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Hot dang, it shore is good to see the NF of L back in action. One more of them lady basketball games and I’d wanna kill mahself.
——staff writer
Guy W.T. Goggles
WEAKEND PLANNER MAKES A CASE FOR SEPTEMBER
Oh, It's a Long, Long Time From May to December, but New Shows and Football Will
Get Us Through the Rest of September
The month of September had a lot going for it until a year ago, and maybe someday it will regain its previous aura as a time of new beginnings, rather than as a synonym for horror and grief. Now that the 24 hours of national uneasiness have passed, the oncoming weekend gives September a chance to be itself once again—part transition, part comfort zone—as it has always been for every American kid who grew up during the TV Age. And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

WEAKEND POPCULT TOP 10
1. HBO Sunday Nights:
It almost helps make the imminent start of the work week bearable, and it kicks off with the eagerly awaited debut of a new season of both The Sopranos and Larry David’s brilliant Curb Your Enthusiasm, 90 minutes of masterful misanthropy. It ain’t Topo Gigio on Ed Sullivan, but it’s the best you can get on TV. (RT)

2. Solomon Burke, Don’t Give Up on Me (Anti-): A soul legend is paired, at 61, with material from worshippers like Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits and Nick Lowe. Sounds like a recipe for a staid, overly reverent "tribute" project, don't it? Surprise: Burke's voice sounds better than ever, and his command of the idiom is unmatched on the planet. The material fits him beautifully, and Joe Henry's production is unobtrusively perfect. Oh, and the next time you hear someone griping about Ryan Adams biting Van Morrison's style, remind them that Van learned virtually every vocal trick in his repertoire from this guy. (SG)

3. Johnny Unitas: The Baltimore Colts’ #19, who died Wednesday at 69, was the Eric Clapton of the NFL, a virtuoso of utter modesty and wondrous technique who had a huge part in making football on (black & white) TV a national addiction. For a generation of American kids and their dads, Johnny U.'s flattop, slumped shoulders, black hightops and slingshot passing motion were as familiar as Ozzie & Harriet. And, as Michael Jordan did 30 years later, he took an unfashionable prime number and made it cool. (BS)

4. La Musica Della Mafia: Il Canto Di Malavita (Play It Again Sam Records): Remember the last episode of The Sopranos some 16 months ago, when Uncle Junior crooned to a room full of misty-eyed made men? This album, banned in Italy for promoting the mob, only to cause a media firestorm upon its release in Germany, features “songs of the bad life,” folk tunes created by and for the ’Ndrangheta, the notorious Calabrian Mafia of southern Italy. Combining the box accordion and tambourine on upbeat dance songs called tarantelles and mournful prison laments with mandolin-like accompaniment, this is the real gangsta rap, with references to the Mafia custom of omerta (“conspiracy of silence”) and lyrics like “Let me twist the knife deep within.” (RT)

5. Tyrone Willingham: Let’s hope this guy’s taciturn stance, arms folded, chinos flapping in the autumn wind, becomes as much an institution on the Notre Dame sidelines as Ara Parseghian before him. He’s already hotwired the team’s demeanor; developing an offense—any offense—will apparently take a little longer than the attitude adjustment. This week, the 2-0 Irish will need a far better performance from QB Carlyle Holiday and his supporting cast, because powerful #7 Michigan, a traditional rival, rumbles into South Bend Saturday (11:30 a.m. PDT on NBC). (BS)

6. Steve Earle, Jerusalem (Artemis)/Suicide, American Supreme (Mute/Blast First): If you’re as sick of Sept. 11 sanctimony as we are, these two post-9/11 efforts offer a brief respite with searing, clear-eyed critiques of our national xenophobia. Earle’s controversial “John Walker’s Blues” has been getting all the media attention, but “Amerika v 6.0 (The Best We Can Do)” is an unflinching look at hypocrisy that makes Springsteen seem like a two-faced apologist. Yet another group of outsiders, Suicide’s “Dachau Disney Disco” is an aural video-game recreation of that fateful day, while the closing “I Don’t Know” is the most blatantly honest response yet to the chaos we’re still reeling from. (RT)

