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Quick Takes: 'Mars' trip needs funds

March 14, 2013

Fans of the teen mystery series "Veronica Mars" have been clamoring for a movie ever since the show was canceled in 2007.

Now they may finally get their wish, but it's going to cost them.

Star Kristen Bell and creator Rob Thomas have paired up to launch a Kickstarter campaign and hope to raise $2 million by April 13. If their goal is reached and it appears there are enough fans willing to fork over money for a product they haven't yet seen, Thomas and Bell say Warner Bros. has agreed to fund production of the film version.

The series, which ran on UPN for two seasons and the CW for a single season, had a small but devoted following that loved the adventures of Bell as a brainy teen sleuth, solving mysteries in her small town of Neptune, Calif.

—Patrick Kevin Day

A road show of Marvel heroes

The people who bring you the Greatest Show on Earth will be taking Spider-Man, the Hulk, Thor and the X-Men on a worldwide road show.

Feld Entertainment Inc., which produces the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, along with a host of other live shows such as Disney on Ice, announced a partnership Wednesday with Marvel Entertainment to produce a live arena show featuring the Marvel universe of characters.

Exact financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. But Kenneth Feld, chief executive of Vienna, Va.-based Feld Entertainment, said he expects the show to open in July 2014, and tour arenas domestically and internationally, as the company's other shows do. Production costs will likely exceed $10 million, Feld said.

—Associated Press

Watts Towers' stability studied

The Watts Towers in South Los Angeles is the subject of a new study conducted by experts from UCLA to determine the stability of the historic sculptures, which were completed by Simon Rodia in 1954.

Chief among the concerns are cracks that have plagued the towers for many years. Sensors have been placed around the site to help gauge the extent to which the cracks are created by the elements, including wind, sun exposure and earthquakes.

The study is being carried out by engineers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. The project is being overseen by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which has a long-term preservation contract for the Watts Towers.

—David Ng

Luke Bryan tops Jimi Hendrix

Rising country singer Luke Bryan scored his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart Wednesday with "Spring Break … Here to Party," a collection that sold nearly 150,000 copies during its first week.

A safe distance behind at No. 2 was Jimi Hendrix's "People, Hell and Angels," a posthumous collection of previously unreleased studio recordings the rock guitar hero made from 1968 to 1970. It sold 72,000 copies and becomes his highest charting album since "Electric Ladyland" went to No. 1 in 1968.

Billboard noted that the last time a posthumously released album did as well as the new Hendrix album was in November 2009, when Michael Jackson's "This Is It" went to No. 1.

—Randy Lewis

S.F. Symphony musicians strike

The San Francisco Symphony's musicians are on strike, leading to the cancellation of Thursday's scheduled performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony and the first in a series of rehearsals for a three-city East Coast tour scheduled to begin March 20 at New York City's Carnegie Hall.

The tour, which features soloist Yuja Wang on piano and also includes performances in Newark, N.J., and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., is in jeopardy, as are three additional Mahler performances this weekend at the orchestra's own Davies Symphony Hall.

David Schoenbrun, president of the American Federation of Musicians Local 6, which represents the San Francisco Symphony musicians, said they had resolved not to rehearse for the tour until a new contract is in place.

The old contract expired in November, and an agreed-upon temporary extension lapsed Feb. 15, he said.

Schoenbrun said orchestra management's most recent offer — three years with no increase in the first year and 1% raises in the two subsequent years — was unacceptable given such signs of prosperity for the orchestra as plans to renovate Davies Symphony Hall, spending $11 million during a season-long celebration of its 2011 100th anniversary, a $250,000 two-year bonus for its executive director, Brent Assink, and the high salary paid to music director Michael Tilson Thomas — $2.41 million in 2010.

—Mike Boehm

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