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Neko Case, Stacey's Mom, BRMC, Lions and Tigers and Bears   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, March 03, 2006 - 08:40 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

MUSICAL TIMEWASTER: In November, Virgin Records had people identifying 75 bands in a picture. Now the challenge is to pick out songs in a video, which is much more difficult.

NEKO CASE talks to Harp magazine about uncompromising love, art school ,being a control freak and much more. Sylvia will be delighted to learn that Case has a rescued Greyhound and a '67 Mercury Cougar she fixes herself. She tells Exclaim that she's named it Angie Dickinson at the end of a piece o­n her imminent album, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood. Her label has made a guilt-free download of "Hold o­n, Hold o­n" available. Yum!

BELLE & SEBASTIAN The Phoenix (of Swarthmore) talks to keyboard player Chris Geddes about balancing their setlist o­n the new tour between the older, twee stuff and the funkier, more upbeat new stuff.

JENNY LEWIS tells the San Diego Union-Tribune that there are autobiographical elements to her solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat, "But those elements are somewhat taken out of context. There are some touchstones that ring true. I guess it's tough to know where the story ends and the truth begins."

KILLING MUSIC, In the Village Voice, Nick Sylvester decries the ethics of those who post an artist's entire album for download. He's got a point, but writing it the week he got caught making up an article was bad timing.

ABBA star Bjorn Ulvaeus has lashed out at stars who follow New Age religions -- insisting they are just trying to boost record sales.

PEARL JAM will release its first album in three-and-a-half-years o­n May 2, with a free download from the band's Web site o­n March 8th and 9th.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Let's take a break from winter with "Stacey's Mom" from Fountains of Wayne. And since someone is getting other postings of this vid flagged for possible "inappropriate" content, here's a backup or two.

DINOSAUR JR. is getting two more Rhino reissues -- 1991's Green Mind and 1993's Where You Been -- along with Live at CBGB: The First Acoustic Show, which is really a J Mascis gig. They're due in May. But Lou Barlow says the reunion tour is all older stuff.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART and THE VELVET UNDERGROUND are upcoming subjects in the "Under Review" DVD series. The discs, due out April 15, mix interview and performance footage with review and comment from experts and critics. Should make Tax Day more bearable.

THE NATIONAL has reissued Alligator with a bonus disc of B-sides, but those who already bought the disc can download the bonus material -- a fan-friendly move right out of the Wilco playbook.

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB recently brought their mix of roots rock, country, gospel and blues to Washington, DC's 9:30 Club -- you can stream the gig in Real or Windows format from NPR.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer is receiving outpatient treatment for manic depression. He has told doctors he believes his problems stem from his estrangement from his father, a strict Army major.

JANE FONDA SEX TAPE allegedly involves Fonda allegedly wearing artificial equipment to pleasure the alleged Ted Turner while he services an unidentified brunette. Allegedly. Fortunately for her, it's likely no o­ne wants to see it.

NOW SHOWING: This weekend's wide releases are the action pictures 16 Blocks (51% Rotten o­n the Tomatometer, though slightly better with the "cream of the crop" critics) and Ultraviolet (not screened for critics, with all that implies), the Splash-for-kids mermaid comedy Aquamarine (a surprising-to-me 64% Fresh) and Dave Chappelle's Block Party, which is rocking a 96% Fresh rating.

BRADGELINA: Jolie supposedly found Pitt's little black book, was initially freaked out, but then joked about it. I love stories told to tabloids by "insiders" who could not possibly have observed what's reported. In any event, how do we square that story with Jolie wanting an open marriage?

SIENNA MILLER launches herself at a photographer. She may not like the paparazzi, but she ought to know that unflattering pictures of her attacking the camera don't help.

BROKEBACK SHEEP: The Humane Society claims that the makers of the gay cowboy flick Brokeback Mountain were too rough o­n the sheep. And that, my friends, is the broad side of the barn.

BRITNEY SPEARS was enraged by the photos of Spenderline with that French actress-singer that were all over the internet recently.

JACK WILD, who died from cancer at 53, is getting remembered for his Oscar nomination as the Artful Dodger in Oliver! But I will always remember him as Jimmy o­n H.R. Pufnstuf. I wish I had seen him at the Hollywood Bowl, where he shared a bill with the Brady Bunch kids, Johnny Whitaker and assorted Sid & Marty Krofft characters...

TERI HATCHER and GEORGE CLOONEY done already?

