Now that Virgin head Matt Serletic has taken Haven's Between the Senses under his wing—even tweaking the mixes for extra punch—let’s hope this record’s high-energy emotion will find the audience it deserves.
Seems Like Forever Since We Had Wall-to-Wall Weekend Sports, but the Wait Is Finally Over
Until we manage to gently awaken the Guy With the Goggles and prop him up so he can write up his first NF of L Pick of the Week of the new season, suffice to say that sports are now fully back, and gratifyingly so (unless, of course, you happen to be in a relationship with a sports fan, rather than the sports fan himself). In fact, we’re typing this with one hand, cuz the other hand has hold of the remote, as we switch between Niners @ Giants on ESPN (the NFL kickoff game), Sampras vs. Roddick in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open on USA and the suddenly vulnerable U.S. team vs. powerful Yugoslavakia in the World Basketball Championships on TNT. [Ed note: The losers were the Giants, Roddick and the U.S. hoops team, which was shockingly eliminated.] It’s an embarrassment of riches, kids—and that's only Thursday night! If we’re forced to get off the couch this weekend, it’ll be with a whole lotta kicking and screaming. Word.

1. One Hour Photo (Fox Searchlight): Robin Williams continues his spate of recent non-comic roles with an impressive turn as lonely, uptight “Sy the Photo Guy.” One-time video director Mark Romanek ratchets up the tension, but dissipates it with a curiously muted finale that ends with a whimper rather than a bang. Trouble is, he never makes clear whether Williams is actually dangerous or merely a harmless old codger, and that ambiguity is a fatal cop-out. (RT)

2. Fear Factor G.O. (for gross-out): Maybe they should spin off a show devoted exclusively to what appears to be the biggest hook of the hit reality series: gagging and vomiting. (BS)

3. San Diego Street Scene: The 19th edition of California’s largest music festival takes place all weekend. STP, Live, Ja Rule, Melissa Etheridge, Blues Traveler, James Brown, Nickelback, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, George Clinton & P-Funk, Social Distortion and De La Soul are among the 70 acts performing. One of this year’s features is a tribute to Jimi Hendrix that’ll have Slash, Mick Taylor, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Les Claypool fronting the original rhythm sections of Band of Gypsies (that’s Buddy Miles and Billy Cox, fool) and Double Trouble. (MP)

4. Reese Witherspoon: She’s the new $15 million golden girl, and she’s just getting started. We knew she had it the first time we saw her astonishing performance in Election, Alexander Payne’s razor-sharp 1999 art comedy. Will the upcoming Sweet Home Alabama be yet another right move at the right time for this bright and charismatic young woman, who thus far has displayed remarkable savvy in the roles she’s chosen. (BS)

5. New York Mets: As a diehard since their very first record-shattering 40-120 season of ’62, we’ve come to appreciate the bad mojo of a season where everything goes wrong almost as much as we do one where everything goes right. Unfortunately, as Mets fans, we’ve experienced a lot more of the former than the latter… But who could have predicted that GM Steve Phillips’ best-laid plans of mouse and men, after the acquisitions of Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, Jeromy Bernitz and Roger Cedeno, could go so aft aglay? For those who lived through the similarly misguided trades that brought in Bret Saberhagen, Vince Coleman, Bobby Bonilla and Eddie Murray just a decade ago for the worst team money could buy in 1992, it’s just business as unusual, though there's a certain free-falling exhilaration to the variety and manner of each successive, ignoble, defeat. After all, it's a lot more like real life than the perennially winning, pinstriped, front-running Yankees, to whose Yin the Mets will always be Yang. Dare we say our expectations are high for the equally snakebit J-E-T-S Jets? (RT)

6. The new Rolling Stone: Lotsa pictures, not much copy, 101 (?!) record reviews, some just a coupla sentences… The lad-ification of this venerable boomer bible continues under new editor Ed Needham, and it ain’t pretty, especially for us rockcrit types. (RT)

7. Drinking More to Escape Grim Reality: That permanent hangover helps distract one from creeping depression and psychosis brought on by a dying industry, a nonexistent job market and nationwide economic meltdown. (JO)

