THE FLAMING LIPS and PETE TOWNSEND play "Baba O'Riley" unplugged on "In The Attic" backstage at the V Festival in Baltimore. ALSO: Lips frontman Wayne Coyne is on NPR's Morning Edition today, discussing how his 11-year-long fish-frying gig at Long John Silver's "allowed me to dream about what my life could become."
ACE FREHLEY says rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.
SON VOLT played the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia last Friday, so you can stream the whole set from NPR now.
RICHARD THOMPSON talks songwriting and covers with the Cincinnati Enquirer.
BACKYARD TIRE FIRE, a Chicago-based band whose sound has elements of everything from Wilco to the Guess Who to Southern rock, are profiled by JamBase, where frontman Ed Anderson talks about growing up on 8-tracks and 70s AM radio, among other things. You can jukebox a few via the ol' HM.
BRIGHT EYES premieres the video for "Four Winds" exclusively on Spinner. I'm not a huge Bright Eyes guy, but I like this one lot.
THE AUTUMN DEFENSE: Pat Sansone thinks this Wilco-ite side-project gets compared to Bread, America and Crosby, Stills and Nash because of the harmonies; John Stirratt thinks it may just be that he and Sansone "didn't want to hear loud electric guitars." You can stream their soft sounds from TheirSpace.
SONIC YOUTH have booked their first two dates ever in the People's Republic of China. Will the government approve?
IN SEARCH of the BLUES: London's Telegraph reviews a book about the "the Blues mafia" who created the romantic notion of the bluesman as primitive, tormented genius.
LEE HAZLEWOOD, still fighting renal cancer, offers some ramblin' recollections and observations for Harp magazine, including this: "I don't know why the kids who like my old garbage like those songs. The lost romanticism, the fatalism? No idea. If I knew, I'da done more of it..." He also tells the San Francisco Chronicle what he thought of Jessica Simpson's take on "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'."
THE INDELICATES are a hooky new British band including early Pipette Julia. My Old Kentucky Blog is streaming five tracks, including the droll "Waiting for Pete Doherty to Die."
...AND THE OSCARS WENT TO these folks, but more importantly, what did I think? Alan Arkin rules, even reading his speech. George Miller, director of Mad Max and The Road Warrior, wins for dancing penguins; go figure. We don't need clip montages; they pad the show and remind us of movies better than those nominated this year. Tom Cruise giving the humanitarian award to ex-Paramount chair Sherry Lansing is an inside joke at the expense of Sumner Redstone, who kicked Cruise off the Paramount lot. Scorsese, Eastwood and Spielberg are all funnier than Ellen DeGeneres. The cinematographer for Children of Men wuz robbed! Robert Downey, Jr. is funnier than Ellen. Al Gore does not get an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth (it really goes to Davis Guggenheim), but Gore gets to make a political speech anyway. Gore always forgets the Clinton-Gore Admin's failure to submit the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate for ratification. Celine Dion appears, makes me long for Al Gore. Ennio Morricone rocks. Tobey Maguire needs to shave. Travolta needs a better hairpiece. Spielberg, appearing in a trio with Coppola and Lucas to give Best Director to Scorsese, gets the line of the night: "Spread out!" If you missed the show, you can also get the play-by-play from The Envelope. UPDATE: Nikki Finke and Tom Shales are among those unimpressed with the telecast. DOUBLE-BONUS: Joe Queenan notes that the Oscars are more dishonest than the Grammys.
THE RED CARPET: Cate Blanchett, Reese Witherspoon, and Kate Winslet were Hot. Elizabeth Shue and Kirsten Dunst were Not. Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway and Nicole Kidman were Hot, but Not in those dresses. BONUS: My law school friend Terrie Khoshbin noted that the Red Carpet shows kept airing the m&ms commercial that features "This is the Day" by The The -- an ad placement I had heretofore missed.
THE RAZZIES, otoh, went to these folks. Saturday was a big night for Basic Instinct 2, Little Man and Lady in the Water.
THE INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS went to these folks. Little Miss Sunshine was the big winner with four prizes. Emcee Sarah Silverman: "If a bomb went off, there would be nobody left to make a documentary about it."
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Oscar weekend was an apathetic one at the nation's cineplexes. Ghost Rider retained the top slot with 19.7 million, but dropped 60 percent. Even so, the flick may break even in the US and make money internationally. The Number 23 made 15.1 million, which may not be bad, considering its 30 million budget. Bridge to Terabithia dropped 40 percent to the third slot, probably because folks found out this is much darker than the Narnia franchise. Reno 911!: Miami came in fourth with about ten million, which is probably good, as the budget had to be low. Norbit drops to fifth, but at 74 million in total, this Eddie Murphy movie may pass up Dreamgirls. Music and Lyrics grossed eight million in its second weekend, and dropped only 41 percent, but probably disappoints the studio. The espionage flick Breach also dropped about 40 percent, perhaps hurt by folks catching up on this year's Oscar noms. Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls plunged 53 percent, making 5.2 million. Ninth place goes to The Astronaut Farmer, with a 4.5 million take that surely disappoints, just barely edging out Amazing Grace, the anti-slavery biopic that opened on far fewer screens.
