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Foxx fully inhabits the legend’s famed head-lolling, arm-twitching, finger-snapping junkie gait, and is every bit as convincing in the musical segments, performing several numbers himself as well as seamlessly lip-synching to the splendid originals.
A WEAKEND PLANNER THAT REMAINS ON THE FENCE
Jamie Foxx is Ray Charles, the New York Dolls are Important, R.E.M. Returns, Howard Stern Moves, M.O.T. is Back and the Newest Blackberry is Sweet
The leaves are starting to fall, the Presidential election looms, the Q4 superstar releases are ready to roll out, the Oscar contenders are lining up and Target already has their holiday decorations up. Have we started selling yet? We sure have, but this weekend, stay away from the malls because you’ve got traditional rivalries USC vs. Cal and Oklahoma vs. Texas in college football, the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets going for their fourth in a row, the baseball playoffs hitting their stride and even the opening of basketball training camps. The only thing missing is ice hockey, and no one has yet told me they care about, or even noticed, its absence. The days are getting shorter, the pumpkins are ready to be harvested and satellite radio has found its Joe Namath to give it legitimacy. And while we’ll only have to wait 14 months for Howard Stern to make his move from terrestrial broadcasts to outer space satcasts, there are still four years 11 months and some-odd days for Jay Leno to leave the airwaves. Now, there’s something for you to contemplate as you study your Weakend Sidekick below.

Friday (10/8)
6 p.m.

Research getting Sirius Radio—You need your Howard!

7 p.m.
The Ramones Beat on Cancer
@ Spirit (530 W. 27th St.): Cool bands, good cause. Blondie, The Strokes, Sonic Youth and the remaining Ramones (Marky, Tommy and C.J.?). For info: www.wanttickets.com

8 p.m.
Coffee And Cigarettes
(DVD): Jim Jarmusch’s latest has actually been in the works for 18 years. The film’s made up of a bunch of vignettes, the constant being people drinking coffee & smoking cigarettes and having a difficult time communicating. Shit, that’s every day for us. Killer scenes between Iggy Pop & Tom Waits, Jack & Meg White, Cate Blanchett & Cate Blanchett (she plays herself & her cousin), Alfred Molina & Steve Coogan and a bizarre meeting of RZA, GZA & Bill Murray.

The Sexy Magazines: NYC punk rockers hit up the Sunset Strip @ the Roxy

9 p.m.
Capitol Records recording artist Supergrass make their way over the pond to hit up the SoCal Avalon. If you miss them at the Avalon, you can also catch them at the Virgin Megastore & on Jimmy Kimmel—all today.

11 p.m.
Singer-songwriter Terra Naomi plays @ the Hotel Café

Saturday (10/9)
4:30 p.m.

Dodgers vs Cardinals Game 3: This one will be at Chavez Ravine. Go Support the D-Men. They’re gonna need it, especially if they’re down 2-0.

7 p.m.
Norah Jones
@Hollywood Bowl: If you can still score tix, this is definitely the show to take a date to this Saturday night. You might even score.

8 p.m.
Friday Night Lights:
Everyone’s excited about this amazing sports movie… Blah, blah, blah… Those three dudes on the poster are holding hands. Which is a whole other movie. And that’s kinda turning me on.

Hef’s Playboy Bunnies Make A Comeback! Need another reason to party in Vegas? Come early ’06, The Palms will open the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa, a two-story suite on top of a 40-story tower! The villa will have a glass elevator overlooking the strip, an indoor & outdoor pool, boutique casino, retail store, a huge illuminated Playboy bunny head and of course, waitresses with fluffy tails and bunny ears. As a reminder, what happens in Vegas…

11 p.m.
Nimbus
@Pakadino’s: Come on down to the All-Access Magazine Pre-Awards Party. One of the only places you can vote for this year’s awards. Word has it, Nimbus is up for best rock group and best guitarist!!!

