Particularly fascinating are Yetnikoff’s recollections of Tommy Mottola and Allen Grubman ("The Grubber"). Both are mentioned dozens of times in various, often hilariously unflattering ways: first as butt-kissing "henchmen" who exist at Yetnikoff’s pleasure, then as back-stabbing co-conspirators who orchestrate his downfall. Select whatever size grain of salt you choose and enjoy...


Love In All Shapes and Sizes, as We Praise Walter Yetnikoff's Poison Love Letter to the Biz, a Not-So-Typical Suburban Family, a Valentine to Cult Band NRBQ and Danger Mouse’s Paean to Jay-Z and
Saturday is Valentine’s Day, folks, football season is over, baseball spring training is still two weeks away, the NBA takes a break for an all-star game and the NHL… well, nobody cares about ice hockey anyway. You may just have to come out of hibernation and actually face your significant other, and what better present could you give them than an official Janet Jackson starburst nipple medallion? Available now from Joe Jackson Enterprises, with all profits going to pay down brother Michael’s debt. Until then, ponder the various forms of love (and hate) expressed by our usual gang of assorted cynics and anti-romantics.

Walter Yetnikoff (with David Ritz), Howling at the Moon: The Odyssey of a Monstrous Music Mogul in an Age of Excess (Broadway Books): For most of us, the age of the over-the-top, megalomaniac record company chieftain is nothing but a distant memory in a time of downsizing and corporate line-toeing. But for Walter Yetnikoff, who played the role to the hilt as head of CBS Records from 1975 to 1990, details of The Life are still crystal-clear. From his humble Brooklyn beginnings through the zenith of his career—selling CBS Records to Sony—Yetnikoff, now a Harley-riding, shelter-working addiction counselor in New York, describes it all at a distance, seemingly amused but amazed at having survived it all. Besides the surprisingly touching story of how he finally achieved his hard-fought sobriety, the book is filled with tales from the dark side: Yetnikoff’s dealings with superstars—Barbra, Springsteen, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson (especially interesting given the current drama), James Taylor, the Stones and the rest. Details of his maneuverings with colleagues and competitors are also chronicled (and ably reined in by Marvin Gaye biographer Ritz) and prove highly entertaining. Particularly fascinating are Yetnikoff’s recollections of Tommy Mottola and Allen Grubman ("The Grubber"). Both are mentioned dozens of times in various, often hilariously unflattering ways: first as butt-kissing "henchmen" who exist at Yetnikoff’s pleasure, then as back-stabbing co-conspirators who orchestrate his downfall. Select whatever size grain of salt you choose and enjoy—they don’t make them like this any more. (Jon O’Hara)

1. Capturing the Friedmans (HBO Video): Directed in his feature debut by MovieFone founder Andrew Jarecki, this Oscar-nominated documentary focuses on the archetypal Jewish family next door in suburban Long Island. That is, if the family next door featured a pedophile father, shrewish mom and an elder son who dubbed himself the "#1 children’s party clown in New York City." Using classic old home movies and video footage shot by oldest son David, this searing movie chronicles the disintegration of an apparently loving family after Arnold Friedman and youngest son Jesse are accused of more than 100 counts of molesting young boys who came to their home for computer classes. It’s a sad tale given tragic dimensions by the largely unsubstantiated nature of the charges, and made all the more chilling because it could happen to anybody. (Roy Trakin)

2. The Q People (Spirithouse Records): A valentine to venerable cult rockers NRBQ, featuring a wide range of talent, including Bonnie Raitt, Steve Earle, Los Lobos, Yo La Tengo, Ron Sexsmith and Widespread Panic, among others, covering songs by the band. Raitt’s version of "Me and the Boys" originally got the project rolling and is pretty darn definitive—can’t believe she hasn’t recorded it before, since it fits like a glove. Other highlights include Yo La Tengo’s gently countryfied "Magnet" and R.E.M.’s Mike Mills tackling "When Things Was Cheap." Extra special feature: Spongebob Squarepants voice (and band fan) Tom Kenny’s 17-minute audio cartoon featuring an NRBQ medley that recalls the surreal psychedelia of aural pranksters Firesign Theater. (RT)

3. Danger Mouse, Grey Album (unreleased): That rare combination of excellence in concept and execution. Taking the mash-up concept—stripping the vocals from one song and grafting them onto another, often completely dissimilar track, such as Public Enemy’s "Bring the Noize" and M’s "Pop Muzik," Danger Mouse puts Jay-Z’s Black Album on top of selections from The Beatles’ white album. All you old people can chill; nobody’s saying that Jay-Z is the new Beatles, but in a world where you can hear OutKast as a cell phone ringtone underneath Norah Jones coming from the Starbuck in-store play, it all makes sense. Hearing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" merged with "What More Can I Say" or the noisy "99 Problems" with the descending guitar riff from"Helter Skelter" will probably make those wistful for the 40th anniversary of The Beatles on Ed Sullivan angry. But hey, they broke up before I was born, so it’s all fair game. Finding the album may be difficult since Danger Mouse has been served with cease and desist orders for the disc, which he originally pressed as a promo only. (David Simutis)

