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I don’t harbor any revenge fantasy, like my life is so fabulous compared to the wretched existences of the other attendees. Nor am I as lithe as I’d hoped (those damn 10 pounds), no matter how many last-minute visits to Curves I cram in this week. This trip is about self-perspective: Despite the stress and difficulty of the past year, I’m blessed to have a career doing what I love. Very few people are able to say that, regardless of where they grew up.
A WEAKEND PLANNER WITH NONE OF THE TRIMMINGS
U2, Green Day Find What They’re Looking For, Ivana Goes to Her High School Reunion and the NBA Goes Interactive
It’s late Tuesday afternoon and the question remains, where the heck is everybody? One of the biggest retail weeks of the year and all we could reach were phone messages. It’s almost enough to make you wanna heave a cup of ice at a pro basketball player and duck. If a "Weakend Planner" appears and there’s no one around to read it, does it really exist? Even if there were people around, it barely exists. But anyway, aside from stuffing yourself with tryptophan-laced birds, what else is on tap for the Weakend? Take some time and get into U2’s new album, which at least aims for greatness, even if it doesn’t quite achieve it. Or catch up on your TiVo’ed episodes of Desperate Housewives and Lost, the two best new network series of the year. And finally, be thankful for the little things. At least that’s our motto. And now, here’s your Thanksgiving to-do list.

We’re kicking off the Weakend early; hey we want to go on vacation, too. So, if you’re reading this, you truly must be lame because you should have your holiday schedule planned already. However, like every week, for those looking for the insight on what cool holidays parades and events are taking place, we have it all.

Wednesday (11/24)
3 p.m.
Feeling particularly bitter this holiday season? What better book to keep you company than Neil LaBute’s new collection of short stories, Seconds of Pleasure. Nobody does dark like LaBute.

5 p.m.
Head down to Griffith Park to kick off the holidays with the DWP Light Festival. This has become a yearly tradition in which DWP illuminates a one-mile stretch to commemorate local landmarks. Some of these landmarks include City Hall, Staples Center, Venice Boardwalk, the Hollywood Sign and the Hollywood Bowl.

7 p.m.
Prizzi’s Piazza
(5923 Franklin Ave. Bronson/Tamarind Aves.): Excellent homemade pizza & pasta. Really good salads, too. It’s very neighborhood-y & you can even sit outdoors and gaze at the overwhelming (I mean lovely) Scientology Celebrity Center.

Thursday (11/25)
1:30 p.m.
Kick off turkey day with some smash mouth football as the Dallas Cowboys take on the Chicago Bears. Also, Destiny’s Child will be performing. Get your TiVos ready in case Beyoncé flashes.

7:30 p.m.
Clippers vs. Nets:
After the massive eating, check out what is quickly becoming a yearly tradition on TNT. It seems like for the last couple years these two teams met at Staples Center for a Thanksgiving battle. Last year’s game went into overtime before the Nets won. This year, the Clippers have showed some promise, while the Nets pulled a"Clippers" and gave away all their good players. This game should be interesting.

Friday (11/26)
5 p.m.
Check out Oliver Stone’s Alexander with an all-star cast including Colin Farrell, ValKilmer, Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie. Je-C says, with Oliver Stone, younever know if the film is going to be great or a big bore… or both at the same time. Some of us here might also feel that way, but being that we’re very invested in our acting careers, we would never diss Olie like that. Call us with an audition, Oliver.

7:30 p.m.
Check out the Clips on Fox Sports Net 2 as they take on the slumping Warriors.

Saturday (11/27)
1 p.m.

There is no better way to spend the holiday weekend then at the movies. Take the whole family to see Christmas with The Kranks; we are hoping it is at least better than the Ben Affleck flop. Again, Je-C’s thoughts here. I feel that Ben Affleck is up there with De Niro, Depp & Pacino and would be honored to work with him.

4 p.m.
Finding Neverland
starring Johnny Depp is finally in wide release. It’s the story of how Peter Pan came to be, without the pedophile parts.

