“The reason Ryan is so respected is he can be completely, utterly emotional AND believable at the same time.”
——John Mayer on Ryan Adams


It's Starting to Get Dark a Lot Earlier; Luckily,
We Remembered to Pay the Electric Bill
At a time when looking outward is sure to result in anxiety, turning inward—as in home and hearth—makes for a particularly seductive sanctuary. If you’re gonna cocoon (and you are gonna cocoon), October is perhaps the ultimate month to do so, with a new TV season, the return of intelligent films and albums, the meat of the football season, the arc of the baseball playoffs, the return of the NBA and the comforting feel of an old pair of sweatpants combining to keep you cozy as all get-out. So girls, please explain something to us: Why would you possibly wanna leave the house this weekend? And if you have to go out, do you mind if we just stay right here?

1. The League Division Series (Fox, ABC Family):
The operative adjectives in the Yankees-Angels series are “dominant” and “scrappy,” respectively, but this seeming mismatch has produced classic high drama in the first two games at Yankee Stadium, which the teams split in a pair of absolute thrillers. The teams take it to Anaheim for three games this weekend, assuming the series goes five. The other AL series, Oakland vs. Minnesota, is also 1-1, while, in the NL, Atlanta and San Francisco are even and St. Louis has taken a 2-0 lead over 2001 champs Arizona after clobbering Randy Johnson and chasing Curt Schilling. They say the postseason is about pitching, but so far, the first round has been about timely hitting. (BS)

2. Mixerman: Whether real, composite, or entirely fiction, this recording-engineer's-eye-view of making a big-time record with a young buzz band is a gas. Hard to imagine a sharper or funnier entertainment on the making of entertainment. (JO)

3. Igby Goes Down (MGM/UA)/Secretary (Lion’s Gate): These two impressive indie features are the best movies to come out this fall. Directed, respectively, by newcomers Burr Steers and Steve Shainberg, they avoid the stereotypical pitfalls of the majority of today’s knee-jerk, non-major-studio fare by tackling a pair of eternal topics with fresh new eyes and postmodern irony. IgbyCatcher in the Rye meets The Graduate—deals with the alienation of youth (including the requisite drugs and sex), while SecretaryThe Night Porter crossed with Last Tango in Paris—is a black comedy about the eroticizing of the workplace (complete with kinky S&M). More importantly, each boasts a candidate for year-end Oscar honors with career-making performances by up-and-coming stars Kieran Culkin and Maggie Gyllenhaal. (RT)

4. Life With Bonnie (ABC): Second City vet Bonnie Hunt takes on Frasier Tuesday nights at 9 with this unheralded sitcom, holds her own in the ratings and beats the tar out of the longtime hit series in the funny. Fast, dry and delightful, it’s the only new sitcom worth watching. (BS)

5. Boomtown (NBC): This clever cop show set in L.A. has drawn comparisons to Rashomon for its premise: each episode focuses on a single incident as experienced from the viewpoints of several characters. What wasn’t Rashomon-like, at least in the premiere episode, is that these viewpoints added up to an objective whole, as opposed to contradictory stories. It’s on at 10 Sunday nights, opposite Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, so you’ll have to either tape or TiVo one or the other, a simpler task than trying to find a repeat airing of Curb on any of the umpteen HBO channels. (BS)

6. Liars, They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top (Blast First/Mute): So, you like this whole garage/punk revival? Down with the Hives, Strokes, Stripes, et al.? Well, here's a chance to see just how far you're willing to take it. This is some serious pissed-off art punk—raw and stripped down, but pointy-headed just the same. Plus, the singer's Australian, for that authentic angry-Brit sound. Make it through the 30-minute-plus final track and you can join their club. (JO)

7. Political upheaval: The Onion summed it up best with this week's Bush Seeks U.N. Support For 'U.S. Does Whatever It Wants' Plan. It seems clear that W and company have burned through any remaining post 9/11 good will—and not just outside of the U.S. Now the administration finds itself at war over war, and the Iraq situation is fueling a growing opposition movement (see moveon.org for more). (SG)

