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Sister Act
A high concept comedy so pleasurable it's sinful, Sister Act calls for some rejoicing this summer movie season. Despite its predictability and sappiness, this conventional comedy about a worldly lounge...
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Film Review  May 29, 1992, by Steve Davis
"...Starring: Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Harvey Keitel, Mary Wickes, Kathy Nijimy and Bill Nunn. A high concept comedy so pleasurable it's sinful, Sister Act calls for some rejoicing this summer movie season..."

Act of Valor
Navy SEALs conduct a rescue mission in this film that employed actual soldiers and their experiences in its making.
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Film Review  March 2, 2012, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Coming as it does on the heels of Navy SEAL Team 6’s stunning capture of the Osama bin Laden compound, Act of Valor, which builds a narrative around real SEALs in action, comes at a time of heightened interest and celebration. Using real SEAL team members in the lead roles must have sounded like a good idea in the film’s planning stages, but there is a reason Hollywood invented screen tests..."

Sister Act Two: Back in the Habit
How do you spell crass? When it is so patently obvious that there is no reason to make a movie other than to capitalize on its predecessor's success, that's how...
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Film Review  December 17, 1993, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Not even trickling. Oh, maybe some of the kids hired on to play the inner-city high-schoolers held out hope as they clunked their way through their characters' troubled lives to find self-esteem and personal rewards through singing double entendre-ed soul classics in harmony..."

Congress Putting Teeth Back in Voting Rights Act
New Section 4 would put Texas back under preclearance
DAILY News  January 16, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...Last Summer, the US Supreme Court defanged the Voting Rights Act by striking down Section 4, the clauses defining which states must seek Federal preclearance for election laws. Now a new bipartisan Section 4 has been filed, and it would once again place Texas under Department of Justice scrutiny...."

The Act of Killing
In this disturbing documentary, former Indonesian death-squad leaders boastfully reenact their real-life mass killings with touches inspired by their favorite movies.
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Film Review  August 9, 2013, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...However, in this canny documentary, Churchill’s truism gets a makeover. The Act of Killing allows the victors a forum to elaborate on their story, and, by their own hands, these aged conquerors unwittingly rewrite aspects of the history that has propped them up for so many decades...."

Richard III
Last Act Theatre's all-female production takes this drama from the doldrums to dynamite for Women Who Act
Arts Review  July 20, 2017, by T. Lynn Mikeska
"...It cannot be argued that Shakespeare's Richard III hasn't been historically one of those plays for (and about) the boys' club. The Bard's tale of a man who lusts for ultimate power and ruthlessly sets out to attain it is dominated by men, and what few roles it has for women are blatantly stereotypical and inactive..."

Did Congress Pass Monsanto Protection Act?
Food activists up in arms over biotech rider in HR 933
DAILY Food  March 26, 2013, by Anna Toon
"...Last week, with a vote of 318 to 109, the House accepted the Senate’s amendments to HR 933. The Senate’s continuing resolution bill, formally known as the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, provides short-term funding to the federal government to the end of the fiscal year...."

Affordable Care Act Stands
Texans respond to Supreme Court ruling
DAILY News  June 28, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...The Republican Party dragged the Affordable Care Act to the US Supreme Court, sure that the conservative-leaning would throw it out. And now they are slackjawed as the highest court in the land supported Obamacare in a five-four decision...."

Jeffrey Tambor Can Act, and So Can You!
George Bluth Snr. lays down the knowledge at acting workshop
DAILY SXSW  March 10, 2008, by Joe O'Connell
"...Only then shall we verily find the truth within. Consider the challenge accepted as we learn how to act in 10 easy steps..."

Class Act
Those perpetual teenagers/rappers/comedians/Marvel comic book stars Kid 'N Play (House Party I & II) are back again in another silly, harmless high school farce for the under-21 set. An upper...
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Film Review  June 12, 1992, by Pamela Bruce
"...Throw in a couple of love interests (Rogers and Parsons), a bigger, meaner -- but more stupid -- bully (Johnson), a couple of car chases, as well as the absolutely unnecessary, thoroughly irritating presence of timeworn teenager Pauly Shore, and it all adds up to the predictable formula that has been shuffled around in the various teen pictures for the past 10 years or so. Class Act is not without some redeeming qualities, which include a great soundtrack featuring recent hip-hop/rap hits, and a pro-education/anti-drug/safe sex undercurrent for its targeted audience that is effective without being too heavy-handed..."

