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Quick Takes: Suit in museum tussle

August 04, 2011

Years of wrangling over whether the Autry National Center has a right to shed a costly and inconvenient subsidiary, the Southwest Museum, has spilled into the courts.

Southwest backers are asking a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to overturn two recent decisions by Los Angeles city officials allowing the Autry to undertake what it has characterized as a routine gallery renovation at its Griffith Park museum but which opponents say would be the first step in an irreversible sequence that would end the Southwest's nearly 100-year run in Mount Washington as the home of a prized collection of Native American artifacts.

The lawsuit contends that votes in May by the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners and in June by the City Council to fast-track the Autry gallery renovation should be voided and that a full-scale environmental review of the project should be undertaken. The Autry leases its site from the city for $1 a year.

The city attorney's office couldn't comment, its spokesman, Frank Mateljan, said Wednesday, because the city has not yet been served with the lawsuit.

—Mike Boehm

Art Walk safety task force is a go

The City Council voted Wednesday to start a task force to look at safety improvements for the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk after a baby in a stroller was killed by a runaway vehicle.

A driver trying to park near Spring and 4th streets on July 14 jumped a curb and struck pedestrians on the sidewalk, including a 2-month-old in a stroller being pushed by his mother.

Councilman Jose Huizar and Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose districts share the Art Walk, called for the creation of the task force, which will review traffic, crowd maintenance and other public safety measures during Art Walk events, which happen on the second Thursday of each month.

—City News Service

'Baby,' it's time to say goodbye

The beat is ending for the jukebox musical "Baby It's You!"

Producers said Wednesday that the show about pioneering record executive Florence Greenberg and the Shirelles will end its Broadway run on Sept. 4. The musical will have played 33 preview and 151 regular performances.

The musical — the latest work by Floyd Mutrux highlighting forgotten figures and moments in America's rock history — got mixed reviews and has struggled financially. With a potential haul each week of $1,024,164, the show last week only grossed $372,629 at the box office. In November 2009 the musical was presented at the Pasadena Playhouse.

—Associated Press

Fashion watchers like Kate's style

Kate Middleton finds herself in the company of Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy on top of Vanity Fair's International Best Dressed List.

The Duchess of Cambridge's mix of high and low looks — designer fashion one day, jeans the next — and a "whirlwind year of fashion successes" earned her a spot on the 72-year-old list, according to a statement from the magazine. She had appeared once before, in 2008.

Designers, retailers, editors, socialites, photographers and entertainers submit the list's ballots.

First-timers include Justin Timberlake, Colin Firth, Armie Hammer and Christine Lagarde, chief of the International Monetary Fund. News anchor Brian Williams was named to the hall of fame.

—Associated Press

Novelist hopes ideas take off

British novelist Tony Parsons is gearing up to tell tales from the terminal, as he assumes the role of writer-in-residence at London's Heathrow Airport.

The author and journalist, best known for his novel "Man and Boy," moved into a hotel in the airport Wednesday and will spend a week roaming the terminals in search of inspiration for his first collection of short stories.

Describing airports as "places of extreme emotion," he said he hopes "Departures: Seven Stories From Heathrow" will revive the airport fiction genre.

Parsons is the airport's second writer-in-residence. The first, Alain de Botton, produced "A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary," some of which was written from a desk in the airport's Terminal 5.

—Associated Press


Grant: L.A.'s Grammy Museum will get $550,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to help produce "Rockin' the Kremlin," a film by director Jim Brown about the role American rock music played in weakening the Soviet empire. Brown's past films include documentaries about Woody Guthrie, the Weavers and Peter, Paul and Mary.

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