And while Bruce Springsteen doing his darnedest to emulate a country preacher and Michael Stipe parading around in his "Vote for Kerry" T-shirt is cool for us aging liberals, we’re wondering if it’s enough to merely say it’s the hip thing to do to vote Democratic.


Stipe/Springsteen, Eminem/Jacko, Costello/Waits, Yankees/Red Sox and Other Notable Pairs Hit the Campaign Trail With a Vengeance
As the presidential election enters its home stretch, there’s an uneasy feeling that, cutting through all the rhetoric, neither of this privileged pair born with silver spoons in their mouths understands the deepening despair of the crumbling middle class. Now, if everyone who earns more than $200k or so a year votes Bush, it’s still not enough to put him over the top. Still, this election hinges on whether the great middle that both John Kerry and George Dubya are reaching out to consider themselves closer to the bottom than the top, or whether they see the current glass as half-empty (Kerry) or half-full (Bush). We haven’t had an ideological battle like this since McGovern-Nixon, and we all know how that turned out. And while Bruce Springsteen doing his darnedest to emulate a country preacher and Michael Stipe parading around in his "Vote for Kerry" T-shirt is cool for us aging liberals, we’re wondering if it’s enough to merely say it’s the hip thing to do to vote Democratic. Better we should sit back for a non-stop weekend of college and pro football and the baseball playoff series to determine winners and losers the old-fashioned way… on the playing field. I haven’t pulled a Republican lever for President in my lifetime, and I’m not about to do so now, but the existentialist in me says no matter who wins, things aren’t going to get much better in the immediate future… Well, what do you expect from a Mets/Jets/ Knicks fan? Optimism?

Friday (10/15)
12 p.m.- 7 p.m.
Los Angeles Art Show
@Barker Hangar (3021 Airport Ave. Santa Monica Airport.(310) 390-9071): L.A.’s largest annual art show is a weekend-long event with a huge range of work on display. Featuring everything from Impressionists, Expressionists, old masters, modern art, photography, a symposium series and an opening night gala.

5 p.m.
Yankees vs. Red Sox
: Never mind the Republicans vs. the Democrats… This battle, with Game 3 today, is the true competition between baseball ideologues.

7:30 p.m.
Team America: World Police:
From the gang who bring us South Park… Don’t waste any time! Head over to your local theatre to catch what’s being called the most controversial puppet movie ever made. We heard a golden shower scene got cut. Bummer.

The Spooky House Haunted Theme Park
(6260 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, (818) 888-8570): Scary, Topanga style! Oozing with frightful fantasy, this annual front-yard attraction has grown into L.A.’s largest independent Halloween haunted set-up. More than 60,000 square feet make up this ghost town/theme park.

8 p.m.
Comedy Rehab
(2324 Cotner Ave. (north of Pico, btwn Sepulveda & the 405): Come see some stand-up. Jill will be there and she’s crazy funny. Just ask her. (*No cover*)

Saturday (10/16)
11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Brewery ArtWalk
(2100 Main St., (323) 222-3007): Roughly 300 tenants in the self-proclaimed "world’s largest live-in/work-in artist complex" (housed in a defunct brewery) open their studio doors. Grab an on-site map and shop around (everything from abstract painters, graphic artists, website designers, furniture designers, etc.) or just check out the rad bohemian lifestyle, dude. Outdoor seating & catered food.

12 p.m.–7 p.m.
Los Angeles Art Show
@Barker Hanger

1 p.m.
Beer on the Pier
(Hudson River Park (Pier 54 @ 14th St @ West Side Hwy., (212) 613-3158): Gotta love N.Y. in the fall. Sweater weather and more than 200 brews at a waterfront beer garden. Goes until 9 p.m.

4:30 p.m.
Yankees vs. Red Sox
: Game 4 at Fenway Park as this Holy Baseball War rages on.

7:30 p.m.
More Stand Up:
Missed Jill performing last night? Then you should swing by tonight’s show (*no cover*) @ the Santa Monica Youth Hostel. (1436 2nd St @ Colorado).

The Final Cut: Check out Robin Williams in his latest thriller. When did he get so creepy? This one takes place in the future, where people are implanted with chips that record their lives. Williams plays an editor who edits the histories… and stumbles upon a secret that puts him in danger.

9 p.m.
Breaking Benjamin
@the Roxy: Check out Hollywood Records’ rockers! Say that 3x fast!