BILL CLINTON: While Sen. Hillary Clinton is bashing the idea of Dubai Ports World taking over management of some US port operations, the former POTUS is praising Dubai as an enlightened Arab nation and "a critical ally in the war o­n terror." And he is rumored to have undisclosed business dealings with Dubai, too.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: The couple frolicked o­n the beaches in Tahiti in a show of still-togetherness -- did they know that during the later stages of pregnancy, it is unsafe to submerge yourself (especially in sea water) due to a risk of infection?

ANNA NICOLE SMITH: As her struggle for millions reaches the Supreme Court, Amber Taylor combs court documents to discover Smith initially had to work the less lucrative day shift as a dancer because she was "big boned."

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: Her recent apearance o­n Ellen has turned up o­n YouTube, so you can see her talk about that Vanity Fair cover and watch her play "Raindrops Are Fallin' o­n My Head" o­n her teeth. No, really.

SCARLETT JOHANSSON, Keira's Vanity Fair cover-mate, finally speaks out about getting groped by Issac Mizrahi at the Golden Globes: "I think he's a guy that's starting his TV career and he's making a bit of an exciting moment for himself. I can't be angry at him..."

IRAQ: Bill Roggio details missions against al-Qaeda camps in the rural areas of Anbar, where the Iraqi Army is just beginning to make inroads. At Healing Iraq, Zayed pays tribute to murdered Al-Arabiya reporter Atwar Bahjat. And Kurdish, Sunni and secular political groups wrote to the Shiite alliance to reject its selection of outgoing prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari to lead the next cabinet, complicating efforts to set up a government of national unity -- though it may help in the medium-term to remind the Shiites that they cannot succeed without support from other factions.

CARTOON JIHAD: A group of Muslim men have tried to get at the daughter of o­ne of the 12 cartoonists who drew the cartoons of Muhammed at her school. The 12 cartoonists have had their lives overturned and are now living in hiding, after receiving several death threats.

HURRICANE KATRINA: The AP made a big deal over an Aug. 28 video the reporter claims shows that federal disaster officials warned Pres. Bush and his homeland security chief before Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees. The Washington Post and the L.A. Times followed suit, though a CBS blog notes that The New York Times, Slate and NBC didn't think it was all that newsworthy. That might be because the transcript (pp. 5-6) shows that National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield warned that levees might overtop, which is less serious than a breach. The AP reporter falsely claims there was a warning of possible breach. Mayfield also said "the currrent track and the forecast we have now suggests there will be minimal flooding in the city of New Orleans itself, but we're -- we've always said that the storm surge model is o­nly accurate within 20 percent." And the AP makes no mention of Mayfield and Bush phoning Mayor Nagin to beg him to issue the evacuation order, either. Video from Aug. 29 shows that hours after Katrina made landfall, federal and state officials did not know that the levees were failing, that Bush was asking about reports that the levees had been breached, and that Gov. Blanco said they had not at that time. (transcript) Even the AP now admits this, while repeating the false claim about the Aug. 28 video. Meanwhile, the cover story of this month's Popular Mechanics is devoted to debunking Katrina myths. For example: "Bumbling by top disaster-management officials fueled a perception of general inaction, o­ne that was compounded by impassioned news anchors. In fact, the response to Hurricane Katrina was by far the largest -- and fastest -- rescue effort in U.S. history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving o­n the scene within three days of the storm's landfall."

COUNTRY BEARS UPDATE: Yesterday, my colleague Debbie saw the story of bears invading California suburbs and made the Sopranos connection I should have caught. She also looked into the story and found that Samson the "Hot Tub Bear" has his own monument in Monrovia, CA.

LIONS and TIGERS and BEARS help high-school wrestlers practice. Oh, my!

DRUG-SNIFFING DOGS are not fooled by Filet 'o' Fish.

SNAKE ON A PLANE could have killed someone in five to ten minutes. Get a bunch of 'em and you have a movie!

2811 Reads

The Smiths, Nellie McKay, Bishop Allen, Allen Toussaint, Country Bears   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

ARCTIC MONKEYS bassist Andy Nicholson notes that their success would probably seem stranger to them had it not been so immediate: "This is our first album and we don't know any better than what's already happened. This is normal for us. This is just how it works." Author and critic Simon Reynolds explains why he became a fan: "I just assumed from what I’d read that they’d be just another nowt-going-on-in-t'-rhythm-section indie-rock combo, fronted by an excessively cocky Northern lad singer, drawing an ever-more insular set of quintessentially English sources. o­n this occasion, though, the inbreeding has paid off: the family tree is narrow (Jam, Smiths, Oasis, Libertines, etc ), but for o­nce the result isn’t an enfeebled poodle, it’s a mighty attack dog spliced out of the most potent and poignant genes of their ancestors."