4. Defense of Marriage, My Ass: Maybe you support the idea of gay marriage having the same legal protection as any straight union. Maybe you don’t. Either way, amending the constitution to codify marriage as a heterosexual couple’s sole domain is a bad idea. Liberal bastion People for the American Way has a handy online petition form you can sign. If you agree, just click here. For the record, though, here’s a little sermon: If marriage is a communion of two loving souls, why bring anatomy into it? And do we really want to use our constitution to rubber-stamp the idea that, say, a pop starlet’s drunken wedding weekend has more validity than a long-term, committed relationship between two people of the same sex? (Simon Glickman)

5. Johnny Coppola at Amalfi, L.A.: You probably know him as an erstwhile crossover promotion whiz for Columbia, Capitol and MCA, but this industry vet has taken the current music-biz doldrums as an opportunity to live out his dreams as a classic pop crooner in the mold of his idol Frank Sinatra. Dapper in his tailored suit and sipping occasionally from a whiskey glass, Coppola heads an impressive five-piece ensemble that includes noted music director Billy Cunliffe and a cameo appearance by Billy West, the voice of Ren & Stimpy. Coppola smoothly integrates standards like "I Only Have Eyes For You," "These Foolish Things" and "Luck Be A Lady" with original spoken-word raps "I’m Just a Singer" and "She Was Spectacular." As his alternate persona, the Rat Pack Poet, he effortlessly channels Sinatra musing on such real-life events as beating up a columnist and the love of his life, Ava Gardner. They can be heard on his own indie release, Hollywood Indigo (Coku Music), which you can read about by clicking here. If you know Johnny, prepare to be amazed. And even if you don’t, you’ll feel like you do after hearing him put across this classic material with style and the backing of some remarkably accomplished musicians. (RT)

6. One of the Loudest Tragedies Ever Heard: One of the longest band names ever hyped, too, but the new Skin EP from this L.A. collective (on indie imprint Wedgie Records) arrives amid a fair amount of expectation. Mixing industrial production, new-wave style and balls-out rock energy, frontman Johnny Fisher and crew are definitely onto something—especially on uptempo tracks like the exhilarating "Station" and "Fallin." (SG)

7. Jet, Get Born (Elektra): Staccato rock-pop that evokes the best of Cheap Trick, with enough slam to make a head-banger proud. They use hooks that'll drop Tyson with a melodic sense like a playground slide. This is what contagious, yet raw sounds like—and it's all built around the classic clichés in such a way that you wanna put the top down, pump your fist in the air and place your cares in park. Imagine AC/DC through a sparklier filter and you're getting warm. "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?"—the first hit—is only the tip of the iceberg; dig in, rim your eyes, razor cut your bangs and see as "Cold Hard Bitch," the next track, takes off. (Holly Gleason)

8. Bill Simmons, "The Sports Guy" ( Imagine someone slightly to the right of Lester Bangs and ranting about sports. Only doing it through such a personal filter that the way he lives his life, views his world, the game, the teams, the people become a carpet that rolls it all out before you, then lifts up and flies you away. Fast-paced, little details, sometimes germane of nothing and a will to rat-a-tat-type that is intoxicating. Even if you (like me) don't care about sports, he's worth the read. (HG)

9. Merle Haggard, "That's The News": You know the world's turning upside down, when the Okie from Muskogee is standing up against America at war—and is questioning the bias of the news as reported in this country. Yet Merle Haggard has always been an extremely clear social critic, and if he's having his doubts (long before the weapons of mass destruction were called into serious question), then we might take a long hard look at the program. And those piercing eyes in his video will haunt you for days about the right thing to do. Because when you strip all the rest of it back, what matters is people giving up their lives for something maybe they shouldn't be fighting for in the first place. (HG)

10. Richard Polsky, I Bought Andy Warhol (Harry N. Abrams): If you liked New Yorker writer Susan Orleans’ tilted tale of tropical piracy The Orchid Thief, know that she contributes the jacket blurb to this random romp through the high jinks, high-stakes world of art wheeling and dealing. With an insider's view, the author traces his stalking of his own Great White Whale—in this case, a significant work of pop cult favorite Andy Warhol—for his personal collection. Juxtaposed against the boom and bust of art, he hari karis our way through the characters, galleries and artists who made modern American art a new frontier for the rich to consider, then conquer, only to ultimately discard. (HG)

"I call it ho-wop. It’s a combination of hip-hop, doo-wop and hos," 20-year-old Eamon describes the sound of his new Jive Records album, in stores February 17 and featuring the smash hit "F*ck It (I Don’t Want You Back)." (Valerie Nome)

Show the love in your life just how you feel this Valentine’s Day weekend. If you’re happy and you know it, check out Enrique Iglesias on Saturday (February 14) at Radio City Music Hall (1260 Ave. of the Americas).

