Quick Takes: Louvre seeks donations

France's Louvre museum is making an unprecedented appeal to the general public to help it raise the cash to buy a 16th century painting deemed a national treasure by art experts.

The Louvre has already scraped together $4.19 million for "The Three Graces," an oil painting of three nudes by German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, but is about $1.3 million short of the price tag set by the work's private owners.

The Louvre has until the end of January to raise the funds, without which it fears the masterpiece could go to another private collector and never go on public display, or worse, be taken out of France.

Painted in 1531, the work is an ironic and provocative take on the Renaissance theme of the three graces, depicting the nudes in a mildly daring pose that the Louvre believes could make it a headlining piece of its collections.


Newton tourist spot advances

Entertainer Wayne Newton got the preliminary go-ahead Wednesday to convert his lavish home southwest of the Las Vegas Strip into a moneymaking tourist attraction.

It took four hours of debate, amid neighbors' protests about the prospect of noisy buses, unyielding traffic and gift shops marring their affluent neighborhood of ranches and mansions.

But Clark County commissioners unanimously granted the "Mr. Las Vegas" icon and "Danke Schoen" crooner preliminary approval to develop his Casa de Shenandoah ranch for tours.

Newton still has to submit plans for county approval for what some have dubbed "Graceland West."

—Associated Press

Free admission at Hammer

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Hammer Museum will be offering free admission from Nov. 26 to Dec. 18.

The art museum, located at UCLA, opened its doors to the public in November 1990, featuring works from the collection of oil tycoon Armand Hammer, who died shortly after the museum opened.

The museum said it will also be offering discounts in the Hammer Bookstore. For the entire month of December, design books will be 50% off in the store. Parking in the museum garage costs $3 for three hours with museum validation.

Admission to the museum usually costs $7 for adults and $5 for seniors. The museum offers free admission on Thursdays.

—David Ng

Crist seeks Jim Morrison pardon

Outgoing Florida Gov. Charlie Crist wants a state pardon for long-dead rocker Jim Morrison, who was convicted of exposing himself at a raucous 1969 concert in Miami.

Crist said Wednesday he's convinced that prosecutors at the time were trying to make an example of the Doors lead singer rather than try a legitimate case. "We all have a responsibility where appropriate to seek forgiveness," he said.

Crist will need the support of at least two other Cabinet members to approve a pardon, which may be more ceremonial since Florida doesn't have procedures for posthumous pardons.

Morrison died in 1971 in Paris while appealing his conviction.

Crist, a Republican turned independent, lost his bid for a U.S. Senate seat earlier this month.

—Associated Press

Poles pay honor to Gorecki

Prominent Polish composers and officials bid farewell Wednesday to Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, best known for composing his "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs," at a memorial service in his home city.

Composers Wojciech Kilar and Krzysztof Penderecki joined Culture Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski for the concert and funeral Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Katowice.

The service included music by Gorecki, along with that from Richard Strauss and others.

Gorecki died on Nov. 12 at the age of 76.

—Associated Press


Split: Eva Longoria, a star of ABC's "Desperate Housewives," filed court papers Wednesday to divorce basketball star Tony Parker, citing irreconcilable differences. They've been married for three years.

Title: Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, star of "The Proposal" and the coming "Green Lantern," was named People magazine's "sexiest man alive" Wednesday, joining the ranks of such previous winners as Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.

Sales: Susan Boyle had the No. 1 album in the country last week, with sales of 318,000 for "The Gift," Billboard reported Wednesday.

Art transfer: The Netherlands on Wednesday returned an oil painting by Jan Brueghel the Younger to the heirs of a Jewish art dealer persecuted by the Nazis and forced to flee Germany more than 70 years ago.

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