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Actors support redesign of county Museum of Art

LOS ANGELES — Actors Brad Pitt and Diane Keaton were among those who urged the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to approve $117.5 million in funding for the redesign of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art April 9.

The board unanimously approved the funding — which follows an earlier payment of $7.5 million — along with $300 million in bond financing to support the project. The board’s support will be more than matched by $525 million in private money raised by the museum.

Pitt and Keaton both praised architect Peter Zumthor’s single-story design, which will be built across and above Wilshire Boulevard.

Pitt called him “one of the great architects of our time … [who] builds from the soul, for the soul.”

Keaton noted the many prestigious awards Zumthor has won.

“If you were an actor, that would mean that you had won 15 Academy Awards,” she said.

But critics of the plan accused LACMA Director Michael Govan of trying to shut down opponents.

Resident Oscar Peña called the process “autocratic and openly hostile to the public” and said the museum shouldn’t be saddled with millions of dollars in bond debt.

Others complained that the redesign of four aging buildings reduces the exhibit space, which Govan countered by saying that earlier construction of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum building and the Resnick Pavilion added 100,000 square feet of gallery space.

After the redesign, LACMA will boast a total 220,000 square feet of exhibit space.

“For me, that is the right size for LACMA,” Govan told the board.

Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight published an open letter to the supervisors urging them not to support the redesign.

Citing an interview with The Times in which Govan put the cost at about $1,873 per square foot, Knight said the cost was a gross overpayment and $500 per square foot too high. He also said the design doesn’t allow for expansion and would limit the museum’s ability to appropriately reflect the diverse cultures that make up Los Angeles.

Govan told the board that the cost of the building is about $1,400 per square foot.

The total project cost is $650 million, which includes parking and other infrastructure costs that may not be included in that square footage calculation.

As for the design, “I think it’s visionary and I think it anticipates the future of our museum,” Govan said.

It would have cost $250 million just to restore the four buildings, which led the county to agree years ago to pay half that amount.

Though the board’s vote was unanimous, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl went out of her way to say she liked the design and wasn’t at all reluctant to offer her support, implying that some of her colleagues were not as enthusiastic.

Kuehl said she believes Govan and his administration are “devoted” to expanding access to the arts and serving the diverse cultural needs of residents countywide.

Registration underway for United Way HomeWalk

LOS ANGELES — Registration is underway for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ annual HomeWalk 5K.  

The 12th annual HomeWalk 5K Family Run/Walk will take place May 18 at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles. It has become the largest public event to end homelessness in the nation.

Three members of the Los Angeles Rams, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and punter Johnny Hekker will serve as team captains for this year’s walk. 

“Our most vulnerable neighbors need our help. Whether it’s single mothers and families, veterans or people who have fallen on hard times because of a loss of job or medical crisis, homelessness has many faces,” said Kevin Demoff, chief operating officer of the Rams. “At the Rams, our goal is to use our platform to rally ourselves, our community and all of Los Angeles to climb to new heights and tackle this pressing issue together with compassion, humanity and teamwork.”

“HomeWalk has provided 19,000 homes to our neighbors experiencing homelessness, and we know homes end homelessness,” said Elise Buik, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “This walk does more than fundraise — it unites our communities — and we know with the support of our three Rams HomeWalk team captains and the entire Los Angeles Rams organization, we are going to house even more of L.A. County’s 53,000 individuals who live every day on the streets.”

During its 11-year history, HomeWalk has successfully mobilized more than 100,000 people and raised $8.6 million in funding, which directly funded permanent supportive housing for L.A. County’s most vulnerable neighbors.

Powered by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Everyone In is a countywide initiative bringing together leaders and voices across L.A. County to keep the best solutions to end homelessness moving forward by creating ways for the public to get involved; tracking, measuring and sharing progress; and lifting up successes and celebrating wins.

To register for the HomeWalk visit https://secure.qgiv.com/event/homewalk2019/register/#signup.

Rita Wilson marks new album with star on Walk of Fame

HOLLYWOOD — Actress, producer and singer/songwriter Rita Wilson became the latest honoree on the Hollywood Walk of Fame March 29, coinciding with the release of her album “Halfway to Home.”

Wilson’s husband Tom Hanks and actress Julia Roberts were among those joining her in speaking at the ceremony at 7024 Hollywood Blvd., adjacent to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, near the star that Hanks received on July 1, 1992, the day “A League of Their Own” was released.

A native of Los Angeles, Wilson talked about growing up in Hollywood — watching movies at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and attending Hollywood High School, where she was a cheerleader.

“Home. This is my home. Hollywood, California,” Wilson said. “My dad was able to buy a house here on a bartender’s salary, and like so many other women in the day, my mom made our meals and our clothes. This town has given me and my family so much. This town, my home, has allowed me to do what I love to do for a living — act, sing, produce movies. This town has allowed me to pursue my dreams in my own backyard.”

Wilson was born Margarita Ibrahimoff on Oct. 26, 1956, in Los Angeles. Her father, Hassan Ibrahimoff, changed his name to Allan Wilson in 1960, choosing his name after a local street.

Wilson began her professional acting career in the 1972 episode of the ABC comedy “The Brady Bunch” titled “Greg’s Triangle,” playing an opponent of Marcia (Maureen McCormick) in her bid to be selected head cheerleader.

Between 1974 and 1979, Wilson appeared on such television series as “Movin’ On,” “Lou Grant” and “Hawaii Five-O.” She met her husband when she guest-starred in a 1981 episode of “Bosom Buddies,” in which she portrayed the Satan-worshiping girlfriend of aspiring writer Henry Desmond (Peter Scolari).

Wilson and Hanks also appeared together in the 1985 film comedy “Volunteers,” playing fellow Peace Corps members working in Thailand.

Wilson’s other 1980s television credits include “M.A.S.H.,” “Happy Days,” “Three’s Company,” “Who’s The Boss?” “thirtysomething” and “Moonlighting.” She has also appeared in “Frasier,” “From the Earth to the Moon,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Girls” and “The Good Wife.”

Wilson also appeared in the films “Sleepless in Seattle,” “It’s Complicated,” “Mixed Nuts,” “Now and Then,” “That Thing You Do!,” “Jingle All The Way,” the 1998 remake of “Psycho,” “Runaway Bride,” “The Story of Us,” “Auto Focus,” “Beautiful, Ohio” and “Gloria Bell,” released March 8.

Wilson has appeared twice on Broadway — starring in the 2015 comedy “Fish in the Dark” and as Roxie Hart in “Chicago” for nearly two months in 2006.

Wilson was a producer of the films “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and its sequel “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” and an executive producer of “Mamma Mia!” and its sequel “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.”

Her new album, “Halfway to Home” is a blend of Southern California rock with Nashville country. It is her fourth album, following “AM/FM,” “Rita Wilson” and “Bigger Picture.” She is scheduled to perform at next month’s Stagecoach festival in Indio and CMA Fest in Nashville in June.

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