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‘The Last Jedi’ puts incredible moments in an incredibly long movie

At some point in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” — maybe it’s 15 minutes in, maybe 30, perhaps an hour — it hits you just how many masters this movie has to serve: the vision of writer/director Rian Johnson; long-term fans who have been with the franchise since Jimmy Carter was in office; the children of the aforementioned, long schooled in the ways of the Force; the 20-somethings...


School’s almost out, now what? Fill week with family events, Dec. 17-23

School’s almost out, now what? Fill week with family events, Dec. 17-23

Holiday events Thinkery Gingerbread House Workshops. Traditional or Tot (ages 5 and younger) 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 2:45 p.m., 4 p.m., Sunday and Saturday; 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday; and 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m. Dec. 24. $12 per person plus $20 house kit. Gingerbread Art and Architecture...
Billie Lourd shares photo of mom Carrie Fisher, honoring ‘Star Wars, her last movie

Billie Lourd shares photo of mom Carrie Fisher, honoring ‘Star Wars, her last movie

Billie Lourd is remembering her late mother, Carrie Fisher, in a touching Instagram post. >> Read more trending news  The touching photo Lourd shared Friday shows the pair clinging to each other on the red carpet of a recent movie premiere. The mother and daughter starred in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” back in 2015, and now Fisher’s last movie, “Star Wars: The...
The most popular books, movies and music at the Austin Public Library in 2017

The most popular books, movies and music at the Austin Public Library in 2017

2017 was a year of change for Austin, as each year always is. But some things never change. The fact that we love bemoaning Austin traffic. The fact that our city is consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the country. The fact that grackles never cease to instill fear and awe in the hearts of Austinites.  There’s also the fact that even with a shiny, brand-spanking-new location...
Find fun for whole family with Barrel O’ Fun ‘Star Wars’ event

Find fun for whole family with Barrel O’ Fun ‘Star Wars’ event

Robert Earl Keen Fam-O-Lee Back to the Country Jamboree at ACL Live. Yes, of course he’ll play “Merry Christmas From the Family,” the yuletide “Free Bird” of Keen’s extensive repertoire. But he’ll play a lot of his non-holiday-themed favorites, too, and recent set lists indicate he and his ace band have been digging out some cool covers by the likes of Bob...
Saturday fun in Austin includes mix of holiday, anniversary events

Saturday fun in Austin includes mix of holiday, anniversary events

Holidays Pugly Christmas Sweater Party. Here’s an event sure to fill us all with Christmas cheer: Yard Bar’s holiday party with pugs is returning with a full day of ugly sweaters. The dog-friendly bar is hosting various competitions benefiting Pug Rescue of Austin. There will be a total of four contests, judged starting at 3 p.m.: ugliest sweater for dogs, look-a-like sweater for human...
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler opens Janie’s House for abused girls 

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler opens Janie’s House for abused girls 

The first thing you see when you walk into Janie’s House is a quote painted in script on the wall: “They say the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” >> Read more trending news  Those words from Mark Twain would resonate with anyone. But Steven Tyler turned them into a mission. On Nov. 1, the first-ever...
Actress Halle Berry ‘done with love’ after latest break-up

Actress Halle Berry ‘done with love’ after latest break-up

Halle Berry doesn’t need a man and she has the Instagram story to prove it. >> Read more trending news  On Wednesday, the actress reportedly shared a photo on her Instagram story of a rope shaped like a heart and the words “done with love” along with three flexing muscle emojis. The post comes just hours after US Weeklyreported that she had split from her music producer...
Tavis Smiley accuses PBS of ‘biased and sloppy’ investigation, denies any misconduct

Tavis Smiley accuses PBS of ‘biased and sloppy’ investigation, denies any misconduct

Former PBS host Tavis Smiley is fighting back against sexual misconduct allegations, accusing PBS of a conducting a “biased and sloppy” investigation.  >> Read more trending news  The network suspended the “Tavis Smiley” show on Wednesday after former staffers accused the interviewer of inappropriate behavior. According to Variety, the longtime...
Webb Report: The 10 best Christmas songs of all time

Webb Report: The 10 best Christmas songs of all time

When you stop and think about it, the lack of designated songs for our major holidays is puzzling. New Year’s Day has “Auld Lang Syne.” Halloween has … let’s go with “Monster Mash”? I guess you could play “Big Yellow Taxi” on Arbor Day, if you were so inclined. Christmas, though? The holiday season has an embarrassment of musical riches,...
20 things to do this weekend in Austin with your family, Dec. 15-17

20 things to do this weekend in Austin with your family, Dec. 15-17

It’s going to be a great Friday and Sunday to enjoy some holiday fun. Warning: There’s a 100 percent chance of rain on Saturday. Watch out! Here are 20 events you can try this weekend: Ballet Austin’s production of “The Nutcracker.” Choreography by Stephen Mills. Photo by Tony Spielberg. Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker.” See the holiday classic...
Movies in theaters, 12/15/17

