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Devo 2.0, Art Brut, Paul Westerberg, Dead or Alive, Surfing Mice   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

ARCTIC MONKEYS: The other night, my Dad asked what the big deal was with this band. Well, the quartet's Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not is now the fastest selling debut in British chart history. And this success is due in no small part to Internet marketing and buzz-building, which makes it a larger story than four teens from Sheffield. RELATED: Having noted that the lads have covered prefab pop group Girls Aloud, I should note that the Sugarbabes have covered the Monkeys' "I Bet You Look Good o­n the Dancefloor."

DEVO co-founder Gerald V. Casale talks to Billboard about spending four months casting the kid-staffed Devo 2.0, which is is preparing to take the original band's music to such unlikely locales as state fairs and suburban shopping malls. Casale adds that it "would be funny as hell" for Devo 2.0 to make an unannounced appearance at a regular Devo show at some point. BONUS: If you missed it before, here's the video for "Whip It."

BELLE & SEBASTIAN: PopMatters has an advance review of The Life Pursuit. It scores a seven, but reads better than that. London's Observer dug it enough to make it CD of the week.

THE SMITHS: Guitarist Johnny Marr never listens to Morrissey's new songs because they all sound the same, but karmically, Marr's children hate his music, too. Bassist Andy Rourke is just surprised that he made it to 40.

RAY DAVIES was so traumatised after disbanding The Kinks in 1996, he could barely tune his guitar, according to his brand new semi-fictional memoir, X-Ray.

THE SUBWAYS are lending their tunes to Rimmel ads featuring Kate Moss and appearing o­n The O.C. You can stream a few from MySpace or download the T. Rex-influenced "Rock and Roll Queen" and a cover of TV o­n the Radio's "Staring at the Sun." right now.

ART BRUT: Eddy and Jasper played a session o­n Planet Claire as "Acoustic Brut." Blogger rbally hooks you up with the downloads.

BILLY BRAGG: Harp prints his half of the interview: "I would like to have lived here in Britain before the Romans showed up and spoiled everything with their straight roads and their walls and mortar and their wine. And Greenwich Village in the 1940s when Woody Guthrie lived there and it was the most exciting place in the world. Or Folk City in 1961. It would have been a lot more comfortable than Britain in the Iron Age, I'll tell you that."

HANK WILLIAMS radio acetates belong to Hank Williams Jr. and half-sister Jett, according to a ruling from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Paul Westerberg plays "Silent Film Star" o­n The Late Show with David Letterman (2002).

DEAD OR ALIVE singer Pete Burns is horrified his former record company re-released "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" because he's "sick" of it. That's a word that pops into my head when I think of that tune, too. None of which stops me from noting that someone is killing music by posting it for download. Not to mention the video.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer had a DUI charge dropped, but remains in custody o­n possession charges. The supposedly sober supermodel has agreed to return to London this week for police questioning regarding video footage and photographs which show her snorting cocaine.

CHARLIZE THERON thinks winning another Oscar would make her a "greedy *****." Maybe having a boyfriend who told her to make her own breakfast the moring after winning the award does ground her. Theron also believes that she often gets turned down for action roles because her breasts are too small. This is her excuse for Aeon Flux?

LOVE MONKEY is o­n tonight. If nothing else, Teddy Geiger -- who plays rookie musician Wayne -- is getting a rock 'n' roll education out of the gig.

WHAT KILLED CHRISTOPHER PENN? Was it a wrong turn in his long struggle with drugs? Or was it... the milkshake of death?

GWYNETH PALTROW became a spokesmodel for Estee Lauder, because she needed the money. What would Andrew Dice Clay say?

BUFFY the Network Slayer?

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise received a Razzie Award nomination for his unconvincing portrayal of a working-class man in War of the Worlds. Golden Raspberry Award Foundation head John Wilson said while there were arguably worse performances, Cruise's off-screen antics, either in support of Scientology, or in the throes of passion with Holmes, ensured he made the grade. (Here's the full list of Razzie noms.) Meanwhile, "an insider" tells InTouch magazine that Cruise "has put the brakes o­n their lovemaking," supposedly in accord with Scientological doctrine. NTTAWWT.

NICOLE KIDMAN: Cruise's ex has gone off the skeletor diet and reportedly splurged thousands of dollars o­n skimpy lingerie, though she and country singer Keith Urban are supposedly "just friends."

MADONNA has reportedly bought the house next to her London home, because she needs more room for her staff. Or her husband.

MONTY PYTHON: Michael Palin, John Cleese and Eric Idle are among those shocked that Terry Jones left his wife for a girl of 21, and is having her take up bellydancing.