8. Compilations are cool: The Gilmore Girls (Rhino), surprisingly (to this non-viewer, at least), is among the hippest smart-pop compilations I’ve ever encountered, with such tasty acts as XTC, the Pernice Brothers, Grant-Lee Phillips, Joey Ramone, PJ Harvey, Black Box Recorder and Big Star (the sublime “Thirteen”) among its 24 impeccably chosen tracks. Also worth scoring are the up-to-the-minute MTV2 Handpicked Volume II (Capitol), the 1960s-70s-oriented Moonlight Mile soundtrack (Epic/SMS) and the contempo-rarities collection Trampoline Records Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Trampoline). (BS)

9. Verve Remixed (Verve): Mix-manipulators like Thievery Corporation, Tricky, King Britt and Dorfmeister put a clubby spin on jazz classics from Ella, Nina Simone, Astrud Gilberto, Sarah Vaughn, Willie Bobo and others. But the breakout track is the Rae & Christian remix of Dinah Washington's "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?" which applies a frisky, Fatboy bounce to the soulful diva's rendition of this standard and emphasizes the blue notes to keep it modern. (SG)

10. Election (Paramount DVD, VHS): Sure, Reese Witherspoon has a gift for elevating middling scripts and direction with her remarkable blonde ambition. But this 1999 film by filmmaker/screenwriter Alexander Payne shows what can happen when this gifted comedic actress works with a collaborator who’s her equal in terms of artistry. A modern-day classic (the soundtrack’s pretty cool, too, if I do say so myself). (BS)

1. Coldplay, A Rush of Blood to the Head (Capitol): “More grand than the first record. There are songs here that will make you feel bigger than your own body. Watch who you play it for.”

2. Ryan Adams, Gold/Heartbreaker (Lost Highway/Bloodshot: “The reason Ryan is so respected is he can be completely, utterly emotional AND believable at the same time.”

3. Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball (Elektra): “People have been talking about this one for a long time, and I’m just now getting it.”

4. Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner Bros.): “Gorgeous meets quirky in a way that’s not over my head.”

5. Bruce Hornsby, Big Swing Face (RCA): “It’s nice to hear Bruce experimenting and stretching out.”

DENVER -6 over San Diego

Good Gawd almighty, them dang Broncos got a big ol’ giant can of whoop-ass opened up on ’em Monday night. They had to hate that, and mah best guess is that they’re gonna be loaded for bear this here week against the danged ol’ soon-to-be L.A. Chargers. I like the Diegos, but not this week. I’m takin’ Denver and givin’ the six.

SAN FRANCISCO -7 over St. Louis
Now here’s two teams I love to hate, but the truth is, them danged ol’ NoCal battery-chuckers is finally gonna end their losin’ streak to the danged ol’ Rams. Good lord, who woulda thunk the Rams was gonna be oh-and-five? But let’s face it, if mah danged ol’ Cowpokes kin beat this team, you gotta believe Frisco can do the same. So I’ll take the Niners and give the seven. —Guy W.T. Goggles
(Year-to-date: 4-2)

As a lifelong Mets/Jets/Knicks fan, this past week was perhaps the most miserable in what has been 40 years of suffering. As a 17-year-old high school senior, I experienced the fan’s equivalent of the Triple Crown in an 18-month period. In January ’69, Joe Namath led the Jets to its historic upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Ten months later came the Mets’ remarkable World Series victory over the Orioles, while May ’70 marked Willis Reed and Walt Frazier taking the Knicks to their first-ever championship over the Lakers. Within three years of that, the Knicks won their second NBA title and the Mets returned to the World Series in ’73. Since then, except for the Bill Buckner error in the ’86 Series which allowed the Mets to defeat the Red Sox, a team even more cursed than they are, it’s been a series of heartbreaks, disappointment and just plain bad luck, leading to the present.

