What’s a “sneak-away”? It’s when you hook up with someone and anxiously wait for him to fall asleep so you can quietly sneak out, avoiding the awkward, inevitable “So, I’ll give you a call.”
It's Not Easy Being Green, but
It Sure Is Easy Spending It
We know, we know, it’s rough out there. Well, kids, it’s no picnic here in the cesspool, either. But we soldier on in the belief that, now more than ever, diversion is the primary form of relief for stressed-out lives. We don’t have to do it—we just have to do something to look like we're working. So here we go again.

Speaking of relief, it’s right around the corner for sports fans, as the soothing grassy green of various NFL venues come to life for the beginning of the 2003 season, kicking off, nontraditionally, on Thursday night, Sept. 4, when the Jets and the Redskins (who've been unofficially renamed the Greenskins after their plundering of the Jets’ free agents) play the first game that counts on national TV from Snyder Field, or whatever they call that stadium in DC. Ten days earlier, starting Monday, the hard-court green of the National Tennis Center will be on view for hours on end, as the USA Network once again airs the U.S. Open, which is to other grand slams as a Nathan’s hot dog is to vegemite, escargot or strawberries and cream. Rock & roll tennis, heavy on the mustard—that’s as good as it gets.

1. The Blackout:
Be glad you missed it. It was chaotic, aggravating, worrisome and uncomfortable—even for those of us not stuck in an elevator, trapped in the subway, or sleeping on sidewalks in Times Square. (None of this happened to me or mine, fortunately, but thousands of others were thus victimized.) It was a corporate criminal outrage committed against 50 million people by a deregulated industry run amok. My only compensation: Walking around the East Village and Union Square on Friday amid less motor traffic than you'd find at 6 a.m. on an average Sunday. Very refreshing. Norman Mailer was right: In his '68 run for mayor, he promised that if elected, he'd prohibit motor-vehicle traffic in Manhattan for one Sunday each month. Mike Bloomberg, are you listening? (Oh, I forgot: Mike's not even HERE on Sundays, but flies off to one of his half-dozen homes for the weekend.) —AS

2. Dylan Takes Manhattan: One result of the outage/outrage was the postponement of the third of Dylan's three shows at Hammerstein Ballroom on West 34th St. (a block almost entirely owned by Rev. Moon's Unification Church, by the way). Lynne Okin of Bob's management brought me into the second night as her guest, and I had an excellent vantage point for the set. The shows were not sold out: At showtime, you could buy a $77 ticket for about $40-45 from the scalpers, who were desperate to unload. I thought it was good but I've heard better, for sure. Yet I felt, once again, how deeply I'm spiritually tied to this guy as to no other performing artist living or dead. If Bob's going down, I'm going down with him... For reasons I've yet to ascertain, Dylan seems to have stopped playing guitar and now stands at stage left jabbing at a crappy-sounding electric keyboard. It gets pretty old, pretty fast. My favorite songs of the night were "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine" and "Every Grain of Sand." Hanging around the stage door afterwards, I saw Elvis Costello & Diana Krall, Larry "Ratso" Sloman, Drew Barrymore and her boyfriend Whatsisname from The Strokes, Donald Fagen of Steely Dan and a couple of NYC Hell's Angels, one of whom had a hook for a hand. On Thursday, during the blackout, fans actually showed up at the venue In Friday's Daily News, one fan standing on line was quoted as saying "Bob's gonna play an all-acoustic set. It'll be like a big sing-along!" Later on one of the Bob websites, somebody posted that Bob had indeed shown up and played two hours of solo acoustic Charley Patton blues songs for an audience of 200. Totally untrue, but somehow strangely credible...—AS

3. Chicago (Miramax Home Entertainment): You can appreciate first-time director Rob Marshall’s impeccable direction of this series of set pieces even more on the small screen and with the advantage of being able to look back on certain scenes. The quick cutting is not as jarring, and the individual performances take on more poignancy, especially John C. Reilly as the cuckolded husband. There’s no reason for this series of tableaux to work so well as a whole, though the highlights remain Queen Latifah’s triumphant “When You’re Good to Mama,” the Elvis Presley “Jailhouse Rock”-inspired “Cell Block Tango” and Richard Gere’s puppeteer controlling Renee Zellwegger in “We Both Reached For the Gun.” On second viewing, I’d take Zellwegger’s performance as Roxie over Catherine Zeta-Jones’ Oscar-winning Zelma, but the pair form an unbeatable one-two punch. —RT

