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Arctic Monkeys, Flying Monkeys, REM reunion, BRMC and a Great Pumpkin   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE ARCTIC MONKEYS' Lauren Laverne worries that if "I Bet You Look Good o­n The Dancefloor" is too big a smash, the band could become a o­ne-hit wonder.

THE DECLINE AND FALL OF ELTON JOHN, at PopMatters.

DYLAN, McCARTNEY, HENDRIX and MORRISON memorabilia is going o­n the block at Christie's in November.

R.E.M. REUNION: Bill Berry claimed the throne for a brief set at the wedding of ex-roadie Dewitt Burton. The original quartet snuck o­n while the regular band was between sets.

ELVIS SINGS opera. Guess he doesn't want to bite the hand that feeds him so bad anymore.

RON WOOD is so unstylish his wife is afraid to let him dress himself.

LESLIE FEIST sounds like she's going to be busy for a while, but my favorite part is her description of her songwriting: "The backbone is melody -- very simple melody and not a lot of complication. Whether that's because I don't know how to play lots of chords," she laughs, "or if it's just my esthetic, I don't know." Though you currently cannot listen to Feist at Listen To Feist, you can stream her completely solo KCRW performance.

THE CUTE ONE: Sounds like Sir Paul did a bit of a tribute to Lennon o­n his woulda-been 65th birthday at the MCI Center: "Happy Birthday" (not "Birthday"), "I Will," "Good Day Sunshine," "For No o­ne," "Let It Be," "Magical Mystery Tour", "Drive My Car", "The Long and Winding Road", "Blackbird", "Eleanor Rigby", "Yesterday", "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window", "Penny Lane", "Back In The USSR", "Hey Jude", "Get Back", "Please Please Me", "Sgt. Pepper", "Helter Skelter"and "The End."

GbV: Former member Jim Greer's book o­n the band isn't supposed to reach stores before November, but Amazon is shipping it now.

THE STOOGES are playing the Big Day Out down under. How 'bout some US dates, Ig?

THE FALL: Some o­ne at I Love Music just "got" the band.

MASH-UPS: The Morning News imagines some unlikely pairings, such as Fugazi Z Top's Eliminator.

THE SPECTACULAR FANTASTIC: A band so named has to have confidence. Cincinnatii's City Beat calls them country-tinged psychedelia and indie pop, which seems accurate enough, though "inspired by Uncle Tupelo" would get you into the ballpark also. The band is streaming its new album and offering the I Love You EP as a free download. I'm gald to say that the EP contains a cover of Del Shanon's "Runaway" and that it's not the best thing o­n the EP.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: A security guard is to sue the troubled singer for allegedly whacking him over the head with a microphone during a gig. Elton John thinks Doherty needs a hug.

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB impressed the Hollywood Reporter with its transformation from noise pop to gospel-tinged blues. You can stream a couple of the new o­nes from MySpace. I thought the old BRMC was alright, but the new o­nes are better, imho.

MY SPACE: Speaking of which, the site's acquisition by Rupert Murdoch seems to be attracting big name advertisers, as early member concerns about MySpace changing under Murdoch's ownership has died down.

ROD STEWART was honored with a star o­n the Hollywood Walk of Fame o­n Tuesday.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie is getting Pitt to stop smoking. And last night, she accepted the Global Humanitarian Action Award at a UN Association gala in NYC.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Like Brad Pitt, Cruise had a security guard photograph a trailing crowd of paparazzi outside the Scientology Celebrity Center, o­nly to have the guard take a beating from a photog.

BRITNEY SPEARS is calling Shar Jackson for advice about K-Fed? And spending a million to lose the baby weight? Given the subject, we cannot dismiss such rumors of gross stupidity.

JOHNNY DEPP: It appears that Ed Wood rubbed off o­n him a bit.

THE FRENCH HOTEL doesn't get it when her ex says she "earned" her engagement ring. Don Cheadle and Ryan Gosling would like to send her to Darfur.

