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Quick Takes: Charles Saatchi gives art collection to Britain

July 02, 2010

Britain gets a gift of art

Art collector Charles Saatchi has a gift for Britain. It includes Tracey Emin's messy bed, Grayson Perry's explicit pottery and a room full of engine oil.

The advertising tycoon, whose patronage made household names of artists like Emin and Damien Hirst, announced Thursday he is donating his London gallery and 200 works in its collection to the nation as a new public art museum.

The gallery said the works, which are valued at more than $37 million, will be given to the government. The 70,000-square-foot Saatchi Gallery will be renamed the Museum of Contemporary Art, London.

—Associated Press

Spector film

to screen in L.A.

A new British documentary, "The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector," will screen for a week in August at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, where the film's director and co-producer, Vikram Jayanti, will be on hand for the opening night on Aug. 19.

Jayanti interviewed Spector in depth during his first trial for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson at his Alhambra mansion in 2003. That trial ended in a hung jury, but on retrial Spector was convicted and is now serving a 19-years-to-life prison sentence.

The Times of London called Jayanti's 102-minute film examining the music producer's career "not only a hell of an exclusive, but a work of art in itself, a synthesis of a psychological profile, a critical history and a candid, surprising interview. An overwhelming experience." A review in Mojo magazine called it "a dark, gripping, revelatory and at times hilarious portrait. Spector himself is utterly captivating. Unmissable."

—Randy Lewis

Times reporter wins book prize

A book that gives a rare glimpse of everyday life inside one of the world's most secretive states won Britain's leading nonfiction book prize Thursday.

Barbara Demick's "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea" was named winner of the $30,000 Samuel Johnson award at a ceremony in London.

Demick, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, interviewed North Korean defectors and drew on smuggled photographs and videos to tell the story of six residents of the totalitarian Communist state, including a pair of clandestine lovers, a homeless boy and a patriotic factory worker with a rebellious daughter.

—Associated Press

'Elvis on Tour' makes return

Elvis Presley is returning to the big screen again in the remastered film "Elvis on Tour: 75th Anniversary Celebration," which will be shown July 29 at more than 460 movie theaters around the country.

The movie will feature remastered footage of concert performances and interviews from the 1972 documentary "Elvis on Tour" — the singer's last film before he died in 1977.

The film's release commemorates the 75th anniversary of Elvis' birth and includes a retrospective from his former wife, Priscilla Presley, and a montage supervised by director Martin Scorsese. Some of the tour footage has never been released.

"Elvis on Tour" follows the singer on a 15-city U.S. tour in April 1972. Written and directed by Robert Abel and Pierre Adidge, it combines rehearsal and backstage footage along with concert performances of "Don't Be Cruel," "Hound Dog," "Suspicious Minds" and other hits.

The new "Elvis on Tour" also will be available as part of a box set featuring 17 of Elvis' films presented in Blu-ray and DVD formats. Its release is set for Aug. 3.

—Associated Press

Memorial opens rock festival

Denmark's largest rock festival started Thursday with a commemoration of nine people who died at the Roskilde venue 10 years ago when they were crushed against an outdoor stage.

American singer Patti Smith headed the brief memorial at the opening of the four-day event. The rock icon threw nine roses on the audience after band member Lenny Kaye read the victims' names.

Nine people died and 43 were injured on June 30, 2000, when crowds numbering some 50,000 pushed forward during a Pearl Jam gig. A probe found that "a chain of unfortunate circumstances" led to the deaths after a poor sound system prompted fans to surge toward the stage to hear better.

—Associated Press

Finally

Illness disclosed: Christopher Hitchens has suspended his tour in support of his bestselling memoir "Hitch-22" after receiving a diagnosis of cancer. In a brief statement released by his publisher, Twelve, the writer said he had been advised to undergo a course of chemotherapy on his esophagus.

Art theft: A 41-year-old man who admitted stealing a Claude Monet painting from a Polish museum 10 years ago was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison. The painting, "Beach in Pourville," was found at his parents' home in January.

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