4. The Kid Stays in the Picture (Warner Home Video): This wry look at the Himalayan highs and Titanic lows of the ever-colorful career (and love life) of movie producer Robert Evans, essentially taken from the book-on-tape version of his autobiography and narrated with a combination of hauteur and self-deprecation by the man himself, is no less than the quintessential showbiz saga. In a very real sense, the documentary, directed with palpable affection by Brett Morgan and Nanette Burstein, provides a glimmer of hope for those modern-day industry types who’ve been knocked to the canvas by this treacherous business; indeed, Evans is the poster boy for the down but not out. While we’re on the subject, Comedy Central is readying Kid Notorious, an animated series based on Evans’ story, debuting in October. We’re way curious about that venture. —BS

5. The Start of Football Season: Like I care! But it's nice to see people getting so excited about something, even something I care not one wit for. Parties are being planned, debates are heating up, the level of engagement has exponentiated. For someone who just likes to see passion in action—even as a disinterested observer—this is a wonderful time of year. Oh, and y'all will all be glad to know that Tennessee Titan Eddie George has committed to return to driving through the defense this season, rather than dancing and maneuvering. His deal is gonna be to take that field rather than evade…and what that means beyond ground acquisition in the personal sense I have no clue, but thought it should be passed on to people who would know, care and understand. —HG

6. The Miniature Zoo: Featuring mini dinosaurs, exotic African, endangered and marine animals, as well as prehistoric men of various periods recreated in vinyl or other petrochemical substance, the miniature zoo is a one-stop shop for building up one's collection of plastic creatures, but serves an equally useful purpose as a pleasant distraction from fretting over the collapse of the American economy. Be sure to pick up an Early Giant Predator, Dire Wolf or set of Neanderthal People. http://www.mzoo.com/ —JO

7. KISS Condoms: Maybe the symphony album wasn't such a great idea, but the band that brought you the ultimate troglodyte party anthem "I Wanna Rock & Roll All Night (and Party Every Day)" has found a way to connect responsibility, hedonism and their cartoon-reality base. True confessions: I laughed out loud. Gene "The Tongue" Simmons is bright red, while Paul "The Love Child" Stanley goes for something a bit more textural for (obviously) her pleasure. How you use these with a straight face may not be my problem. But it's kinda worth the moment, if you were once part of the legion that was the KISS Army way back. Imagine if these had existed in the days of Love Gun—a first KISS woulda taken on a whole new meaning. —HG

8. Beth Hart and Fabrice Morvan at Club Lingerie: It was second-chance night in Hollywood at the venerable Sunset Blvd. venue, which was also getting its second wind. Hart and Morvan, both of whom have been through the industry wars and lived to tell about it, joined forces in an inspiring night celebrating perseverance and survival, no mean feats in these tremulous times. The sassy Hart was last seen about four years ago, when her Atlantic bow produced the 1999 hit, “L.A. Song,” but drug addiction effectively cut short that promise. She’s clean a year now, and inked to indie Koch, which will release her follow-up, Leave the Light On, Oct. 21. A powerful presence who gave her all to the adoring crowd, Hart has been totally upfront about her travails, calling herself “the poster child for rehab” before launching into the searing, Joplin-esque “Monkey Back,” which not only describes the pangs of addiction but acts it out in no uncertain terms. The mere fact that Hart (managed by true believer and longtime Cyndi Lauper mate David Wolff) has been able to come back with this kind of fire in her belly is something that can warm the heart of even the most cynical observer. Similarly, Morvan’s ongoing comeback turned electric with this gig. The onetime Milli Vanilli member metamorphosed into a combo of the young Michael Jackson, Terence Trent D’Arby, Maxwell and Mick Jagger (on the rocking, “Gimme Shelter”-styled title track to his indie album, Love Revolution, which ended with Fabrice shivering like James Brown). Strumming an acoustic guitar for the traditional “Redemption Song” finale, the afro’d Fabrice evokes not only the spirit but the image of Bob Marley, transcending the suffering he’s gone through and coming out the other end. It’s almost enough to make you believe in a higher power, one that rights wrongs and rewards goodness. If Morvan’s success meant nothing more than a hearty “up yours” to the industry that had royally screwed him, it would be enough. —RT

9. Rediscoveries—The Real Me: Johnny Adams Sings Doc Pomus (Rounder, 1991): A stylish old-school R&B singer embraces one of the most timeless Tin Pan catalogs ever. What you get feels classic in a way that is immediately familiar, elevating in a way that reminds you the difference between good songs and manufactured-for-marketing group consumption—and a voice that's as world and world-weary encompassing as they come. Produced by Scott Billington and Mac Rebennack (Dr. John for those who aren't music geeks), this gem, found while cleaning out the garage, provided me with a reminder of what soul really is. —HG

