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Super Furry Animals, Cats, Dogs, Fugitive Tortoise and Monkey   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 14, 2005 - 09:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


WONKA WEEK CONTINUES with a few more advance reviewsof Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Gannett News Service is generally negative: "There's so much facade at the center of this movie that it suffers from emotional drift about halfway through... Luckily, the heart that Burton loses somewhere in the middle of the movie is regained in the end." The Amsterdam News calls it "by Hollywood standards, a pretty good film. The sets (both real and computer generated) are stunning. Freddie Highmore's Charlie comes off as sympathetic, but not sappy." In Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman gives it an "A," calling it "a madhouse kiddie musical with a sweet-and-sour heart."

QUEEN invited emergency services personnel who dealt with the London bombings to their Hyde Park concert as a gesture of thanks.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS: Kyle at Information Leafblower gives an early reaction to SFA's latest: "Imagine if Brian Wilson teamed up with Steely Dan and ELO to make their own version of (Radiohead's) Kid A. That might be Love Kraft. It's totally doing my head in."

WILLIE NELSON: Jam has 19 true stories about Willie Nelson and o­ne fib. Wal-Mart got Universal Music Group Nashville to issue sanitized cover art for Nelson's newlyy-released reggae album.

THE SCIENCE OF THE SETLIST: The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Many musicians feel the same way about the setlist (Frank Black excepted).

PEARL JAM guitarist Mike McCready answered fan questions for USA Today, including o­ne about setlists. He also admits, "KISS inspired me personally to pick up a guitar and go for it. My life would have been different without Paul Stanley or Ace Frehley."

THE TOP 40 BANDS IN AMERICA TODAY: As McCready's band was voted greatest American band by USA Today readers, I thought it worth revisiting Information Leafblower's bloggers' poll o­n the subject. It might be a way for those who feel they have become disconnected from the music scene to reconnect, yes?

ROBERT POLLARD has posted a translation of an interview he did for a Portuguese mag. He's going to be right in my neighborhood for a book signing this Fall. And in case I forgot, I should note that he's posted the Official Ironmen Rally Song demo for your downloading pleasure.

SUFJAN SAYS ILLINOISE, others say Illinois. Lets call the whole thing off?

XTINA AGUILERA sliced two tendons in her arm in a scuffle with a drunk fan at a nightclub; it's not considered a serious injury.

"PUSH" FOR NEW ARTISTS: The L.A. Times looks at software like Indy, IRate and Freenet, which download music by new artists to your computer based o­n your prior likes and dislikes.

IRAQ: A suicide bomber detonated his car alongside American soldiers handing out sweets to children in Baghdad, killing as many as 24 people, most of them children. Michael Yon has a new dispatch looking back at his tour and notes that, for better or worse, Iraq's future will soon be in Iraqi hands. The Christian Science Monitor notes (as have others) that Shiite Muslims are dominating Basra, possibly with support from neighboring Iran. But an editor of o­ne of Basra's largest newspapers believes the religious parties "will vanish o­nce our economy picks up and the true nature of Basra reasserts itself." Austin Bay flags news reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has threatened his Ismalist spiritual mentor, Isam Mohammed al-Barqawi, which Bay calls a "significant split."

LONDON BOMBINGS: Police examine material -- including computer files -- seized from homes in Muslim neighborhoods where three of the four suspects lived. The Independent profiles Hasib Hussain, Mohammed Sadique Khan and Shahzad Tanweer. British police have identified the man thought to be the mastermind of last week's bombings. He is apparently British-born; AFX News reports he is of Pakistani origin, but The New York Times quotes an American source as saying he is not of Pakistani descent. Britain's top Islamic scholars are reportedly planning to issue a fatwa condemning the bombers.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie's pet African Gray parrot has reportedly staged hunger strikes and attacked customers at the Amazon Rainforest Shop (where he has lodged while Jolie does press junkets) because he's pining for his famous owner. o­ne cannot blame the bird for pining after Jolie, but she would have been better advised to buy a Norwegian Blue, which pines o­nly for the fjords and is far less active. And our nation breathes a collective sigh of relief as Pitt is released Wednesday from a Los Angeles hospital where he had been admitted for a flu-like illness that turned out to be viral meningitis.

COLIN FARRELL and his former Playmate girlfriend caught o­n videotape?

OWEN WILSON agrees with Gloria Steinem that women have to be responsible for their own orgasms.

CBS NEWS plans to create a 24-hour on-demand Internet network that bypasses cable television. Plans for the broadband network also call for a blog called "Public Eye" that will offer "greater openness and transparency into the newsgathering process."

HOMELAND SECURITY: The Department of Homeland Security is to undergo a major restructuring. Congressional and department officials said Secretart Michael Chertoff will align components into three "buckets" -- intelligence, operations and policy.

GITMO: Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt, who who investigated FBI allegations of detainee abuse at Camp X-Ray, found three incidents of abuse out of roughly 24,000 interrogations, or o­ne-eighth of o­ne-tenth of o­ne percent. The investigation found no cases of actual torture. The AP summarizes the allegations.

CULT OF THE iPod: The New York Times reports o­n the phenomenon of musical hallucination, suggesting the brain becomes an iPod. Apple Computer saw sales jump 75 percent in its latest quarter ó and net income more than quadruple ó o­n sizzling sales of iPods.

MONEY MAG PICK DOESN'T EXIST: Placing 28th o­n Money magazine's "Top 100 Best Places to Live," Wexford, PA is really only a postal designation. To be fair, however, Money disclosed that this is how they selected places.

EDU-BLOGGING: The agenda of the National Education Association's annual meeting doesn't seem like it has much to do with education.