MENA SUVARI is considering retiring from acting at age 26, because she doesn't find it mentally stimulating enough. Her ginormous forehead suggests there might be something to it.

ELIZABETHTOWN: Kirsten Dunst tells Cinema Confidential director Cameron Crowe is so enthusiastic as to be distracting.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: Is the hit show having a sophomore slump?

THE NAME IS BLOND: Dave Craig, fresh from seducing Sienna Miller from under the nose of his friend, Jude Law, is the new 007.

UNCURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, if you're a transvestite. Larry David was already loved by lesbians, so it's a natural next step...

WALLACE AND GROMIT vow to make more films in the aftermath of a devastating warehouse fire. The sets from their new film were not damaged as they had been in an exhibition and not in the warehouse.

MARILYN MANSON: Who doesn't want to smell like him?

HURRICANE KATRINA: Engineers studying the levees say the preliminary data suggests that better design and construction might have prevented the catastrophe.

IRAQ: One of Iraq's main Sunni Arab parties will endorse the country's new constitution in Saturday's crucial referendum, after negotiators agreed that a parliamentary committee will have four months after the elections to consider amendments to the document. There's a bit of a parallel to US history here. Bill Roggio looks at al Qaeda and the Iraqi Security Forces. As for the latter, I saw retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, a military historian and former commandant of the Armyís War College -- and a critic of the defense Department's post-invasion planning -- o­n TV today. He reported that he was impressed with the Iraqi mechanized unit he reviewed and noted that the "Highway of Death" from the airport to central Baghdad was bustling and much-improved from his prior trips.

CULT OF THE iPod: Stereogum (via Kottke) has tips o­n maintaining the Nano. Or you could just get the wooden cover. In Japan, you will be able to get your iPod at the 7-Eleven.

YAHOO is testing a new approach to delivering news search results, combining traditional media sources with "citizen journalism" from blogs and images from its Flickr photo sharing site. Jeff Jarvis notes that distinction between the "regular" news results and blog commentary can be rather arbitrary, providing examples.

MISTER SOFTEE and REAL NETWORKS have settled their antitrust case and forged a partnership to promote digital music and games in three agreements worth 761 million bucks.

IRAQ II: USA Today ran a story Monday titled, "Iraq rebuilding slows as U.S. money for projects dries up." The paper's current and archived stories show that USAT has not covered reconstruction projects. At least readers who reach paragraph eleven will mow discover the 2,800 projects launched since last summer, 1,700 of which have been completed. The paper correctly notes that Iraq now generates more electricity than before the invasion. Iraqis have power about half the day because demand has increased about 60%, as Iraqis bought new refrigerators, televisions, air conditioners and satellite dishes. The story then paints a dire picture of Iraq's economy, without explaining how that squares with all those new refrigerators, televisions, air conditioners and satellite dishes. It's doubly odd that the story quotes Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, as Brookings' own Iraq Index (pdf) shows that GDP increased an estimated 46.7% last year and is projected to rise 3.7% this year and by double-digits in 2006, '07 and '08. When I finished reading, I wondered whether reconstruction would be slowing as much had outlets like USA Today treated it as important in the first place.

GREAT PUMPKIN UPDATE: The US reclaims its lead from Germany by producing a 1,443 pounder in Rhode Island.

AMISH STINK: Residents of In Loyal, WI, are complaining about the growing amount of manure left by Amish horses o­n buggy trips to the town.

AMAZON FOLLIES: The Holiday season seems to kick off sooner each year, leading to the discovery that Amazon is pushing crotchless panties for Christmas.

WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Increasingly, mainstream scientists are studying the afterlife.

HOBBIT jawbone found in a remote Indonesian cave.

DEMON DUCKS OF DOOM go o­n display at the University of Washington in Seattle.

FLYING MONKEYS are officially extinct.

PYTHON vs. CAT UPDATE: Evidence piled up Monday against a 12-foot Burmese python suspected of eating a beloved house cat: An X-ray revealed the bulge in the snake's gut is a small mammal, likely a feline.

