The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on December 21, 1998 · 62
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 62

Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Monday, December 21, 1998
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D2 THE BOSTON GLOBE MONDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1998 NAMES gf FACES BY CAROL BEGGY AND BETH CARNEY Teacher's tales out of school The byline of Cambridge Rindge and Latin drana teacher Gerry Speca shows up in the latest Us magazine. Speca has written a piece about his two famous students, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. The pair are among the mag's picks for hottest stars of the year and, according to their old teacher, "deserving of everything they achieve.''. . . In the same issue, Us rates Brookline author Arthur Golden's "Memoirs of a Geisha" the year's "sexiest read." t X GLOBE PHOTO MICHAEL QUAN.: SnowBall organizers include (from left) Donna Foster, Carole Wiukler disguised as a snow person), Ria Spencer, and Jennifer Walsh. Snowballing workload part of the fun 'Mi. Ida Spencer, one of organizers of this year's SnowBall gala, toured .the World ' Trade Center ballrooms Saturday night pointing out attractions: two bands, one DJ, a hip-hop dance performance, a casino room, and a smoking lounge. "Somewhere yte have a cigar boy and cigarette girl," she .said. 'But I haven't seen them." rt. ' It's no surprise. The annual SnowBall Is one of the biggest holiday black-tie events :even though its numbers have decreased since the 3,000-plus of a few years ago. This year's party drew more than 2$X) guests, .most age 25 to 40. It raised an estimated : $150,000 for the all-volunteer Santa Claus Anonymous group to distribute to inner-city youth programs. ' , For the 130 or so volunteers who run t.? event, the night itself is not exactly so-' rial Spencer spent most of her evening walking around with a Santa Claus hat on Eer head and a walkie talkie in hand, deal ing with mini-crises like the guest who left her wallet - and ticket - in a taxi coming in. ("Give the woman a ticket," was Spencer's command. "Bill her later.") Spencer, a 28-year-old development officer for Harvard who's heading to business school at Columbia in two weeks, came dressed prepared for all the running around she had to do. She wore lace-up oxfords and white socks under her floor-length black dress. "I'm moving to New York in two weeks. All my stuff is packed," she said. Even the fake fur-trirnmed clutch she carried she bought that evening, double-parking her car in Kenmore Square during the hour she had between setting up and arriving at the party. The organizers do have a chance to enjoy the event, Spencer said, after the guests finish arriving and before the cleanup. "At midnight the party begins for me," she said "That's when I'm turning in the waUde-taMe, There's something about Starr South Shore filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly told Newsweek they wouldn't touch the movie version of the Starr Report "We do gross-out humor, admittedly, but we won't go this low. We'd pass on a project like this," said Peter Farrelly. The brothers responsible for "There's Something About Mary" riffed on the screenplay potential in the White House scandal. Offhand casting ideas include Shan-nen Doherty as Monica Lewinsky, Anjelica Huston as Linda Tripp, and Angela Basset as Bettie Currie. "Let's face it we need a real babe in there somewhere; so let's glamorize her Currie's role," Bobby Farrelly said. Poet's ode to the knuckleball ' iA Vlf(!l. .U - " f , 9.. ' , S f ' t Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield might want to pick up the latest issue of Ploughshares literary journal. One of the selected poems, "Chaos Theory and the Knuckleballer," was written in his honor. Red Sox fan R. J. McCaffery, a 26-year-old Providence writer, penned the poem that asks: "What are you to a knuckleball that pulls the world into itself?" The knuckleball, the author said, is his favorite pitch. "You don't have to be huge or strong to throw a knuckleball," McCaffery said. "I have no athletic aptitude whatsoever." Walking the world to help teenagers AIDS educator John Chittick is spending the holiday season packing up and selling his belongings. Next month, he embarks on an 18-month trip around the world to teach AIDS awareness to teenagers. "My reason for selling is I didn't want to be able to come back if I got homesick," said Chittick, founder of Teen-AIDS-PeerCorps, who will