Tuesday, November 30, 2004

2 + 2 = 5.

1) Gwen Stefani's new wave streak.
After this blurb, Gwennie is banned from being mentioned on this blog. I've hated on her a lot, but I have to give her minor props. First things first: the album is terrible. You know how I feel about the retarded title. And despite Pitchfork's yelping, I do not think "What You Waiting For?" is single of the year. (And who knew that Andre 3000 could tank so hard? The two tracks he contributed to the album are awful.) All that said, I think for a three song stretch ("Cool," "Serious," "The Real Thing"), when Gwennie got her new wave on and hired the guys from New Order and hooked up with ex-Prince players Wendy & Lisa, she achieves pure retro-pop bliss... like some longlost b-side from OMD or Yaz that John Hughes always meant to use during one of his end credits.

2) Tivo.
I joined the Tivo nation over the weekend. And it is good. I now have many, many episodes of Cops to peruse, can watch Chris Matthews in 15 minutes, won't miss Conan, and can tape a bunch of stuff off TCM at 4:00 in the morning. Huzzah.

3) Cops from 1988.
It's like some Spike Jonze-hell with crazy bemulleted, Marlboro-chaining, yahoo Cops beating the shit out of teenage drug dealers (who favor argyle socks). Insanity. Again: thank you, Tivo.

4) Sea bass on the grill (as prepared by my father).
Super best.

5) Feeling rested.
The mini-vacation went by waaaaaay too quickly, but it rechraged the batteries. To be sure, I'll be miserable and back to hating my job in about, oh, 12 hours, but it's nice to feel slightly energetic and rested and up.


  • A principal in Georgia is in a bunch of trouble for reading a poem called "The New School Prayer" over the school's intercom. I'm not so much offended by the content (I mean, can I really take this thing seriously?), but that this principal was passing off this crap as "poetry." I mean, look at this stanza:
    "We can get our condoms and birth controls,
    Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
    But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
    No word of God must reach this crowd."
    Yeesh. And I never knew that studying totem poles was so controversial.

  • Indie Spirit Award noms. Eh. Whatevs. Go Sideways.

  • NNNOOOOOO: L.A. County May Sandblast Disney Hall.

  • New batch of Criterion titles for Feb. A Godard, the double-disc My Own Private Idaho, Night and the City, a Bertolucci, and some other that I'd nevin heard of.

  • Get your gorgeously-art-directed-genocidal-fascist groove on: the Hero dvd drops today.

  • Catchdubs had a piece on misogyny in hip-hop yesterday and he linked to this early 90s article on the topic. What's impressive is how the author flips the argument and turns what is ostensibly an article about misogyny in rap into a screed against (in her opinion) the sexism and racism of Jane Campion's The Piano. It's some intense film-writing, yo.

  • Remember when I was harping on Gwennie about naming her damn album Love Angel Music Baby? Upon learning that Mariah Carey has named her new album The Emancipation of Mimi, I feel that I owe the Stefani an apology. Gwen: you no longer have the most retarded album title evs.

  • You know that when "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" is one of the finalists in AFI's "100 Years... 100 Quotes," things are pretty dire.

  • And that's that, mattress man.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Back in the saddle.

How's everybody doin'?
So anyway, I wish I had a bunch of links and witty shit to say, but I'm buried under a bunch of work-related-shite that I need to finish before the boss returns tomorrow. I'll work on stewing up some hottness and in the meantime I'll leave you with this delicious bit of snark that only the boyz at Pitchfork could dream up. From their review of Gwen's Love Angel Music Baby:

Gwen Stefani should stick to making bum flaps. Not quite a skirt, not quite a dish rag, the Stefani bum flap dangles off the guts of our divorced aunts and 12-year-old mall-slut daughters, the ones who steal Livestrong bracelets and dry-hump public schoolkids in Pac Sun dressing rooms. Bum flaps are these people's stars and stripes. Not all of us want to salute this flag, but it exists, and it gives America something else to believe in-- and it's not nearly as expensive as a valium addiction or Kaplan SAT course.


UPDATE: More Gwen-snark from The Fug Bitches:
"What is it, Gwen? Why the weird? Is it the stress of your solo album? The heady drunk power of having your own fashion line? The strange, all-consuming curiosity about your real-life quasi-'Billie Jean' scenario, and whether your husband knew that the kid was his daughter, and just didn't tell you?"

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Later, kids. Away for a couple of days of sorely-needed vacation and turkey-eating and what not. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

2 + 2 = 5.

1) Summerland, CA.

I was going to put Thanksgiving as my number one, but that would be unoriginal. Instead, I'm putting the location of where I'll be spending Thanksgiving. Located just a few miles south of Santa Barbara, Summerland is all ocean and sky and sun. I'm looking forward to flopping down on the couch in the rental place and just soaking in that sunlight. Oh and eating lots of food and watching dumb TV and reading and spending time with my family. Amen.

