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The two things you couldn’t joke to Sinatra about were his hairpiece and the makeup he applied to hide the scars on the side of his face, the result of his forceps-assisted birth.
WEAKEND PLANNER SEES A LIGHT
AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
There's a Ray of Hope Ahead...Or Is That Just the August Sun Trying to Break Through the Smog?
We’re now entering the second week of August, and we’re not having fun. The record biz is showing no signs of figuring it out, even as it threatens to contract further, like a toothpaste tube that's almost squeezed out. Very few records of note have come out in recent weeks, and that’s not gonna change any time soon. But look on the bright side—and there is a bright side, even if you’re wearing your cynicism as if it were your favorite holey T-shirt.

For starters, the Fountains of fucking Wayne, of all groups, have a hit single—from the label that brought you “Who Let the Dogs Out,” yet! Now, for longtime fans like us, who recall ruefully the years this smart, tuneful, altogether terrific band couldn’t get arrested, this turn of events is nothing less than mind-boggling. The fact that “Stacy’s Mom” is but one of nine or 10 amazing songs on an album that has become the soundtrack of our summer makes it that much more surreal.

Then there’s that new John Mayer single, “Bigger Than My Body,” which unequivocally indicates that this dude is in for the long haul. The track’s brilliance certainly bodes well for the follow-up album, Heavier Things, which, in that it’s coming out the week after Labor Day, might well be seen as a harbinger for the fourth quarter 2003, not to mention for career artists (that endangered species) as a whole.

See, Mayer and Coldplay are perhaps the most significant acts on the scene today, because their ascent proves that music that is utterly free of compromise, that doesn’t kowtow to the lowest common denominator, that originates in the desire to communicate felt reality, can connect with millions of people, even in these difficult times. Their success gives us hope, and it trumps cynicism.

Not only that, but, as we type this, football is being played live on ESPN. Who cares if it doesn’t count? What does it matter if we haven’t actually looked over at the TV screen since the Giants and Pats started banging heads two hours ago. It just sounds so comforting to hear the hitting, the roar of the crowd, the play-by-play. And when USC and Auburn, both preseason Top 10 picks, line up on Aug. 30, we’ll have a big game that counts to watch. In the meantime, there’s the surprisingly poignant final season of Sex and the City to keep us occupied, along with the addictive Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (finally, a reality show for dudes). So count your blessings—and cross your fingers.

THE POPCULT TOP 10
Special props to our Nashville-based pal Holly Gleason, whose prolific output in recent weeks has provided us with a veritable shitload of her inimitable takes on everything from greasy spoons to moisturizers, sometimes described with words we’ve never encountered before (“churling”?).. You can find much more of Holly on her website, www.hollygleason.com. Hey, maybe we should bring back Neobilly.

1. Evanescence, Fallen (Wind-up): Gothic with an ethereal swirl of breathless girl's voice. Rotting velvet and lace sleeves and hair blown about on the wind—and a pummeling descending crush of the heaviest guitars, churling bass lines, almost menacing in its rhythmic assault, then pulling back with strings and the most filigreed parts. Fragility and pounding, wrapped up in a bow through the tides of a hip-hop nation—because the grooves feel almost as driven by rap as they do a slightly attenuated speed metal reality. Fallen is anything but. "Bring Me to Life" is everywhere on the radio right now. And this is a band with a definite sense of the Higher Power—yet they asked to be removed from Christian bookstores for fear of a whole other kind of stigma. Most definitely an album about agony and release, the torment can be a love gone bad, a life left hollow or searching for spiritual delivery. Imagine a less throaty Stevie Nicks in the hands of Metallica wearing kidskin gloves as they read J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. Feel how hard it drives, but how gentle it can be. Submerge yourself.
—HG

