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Once again, the Super Bowl was a super bust, with even the com-mercials a letdown. The only water-cooler-worthy moments were the FedEx Cast Away bit, the Reebok ad with office linebacker Terry Tate and a bewildered Willie Nelson in the locker room doing a shaving cream commercial to pay off his IRS bill for H&R Block.
WEAKEND PLANNER RECALLS THE THRILL OF VICTORY, WITNESSES
THE AGONY OF DEFEAT
Raider Nation Removes Its Armor, While Football Widows Everywhere Breathe a Sigh of Relief
On this, the first pigskin-free weekend since August (the Pro Bowl doesn’t count, obviously), we bid a fond—or angst-ridden—adieu to another football season. In honor of America’s annual rite of summer/fall/winter, our own Roy Trakin offers the following, highly subjective, Super Bowl post-mortem:

Up $300 in the office pool after just a quarter (at 3-3), I was thinking it was my day, looking forward to the tightly contested Bucs-Raiders battle I had predicted on this very site last week. Making the mistake of leaving my house in search of a screen larger than my 36” Mitsubishi, I backed into a tree with my wife’s car, which ended up costing me $250 of my winnings. Gradually, my visions of taking the entire $2,000 “pot” went up in “smoke” when the Raiders started going for two points after touchdowns in the third quarter, and the game descended into an odd-numbered rout (I also had 0-0). Anyway, once again, the Super Bowl was a super bust, with even the commercials a letdown. The only water-cooler-worthy moments were the FedEx Cast Away bit, the Reebok ad with office linebacker Terry Tate and a bewildered Willie Nelson in the locker room doing a shaving cream commercial to pay off his IRS bill for H&R Block. My one complaint? No cameras on Al Davis to watch him squirm as the Bucs ran up the score on his beloved silver and black. That was almost as cruel as what Davis’ so-called Raider family did to disgraced center Barret Robbins. As it was, this time, justice prevailed… The bad guys beat the worse guys.

WEAKEND POPCULT TOP 10
1. Speakin’ of the Dang Ol’ Super Bowl:
See! I tol’ ya them 3 1/2 points didn’t mean a damn thang. Die, Al, die! —GWTG

2. Van Arno Takes Manhattan: The chance to extract righteous vengeance from the man who made you look ridiculous is finally here. This Saturday, Feb. 1, from 7-10 p.m., a special opening reception will be held for Airhead cartoonist Van Arno at FUSE Gallery in the East Village. This solo show will feature 18 new figurative paintings from the last employed Internet animator in America. Van has been showing paintings around the country for the last eight years, and his work has been featured in Juxtapoz magazine, LA Independent and, most recently, in International Tattoo Art magazine (seriously!). Best of all, this outstanding show will NOT feature insulting pictures of you—unless you are Iggy Pop, Jennifer Creel, Olive Oyl or Popeye Jones. Fuse Gallery, 93 Second Ave. (at 5th St.), NYC, 10003; 212-777-7988. Click on www.fusegallery.com or www.vanarno.com to see more of the work. Show runs thru March 15; gallery hours Tues-Sat. 12-5p.m. —VA (who’s gotten so big for his britches that he’s begun referring to himself in the third person. —Ed.)

3. Will the Lakers Make the Playoffs? After seeing the REAL Lakers reappear Wednesday night in an impressive, controlling win against the Suns, I see no reason why they can’t pass some combo of Phoenix, Houston, Minnesota or Utah. But this season continues to be a trying one for die-hard Lakers fans like Elektra’s Joel Amsterdam, who says, “This week will tell the tale. Sacramento Friday, Utah Saturday, Indiana Tuesday. If they go two out of three, they've got a shot...but what happens if they squeak in? They'll get blown out... This season has been SO painful!” And I reply, “Dude, tell me about it. Those loose balls and second shots are no fun at all. Dunno how many times I've gone to bed bummed the last few months. Oh, yeah, exactly 23. You're right, the problem is that they'll expend so much energy just getting there that I can't imagine they'll have much left for a best-of-five against the Mavs, Kings or Spurs." As Knicks fan Trakin would say, "Oy vey.” “EXACTLY!” sez Joel. The agony continues this weekend. —BS

