“Is that backwards?” a colleague asked of the music I was playing as he passed by my office. “That’s not back-wards,” I replied; “it’s Radiohead.”


Starting Now, There's a Lot More Time
and a Lot Less To Do. Get over it.
If we’re lucky, there’ll be three more basketball games this season (if we’re lucky, somebody will break 80 points in one of them). Assuming the Nets do take the Spurs to the limit (or vice versa), Game Seven will be next Wednesday night. In any case, we’re guaranteed two more games, Friday and Sunday at 5:30 PDT.

The end of the NBA Finals is one sign that summer is here; another is the daylight—there’s a lot of it. In L.A., you don’t even have to turn on your headlights until 8 or so—although you might need your fog lights at the beach. This is the time of year when hardcore sports fans go into a sort of summer hibernation (except for followers of baseball, along with people who find golf on TV exciting). But think of the break (which lasts until football starts toward the end of August) as an opportunity to catch up on your reading, to leave the house, to blast the dozen or so terrifically smart and hooky albums that have come out in the last month (one of them is discussed directly below), to rent some of the offbeat little movies that made 2002 such a strong year for cinema. By all means, grab Roger Dodger, The Man From Elysian Fields, Igby Goes Down, Possession (which suggests Neil LaBute has a heart after all) and the amazing Y Tu Mama Tambien. Chill out, dude, we’ll get through this—we always do.

In a totally unrelated note, our New York column returns this week; it’s now helmed by our recent acquaintance, Valerie Nome. As Murphy said just minutes ago when greeting a new HITS employee, welcome to the bottom of the fuckin’ barrel, Valerie. And we mean that in the nicest possible way.

Finally, this may not be the best edition of the Planner (how does one distinguish degrees of ineptitude?), but it’s almost certainly the longest, as our in-house nimrods attempt to impersonate rock critics. What do these dimwits think this is, the Village Voice? We apologize in advance for the spew. 

1. Out of Order (Showtime):
I kid you not, fellow viewers, this provocative series is hands-down the best show on TV right now. If it were on the prestigious HBO, rather than the historically raunchy (if recently impressive) Showtime, it would be all the buzz after two episodes (including the dense two-hour opener), rather than merely a spreading rumor. Granted, lead characters Eric Stoltz and Felicity Huffman, as a screenwriting couple, are too deeply flawed to be particularly sympathetic, and the rest of the ensemble, which includes William H. Macy and Justine Bateman, is a twitching mass of neuroses and inflamed libidos. Further, the first two episodes weave all over the road, careening from social satire to Herskovitz-Zwick-style dreamlike impressionism to quippy voiceover shtick to Lithiumed-out contemporary tragedy. But eventually, what at first seems messy and over the top begins to make sense as the narrative unfolds; the creators (real-life screenwriting couple Donna & Wayne Powers, who penned The Italian Job, with its delightful Napster subtext) seem to be saying that the only way to capture the scope of modern-day dysfunction is to hit it from all sides. The emotions coming out of these troubled characters seem honest, their missteps relatable. And, kids, the brilliantly shot ecstasy party in the first episode is the most vividly inventive evocation of the drug experience since Trainspotting. The acting is extraordinary, the writing incisive, the filmmaking inventive. Hey, I’m surprised myself, but this show will hook people if they give it a chance. Mondays at 10 p.m. —BS

2. Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers (S-Curve/Virgin): Jersey alchemists Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood do “that thing they do,” artfully mining pop-rock history for the band’s label debut, its third album overall and first since ’99’s Utopia Parkway. The initial single, “Stacy’s Mom,” offers a teen fantasy of a Mrs. Robinson-type with precision new wave melodies and harmony-laden chorus lines that kick. These narrative snapshots of the modern world include a guy killed by a cellular-phone explosion (the Weezer-like “Mexican Wine”) and a Bowiesque glam-rocker about the anomie caused by technology (“Little Red Light”). From the Simon & Garfunkel folk-rock of “Valley Winter Song” and the blue-eyed soul harmonies of “Halley’s Waitress,” to the straight-ahead honky-tonk of “Hung Up on You” and the “I Am the Walrus” sprawl of “Supercollider,” pop music this winsome and smart deserves a place on the airwaves…and the charts. —RT

