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Contra Tom Hanks, sometimes there should be crying in baseball… especially when it comes to the Cubs and Red Sox. Not even my Mets are that cursed.
WEAKEND PLANNER GOES ON STRIKE, HAS NO BALLS
Of Rock & Roll Fatherhood, Baseball Curses, Sex Researchers and Getting the Hell Out of Dodge
Hey, why should the supermarket clerks and the bus drivers be the only ones that get to yell at passing motorists and angrily wave placards? We here at the Weakend Planner are walking out in sympathy with our union brethren, and anyone who dares cross the picket line to read the drivel below will be endlessly harassed and made to feel, well, like traitors to the working class. So, go buy your orange juice and eggs at the local 7-11, or better yet, pick up a unionized Billboard… Because we shall not, we shall not moved, like a tree that’s standing by the ocean, we shall not be moved. Thank you. And until someone makes us a better offer, you’ll find us right here, doing our best to bring down the man. All together now: "Norma Rae! Norma Rae! Norma Rae!" Chalk up the appearance of this edition of Weakend Planner to all the scabs willing to betray their fellow workers by working for minimum wage. Hey, you can’t get this sort of stuff from cheap foreign labor, only cheap homegrown "talent."

POPCULT TOP 10
1. Schooled In Rock:
It dawned on me that the whole dynamic of a generation gap had been stood on its head when colleague Simon Glickman pointed out I was one of those boomer parents who actually took pride in watching their kids get into rock & roll. I was in the midst of kvelling to him about taking my 15-year-old son Taylor and 13-year-old daughter Tara to the White Stripes and Radiohead shows recently. Not wanting to influence my children with my musical taste—except for introducing them to the Beatles and Stones early on—I let them go through the various stages, from Barney through boy bands, with little dissuasion. But I’m obviously getting a kick out of watching them discover and enthuse over bands and music that I like. The weird part is, what was once outlaw culture, stuff that wasn’t your father’s Oldsmobile and intentionally so, is now part of the college curriculum, part of the establishment fabric. Turns out boomers and their children have something in common culturally after all—a point brought home winningly in The School of Rock. And that’s especially true if dad works in the music business. Of course, rock can still be a parent’s worst nightmare. While my easily bored son pulls Cs and Ds in school, he drums in a band that plays a kickass medley of "Daytripper," "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Stop," "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "Seven Nation Army." Still, as I try to explain the self-imposed limits of the music industry operating in a late-capitalism 21st century digital economy, what do I offer as an alternative? Plastics? Fiberoptics? Law school? Elderly health care? And while the mostly uptight, conservative buster generation of boomer offspring will undoubtedly find their own reasons to rebel, anything that allows bonding between generations is a good thing at a time when it’s rare to find two segments of the fragmented pop culture audience with anything in common. (Roy Trakin)

2. School of Rock: Jack Black is the demon Puck—but with an even bigger heart of gold. One need only see his turn as the elitist rockgeekindierecordstoreclerk in High Fidelity to understand. But it's his inside-out meltdown of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On You" in the same film that makes you realize his pilot light burns the essence of rhythm & roll. So, cast the anti-hero as an unlikely substitute teacher at a tony prep school trying to reconcile who and what he is with where he is. What should have been a B-movie (a la Bing Crosby's priestly feel-good turns) turns into an uplifting comedic take on concrete social realities, the need to fit in and the unassailable will to rock within us all. (Holly Gleason)

3. Steve Bartman and the Curse: The shit hits the fan, in this case, a 26-year-old Cub rooter, sometime youth baseball coach and ultimate wrong place at the wrong time goat. The nondescript Bartman, who still lives with his parents, now enters Chicago infamy alongside Mrs. O’Leary’s cow and William Sianis. The proprietor of the Billy Goat Tavern supposedly put a curse on the Cubbies after management refused to let him bring his pub’s namesake into Wrigley Field the last time the team was in the World Series—1945. Sports can be a cruel business, and the fact of a diehard Cub follower adding to his team’s going-on-a-century misery just by innocently doing what his instincts drive him to do is just one of the many delicious ironies of this compelling baseball postseason. And just as we’ve finished burying the Cubbies, the equally cursed Bosox self-destruct almost on cue. Just like their partners in demise, it comes with one out in the eighth inning, up by three runs, their pitching ace seemingly in control and five outs from a pennant, as Pedro comes unraveled a la Prior, manager Grady Little develops Dusty Baker slow-hook disease and the hated Yankees call on the hallowed ghosts from the centerfield Monuments to incredibly turn back their bitter rivals in 11 innings... off, of all things, the first pitch from knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who had stymied them as a starter in two previous games. Aaron Boone now gets to reside in B-level Red Sox infamy along with Bucky, Buckner and the Bambino. Contra Tom Hanks, sometimes there should be crying in baseball… especially when it comes to the Cubs and Red Sox. Not even my Mets are that cursed. (RT)

