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If you love to gamble, you should know that the Chinese are favored at 5 to 1 to be the first country to have an athlete fail a drug test.
A WEAKEND PLANNER THAT NOT EVEN AN OLYMPIAN EFFORT CAN GET YOU THROUGH
Never Mind the Greeks, This Week, It’s Alien vs. Predator, Cruise vs. Foxx, Reed vs. Velvets, The Who vs. Keith, Drummer vs. the Music Biz, Rich vs. Poor
We are smack in the middle of the dog days, folks, but don’t let the heat get to you. The Cubs and Dodgers duke it out at Wrigley, two of the scariest creatures to ever hit the screen go head-to-head to take over the world, the Olympics get underway in Athens, the PGA Championship is at Whistling Straits in Bum-fuck, Wisconsin, and there’s tons of killer music to see. So don’t tell us there’s nothing to do. Hey, you could be one of those unfortunate families in Trading Spouses seeing how the other half lives, only to learn you are in the wrong half. Or you could be stuck driving a cab and a gray-haired Tom Cruise appears as your next fare. Or the band you drum for gets signed to its first major-label record deal… and it’s MCA. So count your blessings, folks. After all, it’ll be Labor Day before you know it, and then you’ll be sorry.

Friday (8/13)
4 p.m. Projekt Revolution: Linkin Park, Korn, Snoop Dogg and The Used
@Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheatre (Atlanta, GA): Be prepared to crowd-surf and yell out, "Pollack sucks!"

8 p.m. "These Friday Nights: Summer Songwriters Series": Hosted by KCRW’s Nic Harcourt, this week’s installment includes Tom McRae, Abba Roland and Rachael Yamagata. For more info, click here.

9 p.m. Nimbus featuring The Dreaming (managed by The Firm) @The Roxy: Two awesome bands at an awesome venue. It doesn’t get much better than this. Well, maybe if there were some naked girls there.

9:30 p.m. Head over to King King (6555 Hollywood), grab some drinks and watch some fabulous LA bands in The Lovemakers and Vagenius (Did he say Vagenius?).

10 p.m. Garrison Starr at Molly Malone's (575 S. Fairfax Ave, 323-935-1577): Way powerful singer. About to put out her fourth album & she’s only 26. We feel worthless. Oh wait, does seeing the movie, Airplane 36 times count for anything? Peter Graves is our hero.

Saturday (8/14)
10:20 a.m. Dodgers vs. Cubs
(Fox Game of the Week): Wake up early and catch the second game of the three-game series with pennant race and Wild Card implications. Yeah, we know you’re most likely experiencing a hangover, but if you’re a fan of baseball and especially of the Dodger blue, it is all worth it. The Boys of Summer will visit Wrigley Field, where the Cubs will battle to stay alive as the Dodgers try to run away with NL West.

12 p.m. The Chicken Pantry: Check out this new Valley bistro on Ventura Blvd. in La Reina Plaza, the perfect place to grab some lunch with your peeps.

1-5 p.m. The Getty Center: Need some alone time or a hot spot for a cheap date? The collection’s stunning, but small enough to see in one day; the garden and views overlooking the Westside are eye-catching. Bring a picnic or have lunch there… The best part, it’s absolutely free.

7:30 p.m. Alien vs. Predator: Whoever wins, we lose, but it should still be one of hell of a fight. Count us in!!! Sounds like it is a win-win for fans of these classic cinematic destroyers, in the spirit of Freddy vs. Jason, and we don’t mean DeMann vs. Flom

8 p.m. Karaoke Night at the Farmers Market (6333 W.3rd St., 323-933-9211): Talented unknowns ranging from kids to rockin’ grandmas perform. A lot are good, many are scary. Grub on food & beer from the kiosks and chill (and obviously, make fun of people—especially if you’re bitter, like us, & would never have the balls to get up & go for it).

9:30-2 a.m. Art-Throb: Cannibal Flower Guest Curator Serise at Blue Space (5519 Hollywood Blvd.) Group art show, drinks and music. Tunes by KXLU’s DJs Ned Learner and Len Deluxer.

11 p.m. Chill out at Coffee Bean. Grab a coffee or a fruit drink and unwind. Je-C recommends the Malibu Dream.

