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Quick Takes: A peek at dinosaurs

January 20, 2011

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County offered a sneak peek Wednesday of the Tyrannosaurus rex display that will serve as the centerpiece exhibition of its new Dinosaur Hall, which opens in July.

Consisting of three life-size T. rex specimens, the display will offer viewers a chance to see the predators at different stages of their growth cycle, from baby to full-grown adult.

The display will feature the specimen affectionately known as Thomas, who is one of the most complete T. rex specimens in the world. Thomas was excavated from 2003 to 2005 in southeastern Montana.

The new Dinosaur Hall is part of the museum's larger, $135-million upgrade of its campus in Exposition Park. The museum said it has raised more than $84 million toward its goal.

—David Ng

Poe tradition is apparently over

Telltale hearts beat with anticipation during a rainy, midnight dreary and beyond, hoping the mysterious visitor to Edgar Allan Poe's Baltimore grave would return after a one-year absence.

But once again, the unknown person who for decades left three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at Poe's grave on the anniversary of the writer's birth failed to appear Wednesday, fueling speculation that he or she may have died.

Four impostors came and went overnight. The real one never showed. Around 5 a.m., the dozen Poe fans who were left began to wonder if the eerie ritual is indeed nevermore, so they walked to Poe's tombstone and performed their own tribute.

A fascinating tradition that ran for some 60 years and was never fully explained appears to have ended at the downtown Westminster Hall and Burying Ground.

—Associated Press

Hitting No. 1 is a piece of Cake

The alternative rock band Cake scored its first No. 1 album last week and set a record in the process, achieving that status with the lowest sales since SoundScan began collecting data in 1991, Billboard reported Wednesday.

Cake's "Showroom of Compassion" racked up 44,000 sales during the week ended Jan. 16, the trade publication said, citing figures from Nielsen SoundScan. The previous record for smallest sales figure for a No. 1 album had been set just the week before, when Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" topped the chart with 52,000 copies moved.

Overall album sales in 2011 are at 10.3 million, 11% lower than at the same point in 2010, Billboard said.

—From a Times staff writer

Hathaway will play Catwoman

Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle, the slinky and savage outlaw who is known as Catwoman, in next year's Christopher Nolan film "The Dark Knight Rises," Warner Bros. said Wednesday.

Tom Hardy, already announced as a cast member, will play Bane, the chemically created brute who first appeared in the comics in 1993 — making him a far "younger" villain for Nolan's Batman mega-franchise, which has most prominently featured the Joker (who first appeared in 1940), Two-Face (1942), Ras Al-Ghul (1971) and the Scarecrow (1941).

Catwoman: A Quick Takes item in the Jan. 20 Calendar section about Anne Hathaway's being cast as Catwoman in "The Dark Knight Rises" said that the character had been played by Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt and Lee Meriwether on the 1960s TV series "Batman." Meriwether portrayed Catwoman only in the 1966 movie adaptation of the series. —

Catwoman — then just called "The Cat" — first appeared in 1940 as the creation of Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and she has brought leather-clad sexual tension to the Batman adventures both on the page and beyond. She was portrayed by Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt and Lee Meriwether on the 1960s TV series, and Michelle Pfeiffer memorably cracked the whip in Tim Burton's 1992 film "Batman Returns."

In 2004, Halle Berry starred in the character's own solo film, "Catwoman."

—Geoff Boucher

Meryl Streep as 'The Iron Lady'

Meryl Streep dropped in on parliament Wednesday to watch Britain's top politicians do battle, studying for a role as the only woman to become the country's prime minister: Margaret Thatcher.

The 61-year-old Oscar-winner will star in "The Iron Lady," a film that recalls the days leading up to the 1982 Falklands War — a conflict in which Britain repelled an Argentine invasion of the remote, disputed territory in the south Atlantic Ocean.



Honors: Screenwriter Steven Zaillian, who won an Academy Award for "Schindler's List" and also lists "Searching for Bobby Fischer," "The Falcon and the Snowman" and "Awakenings" among his credits, will be given a lifetime achievement award by the Writers Guild of America at the organization's awards ceremony in Hollywood on Feb. 5.

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