Forward Thinking

Published February 12, 2007


Just in time for Valentine's Day comes the first studio CD in three years from one of the most heartbreaking singers we know: Lucinda Williams. West, on sale Tuesday, promises another round of that achingly honest voice and Williams' smart, salt-the-wound songwriting.

Leave your nightlight on

His legion of fans already know the answer, but "Why Would Anyone Read That Stuff?" is the title of a talk at 7 p.m. Thursday by bestselling horror writer Peter Straub. Author of many books, including Lost Boy Lost Girl and In the Night Room, collaborator with Stephen King on The Talisman and Black House, Straub knows how to send a serious shiver down anyone's spine. He speaks in the Marshall Center Ballroom on USF's Tampa campus. It's free.

Picking up pieces of the past

An important part of Tampa's history was rescued when formerly all-black Middleton High School reopened in 2002, more than 30 years after it closed as part of desegregation. Historian and community activist Fred Hearns helped make it happen, as he recounts in his new book Getting It Done: Rebuilding Black America Brick by Brick. He'll be signing it at 1 p.m. Saturday at Books for Thought, 10910 N 56th St., in Tampa.

Not exactly the sweetheart list

Marking birthdays on Saturday are three celebrities who are, shall we say, not the best role models in the romance department. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips sentenced to probation in December on domestic violence charges turns 45, Denise Richards (who hooked up with her-best-friend's-guy Richie Sambora, after noisily dumping Charlie Sheen) will be 36, and Paris Hilton (don't get us started) is 26.

Sorry, Borat's not a nominee

If you're anything like us, you probably watch the Oscars every year and think, "I could make a better speech than that." You have until Saturday to prove it in NPR's Write Your Own Oscar Speech contest. Just write a 200-word acceptance speech for any best acting nominee - in character. So, if Meryl Streep wins, she delivers her speech as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada: "Bore someone else with your applause." Inspired? To enter, go to www.npr.org and search for "Oscar speech."



For Lucinda Williams' tour schedule, go to www.lucindawilliams.com.