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The next four days will be the hardest three weeks of the year.

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The Season is upon us. Not the holiday season -- that's just a part of it. Our season starts in September, when the work for everyone on the staff slowly starts to increase, and ends in March after SXSW. Instead of slowing down in January, we are hit with a whole set of new factors. This after a rather intense summer, which used to be the slow period for us, has everyone a little jangly. There is a special insanity in December. This week is the worst. Our staff will work on four issues this week -- the one you hold in your hand, the Christmas and New Year's issues, and then the first issue of 2000, our Top 10 issue.

January will calm down a little, but then it is time to clear the decks for SXSW week (and this year promises to be something very special). By then, you can see the energy tornado swirling around SXSW world headquarters and feel the hum of energy emanating from there 24 hours a day.

Already, Margaret Moser and I are working on the Music Awards Show lineup, while she is tooling up the end-of-the-decade poll (with the 20th anniversary of the Austin Music Poll just one year off). Music Awards! SXSW! It isn't even Christmas yet!

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It's Musicians Register time again. List your band. The form is on p. 91. While there, check out the ad on that page for the benefit Caroline Rhea will be doing for the Texas Freedom Network at La Zona Rosa on Tuesday, December 21.

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The Austin Film Society's Sam Peckinpah series ends tonight, Thursday, December 16, with a 7pm showing of Cross of Iron at the Alamo Drafthouse. This is probably going to be the only chance you'll have in your lifetime to see this film on the big screen. Peckinpah's only war film looks at WWII from the German point of view. Set on the Russian front in 1943, it would have been too much to have them fighting Americans -- but Russians getting killed was okay. James Coburn plays a German soldier, sick of the war.

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The holidays bring an abbreviated holiday schedule to the Chronicle office: We will be open Monday and Tuesday, December 20 and 21. We will be closed Wednesday through Friday, December 22-24. We will re-open on Monday, December 27, and close for the rest of that week. We will finally resume normal business hours the morning of January 3, 2000.

We will publish issues each of these weeks. We will not skip any issues.

Together, Chronicle staff and readers, holding hands, will venture forth into the new millennium. Nick Barbaro and some other nonbelievers claim the new millennium doesn't begin until January 1, 2001, but they're just anal math fanatics without a sufficient sense of poetry. end story

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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