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"We’ve got a gig tomorrow night at the Viper Room, and the band headlinin’ has a swarm of label dicks after them. So let ‘em check us out. Knock ‘em out flat. And Urs has a friend comin’ down from Virgin."
FALLING INTO WEAKEND PLANNER
The Temperature's High, the Stock Market's Low... It's Just Another L.A. Autumn
These are troubling times, with the stock market in a two-and-a-half-year slump and the leader of our nation (who still hasn't learned how to pronounce "nuclear") determined to go to war. This weekend, though, we can buoy our sagging spirits, if only temporarily, as summer officially turns to fall and we're greeted with the traditional rites of American autumn: the new TV season, football, the baseball pennant race and the return of sophisticated cinema and intriguing music. So get ready to be diverted from your work-a-day burdens—and where's the harm in that? 

WEAKEND POPCULT TOP 10
1. Ellis Amburn, The Sexiest Man Alive: A Biography of Warren Beatty (William Morrow):
Ever wonder how Hollywood’s most notorious womanizer managed to fit in a few classic movies (likeSplendor in the Grass, Bonnie & Clyde, Shampoo, Reds andBulworth) in between obsessively seducing every ingenue and supermodel (never mind hat-check girl and parking valet) who crossed his path? This compulsively readable bio offers a glimpse into a sybaritic, but exhausting, existence that would’ve worn out Don Juan Tenorio himself. To quote Woody Allen’s memorable line about reincarnation: “If there is such a thing, I want to come back as Warren Beatty’s fingertips.” (RT)

2. Push, Nevada (ABC): In its two-hour premiere, which aired Tuesday night, this small-screen manifestation of sunbathed noir (c.f., Memento) came off as stylish, weird and playful—sort of a Twin Peaks meets Northern Exposure, but brighter hued. If co-executive producer Ben Affleck and his pals can keep it going, the series could be something special.  (BS)

3. Rhett Miller, The Instigator (Elektra): The former Old 97’s centerpiece is a big favorite of such luminaries as Rockcrit Dean Robert Christgau and New Yorker hotshot Ben Greenman—but they, like a good many of this guy’s fans, get their records for free. This could be Miller’s time, however, assuming that the label can find a way to “create multiple impressions” on the now-hungry (but radio-deprived) adult audience. They’ve got a lot to work with: Dude has MTV-friendly good looks and an adorably boy-next-door voice, gives NPR-friendly soundbites and (with hipster producer/player Jon Brion) has come up with an album whose commercial ceiling lies somewhere between those of Wilco and John Mayer. (BS)

4. New England Patriots: Prob’ly the best dang ol’ team in the whole NF of L. (GWTW)

5. Warren Zevon, My Ride’s Here (Artemis): Hate to admit I didn’t listen to this album until after I read he was suffering from terminal cancer, but, as always, the man who occupies the neurotic edge of the SoCal singer-songwriter movement hasn’t lost any of his biting sarcasm. Alternatively literate (“Macgillycuddy’s Reeks”), lascivious (“Genius”), lurid (“Hit Somebody [The Hockey Song],” his collaboration with sportswriter Mitch Albom and David Letterman) and lachrymose (the eerily prescient title track), Zevon proves a true original—the Lou Reed of West Coast tunesmiths. (RT)

6. KSPN L.A. 1110: Deserves a stupid-move award for yanking Tony Kornheiser, easily the most entertaining and enlightened sports-talk commentator in the business, for the generic Mike & Mike during morning drive time. What were they thinking? (BS)

7. Ron Sexsmith w/Chris Martin, "Gold in Them Hills" (from Cobblestone Runway, Nettwerk, 10/8): This low-keyed gem, nestled at the end of Sexsmith’s upcoming elpee (at least that’s where they’ve plunked it on the advance), has the baby-faced Canadian warbling with Coldplay’s frontman, and the blend of the two purtiest voices in contemp pop is duskily sublime. Notice how they practically disappear into each other at times. Tasty. (BS)

