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Life is reality TV without the cameras on... the father-son dynamic makes for good drama... That conspiracy option’s looking mighty attractive about now... I have a soft spot in my heart for these downtown new wavers... yanking his head forcefully to the left every time he played that unchanging, intoxicating bass lick. So cool... Was this not every man’s fantasy situation?
THE GOVERNOR-ELECT'S
WEAKEND PLANNER
In Which We Discuss the New Gov, TV Blues, Sports and Penis Size. It's Manly!
Hey, you little girly-people, the shoe is on the other shoe-thing now, huh? You made fun of the Big Guy but now maybe the Big Guy makes fun of you a little bit, you catch my point? We're gonna pump things up and pat them back down again, and we're not going to let any namby-pamby bureaucrats stop us! You may now enjoy your so-called Weakend Planner, but remember that I am watching you.

POPCULT TOP 10
1. Gov. Arnold: We have no idea what the hell’s gonna happen in California, but from a comedy standpoint, he’s the gift that keeps on giving. Think of it: the groping jokes. The movie jokes. The pronunciation-of-“California” jokes. The budget shortfalls! The embarrassing policy gaffes! First stop: the “transition team,” largely a conga line of Pete Wilson cronies—but Democrats are “welcome.” Next: the dog-and-pony show Gov. S has decided to make of the usually routine audit process. Then again, if he can balance the budget without raising taxes or cutting vital programs, it’ll be the greatest special effect of his career. —SG

2. Gov. Arnold, Take Two: Loved him in Pumping Iron and Bob Rafelson’s fabulous Stay Hungry opposite Sally Field as a pot-smoking body-builder or a marauding invader in Conan the Barbarian (“and the lamentations of the women”…).  I've even enjoyed him as a jovial, if egotistical, radio talk show guest on Howard Stern and Conway & Steckler, but am way skeptical about what he’s going to do as Governor of California. But if anybody still thinks politics isn’t show business, this should be the final nail in that theory. Whether’s he’s a liberal Republican or a conservative Democrat, the triumph of style over substance is now complete. Life is reality TV without the cameras on. As soon as you accept that fact, you’ll all feel a lot better. After all, we’re gonna need the big guy to stop the computers from destroying the human race. Unless it’s already too late.—RT

3. Recall Spin: Everybody was really angry, apparently. A lot of voters from across the spectrum seemed to consider Gray Davis—oh, what’s the word? A douche bag? Meanwhile, despite some Dems’ assertion of a right-wing conspiracy, advisor/pundit Susan Estrich says if you’re looking for someone to blame, “look in the mirror.” Did liberals and progressives really sacrifice the mansion to protect one slimy, incredibly tenacious operator? That conspiracy option’s looking mighty attractive about now. Wait a minute—here it is…
—SG

4. Arnold’s Email-gate? Was our Governor-elect part of a 2001 gathering at the Beverly Hills Peninsula with Enron chief Ken Lay, a mere ten days after the rolling blackouts? Gadfly org The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights claims to have emails proving his involvement (with a bunch of corporate heavyweights) in an effort to assist Enron in what the reviled corporation’s PR flack called “an insider's conversation of what's going on with the energy situation… for principals only.” Say it ain’t so, Terminator! —SG

5. Las Vegas: It’s not enough to make me miss the explosions and babes of last year’s guilty pleasure Fastlane, but Las Vegas stars James Caan, Nikki Cox and Molly Sims—that’s enough to keep watching through the annoying camera zooms and voiceovers. Caan runs a casino, though the show is told through the eyes of his protege, Josh Duhammel. The two spar and talk military history, and Caan’s talent may end up wasted with excessive shots of him looking pained, but the father-son dynamic makes for good drama when Duhammel is caught in bed with Caan’s daughter. Plus, the behind-the-scenes looks at casinos you should recognize make for good gawking. Yes, it’s on NBC opposite Monday Night Football (9 p.m.), but those games are usually blowouts and you do have TiVo, don’t you? DS