2) and 3) Vacation reading.
Among others: Hitch's new collection, Love, Poverty, and War and Chabon's The Final Solution. I've started both already (cheating I know) and am madly in love with both. While there's plenty of Hitch's sometimes infuriating "Iraq stuff," there's plenty of the material that I really love: his poisonous diatribes against the Dalai Lama and (in his words) "Mother" Teresa and Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Passion of the Christ.
Perhaps my favorite essay that I've read (thus far) is far gentler. It's a piece about L.A.'s Sunset Blvd. The concept: Hitch drives from one end to the other, giving the history and expressing the importance of the street. For a memorable stretch of the trip, Billy Wilder was actually his guide (which, when one things about it, is like the celebrity death match of acerbic curmudgeons). And then there's this bit:
Asking diffidently at Dan Akroyd's House of Blues if I could smoke, I was told by a stunning African-American hostess, "Honey, didn't we have this conversation last year? You promised you'd stay healthy so I could bear your child." Just like that. Behind her a large notice read, THIS JOINT IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF OUR DEAR BROTHER RIVER. Did Mr. Phoenix die in here? "No, honey, he was an investor." Oh, O.K. I'll go smoke outside, then.

As for Mr. Chabon's book, I'm only two chapters in, but I'm relishing his rich/odd characters and how his prose will suddenly jut off into a lyrical stratosphere.

4) The White Stripes' "Jolene (live)."

Go to iTunes now and download The Stripes' frenzied, blues-soaked take on this Dolly Parton chestnut.

5) The Amazing Race 6.
It's back and so best. It's hard to let go of the teams of yore (Mirna and Shmirna: you will not be forgotten!), but this new crop is going to work nicely: lots of crazy OCD-types and silicone. And the initial leg of the race (Chicago to Iceland) was as great as anything on last season. It's off to a great start.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Saluting the USSA.

Don't worry, Liddy no longer loves Addy (From a profile with Johann Hari, linked by Sully):
The Fuhrer was G Gordon Liddy's first political hero. Liddy was a sickly, asthmatic child when he grew up in Hoboken, New Jersey, in the 1930s. The town was full of ethnic Germans who idolized Hitler. Liddy was made to salute the Stars and Stripes Nazi-style by the nuns at his school; even now, he admits, 'at assemblies where the national anthem is played, I must suppress the urge to snap out my right arm.' His beloved German nanny taught him that Hitler had - through sheer will-power - 'dragged Germany from weakness to strength.'

This gave Liddy hope 'for the first time in my life' that he too could overcome weakness. When he listened to Hitler on the radio, it 'made me feel a strength inside I had never known before,' he explains. 'Hitler's sheer animal confidence and power of will [entranced me]. He sent an electric current through my body.' He describes seeing the Nazis' doomed technological marvel the Hindenberg flying over New Jersey as an almost religious experience. 'Ecstatic, I drank in its colossal power and felt myself grow. Fear evaporated and in its place came a sense of personal might and power.'

Things are becoming clearer.

Look who's back.

Even if he is singing the praises of the uber-lame Roger Dodger.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Ham and cheese.

Kevin Spacey's Beyond the Sea is one of the most gratuitous acts of cinematic narcissism that I have ever seen. It's an unending parade of poorly-directed and laughably-written sequences designed not to celebrate the legacy of Bobby Darin, but Spacey's monstrous ego.
OK, try to follow me here: the film opens with Bobby Darin singing at the Coconut Grove. But it's revealed that this is actually Darin directing himself in an autobiographical film about himself-- a autobiopic within a biopic. As if to outdo Charlie Kaufman, Darin/Spacey just doesn't know the proper way to begin a biographical film about Bobby Darin. This tortured confusion is followed by a stream of characters that walk on screen and start lobbing charges at him, things like "You're too old to be playing yourself." Of course, this is Spacey's meta-way of dealing with the fact that he's pushing 50 and is playing a character that (for most of the film) is in his 20s. It is a huge problem: Spacey looks old and is especially creepy when he's acting opposite Kate Bosworth, who plays his wife Sandra Dee. She looks and acts more like his daughter. (My advice to the Boz: put the bathing suit back on and go get a nice WB role or something.)
Anyway, on the set of the Coconut Grove, Darin encounters the kid who is playing the young Darin in the film. But he quickly realizes that this is actually himself... It's his younger spirit, there to keep him on path, to tell the truth about his past. Or something. Initially, he just keeps saying "Bullshit, that's not the way it happened." And then they sing.
Shortly thereafter, the movie within a movie concept is quickly discarded without warning and the rest of the movie is presented as one long, garish, musical flashback (with the young'in remaining on board to act as narrator).
As for the music, nevermind the fact that Spacey doesn't sound all that much like Darin, no, he decided to re-record all the songs and damn if he isn't going to show you them all. In full. There are so many four minute, static sequences of Darin in recording studios or in nightclubs that serve absolutely no purpose other than to showcase Spacey and his hambone musical stylings.
The dance numbers are overheated and poorly shot, and there's something really cringe-inducing about watching Kevin Spacey, in tight red pants, do high kicking on "the Bronx street set."
Beyond the Sea is the absolute nadir of Oscar-pandering and arrogant pet-project-movie-making. Someone desperately needed to tell this guy that [1] He's too old, [2] The script is a mess (and it should be noted that the print I saw didn't include a writing credit as it appears it's in WGA arbitration Hell) and [3] He's not Bob Fosse (Hell, he's not even Rob Marshall). It's just unbelievably vulgar and awful.
Oh and Bob Hoskins is in it. A lot. He looks like a pickled herring and probably reeks of curry and scotch.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Apology of the day.

"The Fug Girls would like to apologize to those who felt we were picking on Daryl Hannah. We weren't picking on her for being old; we were picking on her for having a neck that celebrates Arbor Day, and yet ceasing to tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree, if you get the drift. It's an important clarification and we needed to make it."

--Go Fug Yourself.

I'm A Square.