2. John Mellencamp at Town Hall, NYC: A pleasant revelation, as the Little Bastard plays the historic venue which has seen performances by the likes of Paul Robeson, Pablo Casals, Thelonious Monk and Bob Dylan, and hosted “town meetings” about racism in America with NAACP leader Ralph Bunche. With a crack new band in tow—featuring standout veteran slide guitarist Andy York and fiddle player Miriam Sturm—Mellencamp performed a crisp, Pin-Ups type salute to his own seminal influences, most from his just-released Columbia album, Trouble No More. The set ranged from Son House’s “Death Letter” and Robert Johnson’s “Stories in My Passway” to Lucinda Williams’ “Lafayette,” as well as rousing versions of Skeeter Davis’ moody ’63 hit, “End of the World,” the Animals’ “House of the Rising Son” and his own “Pink Houses.” His take on Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” boasted the rewritten lyrics: “The Texas gambler, he was very bored/Trying to create the next world war/He found a promoter who nearly fell off the floor/Said, ‘Didn’t your daddy try to do this once before?’” (Thanks to Andy Schwartz for the transcription.) —RT

3. The Y: In this age of revved up, high impact, full-on fitness, the more boutique/elite the gym, the better the training, no doubt. And yet, here in the heart of Green Hills—and everywhere else across America—the YMCA has put down its roots, built up its buildings and offers state of the art equipment in a place that is both clean and quiet and comparable to anywhere else out there. Glamorous? Maybe not. Networking potential? Actually, yeah—a lot of the no-frills practical people head to the Y to avoid the tedium of keeping up with the 7%-body-fat specimen on the next machine. —HG

 3. Sam Cooke Reissues (ABKCO): Caretakers of the Sam Cooke legacy, Allen Klein and son Jody, have lovingly produced these hybrid Super Audio CD albums, the centerpiece of which is the 5.1 surround sound reissue of the live Sam Cooke at the Copa CD. The disc captures the gospel-turned-pop/soul superstar’s performances at the famed Copacabana nightclub in N.Y. on July 7-8, 1964, less than six months before his untimely shooting death in December. The triumphant shows took place almost six years after his first, by all accounts, disastrous performance at the venue opening for Jewish dialect comic Myron Cohen. The mix places the listener front and center ringside as Cooke whips his big band through its paces. Cooke’s quiet urgency is the bridge between gospel, soul and pop, with versions of “If I Had a Hammer” and Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” as well as hits like “You Send Me” and “Twistin’ the Night Away.” Curiously, he didn’t perform his civil rights classic, “A Change is Gonna Come,” for fear of offending the overwhelmingly white club audience. The CD crystallizes the uncanny blend of cool and simmering crossover ambitions that made Cooke the first gospel superstar to evolve into a pop icon. His easy manner and deceptive calm can’t mask his roots in the rousing call-and-response of the black church, an understated talent that prefigures the likes of Otis Redding, Prince, D’Angelo and fellow Chicago native R. Kelly. —RT

4. Gillian Welch, "Look at Miss Ohio" (from Soul Journey, Acony Rcords): Welch and partner/collaborator David Rawlings gave us one of the world's most perfect lines—"The night came apart like a beautiful mess/And fell at her feet like a party dress”—so the austere beauty that strings the conflicting the realities of strained, almost alien perfection of the beauty queen with the real live desires of a young woman kicking in the stall is almost to be expected. With her slightly stiff voice, Welch merges the confession, "I wanna do right, just not right now," with the faux adoration of the impressed-by-perfection veneer of "Oh, me-oh-my-oh, look at Miss Ohio," which invokes Hank Williams' "Jambalaya." Soul Journey takes Welch's stark Appalachian starting point and turns it inward rather than toward the Smithsonian samplers she's worked in—though "My First Lover" certainly foreshadowed this kind of flesh-peeling, welcome-to-my-reality portrait that dares you to get honest about what you want, where you've been and where you're gonna wind up if you don't pay attention. —HG

5. BMG Music Service is not your father’s record club, as the company’s aggressive promotion of hip indie bands to its user base clearly demonstrated some time ago. Anyone requiring further evidence need look no further than next month’s “Weekend in Central Park” music fest at Rumsey Playfield. The two-day event, executive-produced by New York-based Geoff Renaud Event Management, will boast the stars of the Sprite Liquid Mix Tour--N.E.R.D., Spymob, Kelis, O.A.R., Talib Kweli and Slightly Stoopid—on 9/13 and an acoustic confab the following day with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, Dar Williams and indie songstress Pieta Brown (with roots vet Bo Ramsey on guitar). Saturday night’s show, an “extension” of the Sprite tour, kicks off at 6p.m. (doors at 4:30); Sunday’s proceedings commence at 3 p.m. (doors at 1:30). Call Ticketmaster ($30 for Sat. night and $35 for Sun. afternoon) or a friend with connections for tix. BMG Music Service, of course, is part of BeMusic, of which confessed music geek Stuart Goldfarb is President and CEO. “This diverse live music experience reflects not only our commitment to bringing people and music together but also represents the broad range of music that we continually make available to our members at BMG Music Service,” Goldfarb gushes. “Plus, now I’m gonna have all the Sprite I can drink.” —SG

