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In a nutshell: "No, it's not a docu-mentary about... fancy footwork here...with this steamy, sexually explicit...two-disc set, which boasts a...size 8 in women’s... intense, back-stabbing rivalries—all in the pursuit of...hippies at a football game."

WEAK-END PLANNER
SPOTS A WARMING TREND

Fun For The Entire Dysfunctional Family
Admittedly, it’ll be well nigh impossible for some of you numbskulls to tear yourselves away from this weekend’s NFL Draft and the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Be forewarned—the following verbiage is not for you. No, this weekend, we focus on The Arts. It is now time to enter your Weak-End Planner, where the term "high-brow" is synonymous only with male-pattern baldness. We’d join you, but we’re too jacked up about the big XFL Championship Game…now, what are the teams again?

THIS YOU GOTTA SEE
"Memento":
Leonard Shelby has this condition, you see. He can’t make new memories. Every 15 minutes or so, his short-term memory becomes a blank slate—kind of a hindrance for a former insurance investigator searching for his wife’s killer. In adapting his brother’s short story into a film, writer-director Christopher Nolan chooses to tell Shelby’s story backwards. But Nolan is employing more than just a fancy footwork here. The device serves to bring the viewer inside Shelby’s world as his past—and by extension the story—is revealed piece by piece. As Shelby, Guy Pearce (best known as Detective Ed Exley in "L.A. Confidential") turns in a hypnotic performance, both tortured and nave. Helping Shelby—or perhaps just using him toward their own ends—are Carrie-Ann Moss and Joe Pantoliano (last seen together in "The Matrix"). Like the great film noir classics it borrows from (and twists around and around), "Memento" offers up characters existing on the border between shadow and light. And the ending—or would it be the beginning?—may bring up more questions than answers. Either way, "Memento" provides one of the freshest film-going experiences in years. —Jeff Drake

TRAKIN'S PICKS TO FLICK
"The Body":
No, it's not a documentary about Antonio Banderas' pecs, but an "Omen" cum "Exorcist" tale of a New Testament researcher sent by the Vatican to Jerusalem, where he "investigates a discovery that could rock the religious, cultural and political worlds." No, it's not the "2001" monolith nor a McDonald's on the West Bank, but a crucified body dating back to the 1st Century A.D. unearthed by an archaeologist played by Olivia Williams. Surprise, it's Sammy Davis Jr.! The Israeli/U.S. co-production was directed by veteran TV writer/producer-hyphenate Jonas McCord, whose previous credits include the USA TV series "Earth: Final Conflict," formerly known as "Gene Rodenberry's Battleground Earth." We don't really know too much more about this one, but beware the Christian subtexts. For fervent Banderas fans only. Doesn't the guy spend any time at home with Melanie?

"The Center of the World": After "Slamdance," Chinese-American filmmaker Wayne Wang ("Joy Luck Club," "Blue In The Face," "Smoke," "Chan Is Missing") does "Lapdance." The director returns to his indie-art-film roots with this steamy, sexually explicit picture about a young high-tech venture capitalist who persuades a stripper to accompany him for a steamy weekend in Las Vegas. The movie features newcomers Molly Parker, Peter Sarsgaard and Carla Gugino. Now, wait a second. Haven't we seen that film before as Mike Figgis' "Leaving Las Vegas"? If you're over 18, check in at http://www.center-of-the-world.com/, where you won't find out much, but you will see some rather salacious-looking girls writhing Bada-Bing style and a special interactive chat room like the kind you see on all those adult sites—it had me going for about 45 seconds, but that's another story. If the film is anywhere near as voyeuristic as the website, put on a raincoat, get some buttered popcorn and seat yourself in the front row at an art house near you.

"Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles": The "You-call-that-a-knife?," "G'day" and "Put-another-shrimp-on-the-barbie" guy Paul Hogan is back after a 12-year hiatus as outback fish-out-of-water Mick Dundee in the third installment of the original croc hunter—long before the cable Animal Planet channel popularized his latter-day equivalent. Hogan's real-life wife Linda Kozlowski plays the daughter of an L.A. newspaper editor who must travel to Hollywood after the original bureau chief dies under mysterious circumstances. Dundee, reduced to wrestling crocodiles for tourists because it's now illegal to hunt them, accompanies her with the pair’s nine-year-old son Mikey. The plot, as Hogan himself says, doesn't matter, because the film is all about the ever-naive but clever Dundee going up against Tinseltown's rich and famous. Methinks the guy's a little old to be running around with that hat and gator-teeth necklace, but the character does have an enduring quality for moviegoers, as the first two took in $610 million worldwide. The film is directed by veteran Simon Wincer ("Free Willy," "Lonesome Dove") and features comic Paul Rodriguez and the great Aida Turturro, Tony's sister in "The Sopranos." See www.crocodiledundeeinla.com to enter a contest for a free trip Down Under.

"Freddy Got Fingered": MTV icon and gross-out king Tom Green's directorial debut has received some of the most scathing reviews ever, which means it's one of those polarizing movies that will probably find a life on the midnight-movie circuit…if there is such a thing these days. It sure seems as if his Artaud-like comedy of cruelty has been passed by the channel's newest darling, the much more real and painful Johnny "Jackass" Knoxville, so it remains to be seen whether he's the next Jim Carrey or Pee-Wee Herman.  Mr. Barrymore plays a 28-year-old slacker named Gord Brody who wants to be an animator, but lives in the basement of his parents' house, with frustrated father Rip Torn constantly telling him to go out and find a real job, a situation which mirrors his own. Green loves animals (especially milking cows) and falls head over heels for a sexually precocious rocket scientist in a wheelchair, played by Marisa Coughlan. If Green swinging a bloodied baby over his head from its umbilical chord and shoving a pepper in his nostril turns you on, don't let us stop you. The Restless soundtrack is a who's-who of Green's beloved punk-rockers, including the Sex Pistols' "Problems," Green Day, Iggy Pop's version of "I've Gotta Be Me," Fear Factory & Gary Numan doing the latter's "Cars," Dead Kennedys’ cover of "I Fought The Law," the New York Dolls' "Personality Crisis," the Adolescents' revival of "Do The Freddy," Moby's "Natural Blues" and, in a poignant coincidence, the Ramones' "We're A Happy Family." See http://www.freddygotfingered.com for more.

"The Luzhin Defence": Note the British spelling for this movie about chess based on the novel of the same name by "Lolita" novelist Vladimir Nabokov starring the always-interesting John Turturro as an obsessive Russian Bobby Fischer-type savant who is socially challenged but somehow attracts the interest of an independent young woman, played by "Breaking The Waves" star Emily Watson in 1929. Turturro's single-minded devotion to pawns and rooks is put to the test by his brush with romance, while his former mentor tries to undermine him. Hey, it's always fun to see Turturro play crazy. The film's directed by Marleen Gorris ("Mrs. Dalloway," "Antonia's Line," which won the '97 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film). This Sony Classics release might make a good double bill with Steve Zaillian's '93 movie "Searching For Bobby Fischer," the only other movie in memory about chess. What's next? "The Checkers Chronicles"? The original-score soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat is on the Silva America label. For more, check out http://www.sonyclassics.com/luzhin/

"Panic": The tremendous William H. Macy ("Boogie Nights," "Fargo") plays a hitman who works for his diabolical father (Donald Sutherland) and goes through a midlife crisis in this noirish black comedy written and directed by Henry Bromell, who was a writer/producer for the TV series "Northern Exposure." Tired of hiding his secret from his wife (Tracey Ulmann) and kid (David Dorfman), Macy seeks the services of a good therapist, but ends up finding unexpected solace in the waiting room when he meets a manic, confused woman named Sarah (Neve Campbell). Shades of "The Sopranos"! The odd couple connects and the neurotic hitman and the wacky femme fatale find a reason to keep on living. Trapped and about to implode under the pressure, Macy plays the archetypal everyman torn from within by the age-old conflict between work and family, albeit in a novel way. Also stars John Ritter and "Mission Impossible" TV star Barbara Bain. The Sundance selection had a screening on the Cinemax cable channel, and advance word is that this is a dialogue-rich, actor-driven, claustrophobic drama that internalizes like its lead character. Check out reviews at http://www.roxie.com/Panic.html. —Roy Trakin