Sunday (8/15)
10 a.m. Want to change your hair?
Not sure what you can pull off? Scan in a pic of yourself at www.clairol.com, and then download onto the various hairstyle images on the site. Print one you like & bring it to your stylist. You’re sooooo pretty.

12 p.m. My Boyz Catering & On-Site Cooking (310 630-1963): Wanna do something different for your BBQ? Soul food, baby! Call Bryce to order off-the-hook jerk chicken, honey BBQ chicken, red beans & rice, the best potato salad & much more. Most important, it’s all healthy—no oil, skinless chicken, no mayo, just alotta love & prices too good to be true. And Bryce is a rad guy who will totally work with you. Wanna do a romantic dinner for two? We bet he’ll deliver.

7 p.m. Garden State: If you didn’t catch it last weekend, go see it today. Zach Braff and Natalie Portman… This movie is totally human and sooooo good.

8 p.m. Incubus w/Sparta (Cox Arena in San Diego):

Later this week:
*Monday (8/16): The Music 7:30 pm @ the Troubadour

*Tuesday (8/17): The All American Rejects w/Limebeck @the Troubadour; doors open at 8 p.m.

*Tuesday (8/17) Amoeba Records instore with Rilo Kiley 7 p.m.

*Tuesdays @ 9 p.m. thru Sept.: Coby Brown at The Hotel Cafe. Oh yes, we gave him a shout-out a few weeks ago. And yes, he’s worth another. He’s soul, he’s R&B, he’s pop, he’s country & sexyyy. Yup, three "y" sexy. And, oh yes, that’s alotta sexy.

* Next weekend (8/21-22): Sunset Junction

POPCULT TOP 10
1. Collateral: Michael Mann’s valentine to L.A. after dark definitely takes its place alongside other City of Angels noir classics such as Polanski’s Chinatown, Altman’s The Long Goodbye, Scott’s Blade Runner and Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, as well as underrated gems like John LandisInto the Night and Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A. The movie’s true pleasure comes in the dreamy digital photography and the sharp interplay between Tom Cruise’s implacable hit man and everyman cabbie Jamie Foxx, who more than holds the screen with his movie star cohort in a sort of racial role reversal. There’s a surging forward momentum reminiscent of John Boorman’s Point Blank and a fascination with the unseen city which is pure Don Siegel pulp circa Coogan’s Bluff, the first of the Dirty Harry series. And while the coincidence that leads to the climactic denoument aboard an L.A. subway car isn’t quite as far-fetched as some critics have said, any small plot improbabilities or disbelief are more than suspended by the authenticity of the cultural geography. (Roy Trakin)

2. The Velvet Underground Live at Max’s Kansas City (Rhino/Atlantic): Lou Reed is in prime form in his last performance with the band on Aug. 23, 1970, after a summer-long residency at the fabled Park Avenue club. Original members Reed and bassist Sterling Morrison were joined by bassist Doug Yule and his brother Billy, still in high school, who sat in for a pregnant Maureen Tucker on drums. Most of the shows were recorded by legendary Warhol superstar Brigid Berlin (aka Brigid Polk) and rock poet Jim Carroll on a Sony cassette, which captured much of the between-song and during-song banter. At one point, during a quiet moment in "Candy Says," you can hear a conversation taking place about the movie Patton, with someone commenting, "After Nixon saw it, he sent troops into Cambodia." Lou introduces "I’m Waiting for my Man" as a "tender fuck song from the early ’50s about love between man and subway…and I’m sure you’ll all enjoy it." This two-CD reissue of the low-price 1972 Cotillion release (a radio spot for the album is included as a hidden track), with an oral history and rare photogs, includes both sets from the evening in their entirety, with six previously unreleased tracks. The group had just finished Loaded, what would be the band’s last studio album, for Atlantic, and their grungy garage beat, less eccentric than the Cale-Nico days, but pointing the way towards the glitter and punk that was to follow, showed the Velvets could rock out with the best of them. (RT)

3. 213: Snoop Dogg, Warren G and Nate Dogg join forces to release The Hard Way, in stores Tuesday. We caught up with Warren and Nate, who gave props to the lifestyle their fans have afforded them. "I paid cash for a Navigator limo," Nate says. "I use it all the time. I have a driver and I have him drive me—just me—around while I’m back there by myself." It’s not always a sunshine day, though. The craziest rumor Warren’s ever heard? "That I was smoking crack. I just laughed. I hit the corner in the Hummer, and was like ‘Do I look like I smoke that shit?’ People say shit just to get you started." Fans can look forward to the tour. Warren’s must-haves for the bus include an "Xbox, a nice big sack of bud, good music and DVDs." (Valerie Nome)

