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Monster Mash: News and Headlines

December 31, 2008 | 10:33 am

Michael Gambon and Tom Stoppard -- Playwright and Nobel laureate Harold Pinter is laid to rest in a small, private burial in London, with Tom Stoppard, right, and Michael Gambon among the mourners.

-- After a last hurrah in September with Damien Hirst's do-it-yourself "Beautiful Inside My Head" art sale, the market for contemporary art sales plummeted, leaving Christie's and Sotheby's down 17% from last year.

Bad arts news still coming in bunches:

-- San Francisco's Magic Theatre, noted as the launching pad for Sam Shepard's "True West," is on the verge of suspending its 43rd season, barring an emergency infusion of $350,000 in donations.

-- A foundation that funds an annual arts fair at the Indianapolis Museum of Art has had all its assets looted in what's believed to be an inside job.

-- Locally, the economic casualties include David L. Abell Fine Pianos on Beverly Boulevard, whose customers over nearly 50 years have included  Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Jackson Browne, Andre Previn and Ronald Reagan.

-- Meanwhile, Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C., calls for the feds to rush emergency funding to troubled arts organizations.

-- And Nicholas Penny of London's National Gallery of Art is suggesting museums cut costs by paring down special exhibitions to a single important work of art, with low admission fees.

-- Mike Boehm

Photo of actor Michael Gambon, left, and British screenwriter and playwright Tom Stoppard at the London home of Lady Antonia Fraser, widow of Harold Pinter, for a reception following Pinter's funeral. Credit: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images.