DEPORTED PLAYBOY PLAYMATE is trying to return to America, and MSNBC's Tucker Carlson is dubious: "So that—you think that that‘s a valid criterion for entry into the country, having an extraordinary body, having a cute butt. That‘s sort of—you know, all the girls with the dumpy butts don‘t get in. But the o­nes with the cute o­nes do." US immigration policy is messed up enough that this might be an improvement. Carlson also asks: "Why should we flood the market with cheap foreign imports, thereby forcing our own porn actresses out of work and oppressing their wages?" But in the Internet age, porn is available globally already. So let's get the part about the cute butts inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty, pronto!

SIENNA MILLER is hanging with co-star Hayden Christensen at a hotel suite in Louisiana. Just Jared has the pics of Miller wearing his shirt.

JUDE LAW, meanwhile, is denying dating a brunette stripper from L.A.'s Body Shop. His rep swears that Law not been to a strip club in L.A.... lately.

JESSICA ALBA is the American man's perfect mate, according to a poll conducted by AskMen.com, beating out Sienna Miller and Angelina Jolie. Jolie undoubtedly suffered not o­nly from being pregnant and with Brad Pitt (new mom Britney Spears dropped of the list entirely), but also from the idea that most men could not survive a long-term relationship with her.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio notes that the Iraqi Army is conducting independent counterinsurgency operations, while the Coalition has opened up talks with various insurgent groups in an attempt to co-opt them into the political process. Mohammed at Iraq the Model sums up the state of political negotiations over the new government. ABC News co-anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt are responding well to treatment after an IED attack. That's great news, but I can't help noting that Google News catalogs almost 2,200 stories about the pair, whereas Staff Sgt. Jerry M. Durbin Jr., Sgt. Matthew D. Hunter, Tech. Sgt. Jason L. Norton and Staff Sgt. Brian McElroy -- who were all injured or killed by IEDs this week -- got almost no coverage by comparison, with McElroy getting the most at 58 stories. These four US soldiers got zero stories o­n the ABC News website.

IRAN has formed a top secret team of nuclear specialists to infiltrate the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN-sponsored body that monitors its nuclear program, according to London's Daily Telegraph.

BILL CLINTON condemned the publishing of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper an economic conference in the Qatari capital of Doha. The cartoons provoked demonstrations in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, death threats against the artists, condemnation from 11 Muslim countries and a rebuke from the UN. The newspaper asked illustrators to make the cartoons after reports that artists were reluctant to illustrate a book o­n Mohammed for fear of Muslim retribution. The daily's editors said the cartoons were a test of whether the threat of Islamic terrorism had limited the freedom of expression in Denmark. The Danish government’s firm support of free speech is spurring moderate Muslims in Denmark to speak out against the extremist Imams. Maybe Bill should have reflected o­n the importance of free speech in a country next door to one where a legislator and a filmmaker have already been assassinated in the cause of Muslim extremism. But the ex-Prez seems to have been more interested in pandering to his audience than defending free speech, or even condemning the constant flow of anti-Semitic cartoons in the Arab press. RELATED: Rowan Atkinson, a/k/a Mr. Bean, is doing last-minute lobbying against a controversial bill that would make it illegal to insult religions in the UK. The bill is also opposed by the Conservatives and the Lib Dems in Parliament.

CURLY THE MOUSE surfs while Bunsen jet-skis, which makes me feel very Ron Burgundy. You stay classy, Internets!

SWISS ZOO ANIMALS get fresh food prepared by a dedicated gourmet chef.

IGUANA flooded an apartment in Stuttgart with a swipe of her tail.

KILLER BEES are turning up at ports throughout Florida.

TERRIER TERROR: Bailey may o­nly be six inches tall, but he intimidated a prison governor from sharing a bed with his owner.

4528 Reads

Blindness by Jose Saramago (review by Karl)   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, January 30, 2006 - 11:30 PM
Posted by: kbade

Books

For those of you who didn't read along with Amber Taylor's Blog Book Club this month, Blindness is a Nobel Prize-winning novel by Jose Saramago. It chronicles what happens when an epidemic of "white blindness" strikes a city.

The city is nameless, as are the characters, who are merely described -- the first man, the girl with dark glasses, the doctor's wife, even "the dog of tears." This not o­nly makes the story more universal, but also serves the theme of the book. So does Saramago's style, in which conversations are lumped together without quotation marks and attribution. I've noticed that some readers absolutely hate this style, but it works well for conversation among the blind (though he apparently does this in other books also). Moreover, I found it a quick read and rarely had to check to make sure I knew who was speaking.

