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First-listen reaction to the as yet-unshopped debut album from Ray LaMontagne: Think Astral Weeks meets Otis Blue meets Traffic meets Music From Big Pink. It may well be a masterpiece—unless they fuck it up in the mastering.
A LEANER, WIENER
WEAKEND PLANNER
Don’t Wake Us Up Until This Part Is
Completely Over With. Thank You.
Ever have one of those days when you’re just NOT INTO IT? Sorry, loyal reader, but we’re having one of those days today. To say we can’t get it up doesn’t do justice to our collective state of mind(lessness). It’s a minor miracle there’s anything at all in the space below; if it happens to make any sense, consider that icing on the cake. The fact that our art director, Darren Cava, had an emergency appendectomy didn't help. Get well soon, dude. Things are so bad that we slipped in Simon Glickman’s write-up on Seal, which went up on the site just the day before yesterday as a stand-alone story, just to make the Planner seem semi-beefy (it’s more like vegan). Remarkably, Simon also managed to shake off his ennui long enough to bang out a paean to his beloved Roches. Without Glickie, there’d be hardly anything to read this week. We’ll be back on our game next time…and that’s a hope, not a promise.

THE POPCULT TOP 10
1. HBO’s Rhythm Method:
The preeminent cable network—and it doesn’t need the qualifier “cable,” not these days—has managed to keep its massive Sunday night audience coming back for more since the first season of The Sopranos by timing the arcs of its series so that there’s never a weekend that lies fallow. Sunday night, HBO follows the first-half-of-last season finale of Sex and the City (which has subtly, and affectingly, morphed from comedy to drama this summer) with the premiere episode of Carnivale, a carney tale set in the Depression era whose previews look extremely Twin Peaks-ish. If the idea seems less than compelling, just remember how ambivalent you were when you first heard about the new series that was set in a funeral home. “Like I’m gonna watch that, right? Get serious.” And soon enough, we did. Hope this one’s good (we’ll give it a shot, considering the source), but if it isn’t, we won’t have long to wait for the return of Curb Your Enthusiasm. —BS

2. Ray LaMontagne: Writer/artist from a remote (and I mean remote) area of Maine improbably gets discovered by Chrysalis Music’s Jamie Cerreta (no, not on a camping trip—there are limits to talent scouting), who signs the guy, along with his boss, Kenny MacPherson. They decide to make an album and then find a home for it. They play LaMontagne’s demos for gifted young producer/player Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Jayhawks, Kings of Leon), himself newly signed to Chrysalis as a songwriter, and after one song, Ethan says, “I’ve GOT to do this record.” And so it is. Two weeks prepro at the Alley, then two weeks in a computer-free zone at Sunset Sound, with Ray on acoustic and (lead, not scratch) vocals, Ethan facing him on the drum kit. Ethan then overdubs the bass, along with some piano and one burnin’ electric guitar part, writes the string charts and mixes the album on the concluding weekend, while Ray wonders if he’s dreaming. First-listen reaction: Think Astral Weeks meets Otis Blue meets Traffic meets Music From Big Pink. It may well be a masterpiece—unless they fuck it up in the mastering. Just kidding. You read it here first, kiddies. —BS

3. Paste magazine: With print publications headed for cyberspace, it’s kind of comforting to see a magazine go the other way around. This Atlanta-based bi-monthly actually started as a website, only to launch as a hard copy about a year ago. Armed with praise from the likes of Cameron Crowe and Ben Fong-Torres, Publisher Nick Purdy and Editor Josh Jackson try to bring back the tradition of quality music journalism represented by the original Rolling Stone and Option, featuring artists they’re passionate about. The approach is a bit sober, but at least the articles aim for substance—and each issue comes with a CD sampler representing the editorial staff’s top picks for the month. —RT

4. Kings of Leon, Youth & Young Manhood (RCA): Don’t let the “Southern Rock” moniker fool you. These three young sons of a minister and their cousin may hail from Tennessee, but their music is more likely to appeal to fans of The White Stripes, mid-period Stones and the Velvets than Lynyrd Skynyrd. In fact, the compact, madly infectious tracks on their Ethan Johns-produced debut don’t have a second to waste. The frantic tempos of Nathan Followill keep things barreling along, and lead guitarist Matthew Followill’s jagged lines recall the urgency of first-wave garage rock. Singer-guitarist Caleb Followill’s husky vocals, meanwhile, are the very essence of hard-living, hell-bent, rock & roll attitude—with just the right tinge of melancholy. Standout songs include the revved-up “Molly’s Chambers,” the propulsive “Happy Alone” and the piquant, jangly “Joe’s Head.”
—SG

