Anyone who doesn't realize the Rolling Stones have the best merch in the business hasn't taken the time to thoroughly view the wares on display outside the performance spaces currently being visited by the World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band.


We're Down With the Earth Tones, but Enough Already With the Kelly Green and Powder Blue
You probably think this week’s heading refers to the annual changing of the leaves into those glorious autumnal hues. You’re wrong (but see below). It has to do with something we learned last weekend: When you’re on a roll, DO NOT CHANGE YOUR OUTFIT. Notre Dame’s kelly-green jerseys and the San Diego Chargers’ powder-blue retro uniforms were snazzy as all get-out, but the losses the two teams suffered while wearing those duds—the Irish taking themselves right out of the national championship picture and the Chargers slipping toward the pack in the NFL’s toughest division—weren’t pretty at all. This truth most likely has a social application as well (wouldn’t know; we don’t go out much), but it clearly doesn’t apply to Mick Jagger.

1. Roger Dodger (Artisan):
First-time writer/director Dylan Kidd’s brutally hilarious coming-of-age tale has the sharpest dialogue of any film in ages and an Oscar-worthy performance from Campbell Scott, who’s absolutely sensational, as is the handheld camera work. Jennifer Beals and Elizabeth Barkley are wonderful as well in key supporting roles. This is a true sleeper; find it and go see it. —BS

2. Michael Chabon, The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Picador): In the style of E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime and Caleb Carr’s The Alienist, Wonder Boys author Chabon’s sprawling, Pulitzer Prize-winning historical tome tracks the exploits of a pair of Jewish cousins who make their mark in the comic book world from pre-World War II to the early ’50s. Based on the true-life creators of Superman, the wonderfully told tale incorporates actual figures like Houdini, Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, Deanna Durbin and Estes Kefauver in its epic narrative, traveling from Prague to New York City to Antarctica to the Long Island suburbs in its own version of the great American novel. —RT

3. A treat for the Stones-obsessed: Q: How many times have the Stones played Exile’s "All Down the Line" so far on their Licks tour? A: Click here. —MP

4. Kobe Bryant: The next Michael Jordan? That’s not the half of it…actually, it’s a third of it. In the first week of the season, playing without Shaq or Rick Fox, Kobe registered consecutive triple doubles, and he was one assist short of making it three in a row in Cleveland Tuesday night, but none of his teammates could throw a brick into Lake Erie. Not only is he looking more than ever like the next MJ, he’s also looking like the next Magic and the next Rodman (without the tats or the ’tude, of course). Kobe, just 24, is something to marvel at. —BS

5. Lou Reed, Transformer, Take No Prisoners, Metal Machine Music (BMG Heritage): This reissue series starts with the David Bowie and Mick Ronson-produced Transformer, which includes such classics as "Satellite of Love," "Vicious" and, of course, Lou’s only real hit single, "Walk on the Wild Side," and makes a fascinating companion piece to Bowie’s recently reissued Ziggy Stardust album. The liveTake No Prisoners offers Reed at his hilarious, stand-up best, accusing critic Robert Christgau of being a "toe-fucker," while having the notorious, all-noise Metal Machine Music on CD is an act of perversity that must be commended in these bottom-line-oriented times. It’s a wonderful way to reacquaint yourself with Reed before the Reprise Records release of The Raven, from the Edgar Allen Poe-influenced opera he co-wrote with avant-garde playwright Robert Wilson, slated for January. —RT

6. Benigni’s Pinochio (Miramax): Of course you’re skeptical ("Big in Italy, but a little Benigni goes a long way," says the L.A. Times)—so are we. But the word from people who’ve seen the film in Europe say it’s a nothing less than a revelation. Opens Christmas day. —LB

7. The official Some Girls shirt: Anyone who doesn't realize the Rolling Stones have the best merch in the business hasn't taken the time to thoroughly view the wares on display outside the performance spaces currently being visited by the World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band. After pointing and laughing at all the suckers buying $40 T-shirts last week at Staples, one observer was immediately enchanted by a Tommy Bahama-like buttoned shirt bearing the full artwork of the Some Girls cover. And speaking of buttons, even those bore the Rolling Stones insignia. OK, OK...that $65 was just burning a hole in my pocket anyway. —JO