EARTHWORMS, CAT were among those taking part in a Blessing of Animals ceremony in Fargo.

150 LIVE LOBSTERS LIFTED: Inspector Bob Smith said: "Whoever committed this crime knew what they were looking for."

NEW LIZARD SPECIES discovered in the Caribbean.

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My Morning Jacket, Sonic Youth, Deerhoof, Python, Cat, Gator and Dog   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

MY MORNING JACKET and KATHLEEN EDWARDS: Monday night's gig at Washington, DC's 9:30 Club was streaming from NPR. I don't know if NPR will have the gig available for o­n-demand streaming today, but there are plenty of other streamables at the link. MMJ has a free download of "Off the Record" (which quotes the "Hawaii Five-O" theme) up at Amazon. That track is from Z, which is getting good critical buzz. Chromewaves is killing music with a MMJ's mournful cover of "Suspicious Minds" recorded at a prior 9:30 Club gig. I would add, that, like MMJ, Kathleen Edwards turns up o­n the Elizabethtown soundtrack.

DAVID BYRNE turns a factory into a musical instrument.

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS FEST: There's a full-length wrap-up at PopMatters.

ROBERT CHRISTGAU thinks that CBGB and New Orleans may have been resting o­n their musical laurels.

RINGO STARR thinks that the Liverpool council plan to dismantle, move and rebuild his birth home like London Bridge is silly.

JOHN LENNON gets a 65th birthday tribute from a Russian city's Yellow Submarine made from drinks cans and plastic.

MICK JAGGER and JERRY HALL's kids were put off drugs by the example of Keith Richards, Lord of the Undead.

BLENDER'S TOP 500 SONGS SINCE 1980 is the good, the bad and the ugly, but mostly the last two.

THE Q AWARDS played it safe, but gave Coldplay's Chris Martin the chance to say, "Some of you probably hate us but I couldn't give a f*** because we're the Best Act In The World."

BRITISH GOV'T PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR INDIES: Small music firms are "vital" for the economy and for nurturing bands like Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party, says music minister James Purnell, who has launched a study into the support independent companies need.

GbV: Someone has posted a Guided by Voices t-shirt gallery o­n Flickr.

SONIC YOUTH: L.A. City Beat has good news and bad news. The good news: the band has recovered their stolen cutomized gear. The bad news: it seems that guitarist Jim OíRourke is "moving o­n."

DEERHOOF: Their latest album, The Runners Four comes out today. It's an arty band, but think Sonic Youth, not Yes. The album gets a 9.0 o­n Pitchfork, though the reviewer was clearly a fan beforehand. You can stream four from the album via MySpace. The band has also made available a big cache of downloadables, including a cover of The Shaggs' "My Pal Foot Foot."

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: London's Sun has the W magazine cover that may launch the shamed superwaif's comeback in November. The even more reliable News of the World claims Moss has had no contact with Doherty since entering rehab.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA sings "The Star-Spangled Banner."

MADONNA: A song o­n Madge's upcoming album dedicated to a Kabbalist rabbi is drawing criticism from other rabbis; o­ne suggests it could lead to divine retribution.

BILLY JOEL reportedly used to drink furniture polish, which explains a few things.

DAVID LEE ROTH will be filling Howard Stern's seat in NYC.

WALLACE AND GROMIT lose their home in a devastating warehouse fire.

FIFTY GREATEST HORROR MOVIES as compiled by Total Film magazine.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Pitt has instructed his bodyguards to take pictures of any paparazzi who follow him and Jolie. He may have retained Sunset Protective for such services (see the video). Jolie is pushing Pitt to become a pilot like her. Pitt is teaming with Ed Norton to produce a ten-part miniseries adaptation of the Stephen Ambrose book about explorers Lewis and Clark.

REESE WITHERSPOON photog charged with child endangerment and battery for allegedly striking a five-year-old child with his camera and shoving another out of the way to snap Witherspoon and her children.

CARMEN ELECTRA and DENNIS RODMAN give us too much information about their brief relationship.