KIDS RULE: Arctic Monkeys may have broken UK records and entered the US charts at No. 24, but they are no match for the High School Musical soundtrack, Kidz Bop Kids and other music aimed at kids dominating the US charts. It won't be long until Apple Martin is making music and Issac Gabriel is reviewing it.

THE QUEEN IS DEAD: Twenty years later, the Belfast Telegraph has an article by guitarist Johnny Marr o­n the recording of the Smiths' most celebrated album.

NELLIE McKAY: Her album remains in limbo after leaving Sony/Columbia, but the video for "Real Life" has surfaced o­n the Internet.

KILLING MUSIC: The feds have secured the first guilty pleas for copyright infringement in Operation Fastlink, which is targeting the so-called "release" groups that are the original sources for a majority of the pirated works distributed and downloaded over the Internet.

HATING THE HUMMER: Multi-platinum bands like Talking Heads and Smashing Pumpkins have declined to license songs for Hummer commercials, but more modest indie bands like Caribou and Four Tet have also refused to help promote the gas guzzler.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: One-hit wonder Mazzy Star plays "Fade Into You" o­n Jools Holland's Later.

BISHOP ALLEN is releasing an EP monthly. *Sixeyes has details and links to free MP3's, including "Eve of Destruction," which is a mutation of the P.F. Sloan/Barry McGuire classic with DNA from REM's "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" and Reunion's "Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)."

MY SPACE is killing music, though not in the way I normally us that phrase, accoring to an article in The New Republic (try registering as dumpstadiva51, password = bagladie): "Thanks to MySpace, young bands no longer need to start out by gigging, playing o­ne-nighters, making mistakes in near anonymity, learning what works, finding their voice through a dialogue with their audience--I mean a musical dialogue, not a chat..." I am shocked, shocked, that a lot of stuff o­n MySpace is crap -- as though most things in other forms of media are not. Author David Hajdu will thus be thrilled to learn that MySpace is branching into video a la YouTube.

ALLEN TOUSSAINT: The legendary New Orleans musician and producer stopped by the World Cafe, with streaming goodness from NPR, including an exclusive rendition of "Tipitina."

GARY GLITTER goes o­n trial today for child abuse charges in closed session at the courthouse in the Ba Ria-Vung Tau province of Vietnam. His lawyer is convinced Glitter will be convicted. Ouch.

JACK WHITE rants about Internet music critics o­n his website, but appreciates the irony of it. I think he's mistaken in believing that there were a lot of great music critics in olden times.

PAUL WELLER: The ex-Jam frontman says "there are more important things in my life now to write about than politics." But he still wants to blast London officials for retiring the iconic Routemaster model buses late last year.

JESSICA ALBA is threatening to sue Hugh Hefner & Co. for trying to make it seem that she appears in a "nude or semi-nude pictorial" for Playboy.

BRADGELINA: Pitt, who is becoming a UN ambassador (pretty sure you get that with your SAG card now), is demanding his mom choose between Bradgelina or Jen. Page Six claims that Julia Roberts pumped her camera operator for gossip from the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

MADONNA continues her downsizing by signing o­n to Coachella -- her first-ever festival date.

BRING OUT THE GIMP: It turns out that George Michael had some interesting items -- including a "gimp mask" -- in his car when he got busted o­n a drug charge the other day.

BRITNEY SPEARS: Spenderline may be a complete jackass who treats the pop tart like dirt, but at least this rumored cruelty is kinda funny.

JESSICA SIMPSON hubby Nick Lachey does not want you (or Argentina) to cry for him.

LOHAN LOWDOWN: Some folks have noticed that the hi-res version of the picture of Li-Lo to the right is probably NSFW.

TERI HATCHER: The face was not real and will be less spectacular in the future. But are she and George Clooney o­n the downlow?

CANOODLING CORRECTION: Page Six retracts its claim that Wynona Ryder and Liev Schreiber were caught canoodling in NYC the other night, now claiming that Liev is "blissfully committed to gorgeous Naomi Watts."

BECOMING JANE: Anne Hathaway is signed to a movie that could have the alternate title "Austen In Love."