8. Pills, Pills, Pills: We used to laugh along with "Mother's Little Helper," but these days, a little assist from the miracle of modern pharmacology can be the difference between squeaking through one more day and seemingly endless fits of mind-racing panic and raw-nerve wretching. What a drag it is getting old. (JO)

9. Do the Sobriety Backslide: On the wagon for weeks, months, years? Now's the time to throw caution to the wind and get three sheets to that very same wind. Could it possibly make things any worse? (JO)

10. Assisted Suicide: When the time comes, you can't count on being able to administer your own death cocktail, because catastrophic illness may have rendered you unable to swallow the drugs you've hoarded, or remember where you put them, for that matter. Best to sign up a disinterested party who couldn't care less whether you live or die to help out. (JO)

It’s a tremendous sports weekend, with "America’s toughest tennis" at the U.S. Open (switching from USA to CBS today) grabbing a share of the spotlight. The drama on the women’s side revolves around the question of whether it will be Williams vs. Williams for the third Grand Slam final in a row. Though the sisters have been getting quite a lot of attention for their fashion over the last two weeks, the focus will return to the tennis, as semifinal #1 pits Amelie Mauresmo against Venus (Mauresmo really doesn’t have a shot in hell), while semifinal #2 pits Lindsay Davenport against Serena (Davenport is playing well but is also coming off knee surgery, which has kept her sidelined for most of the year. Who do you think wins?). Look for the sisters to square off in Saturday night’s prime time finale, with Serena grabbing her third major title in a row—Venus may have burst onto the scene first, but Serena is playing with more consistency at the moment.

Meanwhile, on the men’s side, it’s the aging veteran Pete Sampras against the dangerous Dutchman Sjeng Schalkan in the first semifinal following Pete’s straight-set schooling of young American Andy Roddick last night. Pete should breeze through to the final without much difficulty and will be the sentimental favorite Sunday afternoon. The other semifinal showcases two players with similar games, world #1 Lleyton Hewitt versus one of the few players ever to have won a career Grand Slam, American veteran Andre Agassi. Back in the day, you used to root for Andre because he was so damn cute, with all that flowing hair and those sexy legs. These days you root for him, cuz Hewitt is just a bit too big for his young britches at the moment. I gotta go with Andre to win, with a big assist from the hometown crowd. Which means an all American Sunday finale—appropriate for New York City as we head to Sept. 11, don’t you think? Oh yeah—my prediction? Sampras wins another one…his first title in quite some time.
Mark Feather

Haven, Between the Senses (Virgin): You may remember my rave, awhile back, for this album, which at the time was a U.K. import looking for a stateside home. Now that Virgin head Matt Serletic has taken the project under his wing—even tweaking the mixes for extra punch—let’s hope this record’s high-energy emotion will find the audience it deserves. Johnny Marr, best known as the guitarist for The Smiths, produced Senses, creating a lovely sonic tension; urgent grooves undergird biting guitar lines and sparkling arpeggios, all in service of Gary Briggs’ miraculous vocals. Briggs shows himself here to be the equal of just about any rock singer on the circuit, handling delicate falsetto passages and full-throated wailing with equal finesse. But none of that would mean a thing without stellar songwriting, and in this the band comes through handily. Opener “Let It Live” is a slam-dunk, boasting one of those transcendent choruses most artists would give their eyeteeth to write. “Where Is the Love” and “Til the End” are ravishing, “Out of Reach” is a sublime blend of sorrow and power and sleeper cut “Lately” will haunt your dreams. Though these songs are standouts, the best thing about this disc is how it plays as an album, in the classic sense. My Top 10 of 2002 is nearly complete, and it’s only September. Simon Glickman