walk through cities and rural areas in five continents talking to young people. Chittick, who has made shorter walking trips, begins with a 500-mile journey through Vietnam and Cambodia and plans to end with the 13th-international AIDS conference in South Africa in the year 2000. "I'm a short fat guy with white hair. I'm 50 years old. GLOBE PHOTO BILL POLO AUTHOR'S GIFT - Lindsay Sinclair, the great-niece of author E. B. White, shows a copy of his children's classic, "Charlotte's Web," yesterday to cast members from the Boston Children's Theater company. Sinclair presented the copy of the 1952 novel to the theater group before its performance of "Charlotte 's Web. " I wear Hawaiian shirts," he said. "I say, 'Look, I have some information you need to hear about' They're usually interested." 'Mail' delivers at the box office The cyber-romance "You've Got Mail" debuted at the top of the box office, and "The Prince of Egypt" opened to solid, but unspectacular, business. Overall, the weekend's receipts were down 22 percent this year; moviegoers were apparently tuning in to the US attacks on Iraq and the impeachment proceedings in Washington. As expected, the date crowd turned out in force to watch Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks click in "YouVe Got Mail," which grossed $18.7 million, more than $1 million higher than their previous romantic outing in "Sleepless in Seat tie" five years ago. "The Prince of Egypt" the PG-rated animated story of Moses, placed second with receipts at $14.3 million. It was not a stunning debut for a film in which DreamWorks and studio cofounder Jeffrey Katzen-berg had invested four years and an estimated $70 million to $100 million. Other top earners, in order, were: "A Bug's Life," $9.5 million; "Star Trek: Insurrection," $8.5 million;" Jack Frost," $5 million; "Enemy of the State," $4.4 million; "The Rugrats Movie," $3 million; "The Waterboy," $2.9 million; "Psycho," $15 million; and "Elizabeth," $887,673. On fatherhood and love At age 60, Peter Jennings is open to having more children. The veteran newsman is celebrating his one-year wedding anniversary this month with "2020" producer Kayce Freed. "If Kayce wants to do it why shouldn't I?" asked Jennings, who has two children by a previous marriage, in an interview with TV Guide. "Kayce is 40. It would be inappropriate, to say the least, to marry a younger woman and not have thought about iL" ... Julia Roberts was giggling at the mention of her boyfriend, "Law & Order" star Benjamin Bratt "It's nice to be happy. I'm just so happy," Roberts told the (N.Y.) Daily News, which describes her as giggling like a schoolgirl with a crush. "Happy and lucky. I'm in a great place." Materialfrom wire services and other sources was used in this column. Names & Faces can be reached by e-mail at HAVE YOU SEEN 1 THE GLOBE TODAY? , ' For Home Delivery, call toll-free . 1-888-MY-GLOBE (1-888-694-5623) Tele-charge (800) 447-7400 i The Shubert TheatreShow of the Month 'It Groups (20): (617) 350-6000 'STUDENT RUSH! $21 TICKETS! (Avail 2 hit prior to pert al B.0. wvalid ID Limit 2 tlx per personSubject to availability) :l THE SHUBERT THEATRE TTY: (888) 889-8587 3 B s ami "Utterly Theatrical!" Hi ikr The Washington Post Original Scor by Kitaro xtr Originally ConcrivM by i Neil Goldberg mi tHARGE! (617) 931-2787 THE COLONIAL THEATRE I TJY: 426-3444 j i Book Review Christgau, rock-crit's dean, weighs in with 'Grown Up All Wrong5 By Clea Simon GLOBE STAFF , Broadway's Smash Hit Musical Sensation Forget the Hall of Fame. The proof that rock 'n' roll has come of age is that serious criticism has arisen around it, schools of thought and discussion that weigh its popular ap- Yule Party! . Our26thYe BOSTON (617)4234900. REG PERFS: Sun at 3 S 7:30; TuB-fri ft Sat at 6:30 S 9-30 peal against its artistic merit, its influences, and its international range. "It's got a beat, and you can dance to it," the famous Dick Clark line, may still represent the primary criterion in some forums, but in many others, rock as art has become the rule of the day. Therefore, if anyone is looking for "Grown Up All Wrong," Robert Christgau's compendium of critical essays, to be a fun, light read - a pop single of a book - that reader should turn the page. Hailed by many as the dean of American rock criticism, Christgau, senior music critic of The Village Voice, is arguably the person most responsible for making such criticism a serious discipline. And after 27 years at that paper, the operative word is "arguably," because for all his brilliance, Christgau has always approached the music with as much brain as heart, as much outrage as fandom, and as much downright or-neriness as love. Unlike Greil Marcus, a writer who has long been more poet than critic, Christgau lays out clear tracks for his cerebral, history-laden trains of thought; unlike the late Lester Bangs and his gonzo descendants, he makes it seem that the gray matter between the ears counts nijiiiii "Hi IBBIILaBHab iMONITUES I WED "l THUR FRI I SAT I SUN t &TlOj uj Dec 21 Dec 22 Dec 23 Dec 24 Dec 25 Dec 26 Dec 27 Not Kmmm 8PM 5 8. 