PARADISE WHERE? A campaign against Paradise Now -- which portrays a suicide bomber as heroic and is nominated for this year's Best Foreign Feature at the Oscars -- is gathering pace. It doesn't help that the film is credited to "Palestine," a country that does not technically exist. No foreign film entry has, in academy history, been attributed to such a place.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT: Rumors are rampant that the highly-acclaimed but ratings-challenged comedy has been picked up by Showtime for a 26-episode order.

CULT OF THE iPod: Silver Jews frontman David Berman, Modest Mouse's Issac Brock and actor-comedian David Cross are among those in the A.V. Club's first edition of Random Rules, setting their MP3 players to "shuffle" and commenting o­n the first few tracks that come up. PLUS: iLounge already has a review for the Apple Hi-Fi system announced o­n Tuesday.

EDU-BLOGGING: The 56th Carnival Of Education is o­nline.

GLOBAL WARMING: Scientists from NASA and Columbia University have used computer modeling to successfully reproduce an abrupt climate change that took place 8,200 years ago. This work is the first to consistently recreate the event by computer modeling, and the first time that the model results have been confirmed by comparison to the climate record, which includes such things as ice core and tree ring data. All of which may suggest that the Earth warmed and cooled prior to the Industrial Revolution and that the computer models used to chart global climate haven't been very good before now.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio writes o­n the pros and cons of al Qaeda funneling jihadis into Iraq. At Iraq the Model, Omar posts o­n controversy caused by Prime Minister Jafari's visit to Turkey. Al-jazeera reports o­n the impact of the Iraqi blogosphere. Democratic pollster Mark Blumenthal has more o­n the Zogby poll of US troops in country. Based o­n what Zogby told Blumenthal, it seems likely that the poll used cluster sampling (which has unique problems) -- as opposed to the purely random sampling Zogby suggested in his PR. And we don't know whether Zogby knows this and accounted for it in the results. Ralph Peters opines from Baghdad that "the reporting out of Baghdad continues to be hysterical and dishonest." Max Boot, returning from Iraq, wonders whether overall progress will be shattered by a spectacular act of violence such as the mosque bombing.

CARTOON JIHAD: The European Union issued a statement o­n the Danish cartoons of Mohammed and the riots opposed to them that "free media are indispensable to a free and open society" but added: "Freedoms, however, come with responsibilities." The Islamic extremists admit by their own placards that they are not interested in a free society and are often uninterested in peaceful protest, so the o­nly message being sent here is to the media -- that their governments will not support them against the mob. Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji, Bernard-Henri Lévy and other people of arts and letters seem to have a better grip o­n this than the EU.

COUNTRY BEARS are visitng the suburbs across California.

CAT CURFEWS: Four European countries today imposed restrictions o­n the movements of cats after a dead cat in Germany was discovered to have been infected with bird flu.

SNAKE CHARMERS clear the way for President Bush in India. Insert punchline here.

APES GOT CULTURE: Fifty years of research o­n gorillas, chimps and orangutans has shown they use tools, communicate, and sometimes shake their hands just because it’s cool. They are just waiting for humans to blow it... up.

3603 Reads

The Eames Era, Elvis Costello, Broken Social Scene, Koza and Cairo   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE EAMES ERA: I kept meaning to mention this Louisiana-based pop (in a good way) band after it got good write-ups at Tiny Mix Tapes and Glide magazine last Fall. The Center Daily Times reports that days before the Double Dutch tour, the band's van was involved in an accident with a military vehicle that was part of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. You can stream a few numbers at MySpace and download a couple that -- imho -- are even better from SPIN.

WEALTHY ROCK LEGENDS complain about the state of the music business to Rosanna Arquette for a rockumentary. Aerosmith's Steven Tyler moans about the Internet, but the funniest comment may come from David Crosby, who says the suits "wouldn't know a song if it flew up their noses and died … . That's what puts Britney Spears, who is about as deep as a birdbath, in front of Joni Mitchell." Dave might want to avoid the "flying up your nose" metaphors.

PERE UBU has a new album slated for September.

ELVIS COSTELLO is jazzing up his back catalog with the Metropole Orkest. Stereogum is killing music with the jazz version of "Watching The Detectives."

GANG OF FOUR/KARATE KID UPDATE: Brooklyn Vegan is killing music with "Desire," a Go4 trak that appears o­nly o­n the Karate Kid soundtrack.

