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The only male body parts I’ve seen lately are the diagrams on the doctor’s office wall. And it’s been so long that those were actually starting to turn me on—pathetic!
A TRICKED-UP, TREAT-FILLED WEAKEND PLANNER
Counting Down to That Special Night When We Turn Off the Lights and Pretend We're Not Home

WEAKEND POPCULT TOP 10
1. The World Series:
As many thought it would, the 2002 World Series is turning out to be an extremely competitive contest overall, although the Giants wound up crushing the Angels 16-4 Thursday night at PacBell Park in S.F. In terms of subplots, Barry Bonds has thoroughly exorcised any post-season demons that may have been haunting him, Francisco Rodriguez continues to impress at the ripe old age of 20 and the Thunder Sticks keep booming. The Series returns to Edison Field in Anaheim for at least one more game on Saturday. And let’s say this for certain—if you’re a true baseball fan, the first four games couldn't have been more exciting. Here’s hoping the rest of the Series continues along the same lines. My prediction? Angels in seven, baby! —MF

 

2. Bill Wyman, Rolling With the Stones (DK Publishing): The unassuming ex-Stones bassist has been quietly assembling a diary full of memories from the very start, which he unleashes in this ultimate coffee-table scrapbook, tirelessly tracking the band's incredible history. A bargain at $50, the tome's highlights include a painstaking list of the exact amount the group was paid date-by-date for their first tours. —RT

 

3. The Donnas: Smokin' new album, Spend the Night (see below), is matched only by rock chicks' searing live show, propelled by drummer Donna C. (Torry Castellano). Give in to the cowbell rock of "All Messed Up" and it will be there for you always. —JO

 

4. Donna Tartt, The Little Friend (Alfred A. Knopf): How time flies. It’s been 10 years since the publication of Tartt’s bestselling debut, The Secret History. The novel, which the young author began writing while attending Vermont’s Bennington College, was acclaimed in some quarters and damned in others; it remains a big favorite here in the reading room of our Sherman Oaks cesspool. Tartt, who’s now 38, has returned with a novel set in her native Mississippi that revolves around the hanging death of a 9-year-old boy and the hunt for his killer years later by the boy’s younger sister, who’s 12 at the time the story takes place in the 1970s. Amazon has some sample pages up for the curious to check out. Can’t wait to dive into it. —BS  

 

5. Notre Dame at Florida State (ABC): I know, I know, this Fighting Irish partisanship is getting rather tiresome. But you gotta admit it's truly amazing what new coach Ty Willingham has been able to do with essentially the same group of players who seemed mediocre at best under Bob Davie. Remarkably, this squad has won its first seven games, moving to #6 in the polls and posting a shocking #3 in the first BCS rankings. For this to be a bona fide miracle season, however, ND must vanquish the dangerous Seminoles, who had #1 Miami beat two weeks ago but instead lost by a point after a botched field goal attempt. Logic tells me Notre Dame doesn't win this game, not on the road in Tallahassee. On the other hand, logic has very little to do with this dream season. Go Irish. —BS

6. Jonathan Franzen, How to Be Alone (Farrar Straus & Giroux): Essays from the man who wrote the critically acclaimed The Corrections. More heart, less self-conscious and quick to embrace the truths that set being unto oneself a singular experience. Not self-pitying, just self-aware. —HG

7. MTV2 Handpicked Tour: Headlined by Australian hellraisers The Vines and featuring buzzing U.K. rocktronica band The Music, the tour kicks off 11/19 in Philly and runs through 12/6. It’s in support of MTV2 Handpicked Vol II, a comp CD featuring the aforementioned bands as well as John Mayer, Norah Jones, Coldplay, The Hives, Phantom Planet, Jimmy Eat World, Jack Johnson, OK Go and others. Looks like the tastemaker network—long the flagship’s quietly influential younger sister—is finally going wide. So why doesn’t my %*@!# cable company offer it? —SG

 

8. Retro Chic: A Guide to Fabulous Vintage and Designer Resale Shopping in North America & Online by Diana Eden & Gloria Lintermans (Really Great Books): That’s what you call a really self-explanatory title. Suffice to say that this lovingly researched, intuitively organized handbook—the product of a collaboration between a top Hollywood costume designer and a renowned fashion columnist—is a must for vintage-attire freaks at home, on the road or online. —SG

