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Is dumb the new smart? Do beautiful women have to know anything? Is Chicken of the Sea fish or fowl? Does a buffalo have wings? Do boobs get in the way of a good golf swing? Who does the laundry?
WEAKEND PLANNER PUMMELED
BY LIZA MINNELLI
Bloodied, But Unbowed, Planner Tackles Thorns, Al Green, Robert Evans, Nick and Jenny and the Caffe Roma Altercockers

The puffy portions below our eyes, the creases in the forehead, the bruising around the back of the ears, it could only mean one thing. No, not a facelift, Botox treatments or sleep deprivation. This Weakend Planner has been assaulted by Liza Minnelli, and it ain’t pretty, folks. According to her estranged husband, with a coupla stiff ones under her belt to wash down the OxyContin, Minnelli’s left hook is capable of decking Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. Even if David Gest would have trouble shadowboxing Judy Garland. So excuse us if we’re a little woozy. We’ll just retreat to a neutral corner and sniff some smelling salts. We’ll be OK. We think.

POPCULT TOP 10
1. School of Rock:
Nothing could live up to the hype, but Jack Black’s evocation of rock’s primal fury and energy is more than enough to carry this vehicle from the ordinarily elliptical combination of director Richard Linklater and screenwriter Mike White (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl). It’s the kind of delicate and endearing, but in-your-face performance that John Belushi pulled off on SNL and in Animal House, but very rarely on the big screen after that. And while it’s not quite as effective a rock valentine as Almost Famous, that’s because School of Rock’s backdrop is more a tribute to late-‘70s/early-‘80s metal and punk than the late-‘60s/early-‘70s nostalgia-tinged homage of the Cameron Crowe movie. The interaction between Black and the kids is genuine and, yeah, heartwarming, while the role reversal represented by the immature Jack and his uptight, prep-school charges fits the current boomer-buster zeitgeist like a well-timed guitar solo. School of Rock may be a minor pleasure in the scheme of things, but sometimes, as the film says, one great show can change the world. (Roy Trakin)

2. The Thorns, Sunset Session (Columbia bonus disc): If you loved the trio in its live acoustic mode but found the album overcooked (for the record, I did not), this value-added CD containing acoustic versions of the entire album should be just the ticket. All but one of the 13 songs works as well as the album version—for my money, the produced version of Matthew Sweet’s 1:50 mini-masterpiece "Now I Know" simply can’t be topped—and because there’s no doubling of voices on the acoustic disc, it’s now possible to hear the intricate, intimate purity of the group’s extraordinary vocal blend. These tracks, recorded in a single late-July afternoon at Sunset Sound, are a sketch of what the group intended to do before producer Brendan O’Brien threw down, but the disc is far more impressive than you might expect from the few hours it took to record it. The second radio track from the original album is the Thorns’ elaborate cover of the Jayhawks’ "Blue"; Columbia would be remiss if they didn’t include the acoustic version of the song on the pro CD… In a related note, I erred when I wrote that the material on Sweet’s Kimi Ga Suki*Raifu (Cutting Edge import) had been selected from his vast demo collection; in fact, Sweet wrote the songs specifically for the album, which may be available domestically before year’s end. I’ll confirm when I know for sure. (Bud Scoppa)

3. Al Green, I Can’t Stop (Blue Note)/Twilight Singers, Blackberry Belle (One Little India/Birdman): It is a rare pleasure when once brilliant artists who have lost their way return to making deeply moving music. The Twilight Singers are the ever-shifting troupe of musicians around Greg Dulli, formerly of the Afghan Whigs. Al Green has reunited with Willie Mitchell and many of the musicians who made the classic albums Tired of Being Alone, Let's Stay Together, I'm Still In Love With You, Love and Happiness, Call Me and Here I Am. It’s no trip down memory lane. The Reverend still sings like a man wrestling with demons of the flesh and heart, and Mitchell, who co-wrote eight tracks with Green, updates the production quality without adding sheen. The drums still sound like drums, but not the mushy snare of the early ’70s, for instance. Dulli has found the blend of soul, grandiose rock and somber self-loathing he’s been trying to recapture since the Whigs’ 1993 Gentlemen record. It is precisely in harnessing and examining their demons that both men have made their best records in decades. (David Simutis)

