In a nutshell: "Unfortunately, the inevitable... eye-filling, ear-rattling, soul-stirring... metaphysical insinuations that bubbled...[like] ebola infested, feces-hurling monkeys...
made only 25 grand."


Things To Do While You're Looking Ahead
To Memorial Day Weekend
What makes this weekend special? Well, as the weekend before Memorial Day weekend, the second to last weekend in May often gets overlooked. Who, after all, makes big plans for this modest little weekend? Who looks forward to the events planned for the weekend before the big summer kickoff weekend? I mean, with all the big events geared up for just one week from today—and we’re not just talking about the hot new Ben Affleck-Cuba Gooding Jr.-Josh Hartnett flick Pearl Harbor directed by Michael Bay—most people are staying home and resting up for the big three-day weekend just over the horizon. Sadly, just because there’s not much goin’ on doesn’t mean we can just scrap the Planner for a weekend. Oh no, we’ll just do what we do when the news is slim: We’ll phone one in. So, join us in a perfunctory pre-holiday planner—which isn’t to say that we haven’t phoned it in before. But you get the picture.

Moulin Rouge:
Baz Luhrmann's ambitious $50 million homage to pop and musical theater is no Howard the Courtesan or Moulin's Gate, but it is, as the late critic Manny Farber once noted, a big white elephant of a movie, all surface and artifice, even if alluring and at times dazzling. The tone teeters precariously between camp and irony, an uneasy balancing act worst reflected in John Leguizamo's demented Toulouse Lautrec, who looks like Tim Conway's Dorf and talks like Elmer Fudd. Nicole Kidman's consumptive Blue Angel cum Marilyn and Ewan MacGregor's callow, romantically doomed writer (is there any other kind?) come off only slightly better. The duo, who generate the same lack of chemistry as Kidman and ex-hubbie Cruise did in Eyes Wide Shut, trade verses of Elton John's "Your Song," Paul McCartney's "Silly Love Songs" and U2's "In the Name of Love" in one of the film's amazing set-pieces, which takes place in the belly of an elephantine mosque. Everything is cool as long as Luhrmann sticks to the dizzying musical numbers—particularly amusing is Rouge ringmaster Jim Broadbent's wacky take on Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and the opening medley featuring "Lady Marmalade" with the "Here we are now/Entertain us" refrain of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." But when the film slows down for any kind of dramatic effect, it sinks like a stone. The problem is, you can't consciously aim for camp appeal. According to Susan Sontag, you can only inadvertently achieve that. Which may well be why the heartiest laughs in Moulin Rouge come when Luhrmann's not trying to be funny in what he has described as a feverish absinthe dream. If I could've just found some for myself, I might have liked it better. As it is, the movie's bound to haunt midnight screenings for decades to come. Visit for more. Roy Trakin

Towering Inferno:
Guys, we’ve been spoiled by all these weekends of nonstop hoops, crowned by NBC’s Sunday triple-headers. Unfortunately, the inevitable attrition of the NBA Playoffs has resulted in the elimination of all but six teams, and by sometime Sunday afternoon, it’ll be down to four. On the bright side, THE series is about to start, as the red-hot L.A. Lakers square off against the twin-towering San Antonio Spurs in a bona fide clash of the titans. Game One tips off Saturday at 3:30 PDT on NBC. It’s in San Antone, cuz the Spurs won home-court advantage throughout the playoffs by racking up the league’s best record. I’m gonna enjoy it while I can, cuz when this is over, I have to suffer through my annual dry spell till football season starts. For now, at least, it’s all good. —Bud Scoppa