3. FannyPack, “Cameltoe” (Tommy Boy): Never mind Jayson Blair. Perhaps the clearest sign of the decline and fall of the Great Gray Lady, the New York Times, is its publishing the name of this underground NYC hit in its once-hallowed pages. News that’s fit to print, indeed. This trio of multi-racial Brooklyn street gal mall rats—one half-black, half-Indian; one Irish; one Thai and Puerto Rican—are part Spice Girls, part Northern State, part back-in-the-day Puerto Rican downtown dance trio E.S.G. They blithely pay tribute to this ultimate fashion faux pas by declaring, “Her Spandex biker shorts/Were creeping up the front/I could see her uterus/Her pants were too tight… She had a frontal wedgie,” in a nursery-rhyme, vaguely dancehall techno teen-hop—J.J. Fad’s “Supersonic” meets The Waitresses’ “I Know What Boys Like.” A true cultural artifact, circa 2003. —RT

4. Unwritten Law Live in Yellowstone (Image Entertainment): From the folks who brought us 1999’s highly praised Hell Freezes Over DVD (documenting The Eagles’ 1994 reunion concert) comes this latest installment in the Music in High Places DVD series, featuring Interscope power-poppers Unwritten Law. Part travel-adventure series, part acoustic showcase, the series—originally broadcast on MTV—has combined various recording artists with some of the Earth’s most gorgeous sites for a “communing with nature” vibe that’s easy on the eyes and ears. Past installments have featured Alanis Morissette in the Navajo Nation, BBMak in Vietnam, Collective Soul in Australia and the Goo Goo Dolls in Alaska. The current edition, which places Unwritten Law amid Old Faithful and the dramatic scenery of the nation’s most famous national park, features the band performing “Rest of My Life,” “Seein’ Red” and five other songs in diverse locations, including a bridge, a cliff, a field by a pond and even a rodeo arena. It’s superior mellow-out material, where both sound and vision play a part in chilling out the viewer, and DVD-producer Image Entertainment has done a typically fine job of making both sparkle. —JO

5. Find out your Hot Action Cop Name: This essential URL came our way from Lava’s Lisbeth Cassaday—or should we start calling her Officer Stinkfinger? http://www2.fanscape.com/hac/namegen.html —ES

6. Sea of Terror: L.A. scribe Sam Catlin’s sensibility occupies an odd, delirious limbo between observational comedy and pitch-black absurdism. He once wrote a one-act in which two parents go to see a school counselor (played by Rainn Wilson, best known as Arthur on Six Feet Under), who advises them to give up on their troubled son and have him sent “south.” At one point, a character vividly recalls a nightmare about being trapped inside a child’s birthday cake and being told by a disembodied voice to choose between “the knife [and] the little teeth.” In his latest opus, Catlin co-stars as half of a couple so paralyzed by anxiety that having another couple to their home for dinner is an exercise in unbearable suspense. The talented supporting cast includes Paul Schulze (Father Phil on The Sopranos) Julie Dretzin (The Sisters Rosenzweig) and Amy Scribner (Velocity Rules). Sea of Terror runs through June 22 at the Dorie Theatre at The Complex, 6474 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Wilcox Ave.), Hollywood. Performances take place on Thursday, Friday, Saturday (8 p.m.) and Sunday (7:30 p.m.). Tickets are $12. Call (310) 358-2969 for more info. —SG

7. Quote of the Week: "What's talent but the ability to get away with something?" (from Showtime’s remake of The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone) —BS

8. Dictators at Spaceland, L.A.: Thirty years after their legendary garage-band classic Go Girl Crazy! sold 5,000 copies to assorted rockcrit types, according to frontman “Handsome Dick” Manitoba, the ageless Noo Yawk foursome returned to play to the same 300 fans (give or take some young acolytes) they’ve had for the past three decades. Minus Scott “Top Ten” Kempner on rhythm guitar, Manitoba, along with co-founding members Andy Shernoff and the still-shag-coiffed Ross “The Boss” Funichello as the Spinal Tappish lead guitarist, the boys worked through their sturdy repertoire with high energy and characteristic swagger. The classics kept coming… “(I Live for) Cars and Girls,” “Minnesota Strip,” “I Stand Tall,” “Rock and Roll Made a Man of Me,” versions of the Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer” and Iggy’s “Search and Destroy,” and, naturally, the climactic punch-up of “Next Big Thing” and “Two Tub Man.” These proud metal-punk progenitors continue to represent as the spirit of pro wrestling, Joe Franklin, “drinking Coca-Cola for breakfast” and taking “sopers for the weekend.” Long may they rock. —RT

