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Holy Cities, Opera Houses, Good Movies, Lyrics and Beatles Muses

Hadid, Foster on list to renovate Mecca: Mecca, aka Islam’s holiest city is seeking a face lift, and authorities are considering hot-right-now architects Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster for the job. They are among 16 contenders to create a new structure surrounding the Al Haram mosque, taking its capacity from 900,000 to 3 million, which would make it the highest capacity building in the world. Hadid has also been asked for input on upgrading “the whole area of the central district” of the city. [The National]

Sydney Opera architect dies: Joern Utzon, architect of the iconic Sydney Opera House, died of a heart attack Saturday at the age of 90. In 2003, Utzon received the Pritzker Prize — the most prestigious architecture prize awarded—for this “most famous building in the world.” Sadly, it was a project that he never actually completed. [Bloomberg]

2008 good year for movies: Director Danny Boyle’s acclaimed Slumdog Millionaire swept the British Independent Film Awards yesterday, picking up three prizes including Best British Film. Steve McQueen’s Hunger and Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky also came away with a good haul of awards. These films were also nominated today for the International Press Academy’s awards. Slumdog vies with the Dark Knight, Milk and a few others for Best Movie of 2008. The competition is tough. [Reuters]

Complete Hammerstein lyrics published: A six-tome behemoth is released today that contains all the lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein ever. One half of the ubiquitous Rodgers and Hammerstein of musical theater fame, his musicals include Show Boat, Oklahoma!, Carousel and Sound of Music. [Playbill]

Who was Eleanor Rigby?: A document sold this weekend that might help reveal the identity of Eleanor Rigby of the eponymous Beatles song. The 97-year-old salary register from Liverpool City Hospital shows the signature of E. Rigby, a scullery maid. The document sold for $177,000 — a lot, but way, way less than the $769,000 it was estimated to go for. [Billboard]

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