Sunday (11/28)
12:30 p.m.
Clippers vs. Warriors
: Afternoon games are always a delight because you can go with the whole family. And trust us, there will be plenty of tickets available, so take the whole family and check out some NBA basketball.

5 p.m.
Gather at Hollywood and Highland for the Hollywood Christmas Spectacular. Theannual parade stretches 3.5 miles. Some highlights this year include marching bands, equestrian units, unique cars and tons of celebrities from the music business. Large crowds are expected so get there early or watch the live broadcast on KTLA (channel 5).

7:30 p.m. |
Musso & Frank Grill
(6667 Hollywood Blvd) Still hangin’ in the parade area and craving a drink? Duck in here. The place has been around since 1919 & makes a seriously stiff martini served by awesome grumpy old waiters. Might as well eat whileyou’re there.

10 p.m.
Club London Presents: Ctrl Alt Delete, the Tarpaulins & New Model @Boardners (1652 N Cherokee Ave. off Hollywood Blvd. between La Brea & Vine): Free CDs, buttons and poster giveaways courtesy of Filter for The Beatles Capitol Albums Vol. 1 Box Set and Elefant's Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid, reissued by Hollywood Records. With two rooms to choose from, you can enjoy the live music and then go dance in the room featuring DJs spinning. Also look out for The Tarpaulins, rumor has it they will debut there demo at this show. 18+ ($10) (the insect)

IVANA CRIES WOLFE, REVISITS HIGH SCHOOL
I’ve never read Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again, but I’m sure I will be uttering those very words repeatedly while subjecting myself to my 25th Year Reunion of Easton Area High School Class of 1979 this Saturday evening. I hated high school, was considered "strange" by my classmates (I didn’t exactly date much), and couldn’t wait to leave Easton, which is precisely why I’m going to my reunion. I don’t harbor any revenge fantasy, like my life is so fabulous compared to the wretched existences of the other attendees. Nor am I as lithe as I’d hoped (those damn 10 pounds), no matter how many last-minute visits to Curves I cram in this week. This trip is about self-perspective: Despite the stress and difficulty of the past year, I’m blessed to have a career doing what I love. Very few people are able to say that, regardless of where they grew up. And it was a great excuse to buy a Comme des Garcons outfit from Barneys. (Ivana)

POPCULT MINILIST
1. U2 on Saturday Night Live: As always, I was half-asleep when I awoke to see Bono join his mates for a searing version of "I Will Follow," their third song after "Vertigo" and the soulful "Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own." In one of the most remarkable performances on the venerable late-night comedy show, U2’s leader jumped off the stage and into the audience, where he proceeded to ride on the lap of a delighted young lady in the first row. He grabbed the camera and spun it around, then joined the amazed cast members at stage right, grabbing Amy Poehler, who blushed with excitement. It ended with Bono screaming, "Saturday night live, live, LIVE, LIVE!," once again seizing the situation and turning it to his advantage… Amazing. (Roy Trakin)

2. Indiana-Detroit Basketbrawl: Hey, we’ve been headed this way for a long time with our spectator sports. Blame pro wrestling, Jerry Springer, sky-high player salaries and force-feeding high schoolers into the pros for the audience feeling entitled to the action. Not that I condone the boisterous fans, either, though it made for the most fascinating footage since Zapruder’s home movies of JFK getting his head blown off. Which, coincidentaly, was turned into a video game available as an Internet download for $9.99 by some enterprising British company. So, there’s plenty of blame to go around on this one. Still, given the recent riots at the Vibe Awards, the Clemson-South Carolina college football game (for retiring SC coach Lou Holtz’s farewell, of all things) and before the kickoff of the NFL Steelers-Browns match a few weeks ago, this isn’t something unique to the NBA, either. At any rate, expect more incidents… Just make sure your TiVo is handy for the fun and games. (RT)

3. Petra Haden and Bill Frisell (Sovereign Artists): Former That Dog singer-songwriter-violinist Petra Haden (daughter of jazz bassist Charlie) and noted guitar maestro Bill Frisell team up for an album featuring eclectic covers from the likes of Elliot Smith, Foo Fighters, George Gershwin, Tom Waits and Stevie Wonder. Versions of Coldplay’s "Yellow" and Henry Mancini’s "Moon River" are both faithful to the originals, but take them to a new, lush place that stresses melody and atmosphere for lush, wide-screen takes. Seductive and arresting, it envelopes you in a thick mix of gorgeous sound. (RT)

