If Michael Moore’s scathing agitpop doc "moves just 3 or 4% [of voters], it’s been a success," according to GOP consultant Scott Reed, which puts the filmmaker in the company of such populist muckrakers as Sinclair Lewis and Harriet Beecher Stowe.


Featuring Halle Berry in Heat, Herman’s Hermits Reconsidered, Cold Mountain on DVD, Kerry vs. Bush on the Net, Queer Eye for the Tour de France Guy and Moore
Summertime and the living ain’t exactly easy, folks, as the presidential race heats up, the Tour de France concludes, the Summer Olympics prepare to return to Athens and Ken Jennings turns Jeopardy! into his own personal stomping grounds. I mean, who needs Alex Trebek when you can phrase your answer in the form of a question quicker than Michael Jordan used to be able to get off a mid-range jumper? This Mormom computer geek, going on 36 straight wins, is the quiz show’s answer to Joe DiMaggio and apparently exacting revenge for every playground insult, or well-aimed dodgeball, ever hurled at his nether region. Check out the burgeoning Jennings fan club in this blog. As for us, we’d rather just sit poolside kicking finger field goals with the limes from our Corona. And you know why? Because we’re lazy sods and we don’t care. And as our one-time pop idol, Herman’s Hermits Peter Noone once warbled, this shoddy Weakend Planner is "A Must to Avoid." Like those former girlfriends you Googled (except for you, KK).

Friday, July 23
7:30 p.m.:
Go see The Bourne Supremacy. This throwback spy-in-from-the-cold sequel to The Bourne Identity looks action-packed and once again stars Matt Damon in the title role, but since director Doug Liman (Swingers) is no longer aboard, caveat emptor.

8 p.m.

What better way to spend a Friday night after a long week at work then donning your white robe to go check out Hollywood Records up-with-people, feel-gooders Polyphonic Spree at the almighty El Rey Theatre? Praise the lord and pass the spliff!!

The Dan Band at the Avalon: We are big fans of these guys, with every concert a fun experience. For tickets, e-mail  [email protected]

9:30-10 p.m.

Ciudad (445 South Figueroa St., L.A. (213) 486-5171): What better way to end the night then checking out this amazing restaurant for a late snack or dinner? With their menu changing daily, you never know what they might have, but stay away from the tripe.

Saturday, July 24
12-8 p.m.
L.A. Tofu Festival
(Little Tokyo, E. Second Street and S. San Pedro Street): For all you non-meat eaters out there—yes you know who you are—this sounds like your Super Bowl.

1 p.m.
: Hot Cat on a Tin Roof. Halle Berry in tight leather throughout most of the movie…Ummm yeah, who cares if it’s any good?

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, 3911 S. Figueroa St, (213) 748-6136): Take a deep whiff of those elephants and remember when you used to go to this with your parents. It is definitely worth dropping some hallucinogens and checking it out. So bring the kids on over to this amazing event, and if you are a kid, bring yourself.

7 p.m.
Big series at Chavez Ravine as the Dodgers battle one of their division rivals, the San Diego Padres, in a three-game series that will determine first place in the competitive West. Give a cheer for the recovering He-bro, Shawn Green, as he continues to hit his way out of a season-long slump.

Sunday, July 25
Bored, can’t think of anything to do on Sunday, then go check out comic writer Bruce Vilanche taking on the role popularized by Divine and then Harvey Fierstein on Broadsay in Hairspray at the Pantages Theatre. There are two show times, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Call Ticketmaster (213) 365-3500 to reserve your tickets.

Looking for a late nightspot to kick it? we suggest Bossa Nova (7181 Sunset/(323) 436-7999, 685 N. Robertson Blvd./(310) 657-5070) This place has two locations and for all you people that like checkin’ out the hot nightspots, this oneshould be on your list. It’s a Brazilian restaurant and they are open after midnight and have really awesome food, for those of you who get those late-evening munchies. We know, we do.

10 p.m.
A hip new show from executive producer Marky Mark Wahlberg based on his life as an up-and-coming movie star and the hometown posse who serve as his hangers-on, with searing characterizations of young and cool Hollywood that takes pride in its own shallowness.