I'm turning into a grumpy old man.
I came to this realization after attending last night's brilliant Wilco show at the Wiltern. First reason I'm a G.O.M.: I hated everyone I was around. A lot. (Except for Tim. I guess.) I heard three different sets of people discussing how much Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and a ghost is born suck and why can't Wilco go back to their roots and (no joke) make records that are more like Coldplay. It almost sent me into Barry Egan-ville.
The second reason: the general admission thing got to me. Maybe 'cause it was a Thursday and I had worked all day, but by "Jesus, Etc.," I was going out of my mind from some weird combo of the heat and claustrophobia (we were waaaaay in the front of the crowd) and my own insanity. For the first time ever, I had to bail and chill out in the back with the Hollywood trash.
Anyway, the show was fantastic. Live, the ghost songs really open up and Tweedy looked like he was having a blast. The addition of guitarist Nels Cline was a masterstroke. The guy is a crazy virtuoso and added all sorts of crazy shadings and solos and effects to the songs. Highlight of the show: the insane avant-rock-workout "Spiders (Kidsmoke)."

The setlist:
1. Muzzle Of Bees   
2. Hummingbird   
3. Hell Is Chrome   
4. I Am Trying To Break Your Heart   
5. Company In My Back   
6. Handshake Drugs   
7. A Shot In The Arm   
8. Via Chicago   
9. Jesus, Etc.   
10. At Least That's What You Said   
11. Theologians   
12. I'm The Man Who Loves You   
13. Poor Places   
14. Reservations   
15. Spiders (Kidsmoke)   
Encore 1:
16. Ashes Of American Flags   
17. War On War   
18. Kingpin   
19. The Late Greats   
20. I'm A Wheel   
Encore 2:
21. Another Man's Done Gone   
22. California Stars   
23. Be Not So Fearful   

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Lit crit of the day.

"...and also this book is date-raping me."

--Virginia Hefferan, in Slate's Book Club, discussing Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons. (Also noted in the war-torn republic of Fagistan.)

The Life Aquatic.

So I saw it.
Here's the deal: I don't want to spoil anything for anyone with any kind of reaction. I remember seeing Tenenbaums months before everyone else and I couldn't bring myself to discuss anything about it, worried that it would fuck with people's first viewing.

If you want to know my spoiler-free, initial reaction, I'll post some thoughts in the comment section.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Check out this site that comprehensively lists every sample heard on The Beastie masterpiece Paul's Boutique. I can't believe those guys got away with using seven different Beatles samples on "Sounds of Science." The Dust Brothers rule.

Still ignorant.

When my friends call me at four in the morning, "very distorted" from drugs, usually they just bitch and moan and start incoherently ranting about dolphin-fucking, OxyContin, and Thomas Jefferson.
Not the case with Michael Jackson. Says Marc Shaffel (former best friend of Jacko and producer of such quality films as Man With the Golden Rod and Cocktales ):"When Michael would be on drugs, he would call two, three, four in the morning, very distorted. And he would say, 'Oh, can you give me $70,000 tomorrow? There's this table I saw. I gotta have it for my living room."

Michael, dude, get it together. I mean, don't get it so together that you leave my blog high and dry of amazing stories such as this... but borrowing thousands of dollars from pornographers to purchase tables (not to mention Marlon Brando appearances and jewelry to bribe Liz Taylor)? Not the best move.

Joel Stein gets the Finke treatment.

Welcome to LA, Joel. Meet Nikki Finke. This one's gonna hurt.

(And, yes, that is a bemulleted Joel Stein from the '80s.)

Movie crit of the day.

"Midway through Seed of Chucky, Jennifer Tilly complains: 'I'm an Oscar nominee, and now I'm f------ a puppet!' Yeah, and I'm a Pulitzer winner, and I was being f----- by a puppet movie. Because Focus Features declined to preview their new movie for the press, and indeed went so far as to station a guard at the Thursday night sneak preview in case I could not contain my eagerness to attend, I went on Saturday morning. I'm not complaining. They had those poppable Snickers bits."

--Roger Ebert, on Seed of Chucky.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Rufus Wainwright: always lovin' the drama. Here he is explaining why he's in drag on the cover of his new album, Want Two:
"At first, I just thought it would be a Sleeping Beauty character, and it could be the typical story of being awoken by your loved one and riding off into the sunset on a unicorn. But a friend of mine pointed out the story of the Lady of Shallot. That she, kind of like Sleeping Beauty, would sew and knit. And then one day she saw Sir Lancelot walk by the window and fell in love with him. And he proceeded to rape her. Then she went crazy and got into a boat and sang herself to death down the river. And everybody could hear her in the village. So it's kind of an eerie end. It ended up being a much darker story than Sleeping Beauty. I feel, after the fact, that that is who I'm meant to represent: the Lady of Shallot."

Is he gay or something?

2 + 2 = 5.

1) "Just a Kid" by Wilco (from the SpongeBob Squarepants sountrack).
A blast of goofball distorted-pop that I can't get out of my head.

2) The design of THE WILCO BOOK (designed by PictureBox).
I haven't even attempted to read the weird (read: pretentious) found poetry in the beginning nor Rick Moody's epic essay spanning Wilco's entire output (Hell, I haven't even listened to the disc of instrumentals that came with it), but I'm in love with The PictureBox's layout of the book-- the micro-collages of Wilco's loft, the precise detail in the inventory of the band's instruments, etc.

3) Fargo (dir: Joel Coen).