 

9. Father & son crime: Whether beating the crap out of a first-base coach or shooting innocent people at long range, dads everywhere seem to be bringing up their boys to be violent miscreants. And the family that does crime together does time together. —JO

10. Punkvoter.com: “Are you sick and tired of old stupid people running our country?” Hmmm, this doesn’t sound like a message paid for by soft money. In fact, Fat Mike and his cohorts at Fat Wreck Chords, the label that brought you NoFX, No Use for a Name, Lagwagon and many others, have helped coordinate a truly grass-roots political effort. Punk Voter’s mission statement declares that with the November elections approaching, “we all need to do our best to make sure the vile Republicans DO NOT gain control of the Senate... and we can’t give the village idiot George W. Bush a blank check.” Lefties who need a shot of moral adrenaline—or right-wingers who enjoy spiking their blood pressure—should check it out. Plus, you can download stickers and flyers! Speaking of which, “Regime Change Begins at Home” stickers (and other provocative items) are available at GWBush.com. —SG 

ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN
Punch-Drunk Love
(Columbia Pictures):
The film studio has made extra sure that no one mistakes this for a “typical” Adam Sandler movie, but about 20 people walked out of the theater within the first 45 minutes anyway. This tortured romance, which may or may not be a figment of the lead character’s imagination, is like the tribute to Robert Downey's Putney Swope in wunderkind director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, where a coke deal goes down to the scattered sound of exploding firecrackers. This time, that anxiety is stretched out over the film's entire 89 minutes, as you restlessly wait for something to happen. The almost unbearably neurotic love story features Sandler as a self-loathing, self-abusive toilet plunger salesman who wears a shiny blue suit throughout, obsessively collects pudding packages for the bonus frequent flier miles and meets his soulmate in the equally devoted, all-forgiving fantasy figure given flesh by Emily Watson. Anderson dismantles the conventions of boy-meets-girl, exploring the hidden rage and pain inherent in any passionate coupling. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea—my wife thought it was “weird”—but those tuned in to the anxieties of forming relationships in a modern world where accidents can (and will) happen out of nowhere will appreciate the movie’s dark-toned palette. Painting with deep-seated red and blues, which often blur into an abstract vision of psychedelic hues, Punch-Drunk Love explores those areas of the human heart that defy words. When Paul Thomas Anderson says love hurts, he not only means it, he makes you feel it, too. Roy Trakin

 

A TRICK, A TREAT & A HORROR STORY
Foo Fighters, One by One (Roswell/RCA):
The Foos may have a grunge pedigree, but the band’s flair at combining cranked-up guitars and pure-pop melodies puts them closer to Cheap Trick than to Seattle. Lest anyone conclude that their deliriously poppy 2000 hit “Learn to Fly” constituted a mainstream move, Dave Grohl and this three bandmates rock out with a vengeance on their fourth album, kicking things off with a pair of riff-rockers, led by first single “All My Life.” But Grohl can’t disguise his melodic gift, which gleams through the corrosive overlays on such tracks as “Times Like These” and “Disenchanted Lullaby,” which jangle anxiously like mutated folk-rock, the harmony-rich “Have It All,” the buoyant “Halo” and the moody, understated “Tired of You.” But the album’s crowning moment is also its least characteristic—the epic closer “Come Back,” which smolders with all the anguished urgency of Grohl’s former band and sustains the tension for its near-eight-minute length. Bud Scoppa

 

The Donnas, Spend the Night (Atlantic): Oh, to be 20-something with guitars, loud-ass amps and enough sneer and brute rock abandon to carry you into the next lifetime. In the case of the four gals of The Donnas, who first began focusing their energy on punk-edged, AC/DC inspired rock at 13 or so, this fifth album in four years should make them a “mature” band at this point. But their latter-day Joan Jett vibe, best displayed in “All Messed Up,” “I Don’t Care (So There)” and “Dirty Denim,” comes across with such unbridled energy and enthusiasm, they might as well be just starting out. It’s an uncomplicated formula that will immediately turn on anybody whose rock & roll glands aren’t dried up and prematurely pruned with age. Jon O’Hara

 

