The Angels continue to play “little ball,” augmented with just enough power—a formula that’s winning games and surprising people about how good this team really is (except for those of us who live in southern California and have been watching the Halos come together for months now).


We Love the Smell of Pigskin in the Morning
We’ve reached that special time of year when America’s four favorite spectator sports—baseball, football, basketball and hockey—are all in play at once. With everything going down on the playing fields, courts and rinks of MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL, this weekend’s most compelling matchups are arguably on the collegiate level, as #2 Oklahoma squares off against #3 Texas, the scary-good Miami Hurricanes (#1) take on in-state rivals Florida State (#9), resurgent Notre Dame (#8) attempts to go 6-0 against once-beaten Pittsburgh, #6 Georgia plays #10 Tennessee and #7 Oregon takes on the 4-1 UCLA Bruins, who’ll be in the thick of the Pac 10/Rose Bowl hunt with an upset. If all you care about is pro football, you’re not a real fan, dude. If anything, college ball is more exciting, and we defy you to find a set of Sunday games as compelling as those above. Now, excuse us while we warm up the Trinitron and fluff up the La-Z-Boy.

1. Beck, Sea Change (Geffen):
Now here’s a prime example of a record that has to be listened to more than once. The album’s lush, hypnotic melodies are couched in Nigel Godrich’s oozing production, but they start percolating over time. —RT

2. Baseball League Championship Series (Fox): Now that the three teams with ridiculous payrolls have been eliminated from the playoffs (Yankees, Diamondbacks, Braves), the fun has really begun. Barry Bonds is finally exorcising his playoff demons for the Giants; Bud Selig is trying to quell all the contraction talks, even as he sits in Minnesota’s Metrodome and gets hammered by the fans of a team he referred to as “an abberation”; the Cardinals continue to play like a team on a mission and get a Phoenix disc jockey fired in the process (which he deserved for a senseless phone prank involving Darryl Kile’s widow); and the Angels continue to play “little ball,” augmented with just enough power—a formula that’s winning games and surprising people about how good this team really is (except for those of us who live in southern California and have been watching the Halos come together for months now). For baseball fans, who just a couple of months ago were worried about a strike wiping out the playoffs altogether, it just doesn’t get any better than this. Enjoy the games! —MF

3. Scrubs (NBC): This offbeat, non-laugh-track comedy, one of last year’s pleasant surprises, has started off this TV season in a sophomore slump. The writers seem to have forgotten that the steady stream of impressionistic sight gags worked in the past because they were anchored to relatable characters. In this fall’s first two episodes, those same characters lack the qualities that made them human last year—they’re reduced to cartoons. NBC has moved the series to the coveted post-Friends slot, but this year’s model of Scrubs is too disjointed to win many new fans. It’s a shame to see one of a handful of watchable network shows lose its essence, but there’s plenty of precedent (see Allie McBeal). —BS

4. Push, Nevada (ABC): The first coupla episodes were weird and stylishtoo weird and stylish for network TV, as it turns out: ABC has canceled the much-ballyhooed show after just three episodes. Co-creator Ben Affleck must be chagrined at this turn of events. There’s still the matter of that $1 million prize that goes to a viewer who solves the series’ central mystery; because they’re obligated to give the money away, ABC will have to air at least one more episode to provide the necessary clues. —BS

5. NBA Preseason: It’s three weeks before the start of the regular season, but there are games on TV and games on the Internet. By clicking on AOL Sports, then Latest Scores, then NBA, hoops junkies can get all the box scores in real time. And how about today’s headline: “Marcus Camby Out Indefinitely—final proof that the NBA is back. —LB

6. COPS: No, not the TV show—the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, the folks behind Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon’s latest devastating misstep. Seems the COPS folks said they had a smoking-gun photo of Gov. Gray Davis (when he was Lieutenant Governor) accepting a check in his office. Simon went public with the pic without checking it out; it quickly became clear that the only smoking gun was the one Simon had used to mortally wound his own campaign. A brilliant sidebar story in Thursday’s L.A. Times details COPS’ fundraising legacy, and it’s a doozy—political operatives from both parties accuse them of endorsing only candidates who shell out the ducats for placement in mailers, consulting services and other means of supporting “law and order” (no, not the TV show). In other words, they had a sweet arrangement for a while. Their big mistake was trying to diversify into dirty tricks—best to hire a specialist for that. —SG