10. Site of the Week: The animated further adventures of Secret Agent Dan, burger slinger by day, PoMo geek by night. This, the third chapter in the series, features an adorable and wholly unauthorized cartoon version of The White Stripes. Dan is the creation of Andy Menconi, the fully nutty brother of semi-nutty rock journalist/novelist David Menconi. Ain’t the Internet somethin’ else? http://syntheticniche.com/sad/ —BS

“Using sex as a power over men doesn't really work anymore," Candace Bushnell, the inspiration for Sex and the City and author of the new book Trading Up, told the Associated Press. "I think it works occasionally, but sex is not such a big deal anymore. Let's face it, you never know what's going to happen. Relationships (with men) don't last forever anymore. It really is about female bonding." —Valerie Nome

Marshall Crenshaw, What’s in the Bag? (Razor & Tie):
He’s come a long way since his ’80s hit, “Someday, Someway,” so it’s apt that this new album is framed by the theme of travel and sonic exploration. Setting out on a car trip in the opening “Will We Ever?” the veteran new-wave singer-songwriter marks his evolution into a stylized crooner, recalling Elvis Costello’s collaborations with Bacharach—the emotion underlined by Greg Leisz’ pedal steel. “It’s time to let familiar things fall behind,” he sings, while riding a train through the country-folk-flavored landscape of “A Few Thousand Days Ago,” an expression of his artistic growth. That maturity—and his encyclopedic knowledge of pop genres—shines through in his natural blue-eyed-soul take on Prince’s “Take Me With U” and the Dick Dale-like instrumental “Despite the Sun,” with its furious Hendrix-styled solo, which wouldn’t have sounded out of place in Pulp Fiction. Roy Trakin

Rancid, Indestructible (Hellcat): In the punk world, Rancid is the band that provides the link between 1977 and the Warped Tour. While the name-check of Joe Strummer in the title track is an acknowledgment to the band’s debt to classic punk rawk, Rancid adds some real dimension to its sound on album number six. Producer/Epitaph honcho Brett Gurewitz brings myriad subtle touches to the record—like the organ pads on the bouncy, and relatively restrained first single, “Fall Back Down,” and the loungey piano that spices up “Arrested in Shanghai,” But the quartet’s greatest strength is its ability to finesse melodies out of hardcore punk ferocity, manifested on such tracks as “Memphis” and “Roadblock.” These harder cuts are cinderblock rough, providing density for an album that’s downright unbreakable. David Simutis

Junior Senior, D-D-Don’t Don’t Stop the Beat (Crunchy Frog/Atlantic): Coming with the infectious, sample-based dance grooves like a Danish Pizzicato Five, this musical Laurel & Hardy duo’s sonic patchwork draws on elements of ’50s and ’60s rock, R&B, latter-day disco, funk, punk and everything in between. While trying to name that sample or identify a particular riff, however, you’ll find your groove thang shaking in spite of your studiously furrowed brow, thanks to the pair’s exacting attention to rhythm, which never falters. Single “Move Your Feet” proves the point by itself with an Off the Wall-style groove (lately invoked by DreamWorksCooler Kids), but the unabashed variety on this disc is where the fun is: Check the Beach Boys vibe on “Rhythm Bandits,” the garage bounce of “Good Girl, Bad Boy” or snaky Motown take “Shake Me Baby.” Manic, and loving it.
Jon O’Hara

Dashboard Confessional, A Mark A Mission A Brand A Scar (Vagrant): With this breakthrough album, produced by PoMo legend Gil Norton, Dashboard frontman and patron saint of emo Chris Carrabba transcends cults, cliques and subgenres. Though every bit as vulnerable and heartfelt as his previous work, these new songs are sturdy and hooky enough to melt the most resolute skeptic. Leadoff track and first single “Hands Down” is a propulsive gem that devastates in a single listen. “As Lovers Go” is a masterful bit of yearning pop replete with chiming guitar and love-struck harmonies, “Carry This Picture” and “Ghost of a Good Thing” bring to mind the trenchant understatement of Elliott Smith and “Am I Missing” has an urgent call-and-response chorus that drills into your brain.
Simon Glickman

Like you really care about things as superficial as the weather; what you really want to know about is the Dalai Lama’s visit to America next month and other such spiritual things. Think of this as an unnecessary evil. In NYC, once the storms roll through, it should be a very pleasant reminder that fall is almost here. Temps in the upper 70s during the day and low 60s at night. Here in Los Angeles, things have cooled down as well. Highs will only be in the upper 80s, with lows in the mid-60s. It should be yet another pleasant reminder that the weather never changes. —DS