I hadn't watched the Coen's "midwestern" in quite some time. Unlike many of the films I loved in my high school years, it didn't disappoint at all. I'm still blown away by the acting and how taut the whole thing manages to be despite the fact that it doesn't follow any conventional structure. I was also struck by how the Coens let their freak-flags fly, but manage to resist being overbearingly glib (OK, some of the "Oh ya, sure, you betchas..." are pushing it, as is the Polka King poster that hangs on Scotty Lundergaard's door). It really is a classic.

4) Roscoe's Chicken N Waffle (Hollywood).
I'm not sure how I made it nearly four years in Los Angeles without ever eating at Roscoe's... but I did. PL's birthday remedied that. Who knew that a super-deep-fried chicken breast and a butter-smothered waffle (that's the Carol C. combo) would taste so good together? F-ing brilliant.

5) The Criterion DVD of Robert Altman's Short Cuts.
I haven't even watched it yet, BUT here's why it made this list: I can finally see Altman's epic in a pristine, widescreen format. Plus the package comes loaded with a feature-length doc, interviews, plus a full-sized book from Vintage of all the Carver short stories that are the basis of the film. I can't wait to dig into that shit.

Monday, November 15, 2004

The soundtrack to the end of the world.

Two new M83 tracks over at Teaching The Indie Kids to Dance Again. Get 'em while they're hott.

Happy Birthday, PL.

That's ignorant.

  • I learned that on a recent Fear Factor contestants drank smoothies made from rat. This convinces me that the apocalypse is indeed nigh.

  • After being reminded of his existence by a slow jam comp infomercial, I am convinced that Al B. Sure! has the greatest name of any performer ever.

  • You can ignore the hype, Kinsey is a fine, nothing-too-special biopic. Liam n' Laura are swell in their parts and that's really that. It tells their story in a glossy, Oscar-refined, gotta get all the details in this movie in under two hours kind of way.

  • ODB RIP. The Top 10 ODB Moments (via Tofu Hut.)

  • I hope this winds up on iTunes... From Pitchfork's review of Michael Jackson's Ultimate Collection: "The second disc also includes a whole lot of utterly godawful rarities. 'Someone in the Dark' is a maudlin faux-Broadway ballad from the E.T. soundtrack that includes a bewilderingly bizarre vocal cameo from the alien himself. It seems to be the exact moment that Jackson began to make the transition from exciting young pop star to neutered humanoid elf."

  • Low Culture hatchets Ratner. Love it.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Quote of the day.

"This is how Margaret Thatcher used to win elections. "

-- Sully, responding to this Craigslist posting: "Go ahead and gloat by putting me over your knee and reminding me that George Bush is King! I'll take it like a man. Any conservative women out there want to spank a handsome, polite, fit and clean liberal and make some cash? Make a sore loser out of me!"

Friday, November 12, 2004

Kelly? Is that you?

Er, I know that in pop music, album covers are no longer that aesthetically interesting. I also know that airbrushing is often liberally used in the creation of them. But will someone tell me what's going on with Kelly Clarkson's shitty new cover? She's been airbrushed to the point that she now looks like that freak from Deliverance. See for yourself:

Am I wrong?

Silence is golden, no running cars.

BritBrit gives Mattie Stepanek a run for his money with "Honeymoon Poem."

(I think the opening couplet ["A honeymoon at last, to get away from it all / My assistant Fe gave me the call."] is my favorite.)

The self-reflexive stuck-in-the-mud soap opera of our time.

  • Chase the blues away: Scott Stereogum has David Byrne (plus string section) performing Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance (With Somebody Who Loves Me)." Dig.

  • Archives are a bitch. Josh now: "I have no patience for children, children's books, children's movies or people who try to pretend children's books and movies are 'real art.'"
    Josh then: "Last night I saw the new Harry Potter movie... I haven't seen the first two, nor read the books. I find it a little embarrassing in my admittedly elitist way that serious adults are reading these books. But hey, whatever. I went anyway... I won't review it, because I have no idea how it fits into a greater scheme of the literary-cinematic complex of Harry Potter. I will say that I was impressed by the emotional level of it, many of the themes presented. It worked for me as a coming of age story of a boy figuring out his place in a dangerous world, plus some fun waving knitting needles around and trying not to look ridiculous doing it. I loved the look of it too (minus that crappy werewolf.) A lot of great little performances scattered throughout. I wasn't blown away or anything, and nor does this make me at all interested in any other Potter related nonsense, but that's that. "
    Oooh, look at that. Despite all the fuckwitted qualifiers, it looks like someone had a little more than patience for a "children's movie."

  • The award for Best Arafat Obit Evs goes to The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby for this piece. An excerpt:
    In a better world, George Bush would not have said, on hearing the first reports that Arafat had died, "God bless his soul."

    God bless his soul? What a grotesque idea! Bless the soul of the man who brought modern terrorism to the world? Who sent his agents to slaughter athletes at the Olympics, blow airliners out of the sky, bomb schools and pizzerias, machine-gun passengers in airline terminals? Who lied, cheated, and stole without compunction? Who inculcated the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich? Human beings might stoop to bless a creature so evil -- as indeed Arafat was blessed, with money, deference, even a Nobel Prize -- but God, I am quite sure, will damn him for eternity.

    Yowzer. Take that.

  • The Paris Review presents The DNA of Literature.