10:00pm – Rika Restaurant – Diamond Lounge
- Looking for a cool place to grab something to eat? This place sounds awesome. You step out of the glass elevator and are greeted by James Bond theme songs and a 180 degree view of the Sunset Strip. Top notch chefs are on hand, including Tracy Griffith (Melanie’s sister). Oh man, count us in!

Sunday (10/17)
10 a.m.
The 20th anniversary of this annual 10k (6.2 miles) walk begins and ends at West Hollywood Park (San Vicente & Santa Monica Blvd). There’s a closing ceremony with music & entertainment. Call: (323) 860-0701

12-6 p.m.
Los Angeles Art Show
@ Barker Hangar

Rad CD to Look for
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
(Fat Wreck Chords): If you don’t already know (& love) this killer cover band made up of members of other bands, like NOFX and Lagwagon, LOVE THEM NOW! Punk covers of tracks like "Come Sail Away," "Stairway to Heaven" & "Heart of Glass" are only the beginning. Their latest CD, Ruin Jonny’s Bar Mitzvah, is a live recording of them actually playing a bar mitzvah. These guys do a mean "Hava Nagilah," by the way.

7 p.m.
Queen Mary’s Shipwreck Halloween Terror Fest (
1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 435-3511): Over the years, employees, guests & visiting psychics have reported unexplainable events & paranormal activity above the famous liner. This, by the way, also happens at HITS all the time. Now, everyone can get their haunting on! Admission includes entry to the three-level dance party.

Saints ‘N Sinners: A Country Gospel Revue & Sing-A-Long @ St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall Theatre (6218 Yucca St., btwn Hollywood & Franklin, (323) 935-3823): These folks are looking to create an old-fashioned gospel gathering in a club-friendly context. The event is hosted roots/rocker Bryson Jones of the Snakehandlers, featuring a mix of traditional, country & classic southern gospel music. All ages, free parking. Tix $7 for adults, $3 for kids.

*Mon. (10/18) @ 9 p.m.: More Jill Comedy
at the Ha Ha Café (5010 Lankershim Blvd, no cover)

*Mon. (10/18) @ 9 p.m.: Republic plays @the Troubador: They’re a cross between Coldplay & Maroon 5. Check ’em out!

*Thurs. (10/21) @ 8 p.m.: Jill World continues @the Improv (special guest: Sarah Silverman) (8162 Melrose Ave.)

*Fri. (10/22) @ 8 p.m.: All Jill All The Time: More comedy @the Sportsman’s Lodge (12833 Ventura Blvd @ Coldwater Cyn).

Friday (10/15):
4-7 p.m.
BMI Happy Hour
@Gibson Showroom (421 W. 54th St. Bwtn 9th & 10th on the 4th floor)

5:45 p.m.
@BB King’s (237 West 42nd St. (212) 997-4555)

8:45 p.m.
The Good Life
@Webster Hall (125 E. 11th St.)

9 p.m.
On the Speakers @Crash Mansion (199 Bowery between Spring St. and Rivington)

10 p.m.
The Bravery
@Maxwell’s (1039 Washington St., Hoboken)

10 p.m.
The Faint
@Webster Hall (125 E. 11th St.)

12 a.m.
Mean Red’s
@Plaid (76 E. 13th St.)

12:45 a.m.
TV on the Radio
@Irving Plaza (17 Irving Pl., corner of 15th St. and Irving Place)

12 a.m.-??
Fat Wreck Cords after party @Essex Bar

Saturday (10/16)
4:30 p.m.
(AAM Party) @Arlene Grocery (95 Stanton St.)

8 p.m.
The Others

10 p.m.
Low Flying Owls
@Pianos (158 Ludlow St. between Stanton and Rivington)

11 p.m.
These Arms are Snakes
@CBGB’s (315 Bowery St. between 1st and 2nd St.)

12 a.m.
@Arlene Grocery (95 Stanton St.)