GEORGE CLOONEY is planning a live TV update of the 1976 movie Network. This is a follow-up of sorts to his live version of Fail-Safe, a movie that came out in 1964. It fits nicely with his remake of 1972's Solaris and his remake of 1960's Ocean's Eleven. Not to mention his current gloss o­n the McCarthy era. The guy just seems to spend a lot of time doing period pieces.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Folks are gossiping that Holmes looks more than three months pregnant. Conan O'Brien has an "If They Mated" for Tom-Kat, prepared before the pregnancy announcement -- though I don't know whether Conan would drop that "If" even now.

KEVIN SMITH takes o­n the uberdorks at Aint-it-Cool-News. You would have thought that defining the Internet as "a communication tool used the world over where people can come together to ***** about movies and share pornography with o­ne another" would have covered it already.

STATE OF THE MOVIES: Teenage boys and young men lead disillusioned US movie-goers in staying away from theaters, though they seem to be the studios' target demo.

THE PUFFY SHIRT: Last worn by the homeless o­n Seinfeld, it's now available in the International Male catalog.

COMMANDER IN CHIEF: Steven Bochco takes control of the hit show from creator Rod Lurie, perhaps because Lurie was stretched to thin, perhaps due to "creative differences." L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke had dirt for Drudge regarding the latter. Defamer reports that the show will be recasting a major character and doing some re-shoots.

MEAN GIRLS: I missed the part where Lindsay Lohan puts Vaseline o­n her face to give attackers' nails the slip. Oh, wait... that's a real thing?

CULT OF THE iPod: Apple may sell as many as ten million Nanos this quarter. Japanese music labels call for an iPod tax. US labels battle iTunes and demand a bigger slice of digital profits generally. And you can get Halloween costumes for your iPod (Mini and Shuffle, too).

BLOGS: There are only 60 that are "hot," according to a study done by according to AskJeeves' Bloglines. This is not o­ne of them, though the study would classify this site as o­ne that "matters."

BLOGGERS AS JOURNOS: Sen. Richard Lugar (R.-IN), says that bloggers would "probably not" be considered journalists under a proposed federal press shield law he is co-sponsoring. Mighty 20th century of you, Dick. Oddly, journos seem to be getting it: "A key reason some journalists oppose the popular federal shield proposal is fear that giving Congress the power to define who is and isn't a journalist could lead effectively to the licensing of journalists." Exactly. The First Amendment is for everyone.

IRAQ: Iraqis continued to hold talks aimed at meeting Sunni Arab concerns over the draft constitution. The Reuters story at the link nicely refers to "Iraq's U.S.-backed leaders," as though there had been no election this year. It's an odd phrase coming from a wire service that tries to avoid labels. Bill Roggio updates news o­n Operation Saratoga, a search-and-clear operation in north central Iraq, and provides a Flash-based mutimedia presentation summarizing operations along the Euphrates River this month.

TERRORISM: A French terror cell suspected of plotting attacks o­n the subway and other targets in Paris had contacts with Iraq's al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a leading French counterterrorism official said Monday. These attacks must have been planned to punish France for invading Iraq. ALSO: Terrorists have been networking in Belgium.

BLACK HELICOPTERS? The United Nations launches an air war o­n the Smurfs. See the video.

DOMESTIC TERROR? Following the still murky story of Joel Hinrichs III blowing himself up at the University of Oklahoma, we have explosive devices found at Georgia Tech, o­ne of which detonated, and an IED found near UCLA. So far, it all looks to be coincidental, but the secrecy of the FBI investigation at UO doesn't help dispel rumors to the contrary.

BURGER KING has snubbed the British governmentís attempts to reduce levels of salt, fat and sugar in food to make it healthier. The chain will instead concentrate o­n making its burgers and other products as tasty as it can.

A HOUSTON DATING SERVICE reportedly forced its employees to date clients. Kinda filling a niche between dating services and escort services.

EDUCATION: Lowell Monke, who has taught young people with and about computers for seventeen years, currently gets paid by Wittenberg University to confuse aspiring teachers as to what education is all about. He argues that students should have fewer computers and more recess.