  • Does that mean you don't like it? Stylus on the new Eminem album: "Only now his beefs have become so infinitesimal that he’s started to unconsciously parody our LiveJournal culture, a minor event or misunderstanding generating reams of dialogue, running commentary and painstaking minutiae. In short, he’s no more compelling than one of those non-famous drama queens in your life you already find insufferable, just another loser who blows up non-events, and it’s transformed the long-running Eminem Show into the most myopic, hand-wringing, self-reflexive stuck-in-the-mud soap opera of our time."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The worst.

It's bad enough when Hollywood remakes useless films and forces them down our throats. It's even worse when they take masterpieces, remake them, and give no credit where credit is due. Check out this excerpt from a breathless piece in today's Variety:

FX gets serious about bible study
By Denise Martin

FX is mixing church and slate, teaming with Section Eight principals George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh on a 10 Commandments-themed event miniseries.

Ambitious 10-hour project explores the spiritual and moral issues faced by modern America as interpreted by 10 different directors.

Clooney and Soderbergh are set to execexec produce "The Ten Commandments" and will each helmhelm an installment.

Each episode will center on one of the biblical laws put to the test in today's climate. Since each hour will be written and conceived by separate helmers and writers, it is not likely that any of the stories or characters will cross over into other episodes.

Plan is for the stories to take place across contemporary America -- set among different ethnicities, classes and religious persuasions -- in order to paint a provocative portrait of today's diverse society and its relationships to God and the idea of right and wrong.

The concept for "Ten Commandments" was dreamed up by longform senior VP Gerard Bocaccio and pushed through by entertainment toppertopper John Landgraf, who will work with Section Eight to enlist top-drawer talent to helm each hour.

Um, yeah, Gerard, that bold and ambitious miniseries you "dreamed up" was done ten sixteen years ago by some Pole. Some people think of it rather highly. You assholes aren't fooling anyone. Well, you are... but you're not fooling me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


"She sounded horse. Not hoarse, but like an actual horse after it had been run through the glue factory. On top of that she kept clutching at her crotch. But, again, not in the boastful manner that someone such as Nelly normally does; more like someone who might be suffering from a raging case of something nasty. "

--Aidin Vaziri, on Courtney Love, in one of the funniest concert reviews I have ever read.

Just like mom used to make.

Yummy. Thanks, Jones.

Film crit of the day.

"Tots surely won't recognize that Santa's big entrance in front of the throngs of frenzied elves and awe-struck children directly evokes, however unconsciously, one of Hitler's Nuremberg rally entrances in Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will. But their parents may marvel that when Santa's big red sack of toys is hoisted from factory floor to sleigh it resembles nothing so much as an airborne scrotum. "

-- Manohla Dargis hating on Polar Express in The New York Times.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

So now then (a 2 + 2 = 5 of sorts).

  • Douglas Wolk tracks the history of the remix via the new Depeche Mode comp. Newsflash: P. Diddy did not, in fact, invent the remix.

  • Hitchens: trippin'. See also: Tim's take.

  • Everybody should go buy DFA Compilation # 2-- three discs of unrelenting dirty garage-rock-elastifunk-disco. Listen to how Pitchfork describes the track (Black Leotard Front's "Casual Friday") that kicks the set off: "It's the audio equivalent of, say, the MILF Hunter going off-camera mid-hunt and putting on Groucho Marx glasses and a Dr. Seuss Cat hat before coming back and expecting us to pick up where we left off." They gave it a "9.0," so I guess the MILF Hunter incognito is a good thing.

  • Man, everyone's got R.E.M. on the brain. (Well, except for Josh.) I've really enjoyed reading these passionate and different takes on R.E.M.'s recent jaunt through New York: S/FJ, His Thigness, and Mr. Flux.

  • Celebs minus makeup. Yowzer. Cammy says "Don't look at my acne."

Dolly Madison: Party Girl.

"I'm getting a little concerned that my fellow country men and women are a little too easily titillated.

Take for example Ms. Tara Reid's haggard and gnarled breast, which made an unannounced appearance at P Diddy's party last week -- the scared nipple got almost as much play last week as 'moral values.'

I'm not trying to say we should look away or ignore bared breasts, far from it, but I'm not sure it's really news worthy.

Dolly Madison once gave a high tea for the state department wearing only a smile (she got a bit forgetful at time). Never even made the papers, not because people didn't care, it just wasn't that big of deal."

--The invaluable Martin VanBuren.

Monday, November 08, 2004

How was your weekend?

  • From the "Shows I'm Not Watching" File: Rolling Stone reports "Henry Rollins is set to host a monthly Independent Film Channel show in which the hard-rocker-turned-actor will share his special brand of movie commentary. In the December 4th pilot episode, Rollins welcomes porn stars to chat with him about 1997's Boogie Nights." Way to go IFC. After Henry's insightful and witty commentary on all those VH1 talking-head shows, this is gonna be magical.

  • Did everyone go see The Incredibles? The Pixar streak of brilliance continues. I would say it shows no sign of letting up, but then I saw the teaser for next year's Cars. Ouch. Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt and Larry the Cable Guy in a NASCAR quest? sigh.

  • Fleshbot has an item about Virtual Hotties-- "the interactive sex simulator that gives the term 'first person shooter' a whole new meaning"--and their new celebrity feature. Holy shit. You have to check out this screen capture of "Britney Steers." It kinda looks like Brit Brit (only way more fetal alcohol syndromey)... but will someone tell me what's going on in this game? Looks kinda comp-li-cated.

  • Did Mischa lose an arm?

