No plan to limit Sistine tourists


Five centuries after Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes were inaugurated at the Sistine Chapel, at least 10,000 people visit the site each day, raising concerns about temperature, dust and humidity affecting the famed art.

But a Vatican Museums official says there are no plans to try to limit tourists’ access.

Museums director Antonio Paolucci cited concerns about the visitor numbers in an article in the Vatican newspaper Wednesday, the 500th anniversary of the frescoes’ inauguration by Pope Julius II.

Like Julius, Pope Benedict XVI plans to celebrate Vespers in the chapel Wednesday evening.

Paolucci says that sometimes as many as 20,000 people daily visit the chapel. But he says that, for the time being, “the adoption of a maximum number [of visitors] will not be necessary.”

Pitt donates $100K for gay marriage


Brad Pitt has agreed to donate $100,000 to help the Human Rights Campaign raise money for its efforts to support same-sex marriage initiatives in several states.

The nation’s largest gay- rights group announced Wednesday that Pitt agreed to match contributions from the group’s members up to $100,000.

In an e-mail to members of the Human Rights Campaign, Pitt wrote that it’s “unbelievable” that people’s relationships will be put to a vote on Election Day.

Same-sex marriage will be on the ballot in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington state.

George Wendt leaves play after chest pains


Chest pains will keep actor George Wendt from performing as Oscar Madison in a Chicago-area production of “The Odd Couple.”

Northlight Theatre announced Tuesday that the actor famous for playing Norm Peterson on the TV show “Cheers” checked into a hospital Sunday and is receiving medical attention. Northlight Theatre executive director Timothy Evans says Wendt “will eventually make a full recovery.”

The 64-year-old Wendt was to perform in the show from Friday through Dec. 9 in the Chicago suburb of Skokie. He will be replaced by actor Marc Grapey, who previously performed in “The Odd Couple” on Broadway with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.

Vindicator wire services

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