Highlights of the "Gimme Shelter" DVD include three new songs from the Madison Square Garden shows and great backstage footage featuring Mick flirting with Tina Turner right under Ike’s nose as he tries to impress them by playing a Robert Johnson song on guitar.


Ho-Hum, Ho-Hum, It’s Back From Work We Come
We're certain that we speak for everyone who's reading this drivel when we say that it's just GRRRREAT to be back on the job after that boring time off. Unfortunately, there's a weekend coming up, with two more empty days and three more empty nights. Allow us to throw out some suggestions for filling that dreaded time off.

There aren't any. Clearly, none of the studios wants to open a film on the first weekend in January. There are, however, more good-to-excellent movies in general release now than at any time in the last year, from the sweet ("Chocolat") to the tart ("Traffic") to the ravishing ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"). So, go. Or stay home and watch...

"American Movie"
(Columbia Tri-Star): This Michael Stipe-produced documentary about Menomonee Falls, WI, hippie/slacker/film freak Mark Borchardt's ill-fated attempts to make his atmospheric black-and-white horror film, "Coven," despite the resistance of both family and friends, is a poignant tale of DIY persistence in the wake of heartland indifference. The movie stars Borchardt's dim-witted, but Zen-like, guitar-playing buddy Mike Schank and his doddering Uncle Bill, a trailer-park resident who lives just long enough to see his $3,000 investment result in an on-screen credit as Executive Producer. Perhaps Borchardt was a little too early to cash in on the "Blair Witch Project" phenomenon with this eerie short, which appears in its entirely on this DVD and is a worthy successor to "Night Of the Living Dead"/"Texas Chainsaw Massacre," the low-rent creepy classics he's trying to evoke. Nevertheless, Borchardt has now sold more than 4,000 copies (according to the www.americanmovie.com web site), putting this most unlikely auteur into the black.

"Gimme Shelter" (The Criterion Collection): A 30th anniversary edition of what many have called the greatest rock movie ever made features the Rolling Stones at their Satanic, digital best on their '69 tour, which anti-climaxed in the apocalypse-then of Altamont. Aside from the refurbished visuals and sound, the DVD boasts an audio track by directors Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin and excerpts from KSAN radio's wrap-up, which was also featured in the film. Highlights include three new songs from the Madison Square Garden shows (including an acoustic "Prodigal Son") and great backstage footage featuring Mick flirting with Tina Turner right under Ike's nose as he tries to impress them by playing a Robert Johnson song on guitar. —Roy Trakin

Hey, it's Week Two of the NFL Playoffs—need we say more? THE game this round may well be Miami-OAKLAND Saturday afternoon, but we can't locate The Guy With The Goggles to confirm that assertion. We can say without hesitation, however, that the score will be greater than 13-2.

Rutherford B. Hayes, our 19th president, was born Oct. 4, 1822, in Delaware, OH. Like some presidents we could name, he lost the popular vote (by a quarter of a million votes!) but won the Electoral College vote by a slim margin (only 1!). During the term of the "Dark Horse President," as Hayes was known, the first telephone was installed in the White House. Best Anagram Of His Name: Shoed furry breath.

Yo, rock scribes, your lists of top 10 albums and singles for the Village Voice's 27th or 28th Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll need to be in the hands of co-Poobahs Chuck Eddy and Robert Christgau by Monday (1/8) at 5 p.m. ET. If you haven't figured them out yet, you've got the weekend to get your shit together. And don't forget to do the math—you've got 100 points total to spread among the 10 albums you've chosen, with a maximum of 30 and a minimum of five. By the way, at the Voice, they italicize album titles. Here's a sample ballot to get you started, Chad:

Bud Scoppa
1. Jayhawks: Smile (American/Columbia) 15 points
2. Coldplay: Parachutes (Nettwerk/Capitol) 14
3. Aimee Mann: Bachelor No. 2 (SuperEgo) 13
4. Dandy Warhols: Thirteen Tales From Urban
(Capitol) 12
5. Doves: Lost Souls (Astralwerks) 11
6. Johnny Cash: American III: Solitary Man (American/
Columbia) 9
7. U2: All That You Can't Leave Behind (Interscope) 8
8. Travis: The Man Who (Independiente/Epic) 7
9. Jill Scott: Who Is Jill Scott/Words and Sounds
Vol. 1
(Hidden Beach/Epic) 6
10. Steely Dan: Two Against Nature (Giant/Reprise) 5

(Note: In last year's poll, I had Shelby Lynne's I Am Shelby Lynne (Island) at #4, with 12 points. Those points will be added to her total for this year.)

1. Dandy Warhols: Bohemian Like You (Capitol)
2. Coldplay: Yellow (Nettwerk/Capitol)
3. Shelby Lynne: Thought It Would Be Easier (Island)
4. David Gray: Babylon (ATO/RCA)
5. Jayhawks: Smile (American/Columbia)
6. Travis: Why Does It Always Rain on Me?
7. OutKast: B.O.B. (LaFace/Arista)
8. Bob Dylan: Things Have Changed (Columbia)
9. Steely Dan: Cousin Dupree (Giant)
10. Matthew Sweet: So Far (Volcano)

Comment: Ya gotta believe things are taking a turn for the better when some of last year's most noteworthy commercial successes—from youngsters David Gray, Jill Scott, Coldplay, Shelby Lynne, Radiohead, and OutKast, as well as old farts Steely Dan and U2—were so clearly dreamed up, in the classic solipsistic sense, rather than A&R'd into existence.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again. Then give up. There's no use being a damned fool about it."
—W.C. Fields

The Furby Autopsy:
Sure, we've all wanted to skin a Furby alive, but wouldn't it be more fun to do it in a scientific way? If you answered yes to that question, you will certainly enjoy the Furby Autopsy site. When the site's authors first got their Furby, named Too-Loo-Ka, he exhibited curious behavior that seemed to warrant radical surgery. So they skinned the little guy in what can only be considered a heroic attempt at saving their delightful toy's life. Sadly, Too-Loo-Ka went wherever it is that toys go when they pass on (the Island of Misfit Toys perhaps?), but his—her? its?—death served the greater purpose of science! And if the detailed descriptions and photos aren't enough to slake your Furby-fueled curiosity, the site can also serve as a how-to on skinning your own Furby! Although, as the site warns, "doing so will most likely void its warranty." —Jeff Drake

Tootie finds her friends' IQ scores and blabs the information, turning midterm week into a disaster.

If it's snowing where you are, you're either in the Northeast or Minnesota. My condolences. In New York City this weekend, it should be cold and mostly cloudy, with highs in the low 40s and lows in the low 30s. Once it stops snowing today, there shouldn't be any precipitation until Monday. Looks like it will also be cloudy in Los Angeles this weekend. Of course, it's going to be in the upper 60s and low 70s during the day and in the mid-50s at night, so what are a few clouds? Still, there's a good chance it will be raining a lot next week, so head out to the beach on Saturday. For those of you headed to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, expect mostly sunny skies and temps ranging from 40-65. Just don't forget it's the desert; with humidity in the 20% range, you'll need to drink plenty of liquids.
—David Simutis, apprentice meteorologist