No one looks particularly glamorous in Richard Avedon's portraits. There's the white background, set up wherever it's convenient, on a wall or hanging from a trailer. There's natural light with the shade creating lines and contours. Then there's Avedon, his camera and his subject. That's all. There are no special lenses or lighting or tricks or Photoshop techniques. But still the photographs are stunning, whether the focus is a steelworker or starlet. This simple procedure with the amazing results has been rarely observed. But one of Avedon's assistants--now a renowned artist herself--has documented it and presents it in a new book that also covers Avedon's massive undertaking In the American West, his project to photograph the real faces of the Western frontier as commissioned by the Amon Carter Museum in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His helper Laura Wilson--yes, the mother of actors Andrew, Luke and Owen--covers Avedon and the several-years-long venture, during which she followed him across the country for weeks as he shot slaughterhouse employees, rest-stop waitresses and others who break the stereotype of cowboys and oil barons. These memories, plus her journal entries, her own photos from the period, some of Avedon's unfinished photos from those sessions and letters from some of the subjects, fill Wilson's Avedon at Work: In the American West, which was published this month. In celebration, Wilson and special guest Avedon will make an appearance at the Amon Carter Museum to speak about the project and their resulting books and also sign copies of the books. The photos ran as an exhibit at the Carter in 1985, and an anniversary celebration will take place in 2005. But here's a chance to get the stories behind the pictures beforehand. Wilson and Avedon speak at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Amon Carter Museum's Darnell Street Auditorium, 3233 Darnell St. in Fort Worth. A book signing follows. Admission is free. Call 817-989-5079.--Shannon Sutlief
Take a Stab
Combine staccato violins, Bosco's chocolate syrup and a casaba melon and you've got one of the most memorable scenes in cinematic history--Janet Leigh being stabbed to death in a motel bathroom. And though you can't really say Psycho is a "beloved" horror film ('cause can you love something that makes you feel all creepy inside?), Hitchcock's classic shower sequence, Norman "I-wouldn't-hurt-a-fly-though-I'm-a-taxidermist" Bates and his mommie dearest have all left an indelible mark on the American psyche--especially us single girls, who make sure to double lock the door whenever we stop at a Motel 6. See Hitchock's classic at midnight Friday and Saturday at the Inwood Theatre, 5458 W. Lovers Lane at Inwood Road. Call 214-764-9106.--Michelle Martinez
Wake up and smell the poinsettias. It's a month till Christmas, and this is the year you stop giving practical gifts, eschew outlet shopping and retire as the bearer of uninspired presents. This year, you're going to give everybody some art. Besides delighting (and shocking) your giftees, you'll be supporting and encouraging local artists. Start this Saturday at the Bath House Cultural Center's 2003 Winter Art & Craft Market. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., browse and buy paintings, sculpture and photography, as well as unique pottery and ceramics, custom clothing, jewelry and handmade soap, candles and cards. Take Northcliff west off Buckner Boulevard to BHCC. Call 214-670-8749 or visit www.bathhousecultural.com. --Annabelle Massey Helber
Learn Some Manners
Got a boyfriend who slurps his soup on dates? A significant other who can't land that good job because he eats Jell-O with his bare hands and doesn't have a clue about the five rules of job interviewing? Might not be a bad idea to bring him by Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Park, 7700 W. Northwest Highway, at 7:30 p.m. Friday to hear what Peter Post has to say about his new book, Essential Manners for Men. What makes this guy so cultured? He's the grandson of etiquette guru Emily Post. Men, please wear shirts and long pants--and no open containers will be allowed. Call 214-739-1124.--Carlton Stowers
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