Will RAVE Act Stomp Out Drugs -- Or Dissent?
Drug reformers plan to sue to overturn a new federal law they say was used to stifle their criticism of government policy.
News Story  June 20, 2003, by Jordan Smith
"...Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, that his Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act -- better known as the RAVE Act -- would not be applied indiscriminately, it appears the anti-drug measure's first practical application since becoming federal law less than two months ago has been just that..."

Will Council Take a Stand on PATRIOT Act?
Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Goodman's pro-civil-liberties resolution stalls on the dais
News Story  August 15, 2003, by Lauri Apple
"...Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Goodman believed her resolution against the USA PATRIOT Act would pass with little resistance or hesitation from her six City Council colleagues. After all, the resolution represents the kind of progressive-minded, grassroots-driven position that City Hall claims to support -- just as the council declared its opposition to war in Iraq last winter..."

Biden Joins Fight to Revive Voting Rights Act
Bill would require Texas to get federal clearance
News Story  January 24, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...Citing the memory and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Vice President Joe Biden has urged Congress to pass a bipartisan measure that would rebuild the Voting Rights Act, and once again require Texas to get federal approval for any changes to voting maps and laws...."

The Hightower Report: Repeal the Patriot Act
Unlimited power invites abuse
News Column  July 26, 2013, by Jim Hightower
"...It's back. The Patriot Act – a grotesque, ever-mutating, hydra-headed monstrosity from the Bush-Cheney Little Shop of Horrors – has risen again, this time with an added twist of Orwellian intrusiveness from the Obamacans...."

SCOTUS Punts on Fisher vs. UT, Lifts Part of Voting Rights Act
Two major rulings from the Supreme Court
News Story  June 28, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...As the Texas Legislature roiled and boiled with the abortion debate, lawmakers and civil rights activists occasionally looked up to absorb the impact of two major rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court..."

Death and the Unpatriotic Act
Among amendments tacked onto newest version of the PATRIOT Act is a section allowing U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to grant legal fast-track for death-penalty appeals in states that have enacted standards for attorney appointments to indigent death row inmates
News Story  March 24, 2006, by Jordan Smith
"...By signing into law the newest version of the USA PATRIOT Act on March 9, President George W. Bush has offered fans of Texas' death penalty system another chance to expedite the capital punishment legal process and to usher inmate gurneys to the state's death chamber..."

Polishing His ACT
L.A.-Ex Gary Goldstein Brings Real News to Kids
Screens Story  July 5, 1996
"...Along with an enclave of industry friends who now make Austin their home, Goldstein has taken a huge pay cut and brought his wares to the Austin Independent School District, exposing the seams behind "Hollywood's seamless reality" to Austin high school students through his brainchild, Austin's Creative Television Workshop (ACT). The program, a hands-on television production course, received a small stipend last spring from the City of Austin's Cultural Contracts Office, an entity which contracts artists to provide services that benefit the city by promoting cultural tourism and creative community service, all funded through Austin's hotel/motel tax...."

Does the Open Meetings Act Go Too Far?
Pflugerville joins other Texas cities in challenging portions of the Texas Open Meetings Act
News Story  January 8, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...The Texas Open Meetings Act was designed to blow the doors open on backroom dealing in smoke-filled rooms. Yet four cities, including Pflugerville, are challenging sections of the law..."

ACT Stats Ranking Texas Students on College Readiness Grim
Texas continues to lag behind the national average on ACT scores.
DAILY News  August 16, 2007, by Kimberly Reeves
"...Texas continues to lag behind the national average on ACT scores, although students have made recent, significant gains – from 20.3 last year up to 20.5 this year. The national composite average on the ACT this year was 21.1..."

DVD Watch: 'The Act of Killing'
Drafthouse Films releases Joshua Oppenheimer's complicated doc
DAILY Screens  January 7, 2014, by Monica Riese
"...The Act of Killing, which premiered in Austin at South by Southwest last March and hit theatres here in August, chronicles the stories of two former death-squad leaders in Indonesia, including Anwar Congo and Adi Zulkadry's reenactments of the mass executions. Documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer said: "The method was not an elaborate lure to get them to open up..."