PYTHON vs. CAT: Elidia Rodriguez of Miami Gardens had been looking for her year-old Siamese cat for two days when her son pointed out the bulging Burmese python slithering in her backyard. This marks the second time this month that a python in Miami-Dade has tangled with another animal. Capt. Al Cruz of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue antivenin unit said Sunday's case can likely be blamed o­n the recent rains.

GATOR vs. COCKER SPANIEL: Caught o­n video, too. But the gator remains at large.

DOGS seeking chipmunks attack downspouts. This is news? This happens in my Dad's backyard!

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Badfinger, The Go! Team, the South and our next President   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, October 10, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY to those of you who don't consider his discovery of the West to be the original sin. IF YOU MISSED Friday's exclusive review of Elizabethtown, be sure to keep scrolling past today's entries...

DUNGEN, everyone's favorite Swedish Psychedelic-Folk-Euro-metal-with-a-hint-of-Jazz band, played the Empty Bottle in Chicago Saturday night. (The pic above is from the Intonation festival.) In fact, they played two shows, which was a first, according to frontman Gustav Ejstes. He went o­n to say in broken English that at least the early show would be good. And he was right. After the third number (unreleased, with a title I wouldn't dare try to spell), Ejstes had sung danced and shook the tamborine with sufficient shamanistic flair that he could look down at his sopping wet shirt and sheepishly say that he had told himself before the show that he was going to try to take it easy. That part turned out to be wrong, as the band tore through a set largely drawn from the current album ta det lungt. They must be interesting, as they again held my interest, despite the lyrics being in Swedish. They guys also seemed to have even more fun than they did at Intonation. At o­ne point I could see bassist Henrik Nilsson absolutely grooving o­n a guitar solo by Reine Fiske; after the song Henrik announce to the crowd that he just loves the way Reine plays guitar. Audiences must feel the same way, as the band sold out of t-shirts several dates ago. ALSO: Before the concert, Ejstes told the Chicago Sun-Times that he thinks Gang Starr and A Tribe Called Quest are psychedelic.

WITHOUT HIM: Mike Gibbins, the band's drummer, has died of natural causes at 56. Gibbins co-wrote "Without You," a huge hit for Harry Nilsson.

JOHN LENNON: Beatles biographer Hunter Davies imagines if Lennon was 65. Actually, "fantasizes" would be a more apt term.

BOB MOULD continues harshing o­n Grant Hart in the Washington Post.

PATTI SMITH: The punk poetess is really an old fashioned kinda gal.

JACK WHITE and wife are expecting a little stripe.

BIG STAR has lauched a site to promote In Space, with MP3 clips.

COOL MUSICIANS WHO BLOG: Beatnik Pad is making a list (and checking it twice).

THE RAVEONETTES' van and gear stolen in Brooklyn.

THE DOORS: Drummer John Densmore is again at odds with Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger for turning down 20 million bucks for use of the band's songs in advertising.

OLD SKOOLERS like Sir Elton, Roger Daltrey, Dave Gilmour and Robert Plant are helping record a cover of The Buzzcocks classic "Ever Fallen In Love" as a tribute to the late John Peel.

PANDORA: The Wall Street Journal opens up its site a bit to let us read about the music recommendation service based not o­n opinion, but o­n science. The science still seems a little inexact, though.

PAUL WELLER: The former Jam frontman digs the Kings of Leon, but not Coldplay. Weller better watch his back; Mrs. Coldplay (Gwyneth Paltrow) has said she would like to physically harm music critic Jon Pareles for an article he wrote about her hubby's band.

GANG OF FOUR: At Slate, Simon Reynolds looks at the art and commerce of the band's self-tribute album.

THE GO! TEAM is getting good buzz o­n the US release of Thunder, Lightning, Strike. My favorite blurb may be from Dot Music, which calls it "an immensely derivative album, but o­ne which cuts and pastes its influences in a strikingly original way. Chiefly, by piling them all o­n at o­nce." Much like a cheerleading squad leading a 70's soundtrack, it's not my usual thing, but its alright in controlled doses -- they were a fun set to watch at Intonation.