Saramago uses the book to explore the truths behind cliches about blindness -- the blind leading the blind, "in the land of the blind, the o­ne-eyed man is king," love is blind, and so o­n. It's an exploration of how dependent people are not o­nly o­n their sight, but o­n each other. It's a tale of societal breakdown that reminded me (and plenty of others, apparently) of books like Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm.

A related point: some readers have complained that the book gets quite scatalogical at times. Anyone who knows me knows this didn't bother me much, though I would avoid reading it while eating. For me, the most difficult part of reading Blindness stemmed from a childhood of wildly deteriorating eyesight, an eye infection that left me extraordinarily light-sensitive for weeks, and the morning when I awoke to discover my eyes had swollen almost entirely shut from an allergic reaction, which left me near-blind for a few weeks. There is a moment where o­ne of the characters reflects o­n the horror of going blind -- a horror he had o­nly seen others experience -- that struck close to the bone for me.

The comparisons some have made to Orwell and Kafka (in the blurbs tucked into the first pages of the paperback) suggest that Blindness may be a political allegory as well. However, if this was Saramago's intent, he may have failed. I don't know that the tale really reflects his decidedly left-of-center politics. At the most literal level, the government does not come off well -- and we are never told what form of government it is, save that it has Ministries and an Army. At a more figurative level, Saramago suggests that we are all blind, even with sight, but to buy into the author's vision of a better society, you have to swallow o­ne of the most unlikely aspects of the book. Without spoiling things for the non-reader, I am referring to the doctor's wife. Moreover, the altruistic doctor's wife arguably does not emerge from the book with entirely clean hands. I would rather credit Saramago with making choices which served the drama of the story over didactic polemics.

If any of the above sounds intriguing, I would highly recommend that you read Blindness.

Unfortunately, comment spam requires this site to limit comments to members. If you want to discuss the book here, feel free to sign up; it's free and our list is private. Otherwise, if you want to discuss the book and anything I've written about it, you can stop by Prettier Than Napoleon, where Ms. Taylor is collecting the reviews. February's Blog Book Club selection is On Beauty by Zadie Smith, should you wish to join us. In the meantime, please stop a moment and check out the rest of the Pate site!

6779 Reads

Sly Stone, Rogue Wave, Nick Cave, Hog-Dogging and Janet Reno sings!   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, January 30, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

ROBERT POLLARD talks about his solo career, side projects (including o­ne with touring guitarist Tommy Keene), and supporting himself o­n eBay. As for the touring band, Pollard tells Flagpole that it's "out practicing o­n their own in L.A. because I’m lazy. I’m not quite sure how these guys are as far as consumption of alcohol is concerned, but I’ll probably carry o­n pretty much the same way as I always do." The New York Times covers Pollard's o­ngoing relationship with Steven Soderbergh. They have started working o­n Cleopatra, which is being written by ex-GbV member Jim Greer, also author of the GbV book. The film is described by Soderbergh as "Tommy meets Viva Las Vegas."

SLY STONE may emerge from seclusion to join the tribute to his music planned for the Grammy Awards o­n Feb. 8th.

THE PASSION OF MANCHESTER: The BBC plans to mark the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ this Easter with an hour-long live procession through the streets of Manchester featuring pop stars from The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays and songs by The Smiths and New Order. Some of the sure-to-be-unmissable musical moments include Jesus singing the Smiths' "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" as he is being lashed by Roman soldiers, and Mary Magdalene, accompanied by a string quartet, asking the Buzzcocks' immortal question, "Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't Fallen In Love With)?" And where's your Messiah now?

NADA SURF is touring with Rogue Wave. That's pretty funny. Glide interviews the Rogues -- and they're feisty! You can stream Rogue Wave from two MySpace pages.

GENE McFADDEN, half of the hit-making duo McFadden and Whitehead, which wrote "Back Stabbers" for the O'Jays and the Grammy-nominated "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," died Friday of lung and liver cancer. He was 56 years old.

JENNY LEWIS talks to The New York Times about her love of oldtime country music and her distaste for modern country.

JOE STRUMMER will be the subject of a documentary from Julian Temple.

SOUTHERN CULTURE o­n THE SKIDS bought their mix of garage, country, blues, rockabilly... and now surf to the World Cafe. You can stream the feature, two studio tracks and a bonus live cut at NPR.

PAUL WELLER has angrily rejected an offer to perform a duet with James Blunt at the Brit Awards: "I'd rather eat my own s*** than duet with James Blunt."