Conversation on Open Meetings Act Is a Good Thing
Postmarks  January 8, 2010
"...Dear Editor, Re: "Does the Open Meetings Act Go Too Far?" [News, Jan. 8]: Let me preface this rant by thanking Richard Whittaker for shedding light on this, until now, (mostly) overlooked-but-quite-important story..."

Hiding Behind Homeland Security Act, DPS Sues AG
Revealing camera locations would compromise security, troopers argue
News Story  September 23, 2005, by Jordan Smith
"...In response, DPS extended Homeland Security Act and so-called "law enforcement" exemptions to the state's Public Information Act in order to withhold the tapes. Releasing the tapes, DPS argued, would give away confidential security info – like the placement of and angles captured by the cameras, which would supposedly be a boon for evildoers and a bust for the rest of us...."

Voting Rights Act Goes to Court
September hearing set in San Antonio
News Story  July 15, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...Harold Dutton and some private citizens, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, and the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force. Plaintiffs allege that the various maps for the House, Senate, and Congress violate the Voting Rights Act by diminishing the ability of minorities to elect representatives of their choosing despite the fact that minorities – especially Hispanics – overwhelmingly drove Texas' population growth over the past decade..."

UIL State One-Act Play Contest
Austin High's championship thespians get a repeat shot at the state title
Arts Story  May 7, 2010, by Robert Faires
"...Here's the score: Star player who helped lead the high school team to a state championship last year is on track for a repeat. Now, this isn't a sports story (or even an episode of Friday Night Lights), but it has all the intensity and even more of the drama – because it's the University Interscholastic League State One-Act Play contest..."

No ACT Test Saturday
ACT college acceptance testing cancelled in AISD
DAILY Emergency  September 12, 2008, by Richard Whittaker
"...More from Austin ISD on cancelled events: ACT College Testing To Be Postponed..."

PATRIOT Act Dangerous to Our Rights
Postmarks  February 2, 2004
"...Dear Editor, I want to thank Michael Ventura for sounding an alarm about the PATRIOT Act ["Letters @ 3am," Jan. 23]..."

Supports Council Resolution Against PATRIOT Act
Postmarks  September 26, 2003
"...I joined almost 200 Austinites to attend the city council meeting last night, to discuss the resolution against the PATRIOT Act. Like many others, it was my first City Council meeting..."

Triangle: Act III
The Theatre's Gone, but Drama Remains
News Story  August 28, 1998, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...As the 18-month-and-counting saga of the Triangle enters Act III -- no pun intended -- the players are working from a completely new script by different authors, and they hope this time they'll bring the drama to its climax without getting jeered off the stage. Speaking of Act III, the movie theatre by that name -- a flashpoint of community opposition to the proposed Triangle Square shopping complex -- got killed off at the end of Act II, along with most of that "suburban strip mall" of Central Austin nightmares..."

AISD’s Big Balancing Act
The Austin Independent School District is considering bringing a $1 billion bond to voters in November. That's a lot of money. What all would it do? And can the package keep everybody happy?
News Story  June 22, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...What's actually on the table is a $1 billion bond, step one in implementing the recently revised facility master plan, and its recommendations as prioritized by the administration and the Facilities and Bond Plan­ning Advisory Committee – selected on a "worst-er first-er" basis, as Super­in­ten­dent Paul Cruz put it during the June 19 board meeting. If approved by the board at its June 26 meeting, then passed by voters on Nov..."

ACC Throws Book at Affordable Care Act
Administrators trim adjunct faculty hours to avoid providing health coverage
News Story  December 13, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...It's not institutions of public education. But adjunct lecturers at Austin Community College face a pay cut as the college administration dodges giving them coverage under the Affordable Care Act...."

Page Two: Balancing Act
Several tiny steps in search of a dance to winter – and a dance toward launching into reverie
Columns  January 30, 2009, by Louis Black
"...Claiming their connotative and denotative meanings for oneself is sheer arrogance. In every sense, they are words that have to be earned by one's conduct, character, and practices over very long periods of time..."

"Farewell ACT UP; Long Live ACT UP..."
On the 20th anniversary of ActUP.
DAILY The Gay Place  March 23, 2007, by Kate X Messer
"...ACT UP founder Larry Kramer delivered this speech in New York on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the multichaptered, affiliated, spun-off phenomenon of an activist "organization." "God we were so creative while we were dying…" "It is very wearying to witness our carrying-on so passively year after year, particularly now that all of us, all of us have been given the gift of life. I know that young gays don't think this way, but many of us died to give you this gift of staying alive. You are alive because of us..."