 6. www.nikonnet.com/lynngoldsmith: Lynn Goldsmith is the rock & roll girl who's been there and done that on film with everyone and somehow managed to remain a rock & roll girl. She's shot Springsteen, the Stones, Michael Jackson, Roger Daltrey, Pat Benatar and and and…And now she's a Nikon Hall of Famer. At this website, you can revisit her brilliant coffee table book Rock Stars -- which has been out of print -- and see what made her portraits of these icons of pop and rock music such windows into their soul. And if so inclined, you can order your very own copy. —HG

7. The Sleepy Jackson, Lovers (Astralwerks): Like Badly Drawn Boy and Damon Gough, this shifting Aussie outfit is the brainchild of a single individual. Perth singer/writer/guitarist Luke Steele channels the spirit of George Harrison, Lou Reed, Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan and The Band, but still manages to come across as a genuine original. The slide guitar in “Good Dancers” directly references the Quiet Beatle, and the fiddle in “Old Dirt Farmer” has the gentle earthiness of “Rag Mama Rag,” while the bottleneck and banjo in “Come to This” is the Burritos doing Nashville Skyline. The ethereal female choir in the simmering, soulful “Don’t You Know” captures Steele’s dreamy essence, but it’s the grinding, “White Light White Heat” pulse of the sardonic first single, “Vampire Racecourse,” that gives the music its paranoid urgency, as Steele demands rhetorically, “Is this what you want?” More than that, it’s what we need.
—RT

8. Levis 1 Jeans: Dark. Basic. Classic. Not your typical cowboy jeans. But one of those body shapes that'll last forever. In the eye of the fashion jeans storm, this is one investment that you can still be seen in two years from now. —HG

9. The Producers at Pantages Theater, L.A.: Try as they might—and they try mightily—Jason Alexander and Martin Short don’t quite manage to erase the giant shadows of Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, who starred in the original Mel Brooks movie as Broadway shysters Bialystock and Bloom. Still, their strenuous performances give the audience their money’s worth, and the staging is never less than innovative. It’s not as if you walk out whistling any of the tunes, except, of course for the “Springtime for Hitler” set-piece, but Brooks’ scabrously and politically incorrect book skewers everyone and everything from homosexuals and Jews to Swedish blondes and sex-starved little old ladies. You wouldn’t expect to hear some of these lines on Broadway or in L.A., for that matter, and that alone is worth the price of admission. Also noteworthy, Tony winner Gary Beach reprising the Dick Shawn role as gay director-turned-singing-and-dancing Adolph “Elizabeth” Hitler, Roger De Bris, and original cast member Angie Schworer’s delectable, long-limbed Sveeeedish receptionist Ulla. —RT

10. Johnny Depp in GQ (August issue): Mark Seliger and Lucy Kaylin are two of the very best. Kaylin's writing is always about stripping away, bringing it home, revealing the essence and giving up the small details that humanize big lives. But it's Seliger's pictures that capture the rogue young man on the brink of middle-age who's every bit as swashbuckling, naughty/pretty and riveting as he's ever been—an arc of potency on the rise, not the wane. And the thrown together hodge-podge fashion/anti-fashion sense makes him the male rock & roll male equivalent of Annie Hall, liberating men from any sartorial archetype in a single spread of four pictures. —HG