7. Oakland Raiders: I got to admit, them geezers is pretty dang good this year, but they is old and they may break down. And besides that, anybody who’s on this earth knows that as long as Al Davis is around, they’ll never win it again. Die, Al, die! —GWTW

8. Jackass the Movie: Apparently the "ass" in the name is no mistake, given that much of the flick's humor is butt-specific. Johnny Knoxville and friends shoot fireworks out their butts. They shove toy cars up their butts and seek medical attention. They actually take a dump in a display toilet in a hardware store. And that's just a sampling of the nuttiness that's sure to put butts in the seats. —JO

9. Illegal Art: A new exhibit, headed first for New York (11/13-12/6) and then Chicago (1/25-2/21), explores "Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age," and asks if the copyright extensions and firm conglomerate control of creative works now being debated before the Supreme Court and by lawmakers inhibit the creation of new works. The hilarious "user agreement" on the show site is an absurdist jab at the current state of affairs. —SG

10. Winston Cup Championship: With six races to go, Tony Stewart goes from worst to first in the standings, currently leading #2 Mark Martin by 72 points. The leader for much of the season, Sterling Marlin, was sidelined two weeks ago with a fractured vertebra. —JO

The Man From Elysian Fields
(Gold Circle):
Slingblade creator and Rodney Bingenheimer documentarian George Hickenlooper’s noirish L.A. fable offers a variation on Sunset Boulevard. Call it Colorado Blvd., as struggling Pasadena novelist Andy Garcia makes a Faustian bargain with a Satanic Mick Jagger, playing an update on his role in Performance as the craggy-faced, world-weary head of a slightly rundown Hollywood male-escort service. The Oscar-worthy screenplay by Phillips Jayson Lasker (a veteran of sitcoms like Golden Girls and Barney Miller) is literate in an allegorical way, and while the film’s pace is glacial, there’s an inexorability to the story that keeps you engrossed. Some fine co-starring work by E.R.’s Julia Margulies as Garcia’s long-suffering wife, Olivia Williams (Sixth Sense, Rushmore) as the ultimate femme fatale, James Coburn as a Pulitzer-winning novelist who is rapidly dying, Anjelica Huston as Jagger’s last remaining client and Michael Des Barres as a feckless male escort. The film’s focus on the difficulties of making a living by being creative, the relation of fiction to life and a fascination with class structure is rarely found in American cinema. A sleeper that will undoubtedly show up on many year-end Top 10 lists. —Roy Trakin

Unknown Hinson at the Alterknit Lounge, L.A.:
This Carolina guitarslinger and regional rockabilly legend (who reportedly received the moniker from the name of his father as listed on his birth certificate) has been brought to Hollywood by ex-Warner Bros. publicity maven Bob Merlis for a month of Thursdays at the Knitting Factory's Alterknit Lounge, where he’s stunning the cognescenti with his raucous show. Hinson looks like a cross between John Carradine’s demented preacher in The Grapes of Wrath and the StranglersHugh Cornwell, an Elvis impersonator as vampire. The toothless hillbilly sports inked-on hockey-stick-shaped sideburns that veer in a right angle towards his mouth, eyebrows that curl across his brow like a pair of caterpillars and a jacket that boasts the legend, "Ever Womern’s Dream." He’s also known to brandish a gun, especially as he woos ladies in the front row—and challenges their companions—with a repertoire that includes such ditties as "I Ain’t Afraid of Your Husband," "Baby, Let’s Play Rough," "Pregnant Again" and "I Make Faces (When I Make Love)"—which he proceeds to do, squeezing out sparks from his Fender like he would cum from his manhood. Hinson’s three-piece band veers between rollicking rockabilly, country laments and churning blues. He appeases any "hippie types" or "youngerns" in the crowd with a note-perfect rendition of The Who’s "Behind Blue Eyes" before launching into a three-song encore that includes a Hendrix medley of "Little Wing" and "Manic Depression," topped by an incredible cover of Alice Cooper’s "I’m Eighteen," substituting "I’m Unknown" for the refrain. He won’t be Unknown for long after these performances. His Capitol Nashville EP, Rock’N’Roll Is Straight From Hell, comes out next month. (Hinson will be appearing at the Knitting Factory’s Alterknit Lounge on Oct. 17 and 24, and on the club’s big stage Halloween night, Oct. 31, with Truker Up and Extreme Elvis.) For more info, contact Merlis at [email protected]. RT