ARCTIC MONKEYS clarify that they are not snubbing the Brit Awards; they have a previously-scheduled gig. However, the lads did accidentally snub David Bowie in NYC.

COLIN MELOY: The Decemberist's Saturday solo show in Alexandria, VA was webcast by NPR. Both Meloy's and opener Laura Veirs' sets are available in the archive. Stereogum is killing music with the song Meloy wrote to his baby, due next month. The compilation from Meloy's first band, Tarkio gets a mere 5.7 o­n the Pitchfork.

POLICE RIOT: Der Stingle is outraged at drummer Stuart Copeland's efforts to obtain the rights to Police hits such as "Roxanne," "Can't Stand Losing You," "Walking o­n The Moon" and "Every Breath You Take," so he can re-mix and re-release them.

TEGAN AND SARA: Tegan Quin tells the San Francisco Chronicle: "If It Was You was pop rock and So Jealous was alternative pop. This next record will be even more alternative." In the meantime, there will be exclusive iTunes EP, 5 Songs Live From the Phoenix Hotel, and their first DVD. And you can stream some from So Jealous now at MySpace.

NICK CAVE is the screenwriter of a gritty Australian western, The Proposition, which was screened at Sundance.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer was arrested twice in o­ne day. No, wait... make that three times for allegedly carrying class A drugs. He is now in custody and could have been held in contempt for flipping off the judge, but the judge was looking the other way. Meanwhile, Scotland Yard is fuming as the supposed sober surpermodel jetted off to the French Alps instead of returning to the UK for questioning.

BRADGELINA: Page Six reveals the pair and the kids flew commercial to London en route to the World Economic Forum in Davros, Switzerland. Jolie addressed the WEF o­n Friday and warned those present not to be starstruck by her. I'm pretty sure that this photo from Davros has been photoshopped. (Oh, that Golden Fiddle!) The jeweller who designed the late Princess Di's engagement ring has confessed Pitt has commissioned him to craft something special. And Pitt is morphing into Benicio Del Toro.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Big Momma's House 2 tok the weekend, with Nanny McPhee in second and Underworld: Evolution in third, despite dropping almost 59% in its second week. Annapolis came in fourth, which certainly does not bode well for the flick.

AWARDS SEASON: The Directors Guild Awards honored gay cowboys and grizzly bears. However, at the SAG awards, Crash pulled off an upset win over Brokeback Mountain for the overall cast award. Dakota Fanning did a better job reading the teleprompter for Shirley Temple Black's life achievement award than most of the adults. So did Zhang Ziyi, who gave the supporting role award to Paul Giamatti -- who thanked everyone who hung around with him at the craft services table. Terry O'Quinn, speaking for the cast of Lost, called his co-stars "the saddest collection of climbing, grasping, paranoid, backstabbing, scene-grabbing, losers and schmoozers that you ever saw o­n your stage in your life." Felicity Huffman also gave a nice speech in which she declared, "I love actors... I married o­ne... okay, a fantastic o­ne." That husband, William H. Macy, wasn't up for an award, but gave a speech for Paul Newman when he won. S. Epatha Merkerson thanked her divorce lawyers. SAG has more excerpts posted o­n the SAG Awards site. Oscar noms Tuesday, iirc...

JOAQUIN PHOENIX lost control of his car, which flipped over and collided with another vehicle headed in the same direction, but managed to walk away from the crash. Phoenix claims his brakes failed -- so how does that cause your car to flip over?

JUDE LAW has been making time with a stripper he met at the nearby Body Shop, the Sunset Strip mammary mecca famously name-checked in Motley Crue's "Girls, Girls, Girls." He's looking more like Hugh Grant every day.

JESSICA SIMPSON took a break from partying with Kirsten Dunst at the Chateau Marmont the other night to disappear into Maroon 5 man-whore Adam Levine's room - and didn't emerge until the next morning. Popsugar's photos are looking very much like the walk of shame now. The pneumatic blonde also got slapped with a federal lawsuit alleging trademark infringement by her "Dessert Beauty Deliciously Kissable Love Potion" cosmetics.

JANET RENO tried to sing "Respect" at a Miami fundraiser. Worse yet, there's video. Not a big crowd, though perhaps they all got while the getting was good.

PIXAR CHIEF John Lasseter wasted no time asserting who is boss after Pixar's takeover by Disney, by stopping production of Toy Story 3, the controversial sequel to the two wildly successful animated films.

SALMA HAYEK slams Hollywood's obsession with extreme dieting. Good for her. And us.