5. NCAA Game of the Week: Since Guy W.T. Goggles didn’t care enough to share his NFL purdickshuns this week, we’ll turn to a level of the sport we prefer, anyway. The college game is more unpredictable and electrifying than the pros; to wit, those two amazing comebacks last Saturday, as Notre Dame somehow slipped past Washington State in overtime after fumbling its way to a pathetic 19-0 first-half deficit, and Miami abruptly turned it on to blow past Florida after being down 33-10. This weekend, the brand-name match-up pits the #15 Irish against powerful #5 Michigan at the latter’s huge and imposing stadium—if ND coach and master motivator Ty Willingham can inspire his squad to an unlikely upset of the maize and blue, it’ll be a miracle, but miracles happen weekly at this level. Go Irish. (12:30 PT, ABC) —BS

6. The Austin City Limits Music Festival, which returns next weekend (9/19-21), is bigger, longer and better than last year's inaugural event. Festival promoter Capital Sports & Entertainment expects a total three-day attendance of more than 180,000 music fans, which would make it the largest music fest in the U.S. this year. Among the 130-plus bands that will be performing on eight stages located in beautiful Zilker Park are R.E.M., Jack Johnson, Pat Green, Al Green, Rosanne Cash, Spoon, Ben Harper, Nickel Creek and Robert Randolph. CSE recently announced that the festival is already scheduled to return for the next five years. —KH

7. Quote of the Week: There’s nothing like being new at the media thing. Ali Wentworth, who’s making the rounds promoting her new talk show, Living It Up With Ali & Jack, had a thing or two to say about her breasts in the latest issue of Cosmopolitan. The wife of ABC newsie George Stephanopoulos confesses that she wishes she “had run topless through St. Tropez and worn a sheer camisole to a movie premiere,” before she became pregnant with daughter Elliott Anastasia. “My perky little breasts that once pointed toward the sun now resemble deflated condoms tossed on the side of the highway." [Ed. note: That’s way too much information. Sorry, George.] —VN

8. Jeff Bates: This RCA Nashville singer/songwriter was handpicked by Brooks & Dunn to open their recent tour. The deep-voiced Mississippi native, the adopted son of a sharecropping father and Pentacostal minister mom who admits to overcoming a debilitating methamphetamine addiction, which led to a jail term, has a stern, unsparing style that is as straightforward and honest as his humble roots. Nashville PR queen Holly Gleason brought him for an intimate meet-and-greet to L.A., where he wowed a roomful of jaded journalist types with a five-song set that basically ran down his life. The autobiographical “My Mississippi,” the heart-wrenching “The Wings of Mama’s Prayers” and the inspirational album title track about the universality of humankind, “Rainbow Man,” left several in the room sobbing like babies. —RT

9. Um...on second thought, forget it.

10. #10 is on vacation and will return next week.

HARMONIC CONVERGENCE
The Roches, The Collected Works of the Roches (Warner Bros./Rhino): I’ve been a fan of the Roche sisters’ fierce harmonies, offbeat composition style and defiant quirkiness for longer than I care to admit. But enough time had lapsed since I last heard them (I lost the vinyl in a divorce about 13 years ago, but that’s another story) that this new comp has prompted me to fall in love with their work all over again. Maggie, Terre and Suzzy Roche blended their voices to thrilling effect, and their innate flair for arrangement and dynamic shifts was honed during a million grueling sets in folk clubs across the nation. Their material was usually touching, personal, frank and funny, and always disarming.

Their eponymous debut LP (released in 1979, produced “in audio verité” by Robert Fripp and garnished with some of his most expressive playing) provides Collected Works with four seminal cuts, including Terre’s crawling-back-to-the-boss classic “Mr. Sellack” (“I’ll get down on my knees and scrub behind the steam table”) and Suzzy’s vulnerable, hilarious “The Train.” The more pop-oriented album Nurds furnishes its title track (a punky anthem for pre-teen pariahs written by Suzzy) and Maggie’s stunning “One Season.” The latter allows the Roches to wield their harmonic prowess like a cudgel, as a verse about discord in a relationship is voiced in the unsettling harmony known as “the Devil’s interval.” (How unsettling? Let’s just say the fretless bass solo that follows that section comes as a relief.) Fripp returned to produce Keep On Doing, from which four superlative tracks are culled: the sisters’ inspired, energetic a cappella version of Handel’s “The Hallelujah Chorus,” Maggie’s achingly gorgeous “Losing True” (featuring my favorite Fripp solo ever) and two Suzzy-Terre collaborations, the raucous “Want Not Want Not” and “Keep on Doing What You Do/Jerks on the Loose,” a self-styled “pep talk” written in response to dismissive critics.

