'s streak of No. 1 debuts ends

For the first time since 2004, a new album from rapper T.I. failed to debut at No. 1 on the U.S. pop chart, Billboard reported Wednesday. Instead, his "No Mercy" landed at No. 4, with 159,000 copies sold last week. Prior to this he had scored three consecutive No. 1 debuts.

Susan Boyle's "The Gift" took the top spot with 243,000 units sold, its fourth time in the No. 1 spot after five weeks of release. Total sales now stand at 1.43 million, Billboard said.

Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" sold 201,000 copies to finish second and bring its total sales to 2.3 million. The "Glee" Christmas album was third with 193,000 copies sold.

—From a Times staff writer

Surprising value of Chinese vase

A blue-and-white Chinese porcelain dragon jar has sold for $7.7 million, more than 600 times its mid-range presale estimate of $10,000 to $15,000, the Bonhams auction house said Wednesday.

Bonhams had conservatively dated the 14-inch jar at around 1905, explaining its relatively modest expectations. But at an Asian sale held at Bonhams & Butterfields in San Francisco this week, bidders determined that it was in fact significantly older and more valuable, believing it to be an imperial period piece from around 1760.

The auction is the latest example of the huge appetite among wealthy Chinese collectors, particularly for imperial porcelain. Last month, a Chinese vase discovered during a routine house sale in a London suburb shocked the art world by fetching $69 million, 40 times its estimate and an auction record for any work of art from Asia.

—Reuters

White House's task for Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi fans, take heart.

New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi may have missed the boat for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction this time around, but he's in da club as far as President Obama is concerned.

Bon Jovi is one of 25 people newly tapped by the president for the White House Council for Community Solutions, his initiative that seeks to bring together individuals, nonprofit organizations, businesses and government to identify and address community needs.

Obama selected the rocker to be part of the group because of his work through his Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which has helped create affordable housing for low-income families and individuals. In 2008, the singer and songwriter hosted a fundraiser for Obama at his home during the presidential campaign.

The other council members include educators, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and religious leaders.

—Randy Lewis

Daly's Broadway role as Callas

Tyne Daly is heading back to Broadway in the spring as Maria Callas in a new Broadway production of Terrence McNally's play "Master Class."

The Manhattan Theatre Club announced Wednesday that Daly will reprise the role of the diva reminiscing on triumphs and tragedies that she played at the Kennedy Center in Washington last spring.

Daly, 64, received a Tony Award for her performance in the 1989 revival of "Gypsy." She is also known for her TV roles that include "Cagney & Lacey" and "Judging Amy."

—Associated Press

Finally

New series: AMC on Wednesday announced a full-series order for "Hell on Wheels," a post-Civil War western about a former Confederate solider (Anson Mount) who heads west to avenge his wife's murder and ends up working on the first Transcontinental Railroad. The show also stars the rapper-actor Common, who plays a freed slave looking for work.

Still driving: The Broadway revival of "Driving Miss Daisy," starring James Earl Jones, Vanessa Redgrave and Boyd Gaines, has extended its run to April 9. It originally was scheduled to close Jan. 29.

On the mend: Aretha Franklin, who underwent surgery this month, released a statement Wednesday saying she was back home and getting great care. The Detroit News reported last week she was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

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