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Quick Takes: Manga title resurfaces

March 19, 2011

Sailor Moon is setting sail for the U.S. after a six-year absence in print.

Kodansha USA Publishing said Friday that it will release new deluxe editions centering on the iconic manga character that helped cement the Japanese comic art form with American readers in the late 1990s.

Out of print for six years, Naoko Takeuchi's "Sailor Moon" will relaunch in September under the Kodansha Comics imprint. It will be accompanied by a two-volume prequel series titled "Codename: Sailor V," the first time it will be in print in the U.S. In it, teenager Minako Aino will fight as Sailor V against the Dark Agency before discovering Sailor Moon.

—Associated Press

Ailing pianist vows to play on

Pianist Roger Williams said Friday that he would show up for his concert in Palm Desert Sunday despite having started chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.

The 86-year-old musician, who has recorded more than 100 albums and performed for nine U.S.

presidents, posted a note about the diagnosis on his website, promising to fight it with the same fervor he brought to the ring as a Navy boxer.

Williams rose to fame in the mid-1950s with his recording of "Autumn Leaves" and had other hits with "Born Free," "Till," "Almost Paradise" and "The Impossible Dream." In recent years he has taken to celebrating his birthday with marathon concerts that stretch 12 hours or more.

—Lee Margulies

Hong Kong producer a prize

Raymond Chow, the veteran Hong Kong producer who introduced Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan to an international audience, will be honored for lifetime achievement at the fifth Asian Film Awards ceremony on Monday.

Organizers of the Hong Kong event said Friday that the 83-year-old filmmaker was "instrumental in making Asian cinema the global cinematic and box office force it is today."

Chow worked at the famed Shaw Brothers studios before leaving to found Golden Harvest in 1970. The breakaway company jump-started Lee's career with hits like "Fist of Fury" and "Enter the Dragon." In 1979, it signed Chan, casting him in his first English-language productions, including the star-studded 1981 action comedy "The Cannonball Run."

—Associated Press

Crystal muses on an Oscars return

Billy Crystal has finally said that he's open to hosting the Oscars again — if changes are made.

The academy has been trying to lure the eight-time past emcee back to the job, but he's resisted. He received such a warm reception making a guest appearance last month, however, that now he thinks "it might be fun" to return.

That is, if the academy will consider some overhauls.

"I think the show needs to change," he told the Associated Press. "There's too many awards, and it has to sort of freshen itself up, and if I can be a part of that, that would be great."

His reference to cutting back the number of awards doled out on the show might be the deal-breaker. Many others have tried unsuccessfully to get the academy to scale back the 24 categories honored during the ceremony.

It may be unrealistic to think anyone can do that, given the organizational structure of the academy. It's ruled by a board of governors who represent peer groups of enormous power. Whenever cutbacks get discussed, leaders of the crafts branches band together to make sure that none of the less-glamorous categories lose their prominence on the Oscarcast.

—Tom O'Neil

Man Asian goes to 'Three Sisters'

Chinese writer Bi Feiyu's family drama "Three Sisters" has been named the winner of the 2010 Man Asian Literary Prize.

Organizers said in a statement Friday that three jurors praised the novel as "a moving exploration of Chinese family and village life during the Cultural Revolution that moves seamlessly between the epic and the intimate." The Cultural Revolution refers to the 1966-1976 ultra-leftist Chinese political movement.

A well-known screenwriter who adapted his own novel for director Zhang Yimou's 1995 drama "Shanghai Triad," Bi will receive a $30,000 prize.

—Associated Press

Finally

TV casting: Antonio "L.A." Reid, former chairman of Island Def Jam Music Group, will serve as one of the judges on the U.S. version of Simon Cowell's singing competition "The X Factor," Fox said Friday.

Movie casting: Kevin Costner will play Jonathan Kent — the earnest, flinty Kansas farmer who takes in an alien infant who grows up to be Superman — when Warner Bros. revives Superman for the silver screen in 2012.

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