11:30 p.m.
Republic
@the Key Club: A lot of buzz around these guys.

Sunday (10/10)
11 a.m.
Brunch at Off Vine
(between Vine & El Centro Ave.): Come have a yummy brunch at this cozy 1908 arts & craft home.

2 p.m.
Catch a flick. Take your pick from Shark Tale, Ladder 49, I Heart Huckabees and Taxi

4:30 p.m.
Yankees vs. Twins Game 5
at Yankee Stadium, if necessary!!!
Houston Astros vs. Atlanta Braves Game 4
at Minute Maid Park. Time TBA

6 p.m.
Early Dinner @ Marix
(1108 N. Flores St @ Santa Monica Blvd): Margaritas, margaritas, margaritas. And you should really also have a margarita while you’re there. This always packed WeHo Tex/Mex spot has killer fajitas, sizzling apple pie a la mode and awesome margaritas. Oops, we almost forgot to mention their luscious margaritas.

9 p.m.
Catch up on your TV and TiVo. Desperate House wives and The Surreal Life on tonight. Have the Tivo set for Lost, Jack and Bobbie, America’s Next Top Model and Life As We Know It.

Upcoming:
Wed. (10/13): R.E.M.
@the Greek Theatre

Thurs. (10/21) Comedy @Hollywood Improv – Special Guest: Sarah Silverman

October is the Month of Awesome Residencies:

*Mondays at Spaceland: Everybody Else (11 p.m.)

*Tuesdays at Silver Lake Lounge: Peter Walker (10 p.m.)

*Wednesdays at Hotel Café Sara Barelles (9 p.m.)

POPCULT TOP 10
1. Ray: Although he was probably better in Michael Mann’s Collateral, Jamie Foxx will no doubt receive Oscar recognition for his remarkable performance as Ray Charles in this Taylor Hackford biopic. Foxx fully inhabits the legend’s famed head-lolling, arm-twitching, finger-snapping junkie gait, and is every bit as convincing in the musical segments, performing several numbers himself as well as seamlessly lip-synching to the splendid originals. Hackford, who demonstrated an avid interest in the early music business in his 1980 The Idolmaker, the story of Bob Marcucci, the man behind Frankie Avalon and Fabian, is every bit as detail-oriented about history here. Tom Cruise’s long-ago Risky Business sidekick Curtis Armstrong has some fun as Ahmet Ertegun, with Richard Schiff’s chain-smoking Jerry Wexler and Rick Gomez’ collegial engineer Tom Dowd adding to the authenticity. Harry J. Lennix’s unctuous Joey Adams (Ray’s long-time manager), Larenz Tate’s ambitious Quincy Jones, bluesman Chris Thomas King’s tribute to Lowell Fulson and Bokeen Woodbine’s amiable Fathead Newman are among the standout supporting cast. The plot is interspersed with saturated color flashbacks to Charles’ hardscrabble upbringing in Georgia, the loss of sight in an accident that killed his younger brother and a tough-love mother, who sent him to a school for the blind before he was 10. There’s some stock psychology that attempts to explain his drug addiction and womanizing, but the film is ultimately as much a tribute to the music as the man, with Foxx’s uncanny portrayal working from the outside in, offering us a glimpse into the soul of genius behind those ubiquitous shades. (Roy Trakin)

