Atonement is simultaneously an acrobatic literary display and a good old-fashioned potboiler, and McEwan provides a final flourish in the form of a stunningly elegiac coda—it’s one of those indelible endings, like the final pages of Lolita or The Great Gatsby.


Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Helps Us Roll Over and Play Dead
Like his MTV nemesis Eminem and Howard Stern, SNL and Conan O’Brien writer Robert Smigel’s bow-tie-wearing, cigar-chomping Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is allowed to vent his discontent at civilization in an indecipherable Eurotrash Gallic accent with little fear of repercussion. Maybe it’s because he’s a rubber hand puppet, but no mere human could get away with telling a stunned Jay Leno this week: "I left a poop in your Green Room with more heat than John Kerry," who was about to be introduced, to a chorus of stunned silence and scattered boos. "You suck up to the Terminator and then force a war hero to follow a rubber dog puppet?" Hey, I keeed, I keeed, as Triumph himself puts it, Don Rickles as horny mongrel mutt, or as he croons on his new Warner Bros. CD/DVD, Come Poop With Me, "Who put the cock in the cocker spaniel?" Not since our own first popcult hero, Howdy Doody, has a puppet so captured the cultural zeitgeist. This Weakend Planner goes to the dogs in honor of Triumph’s triumph.

1. Stones Packaging Prowess: Ever since the halcyon "Would you want your daughter to marry a Rolling Stone?" days of their mentor/first manager Andrew Loog Oldham, the Stones have proved master media manipulators and expert at marketing the band. Their latest efforts show no sign of letting up, starting with Allen Klein’s superb SACD re-issues and concluding with new vinyl versions of all the ABCKO stuff (up to and including Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out) later this year. The brand-new, Best Buy-exclusive Four Flicks four-DVD set is another triumph of putting old wine in new bottles, or rather old wine in older bottles, and despite the controversy from left-out retailers, is an impressive package at under $30. The set includes all three versions of the last tour, which encompassed outdoor stadiums, indoor arenas and theaters, with one disc featuring documentaries and various extras, like programming your own Stones sets or spotlighting a single member of the band—presumably not Bobby Keys. The theater version, filmed at the historic Olympia in Paris, features their covers of "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," "That’s How Strong my Love Is," "The Nearness of You" and their version of the O’Jays’ "Love Train." Also, Chronicle Books’ just-released coffee table tome According to the Rolling Stones is an oral history in the band’s own words, without too much sugar-coating. Keith writes in longhand: "I never plan anything, which is probably the difference between Mick and myself. Mick needs to know what he’s going to do to-morrow and I’m just happy to wake up and see who’se [sic] hanging around. Mick’s ROCK, I’m ROLL." (Roy Trakin)

2. Tupac: Resurrection: As this feature-length documentary, told eerily in sound bites from the man himself, proves, Tupac Shakur was one incredible actor. Whether he was a self-proclaimed "thug" or "angel," he knew how to play both roles to the hilt, especially in his revealing interviews, here spliced masterfully together by longtime MTV production exec Lauren Lazin in this co-production between the music network, Paramount Pictures and mom Afeni Shakur’s Amaru Entertainment. Whether he’s portrayed as the Black Generation X’s martyred version of Kurt Cobain or James Dean, Shakur’s remarkable charisma is undeniable. The film, which includes amazing footage of the young Tupac as one of the only African-Americans in his Baltimore performing arts school class, certainly does justice to Shakur the visionary and poet, but his musical accomplishments get surprisingly short shrift. What comes across is the struggle of a man who wears his heart and thoughts on his sleeve, seeking sanctuary and acceptance by straddling the worlds of black and white culture. No sinner and no saint, but a man whose life touched millions, and ended way too soon. That sense of loss is palpable throughout this unexpectedly moving home movie. (RT)