1. Fahrenheit 9/11: OK, I get it now. If Michael Moore’s scathing agitpop doc "moves just 3 or 4% [of voters], it’s been a success," according to GOP consultant Scott Reed, which puts the filmmaker in the league of such populist muckrakers as Sinclair Lewis and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Though I haven’t been a Moore fan since Roger & Me, he’s done his homework this time, for the most part avoiding the cheap shots and self-aggrandizement that’s plagued much of his media work after that 1989 bow. And it’s excruciatingly funny to boot. More importantly, he allows us to connect the dots tieing Bush to the events of 9/11. But Moore doesn't hesitate to take shots at both sides in his bipartisan attack. One of the film’s most damning scenes shows Al Gore presiding over his own demise as one African-American Congress member after another complains that they can’t get a Democratic Senator to sign and legitimize the complaint that their constituents were effectively prevented from voting in the 2000 election. For once, we find ourselves on the same side as Linda Ronstadt. Now let’s see how the Republicans manage to steal another one. (Roy Trakin)

2. Herman’s Hermits, Retrospective (ABKCO): Though they’re largely dismissed as bubblegum pop today, from ’64 through ’67, these Merseybeat Mancunians challenged the Beatles U.S. Top 40 supremacy, and, to this impressionable 14-year-old’s ears, as much as I’m embarrassed to admit it, might have even been preferable. In retrospect, it’s no wonder hits like "Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter" and the English music-hall novelty of "I’m Henry the VIII, I Am" reached #1. Liner note author Jim Bessman points out the superb Mickey Most production touches, now more audible on this newly released SACD version from Allen Klein’s vaults, with compact, but surprisingly textured arrangements that combine country swing, Buddy Holly thump and Tin Pan Alley polish to produce sparkling Britpop. The records also featured session players like soon-to-be-famous Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, who arranged several of the latter-period songs that are included after the band fizzled in the U.S. The Hermits also covered such distinguished songwriters as Gerry Goffin-Carole King ("I’m Into Something Good"), Sam Cooke ("Wonderful World"), "Eve of Destruction" tunesmiths Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan ("A Must to Avoid"), 10cc’s Graham Gouldman ("Listen People," "No Milk Today") and Ray Davies ("Dandy"). And who knew that none other than Lou Reed (in his Pickwick Brill Building days, undoubtedly) co-wrote the band’s lovely 1967 Top 5 hit, "There’s a Kind of Hush All Over the World," with John Carter? (Ed. note: Apparently Mr. Bessman was mistaken about this as Columbia Records' Mitch Cohen writes: I count on you for fair & balanced reporting... So I have to query: Wasn't 'A Kind of Hush' co-writ by Brit songwriter Les Reed, and not the author of  Metal Machine Music? Just fact checkin'...) (RT)

3. Brandy: It sure is good to be Brandy. The singer hosted a party this week at N.Y.’s Planet Hollywood for a group of Power 105.1 contest winners who couldn’t have been more psyched to meet their idol and sit in for the live broadcast. She canoodled with boyfriend, b-baller Quentin Richardson (who signed his share of autographs), while fans gobbled up yummy Cap’n Crunch chicken and Caesar salad, washing them down with Snapple. Despite press reports to the contrary, the two were more than hospitable to fans. So what’s her favorite song on the disc? "'Afrodisiac.' I love the beat. Everybody dance!" Who were we to argue? (Valerie Nome)

4. Cold Mountain (Miramax Home Entertainment DVD): Don’t let the tepid reviews, which seemed more turned off to Harvey Weinstein’s Oscar hype than anything else, steer you away. Without having read the book myself, Anthony Minghella’s sprawling adaptation is a period Hollywood epic in the grand tradition of Gone With the Wind. The DVD is jam-packed with extras, including the 90-minute performance featuring the music and words of Cold Mountain presented at UCLA last winter in conjunction with the film’s theatrical release. What ultimately holds the whole enterprise together is its exquisite musical framework, both Gabriel Yared’s somber score, but even more so, T-Bone Burnett’s Appalachian-influenced country-blues and folk soundtrack. Check out Brendan Gleeson’s sad-eyed fiddler, Jack White’s earnest troubadour and, especially, Ethan Suplee’s tragically doomed picker, who supply the sense of fate only hinted at in the movie’s main romance between a disheveled Jude Law and the impeccably-groomed-despite-being-in-the-middle-of-a-Civil-War Nicole Kidman. (RT)

5. Reality Pays: Although Ballentine, a new pop/punk/rock duo, released their debut album, 4U (Lightyear), earlier this month, frontwoman Heather Ballentine and bassist/vocalist Frank Primorac are probably better known for taking home the $100k cash prize on ABC’s reality show Ultimate Love Test. "There were moments when I thought I might lose everything, but in the end I got my man and the money," she said. "It’s sure going to make life on the road a lot better!" Listen for the track, "Starting to Move," which is being played in movie theatres before the regular feature. (VN)