Jacksonville -2 at TENNESSEE

Now, you might be wonderin’ why I’d even bother with this here shitty game. Simple—cuz I want to be rat. They is already talkin’ ’bout firin’ the danged ol’ coach in Tennosea. Now that there should be enough to convince you and me to take Jacksonville and give the two. I don’t wanna watch this game, and I wouldn’t recommend it to you, either.

Cleveland +7 at TAMPA BAY
The onliest thang that bothers  me’bout this here game is, why is Cleveland only gettin’ seven points? With Tim “They call me crybaby” Couch at quarterback and Kelly “I done broke mah leg” Holcomb out for who knows how long, the danged ol’ Browns ain’t got no shot. So whatever you do, take the Tampons and give the seven.
—Guy W.T. Goggles
(Year-to-date: 6-2)

This week feels like the storm before the storm, a convenient week to dump off some marginal product and clean up those pipelines for the guns of fall. So, without further ado, here’s your consumer guide for this week’s movie openings.

White Oleander (WB)
Film version of best-selling novel about a 15-year-old girl who goes through a series of foster homes after her mother goes to prison.
Stars: Robin Wright Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Renee Zelwegger, Alison Lohman , Patrick Fugit , Billy Connolly, Noah Wylie, Cole Hauser
Director: Peter Kosminksy (feature debut after a career on TV)
Thumbs Up: A chick flick with a massive readership base.
Thumbs Down: Filmmakers changed white trash backdrop to upscale blondes.
Website: www.whiteoleander.com: soft and soapy, like the movie
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande features Thomas Newman score.

Punch-Drunk Love (Columbia Pictures)
Premise: Paul Thomas Anderson
directs Adam Sandler in non-goofball mode as a novelties wholesaler with seven abusive sissters who must overcome his many issues (including an overdue phone sex bill) to find romance with a mysterious woman. Based on a true story of the guy who accumulated millions of frequent flier miles through buying pudding.
Stars: Sandler, Emily Watson, Luis Guzman, Philips Seymour Hoffman, Lynn Rajskub.
Director: PTA is a cult auteur after Boogie Nights and Magnolia, but can he strike box office gold?
Thumbs Up: Sandler matures into a romantic leading man.
Thumbs Down: Anyone remember The Majestic?
Website: www.punchdrunklove.com seems to capture the film’s whimsical feel.

The Rules of Attraction (Lion’s Gate)
Pulp Fiction co-author Roger Avary tackles Brett Easton Ellis novel about college students indulging in sex, drugs and alcohol. Just don’t expect Animal House.
Stars: James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, Jessica Biel, Faye Dunaway, Ron Jeremy, Swoosie Kurtz, Fred Savage, Eric Stoltz
Director: Roger Avary, a former Quentin Tarantino collaborator whose previous film was Killing Zoe.
Thumbs Up: Seeing goody two-shoes Dawson as a drug dealer involved in a sexual triangle.
Thumbs Down: Less Than Zero and American Psycho, two previous films based on Ellis’ novels—need we say more?
Website: www.rulesofattraction.com: a jumble that seems as confusing as the film.
Soundtrack: Lions Gate Records, features The Cure, Donovan, Blondie, Love and Rockets, Starland Vocal Band, Harry Nilsson, Milla Jovovich and Erasure.