Though 1985’s Another World suffers from dreadful ’80s production, it provides four songs for the anthology—including the triad’s “Face Down at Folk City” and Mark Johnson’s “Love Radiates Around.” Finally, 1989’s Speak and 1992’s A Dove account for two apiece, the best of which are Terre’s “Everyone Is Good” and Maggie’s delicate “A Dove.” There’s also a fine live version of Maggie’s “The Married Men.” All in all, this 19-track comp is a stirring introduction to a unique, ever-evolving group, all members of which are still making music. The booklet, meanwhile, is generously decorated with photos and Terre’s charming illustrations. Now, when will someone reissue the Maggie and Terre’s brilliant 1975 album, Seductive Reasoning?
Simon Glickman

MORE SHINY ROUND THINGS
IMA Robot, IMA Robot (Virgin): Cut from the same cloth as Ziggy-era Bowie, IMA Robot’s glam-colored new wave is supported by well-crafted songs, with hints of darkness in the lyrics. The band’s debut compares favorably to the keyboard-heavy, punk-inspired but still pop-songwriting, bands like Hot Hot Heat, The Faint and Interpol. They’ve also enticed onetime Beck backing players Justin Meldal-Johnson and Joey Waronker to join, with good reason. They can write damn catchy songs, evincing sufficient energy to power an army of mechanical men. Lead track and first single “Dynomite” is a choppy blast of guitars and keyboards that announces IMA Robot as a both retro and futuristic. There’s nothing artificial about this kind of pop intelligence. —DS

My Morning Jacket, It Still Moves (ATO): A little bit country, a little bit more rock & roll and rangy Americana, Jim James and his Louisville cohorts’ third album (their first for Dave Matthews’ imprint) is generating huge buzz among the PoMoscenti, including rock & roll missionary Dave Grohl, who recently put them on a bill with his Foo Fighters. It isn’t as far out as, say, the Stone Roses at their peak, but still, there’s a definite trippiness to the looseness of the playing, James’ deliberately distant-sounding vocals and, of course, the extended instrumental interludes. Churner “One Big Holiday” is an obvious winner, while “Easy Morning Rebel” trots out a little twang, building to an almost Van Morrison-like horn jam. Trance-inducer “Run Thu,” meanwhile, builds to a riotous climax before a majestic tempo shift restores calm. Kentucky fried never sounded so good. —JO

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Vintage Slide Collections From Seattle, Vol. 1 (Bar None): Revenge of the nerds. Combining early Talking Heads’ downtown pretensions, They Might Be Giants’ hook craft and Randy Newman’s sardonic satire, this “indie-vaudeville conceptual art-rock pop band” is even better on record than their technologically challenged live show. Playing along to slides found at yard sales and estate auctions, daddy Jason Trachtenburg’s nasal aw-shucks post-geek narratives are charmingly underlined by daughter Rachel Piña’s sturdy Mo Tucker drumming and angelic backup vocals, along with mom projectionist Tina Piña’s beaming support. The aptly named “Mountain Trip to Japan 1959” encapsulates the irresistibly quirky, melodic approach, though the magnum opus, “Opnad Contribution Study Committee Report, June 1977,” a McDonald’s sales meeting set to song, is the set piece, a mini-rock opera that rivals The Who Sell Out for its comments on capitalism’s discontents. —RT

SEAL ENDS THE WAITING
Seal IV (Warner Bros.): It’s been five years since Seal’s last work, 1998’s Human Being, and that’s a long time to wait. Even Seal seems to acknowledge this—two songs on his latest album, Seal IV, have "Wait" in the title.

But some things are worth waiting for.

Possessing one of the most gorgeous and distinctive voices in contemporary music, with a sweet, gritty soulfulness that evokes Sam Cooke and Otis Redding and a husky vulnerability suggestive of Peter Gabriel, the British singer-songwriter born Sealhenry Samuel has returned just when we needed him most.