Looking very much like the summer's second big box-office hit after The Mummy Returns, DreamWorks' animated feature tells the story of the title ogre, voiced by Mike Myers and created by artist William Steig in what many say is the image of Disney boss Michael Eisner. Turns out Shrek's isolated forest turf has been invaded by a host of squatting fairy-tale characters like Three Little Pigs, Robin Hood and Tinkerbell, who have been banished from their homeland by Lord Farquaard (John Lithgow), offering plenty of opportunity for some anti-Disney jibes. Shrek and his trusty donkey sidekick (Eddie Murphy in apparently the funniest cartoon role since Robin Williams' Genie in "Aladdin") set out to right the lord's wrong, only to be forced to cut a deal to save the wise-cracking Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from a fire-breathing dragon. The best animated features are the ones that please the kiddies as well as their parents, and this one seems to have the goods to deliver some worthy hot-weather entertainment. The DreamWorks soundtrack features a new single from Baha Men and songs by eels, Rufus Wainwright, Leslie Carter, the Proclaimers and Smash mouth, while the very amusing website is located at

Angel Eyes: To paraphrase Gang of Four (that's Hugo Burnham's band, not the Red Chinese Maoists), I love a woman in a uniform, and no one fills out a police uniform better than Jennifer Lopez. The former Miss Puffy, now known as J.Lo, does a turn as a cop haunted by a mysterious man who saves her life, played by tall, dark stranger Jim Caviezel (The Thin Red Line, Frequency). Watching Lopez brandish a gun and act tough reminds us of Blue Steel, the only other female cop movie we can remember, starring Jamie Lee Curtis, and directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Have you ever seen a policewoman who looks like Lopez or NYPD Blue star Kim Delaney? No way. Mexican director Luis Mandoki is best known for sudsy romantic potboilers like the Kevin Costner/Robin Wright-starring Message in a Bottle and the Andy Garcia/Meg Ryan 12-step love story, When a Man Loves a Woman, with a script co-written by Al Franken (I kid you not). Come to think of it, shouldn't those titles be reversed? Anyway, this summer entry will try to grab the male action crowd, females looking for some hot-weather passion and perverts who enjoy watching Lopez shooting a gun. One thing's for sure: J.Lo shows a lot more range as a movie star—from Selena to Out of Sight to The Wedding Planner to this—than she ever has as a pop diva. Go to to see a webcast of the film's red-carpet premiere in Hollywood this week. Legendary documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker (Dylan's 1967 Don't Look Back, Monterey Pop and the Oscar-nominated 1992 film about the Clinton campaign, The War Room), along with wife Chris Hegedus and newcomer Jehane Noujaim, takes his high-definition video cameras into the tumultuous world of the new economy. The doc charts the precipitous "rise and fall" of twentysomething New York cyber-entrepreneurs Isaza Tuzman and childhood pal Tom Herman as they attempt to start a website,, to facilitate interaction with city government. Of course, the much-ballyhooed site turns out to be little more than a way to pay your parking tickets over the Net. Still, that doesn't stop former investment banker Tuzman from becoming a poster boy for the high-tech boom, charming venture-capital firms out of tens of millions of dollars and even cheekily asking Bill Clinton to be CEO of the fledgling company after he steps down from the presidency. Their sheer hubris ends up shattered amid the debris of a collapsing market—a conclusion worthy of a classically constructed script. For more, see
Roy Trakin

ALL ACCESS: Front Row. Backstage. Live! Those of you who’ve been feeling a bit jaded about music lately may well feel refreshed by this eye-filling, ear-rattling, soul-stirring IMAX film. Featuring superb perfs and on-camera testimony from an array of artists, the movie—now playing at Universal Citywalk—naturally capitalizes on IMAX’s 80-foot-high image; the artists tower, overwhelmingly, like the icons they are. Yet the production maintains a remarkable intimacy. More importantly, though, the one-of-a-kind performances, filmed at multiple venues, are uniformly sensational and sound crystal-clear even at incredible volume. George Clinton’s P-Funk Allstars back up Mary J. Blige on "Flash Light" and "One Nation Under a Groove." Macy Gray takes her band through a rousing "I Can’t Wait to Meetchu." Sheryl Crow offers up a gorgeous solo rendition of "If It Makes You Happy." Dave Matthews Band supports Al Green on "Take Me to the River." Santana and Rob Thomas serve up a kickin’ "Smooth." Moby conducts a mesmerizing "Porcelain." Sting ("Desert Rose," with Cheb Mami) and Kid Rock ("Bawitdaba") work their respective crowds into a froth. But for me, the highlight was probably the unlikely grouping of blues legend B.B. King, Phish axeman Trey Anastasio and hip-hop geniuses The Roots. King, who pretty much coasted through his duet album with Eric Clapton, may be in his 70s, but he’s still energized by players who push him in unexpected directions. As "Rock Me Baby" gels into a percolating groove, King begins to solo with an unexpected fervor—and the crowd goes insane. It’s a magical moment, of which this flick has more than a few. Go. Go. —Simon Glickman