THINGS I LEARNED FROM MR. S: MY LIFE WITH FRANK SINATRA
This tell-all biography, written by Sinatra’s longtime valet George Jacobs with William Stadiem (Harper Entertainment), covers the period of Jacobs’ employment from 1953, when the crooner made his comeback with an Oscar-winning performance in From Here to Eternity, to Jacobs’ firing in 1968 for dancing with Mia Farrow.
1. The two things you couldn’t joke to Sinatra about were his hairpiece and the makeup he applied to hide the scars on the side of his face, the result of his forceps-assisted birth.
2. Sinatra always wore a combination corset and jockstrap with his tux lest his bulging manhood show through the pants leg.
3. Marilyn Monroe never used a tampon, bleeding all over the bed, which is one of the reasons the meticulous Sinatra would never let her live with him.
4. John F. Kennedy was a regular cocaine user and once referred to Juliet Prowse’s shaved private area as Naked Lunch, a reference to the Willam Burroughs book that went right over Frank’s head.
5. Yul Brynner and Peter Lawford were the two cheapest guys in Hollywood.
6. Sinatra learned everything he knew about acting from his idol, Boris Karloff.
7. JFK’s dad, Joe Kennedy once told the following joke to a crowd of people, “How can you tell the difference between a pizza and a Jew?” “A pizza doesn’t cry on its way to the oven.”
8. Judy Garland would come to Frank’s house in the middle of the night drunk on her ass and administer oral sex.
9. After his good friend Humphrey Bogart passed away, Sinatra began courting the actor’s wife, Lauren Bacall, only to dump her over the phone, calling her a “Jew Bitch” when she told Swifty Lazar (who tipped off gossip columnist Louella Parsons) about their engagement.
10. Marlene Dietrich gave JFK a hand job when he was just a teenager.
Roy Trakin

MORE SHINY ROUND THINGS
Sense Field, Living Outside (Nettwerk):
This SoCal crew has weathered a number of personnel changes during its 13-year existence, but the band’s one constant throughout has been earnestness. Indeed, Sense Field is in many ways the prototype for the New Sincerity—these guys were emo before they had a name for it. The group caught a wave with the hit single “Save Yourself,” from 2002’s Tonight and Forever, and the Brad Wood-produced follow-up (their sixth album overall) contains the songcraft, dynamics and heart-on-sleeve sentiment to kick it up another notch for the onetime cult band. Stylistically, the LP draws heavily on the ’80s, favoring the streamlined tempos and swirly, synth-enhanced atmospherics that New Order once purveyed, and locating the hooks therein, with the unabashedly sincere everyman’s vocals of Jon Bunch riding on top. The standout of this consistent collection is first single “I Refuse,” in which syncopated verses resolve into high-rise choruses that reach for, and attain, a starry-eyed grandeur. And the similarly contoured “On Your Own” sounds like a worthy follow-up. Cynics should avoid this band at all costs. Bud Scoppa

 The Libertines, Up the Bracket (Rough Trade): A punch up the bracket, in U.K. slang, is a blow to the face—and this hell-raising garage-rock debut certainly administers a few. With songs that crash along like a bar fight, the ‘Tines live up to their name, and producer Mick Jones seems disinclined to clean up the proceedings. Frontmen Pete Doherty and Carl Barat pen rip-roaring, high-spirited salvos that pour out equal parts punk energy and retro-pop melody and then shake vigorously, as on “Vertigo,” the toe-tapping “Death on the Stairs,” the slammin’ title track and the Buzzocks-esque “I Get Along.” But they’re also fond of the occasional meandering digression, such as “Radio America”—which finds time, in its shuffling expanse, for an off-key salute to the Grateful Dead. It’s loose, loud, feckless fun. Simon Glickman

Blue October, History for Sale (Brando/Universal): Breaking out in a variety of directions on their second Universal release, the Texas fivesome conjures flavors of both Peter Gabriel and early R.E.M., while also exploring harder-edged material and taking enough musical chances to keep even the most dedicated pigeonholer from easily categorizing the whole. The unifying lyrical mission, however, seems to be to touch as many emotional raw nerves as possible, wrapping both the pleasure and pain of love and longing in impressionistic verse. Single “Calling You” (featured in American Wedding) is a transcendent love-from-the-road snapshot, while the crushing mistrust of “Sexual Powertrip” offsets the disarmingly melodic, yet unflinchingly introspective, “Chameleon Boy” and “Inner Glow,” as well as the subtle, emotionally ambivalent closer, “Amazing.” Jon O’Hara