6. Workplay, Birmingham, AL: This multi-functional entertainment venue is owned by former MTV VJ Alan Hunter and his brothers and doubles as a recording facility with soundstages for commercials and a 350-person venue, with no expenses spared when it comes to sightlines and sound. Truly remarkable. The best thing is they usually start shows at 8 p.m. and the venue is smoke-free. Nothing is smoke-free in Alabama. You can smoke in church down here. Anyway, we got to see a very sold-out show this week with one of our favorite bands, the Old 97's. A Tuesday night sellout anywhere is hard for any band, but these guys packed it out and rocked it out. If not for Workplay, these guys would have just kept driving on Interstate 20. Many of our communities are suffering from a lack of great places for working parents to see shows. Reasonable start times and a smoke-free environment make it much easier for many of us to hire a sitter and find the motivation to get off the couch. (Don VanCleave)

7. JibJab.com: Brothers Gregg and Evan Spiridellis’ spoof of the coming election, set to the tune of Woody Guthrie’s "This Land," features a crude animation of Bush and Kerry as Conan O’Brien/Robert Smigel-style talking heads touting their respective qualifications and constituencies. It pretty much pits the dim-witted, warmongering, tax-cutting Conservative frat boy with the Botoxed, flip-flopping, Purple-Heart-bearing, pointy-headed, long-faced Liberal intellectual. Can’t wait for the election… Click here to view. (RT)

8. Tour de France: With just the weekend to go, American Lance Armstrong seems likely headed toward a record sixth Tour de France cycling victory. Indeed, only an unforeseen illness or injury seem likely to derail Armstrong as, to this point, neither the mountains, the weather nor unruly fans have accomplished. Look for Armstrong to finish in the yellow jersey he’s worn for several days already now, as the race wraps up Sunday down the Champs-Elysees. As for me, I was thinking about wearing MY yellow sleeveless number out to "Boystown" this weekend, but I have never won anything six times, so I just didn’t feel that was appropriate. I think I’ll just go shirtless—that’s always appropriate in West Hollywood. (Mark Feather)

9. Entourage (HBO): After just the first episode, this new Sunday night HBO series seems to fall closer to the unlamented Mind of the Married Man rather than the promised L.A. male version of Sex and the City. Perhaps it’s because the three lead characters (Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara), who form a posse of hangers-on for the would-be star played by Adrian Grenier, aren’t that amusing or very distinctive in their search for sexual kicks and respect, in that order. The Hollywood in-jokes only go so far, but the always-entertaining Jeremy Piven scores as the high-strung, acerbic, neurotic Ari Jacobs, an agent modeled on (and apparently approved by) Endeavor’s real-life ten-percenter Ari Emanuel. Boasting of a new kind of sake he discovered while in Japan, Jacobs blithely declares: ""We were visiting Sofia on the set of Lost… I dunno, that film. Didn't really capture the place. Twice as boring in real life." So far, Entourage has the same problem. (RT)

10. PJ Harvey in L.A.: With one of the year's best albums in her recent Island/IDJ release Uh Huh Her, this celebrated cult performer, who was slated to appear on Lollapalooza, comes to town for a pair of RARE L.A. club performances at the Knitting Factory (Aug. 16-17), as well as a benefit performance one night prior at the Henry Fonda Theater (Aug. 15). Tickets for KF shows go on sale today (7/23) at 9 a.m., though do take note: only 200 tickets per show will be released to the public. Check her video for "Who The Fuck?" here cause you ain't seeing it on MTV. Beg, cry, steal, do whatever you have to do! (j.shotsi)

This week’s brouhaha over Linda Ronstadt getting run from the stage in Las Vegas by a unruly mob of Republicans and Fundamentalists for praising Moore and busting Bush is disturbing on any number of levels. First off, it indicates an increasingly polarized electorate, one that is still widely undecided, though those that have made their decision are firmly entrenched in their positions. The coming election has the feel of a cultural war, with the two coasts against the middle, but what should really be between the haves and the have-nots, except no one in America wants to admit they’re on the wrong side of that equation. Still, Ronstadt’s pro-Moore/anti-Dubya rants are riling up her audience and, as Wall Street Journal scribe Jim Fusilli convincingly complained, taking the focus over what is an otherwise impressive retrospective on her career, complete with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and a jazz combo in tow. It’s hard to tell if the Vegas audience was angrier over Ronstadt’s politics or the fact she wasn’t playing her Stone Poney hits in favor of standards by Gershwin, Cole Porter and Billy Strayhorn in the style of her ‘80s collaborations with Nelson Riddle. Fusilli argues that any performer who has the temerity to bring up politics within a concert setting deserves whatever abuse they get, and admittedly, Ronstadt’s comments seem to have overshadowed her music. But for those of us who grew up when politics and rock music were close bedfellows, it’s become ever more disturbing to discover those that like the same music as we don't necessarily share our political persuasion. Guess it was Kurt Cobain who drove the final nail into that coffin of thought. Ultimately, though, the scariest part of the Ronstadt story is the way a mob can take control and force otherwise rational people to abandon logic and join them, with those shouting loudest and acting most aggressively assuming the lead. That’s a dilemma as old as humankind itself, and one that consistently befuddles a democratic society based on free expression like ours. (RT)