8. Judith Owen at AlternKnit Lounge, Hollywood: This talented singer-songwriter-pianist has been knocking on the industry’s door for awhile now, coming under the wing of local station KCRW and producer Glen Ballard at various times. Her current stint at the Knitting Factory’s intimate room has brought out such Hollywood insiders as husband Harry Shearer, Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Susanna Hoffs, Julia Fordham (who joined her onstage one week), Austin Powers director Jay Roach, Lisa Loeb and Gail Zappa. Combining a haunting vocal with a charming, self-deprecating presence, Owen’s performance alternates between mesmerizing and amusing, not a bad place to be. Catch her next gig Nov. 21. —RT

9. Punk-rock kittens: Let’s get this Outtathaway right now. —KG

10. The leaves turning: There's a snap in the air; fall is here. If you live in a part of the country where there's a change of seasons, get off your ass and look at it. Figure it's like arbor confetti, blazing one last time before the gray sky gets carved up by grayer branches. —HG

8 Mile (Universal)
: Eminem’s Purple Rain meets Rocky with a dash of Saturday Night Fever.
Stars: Eminem, Kim Basinger, Britanny Murphy, Mekhi Phifer, Eugene Byrd, Taryn Manning
Director: Curtis Hanson
(Wonder Boys, L.A. Confidential) lends the project the air of respectability.
Thumbs Up: Starmaking turns by not only Eminem, but Brittany Murphy and Mekhi Phifer, too; Detroit location shooting gives it authenticity.
Thumbs Down: Movie takes a few liberties with reality with a script that meanders.
Soundtrack: Shady/Interscope/Universal Soundtracks album features three new Eminem tracks (and a collaboration with Obie Trice and 50 Cent), including the smash "Lose Yourself," as well as new songs from Nas, Jay-Z f/Freeway, Macy Gray, D12, Xzibit and Gangstarr.
Website: www.8-mile.com captures the pulse of the film to the tune of "Lose Yourself," complete with a map of the turf covered in the movie that connects to the various areas of information, including a way to determine your creativity and the career paths that might be right for you.

Far From Heaven (Focus Features)
Critic’s darling Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine, Safe, Poison) does ’50s soap opera director Douglas Sirk. A housewife in ’57 Connecticut finds her husband in bed with another man and racial tension in a developing friendship with her African-American gardener a la the director's gloriously Technicolor deconstructions of American bourgeois life in Imitation of Life (ironically, a scene from this movie has a pivotal role in 8 Mile), Written on the Wind and especially All That Heaven Allows.
Stars: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid and Dennis Haysbert (President David Palmer in 24)
Director: Avant-garde Haynes goes for mainstream success.
Thumbs Up: Oscar talk all the way around.
Thumbs Down: Will mainstream audiences appreciate the irony, or just the magnificent autumnal colors?
Soundtrack: The Varese Sarabande album features the score from veteran Elmer Bernstein.
Website: www.farfromheavenmovie.com looks as lush as the film itself, complete with Bernstein’s classic score and some classic stills that capture the movie’s ‘50s Norman Rockwell surface.

R Xmas (Pathfinder)
Drug-dealing Latino couple sees their world fall apart when the husband is kidnapped on Christmas Eve.
Stars: SopranosDrea de Matteo seems to play a role very similar to the one on the TV show as Michael Imperioli’s addicted wife, with Lillo Brancato (Adventures of Pluto Nash and Sopranos) and rapper Ice-T.
Director: The Bard of Urban Corruption, Abel Ferraro (King of New York, Bad Lieutenant, Ms. 45)
Thumbs Up: Down and dirty, with plenty of streetwise grit.
Thumbs Down: Movie’s release has been delayed by more than a year.
Soundtrack: None
Website: www.miscellanea.de/film/Abel_Ferrara/Rxmas.htm offers an interview with Abel Ferrara after the film opened in Cannes and a synopsis of the film from France, where the director is celebrated as an important auteur.
Roy Trakin

Kansas City + 6 1/2 at San Francisco
Holy Dusty Baker bye-bye-bye. Now, that ain’t got nuthin’ ta do with football or these here picks, but losin’ Dusty ain’t the only thing Frisco is gonna lose this week. Jest when the danged ol’ 49ers was fellin'’all good about theyselves, the danged ol’ Chiefs and Priest Holmes is gonna show up and expose gthe real dang weakeness of the 49ers: They cain’t stop the run. All the dang Kansas City games is close, so I’ll take the Chiefs and 6 1/2.