2. New York Dolls at Avalon, L.A.: Like the recent Ramones and Rodney Bingenheimer documentaries, there was certainly a bittersweet quality to seeing the Dolls’ triumphant return to a Hollywood which understood better than most their tongue-in-cheek, party-hearty, anything-goes glam-rock. And while this version more resembled the streamlined rockist outfits headed by surviving members David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain after Johnny Thunders split, it was still great to hear these songs played live. "Looking for a Kiss," "Jet Boy," "(Who are) the Mystery Girls?" and "Personality Crisis" proved timeless in their R&B/bar band glory, while covers like Janis Joplin’s "Peace of My Heart" and the Shangri-Las’ "Out in the Street" proved a perfect stylistic fit. A mid-50s Johansen, still trim in a bare-midriff shirt and what looked like an apron around his waist (or the towel hanging from a football center's rear), wasn’t quite the tireless front man of yore, but his now-throaty growl was still rousing. Syl provided the stylistic/spiritual link to the band’s beginnings, while Steve Conte churned Thunders’ wound-up Chuck Berry riffs into an homage that also served as an update. And even if the kind of success they deserved is probably beyond their scope at this point, I wouldn’t mind revisiting their glorious past in the future, until everybody finally understands there was nothing to be afraid of, and realizes that these supposed Lower East Side transvestite junkies should’ve been a contenduh. (RT)

3. R.E.M., Around the Sun (Warner Bros.): The rockcrit establishment view is that U2 has won the battle of ‘80s alterna-band relevancy, over their Athens, GA, brethren and admittedly All That You Can’t Leave Behind was a major comeback for the Irish standard-bearers in terms of reviving their rep. Still, it seem unfair that all the reviewer types praising the iconoclasm of Brian Wilson’s SMiLE should come down on these veterans for going against the commercial grain. The band’s atmospheric, minor-key pop moodiness is no less murky than it’s always been, though the clarity of Michael Stipe’s pronunciation dispels the mystery only to reveal a band that isn’t sure whether it should stay or go, stymied by ennui and creeping obsolescence. Not the most upbeat topics, but the textures and the melodies are compelling enough on the first single, "Leaving New York," a post-9/11 meditation on mortality and change, and "Wanderlust," which could well be heard as "wonder lost." While insisting it’s not autobiographical, Stipe continues to grapple with the micro within the macro, the personal and the political, and a sense of loss that comes out in "Aftermath," prompting the thought of leaving on a "High Speed Train." Not irrelevant by any means, but seemingly content to hang in the shadows, R.E.M. are stuck, not in the middle, but on the fringes, where they've always seemed most comfortable. (RT)

4. Howard Stern to Sirius: You could see this coming a mile away, but it’s also a huge risk for the self-proclaimed King of all Media. It’s almost like a hard-copy publication going exclusively online, and could well reduce Stern’s wide-ranging influence, not to mention cutting into his gross listener numbers. What I think it will result in is a much-needed merger between XM and Sirius, which could well lead to a significant growth in subscriber satellite radio. Still, with so much competition even within the automobile space, with digital DVD and audio players, wireless mobile units and even Internet radio on the horizon, it’s no slam-dunk that Stern will emerge as the content of choice. And how will Infinity react when the next 14 months turn into a non-stop commercial for the competition? Yes, folks, the fun has just begun, and Howard’s job promoting this new medium will be a lot harder than explaining to Wendy the retard how to activate her satellite radio receiver. (RT)

5. www.parkingticket.com: Bills itself as "the first website in the world to fight your parking ticket online! " The site charges a guaranteed dismissal fee of half the cost of the ticket, so if you get a ticket for $115, they charge you $57.50 to wipe it clean. Don’t you just love the Internet? (RT)

6. M.O.T. Live at Malibu Film Festival: Yeah, just when you thought it was safe to return to shul. Here come Ice Berg and Dr. Dreidle, madder than ever, with a whole new set of in-your-face hebe-hop and a stage show that includes a half-dozen gospel singers and a slide show. In the wake of Hebe magazine and Jewsploitation movies like The Hebrew Hammer making the culture hip again, maybe the time is right for the daffy duo. Their film treatment, Mensch Mobb Killaz, is making the rounds, and this two-song set (featuring the classic "So Sue Me" and new epic "My Tradition") for an audience that included Martin Landau, Andy Dick and shampoo-meister/sponsor Paul Mitchell, made Hollywood aware that these guys just won’t go away. Other new songs: "Roll With It!," "Bling," "IsReal," "Power to the Chosen People," "Hummer," "Let’s Roll" and "My Kingdom Come." E-mail their manager Meshuggah Knight for further details. (RT)