IMPORTS & INDIES
The Neo-Beatles
Among contemporary bands, the two that assimilated and advanced the Beatles legacy most artfully and consistently were Crowded House and Cheap Trick. While its American kinsmen turbocharged their received pop hooks, the New Zealand band explored the melodic, dynamic and lyric nuances of this shared inspiration, in its best moments approaching McCartneyesque tunefulness and Lennonesque plaintiveness. Crowded House and Cheap Trick have something else in common: the widespread adoration of their fellow musicians. On two new albums, former Crowded House auteur Neil Finn and the still-kicking Cheap Trick are joined by members of their respective fan clubs, with gratifying results in both cases.

Neil Finn, "One Nil" (Parlophone import): On 1998’s "Try Whistling This," his first solo album following the 1996 breakup of Crowded House, Finn came up with a diverting but safe effort. This time out, however, he’s made a record that overtly recalls the boldness of his old group’s early albums. Indeed, "One Nil" comes closest in spirit to Crowded House’s landmark sophomore LP, "Temple Of Low Men" (1988) in its agitated romanticism and revved-up musicality. Back is the longtime Crowded House production team of Mitchell Froom (once again doubling on keys), and Tchad Blake, and it shows. But surprisingly, considering the super-tasty lineup of contributors—including Jim Keltner, J.J. Johnson, Lisa Germano and Sheryl Crow—the key (wo)man turns out to be onetime Prince stalwart Wendy Melvoin, who not only plays most of the bass and some of the drums on the LP but also co-wrote four of the 12 songs. These include the sexy "Rest Of The Day Off," the crystalline "Last To Know" and the metaphysical rave-up "Secret God." Melvoin’s partner Lisa Coleman frequently shows up on keyboards as well, and this crack coed crew concocts a delectable stew of grooves, riffs and vamps that serves to expand the notion of pure pop into the new century while still adhering to its hallowed roots. Shockingly, at a time when old-school songsmith David Gray is Platinum and EMI’s own neoclassicist combo Coldplay is selling like hotcakes, there are no plans for a U.S. release of this extraordinary album. For shame. Check out Finn’s own site at nilfun.net. —Bud Scoppa

Cheap Trick, "Silver" (Cheap Trick Unlimited): Never mind the Budokan. In order to properly celebrate their quarter-century—yes, that’s the silver anniversary, for you delinquent spouses—as a band, one of the greatest ensembles ever to bash out a pop-rock anthem together gathered the faithful for a homecoming concert at Davis Park in Rockford, IL. The extremely high-spirited result is this two-disc set, which boasts a 29-track foray through Cheap Trick’s estimable discography and guest spots from worshipful fan-peers like Billy Corgan, Slash and Art Alexakis, as well as various other friends and family members. But most of all, "Silver" shows a band that, 25 years into its career, still sounds like a bunch of precocious rock fans as full of piss and vinegar as they were when they stormed the gates all those years ago. Robin Zander still possesses one of rock’s best voices, Rick Neilsen’s guitar playing is still an irresistible blend of virtuosity and pranksterism, the rhythm section of Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos still thunders and the fans still roar. Among the many highlights: "I Want You To Want Me," "Voices," an exuberant "Dream Police," slammin’ covers of Big Star’s "In the Street" (here cheekily called "That 70’s Song" for the TV kiddies) and "Day Tripper" and, of course, "Surrender." Join the party by clicking here, or e-mail [email protected].
—Simon Glickman

