The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will honor the French stars of "The Artist" Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo with the Cinema Vanguard Award to be presented Feb. 4. As part of the tribute, the festival will host a special screening of the silent film at the historic Arlington Theatre with live musical accompaniment by the theater's "Wonder-Morton" organ.
Previous Vanguard award winners include Nicole Kidman, Christoph Waltz and Ryan Gosling, among others.
Roger Durling, SBIFF executive director, said in a statement: "In an age of sight and sound spectacle, there is great risk in a silent film. Jean and Bérénice's acting is an amazing pas-des-deux both physically and emotionally — recalling classic Hollywood pairings like Hepburn and Tracy, and of course indelibly Ginger and Fred."
The 27th annual festival will run from Jan. 26-Feb. 5.
— Nicole Sperling
Getty buys St. John sculpture
The Getty Museum outgunned other bidders at Sotheby's London Tuesday to buy a nearly life-size limewood sculpture of St. John the Baptist that was carved in the early 16th century, paying almost a half-million dollars for it. Experts believe it could have once been part of the Schloss Harburg altar in southern Germany or else was carved by the same sculptor that did that altarpiece.
The sculpture shows a thickly bearded St. John the Baptist cradling the Holy Lamb, with a camel's head resting between his feet. Some areas retain the original paint.
The Getty bought the artwork for 313,250 pounds (about $487,000), including buyer's premium, surpassing the high estimate of 150,000 pounds. Sotheby's identified the sculpture as "property restituted to the heirs of Jacob and Rosa Oppenheimer" that had left the family's hands during the Nazi era because of a forced sale.
This purchase comes on the heels of the museum's acquisition from a private collector of Manet's "Portrait of Madame Brunet," set to go on display in one week. The Getty says the St. John the Baptist sculpture will go on display "in early 2012."
— Jori Finkel
Lady Gaga visits White House
Lady Gaga visited the White House on Tuesday to discuss bullying prevention.
The pop singer met with Obama administration staffers on the issue and afterward, Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett praised the star as "a source of strength for many young people who feel isolated and scared at their schools."
"Lady Gaga has described this cause as a personal one — she has said that as a child, she was often picked on for being different," Jarrett wrote in a blog post on the White House website. "I am deeply moved by the way she has used her story, and her success, to inspire young people, and shine the spotlight on important issues."
Gaga didn't have a chance to meet with President Obama, who was traveling in Kansas for a speech on the economy.
— Associated Press
Discovery to air all of 'Planet'
Discovery Channel extricated itself from a political ice storm by announcing it would air all seven episodes of "Frozen Planet," a wildlife and natural history series co-produced with the BBC.
The program — which explores life in Earth's polar regions and the environmental effects of rising temperatures — will premiere March 18 and air on subsequent Sundays, Discovery said Tuesday.
Four years in the making, the series was produced by the same documentary team behind the channel's critically acclaimed series "Planet Earth." Discovery said the U.S. version of "Frozen Planet" will be narrated by actor Alec Baldwin.
"Frozen Planet" is currently running on the BBC in Britain and generating huge ratings.
Controversy erupted last month when reports surfaced that Discovery was considering ditching the seventh episode of the series, which delves into the thorny issues of global warming. That episode, "Frozen Planet: On Thin Ice," includes on-camera shots of British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who narrates the British version, discussing what shrinking glaciers and rising temperatures mean for people and wildlife that live in the region as well as the rest of the planet.
— Meg James
Seinfeld to play at the Pantages
Jerry Seinfeld will resurrect his live stand-up routine for Los Angeles audiences in March, performing in the city for the first time in over 10 years. On March 17 he'll play two solo shows at Hollywood's Pantages Theatre.
Seinfeld has toured steadily over the last decade, doing stand-up both around the country and abroad; but L.A. has not been on the itinerary.
"For all these years, it completely slipped my mind that I built my entire career in L.A.," Seinfeld told The Times via email. "But I recently remembered this, and thought that a visit to the lovely Pantages Theater would be in order."
— Deborah Vankin