In a nutshell: "This week...pull out...antipasto from the...aerated middle...[and] make me wonder who’s...being dragged down by the forces of gravity, fame and...foot pampering... The family's reluctance to...do something with as few clothes on as possible...place[s] Mrs. Garrett's future at Eastland in doubt."
All Of The Answers To This Week’s Planner Can Be Found In The Guesthouse
This week, more than most, is the week to think about mothers. So, pull out your copies of Pink Floyd’s "Atom Heart Mother," "Another Mother Further" by Mother’s Finest, the Chili Peppers’ "Mother’s Milk" or anything by Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention. Curl up with a copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s "Mother Night," P.D. Eastman’s "Are You My Mother?" or the collected nursery rhymes of Mother Goose (including the story of Mother Hubbard). Turn on the tube and flash back to the ‘60s with classic reruns of "Mothers-In-Law" (starring Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard) or the classic pre-"Coach" comedy stylings of Jerry Van Dyke in "My Mother The Car." Rent the classic Harvey Keitel/Raquel Welch/Bill Cosby flick "Mother, Jugs & Speed" or Almodovar’s critically acclaimed "All About My Mother." Brush up on your mother tongue. Treat Mother Earth kindly. Gaze at the simple beauty of the mother of pearl inlays on your acoustic guitar’s fretboard. Say "mother, may I" before you do anything drastic… or "motherfucker" afterwards when we say "I told you so." Write a poem about Mother Teresa or the Queen Mother. Dream of striking the mother lode. But most of all, send something nice to your mother. And never forget, it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

A Knight's Tale:
The main conceit of this movie is setting medieval knight jousts to classic- rock songs like "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" and portraying them as the precursors to today's super athletes and rock stars. "The Patriot" newcomer Heath Ledger plays a lowly squire who works his way up to 14th century superstar. Directed and written by "L.A. Confidential" screenwriter Brian Helgeland (who "Payback"), it's kinda like a Mad magazine scenes you'd like to see, with several King Arthur cliches stood on their head. The movie only really comes alive with Paul Bettany's Chaucer (yes, that one) who is portrayed as a hopeless gambler who has literally lost the clothes off his back when he's discovered by Ledger and his cronies wandering buck-naked in the woods. Romantic interest is provided by a very sultry Shannyn Sossamon, reportedly discovered d.j.'ing at a party thrown by Gwynneth Paltrow, as the not-so-fair maiden. The Columbia/Sony Music Soundtrax album also includes Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town" and David Bowie's "Golden Years," which serves as the accompaniment to a period dance number. The kinetic website at www.aknightstale.com is every bit as propulsive as the movie.

About Adam: A mischieviously sexy lothario, played by Stuart Townsend (who is set to star as Lestat in the upcoming adaptation of Anne Rice's The Queen of the Damned), who seduces three sisters (Kate Hudson, Frances O'Connor and Charlotte Bradley) and their brother (Alan Maher) in this light-hearted comedy set in Dublin from Irish playwright/director Gerard Stembridge. The girls are charming, the guys are seductive and, watching the coming attractions, I began to wonder when everyone would start to claw one another's eyes out. Everyone just seemed so civilized it made me yearn for the A.J. Benza-Donald Trump catfight on "Howard Stern" this week. Maybe the Irish drink so much, they don't care that some guy is bedding down everyone in the family. Feels like it's from the same school as such genteel, lovably eccentric Empire comedies as "Four Weddings And A Funeral" and "Notting Hill." See http://www.miramax.com/pls/front_con/mp.entryPoint?action=1&midStr=1372 for more.

Bread And Roses: Like Haskell Wexler's "Medium Cool," filmed during the Chicago riots at the '68 Democratic convention, the first American feature from U.K. socio-political filmmaker Ken Loach is a documentary-like tale of an illegal Mexican immigrant (played by the remarkable Pilar Padilla) who flees to the U.S. only to end up in near-sweat-shop conditions as a custodian in a high-rise L.A. office building during the janitorial strikes. The plot revolves around the efforts of a union organizer (Adrien Brody) to spur the workers into a revolt, and the budding romance between him and the main character. Loach's strengths in films like "Riff Raff," Which Side Are You On" and "My Name Is Joe" have always been linking the personal and the political, and from all indications, he's done that to great effect here. Check www.breadandrosesthemovie.com for more on how Loach interspersed fiction and reality in one of those proverbial stories torn from today's headlines.

The King Is Alive: A movie about an acting troupe that puts on a version of "King Lear" in the Africa savannah from Danish-born director Kristian Levring, a member of the Scandanavian film collective Dogma 95 which includes Lars Von Trier ("Dancing In The Dark"). Eleven people stranded in an abandoned mining community band together with the help of a one-time Shakespearean actor, who writes down the play from memory, participate in staging the tragedy as a way of staving off madness and despair while awaiting a rescue that looks increasingly unlikely. The film's cast includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, who plays a deceptively dim young American, while Oscar nominee Janet McTeer ("Tumbleweeds") and Bruce Davison are a middle-aged couple whose marriage has gone stale. See www.TheKingisAlive.com for more.