 NEW YORK MINUTE
Bon Jovi
is sure to give love a bad name when the band plays a hometown gig Friday at Giants Stadium. Jason Mraz and Pete Yorn open… If heartthrobs aren’t your bag, Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth and Thursday light up Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Theatre (1000 Ocean Parkway, Wantaugh, NY) provide the alternative for your Friday night PoMo fun… On Saturday, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers strut their stuff at P.N.C. Arts Center (Exit 116 Garden State Parkway, Holmdel, NJ). These living legends will make a repeat performance on Sunday. For the pierced and tattoed, the Vans’ Warped Tour rolls into Randalls Island. The festival features Simple Plan, All-American Rejects, Bowling for Soup, Brand New, Less Than Jake, Pennywise, Rancid, The Ataris and The Used… That’s not where the party stops, my hippie friends. The Dead and Joan Osborne begin a two-night stand Saturday at Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Theatre… On Sunday, Liz Phair will be blowing up the Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey St.) with her love. (Side note: On Monday, Huey Lewis & the News [yes, they’re still alive] will be doing the very same thing at the Bowery.)… Nothing il’ about this bill. Bow Wow, Lumidee and Nivea will pop until they just can’t stop on Sunday at Symphony Hall (1020 Broad St., Newark). —Valerie Nome

 TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
S.W.A.T. (Columbia Pictures)
Premise: Remake of ’70s TV show based on North Hollywood bank robbery, as S.W.A.T. unit must protect a high-profile bad guy who puts out an offer of $100 million for anyone who can break him out of jail.
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, LL Cool J, Jeremy Renner (title role in Dahmer), Michelle Rodriguez, Oliver Martinez
Director:
TV veteran Clark Johnson (NYPD Blue, Homcide, The Shield, Third Watch) makes his feature debut, with script co-written by David Ayer (Training Day)
Thumbs Up: Plenty of action, tight cast
Thumbs Down: Why is it coming out in August after all the other big guns have already been shot?
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande album features score and tracks by Danny Saber (a version of the original theme song), Apollo 440 and Hot Action Cop’s “Samuel Jackson.”
Website: www.sonypictures.com/movies/s.w.a.t./ lets you lock and load on film info, games, music, screensavers, downloads, e-mailed Veepers and an opportunity to join the S.W.A.T. street team.

Le Divorce (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Premise:
A comedy of manners based upon best-selling novel by Diane Johnson about a film school dropout from California who travels to Paris to help her eight-month pregnant poet stepsister after she’s been abandoned by her cheating French painter husband.
Stars: Kate Hudson, Naomi Watts, Leslie Caron, Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Stephen Fry, Matthew Modine, Babe Neuwirth, Sam Waterston
Director: James Ivory
, produced by Merchant Ivory, with screenplay by longtime collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Ivory
Thumbs Up: Hudson and Watts, need we say more? The updated, Henry James-like material could be just the lighthearted change of pace for the usually very literate and PBS-styled Merchant Ivory team.
Thumbs Down: Can Hudson show some acting chops or will she go down in flames a la Cybill Shepherd in then-beau Peter Bogdonavich’s disastrous Daisy Miller?
Soundtrack: Grandstand Entertainment album features original score by Richard Robbin, featuring French pop stars Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Brikin, Patrrick Bruel and Johnny Hallyday
Website:
www2.foxsearchlight.com/ledivorce/ gives the Gallic flavor, with info on the film, a trailer, a photo gallery, downloads, reviews and where to find theaters showing the movie.

Freaky Friday (Walt Disney Pictures)
Premise:
A remake of the 1977 Disney movie which starred Jodie Foster as the young tomboy and Barbara Harris as the mother, who switch identities. Originally based on a novel by Mary Rodgers, turned into a Broadway musical and then a 1995 Wonderful World of Disney TV movie starring Gaby Hoffman and Shelley Long.
Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan (made her feature debut in the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap), Mark Harmon, Stephen Toblowsky
Director: Mark S. Waters
(The House of Yes, Head Over Heels)
Thumbs Up: Initial reviews say it’s a pleasant surprise, with underrated Curtis’ comic performance and good chemistry with Lohan as her daughter.
Thumbs Down: Another saccharine Disney remake?
Soundtrack: Hollywood Records album includes Simple Plan’s cover of “Happy Together,” Ashlee Simpson, American Hi-Fi, Lillix, Andrew W.K., Bowling for Soup, Joey Ramone’s “What a Wonderful World,” The Donnas and Forty Foot Echo.
Website: www.disney.go.com/disneypictures/
freakyfriday/html/main.html
? has preview and clips, story, cast, photos, downloads, a teen translator, e-mail messages, a bulletin board and a place to audition to be in a rock band.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Maybe blondes do have more fun. Britney Spears not only took off her top for the British version of Elle, but the natural brunette also gave the mag the 411 on her brown bob hairstyle, which surfaced this spring. "I was having a huge brain fart when I did the dark hair," she said. "My hairdresser persuaded me. And at first it was cool but then I went on vacation and my girlfriend got her hair highlighted and I was like, 'Man I gotta go back, I wanna be blonde again!'" —VN