JAMES BROWN: Can you take me to the bridge? Yes, but not for much longer.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Although I've got cooler links stashed away, I was in the mood for this 1979 live clip of Van Halen playing "Dance The Night Away."

YOU TUBE seemed to be o­n the fritz for part of Tuesday, so anyone who missed yesterday's Johnny Cash set should check 'em out. Plus,we can now compare Johnny and June singing "Jackson" with a version from Joaquin and Reese in Walk The Line.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE: Although the 16-plus collective builds collective buzz through side projects, Kevin Drew is talking about scaling down into more solo-based projects and movie soundtracks: "If we tour, it's gonna be so amazing just to [hit the road o­n a small scale]. Going into a restaurant, I've never been able to ask for a table for three, and that would be nice o­ne day."

NEKO CASE: At Chromewaves, Frank is killing music with the indie chanteuse's cover of Dylan's "Buckets Of Rain."

THE STROKES are amused by reports of their imminent demise.

ISOBEL CAMPBELL talks about touring with former Vaselines member Eugene Kelly instead of collaborator (and former Screaming Trees/Queens Of The Stone Age guitarist) Mark Lanegan: "He doesn't have that gravelly sound that Mark does. Eugene is more rich; more Glen Campbell-like."

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer has been arrested yet again -- this time o­n suspicion of stealing a car and possessing illegal class A drugs. He escaped a jail sentence earlier this month, but was told he faced a prison sentence if he failed to comply with a community service order that requires him to attend a drug rehabilitation center. He has to return to court o­n March 8 for a review of the order.

CHARLIZE THERON and KATE MOSS apparently will not be playing lesbian lovers in a Dusty Springfield biopic that was rumored to be Ang Lee's next project.

THE FRENCH HOTEL, meanwhile, has warned Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron: "My acting coach told me I have a similar style of acting to her so we may end up vying for the same parts."

JENNY McCARTHY would love to haunt the French Hotel if she becomes a spirit after death: "I'd try and give her (Hilton) some really good spiritual direction in her life. I'd also love to f**k with her, whispering in her ear things like, 'Your clothes are dirty! You're totally out of style! Eat something!'" I don't wish Jenny ill, but those are some good suggestions for any ghosts with some free time...

PREGNANCY RUMORS: Liz Hurley and Britney Spears are trying to quash them.

MARRIAGE RUMORS: Nicole Kidman's rep issued what sounds like a non-denial denial: "The story is nonsense. I know of no wedding. I know of no wedding date. I know of no wedding plans." But is she engaged to Keith Urban? No answer.

OSCAR PREDICITIONS: Moragn Freeman thinks Brokeback Mountain will win because it is the "flavor of the month." Freeman preferred Capote. Filmjerk looks at statistics for possible upsets and finds a big o­ne -- favoring Keira Knightley for Best Actress, but adding: "I don't think Knightley is going to win, and I'd never predict her to win. I don't think Knightley thinks she's going to win."

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: Ex-beau Jamie Dornan claims he split with Knightley because her fame and fortune made him feel inferior and insecure.

BRADGELINA: The couple is apparently arguing over where to have their child -- in the US or France. Surprisingly, it's Pitt who seems to be the smarter o­ne in this case.

LOHAN LOWDOWN: Li-Lo hasapparently run out of new men in her age bracket, as she's been spotted with ex-boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama of That 70's Show at 5:30 a.m.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Star magazine has pictures of the couple vacationing in Tahiti. There's nothing like the trip to a romantic locale to show the world a couple is still together -- just ask Brad and Jen. Or Nick and Jessica.

DAVIE-BROWN INDEX REDUX: More results from the sophisticated celebrity-ranking survey have turned up in New York magazine. There have been rampant rumors that CBS would like to hire Katie Couric to anchor the Evening News, but based o­n the DBI's rankings of appeal, influence and trust, CBS should replace Dan Rather with Robert DeNiro. Just imagine how Bobby could grill an interviewee -- "Are you talkin' to me?"

ANNA NICOLE SMITH got a sympathetic audience at the Supreme Court yesterday o­n her claim that the son of the 89-year-old oil tycoon she married (when she was a 26-year-old topless dancer in Texas) tried to cover up legal documents that concealed parts of the tycoon's will that designated money for Smith. Insert your Clarence Thomas joke here.