"Man is the only animal that blushes—or needs to."
—Mark Twain

Travis, The Invisible Band (Independiente/Epic, 6/12):
The third album by the trailblazers of the U.K. pop-rock renaissance (which also includes Coldplay and the Doves) should put to rest those Radiohead comparisons once and for all (common producer Nigel Godrich notwithstanding). As Radiohead moves further away from the song form, Travis embraces it with increased ardor on The Invisible Band. Forgoing the metaphysical insinuations that bubbled under last year’s The Man Who, resident auteur Fran Healy celebrates songcraft for its own sake in a crisply rendered 12-song assemblage of verses, choruses and middle eights, with generally delightful results. Starting with the lilting, banjo-accented "Sing," the album moves gracefully from one lovely melody to the next—indeed, its only current rivals in terms of sheer tunefulness are Pete Yorn’s surprising debut and Lucinda Williams’ upcoming Essence. At times, the absence of dramatic tension renders the music merely pretty; "Flowers in the Window," for example, comes off as an aural still life, charming but static. But when Healy merges stylishness with substance, the results can be stunning. Especially enticing are the buoyantly propulsive "Side," set off by Dougie Payne’s liquid bass line, the McCartneyesque ballad "The Cage" and "Safe," in which the band gets away with a repetitive chorus by virtue of an emotive Healy vocal and the ebullient, Ringo-ized drumming of Neil Primrose. It’s unlikely that a more appealing Beatles/Byrds-style record will come along this year.
—Bud Scoppa

WinBack: That’z right girls, LPzeee returns with more heat for that asss. You should know by now that I’m a fanatic for war/espionage games, and you know there are very few good ones, so I had to step up and speak on this new joint. You’re going to get it so you can bust a cap in that ass. Oh boiii! So here we go: When war iz on tha way and governments are out of options, we don't need weapons, we need WinBack. A terrorist faction has to be stopped, and as tha lone gunman on tha mission, you must flit across enemy lines to take them out. Koei's espionage thriller game takes a page right out of Syphon Filter’s mission log, with daring gun battles and stealthy moves to master. WinBack boasts incredible polygon models and graphic detail, plus an involving story mode and some kicking weaponry, but tha real draw here iz tha innovative gunplay. Like actual operatives, players must take cover behind boxes and other means of cover, and pop out for quick shots before ducking back to safety. Mastering those moves will keep you alive in WinBack's frantic four-player death-match gunfights! —Latin Prince AKA Daddy Sucio

E3 2001: Whether you’re a serious gamer who’s craving for the hottest new software or a techie who drools over all of the latest interactive electronic gear, E3 2001 is one event you can’t miss. Encouraging you to "Touch the Future," E3 takes over the L.A. Convention Center May 16-19, and with 62,000 attendees, it’s no wonder this shindig has been dubbed "The Interactive Industry’s Premier Event." As a trade show for the interactive gaming biz, E3 boasts lots of compelling reasons to go, including various workshops and conferences, but let’s be real—you know we’re going just to put our grubby digits on all of the newest games and systems! This year everyone’s buzzing about Microsoft’s new X-Box and Nintendo’s Dolphin, so you know that LPzeee and myself will definitely be in the house, but the question is, will you? Throw the $200 registration fee down or log on to for more details. —Matt Chong

