Naked City

Happenings

Opponents of the mad fetish for high-stakes standardized testing will rally on the south steps of the Capitol on Saturday, 3-5pm. Texans for Quality Assessment will bring education professionals and parents from around the state to denounce the fixation on standardized tests and to support House bills 2570 and 2118, which would authorize multiple criteria for promotion and graduation. Call 915/373-3627, or go to www.texastesting.org.

Opponents of another high-stakes Texas fetish -- capital punishment -- will gather Saturday for the fourth annual conference of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty at the DoubleTree Hotel, 8:30am-5:30pm. Speakers include Bryan Stevenson of Alabama's Equal Justice Initiative, former Texas state Rep. Sherri Greenberg, Ajamu Baraka of Amnesty International, and John Niland of the Texas Defender Service. For registration or info, contact Sherry Combes at coombesjl@cs.com.

The Texas Observer's second annual Rabble Rouser Roundup and Fat Cat Schmoozefest will be hosted by former editors Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower on Sunday at La Zona Rosa, 612 W. Fourth. Both events are fundraisers for the nonprofit magazine. The Schmoozefest begins at 6pm with writers, editors, artists, and other guests; tickets are $49.95. The Rabble Rouser Roundup follows at 7pm, with music by Jimmy LaFave, the Horsies, Eliza Gilkyson, and the Gourds; tickets are $15 in advance (477-0746 or www.texasobserver.org) or $20 at the door. Schmoozefest tickets get you into both events.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s actual birthday was Jan. 15, but Monday, Jan. 20, is the national holiday. Huston-Tillotson College at 900 Chicon is the hub of Austin activities. Events include a prayer breakfast, sponsored by the APD, at 8am in H-T's Davage-Durden Student Union; Austin's annual MLK Day march and rally, kicking off at H-T at 9am and proceeding to the Bullock Museum on MLK; and, at 2pm at H-T's King-Seabrook Chapel, a prescreening of Two Towns of Jasper, a PBS documentary about the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr., which will air on KLRU at 8pm Wednesday, Jan. 22. Visit www.mlkday.org to learn more.

The MLK march usually ends at the Capitol, but Granite Mountain will be all abuzz with preparations for the 2003 Texas Inaugural. Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov.-elect David Dewhurst will be sworn in at noon, Tuesday, Jan. 21, on the Capitol south steps, followed by barbecue on the grounds. The inaugural parade down Congress Avenue kicks off at 2:30pm. Tickets to the inaugural ball at the Austin Convention Center, featuring Robert Earl Keen, are already long gone, but it's at 7:30pm if you want to watch the fashion dos and don'ts. Learn more at www.texasinaugural.com.

Well, since you won't be at the ball, perhaps you should be at LiveableCity's community forum to discuss development plans for Sixth and Lamar, to be held Tuesday, Jan. 21, at La Zona Rosa. LiveableCity -- which has already released an economic report saying the Sixth and Lamar project, and especially its planned Borders bookstore, will do more harm than good to the local economy -- plans to gather input at the forum and provide a summary to both developer David Vitanza and the City Council (which has awarded the project $2.1 million in Smart Growth incentives.) Visit www.liveablecity.org to learn more or to fill out an online comment card if you can't attend the forum.

The KLRU Fifth Annual Distinguished Speaker Series kicks off Thursday, Jan. 23, at 7pm with a discussion of "The Future of Television News," featuring PBS's Jim Lehrer, CBS's Bob Schieffer, and NBC's Brian Williams. The event, at the LBJ Library Auditorium, will include a 45-minute discussion among the journalists followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer session moderated by Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith. Ticket prices range from $25 to $55; call 477-6060. Upcoming speakers in the series include authors Salman Rushdie, Jared Diamond, and Dava Sobel and Texas politicos Ann Richards and Henry Cisneros. The Chronicle is a sponsor of the series.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 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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