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Lawrence Toppman: Their contribution to the health of the orchestra, recently revealed by a new three-year contract, canít be overstated.

In the early 1990s, long before Tim Burton ever planned to make a movie about Margaret Keane, he traveled to Northern California to commission a portrait from the artist whose paintings of children with oversize, mournful eyes were a nearly inescapable backdrop to 1960s pop culture.

Thanks to Jacky’s friends, what was just an imaginary band has become real. The Falling Pebbles will play at The Double Door Inn on Dec. 28.

Steven Spielberg’s 1998 World War II epic, “Saving Private Ryan,” Joel and Ethan Coen’s cult comedy “The Big Lebowski” and the 1976 drama “Please Don’t Bury Me Alive!” – considered to be the first Chicano feature film – are among the 25 titles added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

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The second half of this video provides the four most enjoyable minutes of watching I had in 2014....

State of the Art
Travelers looking for something beyond top attractions like the Space Needle in Seattle might consider adding a weird museum or two to their itineraries.

Lawrence Toppman: Every time I prepare this preview guide for the arts season, I wish I were rich and retired. Rich because I’d indulge every whim, from seeing the immortal Audra McDonald and Chita Rivera in the same month (next February, courtesy of Blumenthal Performing Arts) to attending musicals ranging from “Jesus Christ Superstar” to “101 Dalmatians.”

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