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In a nutshell:
"The caramel-voiced Canadian...iz building [his] army of gridiron dominators with...bags of props (hats, wigs, glasses, etc.)...but it just seems so cliche...after spending months on the run from the Feds,...his keeper, his trainer and...Whitney Houston."
COL. KURTZ’S FAVORITE
WEAK-END PLANNER
The Answers You Seek Can Be Found in
the Jungle, Just Past the Playboy Bunnies
Well, it’s August now, and there’s nothing you or your fancy Wall Street friends can do about it. You can’t turn back time (thank you very much, Cher), so stop romanticizing about July. July is over, and time marches on. This year, August begins auspiciously with a Full Moon (Aug. 4), and ends—31 seemingly short, steamy days later—on a Friday. And every year, the end of August heralds the end of summer. No one cares that "summer" (we made the little finger quotes as we typed that) actually goes on until the Autumnal Equinox on Sept. 22. Why would people care about that? As soon as Labor Day rolls around, predictably that first Monday of September, it’s all over but the crying and mopping up. Everyone packs up their beach chairs and picnic baskets and goes home. Sure enough, and then, just when you get used to it, September’s over and the next thing you know, you’re looking for a Halloween costume and then it’s "Where are we goin’ for Thanksgiving?" and suddenly it’s Christmas and then you’re kissing a stranger on New Year’s and then that stinkin’ groundhog, who never did a favor for nobody, is refusing to see his shadow and it’s another six G.D. weeks of winter!!! Before you know it, NEXT August will be here and we'll be celebrating Karen Glauber's 29th birthday again. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. It’s this August we’re concerned with (happy birthday, Ivana), and we should enjoy it while it’s here, right? Live in the moment and all that, right? Somehow, just knowing it’s going to end takes all the fun out of it.

TRAKIN'S PICKS TO FLICK
Apocalypse Now Redux (UA/Miramax):
The eagerly awaited "director's cut" of Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 Vietnam war epic restores some 49 minutes of new footage and digital enhancements of the image and soundtrack. The new sequences include an extended episode in a crumbling mansion on a rubber plantation, where Martin Sheen learns about the country's French colonial past while smoking opium and making love to widower Aurore Clement. Coppola reportedly spent millions recreating and dressing the set in the middle of the jungle, only to have the sequence end up on the cutting room floor. There's also an extended bit where the G.I.s exchange helicopter fuel to Playboy bunnies for sex, while Robert Duvall's star turn as the crazed, surf cavalry commander Kilgore is also deepened and extended as is the controversial ending with Marlon Brando's soliloquy as the doomed Colonel Kurtz. Critics have already weighed on both sides of the equation, with most praising the new version, though a minority insist an already bloated movie became even more so, but nothing can take away from Coppola's feverish vision of the absurdity and surrealism of this most psychedelic of wars. And while many railed at the time about the film's then-enormous $30 million budget and trouble-plagued production, compare it to the empty hulk of the $100 million Pearl Harbor for a depressing glimpse of how little personality creeps into today's big-budget blockbuster assaults. The official site is at www.apocalypsenow.com, featuring a streaming video of the trailer and a personal message from Coppola. The original soundtrack, complete with the Doors' "The End" and Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart's percussion backdrop, is being re-released by Nonesuch.

Rush Hour 2 (New Line Cinema): Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan and director Brett Ratner are all back for another go-round of this odd couple/cross-cultural action comedy, and why shouldn't they be, after the first installment earned a cool quarter of a billion worldwide. It's yet another movie where the actual script is an afterthought, with Chan repeating his role as a buttoned-down Hong Kong police inspector, while Tucker is his motor-mouted LAPD counterpart. Think Beverly Hills Cop or 48 Hours, two other films which spawned a dwindling series of sequel returns. The three villains—TheLast Emperor's John Lone, veteran comic Alan King and Crouching Tiger star Zhang Ziyi—are some pretty strange bedfellows themselves, while the plot surrounds a bombing of Hong Kong's U.S. Consulate, which leads the pair into discovering a counterfeit ring. Anyway, it's all about the interplay between Tucker and Chan, but critics are saying the best part of the movie is the final bloopers and outtakes, which seems awfully sparse for your hard-earned ten bucks or so. Of course, the thing's bound to gross $40-50 million first week, so what do I know? The album, on UMG Soundtracks though Def Soul/Def Jam, is peppered with the kind of edgy hip-hop that fueled The Fast and the Furious, with Ludacris (the lead single/video, "Area Codes"), LL Cool J, Method Man & Teddy Riley, Ja Rule, Musiq Soulchild and Montell Jordan. Check out the big-budget website at www.rushhour2.com, featuring sweepstakes, quizzes, a casino with a simulated slot machine featuring the stars' faces, etc.