Various Artists, Trampoline Records: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (Trampoline): When was the last time you heard a compilation that played like an album? This labor of love, assembled by Pete Yorn, Rami Jaffee of the Wallflowers and singer-songwriter Marc Dauer, is a strikingly consistent blast of roosty, melodic rock. The lovely Yorn rarity "Hunter Green" will no doubt be a major selling point, but there’s a lot to dig among these 18 tracks. Things kick off with Peter Himmelman’s divinely punchy "So Many Little Lies," followed by "Girl I Never Met," a sweet, jangly outing by The Minus Five (featuring R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of Young Fresh Fellows). Other standouts include Gary Jules’ evocative "DTLA," the sad-as-hell "Unstoppable" by Minibar and the bracing "Nothing New" by Evan Frankfort (who’s been championed numerous times in Wheels & Deals). There are also winning entries from Jeff Trott, Ethan Johns and the Hangups. But I think my favorite cut is "Never Going Back" by Rusty Truck, aka photographer supreme Mark Seliger. Produced by Jakob Dylan (who also contributes ace backup vocals), it’s an instant classic in the y’alternative category. Snap up one of these before it becomes a pricey collector’s item. Simon Glickman

Bright Eyes, Lifted: The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (Saddle Creek):
Twenty-two-year-old Omaha singer-songwriter Conor Oberst has been dubbed emo's Bob Dylan, and this prairie populist poet lives up to the billing on his band's fourth full-length album. While the album-closing epic "Let's Not Shit Ourselves" recalls the rollicking boozy thrust of "I Want You" and "Rainy Day Women," Oberst also evinces the lo-fi lyricism of Alex Chilton or Paul Westerberg ("The Big Picture"), as well as the new-wave mournfulness of Robert Smith ("Method Acting"). But it's the musical-theatrical scope of "False Advertising," with its full-blown Broadway arrangement set against a scratchy faux-vinyl backdrop, that marks out this heartland herald as a talent to watch. Roy Trakin

Jackpot, Shiny Things (Surfdog):
Rusty Miller, the leader of Sacramento-based Jackpot, mates four-square grooves and unflashy melodies with hallucinatory images of a psycho ballerina (in the song of the same name), a guy inside a giant soap bubble (“Far Far Far”) and an armless man who drives with his teeth (“Fleas on the Tale of Time”). And although Miller seems psychologically at home with poetic melancholia a la Leonard Cohen “When You Leave”) and Big Star’s Third (“Bring On the Chimes”), his band has the muscle tone to handle anthemic folk-rock (“Pennies”), Creedence-style swamp rock (“Tattoos”) and even refracted soul (“Throw Away Your Misery”, with its zeitgeist zinger, “Your belly button ring is infected”).Bud Scoppa

Aimee Mann, Lost in Space (Superego):
One of the most consistently engaging singer/songwriters on the planet returns with another set of gorgeously smart pop-rock. Fans who’ve long treasured Mann’s Beatlesque flair for melody and arrangement and witty, acerbic lyrics will devour it. But newcomers drawn to the latest wave of pop troubadours will be stunned by the mastery exhibited on lushly orchestrated songs like opener “Humpty Dumpty,” the dark, dobro-laced “High on Sunday 51,” the rueful “Guys Like Me” and the rockin’ “Pavlov’s Bell.” Mann’s usual coterie of superb musicians adds memorable instrumental touches, but it’s her expressive, vulnerable vocals that make the strongest impression. One of the year’s best albums. (SG)

City by the Sea (Warner Bros.):
This police drama with Robert DeNiro and James Franco (who played James Dean in the recent TV bio), based on a true story which first appeared in Esquire magazine, was originally scheduled to open a year ago, but was postponed due to conflicts arising from the studio having to move Collateral Damage to another release date post- Sept. 11. DeNiro is a New York. police detective whose father was executed at Sing Sing for kidnapping and killing a child, only to find his son the chief suspect in his own investigation of a murdered Long Beach drug dealer and a fellow cop. Previews don't make it look any more interesting than your average episode of N.Y.P.D. Blue, with modest hack director Michael Caton-Jones (The Jackal, Doc Hollywood, Memphis Belle) doing his best Sidney Lumet impression. Even the great Frances McDormand seems to be going through the motions. The website, at http://citybythesea.warnerbros.com, is as hard-boiled, just-the-facts-ma'am and generic as the film looks. The Varese Sarabande soundtrack features the original score by John Murphy (New Best Friend, Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels).