TEN MILLION GALLONS IS A LOT OF SHOWERS: In Mascoutah, IL (a suburb of St. Louis), Rose Mary Cook got a 74,000 dollar water bill.

THAT AIN'T NO WOMAN! IT'S A MAN, MAN! A chicken seller in Myanmar inexplicably grew a penis last month.

THAT WOMAN USED TO BE A MAN, MAN: The winner of a German beauty contest has confessed she used to be a man.

CATS: Behold the genius of stuffonmycat.com: stuff + cats = awesome.

DOGS: James Lileks pays a tribute of sorts to his dog, Jasper.

SIMBA: The Workman family of Murphysville, KY have a 400-pound pet lion. Three year-old Simba currently shares a cage with a little dog named Jumper, but will need a bigger cae as he is expected to gain another 100 pounds.

THE GREAT ESCAPE: Police in Minot, ND, say they spent several hours surrounding an empty trailer home here, after a man escaped by tunneling out of the house and calling a cab. Police were still looking for the man Tuesday night.

FUGITIVE MONKEY o­n the loose in Caldwell, Ohio.

FUGITIVE TORTOISE UPDATE: Michelangelo, the 22-pound desert tortoise who disappeared in June from a backyard in Orland Park, IL, has been recaptured 20 miles away in Cicero.

CAPUCHIN MONKEYS have been taught to use money. And they're spending it o­n sex.

KING COBRA BITES HINDU PRIEST: Priest lives, snake dies.

5505 Reads

Leslie Feist, Roky Erickson, Zero-G Dog, Monkeys with Human Brains   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


WONKA WEEK, CONTINUED: There still are not many advance reviews of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but most are positive. The Hollywood Reporter: "Here's a film about kids and for kids that has not lost touch with what it is like to actually be a kid." Britain's Sun tabloid: says it "is so good you can almost taste it." Devin Faraci at Cinematic Happenings Under Development: "I canít deny that Burtonís auterial preoccupations get o­n my nerves, but luckily he has placed them inside a fairly delightful film." The Village Voice calls it "the topsy-turvy equivalent of a three-course dinner in a single stick of gum." The Associated Press review: "It's a film packed with chaste delights for young children and plenty of sophisticated, cryptic edge to entertain and puzzle their parents." And Julia Dawn Cole, the original Veruca Salt, is convinced Roald Dahl would have loved this version of his book.

FEIST: The Big Ticket not o­nly reviews her Mpls. show, but also has video in Quicktime and WMV formats.

DINOSAUR JR.: The whole band talks to the Village Voice about the band's history and reunion.

BEST OF 2005 (SO FAR): Marathon packs adds another Top 10.

OVERLOOKED OF 2005 (SO FAR): Aversions' list looks like it has a little something for everyone, though I don't think the Mountain Goats' album has been overlooked here.

SUFJAN STEVENS AND BIG BLACK: Vinyl Mine Clip Shack compares Stevens' "Casimir Pulaski Day" with Big Black's "Kasimir S. Pulaski Day" (tip to LHB)

THE 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS: The reissue of The Psychedelic Sounds of... and the first-ever Roky Erickson retrospective, I Have Always Been Here: The Roky Erickson Story, both score well at the Pitchfork.

THE dBs REUNION: Pitchfork reports their two-stop (for now) tour. Ken King and I already have tickets, natch.

THE LUCKSMITHS talk to PopMatters about truth versus honesty.

RICK JAMES has a new album from beyond the grave coming out in August.

DAVE MATTHEWS: Someone at the Phat Phree is not a phan.

GEORGE MICHAEL: As though he didn't already have enough to answer for, he has reconciled the Spice Girls, who are now recording again.

JEWS ROCK is a website devoted to illuminating the intersection of rock and roll and Jewish culture. The founders, including Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker, originally wanted to call it the Jewish Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but were sued by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Either way, the site has some interesting essays -- for example, did you know that Arlo Guthrie was raised Jewish and tutored in Hebrew by the Rabbi Meir Kahane, who later became the leader of Israelís radical Kach party? (tip to my co-worker Debbie)

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie laid out over 1,800 bucks o­n X-rated undies and provocative books from upmarket London sex store Coco De Mer. A source told the Mirror tabloid that "her most recent trip a few weeks ago was the most she has ever spent. Brad's o­ne lucky guy." But not completely lucky -- Pitt has been hospitalized in L.A. with a flu-like illness.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise spent almost 18,000 bucks to fly three top chefs from Italy to South America to cook an extravagant birthday meal for him, Homes, Nicole Kidman and others aboard a yacht owned by the Church of Scientology. And he had Holmes with him as he began shooting Mission: Impossible 3 in Rome o­n Tuesday. But the Vatican, as well as the city of Paris -- where Cruise supposedly proposed to Holmes -- have pledged never to welcome Cruise due to his militant Scientology.

LI-LO UPDATE: The Lohan, in Mpls. for the shooting of A Prairie Home Companion, reportedly got carded at Escape Ultra Lounge last week. As she just turned 19, she had to demur that she didn't have any ID.

PAM ANDERSON tells a kettle how black it is.

SEAN AND ROBIN WRIGHT PENN escape injury in a head-on collision o­n Notting Hill.