Miami even at New York Jets
Holy parsely, Sage, rosemary and thyme. Now, the first rule of football is, you cain’t win with somebody named Sage as yer quarterback. Fer that matter, you cain’t win with somebody named Ray Lucas as yer quarterback, neither. Now I hate pickin’ the J-E-T-S Jets-Jets-Jets at home, but this here is an even game—they ain’t favored, so you have to take the Jets aginst a team with no QB.
—Guy W.T. Goggles
(Year to date: 9-5)

grad Walt Williams is entering his eleventh year in the NBA, having played for Sacramento, Miami, Toronto, Portland, Houston and now Dallas after a preseason trade across state. During the course of his career, Williams averaged as high as 17 points per game during his rookie season with the Kings. The Washington, DC, native was nicknamed the Wizzard by his former college coach, Bob Wade, a moniker he uses on his new album, The Insight of a Wizzard, which he just released on his own, newly formed Big WAAD Entertainment. The album features Williams’ own unique, raspy-voiced funk-soul-rap vocals on 15 songs he penned himself, including the bass-driven first single, "Just Too Much." The company is a partnership with his long-time pal Dave Jordan designed to spotlight other DC-area talent on albums by the likes of 6 Figures, A-Sharp, J-Funk, Bryan and Kevin as well as MCs J Stretch, Beware and Hydro Hassan. Big WAAD has already released a series of promotional mix tapes called City’s Finest, featuring Williams and many of the aforementioned artists. Williams took some time to give HITS the lowdown on the upcoming NBA season and his new company. —RT

Will the Lakers four-peat this season?
I don’t think so. I think four teams [Mavericks, Lakers, Sac Kings and Spurs] have a legit chance to get to the championship.

Who do you see as the biggest challengers for the NBA title this season?
West Side: Mavericks, Lakers, Sac Kings, San Antonio Spurs. East Side: Tough…very close. Hard to pick since I’m not in that conference.

How does it feel going from Houston to Dallas? Any good Mark Cuban stories yet?
Dallas is an organization like to no other, with all the perks you get. Unique situation to go to two teams so close to each other…feels like I haven’t gone that far. I feel like I’m just down the street. I think the transition is going good. I enjoyed my time in Houston and looks like I’m going to enjoy time in Dallas. No Mark Cuban stories yet.

How good will Yao Ming be?
He has a nice little touch around the basket and moves around the court pretty well for being that tall. For any new player, it takes some getting used to being banged around. But once he gets used to that, after a year or two, he’s going to do his thing.

What the heck are the Knicks doing with Latrell Sprewell?
I have no idea. I know Sprewell is a very talented player.

Who's the most talented teammate you've ever had?
Mitch Richmond
at Sacramento.

Who's you choice for a player who'll have a breakout season?

How good will the Clippers be?
They have a great talent talent in [fellow Maryland grad Chris] Wilcox. Depends how healthy they are. They can be pretty good if they stay healthy. Got a good coach [Alvin Gentry] and seem to play real hard. Coach is good motivator.

What are your own tastes in music? Who's your favorite musician of all time? Favorite song? Favorite album?
I like rap, R&B, go-go, reggae. Favorite musician: Notorious B.I.G. Favorite song: Marvin Gaye’s "Sexual Healing." Favorite album: Biggie’s Life After Death.

Tell me about your Wizzard label. Why did you decide to go into the music business? How can you break through?
Big WAAD Entertainment derives from myself and my partner, Dave Jordan. We started working on my album and then getting into the game and realizing the talent that we had in D.C. I felt that the better avenue to go, to help this whole thing, was to start an independent label and shed some light on the talent we had here. I was surprised by how much talent we had in this city. By working on different projects, such as City’s Finest, a compilation album on DC artists and other street projects, I saw that there was a lot of talent out there.