With the highest payroll in baseball and sky-high expectations fueled by the N.Y. press, the Mets self-destructed in humiliating fashion, its owners publicly feuding, its star player forced to defend his sexuality and a report that seven players had smoked marijuana. Not that there’s anyything wrong with being gay or toking, but high-priced busts like Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn and Jeromy Burnitz played most of the season like they were hitting the bong in between at-bats. On the very day the Mutts were firing controversial manager Bobby Valentine and stating on another of their patented rebuilding programs, the hated Yankees were pulling out one of their patented late-inning, come-from-behind playoff victories over the Angels. The Anaheims are even more cursed than the Mets, even if they did manage to get Nolan Ryan from us for Jim Fregosi, though they are my official rooting interest for the baseball postseason, having always had a soft spot in my heart for the late Bo Belinsky.

Meanwhile, the equally cursed Jets, whose pre-season Super Bowl dreams mirrored those of the Mets after a number of big-ticket, off-season signings, were in equal disarray. Suffering from three straight blowout defeats, its coaching staff under siege, they replaced veteran Vinnie Testaverde with the latest in a long line of QB saviors, the untested Chad Pennington.

To top it off, the beleaguered Knicks opened training camp minus three starters when Latrell Sprewell showed up suffering from a mysterious broken hand, Kurt Thomas landed in jail for alleged spousal abuse and Alan Houston turned an ankle. At this point, I’m reduced to ice hockey and my fourth rooting interest, the Islanders, who once won four consecutive Stanley Cups in the early ’80s and are just now enjoying the fruits of a two-decade-long rebuilding program, the last seven under fellow Colgate alum Mike Milbury. It’s enough to make you wanna pull the plug on your DirecTV and stop reading the sports pages. —Roy Trakin

Last week, after seeing 24 Hour Party People, I had to rave about Manchester’s Magazine. Now, as promised, a little about post-punk music from another English town. The University of Leeds proved a focal point for politically motivated cultural outpourings in the late ‘70s, which explains in part why Leeds produced Gang of Four, the Mekons, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and other “agit-pop” outfits around the same time. The Gang’s early records were hugely important for me, with their hard grooves (thanks to the tighter-than-tight rhythm section of Dave Allen and Hugo Burnham), shards of cruelly incisive guitar (courtesy of Andy Gill) and irony-soaked social criticism (vocalist Jon King’s screeds mixed anger and yearning). Debut LP Entertainment! is the strongest by far, though follow-up Solid Gold is superb. For an overview, check out Rhino’s mighty comp 100 Flowers Bloom.

Another revolution-minded Leeds band that emerged in the same period, Scritti Politti, achieved mainstream success in the ‘80s as a fluffy dance-pop collective, though its name was in fact pidgin Italian for “political writings.” In fact, the earliest tracks from Green Gartside and crew reveal a tough, scratchy, experimental sound and an angry, complex lyrical stance—and explain why the band most people associate with big-haired (albeit mad catchy) trifles like “Perfect Way” once toured with Gang of Four and Joy Division. Green’s pop sensibility still peeks through on off-kilter songs like “Hegemony,” “Skank Bloc Bologna,” “Messthetics” and “Doubt Beat,” and the obsession with semiotics and other fashionable theoretical pursuits on display in these tracks only deepened with the years. The transitional album Songs to Remember marks the beginning of the band’s journey to the middle of the road—though it’s arguably more subversive to coat a song about commodity fetishism in sugar than to string it with barbed wire. Just ask another rabble-rousing, Leeds-bred band, Chumbawamba. —Simon Glickman