Produced, as were the artist’s previous releases, by Trevor Horn, Seal IV is a state-of-the-art upper-demo album, to be sure—its sleek grooves, insinuating melodies and inventive arrangements make it equally suitable for the car, gym, club and bedroom—but it’s also a powerful affirmation of humanity and spiritual connection in a dark time.

These 12 new songs repeatedly emphasize the power of love and community. The tone is set by the Curtis Mayfield-esque symphonic soul of opener "Get It Together" (which bookends the disc, along with its short reprise), an expansive plea for unity.

"Waiting for You," the album’s kinetic lead single, is a breathless expression of yearning and desire atop a spacious, percolating beat, with hooks threaded through each ambitious section. "Feels like the world’s at stake," he wails in a thrilling falsetto during the chorus, and there’s no doubting he means it.

The ballad "Don’t Make Me Wait" is a stunning update of the classic, torchy soul-pop that so influenced Seal’s musical sensibility, rising to its emotional crescendo on an exquisite string arrangement. If his performance on this track doesn’t give you chills, consult a physician. It’s arguably the loveliest song he’s recorded since the 1996 smash "Kiss From a Rose."

On the urgent, percolating "Let Me Roll," Seal disdains the materialism of much modern pop, declaring, "Got no Escalade to talk about/Just heart and soul." A similar sentiment guides the celestial, reggae-inflected "Where There’s Gold": "When there’s nothing left to buy/It’s only love that gets you high."

The intimate "Loneliest Star" and searching, disillusioned "Tinsel Town" meditate on the emptiness of celebrity without communion.

The driving "My Vision," the spare, incandescent "Love’s Divine," the swooning "Touch" and "Heavenly… (Good Feeling)" all underscore Seal’s primary message: that love can make earth into heaven. Given the anguish and despair bombarding us each day, it couldn’t be timelier.

With its thematic uplift and musical depth and consistency, Seal IV has all the earmarks of a "must-have" album. Adult listeners—far more resistant to the siren calls of video games and unauthorized downloading than younger consumers—are increasingly vital to the industry’s bottom line. And whenever anyone bothers to ask, they clamor for music of substance.

Many of these listeners have been fans of Seal’s since his earliest hits. The return of this dynamic, versatile talent is just what they’ve been waiting for. —SG

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
Matchstick Men
(WB)
Premise:
Based on Eric Garcia novel about a professional con man struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder who meets the daughter he never knew he had, which puts his organized and artificially controlled life into jeopardy.
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Alison Lohman, Sam Rockwell, Bruce Altman, Bruce McGill, Melora Walters
Director: Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Alien)
Thumbs Up: Cage does his neurotic thing again in what’s being called a Paper Moon-type movie.
Thumbs Down: Watching the trailers makes us nervous… Do we want to spend two hours with this jittery nut?
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande album includes Hans Zimmer.
Website: www.matchstickmenmovie.warnerbros.com/ includes story, trailer, cast and filmmaker info, production notes, soundtrack info, downloads, movie mail, tickets and showtimes.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Columbia Pictures)
Premise:
Final third of Robert Rodriguez trilogy that included El Mariachi and Desperado . The traveling vigilante known as El Mariachi is recruited by a CIA agent to capture a corrupt general in cahoots with a powerful drug lord in an attempt to overthrow the president of Mexico, which all comes to a head in a series of violent confrontations.
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Johnny Deep, Ruben Blades, Willem Dafoe, Salma Hayek, Enrique Iglesias, Cheech Marin, Mickey Rourke, Danny Trejo
Thumbs Up: This homage to Sergio Leone looks like it could be pretty entertaining.
Thumbs Down: Will third time be one too many times to the well?
Soundtrack: Milan Records soundtrack features tracks by Brian Setzer, Johnny Depp & Friends, Chingon, Del Castillo, Manu Chao, Tito Larriva and original score composed by Robert Rodriguez.
Website: www.sonypictures.com/movies/onceuponatimeinmexico has a plot synopsis, cast info, previews, production notes and a great shot of Salma Hayek.

