Taking Names: Thousands of fans gather to say goodbye to Jenni Rivera

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The life of Jenni Rivera was celebrated Wednesday in song, as passionate fans chanted “Jenni! Jenni!” at the singer’s memorial service, which was billed as a “celestial graduation” by her family.

Olga Tanon and Rivera’s children were among those performing at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif., where thousands of fans gathered to salute the “Diva de la Banda.”

Among the guests were famed Mexican singers Marco Antonio Solis, Ana Gabriel and Joan Sebastian.

A red casket sat onstage amid a sea of white roses, as images of Rivera played on a big screen.

Many fans had bought advance tickets to the service for $1. Hundreds of others converged outside the venue, hoping to gain access.

The service was closed to most media, although a broadcast of the proceedings was made available.

The burial will be private.

Rivera and six other people died Dec. 9 in a northern Mexico plane crash that remains under investigation. Rivera, the mother of five children and grandmother of two, was 43.

Rivera sold more than 15 million copies of her 12 major-label albums. Her soulful singing style and honesty about her tumultuous personal life won her fans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. She was also an actress and reality TV star.

Williams‘ Navajo blankets set to be auctioned

The late American crooner Andy Williams, famous for easy-listening hits such as “Moon River” and “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” from his beloved Christmas TV specials, had a passion for Navajo blankets. He assembled a museum-quality collection that’s slated to be auctioned for more than $1 million next year.

The bold, colorful wool blankets decorated his home and office and also the Moon River Theater in Branson, Mo., where they hung “alongside large photographs of Mr. Williams with other musical legends of the 20th century like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand,” said David Roche, Sotheby’s consultant on American Indian art.

The sale is scheduled for late May.

Williams began acquiring the blankets in the 1950s, when only a handful of people were collecting them.

The top lot is a rare Navajo Man’s Wearing Blanket, woven in a “chief’s first phase design” characterized by the addition of fine red stripes. Only about 50 are known to exist.

Its presale estimate is $200,000 to $300,000.

“The red cloth was a very rare commodity and the effort to produce this yarn was painstaking,” said Mr. Roche, Sotheby’s consultant on American Indian art who knew Williams.

The collection numbers about 80 blankets, most woven from handspun wool.

Williams died in September at age 84. The baritone was known for his wholesome, middle-America appeal and easy-listening hits, including the theme to the Oscar-winning tearjerker “Love Story.”

Pacino-led ‘Glengarry’ recoups its investment

The Al Pacino-led revival of “Glengarry Glen Ross” on Broadway has plenty to be happy about this Christmas.

Producers said Wednesday that the show, which marks the 30th anniversary of David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the backbiting world of salesmen, has recouped its $3.3 million investment.

The cast also includes Bobby Cannavale, Jeremy Shamos, John C. McGinley, David Harbor and Richard Schiff. Reviews were mostly positive when the play opened Dec. 8, or at least were far better than a new Mamet play that closed quickly this fall, “The Anarchist.”

The success of “Glengarry Glen Ross” is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak season that has seen “The Producers,” “The Anarchist,” and Kathie Lee Gifford's “Scandalous” all open and close quickly.

‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ to be released as e-book

The science fiction of Arthur C. Clarke finally has reached the next dimension in the U.S.— e-books.

The late author’s estate has an agreement with the digital publisher RosettaBooks to release “2001: A Space Odyssey” and 34 other works. Clarke’s books already have been available electronically in his native Britain.

Rosetta announced Tuesday that other Clarke works coming out as e-books in the U.S. for the first time include his “Rama” and “Vanamonde” series and the novels “Childhood’s End” and “The Sands of Mars.” Clarke died in 2008 at age 90.

Rosetta is an independent publisher that also handles the e-editions of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five.”

Bonham Carter linked to Hugo through ancestor

Helena Bonham Carter apparently shares more with Victor Hugo than just a role in the film based on his novel.

A study by genealogy website Ancestry.com reveals Victor Hugo was a political colleague of a cousin of the 46-year-old actress. Miss Bonham Carter stars as Madame Thenardier in the movie musical “Les Miserables.” The film is an adaptation of the stage musical based on Hugo’s 1862 book.

Ancestry.com said French financier and politician Achille Fould was Miss Bonham Carter’s first cousin five times removed. He served with Hugo in the post-revolutionary French government in the 1840s. Fould was minister of finance; Hugo was in the constitutional and legislative assembly.

Fould was a staunch supporter of Louis Napoleon III when he seized power of the French empire in 1851, while Hugo declared him a traitor.

Carter’s ancestor moved up in power and authority in the new regime. Hugo left the country and wrote scathing letters and poetry about the treachery of his former colleagues, including Fould.

Compiled from Web and wire reports

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