DENISE’S WEAKEND COCKTAIL
It has been brought to my attention (by my first official hate e-mail) that I’m not saving the world with my “silly and stupid” articles. Wow, I thought I was curing Cancer—maybe next week. So, I’ve decided this week I’m going to keep my “mindless, brainless” babbling to myself and let my fans take center stage. My drink of the week is dedicated to my capability of being exactly this.

Royal Bitch
1 ½ oz. Crown Royal
½ oz. Frangelico
Shake with ice and strain into a shot glass.

Everybody has to be something—and according to my new #1 fan—I’m destined to be a bitch. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing to be—better than being a doormat. It’s been a while since I’m recognized my fans by running their questions, praise, and in one case, their loathing. In life there are many love/hate relationships, and I’m no different—some of you love me, some of you hate me and some of you hate that you secretly love me. Whichever it is, just keep reading. Which do you want first—the good news or bad news? I’ll start with the nasty.

Don’t Hate the Playa—Hate the Game
Denise,
I’ve stomached your stupid and silly articles and boring life before, but I had to comment on this one since it was so blatantly hypocritical as brainless, mindless bitches like you can be. “What happened to same sex loyalty?” but then you dis and attack your “girlfriend” for everyone to read, if anyone reads this garbage that is. I have tons of girlfriends and we treat each other with respect, which probably isn’t in your vocabulary. Did you ever stop to think that you can’t find a man because you don’t even know how to treat your friends? Hopefully, your girlfriend will see this and drop you like yesterdays used up toilet paper and flush you down the tubes. Take another bitch slap because, honey, you need it.

Michele Noe

Michele,
You just saved me a lot of money, which I would’ve spent going to a therapist trying to figure why I can’t find Mr. Right. Everyone knows I don’t have that type of money to spend—I work at HITS. I’m fortunate that they’re stupid enough to publish my crap—suckers. And on top of that, who would date me once they found out I worked in this cesspool—we’re merely pond scum. The only thing I can do to bring excitement into my pathetic existence is to bash on those few poor souls that have felt sorry enough for me to be my friends. Give me a double bitch slap—thank you ma’am, may I have another?

Singles vs. Couples
Sistafriend, you are my new hero. Loved the article more than I can even tell you. Bitch slaps all around this weekend!
Erika

Denise,
Someone forwarded me your e-mail about your friend traveling over to the dark side. It is like you read my mind. I AM the only single friend in my group of friends. Usually you have at least one person you can call your single partner in crime and roll your eyes at annoying couples on the street. So yes, now my weekends are spent alone when all of my other friends are doing their “couple” things. My big complaint is, when a friend in a relationship says, “What is the point of going out? You only go out in hopes of meeting someone,” that irks me. I go out cause I want to go out…it is not the search of finding a possible boyfriend. I think people lose a bit of their brains once the boyfriend/girlfriend tag is placed. Thanks for making my day and letting me know I am not the only one.
Danielle

Dear Danielle,
I’m glad I could make you feel in good company—single gals must unite! Plus, think of all the extra time you have on the weekends for shopping, pedicures and reading the mindless ramblings of a bitter single gal, since you’re not attached to someone’s hip. Since my meager salary doesn’t allow for such luxuries as shopping, pedicures or eating, I spent my weekends reading constructive criticism from my loyal readers.

Denise,
I should be so lucky to have a overnighter. Once again you have made me smile. The bitch slap drink is f***ing hilarious! You make me smile every week. I hope your weekend is a groove. And don’t worry about the last girl standing. Just don’t do something stupid, like appear on
Elimidate or The Fifth Wheel, something dumb and insane…PLEASE DON’T!!!
peace and love,
g

I guess that means I have to cancel my audition for the show—now what? Thanks for saving me from public humiliation.