The Princess Diaries (Walt Disney Pictures): The summer's only G-rated movie is based on Meg Cabot's fairy tale-like kid's book about a shy, awkward 15-year-old named Mia (Anne Hathaway of TV's Get Real) who discovers her grandmother (Julie Andrews) is a widowed queen in a distant European principality. The movie was directed by Garry Marshall, whose Pretty Woman was also a wish fulfillment fantasy. Mia soon learns she's a crown princess who must accept her role if the country is to survive. She then undergoes a Pygmalion-type transformation from Queen Julie, who learned how to correctly pronounce "the rain in Spain" herself as Liza Doolittle at the hands of Henry Higgins in the classic stage version of My Fair Lady. The movie also boasts such secondary scene-stealers as Chicago Hope's Hector Elizondo as Andrews' servant (and possible lover), Welcome to the Doll House's Heather Matarazzo as Mia's fellow nerd, but brainy friend and unbilled cameos by comedian Larry Miller as a world renowned hair stylist and Arli$$' Sandra Oh as Mia's celebrity-worshiping vice principal. The Walt Disney Records soundtrack features songs from a who's-who of teenpop idols such as Krystal, Aaron Carter, BBMak, Backstreet Boys, Youngstown, Mandy Moore, Hanson, B*Witched and Steps, with Myra's "Miracles Happen" the first single. The website at www.princessdiaries.com features a chance to win a free trip to Disneyland Paris, an interactive Princess Palace which links Mia to such Disney royalty in the past as Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, etc., and all the merchandise you can put on your parents' AmEx card.

Original Sin (MGM): I've seen the rather noisy trailer for this film for months, based on the 1947 novel Waltz Into Darkness by suspense writer Cornell Woolrich, who also penned classics which were turned into movies like Hitchcock's Rear Window and Truffaut's The Bride Wore Black. Writer/director Michael Cristofer is reunited with star Angelina Jolie, who earned a Golden Globe and SAG award for his 1999 biopic Gia about the supermodel Gia Carangi. This time, Jolie plays a mysterious woman who arrives in Havana as a mail-order bride for Antonio Banderas' worldly 19th century Cuban aristocrat. Banderas is a tobacco planter and owner of a cigar factory, but passes himself off as a lowly clerk because he doesn't want a wife to marry him only for his money. Much madness ensues, as Banderas realizes he is in love with someone he cannot trust. The enduring image from the coming attraction is a close-up of Jolie's rather wrinkled lips, which are probably scarier than anything in this mish-mash. There's a soundtrack on Chapter III Records with trumpeter Terence Blanchard's score, while Gloria Estefan's "You Can't Walk Away From Me" is featured prominently in the film. The film's official website, which blares "obsession, lies, desire, lust… leads us into temptation," can be accessed at www.mgm.com. —Roy Trakin

A PAIR OF BABY-FACED KILLERS
Grant Lee Phillips, Mobilize (Zoe/Rounder):
Don’t let his cherubic face or puckish onstage demeanor fool you—the former leader of ’90s cult band Grant Lee Buffalo is as sharp as an X-acto knife. On his first solo effort, Phillips joins Pete Yorn as the archetypal post-millennial singer-songwriter: Like Yorn, he’s self-contained and well-equipped, playing all the instruments, deftly mixing acoustic and electronic sounds, and his nimbly elliptical songs pack enormous depth. Phillips’ melodies are so quicksilver, his changes so tightly woven, his lyrics so elusive, that Mobilize comes at the listener like a musical Stealth bomber—play it three or four times and you find yourself captivated without any recollection of how or when the record got to you. At that point, you realize the title track, with its war-between-the-sexes central metaphor, mid-century-horror-movie Theremin and dadaist chain-gang accents, is insanely clever. You’re also startled to discover that, with the overtly cinematic romantic epic "Beautiful Dreamers," this sly devil has stolen your heart. A formidable piece of work, indeed. —Bud Scoppa

