Dec. 16, 2005

Volume 25, Number 16

ON THE COVER:
features

Holiday Wish Lists 2005

'Give' is a four-letter word: part two

BY ANNE HARRIS, KRISTIN HILLERY, KATE X MESSER AND FRANK RIVERA

news

Back to the Trenches

AMD tightens its hold on Lantana – and the enviro opposition digs in

BY AMY SMITH

The Canoe Conundrum

Longtime proprietors of Town Lake's canoe rental franchise get sent up the river without a paddle

BY WELLS DUNBAR

Christian Peacemakers

Texan activists worry about their abducted colleagues in Iraq

BY DIANA WELCH

Bible Monument Case Thumps Its Way Through Courts

Constitutionality of Harris County display heard in Austin court

BY JORDAN SMITH

2005 Politics Holiday Gift Guide

We've heard some of these ideas are even real

Naked City

Headlines and happenings from Austin and beyond

Point Austin: Memo to Cap Metro

Stop Union-busting, or Take a Hike

BY MICHAEL KING

The Hightower Report

Coming up with a timetable for leaving Iraq isn't unpatriotic or cowardly; and Bush's EPA proposes a new rule for testing toxic pesticides on humans, giving pesticide corporations clear-cut exceptions to the supposed federal ban on human testing

BY JIM HIGHTOWER

food

Top Shelf

Austin's offerings for a little kitchen reading

BY VIRGINIA B. WOOD

Food-o-File

'Tis the season for birth and rebirth; plus, former Bitter End chef about to step into 'Hell's Kitchen'?

BY VIRGINIA B. WOOD

music

One in a Million

Possessed by hellfire roots: Austin's one-man bands

BY AUDRA SCHROEDER

Reissues

Gift guide

TCB

Super mega huge rock stars foreign (Coldplay) and homegrown (Spoon) pay a visit as the Grammys surprise Destiny's Child, Los Lonely Boys, and Norah Jones with nominations. Is this what the big time feels like?

BY CHRISTOPHER GRAY

Arts String

The Biscuit Brothers

Meet the Biscuits
screens

Merian C. Cooper's Big Adventure

Plus, Wajda's war films, 'The L Word,' Harold Lloyd, and a 'Jurassic' fetish

In Space

Online commerce puts customers on hold; here's how to get out of the loop

In Print

It might look perfect for the Defamer.com-addicted ghoul on your list, but it's really just a coffeetable-safe Hollywood Babylon

BY SPENCER PARSONS

Film News

Suzanne Quinn, the first and only director of Austin Studios, steps down; plus, news from Slamdance and the Independent Spirit Awards, Avril Lavigne, the Jim Henson Co., and Jerm Pollett

BY JOE O'CONNELL

TV Eye

Austin is Comedy Central

BY BELINDA ACOSTA

Film Reviews

Brokeback Mountain

The beautifully wrought film is a tragic love story (not a "gay cowboy movie") that’s defined by its staggering heartbreak.

Cape of Good Hope

There's a sweet bent to this simple South African film about a multicultural group of employees at a Cape Town animal shelter who find both goodness and hope in their troubled lives.

The Family Stone

This likable romantic comedy runs the gamut of emotions – hitting tenderness, rage, remorse, and everything in between – but there are too many characters with too little chemistry to be a real keeper.

King Kong

Jackson's remake is a corker of an action/monster movie: part RKO serial; part square-jawed, manly romp; and part classic journey into the unknown that recalls and references Heart of Darkness.
arts & culture

Artful Presents

Local gift suggestions from the Art Elf Prize Patrol

BY ROBERT FAIRES

First Night Austin

First Night Austin gets ready to ring out the old year in a big way, with a cultural extravaganza on a scale the city has never before seen

BY ROBERT FAIRES

Holiday Productions

Five performing arts groups that revive holiday-themed shows every December share the traditions they've developed within these seasonal traditions

BY BARRY PINEO

Jennifer Bell

Jennifer Bell, who is neither Italian nor Catholic, is one of four artists invited to show her paintings in a memorial exhibit for Pope John Paul II in southeastern Italy

BY ROBERT FAIRES

Arts Reviews

A Christmas Carol

The State Theater Company brings its artistry to bear on that most conventional show of the season, 'A Christmas Carol,' and delivers a perfectly packaged production

Black Nativity

From the prologue through the rousing finale, ProArts Collective's new production of 'Black Nativity' saturates the Christmas story in rich emotion

The Nutcracker

Ballet Austin's 43rd production is what you might call a big-ticket ballet, a sensational show that's all about dreams coming true

'Temporary Dividers'

Ars Ipsa's exhibition Temporary Dividers temporarily divides its contents into 'art,' but the ideas of these contents, viruslike, are likely to permanently accompany your life
columns

Page Two: For What It's Worth

Thoughts on conflict of interest and the staying power of Neil Young

BY LOUIS BLACK

Postmarks

Our readers talk back.

After a Fashion

Scrambling to take care of that Secret Santa on your list? Your Style Avatar has the perfect solution!

BY STEPHEN MACMILLAN MOSER

To Your Health

Is there a way I can reduce bile production?

BY JAMES HEFFLEY, PH.D.

The Common Law

Will deferred adjudication show up on my criminal record?

BY CARL BARRY

Day Trips

Shopping and eating in the Alamo City always seems like a good reason for a day trip to me

BY GERALD E. MCLEOD

Mr. Smarty Pants Knows

Queen Elizabeth keeps her Cheerios fresh and clean

BY MR. SMARTY PANTS

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Our latest batch

Feedback

Letters to the editor, published daily
sports

Soccer Watch

Maryland wins the NCAA Men's championship, the Americans get a tough draw in the 2006 World Cup, and more

BY NICK BARBARO

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