9. www.rosannecash.com: One of the age’s most erudite songwriters, Rosanne Cash, with that deep-maroon-velvet voice, has always excavated the crevices deep in the human heart with a gentle brutality that left nothing on the table. But for Cash, the human heart isn't just about men and women—it's about people and refuge, solace and the occasional betrayal or disappointment. Recognition is the commodity she trades in Rules of Travel (Capitol), her latest, a brilliant mirror of the phases of a grown woman's feelings, doubts, wonder. But it’s on her website, freed of structure and music, that her thoughts dance most freely. And right now, her brilliant eulogy from the funeral of her stepmother, June Carter Cash, is posted. It’s hard to say what's more wondrous: the glimmering insight into a life well-lived/loved, or the inspiration, based on the life Cash holds up and remembers, of what we can make of our own lives. —HG

10. Fabrice Morvan at Hotel Cafe: If his first solo effort, the laudable Love Revolution, wasn’t proof enough, everyone can finally hear for themselves that the resurgent one-time Milli Vanilli member can not only sing, but retains the charismatic presence that helped sell several million albums around the world. He’ll be appearing with his band Monday (6/16) at this currently tres hot venue (1623 1/2 N. Cahuenga Blvd) for a mere $6. The intimate space guarantees there’ll be no smoke and mirrors, just the real thing, a multitalented performer who deserves your ear as well as your eye. Wait until you catch his evocative version of “Redemption Song.” You’ll swear the spirit of Bob Marley is speaking through his soul. Contact [email protected] to reserve your tickets, because they’re bound to go fast. —RT

Radiohead, Hail to the Thief (Capitol):
“Is that backwards?” a colleague asked of the music I was playing as he passed by my office. “That’s not backwards,” I replied; “it’s Radiohead.” The first time through the art-rock commandoes’ sixth album, you might not notice that the slippery grooves, jarring transitions and otherworldly soundscapes largely emanate from guitars, electric bass, drums and pianos played conventionally, so confounding has the band’s aesthetic shell game become.

While the tools they employ here may be more standard than those used on Kid A and Amnesiac, the confrontational attitude the band displayed on those two albums is, if anything, further amped up, as Thom Yorke and his mates react to a threatening world in which the center will not hold and (dis)information overload has reached critical mass—notions executed with concurrent vehemence on the haranguing “Sit Down. Stand Up” and the primary-colored, ALL-CAPS album art.

Much of the album is at once assaultive and despairing, in a sort of contemporary aural restatement of Picasso’s “Guernica,” and yet the band and producer Nigel Godrich now and then allow the black clouds to part, revealing passages of musical clarity made all the more dramatic by their disturbing surroundings: the thrilling “There there” (which must really be something live), in which Radiohead sounds very much like the great rock band the world wants it to be; the lovely if disquieting mood pieces “Sail to the Moon,” “I Will” and “Scatterbrain”; the elegantly simple “A Punchup at a Wedding,” in which Yorke weaves a downright catchy vocal melody over a nearly unvarying progression paced by a repeating bass figure; and the concluding “Wolf at the Door,” which finds Yorke in an alternately aggro and ingenuous state, a la Malcolm McDowell’s character in A Clockwork Orange, his words scurrying antsily over a hulking, ominous minor-chord progression redolent of Abbey Road’s “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).”

Will Hail to the Thief continue to resonate as The Bends does, or will it remain attached to the anxious period that inspired it? I have no idea. All I can say at this point is, the more I play it, the more listenable it seems—but that doesn’t make the experience any less unsettling. Bud Scoppa

Steely Dan, Everything Must Go (Reprise): When preeminent jazz/pop auteurs Donald Fagen and Walter Becker reunited in the studio to produce 2000’s Grammy-winning Two Against Nature, who’d have thought another might be coming in just three years? But here it is, replete with trademark deep grooves, harmonic complexity, lyrical intrigue and unmistakable Fagen vocals, save one Zevonesque lead by Becker in his official SD debut. At once recognizable and new, it’s a thing of beauty to behold.