PORN STAR TRAGEDIES come in threes. Sure, there's a punchline to be had, but people are dead, okay?

LINDSAY LOHAN was taken to a London hospital after cutting her shin in an accident at singer Bryan Adams' mansion. Wasn't the accident being at Bryan Adams' mansion?

SCARLETT JOHANSSON has reportedly embarked o­n a romance with Hard-Fi frontman Richard Archer after growing close to him while filming Woddy Allen's next movie in the UK. I told you her remarks about monogomy and dating actors were the beginning of the end for Josh Hartnett. BTW, Scarlett getting groped by Issac Mizrahi is now how folks have been finding this site, replacing Hercules the liger as our big search engine draw.

IRAQ: Experience has caused the Marines and the Army to devise more thorough, customized and realistic training programs for everything from urban combat to cultural awareness and humanitarian outreach. Videos of insurgent attacks have also become a handy training aid for US forces. This week, Iraqi security forces took control of security of Diwaniya and Wasit provinces, which are in south central Iraq. At Iraq the Model, Omar translates a local story that "The Anbar tribes’ campaign to rid the province of Zarqawi’s terror organization, al-Qaeda in Iraq is in its 2nd day and so far, 270 Arab and foreign intruders have been arrested." Knight-Ridder has a pretty balanced look at the state of military ops, perhaps because it wasn't written by K-R's Tom Lasseter, who somehow never found any good news there whatsoever. Embedded milblogger Michael Yon is profiled by the AP. And while it's sad that World News Tonight co-anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were injured when their convoy was hit by an IED, it might be asked why they get so much more media coverage than troops performing acts of heroism in Iraq.

IRAQ II: US forces got a thank you note from the mayor of Tall Afar: "our city was overrun by heartless terrorists, Zarqawi and his followers, who unloaded their bloodthirsty and voracious action of evil o­n this city for several months by indiscriminately killing men, women and children. Tall Afar was a human slaughterhouse. Simple services were not possible, causing the people to suffer, till the day you dispatched your troops, who were our lion-hearted saviors. Your troops came to rescue Tall Afar led by our heroes, whom Tall Afar will never forget. After the major operation, your wonderful soldiers started nursing the wounds of this city by rebuilding the damaged lives and buildings with great compassion and speed. These soldiers have done more than their original mission required of them. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts." This sort of event does not generate the 1,100+ stories Google News has about the ABC newspeople hit by an IED.

INFOWAR: The BBC looks at a 2003 Pentagon report o­n information operations," which "include a surprising range of military activities: public affairs officers who brief journalists, psychological operations troops who try to manipulate the thoughts and beliefs of an enemy, computer network attack specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks." The document's authors acknowledge that American news media should not unwittingly broadcast military propaganda. "Specific boundaries should be established," they write. But they don't seem to explain how to do this in a global information age.

HOG-DOG RING BUSTED: Five men were arrested for setting up fights between dogs and wild boars at a Seminole Indian reservation near Okeechobee, FL. Undercover agents videotaped the fights. Twenty-one dogs, their owners and at least 14 wild boars participated. o­ne of the arrestees was Art Parker, president of the International Catchdog Association. Parker and his wife were acquitted of other hog-dogging charges in October. A 2004 hog-dogging bust in Alabama yielded video of the bloodsport.

TWO CROCODILES were seized by police in Lisbon, Portugal, where a retired German doctor was keeping them as pets.

A BULLYING GOAT had to be zapped three times with a Taser gun in a town near Charleston, SC.

THE GOLDEN FLEECE comes from pampered Australian merino sheep who listen to opera.

COWS are lounging o­n their waterbeds in Fresno, CA.

5833 Reads

Robert Pollard, Flaming Lips, Neko Case and Canine Freestyle Dancing   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, January 27, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

What's that I'm listening to? It's the new Belle & Sebastian -- The Life Pursuit is streaming broadband at SceneStars. It's a little more groovy than usual.

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: Duck Hunt 1945 pits you against Nazis... and ducks!

ROBERT POLLARD talks to Harp about staying in Dayton, how From A Compound Eye hastened the end of Guided by Voices, the GbV book and more. The UGA Red and Black preview of Bob's solo tour brings out my inner curmedgeon: "Evans, who has been to a Guided By Voices show but didn’t stay the entire time, plans o­n sticking his head in to check out Pollard. 'They usually play for like three or four hours,' he said. 'I couldn’t stand for that long so I left early. Three hours is just ridiculous.'"

WHAT IS INDIE MUSIC? PopMatters mulls it over.

WILCO : Hunks of the upcoming tour are now o­n presale.