3. Pink, GET THIS (Arista Records): You won’t hear me dissing Pink, even as first-week sales look disappointing for her follow-up to the 12-million worldwide-selling Missundaztood. That’s what you get when you stretch not only gender, but genre boundaries in this heavily formatted universe. By collaborating with Rancid’s Tim Armstrong on the first single, a punk-rocking "Trouble," she has seemingly left her Rhythm audience dazed and confused, which is the point. The second single, "God Is a DJ," returns the diva to the get-up-and-dance vibe of "Get the Party Started," but elsewhere, she continues to confound. She’s silkily seductive on "Oh My God," on which she enlists fellow siren, hip-hop cult figure Peaches; yowls like Robert Plant crossed with Janis Joplin on the Linda Perry co-write, "Waiting for Love"; emotes with Patti Smith urgency on the vindictive "Last to Know" and oozes vulnerability on the ballad, "Love Song." Pink may just be too all over the place for today’s strictly segmented marketplace, but we’re all the worse if it discourages artists like her from trying to bring all the king’s horses and all the king’s men back together again. (RT)

4. James Chance & the Contortions @ All Tomorrow’s Parties, Long Beach: The highlight of The Simpsons creator Matt Groening’s festival of outsider art was seeing a rare appearance by this seminal New York No Wave funk-rockers with several original members on hand. The elfin Chance looks like a slightly puffed-up version of himself, preserved in formaldehyde for the past quarter century, but his gnarled, yowling dance-punk still sounds years ahead of its time. A special treat was the return of Adele Bertei on keyboards, looking every bit the chanteuse Charles Koppelman tried to turn her into on SBK with "Build Me a Bridge." The rest of the line-up, guitarists Pat Place and Jody Harris, along with drummer Don Christenson, was as tight as if they’d never been apart. They might not have been the next big thing, but I had to pinch myself to believe I was watching Chance and company 25 years later. The only thing missing was killjoy critic Bob Christgau…for Chance to poop on, of course. (RT)

5. General Wesley Clark: Can the Liberal general uproot the Bush? His press is better, his organization’s growing and his OutKast gag on the Rock the Vote special was the hippest move by a politico since Clinton played sax on Arsenio. True, he’s got a long way to go in terms of fundraising and name recognition, but it appears that only an outsider is going to light a fire under the Dems. Email to request info about a Clark event in L.A. this weekend. (SG)

6. Paris Hilton: After hovering on the verge of celebrity for years, this society vixen is finally a household word. Best of all, she achieved her fame the old-fashioned way—by having a poorly shot homemade porn tape circulated on the Net. Hooray for America! The night-vision tape’s half-hearted copulatory exercises are made extra-creepy by the erstwhile starlet’s dilated-in-the-dark eyes, which suggest the kids from Village of the Damned. Mmmm, sexy! (Simon Glickman)

7. Joan Didion, Where I Was From: Having captured '70s California culture with a sharp eye and a hairpin turn of the word in The White Album and Slouching Towards Bethlehem and, having taken her rapier eye for detail and conflict to Salvador in her later work, Didion is a first-class archer of American letters. Always pulling her bow taut and putting her verbal arrows through the target with speed, clarity and style, she knows how to create truth from mere language. With Where I Was From, she goes to the genesis of both her family's experience in the Golden State—and its own origins of do-your-own-thing-tolerance. When you start thinking about pioneers and their legacy and trace forward from there, the commentary on the eras she embraced takes on a new poignancy. Sociologically, culturally, even verbally, Didion is a must to not miss. (Holly Gleason)

8. L.A. Storms: OK, Murph, it ain’t nothin’ compared to Texas weather. But Wednesday night’s electrical cloudburst had TV meteorologists in a tizzy ("We’re keeping an eye on that storm cell in Lynwood, Bob...") and citizens freaking out. Floods! Hail! Potential mudslides! Meanwhile, blinding lightning and window-rattling thunderclaps (following a day of double rainbows against a black sky) made for the most dramatic L.A. weather in recent memory. And while I was battening down the hatches at home, I saw lightning hit a tree across the canyon and start a fire. Was it the beginning of the apocalypse? Well, since the rain put the fire out before the LAFD arrived, probably not. (SG)