4. Lucinda Williams, World Without Tears (Lost Highway): This is a complete return to the form of ‘98’s Grammy-winning breakthrough Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. The music world would be a lot more interesting if this was the “country” represented at the top of the charts, but there’s no accounting for mass taste. If there were, everyone would hear this legendarily difficult artist evoking Neil Young on the plaintive, opening “Fruits of My Labor,” while proving equally at home with the swaggering, gender-bending, Stonesy “Bleeding Fingers.” Toss in a devastating, “dirt under your nails” take on the underbelly of domestic poverty in the shrugging despair of ”American Dream,” and, on just a couple of listens, you have 2003’s first contender for album of this or any other year. —RT

5. Site of the Week: When you check out the brand-new keithrichards.com, the first thing you experience is the glorious sound of one of his archetypal guitar riffs—a clear indication that the geeks who designed the site know exactly what Keith’s people want. The site also offers both oral and written Q&As, photo album, solo discography and news about Keef and his band, the…uh…Expensive Winos. Oh, yeah, and the Rolling Stones, too. —MP

6. The Alvin Gentry Death Watch: The beleaguered Clippers coach actually kicked the bucket last summer; his body simply hasn’t been located yet. —LB

7. Al Hirschfeld, 1903-2003: With his attenuated renderings of the century's most famous, celebrated, notorious and glamourous people, Hirschfeld's renderings of American culture created a sizzle all their own. Black & white, with strong lines, he knew how to accentuate the positives and at times make the negatives scream with the "look at me" appeal of the very best photographers. You may not know the name, but you know the images—appearing in The New York Times, The New Yorker, TIME, Vanity Fair and many, many other major magazines. Carole Channing all teeth and swoopy hair and diamonds; Madonna gusseted and boned into her Gaulthier corset, ponytail more dominatrix accessory than school girl affectation—naughty twinkle more present than a photo could capture; the Rolling Stones bony and big lipped, rooster hair and the eau de danger somehow wafting from his clean crisp cariactures. Ninety-nine years old, Hirschfeld witnessed it all. His editing of what made people stand out defined them—and his subjects make sense of a changing pop culture. With two books recently published—Hirschfeld's New York and Hirschfeld's Hollywood—his legacy is as vital now as ever. —HG

8. Joe Millionaire Babe’s Sordid Bondage Past: All praise to The Smoking Gun for rooting out these sweet truffles of embarrassment with which to trouble the famous and the nearly so, but in this case, where’s the beef? Oh, that’s right—it belongs to Joe himself, who, for a short time modeled underwear before becoming the regularly televised hunk he is today. If you ask us, Sarah Kozer, aka Bondage Girl, would more than likely make a perfect mate (or superhero sidekick) for Evan Marriott, aka Underwear Boy. Decide for yourself by clicking the link above. And if you happen to run into a copy of Dirty-Soled Dolls, could you send it to us? —JO

9. Tom Shales, James Andrew Miller, Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live (Little, Brown & Co.): These oral histories from backstage people, cast members, writers, directors, guest hosts—practically everyone connected with the show—are utterly fascinating. TV goddess Marci Klein, who books all the hosts and musical guests and is the face of SNL to the music biz, comes off especially well. Everything you ever wanted to know about Saturday Night Live—the gossip, the inside stuff—is here. A good read. —LB

!0. The Pro Bowl: No, not really.