Another Gospel Fabrication?
The ninth play from David E. Talbert, "The Fabric of a Man," runs this weekend at L.A.’s Wilshire Theater, in a righteous attempt to sanctify the city of sinners. The protagonist this time is a fashion designer whose lover questions her commitment to him vs. her commitment to her job. The story is formulaic, but Talbert’s a master at the social-plight-seek-God-get-your-praise-on-all-is-good-adorned-with-powerful-music theater genre. The play stars songstress Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley, who exploded on the R&B charts in the late ’80s, and sexy "Soul Train" host Shemar Moore. Many will flock to see a more soul-stirring drama. Others will flock to just to see Moore. Talbert’s last play, "His Woman, His Wife," was outstanding and starred singer Stephanie Mills and crooner Tony Terry (and you wondered where all the solid soul singers went). Incidentally, Terry’s new project drops very soon, so those of us who rushed out to see him on stage won’t have to go through withdrawal symptoms. Thank God for that. And thank God for group rates—now my Girl Scout troop can earn this damn theater patch. Kenya M. Yarbrough

What’s Breakfast Without Bacon?
It’s a chicken and egg sort of question. Do the photos and jokes found at emanate from there, or is the site sort of an Internet version of an elephant graveyard? Ultimately, it’s a moot point. Whether you need to know who might deliver 4 hot BJ’s to your door or whether anyone else remembers that great childhood book about kitties, ILoveBacon is the perfect site for you. Any photo or joke or whimsical soundbite you’ve ever received a dozen times in a day from your friends and family can be found here—including the most exhaustive trove of the various parodies of the MasterCard "priceless" campaign on the Internet. Even without the extensive library of flashing photos, Bacon easily lives up to its self-proclamation that it is "more fun than a barrel full of ebola infested, feces-hurling monkeys." —Jeff Drake

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin (now Larue) County, KY. Or course, you probably know about the Gettysburg Address and the debates with Stephen Douglas, but did you know Lincoln made only 25 grand a year as prez? Didn’t think so. During the Civil War, telegraph wires were strung to follow the action on the battlefield. But because there was no telegraph office in the White House, Lincoln went across the street to the War Department to get the news. In case you’ve been living under a rock all your life, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington by the failed actor John Wilkes Booth. This occurred on April 14, 1865, which, ironically, was Good Friday. Best Anagram Of His Name: Rob all china, man.

Upcoming Birthdays
May 18-24

18—Big Joe Turner (would have been 90)
19—Reggie Jackson (55)
20—Cher (55) & Joe Cocker (57)
21—Fats Waller (would have been 97) & Leo Sayer (53)
22—Sun Ra (would have been 87)
24—Bob Dylan (60) & Tommy Chong (63)

Special Events
18—International Museum Day
20—International Reggae Music Week Begins
22—Immigrants Day (Canada)
24—Kodiak Crab Festival

On Full "Monkey Man" Patrol: Just the facts, ma’am: The skies across America are almost completely clear today, except for severe weather in the Indiana-Ohio-Kentucky tri-state area, but chances are you’re not there. Both N.Y.C. and Los Angeles will be partly cloudy all weekend, with highs in the mid-to-upper 70s, and lows in the low 60s. The difference? Scattered showers in New York today. In John Mellencamp’s hometown of Bloomington, IN, this looks like a good weekend to get out of the house. Tonight will see scattered thunderstorms and a low in the low 60s. Saturday will be a mix of clouds and sun, with a high in the upper 70s and a low in the upper 50s. Sunday will be sunny, with a high in the low 80s and a low in the mid-50s, but be forewarned—there’s a chance of thunderstorms late in the evening. Word up!
—David Simutis, apprentice meteorologist

Mr. Bradley's assignment to have his class trace their roots causes Natalie to search for her birth mother's name.

Class of '24 comes alive. (4/22a)
Will scoring records be broken this week? (4/22a)
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill... (4/20a)
A white-knuckle moment (4/20a)
Does she ever. (4/22a)
Gosh, we hope there are more press releases.
Unless the Senate manages to make this whole thing go away, that is.
No, not that one.
Now 100% unlicensed!

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