  • Best. Picture. Ever. (Well, maybe not ever... But great nonetheless...)

  • An essay on Strawberry Milk.

  • AZT break: Rosario Dawson has been cast in Chris Columbus' movie-musical version of Rent. The rest of the cast is going to be filled with (the now 30something) original Broadway actors. I think they are actively trying to make the worst movie ever.

  • The award season is gearing up and more and more "for your consideration" ads are popping up in the trades. Normally DreamWorks is a paragon of class in this field, but I gotta question the wisdom of pulling this quote from Jeffery Wells (he of moviepoopshoot.com) for a Collateral ad. The blurb begins: "I love guy movies that are really smart and have awesome sounding gunshots, and at once feel familiar, fresh, and adventurous..." (It goes on in a similar vein.) Yes, this ad is asking you to consider the film for best sound and sound effects editing.... but is that lumpy quote from moviepoopshoot.com what you want selling the movie? Yeesh.

  • As reported by the New York Times (and noted by the Cinetrix) the world now has Spark Notes. "What the Devil are Spark Notes?" you ask. Well, Dear Reader, should you be too busy/lazy to watch a movie for your film course or you need to some help navigating tricky plot points, Spark Notes are there to help. They're the cinematic Cliffs Notes! Check out this illuminating excerpt from the "motifs" section in the Spark Notes on Annie Hall: "Fundamentally, the film is a comedy and therefore intended to induce laughter; indeed, at its most basic level, it is simply a number of brief comic sketches pieced together." Makes it all so much clearer, doesn't it?

Quote of the day.

"It could be the mood of the country right now. It seems to be the result of the election. Maybe they didn't want to see a guy that slept around."

--Wayne Llewellyn, president of distribution for Paramount, explaining to The New York Times why Alfie tanked.

Friday, November 05, 2004

My 700 love.

Do you people have any idea how much I love The 700 Club? Seriously, it is about the greatest current events show on the air and Pat and Gordon Robertson's insight on geopolitical events should be cherished. (I know I'm being unbearably smug, but in all seriousness, I find the show hypnotic.)

Anyway, as such a diehard fan, how is it possible that I had never been to their Internets site? There's much to love about the site (extensive Q&As with Pat on a myriad of topics, the last 15 shows available online, etc.), the best section is their "features" section, where they take The 700 Club's hard-hitting feature-pieces and transcribe them, thus forever preserving them.

I am particularly fond of the feature "I Married a Muslim: Katrina's Incredible Story." It's the story of a successful Christian model/actress named Katrina and the suave and dashing man who "literally swept [her] off [her] feet." But there's a dark side:
SCOTT ROSS (reporting): An important detail in this story: the man was also a Muslim.
At any time during your dating process did the spiritual roots of your life–i.e. Jesus Christ–come into the equation anywhere?

KATRINA: Absolutely, but he kept telling me it was the same God, just a different language, that Allah was the same God as the God I served. [Ed. Note: Hey, what's wrong with that? President Bush says the exact same thing.] I was in love with the guy. I say that love is not blind, it’s deaf and dumb also.

SCOTT ROSS: You got married?

KATRINA: Yes, in a mosque.

SCOTT ROSS: Did your family attend?

KATRINA: No, I didn’t tell my family. He’d say, 'Are you an adult or a child? Are you going to do what your Mom says the rest of your life, or are you going to go with the man of dreams?'

I thought the Middle East was somewhere in the middle of the country. I thought that Muslims were Ali Baba and the 40 thieves and the magic carpet ride. I was clueless!

The whole wedding was done in Arabic.

SCOTT ROSS: So you didn’t understand what you were doing?

KATRINA: I didn’t understand anything. It was intriguing, the mystique of the whole thing.

Forgive me for being slightly insensitive, but is Katrina retarded? Or just without an ounce of common sense? I would think if you were a devout Christian that whole Muslim thing would be a deal breaker... not to mention the whole "only children let their families know they're getting married" routine, that seems like it should've been a red flag.

The other super best feature is "I Sold My Soul to the Devil">," wherein sickly, hospital-bound Todd Beezly figures out a way to heal himself:
"A 13-year-old child in the bed next to me said, 'Everything will be OK with your leg if you just join my club.' I said, 'What club is that?' He said, 'The devil's club, but you've got to understand, once you've joined, there's no way out. And you can never tell anyone.' "

Todd's Christian upbringing had not prepared him for this-but he desperately wanted to save his leg.

"I agreed to join. That night it felt like I had sold my soul, I had lost it forever. The internal pain, the agony of that moment, was just horrendous," Todd reveals.

Amazingly, his leg began to heal.

"The bone six weeks later had grown in straighter and stronger in my left leg than in my lower right leg, which had never broken," he explains.

As years passed and his guilt grew, Todd desperately searched for a way out of his vow.

But wait, is he implying that the powers of the Devil worked? I don't get it. Anyway, Todd rejected the Devil and brought the Lord back into his life and he's happy now.

So that's my 700 Club report. I hope my enthusiasm has won you over and you let the Robertsons into your life.

Blame the "vandals."

Riiiiiight, vandals broke into the school and put porno in the auditorium VCR. This reminds me of the time when some of my high school classmates were supposed to watch excerpts from 2001 as their science teacher was ill and had left his dubbed copy to be shown. Yeah, except he hadn't so much left his copy of 2001, he left some hardcore porno. This was discovered when the sub popped the tape in and people were looking at a monolith in space of other sorts (wink wink, nudge nudge). Huzzah for porn in high school!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Quote of the day.