7. Blackberry 7100t: While the pitch from RIM, the maker of Blackberrys, is "Who needs an office?" more people are trading in their personal lives and families for these miracles of modern science. I was discussing this point with a friend who told me that when he is with his wife at dinner, he is constantly checking his e-mail and game scores. How many times have you been in a meeting and making what you feel to be a pivotal, not to mention quite intelligent, point, someone is looking down and typing with their thumbs as if they just learned that those little suckers are opposable. There are even those out there who leave them on by their bed, and are chapped when someone on the West Coast sends them an e-mail at 10-11 p.m. because it "woke them up." The fact is, these devices aren’t freeing us from our desks, they are merely just a longer leash. That said, I’m addicted. I’m not sure who hates that reality more: my wife or my cat—neither of whom could possibly get my attention while I hang on every word as I turn that precious toggle wheel. I even find myself twitching when I feel the device vibrating on my hip while driving, knowing I’m a complete moron if I were to check (and, of course, respond to) what I’m sure is a life-or-death message from some surely important source while driving in stop-and-go traffic on the 101.

The latest and greatest of these micro gifts from the gods is the 7100t for T-Mobile. It has all the features of the older Blackberry, up to 10 e-mail accounts—including those from AOL, phone (International quad band, of course), address book, web browser, Bluetooth, color screen, yada yada, but also has IM (AOL, YAHOO or ICQ) and is only 4.7 x 2.3 x .75 inches and weighs a mere 4.24 oz. They say the screen resolution is comparable to a plasma TV, which means I’m able to download pictures of my wife and cat from my desktop. So, while I’m paying about as much attention to them as I do when people are discussing whether or not Britney is actually married, I can always look at their pictures with amazing quality.

The size of the device means that the keyboard, while QWERTY, has two letters per key. To get around the "double-tap" pain-in-the-ass that was the limitation of messaging on cell phones, this little guy has what they call SureType, with a 35,000-word dictionary. What this means is that while "qw" are on the same key, if you type "qoq" when you hit the space bar it come out "wow." Trust me, I was more than a little skeptical. Then I tried it. I typed five sentences and it went 5 for 5 (save the "you can write in sentences" rap, please.) So I figured, what the hell, they would give me a 14-day "no harm, no foul" trial period, so I went there. I have had no issues so far with it guessing wrong, although leave it to the Lenny Beer curse of all-things-electronic of not performing as represented when he tried it. It took a little finesse to set up the address book due to the SureType (how the hell is it supposed to know that lumierepaix21st was the e-mail address I meant to type?) but once that was set up, it has been smooth sailing.

Even with the color screen and all the features, the lithium battery gives four hours talk time and up to eight days standby. This will provide you with all the juice time you need to avoid all those little annoyances that ruin an evening, like talking to someone you are actually with.

The 7100t is only available for T-Mobile and runs $299 minus the $100 rebate plus monthly service fees, which run $20-$40 depending on your plan. Isn’t that worth a couple of Uncle Bens not to have to listen one more time how much your spouse hates her mother? (Todd Hensley)

8. Desperate Housewives (ABC): Not a fan of outlandish slapstick comedy like Arrested Development or Malcolm in the Middle, this one is "broad" enough to be "bawdy" and "funny" at the same time. Of course, when the new fall schedule is otherwise glutted with reality shows, there’s nothing like a little unreality TV, and this is about as un-real as you can get for a major network series, with a Leave it to Beaver suburban set right out of Stepford Wives, certainly a major, even stated, thematic influence. Leads Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria and Nicolette Sheridan seem like they’re having a grand old time, though so far, the husbands get pretty short shrift. Could be worth looking in on, especially if HBO doesn’t come up with anything to fill the Sunday night void. (RT)