Bowling for Columbine (UA)
: Mock documentary filmmaker Michael Moore tackles the issue of America’s love of and obsession with firearms and violence in a series of provocative interviews.
Stars: Moore, George W. Bush, Dick Clark, Charlton Heston, Marilyn Manson and Matt Stone.
Director: Left-wing gadfly Moore previously tackled unemployment in his hometown of Flint in the acclaimed Roger and Me, wrote bestseller Stupid White Men.
Thumbs Up: An unflinching look at the mindset that inevitably led to a tragedy like Columbine with Moore’s typical deadpan, everyman, muckraking style. Won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes.
Thumbs Down: Moore is still difficult to watch for a whole movie.
Website: www.bowlingforcolumbine.com offers a forum for anti-war activists as well as scenes from the movie and critical reviews.

Swept Away (Columbia)
: Remake of 1975 Lina Wertmuller romantic comedy about a shipwrecked sailor and his spoiled female boss stranded on a desert island, with original star Giancarlo Giannini’s son and Madonna under direction of her husband.
Stars: Giannini, Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, Bruce Greenwood (JFK in Thirteen Days) Jeanne Tripplehorn.
Director: Guy Ritchie steps up from his lowlife Cockney milieu.
Thumbs Up: Inspires Internet midnight movie craze circa 2010.
Thumbs Down: Shanghai Surprise, anyone?
Website: www.sonypictures.com/movies/sweptaway/ is standard fare.
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande album includes Michael Colombier score features tracks from Goldfrapp and Della Reese, but not Madonna.

Below (Dimension)
An American submarine, already being chased by Nazi U-boats, discovers ghosts while on a rescue trip for three survivors, including a nurse, from a sunken British hospital ship.
Stars: Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams (Elysian Fields), Scott Foley (Felicity), Zach Galifianakis (Out Cold).
Director: David Twohy (Pitch Black), with a screenplay co-authored by cult filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Pi)
Thumbs Up: Art-house horror flick for the high-brow.
Thumbs Down: The very similar-sounding Ghost Ship on deck.
Website: www.belowthemovie.com features Harry Knowles’ Ain’t It Cool News review, which must mean the end of something.
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande soundtrack includes original score by Graeme Revell.

Brown Sugar (Fox Searchlight)
Produced by Magic Johnson, a romantic comedy traces the birth of hip-hop on a N.Y. street corner through a romance between a music critic and a record exec.
Stars: Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Queen Latifah, Mos Def
Director: Rick Famuyiwa
(The Wood)
Thumbs Up: An African-American When Harry Met Sally… with a nifty soundtrack to boot.
Thumbs Down: African-American soap operas can be just as mediocre as their white counterparts.
Website: www.foxsearchlight.com is pretty standard fare.
Soundtrack: MCA Records neo-soul album features Erykah Badu with Common, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Rahsaan Patterson, Cassandra Wilson, Eric B. and Rakim, The Roots, Mary J. Blige, Mos Def with Faith Evans

Knockaround Guys (New Line Cinema)
Second generation Mafiosi head to Montana to retrieve a bag of money, only to encounter a corrupt sheriff, though the best-laid plans oft go awry.
Stars: Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Seth Green, Dennis Hopper, John Malkovich
Son of ex-EMI head Charles Koppelman, Brian and partner Davie Levien (they co-wrote the Matt Damon poker movie The Rounders)
Thumbs Up: There’s a burgeoning number of people who want to see every movie Vin Diesel has ever done.
Thumbs Down: Reservoir Dogs lite.
Website: www.knockaroundguys.com offers a chance to win $2500 just for giving your date of birth.

Ash Wednesday (IFC Films)
: An ’80s period piece about a man who must save his younger brother from Irish and Italian gangsters.
Stars: Edward Burns, Rosario Dawson, Oliver Platt, Elijah Wood
Burns tries to recapture the commercial success he hasn’t had since The Brothers McMullen.
Thumbs Up: Could confuse some people expecting Gangs of New York.
Thumbs Down: Burns will never be confused with Scorsese.
Website: Couldn’t find one.