Swimfan (20th Century Fox):  With Michael Douglas one of its executive producers, this film's being described as a high-school version of Fatal Attraction, featuring Erika Christensen, who played Douglas' junkie daughter in Traffic. Christensen is the new girl in town, falling in love with a championship swimmer (Bring It On's Jesse Bradford) who makes the mistake of not returning her affections.  Clueless' Dan Hedaya and Sir Richard's daughter Kate Burton provide the adult perspective. It marks the U.S. debut of  Aussie director John Polson, and is said to be free from gratuitous gore, but filled with plenty of teenage sexuality. The film's official website, www.swimfan4U.com, is made to look like a homemade fan site created by the film's main character, including sections like "What I'm Listening to Now," "What Your Outfit Says About You," "Who Do I Look Cooler With?" and, naturally, "My Poetry." The hardcore TVT soundtrack features tracks by Sevendust, Saliva, Wayne, Flaw, Llama and Ash. —Roy Trakin

Invincible (Fine Line Features)
Opens: Sept. 20
The Pitch: Legendary German director Werner Herzog's first fiction film in 11 years about Jewish freak-show muscleman Zishe Breitbart, who performed for Hitler. Tim Roth plays a Nazi showman.
Thumbs Up: Remember his 1982 classic about another wild-eyed dreamer, Fitzcarraldo?
Thumbs Down: Where's Klaus Kinski when you need him?

Secretary (Lions Gate)
Sept. 20
The Pitch: A black, S&M office farce about a masochistic secretary (the highly touted Maggie Gyllenhaal) and the lengths she'll go to please her boss (James Spader), from previously obscure director Steven Shainberg.
Thumbs Up: A rave at Sundance.
Thumbs Down: But will it play in the multiplexes?

Biggie & Tupac (Roxie Releasing)
Sept. 27
The Pitch: Indefatigable British investigative documentarian Nick Broomfield, whose subjects have included Courtney Love and Heidi Fleiss, takes on gangsta rap's biggest unsolved mystery.
Thumbs Up: Broomfield beat L.A. Times' Chuck Philips to the punch.
Thumbs Down: Will dead rappers have as much charisma as a live Courtney?

Femme Fatale (Warner Bros.)
Nov. 8
The Pitch: Master of suspense Brian DePalma returns to noir territory with a gun-for-hire plot about a sexy cat burglar (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) turned international star who gets involved in Cannes diamond heists under the ever-watchful lens of paparazzi (Antonio Banderas). Shades of To Catch a Thief.
Thumbs Up:  Romijn-Stamos makes everyone forget Cindy Crawford's motion picture debut.
Thumbs Down: Melanie Griffith is allowed near the film's craft service table.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Miramax)
Dec. 27
The Pitch: George Clooney directs and plays in this film based on brash Gong Show host Chuck Barris' tongue-in-cheek memoir about moonlighting as a CIA operative, with Sam Rockwell as Barris and help from pals like Julia Roberts, Rutger Hauer and Drew Barrymore.
Thumbs Up: A Beautiful Mind meets $1.99 Beauty Show.
Thumbs Down: The movie gets gonged before it's over.

The Pianist (Focus)
Dec. 27
The Pitch: Chinatown/Rosemary's Baby director/exile Roman Polanski taps on his own Holocaust past in his film of pianist Wladydlaw Szpilman's experiences in a Warsaw ghetto starring Adrian Brody.
Thumbs Up: Big Cannes winner is being called Polanski's Schindler's List.
Thumbs Down:  No shots of devil defiling a young Mia Farrow. (RT)

by Lisa Teasley

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

: So the crazy motherfucker is shooting up the mountain, instead of the targets right in front of us. Then the wizard rides his bike straight down the road we’re aiming, and Cyril’s laughing, wanting to hit him. Penguin yells back at Cyril to get a hold of himself. Pen, who’d only tried the two .22s at that point, has sweat joining his brows, fingers shaking, making clay with his soles rubbing back and forth over the dirt. Then the crank-snorting redneck picks up the shotgun, laughing the whole time, points it at Pen, who froze. Then we could smell him. Cyril’s still laughing, I grab the gun from him, and it goes off in the air, and I’m shaking, knocking Cyril into the ground. Then I put Pen in the truck, and we leave that crazy motherfucker bleeding over the eyes, on the ground.