Cabin Fever (Lions Gate Films)
Premise:
Five college buddies head off to the woods for a weekend of drinking, partying and fooling around, only to meet a blood-soaked hermit who is infected with a flesh-eating virus that starts to spread, making those who don’t have it react with paranoia and hostility.
Stars: James De Bello, Joey Kern, Jordan Ladd, Rider Strong, Cerina Vincent, Giuseppe Andrews, Richard Boone, Robert Harris.
Director: Main claim to fame for first-time director Eli Roth, who sold the film at the Toronto International Film Festival for $2.5 million, is that he once served as Howard Stern’s human alarm clock on the Private Parts shoot.
Thumbs Up: This horror film has been getting thumbs-up from the likes of Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson as a fun ride.
Thumbs Down: After 28 Days Later, another new film about a virulent virus?
Soundtrack: La-La Land Records soundtrack includes score by Nathan Barr and Angelo Badalamenti, with songs by Scrappy Hamilton, Your Mom, Happy Wednesday and the Turtlenecks.
Website: www.cabinfevermovie.com features scenes from the film as exposed Polaroids, reviews, message board, poster, contests, showtimes, story synopsis, cast and crew information.

Lost in Translation (Focus Features)
Premise:
Washed-up American TV star in Tokyo to make a whiskey commercial runs into the young wife of a photographer, where they end up spending a weekend on a “soul-searching” mission.
Stars: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson (Ghost World, The Horse Whisperer), Anna Faris, Giovanni Ribisi
Director: Sofia Coppola
(The Virgin Suicides) hits her stride as director/screenwriter.
Thumbs Up: Advance word has Murray and Johansson giving Oscar-worthy performances.
Thumbs Down: Will the hype overwhelm the film’s seemingly delicate nature?
Soundtrack: Emperor Norton album includes tracks by Kevin Shields, Death In Vegas, Squarepusher, Happy End, Roger J. Manning, Jr., My Bloody Valentine, Air and Jesus & Mary Chain.
Website:
www.lost-in-translation.com features plot synopsis, cast information, trailer, behind-the-scenes, photo gallery, soundtrack selections and a sweepstakes.

Dummy (Artisan Entertainment)
Premise:
A young man who struggles to express his feelings learns to communicate with the world as a ventriloquist, though his dummy.
Stars: Adrien Brody, Illeana Douglas, Vera Farmiga, Jared Harris, Milla Jovovich, Ron Leibman, Jessica Walter
Director: Gregory Pritikin (co-writer of Totally Confused)
Thumbs Up: Oscar winner Brody is hot, and the film won a special jury prize at 2003 Santa Barbara Film Festival.
Thumbs Down: Can Brody’s superstar career trajectory sustain another quirky outing?
Soundtrack: None
Website: www.artisanent.com/dummy/ includes a trailer and plot synopsis.

NEW YORK MINUTE
The Bouncing Souls kick off a two-night stand tonight at Irving Plaza (17 Irving Place). The Pietasters open Friday, and The Exit do the honors Saturday… On Saturday, David Lee Roth does his familiar act at the Beacon Theatre (2124 Broadway), with somebody named Eric Sardinas opening. If the Davester’s not your cup of Jack, how about heading over to Madison Square Garden (4 Penn Plaza) for the uptown sounds of Brian McKnight? Rhian Benson and Vivian Green will warm up the audience. Of course, you could also enjoy what’s left of warm weather at Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield, where N.E.R.D., O.A.R., Talib Kweli and Lordz of Brooklyn will set the groove in motion… If you feel like camping out, Sunday’s lineup at Rumsey is sure to please aficionados of distaff writer/artists. The Songwriter Tour gathers Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, Dar Williams and Patty Griffin. Also on Sunday, The Dandy Warhols do their thing at Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancy St.). —Valerie Nome

DENISE’S WEAKEND COCKTAIL
I’m tired today because I was out late at the House of Blues stalking my newest infatuation—the very talented, and also extremely hot, Josh Kelley. Josh opened for the Goo Goo Dolls last night, and I was there just to find out if he looked as good in person as he does in his photos—even better! I already loved his new album, For the Ride Home, and now I adore him. Can I add one of him to my Plate O’ Men? I’d even go back for seconds with this one. I had a great time drinking, laughing and flirting with guys way too young for me, and at the end of the evening, my gal friend mentioned that I definitely had “options.” That comment stuck with me throughout last night and this morning. Has dating become less about finding the right person and more about stocking up on options? My cocktail of the week is dedicated to those of you who are looking for a few more options. This yummy drink was made popular and named by Sarah Jessica Parker and will definitely help loosen your libido, giving you the liquid courage you’ll need to hit on the hottie standing by the bar.

