Now that Kobe has resigned after the ridiculous maneuverings he put the city and franchise through, he and the Lakers have to hope he doesn't end up playing for the Colorado State Penal Tush Pirates in the years to come.


The World’s Greatest Hoopsters, Greatest TV Sketch Comedy, Greatest Country-Rock Pioneer, Greatest Heavy Metal Punch-Out, Greatest Teenage Punk Band, Greatest Hollywood Sleaze and More
Now that the Kobe/Shaq drama is over (or is it just starting?... See below and we can't wait until October), it's time to concentrate on what to do this weekend. We advise plenty of sunscreen and a fresh six-pack at all times. With the blazing heat, hitting the beach is a must; just don't go in the water. Or rock out with some killer ’80s-style rock bands. If you want to be like Vince Vaughn in Swingers, head on over to the legendary Dresden Room for cocktails and be sure to put on your dancing shoes. Looking to slow things down, why not sit back and unwind to the smooth sounds of jazz crooner Diana Krall and end the weekend bobbin yo’ head to the fresh beats and lyrics of Wu Tang member Raekwon? Now there's two people you'll never hear in the same sentence at any point too soon. Or you could Google your old girlfriends.  We tracked one of ours working at a Senior Citizen Center on the West Side of N.Y., where she remains unmarried, working on her art and in the same Ninth Avenue fifth-floor walk-up she lived in 23 years ago, while the other married a homosexual, works as a legal assistant and lives in the suburbs of Philly quietly having a midlife crisis. Ahhh, the minor pleasures of technology. But don't listen to what we say. Find out for yourself.

Friday, July 16
Check out jazz crooner Diana Krall at the Greek Theatre. Maybe she’ll even bring along new hubbie Elvis Costello for a tune or two. (2700 N. Vermont Ave., L.A., 323-665-1927, 7:30 p.m.)

Head over to Sea Level Records (on your way to The Echo). (1716 W. Sunset Blvd. 213-989-0148 ): A diamond in the rough, just like the record stores you spent all day in when you were a wee lad.

The Echo
Doors open at 9 p.m. See The Love Makers, The Adored, The Cee: Damn… that’s a good show!

The Dreamers (Bernardo Bertolucci, Fox Searchlight DVD): Or First Tango in Paris. Set in 1968, an America student strikes up a friendship with a French brother and sister. I’ve been ever so eager to see this. It’s got three-way written all over it.

The Big Foot Lodge
3172 Los Feliz Blvd., Atwater (323) 662-9227, Fri-Sun.: Punk, glam, funk, trash rock and more, every Monday, Karaoke night. You don’t need big tootsies to enjoy this joint.

Saturday, July 17
The Last Chance for Kerry $10,000 Bake Sale
(10 a.m.-5 p.m., 4325 Sunset Blvd, LA)
An extended community of Bush-haters and cookie-lovers are aiming to raise 10k in one day! In addition to homemade cupcakes, there will be a silent auction, voter registration and performances by rad bands The Like, The Actual, Ofer Moses and OK Go). For info: www.silverbake.org

American Apparel
Soft, comfy, classic tees and other cotton wear, all made in downtown, sweatshop-free Echo Park (2111 Sunset, 213-484-6464), (104 S. Robertson Blvd., 310-274-6292)

This is a perfect day (if the weather stays the way it has been) to go to the beach. Je-c will be heading to Laguna; you can join him there or head to a beach closer to where you live.

SENT: America’s 1st PhoneCam Art Show (Downtown Standard thru 7/17, 12 p.m.–5 p.m.) 25 invited artists (incl. some celebs) display pics taken from their cell phones. Thousands more are displayed on IMac screens. Camera phones have only been available for a few months and we’ve already got an exhibit up. (free)

Boston Red Socks vs. Anaheim Angels (Sat. 7/17 @7:05 pm, Sun. 7/18 @ 1:05 p.m.)
Like baseball, or simply just hoping to see Ben Affleck and Matt Damon … Head out to Angel Stadium and try to find where they’ve hid the Rally Monkey!

Axis Of Justice (feat. Tom Morello, Pete Yorn, Serj , Jurassic 5, Flea & Maynard James Keenan) – Sat. 7/17 @ 7pm (www.ticketmaster.com $30) @ The Avalon (1735 N. Vine St.) This is a benefit for the Axis of Justice whose goal it is to "build a bridge between fans of music around the world and local political organizations to effectively organize around issues of peace, human rights, and economic justice."