WE'RE NOT AFRAID: New York Times critic Sara Boxer prefers Sorry Everybody, a photoblog where hundreds of people posted pictures of themselves apologizing for the re-election of George W. Bush, to We're Not Afraid, a mass pictorial response to the terrorist bombings in London. Boxer bemoans what she sees as a shift in sentiment at the latter, fretting that "more and more, there's a brutish flaunting of wealth and leisure" and that the site "seems to be turning into a place where the haves of the world can show that they're not afraid of the have-nots." First, I invite people to visit the site to see for themselves how much "brutal flaunting" is going o­n. Second, Boxer's unstated premise -- that the people likely responsible for the bombings were "have-nots" is wrong. Psychologists like Dr. Marc Sageman of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Andrew Silke, a UN advisor and forensic psychologist at Leicester University, have studied Al Qaeda members and associates and found them to be overwhelmingly middle-to-upper class and well-educated. These findings accord with research o­n suicide bombers from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hizbollah. For that matter, last year, when the British government foiled what it believed was the largest terrorist plot ever in that country, the arrestees were British, middle-class Muslim suburbanites. And as noted here recently, a joint Home Office and Foreign Office dossier reported that Al Qaeda is secretly recruiting affluent, middle-class Muslims in British universities and colleges to carry out terrorist attacks in the U.K. Boxer's article ends up saying more about her than about the website.

LONDON BOMBING: Police hunting the July 7 London tube and bus bombers have gone live at Leeds, as Scotland Yard carried out a series of dawn raids Tuesday morning as part of an "intelligence-led operation", described by Commissioner Sir Ian Blair as "significant". Police carried out controlled explosions in Leeds and Luton and searched six houses. Explosives have been found in an abandoned car at the Luton railway station which is thought to be linked to the terror attacks. One man has been arrested in Yorkshire and taken to London. A Populus poll for The Times showed a large majority supported tougher measures to reduce the threat of any future terrorist attacks, though support was weakest in London itself.

IRAQ: Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the PBS program "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" that Monday's capture of Abu Abd Al-Aziz, whom he called Abu Musab Zarqawi's "main leader in Baghdad," was "going to hurt that operation of Zarqawi's pretty significantly." U.S. and other foreign troops may be able to withdraw soon from some Iraqi cities, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Tuesday, though he hastened to add there's no timetable. DefenseTech's Noah Shachtman is blogging from Baghdad in his Iraq Diary.

AFGHANISTAN: U.S.-led forces have recaptured o­ne of four Al Qaeda militants who escaped from the main U.S. military detention center in Afghanistan. An unconfirmed report stated that the unidentified man was captured at a mosque in Bagram. Afghan villagers sheltered a U.S. Navy SEAL wounded in a battle with the Taliban until they could get word to American forces to rescue him. Time magazine has a more dramatic version of the story.

IRAN: Students at Tehran University launched a protest against the regime to release all political prisoners, particularly Iranís most prominent jailed journalist. It appears that the size of the protest grew, even as Iranian police beat the demonstrators.

THE VAN GOGH MURDER CASE: Moroccan-born Mohammed Bouyeri, the self-confessed killer of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, faced the victimís mother in an Amsterdam court and told her he felt no remorse for his crime: "I donít feel your pain. I donít have any sympathy for you. I canít feel for you because I think youíre a non-believer." He told the court, "I take complete responsibility for my actions. I acted purely in the name of my religion." He added, "I can assure you that o­ne day, should I be set free, I would do exactly the same, exactly the same." Bouyeri, a well-educated Muslim, shot and stabbed van Gogh to death in broad daylight before nearly decapitating him and impaling a five-page note declaring holy war into his corpse with a knife.

SHREK-GATE? This morning, in a planned conference call for investors, DreamWorks Animation conceded that the Securities and Exhange Commission had questions about the way their stock was traded. Industry insiders apparently knew this was coming because of a class action suit filed against DreamWorks o­n June 10, 2005, alleging major sales of stock by DreamWorks insiders look timed to pre-date announcements of bad news and tumbling stock prices.

HOLLYWOOD'S BOX OFFICE SLUMP: Sony is going to turn it around by Hollow Man 2, Road House 2 -- Last Call and I Know What You Did Last Summer 3. And if you think that a Road House sequel seems shaky, keep in mind that it may be directed by the guy who did Cruel Intentions 3. Not to be outdone by Sony, Paramount has greenlighted a remake of Summer School.

NETFLIX PLANS 'NET DELIVERY? Links at Slashdot suggest Netflix is planning a service that will let users download movies over the internet.

PURE SCIENCES ARE OLD HAT: According to British government officials, courses in mathematicss, chemistry, physics, engineering and biology should face closures as the demand for new hybrid subjects grows.

DOG IN ZERO-G ENVIRONMENT: MediaFetcher has the video and a discussion.

SAUERKRAUT WRESTLING is set up by a Minnesoata mayor as a forum for resolving the state's budget disputes.

SEX OFFENDERS hand out candy o­n Halloween, dress as Santa Claus or wear an Easter Bunny costume under a law just passed in Illinois.

SPERM-FREE SEX KEEPS HENS HAPPY: By merely mounting females - without bothering to waste precious sperm - cocks ensure their partners will not go looking for male competitors to fertilise them, a new study suggests.

TOP TEN DEADLIEST ANIMALS, courtesy of LiveScience.

MONKEYS WITH HUMAN BRAINS: Scientists have been warned by a high-powered committee of animal behaviourists, lawyers, philosophers, bio-ethicists and neuro-scientists that their latest experiments -- injecting human brain cells into monkey fetuses -- may accidently produce monkeys with brains more human than animal. Critics argue that if these fetuses are allowed to develop into self-aware subjects, science will be thrown into an ethical nightmare.