Comedian (Miramax)
Documentary about Jerry Seinfeld on and off-stage during his year-long comedy tour in 2000 after his TV show went off the air.
Stars: Jerry Seinfeld, Colin Quinn, Chris Rock, Garry Shandling
Director: Christian Charles
originally worked with Seinfeld on his American Express ad campaign, then left his job at Ogilvy & Mather to follow Jerry with a camera.
Thumbs Up: One of the most hilarious trailers in history. To view, go to http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hv&id=1808416489&cf=trailer.
Thumbs Down: Since Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jerry seems kinda tame.
Website: www.miramax.com/comedian is pretty much like the TV show…about nothing. —RT

The Soft Boys, Nextdoorland (Matador):
This legendary punk-psychedelic outfit, whose alumni include Robyn Hitchcock and Kimberly Rew (Katrina & the Waves), reunite for the first time since the 1980 cult album Underwater Moonlight. The jangling, Byrdsy guitars and rhythmic thump on the mostly instrumental “I Love Lucy” prefigures latter-day garage bands like The Strokes, while “Mr. Kennedy,” an ode to touring the U.S. and praying for rain, employs lush melodies and a Dead-like jam to fuse ’60s British art-pop and NYC new-wave a la Television. Hitchcock’s lyrics remain delightfully perverse, as in this sarcastic pick-up line from “Unprotected Love”: “You are as hard as a diamond/You could be used as a cutting tool.” The same could be said of this scintillating sequel. —RT

Josh Joplin Group, The Future That Was (Artemis):
Verbiage and violins play major roles on the second album by Atlanta-based writer/artist Joplin. His engaging voice, the aural equivalent of well-washed corduroy, alternately recalls Michael Stipe (Joplin admits as much in “Happy at Last”) and Michael Penn, with whom he shares a predilection for strategically placed proper nouns (I suspect Penn’s Romeo in black jeans and Joplin’s “Siddharthas of Suburbia” would have a lot to talk about). He opens the album, fittingly, with the line, “I think, therefore I think I am,” on the lavishly orchestrated opener, “Must Be You,” then proceeds to toss of a plentitude of sociocultural commentary (“The Wonderful Ones”) and character studies (“Dishes”) that cumulatively suggest Joplin is in thrall of Ray Davies. But the most intriguing song is also the most original: “I Am Not the Only Cowboy” boasts spoken-word sections, a sultry, string-enhanced “Walk on the Wild Side” groove and  the requisite Holden Caulfield reference. What more could you want? Bud Scoppa

Kim Fox, Return to Planet Earth (Franklin Castle Recordings): You’ve probably heard Fox’s appealingly girlish voice before. Her song "Single Girl" graces a TV spot for dating service Match.com. And way back in the late ’90s, she released an album—the evocative Moon Hut—on DreamWorks. With her new disc, this exceptionally gifted songwriter expands on her classic-pop roots. The result is at once true to the left-of-center vibe of the previous album and a more focused attack on the pleasure center. Though packed with memorable songs (by turns effervescent and spooky), the instant standout is "I’ve Got Music," a blissful affirmation of purpose with one of the biggest no-brainer hooks I’ve heard in ages. There’s plenty more to love, and Fox’s sweetly vulnerable singing and atmospheric piano—not to mention the imaginative production of label head/artist Linus of Hollywood and guest spots from pop wizards Jon Brion, Roger Manning and Ben Eshbach of The Sugarplastic, among others—elevate the proceedings still further. Fox appears at Highland Grounds in Hollywood on Thursday, Oct. 17. Simon Glickman

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.

: This dude at The Recycler has me on hold and I can’t hear him anyway with Pen cranking up the amp outside on the balcony. He’s gonna get us kicked out. Why didn’t he play like that last night? Keeping it safe with the presence of label-dick-intimidation.


Turn the shit down, dude, I’m on the phone!


Can you hear me, man? Okay, I want it to say, “Bass player wanted for 3-piece hard psychedelic band. No girls need apply. Call Eddie, 323-466-MOSH.”


Least Pen’s good for something. Figured out our phone number spelled “MOSH.” But he can’t spell anything else.