8. Ping Pong: Not to be confused with the fancy, lightning-paced “table tennis” seen late, late at night on ESPN 64 or whatever, the essence of this game emerges as a crappy mano-a-mano office volley engaged in with the tacit understanding that its primary usefulness is as a distraction from the gloom of grim reality waiting outside the comforting sound of the ball’s gentle “thick-thock.” Turning more on reflex than applied skill, a good game can do more to take you away and “calm your nerves” than a quart of vodka and that handful of black-market pharmaceuticals you were about to take. If you think you’re getting good, go back to ESPN 64. (JO)

9. Emily Proctor: Shamefully underused on the generally sacrosanct West Wing (she played the blonde Republican), this electrifying young actress will get her star turn in the preordained smash CSI: Miami. (LB)

10. Iraq: President Dubya's desperation for a war to distract the populace from his golf buddies' misdeeds begins to backfire--and, even more impressively, to make Saddam look sorta reasonable. (SG)

ANGEL EYES
It’s Halo time! Yes, sports fans, the Anaheim Angels are back—no mo’ Mo, and there will not be a repeat of the Donnie Moore meltdown this season. A game behind the A’s for first in the AL West after losing Thursday afternoon but practically a lock for the AL wild card, the Halos have ample opportunity to put away Seattle this weekend and at Edison Field Sept. 27-29. Get your tickets early; it’ll be a sellout. The Angels are showing game after game that they’re getting better and better, showing one of the most unified teams in the league. Looking like they're going to either end up in first or as the wildcard winner, it’s definitely rally-monkey time. Garrett Anderson, Troy Glaus, Scott “Rock & Roll” Spiezio, Scott Percival, Tim Salmon, Darrin Erstad and the rest of the team have created one of the best seasons ever for long-suffering Halo fans, and ex-Dodger Mike Scioscia is a shoo-in for manager of the year. The whole group has brought excitement back to Anaheim (and who would have thought that possible outside of Splash Mountain) and is showing how it’s a team that wins games, not just one billionaire player (take that Alex Rodriguez!). Time to fire up the old Angels theme song and get yourself a jersey—the Angels are back. They’re young, they’re gutsy, they’re not afraid and they’re winning games with style. If they end up with the wild-card spot and face the Yankees, don’t be surprised if you see a sea of Halo jerseys and OC punk-rock-DIY attitude take over Manhattan. The Angels are back. —Hanna Bolte

GUY WITH THE GOGGLES' NFL PICKS OF THE WEEK
Buffalo +9 over DENVER

Well, hell, this here prognosticatin’ gets easier every week. Now, these here Broncos, in my humble estimation, is one of the top three teams in the NF of L, but dang, how can you not take Drew Bledsoe and his stapled-up, slit-ear-to-ear throat? Besides, there ain’t no way the dang Broncos is gonna take this team serious. So I’ll take the dang Buffaloes and nine points any week.

N.Y. Jets + 6 1/2 over MIAMI
Shoot fire, I done tol’ ya, don’t never take them Jets as home faves. When the danged ol’ Jets go to Floridy, they jest all of a sudden git better, for no damn good reason. Besides that, anybody knows that a Jet is faster than a fish. So I’m gonna take he six and a half and look like a genius for two weeks in a row. —Guy W.T. Goggles
(Year-to-date: 2-0)

FOR WEEKEND ANTI-WARRIORS
If you feel, as I do, that the Bush administration’s increasingly strident calls for military action against Iraq have a suspiciously wag-the-dog quality, why not take a few minutes to weigh the issue and perhaps register your displeasure? Anti-war activism and education used to be a great deal more time-consuming, not to mention hazardous to one’s health. The card catalog and microfiche machine could consume an entire day, and tramping down to the protest rally meant a possible shellacking by the Man, not to mention immersion in the patchouli-masked aromas of one’s comrades. But you can read an array of opinions about the Iraq imbroglio just by clicking here, and if you’re moved to get involved in preventing conflict, you can visit MoveOn.org to sign petitions to lawmakers, donate money and/or send appeals to friends and family. Of course, there's comedy to be found in even the darkest circumstances, so the last word on the subject goes to the twisted minds at DefectiveYeti.comSimon Glickman