Sordid Lives: If seeing Beau Bridges in a bra is your thing, by all means rush to this film about an uptight Texas mom's (Delta Burke) denial of her gay son's coming out, Del Shores' film version of his comic play. His "Daddy's Dying… Who's Got The Will" was turned into a 1990 movie directed by Jack Fisk, Sissy Spacek's husband. It's broad, broader and broadest, with Gloria Leroy as the matriarch of a working-class Texas clan who sets off fireworks within her dysfunctional family by her bizarre death. Kinda like "Kingdom Come" for trailer trash. Bonnie Bedelia is also on hand, with Oliva Newton-John is featured as a local bar singer who serves as the film's Greek chrous. For more info, see www.sordidlives.com.–Roy Trakin

The last year or so has been a difficult one for industry vet Phil Quartararo. He’s had to transition his label into a post-AOL universe by trimming some executives who have been at the company more than three decades. When we meet at one of his favorite Italian restaurants, Phil Q warms to his motivational role. He talks about the label’s ongoing turnaround, pointing out success stories and challenging naysayers to acknowledge that progress. The affable Q does all this while trying to protect his antipasto from the ravenous eyes of HITS’ resident lunch companion Roy "Are You Going To Finish That Gabagool?" Trakin. Here’s a little appetizer of what you’ll get if you click here:
"If you said to me three years ago that AOL was going to buy Time Warner, I would have thought that you just fell on your head. So I wouldn’t want to be foolish enough to predict what I thought the next three or five or 10 years will bring. I think we’re at the tip of the iceberg; we’re about to reinvent ourselves. I am hugely optimistic about the future of the music industry."

"Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child." –Dan Quayle

Gauntlet: Dark Legacy:
This week, my boy asked me to write up this one game—which I refuse to mention—& I said, "Hells naw, LP gotz betta things to talk about & better games to review." I refuse to lose, like my boyz Public Enemy would say. So let’s get started. This week we’re doing it real gangsta, so peep, game playa hatas. "Warrior needs food, badly"—thoze werdz bellowed out of arcades in tha '80s from tha classic arcade great Gauntlet. And at last, that timeless gaming warrior gets its needed food with a feast of visuals and intense gameplay on Midway’s Gauntlet: Dark Legacy for tha PlayStation 2. Thumbs, prepare to blister, because tha odds and excitement are maxed out in this medieval challenge of axes, bows and magic. Throngs of ogres and monsters assail your band of warriors and magicians, who hack and slash without mercy on their quest. Incredible boss encounters and multiple paths of adventure make tha journey even more exhilarating, and with the dazzling explosions and vivid blasts of color pumped out of the PlayStation 2 system for this melee, the only way to survive the onslaught of action is to fight for your life. Latin Prince, aka Jedi Master

Lucinda Williams, Essence (Lost Highway, 6/5):
The follow-up to 1998’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Williams’ critical/commercial breakthrough, shows that this brilliant but long-tortured perfectionist has finally gained the confidence to trust her instincts, and those of her supporting cast as well. In contrast to the panoramic Car Wheels (which was five years in the making and remaking), the aptly titled Essence pares focus and context down to the bone, as it observes human intimacies in spare language set off by melodies of lovely simplicity. Williams audaciously leads things off with four hushed ballads, but she’s such an expressive writer and singer that the gambit works—the sensuous romanticism of these tracks penetrates like Gulf Coast humidity. The opening "Lonely Girls," which has a lyric as concise as a mantra but is no less vivid for it, unfolds under the gentle pressure of a harmony bass line borrowed from Lou Reed’s "Walk on the Wild Side." The LP’s aerated middle act consists of three loping midtempo groovers whose collective reference point is the Doors’ "Riders on the Storm." Here, a newly relaxed Lucinda rides along with her super-tasty studio assemblage, led by drummer Jim Keltner and guitarist Charlie Sexton (who co-produced with her), even hanging back at times to allow the players to vamp out on some extended instrumental passages. This section climaxes with the sultry title track, in which the ultra-precise Williams stoops to a near-rhyme, but it’s a devastating one: "Baby, sweet baby, kiss me hard / Make me wonder who’s in charge." On the final third of the album, she returns to familiar southern-genre turf for three songs before concluding it with "Broken Butterflies," which floats between a dream and a prayer. Her second straight landmark work, Essence proves that Williams can function at the highest artistic level without driving herself—and everyone around her—crazy in the process. —Bud Scoppa