Kim Richey, Rise (Lost Highway):
In his classy collaboration with Nashville rebel Richey, producer Bill Bottrell plants her voice right against your ear, miking it so closely that the slightest nuance registers like a shout. Richey’s pure, unmannered vocals, along with her telling imagery and caressing melodies (which compare favorably to the approach of labelmate Lucinda Williams) were tailormade for Bottrell’s painterly approach to arrangement, displayed so brilliantly on 2000’s I Am Shelby Lynne. The plucky bouzouki that animates single “This Love,” the Mini-Moog that hovers over the tangle of guitars on “Hard to Say Goodbye,” the Wurlitzer that nudges home the central metaphor of “The Circus Song (Can’t Let Go),” the digital exotica at the sensual core of “Without You” and the burbling melodica that italicizes the sense of receding memories in “Fading” are among the myriad touches that give the album its understated vividness. Rise is a quietly bold work that continuously rewards the attentive listener. (Richey and her band play the Troubadour Monday night.)
Bud Scoppa

Rhett Miller,The Instigator (Elektra): A great deal has happened to the Old 97’s frontman over the last year, including marriage and a move to L.A. from his NYC apartment, which was less than a block from Ground Zero. Miller recasts himself as a singer-songwriter, with an acoustic drive underlined by the crisp pop-rock production of Jon Brion. Literary references abound in the surging “Our Love,” while “World Inside the World” gives props to Don DeLillo’s massive novel Underworld. But it’s the way Miller finds the fear factor in romance on the first single, “Come Around,” that sticks, as does “Things That Disappear,” a double-edged lament that perfectly captures his bittersweet charms. (RT)

Interpol, Interpol (Matador): Anyone with an Anglophilic yen for yearning, dreamy atmospheric pop a la Joy Division will latch onto this NYU-bred quartet for its hypnotic guitar patterns, distant-yet-affecting vocals and generally floaty soundstage. While complex in concept (bringing the theatrical detachment of vintage mood-rock back for the 21st century), the execution is disarmingly fresh and accessible, with a decidedly refreshing indie vibe. All of which makes one wonder if Interpol might be able to break open a post-punk revival the way New York brethren The Strokes have reignited garage rock. Based on the strength of winners including “Obstacle 1,” “Obstacle 2,” “Stella...” and “Say Hello...” (even uptempo, the moodiness permeates), the ’Pols seem likely to do just that. Jon O’Hara

The Sheila Divine Secret Society, The Sheila Divine Secret Society (Arena Rock): There’s no one named Sheila in this Boston-based quartet, but there’s definitely something divine in their emotionally charged, melodic pop-rock. Calling to mind an array of great U.K. bands of the last two decades as much as any of their stateside contemporaries, singer/guitarist Aaron Perrino and mates stretch out on this six-song EP, soaring beautifully with “The Swan” and “Calling All Lovers” and conjuring up a furious racket on “Back to the Cradle.” But the arguable highlight is “We All Have Problems,” which fuses feedback squall and a soaring chorus into a high-energy gem. Fans of cathartic Brit bands should get their hands on this domestic treasure (SG)

Red Dragon
This re-make of Michael Mann’s ‘86 Manhunter and the prequel to Jonathan Demme’s ’91 Oscar winner Silence of the Lambs once again stars Anthony Hopkins as the psychopathic serial killer Hannibal Lecter. Edward Norton is the FBI agent who turns to Lecter for help in tracking down and understanding the mind of another mass murderer played by Ralph Fiennes. Oscar nominee Emily Watson plays a blind woman befriended by Fiennes, Harvey Keitel is Norton’s FBI mentor and Philip Seymour Hoffman is a tabloid reporter covering the case. With Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) in the director’s chair, the film is reportedly neither as artful as Silence or as over-the-top as last year’s Hannibal. The website at www.reddragonmovie.com offers a creepy, quick-cutting intro and a series of ledgers that allows you to compile various facets of the individual characters’ lives as well as cast and crew information, downloads, a photo gallery, clips, a trailer, ticket information and showtimes. The Decca soundtrack album features the original score by Danny Elfman.

