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White Christmas

December 8, 2005 | Chris Erskine
RANDOM thoughts, while pulling tinsel from my teeth and wrestling brandy away from an underage beagle: All hours are happy hours. Every place is a Peyton Place. When I grow up, I want to be a major stockholder. If a dog's life is so bad, how come we're the ones following him around with scoopy bags? Ingenue of the year: Keira Knightley. Ingenue of the year runner-up: the Pontiac Solstice. In a few years, we're gonna look back at blogs and just laugh. Website of the day: JiWire, www.
December 1, 2005 | Randy Lewis, Times Staff Writer
ROCK, pop, folk, jazz, hip-hop even quasi-classical are among this year's plethora of holiday-themed releases. Here's a sampling: *** Anita Baker, "Christmas Fantasy" (Blue Note). This is one for a cold winter night in front of the fire, and Baker supplies the spark. Her burnished vocals heat up the ballads and put plenty of sass in the bouncier tunes. *** Brave Combo, "Holidays" (Rounder). This multiple Grammy-winning Texas combo's 1988 album "It's Christmas, Man!"
November 30, 2005 | Daryl H. Miller, Times Staff Writer
It's a feel-good bonanza: The boys get the girls, the boys help out their old Army general and everyone gets infused with holiday spirit to the strains of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas." Such warmth of feeling is a key reason the 1954 movie "White Christmas" remains a seasonal staple and a fond part of many people's memories.
November 27, 2005 | Christopher Reynolds, Times Staff Writer
EBENEZER SCROOGE, watch your back. Kevin McCollum, the same Broadway producer behind the musicals "Rent" and "Avenue Q," is out to grab a chunk of the holiday audiences that queue up yearly across the U.S. for productions of "A Christmas Carol" and "The Nutcracker."
November 30, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
An 18 1/2 -foot Christmas tree, pulled by a horse-drawn wagon, arrived at the north portico of the White House, marking the official start of holiday decorating at the executive mansion. "They've already removed the chandelier, so this 18-foot tree will fit into the Blue Room," First Lady Laura Bush said in receiving the noble fir tree from Washington state. "Decorators are inside decorating right now as fast as they can," she said.
December 25, 2003 | James Verini, Special to The Times
HONEY-GLAZED ham! Bing Crosby! Scotch tape sticking to your wool pants! Pine needles in your Florsheims! Mincemeat pie! Your ridiculous sister-in-law and her violent-video-game-playing kids! More ham! More pie! Is that Nat King Co ... ? No, it's Bing Crosby again! And still more Crosby! Crosby, Crosby, Crosby! Welcome back to your holiday life.
December 23, 2003 | Jeff Salz, Special to The Times
It's the kind of fork in the road that lets you know you're not on just any old So. Cal. trail. The Devils Slide, out of Idyllwild, switchbacks upward for two miles before hitting a multiple-direction point amid the giant pines and cedars. Will it be north to Canada, or south to Mexico along the Pacific Crest Trail? Or east, deeper into the San Jacinto Mountains?
December 14, 2003 | Don Heckman, Special to The Times
Few would argue with the image of Christmas as the most musical time of the year. Yet for years, the standard wisdom regarding Christmas albums was: "Don't do them." The limited sales window, the narrowly focused programming (which allowed little room for more potentially profitable original material) and the expense and distraction of taking recording time from other projects tended to diminish any interest in holiday projects.
December 5, 2003 | Lee Margulies, Times Staff Writer
On first consideration, the prospect of filling 35 consecutive days of radio air time with nothing but holiday music seems only slightly less daunting than trying to pack Santa's sleigh with all the toys he needs to deliver on Christmas Eve. The reality, however, is that the difficulty confronting the programmers at KOST-FM (103.5) is in what to leave out, not what to put in. There is a lot of Christmas music out there. For example: * Type in "Christmas" at the music section of amazon.
December 29, 2002 | Ken Emerson, Ken Emerson is the author of "Doo-dah!: Stephen Foster and the Rise of American Popular Culture." He is writing a book about pop songwriters in New York City during the 1950s and '60s.
"Songs make history," Irving Berlin declared. "And history makes songs." Yet a precious few songs outlive their eras and elude, if not transcend, history. This is especially true in America, land of diversity and novelty, where tradition is short and memory shorter. It takes more than a catchy tune, a heartfelt lyric and a hook to make a standard that sticks in our scattered national consciousness.
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