"I guess the ol' Bambino wasn't as powerful a necromancer as we thought."

--"Allen Palmer" reacting to the Red Sox win, in the pages of The Onion.

O Canada!

So a whole bunch of worked up lefties are itching to move to Canada now that we are entering the age of Dubya Dubya Two (sorry, I'm too lazy to link to them, but I've seen three or four of them today). That's fine and all and it's nice that they have this great little fantasy-world, I just hope they're not expecting to have that whole freedom of expression thing covered. M'kay?

?love ♥s Fiona & Jon.

From ?love's blog (so best):

to rewind....i was having a conversation about the "hollywood mavericks" with tiffany limos (the "rosario" of larry clark's KIDS followup (the still undistributed-more-controversial-than-the brown bunny movie) called KEN PARK and how i was really lukewarm to "I ? Huckabees" (director david russel is a favorite of mine)---but i added that the score to the film was the shizznit and she was like "oh you like "jon's" work? can i invite him to the show tommorow?"--

and im like jon fucking brion?

dude to me is like the friggin second coming of brian wilson. all of the films he scored (my favorite being all the paul thomas anderson flicks) are the ultimate.


i get offstage. we are all dripping wet. our costumes are drenched. we change and head across to the foundation room. i had a few guests i wanted to holler at (r sadiq and soul food's melinda williams and alan leeds)---and then....here comes tiffany to drop the bomb on me:

"ahmir......look...fiona says if she comes over here she will fucking have a nervous breakdown"

and i'm like wtf?!? "fiona motherfucking lessonheads post every month WHERE THE HELL IS SHE apple?!?!?????!?!?"--

"yes she came with jon"--

im so having a heart attack right now.


and suddenly--this hollywood afterparty room i was in didn't matter anymore--everyone was invisible the cast of girlfriends over there....anythony anderson over here.....the cast of tyra banks' model show in the corner....EVEN FRIGGIN WENDY MELVOIN!!!!---none of that shit mattered.

i grabbed and hugged fionna for what felt like forever. she started crying like a child and (bitchmomentcomingin5seconds) even i was overcome with emotion (yeah right you think imma play myself out like that?!?)---i know that every actor/model/hangeron was like stunned at this visual.


and to make matters worse....here comes jon brion's genius ass to make this circle jerk even more confusing. cause i'm like...."dude---the vibes on "monday.."---

he didn't even let me finish....

"wait im about to cry.....you know about MONDAY?!?!?!??!"--(monday is the ongoing theme on the score to "huckablebees"---a samplers dream if you know what i mean)

so now--it's

fiona compliments me

i compliment jon

who compliments me

who compliments fiona

who compli----

yall get the point. i mean there isn't even a narrative here. the 7 of us (assistant/merchjawn dawn, kirk, fion, jon, tiffany, fiona and jon's manager (forget name), and i headed to get breakfast---

I know, that was long (despite my editing) but I'm a sucker for that shit. Where do you think they went for breakfast? (Thanks to the Dub for the link.)

Old habits die hard.

To quote one of the bestest comedies of the past decade: "Who cares about this stupid election?" Well, I mean, I do... but it's frying my brain. So instead of adding anything to the discourse, I feel it's my duty to call-out political pandering of another sort.

Have all y'all seen the relentless Alfie soundtrack hype over at that citadel of quality music journalism known as Rolling Stone?
I mean, know Jann named the magazine after Mick's band and all, but its pandering to Mr. Jagger's work on that soundtrack is just so transparently sad.

First there was the breathless early news item, then the fluffy preview piece (complete with side item about Joss Stone working with The Stone). This was followed by a glowing four star review of the soundtrack itself. (Oh and, lest we forget, a week later the rag gave a four star review to the Stones' umpteenth live album, Live Licks-- better than Elliott Smith's final album!)

Now check out this kicker from Peter Travers' dismissal of the film itself: "The only touch of Caine's brutal sexiness is in the thrilling songs by Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart that should win Sir Mick his first Oscar. The rest is marshmallow."

Goddam! Jann, get that shriveled up, beknighted wiener out of your mouth (I think Sophie Dahl is in line for it) and get back to putting Yellowcard and Creed Altar Bridge on the cover of your fine mag. Thank you, that's all.

(Oh and if your brain isn't all the way frazzled from post-election whatevs, Josh is still writing really erudite essays on "the aftermath.")

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Aahhhhh, that's more like it. Mr. Anderson's stellar graphic sense comes back to him after the "eh" first Aquatic poster. Mad love to the 'fiddle for the find.

Moral values.

I really have nothing to say about the elections that hasn't been said already. The only thing I want to get off my chest is: I hate this phrase "moral values." I despise that my country--founded on a strong seperation of church and state--has been hijacked by the religious right and suddenly "moral values" are more important than the economy, the floundering war in Iraq, education, health care, etc.

What's scary is that I was writing the above as a slightly-hyperbolic observation . I didn't realize that "moral values" was literally the number one issue in the electorate choosing the president. (Terrorism was number two, the economy's number three.) Let me get this straight: people are really more concerned with making sure that gays can't marry than with making sure that there's not a dirty bomb snuck into the U.S.?

If you think that's scary, check out this chillingly vague missive from Bill "Moral Majority" Bennett: "Having restored decency to the White House, President Bush now has a mandate to affect policy that will promote a more decent society, through both politics and law." Decent? What does that mean? I shudder to think.

