When a show you’ve been watching has been canceled, it’s like losing a friend; both Once and Again and Felicity were still picking up steam when the plug was pulled.


The Mere Fact That You’re Reading This
Is a Sure Sign of the Apocalypse
If you adhere to the conventional wisdom, the possibility that you’re using this sorry webpage to help you decide what to do with yourself this weekend means that you desperately need to get a life. If, on the other hand, you buy the premise that a roomful of monkeys will find the ripest bananas on any given weekend, the following pulpy morsels might be just what veterinarian ordered. Monkey see, monkey do.

1. Retirement of Cleveland Plain Dealer pop critic Jane Scott at 83, return of Lakers announcer Chick Hearn at 85:
Life begins when you get your AARP application…which I did this week.

2. Final episodes for Once and Again (ABC) and Felicity (WB): When a show you’ve been watching has been canceled, it’s like losing a friend; these two were still picking up steam when the plug was pulled.

3. Stan Cornyn, Exploding: the Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group (Harper Entertainment): A must for music bizologists, though it’s hard to believe ex-creative services guru Cornyn was once a writer with the way the language is mangled here.

4. Y Tu Mama Tambien (IFC Films): Along with Amores Perros, Alfonso Cuaron's paean to sensual exuberance and the folly of youth has the verve to stand up to “Team America,” marking the official start of Mexico’s Nuevo Wavo. Best movie of the year so far.

5. 24 (Fox-TV): Scariest clock-ticking since Andy Rooney, with best use of split screen since Woodstock. And Dennis Haysbert’s noble Senator David Palmer is a fabulous blend of John Thompson, Colin Powell and Dick Parsons.

6. And You Shall Know Them by the Trail of Dead, Source Tags and Codes (Interscope): Prog-rock for post-punk purists. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

7. About a Boy (Universal): The Weitz brothers (of American Pie fame) show admirable restraint in this sweet, but still edgy, version of the second book by Nick Hornby (High Fidelity). They maintain the English setting this time, as Hugh Grant gives a winsome portrayal of a self-proclaimed “shallow” womanizer whose relationship with a young misfit kid teaches him the bittersweet pang of compassion.

8. John Mayer/Norah Jones at L.A.’s House of Blues: Not the second coming, but these two twentysomething neoclassicists are an encouraging sign that all those NSYNC and Backstreet Boys buyers may be moving on.

9. Bernard Gendron, Between Montmarte and the Mudd Club (University of Chicago): Has the good sense to cite yours truly as a seminal figure in late ‘70s New York downtown No Wave lore, though Christgau claims he never “bloodied” James Chance, but “only sat on him.”

10. New York Islanders clinching spot in Stanley Cup playoffs: Where have you gone, Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy and Clark Gillies? An island turns its lonely eyes to you…especially since the Knicks didn’t make the playoffs. Roy Trakin

Caitlin Cary, While You Weren’t Looking (Yep Roc): Until recently, Cary’s primary distinction was that she was the only original member of Whiskeytown not sacked by the onetime enfant terrible Ryan Adams. Now, on her own, she shows why Adams thought of her as a peer, coming up with a sturdy batch of charmingly bittersweet songs and singing them in a doleful, dignified alto that calls to mind the great folk-based English singers Sandy Denny, Linda Thompson and Christine McVie. Bringing in a varied playing ensemble that includes smart-pop pioneers Chris Stamey (who also produced) and Mitch Easter, along with survivors of several Whiskeytown lineups, Cary moves from lilting guitar-pop (“Shallow Heart, Shallow Water”) and Fairport Convention-like folk-rock (“Please Don’t Hurry Your Heart,” burnished by her sorrowfully elegant violin, which recalls David Lindley’s playing on Jackson Browne’s early records) to art song (“The Fair,” which is given an alternate treatment on the four-song bonus disc) and Allen Toussaint-inspired N’Awlins soul (the horn-laden “Too Many Keys”). Adams drops by to duet on the bonus-disc co-write “The Battle,” which sounds like they snatched it whole out of the humid southern air. For the most part, the arrangements embrace the material; apart from a puzzling fondness for tempo stalls (particularly deflating on the poignant “Fireworks”), Stamey produces with a terrific feel for the dynamic payoffs that comprise the secret heart of the album. While You Weren’t Looking is sweet, smart and surprisingly snappy, making it clear that Cary is far more than a second fiddle. Special props to Yep Roc, which last year scored Nick Lowe’s The Convincer, for coming up with another non-mainstream gem. Bud Scoppa

The Twigs, The Universe Tonight (Whirl-i-gig): Singer/songwriter sisters Laura and Linda Good—who recently moved their HQ from Chicago to L.A.—create an appealingly intimate hybrid of folk-pop, alterna-rock, trip-tronica and various hyphenates yet unborn on this solid indie effort. The Goods harmonize with natural grace, and their songs are hooky enough to sink into your brain instantly—and overlaid with a sweetly mysterious atmosphere, thanks in part to Johnny K.’s evocative production. My faves include the smoky “Irresistible You,” the power-pop gem “It’s Alright,” the gorgeous “Who Carries You” and the sweet, sad “Hello”; the sisters even turn in a credibly torchy, jazzed-down version of The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night.” The Goods, as they say, have the goods. You can catch The Twigs at the Mint on Sat., April 27, while Linda performs a solo set on Thurs., April 18 at Highland Grounds in Hollywood.
Simon Glickman

The Sweetest Thing
(Columbia Pictures):
What could be bad about a buddy-buddy /road comedy with Cameron Diaz, Married With Children’s Christina Applegate and Cruel Intentions star Selma Blair with a screenplay by South Park scribe Nancy M. Pemental? From the coming attractions, absolutely nothing, as Diaz plays the lead in this girl-meets-boy, girl-loses-boy, girl-heads-out-on-the-road-with-her-best-friend-to-find-him narrative. The movie was directed by Roger Kumble, his second feature after his hit Cruel Intentions based on the French play Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The supporting cast features Thomas Jane (who played Mickey Mantle in the HBO movie *61) as the pursued male, former Silver Spoons star Jason Bateman and indie queen Parker Posey. The webstie at www.sonypictures.com, has a very cool intro, a parody of the meat-market singles scene, with a trailer, production and cast notes, along with various promotions surrounding the release.