Movies in theaters, 12/15/17

OPENING THIS WEEK “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Grade: B. Review page 23 “Darkest Hour” Grade: B+. Review page 26 “Ferdinand” Grade: C. Review page 27 NOW PLAYING “American Made.” B-. R. 115 minutes. Tom Cruise stars in this true-life tale about pilot Bary Seal, whose smuggling operation with the CIA inadvertently spawns the creation of the Medellin cartel...
Forgot what happened in ‘Force Awakens?’ Let’s catch up

Forgot what happened in ‘Force Awakens?’ Let’s catch up

It’s been two years since “The Force Awakens.” Before you see “The Last Jedi,” here is where we left our major heroes and villains at the end of the previous film: REY WHO IS SHE: A young, Force-sensitive scavenger from the desert planet Jakku (where her family long ago abandoned her), Rey is a scavenger, a mysteriously good pilot and a woman with a link to Luke Skywalker...
‘Ferdinand’ celebrates peaceful spirit but falls flat

‘Ferdinand’ celebrates peaceful spirit but falls flat

The beloved children’s book “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf, with illustrations by Robert Lawson, was published in 1936. But the simple, pacifist story about a bull who would rather smell flowers than fight has resonated across generations. It’s a natural progression that this favorite character would find a home on the big screen in an animated feature, “Ferdinand...
History and humor blend in Winston Churchill story

History and humor blend in Winston Churchill story

It’s good to remember that Great Britain was in great peril in May 1940 amid its war with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The mood in Parliament was that a British defeat appeared to be quite possible, especially after the fall of France. Politicians, led by Neville Chamberlain and Viscount Halifax, were urging peace talks with Hitler. The United States had not yet entered the war and was declining...
So many shows to help you have a merry musical holiday

So many shows to help you have a merry musical holiday

This week’s music picks feature an expanded section of recommended shows that includes quite a few holiday-themed events. OUR TOP PICKS Friday: Peligrosa 10-year anniversary at North Door. Ten years ago, a trio of DJs decided to shake up Austin’s dance music scene with irresistible rhythms from around the world. Over the next decade, they built on that vibe to grow a mighty collective...
Russell Simmons at center of NYPD investigation after 11 women accuse him of assault

Russell Simmons at center of NYPD investigation after 11 women accuse him of assault

UPDATE: Dec. 14, 2017 6:00 p.m.: The New York Police Department’s special victims unit has opened an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct against music mogul Russell Simmons after allegations from 11 women, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times is reporting that seven of the cases occurred in New York and that police are in the process of contacting women who have accused...
If it costs $25.3 billion to be Santa, who could afford it?

If it costs $25.3 billion to be Santa, who could afford it?

A few weeks ago, I got an email from an English public relations strategist pointing me to the website of the United Kingdom’s “leading independent online florist”  The idea is that they did a “study” about how much it would cost to be Santa Claus (short answer: $25.3 billion) and I’m supposed to write something fun about that and you’re supposed...
Austin lives up to party reputation according to this list

Austin lives up to party reputation according to this list

There’s always something to do in Austin. Data released by event website Evite ranked the Live Music Capital of the World among the “Top 10 Party Cities in the U.S.A.” The site analyzed which city’s residents listed the most events over the past 12 months.  Austin played host to 52,364 events. This puts the Texas capital at No. 2 on the ranking. The only city ahead of...
Tom Hanks jokes about ‘The Post’ co-star Meryl Streep calling her ‘high maintenance’

Tom Hanks jokes about ‘The Post’ co-star Meryl Streep calling her ‘high maintenance’

When Hollywood legend Tom Hanks appeared on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” to promote his new movie “The Post,” he managed to find time to take a few playful jabs at his co-star and fellow Hollywood legend Meryl Streep. Colbert and Hanks were having a friendly chat when Colbert mentioned the veteran actress. Hanks rolled his eyes and said, “You mean, can I...
Study: Luckenbach is world leader in live music (and Austin is OK, too)

Study: Luckenbach is world leader in live music (and Austin is OK, too)

The data has come in. It has been analyzed. And the results show the live music capital of the world is … Luckenbach. <iframe width="459" height="344" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1hmtDrKe4ug?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" gesture="media" allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> That is...
Golden Globes snubs and surprises: Jordan Peele, ‘The Big Sick’ and more

Golden Globes snubs and surprises: Jordan Peele, ‘The Big Sick’ and more

The 2018 Golden Globe nominations were dominated by expected names like HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” FX’s “Feud: Bette and Joan” and Guillermo del Toro’s film “The Shape of Water.” But like every year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has thrown some curveballs our way. These are the biggest snubs and surprises: Film snubs “Get Out&rdquo...
Happy 94th birthday, Bob Barker. Here’s why you rock!