12 a.m.
Coheed and Cambria @Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey, (212) 533-2111)

1 a.m.
@Bowery Ballroom

1. Vote for Change Concert at MCI Center, Washington, DC (Sundance Channel): Talk about preaching to the converted. It makes me uneasy that anyone would base their vote for President on what Bruce Springsteen, Michael Stipe or Howard Stern told them. That said, I’d pull the lever on a Springsteen/Stipe ticket before I would either of the choices we have before us at the moment. Still, it was a kick to see Springsteen join R.E.M. for "Man on the Moon," which seems to be the official theme song, along with the Boss’ "No Surrender," for the Kerry campaign. Of course, aside from token soul star Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, token rappers Jurassic 5 and token bluesman Keb Mo’, the only artists of color in the entire show were the guys in Dave Matthews’ band, but there weren’t too many non-white faces in the audience, either, for that matter. Top line of the night went to James Taylor, who suggested the election offered a simple choice. "Just vote for the smart one." If only it were that easy, Sweet Baby James. Of course, even if I wasn't already voting for Kerry, they had me when the entire troupe came on-stage to sing the encore, Patti Smith's "People Have the Power." (Roy Trakin)

2. Kerry vs. Bush Debate #3: As ESPN Sports Guy Bill Simmons so aptly put it, this is like Miami Dolphin coach Dave Wannstedt trying to decide between A. J. Feeley and Jay Fiedler for QB. I haven’t heard so much useless rhetoric since the last Weakend Planner. And since when did "liberal from Massachusetts" become the ultimate dis? Not since Teddy Kennedy took swimming lessons, I guess. Still, Kerry got off the best popcult zinger of the night: "Being lectured by the President on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order in this country." This one goes down to the wire, methinks, with Republican dirty tricks turning the tide. The GOP is kinda like the Yankees. They just don’t allow themselves to lose. (RT)

3. Eminem, "Just Lose It": Just call him Weird Em Yankovich. A recycled "look who’s back" riff and video disses for '80s icons Michael Jackson, Pee-wee Herman, MC Hammer and Madonna? Who does he think he is, Bowling for Soup? Marshall Mathers is the undisputed king of novelty hip-pop, and you can hear this hook, puncuated with Pee-wee's sardonic cackle, coming from a mile away, but it’s a bit of a disappointment in the wake of the powerful, Oscar-winning "Lose Yourself." Sure, it’s funny, and Eminem is a deft parodist, but we were just wondering if he could have come up with some more relevant targets. Of course, we're still looking forward to the upcoming Encore album, due Nov. 16. (RT)

4. CMJ: CMJ’s annual Music Marathon swoops into N.Y.C. this week, bringing with it a political bent which included a screening of South Park creators’ Team America: World Police the same night as the final presidential debate. The action heats up even more this weekend, when "Speak Up!" takes place Saturday at the Jacob Javits Center and the Westin New York. Moby,, Billionaires for Bush and National Hip Hop Political Assembly will have their say during this day of film screenings, performances and talks. Iraqi-American musician Stephan Smith, who performs anti-Bush anthem, "You Ain’t a Cowboy, is also on the bill. (Valerie Nome)

5. R.E.M. live at Greek Theater, L.A.: It took about an hour for Michael Stipe’s first political statement of the night, dedicating "Cuyahoga" to John Kerry with the lines: "Let's put our heads together, start a new country up." And while he didn’t pull out his Vote for Kerry T-shirt until the evening’s "Man on the Moon" finale, it was interesting to note how many of the band’s songs directly relate to their roots in good old-fashioned American democratic (and Democratic) values. That was evident from the opening "Begin the Begin" and old chestnuts like "World Leader Pretend" and the show-stopping "Losing My Religion" through new songs like "Leaving New York," "Final Straw" and the "Subterranean Homesick Blues" meets "It’s the End of the World…" Dylan-isms of "Bad Day." The band was scrupulous in mixing the old with the new, and Stipe in particular seemed energized by his political activism into being more of a charismatic frontman than ever before. "Steady, steady, steady…We’re not leaving until we’re good and ready," he sang in one of the closing songs, putting the lie to the band’s past ambivalence about carrying on. (RT)

6. Elvis Costello & the Imposters, The Delivery Man (Lost Highway): I’m a major EC fan, and theoretically in favor of the artistic freedom which has allowed him to mix genres enough to put out this album simultaneously with Il Sogno, his Michael Tilson-Thomas/London Symphony Orchestra collaboration on Deutsche Grammophon. This disc starts off promisingly enough with the Albert Ayler-meets-Tom Waits New Orleans free jazz-blues clatter of "Button My Lip," the characteristic Almost Blue strains of "Country Darkness" and the dark confessional of the title track (with its references to Elvis and Jesus). Unfortunately, too much of the mannered fussiness from his sessions with Burt Bacharach color much of the rest of the album. Melodies are given rather short shrift, especially when compared to the beautiful simplicity of his two duets with Emmylou Harris, "Nothing Clings Like Ivy" and the "The Scarlet Tide," the latter penned by Costello and T. Bone Burnett and performed by Alison Krauss on the Cold Mountain soundtrack. Like Prince, sometimes Elvis’ prolific nature sometimes works to his detriment when allowed free rein. It’s not that we’re asking for another "Alison," but we wouldn’t mind either "Oliver’s Army" or "Accidents Will Happen." (RT)