LOST has the kind of rabid fandom that buys 15,000 copies of a book shown o­n-screen for just o­ne second, after a scriptwriter hinted that it had been chosen "very specifically for a reason." Entertainment Weekly senior writer Jeff Jensen thinks he's solved the shows mysteries. And -- like most significant others -- Dominic Monaghan is powerless to tell Evangeline Lilly that her bikini is not a good look.

IRAQ: The AP has civil war looming again, based o­n 68 deaths following the lifiting of the curfew. The Washington Post's report of 1,300 dead is not confirmed by anyone, which -- oddly enough -- the paper reports as the result of political pressure (though the evidence of pressure reported relates to other deaths). Elsewhere, the WaPo reports o­n a skilled and heroic helicopter pilot, Capt. Sarah Piro. At Iraq the Model, Omar notes that Saddam's trial just got interesting, as it moves beyond the ex-tyrant's antics to hard evidence he ordered mass killings.

POLLING THE TROOPS: A new Zogby poll headlined "72% Say End War in 2006" is getting play around the Internet. Unfortunately, Zogby (as usual) is keeping the questions and methodology secret, making it impossible to judge the reliability of the poll. For example, Zogby states that 25% of the sample is female. We know from the above-mentioned story o­n Capt. Piro that the active-duty forces are about 15% female. We don't know whether Zogby adjusted the sample or whether doing so would change the results. Even taking the numbers at face value, without knowing the questions, their premises and order, we have no way to know whether the answers merely reflect knowledge of US plans to significantly draw down the troops this year and the troops' estimate of when they think their mission will be finished. Indeed, taking the numbers at face value, Zogby could have headlined his press release "Most troops think some Americans favor rapid US troop withdrawal from Iraq because they are unpatriotic (37%) or don't understand the need for the US troops in Iraq (15%)." When you can write headlines that different, I suspect that the real picture is more complex than either suggests. A poll of the troops could be illuminating, but Zogby should be more transparent if he wants us to buy his.

IRAN: Steve Schippert notes that while everyone is focused o­n Iran's nuclear ambitions, its diplomatic strategy and support for Hamas and Hezbollah have serious ramifications o­n a shorter timetable.

KOZA and CAIRO have become play pals while Koza (the lion cub) stays in the nursery at a wild animal park in North Carolina. Cairo (a Mastiff puppy) eventually will find a new home when his lion friend gets a little too big and dangerous to wrestle.

PETA is suing RINGLING BROS. o­n claims that the circus hired an ex-CIA agent to spy o­n the animal-rights group.

A "CURTAIN" OF TWO MILLION BEES menaces a South Florida neighborhood after overruning the home of a dead man in South Miami.

RUPERT THE COCKER SPANIEL is helping a recuitment agency's employees quit smoking and lose weight.

2141 Reads

Ryan Adams, Os Mutantes, Johnny & June, Pig-casso   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

RYAN ADAMS: An Aquarium Drunkard is killing music by posting two unreleased Adams albums, 48 Hours and The Suicide Handbook. Turns out he already posted a "lost" Whiskeytown album, Those Weren't The Days.

NEW RELEASES: Old 97s frontman Rhett Miller's solo album, The Believer, is streaming in its entirety from AOL Music. Not to mention a couple of classic re-issues from ZZ Top -- Tres Hombres and Fandango!

CONSUMER GUIDE: Village Voice dean Robert Christgau's latest gives high marks to the aforementioned Rhett Miller, Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins (see last Friday's post for linkage), the chamber-pop of (Arcade Fire offshoot) Bell Orchestre (hear 'em at MySpace), Frank London's Klezmer Brass All-stars and more...

ROBERT POLLARD talks to PopMatters about realizing his dream to make a double album and selling his rarities o­n eBay. From A Compound Eye is still streaming in glorious Quicktime from Merge Records.

NEKO CASE: The indie chanteuse tells Billboard she slept with animals when she was a kid. Her label is still giving away downloads of "Star Witness" from her upcoming album.

OS MUTANTES: The Brazilian psychedelic rock legends are reuniting for o­ne night, as part of the Barbican's "Tropicália: A Revolution in Brazilian Culture" festival. This will be the band's first performance since 1973. In 1993, Kurt Cobain attempted to reunite the band, but they refused. Os Mutantes began their career as the house band o­n a Brazilian TV show -- you can see an early performance with Gilberto Gil and later, trippier performances o­n You Tube.

SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Walk The Line comes out o­n DVD today, so let's enjoy some Johnny Cash with a four-song set from 1956 that kicks off with "I Walk The Line," a much later performance of "I Walk The Line," a spirited clip of Johnny and June belting out "Jackson," and his funny take-off o­n "Heartbreak Hotel." Of course, anyone who knows me knows I would never pass up a chance to hook you up with a little "Ring of Fire."

GANG OF FOUR and THE KARATE KID? Stereogum finds a slightly embarrassing chapter in the funk-punks' past.

BONO received the Neruda Prize -- Chile's country's highest award for the arts -- from president Ricardo Lagos. "He moved me very much," Bono said of Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize winner and poet who died in 1973. Will Baude has often blogged o­n Neruda at Crescat Sententia -- here are three examples.

NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL and JEFF MANGUM: Someone is killing music with a slew of unreleased demos and live bootlegs.

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN gets a nifty write-up in the Euro edition of Time magazine. Singer/violinist Sarah Martin talks to NOW about fan reaction to the band's funkier sound o­n the new album, The Life Pursuit. SEMI-RELATED: Former B&S-er Isobel Campbell tells NOW that she hasn't bothered to check if ex-Belle beau Stuart Murdoch has written any songs about her for the new album before discussing her latest project with Mark Lanegan.

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT: It's no secret that Rufus is a Friend of Dorothy, but really... NTTAWWT.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Contrary to British tabloid reports, Page Six claims the supposedly sober supermodel has dumped the troubled singer and has her partying with Arctic Monkeys after the NME Awards, later whooping it up at London's Cuckoo Club with Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. -- who denies any canoodling (he's engaged, natch).

REESE WITHERSPOON surpasses Juila Roberts as the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. She will pull down 29 million for upcoming horror film Our Family Trouble.

GEORGE MICHAEL was arrested over the weekend o­n suspicion of possessing drugs, but give him credit for admitting it was his "own stupid fault, as usual."

CAN'T BLOG THIS: MC Hammer is blogging from the "Where Are They Now?" file.

DENNIS WEAVER, known for his roles in Gunsmoke, Gentle Ben and McCloud, died of complications from cancer Friday at age 81, thereby completing the Don Knotts-Darren McGavin death trifecta.

VAUGHNISTON: Author-actress Nancy Balbirer, a former roommate of Aniston hints that the future Friend iced her nipples before auditions, and lamented her big butt and her nose, got liposuction, a nose job and a hairline adjustment. Aniston's flack vehemently denied Balbirer's claims of plastic surgery. The movie rights to Balbirer's book containing the thinly veiled Aniston character haver been acquired for Vince Vaughn's management company.

NOT SO BLIND ITEM: D-Listed asks, "Which unmarried Oscar nominee/heartthrob had an affair with a male wardrobe assistant o­n a recent project?" And then posts a photo.

JESSICA SIMPSON had an easy alarm code for the palatial Malibu-adjacent newlywed estate where Newlyweds was shot. But it was the TV show that made her look like a dumb blonde. Anyway, it's probably not her keen intellect that has Dane Cook's girlfriend jetting to New Mexico, where Simpson and Cook are shooting Employee of the Month.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY likens the Oscars red carpet to a dog show. But she's excited to go, anyway.

LOHAN LOWDOWN: Folks studying these photos have noticed the tenn queen's apparently spontaneous nose bleed.

ARE BRUCE WILLIS and supermodel PETRA NEMCOVA dating? The answer depends o­n which o­ne you ask.

WINONA RYDER got possessive the other night at Von's o­n Bleecker Street when Liev Schreiber went outside for a smoke, according to Page Six. Schreiber has been linked to Naomi Watts, so o­ne wonders whether Ryder has taken to stealing boyfriends instead of clothing. Perhaps not; Watts seems to have her hands full of Capote director Bennett Miller.

KATE WINSLET was already getting kudos for her dirty talking, but now James Gandolfini says he's impressed with her swearing. Now that is saying something.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio has another situation report, noting both the the unity demonstrations being held throughout Iraq and the violence in Baghdad's Doura district (though it was pretty nasty before the mosque bombing). At Iraq the Model, Mohammed reports -- among other things -- that the Iraqi Army seemed to do well, or at least better than the interior ministry's forces. He also suspects that the political types will now have more resistance to clerical influence o­n the future government. And with the violence seemingly abating, the Washington Post reports that Baghdad's main morgue logged more than 1,300 dead since Wednesday.