8 5 48 2PM No Pert 4,7,10 2,5,8 ffi1ry?ff'YiT5'-Dec 28 Dec 29 Dec 30 Dec 31 Jan1 Jan 2 Jan 3 jlBCTfl ' 2, 5, 8 j 2, 5, 8 j 2, 5, 8 1 4, 7, 10 47 4,7,10 3 46 mmmmJQjMmm GROWN UP ALL WRONG 75 Great Rock and Pop Artists from Vaudeville to Techno By Robert Christgau Harvard University Press, i95 pp., $29.95 for as much as the ears themselves. It is as a cultural critic, therefore, rather than as a "rock writer," that Christgau tackles popular music. Although "Grown Up All Wrong" is a series of essays (culled from throughout his career) ostensibly about artists from George Gershwin through KRS-One, it is also about our times. Eschewing the standard line that rock was born from a union of blues and country music, Christgau looks to more mainstream traditions of popular music, and reflects on Nat King Cole and blackface vau-devillian Emmett Miller to find the reasons for our contemporary tastes. Poking behind the myths (that Janis Joplin's recordings never matched her live shows, or even the long-discounted line that the Rolling Stones were working class), he seeks to decipher why we love this music - or why we ought to. Discussing contemporary acts, he sets out to explain context as much as sound. And while Christgau has always approached the music with as much brain as heart, as much outrage as fandom and as much downright orneriness as love. that can get a tad too philosophical (when he chews over the concept of a young band learning to invent itself in his essay on Sleater-Kinney), he also lovingly depicts scenes to which fans of any sound can relate. Writing about that band and its fans as they adjust to an illness-plagued, too-early set, he depicts how "yung women ride the surge" of the music, and readers ride along. In doing so, the author often takes a godlike stance, proclaiming that an artist is brilliant, or that a fellow critic is not. (He dismisses Peter Guralnick's well-received Elvis biography, "Last Train to Memphis," by saying, "The main things missing ... are ideas and dirt") He also likes to put himself into the artist's head, writing, "Pete Townshend didn't really think Tommy' was an opera, he was just having his little joke," and declaring that the intentionally ambiguous artist Prince's " 'Purple Rain' is about what to do with . . . maturity." But as these fairly straightforward sentences indicate, he has a clear (if sometimes vicious) prose style. Technical terms (such as timbre) are not defined, but in context are easily understandable. Therefore, when he pushes the reader past established boundaries (he is, after all, the founder of the Voice's cross-genre "Pazz and Jop Poll"), he takes us with him. Of course, riding along with the crotchety old dean may not be everyone's idea of fun. But for them, as Christgau himself says, "When all else fails, there is always jazz." TODAY "Smokey Joe's Cafe - the Songs of Leiber and Stoller" - A musical celebration of rock 'n' roll. Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont St. 800-447-7400, group rates 617-350-6000, TTY 888-889-8587. 8, p.m. $25-$65. "A Child's Christmas In Wales" - Story of a young Welsh boy, by poet Dylan Thomas. Presented by Lyric West Theatre Company. Community Church, 565 Boyl- ston St, Boston. 617-288-7889. 7:30 p.m. $25-$27; children $5 discounts; group, student and senior discounts available. "The Gift of the MagF - Musical with narrative adapted by playwright David Mauriello. Presented by In-Stages Musical Theatre Company. Edward Pickman Concert Hall, 27 Garden St, Harvard Square, Cambridge. 978-562-1446. 11 a.m. $17-$19; group tickets, students $8, seniors $10. t'TTTTnTHT fif I TTt the p o la r e xprfss I WrTaWm THE POLAR EXPRESS (j " "",""! Tim CLASSIC STORY ofa magical train ride 1 1'j 1 1 9 9 11 1 I , it iiii at taes a boy to the North Pole to receive a liJJJLlIillJ ChriS Van Allsburg special gift from Santa. ?Wf?M' A Caldecott Medal Book .TH '"T'

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