4. The Who Live at Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD): This legendary performance just a year after Woodstock and the release of Tommy in front of close to 700,000 fans features the band at the peak of its powers. Roger Daltrey’s in his bare-chested fringe vest, Pete Townshend wears the baggy white jumpsuit with legs up to his ankles and clunky Doc Martens, Roger Entwistle is in a skin-tight skeleton unitard and Keith Moon is, well, Moony, a malicious grin painted across his face as he wails away on the drums. It’s a remarkable set, the band in top form. Daltrey twirls the mic like a lasso, Townshend rakes the guitar with his trademarked windmill and Entwistle strums the bass furiously while singing lead on his own "Heaven and Hell," which opens the set with a dark rush that foreshadows the trip to come. As Pete describes it on the interview, which is one of the DVD’s extra features, it’s like leading the huge throng in prayer, finishing up with a cathartic "We’re Not Gonna Take It" into "See Me Feel Me/Listening to You," the direct precursors to "We Won’t Get Fooled Again." But throughout, it is the impish Moon who hurtles the band through sonic space, totally caught up in the emotion of the moment, a whirlwind of flailing arms and twirling sticks. When the final credits role, it is the late drummer himself who appears somewhere backstage before the show with a clown nose and mask, sipping a drink, a haunting image of the band’s cheeky power and indomitable rock & roll spirit. (RT)

5. Jacob Slichter, So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star: How I Machine-Gunned a Roomful of Record Executives and Other True Tales From a Drummer’s Life (Broadway Books): Speaking of Keith Moon, this tell-all tome—penned by Semisonic’s Harvard-educated tub-thumper—could only be written by someone who hangs around musicians all the time... a drummer. Who else would have the time, opportunity, insecurities and insider/outsider perspective to get all the details and minutiae right? You can be sure neither of Jake’s two bandmates bothered to worry themselves over sales reports, radio adds, promotion strategies or marketing campaigns, and maybe that’s to their advantage as creative musicians. But then you wouldn’t have this delightful tale of an industry headed into a tailspin from which it has yet to recover. Slichter gracefully refuses to embarrass anyone by naming names of those he trashes, but the general scattershot, capricious approach of the pop industry comes through loud and clear. There is a charming naivete to the story, with the author serving as our guide to touring as an opening act, early-morning press interviews with inexperienced college journalists, a trip to the Grammys and what it’s like to play on the late-night talk-show circuit. It's that rare book about rock & roll without any sex or drugs. Industryites will recognize this picture right away, but will also realize that, although the story ends a scant four years ago, it already seems like ancient history. And, while Slichter obviously emerges bloodied from his experience, he is also unbowed, recounting the joy he still feels when the lights go down, the curtain goes up, the crowd roars and he’s playing in the band… even if he is the drummer. (RT)

6. Cocktails at Chateau Marmont Lobby, West Hollywood: Slightly shabby, utterly Moroccan… a faded Bulgarian rise/luxe bordello appointment that suggests nostalgia a la Brooke Shields' breakout Pretty Baby. It reeks of tarnished bohemia, and yet exudes a slightly squalid glamour of Keith & Anita circa Exile on Main Street. Now demi-gussied up for its new trendy respectability, there's a gilded decadence that confers an F. Scott Fitzgerald-meets-Sofia Coppola essence on one's time spent there… an eau de aren't-we-"golden-adults"-who-remain-beyond-the-beige that inspires dreaming, philosophizing and the things that personal myths are made of. (Holly Gleason)

7. www.TrouserPress.com: The original punk-rock Bible. Long out of publication, the mag is now a website dedicated to the movement that blew up at NYC's legendary CBGB's, Max's Kansas City and the Mudd Club, where the rules of mainstream rock music were skewered, shattered and decimated every night. The bands, the bars, the moments where it all went straight through the wall—it's all here. As Joey Ramone used to shriek, "Gabba Gabba Hey!" indeed! (HG)