9. DKNY Presents Vanity Fair "In Concert": Featuring all-star band Camp Freddy (Dave Navarro, Billy Morrison, Scott Ford, Donovan Leitch and Matt Sorum), special guest performances by Gina Gershon, Slash, Macy Gray, Mark McGrath, Scott Weiland, Steve Jones, Josh Todd, Duff McKagan, Megan Mullally & the Supreme Music Program amd more. The event, hosted by Mena Suvari at the Avalon in Hollywood (doors 7 p.m., show 8 p.m.), benefits the Step Up Women’s Network. Tickets are $29.50-$39.50 and available online at www.ticketmaster.com. For VIP packages, call Step Up Women’s Network (310) 391-5558. (Jill Kushner)

10. Noise-cancelling headphones: Part of the reason flying is so stressful and painful is the noise. What you need is something to drown out the droning engines, the obnoxious sales guy drinking in front of you, and the inevitable crying baby. With noise-cancelling headphones, the only reason to hate flying is that gravity always wins. To drown out your screaming fellow passengers as the plane plummets, Bose’s QuietComfort2 headphones have tiny microphones embedded in the earpieces, and noise-cancelling circuitry inverts the soundwave. (It’s techno mumbo-jumbo, but it works.) They have great bass response, and only require one AAA battery. Three-hundred bucks, after tax, might seem like a lot to shell out for some ear goggles, but your sanity is worth it. (David Simutis)

Ian McEwan, Atonement (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2002):
In his most recent novel, the great contemporary English novelist paints a broad and intricate canvas spanning 64 years, beginning with a minute-by-minute account of a single day in the summer of 1935. What happens will dramatically alter the lives of the narrative’s three principals, 11-year-old aspiring writer Briony Tallis, her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, the upwardly mobile son of one of the Tallis family’s servants, as well as those of its deftly drawn secondary characters.

In the early chapters, the book reads like a sharply observed drawing-room comedy, in which McEwan displays an uncharacteristically light touch as the narrative turns on a nunaced examination of the parallel universes of children and the authority figures that hover over them, scrutinizing and passing judgment. But the tone darkens incrementally, as Briony observes with naïve but obsessive curiosity the volatile mating dance of her sister and Robbie. As he tells the story, McEwan pauses along the way to fill in the surrounding detail, memorably probing the hermetic interior life of a migraine sufferer (the girls’ mother). Briony’s misunderstanding of Cecilia’s rapidly intensifying relationship with Robbie culminates in a shattering accusation that transforms the story into all but Shakespearean melodrama.

The subsequent section, which follows Robbie as he joins thousands of other frightened British soldiers to flee from the advancing German forces toward the evacuation at Dunkirk, with Cecilia waiting for him on the other side of the English Channel, is tense and brutally vivid. It leads up to a reunion of the two sisters and Robbie that reads like an unabashed page-turner and pays off in a series of masterfully orchestrated twists.

Atonement is simultaneously an acrobatic literary display and a good old-fashioned potboiler, and McEwan provides a final flourish in the form of a stunningly elegiac coda—it’s one of those indelible endings, like the final pages of Lolita or The Great Gatsby. With this remarkable novel, McEwan has joined Jonathan Franzen and Michael Chabon as creators of a bona fide postmillennial classic. (Bud Scoppa)

Holy crap, the sky is falling. Hail, rain, and flooding, cause people to freak out on the news and highways in Los Angeles this week. That’s enough of that. This weekend in L.A. it will be upper 60s and mostly sunny, with lows dipping into the upper 50s overnight. And will the natives appreciate that, or will they still be complaining about a day of rain? Scoffing at us from NYC, people there will be cleaning up from hurricane-strength winds, reinforcing their feelings of superiority to the rest of the world. That it will be chilly, with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the low 40s will be of no consequence. New Yorkers are tough, and a little thing like wind doesn’t stop them. (DS)