6.  NBA: The exhibition season got underway this week for a season on the brink… of a championship, if you believe fervent L.A. Lakers fans. They certainly have a right to feel their reconstructed Dream Team, with all-stars Gary Payton and an incredibly sculpted Karl Malone joining resident giants Shaquille O’Neal (already renegotiating his deal) and beleaguered rape suspect Kobe Bryant, still recovering from his fateful knee surgery last summer in Colorado. Although he’ll be dogged by the media all season long as his trial looms, Kobe looks like he’s going to try to give it a shot. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain his renowned intensity of focus (which seemed to abandon him at the worst time, but hey, women’ll do that to you) under the harsh glare of the spotlight. That said, even with Kobe sitting on the bench (with newcomers Luke Walton and Bryon Russell ready to step in), it sure appears as if the Lakers have enough to hold off the challenge of last year’s champ San Antonio as well as contenders Sacramento and Detroit. As for my beloved Knicks, well, it looks like another long year in store, without even the mercurial Latrell Sprewell around to spice things up. The starting lineup could well be Dikembe Mutumbo, Antonio McDyess, Keith Van Horn, Alan Houston and Nick Van Exel if the rumored trades go down, and that would be marginally better than last year. Still, if Shaq or Kobe wear out their western welcome, I’m sure lame Knicks GM Scott Layden would gladly make room for either.—RT

7. Kill Bill: Is Part One of Tarantino’s long-promised “grindhouse” epic as violent as advance word says it is? I sure hope so. It’s got Uma, Lucy Liu, David Carradine (David Carradine, man!), samurai, knives, guns and a Japanese schoolgirl assassin. I’m already in line. (See Trakin blurb below.)—SG

8. Abandoned Pools, Home Demos: Abandoned Pools mastermind Tommy Walter’s new home-recorded demos are bedroom symphonies of smart, passionate rock cast out like bottles into the sea. His well-crafted songs come from a genuine place in the soul. The one-time eels bassist’s debut solo album Humanistic blended shimmery guitars, crisp beats, and Walter’s layered vocals, but it also had hooks and balls. In the same vein as Garbage or the Smashing Pumpkins at their most melodic, the newly free-agent Abandoned Pools finds the ghost in the machine, wringing humanity from ProTools. The five songs he’s starting to send around follow a path similar to his debut’s shoegazer rock, with multiple tracks of guitars filling nooks and crannies, but without overwhelming the melodies. Contact Tony Ciulla at (323) 874-6770 for more info. DS

9. Fellatio! Just in time for the Gropenator’s victory party: a cleverly faked “article” aping CNN.com’s health page and citing a “University of North Carolina study” claiming that orally, er, pleasuring men can help prevent breast cancer in women. Fairly realistic until you get to the quotes from “Dr. B.J. Sooner” and “Dr. Inserta Shafteer.” For a less cheerful dissertation on male anatomy, check Denise’s Weakend Cocktail, below.—SG

10. Paying for Music: Is the Windows world ready for the paid-download onslaught? Apple’s iTunes and Napster 2.0 are loaded for bear as their new platforms launch this month. How will BuyMusic.com and the rest answer their challenge?—SG

NEW YORK MINUTE
As the temperatures cool down, the entertainment heats up. Yo La Tengo play Brooklyn’s Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave.) on Friday.

On Saturday, get ready to yuk it up with the one and only Margaret Cho, who takes the stage at Beacon Theatre (2124 Broadway). Or, if you prefer, Tony Danza, who stars at Feinstein’s At The Regency (540 Park Ave.), or how about Eddie Izzard, who lights up City Center (130 W. 56th St.)? Also that night, Hot Hot Heat will rock out at Irving Plaza (17 Irving Place). Ima Robot and French Kicks open the show.