8. PGA Tour Championship: The eyes of the golf world focus 60 miles north of downtown Milwaukee this weekend, as Whistling Straits in Haven, WI, plays host to the 86th PGA Championship—the final major of this year’s golfing season. The questions abound: Will Phil Mickelson or Ernie Els win and take a huge step toward winning the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award? Will once-dominant Tiger Woods win a major for the first time in his last 10 tries? And perhaps more interestingly, will the weekend see Tiger lose his #1 world ranking in the sport for the first time in recent memory? The answers will be found on a course that’s only six years old and is the longest test in major championship history. Catch the PGA Championship on both TNT (all day Friday and early on both Saturday and Sunday) and CBS. Meanwhile, on a personal note, I’d just like to say that "Whistling Straits" is a condition that happens to me when I look especially fierce on a Saturday night and drunkenly end up on Sunset rather than the friendly confines of Santa Monica Blvd. (Mark Feather)

9. Olympic Oddities: The Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, get under way in earnest this weekend, with all the pomp and circumstance of the Opening Ceremonies happening Friday. Meanwhile, here are a couple of strange things you may not be aware of as the world heads into the games. First, if you love to gamble, you should know that the Chinese are favored at 5 to 1 to be the first country to have an athlete fail a drug test. According to oddsmaker Michael Perry at Wageronsports.com, it was the country’s prior history of doping violations that was the biggest factor in setting the odds. And in case you were wondering, the U.S. is the third likeliest to win the needling wager, while host country Greece is a 30 to 1 "shot." Also, a nip-and-tuck that has nothing to do with the hot cable show should be the saving grace for some of Britain’s female athletes. Seamstress Christine Spencer says she had to alter the swimming costumes of 16 ladies because the fronts were made of skin-tight, white Lycra that became completely transparent the minute they got wet! To avoid full-frontal embarrassment, extra Lycra panels have now been sewn into the chest areas of the suits. Sorry about that, fellas… (MF)

10. Trading Spouses (FOX): Just when you thought the reality TV genre had reached its nadir, a new one comes along to plunge you deep into the guiltiest of pleasures. This series, in which families switch either a mom or dad for a week (except for the sex part) makes very little sense, but does touch on some hidden truths in American society. Namely, those in the upper-middle-class are skinny, eat healthy and drive expensive foreign cars, while the lumpen proles are usually overweight, subsist on junk food and drive American wrecks. Given that, the outlining of class differences, which are placed in stark relief, are unusual in U.S. entertainment, especially TV, though they’re basically reduced to sitcom caricature. Whether you relate to the well-to-do family that lives smugly in a sprawling suburban split-level in the O.C. or the barely middle-class crew constantly bickering in the kitchen of their cramped rural Massachusetts home, the theme seems to be that both sides have something valuable to offer the other, with tolerance for our differences the major theme. Which makes this series, in which each family receives $50k that has to be distributed in the manner the traded spouse designates, is as American as, well, pizza pie. (RT)

STUCK INSIDE OF POUGHKEEPSIE
Bob Dylan at The Chance, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
On the afternoon of August 4, Jeremy Tepper and I hit the road from midtown Manhattan for the two-hour drive to Poughkeepsie, NY (JT's hometown) to see Bob Dylan and his band, live at The Chance.

This 800-capacity club has been a fixture of the town's Main Street for more than 25 years; back in the ‘80s, I saw the Replacements and Cyndi Lauper there. Jeremy (the husband and manager of nouveau country artist Laura Cantrell) had scored an extra pair of tickets for the sold-out show: one for me and one for our mutual friend Holly George-Warren, who drove over from her home in Phoenicia.

The place was packed when Dylan hit at 8:30. Photographer Bob Gruen and I stood at the front of a raised area at the left rear of the room, near the bar. (Tepper, who must rank among the most connected non-millionaires in the NY music business, watched the set from backstage.)

As per usual these days, Bob stood behind an electric keyboard at stage left; although he blew plenty of harp, he did not play guitar. Granted, Dylan's voice isn't what it was, say, 10 years ago. But he still sounded plenty engaged and expressive, and seemed in an upbeat and generous mood. One can never predict the high point(s) of any given Dylan performance—one reason I keep coming back for more. But on this night, "Sugar Baby" was The One, with "High Water Everywhere" and "Ballad of a Thin Man" close behind. The band (with new guy Stu Kimball on guitar) even found a different way to play "All Along the Watchtower," in a new arrangement keyed to a tough, four-note descending riff.