4. Kid Notorious (Comedy Central, Wednesdays 10:30 p.m.): If you haven’t read The Kid Stays in the Picture or watched the film version, you might not get all the jokes in this animated series, voiced and starting notorious/infamous producer Robert Evans. That shouldn’t stop you from TiVoing it. The industry jokes are fast and furious, though not as hilarious as you’d hope, and the fact that Evans’ best friend is his cat is a little out there. Still, you have to give the show credit for putting Evans in sitcomish situations which he gets out of by using his mad producer skillz. Plus, he’s still a mack daddy. (DS)

5. The Handler (CBS, Fridays 10 p.m.): The great Joey Pantoliano, aka Joey Pants or the late Ralphie in The Sopranos, turns up as an FBI agent who heads an undercover team that goes into the field and acts out their roles as they infilitrate the criminal world. The first couple of episodes veered from the generic, especially in their depiction of the cops’ day-to-day activities, which includes jockeying for position in the office, while trying to make ends meet and juggling their personal lives. When it wasn’t clear who were the regular cast members, there was a Pirandellian, Mission Impossible aspect to the show, which seems to be dissipating into the same old police drama. (RT)

6. Newlyweds (MTV): Is dumb the new smart? Do beautiful women have to know anything? Is Chicken of the Sea fish or fowl? Does a buffalo have wings? Do boobs get in the way of a good golf swing? Who does the laundry? Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson star as the slightly ditzy couple who live next door to The Osbournes in MTV’s weird parallel universe, where everybody is famous and no one has to take out the trash. This is now the #2-rated cable program on the air right now, and even my 13-year-old daughter thinks Jessica’s a dim bulb. Well, if she’s stupid, then so was Gracie Allen, because Simpson could be auditioning to be the next Goldie Hawn. Let’s just hope she lasts longer than the previous next Goldie Hawn, Jenny McCarthy. At least long enough to make it to Scary Movie 5. (RT)

7. The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East (Deluxe Edition) (Mercury/Chronicle)/Television, Live at the Old Waldorf San Francisco (Elektra/Rhino): The live album might seem like an anachronism, but, like the Grateful Dead, it’s where these two psychedelic jam bands did their best work. The just-released Allman Brothers "Deluxe Edition" combines the seven songs from the band’s classic double-live album, with "Trouble No More" and "Mountain Jam" from Eat a Peach restoring the integrity of the original 1971 performances. The crackling guitar duels between Duane Allman and Dickey Betts are as alive as ever, just as the interplay between Television’s Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd is captured on the band’s live set from June 1978, reissued in limited edition on Rhino’s online Handmade imprint. With the flights of improvisation now committed to record, the spontaneity of both these records becomes etched into timeless classicism, the sheer exhilaration like a prehistoric insect trapped in amber, their raw power unleashed again for a new generation. Can I hear a request for "Whipping Post"? (RT)

8. Glen Campbell, The Legacy [1961-2002] (Capitol boxed set): Campbell was pop's version of Zelig from the 1960s through the mid-'70s. An in-demand session guitarist and backing vocalist, he worked with such icons as Ricky Nelson, the Beach Boys, Sinatra, Dean Martin and Phil Spector (as a regular contributor to the producer's Wall of Sound) and the Smothers Brothers (as a regular on their variety show), while his own career was distinguished by the presence of legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb, who penned a veritable roadmap of classics for Campbell in the form of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," Wichita Lineman" and "Galveston." The four discs in this just-released set reveal Campbell's stylistic range, which extended from bluegrass pickin' to Roy Orbison-style balladry to folk-pop (the John Hartford-penned "Gentle on My Mind" made both a ton of green). He may not be perceived as the hippest figure to emerge from the storied decade—he wasn't—but   Campbell was a talented and versatile pragmatist during his run, and this 80-track collection (including a live disc) presents the mundane realities of the '60s and '70s pop business—its workaday conventions and occasional inadvertent brilliance. This set may be more Glen than you need, but it functions as a jam-packed time capsule of a vanished, all but forgotten world. (BS)