ON THE BEACH
Beck, Sea Change (DGC/Geffen):
“In a sea change nothing is safe,” sings the man of a thousand guises, whose latest techno-folkie incarnation couldn't be more different than the Prince-like faux funkster of 1999's Midnite Vultures. Produced by Nigel Godrich, the new album comes on like Low-era Bowie meets Nitzsche/Young ("The Golden Age") by way of "Day in the Life" (the post-9/11 critique of "Paper Tiger"). Our hero is cast adrift ("These days I barely get by/I don't even try"), but there's a melancholic, hypnotic momentum that builds through the discordantly apocalyptic "Sunday Sun" which is gently released by the James Taylor warmth of "Side of the Road." In a world of diminished expectations, Beck continues to raise the bar. (RT)

INBETWEENIES
Ryan Adams, Demolition (Lost Highway):
Rather than coming with a four-album box set, as he’d threatened, the prolific young writer/artist has wisely chosen to consolidate his various demo projects onto a single 13-song disc. Apart from a pair of torn ’n’ frayed, Replacements-style rockers, Demolition is a resolutely introspective collection that resembles Heartbreaker, Adams’ 2001 solo debut, rather than his sprawling 2001 breakthrough, Gold. The most striking songs are the lilting “Tennessee Sucks,” the concluding “Jesus (Don’t Touch My Baby),” which sails into the mystic a la Daniel Lanois, and “Tomorrow,” a duet with Gillian Welch that reveals Adams at his most hyper-romantic, as he sings, “I can smell you on the pillow of the hotel room.” Not a follow-up, but substantial just the same. Bud Scoppa

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
The Four Feathers
(Paramount):
Based upon the much-adapted novel by A.E.W. Mason, this adventure saga about a 19th century British army officer who must overcome being branded a coward in the Middle East after he resigns his post before an important battle, though all is not what it seems. The film stars Heath Ledger and Kate Hudson, with highly touted Shakhar Kapur (Elizabeth) directing. Advance word points to the film’s David Lean-like epic sprawl, though detractors have said it’s every bit as slow-moving. The Sony Soundtrax album includes the original score composed and conducted by James Horner, with vocals performed by Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The website at www.fourfeathersmovie.com, conveys the scope, as well as the usual information on story, cast and production as well as clips and photo gallery suited for downloading.

The Banger Sisters (Fox Searchlight): It may not be Thelma & Louise, but this genial comedy does pair Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn as a pair of ex-rock groupies who re-live their misspent youth. Hawn is a “punked-out” waitress who convinces Phoenix socialite Sarandon to take one last fling. Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush plays a failed writer picked up by Hawn while on the road, while Eva Amurri, the real-life daughter of Sarandon, recreates that role in the film. Bob Dolman, screenwriter for Willow and Far and Away) makes his directorial debut. The coming attractions were none too promising, but we’ll give Sarandon and Hawn the benefit of the doubt. The official website at www2.foxsearchlight.com/thebangersisters recreates the ‘60s nostalgia feel, with a chart from the era, story synopsis, cast and filmmakers, a photo gallery and a trailer. The Sanctuary Records soundtrack includes tracks from Goldie’s son-in-law Chris Robinson, Tommy Lee, Roger Daltrey, Talking Heads, Richie Sambora, Trevor Rabin, Ben Folds, Peter Frampton, Dishwalla, Buckcherry and Steppenwolf.