4. www.vidlit.com/yidlit/: Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman’s loving parody of the how-to-read books, Yiddish with Dick and Jane offers a three-minute glossary of terms like "mensch," "schlep," "bubbe," "gornischt," "oy gevalt," "shpilkes" and "tuchus," among others, illustrated with the appropriate dramatizations and a Hasidic rebbe offering his interpretations. (RT)

5. Green Day on the Jimmy Kimmel Show: Performing on the Connect outdoor stage in back of Hollywood Blvd., Billie Jo and company played a song-and-a-half on-air, including the title track to American Idiot and the new single, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." They then proceeded play for another half-hour, including the Who-like operetta, "Jesus of Suburbia," climaxed with a near-faithful take on Queen’s "We Are the Champions." It’s always cool to see a band committed to growth, and even ignoring their questionable stab at politics, the new album represents an artistic renewal, as did this wonderful mini-set, a pure gift to their fans. (RT)

TRAKIN'S PICKS TO FLICK
Wednesday (11/24)

Alexander
(Warner Bros.)
Premise:
Conquering 90% of the known world by the age of 25, Alexander the Great led his armies through 22,000 miles of sieges and conquests in just eight years. Coming out of tiny Macedonia, Alexander led his armies against the mighty Persian Empire, drove west to Egypt, and finally made his way east to India. This film will concentrate on those eight years of battles, as well as his relationship with his boyhood friend and battle mate, Hephaistion before dying of an illness at 33. Alexander's conquests paved the way for the spread of Greek culture, facilitating the spread of Christianity centuries later. As imagined by Oliver Stone.
Stars: Colin Farrell
, Rosario Dawson, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Jared Leto, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
Director:
Stone’s first feature since Any Given Sunday, with a screenplay by Christopher Kyle (K19: The Widowmaker)
Thumbs Up:
Is it another Gladiator?
Thumbs Down:
Or another Troy?
Soundtrack: Sony Classical
album features score by Chariots of Fire composer Vangelis.
Website:
www.alexanderthemovie.com

Christmas with the Kranks (Columbia Pictures)
Premise:
A father’s decision to forgo the holiday backfires when his daughter decides to come home for a visit at the last minute.
Stars: Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, Jake Busey, Cheech Marin, Tom Poston, M. Emmett Walsh
Director:
Joe Roth (noted producer, has directed Revenge of the Nerds 2, Streets of Gold, Coup de Ville)
Thumbs Up:
Only if your expectations are very, very low.
Thumbs Down:
I’d sooner believe in Santa Claus than a Tim Allen film for Christmas.
Soundtrack: Hollywood Records album
features holiday songs by the Ramones, The Charms, the Raveonettes, Tina Sugandh, Jean Beauvois, Chesterfield Kings, Brenda Lee, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Elvis Presley, Dan Aykroyd, Joey Ramone, Frankie Rydell, John Debney
Website:
www.thekranks.com

Bad Education (Sony Pictures Classics)
Premise:
Based on Almodovar’s own experiences, it’s the story of two men, one a film director, in Spain, who meet again in the ‘80s 10 years after they attended Catholic school together during the time of Franco’s rule. The film flashes back to extended sequences from their youths, will include a movie-within-a-movie sequence.
Stars: Gael Garcia Bernal (Y Tu Mama Tambien), Fele Martinez, Leonor Watling, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Javier Camara
Director: Pedro Almodovar
(Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Talk to Her, All About My Mother), who also wrote the screenplay.
Thumbs Up: Oscar buzz has already begun for Almodovar, always an Academy and Golden Globe fave.
Thumbs Down: If you don’t like themes of homosexuality and transvestism, it’s not for you.
Soundtrack: Sony Classical album features songs by Pedro Jose Sanchez Martinez, Sara Montiel, Little Tony and score.
Website: www.sonyclassics.com/badeducation/

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Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
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ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
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