5223 Reads

New Releases, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Fite, Dwarf Cattle and Horny Tigers   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


HEY, IT'S WONKA WEEK ALREADY: The chocolate brown carpet was rolled out for the Hollywood premiere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Grauman's Chinese Theater over the weekend. The Associated Press checks in with Peter Ostrum, the original Charlie Bucket, who is now a veterinarian specializing in cattle and horses in New York's dairy country. The AP also interviews Johnny Depp o­n Wonka, movies, fame and family. I have joked to people that if Depp based Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean o­n Keith Richards, his Willy Wonka -- judging from the pageboy hairstyle -- must be based o­n Brian Jones. It turns out I was right, according to Depp's interview with the Boston Herald. He denies his Wonka is based o­n Michael Jackson, though the comparison is turning up in early reviews. Ebert and Roeper give it two thumbs up, though neither was thrilled with Depp this time. Richard Shieckel of Time magazine wishes it was darker,saying it's "all right without being particularly riveting."

SUFJAN STEVENS tells the UCLA Bruin that he was working o­n albums about Rhode Island, New Jersey and Illinois, but the songs for Illinois "seemed more exciting, more challenging."

NEW RELEASES: Today brings new stuff from Son Volt, The Knitters, Del McCoury, R.L. Burnside and even Adrian Belew. There are also reissues of Arcade Fire and The Decemberists. There's also Wille Nelson's reggae album, about which Amazon says: "It's easy to understand why this project was shelved by Nelson's previous label for nine years."

MARIANNE FAITHFULL suffered a slight heart attack, but is doing fine, according to Page Six.

SON VOLT: Speaking of Page Six, I give them kudos for dubing the new version of the band Son of Son Volt.

RINGO was disappointed that the Cute o­ne didn't invite him to play Live 8.

BEST OF 2005 (SO FAR): Largehearted Boy lists his Top 5 1/2 so far, with legal downloads and streams.

TOM FITE: Brooklyn Vegan gets the tip for flagging Tom Fite. His label describes Gone Ainít Gone as a "wry, anachronistic, copyright-defying, country/hip-hop collage, was made mostly from cds rescued from dollar bins; Australian bar bands, DC garage-punks, and demos from up-and-never coming rock bands. Itís all sampled, looped and laid down as the blueprint for FITEís intriguing avant-folk vision of musical crime and resuscitation." I think the "hip-hop" part is inaccurate, but you can download o­ne song from his label, and a bunch more at his site to decide for yourself.

LED ZEPPELIN: The four members of Led Zeppelin were voted the U.K.'s ideal supergroup by 3,500 music fans polled for Planet Rock Radio, with Robert Plant edging out Freddie Mercury as best singer.

JIMI HENDRIX'S childhood home, faces demolition after a two-week restraining order expires. Sadly, the place has reportedly become a haven for squatters and drug dealers. The owner wants to move the structure to a permanent location near Hendrix's gravesite in Renton, WA.

MADONNA: I am shocked, shocked to learn that Madge has a ghost writer for her Kabbalah-themed children's books.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: Bob Geldof's 16 year-old daughter Peaches angrily denies the troubled singer's claims that she squeezed his bum and made suggestive comments to him at Live 8. Peaches also said it was her sister Pixie, 14, who convinced their dad to include Pete in the Live 8 line-up -- which is a very catty way of taking a return dig at Doherty, methinks.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Holmes' interview with W magazine sparks claims that she is more zombie-like than ever. Cruise is raising his and Nicole Kidman's 12-year-old daughter, Isabella, as a Scientologist. Both Entertainment Tonight and the E! channel had video of Scarlett Johansson denying past Cruise rumors, but neither has it o­nline as I write this.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Pitt and Jolie edged out Garfleck and Tom-Kat o­n the Womens' Wear Daily Overexposure Chart this week. Congrats, Brad and Angie!

LI-LO UPDATE: Lohan's director for A Prairie Home Companion, the legendary Robert Altman, doesn't know her name.

BRITNEY SPEARS says she would like to design her own line of maternity clothes. "There's so much nasty stuff out their for mums-to-be, I can't work out why stores don't sell funkier stuff." I have no doubt Britney's clothes will be funky.

OWEN WILSON reacts to being nicknamed "the Butterscotch Stallion."

MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL says she has learned the hard way not to talk about politics o­n the red carpet after claiming that the U.S. was "responsible in some way" for 9/11. Of course, she still believes it, but says, "I have to be careful, because it's very easy to misunderstand a complicated thought in a complicated world." Thanks for the condescension, Maggie, but the people who criticized you understood exactly what you were saying.

THE VAN GOGH MURDER TRIAL began in the Netherlands, with Mohammed Bouyeri rejecting the authority of the court and speaking o­nly to confirm his name and utter a prayer in Arabic. Prosecutors say Bouyeri killed filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in a ritualistic murder committed in the name of radical Islam. A note spiked into Van Gogh's body carried threats against his co-author, Somali-born Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken critic of Islam. By Maggie Gyllenhaal's logic, Van Gogh was responsible for his own death "in some way," because he made a movie about the way Islamic extremists treat women.

LONDON BOMBING: Police and intelligence agents are investigating the theory that a gang of white "mercenary terrorists" was hired by Al Qaeda to carry out last week's attacks. Peter Power, the managing director of a "crisis management" firm told BBC 5 that at the exact same time as the London bombings were taking place, his company was running a 1,000 person strong exercise drill in which the London Underground was being bombed at the exact same locations. SEMI-RELATED: Transportation hubs in many large cities, particularly in the U.S., have hidden security systems that can detect both nuclear and conventional weapons.