R.E.M., Reveal (Warner Bros.):
The new album is not a smashing return to arena-rock form like U2, but rather a subtle blend of the things this PoMo heritage band does best. Unlike the garage-rockin Up, Michael Stipe, Pete Buck and Mike Mills return to the squiggly, avantpop tech-stures of New Adventures In Hi-Fi, with the lush melodies of "All the Way to Reno" and "Disappear" among the most beautiful of the group's career. It's a worthy attempt to return to the Top 40 gloss of "The One I Love" and "Losing My Religion," as Stipe's vocals soar and take the band along for the ride. The sound emulates the album's chief theme on songs like "The Lifting" and "I've Been High"—the spirit's attempt to fly while being dragged down by the forces of gravity, fame and gnarly materialism. Longtime fans may find it a bit diffuse, but there's definitely method to the minor keys and mid-tempos. "Beat a Drum," "Summer Turns to High" and "Beachball" form a shimmering "Pet Sounds" homage, while the first single, "Imitation of Life," provides the CD's rockin' centerpiece. It's not a record that'll hit you over the head right away, but on repeated listenings, the album does inevitably Reveal the heart the band still wears on its sleeve. –Roy Trakin

Upcoming Birthdays
May 11-17

11—Irving Berlin (would have been 113)
12—George Carlin (64)
13—Ritchie Valens (would have been 60) & Stevie Wonder (50)
14—David Byrne (49)
15—L. Frank Baum (would have been 145) & David Cronenberg (58)
16—Liberace (would have been 82)
17—Dennis Hopper (65) & Mia Hamm (29)

Special Events
11—Bob Marley Day (Jamaica)
12—National Windmill Day (Netherlands)
13—Mother’s Day

Throw up the "W" because it’s on in Watts! This Saturday (5/12), hip-hop heads will be bobbing at the Watts Labor Community Action Center (WLCAC) for the Hip-Hop For Consciousness benefit concert. The event will feature some of the hottest underground and conscious emcees, rockin’ the mic for a cause. In the house will be Mos Def, Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, Tyrese, Planet Asia, Mystic and Zion I, to name a few, along with seven DJs on tap—Day-um! (Word on the street is that Macy Gray is coming to hollah, too). Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Justice Fund in support of the rapper formerly known as H. Rap Brown, Imam Jamil Al-Amin, who maintains his innocence in the shooting death of an Atlanta police officer. Over 3,000 tickets have already been sold, and 6000 attendees are expected. Festivities begin at 11 a.m. at the WLCAC in Watts. Consequently, my Watts Girl Scout Troop 670 meeting has been bumped…security reasons—you know how us cookie-slangers can get. I ain’t bitter, though, the center bought a gang of Thin Mints.—Kenya Yarbrough

The Free Pair I Got In The Mail
The shoe of the week is Gravis Footwear’s Atlas. New from fall / winter line, this shoe is absolutely sweet! I’ve sported a pair for a week now and, this is one of the most comfortable pair of shoes I have ever worn—and I’m not just saying that because they didn’t cost me any money. You can trust my unbiased opinion when I tell you that Gravis is definitely on the cutting edge of creativity. For either men or women, the $90 shoes offer substance and style—a choice of four different colors—with no shortage of foot pampering. The Atlas has been tested all over the world by athletic cats like myself. So any of you action-sports junkies looking for the not so "run-of-the-mill" skater kicks, the Atlas is it. You can’t see them online just yet, but you can find the store nearest you by visiting the Gravis website. —Don Daily

Harry S. Truman, our 33rd president, was born May 8, 1884, in Lamar, MO. The letter "S" in his name was not an abbreviation. It reflected the family's reluctance to choose between his grandfathers—Anderson Shippe Truman and Solomon Young—in selecting his name. During his few weeks as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s vice president, Truman scarcely saw FDR, and received no briefing on the development of the atomic bomb. Upon Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki fell upon his shoulders. In the famous 1948 presidential election—the "Dewey Defeats Truman" election—there was actually a third candidate on the ballot: Strom Thurmond. The current senator from South Carolina ran as a States Rights Democratic candidate and garnered over one million votes, taking four states and 39 electoral votes. Best Anagram Of His Name: Runty arm rash.

Special "I Love You Mom" Edition

If you live in NYC, you have my sympathies. At least the weather this weekend will be decent. After a gorgeous day, Friday night temps will dip into the mid-60s. My advice: duck out at lunch and do something with as few clothes on as possible. Of course, if you’re taking advice from an apprentice meteorologist, you probably also send money to women who place person ads. Saturday will be partly cloudy, high in the upper-70s, with scattered showers coming late in the night, with lows near 50. Sunday should be partly cloudy again, with temps in the mid-60s and lows near 50. On the West Coast, here’s your forecast for the next two months: mostly sunny, highs in the mid-to-upper-70s, lows in the upper-50s. Word up. —David Simutis, apprentice meteorologist

Frustrated by her exclusion from the older girls' activities, Tootie's talents for eavesdropping and gossip ignite conflict and place Mrs. Garrett's future at Eastland in doubt.

Marketshare machers. (10/27a)
Lamar enters the House of Jody. (10/27a)
It's a lock. (10/27a)
Planning for an Election Day hopped up on painkillers. (10/27a)
Vote. Do it now. (10/27a)
Bring your umbrella.
Mulling possible surprises.
Why not wear a mask indoors?
What drugs will help us get there?

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