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Quick Takes: Gift for strings at USC

February 22, 2013

It's not unusual for philanthropic gifts to come with strings attached, but the $7-million donation that USC's Thornton School of Music is announcing Friday from a longtime professor, violinist Alice Schoenfeld, is a gift attached to strings.

The money establishes a new endowment whose earnings will provide scholarships for students studying stringed instruments. The strings department currently has 74 students.

It comes on top of a $3-million donation from Schoenfeld that was announced in the fall, for a newly renovated hall previously used by USC's film school that is now a symphonic rehearsal space with recording capabilities.

Both the symphonic hall and the scholarship fund are named in honor of Schoenfeld, who began teaching at USC in 1960, and her late sister, Eleonore, a cellist who also taught for many years at USC and was Alice's performing partner in a decades-long international concert career.

—Mike Boehm

Out of prison, into custody

Platinum-selling rapper Ja Rule left an upstate New York prison Thursday morning after serving most of his two-year sentence for illegal gun possession and headed straight into federal custody in a tax case.

U.S. Marshals escorted the 36-year-old musician out of Mid-State Correctional Facility at 9:30 a.m. He was being held at the Oneida County Jail in central New York as he awaited word from the Federal Bureau of Prisons about where he'll serve time in the tax case.

The rapper, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, has some time remaining on a 28-month sentence for tax evasion that ran concurrently.

Ja Rule scored a Grammy Award nomination in 2002 for the best rap album with "Pain Is Love." He also has appeared in movies, including "The Fast and the Furious" in 2001 and "Scary Movie 3" in 2003.

—Associated Press

Lady Gaga has hip surgery

Lady Gaga has undergone hip surgery after a concert injury left her immobile last month and forced her to cancel the remainder of her "Born This Way Ball" tour.

In a note posted late Wednesday on her Little Monsters blog, the singer, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, thanked fans and said that they had given her "a lot of strength" during her surgery.

The 26-year-old performer was experiencing chronic pain that was the result of an unidentified show injury that she hid from her staff for a month. The injury caused a labral tear of the hip and prevented Gaga from walking, let alone performing in her theatrical shows.

—Nardine Saad

YouTube a factor in Hot 100 list

Adapting to what editorial director Bill Werde called "new music experiences," Billboard magazine said that it will begin incorporating YouTube streams into the data used to determine its Hot 100 singles chart.

The change goes into effect with this week's tally, topped by Baauer's viral-video hit "Harlem Shake."

Last week, the song wasn't even on the chart, marking only the 21st time a song has debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100, according to Billboard's Gary Trust.

YouTube data join a complex blend of Hot 100 charting criteria that also include digital track downloads, physical single sales, terrestrial and online radio play and on-demand streaming.

Other songs that Billboard said had been affected by the changes this week include Rihanna's "Stay," which moved from No. 57 to No. 3, and Drake's "Started From the Bottom," which went from No. 63 to No. 10.

—Mikael Wood

'Metropolis' to return to KCRW

KCRW-FM (89.9) will resurrect its electronic dance music show "Metropolis" starting Saturday night. Jason Bentley will return to the helm of a show he hosted every night of the week before stepping into the music director position he's held since 2008.

This time, "Metropolis" will return on a weekly basis in the 10 p.m. to midnight time slot on Saturdays.

Bentley will continue as host of the station's flagship weekday show, "Morning Becomes Eclectic."

—Randy Lewis

'For Better' heads to OWN

Tyler Perry's sitcom "For Better or Worse" is moving from TBS to OWN this fall.

The move extends the growing relationship between the actor/director and OWN, the cable channel owned by Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications.

OWN has already announced two new projects from Perry, a comedy and a drama that are expected to launch later this year.

—Joe Flint

Finally

Staying put: David Gregory has re-upped as host of NBC's "Meet the Press," a job he took over in 2008 from the late Tim Russert.

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