LONDON II: Iranian media claims the bombings were planned by the U.S. and U.K. governments to build support for the invasion of Iraq and attacking Islam generally. MEMRI TV, which hosts and transcribes video from Middle Eastern Media, notes that In a Friday sermon broadcast o­n Iranian TV, Ayatollah Mohammad Amami-Kashani called Al-Qaeda the child of the White House and Israel. Al-Majd TV aired an interview with Azzam Al-Tamimi, head of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London, who said that he hoped that people would realize the bombing was caused by U.S. and British entanglement in an oppressive and unjust war against the Afghan and Iraqi peoples. Abd Al-Bari Atwa, editor-in-chief of the London Arab daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi said that the bombings were a "good slap" at Tony Blair. A wishful thinker at the Associated Press managed to falsely report that Blair put the bombings in the context of the Middle-Eastern conflict. And the BBC has re-edited some of its coverage to avoid labelling the perpetrators as "terrorists."

AFGHANISTAN: Four suspected terrorists escaped Monday from the main U.S. detention facility, sparking a massive ground and air search. The body of the fourth downed SEAL was found near the other two casualties; a senior defense official said that "no way" had the SEAL ever been in captivity, contrary to Taliban claims that he had been abducted. Arthur Chrenkoff rounds up under-reported good news.

KYRGYZSTAN VOTES and it seems to have gone well. Both Gateway Pundit and Registan have coverage, though o­nly the latter has a photo of the dancing girls at the polls.

MICHAEL JACKSON IS SUED by a financial company claiming it is owed 48 million dollars in fees for rescuing Jacko's stake in the publishing rights to the Beatles catalog.

CELEBRITIES MOST IDENTIFY WITH GOOFY, according to a poll done for Disney in conjunction with Disneyland's 50th anniversary. Oprah Winfrey topped the list of the most desired Disney celebrity travel companion, but Clint Eastwood beat out Julie Andrews. No doubt Clint could get you to the front of the lines.

FARM AID is returning to Chicago for it 20th anniversary. Wille Nelson and John Mellencamp are bringing Dave Matthews, who certainly knows about spreading fertilizer in Chicago.

AARON BROWN may be o­n the outs at CNN.

THE SLURPEE turned 40 yesterday, bought an expensive sports car and started dating a much younger frozen treat.

THIS JUST IN: Men don't mind seeing naked women.

DWARF BRAHMIN CATTLE were married Sunday morning in a traditional Thai ceremony. Congrats to Thong Khaow and Thong Kham!

NICE DAY FOR A... SHARK TANK WEDDING: Gale and Wayne Landry married in wet suits and scuba diving gear o­n Sunday while nine sharks swam around them in The Florida Aquarium's 125,000-gallon shark tank. A sand tiger shark momentarily took interest in the bouquet, but will not be next to get hitched.

A PARROT rats out a robbery in El Salvador.

HORNY TIGERS in a Bangladesh zoo have been put o­n birth control.

4237 Reads

Alejandro Escovedo, Feist, Rhinocerose, Penguins and the Musical Furry Lobster   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 11, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO headlined the first night of the Eighth Annual Chicago Folk & Roots Festival last Saturday night. Given his struggle to overcome Hepatitis C, I was not sure what to expect, but he looked good and sounded great -- an apt soundtrack for a gorgeous sunset. He did stately versions of "Way It Goes" and "Rosalie;" "I Was Drunk" rocked and ""Everybody Loves Me" positively snarled. That last was due to the lead guitar of John Dee Graham, his former bandmate from the True Believers -- a band which is reuniting to do a benefit (along with Los Lobos) for John's son September 1st at Antoine's in Austin, TX. Chicagoan Susan Voelz also smoked o­n the fiddle. Alejandro also played new songs from the album he plans to record in the fall; o­ne of those songs, "Dear Head o­n the Wall," was covered by Charlie Sexton o­n Por Vida, an Escovedo tribute album I recommend (and it's another double-disc for the price of o­ne).

SUFJAN STEVENS talks to Gapers Block about UFOs, literary songwriting and cause and effect of industrial capitalists. And whether he will do cartwheels at the Metro. Plus, Chromewaves has Stevens' live cover of REM's "The o­ne I Love" up for download. Which I mention o­nly to torture you, because I know you wouldn't kill music by downloading it.

TEGAN AND SARA: Having linked to an interview with Sara, it's o­nly fair to link to an interview with Tegan, who emphasizes that they rock now.

BILLY BRAGG'S BOX SET is explained better by Billboard than it was o­n the Pitchfork. It looks like the extras will include a bonanza of covers, including the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time," the Smiths' "Back to the Old House," Gram Parsons' "Sin City," Smokey Robinson's "Tracks of My Tears," John Cale's "Fear is a Man's Best Friend," Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" and Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come."

THE DECEMBERISTS: A PopMatters review calls the band's current album, Picaresque, "proves downright faggy," but means it as a compliment. The official Star Wars site notes that Chewbacca tours with the band.

THE WORST THING to happen to pop criticism is good writers, according to the Washington City Paper.

LESLIE FEIST gives an interview to The Tofu Hut, including a recommended listening list.

THREE ROCKUMENTARIES are rounded up by London's Telegraph: Dig!, which follows the Dandy Warhols and the lesser-known Brian Jonestown Massacre; The Devil and Daniel Johnston; and You're Gonna Miss Me, which is about the legendary Roky Erickson. The article calls Dig! "Terrifying, hilarious and thought-provoking all at o­nce... destined to be quoted and referenced in the same measure as This Is Spinal Tap."


REMEMBER: The Music Business is killing home taping.

PATTI SMITH was presented with the insignia of Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters -- one of France's top cultural honors -- on Sunday.

RHINOCEROSE: Fluxblog says the upcoming single's "hooks are huge and relentless, as though the music was created in a lab for maximum pop power." You could download it, thereby killing music, but it can be safely heard at the band's web site. That means I can tell you it sounds like Prince writing a song for AC/DC that he ended up keeping for himself.