There’s no doubt they saved the best for last this weekend. This Sunday, Shania Twain rolls into Nassau Coliseu m (1255 Hempstead Turnpike) in Uniondale, NY, and Mudvayne is scheduled to play Krome (Rte. 35 South & Old Spye Road) in South Amboy, NJ. When will they record their long-promised duet?—Valerie Nome

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
The fresh new single from Britney Spears may be called “Me Against The Music,” but now it’s Maryland’s first lady against the pop superstar. “If I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would,” Kendel Ehrlich, wife of Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich, told a crowd at a seminar on domestic-violence at Hood College. We guess Mrs. E objects to the hyper-sexualizing she feels Britneymania has foisted on young girls, but were her remarks appropriate, given the occasion? At least she didn’t say, “I’d like to bitch-slap the ho.”

BETTER THAN TIVO
Television at Henry Fonda Theater, L.A., Marquee Moon, Adventure (Rhino/Elektra): Having launched my professional music writing career (for what it’s worth) more than 26 years ago with a review of Marquee Moon published in the Soho Weekly News, for which I was paid the princely sum of $5, I have a soft spot in my heart for these downtown new wavers. Never quite three-chord punks, but still steeped in Nuggets-style garage roots, the interplay between guitarists Tom Verlaine’s jazz-influenced scale-building and Richard Lloyd’s more melodic blues-based rock remains timeless, the Grateful Dead crossed with 13th Floor Elevators. With the seamless rhythm section of longtime drummer Billy Ficca (his Afro now flecked with gray) and bassist Fred Smith, the band returned to L.A. for the second time in less than two years (after the summer 2002 show at UCLA for All Tomorrow’s Parties). The legendarily perverse Verlaine was in a goofy mood, tossing pretzels at the crowd from a bag on-stage after launching into one of the band’s patented tuning sessions (which gradually turn into cascading guitarscapes). Songs like “Marquee Moon,” “Venus de Milo,” “Prove It” and, naturally, their signature tune, “Little Johnny Jewel,” clicked into place as if the band were jamming on the cramped CBGBs stage back in 1976, though reportedly they hardly talk to one another when not playing. Although Verlaine’s noodling dissipated some of the momentum, it was a welcome showcase for Rhino’s recent reissues of the band’s two Elektra albums. Each of the eight songs on the celebrated 1977 debut Marquee Moon , one of my Top 15 albums of all time, is still emblazoned in my memory, though I haven’t listened to the record straight through in years. Adventure, which I hadn’t previously owned on CD, and is usually considered the disappointing follow-up, kicks in almost as hard, if a little more oblique, though “Ain’t That Nothing,” “Foxhole” and “Glory” are highlights, with the never-released title track now included as a bonus. Live at the Old Waldorf, from a 1978 show, is also available in a limited edition on the Rhino Handmade label. If you’re a fan of dueling guitars, metaphysical lyrics and jams that take you on a trip and then deposit you back home, Television is a hidden treasure, waiting to be rediscovered by a new generation. What continues to puzzle me is why they were never bigger; perhaps Verlaine’s nasal whine—Dylan crossed with Morrissey—prevented more people from digging them. But hey, it ain’t too late. That “Glory” could still be theirs.—RT

ROCK & ROLL TV
I’ll admit to having only sporadically watched the Martin Scorsese-conceived PBS documentary series The Blues, nor did I have the foresight to tape any of the films (yes, I live in a household free of TiVo—but feel free to send me one). The lone film I did see in its entirety, Mike FiggisRed, White and Blues, a look back at the infiltration of jazz and then blues into the U.K., which then refracted and returned our music to us in delightful mutations, was a gas-gas-gas. Of the numerous figures Figgis interviewed, the blues missionary Eric Clapton, the ever-young John Mayall, the ever-cool B.B. King and the dapper Georgie Fame were particularly insightful. The best moments, though (ironically, considering the premise), were two black-and-white film clips of American acts, the first of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who stood in front of a vast gospel choir slashing away at her Telecaster with the authority of Jimi Hendrix (who knew?), the second of Booker T. & the MG’s doing “Green Onions,” with Duck Dunn yanking his head forcefully to the left every time he played that unchanging, intoxicating bass lick. So cool.