9. Caffé Roma, Beverly Hills (350 N. Camden Drive): The place where the altercockers congregate for lunch. Where else outside of the Friars’ Club can you run into legendary music and film industry figures like Julie Rifkind, Artie Mogul, Joel Diamond, Neil Sedaka, longtime Mercury promo man Morris Diamond (who told us of seeing Barbra Streisand open Funny Girl in Philadelphia), Terry Moore (star of Mighty Joe Young and married to Howard Hughes) and Jan Murray. A look around the room is like being in a real-life version of Broadway Danny Rose, and the linguini vongole with white clam sauce isn’t too shabby, either. (RT)

10. Damn Yankees: As the son of Brooklyn Dodger fans and a lifelong Mets rooter, hating the Yankees comes second nature to me, but they continue to astound. I watched the last game of the Red Sox series and found myself wondering how they were gonna win, not if. And while this team is by no means invincible, they simply find a way. So, here’s grudging admiration for one of the true dynasties in sports. And where’s Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, MO, ready to sell his soul to Ray Walston for a shot at beating the Pinstriped Devils, when we need him? (RT)

SPIN DOCTOR
Spinning Through the ’70s: The old stuff will burn just as many calories as Missy Elliott if it’s well chosen. Here’s an hour’s worth of sweat-inducing, highly motivating ’70s classics: David Bowie’s "Suffragette City," Iggy Pop’s "Lust for Life," Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s "Cinnamon Girl," Stevie Wonder’s "Higher Ground," the Clash’s "Train in Vain," Al Green’s "Love Ritual," Cheap Trick’s "Surrender," Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ "American Girl," Elvis Costello & the Attractions’ "Oliver’s Army," Derek & the Dominos’ "Key to the Highway" (the long, climactic hill climb), Elton John’s "Love Lies Bleeding," the Rolling Stones’ "Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’," Nick Drake’s "Pink Moon" (cool down). (BS)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Britney Spears
knows a thing or two about a broken heart. She shared her sage wisdom with M Magazine, saying, "Girls hurt worse, but guys hurt longer. Girls deal, get over it and once you’re done, you are done. But guys hurt longer." (Valerie Nome)

NEW YORK MINUTE
The CMJ Music Marathon invades the Big Apple this weekend. On Friday, The Girlz Garage Tour gets a little love from the festival and pops up at Irving Plaza (17 Irving Place) with Lillix, theSTART, Northern State, Longwave, Cooper Temple Clause, Candy Ass and Brassy. Also that evening under the CMJ banner, Old Dirty Bastard aka Dirt McGirt are among acts making waves at the Knitting Factory (74 Leonard St.).

On Saturday, Echo & The Bunnymen team up with The Stills at Webster Hall for a CMJ showcase.

Non-CMJ events include Friday’s Matchbox Twenty concert, featuring Fountains of Wayne, at Madison Square Garden, while Juanes and Yerba Buena play the Theatre at MSG; Old Dirty Bastard at B.B. King’s Blues Club (243 W. 42nd St.) on Sunday; and Shonen Knife with Modey Lemon at the Knitting Factory, also on Sunday. (VN)