The breakthrough can happen because I’m a basketball player. I’m not the first one to put out an album, but I can stop the myth that players can’t rhyme. The music speaks for itself. Our acts are talented and very diverse. There’s something for everybody.

Feel, Feel (Curb):
This new L.A.-based band, led by Philadelphia transplant Scot Sax, plays a crisp, chunky version of old-school SoCal rock, a tradition that purveys the classic virtues of melody and hook with the hint of a twang. There’s nothing about Feel that would seem out of place on an album from 30 years ago, right down to the package, from the venerable team (designer Gary Burden and photographer Henry Diltz) that created Crosby, Stills & Nash and Morrison Hotel, among many others. Co-producer Dusty Wakeman (who’s worked with the likes of Lucinda Williams and Dwight Yoakam) knows the terrain as well as anyone, and there’s nary a misstep or false note on this concise, 35-minute, 10-song effort. What makes the album more than the replica of a bygone era is the central presence of Sax, who writes emphatic refrains ("I Won’t Stand in Your Way," "Got Your Name on It") and sings in a tightly expressive tenor (reminiscent of the Jayhawks’ Gary Louris) that snakes through the cascading guitar chords like flexible tubing. Obviously, Sax and Co. aren’t out to break new ground, but their brand of formalism comes across as natural, taut and lively. Bud Scoppa

David Gray, A New Day at Midnight (ATO/RCA):
The U.K. singer-songwriter returns for his sixth album after the double-platinum breakthrough of White Ladder. Like its predecessor, this deliberate, understated effort was recorded in Gray’s home studio and clearly takes off from the events of 9/11, setting subjective expressions of love and loss against the tattered fabric of an uncertain world. Phrases like "an armageddon sky" ("Dead in the Water"), "a steel eyed dinosaur" ("Caroline"), "the end is close at hand" ("Freedom") and "what happened to the skies" ("December") form stark counterpoints to the lush melodies, interspersed with assorted synths, as well as melodica, dulcimer and toy piano. First single "The Other Side" closes the record, as Gray longs to connect in a universe coming apart at the seams. —RT

Cody ChesnuTT, The Headphone Masterpiece (Ready Set Go!):
This home-recorded double disc is already on the national press radar, a testament to this L.A.-based genre-buster’s undeniable talent. Mixing minimalist funk and lo-fi rock, ChesnuTT sounds at times like some sublime, unruly collision of Marvin Gaye and Guided by Voices. His golden voice and artistic daring are shown off to superb effect on the pimpadelic "Serve This Royalty," the rollicking "Look Good in Leather," the provocative "The Seed" (redone on the Roots’ upcoming disc), the Dylanesque "My Women, My Guitars" and the searching "Six Seconds," but there’s much to explore here. Keep an eye on this guy. 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.

: Pen, wanna come with me to get a burger, dude?

Penguin: Nah, man. Ursie’s comin’ to pick me up.

Eddie:And why don’t you hit her up for some money this time. You can’t expect me to pay your half of the rent for the rest of your life. Carry your weight, dude. Get a fucking life.

He just slammed the door—means I won’t see him for two days. Doesn’t make a damn difference to me. Let him suckle off Ursie-ugh, give me a chance to breathe. He doesn’t even know how I get the money, and he doesn’t even care.

Let him charge that rich black woman on her Pasadena plantation, see how it feels to sell his beautiful young ass.

See how it feels.

Ursula: I’m a fool to be making this drive. But I want Pennie with me tonight. Wish that boy would get a license. Can’t keep taking out time from work mid-day to cart him back and forth just to satisfy my desire. Don’t understand where my discipline has gone. Where’s my strength? Why am I still in this city spending half my life in a car?

