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This week's Culture Vultures recommend . . .

Lincoln Park's Zoolights show, Bing Crosby's White Christmas, and more

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Correction: This article misspelled Mr. Spadafora's first name. We regret the error.

Cleo Wilson, executive director of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, gets caught up in:

Novels by Beth Gutcheon Last Christmas, I gave my daughter a Kindle. She's an avid reader and often complained about lugging books on trips. So I was quite surprised when she informed me that she preferred reading books. My first thought was to return it, but after some thought I decided to keep it for myself; it fit nicely in my purse.

Years ago, if I liked one book by a particular author, I would read everything they wrote. This fall while on a trip to Maine, I stopped in a bookstore and purchased Leeway Cottage, a novel by Beth Gutcheon. I liked it so much that I downloaded the sequel Good-bye and Amen: (P.S.), which follows the descendants of the first book's main characters. I've since read three other Gutcheon novels: More Than You Know, Saying Grace, and Five Fortunes, which I finished only last week. I confess some of her books are better than others, but I enjoyed Five Fortunes, which follows the lives and interactions of five women who meet at the Cloisters, a posh spa in Arizona.

David Spadafora, president of the Newberry Library, goes ape for:

ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo Visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo is one of my wife's and my favorite things to do all times of the year. This season there is a special reason to go: ZooLights, a real Chicago spectacle that's completely free. Beyond the lights themselves, the crowds of children, parents, and grandparents can't help but make you smile. After the middle of the month, the lights are on every evening. We like to arrive a little before twilight on a day when it isn't overcast, which makes possible watching the transition from some color in the sky to lots of color all around. When we can arrive earlier, before 4 PM, we go first to the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool or the Lincoln Park Conservatory, both adjacent to the north end of the zoo. Each is an urban oasis of tranquility and beauty in any season. The transition from them to ZooLights makes for a memorable experience.

Victoria Zielinski & Paul Barrosse (AKA Vic & Paul), comedians from the Practical Theatre Company, who will be appearing in The Vic & Paul Show at Mayne Stage (see theater listings), light up for:

White Christmas The holiday season means it's time for us to break out the liverwurst and eggnog and enjoy White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen (of the freakishly tiny waistline). Every yuletide since the mid-1980s, our dear friend, former Chicago actress Linda Emond, has organized a screening of this classic 1954 film. When we moved to different cities our annual gathering morphed into an event we call Cyber White Christmas. At the appointed hour, we get together in an Internet chat room, start our DVDs simultaneously, and type a running, inevitably tipsy commentary as Bing and Danny scheme to save old General Waverly's snowless ski lodge in Vermont. It's an evening full of wisecracks about Bing's jazz hipster lingo, Danny's fabulous dancing, Clooney's stunning black dress in "Love, You Didn't Do Right by Me," and all those great Irving Berlin tunes we know by heart.

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Related Film

White Christmas

Director: Michael Curtiz

Writer: Norman Krasna, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank

Producer: Robert Emmett Dolan

Cast: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, Dean Jagger, Mary Wickes, John Brascia, Anne Whitfield, Richard Shannon, Grady Sutton, Sig Ruman, Robert Crosson, Herb Vigran, Dick Keene, Johnny Grant, Gavin Gordon, Marcel De La Brosse, James Parnell, Percy Helton, Barrie Chase and George Chakiris

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