Retro-rock heaven with HITS-beloved band The Capitol Years, Sat. (11/15) @ Mercury Lounge 9 p.m. (The High Strung at 10, The Brian Jonestown Massacre at 11). Also, shockabilly that'll give you Cramps: The Young Werewolves Sat..( 11/29) @ Otto's Shrunken Head, 538 East 14th Street (Between Avenues A and B, East Village). (SG)

Being rich and famous doesn't mean stars don't enjoy the simpler things. (That is, unless they're Paris Hilton…) Just listen to what Julia Roberts told Readers Digest: "Oh, well, last night we made steaks—he [husband Danny Moder] makes the best steaks. I'm a total meat eater, and I don't know how people do all of these fabulous diets—I can't do that. We had big fat steaks and that was great, and watched a movie, Barbershop." (Valerie Nome)

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Fox/Universal/Miramax)Premise: Larger-than-life British commander chases Napoleonic phantom ship around the coast of South America with a crew full of rambunctious shipmates.
Stars: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd, James D’Arcy.
Director: Peter Weir (Witness, Truman Show, Gallipoli, Dead Poets Society).Thumbs Up: The adult version of Pirates of the Caribbean meets Mutiny on the Bounty without the mutiny part. Oscar buzz has already started.Thumbs Down: Lots of leering, unshaven guys and no female appeal.
Soundtrack: Decca soundtrack includes score by Iva Davies, Christopher Gordon and Richard Tognetti along with classical pieces by Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Corelli and Boccherini.
Website: www.masterandcommanderthefarsideoftheworld.com/ is as wide-screen and bursting at the seams as the movie itself, letting you follow the ship’s journey, with film, performer and production information as well as comprehensive historical background.

Looney Tunes: Back in Action (WB)
Premise: Live action cartoon as Daffy Duck quits his job at a Hollywood studio because he feels Bugs Bunny is getting all the attention, then teams up with a recently fired stuntman, who is in search of his father’s lost "Blue Diamond." Much mayhem ensues as the duo travels to Vegas and Africa, with a studio exec and Bugs hot on their tail.
Stars: Brendan Fraser, Joan Cusack, Steve Martin, Timothy Dalton, Jenna Elfman, Heather Locklear, Roger Corman, Matthew Lillard.
Director: Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Howling)
Thumbs Up: If anyone can inject a sense of kinetic, exhilarating wackiness to the proceedings its popcult expert Dante.
Thumbs Down: There must be a reason why there hasn’t been a successful mix of live-action and animation since Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande album features music composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith as a tribute to the old "Merrie Melodies."
Website: www2.warnerbros.com/looneytunesbackinaction/index.html has information about the film, music, trailers and video, posters, photo gallery, ringers, games, tickets and showtimes, Looney Tunes news and links to sites featuring stars Fraser, Elfman and Martin.

Tupac: Resurrection (MTV/Paramount)
Premise: MTV-produced documentary of rap star, murdered in 1996, in his own words, authorized by mom Afeni.
Stars: Tupac, Tabitha Soren.Director: MTV VP News and Docs Lauren Lazin in her feature debut.
Thumbs Up: Offers a look behind the icon at the man, with rare early home movie footage.
Thumbs Down: Watch him flirt shamelessly with a perpetually blushing Soren.
Soundtrack: Amaru/Interscope album features Eminem’s production of "Runnin’ (Dying to Live)," with verses from Tupac and Notorious B.I.G, using a sample from Edgar Winter’s "Dyin’ to Live."
Website: www.tupac-resurrection.com has info about the film, downloads, trailer, soundtrack information, events and links.

