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Quick Takes: A final 'Toast' for Helm

May 03, 2012

One of the last studio recordings by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Levon Helm was also one of the closest to his heart.

Helm, his longtime friend and producer Larry Campbell and a crew of musicians and technicians recorded the rhythm track for the new Amnesty International 50th anniversary commemorative song "Toast to Freedom" last summer and helped recruit Ewan McGregor, Kris Kristofferson, Warren Haynes, Keb Mo, Carly Simon, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, Rosanne Cash and many others to join the effort.

Campbell said Helm had hoped to support the release of the album with live performances, including Thursday's debut on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," until his health failed. The pioneering drummer of the Band died April 19.

"He would've been out there on the Leno show had circumstances been different," Campbell said. "I just feel like his spirit was so much in line with the spirit of this song that he'll be missed when we do it."

—Associated Press

Ailing Nabors to skip Indy 500

An Indianapolis Motor Speedway spokesman says heart surgery will prevent Jim Nabors from performing "Back Home Again in Indiana" at this year's Indianapolis 500.

Nabors, 81, will have surgery later this month, Doug Boles said.

Boles told the Indianapolis Star on Wednesday that a Speedway video crew is set to record Nabors singing the song in Hawaii next week for playback during the pre-race festivities. The race is scheduled for May 27.

Nabors, the former star of "Gomer Pyle, USMC" and "The Jim Nabors Hour," began performing "Back Home Again in Indiana" in 1972 and since 1987 has performed it every year but one: He also missed the 2007 race for health reasons.

—Associated Press

Minimal damage at Perry's studio

A fire that broke out at Tyler Perry's Atlanta studio caused serious damage only to a backlot facade, the filmmaker's publicist said Wednesday.

On Tuesday evening, more than 100 firefighters, 13 engines and 12 trucks responded to a four-alarm fire at Perry's 30-acre complex.

The morning after the fire was contained, Perry thanked firefighters in a statement for "limiting the damage" and said he was "grateful that there were no injuries."

The cause of the fire that broke out on the 200,000-square-foot studio remains under investigation, according to the Atlanta Fire Department. The fire caused damage only to the exterior of one structure, and there was some water damage inside the building, a department spokesman said.

—Amy Kaufman

$19.1 million for rare Cezanne

A rare watercolor study by Paul Cezanne believed lost for nearly 60 years fetched $19.1 million at a New York City auction.

Christie's auction house said "A Card Player" sold to a buyer who wished to remain anonymous. The price included the buyer's premium.

The watercolor was a study for Cezanne's celebrated series of oil paintings titled "Card Players." It was rediscovered this year in the collection of the late Heinz Eichenwald, a well-known collector from Dallas.

A flower bouquet painted by Henri Matisse in 1907, "Les Pivoines," also sold for $19.1 million Tuesday night.

Claude Monet's hazy 1894 landscape with haystacks, "Les Demoiselles de Giverny," sold for $9.6 million. Six paintings by Pablo Picasso also sold, led by a jewel-like 1932 portrait, "Le Repos," depicting his muse and lover Marie-Therese Walter. It went for $9.9 million.

—Wire reports

Helsinki rebuffs Guggenheim bid

Helsinki has rejected a proposal to establish a Guggenheim art museum in the city.

The city board voted 8 to 7 to block Mayor Jussi Pajunen's proposal to build the museum, according to a memorandum posted on the Finnish capital's website. The memorandum didn't provide a reason for the rejection. Passage by the board would have sent the proposal to the City Council, its highest decision-making body.

Helsinki had asked the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in January 2011 to look into establishing its fourth European museum in Finland's biggest city. The $184-million museum was planned as a mostly noncollecting institution hosting traveling exhibitions of contemporary art.

The Guggenheim Foundation has museums in New York, Bilbao, Berlin and Venice, and is building one in Abu Dhabi.

—Bloomberg News


Renewed: TLC has ordered 16 more episodes of "Long Island Medium." The reality show begins its third season in September.

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