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Quick Takes: Cuban folk singer Silvio Rodriguez plans U.S. tour

Cuban folk icon Silvio Rodriguez has been booked to play at Carnegie Hall during his first U.S. tour in more than 30 years, but his office said Thursday that Washington has yet to approve his visa.

The Cuban government website Cubadebate, where Fidel Castro posts written essays, announced that the U.S. tour would also take Rodriguez to Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Puerto Rico.

Rodriguez’s office said his U.S. visa had not been approved, but the New York concert has already been scheduled for June 4. His last American concerts came in 1979.

The 63-year-old Rodriguez is a staunch defender of the Castro government and has for decades penned politically charged lyrics, though many fans are more moved by his poetic love songs.

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—Associated Press

Broad seems to prefer L.A. site

Eli Broad says he still hasn’t decided between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles as a site for a new museum to house his contemporary art collection.

But in a conversation with Times editorial board members and reporters, Broad made his first public comments suggesting a preference, and downtown at the southwest corner of 2nd Street and Grand Avenue, next to Walt Disney Concert Hall and across from the Museum of Contemporary Art, would seem to be it.

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“Santa Monica we haven’t ruled out, by the way,” Broad said Wednesday after outlining how a Grand Avenue museum would help fulfill his longstanding vision of building up downtown L.A. as a magnet for economic growth and cultural tourism. “But it’s not like being downtown if you want to draw the biggest possible audience.”

Broad, L.A.'s leading arts philanthropist, said that if the review process goes smoothly, work on a downtown museum could begin in July, with an opening as soon as the summer of 2012.

—Mike Boehm

National book fair gets pledge

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David Rubenstein on Thursday announced a $5-million pledge to the Library of Congress to ensure the National Book Festival continues on the National Mall in Washington for years to come.

Rubenstein is a co-founder and managing director of the Washington-based Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. He also became chairman of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this week.

—Associated Press

Gus Van Sant photo exhibits

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David Lynch had a photo exhibit at Michael Kohn Gallery in L.A. and a painting exhibit at Griffin in Santa Monica last year. Tim Burton showed his artwork at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Now filmmaker Gus Van Sant (“Milk,” “Drugstore Cowboy,” “Good Will Hunting”) is having his photography shown at two exhibitions in Oregon.

The first opened Thursday at PDX Contemporary Art in Portland; the second opens May 16 at the University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Van Sant’s roots are in art. Before he got into filmmaking, he studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design.

“What I want to do is paint,” Van Sant told the Oregonian newspaper. “But to paint would be a luxury right now. The medium of film is something I’ve been doing often and long enough to where I’ve arrived at different things. It’s a challenge but not foreign territory. When I start to paint, I have to retrace all of the years I haven’t been painting.”

Meanwhile, Van Sant was named Thursday as the recipient of the visionary award at this year’s Stockholm film festival.

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—From staff

and wire reports

Chaz Bono is legally a man

Chaz Bono is officially a man and has his new name.

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A judge in Los Angeles on Thursday granted a request to change the name and gender of the 41-year-old writer, activist and reality TV star. Chaz Bono was born a girl to Sonny Bono and Cher and underwent a gender-change operation last year.

—Associated Press

Finally

In development: Having already caused a fuss this spring with the depiction of the prophet Muhammad on “South Park,” Comedy Central said Thursday that it has a cartoon series about Jesus Christ in the works.

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