7. Pete Sampras: He was the Mr. September of the 1990s, and the way he rediscovered the old mad skills and killer instinct to triumph at the U.S. Open this year (against unbelievable odds, as Alex Chilton would put it) made him seem like Rip Van Winkle on Viagra. (BS)

8. Pretenders, Loose Screw (Artemis): It’s odd seeing a new Pretenders record without a Warner Bros. logo after nearly 23 years, but the change of venue seems to have charged up Chrissie Hynde: On first listen, it’s apparent that she’s singing with strength and conviction, and she’s cooked up a tuneful batch of songs, several reggae-tinged, though they’re more uptown than Trenchtown. Coming Nov. 12. (BS)

9. Morimoto: Whaddaya know, for the locale of his first restaurant in the States, the Food Channel’s celebrated Iron Chef has chosen the City of Brotherly Love, of all places. Worth the limo ride from the city, but for God’s sakes make reservations, and don’t say you’re Donovan McNabb. At 7th and Chestnut. (LB)

10. NFL Week Two: I shore liked Week One, with all them close games an’ all. I expect this’n to be good too. Now ixcuse me while I fill up the satellite dish fer my weekly bath. (GWTG)

GUY WITH THE GOGGLES' NFL PICKS OF THE WEEK
New England +2 1/2 over NEW YORK JETS

Hot dang, it shore is good to see the NF of L back in action. One more of them lady basketball games and I’d wanna kill mahself. Now this here game is interestin’, cuz nobody thought that the world champs was really the world champs last week. Guess what? Them same idiots is gonna act like they ain’t the champs this week. This here game is simple to pick. As mah good firend Shecky Trakin, the biggest J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets fan I know, sez, never pick them dang Jets as a home fave. So I’ll take the Pats and the points.

Philadelphia 2 1/2 over WASHINGTON
My ’nother game to pick is a danged ol’ sure shot. You jest got to love them Eagles to take out that visor-wearin’, temper-tantrum-throwin’ Steve Spurrier and the hated Redskins. Danged ol’ Philly got bushwhacked last week by the danged ol’ Volunteers, but this here excuse for a Florida Gator team cain’t handle a big ol’ Philly cheese steak jammed down their throats. Besides, I jest hate the Redskins. —Guy W.T. Goggles
(Year-to-date: 0-0)

JEW MUST REMEMBER THIS
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated (Houghton Mifflin):
Wunderkind author Foer, who’s a mere 25, combines the magic-realist tradition of both Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isaac Bashevis Singer into a multitiered Jewish fable. He effortlessly links the distant past (an 18th century shtetl), modern history (the Holocaust) and the present (his own trip to Eastern Europe to find the woman who may [or may not] have saved his grandfather from the Nazis). The first-time novelist offers not just a singular new voice, but at least a half-dozen, including a malaprop-spouting guide named Alex, whose letters to the author feature a twisted, all-too-literal English that recalls his namesake in A Clockwork Orange. The novel combines low-brow humor with impossibly tragic circumstances, a meditation on the nature of memory, meaning and faith which sets up a universe all its own, whose only message is one of ironic, hard-earned affirmation, “I will… I will.” Roy Trakin