With typical depth, the overarching going-out-of-business theme serves as both twisted late-career conceit and cockeyed-cynicist’s guide to economic meltdown, but to hear Fagen do Elmer Fudd (on “Godwhacker”) is just plain surreal—and hugely entertaining. As with any product of nuance and subtlety, as has been Becker & Fagen’s stock in trade for 30-plus years now, this collection will grow on the listener upon repeat exposure—especially if the listener happens to be a longtime fan rabid for any new material, as many of us are.

Still, when mulling the many phases of ’Dan—from “Brain Tap Shuffle” through “Third World Man,” on to “Cousin Dupree” and now the new stuff—one can’t help but marvel at the difference a couple of decades can make. The pair, quite naturally, seem to see things through a longer lens in their post-Gaucho work (including Nature; we’ll call it Steely Dan 2.0) than they did before. Whereas their fascination with hard luck and dissipation used to seem more personal and directly connected to the dyspeptic precision of the music, that overachieving urgency now seems to have yielded to a kind of amusement at a distance.

To say that the v.2.0 melodies are a little less concise, the lyrics a bit less incisive than in the pair’s earlier work, would be to deny them 20 intervening years of living—dare we say mellowing?—since their arguable 1980 pinnacle. But then, they are the ones who raised the bar so high in the first place, aren’t they?

Sure, “These tabs look iffy—you say they’re good/Let’s roll with the homeys—knock on wood” (“Slang of Ages”) is a far cry from “Clean this mess up else we’ll all end up in jail/Those test tubes and the scale/Just get it all out of here” (“Kid Charlemagne”), but what isn't? Yes, they seem not to care to hone their lyrical and musical themes to the surgical edge of yore, but these are surely very different times in the principals’ lives. And whether they actually are or not, they sound as if they’re enjoying themselves.

One thing that sets this album apart is the use of pretty much the same rhythm section throughout—a lineup distinguished especially by the vacuum-packed groove of drummer Keith Carlock. And besides holding down the bass, Becker plays all the guitar solos—a fact that adds to the collection’s coherent sound, established from the get-go by the goofball blues “The Last Mall” and sly tale of remorse “Things I Miss the Most.” It also makes one wonder if Larry Carlton would even pick up the phone.

The two most fully realized ’Dan creations here (by pre-2.0 standards) are the slinky “Green Book”—a mysterious tale of composite lust which finds our heroes trading way-out licks—and the hilarious, gorgeous “Pixelene,” which poses as an outtake from Fagen’s Kamikiriad. Both power the album’s killer second half, which is punctuated by the moody title track, a gallows-humor vehicle sporting telltale bridge: “We gave it our best shot/But keep in mind we got a lot/The sky, the moon, good food and the weather/First-run movies—does anybody get lucky twice?” The truth is, they already have—and so have we.

Can you dig it, Miss Fugazy? Jon O’Hara

De La Soul Timeless: The Singles Collection (Tommy Boy/Rhino); Playwutchalike: The Best of Digital Underground (Tommy Boy/Rhino): Believe it or not, hip-hop wasn’t always just about the Burberry, the Benz and the bubbly. There was a brief, shining period—call it the genre’s middle passage—when purveyors of the form could write about more intangible (and weirder) subjects. The flourishing of the “Native Tongues” movement, primarily on the East Coast, raised hopes that hip-hop would undergo a growth process akin to what happened to rock in the mid-60s. Other factors intervened, of course, and rap’s progressive wing was left in the dust, first by the “gangsta” phenomenon and then by the ultra-materialistic, booty-obsessed hip-pop that has dominated the charts for the last several years.

Not surprisingly, the ambitious hip-hop of the late ’80s and early ’90s has aged far better than much of what subsequently eclipsed it. Two new compilations, each dedicated to a key Native Tongues group, make this point forcefully. De La Soul Timeless: The Singles Collection and Playwutchalike: The Best of Digital Underground are both stellar from top to bottom, and will unquestionably inspire music-makers of all stripes for decades to come.

Both De La and DU were heavily influenced by George Clinton’s P.Funk ambitions, and both chose samples brilliantly. De La were avatars of the record-geek eclecticism that has since become commonplace in the hip-hop world; they even got in trouble for sampling the Turtles! Even as they hailed the dawning of the “D.A.I.S.Y. age” (for “Da Inner Sound, Y’all”), Posdnous, Trugoy and Mase were neither party-time boast hosts nor thug raconteurs—their studious yet sly personae were something else, something new. More to the point, they looked (and continue to look) outside themselves, finding subject matter everywhere.