Marci X
(Paramount Pictures)
J.A.P. meets rap, or “Hip-hop meets shop till you drop.” A young Jewish woman has to take over her father’s hardcore rap label, Felony Assault, including dealing with the negative publicity when a song by Dr. Snatchcatcher called “Shoot Ya Teacha” becomes a big hit.
Stars: Lisa Kudrow, Damon Wayans, Christine Baranski, Richard Benjamin, Jane Krakowski
Director: Richard Benjamin
(Mermaids, The Money Pit, My Stepmother Is an Alien), with screenplay by Paul Rudnick (Addams Family Values, In & Out)
Thumbs Up: Premise is amusing, and comic sparks are definitely possible between Kudrow and Wayans.
Thumbs Down: Will it be as broad as the side of a barn?
Soundtrack: Curiously, there doesn’t appear to be one.
Website: www.marcix.com is rather attenuated, with a story synopsis and trailer.

Thirteen (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Premise: Harrowing Larry Clark-style look at teenage debauchery by now-14-year-old screenwriter Nikki Reed, who also stars as an L.A. teen who is headed down a road of drugs, sex, materialism and reckless teenage abandon and rebellion.
Stars: Evan Rachel Wood (of Once and Again), Reed, Holly Hunter, Kip Pardue, Jeremy Sisto (Brenda’s crazy brother in Six Feet Under)
Director: First-timer Catherine Hardwick, previously a production designer for Three Kings, Vanilla Sky, Tombstone
Thumbs Up: Advance buzz is strong, a searing look at teenage nihilism that doesn’t look away.
Thumbs Down: Where does realism cross the line into titillation?
Soundtrack: Nettwerk America album includes tracks from Kinky, Iffy, Clinic, Imperial Teen, Folk Implosion, MC 900 Foot Jesus, Liz Phair, Katy Rose, Orlando Brown, Chubb Rock/Tarsha Vega and Mark Mothersbaugh.
www2.foxsearchlight.com/thirteen includes story, cast, crew, photos, videos and reviews, introductions to the characters, clips, soundtrack info and a message board.

The Medallion (Columbia)
Premise: A police thriller set in the world of immigrant smuggling, a cross between Lethal Weapon and Ghost, as a Chinese immigration officer learns he’s still alive but has amazing supernatural abilities.
Stars: Jackie Chan, Lee Evans, Claire Forlani, Julian Sands.
Director: Gordon Chan
Thumbs Up: Jackie Chan fans, anyone?
Thumbs Down: Looks pretty low-budget and genre-oriented.
Soundtrack: None.
Website: www.sonypictures.com/movies/themedallion/ offers a plot synopsis, downloads, production notes and dossiers on all the principals.

My Boss’ Daughter (Dimension Films)
Premise: When his cruel boss asks him to housesit, a young man tries to win the heart of the boss’ daughter, on whom he has had a crush, along with a long line of other houseguests.
Stars: Ashton Kutcher, Tara Reid, Terence Stamp, Carmen Electra, Michael Madsen, Andy Richter, Molly Shannon.
Director: David Zucker (The Naked Gun, BASEketball, Scary Movie 3)
Thumbs Up: Kutcher and Reid make a fun couple, and Zucker, one-half of the Airplane! team, should enliven the proceedings.
Thumbs Down: It looks awfully silly.
Soundtrack: None
Website: www.miramax.com is the official home of the film, but I couldn’t find a dedicated site anywhere.

Battle of Shaker Heights (Miramax)
Premise: Project Greenlight movie whose production was the subject of the HBO series about a young World War II buff who looks to seduce his friend’s older sister and reconcile a troubled family life.
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Anson Mount, Shiri Appleby, Kathleen Quinlan, William Sadler, Amy Smart.
Director: Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin won the competition to direct their first feature and turned out to be completely passive-aggressive manipulators.
Thumbs Up: Could be a star-making turn for young LeBeouf, previously seen in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle , Holes, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd and Disney TV series Even Stevens.
Thumbs Down: Can’t be nearly as interesting as the HBO series’ behind-the-scenes conflicts.
Soundtrack: None
Website: www.miramax.com offers just the bare bones.