4. Kings of Leon, Youth & Young Manhood (RCA): Nasty. Ugly. Jagged reverb. Swallowed, gargled, spewed-out vocals. Heaven on two wheels through a tube amp. Revved-up. Pushed hard. Put up wet. Slammed against a wall. Took down. Rage and lust and hormones looking for a dangerous place to explode—and the best place I can think of is your head. Vicious even when the grooves slow down to a turgid, oppressive weight of another taking their time upon you. Swamp-punk on crank with an acid back and cowbell beating incessantly, like a racing heart looking for a place to jump on. Feel the urgency. Take the plunge. Get the rage, the thrust, the breathless sweep and abandon of what rock & roll used to be: bony fingers clawing at guitars, straining against sheer physical limitation, pressing beyond the truth to something feral. And with "Holy Roller Novocaine," indictment of the sanctified hypocrites who scar with a veneer of divine oblige. (HG)

5. www.godlis.com: This photography site is the welcome home of David Godlis, whose images helped define the ‘70s punk-rock/CBGB scene. You may not be familiar with him, but you’ve seen his vintage black and white soft-focus portraits of the era. His iconic shots of new wave stars like Patti Smith, Richard Hell, the Ramones, Tom Verlaine, Alex Chilton, Suicide and Debbie Harry appear on countless album and single sleeves as well as in the Village Voice and New York Rocker. There are also signed prints available for sale on line. (RT)

6. The Office (BBC America): This British import turns the traditional office-place sitcom inside-out, with a deadpan, typically English tongue-in-cheek style that is part Curb Your Enthusiasm and part Christopher Guest mockumentary. Taking place in an otherwise nondescript U.K. bulk-paper company with everyone well aware of the cameras, the show is the brainchild of star Ricky Gervais, who stars as a bumbling middle-management buffoon who is constantly putting his foot in his mouth and sucking the air out of the room. Fawlty Towers meets Larry Sanders in the age of workplace Survivor. (RT)

7. Luke Crampton & Dafydd Reese, Rock & Roll Year by Year (DK): A colorful, coffee table day-by-day account of events in rock & roll history from 1950 to the present. Sample entry from Oct. 17, 1998: Aerosmith give the first truly interactive cybercast from their PNC Bank Arts Center show in Holmdek, NJ. Each band member is equipped with microwave cameras which, with three front-of-house cameras, enable viewers to create their own program. (RT)

8. Gary Jules, "Mad World": This L.A. singer-songwriter is a KCRW fave and also chief booker of the currently hip Hotel Café venue. I caught his version of Tears for Fears’ 1982 hit as the musical centerpiece of the season-opening episode of CBS-TV’s Without a Trace, and it was a revelation, taking the sadness at the heart of the song and layering it over the plot of a missing school bus. The song has piqued my interest in getting a hold of his 2001 indie release, Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets. (RT)

9. F**king wasps: The life of sex researcher Alfred Charles Kinsey is explored in this daring, inventive and intense piece written/directed by Steve Morgan Haskell. Kinsey was not only America’s first Eagle Scout, but the author of the controversial, groundbreaking Kinsey Report. The strong ensemble, led by Terry Tocantins as Kinsey, sucks you into a world covering 60- year period. Oh and the "wasps" in the title … a reference to the 20 years he spent studying the Gall Wasps. You gotta see this. But leave the kids at home. (Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays thru Nov. 8th, 8:00 pm. Theatre of Note 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd. Reservations: (323) 856-8611) (Jill Kushner)

10. Random Encounters: There you are at the bookstore. Or the dry cleaner. Or the health food grocery, trying to choke down your coffee and wake up. And there they are. Someone you adore. Never see. Never even think to call in the mad rush rush of your life, the tide carrying you along without even inhaling hardly. Know it's a gift from the cosmos and enjoy it... (HG)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Gwyneth Paltrow
has three things: stunning good looks, an Oscar for her acting career and a tendency to hook up with Hollywood’s hottest bachelors. Because she is now starring in Sylvia, which opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles, Gwynnie sat down for an interview with Primetime Thursday to dish about romancing Ben Affleck, currently hot-and-heavy with J.Lo, and Brad Pitt, who is happily married to Jennifer Aniston.