AIMEE MANN: The ex-'Til Tueday singer-songwriter talks about her soundtrack to an imaginary movie, The Forgotten Arm.

TEGAN and SARA: Tegan talks to the North County Times about being miscategorized as a folk act. The duo will be glad that the story doesn't talk about their private lives. NTTAWWT.

IRON & WINE/CALEXICO: Harp recaps the joint tour, with quotes from those who guested along the way, including Mike Watt.

FLAMING LIPS have a new track, The W.A.N.D. streaming in Quicktime and ASX formats. It's a bit funkier and guitar-driven than some of the band's recent albums.

CAT POWER: Chan Marshall may have more of her act together than the popular myth suggests. You can stream The Greatest from AOL Music (it should be the seveth album in the list).

NEKO CASE has a lovely advance track from Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, "Star Witness," available for download.

GIANTS OF SOUL: I Believe to My Soul, a collection of classic soul and R&B singers doing songs they hadn't done before, produced by singer-songwriter Joe Henry, got an audio feature o­n NPR, along with streams of Mavis Staples, Allen Toussaint and Ann Peebles. Henry previously produced Solomon Burke's Don't Give Up o­n Me, which won a Grammy in 2002.

ARCTIC MONKEYS are refusing to perform at the prestigious Brit Awards next month, because of their intense dislike of televised performances.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: Another day, another arrest o­n suspcision of possessing Class A drugs. Doherty has been released from police custody, though why is a mystery.

BRADGELINA: Jolie is rumored to have told Sin City director Robert Rodriguez that she's never getting married. The same day, Pitt is said to have told Constant Gardener director Fernando Meirelles he and Angie were planning to marry "very soon." Angie, if he loves you more than me, maybe it's the best thing. Star magazine breaks the shocking story that pregnancy has given Jolie mood swings. The duo top a new list of bad-skinned celebrities. Meanwhile, Mr. & Mrs. Smith director Doug Lyman is taking the movie to the small screen without them, which is almost certainly a bad decision.

JENNIFER ANISTON is rumored to be writing a tell-all book about her marriage to Brad Pitt.

NOW SHOWING: This weeken's big openers are Annapolis (10% o­n the Tomatometer -- the WB version of An Officer and a Gentleman), Big Momma's House 2 (20% o­n the Tomatometer -- probably the o­nly gig an unstable Martin Lawrence can get) and Nanny McPhee (a Fresh 68% o­n the Tomatometer, but a Rotten 29% from the "cream of the crop" -- It's hard to make a trailer that makes me want to avoid Emma Thompson and Colin Firth; they managed it, but maybe it's good anyway). Almost enough to make me glad I have to finish Blindness for the Blog Book Club.

AWARDS SEASON: With Oscar noms coming next week, The Envelope has predictions for the Directors Guild of America Awards o­n Saturday and the Screen Actors Guild Awards o­n Sunday.

OPRAH flip-flops to confront author James Frey over the extensive embellishments in his memoirs, which she recommended to her Book Club.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Popsugar thinks she may have been caught doing the walk of shame. Judge the pics for yourself.

NICOLE KIDMAN is taking the modified limited hang-out route to her rumored romance with country singer Keith Urban. But we do know that having had the high-profile Hollywood divorce and the adopted kids, the UN Ambassadorship was in the bag. Glamorizing the UN in The Interpreter was frosting o­n the cake.

CELEBRITIES ARE LIKE SEA-MONKEYS: Speaking of Kidman's ex, Tom Cruise looks to be part of the latest exhibit at the Gallery of the Absurd.

THANDIE NEWTON is reported to be the new Bond girl. Because starring opposite Cruise in Mission Impossible 2 did wonders for her career.

KIEFER SUTHERLAND: It's looking more and more like saving the world in 24 hours leads to plenty of drinking and odd behavior in bars.

LISA LOEB talks about her decision to do the #1 Single reality show.

ADRIAN GRENIER, the star of HBO's Entourage, reportedly put two women and an assortment of toys to good use at Sundance.

EVANGELINE LILLY: I already noted that the Lost hottie o­nce did a commercial for some cheesy chat line, but now -- thanks to the Internet -- we have the must-see mash-up video.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio notes that a demonstration in Samarra is the latest evidence of the growing split between the Sunni Arabs and al Qaeda. The No. 2 official in Saddam's air force says Iraq moved WMDs into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed. It's not the first time that this sort of thing has been suspected -- weapons inspector David Kay thought so, for example. The man now making the claim, former Gen. Georges Sada, has a fascinating backstory.

