Finding Neverland is moving, funny, sad & inspirational. I just sounded like my grandmother. But see it, dude.
Some Stuff to Do on the First Football-Free Weekend in Five Months
Unless you count the Senior Bowl (and why would you possibly want to do that?), there's no football on TV this weakend, so it's a good time to practice pigskin withdrawal, which you'll need to do in earnest after the Super Bowl next Sunday. But hey, there's more to life than football—there's basketball, for starters, although, with Kobe out for 10 more games, as the L.A. Times speculates, one's mind does begin to wander a bit... For example, can you imagine how HUGE Steve Nash or Manu Ginobili would be if they played for the Lakers? These guys are rock stars in a hip-hop league, and would they ever stand out in a major market. Speaking of standouts, you need to see emerging singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne at the Troub Saturday night—but you can't since it's sold out. This guy has an astounding voice that simultaneously echoes Otis Redding, the young Van Morrison, Sam Cooke and The Band's Richard Manuel, and his songs come off as stunningly real. Joining him on stage for this show are Ethan Johns, who produced and played all over Ray's debut album, Trouble (RCA), bass player Chris Thomas and a string quartet. Finally, if we have to tell you that the season finale of the altogether brilliant and absorbing Huff airs on Showtime Sunday night at 10, you're hopelessly out of touch.

Friday (1/28)
6:00 p.m.
Sign up to volunteer for Race for the Cure. The ninth annual race to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation needs volunteers. Stop being a selfish ’ho & be a selfless ’ho. Always be a ‘ho, though. You can sign up to help out until the day of the race, Feb. 27. Call (626) 577-2700 or email [email protected].

7:00 p.m.
So you say you’re a scenester—keep an eye on the party photos and LA Weekly Snake Bites www.thecobrasnake.com.

7:00 p.m.
Finding Neverland: Such an effin’ lovely movie. (Also, coincidentally, my AOL screen name. You know how I do.) This movie is wonderful. It’s moving, funny, sad & inspirational. I just sounded like my grandmother. But see it, dude.

8:30 p.m.
Lovedrug, Waking Ashland, Action Action, Blueprint and Carcrash @ the Knitting Factory (front room).

8:30 p.m.
Check out Elle 3 at the Whisky. Three young, gorgeous, blonde sisters who wear super-sexy clothing and sing amazing harmonies. You could compare them to the Dixie Chicks except these girls are way better-looking.

9:00 p.m.
Psychedelic Furs, The Shore and Red Gun Radar @ the House of Blues/Sunset.

10:00 p.m.
Check out Numb3rs, an awesome new crime solving show on CBS. Yes, another crime-solving show, but this one throws a whole new twist on the familiar premise. Gee, it makes you wonder, why these shows can come up with cool ways to solve crimes, while the FBI can’t seem to catch anyone in the real world. Hell, we can’t even find a lost cast.

Drunk. Dial someone.

Saturday (1/29)
12:00 p.m.
Following the closing of Body Worlds by a week is Body Worlds 2 , featuring all new plastinates, including a 300-pound woman ("suicide by fat") and more animals. California Science Center, 700 State Dr., L.A. (213) 744-2019

12:00-7:00 p.m.
ArtLA: The first sizable L.A. art fair of contemporary work in 10 years! Get down there, hang with hipster artsy types & pretend you know what you’re talking about. We do that here at HITS daily. Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St. (323) 937-5525

2:00 p.m.
Got friends in town? Hit up the Hollywood sign via Beachwood Canyon.

8:00 p.m.
Mandarette for Chinese
(food, not people—not that there won’t also be Chinese people on hand): Delicious food in a casual atmosphere with good prices. Try the cold tofu w/scallions, lemon chicken and garlic string beans, and look for Gina Gershon. Well, I saw her the last time I was there, anyway. 8386 Beverly Blvd.

8:00 p.m.
ACME Love Machine with Wil Wheaton:
Yup, Star Trek boy. Not a clue what the show’s like, but we know Wil is in it. And that’s amusing enough for us to consider. Tickets $15. @ The ACME Theatre (135 N. La Brea Ave.)

8:00 p.m.
Ray Lamontagne and Jonathan Rice @ the Troubadour.

8:30 p.m.
Kings of Leon and The Features @ the Roxy. After-party upstairs at On the Rox

Sunday (1/30)
12:00-6:00 p.m.
ArtLA continues (see above)

Hot Chocolate Festival You New Yorkers have been freezing your asses off (we’re wearing flip flops), so we know you’ll appreciate 18th Street’s transformation into a winter wonderland, complete with snowman building, ice skating, marshmallow roasting and yes, hot chocolate. 3 W. 18th St. (212) 366-1414

1:00 p.m.
Larchmont Weekly Open Market (or whatever it’s called): The strip/Larchmont Village is always a cool hang. Sundays are the best. Stock up on fresh fruit & vegetables, flowers and the best tamales around. So good. So cheap. Enough about me.

3:30 p.m.
Get your hike on—but watch out for doo-doo. Runyon Canyon, 200 N. Fuller Ave. L.A.

8:30 p.m.
Kings of Leon
and The Features @ the Roxy

Monday (1/31)
Indie 103.1 and Filter magazine present Check…1...2 night @ the Viper Room, 8:30 p.m. The Cutaway (www.thecutaway.com) w/ Eskimo Hunter and Let’s Go Sailing. Miss. Jean will be on the DJ (you know how she does every Monday, yo).