7. Tom Waits, Real Gone (Anti): You have to admire this veteran singer-songwriter’s unswerving vision, but it’s yet another case where maybe too much creative leeway has painted him in an aesthetic corner. After two releases geared to theatrical collaborations, Waits is back with his muddy, growling, Captain Beefheart-meets-Howling Wolf gutbucket blues, which continue to drag you into his world kicking and screaming. Like the good Captain, Waits has found talented acolytes like guitarist Marc Ribot and Primus bassist Les Claypool to flesh out his thick, Delta sound, as distinguishable as it is unique. Still, you wonder what Waits would be capable of with an eye towards the commercial potential of his "Jersey Girl" and "Heartattack and Vine" days, when he at least made pretenses at appealing to the mainstream. Like Costello at Lost Highway, Waits has found a home at Epitaph’s Anti label, who leave him alone to do his thing. And while his avid followers still buy his records, his music seems marginalized by its resolute desire to play to the committed. (RT)

8. Five-Eight: Publicist pal Michelle Roche hipped me to this Atlanta-Athens, GA-based power trio, who are opening several shows on the west coast leg of R.E.M.’s current tour. Caught about the last 20 minutes at the Greek, and the guys kicked some Who-like ass, especially on the uplifting "I’m Still Around," which bassist Dan Horowitz introduced as "the single which has sold tens of hundreds" of their self-titled indie release, "which makes a great drink coaster." Gotta love humility like that. (RT)

9. Yankees vs. Red Sox: After 86 years, this has to qualify as a curse of some sort. The Bosox continue to pay penance for then-owner Harry Frazee’s ill-advised decision to trade Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $100k and a $300k loan it took to mount a long-forgotten Broadway production of No, No Nanette. Curt Schilling hurting his ankle is just the latest bit of torture for the long-suffering Fenway faithful, whose nearly century-long drought makes my own complaints about the Mets, Jets and Knicks seem like spoiled whining by comparison. The only consolation for Sox fans is being able to commiserate ESPN sports guy Bill Simmons’ hilarious online diary of utter despair and disbelief. (RT)

10. Danny McGuinness, room 809 (Heatshield Records): I first met this Chicago-based singer/songwriter when I wrote the bio for his previous band Icos, which had an album released by Slipdisc/Mercury in 1998 before the acquisition of PolyGram by Universal sent him out the door with his masters. Since then, he’s kept himself busy, selling his song "Summertime" to Corona Beer, who used the tune in its national ad campaign and paid to put him on the road. A computer network consultant by day and a musician at night, McGuinness’ latest solo effort is truly that. He repaired to room 809 of the Bel Age Hotel (hence the name) with a coupla mics, a digital recorder and frequent collaborator Kent VanDerKolk, a pair of acoustic guitars and a number of six packs. The duo recorded an entire album in a single day and night, before hotel security put a stop to the session. The results show off the typical traits of an Irish musician, a storyteller’s ability to evoke time and place deftly, whether it’s praying for a "Good Rain" to come "deep into the ground" or boasting of killing a man in "Whiskey," West Virginia. In "Breathe," he blurts out the following inspirational verse: "So you think that I need therapy?/Maybe alright I’m fucked up as I can be." It’s all primitive, but very effective, with VanDerKolk’s Knopfleresque licks providing the skeleton and McGuinness’ expressive croon, which comes across like fellow son of the Eire Bono on the epic "Waiting for You," the flesh and blood. McGuinness’ DIY ethic is a shining example of the possibilities for independent artists in the current major label wasteland. Check him out at the Plush Lounge in the downstairs VIP room at the Key Club Wednesday night (10/20) at 7 p.m. (RT)

Team America: World Police
South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s tale of animated wooden marionettes (with strings showing) who depict a group of superhero adventurers who travel around the world fighting terrorists and other evil-doers.
Voices of Parker and Stone.
Parker and Stone (South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut)
Thumbs Up:
Parker and Stone’s acerbic satire makes this the "best action puppet movie ever"
Thumbs Down:
The duo apparently cut the controversial "golden showers" sequence so as not to get an NC-17 rating.
Soundtrack: Atlantic Records
soundtrack features such ditties as "Everyone Had AIDS," "America, Fuck Yeah," "Terrorize This" and "Do You Know How Hard It Is To Be the Smartest Person in the World?"