Timeless features a generous selection from their hugely important 1989 debut, 3 Feet High and Rising, including the towering “Me Myself and I,” “Potholes in My Lawn” (with its brilliant yodeling-cowboy loop), “Buddy” (featuring co-conspirators A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah and Monie Love), “Plug Tunin’” and “Jenifa Taught Me,” though the absence of “The Magic Number,” with its kinetic beats and Schoolhouse Rock sample, is puzzling in the extreme. The comp also boasts two of the best tracks from the underrated sophomore album De La Soul Is Dead, “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’” and “The Bizness,” as well as cuts from the intriguing (if more cerebral) Stakes Is High, Buhloone Mindstate, Art Official Intelligence and AOI: Bionix. Listening to the disc from top to bottom not only establishes the trio’s importance but throws down the gauntlet to hip-hopsters worldwide: for inventiveness, musicality and smart, playful flow, this is the high-water mark.

Digital Underground, meanwhile, was a larger collective with a theatrical bent. Leader Shock G regularly played characters, including Humpty Hump (“The Humpty Dance” hit major paydirt) and M.C. Blowfish (the dazzling “Underwater Rimes”), a nautical creation that preceded Finding Nemo by over a decade. The group was also a crucible for young dancer and aspiring MC Tupac Shakur. DU’s debut, Sex Packets, pursued a silly sci-fi conceit, but its musical elasticity and devotion to Clinton’s cosmic funk ambitions made it an instant classic. Just check the above-mentioned tracks, as well as the unstoppable “Doowutchyalike,” “The Way We Swing” (which slices and dices the Hendrix/Band of Gypsys classic “Who Knows”) and later, more political tracks like “Heartbeat Props” (which advises paying tribute to those who influence us before they’re gone) and “No Nose Job.” This shit still gets the party started, and it’s funny, thought-provoking and weird.

And just as neither group would have been possible without P.Funk (De La’s “Me Myself and I” is built on Funkadelic’s “Not Just Knee Deep,” DU’s “Doowutchyalike” samples Parliament’s “Flash Light,” while “Underwater Rimes” bites Parliament’s “Aqua Boogie,” etc.), it’s hard to imagine current innovators like OutKast and The Roots without the Native Tongues trailblazers. Here’s hoping the next wave of hip-hop heads retreats to its laboratories with these two discs in hand. Simon Glickman

Neil Young at Sound Advice Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, FL: Leave it to Neil Young. With no advance publicity and a new record as yet unreleased, the great iconoclast unleashed his 90-minute rock operetta Greendale replete with a stage that included a wide screen, a country house with a porch on the right and a jail cell to the left. In front of the screen was another stage that descended beneath his longtime cohorts Crazy Horse.

On the opening night of his summer-long 30-city U.S. tour, Young appeared onstage with his trademark jeans and a Greendale T-shirt, sporting a cap. The name of the town flashes on the screen behind him, while Grandpa and cousin Jeb, playing a harmonica, lounge on the porch at the side of the stage.

An attractive woman enters to listen to Grandpa’s teaching as Crazy Horse breaks into a new song about “Love and Affection.” The video screen sporadically flashes what’s happening simultaneously onstage as Young’s theatrical tragicomedy takes on such hot-button issues as environmentalism, media manipulation and our collective loss of innocence. One moment, a girl delivers a newspaper, only to disappear offstage and into the horizon of the onscreen movie, a montage that proves an effective vehicle for moving the typically oblique narrative along.

Greendale, Neil tells the audience, is a community of 20,000 whose residents include Grandpa Earl, a painter and a Vietnam vet and his wife. Earl is working on a painting called “Saving Alaska,” which is promoted in a best-selling book called How to Use the Media. We glimpse a young girl watching TV on her bed and, as the stage descends, she goes along with it.

The story continues with a drug bust, Grandpa Earl being harassed by the media and a philandering policeman who’s killed by Jeb. There are several Shakespearean graveyard scenes, including a tribute to the dead cop by his colleagues—in full costume—and a glimpse of Jeb pondering his fate in jail. The latter is juxtaposed with onscreen images of Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush, as Young seemingly tries to draw a parallel between Jeb’s fate and our current political quagmire.