I later learned that the Dylan touring party had been camped out for three days of rehearsals at The Chance, conveniently located in the center of forlorn downtown Poughkeepsie. With its empty buildings, potholed streets, and impoverished citizenry, the setting would have fit right in with the locales of Dylan's auteur film Masked & Anonymous.

Like the man said, "It's baaaad out there/High water everywhere..." (Andy Schwartz [email protected])

MALONE AGAIN, NATURALLY
Michelle Malone at J’s, Davie, FL
After my date cancelled for the show at this notorious lesbian bar, my next worry was whether I would run into any of my exes there. Thankfully, I only met Michelle before the gig, setting up her T-shirt and CD stand with drummer Linda, a long cry from Malone’s days as a major label artist on Arista, but still fighting the good fight since we last talked for a HITS dialogue several years ago.

Hailing from Atlanta, she performed before a small but intimate collection of baby dykes, with their crew cuts and baggy shorts as well as the Latina sporting an Israel Defense Fund T-shirt and bald, lip-pierced partner.

The alterna-queer 20-and 30-somethings kept the mosh pit going as Michele worked through her repertoire on bottleneck guitar, harmonica and acoustic guitar, and together with her drummer, Linda, produced a sound that ranged from unabashed pop to rollicking southern boogie. Sporting a "Wax Bush" sticker on her guitar and talking about the break-up of a 14-year-relationship with the Indigo Girls’ Amy Ray, she immediately bonded with her sexually charged audience.

Michele Malone may not be on a major label these days, but that didn’t seem to matter to the enthusiastic audience, who embraced her as one of their own. (Janet Trakin)

SUNSET SUPERMAN
The Mayor of the Sunset Strip
This extraordinary award-winning theatrical documentary on the life and times of the legendary KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer hits video stores this Tuesday and is probably the best two-hour musical nostalgia you can take. A fascinating view of archived footage and non-stop interviews with his celebrity friends, the double DVD disc set offers two extra hours of footage that will amaze you. Bow to the man who has been such an influence to music society. Bow to the man who debuted David Bowie to American audiences while he lounges on a waterbed in his apartment (which is stunningly featured in the film). An absolute must-see. (j-shotsi 

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
Alien vs. Predator (20th Century Fox)
Premise:
Set in the present, a team of drillers, scientists and archaeologists travel to Antarctica to investigate ancient pyramid ruins and end up discovering the reamins of alien creatures and a group of five teenage Predators ready to go through their hunting rituals to reach manhood.
Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting)
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat), who has been working on the project for years.
Thumbs Up: A revival of the old Frankenstein vs. the Wolfman horror classics.
Thumbs Down: Can either of these two defeat the other? We think not.
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande album features score by Harald Kloser (The Day After Tomorrow, The Harmonists)
Website: www.AVP-movie.com

Danny Deckchair (Lions Gate Films)
Premise:
An Aussie cement truck driver tries to escape his humdrum life by tying helium-filled balloons to his lawn chair, where a thunderstorm hurls him over the Outback, where he settles down in a small town as the media whips itself up over his disappearance.
Stars: Rhys Ifans (Human Nature and Notting Hill)
Director: Feature debut for storyboard artist Jeff Balsmeyer (Big, Heat, Do the Right Thing)
Thumbs Up: Quirky indie film with festival pedigree.
Thumbs Down: Aussie hit Yahoo Serious never translated here, either.
Soundtrack: None
Website: www.DannyDeckchair.com

We Don’t Live Here Anymore (Warner Independent Pictures)
Premise:
Two couples who have all been close friends for a long time, find their lives changing when two of them have an affair. Based on two stories written by Andre Dubus, who wrote the story which was adapted to film as In the Bedroom.|
Stars: Naomi Watts, Laura Dern, Peter Krause, Mark Ruffalo|
Director: John Curran
, with a screenplay by Larry Gross (co-writer 48 Hours, True Crime)
Thumbs Up: Strong cast, strong topic, strong source material.
Thumbs Down: Will American audiences repond to a film about adultery?
Soundtrack: None
Website: wip.warnerbros.com/


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