Welcome to Collinwood (WB): An ensemble comedy produced by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney and directed by brothers Anthony and Joseph Russo about a group of working class guys in Cleveland who plan to rob a pawn shop. Clooney, in a supporting role, is the safecracker who trains the gang, which is led by a boxer (Sam Rockwell) and an ex-con played by Luis Guzman (Traffic) as well as indie stalwarts like William H. Macy, Six Feet Under’s Patricia Clarkson and The Sopranos’ Uncle Junior, Dominic Chianese. The way the movie’s being dumped on the market gives us a little pause, but the cast is pretty strong, and Soderbergh has described the film as a “low-budget Ocean’s Eleven,” so who knows what to expect? The website, www.welcometocollinwood.warnerbros.com, is in the form of a postcard that uses silent movie titles to list movie and cast information, photos, download, soundtrack information and a tour of the ethnic Cleveland suburb. The Sanctuary soundtrack features a score by DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh, with bookended songs from jazz singer/pianist/composer Paolo Conti, who sings in several languages.

Heaven (Miramax): Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi star in the first of what was to be another trilogy by the late Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski (after his celebrated Red, White and Blue) which was to include Hell and Purgatory before he died unexpectedly in 1996. The movie marks the English language debut of German director Tom Tykwer, who previously worked on the indie hit, Run Lola Run. Blachett plays a British teacher living in Turin, Italy, whose husband died of a drug overdose and sets out to exact revenge on the dealer who sold him the deadly dose. After supplying information about the dealer to the police, who ignore her because they’re complicit in his dealings, she takes matters in her own hands by planting a bomb in a skyscraper (which is why the film was moved from its original release date in fall 2001). After being arrested for that, she falls in love with a young police officer who helps her (Ribisi). The website at www.miramax.com/heaven/ is pretty skimpy, with just a plot synopsis, a trailer and movie showtimes.

Biggie and Tupac (Roxie Releasing): Feisty British documentarian Nick Broomfield, who has previously turned his one-person camera crew on the likes of Kurt and Courtney , Heidi Fleiss, Spalding Gray and female serial killer Aileen Wuornos, examines the deaths of the two seminal rappers and comes up with Suge Knight as chief suspect, with a corrupt L.A.P.D. also implicated. That places him in direct opposition to L.A. Times reporter Chuck Philips, who fingers shooter Orlando Anderson and Biggie himself in the death of Tupac, so it should provide an interesting contrast. How you feel about the movie will rest on your opinions of Broomfield, who likes to put himself in the middle of the action as a kind of Michael Moore-styled rabblerouser in search of the truth. The website at www.roxie.com/biggie2.html, is pretty elemental, offering some high resolution photos. There’s also a site devoted to the director at www.nickbroomfield.com with a bio, filmography, reviews, merchandise, associated links and awards. (RT)

by Lisa Teasley

This serialized story, which runs weekly in this space, is about two boys from Reno, Eddie & Penguin, who come down to LA to make it with their band. They're 21, 22-ish, one's white, one's black, they're funny & witty, and have been close since they were 10.

: Come on baby. Lemme come over.

Ursula: No. You don’t have a license and I don’t want to be worrying about you at this hour, making your way over here.

Penguin: You’re not my Mama.

Ursula: Correct. And I don’t want to be. Goodnight.

I must be crazy. Now that I’ve hung up, he’s going to keep the phone ringing for hours. What am I doing with this little boy? I’ve got a babe in the belly to worry about now.

When my ex-husband heard I was seeing a 21 year old, he flipped. And Len never flips. When Betti Gretchen heard she applauded me for the kind of fucking she expects I’m getting. And it is really good sometimes, but more often than not, I’m the teacher, and it’s not like I know all that much. I’ve never been down on a woman myself, so how can I show him all that I could be missing.

His other half, Eddie, is gay too. How does Penguin know he’s not either? He’s young enough not to know better.

Eddie: Hey man, Pen, I heard you on the phone with your chick. She’s still bringing the Virgin dude to our gig, isn’t she?

Penguin: Yes. And don’t do that shit to me again, man, fallin’ asleep in the fuckin’ tub. I have to go!