Happy 94th birthday, Bob Barker. Here’s why you rock!

Come on down, Bob Barker, and accept a hearty Happy Birthday wish on behalf of a grateful nation! You turn 94 years young on December 12 and if all you ever accomplished in that time was to beat up Adam Sandler, that would be more than enough (sadly, it was a fictitious fight, in a movie). But no, you hosted “The Price Is Right” right into TV’s all-time record books, went vegetarian...
Furious Rose McGowan blasts old friend Alyssa Milano on Twitter over Weinstein’s wife

Furious Rose McGowan blasts old friend Alyssa Milano on Twitter over Weinstein’s wife

Rose McGowan took to Twitter to attack her former “Charmed” co-star Alyssa Milano, after the latter appeared on television and voiced her supporter of Georgina Chapman, Harvey Weinstein’s now estranged wife. Milano appeared on “Megyn Kelly Today” last week and chatted with the host about her friend Chapman — with whom she worked on “Project Runway: All Stars...
Khalid surprises El Paso elementary school, donates more than 500 gifts

Khalid surprises El Paso elementary school, donates more than 500 gifts

Austin has Matthew McConaughey. Houston has Beyonce. But El Paso... El Paso has Khalid.  The recently Grammy-nominated 19-year-old has been called Chuco Town’s “adopted son” and hasn’t (even once) forgotten where he came from.  READ: Matthew McConaughey delivers 4,500 free Thanksgiving turkeys to families  Khalid made a special visit to El Paso&rsquo...
Forgot what happened in ‘Star Wars: the Force Awakens?’ Let’s catch up with the main characters 

Forgot what happened in ‘Star Wars: the Force Awakens?’ Let’s catch up with the main characters 

It’s been two years since “The Force Awakens” (does this mean is the Force is now wok--nevermind) Here is where we last left our major heroes and villains at the end of that film: WHO IS SHE: A young, Force-sensitive scavenger from the desert planet Jakku (where her family long ago abandoned her), Rey is a scavenger, a mysteriously good pilot and a woman with a link to Luke Skywalker...
INSIGHT: Why audiences are raving about the new ‘Star Wars’ films

INSIGHT: Why audiences are raving about the new ‘Star Wars’ films

In the 40 years since the original “Star Wars” film premiered, the franchise has been a pop culture powerhouse. “The Last Jedi” – the latest edition in the series – looks to continue the trend, with huge box office returns expected. It also looks poised to join “The Force Awakens” (93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and “Rogue One” (85 percent)...
Holy Roller hosts pie-eating contest Tuesday to benefit SAFE

Holy Roller hosts pie-eating contest Tuesday to benefit SAFE

Raising money for a great organization while watching famous chefs gorge themselves on pie? Sounds like a win-win situation. Chef Callie Speer’s irreverent comfort-food spot Holy Roller (509 Rio Grande St.) hosts a pie-eating contest tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. to benefit SAFE (the organization that has joined Safe Place and Austin Children&rsquo...
SXSW adds YouTube/Google exec Lyor Cohen as music keynote

SXSW adds YouTube/Google exec Lyor Cohen as music keynote

Kim Deal of the Pixies and Breeders has been added as a featured speaker at SXSW 2018. Deborah Cannon/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2010 Music industry executive Lyor Cohen, a longtime Warner Music executive who’s now Global Head of Music at YouTube and Google, will be a music keynote speaker at South by Southwest in 2018, the conference announced Tuesday morning. RELATED: The...
Get your tissues ready: The cast of ‘This is Us’ is coming to SXSW 2018

Get your tissues ready: The cast of ‘This is Us’ is coming to SXSW 2018

“This is Us!” Katie Couric! Common! South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals (March 9-18, 2018) announced a mess of new speakers today, including actor and musician Common; journalist and author Katie Couric, and the cast of NBC drama This Is Us; actress, producer and Emmy Award-winning writer Lena Waithe. Common will be here pushing the Showtime show...
Fun and ferocious comic book movies now streaming

Fun and ferocious comic book movies now streaming

Here’s a look at an interesting new release available to rent from cable and digital providers and a few titles that have recently become available through streaming services. Video on Demand “Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes For Lizards”: Despite being a fixture in the fashion world since the early ’70s, it wasn’t really until Carrie Bradshaw’s obsession with Manolo...
Stiles Switch’s 12 Days of Smoked Meats continues this week