Flirtini
1 oz. Stoli Raspberry vodka
½ oz. Chambord liqueur
Splash champagne
Splash pineapple juice
Shake with ice, strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with a couple raspberries.

Being single and looking is a tough position to be in, because the rules of the dating game are anything but black & white, and mostly nonexistent. Of course, we have “The Rules,” but no girl in her right mind follows that crap, unless she wants to live a boring and sexless life—wait a minute—boring and sexless is hitting really close to home right now. Since I’ve become an active dater, I’ve been left to fend for myself and differentiate between those behaviors that are considered acceptable and those that would classify me as a hoochie. For example, is it a valid assumption that most people who are dating casually are dating more than one person and, if I’m dating more than one person, should all parties be notified of this? Also, are there limitations regarding the number of casual relationships a person is allowed to have? I think a lot of dating problems occur because people are afraid to be honest about their current dating situations. This is single life and nobody wants to be lonely (or sexless). We’re all “dating around,” so why can’t we just fess up to it? What are the rules of dating and to who do they apply? I’ve decided to get rid of some of the old myths and create some new dating rules of my own. Ladies—forget about waiting for that hot guy to ask you out, stop waiting by the phone, and who cares if he’s not marriage material.

De’s Five Rules of Dating:
1. Have sex when you want: You no longer have to wait until date three for a sleep over. I’ve always been an advocate of no sex until date three, but after being proved wrong, I’ve changed my mind. If you have an amazing date and want to get down and dirty, just be safe.

2. Ask him out: The Rules states under no circumstance should a woman pursue a man—bullshit! I have so many guy friends that say they refrain from asking a girl out because they don’t want to be rejected or they assume she has a boyfriend, so ladies, it’s up to us. And guys—stop being such wimps—just ask us! We might say yes (and we might not wait until date three), but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

3. Yes, you can go out with the guy who’s not boyfriend material: Have fun and enjoy as many variations as possible, because how will we know when a good match comes along if we haven’t tested out a few bad ones. The same rule applies to shoes and men—you can never have too many, because a gal needs options.

4. If you’re thinking about him, then call him: Now, don’t go crazy with this one. All I’m saying is that it’s OK for girls to call guys, but it’s never OK to call repeatedly. And DON’T drunk dial—ever! If you’ve left a message or two and he hasn’t returned your calls, then move on—his loss.

5. Never buy, read or recite The Rules (by Ellen Fein): That book has brain-washed many once normal women into thinking they have to take a backseat to their loves lives and by waiting for Prince Charming to find them—bullshit again! It makes me want to vomit. Go out there and take the bull by the horns, or by the balls (if that’s your style) and enjoy being single.

De’s L.A. bar pick of the week: The Foundation Room in the House of Blues on Sunset is an elegant escape from the overly crowded main area of the club, but gaining entrance into this extremely exclusive celebrity haven can be a little tricky—unless you’re a weasel like myself. Generally, I want into any place someone says I can’t go, and this place was no different. The lounge has a great view of the city and is beautifully decorated with Indian tapestries and artifacts, but the décor isn’t the reason you scam your way into the Foundation Room. You never know who or what you’re going to see, ranging from old-school rockers to hot, young, up-and-coming actors. Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Eddie Van Halen stumbling around the lounge, stopping only long enough to gaze (cross-eyed) into my eyes and smile, and then he continued stumbling out the door, with an entourage of rocker chicks following closely. [Ed. note: Uh-oh.] Everyone must experience this place at least once.

Have fun flirting, drinking and dating this weekend. Upon finishing this column, I realized that it’s a scary day when I’m giving dating advice, so readers BEWARE! Thanks for reading this crap every week, because whining to you guys allows me to spend the money that would normally go to a therapist on shoes. Until next week—hugs and kisses. Denise Bayles

Contributors: Denise Bayles, Darren Cava, Simon Glickman, Keith Hagen, Valerie Nome, Jon O’Hara, David Simutis and Roy Trakin

Edited by Bud Scoppa

NEAR TRUTHS:
THE CAKE AND
THE CANDLES
Marketshare machers. (10/26a)
KDOTTED LINE
A pending deal fro Kendrick. (10/26a)
YTD MARKETSHARE: AND THE WINNER IS...
It's a lock. (10/26a)
CHART STORY: TAY
MAKES IT EIGHT
Adding to her chart 'lore. (10/23a)
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
Vote. Do it now. (10/26a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
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