YOUR WEAKEND WEATHER
What’s a little weather between two consenting adults? Due to a large outcry, the weather is back. OK, maybe one person complained. (Mr. Editor, I’m looking in your direction.) But I’ve been so busy following drink and music recommendations from this here planner that I haven’t had the time or sobriety to surf the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s website. There’s hot cloud on cloud action there, so don’t sleep on it. This weekend in Los Angeles is will continue to be unseasonably warm. (Unless you think the season is still summer, in which case it will be seasonably warm.) Highs will be in the upper 80s on Saturday and mid-90s on Sunday. Go to the beach. I don’t care that it’s October. Lows in the mid-60s. In NYC, where there are actual seasons, you’ll have highs in the mid-to-upper 60s and lows in the upper 50s. Saturday look for sun, not directly, and Sunday look for clouds. Rain coming. If you’re in Indiana, Arizona or one of the other non-daylight savings states stop reading. For the rest of you, set the clocks back Saturday night and have another drink. (DS)

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
Scary Movie 3 (Dimension Films)
Premise:
Third in a series of Airplane!-like spoofs of current crop of horror movies.
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Pamela Anderson, Peter Boyle, George Carlin, Macy Gray, Eddie Grffin, Darrell Hammond, Ja Rule, Queen Latifah, Jenny McCarthy, Camryn Manheim, Method Man, Leslie Nielsen, Jeremy Piven, Redman, Denise Richards.
Director: David Zucker of Airplane! and Top Secret! fame.
Thumbs Up: Always worth a few laughs.
Thumbs Down: Wait for the video release, no?
Soundtrack: None.
Website: None

Radio (Columbia Pictures)
Premise:
The true story of a mentally challenged man who is mentored by a prominent high school football coach in a small South Carolina town, and gets involved with the team as a head cheerleader, assistant coach and team manager through more than 40 years.
Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Debra Winger, Alfre Woodard.
Director: Sports fanatic Michael Tollin (Summer Catch).
Thumbs Up: Gooding and Harris give Oscar-worthy turns.
Thumbs Down: Rudy, anyone?
Soundtrack: Hip-O Records album includes India.Arie single, Stevie Wonder, The Isley Brothers, The Spinners, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Al Green, Grand Funk Railroad, the Doobie Brothers, Friends of Distinction.
Website: www.sonypictures.com/movies/radio/ lets you vote for your own "hometown hero," features trailers and previews, production information, cast and filmmaker data.

Beyond Borders (Paramount)
Premise:
Romance between a medical student turned international disaster relief worker and a philanthropist socialite who meet against the backdrop of disaster and war.
Stars: Angelia Jolie, Clive Owen, Noah Emmerich, Teri Polo.
Director: Martin Campbell
(The Mask of Zorro, Goldeneye)
Thumbs Up: Reportedly reading the screenplay piqued Jolie’s interest in refugees, which led to her adopting a child.
Thumbs Down: Looks pretty soapy, even for a chick flick.
Soundtrack: Album includes James Horner score.
Website: www.beyondbordersmovie.com/ offers a plot synopsis, photos, downloads, screensavers, cast and crew information, production information and links.

Elephant (Fine Line Features)
Premise:
Story of a group of teenage boys attending high school in Portland, OR, when violence breaks out a la Columbine.
Stars: Timothy Bottoms, Matt Malloy and mostly newcomers.
Director: Writer/director Gus Van Zant returns to his My Private Idaho art-film roots after Finding Forrester, Good Will Hunting.
Thumbs Up: Palme d’Or for Best Picture and Best Director at Cannes Film Festival.
Thumbs Down: Grim subject matter handled almost matter-of-factly.
Soundtrack: None.
Website: Elephantmovie.com features cast and crew information, production notes, trailer and newsletters.