9. Sam Kinison, The Last Sermon: We pay our respects  to the late Rodney Dangerfield by turning our attention to one of his favorite proteges, dubbed "The Beast" or "The Screamer" by his colleagues. If some comics put their thumb on the cultural pulsepoint, Sam Kinison brought a jackhammer down, hitting every flinch point at shatter intensity. And in his confusion over matters ranging from world hunger to religious hypocracy to gay love, the excessive combustive mirrored our worst instincts—recognizing the frustration that comes from not understanding, releasing the pressure of what went unstated. For all the controversy—and pickets were common, making this almost forgotten comic/social commentator the Lenny Bruce of the last part of the 20th century—Kinison was a God-fearing man, at odds with his life as much as his religion. Still the faith was deep, and on this CD, he preaches with all the brokedown fervor of a man making his peace with his maker even as he stumbles through the world without knowing quite how. To understand the grace we're given, the Face we should gaze upon, the reality of the struggle, this may be a more powerful article than even Kinison's revelatory comedic workouts. (Holly Gleason)

10. Scar Tissue: Red Hot Chili Peppers front-man Anthony Kiedis popped into New York’s Cutting Room for this week’s release party celebrating the publication of his new book and was feted by photogs flashing his every move. "This is the only copy in the house," he said of the signed book he cradled. Scar Tissue is a memoir about the man who is "in love with everything." The Peppers were also honored at London’s Q Awards as Best Act in the World Today. (Valerie Nome)

PAY TO PLAY STILL A SCAM
Sixteen-year-old Dean Schaffer plays in an L.A. garage band with my son Taylor called High Society. Without my connections, as if I have any, they booked themselves into a local club. This was their experience. (RT)

The lights slowly turn back on. The small but enthusiastic crowd cheers. Another good show. You gather your gear and head outside to load up the van and help out your bandmates. "Good show, huh?" you remark to the bassist. "Yeah, it was alright. There were a couple slip-ups but I don’t think anyone noticed. Let’s get our money." Good idea, you think.

You walk over to the rather suspicious-looking booking agent who got you the gig and request the band’s pay. Together you walk over to the box-office to collect your hard-earned cash. He hands you one bill, a five, and says, "That’s it for the night." He thanks you for playing, but his smirk thanks you more for letting him screw another group of stupid kids. "Five bucks? That’s it?" you scream, infuriated.

Your shady booking agent doesn’t miss a beat in explaining the logistics of the situation. The first 30 fans in the door that said your band’s name paid the $300 your group owes him for booking the show. You agreed to split each $10 ticket after that 50-50. Miraculously, your band managed to pull in 31 guests (including the drummer’s earplug-wearing grandma), according to the box office, giving you a grand total of five bucks profit, unfortunately not even enough to cover the cost of gas to get you to the gig.

You then proceed to try to explain that your friend at the door counted at least 40 who came for your band, making for a discrepancy of at least $50 profit. But the shady booking agent just says there’s nothing he can do. Your fans must not have said your band’s name at the door. So you leave, infuriated, frustrated, and ripped off, knowing there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

While other struggling bands may have never gotten paid only five dollars for a gig, this type of exploitation continues to befall inexperienced bands alike in every town with a rock club on Main Street. Most bands today do not get paid to play: They pay to play. A deposit of several hundred dollars is usually required to reserve a spot on the marquee of almost any club, no matter how small, dingy or crummy. The only way to make up for the deposit is through ticket sales. Any extra cash must be split with the booking agent and venue, if there is any at all after the probable bogus count. "Pay-to-play" is no doubt hurting bands nationwide. No longer will most venues take a risk in presenting any band without an established name. Instead, clubs would rather rip-off teenagers and turn a deaf ear to fans’ complaints that the club is not presenting any new, talented bands.

