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BRAD OSWALD / TV

Bublé brings back notion of old-time Christmas TV special

He's got a long way to go to catch old-time Christmas crooners like Andy Williams, who did more than a dozen seasonal TV specials in the 1960s, '70s and early '80s, or Mr. White Christmas himself, Bing Crosby, whose family-style festive specials were a TV staple from 1961 until his death in 1977, but Christmassy Canuck Michael Bublé seems determined to make himself part of the yule-TV tradition. Michael Bublé's 3rd Annual Christmas Special airs on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 9 p.m. on NBC and CTV, and this time, his effort to make with the merry music is aided by guests Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Sesame Street's Cookie Monster.

RANDALL KING / MOVIES

Holiday Scramble

It must be December. In the days leading to Christmas, distributors make last-minute scheduling changes to some of their Oscar-bait movies, especially in the Winnipeg market. American Hustle, David O. Russell's followup to Silver Linings Playbook, shifts from Dec. 18 to Dec. 20. The more extreme relocation sees August: Osage County, a family drama starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, abandoning its Christmas Day berth (presumably to unstick the multiplex logjam) to open here on Jan. 10.

MORLEY WALKER / BOOKS

And Munro thought the Giller made a difference

A word of advice to authors wanting to pick up some fast cash -- wangle yourself a Nobel Prize. Sales of Canadian short-story writer Alice Munro's titles shot up 4,424 per cent here in the three weeks following her Nobel win on Oct. 10, according to BookNet Canada, the outfit that tracks book sales. In the U.S. sales shot up a mere 722 per cent. The full report, showing actual units moved, is available on the firm's website.

ANTHONY AUGUSTINE / MUSIC

Christmas at the Oldfolks Home

If you missed Oldfolks Home's final show this week, the local electro-pop group is making its new Christmas song, Carry Mistletoe (featuring Atlaas), available for free download from its Bandcamp site, oldfolkshome.bandcamp.com. This has been a yearly tradition for the band founded by Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar. With the group looking to forge a new path with a new name, no word if the next iteration will continue this holiday tradition.

KEVIN PROKOSH / THEATRE

Must-Steve TV

Make sure you catch the HBO documentary Six By Sondheim, a fascinating, candid look at the composer who changed the American musical. Patrons of SondheimFest, last year's master playwright festival, will appreciate getting the inside dope on the creation and performance of a half-dozen of his iconic songs, including Send in the Clowns, originally conceived as a minor number that sat around for a couple of years before it became the closest he ever got to a hit song.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 12, 2013 C2

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