"Ben makes life tough for himself," Gwyneth said. "He’s got a lot of complication … I hope he, you know, sorts himself out."

Of her relationship with Brad, she said, "I made a big mess out of it ... I’m so lucky that I spent time with Brad, somebody who was such a good person, especially when I was such a mess."

Luckily Gwyneth is deeply in love with current flame, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, or else that would sound like she wanted Brad back. (Valerie Nome)

NEW YORK MINUTE
On Friday, Anthrax plays Old Bridge, N.J.’s Birch Hill Nite Club (Rt. 9 South between Texas Rd. and Rt. 520), Bela Fleck & the Flecktones hits Beacon Theatre (2124 Broadway) and Aaron Neville strikes up the band at Birdland. Press replay on Aaron Neville for Saturday. Also on date night, Evan Dando lights up Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancy St.),

Rusted Root’s Michael Glabicki plays Crossroads in Garwood, N.J., Pretty Girls Make Graves strut their stuff at Maxwell’s (1039 Washington St.) in Hoboken, N.J., and Dionne Warwick turns it out at Union County Arts Center in Rahway, N.J. On Sunday, Dionne jumps to Lehman Center in the Bronx, and MXPX take the stage at Birch Hill Nite Club. (VN)

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
Runaway Jury (20th Century Fox)
Premise: John Grisham
novel set in New Orleans about a mysterious man who gets himself on the jury of a landmark case against a gun manufacturer in an attempt to influence the other jury members to vote a certain way. Meanwhile his girlfriend tries to swindle the attorneys to pay millions of dollars to have the jury return a verdict friendly to their clients. The case involves the widow of a man killed in an office shooting suing the gun manufacturer of the weapon that was used, under the claim that they knew the store that sold it was not obeying the laws about firearm sales.
Stars:
John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz, Nora Dunn, Jennifer Beals, Luis Guzman, Orlando Jones, Dylan McDermott, Jeremy Piven.
Director:
Gary Fleder (Things to Do In Denver When You’re Dead, Don’t Say a Word, Kiss the Girls) from a screenplay by Charles Koppelman’s son Brian and David Levien, the team behind Rounders and Knockaround Guys).
Thumbs Up:
It’s a fantastic cast, that’s for sure.
Thumbs Down:
There hasn’t really been a good movie made from a Grisham book since The Firm, and this one looks a little by the numbers.
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande album
includes score by Christopher Young (Sweet November, The Shipping News).
Website:
www.runawayjurymovie.com gives you the whole package in just as slick a way—trailer, production notes, plot synopsis, etc.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (New Line Cinema)
Premise:
Remake of Tobe Hooper’s ’74 classic based on the true story of Plainfield, WI, resident Ed Gein, whose cannibalistic and graverobbing behavior also inspired such films as Psycho and the Hannibal Lechter books. There were three sequels, the last ‘94’s The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey.
Stars:
Jessica Biel, Six Feet Under’s Eric Balfour, Full Metal Jacket’s crazed Sergeant R. Lee Ermey and John Laroquette reprising his ’74 role s the narrator.
Director:
Music video auteur Marcus Nispel making his feature bow, with Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor) slumming as producer.
Thumbs Up:
The new footage looks every bit as scary as the original.
Thumbs Down:
How can anything be scarier than the original?
Soundtrack:
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Album on Rt./Utr Music features heavy metal (Pantera Hatebreed, Meshuggah Fear Factory, Morbid Angel, Mushroomhead, Index Case, Seether, Finger Eleven, Nothingface, Lamb Of God, 40 Below Summer, Sworn Enemy, Motograter and Core-Tez), while the other, on La-La Land Records, has dialogue and sound bites from the movie.
Website:
www.texaschainsawmovie.com has cast, filmmakers and production notes, photos and videos, downloads, screensavers, ecards, desktops and AIM icons, trailer, updates and a free poster with purchase of a New Line DVD.