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public." —H.L. Mencken

IVANA'S SHOPPING TIPS
Sneaks Preview:
Spotted on trendsetters like Weezer and Jason Schwartzman from Phantom Planet, the Vans Classic Slip-On checkerboard sneaker has re-emerged as the must-have shoe for the summer of 2001. Sure, you can spend hundreds on the Bottega Veneta leather copycats (view those on www.bottegaveneta.com), or go straight to www.vans.com and buy the real thing for less than $40. If you don’t want to relive your "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" days, the shoes are also available in red checkerboard, a blue pot leaf-motif version, a camouflage print and a vast array of other colors. The "Old Skool" Vans are now offered in a variety of "cyber prints" in men’s sizes and the "Compel UV" style for women changes colors under a UV light – two footwear options for all you ravers! The other must-have shoe of the season is the Nike Air Presto Chanjo in the color white/game blue, which is yours for $60 on www.nike.com. I wear a size 8 in women’s, which is an XS in this style. As much as I love these sneakers, I doubt I’ll find a shoe as comfortable as the Merrell Jungle Quilted Slide, which I bought on www.merrellboot.com. —Ivana B. Adored

WEBSITES OF THE WEEK
Fastest Slots On The Web:
Regardless of technological advance, some toys from childhood were perfect as they were. Slot car racers, for example. With space becoming more and more of an issue, though, many people can’t afford to dedicate the floor of one room to a really kickass slot-car racecourse. Thankfully, someone in Sweden has solved that problem. On a mysterious Swedish site (whose name one can only guess at), visitors can build their own slot-car course, thanks to some clever Shockwave technology, and race against a wily Cockatoo—or another player. The Cockatoo has five levels (or "Niva") of expertise. Your car can fly off the track, just like when you were a kid. And, best of all, win or lose, a sinister voice taunts you in Swedish. All this, and you never have to worry about accidentally stomping on your favorite racer. —Jeff Drake

Flatliners: Are you one of those cynics who sit around and wait for the impending demise of dot-coms? Even if it’s just a hobby, you can now test your knowledge and premonitions about others at www.fuckedcompany.com. This site is set up similarly to the celebrity dead pool, which is the game of guessing when a given celeb will die, but here you’re betting on the downfall of a company. Considering that netcos rarely have clear-cut demises, the site has set up levels of doom and awards points based on the degree of severity. Each week, you select five companies that you hope will have anything from just bad news to total flatline. In order to keep you better informed, the site offers free short text alerts sent to your pager/cell phone for news about the companies you’re betting against. We are waiting for the resurrection webpage for all the sites with potential that failed by overpaying their CEOs. —Paul Karlsen

PRESIDENTIAL FACT OF THE WEEK
James Earl Carter, our 39th president, was born Oct. 1, 1924, in Plains, GA. Commonly known as "Jimmy," Carter focused on social and ecological issues during his presidency. He expanded the national park system to include protection of 103 million acres of Alaskan lands. To increase human and social services, he created the Department of Education, bolstered the Social Security system, and appointed record numbers of women, blacks, and Hispanics to government jobs. But on the downside, during his tenure, 52 Americans were taken hostage at the American Embassy in Teheran, Iran. After being held for 444 days, the hostages were released the same day Carter left office. Best Anagram Of His Name: Rear caramel jest.

SET YOUR TiVOS
"The Sopranos" (HBO)/"Bands On The Run" (VH1):
Here we have perhaps the finest two hours of American television since "Dallas" and "Falcon Crest" ran back-to-back in the ’80s. Vicious greed and intense, back-stabbing rivalries—all in the pursuit of the dream of making it big. And I’m not talking about "The Sopranos." VH1’s "Bands On The Run" is the best reality show on television. Four bands were picked by the network to travel from city to city—in custom vans—where gigs booked for them. Each band has a coupla days to promote and publicize the show. The winner of the three-month battle of the bands is chosen based solely on merchandise and ticket sales. It’s intriguing to see how seriously the bands take themselves, the infighting that takes place—but heretofore only showed up on "Behind The Music"—and the, um, marketing decisions. Last week in Chicago, the jammy Josh Dodes Band handed out flyers outside of a Northwestern University football game. No wonder they’re in third place—like you could find hippies at a football game. Duh. This week they rock Cleveland! The cutthroat nature of the unsigned-band competition is laid bare when watched right after HBO’s Mafia allegory "The Sopranos." This week, our anti-hero, Tony, gets all squishy because it’s the missus’ birthday. That won’t stop him from checking out his Mercedes saleswoman, however. And our boy Christopher gets into a little trouble, as does Anthony Jr. Other than the fact that fewer people die on "Bands On the Run," the main difference between the two shows is that the music on "The Sopranos" is much better. Still, with this year’s (double-disc!) ST streeting 5/8, when will the show’s producers start running music credits at the end of each episode? There’s a reason that the first question people ask each other Monday morning is, "What song was that last night?" "The Sopranos" can be seen Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT; "Bands On The Run" airs at 10 p.m. ET/PT. —David Simutis