It all comes together in an amazing finale, with the fully costumed cast of about 40 actors and actresses singing “Save the Planet for Another Day.” Then, pleasing the crowd with some old favorites, Neil launches into a three-song mini-set that concludes with a ferocious “Like a Hurricane” to close the two-hour show.

The critics may scratch their heads at Young’s sometimes arcane symbolism, which can border on the naive, but the true spirit of a restless soul comes through loud and clear in a daring multimedia presentation that both challenges and confirms his audience’s expectations. Janet Trakin

Feeling the urge to live it up in the Big Apple and surrounding environs? This weekend presents several opportunities to ogle—or stalk—celebs of past and present without hopping in a time machine…although you might need a set of wheels. According to the New York Post’s Page Six, Britney Spears has been spotted at Show nightclub every Friday for the last six weeks. Will she make it a seventh? Find out for yourself. Show is located at 135 W. 41st St… Also on Friday, keep an eye out for Gwyneth Paltrow at boyfriend/Coldplay frontman Chris Martin’s gig at Madison Square Garden (2 Penn Plaza). Ron Sexsmith and Eisley are also on the bill… For a nostalgic glimpse of Spandex on Saturday, take a trip down to New Joizey. Poison, Skid Row and Vince Neil bring back the ’80s with a gig at PNC Bank Arts Arena (Exit 116 off Garden State Parkway) in Holmdel… On Sunday, trip even further back in time as Johnny Winter whites out the Central Park SummerStage (830 Fifth Ave.). James Cotton opens.
—Valerie Nome

Hollywood Homicide (Columbia Pictures)
Premise: Lethal Weapon meets 48 Hours, as odd couple cops—one a rumpled, bend-the-book vet, the other a callow innocent New Age tantric yoga instructor—try to solve the death of three rappers, loosely based on cases of Tupac and Biggie.
Stars: Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Keith David, Lolita Davidovich, Bruce Greenwood, Eric Idle, Gladys Knight, Kurupt, Martin Landau, Master P, Lena Olin, Lou Diamond Phillips, Robert Wagner, Isaiah Washington, Dwight Yoakam.
Director: Ron Shelton (Bull Durham, White Men Can’t Jump), once one of the hottest directors in Hollywood, tries to recover his commercial touch.
Thumbs Up: Nice camaraderie between Ford and Hartnett, impressively deep cast.
Thumbs Down: Haven’t we seen this all before?… Oh, yeah, that was the trailer.
Soundtrack: None.
Website: www.sonypictures.com/movies/hollywoodhomicide/index.html looks as generic as this movie.

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (New Line Cinema)
Premise: A prequel to the 1994 Farrelly Bros. smash, without Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels or the Farrellys, for that matter. Set in 1986, when the boys were teenagers as they attempt to get out of the “special needs” department and into regular high school life.
Stars: Eric Christian Olsen, Derek Richardson, Tenacious D’s Kyle Gass, Luis Guzman, Eugene Levy, Cheri Oteri, Mimi Rogers, William Lee Scott.
Director: Troy Miller
(Jack Frost)
Thumbs Up: Looks thoroughly unpretentious in its blatant silliness.
Thumbs Down: Makes the original look like the Citizen Kane of dumb movies.
Soundtrack: None
Website: www.whenharrymetlloyd.com offers the world’s first “Glow in the Dark” website. Don’t ask.

28 Days Later (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Premise: A group of people in London who survive a virus that wipes out most of the Earth’s population fight mutant zombies a la Night of the Living Dead. Previewing nationally prior to June 27 opening.
Stars: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Megan Burns, Christopher Eccleston, Brendan Gleeson, Christopher Dunne
Director: Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Shallow Grave)
Thumbs Up:
Advance word is that this is an artful zombie horror film.
Thumbs Down: Boyle’s tendency to go off on flights of cinematic fancy could derail the suspense.
Soundtrack: Beggars Banquet album includes Blue States, original score by John Murphy
www.28dayslaterthemovie.com includes a six-minute preview, the trailer, downloads, photo gallery filmmaker and cast information.