HIP PLACEMENT
Robert Lanham, The Hipster Handbook (Anchor Books/Random House):
What Larry Townsend’s groundbreaking 1972 The Leatherman’s Handbook did for S&M and Gene Sculatti’s 1982 Catalog of Cool for Rhino Records, this slim volume tries to do for Generation Y culture. That is, before the now sub-teen Buster Boom renders the term “hip” completely meaningless. Lanham gets extra points for single-handedly trying to promulgate “deck” and “fin” to mean unh, “tight” and “gay”—at least those are the terms my 14-year-old son uses to describe the same thing. These are the kind of guys that “graduated from a liberal arts school whose football team hasn’t won a game since the Reagan administration.” They consider Dennis Cooper, J.D. Salinger and Nick Hornby their literary gods, worship Stephen Malkmus and Ira Kaplan, call Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo ’66 the hippest movie of all time and sleep on their hair so it’ll stand up in perfect cowlicks the following morning. Lanham chronicles the variety of post-modern hipster variations such as Neo-Crunches, Maxwells, Carpets, CK-1s (Sexually Aggressive Bisexuals), UTF (Unemployed Trust Funder), etc., kinda Margaret Mead meets Brett Easton Ellis. There are, uh, “deck,” woodcut-like drawings by Jeff Bechtel and nifty art direction by Bret Nicely. And you know these guys are hipsters because they’re based in Brooklyn. I’m guessing Williamsburg. —Roy Trakin

SHINY ROUND THINGS
Damien Rice, O (damienrice.com): Since getting hold of a copy and tossing out some first impressions last week, I’ve spent some time with the disc (which you can order from the site above, assuming you can convert pounds to dollars and are willing to spend a few on a CD), and it’s as emotionally complex as it is instrumentally spare. Rice creates a delectable tension between Nick Drake-like restraint and Jeff Buckley-like release, with melodies and moods that recall Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits at their most bittersweet. As I mentioned, the album’s most breathtaking track is the closer, “Eskimo,” which starts with a whisper and builds to a crescendo of symphonic proportions, complete with the sampling of an operatic aria. But there’s a lot more where that came from. Watch out for this guy.
Bud Scoppa

Zwan, Mary Star of the Sea (Martha’s Music/Reprise): Billy Corgan’s post-Smashing Pumpkins band (featuring ex-Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin) is less interesting for its similarities to his previous outfit (in the widescreen sonic wash of "Honestly" and "Settle Down") than its differences. On heartfelt pop melodies like "Endless Summer," "Baby Let’s Rock" and "Yeah!," it’s clear Corgan’s split from the Pumpkins was made, as he puts it in the ’60s Stones/Kinks-influenced "Come With Me," "so I could breathe." The absence of band photos, lyrics or his real name on the CD sleeve makes clear Corgan prefers we concentrate on the music. Still, with 14-minute epics like "Jesus, I/Mary Star of the Sea," there’s no denying the presence of a major rock auteur. —RT

IN THE CHANGER
John Farneda, APD, WXRT Chicago
Foo Fighters
, One by One (Roswell/RCA): “My favorite record of last year. I just can’t take it out of the CD player.”
Prince, One Nite Alone…The Aftershow (NPG): “I knew within the opening 45 seconds of Disc Three that I was in love with Prince (and Hendrix) all over again.”
Sean Paul, Dutty Rock (VP): “With the brutal winter months Chicago dishes out, this CD is rhythmic reminder of what Jamaica has to offer.”
Paul Weller, Illumination (Yep Roc): “Great new record. Hope to add a cut to ’XRT’s playlist someday.”
Primal Scream, Evil Heat (Epic): “Just got this CD, although it’s been out since last summer. I love the band and hope I love the album.”

PLAYING PRETEND
Pretenders and Todd Rundgren at Mizner Park Amphitheatre, Boca Raton: To fan its dying flame, fans of PoMo and classic rock converged on the Mizner Park Amphitheatre to see a coupla old warhorses with something to prove, as Todd Rundgren opened for the Pretenders. The recently opened venue was packed to the brim with ticket-holders sporting black and leather to pay homage to a pair of kindred bands from two different eras.

Rundgren was resplendent in black blazer and black sweatpants with futuristic sneakers, his hair dyed half-gray/half-white and the rest of his trademark shag in black, mocking the aging process. He opened on acoustic guitar with “Love of a Common Man,” making an immediate impact. The audience responded to classics such as “It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference ” and “Hello It’s Me,” but Todd transcended nostalgia with a subtle anti-war stance on the song “Lysistrada.”