LOUIS JORDAN and BILLY ECKSTEIN -- two of the first black artists to cross over in a big way to white audiences in the forties and fifties -- would have celebrated birthdays last Friday. PowerLine pays tribute, with links to audio. There's a follow-up post here.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer and fiancee Kate Moss break up and make up twice in a week, as Oasis kicks Babyshambles off their tour.

BEST OF 2005 (SO FAR): Another preemptive list, this o­ne courtesy of the Hall Monitor.

DAVID LEE ROTH may replace Howard Stern?

HAIR METAL TOUR: "I'm sure there are some Quiet Riot fans who found the whole cheesy nightmare entertaining, but, to be perfectly blunt, most of the crowd didn't."

LOLLAPALOOZA, which says put in Chicago this year is essayed at MSNBC, along with a bit o­n Perry Farrell's latest musical effort.

LIVE 8 unleashed a wave of comment among political bloggers, but many music sites stayed silent.

THE G8 SUMMIT: Bob Geldof and Bono declared victory Friday in their campaign to push leaders at the G8 summit to double aid to Africa. George Clooney also had nice things to say, though he seemed uncomfortable saying them. Privately, non-governmental organisations had urged Geldof to say: "The people have spoken, but the politicians have not listened." Instead, Geldof said 10 million lives would be saved: "Was it a success? o­n aid, 10 out of 10. o­n debt eight out of 10." Bono said, "The world spoke and the politicians listened." However, Bono added, "A mountain has been climbed here o­nly to reveal higher peaks behind it," and acknowledged "it's not everything we've been looking for." I'll bet Bono could write a song about that.

LONDON TERROR BOMBING: Police look to the city's ubiquitous closed-circuit TV cameras to help determine who was behind Thursday's attacks. The system is detailed at a free link of the Wall Street Journal. Critics note that CCTV is not much of a deterrent. Noah Shachtman notes that if there's a hope for surveillance-as-deterrent, it may lie in places like Chicago, which is installing video understanding algorithms into its spycam network.

PART II: Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan police chief, says that the bombings were almost certainly masterminded by British-born terrorists. However, a senior government official told the Telegraph: "We are convinced it is not a British-based cell." Early reports indicated that Europe's police were asked to step up the hunt for Morocco-born scholar Mohamed Guerbouzi, who lived in the UK since 1974, but disappeared days after the Madrid train bombings in 2004. However, that angle was being denied as Spanish detectives arrived in London to help the Metropolitan police with the investigation of Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, the Syrian terrorist believed to have organised last yearís Madrid train attacks.

PART III: Even if these bombings were not the work of home-grown terrorists, they are causing an examination of the Muslim community in London. A leaked Whitehall dossier suggests Al Qaeda is secretly recruiting affluent, middle-class Muslims in British universities and colleges to carry out terrorist attacks in the U.K. The Sunday Times has a lengthy look at Britain's angry young Muslims that suggests that up to 16,000 may be involved in or supporting terrorism -- a number in the same ballpark as the estimate of active insurgents and terrorists in Iraq. To be sure, many adult Muslims have condemned the attacks.
Author Irshad Manji calls for Muslims to unconditionally condemn the bombings. Tariq Al-Humayd, the editor-in-chief of the world's leading Arab newspaper, calls for Muslims to stop giving to charities that back jihad. But Milverton Wallace, a London journalist and educator, passes along that: "I talked to many of the young Muslim lads I've known since they were babies, and I talked to their parents. And guess what? The parents are shocked, the youngsters gleeful."

SMELLS LIKE BLITZ SPIRIT: From the Londonist's signoff o­n Thursday, to messages from Andrew and Justin, both of whom got trapped in the Tube, to Virgin Radio playing requests from Chumbawumba to The Clash, to the blunt slogan of the Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for War, to the secret internet chatroom used to keep financial markets running smoothly after last Thursday's terror attacks, the Brits are displaying their Blitz Spirit. Londoners were back o­n the Tube. Britons are rallying around the flag, with Tony Blair's approval numbers soaring from 32 percent in January to 49 percent now. The country's biggest anti-fascist group called for a mass demonstration against hatred. Christopher Hitchens explains why appeasement is not an option. The photoblog We're Not Afraid drew entries from all over -- Iowa to Italy, from Cats and Dogs, even the cat that trains disabled service dogs, to other animals, there is the air of defiance. Our site admin Lance, who tipped me to the site -- and whose cat also appears at the site -- particularly liked Daniel Rohrig. From America, It Comes In Pints borrows from Team America: World Police for a profanity-laden tribute to the UK that namechecks many British bands and musicians.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Holmes stretces her 15 minutes by posing in a wedding dress for a W magazine photo shoot.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jennifer Aniston collapsed o­n the set of The Break Up after complaining of nausea and headaches. She was officially diagnosed as having heatstroke, but sources o­n set say she appears to have been badly affected by the increasing evidence that during her marriage to Pitt he was having an affair with Jolie. Pitt is teaming up with Ocean's Eleven co-star George Clooney and nightclub nabob Rande Gerber (Mr. Cindy Crawford) to build a new Las Vegas hotel and casino. Pitt reportedly Brad will design the hotel.

LI-LO UPDATE: The Lohan is in the Twin Cities for the shooting of A Prairie Home Companion. A manager of Sophie Joe's Emporium, observing her shopping for clothes, remarked, "Well, I think, the description I can give you honestly is that she acted like she was o­n too much coffee. And I'll leave it at that."

STEVEN SPIELBERG'S upcoming movie about the 1972 Munich Olympics where Black September Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes, concentrating o­n the bloody aftermath as the murders were avenged, is stirring controversy in Jerusalem.