But even cooler was another documentary, Tom Dowd and the Language of Music, which I accidentally stumbled across the other night on Sundance, thinking I was tuning in to IFC’s A Decade Under the Influence. Dowd, who spent several decades as house engineer/staff producer at Atlantic Records (where he’d typically transition from the Drifters to Coltrane in the course of a workday), was not only a studio wizard and trailblazer of multitrack recording, but also a remarkably affable guy whose musical contributions to countless great records are simply mind-boggling. Fortunately, the filmmakers managed to shoot tons of footage of Dowd before his death in 2002; he can be seen giving tours of the studios he worked in, telling rich stories about the likes of Aretha and Cream and, most poignantly, moving the faders as he rolled the multitrack tape and relived the experience of producing the sublime “Layla.” I wound up adoring this guy I’d never met, and I can understand why the musicians he interacted with loved him so much. If you care about music, you need to see this film. —BS 

SHINY ROUND THINGS
Jet, Get Born (Elektra/EEG): Fronted by brothers Nic and Chris Cester, these Aussies stand for the timeless quality of classic rock & roll. In a mere 3:33, the first single, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” travels crosstown from the tambourines and bassline of the Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” to Iggy’s “Lust for Life,” only to rip into the stop-and-start beat of the Yardbirds’ “I’m Not Talking.”  But the band’s no one-trick pony. “Look What You’ve Done” is a wistful ballad that confirms why they named themselves after a McCartney song, while the twangy “Move On” recalls the Stones (whom they’ve toured with) at their country-bluesiest. “Take It or Leave It” starts off with a “Not Fade Away” backbeat before ascending to fellow Oz rockers AC/DC power-chord heaven. This primer simultaneously recounts, and refreshes, the history of rock.—RT

The Rapture, Echoes (Strummer/DFA/Universal): “House of Jealous Lovers” bestowed dance-club notoriety on this NYC-based band a few years ago—reviving the roiling, angular alterna-funk of the ’80s. But the quartet’s album debut, co-produced by the band and the DFA, is too ambitious to be pigeonholed. The Rapture also channels the brittle, poppy emotionalism of The Cure (singer/guitarist Luke Jenner recalls Robert Smith’s keening vocals), the brutal, brainy post-punk of Killing Joke and Gang of Four and the confrontational charge of Public Image Ltd.  Jenner, vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Mattie Safer, drummer Vito Roccoforte and saxman/utility player Gabe Andruzzi all drive this heady brew with authority. Standing alongside “Lovers” as standouts: the driving “Heaven,” the vulnerable, waltz-time ballad “Open Up Your Heart,” the clubby “I Need Your Love” and the skronky title track. —SG

Lyle Lovett, My Baby Don’t Tolerate (Curb/Lost Highway/IDJ): Having been “Alt-Country” before anyone really knew what that meant, Texan Lovett has cut his own swath across the rootsy Americana landscape. He’s allowed his subtle sophistication to carry him here and there, much the way his freestyle pompadour has always implied a freaky sense of adventure beneath his otherwise understated calm. Here, traditional instrumentation carries a collection of relatively straight-up country tunes, as Lovett’s laid-back honk of a voice weaves tales of driving, loving, losing and praying. The title track’s snaky blues sidles up nicely to two-steppers like “Nothing But a Good Ride,” while uptempo numbers like “Wallisville Road” complement the more pensive “You Were Always There.” Two upbeat spirituals, “I’m Going to Wait” and “I’m Going to the Place,” close things out on a decidedly up note, revival choir and all.—JO