I, Robot
This movie, based on the Isaac Asimov story, is high on our list. It looks to have killer special effects and promises to be both action-packed and suspenseful.

Dresden Room (1760 N. Vermont Ave (323) 665-4294)
Looking for a spot to start or wind down the evening… Head over to the legendary Dresden Room, a ’60s lounge with plenty of personality where you can check out the famous cocktail lounge stylings of Marty and Elayne of Swingers fame.

Sunday, July 18
Melrose Trading Post
(Fairfax High School, Corner of Fairfax and Melrose, every Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.) Antiques and collectibles market… Find that obscure copy of the Marty and Elayne album.

Last Comic Standing 2
If you missed this week’s new episode on NBC, catch the repeat on Comedy Central throughout the weekend. A couple of the annoying stand-up hopefuls have been ousted, so now it could be more watch-able, or just plain boring… like comedy itself.

The Erotic Museum (6741 Hollywood Blvd.)
Check out the Sex and the Muse and the Sex and Technology exhibits. Please don’t touch the dildos. Remember, you break it, you buy it.

Amoeba Records (6400 Sunset Blvd, 323-245-6400)
CDs to check out while your there: Devendra Banhart, Epitaph rockabilly phenoms Tiger Army

Raekwon at the Troubadour (doors open at 8 p.m.).
This is a definite must-see for all you hip-hop heads.

Lucky Strike (6801 Hollywood Boulevard at Highland Avenue, 323-467-7776)
What could be a better way to end the weekend then to grab your entourage, reserve a lane, throw down some cold ones and go bowling?

Entourage (HBO, premieres Sun. 10 p.m)
An inside peak into the lives of a successful young actor and his posse, with lightly disguised takes on well-known Hollywood insiders, such as uberagent Ari Emanuel. As those of us in L.A./N.Y. can attest, the entourage often has more ’tude, and occasionally even more fun, than the celeb himself. Executive produced by Marky Mark Wahlberg.

Just when you think it can't possibly get any nuttier... Laker Theater continues to outdo itself on a daily basis. I keep asking myself, how is it possible? The season was such a distasteful, gut-wrenching, soul-twisting,
blood-and-guts affair, I figured at least we could all get on with our lives, right? Way back in February, a few lifetimes ago, I wrote a letter that got published in the L.A. Times Saturday Sports section. In it, I begged the Lakers to be bold and trade the overrated, unprofessional Shaquille O'Neal and build around the Christ-complexed, 25-year-old Kobe Bryant.  They were too old, too slow and lacked athleticism.  I never thought in my WILDEST dreams that it would actually happen... but alas, as the entire free world knows by now, it miraculously has. Now that it's done, the questions for NBA fans are, did the Lakers get enough in return for Shaq? Will Ko-bay be able to lead L.A. to glory on his own and how does this seismic shift effect the rest of the league?  The answers, in my opinion are yes, maybe and dramatically. Lamar Odom could potentially be a top 15 or better player in the years to come.  He's 24, 6' 10", athletic, can score, rebound, pass, plays a little D and is very creative.  If he can stay away from the bong, he's a real comer.  Caron Butler was a steal for the Heat in the draft at #10 two years ago.  He's also 24, a 6' 7" slasher who brings toughness, athleticism and youth.  Brian Grant is pretty much worthless at this point and was thrown in to make the salaries match. Of course, the Lakers are not done restructuring yet; they desperately need size. The addition of new coach Rudy Tomjanovich is very promising as he will bring an up-tempo style built around Bryant that may not win right away, but surely won't be boring. Losing Derek Fisher to the Golden State Warriors is really hard to swallow, however. First, he was one of the few Lakers actually worth rooting for. A tough-nosed defensive specialist who hit some HUGE 3s for the Champs over the years, great in the community and with the media. He will be sorely missed.  Secondly, as of right now, it also means a big dose of Gary Payton... God help us. The most interesting aspect to all of this, of course, is how will Kobe respond now that he has everything he's ever wanted: no Phil, no Shaq and a team built around him and his universe-expanding ego. Now that he has resigned after the ridiculous maneuverings he put the city and franchise through, he and the Lakers have to hope he doesn't end up playing for the Colorado State Penal Tush Pirates in the years to come. As far as the league is concerned, I would imagine the Heat will get one good season out of the "MDE", aka "Most Disappointing Ever" and the Heat will advance in the weak Eastern Conference. Absolutely no way on God's good green earth the Miami Heat wins a title with Shaquille O'Neal. Then the fans will eventually get to know what L.A. fans know all too well... Shaq is only concerned about dollars and donuts. Most teams in the Lakers' position wouldn't have the audacity to trade a player as famous and popular as Shaq is at 32 years old.  I applaud Laker management for the willingness to step out and take the criticism. That, after all, is what champions are truly made of. (Joel Amsterdam)