HOLLYWOOD IS TACKLING 9/11 and o­ne of the first movies about the attack will be directed by Oliver Stone, from a screenplay by Andrea Berloff, whose background seems to be in comedy. Oh boy.

WEEKEND MOVIE ROUND-UP: The Fantastic Four won the weekend, with an estimated 56 million in box office receipts that would snap a 19 week Hollywood slump. It was better than I expected it to be, though given the generally negative advance reviews, my expectations were fairly low. It's certainly not as good as the Spider-Man movies were, or Batman Begins, maybe a notch below the X-Men series. There was a lot of exposition I would have tried to condense to get in a little more character development, though there had to be more exposition here than in the X-Men, where the device of mutation tells half of each character's story. I also think they missed a chance to do a more clever film about today's cult of celebrity. I agree with those who found Jessica Alba miscast and add that having cast her, they could have kept her in the costume with the plunging neckline for the duration of the picture. Michael Chiklis was quite good as the Thing, however. If you have a choice, I would recommend March of the Penguins to anyone who likes penguins or grew up with those Disney True-Life Adventures; the intro at the link gives you a taste of it.

IRAQ: U.S. and Iraqi forces have ''mostly eliminated" the ability of insurgents to conduct sustained, high-intensity attacks in Baghdad, according to the top U.S. commander in the Iraqi capital. Recent operations had reduced car bombings from 14-21 per week to seven or eight. But he cautioned against concluding that the insurgency has been broken. A memo outlining plans for a drawdown of U.K. and U.S. troops, first reported (and overhyped) in The Daily Mail is picked up by the BBC, with more U.S.-centric details in the Washington Post.

IRAQ II: Michael Yon has a new report o­n how the bureaucracy of the U.S. Military and generosity of Americans is helping bring the Iraqi healthcare system up to date. A British reservist corrects Prof. Juan Cole o­n the state of British operations in Southern Iraq. And ordinary Kuwaitis are rejecting anti-U.S. sermonizing from their own clerics.

AFGHANISTAN: Eighteen rebel commanders turned themselves over to government officials, signing a loyalty agreement not to possess heavy weapons or take up arms against the Afghan government or Coalition forces. The downed U.S. SEALs may have come too close to o­ne of the US-led coalitionís highest-priority targets ó perhaps Mullah Omar, Osama Bin Laden, or a regional Taliban commander suspected of links with Al-Qaeda.

TORTURE IN CUBA: Detainees at Gitmo may be forced to listen to Christina Aguilera, but ordinary Cubans were subjected to Air Supply.

REVERSE ENGINEERING FEMALE ORGASMS: Big Pharma has made billions pumping up the male population; now they want gender equality.


TENSION IN THE HOUSE OF LABOR: Organized labor should help politicians who will advance labor's cause rather than simply supporting Democrats, says Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union -- the largest member of the AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO, which represents almost 60 unions with 13 million members, has substantial differences with the five dissident unions in the Change to Win Coalition -- the SEIU, the Teamsters, the Laborers' International Union of North America, UNITE HERE, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America -- which represent more than 5 million of that total. The coalition members have threatebd to leave the AFL-CIO over the allocation of funds to politics over organizing.

FRANKENBOOZE: Research into the genetics of barley could lead to improved varieties of the crop most commonly used in the production of whisky and beer.



SKATEBOARDER jumps the Great Wall of China.

RETRO RUSSIAN RADIOS: I like all three parts of that, so here's a gallery of classic designs. Record players included also.

THE MUSICAL FURRY LOBSTER, almost lost to science when French researchers ate the first specimen, has surfaced in Australia.

SHEEP PLAY LEMMINGS IN TURKEY: one headline, three animals!

THE RUNNING OF THE BULLS injures four in Pamplona.

FROGS may be useful for surgery.

PANDA CUB BORN at the National Zoo. Congrats to Tian Tian and Mei Xiang!

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The Flaming Lips, The Knitters, a Church of Bees and a Drunken Tiger   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 08, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



...WITH NON-BREAKING NEWS ABOUT LONDON: A massive intelligence investigation is under way to find those responsible for the closely co-ordinated bomb attacks in London. The Wall Street Journal reports that the British are seeking a Moroccan man, Mohamed Guerbouzi, in connection with the attacks. If correct, it could be a major development in the investigation. Coverage evolves at the Wikipedia. The U.S. State Department raised a British flag in remembrance of those killed in the attacks. And if LiveJournal users are any indicator, anger and sadness spiked o­n Thursday. Londoners take pride in their "Blitz Spirit, with "A Letter To The Terrorists, From London" being o­ne such example.

SO WHAT DOES BOB MOULD THINK? The former Husker thinks that it's not advisable to wear an iPod while in an urban environment. Moby, who was in NYC o­n 9/11, issues condolences and quotes the Quran. And in case you missed it yesterday, Duran Duran is unharmed.

ROLLING STONE PUBLISHER JANN WENNER had less class than Moby, but I have tucked away my comments on Mr. Wenner at the "Read more" link at the end of today's entry.

THE FLAMING LIPS have approved the free distribution of The Fearless Freaks Soundtrack, an album of rare live tracks from 1986-96, to compliment the documentary about the band.

FRANK BLACK tells Now magazine that any friction with co-Pixie Kim Deal is overhyped. There's also a bit about Black's new soul-, R&B- and country-tinged album, Honeycomb, which comes out this month.


THE KNITTERS are releasing their first album since 1985 and hitting the road. Read the whole thing if you want to realize just how old you are.

PYLON is working o­n remastering their first album and single for a Fall release.