MYSTERY ACHIEVEMENT
MysteryPop, MysteryPop (Spanish Kitchen Music):
I love guitar pop, always have, and I can’t understand why most acolytes miss the mark. It’s as if they carefully studied the Beatles catalog but failed to realize that one of their speakers was out, so they only managed to learn half of it. What so many bands fail to realize is that their progenitors thought of themselves first and foremost as rock & roll bands—all the fluffy pop adornments just float away if they’re not pinned to the rock. MysteryPop, the veteran L.A. cult band formerly known as Spanish Kitchen, doesn’t make that mistake on its long-delayed first album. Check out the bullying, Led Zep-style guitars that set up the billowing choruses of “Trifling,” for prime example. The band’s yin and yang are provided by guitarist Willie Aaron (ex-Balancing Act) and singer/lyricist Simon Glickman (yes, that Simon Glickman, but I knew him first as Spanish Kitchen’s frontman and only later as a fellow HITS loser), both of whom display a nuanced understanding of. tone as it applies to their respective areas of responsibility. High point: the stirring “The Sky Is a Time Machine,” on which Aaron’s arcing guitars simultaneously evoke Revolver’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” and Richard Lloyd’s work on Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend, while Glickman works up a gratifying degree of dampness while attempting to work up a rock & roll sweat a la Roger Daltrey. (Nota bene: Unlike most HITS copy, this review wasn’t paid for. Simon couldn’t possibly afford the rate.) Bud Scoppa

SMOKIN' ROACH
Cafe R&B, Blues and All the Rest (Whole Lotta Blues):
Since the release of their last album, Black & White, the L.A. blues collective Cafe R&B has played about a million roof-raising, barn-burning, ass-kicking shows—and singer Roach and hubby/guitarist/producer/bandleader Byl Carruthers have had a child. If you think late nights tearing up nightspots followed by sleepless wee hours with a newborn have worn them down, think again. Blues and All the Rest, if anything, kicks things up a notch. Roach is one of the finest blues singers alive, alternately smoldering and explosive but always ferociously real. This time out, she sounds assured enough to hold her rafter-rattling power in reserve; when she hauls out the big guns, it’s more devastating than ever. Carruthers, meanwhile, miraculously avoids the minefield of cliches that surrounds blues lead guitar, providing a soulful, fervent complement to her vocals. Even when assaying chestnuts like “Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Killing Floor” and “Snatch It Back and Hold It,” the band sounds funky and joyous. There’s some straight-up R&B here, and some gospel-inflected soul-pop (like “My Baby,” in which Mama Roach glories in familial love, and the gorgeously sad “Something Down”), and it all feels damn good. Hats off to a band that can remind us, in 2002, of the transforming power of music we’re used to taking for granted. —Simon Glickman

A SYNTHPOP PINUPS
Ivy, Guestroom (Minty Fresh):
Irony and sincerity make cozy bedfellows on Ivy’s fourth album, as the heady trio applies its retro-futuristic synthpop to an array of oldies from such unlikely sources as Papas Fritas and House of Love. Instrumentalists Andy Chase and Adam Schlesinger (whose other band is the equally heady Fountains of Wayne), mix these half-forgotten songs and their vintage electronics with the gleeful intensity of kids playing with a chemistry set. And hearing French-accented vocalist Dominique Durand purring lines like “Turning, turning blue all over the windows and the floors,” from The Cure’s “Let’s Go to Bed,” is the aural equivalent of being tickled. The group gets particularly sublime results from Haircut 100 frontman Nick Heyward’s “Kite,” the Blow Monkeys’ “Digging Your Scene” and Steely Dan’s “Only a Fool Would Say That.” Smart stuff indeed. (BS)

21ST CENTURY BOYS
OK Go, OK Go (Capitol):
Why so happy? Well, the hand claps, Farfisa-ish obilgato, wailing tambourine jingles and the generally T Rexish underpinnings of leadoff “Get Over It” and much of the rest of this exuberant indie-glam debut could be helping to squeeze out that smile in spite of yourself. Power pop hasn’t had it so good in a long time; calling OK Go Chicago’s answer to Spacehog doesn’t quite cover it, but the similar care for hook, melody and anything-is-possible arrangements begs the comparison. Among the finest moments: the soaring chorus of “What to do” (“Mediocre people do exceptional things all the tiiiiiiime”), the noise-poetry of “Shortly Before the End” and the rest of the whole damn album. Go, OK? —Jon O'Hara