Secretary (Lions Gate): Maggie Gyllenhaal apparently gives a star-making performance as a recently released, self-mutilating mental patient who finds her metier as the “M” in an S & M relationship as the titular secretary to her egomaniacal, sadistic boss, a successful attorney played by James Spader. The film’s ad campaign, featuring a spread-eagled secretary bent over at the waist, has already caused some controversy. Not coincidentally, director Steven Shainberg’s previous effort was a 1996 movie called Hit Me. The movie co-stars include Jeremy Davies (Saving Private Ryan, Spanking the Monkey) as her boyfriend and Lesley Ann Warren as her mother. The website, www.Secretarythemovie.com, features a typing test, information on the cast and crew, the story, downloads, trailer, message board and show times. The soundtrack (Lions Gate) includes excerpts from the score by Twin Peaks composer Angelo Badalamenti, as well as Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man” and Lizzie West’s “Chariots Rise.”

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (WB): Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu star in this action tale of two spies engaged in a cat-and-mouse hunt for one another, with Banderas working for the FBI and Liu a rogue agent. Thai director Wych Kaosayananda makes his English-language debut, with a video game reportedly accompanying the movie’s release. The trailers look pretty generic, while the website at www2.warnerbros.com/ecs_vs_sever, is a high-tech affair that offers “recent dossiers” and game links as well as all the requisite information about the plot and behind the scenes. The Varese Sarabande soundtrack includes techno-style beats from BT, Bedrock, the Crystal Method, Curve and Sasha, as well as original score by Don Davis.

Trapped (Columbia Pictures): After a string of high-profile kidnappings, the studio is downplaying this thriller, refusing to show it to critics prior to its premiere. The film stars Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend as a young couple who desperately try to retrieve their diabetic daughter from her ruthless captors before she needs her medication (one of the same plot twists used in Panic Room, by the way). Meanwhile, the police won’t consider the case a missing person for 24 hours. The kdinappers are played by none other than six degrees of Kevin Bacon and Courtney Love, the latter threatening to bore the poor girl to death. The movie was directed by Luis Mandoki, whose usual stock-in-trade is soap operas like Message in a Bottle, Angel Eyes and When a Man Loves a Woman. The website at www.sonypictures.com offers a synopsis, photo gallery and trailer. The Varese Sarabande soundtrack features an original score composed by John Ottman (Eight Legged Freaks, Bubble Boy, Lake Placid, Cable Guy).

Das Experiment (Samuel Goldwyn Films): A German film shot documentary-style that shows what happens in an artificial prison that’s been build as part of a psychological experiment in which 20 men are given roles as either prisoners or guards. The movie’s based on the novel Black Box, which was inspired by the real-life Stanford Prison Experiment. Perhaps the best-known member of the cast is Moritz Bleibtreu, who played Lola’s boyfriend in Run Lola Run. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel makes his feature film debut, and the fact the movie has broken box office records in Germany has already pegged him as a candidate to helm Blade III. The comparisons to Naziism is inescapable, though it’s been denied all the way around. The film’s website can be found at www.jeremywalker.com, though it’s rather sparse. Roy Trakin

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.

6)
Penguin
: I don’t know where Eddie got the cash from for the meat van. Never told me. Just like he never really explained rich, old, pasty Chuckie’s relation to his mother. Not that Eddie’s even seen his mother in six fuckin’ years. And she lived in the same goddamn town. Eddie kicked her out when he was 14, man. Chuckie took us to Rapscallion’s one time, and he’s lit at 11 in the morning on “cocktail” number five. He ordered green lip mussels. I remember that because I was lookin’ at his green lips, and the way he looked at Eddie. Eddie tells me to stop smoothin’ out the floor, but I could never bear to be ‘round him when he was with stupid, old, pasty Chuckie. I mean, who gave him a motherfuckin’ name like that?

 

When Eddie chews, his ears move. Maybe that’s what the fucker was lookin’ at that day. But he kept askin’ why we had to leave so soon, and I couldn’t understand why the fuck Eddie was botherin’ to say goodbye to the old fuck.

