As you know, American Way’s signature Celebrated Weekend features
A-list stars who take us on tours of their favorite cities. Those stars, and that feature, are the subject of our cover every issue. That’s 24 times a year, which requires researching dozens upon dozens of celebrities and their cities; coordinating with their schedules and upcoming projects; working with countless publicity people and agents and photographers to set up interviews, photo shoots, picture approvals, and the like.

It’s fun work, but not easy, even though the contributors and pros on our staff make it look that way.

This time was no exception. We had a good selection of photos of actress Madeleine Stowe, from glamour shots to dramatic shots to down-and-funky shots. Ultimately, we went with the one on the cover for a number of reasons. It has a casual sophistication that design director Charles Stone strives for when creating covers. Stowe’s making eye contact with the camera, and thus, the reader, which is almost always a must. The zoomed-in, waist-up framing fits our format, as does the solid background that won’t detract attention from the subject. And it has good, old-fashioned sex appeal.

We briefly considered the boldly sexy outtake you see below, but erred on the side of caution. What do you think: Should we have gone for it, or was it smart to not flaunt it?

Either way, Stowe bares all about her adopted town, Austin, Texas (page 34). She really knows her way around the city and shares her local favorites, from hole-in-the-wall Mexican joints to can’t-miss music venues.

Columnist Jim Shahin, who also lives in Austin, takes us on a tour of a different sort: around a man’s brain. I’ve lamented before about the differences between men and women, and I’ll say it again: It’s a cliché because it’s true. This issue, Jim takes on the old men-don’t-listen complaint — and he has scientific facts to prove it (page 80).

There’s much more, as always, including an interview with Miami Heat coach Pat Riley — check out his insight on management, missions, and change in our Business section (page 110).

Let me know what you think at americanway@compuserve.com.