Support Safe Climate Act
Postmarks  January 12, 2007
"...Now, we can trace our own state's potential for environmental irresponsibility all the way from asthmatic school children in the Sherman, Texas, area to the rapidly thawing north. But we also have the potential to lay down some new tracks at the state level to enact change at the federal level, which Reps..."

Act for the Good of the People
Postmarks  November 2, 2006
"... The Bush administration runs the country like a dictatorship. I live in this country because it is supposed to be a democracy where the people have a voice and where they know that if they vote and speak out, representatives will listen and act on behalf of the people..."

Supports Early Treatment for AIDS Act
Postmarks  April 8, 2004
"...Reps. Lloyd Doggett, Martin Frost, Sheila Jackson-Lee, and Ciro Rodriguez for co-sponsoring the Early Treatment for HIV Act..."

Repeal PATRIOT Act
Postmarks  November 3, 2003
"...Our freedoms are admired all over the world. If we restrict them, as we did when we passed the PATRIOT Act, we are not only hurting ourselves but tarnishing our image abroad as the leader in the fight for freedom. That's why I favor the repeal of the PATRIOT Act and oppose any more laws that whittle away at our basic civil liberties...."

A Class Act
Called by no less than The New York Times "the suavest of all male cabaret performers," Steve Ross is the personification of refined, romantic, elegant, and effervescent cabaret, and that makes him an ideal guest artist for the debut season of Austin Cabaret Theatre.
Arts Story  December 28, 2001, by Robert Faires
"...From the early days of his career, building a following at Ted Hook's Backstage, a piano bar and restaurant in the Broadway theatre district, to his debut at the Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room, where he was the first cabaret artist to perform after 40 years, to the present, achieving international renown through his appearances at London's Pizza on the Park, at the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Perth Festival in Australia, the Spoleto Festival, and across the United States, including on and off-Broadway, Ross has been praised for his sensitivity to the luxurious melodies and clever lyrics of the popular standards, for bringing to them the warmth and wit and cosmopolitan style of an age of Deco nightclubs, frosty martinis, and white tie and tails. In the reviews of Ross' performances, one keeps coming across words like "sophisticated," "dashing," "debonair," "poised." In The New York Times, Stephen Holden called him "the suavest of all male cabaret performers." He is, in more than one sense of the phrase, a class act...."

Annexation Relief Act
Council Aids Its Newest Citizens
News Column  May 1, 1998, by Kayte VanScoy
"...illustration by Doug Potter Who would have thought, during the afterglow of the May 1997 elections when the Green ticket swept the City Council races, or during the long trudge of annexation hearings last fall while the environmentalists stood beside their council and the newly annexed cursed their oppressors, that the Green Council would soon have an opportunity to facilitate the very urban sprawl it had vowed to squelch? Last week's emergency meeting of council was, in fact, an unavoidable part of the unprecedented annexation of 13,000 acres which was completed in December 1997. But inevitability doesn't take the sting out of watching the Green Council give the go-ahead on hundreds of new homes to be built over the Edwards Aquifer - homes that not only should be built to conform with the strict Save Our Springs water quality ordinance, but which the council could have forced to be built to that standard..."

The Hightower Report: The Living Wage Preemption Act
News Column  August 3, 2017, by Jim Hightower
"...The main coordinator of this power grab is ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. For example, in 2014, when Fight for 15 and other activist groups began winning city campaigns for minimum wage hikes, ALEC responded by holding a corporate forum on how state officials can stop such local actions..."

The Americans With Disabilities Act Done Right
How do you defend against frivolous ADA lawsuits? Start a defense project.
News Story  December 22, 2016, by Chase Hoffberger
"...New developments in the saga of Texas Civil Rights Project founder Jim Harrington and Omar Rosales, the local attorney recently ordered to pay nearly $176,000 in penalties for filing frivolous lawsuits charging businesses with violating the Americans With Disabilities Act ("Talk About Your Ultimate Backfire," Dec. 16): On Tuesday, Harrington announced the creation of the Texas ADA Defense Project, which will "combat exploitive threats and litigation" of the federal labor law..."