Shall We Dance? (Miramax)
Remake of 1996 Japanese film about an overworked Chicago accountant who sees a beautiful dance teacher through a window and decides to start taking lessons in order to get to know her better, only to learn the joy of dancing might be the secret to saving his troubled marriage.
Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Nick Cannon, Richard Jenkins
Director: Peter Chelsom
(Funny Bones, Hear My Song, Town and Country)
Thumbs Up:
Miramax is positioning this for year-end award consideration.
Thumbs Down:
Can J. Lo and Gere strike sparks in this pairing?
Soundtrack: Casablanca
/Universal album features Pussycat Dolls, Peter Gabriel, Jamie Cullum, Rachel Fuller, Mya, Gizelle D’Cole/Pilar Montenegro and GoTan Project.

The Final Cut (Lions Gate Films)
In the future, microchips implanted in your brain that record everything you see and hear are assembled after your death into a memorial video for your funeral by a cutter, who edits out all the unpleasantness. While editing the memories of another cutter, Robin Williams uncovers a disturbing piece of his own past which leads him to question the way he’s lived his life.
Stars: Robin Williams
, Mira Sorvino, James Caviezel, Stephanie Romanov, Genevieve Buechner
Producer Nick Wechsler makes his directorial debut.
Thumbs Up:
Top-flight cast and intriguing premise, but advance word has been non-existent.
Thumbs Down
: Sounds an awful lot like Spielberg’s Minority Report, doesn’t it? And it kinda has that arty sci-fi thing going.
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande
album includes Brian Tyler score.

Being Julia
(Sony Pictures Classics)
A theatrical actress concerned about aging embarks on a potentially scandalous illicit affair with a young American admirer, whom she discovers is more interested in what she can do for his career than in her, and is actually in love with an ambitious young starlet. Set in ‘30s London and based on the W. Somerset Maugham novel, Theatre.
Annette Bening, Catherine Charlton, Jeremy Irons, Michael Gambon, Bruce Greenwood, Maury Chaykin, Rosemary Harris, Rita Tushingham
Director: Istvan Szabo
(Mephisto, Taking Sides) with a screenplay by Ronald Harwood (The Pianist)
Thumbs Up:
Top-flight cast and acclaimed international director seem to indicate quality.
Thumbs Down:
Should play in big cities, but in the hinterlands, prospects appear to be limited.
Soundtrack: Varese Sarabande
album features crooner Mychael Danna

A patriarch’s funeral causes a twisted family to reveal their secret rivalries, with Hank Azaria, Zooey Deschanel, Glenn Headley, Piper Laurie, Kelly Preston, Ray Romano, Rip Torn and Debra Winger. Sure feels like a wait until it comes to cable to us.

Hillside Strangler: True-life tale of two wannabe pimps who murder a prostitute, setting off a serial killing spree that terrorized Southern California in the late ‘70s, with C. Thomas Howell, Nicholas Turtuffo and Farrelly Brothers character actor Lin Shaye. Definitely worth a rental when it comes out on DVD.

Tarnation: Acclaimed autobiographical documentary of director Jonathan Caouette’s strange and sad tale of growing up gender-confused with a mom in and out of mental institutions, captured on his own home video camera from the time he was 11, then subsequently edited on his iMac.

Stage Beauty: A Restoration actor (Billy Crudup) who specializes in playing females is threatened when King Charles II allows women onstage in the person of Claire Danes, with Rupert Everett, Tom Wilkinson, Ben Chaplin, Richard Griffiths and Zoe Tapper. Could well be a Shakespeare in Love-style sleeper.

Time to get the hell outta Dodge. (7/23a)
We're impressed but not surprised. (7/23a)
Today feels different. (7/22a)
He's a one-man dynasty. (7/22a)
The score at the half (7/19a)
Who's already a lock?
Three chords and some truth you may not be ready for.
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
The discovery engine is revving higher.

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