The Pretenders followed, opening with “Lie to Me,” a song off their current Artemis debut, Loose Screw.

Chrissie Hynde claimed Todd was a hard act to follow, and judging from the first couple of songs, it showed. The band had a bass-heavy drone and seemed on the listless side after the frisky Rundgren. With “Message of Love,” though, they picked up momentum as the crowd offered a standing ovation.

Dressed in jeans, high-heel boots and a black blazer, which she eventually shed, the inspirational Hynde was alternately confident, brash and sexy. The show peaked with “Precious,” followed by a four-song encore that reprised the hits, culminating in “Brass in Pocket,” leaving the throng thoroughly satisfied, and making all those rumors of rock’s demise seem greatly exaggerated. —Janet Trakin

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
The Recruit (Touchstone Pictures)
Premise: Al Pacino schools new Irish bad boy Colin Farrell in the ways of the CIA, while arousing his suspicions he may be a double agent for the Chinese government.
Stars: Pacino continues his recent spate of scenery-chewing, while Farrell tries to solidify his next-big-heartthrob status, Bridget Moynahan.
Director: Aussie Roger Donaldson, a veteran action guy on a slight losing streak (No Way Out, Dante’s Peak, Thirteen Days), screenplay by Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium) and Mitch Glazer (Great Expectations)
Thumbs Up: First, big action movie of the year, stirring cat-and-mouse between Pacino and Farrell.
Thumbs Down: By the numbers… Haven’t we seen this all before—and is that the point?
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande album features original score by Klaus Badelt.
Website: touchstonepictures.go.com/recruit/ lets you try out for the C.I.A., win a notebook computer or watch as well as learn about the production and see the trailer.

Biker Boyz (DreamWorks Pictures)
Premise: Blaxploitation version of Fast and the Furious meets Fight Club on motorcycles is the story of the “King of Cali,” the leader of a biker club of mostly white-collar African-Americans who exchange their suits and ties on weekends for leather and helmets at a Fresno drag race.
Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Tyson Beckford, Antone Fisher’s Derek Luke, Lisa Bonet, Kadeem Hardison, Orlando Jones, Eriq La Salle, Larenz Tate and Kid Rock.
Director: Reggie Rock Bythewood, making his feature debut after HBO’s Dancing in September. Previously screenwriter for Spike Lee’s Get on the Bus.
Thumbs Up: Strong cast, good action, will go head-to-head with The Recruit for week’s top box office.
Thumbs Down: A B-movie with A-list marketing?
Soundtrack: DreamWorks album features Redman, P.O.D., Metallica, Ja Rule & Swizz Beatz, Papa Roach & N.E.R.D., Mos Def, Mystic, Jadakiss f/Ron Isley, MeShell NdegeOcello and Slick Boyz featuring Mr. Murder.
Website: www.bikerboyz.com offers lotsa engine noise and the usual: story, gallery, downloads, multimedia, cast & crew, production notes and soundtrack info.

Lost in La Mancha (IFC)
Premise:
Documentary about the making of Terry Gilliam’s aborted Don Quixote movie.
Stars: Gilliam, Johnny Depp, Jean Rochefort, Vanessa Paradis; narrated by Jeff Bridges.
Directors: Keith Fulton and Luis Pepe, who previously directed a documentary on the making of Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys.
Thumbs Up: A glimpse of the method behind the madness, and the increasing dysfunction of art and commerce.
Thumbs Down: Rubber-necking at a disaster.
Soundtrack: None
Website: www.lostinlamancha.com offers a synopsis, production notes, production credits, reviews, production stills, a trailer and interviews with the directors and producer Lucy Darwin. —RT

DENISE’S WEAKEND COCKTAIL
I need a cocktail! Is it too early to start drinking? Last night, somebody told me that moving is the second most stressful thing a person can deal with (the first is dealing with the death of a family member). I agree with that person. I’m ringing in Feb. 1 like it’s the new year. I’ve never wanted one month to be over so badly—I just want January to go away. If this past month is any indication to how the rest of the year is going to be, I’m screwed!