Veronica Guerin (Touchstone)
Premise:
Tells the true story of the accomplished journalist whose investigations into Dublin's drug underworld ultimately led her to make the ultimate sacrifice in the quest for the truth.
Stars:
Cate Blanchett, Brenda Fricker, Gerard McSorley, cameo by Colin Farrell.
Director: Joel Schumacher
(Phone Booth) still working, hoping to capture the magic of Lost Boys.
Thumbs Up:
Blanchett generating Oscar buzz.
Thumbs Down:
Schumacher’s earnest hackdom.
Soundtrack: Hollywood Records
soundtrack features a pair of Sinead O’Connor songs bracketing an original score by Harry Gregson-Williams.
Website:
veronicaguerin.movies.go.com has cast and crew information, downloads and a preview.

Pieces of April (United Artists)
Premise:
My Big Fat Bohemian Wedding, as a young woman tries to make Thanksgiving for her estranged parents from the suburbs at her apartment on New York's Lower East Side, while also introducing them to her new boyfriend.
Stars:
Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Sean Hayes, Oliver Platt, Derek Luke.
Director:
Playwright/novelist Peter Hedges making his feature debut after adapting his own novel What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and earning an Oscar nomination for co-adapting the screenplay for Nick Hornby’s About a Boy. Also just finished adapting The Devil Wore Prada.
Thumbs Up:
Sundance winner, delightful cast, downtown premise.
Thumbs Down
: Kissing Katie Holmes or a remake of Scorsese’s After Hours?
Soundtrack:
Nonesuch album features music by Stephin Merrit of indie-rock stalwarts Magnetic Fields.
Website:
www.piecesofaprilmovie.com has a trailer, a plot synopsis and plenty of production notes, including information on the performers and filmmakers.

DENISE’S WEAKEND COCKTAIL
Today’s one of those days. This week has been one of those weeks. And so far, this month has been one of those months. I hate everyone, I hate L.A., I have a migraine and I haven’t had sex in so long I’m afraid I’ve forgotten how. Are you sick of me bitching yet? I know I’ve been in a foul mood when my friends are encouraging me to take some time off and get the hell out of Dodge. So, in order to keep the few friends I have, I’m taking a mini-vacation this weekend. Although I can’t afford it on my very meager salary, I’m flying to Colorado for the weekend. Hopefully, clean air and cowboys will give me a much-needed attitude adjustment, so I can return to Hollyweird happy and only slightly bitter. My cocktail of the week is dedicated to me, because I need it.

Attitude Adjustment
¼ oz. vodka
¼ oz. gin
¼ oz. triple sec
¼ oz. amaretto
¼ oz. peach schnapps
Serve over ice with a splash of sour mix and cranberry.

WOW! After a couple of those, I should be fine. I might not remember my name and will probably be dancing on some random bar, but I’m sure I’ll be in a better mood. Since I’m already in the mountains mentally, this is going to be very short and not so sweet. I’m going to spare you guys any more of my relentless whining and leave you with 10 signs you need to leave work immediately and indulge in some Attitude Adjustments yourself. I wish I could take credit for these, but I’m just not that funny.

Ten Things Blurted Out When You’re Over It
1. Do they ever shut up on your planet?
2. Well this day was a total waste of make-up.
3. This isn’t an office. It’s Hell with fluorescent lighting.
4. I started out with nothing and still have most of it left.
5. Not all men are annoying. Some are dead.
6. I’m not your type. I’m not inflatable.
7. I work 45 hours a week to be this poor.
8. Wait…I’m trying to imagine you with a personality.
9. You say that I’m a bitch like it’s a bad thing.
10. OK, OK! I take it back. Unfuck you.

De’s L.A. bar pick of the week: If you haven’t seen a show at the Knitting Factory on Hollywood Blvd., you must partake in the spectacle at least once. Where else can you see Ron Jeremy in line and watch Juliette Lewis jump around in convulsions on stage? I’ve been in such a bad mood lately, I needed something that would make me laugh and realize things could be worse. I could be performing in front of a bar full of people and actually believe I was good. The shows are generally inexpensive and the joint is pack with has been rockers and wannabe Hollywood hipsters.

I hope everyone has a safe and non-crappy weekend. I’m going to enjoy the fresh mountain air, while throwing back a few cocktails. Maybe I’ll even find a cowboy to ride. Until next week—hugs and kisses.—Denise Bayles

Thanks to contributors Roy Trakin, Holly Gleason, Jill Kushner, Valerie NomeDenise Bayles and a bunch of scabs who worked for minimum wage.


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