Positive Reinforcement Dept.
Denise,
Good Gosh. I am a secret admirer of your column, but oh my sainted aunt, what a GREAT piece of writing that was. Funny, sweet, incisive, I feel a career in the big leagues beckoning. You KEEP going, girl…
Simon K.

It’s letters like yours that makes my mundane existence a little more pleasurable. Thanks!

Denise,
I’m thinking it’s time you write a book…
I’m thinking the title should be…
Cocktails for Starters
Anuptaphobia in LA
Sweet, Lovable and Still Single
Love N’ LA
Harold Guilfoil
UMVD

Dear Harold,
Great minds think alike—you get the money and I’ll write the crap. Now I just need an agent, publisher or someone with a copying machine and a lot of time on their hands. If you know anyone who’s in search of a sometimes funny and always bitter writer to publish, let me know.

Denise,
You column is so damn funny…can’t wait until Fridays to hear the latest exploits of Denise. At the very least, couldn’t you get those cheapskates at
HITS to print your picture alongside your column so we can add a face to the equation? Keep up the good work, and good luck with husband hunting.
H.G.

Dear H.G.,
Due to recent hate mail—adding to my celebrity status—I’ve been forced to hire a security team. Since I’m broke, I had to look around the office and see who I could finagle. Roy Trakin (and his new buff body) has gladly taken on the task and suggests I hide my identity, in order to guarantee my safety. It’s tough being famous.

Denise,
Today’s column is truly an inspired piece of writing. I was worried for a few weeks but the last few columns have been incredible and this one is the best. The story itself is classic, but you capture it well in words.
Michael R.

Hi Michael,
It’s tough being brilliant every week, but I’ll keep trying.

Denise,
I wait with baited patience every Friday to get your Weakend Planner column. I need to laugh and you help me along. Thanks for your insight, your honesty and your laughter. I need you…never go away. Take care and try like crazy to have a good weekend. Peace.
George D.

The Dear Abby Section
Dear Denise,
Since you are my resident dating expert, I wonder what your thoughts are on dating services and that type of stuff. Do you think it would even be possible to meet someone normal? I mean I’ve considered posting to those sites. Would any self-respecting woman actually try to meet a guy on one of those sites? Just wondered what your thoughts are on this subject.
Anonymous

Would a normal, self-respecting gal post on one of those sites? Well, I’m on Match.com, but the jury’s still out on whether or not I’m normal or self-respecting. Just expect to have really awkward dates with people who don’t look like their pictures and who enjoy long conversations about band camp, but you may find a diamond in the rough—it’ll probably be easier finding a needle in a haystack. Good luck.

Hey Denise,
I wish your column came out on Tuesday! I had an incredible date on Wednesday, and I broke the “opening up too much” rule! It was exactly how you said: I was nervous and then, after a few drinks, I’m telling her everything. It wasn’t out of context in our discussion, but I still felt I should not have disclosed it to someone I just met. I don’t think I freaked her out, however, because we went back to my place and, well... My problem now and my question to you is—how do I keep her excited and wanting more? I’m really into this girl, but I need to back away a bit.
J.S.

This is a tough one. First, I strictly believe that it’s hard to date someone you hooked up with on the first night. Since you closed the deal, I don’t think your verbal diarrhea hurt your situation—you lucked out. There are things that should never be discussed on a first date—your ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend or any relationship baggage, politics, your dysfunctional family, the fact that you work at HITS or anything else that would make your date cry. How do you keep her excited and wanting more—stop calling. Girls always want what they think they can’t have—flowers and candy work, too.

De’s L.A. bar pick of the week: No bars this week—drink wherever the hell you want to, but make sure you let me in on the good places, so I can do some “research” of my own.

 Thanks to all of you who write, even if it’s mean and nasty. I’ll try to enjoy another weekend of my ever-so-boring life and fill you in next week with all the gory details. Until next week—hugs and kisses.
Denise Bayles

Contributors: Denise Bayles, Darren Cava, Holly Gleason, Simon Glickman, Valerie Nome and Roy Trakin

Edited by Bud Scoppa

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