St. Petersburg Times: Weekend
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January 2, 2003

photo Chris Sherman stacks up the bay area’s best restaurants of 2002

[Times photo:
Michael Rondou]

Cover Story
photoA Grand year for food
That's not an overstatement. St. Petersburg's Grand Finale leads the way in area dining by offering the future of American cooking.

My standards: strict, not pricey
I know there are restaurant critics who go out, determined to be unsatisfied, but I can't do it. I can't look forward to a bad meal. When I go into a restaurant I enter the same way you do, hoping to have good food and a good time -- and get my money's worth.

Film
Come back, Jack
About Schmidt is long and tedious. It's also a waste of Jack Nicholson's talents.

photoAll that jazz and more
Chicago is not only the best picture of 2002. It's a masterpiece that decades from now should still be a prime example of what movie musicals can be.

Traveling at the speed of life
Personal Velocity effectively tells the stories of three women working through pain and pressures toward imperfect resolutions.

Family movie guide
The Family Movie Guide should be used along with the Motion Picture Association of America rating system for selecting movies suitable for children.

Top 5 movies
1. Chicago -- The celebrated Broadway hit becomes a movie that really moves, full of co-creator Bob Fosse's sexy struts, a dynamic score and director Rob Marshall's ingenious methods of transferring the action from stage to screen. Renee Zellweger gives a terrific performance in the best film of 2002.

Get Away
photoYour 'Show' of shows returns
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus -- the Greatest Show on Earth -- makes visits with its popularity intact.

Getaway: down the road
Events to watch for; details in future editions of Weekend.

Getaway: hot ticket
Tarpon Springs' big day -- Epiphany

Art
Art: at the museums
Red Grooms: Selections from the Graphic Work -- Through Sunday, Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg.

Art: hot ticket
Everglades explorer

Stage
Never a drag
Love and happiness come full circle in La Cage aux Folles. This classic comedy keeps a high-spirited edge.

Wholly Bible it's not
The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) takes a funny look at the Good Book.

Stage: down the road
Conductor -- Peter Oundjian conducts the Florida Orchestra in Debussy, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff Jan. 10-12. $20-$42.

Stage: hot ticket
Tenors offer Mo'

Pop
Pop: ticket window
Karla Bonoff -- 8 p.m. Jan. 9, Largo Cultural Center, Largo. $18.50.

Team pop trivia
This week's winner: Steve Kulas of Tampa knew that famed Jamaican producer Lee 'Scratch" Perry collaborated with the Clash on Complete Control and several other tunes in the late 1970s.

Video/DVD
New releases: 'XXX' excels in adventure
XXX (PG-13)

Rewind: A feast of films
Forget the chianti and fava beans. These movies serve up the real stuff of life.

Dine
Food events
Best chef battle -- 7-9 p.m. Tue., La Maison Gourmet, 471 Main St., Dunedin. Chefs Chris Ponte of Cafe Ponte and Sean Squires of Island Way Grill square off in culinary competition. $50 (includes meal). Benefits Ronald McDonald House. (727) 736-3070.

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