Suicide, American Supreme (Blast First/Mute): Like Godot’s Vladimir and Estragon, Alan Vega and Martin Rev have been prophets of doom since before it became fashionable, and this post-Sept. 11 concept album about Armageddon is no exception. New songs like the lilting techno “Misery Train” and the disco-funk “Child It’s a New World” recall the underrated melodic moodiness of “Cheree” and “Dream Baby Dream.” Caught in a video-game firestorm, “Dachau. Disney. Disco,” a worthy successor to epics like “Frankie Teardrop” and “Harlem,” recreates life during wartime, while the closing tribal stomp “I Don’t Know” is a moving existential shrug in the face of absurdity. Still at least 10 years ahead of its time 30 years later, Suicide remains the ultimate affirmation of life. —RT

 

GUY WITH THE GOGGLES' NFL PICKS OF THE WEEK
Oakland -3 at Kansas City

Shoot fire, this here game is a dang tough’n to pick, mostly cuz a two thangs: #1, I hate Al Davis—die, Al, die! #2, I love barbecue, and KC has got some dang fine barbecue. As fer this here football game, history says take the Chiefs and the points, but dad-gummit, this here is a must-win for the danged ol’ Raiders. They got the #1 pass offense, KC has the #1 run offense and the dang difference in the game is gonna be on dee-fense. KC is last aginst the pass, and Oakland is seventh aginst the run. You figger the math. I’ll take Oakland and give the three. Die, Al, die.

 

Denver +3 at New England

Holy clam chowder, the danged ol’ Super Bowl champs done got themselves back in a corner. Most ever’body thinks they’re done fer, but shoot, they cain’t be as bad as they been the last few weeks. The thang to keep in mind is that the danged ol’ Pats is comin’ off as bye, and I gots to believe that Bill Bellichik is gonna find a way to right the ship. This here here is a classic matchup of Denver lookin’ like a team on the rise and the Pats fallin’ apart, but this is the dang NF of L, and ain’t nothin’ fer forever. What AM I sayin’? Hell, I’m confused now. Anyhoo, take New England, give the three and look like a dang genius. —Guy W.T. Goggles
(Year to date: 9-3)

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
The Truth About Charlie (Universal Pictures)
Premise
: Jonathan Demme’s remake of Stanley Donen’s 1963 Paris-based Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn thriller Charade, about a young woman about to divorce her husband who discovers he’s dead, all their money is gone and a mysterious man claims the lost loot is his.
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Thandie Newton (Mission: Impossible 2), Tim Robbins
Director: Demme’s first since critically ravaged ’98 adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
Thumbs Up: Demme’s first suspense film since 1991’s Oscar-winning Silence of the Lambs.
Thumbs Down: Wahlberg and Newton as Grant and Hepburn?
Website: TheTruthAboutCharlie.com offers a colorful tour of the Paris backdrop introduced by the various characters.
Soundtrack: The Playtone/Epic Records/Sony Music Soundtrax album features Angelique Kidjo, Robyn Hitchcock, Sparklehorse, Manu Chao, the Feelies (?!), Rachel Portman, Charles Aznavour

Ghost Ship (Warner Bros.)
Premise:
Salvage crew discovers a long-lost 1953 passenger ship floating lifeless in a remote region of the Bering Sea, then begins to notice “strange things,” including the appearance of chimeras (according to Greek mythology, creatures made up of lion, goat and snake parts).
Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Alex Dimitriades, Julianna Margulies, Isaiah Washington
Director:
Former commercial director and art director Steve Beck, who is in danger of being typecast after 13 Ghosts.
Thumbs Up
: Coming attractions look very creepy.
Thumbs Down:
Wasn’t this the plot of Below, which came out earlier this month?
Website: Ghostshipmovie.warnerbros.com/trailer.html has a pretty neat flash intro that allows you to explore the sets.
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande
album features score by John Frizzell.

Jackass: The Movie (Paramount Pictures)
Premise:
Full-length, no-holds-barred, R-rated version of popular MTV show about people inflicting pain on themselves in the strangest ways.
Stars: Johnny Knoxville, Tony Hawk, Spike Jonze, Steve O, Chris Pontius, Henry Rollins.
Director: Jeff Tremaine, one of show’s creators, producers and writers, in his feature debut.
Thumbs Up: All the stuff you can’t see at home, though apparently it does not include Steve-O staple-gunning his nuts to his leg.
Thumbs Down: Future generations will look at this like we look at the Roman vomitoriums—proof of Western civilization’s inexorable decline.
Website: Jackassthemovie.com is obviously an important part of the film’s marketing strategy.
Soundtrack: Universal album features a mix of punks past and present, including Andrew W.K., CKY, the Rezillos, the Ramones, Sahara Hotnights, the Misfits, Detroit Cobras, Slayer, Sir Mix-A-Lot and the Minutemen.