SOPHOMORE JUMP
Lifehouse, Stanley Climbfall (DreamWorks):
“My world’s upside down and I wouldn’t change a thing,” sings 22-year-old wunderkind singer/songwriter Jason Wade on the first single, “Spin,” as he enjoys the overnight success of his band’s double-platinum debut, No Name Face. Along with bassist Sergio Andrade and drummer Rich Woolstenhulme, Wade proves he’s not just “hanging by a moment” but ready to push the group’s sonic boundaries while continuing to explore the spirituality that marks his best work. The unique guitar sounds of “Anchor,” the falsetto soul of “My Precious,” the combination of grunge and acoustic reverie in “Empty Space” and the Beatlesque arrangement of the title track impressively mark that development. As the album title implies, Lifehouse refuses to lose its stride. (RT)

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
Barbershop (MGM): Kinda like Car Wash, with a day in the life of a barber shop on Chicago’s South Side, starring Ice Cube as the owner who suddenly realizes his workplace is the center of a recent heist which has spawned a $50,000 reward for information. The money sends the place into a spin, as the barbers, including the suddenly ubiquitous Cedric the Entertainer as a 70-year-old haircutter, try to figure out clues to the crime from their clients. The film also stars rapper Eve, Save the Last Dance star Sean Patrick Thomas and is directed by hip-hop music video vet Tim Story in his feature debut. Ice Cube continues his reign as America’s most unlikely matinee idol, but the film should have a pretty good opening week. The Sony Soundtrax is already a hit, featuring a combination of hip-hop by Ghostface Killah/Ruff Endz, P. Diddy and Fabolous f/Jagged Edge, new R&B crooners Glenn Lewis, Amel Larrieux and 3LW, along with old school legends Marvin Gaye and the Staple Singers. The website at www.mgm.com/barbershop offers all the essentials, plus a special “Cedric’s Stylin History of Hair, which allows you to fit the comic with different styles from the 1950s to present-day.

Stealing Harvard (Columbia Pictures): Tom Green leaves behind the almost universally panned Freddy Got Fingered  to co-star in this black comedy as the best friend of Almost FamousJason Lee, who plays a practical, hard-working young man he convinces to turn to petty crime to raise $30,000 to pay his niece’s tuition for her first year at Harvard. The co-stars include such talented character actors as Seymour Cassel, Dennis Farina, John C. McGinley and Chris Penn while the director is Kids in the Hall co-founder Bruce McCulloch, so maybe there are a few yuks to be had. Unfortunately, McCulloch’s previous films included the little-seen Dogpark and Superstar, the Molly Shannon vehicle based on her way-obnoxious SNL Catholic schoolgirl character. And the L.A. Times review calls it “an act of grand theft—the way it wastes your time is a crime.” Oh, well. It doesn’t even have a soundtrack album, so how good could it be? The website, www.stealingharvard.com, is a fairly elementary affair, with the usual photo downloads, video streams, bios and plot synopsis, but you can “Play the College Comedy Game” by either writing or rating an essay by using the supplied words.

Igby Goes Down (MGM/UA): Shades of Catcher in the Rye meets The Royal Tenenbaums, the movie’s catch phrase is “Insanity is relative.” Kieran Culkin stars as the title character, a teenager from a dysfunctional family who, tired of being shuffled from prep school to military academy and being compared to his older brother (Ryan Phillipe), runs away to New York City. There, he moves in with his godfather (Jeff Goldblum) and his girlfriend (Amanda Peet) and he falls in love with another dropout (Clarie Danes). Supporting cast includes Bill Pullman and Susan Sarandon as his wacky mom and dad and younger brother Rory Culkin portraying Igby as a child. The movie was directed by Burr Steers, making his feature debut. The website, at www.IgbyGoesDown.com, allows you to explore the pressures that make Igby’s world so intense and peruse his personal journal. (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.

5)
Penguin
: Mama sent a letter today. Brings me back to the brown fake bricks, the turquoise trim, the burgundy door, brown curtains in the tiny window on Quincy Street. Clouds, clouds, clouds. Mama in her white, stiff uniform, and her shoes polished but crackin’ in the creases. Snow fallin’ off the roof.