Wednesday (2/2)
The Cutaway w/ Kiev and very special guests that I am not allowed to mention @ Spaceland.

Million Dollar Baby
Starring: Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, and Clint Eastwood
Synopsis: A retired boxer runs a gym in Los Angeles with another former fighter. Clint’s character Dunn is still troubled by his painful estrangement from his daughter, and he's surprised when a female boxer walks into his gym and asks him to train her.
Reaction: I still have yet to see the movie, but from those who have seen it, I keep getting mixed feedback. I still have a tremendous amount of interest in it, considering some of the awards it’s up for, including best picture. With a great cast and an interesting story, I figure it can’t be that bad.

Alone in the Dark
Starring: Christian Slater, Tara Reid, and Stephen Dorff.
Synopsis: A supernatural detective travels to Shadow Island to solve the mystery of a friend's death. While there, he meets up with a female anthropologist who happens to be his ex-girlfriend, and the two discover that evil demons worshiped by an ancient culture called the Abskani are planning to come back to Earth in the 21st century.
Reaction: Hmm… I am not too sure about this one. I didn’t even know what it was about until like a week ago. Tara Reid is hott, but I don’t know if she is worth the price of admission, and I just can’t believe this is any good considering there has been very little press on it. However, I will probably end up seeing it, just ’cause I love movies and I am always curious.

Hide and Seek
Starring: Robert De Niro, and Dakota Fanning.
Synopsis: After moving to a small town, a widower discovers that his young daughter is coping with the death of her mother by hanging out with an imaginary friend, who turns out to be a murderous psycho.
Reaction: I am all over this one. First off, Robert De Niro is awesome and Dakota Fanning is always amazing to watch. This 10-year-old girl is a superstar. I really am hoping this one is good. Hard to tell from the previews, but I just pray De Niro and Fanning chose to do this film ’cause it had a good script.

A Very Long Engagement

Audrey Tatou—last seen in the tres charmant French bit of cineme Amelie—is heartbreakingly beautiful as the porcelain-skinned girl made lame by polio who refuses to relinquish the fire of faith that her beloved has survived the war. Her tenacious search casts her through diverse worlds, crisscrossing assassin prostitutes, carpenters and private detectives with ironic names, gravel-scattering mailmen, wooden-handed bartenders and even Jodie Foster as a vegetable-selling war widow aground on the same shipwrecked dream. With a childhood friendship and a lighthouse as a metaphoric anchor, this gorgeously shot, even better-written tale is a tribute to the power of faith, the wings of deep gentle love and a restorative to innocence in a real world clotted with cynicism and doubt. Even the subtitles are anything but clumsy, as they cast the story in truly poetic terms.

Jill Talks to Nick of Open Air Stereo the Laguna Beach band that bid a sweet $16k to secure a spot opening the KROQ Weenie Roast
When I heard that the highest bidder for the much coveted “play the Weenie Roast” spot (in KROQ’s Big Ass Auction to raise money for Tsunami victims), was a band made up of 16-17-year-old boys from Laguna Beach ... I was like, I LOVE 16 and 17 year old boys! And from Laguna Beach? Bring it! Look, we can’t all be fortunate enough to be teachers in the public school system, where you can just score young’ns whenever you feel like it.

I spoke to Nick, the drummer, during his lunch period from his high school—kill me. The boys have been playing together for almost three years now, and they’re all sophomores and juniors. Some of these dudes probably haven’t even taken the SATs. I’m not even sure they all have their driver’s licenses. I’m feeling very Nicole Kidman in To Die For. These guys aren’t as green as one might think. They’ve already played gigs at the Roxy, the Coach House and the Orange County Music Awards (where they were nominated for Best Indie Rock band). They’ll actually be competing again this year, playing at the Grove in Anaheim on March 6.

The boys recorded a demo at DJ Lethal (of Limp Bizkit)’s studio in Hollywood and their much anticipated album (10 songs, baby) should be done in March. Nick says that their style is hard rock/alternative and that everyone but the singer is single (you know I asked). I told Nick that while I’m sure the lead singer’s girl is absolutely lovely, they should all stay single. For the band’s image, obviously. Nah, I’m sure I’m just being selfish.

The band was able to drum up all that dough ($16k!) with the help of local companies who’ve supported them all along, friends of their parents and some savings from past gigs they’ve played. Last night I was at dinner and I couldn’t get anyone to loan me five bucks for valet. What am I doing wrong?

Wanna learn more about these guys? Come to my apartment tonight. We’ll all be kickin’ it watching The O.C. & playing I Never. Shit, they’re not gonna show, are they? You should probably just go to www.openairstereo.com to see what they’re up to and check out some pics. They’re cute. I’m awkward. Watch for their record in March and get down to KROQ’s Weenie Roast to see these guys before they’re big rock stars. And before they’re 18. Sweet.

It doesn't make sense. (11/25a)
Cue Archie Bell & the Drells. (11/24a)
The first entry from our 2020 U.K. print special is now online. (11/25a)
Oof (11/24a)
The gang's all here. (11/24a)
Bring your umbrella.
Mulling possible surprises.
We're virtually stuffing ourselves.
He's lost 25 out of 26, and so tired of winning!

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