Roy Lenard Trakin
(backwards, NIKART or Knickart), who exclaims "he is growing older so quickly," is a very special son. He may not come to visit his Mom very often, his phone calls could be weeks apart and he is in his own world, but nonetheless, he is special!! CDs, articles and HITS magazines are sent to me on a regular basis. He takes care of his Mom.

One of the most wonderful freebies arrived just a few weeks ago. Tickets to Celine Dion's "A New Day" in Las Vegas. The concert was everything it was said to be and much more. The lighting, special effects, choreography and costuming were eye- and mind-boggling. The singing and dancing were as sophisticated and elegant as Celine herself. It was an extremely classy show. By the way, the seats were excellent, too.

Thanks and much appreciation to [Epic’s] Michele Schweitzer and Tara Melega, and as I said before, a very special guy...my son Roy. (Florence Trakin)

The Bourne Supremacy
(Universal Pictures)
Sequel to the Robert Ludlum novel in which Bourne causes serious trouble in the CIA after someone who’s stolen his identity executes a Chinese government official, creating a serious crisis between China and America. It’s up to the real "Bourne" to discover who’s behind this ruse, return peace to the two nations and protect his now-endangered girlfriend.
Matt Damon, Franka Potente (Run Lola Run), Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban
British director Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday) replaced stylish Doug Liman adding a reported hand-held documentary realism style.
Thumbs Up:
Damon fits the role like a glove, Potente is an interesting sidekick and Greengrass has received critical kudos for his British films.
Thumbs Down:
Liman provided some stylistic oomph last time, but does this franchise have the legs to go against the summer’s big guns?
Varese Sarabande album features score by John Powell.

Catwoman (Warner Bros.)
Based loosely on the DC comic about Halle Berry as a "cat-loving graphic artist who is murdered when she finds out a dark secret about the cosmetics company she works for, which is a front for the criminal exploits of the husband-wife team that runs it." Reborn, thanks to an Egyptian Mao cat who is indebted to her because she saved his life, Berry is reborn as a vengeful superhero.
Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone
Director: Pitof
(French visual effects supervisor on Alien: Resurrection, The City of Lost Children and Les Visiteurs makes his U.S. feature directorial debut).|
Thumbs Up:
Berry in a feline costume and a promised cat fight with Stone may be worth the price of admission.
Thumbs Down:
Poor advance word, complete with tales of re-shooting and re-editing after the film was supposedly done, could mean the Berry-starrer will have less than nine lives at the box office.
Website: http://catwoman.warnerbros.com/?frompromo=movies_maintouts_catwoman

A Home at the End of the World (Warner Independent Pictures)
Based upon The Hours author Michael Cunningham’s 1998 novel about two best friends, one gay, the other straight, who grew up together in Cleveland in the '60s and '70s, then reunite in N.Y.C.’s East Village in the early '80s. The two end up forming an alternative family and a romantic triangle with a woman they both fall in love with.
Colin Farrell, Robin Wright Penn, Sissy Spacek, Dallas Roberts, Joshua Close, Matt Frewer (Max Headroom)
Broadway director Michael Mayer (Thoroughly Modern Millie) in his feature film debut.
Thumbs Up:
Farrell, one of the hottest young actors in movies, gets a chance to strut his stuff, with a screenplay co-written by Cunningham.
Thumbs Down:
The film’s much-ballyhooed full frontal nudity shot of Farrell has been, a-hem, trimmed from the final print.
Soundtrack: Milan Records
soundtrack features several new songs by Duncan Sheik, period hits from Dusty Springfield, Patti Smith, Jefferson Airplane and The Band along with classical selections from Slovak Philharmonic Choir and Steve Reich.

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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