Eddie: And don’t you do that shit to me anymore. Buggin’ with your chick the night before she’s gonna do us a favor! What do you have in that fucking thick head?

Penguin: Stop yellin’ at me from behind the door, Eddie! You fucker, I’m on the crapper. I want some peace!

Visit www.lisateasley.com to read past excerpts you have missed.

I have one question for all of the men out there. What is it about alcohol that makes you turn into such desperate creatures? Do you need to get laid that bad? The more alcohol you consume the more lame the attempts become. Those lines don’t work, will never work and have never worked…well, except for that one girl in college you woke up next to and immediately afterward swore off alcohol. Does the term “coyote ugly” ring a bell? I’m not talking about the movie with the hot girls dancing on the bar. One poor sucker had to deal with my wrath last weekend. He was incredibly annoying and persistent, so I was forced to show him how a real woman handles such pathetic pick-up tactics. Before I knew it, I had a bar of spectators laughing at his expense. I kind of felt bad after a while, but he kept challenging me, so I kept going and began having fun with it. He finally left with his tail between his legs, only to call the bar when he got home and try one final time to get me to go to dinner with him. It was very sad. I’m not always mean, only when the guy starts off being rude, and then I let him have it. I’m sure this guy is a perfectly nice, well-behaved man when he’s sober, but he was a huge pain in my ass when he was drunk. This week’s cocktail is dedicated to the females who are forced to become mean and nasty because drunk men piss us of.

Bitch on Wheels
1 oz. Bombay gin
oz. Pernod
oz. White Crme de Menthe
oz. Martini & Rossi extra dry vermouth
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into chilled martini glass

If that doesn’t sound like the nastiest combination of alcohol, I don’t know what does. One Bitch on Wheels would probably cause me to vomit, therefore making me a bitch on wheels, that being the reason for the name. I could very possibly be wrong—it could be the yummiest tasting thing ever, but I doubt it! I will make a promise to my dedicated fans, which I sure I have many of—like all of you that I threaten to pummel if you don’t read my stuff. I promise you that I will choke down at least one of these drinks, so I can report to you which side of the scale it falls on—nasty, like Christina Aguilera, or melt-in-your-mouth-not-in-your-hands scrumptious, like her nemesis Eminem.

De’s LA bar pick of the week: If you want melt-in-your-mouth sexy, then you should go to O’Brien’s on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica. This quaint little Irish pub not only has great food, a pool table and Guinness on tap, it is also the home of one of the hottest bartenders I’ve seen in a while. Darren works on Tuesday and Saturday nights, so go in and tell him how you heard about him. If any of you guys want to try out your new and improved but still desperately lame lines, you’ll have the opportunity at this joint. The ladies there are great-looking and ready to shoot you down. The only bad thing about this pub is the sound system—so I was told.

De’s diss of the week: This week I want to scold everyone who forgets their manners after consuming a few, or a few too many, drinks. Our mothers taught us to say “please" and "thank you” when we were about 5 years old. For some reason, we forget this when ordering drinks. Even though it’s the bartender’s job to serve you, he/she still deserves the common courtesy of the two magic words. Also, we’re all at the bar for the same reasons—to unwind, have fun with our friends, laugh, drink and celebrate things like birthdays. Don’t ruin everyone else’s good time by being loud and obnoxious. I was enjoying a huge pint of German ale at the Red Lion Tavern in Silverlake when a woman started screeching like a hyena. It wasn’t a one-time thing. Instead, it was continuous, ear-piercing noise that could turn the sweetest of churchgoers into a homicidal maniac. The entire table was loud and annoying, and prompted my party’s immediate departure from the establishment. A note to the owners: It’s never a great idea to let one obnoxious table scare away the type of patrons you want.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. It lets me know that people actually read all of this ranting and raving. Click on the link below to ask questions, send hate mail, love letters or information on when you’re going to hook me up to meet Eminem. Hugs and kisses, until next week. Denise Bayles