I was ambushed last weekend. No kidding. I went home to Indianapolis last weekend for my best friend’s birthday extravaganza—which it definitely was—and all of my girlfriends cornered me for an intervention. Unfortunately, the intervention had nothing to do with the normal stuff, like drugs, alcohol or sex addictions. No, they decided they needed to step in and enlighten me to the fact that fairytales do not exist, and the only reason I’m holding onto the whole Prince Charming thing is because I’m seriously afraid of commitment. Wow—is that what my entire problem is? Thank God they solved it for me. Not only am I desperate and single, but I now have to tag commitment-phobic on top of that. I already have plenty of phobias—like anuptaphobia (fear of staying single), philophobia (fear of falling in love), pocrescophobia (fear of gaining weight), phytiphobia (fear of getting wrinkles), agateophobia (fear of insanity) and—of course—iithyphallophobia (fear of seeing or thinking about an erect penis). This week’s cocktail is dedicated to those of us who wish to hold onto to belief that our Prince Charming is out there.

Once Upon a Time
1 1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. apricot brandy
1/2 oz. Lillet (French apertif made from wine)
Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass

What’s going on here? A few weeks back, my dad informed me that my biological clock was ticking (I didn’t realize it was so loud), and then my friends tell me to stop searching for Mr. Perfect, because he’s not going to ride up on a white horse. After they ripped my Prince Charming fantasy to shreds, they begged me to move back home. They’re not playing fair, and shame on them for bursting my bubble. Are they right? Is our pickiness the leading cause of our loneliness? Are we holding our suitors up to impossible standards? Sure, I am attracted to a certain type of guy—drop-dead gorgeous, rock hard abs, GQ style, charming, intelligent, witty, sensitive in a sexy not wimpy way, not afraid to commit and also engaged in a successful career. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for. Plus, I have a lot to offer—I’m cute, sassy, smart (ass), only a little jealous, no major addictions (except for shoes, clothes, chocolate and Starbucks) and I’m good at compromise (for every minute I watch SportsCenter with him, he gets to go shopping time with me). So I’m a great catch.

Funny things happen when a group of girlfriends who haven’t seen each other in a while get together. The reminiscing about our younger years—the all-night parties, drinking without hangovers, that night I had my dad’s car and we broke every rule he gave us (no speeding, no smoking, no drinking, no boys) within the first hour—makes us long for those days when we were still filled with hope and energy. Every time my friends and I have a reunion, one of us does something drastic—she breaks up with a boyfriend, kicks a boyfriend out or, even better, leaves a husband. It’s like we get the reinforcement that we’ve been lacking while coupled up. This is the main reason men hate it when their ladies go out with old friends—they know that trouble is brewing. I had a blast last weekend with my girls, and it makes me weigh the sacrifices I’ve made to follow my dreams. Los Angeles is the land of chased dreams, filled with people whose hearts are somewhere else. I miss my gals and the trouble we always seem to get into. (Thanks you guys, for a great weekend, even with the ambush!)

De’s bar pick of the week: When in Rome…actually, when in the Midwest, do as Midwesterners do—drink heavily and eat poorly. Summertime is great back home in Indiana, because every weekend is a party. After being cooped up all winter long, once the sun breaks through what remains of the spring gloom, it’s pure madness. The only thing I regret about last weekend is that I didn’t have time to visit my one of my favorite summertime joints. Rick’s Caf Boatyard, located on the Eagle Creek Reservoir, is the best way for the landlocked Hoosier to experience drinking and dining on the water. Rick’s is one of Indy’s best jazz and seafood spots, with some of the finest local musicians playing on a nightly basis. This joint is a must-do for weekend cocktails, brunch and gossip sessions with your pals.

I wish I could fill you guys in on all the grimy details of last weekend, but I can’t. I will say that I’ve returned a little less bitter and a lot less frustrated—I’m not confirming or denying anything. Thanks to everyone who continually sends me praise and support. You guys are the best! Until next week—hugs and kisses. Denise Bayles

Contributors: Denise Bayles, Darren Cava, Holly Gleason, Simon Glickman, Valerie Nome, Jon O'Hara, Erika Strada, Janet Trakin and Roy Trakin

Edited by Bud Scoppa

Spotify and Apple Music are speaking a new language. (8/10a)
UMG jazz label has a new chief. (8/10a)
The stars of tomorrow—and one star of the moment (8/11a)
It's neck and neck at the turn. (8/11a)
Available online for the first time (8/3a)
How they're reshuffling the biz deck.
Thoughts on a changing landscape.
It's everywhere.
Another stunning return.

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