Quick Takes: Grammys tap Chris Brown

Chris Brown will perform at this year's Grammy Awards, the event where his career almost ended three years ago.

Brown admitted assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna at a pre-Grammy party in 2009 and is serving five years of probation.

The Recording Academy announced Tuesday that Brown will take the Grammy stage in L.A. Sunday.

Brown's reputation plummeted after the attack, but he has bounced back. He is nominated for three Grammys, including best R&B album.

Rihanna will also perform at the Grammys. She's nominated for four awards, including the top prize — album of the year — for her platinum effort "Loud."

—Associated Press

Taylor's art sells for $22 million

Three top works from Elizabeth Taylor's art collection sold at a London auction for $22 million, the auctioneer Christie's said Tuesday.

The lot's biggest-selling item was Van Gogh's "Vue de l'asile de la Chapelle de Remy," which used to hang in the living room of Taylor's Bel-Air home. The landscape was sold for nearly $16 million to an anonymous telephone bidder.

The two other pieces sold were a self-portrait by Edgar Degas and a landscape by Claude Pissarro.

Taylor died in March at age 79, and Christie's has been selling off her possessions piecemeal.

—Associated Press

Starry reading of '8' still on

The planned L.A. reading of the play "8," featuring George Clooney, Matthew Morrison and others, will take place as scheduled on March 3, despite Tuesday's ruling by a U.S. appeals court declaring California's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.

"8," by Dustin Lance Black, will have a one-night staged reading at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. The cast also includes Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Christine Lahti, Jamie Lee Curtis, George Takei and Yeardley Smith.

The reading, which will be directed by Rob Reiner, will serve as a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, a group launched to fight Proposition 8, the controversial California ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in the state. A spokeswoman for the foundation said Tuesday that the money will be used to fund the group's work "in securing full federal marriage equality."

Ferguson, meanwhile, had his own reaction to Tuesday's court ruling: He tweeted a photo of himself and Eric Stonestreet, who plays his gay partner on the ABC series "Modern Family," with a sign that read, "How could you not want to see us tie the knot?"

—David Ng

Don Cornelius ruled a suicide

"Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the Los Angeles County coroner's office said Tuesday.

The coroner is officially ruling Cornelius' death a suicide but said additional toxicology test were pending.

A relative of Cornelius found him at his Mulholland Drive home last week. He was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to law enforcement sources.

—Andrew Blankstein

Dickens event draws luminaries

Charles Dickens' mistrust of the wealthy and compassion for the poor didn't stop him from being embraced by Britain's high and mighty on the writer's 200th birthday Tuesday.

Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, joined Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, actor Ralph Fiennes, a host of dignitaries and scores of Dickens' descendants at a memorial service in London's Westminster Abbey.

The heir to the throne laid a wreath of white roses and snowdrops on the writer's grave in Poet's Corner — resting place of national literary icons — and two of Dickens' youngest descendants added a pair of small white posies.

Fiennes read from Dickens' "Bleak House," and there were prayers for the poor and marginalized, and for the writers, artists and journalists chronicling modern society.

A simultaneous event was held in Portsmouth, where Dickens was born.

—Associated Press


Paying tribute: Thanks to a donation from TV Land, the Los Angeles Zoo's 3-month-old orangutan has been named Elka, after the character Betty White plays on the cable network's "Hot in Cleveland" series. White, who just turned 90, is co-chairman of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn.

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