If you’re nursing a broken heart, join Eamon in singing "F*ck It (I Don’t Want You Back)" on Saturday at Z100’s "Shred Your Ex" party at Webster Hall (125 E. 11th). Despite his appearance at this ex-bashing contest, the Staten Island sensation talked about his best Valentine’s Day. "I was with a girl and we traded gifts. I really enjoyed it, I got her roses, chocolates, a big bear and took her out to eat." Not only is Eamon available, but this Staten Islander’s single is also rising on the charts.

If you’ve got kids in tow, "Sesame Street Live: Everyone Makes Music" is the featured performance Friday (February 13) through Monday (February 16) at Madison Square Garden (4 Penn Plaza). (VN)

50 First Dates (Columbia Pictures)
A veterinarian working at an aquarium in Hawaii, falls in love with a girl who has short-term memory loss, so that he has to keep getting her to fall in love with him every time they meet, kinda like Groundhog’s Day.
Stars: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Sean Astin, Missi Pyle, Rob Schneider, with a cameo by Kevin James.
Director: Peter Segal (Anger Management, Tommy Boy, My Fellow Americans, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps)
Thumbs Up: Sandler and Barrymore showed great chemistry in The Wedding Singer, and its Valentine’s Day opening should attract the dating crowd.
Thumbs Down: Slapstick comedy at its most physical, with Sandler reverting to what he does best after stretching in Punch-Drunk Love.
Soundtrack: Maverick Records album features reggae/island covers of ‘80s hits by Wayne Wonder ("Hold Me Now"), 311 ("Love Song", Seal/Mikey Dread ("Lips Like Sugar"), Ziggy Marley ("Drive"), UB40 ("Every Breath You Take"), Mark McGrath ("The Ghost In You"), Jason Mraz ("I Melt With You") and Sandler himself.
Website: features a trailer, character bios, games page ("Ask Lucy Out"), downloadables, behind the scenes, a movie mixer, mobile listening party, soundtrack player and links to

Monsieur Ibrahim (Sony Pictures Classics)
An elderly Arab deli owner in a red-light district of Paris befriends a 13-year-old boy he dubs "Momo."
Stars: Omar Sharif, Pierre Boulanger, Isabelle Renauld
Director: Francois Dupeyron
Thumbs Up:
French film was released for Academy Award consideration, nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, featuring acclaimed comeback performance by veteran Sharif.
Thumbs Down: Pretty much ignored in the Oscar race.
Soundtrack: None, though soundtrack features ‘60s classics from a popular French radio show of the time listened to by teenagers, Salut Les Copains, such as Timmy Thomas’ "Why Can’t We Live Together," Sam the Sham’s "Wooly Bully," Chris Montez’s "The More I See You," Bill Haley’s "Rock Around the Clock," Bobby Hebb’s "Sunny" and Trini Lopez’s "La Bamba," as well as some French pop hits of the time.
Website: provides a story synopsis, cast and crew information, an interview with Sharif and information on the music.

Those of you looking for the whereabouts of Kim Thayil, can relax; He’s been found. The riffmeister is one of many guests on Dave Grohl’s excellent metal Probot album. Highly recommended, and not just because Lemmy’s on there. This week, the question is more metaphysical; in these times of trouble in the business, the path to success isn’t always clear. It’s literally a jungle out there, with roadblocks being set by people afraid to make moves or file-sharers cutting into dollars. The next time you have one of those moments of indecision, ask yourself one simple question: What would Suge Knight do? Email me at [email protected] and tell me about your moments of crisis. I’m here to help. (DS)

The Lift, Road to Hana (Little Red Records): This local collective is the latest project from Matt and Jason Docter, twin rockers blessed with strong pop instincts. The Lift has more punch than Docter the band, thanks in large part to the propulsive, tight rhythm section of Todd Beeson (bass) and Mike Taylor (drums). The songs, while often overlong, are well wrought, evocative and sonically pleasing, suggesting what Radiohead would sound like if they spent their time listening to vintage Todd Rundgren and Spirit rather than... oh, I don’t know, electric can openers? Hooky guitar figures, inventive keyboards and smartly arranged harmonies abound. Highlights include the sexed-up power-chord extravaganza "Favorite Record" (replete with vocal pyrotechnics from Matt), the Cheap Trick-ish "Carousel," the non-teenager’s lament "15 Again" and the righteous, powerful "War Parade." (SG)

It’s a long weekend, it’s Valentine’s Day weekend, and it seems like it’s been a month since a three-day weekend. Whew. With things cooking along, we could all use the time off to de-stress. Or cry. If you live in the happiest place on Earth, other than Disneyworld, it will be sunny, with highs in the low 70s and lows in the upper 40s to low 50s. Yeah, it’s miserable here this time of year. On the other side of the country, it will also be mostly sunny. Temps will get up to the upper 40s and down into the 20s. On Monday, the low will be in the single digits. Seriously, you need to get a winter home somewhere sunny. (DS)

Thanks to Roy Trakin, David Simutis, Simon Glickman, Holly Gleason, Jon O'Hara and Valerie Nome for shooting this arrow in the air without knowing where it would land.

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