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Last week, Black Friday lived up to its name when stampeding shoppers smashed through the glass doors of a Wal-Mart in New York's suburban Valley Stream.

In the process, they trampled a seasonal employee to death and injured several others. Amazingly, a number of fervent shoppers refused to leave the premises even after being informed of the death and resulting police order to shut the store down.

By most standards, this is not in keeping with the traditional holiday spirit.

At the risk of angering the ghost of Sam Walton, our holiday gift issue is a kind of anti-Wal-Mart survival guide. It will help you shop locally and avoid the malls and mega-stores that run on minimum-wage work and ship profits to weird states like Minnesota and Arkansas. And in light of recent events, it could save your life.

So who, meanwhile, will save the live music scene here in Colorado Springs? In this issue's cover story we talk to the colorful to put it mildly folks who dare to book shows at our local clubs. None of them are getting rich off it, but all are hoping to stay in business through the long winter ahead. So help them out, OK?

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