All or Nothing (United Artists/MGM)
Premise:
UK improvisational director Mike Leigh’s film about an English working-class couple who rediscover their love after an unexpected tragedy.
Stars: Timothy Spall
, Lesley Manville
Director:
Mike Leigh’s art-house hits include critical successes like Naked, Secrets & Lies, Topsy-Turvy and Life Is Sweet
Thumbs Up: Leigh is a master of kitchen-sink realism and politically charged drama.
Thumbs Down: His films are usually a little too talky for the mainstream audience.
Website: MGM.com/UA/AllorNothing/ offers a synopsis, cast and crew bios, a trailer, photo gallery and a Leigh filmography.
Soundtrack: None.

Frida (Miramax)
Premise: Salma Hayek
’s long-in-the-works biopic about the celebrated Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and her tumultuous relationship with husband Diego Rivera, played by Alfried Molina. Kahlo suffered a life of wracking pain following a trolley accident, the amputation of a leg and drug and alcohol abuse that killed her at age 47.
Stars:
Hayek, Molina, Antonio Banderas, Ashley Judd, Edward Norton as Nelson Rockefeller, Geoffrey Rush as Leon Trotsky and Roger Rees as Guillermo Kahlo
Director: Julie Taymor
(Titus)
Thumbs Up: The trailers are promising, offering a historical tapestry with colorful characters and plenty of action.
Thumbs Down: Could turn into a caricature rather than a painting.
Website: www.miramax.com/Friday/index.html is definitely on the low-budget side.
Soundtrack: Decca album is an enhanced CD which features a traditional, Latino-flavored collection with Caetano Veloso and Lila Downs, El Poder del Norte, Chavela Vargas and Salma Hayek with Los Vega, as well as an original score by Elliot Goldenthal, who penned the liner notes.

All the Queen’s Men (Strand Releasing)
Premise:
A World War II comedy about a group of British Special Services agents, who infiltrate an all-female Berlin factory that manufactures the Enigma code machines by dressing up as women.
Stars: Matt LeBlanc
, Eddie Izzard, Udo Kier
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Thumbs Up
: Co-writer Jeff Stockwell’s screenplay for The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys was critically praised.
Thumbs Down: Is it Some Like It Hot meets Stalag 17 or Hogan’s Heroes in drag?
Website: Allthequeensmen-film.com suggests, “War is a drag.”
Soundtrack: None.

Waking Up in Reno (Miramax)
Premise:
A pair of redneck couples from Arkansas hit the road to see a monster truck show in Reno, and change partners.
Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Charlize Theron, Patrick Swayze, Natasha Richardson
Director: Jordan Brady
Thumbs Up: Thornton
and Theron could set off sparks.
Thumbs Down: Its release has been postponed once too often to be any good.
Website: miramax.com/wakingupinreno/index.html offers just the facts, ma’am.
Soundtrack: None. —RT

THE RENO DUET
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.

 

11)
Eddie
: I kinda miss breakfasts at the Gold n’ Silver on 4th St. back in Reno. We’d eat there whenever Pen had a lucky slot game of quarters. Penguin made me stop chewing tobacco the day he kissed me in a drunken rage. It was no sweaty, scared affair—like the day in the abandoned building—and he didn’t even trip on it. Think we were 15. But he was lit—on his way through a case of beer—and I was sickened by the yellow tile at Reno High, and Mom’s tantrums on the back step to let her move back in.

 

“Don’t be cold to your Mama,” Pen kept saying in tribal rhythm, trying to convince me, hypnotize me into giving her a 100 millionth chance. But I wouldn’t budge. I was banging on the drums, Penguin was sliding across the dirty kitchen floor, and fucked up his Fender on the counter. He threw a fit and we were hysterical, and next thing you know we were crying in each other’s arms. Said I tasted like gar-bage. Pronounced it like a French dude, or something, and we laughed. When he left though, what a fucking hellish night: his sweet, tangy smell in my skin, visions of Mom’s twisted babydoll face inside each one of the yellow tile in my head, roaches waiting for me to turn out the light, grits of Copenhagen all over the bed.