The Singing Detective (Paramount Classics)
Premise:
Based on the ’86 BBC six-part TV mini-series written by the late Dennis Potter and directed by Jon Amiel about a Chicago novelist, bedridden and feverish with psioriasis, who reworks the story of his first novel in his mind, becoming the title character in pursuit of Nazis in the ‘40s, as he really battles his own demons.
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Robin Wright Penn, Mel Gibson, Carla Gugino, Katie Holmes, Jeremy Northam.
Director: Keith Gordon
(A Midnight Clear, Mother Night, The Chocolate War)
Thumbs Up: A comeback attempt by Downey in a reportedly strong performance.
Thumbs Down: Tough subject matter and an attempt to follow the critically praised TV production.
Soundtrack: Image Entertainment album includes songs by Gene Vincent, Johnny Ray, The Chordettes, Tony Edwards, The Coasters, The Viscounts, Danny & the Juniors, Big Joe Turner, Eddie Cochran, Conway Twitty and Robert Downey Jr. doing "In My Dreams."
Website: www.paramountclassics.com/singingdetective/ features story synopsis, cast and filmmaker info, trailer, news and reviews and a chance to join Paramount’s Classics Club.

DENISE’S WEAKEND COCKTAIL
A gal friend of mine was over earlier this week for our usual Monday girl’s night. While men across the country spend Monday nights enjoying touchdowns, tackles and beer, we indulge in wine, cookies and juicy sex talk. The latter being not very exciting lately, because neither of us is getting any action at the moment. We were finishing off our third or fourth glass of wine, and plate of chocolate chip cookies, when the news came on with one of the night’s top stories, and "Man Shortage" flashed across the screen. It’s appears that there are not enough single men for all the single women in this country. This wasn’t news to me or my friend or any other single gal in Los Angeles. We’ve been experiencing this phenomenon for some time. Is a sexy, intelligent and available male really too much to ask for? A girl can only pray. My cocktail of the week is dedicated to all of the single girls who are fed up with the shortage of men, and for once, we’re not talking about size.

Maiden’s Prayer
½ oz. gin
½ oz. rum
¼ oz. triple sec
Splash of lemon juice
Shake with ice, strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

The reporter who delivered this story did so with the same seriousness he would deliver breaking news of a fire or yet another car chase. As reported, there are only 86 single men for every 100 single women. I would be ecstatic if that were the case. The problem with the story was they didn’t calculate into the equation how many of those 86 men were actually datable. If we did, the number would drop way below 86, probably somewhere in the 60’s, and that might even be too liberal. No wonder women are catty. It’s slim pickings in the single men department and we have a lot of chicks to compete with. So, where are all the men? Have they fallen into manholes? Maybe we’ve been looking in the wrong places for men. All of this time we’ve been going to out bars and spending what little money we have, when we should be lifting up those heavy manhole covers and yelling down, "Hello? Are there any single men down there? Come on up. We’re ready for you."

5 Signs You’re Experiencing a Man Shortage

  1. You’ve given up on doing your Kegel exercises.
  2. You saved so much money from not having to get bikini waxes that you can actually afford a pair of Manolo’s.
  3. Your Saturday night date night involves you, Sex and the City and Ben & Jerry.
  4. You get turned on when the not-so-hot guy next to you in line brushes against you.
  5. You’ve gone through more batteries than a neighborhood full of kids on Christmas day.

De’s L.A. bar pick of the week: There definitely wasn’t a man shortage earlier this week when my gal friends and I partook in baseball (Go Yankees!) and beer at the Roost on Los Feliz Blvd. This joint is small and filled with an eclectic mix of locals. The drinks are cheap and the feisty bartender, Betsy, absolutely rocks. She’s a gals-gal, who has no problem dishing out shit to the guys. You never know what you’ll get at the Roost, but it’s sure to cause a hangover the next day, because it’s one of those comfortable places you can’t seem to leave. When I arrived at this little dive, I thought I was in for a mellow night, but I’m glad to say that I was mistaken—six hours later I left with the phone number of a tattooed hottie and a date scheduled with him for the next night. I never realized how sexy tattoos could be, especially on a smokin’ hot GQ type. Maybe I’ll be able to credit the Roost for ending my dry spout.

I hope everyone has a safe weekend, and may there be enough men to go around. Until next week—hugs and kisses.—Denise Bayles

Thanks to Roy Trakin, David Simutis, Bud Scoppa, Valerie Nome and Denise Bayles for helping calm down David Gest.

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What drugs will help us get there?
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