The Big Empty (Artisan)
Premise: A black comedy about a struggling actor deep in debt working as a courier in the film industry, who receives an offer from a strange man which would solve his financial problems, if he delivers a blue suitcase to a cowboy in a small desert town.
Stars: Jon Favreau, Rachael Leigh Cook, Joey Lauren Adams, Adam Beach, Sean Bean, Bud Cort, Daryl Hannah, Kelsey Grammer, Danny Trejo, Melora Walters.
Director: Steve Anderson, who also write the screenplay, is avetgeran cameraman who’s shot documentaries for PBS.
Thumbs Up: Indie sensibility but a major-label cast could make for some interesting sparks.
Thumbs Down: Advance word has been less than deafening.
Soundtrack: None.
Website: www.rainstormentertainment.com will give you information on the film and a trailer.

This has been a tough week. I’ve been sick, and my sister is in an unexpected surgery right now, so everyone is going to have to live without my cocktail for this week. I didn’t want to leave you empty-handed, so I’ve found three fun and different things for you try out this weekend.

Fire and Ice: If you’ve been looking for something original to do on a date, Downtown on Ice is what you’ve been asking for. This is Los Angeles’ answer to NYC’s Rockefeller Center. Although it doesn’t start until next week, this is definitely something to check out in order to get the true feeling of the holidays. Beginning Nov. 19 and going until Jan. 19, Pershing Square is converted into an outdoor ice rink. If you can’t wait until next weekend to lace up your skates, then try Pickwick Ice Center in Burbank. Afterwards, warm up your date at the Bigfoot Lodge, on Los Feliz Blvd., with a Flaming Spanish Fly (recipe below) and a little snuggling by their stone fireplace.

Bowling and Beer: Growing up in the Midwest, I spent a lot of time in bowling alleys. Even though I escaped Indiana, I still like the bowling alley experience—cheap beer and great people watching. Here are some of the L.A’s hippest bowling alleys to choose from: Lucky Strike Lanes (Hollywood and Highland), Jillian’s Hi-Life Lanes (Universal City Walk), Pickwick Bowling (Burbank) and All Star Bowling Lanes (Eagle Rock).

Markets and Mimosas: In my opinion, that’s what weekends are for. There are tons of farmer markets around the city every weekend. Drag your butt out of bed early, grab some friends and get some grub. After walking around at the market, grab a mimosa and brunch. Try out one of these this weekend: Hollywood Farmers’ Market—every Sunday morning on Ivar (between Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset); Santa Monica Farmers’ Market—every Wednesday and Saturday on Arizona (between 2nd St. and 4th St.); Santa Monica Main Street Farmers’ Market—this is one of my favorites and takes place every Sunday on Main Street (at Ocean Park Blvd.)—and Studio City Farmers’ Market—every Sunday on Ventura Place (one street south of Ventura Blvd.) and Laurel Canyon.

De’s Drink of the week:

Flaming Spanish Fly

1 oz. Cuervo

1 oz. Kahlua

½ oz. Bacardi 151


Top with whipped cream and garnish with a cherry

Rim the glass with sugar and pour in the Cuervo and Kahlua. Gently float the 151 on top. Light the rum and swirl glass to lightly melt the sugar with the flame. Pour in the coffee to extinguish the flame and fill the glass. Top with whipped cream and a cherry. Be VERY careful, because it will be really hot and really potent!

I hope all of you have an adventure-filled weekend. My cocktail of the week should be back to normal next week. Until next week—hugs and kisses. (Denise Bayles)

Thanks to Roy Trakin, Simon Glickman, David Simutis, Holly Gleason, Jill Kushner, Bud Scoppa, Valerie Nome and Denise Bayles for banging the shit out of this shih tzu.

A $6B FISCAL '22
Cooper sets the table for Kyncl. (11/23a)
The Lipmans are thankful for their superstars. (11/25a)
...with all the trimmings (11/25a)
The kids are alright. (11/25a)
All good things come to an end. (11/23a)
Artists sound off on the prospect of being nominated
They're changing the game... for some.
You're helping with the runoff, right?

 First Name

 Last Name


Captcha: (type the characters above)