BRITNEY SPEARS: Amanda Alexander -- sister of Britney's first husband Jason Alexander -- says she's seen the pop tart use cocaine and ecstasy. Fed-Ex says he could never take her back, reports the ever-reliable Daily Star UK. She was visited by her kids in rehab. Manager Larry Rudolph denies she's on suicide watch.
JESSICA BIEL appears to have moved on from Justin Timberlake and has been spotted with That 70s Show swordsman Wilmer Valderrama.
BRADGELINA: Us Weekly claims that Pitt and Jolie have filed paperwork with US Citizenship and Immigration Services to adopt a boy from Vietnam. More certain is the report that the Council on Foreign Relations has decided to admit Jolie as a member, based on her work as a UN goodwill ambassador. And the fact that she's much hotter than Alan Greenspan.
NICOLE KIDMAN and KEITH URBAN had to dig really deep when he went into rehab... or so she told Russell Crowe during Oprah's pre-Oscars "stars-interview-each-other" show.
ANNA NICOLE SMITH IS STILL DEAD, but Sandi Powledge is talking about their tumultuous love affair. NTTAWWT.
KATE HUDSON-CHRIS ROBINSON BREAK-UPDATE: Hudson was snapped in a PDA with Owen "The Butterscotch Stallion" Wilson in Australia.
JACKO, unofficially blacklisted from a hoped-for Vegas run, agreed to do a tour with sister Janet and his brothers. Whether he follows through is another matter.
JESSICA SIMPSON may be a Pizza Hut spokesmodel, but she is reportedly allergic to cheese, tomatoes and wheat.
AMERICAL IDOL producer Nigel Lythgoe says he has not seen any of the embarrassing and downright NSFW photos of contestant Antonella Barba circulating on the Internet. And there are really NSFW versions at ONTD.
IRAN: In The New Yorker, Seymour Hersh claims that a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from Pres. Bush. The panel had focused on destroying Iran's nuke facilities and regime change, but has since been directed to identify Iranian targets that may be involved in supplying or aiding militants in Iraq. Pentagon officials say they maintain contingency plans for literally dozens of potential conflicts around the world and that all plans are subject to regular and ongoing review. The Times of London claims that senior US military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, but the story then refers to officers at the Pentagon who are not actually commanders. FWIW, I think there would be a big WH PR push before anything like this would happen. The Daily Telegraph claims that Israel is negotiating with the US for permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran's nuke sites. This also seems to fall under the heading of contingency planning; imho, Israel might be just as happy to have a tacit deal to fly over Saudi Arabia, knowing that SA would officially squawk, but take no real action. Indeed, a few hours after I wrote that, a Kuwaiti newspaper reports that Qatar, Oman and the UAE have told the US that they would not object to Israel using their airspace.
IRAQ: At ITM, Mohammed has an overview of the progress in Baghdad over the first two weeks of the new security plan, including 600 displaced families returning home, and worshippers returning to their mosques. Over 400 insurgents have been killed and another 400 captured since security operations began in mid-February. Despite the jump in terrorist bombings in the last few days, the death toll in Baghdad has dropped by over 70 percent. More Kurdish troops are moving towards Baghdad. Kurdish leaders have apparently approved a draft oil law that will be presented to Iraqi lawmakers in coming weeks. The Interior Ministry launched an operation against an Islamic Army base north of Baghdad, killed "tens" of fighters and captured " Saad Akram Khalifa, a commander of the Islamic Army in northern Iraq." Coalition forces captured 12 al-Qaeda in raids in Amiriyah and Mosul, and found "a large amount of Egyptian and Syrian money and false passports and identification cards." Al-Qaeda murdered 35 and injured more than 60 in a suicide bombing on a mosque in Habbaniyah whose cleric spoke out against al-Qaeda. Special Iraqi Army Forces captured 5 members of the Mahdi Army in Husayniyah and the leader of a 30 man sniper cell in Mashahda.
IRAQ in the MEDIA: 60 Minutes supports the troops who oppose the war. If that sounds like an overstatement, consider that the show portrayed the "appeal for redress" as a grassroots effort, instead of a well-organized and financed effort by longtime antiwar activists. And consider that the show relied on a recent Military Times survey to claim that more US soldiers oppose the president's handling of the war in Iraq than support it, when the Military Times admits the poll is not representative of the troops. Moreover, it's a mail-in poll, which makes it unscientific in the first place. If I know these things, you can bet 60 Minutes knew them, but chose not to tell its viewers.
RATS SWARMED through a KFC in NYC's Greenwich Village. The Health Department has closed the store, which had passed inspection one day after WCBS cameras caught dozens of rats scurrying across the store, jumping on tables, and climbing into food trays. Video at both links.
BEAVERS RETURN TO NYC after 200 years. So. Many. Punchlines. But I'm still partial to the one in The Naked Gun.
WEALTHY GAY DOG wants to take on best man duties at same-sex weddings at his 13th Century manor house.
100 SHEEP CARCASSES were discovered in a home in downtown Toronto.
SNAKE in a WAL-MART: The Georgia man bit by a pygmy rattler last November has filed suit against the big box giant. Video at the link.