Changing Lanes (Paramount): This modern-day morality play recalls Michael Douglas’ “I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore” ’93 zeitgeist flick Falling Down. Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson star as a yuppie lawyer and a recovering alcoholic, respectively, whose paths cross at a car accident on the West Side Highway. Affleck leaves the scene, making Jackson late for a hearing, causing him to lose custody of his kids. When Affleck discovers he’s left an important document behind, he tries to force Jackson to return it by destroying his credit rating, leading to an ever-escalating feud that quickly grows out of control. The original release date for the film, directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill), was postponed from last year, but advance word is that the movie’s pretty taut and convincing. The Varese Sarabande soundtrack features the score by David Arnold (Ocean’s 11), while the website at www.changinglanes.com, offers a thundering intro that asks you what you’d do in the character’s shoes, plus the requisite info on story, cast, crew and production.

Frailty (Lion’s Gate Films): First-time actor-turned-director Bill Paxton has convinced heavies like James Cameron, Sam Raimi and Stephen King to supply blurbs about how scary his film—about the search for Texas’ notorious “God’s Hand” serial killer—is. Paxton plays a father who enlists his two young sons on a holy mission that has entrusted him by a mysterious Angel to destroy “demons“ who pose as ordinary men and women. The terrible violence that follows lead the boys to develop extreme ideas about good and evil, which result in shocking and unforeseen fates. The cast includes Matthew McConaughey as one of the surviving brothers and Powers Boothe as the FBI agent trying to solve the series of murders. The website at www.frailtythefilm.com offers the usuasl bells and whistles as well as entrance to “The Shed,” where we learn “There are Demons are among us.” Whoa.

Human Nature (Fine Line Features): Being John Malkovich’s Spike Jonze produced and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman penned this satire about whether to civilize a feral young man, directed by acclaimed French video helmer Michel Gondry (most notably Bjork’s Human Behavior”). Tim Robbins plays anal-retentive scientist Nathan Bronfman, while Patricia Arquette is the abnormally hairy nature writer Lila Jute and Rhysv Ifans is Puff, the feral man captured by Nathan and Lila. The comedy surrounds the corresponding formal education and socialization of Puff by Nathan and his duplicitous research assistant Gabrielle, played by Aussie actress Miranda Otto. Offbeat and metaphysical like Malkovich, this one could be fun. The clever website, www.humannaturemovie.com, starts by asking you to find the way out of the mouse hole by instinct and goes on to offer background on the relationship between Lila and Nathan, Puff & the Wild Child Myth, the director’s storyboard approach, how the roles were cast and the onset atmosphere.

The Cat’s Meow (Lion’s Gate): Director Peter Bogdonavich looks for a comeback with this movie based on the real-life Hollywood legend of the murder of film pioneer Thomas Ince aboard William Randolph Heart’s yacht back in 1924. Kirsten Dunst stars as Marion Davies, Eddie Izzard is Charlie Chaplin and Edward Herrman is Hearst, while Jennifer Tilly plays gossip columnist Louella Parsons. Like Ragtime , which also touched on the incident, the movie mixes fact and fiction, and appears stylish to boot. The website, www.catsmeowthefilm.com, captures the picture’s deco look and includes a phonograph which plays selections from the RCA Victor soundtrack, which features various songs of the period, including several by noted Tin Pan Alley historian Ian Whitcomb and Dunst crooning the standard “After You’ve Gone.”—R.T.

Park Place:
Back when I was in high school, Belly's first album was one of the first CDs I ever owned. I've never quite dug Tanya Donnelly's solo stuff as much, but it's nice to see her still kicking around. She'll be performing Friday night at Bowery Ballroom. Saturday, if the NSYNC show at Continental Airlines Arena isn't quite your speed (I'm sure it's sold-out, anyway), I'd suggest checking out Patrick Park at Mercury Lounge. He's already been praised on this site, and I feel he's the next dead-ringer for an Elliott Smith or Ryan Adams. Another one to keep your eye on is a group called Tandy, who will be at Black Betty on Sunday in Williamsburg. Lovely songs from some lovely folks—seems like a perfect way to wrap up the weekend. —Heidi Anne-Noel

Bridal Suite: Feast your eyes and ears on the Burning Brides this Friday night. The Philadelphia-based trio, who have seen comparisons to the likes of Cheap Trick, the Stooges and MC5, are generating a lot of label interest [I hear V2 and Atlantic are contenders] and are preparing to lock it down with this unannounced, free showcase at Brownies. Some may call them art-rock, considering that two of the members (the boyfriend/girlfriend team of Dimitri Coats and Melanie Campbell) are Julliard dropouts, but really they're more about unabashed, unapologetic rock—hard riffs, a holler here and there and, lo and behold, melodies! The band is scheduled to go on at 8:00 so get there early to guarantee entrance and check out www.burningbrides.com for more on the band.
—Shirley Halperin