stellastarr*, stellastarr* (RCA): With streams of classic PoMo rock groups joining together, the full-length debut from this NYC-based quartet looks backward to go forward. You’ll recognize the buzzsaw guitars of the Pixies on “Jenny,” but stellastarr* co-opts that manic energy while adding a quirky, herky-jerky hook. The languid, mostly instrumental “Moongirl,” with its palette of effect-laden bass and crackling guitar lines, demonstrates a near-prog-rock/Cure side of the band, while “A Million Reasons” cements the Joy Division-as-primary-influence resurgence as promised by Hot Hot Heat and Interpol. By combining their various old-school loves and channeling them into something fresh and vital, stellastarr* look alot like the future of pop-rock. —DS

TRAKIN'S PICKS TO FLICK
Kill Bill Volume 1 (Miramax)

Premise: East meets West. Quentin Tarantino is back with his tribute to the Kung Fu/samurai/Hong Kong/Spaghetti Western/Japanese anime grindhouse cult films of his youth, with Uma Thurman a marauding Bride exacting her violent revenge. Originally made as a single, three-hour feature, then cut down into two; the sequel comes out early next year.

Stars: Thurman, David Carradine, Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Sonny Chiba, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Julie Dreyfus, Bo Svenson

Director: Tarantino returns after a six-year absence with what’s being called the “most violent American film ever,” his homage to the exploitation films he holds near and dear, or as he puts it, “The 4th Film by Quentin Tarantino.”

Thumbs Up: Dazzling filmmaking, with several set pieces, and a black comic strain.

Thumbs Down: Like Orson Welles, he is destined to be remembered for his first two films (though Jackie Brown is tremendously underrated) before descending into pretentious self-parody.

Soundtrack: Maverick Records album features a typically eclectic selection, including Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang,” supposedly an inspired use, Charlie Feathers, Bernard Hermann, the RZA, Isaac Hayes, Al Hirt, Santa Esmeralda, Quincy Jones, NEU!, snippets of film dialogue and another supposedly high-profile appearance of Zamfir (yeah, the Pan Flute guy), doing “The Lonely Shepherd.”

Website: www.kill-bill.com has cast and crew information, locations, a trailer, message boards, press notes, wallpaper, ecards, soundtrack streams and a “Deadly Viper Dispatch,” where you can commission your own assassin.

Intolerable Cruelty (Universal Pictures)

Premise: The Coen brothers do screwball comedy, as George Clooney plays a divorce lawyer who wins a settlement from gold-digger Catherine Zeta-Jones, only to fall in love with her.

Stars: Clooney, Zeta-Jones, Cedric the Entertainer, Julia Duffy, Geoffrey Rush, Bill Bob Thornton, Edward Herrmann

Director: Joel Coen, from a screenplay that neither he nor brother Ethan originally penned.

Thumbs Up: A Howard Hawks (not Preston Sturges) homage with the bros’ patented speeded-up patter.

Thumbs Down: Last down they did His Girl Friday, it was one of the Coens’ rare missteps, the lumpy, misbegotten Hudsucker Proxy (wish we could forget Jennifer Jason Leigh’s disastrous channeling of Barbara Stanwyck?). Advance word is the chemistry ain’t so hot between Clooney and Zeta-Jones.

Soundtrack: Hip-O Records Coens-produced album includes Elvis Presley, Carter Burwell, Melissa Manchester, Chuck Mangione, Collin Linden, Tom Jones, Edith Piaf and Big Bill Broonzy. The Coens also produced the Grammy-winning, multi-platinum O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack.

Website: www.intolerablecruelty.com has production notes, cast/behind the scenes info, photo gallery, story synopsis, buddy icons, screensaver, wallpapers, a “Pre-Nup Generator,” a history of divorce, clips, TV spots, trailer and games.