Stiles Switch’s 12 Days of Smoked Meats continues this week

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew returned last week with its annual 12 Days of Smoked Meats. The 12-day run features daily specials that span the spectrum of smoked meats, from the expected (prime rib) to the eccentric (chicken-fried beef rib with tater tot casserole). The specials pick back up tomorrow with Day 7 and run through Sunday. The daily specials are listed below. Smoked...
‘Coco’ works box-office magic for 3rd straight week ahead of ‘Star Wars’

‘Coco’ works box-office magic for 3rd straight week ahead of ‘Star Wars’

In advance of the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” opening Friday, the weekend’s box office remained virtually unchanged, with Disney’s “Coco” maintaining the top spot for the third weekend in a row. Despite losing 239 locations, “Coco” raked in an estimated $18.3 million, a relatively small decline of 34 percent, for a cumulative gross...
Best TV of 2017: ‘Twin Peaks,’ ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘Vietnam War’ and more

Best TV of 2017: ‘Twin Peaks,’ ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘Vietnam War’ and more

While television offered more than enough escape from the anxieties and outrages of life in 2017, it also found plenty of contextual and thematic relevance to kick around — sometimes intentional, sometimes just coincidental. All I know is I’ve never had a better time doing my job, or a harder time picking my yearly favorites. Here they are: 1. “Twin Peaks: The Return” (Showtime)...
CEO of GSD&M applies business know-how to show biz

CEO of GSD&M applies business know-how to show biz

Back in college during the 1970s, Duff Stewart caught the rollicking road version of the musical “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” at Austin’s recently resurrected Paramount Theatre. There was no way that the Dallas-born student could know that this Texas-staged production of the Tommy Tune-directed show would launch Pace Theatrical, the Houston-based touring group that evolved...
Webb Report: Lady Gaga popped up where you would least expect in Texas

Webb Report: Lady Gaga popped up where you would least expect in Texas

Lady Gaga’s going through a bit of a country phase, you know. Her latest album, “Joanne,” features the singer wearing a pink cowgirl hat, right on the cover. There are a couple songs on the album with a bit of a Southern-fried flavor, if you squint your ears. And as her world tour swung through Texas last week, Gaga made herself right at home. First stop: Houston. Gaga took some...
As Oscar season commences, let us praise great actors in bad movies

As Oscar season commences, let us praise great actors in bad movies

Anyone who sees “Darkest Hour” this weekend will come away with at least one certainty: Gary Oldman is a shoo-in to receive an Oscar nomination, and might even win for his portrayal of British prime minister Winston Churchill. Fair enough: Oldman’s performance is nothing if not awards-worthy, as he slips with uncanny ease — and the help of some seamless prosthetics and makeup...
In ‘Darkest Hour,’ actor transforms into one of world’s political giants

In ‘Darkest Hour,’ actor transforms into one of world’s political giants

When the producers of “Darkest Hour” approached Gary Oldman about playing British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, he told them, “Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t look anything like him.” “But for some reason,” Oldman says, “one of the producers at Working Title, Eric Fellner, God bless him, was like a dog with a bone … and I thought, well...
Louise Erdrich’s new book full of spiritual questions, observations

Louise Erdrich’s new book full of spiritual questions, observations

The idea that evolution could suddenly move backward may seem like an incredible fantasy, but in Louise Erdrich’s dreamlike, suspenseful “Future Home of the Living God,” it’s a fitting analogue for the environmental degradation we already experience. A biological apocalypse has animals suddenly appearing in trippy, shocking manifestations — a dragonfly with a 6-foot wingspan...
Eggnog isn’t the only festive cotton candy coming to the Trail of Lights this year

Eggnog isn’t the only festive cotton candy coming to the Trail of Lights this year

A local cotton candy company is bringing a taste of the holidays to the Trail of Lights this year. Fancy Fluff is selling cotton candy in half a dozen holiday flavors, including apple cider and pumpkin pie. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman Fancy Fluff, a relatively new Austin company that is usually only available for private events, has developed a line of seasonal flavors ...
Enter to win tickets to “Pitch Perfect 3”

Enter to win tickets to “Pitch Perfect 3”

I don’t know why, but this one has my whole family excited. It might be somewhat inappropriate, but I know my whole Girl Scout troop loves this film and their mothers do, too. It’s PG-13, so let that be your guide. Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and Beca (Anna Kendrick) star in “Pitch Perfect 3.” Quantrell D. Colbe You can win two tickets to see a 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 screening...
'The Holiday' is a better Christmas movie than 'Love Actually' and here's why

'The Holiday' is a better Christmas movie than 'Love Actually' and here's why

Listen. I know you love "Love Actually." I know it is widely considered a modern holiday classic. I know that the combination of Hugh Grant, Kiera Knightly, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Rowan Atkinson and that kid who played Jojen in "Game of Thrones" makes it pretty hard to dislike this movie. I get it.  But there’s actually a better...
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