The Hightower Report: Guess Who Joined Trump’s Barking Carnival Act?
What is it about Rick Perry and the Department of Energy?
News Column  December 22, 2016, by Jim Hightower
"...Yes, Rick Perry, the former Texas governor who specialized in putting the "goober" in gubernatorial, is being brought back from well-earned obscurity in rural Texas to join the menagerie of characters in "The Donald Show." For us lovers of low political comedy, Perry is literally an early Christmas gift from on high – not from heaven (not that high), but from the dizzying heights of Trump Tower. That's where the orange-haired impresario-in-chief has been holding tryouts for his Washington cast, and Perry is a slapstick-perfect choice for Trump's bizarre cabinet...."

A Future for the Affordable Care Act?
Foundation Communities: Obamacare is safe through 2017
News Story  November 23, 2016, by Sarah Marloff
"...The Affordable Care Act faces an uncertain future under Donald Trump, but Austin nonprofit Foundation Communities assures us Obamacare won't disappear in 2017. Contracts remain in place with insurance companies to guarantee at least one more year of the ACA's current structure..."

Last Act Theatre Company's Postville
In Don Fried's drama, small-town Midwesterners face a clash of cultures when Hasidic Jews move in
Arts Review  August 11, 2016, by Robert Faires
"...As unlikely as it may sound, Don Fried's play Postville draws from an actual place and events: Back in 1987, a group of Lubavitch Hasidim from New York did indeed transform a closed meatpacking plant in the real Postville into a kosher slaughterhouse, and it did lead to a community of East Coast Hasidic Jews springing up the midst of this very white, very Christian town in the Midwest, as well as to an influx of immigrants, mostly Latino and Eastern European, to work in the facility. While his script has invented characters and telescopes the timeline of two decades into a single year, Fried rightly recognized fertile ground for drama in that historical situation and labored to till as much of it as possible..."

News Roundup: Balancing Act
Grand jury declines to indict officer for Nov. 28 shooting
DAILY News  July 27, 2015, by the News Staff
"...Johnson, a 16-year veteran with APD, was boarding horses near APD headquarters when he and fellow officers saw McQuilliams firing in their direction. Johnson shot one round back and hit McQuilliams more than 300 feet away; the attacker died on impact..."

SCOTUS Guts Voting Rights Act
Roberts court rules that VRA so successful, no longer necessary
DAILY News  June 25, 2013, by Michael King
"...By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act – which determines state coverage -- is unconstitutional..."

City Hall Hustle: Next Act, Major Drama
Mayor anticipates a year of living dangerously for City Hall
News Column  October 28, 2011, by Wells Dunbar
"...This hasn't exactly been Mayor Lee Leffingwell's best year...."

Act Like You Mean It: Stars Jesse Eisenberg & Armie Hammer
The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg & Armie Hammer
Screens Story  October 1, 2010, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...With leading roles in such films as Zombieland, Holy Rollers, and Advertureland, as well as his lauded breakout in The Squid and the Whale, the not-quite-30-year-old Jesse Eisenberg is already a veteran film and stage actor. Asked what drew him to the part of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, he replies: "I thought I knew the way in..."

Supports Fair Elections Now Act
Postmarks  September 16, 2010
"...Dear Editor, Next week the Committee on House Administration will consider the Fair Elections Now Act, a sweeping and historic bill that gives a voice to everyday Americans on the right, left, and center by allowing us to take our elections out of the control of big donors and place them back in our hands. The legislation will return us to elections of, by, and for the people, and since it’s paid for with the sale of the unused broadcast spectrum, it doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime – it’s the special interests who take the hit..."

More Texas Reps Need to Support Fair Elections Now Act
Postmarks  November 3, 2009
"...Dear Editor, Do you want your candidates to be free from the need and fear of special interests and to spend their time focusing on the public's business, not fundraising? The Fair Elections Now Act (House Resolution 1826) would create publicly funded campaigns to help neutralize the influence of special interests in manipulating public policy. So far there are 110 co-sponsors, including Rep..."

Tim Cole Act Becomes Law
Perry signs bill increasing payments to exonerees
DAILY News  May 28, 2009, by Jordan Smith
"..."This is a great day for Texas, and for the cause of justice in Texas," Anchía said. "The Tim Cole Act could not have passed without the extraordinary efforts of a lot of courageous and committed individuals, including Tim Cole's family and the exonerees themselves."..."

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