Earlier, I was almost releived that Kerry didn't get the job. My thinking was this: we're in a huge Bush-created mess right now (Iraq, the economy, etc.). If Kerry took it on, we'd here nothing but "He's screwing it up" for the next four years, getting blamed for Bush's disasters. That was a flicker of a thought this morning. Now I can clearly see how the Christian jihadists are licking their chops, ready to pounce and further chip away at the wall seperating church and state. And it troubles me.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

2 + 2 = 5 (Ignoring that it's Election Day Edition).

1 and 2) Jaws (dir: Spielberg) and Jaws (BFI Modern Classics) by Antonia Quirke.

Is there a better scary movie than Jaws? (Well, maybe, but it's way up there...) I must confess, it'd been years since I popped that movie on. I used to be quite obsessed with it, watching and re-watching it, trying to figure out all of Spielberg's little tricks. Then I set it aside, never picking it up again until this Halloween. I've seen it dozens and dozens of times and it never fails to freak me out. After the Sunday viewing, I picked up my never-read copy of the BFI monograph on the film. It's written by British film critic Antonia Quirke in an insightful and (sometimes) catty way. I love her explanation of where Jaws fits in the movie monster concept:
There are two types of monsters. The first is our incarnation of fear. King Kong, Dracula, Godzilla. The other, of which the first sharkless hour of Jaws is a supreme example, is the inflection of the whole of a landscape with fear. Virus horror, the Maryland woods of the Blair Witch, Hanging Rock. In the first type the monster is an irruption of the unnatural into the world. But the second type inverts this. The unnatural presence is us. Incarnated monsters usually punish a specific fault. Inflected landscapes make being a human a fault. We're the guilty ones and we fear any punishment is justified.

Which makes sense to me, as the horror films that get to me are not the ones with a monster, but with that horrible unstoppable virus or the dark and forbeoding woods. The great exception being the Alien cycle, which, in my mind, is just a synthesis of the two monsters-- the horrible, oozing Incarnation that we rarely see, 'cause we're so trapped in the dense and unending tunnels of the spacecraft.
And one more thing: I love this anecdote that Quirke passes on about Herr Direktor. "'I might have become Marty Scorsese,' Spielberg once said, 'but instead the boy scouts cheered and applauded and laughed at what i did, and I really wanted to do that, to please again.'" Telling, no?

3) The Mix Unit.
Thanks to Mr. Catchdubs, I was introduced to the wonderful world of The Mix Unit-- a cheap, online store specializing in hip-hop and DJ mix tapes/CDs. For 40 bucks I got six discs: two huge comps of Neptunes and Timbaland beats, an insane mix of nearly everything Dr. Dre has ever released/produced, and on and on and on. Sick.

4) Harris Savides' cinematography for Birth.

Easily the best-looking film I've seen all year. This guy is an f-ing genius.

5) Chicken Sonora Tacos at Casa Vega, Studio City, CA.
I was a D.D. at my friend Mark's birthday party at the C.V. While I couldn't down dozens of their smashing Margaritas, I did gorge out on the best tacos evs. Highly recommended.

Best of '05?

Why do I get the sneaking suspicion this is fake? And where can I get a copy of The Magnetic Fields' "I Have Got To Find A Bar With More White People In It, And I Mean Now, Buttercup"? Sounds like a must.

Adventures in voting.

I hope everyone is having a pleasant Election Day and no one has been disenfranchised by the man. I almost was. Fer serious.
I arrived at my polling place and, as I had left my sample ballot at home, the volunteer in charge of the line wanted me to check in to make sure I was at the right place.
I spoke to the lady with the master list, gave her my name and my address. She thumbed through her list, paused, looked up at me and said: "I'm sorry, sir. You're not on the list, I'm afraid your polling location has changed."
As I always vote there and had received mail confirming the location, I wasn't buying it. "Are you positive I'm not on the list?"
She looked down at her list and then back up, "Yes, you're at the wrong location."
Then I looked down at her list and, upside-down and in four and half seconds, I found my name in the exact alphabetical place it was supposed to be.
"Um, I'm right there," I pointed out.
"Oh, sorry, this is your voting location," she offered.
And that was that. And it wasn't nefarious voter supression (obvs), just incompetence. I mean, yeah it's great that the old people get to do something for their country and volunteer to run the polls... but can you imagine the havoc that their craziness reaps? Yeesh.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Xtina as Metaphor / On the Suffering of Solange.

For a couple of months I've been hearing that electro-trash duo Fischerspooner has recruited Susan Sontag to write and record some lyrics for an upcoming track. Today His Thigness reports that the full guest list for the album includes: "David Byrne, Linda Perry, Susan Sontag and Tony Hoffer."

Isn't that amazing? Linda Perry and Susan Sontag. I mean, obviously they were never in the studio together, but can you imagine that?
Linda: Hey.
Susan: Hello.
L: I'm Linda Perry. I used to be in 4 Non Blondes. Now I write hits for Xtina and Solange Knowles and P!nk and Courtney Hole.
S: Interesting. I wrote Against Interpretation, changed the way we look at photography and reinvented the word camp. Now I'm'a drop some phat-ass rhymes over an 808. 'Ight?

All I want for Xmas...

... is the entire Criterion Collection. Yes, indeed, for only $5,250, Amazon will send you the whole shebang. (For you number crunchers that's 241 titles on 282 discs.)
Also: the January Criterion titles are here. Nothing I've really heard of ('cept for the Kurosawa).