Beginning Friday, Icelandic princess Bjork swoops in for a two-night stand at KeySpan Park’s Cyclones Stadium in Brooklyn. Her countrymen Sigur Ros and Bonnie Prince Billy are also on the bill… Also on Friday, Tori Amos and Ben Folds team up for a gig at PNC Bank Arts Center (Exit 116 Garden State Parkway, Holmdel, NJ). The pianistic pair play Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Pavilion (1000 Ocean Parkway, Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh, N.Y.) Saturday… For the geezers this Friday, Peter, Paul & Mary (yes, the original three-they’re still alive) play the Westbury Music Fair (960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury, NY), and Steely Dan pokes its way into Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Pavilion… Who can resist the charms of Ashanti? The self-styled princess of hip-hop and R&B is in the hizzouse Saturday at Madison Square. Don’t laugh too hard, but R. Kelly is also on the bill… On Sunday, the Dave Matthews Band jams into Continental Airlines Arena (Meadowlands Sports Complex, 50 Route 120, East Rutherford, NJ); Dickey Betts & Great Southern open the show. —VN

This question goes out to all of the ladies—have you ever had one of those Pretty Woman moments? No—I’m not talking about a handsome Richard Gere type taking you shopping on Rodeo Drive, buying you whatever your little heart desires. I’m talking about standing in a hotel lobby with everyone staring at you. You’re wearing last night’s clothes, which are now very wrinkled, feeling somewhat ashamed of the previous night’s hook-up. This is what I refer to as the Walk of Shame. It doesn’t have to be a hotel lobby, either. It could be the lobby of your man-of-the-moment’s apartment building or the 7-Eleven around the corner, where you stopped on your way home to get aspirin and Gatorade to rid yourself of the pounding headache and dehydration caused from your over-consumption. Somehow, the very sexy outfit that had turned heads the night before is now a little inappropriate and turning heads in a very different way. We’ve all seen that girl—usually between 7 a.m. and noon on a Saturday or Sunday morning. We even felt sympathy for her, knowing we’ve been that gal and, most likely, will be her again. This week’s cocktail is dedicated to all of us who have taken that walk after a night of fun.

After Sex
1 oz. Absolut Kurant
1 oz. Midori
Splash of cranberry and Sprite.
Shake with ice and strain into martini glass.

There’s one way to avoid the shameful reminder that you behaved in a less than ladylike manner the night before—pull a sneak-away. What’s a sneak-away? It’s when you hook up with someone and anxiously wait for him to fall asleep so you can quietly sneak out, avoiding the awkward “So, I’ll give you a call,” which always happens the morning after. Plus, he’ll wake up the next morning, probably ready for the next round, only to discover you’ve slyly exited, making him feel deserted and prompting him to make that day-after call we hope will come. I’m famous for the sneak-away—not because I’m trying to manipulate the guy into calling, but because I start feeling claustrophobic and trapped. I’ve done the deed and just want to go home to a hot shower and my own bed. Plus, guys have a huge misconception that all girls must be cuddled afterwards. It can be nice—yes, if you’re in love with the guy, but even if that’s the case, I don’t wanted to be confined in his grips for the entire night. I like to move around and be comfortable when I’m sleeping—spooning is not comfortable, and it’s almost impossible to get a good night’s sleep when you’re lying next to someone you’ve never slept next to before. It’s bad enough waking up hung over and ashamed, but throw a sore neck and no sleep into the mix and it’s pure hell. Guys have pulled sneak-aways for years, and it’s time the ladies take charge—get your booty and get out.

De’s L.A. bar pick of the week: If you are looking for a place to drink away your day-after blues, then Daddy’s on Vine in Hollywood is the perfect joint for doing just that. This old-school Hollywood lounge is filled with young hipsters minus the attitudes, giving off a dive-bar vibe without being grimy. Although there’s no dancing or full menu, the ambience and décor make Daddy’s a great place to gather a group of friends and hang out. The strong drinks, dim lights and unobtrusiveness of the clientele are exactly what the doctor ordered to speed up your hangover recovery.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and manages to sneak away without waking the sleeping beauty. Thanks to all who keep supporting this crap. Until next week—hugs and kisses. Denise Bayles

Contributors: Denise Bayles, Darren Cava, Holly Gleason, Simon Glickman, Valerie Nome, Jon O’Hara, special guest Andy Schwartz and Roy Trakin

Edited by Bud Scoppa

Marketshare machers. (10/27a)
Lamar enters the House of Jody. (10/27a)
It's a lock. (10/27a)
Planning for an Election Day hopped up on painkillers. (10/28a)
Vote. Do it now. (10/28a)
Bring your umbrella.
Mulling possible surprises.
Why not wear a mask indoors?
What drugs will help us get there?

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