Chances must be taken in any business. The music business is no exception. Parlophone Records took a chance on the Beatles; Decca didn’t, and someone must have gotten fired for that one. Without venues actually auditioning bands and taking risks on bands that might actually be the next big thing, talented bands may never progress into larger, more important venues. Only those willing to pay with their day jobs have a chance. Fresh, good, and new may never be heard.

On a similar note, will today’s talent one day be able to play in larger and more important venues, like arenas and studios? What’s to keep untalented but wealthy bands from dominating tomorrow’s music scene? Scary thought. As Bob Dylan might have put it, "He not busy paying is busy dying." (Dean Schaffer, High Society)

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO FLICK
Friday Night Lights
(Universal)
Premise:
Already being touted as one of the great sports movies of all times, this chronicle of Texas high school football is based on the book by H. G. Bissinger about the 1988 season of the Permian High Panthers of Odessa, TX.
Stars:
Billy Bob Thornton, Derek Luke
Director:
Actor Peter Berg vied with some big names to get the gig after his promising 1998 feature debut Very Bad Things.
Thumbs Up:
An inside view of how Texas high school football is more than a game, but a way of life, with documentary-like realism.
Thumbs Down:
Can its appeal transcend beyond the obvious football fan base?
Soundtrack:
Hip-O album features Austin, TX instrumental band Explosions in the Sky, Daniel Lanois, David Torn, Bad Company
Website:
www.fridaynightlightsmovie.com

Raise Your Voice (New Line Cinema)
Premise:
Following the death of her brother in a car accident, a teenager from a small town spends the summer in L.A. studying at a performing arts school, exposing her to a whole new world and way of life outside her sheltered existence.
Stars:
Hilary Duff, John Corbett, Rebecca de Mornay, Lauren Mayhew, Jason Ritter, Ashlee Simpson, Rita Wilson
Director: Sean McNamara
(Race to Space)
Thumbs Up:
Hilary Duff doing what she does best.
Thumbs Down:
Hilary Duff doing what she does best.
Soundtrack:
Single, "Fly," included on Duff’s new Hollywood Records album.
Website:
www.raiseyourvoicemovie.com

Taxi (20th Century Fox)
Premise:
Based on 1998 Luc Besson-penned French film, believe it nor not, about a single working mother who gives up her job delivering pizzas to become a fast-driving cabbie as an eager cop convinces her to help him catch a gang of beautiful female bank robbbers.
Stars:
Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, Ann-Margret, Jennifer Esposito, Gisele Bundchen
Director: Tim Story
(Barbershop)
Thumbs Up:
Latifah and Fallon have the quality of a classic odd couple.
Thumbs Down:
The advance word has been brutal, but will that prevent it from being a box office hit?
Soundtrack:
None
Website:
www.taximovie.com

TRAKIN’S PICKS TO QUICK
Around the Bend:
Quirky, intra-generational male bonding on the road, with noted scenery-chewers Christopher Walken and Michael Caine teaching valuable life lessons to uptight bank employee Josh Lucas.

Go Further: Pied Piper of Pot Woody Harrelson revives the Merry Pranksters with his hemp-fueled, conscioiusness-raising magic bus ride on the Pacific Coast Highway, with original Prankster Ken Kesey in tow, music by fellow travelers Dave Matthews, Bob Weir, Anthony Kiedis, Natalie Merchant, String Cheese Incident, Michael Franti and Medeski, Martin & Wood. Load the bong and pass the ammunition.

 

HITS LIST IS
IN THE MAIL
A not-so-subtle reminder to fill out that ballot. (10/15a)
NEAR TRUTHS: THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD
The lives behind live music. (10/14a)
HARVEY MASON JR.:
THE HITS INTERVIEW
The Grammy chief takes our call. (10/14a)
RAINMAKERS 2020: COMING SOON
It will rain again this fall--we guarantee it. (10/13a)
STEVIE WONDER PARTNERS WITH REPUBLIC
First music in 15 years. (10/14a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
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