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

I need help! Once again, I sat through another episode of The Bachelor, pissed off because I am addicted to it. Only one more episode left, then I’m free. I won’t even go out for drinks with my friends on Wednesday nights for fear of missing an episode. Pathetic! If this keeps up, my column will no longer be about bars and drinking; instead, it’ll be about a pathetic single chick who is a prisoner in her own home because of an addiction to bad reality TV. In order to stop the TV madness, I’ve been forcing myself to go to the gym, but they have TVs there too, and I find myself getting sucked into Real World Las Vegas. I don’t know which program is worse; lets call it a toss-up. Also, there’s no sound, so I have to read the subtitles while trying to jog on the treadmill. I’m a little clumsy; so basically this entire scenario is a train wreck waiting to happen.

While at the gym last weekend, I came to the conclusion that I want to be a Latin girl. No kidding. I want to trade in my Scandinavian blonde hair and blue eyes for thick dark hair and a nice bronze glow. Why would I want to do this, you ask? Latin women are soft in all of the right places and firm in the others. I’m extremely jealous of this. They have curves and lots of them, and they definitely have back, as Sir Mix-a-Lot would say, "I like big butts and I can’t deny..." Can I have just a little bit of J.Lo’s ass? I’m not talking in the bisexual way, either—sorry to kill your fantasy. Basically, I have no boobs, no hips and certainly no ass! I feel like a pre-adolescent boy standing next to a J.Lo type. Blondes might have more fun, but Latin girls have 100% pure sexual energy. Just watch the harem of men following closely behind, tongues dragging, entranced by the voluptuous body of a Latin woman. I’m very envious of this, because I also want a harem of men. Is that really too much for a simple gal like myself to ask? This week’s cocktail is dedicated to the little bit of Latin that we all crave.

Red Hot Mama
1 oz. Bacardi Silver
Fill glass with ice and cranberry juice
Splash club soda

De’s Latin/salsa bar pick of the week: If it’s hot Latin girls you crave, this salsa joint has a plethora of them shaking their booties all over the place. The Conga Room on Wilshire Blvd. has a huge celebrity following and is partly owned by the woman whose booty gets almost as much attention as she does— J.Lo. If you want hot, hot, hot, then Saturday night seems to be the night to go, but be forewarned, it’s going to be packed, and it might be a hassle to get in. Once you’re in, it should be well worth it, watching scantily clad hotties dancing the night away. Ladies, a piece of valuable information: Latin men also know how to move what they’ve been blessed with. Enjoy! You must go at least once to see what all the fuss is about.

De’s diss of the week: Los Angeles is known for charging outrageous cover charges to get into nightclubs, and the Rumba Room is no exception, with added detriment that it’s located in the tourist trap of Universal City Walk. It’s a beautiful club, but $20 cover charges and extremely overpriced drinks aren’t the norm in the Valley. I would expect to pay that if I were at a star-studded club in Hollywood, but come on, it’s City Walk—please! Plus, they actually work the whole VIP-list, waiting-in-line thing. If you decide to go, make sure you’re not wearing jeans or tennis shoes, because you won’t get in.

On a side note, my boyfriend (Eminem, of course) makes his movie debut today, and boy am I excited! I can’t wait to see his new and improved buff body on the big screen. I know he’s not Latin, but I’m sure he has no problem working what he’s been blessed with. As always, I appreciate your praise, gifts, etc., and I would feel eternally indebted for all of those invites to the premiere of 8 Mile, had I received any. Even though none of you hooked me up on that one, I will forgive you, because I know in the future I’ll be taken care of—right? If you have anything to express, please e-mail at the link below, and if you’re going to give me shit about what I write, at least respond when I write back, which I always do. Until next week, hugs and kisses. Denise Bayles

Contributors: Kevin Badami, Denise Bayles, Lenny Beer, Hanna Bolte, Karen Glauber, Holly Gleason, Marc Pollack, Simon Glickman, Guy W.T. Goggles, Jon O'Hara, Lisa Teasley, Roy Trakin

Editor: Bud Scoppa

New and massive (5/17a)
Coming-out party for a rockstat (5/17a)
He's ageless and tireless. (5/17a)
It's a metaphor. (5/17a)
Dude, that's some vertical leap. (5/17a)
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?

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