Ron Sexsmith, Blue Boy (spinART): The fourth big-time album by the caramel-voiced Canadian is a departure in two ways from its predecessors. First, Sexsmith is no longer a "major label recording artist," his tenure at Interscope having produced little more than critical hosannas; second, he’s switched producers, from Mitchell Froom to the team of Steve Earle and Ray Kennedy, who unlocked Lucinda Williams’ pent-up genius on the modern-day classic Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. While Blue Boy contains no big surprises (apart from the delightful Sexsmith ink sketches that comprise the album art), the writer-singer has never sounded more comfortable, and the combination of tasty tunes, delightfully fluid musical settings and Sexsmith’s seemingly effortless vocal virtuosity make for one gorgeous record. Much has been made of the opener, "This Song," which subtly pictures musical artists as an endangered species in a brutalizing landscape. In his heart, though, Sexsmith is a postmodern romantic, enticed by irony and cynicism but giving in to neither. This tension brings pathos to the loveliness of "Tell Me Again," with its Tim Hardin-like wispiness, and the Chet Baker-inspired "Foolproof," which possesses the dry melancholy of pressed flowers. Here’s a wild notion, and I don’t suggest this lightly— buy this record and improve your karma. —B.S.

GOING TO THE GO-GO'S
The Go-Go's at Sunrise Musical Theater: Just before the Go-Go's took the stage in a three-quarters-filled Miami-area arena, an omniscient voice from backstage introduced the band as His favorite creation, in keeping with the religious motif of their first new album in 17 years, God Bless the Go-Go's (Beyond). The group then broke into "Head Over Heels," led by a barefoot Belinda Carlisle, wearing an Oriental red/orange silk pants suit that looked like it was left over from her Playboy photo shoot in Thailand. Standing on one of three sets of steps adorning the edge of the semi-circular stage, she looked like a majestic Statue of Liberty, singing confidently and powerfully. The band focused on songs from the new album, which came off as worthy successors to their catalog. Especially strong were the swaggering new single, "Apology," the rawking "Automatic Rainy Day" (the album version features Green Day's Billy Joe Armstrong) and the gals' new hometown anthem, "Living in La La Land." Even better, the ladies seemed to genuinely enjoy playing with each other. An earnest Charlotte Caffey jammed with a jubilant Jane Wiedlin, who beamed throughout. Black-leather-clad bassist Kathy Valentine jumped around with youthful abandon, while drummer Gina Schock kept the momentum rolling as the band lived up to their name with a performance that not only celebrated the past but, more importantly, also looked to the future. With the finale, "Our Lips Are Sealed," band and audience joined together as the Go-Go's proved to any remaining doubters that they've still got the beat...and aren't letting go of it any time soon.
Janet Trakin

LP’Z PS2 GAME OF THA WEEK
NCAA Football 2002:
Take tha ball and march. Tha orders are clear—you came to the game to win, so get it done. This iz football, 100 yards fought inch for inch. After tha triumph of Madden for tha debut season for tha PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, EA Sports iz building itz army of gridiron dominators with a full-on next-generation version of collegiate football in NCAA Football 2002, and it'z here for tha win. Tha best of tha best are here, with 117 Division 1-A and 27 1-AA teams represented in tha game's roster, recreated with correct team stats, jerseys, and team-specific playbooks for tha 1-A teams. Tha stadium spirit of college ball takes the game to another level with team mascots and arena cheers. Up in the booth iz play-by-play and color commentary from tha broadcast team of Brad Nessler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit. With special college-specific strategies, moves, & plays from tha young upstarts in tha sport, NCAA Football 2002 plays quite differently from itz NFL big brother. Tha game also refuses to give an inch in the graphics department—tha incredible detail & polish of MADDEN 2002 iz here on tha NCAA Football as well, with new realistic faces & uniforms & loads of college-specific details not seen anywhere else. With a complete Dynasty Mode for up to 12 players to take their team through decades of playing and the true test of the Campus Challenge that puts players in situations that will prove their greatness, NCAA Football 2002 is a game winner. You ask yourself, how duz LP knows all this? I keep tellin you, cuz I’m a fukkin PIMP. —Latin Prince

SITE OF THE WEEK
Who Couldn’t Use a Good Blender? Not all comedy from across the pond ends up satisfying the American palate. (Jokes about cricket come to mind.) But some humor transcends geo-political boundaries to appeal to audiences far and wide—in this instance, what I’m talking about is the comedy of Dean and Nigel. The concept behind D&N’s "How to Blend In!" site seems simple enough: two Brits, armed with bags of props (hats, wigs, glasses, etc.) roam the streets of an anonymous British city searching for odd-looking people. Once found, either Dean or Nigel—depending upon which of the blokes can best capture the facial expression and physicality of the "target"—then gets close so the other (either Nigel or Dean, this time) can take a photo. The results are posted on Dean and Nigel’s site. Simply follow the link above, scroll down and click on the button marked "the galleries!" While many of the captions confuse rather than illuminate—example: just what does "tonight Matthew I'm going to be Olive from On The Buses" mean?—the photos, especially when taken in large doses, never fail to bring a chuckle. —Jeff Drake