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH'S Lee Sargent are Tyler Sargent are interviewed at Tiny Mix Tapes.

SUFJAN STEVENS has a song available for download from NPR that does not yet appear o­n any album.

THE BEST OF 2005 (SO FAR): Yet another preemptive list, this time from Information Leafblower.

THE HOLLIES have asked a British court to jail founding bassist Eric Haydock for disobeying a 1998 court injunction not to play under the band's name.

IRON & WINE'S "Such Great Heights" backs a commercial for M&Ms. I hope Sam Beam was paid the rumored 500 large.

THE TOP 13 MOST OVERRATED SONGS, courtesy of Blogcritics.

ROCK STAR: INXS, a reality TV show to pick a replacement for late frontman Michael Hutchence, which premieres o­n CBS Monday, has some important differences from American Idol. For example, there's no panel of nasty or nice judges; instead, band members will compare notes and offer feedback. RHCP and Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro will serve as a mentor and coach.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: Galpal Kate Moss is not inviting any of her friends to her wedding to the troubled singer unless they give their unconditional backing to their nuptials. A source told Grazia magazine that Kate believes her friends are looking at junkie rocker Pete in a "shallow, judgemental way."

IRAQ: Iraq and Iran plan to cooperate o­n defense issues, including cross-border military co-operation, dismissing U.S. concerns about Iranian regional meddling. Sen. Carl Levin, no fan of the Bush Administration, says Sunni leaders expressed growing interest in participating in Iraq's new democracy during his trip to Iraq.

THE G8 SUMMIT: Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati talks to Der Spiegel about the disastrous effects of Western development policy in Africa, corrupt rulers, and the tendency to overstate the AIDS problem.

ZSA ZSA GABOR suffered a stroke, her second. Her doctors are very optimistic that she will recover.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise reportedly wants to give Holmes flying lessons. A source said: "Katie's apprehensive but he could ask her to stick her head in the oven and she would do it." Or maybe not: Holmes says not ready to marry "right now." War Of The Worlds has been blamed for a mass panic in Siberia after locals mistook a tornado for an alien invasion. And Cruise is credited with driving traffic to the Church Of Scientology website and boosting sales of L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON is a follower of John-Roger, who calls himself the Preceptor Consciousness and considers himself above Jesus Christ. And she married (and divorced) a millionaire who turned out to prefer men. But at least she's not jumping o­n my couch.

STEVEN SPIELBERG has started filming his next movie, which is about the Israeli agents sent to track down and assassinate the Palestinians believed to have killed 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympic Games massacre in Munich.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Although Jolie emphasizes that she's adopting the Ethiopian AIDS orphan as a single mother, Pitt is along for the trip to pick up the newborn girl. Pitt is taking a year out from his Hollywood career to make a documentary about celebrated architect Frank Gehry, which will make him a permanent fixture in the UK. But don't read too much into that.

BRITNEY SPEARS may be carrying twins.

THE NOT-SO-FANTASTIC FOUR? The consensus view seems to be that The Fantastic Four, which opens today, is mediocre at best. Sadly, that does not surprise me, as I had heard scary stuff about the script early o­n. Indeed, it seems that the publicity and the premiere were cursed. If it was a mistake to cast Jessica Alba as a bespectacled scientist, how much worse is it to cast her as someone who turns invisible? But would any of that stop me from using a picture of the Alba in her FF togs? Clearly not.

CINDERELLA MAN: Few people are asking for their money back under AMC Theaters' guarantee, which was noted here previously. I'm pleasantly surprised to see so few opportunists.

JENNY McCARTHY promotes her upcoming movie well enough, but you couldn't put any of her blurbs o­n television.

TARZAN, HE'S NOT: A Romanian man ended up in the hospital after he tried to swing from tree to tree to escape his wife and go drinking.

MORGAN FREEMAN co-owns a company that -- with backing from Intel --seeks to sell movie downloads over the 'net o­n the day they are released in theaters. "I live in Mississippi, in a very small town," Freeman said by telephone. "In order for me to see a first-run movie, I have to drive a couple of hours at a high rate of speed. For me and many consumers like me, this will be a godsend. I will be able to get premium content safely and cheaply."

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: E! o­nline frets that Johnny Depp's Wonka will remind us of Michael Jackson. Ain't It Cool News has a generally positive advance review up, though not from o­ne of the regulars there. It seems that people who have seen it aren't fretting. Gene Wilder, who has had negative things to say about the idea of a remake (which this is not, strictly speaking), now has nice things to say about Depp.

PODCASTING: Evan Williams, who made blogging simple with Blogger software, hopes to do the same for podcasting with Odeo. Fast Company magazine has a 60 second interview.

SUPREME COURT: Coulumnist and self-described prince of darkness Robert Novak writes that ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist also will announce his retirement before the week is over. Of course, that was before the London terror bombing, but Novak was o­ne of the few who had Justice O'Connor retiring first, so perhaps he knows something.

ODD UNDERWEAR FOR MEN AND WOMEN is reviewed in the Village Voice. And it's not particularly kinky... just odd.

TAKING SHOWERS may result in permanent brain damage, according to a new study from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. So maybe some of that odd underwear is less odd than I thought.

THE CHURCH OF BEES: It sounds like something from the Robyn Hitchcock catalog, but a church about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh has been infested with over a million bees; the problem has gotten so bad that honey oozes through its walls.

THE UGLY AMERICAN: A drunken American tourist was arrested for breaking into Munich's Hollabrunn Zoo and feeding stolen beer and ice cream to a tiger.

Read full article: 'The Flaming Lips, The Knitters, a Church of Bees and a Drunken Tiger'
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