1. SCTV Volume 1 Network 90 (Shout! Factory): Arguably the greatest sketch comedy series in the history of TV, this now-legendary show ran for a total of six seasons, from 1977-’83, three via syndication, two on NBC and another on Cinemax. This five-DVD box set captures the 90-minute versions from the first season on NBC, which thankfully also recycles classic episodes from the mercurial early years. The program, taped in Edmonton, featured such by-now-familiar Second City Canucks as John Candy, Rick Moranis, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin and Catherine O’Hara with frequent co-stars Harold Ramis (later director of movies like Caddyshack) and Martin Short. The idea was that SCTV was a fictional, low-budget TV network run by Flaherty’s wheelchair-bound-but-only-for-the-respect Guy Caballero and Andrea Martin’s prickly station manager Edith, unh, Prickley. Most of your favorite episodes are here, including Moranis and Thomas’ classic Great White North series, the forerunner of Wayne’s World, along with the pair’s devastating Woody Allen-Bob Hope epic, Play it Again, Bob, featuring an uncanny Flaherty cameo as Bing Crosby. Among my personal choices: Moranis in The Merv Griffith Show, a devastating take-off of the smooth-talking talk show host as Andy Griffith, cooing, "Ooooo, Yassir, show us your lining" to Flaherty’s befuddled PLO leader. There’s also Candy as filmmaker Johnny LaRue, directing the noir parody Polynesiatown, with Dr. John; Moranis as Joel Silver clone Larry Seigel hosting his own talk show, but mainly haranguing people with his trademarked, "You don’t know… You don’t know." Candy as Curly Howard and Levy as Howard Cosell in Melvin and Howards. Flaherty’s unctious talk show host Sammy Maudlin greeting O’Hara’s Lola Heatherton as she bellows her trademarked, "Sammy… I want to have your children," as Levy’s Bobby Bittman and Candy’s William B offer fake guffaws in the background. Andrea Martin as Indira Gandhi, with Flaherty as Slim Whitman in Indira, a musical take-off of Evita… And that’s just the first disc and a half. We haven’t even begun to talk about Levy’s Sid Dithers, or Moranis’ genius video DJ Gerry Todd, the 5 Neat Guys, Tex and Edna Boil, Dr. Tongue’s 3-D House of Stewardesses, and more and more. Essential. (Roy Trakin)

2. Return to Sin City: A Tribute to Gram Parsons at Santa Barbara Bowl: A sultry summer evening beneath the stars up the Cali coast after a hearty dinner at La Superica Taco on Milpas, listening to some of the most aching, plaintive, sweet-tempered country-rock (a term Parsons himself disdained)… All that and a haunting duet of "Love Hurts" by Norah Jones and Keith Richards. Could you ask for anything more? Polly Parsons’ moving homage to her dad was at once a memorial and a celebration of the timeless nature of the man’s music, not to mention a benefit for the Musicians’ Assistance Program. The all-star line-up moved seamlessly and of one mind, remaining most faithful to Gram’s love of a lonesome, melancholic, sad but clear-eyed, country. Steve Earle prefaced his performance of "My Uncle" with a dedication to MAP’s late founder Buddy Arnold, while Lucinda Williams’ takes on "Sleepless Nights" and "A Song For You" brought a hush over the intimate venue lodged in a canyon in the middle of a residential neighborhood of Polly’s hometown. Rolling Stone Richards, who took to Parsons like a long-lost brother, laughed, "If the good die young, where does that leave me?" He then joined in the grand finale of "Wild Horses," a song he wrote with Jagger, which was influenced by Gram turning him on to country music some 35 years ago. The evening ended with Keith grinning broadly and exchanging riffs with legendary Elvis guitarist James Burton, whose meticulous leads gave the evening its sinewy backbone. A beaming Polly thanked everyone for coming, but there was no need for that. It felt like her dad was up there in the glittering Santa Barbara sky, twinkling down on all of us, his restless soul momentarily at peace. (RT)

