Poe book sale tops itself
A rare copy of Edgar Allan Poe's first book sold Friday for $662,500, smashing the previous record price for American literature.
The previous record is believed to be $250,000 for a copy of the same book sold nearly two decades ago.
The copy of "Tamerlane and Other Poems" had been estimated to sell for between $500,000 and $700,000 at Christie's auction house in New York City.
The 40-page collection of poems was published in 1827. Poe wrote the book shortly after moving to Boston to launch his literary career. No more than 40 or 50 copies of "Tamerlane" were printed, and only 12 remain.
-- associated press French culture strike continues
French culture workers extended their strike Friday, shutting the Arc de Triomphe and Versailles Palace for a second day. The Louvre, the world's most visited museum, managed to open about two-thirds of its rooms at midday.
The strike to protest against planned job cuts began almost two weeks ago at the modern art Pompidou Center. It spread this week, also shutting the Musee d'Orsay with its 19th century Impressionist art and the Sainte-Chapelle with its medieval stained-glass windows. Outside Paris, the strike closed the Carcassonne Castle in southern France.
"We will keep going until they give in," said Roger Martinez, an archaeologist and a delegate of the Force Ouvriere union said in an interview at a rally outside the Louvre. "Museums already suffer from understaffing. The government wants to asphyxiate them."
Unions are protesting the government's plans to replace only one out of every two retiring civil servants, which they say will cripple French museums. The nonreplacement plan, designed to shrink the state payroll and cut the budget deficit, was a campaign pledge of President Nicolas Sarkozy in his 2007 election.
A spokeswoman for Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said the ministry had no comment.
-- bloomberg news Rock hall annex to shutter in N.Y.
The year-old New York City annex to Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will shut down Jan. 3.
A news release issued by S2BN Entertainment, a partner in the venture, gave no reason for the closing. But rock hall chief executive Terry Stewart told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the decision was made by corporate partners who had backed the $10-million annex in downtown Manhattan.
The rock hall said some of the artifacts displayed in New York could become part of a traveling show.
-- associated press James Levine returns to podium
Conductor James Levine has returned to the podium following a two-month absence caused by surgery for a herniated disk in his back.
Levine, 67, conducted the opening performance of a new production of Offenbach's "Les Contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann)" at New York City's Metropolitan Opera on Thursday night.
Levine is music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Met. He conducted the Met's opening-night performance of Puccini's "Tosca" in September and a pair of concerts with the BSO before deciding to have surgery.
It was his third layoff in recent years for medical reasons. He tore his rotator cuff in 2006 when he tripped and fell on the stage of Boston's Symphony Hall, and his right kidney was removed in 2008 because of a malignant tumor.
-- associated press They're not lost, just on hiatus
Looks like spring is going to be full of time-traveling, blackout aftermaths, alien encounters -- and, yes, answers.
ABC's two new serialized mysteries, "Flash Forward" and "V," will take a long hiatus until early spring so that the network can air both series' remaining episodes uninterrupted.
"Flash Forward," starring Joseph Fiennes, will return March 4. "V" will return March 30 in a new 10 p.m. slot after "Lost."
"Lost" returns for its final season Feb. 2 at 9 p.m.
-- Maria Elena Fernandez Playhouse sets reading series
The Pasadena Playhouse said Friday that it has lined up some big theater-world names for its new play program, including Theresa Rebeck, Lee Blessing and Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz.
Hothouse at the Pasadena Playhouse, which began in 2005, recently received a $200,000 grant from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, according to the company.
For the current season, the program will feature staged readings of Blessing's "Moderation" (Tuesday and Wednesday); Frank Tangredi's "Pastoral" (Jan. 26 and 27); Stephen Metcalfe's "The Tragedy of the Commons" (Feb. 9 and 10); Allison Moore's "American Klepto" (March 16 and 17); Jason Aaron Goldberg's "The Confessions of Deacon Jim" (April 20 and 21); Rebeck's "The Novelist" (May 4 and 5); and Cruz's "The Color of Desire" (June TBD).
Angela Bassett will star in the reading of Tangredi's "Pastoral," the Playhouse said, and the play will be produced as part of the company's 2010 season, with an opening day in September.
-- David Ng Finally
On the mend: Twisted Sister guitarist Eddie Ojeda was recuperating Friday from emergency back surgery that forced him to miss the band's concert Wednesday night near Philadelphia. He was hoping to be able to rejoin his bandmates for a performance Sunday in New York.