PORTS IN A STORM: The Coast Guard said in December 2005 that questions about foreign influence, employees and operations made it impossible to assess the threat posed by a state-owned Dubai company's purchase of a firm that manages some terminal operations at US seaports. Although Clay Lowery, an assistant secretary at the Treasury Department, said at Monday's Senate hearing that these concerns were addressed, Sens. Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman said questions remained, even after an 85-minute classified briefing. A little noticed development is DP World's new promise to create an independent subsidiary to handle its US interests, which may be the compromise struck here. Such arrangements are typical when foreigners want to buy companies that manufacture parts for weapons sytems, etc.

IRAN has begun testing about 20 centrifuges used in enriching fuel and is making improvements at its Natanz nuclear facility, according to the IAEA. The agency was not "in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran," the new report added. Russian officials have down played progress o­n its proposal to enrich uranium for Iran. The European Union demanded that Iran reinstate full suspension of all uranium enrichment-related activities. The New York Times runs an op-ed by Prof. Barry Posen titled, "We Can Live With a Nuclear Iran." Posen seems to think the o­nly other option is a military invasion, ignoring options like sanctions, support for democratic groups in Iran or even airstrikes o­n known facilities.

PIG-CASSO, a/k/a Pinto, will be showing his works at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo o­n March 1st, which is National Pig Day. o­ne of the pig's paintings will then by auctioned o­n eBay.

AYILA THE BELUGA WHALE blows "bubble rings" for Japanese tourists. The BBC has Real video.

DOGS DO CALCULUS when playing fetch o­n the beach, though mathemeticians differ o­n whether they find the optimal path in a global manner or moment-to-moment.

THE CROCODILE ate my wedding ring, sweetheart! No, really...

DALAI THE CAT has been missing for two weeks, but he was blessed by the Dalai Lama himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So he's got that goin' for him, which is nice.

3345 Reads

On Beauty by Zadie Smith (review by Karl)   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 01:50 AM
Posted by: kbade

Books

NOTE: This is the second review for Amber Taylor's Blog Book Club. Welcome, readers... take your shoes off and stay a while! If you're o­n the home page, the usual stuff for Monday is directly below this post.

On Beauty is apparently an homage to E.M. Forster's work, particularly Howard's End, updated, with multiculturalism thrown into the mix. Had I read Howard's End, I might have found more cleverness in Zadie Smith's novel. But I suspect that On Beauty would o­nly have suffered more by comparison.

The book sets out to tell the tale of two families of academics. The first is that of Howard Belsey, a professor at an Ivy League university. The second is of that Monty Kipps, Belsey's academic rival, whose politics Belsey loathes and whose success Belsey seems to envy a bit. However, the narrative centers o­n Belsey's marriage (which is in trouble following his infidelity) and their children, who are entering or close to adulthood and searching for their own paths.

Unfortunately, I generally found myself not caring about any of the characters in the book. It takes a bit of skill to engross a reader (or, in the case of a mover, the viewer) with a tale in which no o­ne is particularly likable. I suppose Howard's wife, Kiki, is meant to be the most sympathetic, but she ultimately turns out to be not much different from Carlene Kipps, o­nly less self-aware. Moreover, none of the characters was so eminently dislikable that you could love to hate them, or root for the others by way of contrast. Perhaps this is a sign of the subtlety of Smith's prose, but the book -- particularly the first third -- left me flat. I liked the second act better, but was left unsatisfied by the third.

When I don't care much for a story, the nitpicking items grate all the more. Smith does not seem to have spent much time in the US, if her use of language is any indicator. The characters, particularly the younger o­nes, used words or constructions that American kids generally do not -- even those in the Ivy League. I also thought her portrayal of university politics to be surreal, though some might disagree. As Larry Summers resigns as president of Harvard with a big bootprint o­n his behind, the notion that a similar faculty would unanimously approve the oh-so-controversial Monty Kipps lecture series struck me as a little far-fetched.

I will say that Smith was quite evenhanded in representing the substance of the politics of the various characters. And there were scenes where I thought she captured the ambiance of the university environment well, such as her description of the poetry class field trip. Her treatment of Carl was also interesting in its suggestion of the ways in which academic study can destroy talent. But I've already heard that analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog -- the subject tends to die in the process. Thus, it was interesting, but not enlightening. And these small virtues would not induce me to recommend the book to others, except possibly Forster fans.

The main discussion of the book will be going on at Prettier Than Napoleon. Next month's selection is Saturday, by Ian Mcewan. Feel free to join the club.

4009 Reads

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