 

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

 

DENISE’S WEAKEND COCKTAIL
I’m going to start by warning everyone that I’m very, very grumpy today. It’s a good thing that I’m going home to Indianapolis this weekend. A trip home always helps my frame of mind. Plus, this season-less city gets to me from time to time. I can’t wait to see leaves that are changing and enjoy clean, crisp, smog-free air. Sunday, night my best friend and I are having a bonfire (a very Midwest thing), which will entail drinking lots of beer, roasting marshmallows and reminiscing about all of the shit we used to get into when we were teenagers. I’m really not sure how well beer and marshmallows will mix, but I’ll let you know. It may be fabulous, but I doubt it.

I think that my crappy mood is directly connected to the anxiety I’m feeling about going home. I’m a little disenchanted with my love life at the moment (big surprise), and that’s usually the first thing I’m asked when I’m home for a visit. For some reason, my girlfriends in Indianapolis imagine that I’m living a glamorous life as a single gal in Los Angeles—movie stars, drinking and dancing all night, parties in the Hollywood Hills and dates at fancy restaurants with rich George Clooney look-a-likes. Ha! The joke is on me. I could only wish for such excitement. The only male body parts I’ve seen lately are the diagrams on the doctor’s office wall. And it’s been so long that those were actually starting to turn me on—pathetic! Which if I really think about it, that’s probably the real reason I’m so damn bitchy right now. Trying to find a guy to date in L.A. is like panning for gold: You find a great piece only to discover at the bank that you’ve been had, because it’s fool’s gold. This week’s cocktail directly relates to my love life—anytime I think I’ve found the real thing, sooner or later I finally realize that I’m the only one thinking that way.

Fool’s Gold
1 oz. Ketel One vodka (because that’s my favorite)
1 oz. Galliano
Shake with ice and put into martini glass

This is my dilemma. Everyone tells me I’m intelligent, pretty, witty, independent, blah, blah, blah—then why is it so hard for me to find anything that even slightly resembles a relationship. I’m not talking anything serious, like marriage. I simply want a person in my life that is fun to be around, honest, trustworthy, handsome and smart (of course), kind and not afraid to be in a committed relationship. Too much to ask for isn’t it? Come on, it’s getting close to Christmas, and I’ve been relatively good this year—no drunken one-night stands or anything even close. Don’t worry; I’m sure I’ll be happy to be back in L.A. and still single after a weekend surrounded by married people with children who, unlike me, are stuck in Indiana.

De’s L.A. pick of the week: If you’re lucky and actually find a compatible person to date, I’ve found the perfect place for non-stop fun. Jillians in Universal City Walk is great for a low-pressure, laidback, totally fun date. Drinks, video games, bowling and food—what more do you need to relax and hopefully charm the pants off of someone? I went there on a first date and had so much fun. I’m also a little competitive with the boys, so I love it when I beat the guy I’m with in games like Off Road Thunder and Pop A Shot. By they way, guys love girls who can shoot hoops and play video games, so you’ll win lots of points. After you’ve played all the games you can handle, go across the walkway to Caf Tu Tu Tango, sit on their outside patio, have your tarot cards read to see if you’re compatible and split a bottle of wine—half-price during happy hour on Wednesdays.

De’s diss of the week: Although City Walk is a great place for a first date, be prepared to pay a small fortune for parking, especially if you want to valet. I would also highly discourage anyone from taking a date there on a Friday or Saturday night. The place is absolutely crowded with a younger, more volatile crowd. Go during the week for a more peaceful playtime.

As always, please entertain me with your comments, questions, marriage proposals, etc., by e-mailing the link below. By the way, flowers are always a nice gesture to take away my dating sorrows. Feel free to send those to HITS magazine in Sherman Oaks, attention the lovely and single Denise Bayles. And remember, diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Until next week, hugs and kisses. Denise Bayles

Contributors: Denise Bayles, Mark Feather, Holly Gleason, Simon Glickman, Guy W.T. Goggles, Jon O’Hara, Lisa Teasley, Roy Trakin

 

Editor: Bud Scoppa

 

 

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