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I was not lying. I said things that later on seemed to be untrue." —Richard Nixon

A NEW YORK MINUTE
Although the headliner, Cibo Matto, will most likely draw the big crowd (the cover of "Welcome to the Jungle" that they've been doing lately is fabulous!), the reason to head to Bowery Ballroom on Friday night is to see the Detroit Grand Pubahs. Get your groove on to their sassy song, "Sandwiches." I'd tell you all to go to the Warped Tour on Saturday at Randall's Island, which features the likes of Henry Rollins, Rancid, Dropkick Murphys and too many more, but it just seems so cliche. Might I suggest seeing Huey Lewis & the News instead at Jones Beach? Everyone keeps saying that the Strokes are the hottest up-and-coming N.Y.C. band right now, but I've got my money on another act—the Rapture. They're at Maxwell’s on Sundays, and their live show can take on that of the Strokes any day. —Heidi Ann-Noel

PRESIDENTIAL FACT OF THE WEEK
Richard Milhous Nixon, our 37th president, was born Jan. 9, 1913, in Yorba Linda, CA. As Dwight Eisenhower’s VP, Nixon went to Moscow in 1959 to open the American National Exhibition. There, at a display of kitchen appliances, he engaged in a verbal clash with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. This "kitchen debate" enhanced Nixon's stature. Though Nixon disliked much of the press, he had the White House swimming pool filled in, to give reporters more room when covering White House events. Later, it would be discovered that many of the enemies from his famous enemies list were buried in the cement used to fill in the pool. In 1974, after spending months on the run from the Feds, Nixon and companion Patty Hearst died in a hail of gunfire outside the Arizona motel, which had served as their love nest. Best Anagram Of His Name: Ruin a childish X-moron. Best Anagram Of Vice-President Spiro Agnew's Name: Grow a penis.

CURIOUS NEWS STORY OF THE WEEK
An Elephant Never Forgets…Or Forgives: During its daily evening walk around the Night Safari park in Singapore, a 24-year-old adult bull elephant named Chawang gored its trainer of 18 years. The elephant turned suddenly and grabbed one of three handlers, Gopal Krishnan, with his trunk. When Krishnan fell to the ground, the four-ton elephant trust his tusk into the man's chest, puncturing a lung and breaking a few ribs. The 45-year-old handler was pulled to safety. "He lost quite a lot of blood," Night Safari spokesman Robin Goh told Reuters on Tuesday (7/31). "But he's fine and he's on the road to recovery." Staff at the zoo is puzzled over what caused the Asian elephant to attack. "We're as mystified as everybody else," Goh said. "Eighteen years Gopal has been his keeper, his trainer and as good as his father." Chawang has been confined to his enclosure since the incident. "He needs to think about what he’s done," said Goh, who added that the elephant is also denied phone or PlayStation2 privileges until further notice.
—Jeff Drake

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Upcoming Birthdays
Aug. 3-9

3—Tony Bennett (75) & Jay North (48)
4—Louis Armstrong (would have been 100)
5—Karen Glauber (40) and John Huston (would have been 95)
6—Lucille Ball (would have been 90) & Paul Bartel (would have been 63)
7—Stan Freberg (75)
8—Dustin Hoffman (64)
9—Whitney Houston (38)

Special Events
3—Full Moon
4—Festival of the Hungry Ghosts (China)
5—Cromm Dub’s Sunday (Ireland)
9—National Hobo Convention (Britt, IA)

YOUR WEAK-END WEATHER
We regret top inform you that there will be no weather this weekend.

"FACTS OF LIFE" SUMMARY FOR THE WEEK
Blair flies into a rage as her sister prepares to enter the convent.

NEAR TRUTHS:
THE CAKE AND
THE CANDLES
Marketshare machers. (10/27a)
KENDRICK INKS WITH UMPG
Lamar enters the House of Jody. (10/27a)
YTD MARKETSHARE: AND THE WINNER IS...
It's a lock. (10/27a)
MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, PART 8,761: SURGERY IN THE TIME OF COVID
Planning for an Election Day hopped up on painkillers. (10/27a)
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
Vote. Do it now. (10/27a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
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