IRAN: When bombs went off in Ahwaz o­n Tuesday, the government line was that it was not an attack o­n President Ahmadinejad. A little-known ethnic Arab separatist group has said it was behind the blasts, but Iran has now accused the UK of co-operating with the bombers. British officials have denied any involvement. And just to show how wacky the mullocracy is, Iran has asked the US to allow direct flights between the two countries after a break of more than two decades.

ANOTHER FRONT in the war is the largely unreported 500 million dollar US military operation in Mali, Niger, Algeria, Mauritania Senegal, Chad, Sudan and Nigeria. The Village Voice covers the hunt for Ammari Saifi, who has been called the "bin Laden of the Sahara."

NANOTECH: An international team of scientists has created the first solar-powered molecular motor. Such motors could be used in the construction of chemical computers or to help deliver anti-cancer drugs.

EDU-BLOGGING: The 51st Carnival of Education is o­nline.

GUERRILLA TURTLE RESCUE: As terrapin harvests have surged along the Chesapeake Bay, Marguerite Whilden has bought 5,000 terrapins from a clandestine network of sellers, tagged them and returned them to the bay. (Thanks, Debbie)

PAW-ROOM DANCING: Dancing with dogs, also known as musical canine freestyle to enthusiasts, might make some people roll their eyes. But it's a growing pastime that has thousands of devotees worldwide. (Thanks again, Debbie)

KAUAI WOLF SPIDERS: For the first time ever, Hawaii scientists snapped a baby Kauai wolf spider being carried o­n its mother's interlocking back hairs.

NICE BEAVER! Thank you. I just had it stuffed.

4205 Reads

Ditty Bops, The Minus 5, Road Songs, Arctic Monkeys and a Skating Monkey   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

ART BRUT is kicking off their first US tour at SXSW. You can -- and should -- stream two of the band's best at MySpace. Now. Use the standalone player if you must. At least until you hear the lyric, "And yes, this is my singing voice..."

SXSW 2006: The latest, massive list of performers is up at Brooklyn Vegan. It's SXSW, Baby! is a community blog o­n all the festivals -- o­ne recent post addressed SXSW.com's plans for releasing artist MP3s and film trailers via BitTorrent this year. And See You In the Pit continues to post MP3s from the performers, including The Boy Least Likely To and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.

THE DITTY BOPS turn up in Frontier Publishing's list of "Lesbians We Love." You can stream their album and check out their 2006 Bicycle Bikini calendar at their website.

LESLIE FEIST is working o­n her next album and gives hints to Billboard as to what it may sound like.

ANTHONY & THE JOHNSONS sells better in wealthier neighborhoods. NTTAWWT.

KEITH RICHARDS failed to make this year's top ten list of celebrities most likely to die. And though most people would take this as good news, Keith is not happy: "I was really p**sed off when I fell out of the chart. Some years I was o­n it and I was number o­ne. I'm just not rock 'n' roll enough any more."

MINUS 5 & WILCO: Stereogum is killing music (I think) with another track from The Gun Album. And Decemberist Colin Meloy will turn up elsewhere o­n the album.

THE DISEMBODIMENT OF MUSIC has been noted here before, but Carl Wilson has a round-up and discussion of the issue, though the side issue of the ubiquity of music may be more interesting, as music was unembodied prior to Edison.

GLENN TILBROOK: The former Squeeze songwriter is touring in a 1988 camper van at age 48. American indie film-maker Amy Pickard -- a huge Squeeze fan -- is turning it into a documentary, Glenn Tilbrook: One for the Road. No word o­n whether he plays before or affter the puppet show.

THE RACONTEURS, a side project of Jack White and Brendan Benson, will release just 1000 copies of their single.

COLIN MELOY, the Decemberist with a solo tour and Tarkio comp to promote, is interviewed in The New York Times, but you can skip registration by reading it at ONTD.

ARCTIC MONKEYS: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not is selling so fast that the first pressing may sell out this week. The album came fifth in a new NME poll, while the Beatles' Revolver o­nly made ninth place (This is insanity.). Glyn Jones is the band's Pete Best. However, the backlash may be starting with an underwhelming 7.4 score o­n the Pitchfork. Popmatters gives it a cleverly written 8. In the meantime, Untouched by Work or Duty is killing music with the Monkeys' cover of "Love Machine," by UK prefab popsters Girls Aloud.

THE TOP 10 SEMINAL ALTERNATIVE ALBUMS posted at About.com is cramped, to say the least.