3. Metallic KO: How many of you have wanted to see arrogant Satanic rocker Glenn Danzig get his butt kicked? Well, your wish has come true, with the latest Internet sensation a video of the purported Black Belt getting his lights put out by North Side Kings’ singer and Soulfly collaborator Danny Marianinho. The dispute took place on July 3 at Tuba City, AZ, where Glenn supposedly wouldn’t allow the Kings to take the stage because his show went on longer than scheduled. Danzig shoves Marianinho, who responds with what we’d call a sucker punch except Glenn sees it coming all the way, then proceeds to collapse like the proverbial deck of cards. One of the sweetest knockouts you’ll ever see. Click for the www.blabbermouth.net exclusive here. (RT)

4. British Open: For golf aficionados, it’s another major this weekend, as Royal Troon in Scotland plays host to the 133rd British Open. Heading into the tournament, early favorites include Tiger Woods, U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and no-longer-snakebit Masters champ Phil Mickelson. Meanwhile, among the interesting tournament sidebars are the fact that no European has won the British, or any major championship, since 1999; Mickelson has never even finished in the Top 10 in 11 British Open starts; and if Tiger continues his current slump, he could lose his world #1 ranking for the first time in five years. Catch early rounds of the Open on TNT, while your local ABC affiliate will pick things up over the weekend. But enough about that…I’m wondering if anyone else has noticed how buff Tiger is looking these days? Well, I sure have and as such, I have a proposal. Let’s let golfers go to sleeveless shirts while on tour. C’mon—tennis has done it recently (hello, James Blake—yum!), so why not? (Mark Feather)

5. Jessi Alexander: This country ingénue rocked the red carpet at Entertainment Weekly’s annual Must List party in June, and she wowed ’em at New York’s Living Room this week. Who is this girl that has everyone talking? She’s Jessi Alexander, Columbia Records’ latest "It" girl, whose Honeysuckle Sweet video recently debuted on CMT. Move over, Shania, Faith and Jessica Andrews! Thank goodness Jessi will be back in New York on July 27, playing the Living Room a second time on her journey to superstardom. (Valerie Nome)

6. Bobby Bare Jr.’s Young Criminals’ Starvation League, From the End of Your Leash (Bloodshot Records): Speaking of country-rock, this Nashville-based tyro is the son of Bare, Sr., who effortlessly blended the genres on his first hit, the 1958 Elvis take-off, "All American Boy" and various collaborations with songwriter Shel Silverstein. The man’s progeny also straddles the line on his third record for this leading alt-country label, which rides a careening, lived-in voice through songs like the Westerberg-ian ’Mats-like howl of "The Terrible Sunrise" and the south-of-the-border swing of "Beguiled, Bashful, Burnt." There’s a Ryan Adams swagger to "Let’s Rock & Roll," and a sarcastic, bemused nod to his hometown in "Visit Me In Music City," which relates how even the policemen in Nashville will offer you a capo to tune your guitar, but ends in a note-perfect, pedal steel-oozing nod to those country roots. And while the loose-limbed feel of "Your Adorable Beast" ruefully portrays his life as a dog "from the end of your leash," Bare Jr.’s iconoclasm doesn’t mask his deep-seated, hard-earned faithfulness to his pedigree. (RT)

7. Superfag and the Shady-Ass Bitches at Sleazoid: It’s been nearly four years since the legions of Hollywood wackos have had a weekly gathering place to call home. Ever since the demise of local hotspots Club Cherry and Club Makeup, there’s been a big black void in our hearts and souls leaving us with nothing but a tired, rehashed music scene geared towards 16-year-olds. If the buzz on the streets holds any indication of what’s to come, than ya’ll need to head over to the grand opening of Hollywood’s newest creation Sleazoid, this Friday (7/16). Located at the Hollywood Athletic Club (6255 Sunset Blvd.), the new weekly event is bound to jump-start the lagging L.A. nightlife scene with a new shot of Hollywood tackiness (oops, I mean glamor). Midnight entertainment to be provided by the one and only Superfag and the Shady-Ass Bitches, fronted by the ever-so-talented Mz. Alanna. Now that’s what we call high-class sleaze. (j-shotsi)