 

Never mind that shit. We’ve got a gig tomorrow night at the Viper Room, and the band headlinin’ has a swarm of label dicks after them. So let ‘em check us out. Knock ‘em out flat. And Urs has a friend comin’ down from Virgin. That’s a promise, and she’s always good on her word. Ursie is always good.

 

Ursula has one of those hoarse, gravelly, throaty voices that speaks directly to your cock. She and it have intimate conversations that you are not aware of. And of course, she’s pleasantly fleshed. Besides her belly of five months. Yeah, Sweet Bush and her smooth, pepper thighs.

 

DENISE’S WEAKEND COCKTAIL
What does it mean if I mention the Dillinger gang, a whorehouse, slippery noodles, the Underground Railroad, auto racing and mullets? It means I went home to Indianapolis last weekend. One short weekend home helps me realize how utterly spoiled I am in Los Angeles. I love my friends and family, but a few days back home usually leaves me annoyed, frustrated and longing for this smoggy city, which I now consider to be my “real” home. Why so frustrating, you ask? Well, first of all, my perfectly straight L.A. hair turns into a frizzy mess due to the humidity, and trying to find a Starbucks is as impossible as trying to find a non-actor to date in Los Angeles. Although I can only take home, sweet home in small doses, I must still remain loyal and pay tribute to the city that has helped me become the bright young woman I am today. Thank God I was smart enough to get the hell out before I became trapped there. I’m dedicating my cocktail of the week to the city that has turned auto racing into a way of life.

 

Oil Slick

1 oz. Rumple Minze
1 oz. Bourbon
Shake with ice and strain into shot glass

 

Besides college basketball, there isn’t anything more exciting to Hoosiers than auto racing. If you’ve never been to the circus and want a good laugh, go to Indianapolis during the month of May. For those of you who are racing-illiterate, the Indianapolis 500 takes place the last weekend of May. Mullet-wearing, beer-bellied rednecks, carrying coolers full of Budweiser fill the city. I can make fun of them because those are my peeps. If you’re not fortunate enough to make a trip to Indianapolis during one of the races, don’t be disappointed. On any given night, at almost any drinking establishment, you will be entertained by a dance floor full of badly dressed singles doing the hip new dance called “The Electric Slide.” If you’re really lucky, they’ll follow up with the “Macarena.” You might even find yourself a good ole Midwestern boy to take home with you. Grab him, take him on the dance floor during one of lovely ballads and gently run your fingers through his permed mullet.

 

De’s Indianapolis bar pick of the week: There’s one place that gives me comfort (and prevents me from going postal) when I’m home—The Slippery Noodle Inn in downtown Indianapolis. The Noodle, as the locals refer to it, offers live blues seven nights a week. It is easily one of the best blues bars I’ve ever been to. I’ve met people all across the country who know about this place, and they’ve all praised it. It’s the epitome of a smoky blues bar and has a crazy history. The tavern acted as a way station for the Underground Railroad during the Civil War and during Prohibition the Dillinger gang hung out there and used the building in the back for target practice. You can still see the bullets embedded in the brick wall. If you can sweet-talk a doorman, you might even get a tour of the 23-room back area, which housed a brothel in the early 1900s. The Blues Revue ranked The Slippery Noodle Inn as one of the top 20 blues venues in the country, and it has been voted Best Blues Bar consecutively from 1994 to 2001 in Indianapolis’ Nuvo magazine. They have nightly drink specials, and if you’re used to paying L.A. prices, you’ll be astonished at how cheap the drinks are. If you’re ever in Indianapolis, treat yourself and go there.

 

De’s diss of the week: Since I’m not a total raving bitch (I don’t care what my ex-boyfriends say), I’ve decided that I’ve picked on my fellow Hoosiers enough for one week; therefore, I’m not going to pick a diss of the week. You guys know I love you-it’s all in good fun. And no, we don’t know what Hoosier stands for. Nobody knows…so quit asking.

 

As always—questions, comments, hate mail or just wanting to say hi, click on my name and send me an e-mail. Denise Bayles

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Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
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