LP'S PLAYSTATION 2 GAME OF THE WEEKOnimusha: Warlords: Ohhh sheeeit, boyz & girlz, Lp-Zoid iz back to attack with sum action-packed drama for your mamma. In Omnimusha: Warlords, a world of darkness and magic, power-hungry warlords battle one another for control of feudal Japan. At tha height of tha chaos, tha noble princess Yukihume is kidnapped. Now, one lone samurai, Samanosuke, boldly volunteers to rescue and save tha princess. But in these dark and mysterious times, even Samansuke does not realize tha desperation of hiz mission. An entire legion of demon warriors stands between him, tha princess and triumph. So if you’re for sum ass-kicking action, this iz your shittt, just make sure you watch sum Bruce Lee flicks & get your rice cooker ready cuz you’re about to get your freak on, holla ya heard! —Latin Prince

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Upcoming Birthdays
April 20-26

20—Tito Puente (would have been 78) & Luther Vandross (50)
21—Charlotte Bronte (would have been 185) & Tony Danza (50)
22—J. Robert Oppenheimer (would have been 97) & Peter Frampton (51)
23—William Shakespeare (would have been 437)
24—Eric Bogosian (48) & Barbra Streisand (59)
25—Ella Fitzgerald (would have been 83)
26—Carol Burnett (65)

Special Events
21—Kindergarten Day
22—Earth Day & National Karaoke Week Begins
24—Armenian Martyrs’ Day
26—Take Our Daughters To Work Day

YOUR WEAK-END WEATHER
Billboard Bulletin Doesn’t Even Tell You The Current Temperature
You can tell that it’s spring—the temperatures in New York City and Los Angeles will be basically the same this weekend, with highs in the upper 50s to low 60s and lows in the upper 40s. On the East Coast, however, it’s going to rain Friday night and Saturday. Sunday will warm up to the mid-70s and be partly cloudy. On the West Coast, there will be no rain, but clouds. Sunday won’t hit 70, so you people will be complaining that it’s "chilly." In Davenport, IA, where they’re sandbagging as fast as they can to stymie the rising Mississippi River, it doesn’t look good: highs in the mid-70s, overnight lows in the mid-50s to low 60s, with scattered showers all weekend. Bad news. Luckily, you don’t live in Iowa.
—David Simutis, apprentice meteorologist.

"FACTS OF LIFE" SUMMARY FOR THE WEEK
Mrs. Garrett's decision to make roommates of streetwise new student Jo and snobbish Blair causes a headache for the start of the new semester.

REPUBLIC UPS GOLDSTEIN, ROPPO TO CO-PRESIDENTS
Team Lipman doubles up. (11/26a)
MAYBE, JUST MAYBE:
HOLIDAY CHEER IS HERE
Season's bleatings (11/23a)
COUNTRY GRAMMYS' ROOTS ARE SHOWING
Deck the Grammys with boughs of Holly. (11/24a)
THE BRITISH
ARE COMING
Rolling out our U.K. Special print issue (11/24a)
AND THE GRAMMY NOMINEES ARE...
Olivia, the Biebs, H.E.R., Doja Cat, Billie and Jon Batiste lead the way. (11/24a)
TURKEY
Basting.
STUFFING
Stuffing.
YAMS
Candying.
PUMPKIN PIE
Stuffing (in face).
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