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Quick Takes: Windfall for Smithsonian

May 04, 2012

An energy businessman is donating a record $35 million to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History to build a new dinosaur hall on the National Mall, the museum complex announced Thursday.

The donation by David H. Koch, the executive vice president of Koch Industries Inc. of Wichita, Kan., is the single largest gift in the museum's 102-year history.

Koch, an engineer trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a billionaire who lives in New York City. He was the Libertarian Party's vice presidential nominee in 1980 and has been a major donor to conservative political causes as well as to educational, medical and cultural groups.

Koch previously gave the Smithsonian $15 million in 2009 to build a new exhibit hall exploring human evolution over 6 million years.

—Associated Press

PBS planning doc on Latinos

PBS is preparing a six-hour documentary series on the history of Latinos in the United States, to air in fall 2013.

English- and Spanish-language versions are being produced for the project, which will air across three days. The supervising producer is Adriana Bosch, a Cuban American who recently did a documentary for PBS on Latin music.

A large part of the documentary will focus on the experiences of Mexican Americans, but it will also include stories about Latinos from other countries who made contributions to the U.S., she said.

"Latinos have been part of American history since before there were 13 colonies," she said.

The sprawling project includes an advisory panel of academics from across the country.

—Associated Press

'Chained' loses NC-17 appeal

On Tuesday, the filmmakers behind "Chained," a movie about a serial killer starring Vincent D'Onofrio, saw the Motion Picture Assn. of America deny their appeal of an NC-17 rating by a vote of 9 to 4.

So director Jennifer Lynch says she will recut the scene that was at issue — a graphic depiction of a woman having her throat slit — but she isn't happy about it.

Lynch, the daughter of director David Lynch and a filmmaker whose movies often contain violent themes, has had her tangles with the MPAA before. She landed an NC-17 nearly 20 years ago for a decapitation scene in her debut picture, "Boxing Helena."

She said she thinks that many other blood-soaked movies get an R because they don't strive for the same intensity as her films — a false distinction, she believes, that rewards a casual attitude toward violence.

"What you're doing with the NC-17 is making a very potent statement that no kids should see this movie no matter what, even though kids can see [R-rated] movies where violence is sexy and funny," she said. "And I don't think it should be OK for kids to see violence just because it's sexy and funny."

—Steven Zeitchik

Jagger to host 'SNL' finale

Mick Jagger will test his comic skills this month as host of the "Saturday Night Live" season finale.

The Rolling Stones frontman has been a musical guest twice on the long-running NBC show, and the network said Thursday that he will perform musically on the May 19 finale. But he has never been host before, a job that usually requires participation in several comic skits.

The Rolling Stones mark their 50th anniversary this year but have yet to announce any activities to commemorate the occasion.

—Associated Press

Dudamel cancels his Umbrella gig

Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel won't be conducting next week's Green Umbrella concert, as originally scheduled.

Dudamel has some heavy lifting for his upcoming set of concerts with the L.A. Phil and has withdrawn, according to the orchestra, "in order to devote sufficient time to preparations" for the world premiere of John Adams' evening-length work "The Gospel According to the Other Mary."

Taking the podium for Tuesday's concert will be Jeffrey Milarsky, who filled in last month for another Green Umbrella concert when Adams himself withdrew.

—Sherry Stern

Finally

TV bio: Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for playing her in "Walk the Line," and now Jewel will star in "The June Carter Cash Story," a TV movie for Lifetime based on the memoir by her son, John Carter Cash, "Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash."

Renewed: The CW has ordered new seasons of "90210," "Vampire Diaries" and "Supernatural."

Comeback: The reclusive soul singer D'Angelo will give his first U.S. performance in 10 years at the 2012 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans in July.

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