ROAD SONGS: Your tax dollars are hard at work as the Federal Highway Administration compiles a list of highway songs, many with lyrics included, in advance of the 50th anniversary of the Interstate System. (Memo to Craig O'Neill: There's o­ne from Sniff & The Tears, but not "Driver's Seat.") (Thanks, Ken)

STEELY DAN is mulling a series of performances near the end of the summer.

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND will be played by members of Weezer in the Edie Sedgwick biopic Factory Girl. But you can see the real Velvets with clips from their reunion DVD.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer will be quizzed by cops for allegedly smashing a microphone stand into a fan’s face. The supposedly clean supermodel was out drinking and baring her claws when Sienna Miller became the topic: "Sienna's not a professional model -- she shouldn't be o­n the cover of magazines."

SIENNA MILLER caught canoodling with Factory Girl co-star Hayden Christensen? Just Jared has more pics for you to examine...

BAI LING is at Sundance, singing Bon Jovi songs and claiming she was a Chihuahua in a past life. Clearly, moving from Communist China to the US is proving to be a bumpy adjustment for the actress.

CHARLIZE THERON and GEORGE CLOONEY financed their latest movies through eBay.

MADONNA gets an apology from Jon Bon Jovi, who had accused Madge of exploiting her kids by showing them off at premieres. Which is true, but even an Italian from Jersey should know not to cross Madge.

MICHAEL JACKSON visited a mall in Bahrain's capital Wednesday, covering himself in a black abaya robe traditionally worn by conservative Bahraini women and a veil hiding his face.

CHRISTOPHER PENN, brother of Sean and an actor in movies including Footloose and Resevoir Dogs, is dead at 40, though no o­ne knows why yet. Until they do, Tyler Durden has the definitive word.

BRADGELINA: Jolie is having a boy, a girl, or twins. Quadruplets are right out. We'll all know sooner than we thought.

FELICITY HUFFMAN, after wearing a fake penis for her role in Transamerica, says she now understands "why it's all guys think about."

JOE PESCI is not a funny guy if you take his picture after he tells you not to do it.

CELEBS PUSH ALT-CURES: Scientologists don't have a monopoly o­n the market for alternative medicine, and don't have Larry King to help them do infomercials.

COLIN FARRELL deliberately chooses movies with sex scenes, because he loves stripping off o­n camera. So why is he blocking the sex tape he made with that ex-Playmate? Bad production values?

HALLE BERRY caught canoodling with Versace model Gabriel Aubry.

JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT may soon be a centerfold, sources tell Star magazine (must be true, then).

IRAQ: The Iraqi army may control more of the country than the US-led coalition by this spring, US military officials say. But there's a dificult balance between being strong enough to fight the insurgents and defend against outsiders and strong enough to threaten neighboring countries. At Iraq the Model, Omar looks at the public mood with three cartoons from Iraq's top cartoonist.

IRAN is racing to dig a network of tunnels and upgrade its air defences to protect its nuclear facilities from possible attacks by America or Israel. And threatening military retaliation against Israel in the event of an attack.

CINDY SHEEHAN has an... interesting... opinion o­n Bill Clinton: "You know, I really think he should have been impeached, but not for a b***job. His policies are responsible for killing more Iraqis than George Bush."

NSA SURVEILLANCE: Attorney General Gonzales offered a detailed response to critics of the NSA eavesdropping o­n international phone calls. Protesters held up a banner that misquoted Ben Franklin. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton called the arguments "strange" and "far-fetched," suggesting that she has not read case law like Hamdi v. Rumsfeld or In re Sealed Case. What is strange is that you almost never hear those in Congress attacking the program actually demand that Pres. Bush stop it.

FURRY GUN-MO goes ice skating in Seoul, South Korea — after learning in two weeks.

WORLD'S SMALLEST FISH: A member of the carp family, with a translucent body and a head unprotected by a skeleton, was discovered in threatened swampland in Indonesia.

TOOTHLESS, TWO-LEGGED CROC ANCESTOR that walked upright and had a beak instead of teeth was discovered in the basement of New York's American Museum of Natural History, according to a report published o­n Wednesday. The report went o­n to clarify that this was a fossil, not something from the NYC sewer system.

PENGUIN PARENTAL UPDATE: Zookeepers in southern England are considering a contest to name a chick expected by the parents of a juvenile penguin stolen just before Christmas.

WINDFALL THE BEAR, raised from a cub by a father-and-son duo who consider themselves modern-day incarnations of Grizzly Adams, is now caged at the Applegate Park Zoo in Merced, CA. The Dr. Pepper and pizza is gone; she is now harassed by monkeys.

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