 

I don’t miss Reno one bit. Except maybe Lourdes and her caterpilla’ lashes. Yeah, I miss her. The way she’d squeeze me with her white petal thighs, her feathery hiss in my ear. One night we slept in the cave at Pyramid Lake, and a bat shit in her eye. ‘Course nothin’ calmed her down that night, not even her favorite Moldy Peaches song. Sang it twice in the curve of her neck, rubbin’ her curly toes warm, bitin’ into the bend of her knee, but she was still cryin’, thinkin’ she was gonna die, or somethin’.

 

No, I don’t miss it one bit. Every dick behind the 7-Eleven counters, watchin’ me like I’m stealin’. Eddie waltzin’ alongside me like his magnificent white presence could smooth the shit over like a dove. And sometimes it would—as it still does—but I can tell you I was more than happy to put the beat-up yellow couch in the back of the van, and hit the fuckin’ road. I can see Eddie on the lot—the dudes rubbin’ the side of the delivery van that used to be for meat, and they’re sayin’, “$400, man, only $400. Who could go lower than that?” Eddie pulls out $350, and they shit-eat grin and say, “Sure dude, sure!” The odometer at 2000 miles, and we can’t tell if it’s gone around once, or twice.

 

DENISE’S WEAKEND COCKTAIL
Why do we love the unavailable or unattainable? The harder it is to get, the more we want it. Men, cars, jobs—it doesn’t matter what it is, we’re on a constant search for something more. The unattainable is what we desire. I’m sure most of you are familiar with the ever-so-famous impossible relationship. I know that one—it’s the story of my life. You’ve met your “soul mate,” everything’s perfect, except for one thing: He lives on the other side of the country, or he's married, or he has a girlfriend, or he doesn’t know you exist, etc. A good friend of mine is experiencing this phenomenon at the moment. After a lonely and dateless year in California, my friend made the decision to move back to Chicago. Stop the presses! Once the word got out, it was suddenly a blue-light special on Louie. Now, a week before he moves, girls are swarming around him, expressing how they’ve always wanted to go out with him. The relationship pressure is off, and my friend is reaping the benefits. This week’s cocktail is dedicated to my friend Louie—the man who invented the Louitini.

 

Louitini
2 oz. Absolut Citron vodka
Lemon and lime slices squeezed
oz. Simple syrup (sugar water)
Shake, strain and serve in a martini glass
Drizzle Gran Marnier on top

Wanting what you can’t have is part of our existence. I was driving to work this morning when I noticed a man in a Porsche desperately trying to attract my attention. I smiled and kept driving, but he didn’t quit. Racing between lanes, he tried to stay right next to me. All of this seemed very strange to me. Either he was really desperate, or my car was getting ready to blow up and he was trying to warn me. Being that I made it to work with my car intact, it must’ve been the first possibility. This form of “freeway dating” seems rather bizarre. Did he really think I was going to write him a sign with my number on it, go out on a date with him and live happily-ever-after? Yeah right! Or was it that he had nothing to lose. Bringing us back to my first idea: I wanted his Porsche, and he wanted me—such a sticky little love triangle.

De’s L.A. bar pick of the week: There’s not a better place to try a Louitini than the place where it was invented—Jar in West Hollywood. Located on Beverly Blvd., Jar not only has fabulous food, but also features a promotion called Blue Monday. Every Monday from10 p.m. until close, they have live jazz, a few celebs and a room full of young, good-looking industry types searching for their own impossible relationships. Hopefully Louie’s replacement will be just as sexy as he is.

De’s diss of the week: SHAME ON YOU! That’s what I have to say to a particular Valley Irish pub owner who lacks respect for or understanding of his employees. People work in bars to make money—plain and simple. It’s not their career track. Instead, it’s a way to pay rent while they’re pursuing their dreams. I’m not naming names, because he knows who he is, and obviously I have more class than he does. If your employees find success, congratulate them and realize that at least they’ll remain your customers, but don’t reprimand them for succeeding! Anyone need a part-time bartender?
Denise Bayles

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ELECTION 2020
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