8. Translating Foreign DVDs: It’s been a problem for U.S. fans of international cinema and foreign music DVD titles for years. A problem that has me wanting to strangle every one of my friends who claims my homely home as "an international dubbing facility." Well, folks I am here to help and put an end to all this madness. Now you, too, can be a part of the fun with the Region-Free DVD Player. For only a one-time small payment of $19.99 (I repeat, $19.99), you, too can enjoy fabulous international DVD titles from across the world. This special offer will guarantee hours of fun-filled viewing pleasure allowing you to watch overseas PAL DVD titles, all at the snap of your fingers. No more messy converters, no more expensive wiring, no more poor-quality dubs. Just purchase your favorite overseas title, put the disc in the machine, type in a special remote code upon first installing and presto… Hurry, this $19.99 offer won’t last long. Operators are standing by. Just click here, what a barrr-gan! (j-shotsi)

9. The Dares at the Whisky: Three 14-year-olds from the wilds of Whittier showed up at 8 p.m. on a Wednesday night at the Sunset Strip club during a pay-for-play night featuring five other bands—including my drummer son's, High Society, which is why I was there—and proceeded to blow the house down. The lead singer and drummer were diminutive identical twin blonde-haired surfer dudes, while the bassist was a swarthy ethnic type with a perpetually goofy grin on his face. Churning out catchy pop-punk, while jumping off the risers like a miniature version of the Clash, they ended by urging us to buy merchandise—it was pointed out that a T-shirt and a pin make a particularly cool combination—and scooted out the side door before the clock struck 8:45 p.m. With their parents and friends cheering them on, it was the rock & roll version of soccer moms (and dads). Someone get that band's number. (RT)

10. Watching Don Gehman at Work: Gentle. Quiet. Coaxing. Amidst the cacophony of creation, ideas and chord progressions zooming, there's an island that is quiet and calm reflection. Looking into that peaceful pool, the answers become obvious. Is he a wizard of suggestion? A Vulcan mindmelder projecting his will? In such a clear space, he refracts the honesty of the answer. Regardless, the music rises in columns with roots set down in organic beauty, branches reaching for the glory of melodic flourishes, wailing solos, deep sweeping textures that carry the emotions aloft. (Holly Gleason)

I, Robot
(20th Century Fox)
Robots run amuck and start killing humans, and only the Fresh Prince can stop 'em, based on a series of short stories by Isaac Asimov.
Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, James Cromwell, Bruce Greenwood, Shia Le Beouf
Director: Alex Proyas
of The Crow and Dark City fame.
Thumbs Up:
Trailers are intriguing, Smith usually scores box office hits in July and Proyas has shown a talent for this sort of thing.
Thumbs Down:
Shaky advance word, sci-fi hasn’t exactly been putting theater-goers in seats. Is it Terminator or Chronicles of Riddick?
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande
album includes Marco Beltrami score.

A Cinderella Story (WB)
In this modern take on the fairy tale, a dorky Valley girl, who lives with her stepmother and stepsisters after her father dies, connects with a mysterious stranger via a lost cell phone, who promises to meet her at the big Halloween school dance.
Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray, Jennifer Coolidge, Regina King
Director: Mark Rosman
makes his studio debut after several direct-to-video efforts.
Thumbs Up:
Can Duff’s star power resurrect the updating of this age-old tale?
Thumbs Down:
Even Duff’s young fans are familiar with this story, but will that attract them or keep them away?
: Hollywood Records album features four new Hilary Duff songs, including her duet on the Go-Go’s "Our Lips Are Sealed" with sister Haylie.

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (IFC Films)
A documentary of the metal icons, dealing with the aftermath of singer James Hetfield’s rehab stint, bassist Jason Newsted’s exit from the group, Lars Ulrich’s power trip, therapy sessions with a management-hired performance shrink and, oh yeah, the making of St. Anger.
Hetfield, Newsted, Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillos
Directors: Joe Berlinger
and Bruce Sinofsky, who directged the acclaimed documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, about the West Memphis 3, a trio of heavy metal fans accused of murder because of their supposed Satanic beliefs.
Thumbs Up:
A no-holds-barred look at a band in the midst of turmoil, directed by two of the most acclaimed documentary filmmakers around.
Thumbs Down:
Two-and-a-quarter hours of Metallica are more than even the most ardent fan can bear, right?
Soundtrack: Elektra album includes remixed and edited version of title track, six classic songs live and three bonus movie trailers.

Former Island chief gets his own label. (6/16a)
How'd they do that? (6/15a)
We're reading the tea leaves. (6/15a)
"Variant" is a scary word right now. (6/15a)
Is there a lawyer in the house? (6/15a)
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?

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