Fuck, what a mess Bridge made of the gig last night at the Viper Room by not fucking showing! Couldn’t believe it. Betti Gretchen was there, along with Ursie-ugh and their friend from Virgin. So Pen and I go on duo, just drums and guitar, and we’re singing our throats out. Sounded good too—even though Pen was playing it safe—but we really needed the bass. Betti is damn right when she said, “Mr. Folly” is out. O-U-T."

I really hate auditioning dudes, it’s way up there on the shit list. Dudes come in, shivering, some cocky as a motherfuck, and others you can’t tell what planet they’re on. I knew the minute I met Pen that he was it.

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

Can somebody please answer a question for me? Is it so shocking that some women enjoy not being married with children? And where is it written that if you’re female and over the age of 30, the ticking of your biological clock should be so loud that you can’t sleep at night?  The only thing that keeps me awake at night is my pent-up frustration from the lack of having anyone next to me keeping me up at night. And the only ticking sound I hear is the sprinkler outside my bedroom window kicking on at 4:34 a.m. every morning and pissing me off. If you’re a single woman over 30, you might as well throw in the towel and accept the fact that you’re mere minutes away from being labeled an “old maid.” For some reason, this outdated social stigma still exists. It’s like being branded and forced to wear a big scarlet letter “S” for “single”, or “C” for “childless”, across your breasts to point out the fact that you must be a heartless bitch for not wanting a husband or child. The only letters I’ll be wearing are “SNL”—“Single N' Lovin’ it.” For all of you women out there that feel the same as I do, my cocktail of the week is named after a woman who has always been considered a heartless bitch.

Scarlett O’Hara
1 oz. Southern Comfort
Fill glass with ice and cranberry juice

Men, I’m sure you’re trying to figure out how this actually relates you. I’m simply telling you guys to relax! Most of you ruin great relationships because you’re deathly afraid of commitment—the wife, kids, house and picket fence thing. You automatically assume that all women are on a life-or-death mission to achieve those things, and you’re not ready to give up your identity, so if a relationship starts getting a little serious—you bail. You’re terrified that before you know it, you’ll be standing in front of “God and all of these witnesses” in an uncomfortable tux, sweating bullets because your life is now over. Chill out—take a Valium or something. Not all of us aspire to be baby-making machines. Don’t get me wrong—practicing is OK and highly encouraged. As women of the new millennium, we’re strong, sexy and not afraid to show it, so stop freaking out and enjoy the wild ride.

De’s LA bar pick of the week: It’s seems like I’m on a never-ending search for the most laid-back after-work hangout, and this week I think my search is over. Cozy’s on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks is just as the name would suggest and definitely my type of place. The atmosphere is mellow, the drinks are inexpensive and the owner is smart enough to put girls behind the bar at night, unlike certain other bar owners I’ve known in the past. This joint has live jazz every night and pool tables in the back. Go during happy hour on Fridays and visit Sue. She’s sweet, sexy and serves a great drink.

De’s diss of the week: I’ve done this before, and I’m doing it again. (Imagine me pointing and shaking my finger.) SHAME ON YOU! In the past I’ve scolded bar owners for treating their employees with a lack of respect and kindness, and I’m going to continue to do so. The owner of Coach & Horses on Sunset in Hollywood wins the Heartless Bitch of the week award. After taking control of this establishment, she went in and cleaned house by firing all the employees. Sparing no kindness or concern for the people who had remained dedicated to the establishment for many years and leaving them without an income to support themselves or their families, all for the joy of starting off “fresh” with a new crew. That’s just not nice. Ever hear of karma?

As always, I love to hear from you. Send questions, comments, love letters, hate mail or info on my boyfriend Eminem to the link below. Hugs and kisses until next week. Denise Bayles

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

Editor: Bud Scoppa

New manager, pub deal (6/28a)
Artists and companies unite. (6/27a)
Singers voice their dismay over the Supreme Court's latest decision. (6/28a)
England swings. (6/28a)
Nine in the Top 40 (6/27a)
Who's next?
It's Comic-Con for numbers geeks.
Theories of evolution from 30,000 feet.
A&R in overdrive.

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