NEW TEX-MEX BAND PREPARES CD
Some of the members of the old Flying Burrito Brothers band and the group called The Band have teamed up to form a new ensemble ... Burrito Deluxe. The aggregation is about to release its debut CD. According to country.com, the new band features guitarist Sneaky Pete Kleinow. He was a founding member of the original Flying Burrito Brothers. The Band's keyboard artist, Garth Hudson, is also heard on the new project. Others include Tommy Spurlock, Carlton Moody and Willie Watson. The group has named its debut album "Georgia Peach." Barry Bales (of Alison Krauss & Union Station) and Gib Builbeau (a latecomer to the Flying Burrito Brothers) are also heard on the new CD. It should be out by February.
SCULPTOR PLANS TO IMMORTALIZE BASKETBALL
If internationally known sculptor Elden Tefft has his way, there will eventually be a huge park in Lawrence, Kan., immortalizing the sport of basketball. Tefft, a former University of Kansas arts professor, tells the Kansas City Star that he wants to create a full-size basketball court that would be surrounded by bronze statues of the legends of the game. The number of statues is not set in stone (or bronze) yet, but Tefft plans three rows on all four sides of the "playing surface" on risers. His first statue could possibly be a likeness of James Naismith, the father of basketball and the first coach at Kansas. Among those mentioned as having their own statues are Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and many of the Harlem Globetrotters. The jump circle in the middle of the court would be a fountain ... the free throw lanes would be reflecting pools. Tefft admits that it could take 10 years to complete the project, if money is found to do so. At that time he'll be 92.
ZSA ZSA IMPROVING IN L.A. HOSPITAL
It will be a long recuperation, but actress-personality Zsa Zsa Gabor is on the mend at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Local media are reporting that she suffered broken bones and lacerations in that one-car accident last week on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. She is likely to remain in the hospital for a couple more weeks. Through all of this, all-news radio station KNX reports that the 85-year-old Gabor remains in critical condition. Her age is not a contributing factor to a quick recovery. There are reports that some minor surgery may be undertaken on her arms to make sure the broken bones knit properly.
DISAPPOINTING START FOR NEW DISNEY FLICK
Despite the fact that many reviewers are giving the new Disney animated feature "Treasure Planet" rave notices, it could only place fourth in the over-the-weekend Thanksgiving box-office. The movie, which places the old Robert Lewis Stevenson story of "Treasure Island" into outer space, was bested by "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," "Die Another Day" -- the latest in the James Bond franchise -- and "The Santa Clause 2." Some had feared that Disney had gone too far in trying to take a much-treasured classic story and move it into space. But some reviews have been very strong, calling the new adaptation a "classic in itself." Much of the praise is being heaped on the startling animation, the acting and voice talents of David Hyde Pierce and Martin Short and the music of James Newton Howard and Johnny Rzeznik (who provides the singing voice for the young male hero of the film). Disney spent $100 million on the movie.
SURVIVING 'DEAD HEADS' STILL GOING STRONG
More than 10,000 showed up over the weekend in Indianapolis to hear a band called The Other Ones, essentially the survivors of the old Grateful Dead group. And, according to the Indianapolis Star, they brought the house down. Playing in Conseco Fieldhouse, the group delivered what the Star's David Linquist calls "a clinic on collaboration and longevity." The group's singers -- Bob Weir and Phil Lesh (from the old Grateful Dead) and newcomer Rob Barraco -- have created a vocal blend that is even tighter and better than the original group. Also in the band is percussionist Bill Kreutzmann, who was more involved in the singing this time around. The entire hour-long concert had only one "mis-step," according to the reviewer. That was the performance of "Tennessee Jed," termed "overly sappy and laconic."
TRIBUTE PAID TO PARLEY BAER
As we reported last week, one of the great "unknown" actors of all time has died. Parley Baer was Chester on the original "Gunsmoke" on radio opposite William Conrad's Marshal Matt Dillon. Over the years he went on to play character roles in more than 50 movies, was Darby, Ozzie Nelson's neighbor, was Mayor Stoner on the "Andy Griffith Show" and finally Ernie, the Keebler Elf, on the TV commercials. Now a group he loved so much and in which he was a driving force for decades has honored him at a luncheon. The Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, meeting Monday in Los Angeles, devoted part of its program to Baer. During his final years he attended many of the group's meetings ... wheelchair-bound and unable to speak. Among the tributes read in his honor was our reporting of his death in this column last week. We all miss him.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 471
Over the weekend retailers noted stronger-than-expected sales. Walmart says it had its biggest one-day sales total ever. Still, many are shunning the malls and shopping at home, either on line or via the phone. So, today's question: "What percentage of your holiday shopping (dollar-wise) will you do 'electronically?'" Put SHOP in the subject line and send to email@example.com via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTON NO. 466 (COUNTRY)
Last week we asked who were your favorite county singers. From a random dip into the e-mail inbox, here are your choices, most popular first:
4...Jo Dee Messina
6...Brooks & Dunn
7...Lee Ann Womack
TOMORROW: Helping out at the soup kitchen.
A FINAL THOUGHT ...
This is the time of year when we see so many ordinary people doing some extraordinary things. So, during the upcoming Twelve Days of Christmas we're going to honor "local heroes." We'll pick eight of your honorees and mention them in this column. There will be eight people honored, since only eight of the 12 days fall on days in which this column is printed. So, think of someone in your community who is an unsung hero. Tell us about that person. We'll only use the name of the person with their approval, so you should add a contact number for them. If none is provided, we'll simply tell the story of the person. Put HONOR in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet. GBA.