Holding true to my New Year’s resolution, I’m attempting to liven up my dating life by “duty dating.” For those of you who missed that column a few weeks back, duty dating is the practice of dating multiple people at the same time in order to maintain a balance. If you’re only dating one guy, then he’s the only one you’re concentrating on, and therefore you’re more likely to think you’ve “fallen” for him, because there’s no one else occupying your time or thoughts. If you’re dating two guys, then it’s the whole “either/or” comparison thing. But, by dating multiple guys, a gal has options and can choose the best match with more of a level head. Suddenly, you’re more appealing to the guys, because you’re not so readily available and aren’t reeking of desperation; plus, think of all the free meals. Now, I’m not talking about whoring yourself out on a nightly basis and sleeping with all of these guys, once you’ve decide on one lucky hunk to start banging your headboard with, then you can let loose of the others. I know some men out there are reading this and are appalled by the whole idea—get over it! You guys do it all the time. It’s about time females even the score, like Trista the bachelorette. Let men fight for our attention, and by God, let the best man win. My cocktail of the week is dedicated to all of those gorgeous men out there, waiting anxiously to fill up my dance card—only heartthrobs need apply.

Heartthrob
1 oz. Finlandia cranberry vodka
oz. peach schnapps
oz. grapefruit juice
Serve in tall glass with ice

Once a gal like myself makes the decision to put herself out there in the big, bad, scary dating world, how should she go about it? I’ve pondered this idea and have discovered that there are a plethora of options for the single girl. I’ve decided to try out some of these options and report back the results. I’m going to make it an adventure of sorts.  It’ll be fun, or at the very least, funny for you to read my horror stories. Don’t worry, guys, you won’t be left out. I’m sure I’ll have some pointers for you. Actually, I have one to start you off with. Never, and I mean never, ask a gal whether or not the two of you are ever going to have sex together, and if so…when—especially if it’s within the first couple of days of meeting each other. This happened to me last week, and I responded with a simple “Never.” Even if I had wanted to drop my drawers, that urge suddenly vanished upon being proposed such an adolescent question. We like suave, we like romance, we like creativity, we want you to be so damn charming that we have to fight to resist you—so act like a man, not a frat boy.

Since I’m so overwhelmed with my move, I asked for help from my fellow HITS weasels as to my picks of the week. I’ve chosen the talented Mr. Todd Hensley (I’m smart—he’s my boss) to be my assistant this week.

Todd’s bar crawl: If you were one of the presidents of such a highly praised music magazine, where would you go for fun? Being a Valley-ite, Todd starts out at the tucked-away dive Residuals in Studio City. After being handled with great care by Melinda and Rebecca, he makes the long journey of a couple hundred feet to The Fox & Hounds, which is a quaint little British pub filled with soccer-loving, beer-drinking sports fans. If Todd is feeling frisky, he hops on the Metro Link (because drinking and driving is bad), and takes a ride to Hollywood & Highland to make an appearance at Brasserie Vert, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant/bar. Try the Vert Bellini. It’s champagne with pureed sour apple. Our fearless leader Lenny Beer rants and raves about it. I’m getting thirsty just thinking about it. Enjoy your night walking—or stumbling, if you’ve had a really good night—in the footsteps of one of our staffers. Votre sante!

Keep those dating horror stories coming—I love them! Also, send me your suggestions on what bars I need to check out in Santa Monica, since I’m a “Westsider” now. As always, e-mail me at the link below just to remind me that you love me. Until next week—hugs & kisses. —Denise Bayles

Contributors: Van Arno, Denise Bayles, Lenny Beer, Holly Gleason, Jon O’Hara, Marc Pollack, Janet Trakin and Roy Trakin

Special guests: Joel Amstersdam and John Farneda

Edited by Bud Scoppa

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Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
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