DENISE'S WEAKEND COCKTAIL
BEWARE: This column will not be the usual family-friendly fare! Just wanted to throw that out there to prevent the nasty emails I might get from those who think it’s inappropriate for a gal to write about sex. I’m sexually frustrated, and since I’m not getting it, I might as well write about it. Have you ever been so obsessed with a certain body part of a partner that you overlooked other things about them? For example, MTV has the relatively new reality show, The Newlyweds. Every time I talk about this show with a male, I get the same reaction, “Jessica Simpson is HOT, but boy, is she dumb!” Does the fact that she has a great rack, of which I’m very jealous, and a smokin’ body make up for the fact that she’s rivaled, in intellectual terms, by a box of rocks? Don’t get me wrong—I’m not a hater, but I can’t believe that gal can get through life without seriously harming herself. Back to my point, though: Is it easier to overlook major flaws if there’s something about a person that you are absolutely obsessed with? Males usually divide neatly into boob guys or butt guys, but girls are much more concerned with the body part integral to our satisfaction. This week’s cocktail is dedicated to all of those gals who want it but aren’t getting it.

Exploding Penis
½ oz. tequila
½ oz. Sambuca
½ oz. Bailey’s
Chill and serve in a shot glass.

I knew this guy once (for about five seconds) who really threw me for a loop. I had met him when he was visiting L.A. and we had a great night together. In the morning I knew I’d never see him again, and mentally filed it under “Well, I haven’t done that in a while.” I was fine when he hopped a plane back to the East Coast the next day. To my surprise, he got in touch with me and let me know about his upcoming trip to L.A. This guy talked a big game for weeks prior to his arrival—going into tantalizing detail not only about what he’d do to me but how, when and where (the why should be painfully obvious by now). As a sexually frustrated, thirtysomething woman, I savored the prospect of a wild and freaky week of fun. But to my disappointment, upon his return to Smogville… he flaked. I had a lot of time to ponder this dilemma when he wasn’t calling for our rendezvous. I was completely stumped, and had wasted a perfectly good bikini wax. I’ve been told that I’m very attractive and I wanted to spend a sex-filled week with a guy I might not see again after his trip was over. Was this guy a complete idiot? Was this not every man’s fantasy situation? How could a man talk smack for weeks and not follow through? First of all, it’s cruel to tease a woman with sex and then not deliver. Secondly, I’ve never met a New York man who didn’t stand behind his game.

So, why was I sweating this situation, instead of just blowing it off? I was obsessed with his penis. In fact, the Penis Gods had blessed him. So, needless to say, I was a bit disappointed by this man who talked such a big sexual game but couldn’t bring it. I realized my mistake was assuming this guy was a man based on the size of his penis. A sizable package does not make you man; in fact it’s more common to encounter a little boy with a big dick. To top things off, this flake wasn’t even raised in the city! He lived in Jersey—and was no true New Yorker, but merely an imitation, and I wasn’t going to allow one smack-talking Jersey boy ruin my love of New York men. This whole situation brought one very big thing to light. I didn’t necessarily like him—just one of his body parts. All the other parts were average—average looks, average body, average intelligence and average sex. The only thing above average about this chump was the size of his equipment. May this be a lesson to all of you gals—don’t be blinded by size, or you could be stuck with a very average little boy.

De’s L.A. bar pick of the week: If you’re craving a New York style Irish pub but don’t have the cash for a plane ticket, Molly Malone’s on Fairfax can help put you into that New York State of mind. This small but cozy pub with exposed brick walls and dim lighting happens to be one of my favorite little hideaways and is also known for showcasing some of the best local up-and-coming singer/songwriter types. If it’s your lucky night, you might even find an authentic New York man—no imitations, please!

I hope everyone has a safe and sexy weekend. Make sure you enjoy plenty of those exploding penises. And, a lesson for all of you guys—real men follow through. Can you hear me now? Until next week: hugs and kisses.—Denise Bayles

Your humble Weakend Planner was written by Roy Trakin, Simon Glickman, David Simutis, Bud Scoppa, Denise Bayles, Jon O’Hara, Valerie Nome and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thank you.

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