We don’t go home, though Penguin’s smelling up the truck, but then we see the dead cow—and it’s night at this point—then the pigeon hits the windshield, and we make it to the alley at the back of Pen’s. I see the frog while Pen’s heading out, and I put it in his hand, to calm him down. The frog doesn’t ribit ’cause it’s scared. It squeaks, like Macy Gray, and Pen starts crying, just like that.


Once he’s cleaned up, picking on his guitar, I tell him we’re leaving for L.A., and Pen says nothing. He just keeps picking, his fucking gorgeous Marilyn eyes glazed, and I know he can’t see me much anyway, with his contacts out.


Could it be any hotter in the Valley? Are you kidding me? Not only was it unbearably hot last weekend, but to top it off I was sick. It’s really hard for me to be cute and witty when I’m miserable—and you thought I could do everything. Sick of me whining yet? Too bad. I did manage to pull myself out of bed and venture to a place where it would be a little cooler—the beach. There are only two places to go when it’s over 100 outside—the movies, because it’s air-conditioned, and the beach. This really wasn’t a difficult decision for me. I can drink at the beach, and I can’t at the movies. Well, I can, but then I have to sneak beer into the theater, and I stopped doing that after high school. I love the beach. I thoroughly enjoy admiring all of those tan, buff surfer bodies. Surfers might not be the best choice of men to date—you’ll always come in second to the waves, and some lack responsibility but they are definitely fun to look at. This week’s cocktail is for all of those sexy surfers who drive me crazy.

Beach Bum
1 oz. vodka     
1 oz. Midori
Fill cranberry juice over ice

De’s beach bar pick off the week: A trip down the PCH is just what I needed to make myself forget how miserable I felt. Duke’s in Malibu was a great place to start. Besides having a great restaurant, they also have the Barefoot Bar, where you can sit outside in a beach area and have cocktail after cocktail brought to you—but you’ll have to get there early in order to get a table. If you’re not lucky enough to sit outside, don’t worry, because the inside bar area has air-conditioning and a beautiful view of the ocean. Throw down a couple of tropical cocktails, order the shrimp cocktail appetizer, let the ocean air relax you and wait patiently for your very own surfer boy to walk in. Enjoy.

De’s diss of the week: After I left Duke’s, my lovely trip to the beach turned into a train wreck. I have moments of brilliance, but this trip wasn’t one of them. I decided to go to the beach on the very day that everyone else in California was going—Labor Day. Not a good move on my part. I was sick and not thinking clearly; at least that’s my excuse. Traffic was absolutely horrible—big surprise. It was one of those times when if anything could go wrong it would, and it did. By the time we arrived at our next destination, I had lost my buzz, was no longer relaxed and had to pee so bad that I thought I was going to explode. I was so far from being happy that not even a hot surfer could brighten my day. I needed a drink and I needed it quickly. Normally, the Venice Beach Whaler would’ve put the smile back onto my face, but not on this particular day. Our waitress was more wasted than we were, and that was just irritating. It was amazing that we got anything at all between her making out with her boyfriend and disappearing for extended periods of time. We left, and I went home and went to bed before watching Sex and the City—I must’ve been really sick to miss that.

Don’t worry—I’m feeling much better, and I’m back to my normal cute and witty self. Questions, comments, ideas or just want to say hi—e-mail me at the link below.
Denise Bayles

Mestel walks like a man. (10/22a)
And Q3 figures look good as well. (10/21a)
A Swift return to #1. (10/22a)
The Rumours are true. (10/22a)
Could she be this year's left-field anointed one? (10/22a)
Bring your umbrella.
Mulling possible surprises.
Why not wear a mask indoors?
What drugs will help us get there?

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