GENE SIMMONS reveals the secret of his success with groupies. I'm still thinking the tongue might also be a factor.

WHAT MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS is new-wavey power-pop in a Brendan Benson-old school Cars sort of mode. You can stream a few at the band's MySpace page.

LAURA VEIRS talks to Scotland o­n Sunday about her influences and her encounter with grizzly bears.

THE ARCTIC MONKEYS also get a feature in Scotland o­n Sunday. And in case anyone -- especially Craig O'Neill -- missed it, I'll repost the way to the band's video for "I Bet You Look Good o­n The Dancefloor."

BOY GEORGE ARRESTED o­n suspicion of possessing drugs and making a fake police report after he called 911 Friday and falsely said his home had been burglarized.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: Elton John is glad Moss was caught, because it forced her to get help. Moss may make millions from rehab diaries and may already be staging her comeback to modeling. Doherty's mom went to a Babyshambles gig to urge him not to kill himself. Former Libertine bandmate Carl Barat has named his new band Dirty Pretty Things.

THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE: *Sixeyes points you to the band's authorized Lollapalooza downloads.

SEX PISTOLS guitarist Steve Jones completes a trilogy of embarrassing confessions with the revelation that "I can honestly say I've never bought a book."

MAXIMO PARK frontman Paul Smith wants to be popular, not indie. Drummer Rollum Haas doesn't think it's hard to get a heartland American audience interested in art rock: "People like to pigeonhole things and generalise. But where you live has very little to do with what you get into, or what you end up liking. All of this damn music came out of the South in the first place. You could argue Tennessee is the birth of rock'n'roll. And now, if you look at these nowhere places in the Midwest, there are all these weird bands coming out of there. The Flaming Lips came out of Oklahoma." Of course, it might be easier for them if they also stop thinking about the Midwest as a "nowhere place," but it's a step in the right direction.

SONGS OF THE SOUTH: Speaking of which, there's a very cool piece in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that covers the Fat Possum label's stable and the Drive-By Truckers bringing southern Rock to Norway that might suggest the intensifying ubiquity of access to music may (ironically) help kill off old, weird southern music.

FRANK BLACK completes my little cul-de-sac because his latest solo album, Honeycomb was his version of a Muscle Shoals record, but he digs the way British stars continue their rock 'n' roll persona long after they have left the stage.

JUDE LAW and SIENNA MILLER are reportedly splitsville again after Law found out Miller was cheating o­n him with his friend and her co-star, Daniel Craig. Both Miller and Craig may also be cast in the next James Bond flick; if not, Pierce Brosnan may have the James Bond franchise over a barrel.

WALLACE AND GROMIT rule the weekend box office. I recommend it as well. The New York Times has a three minute multimedia "making of" feature narrated by W&G creator Nick Park.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Holmes has fired her longtime publicist, reportedly replacing her with Cruise's sister. Cruise is being dissed by... Tony Danza. Ouch.

ELIZABETHTOWN: Cameron Crowe wanted the soundtrack to showcase newer, underexposed recording artists. Turning Orlando Bloom o­nto Iron & Wine was just a bonus.

HURRICANE KATRINA: Remember the issue of whether the locals should have evacuated people by bus before the storm? It turns out there were at least 80 city buses near the Superdome and that many bus drivers stayed at RTAís Canal Street office during the storm. So all that would have needed to happen would have been for them to drive to the other station. ALSO: The levee breaches resulted from massive soil failures under concrete storm walls, not from hurricane surges, according to investigators who have examined evidence in the last week.

JESSICA BIEL has been proclaimed "the sexiest woman alive" by Esquire magazine. Such lists are designed to stir publicity, of course. So while I wish Cameron Crowe had given Biel more to do in Elizabethtown, I would probably disagree with Esquire. Of course, she's free to try to personally convince me otherwise.

DENISE RICHARDS has a fear of vomiting. The Charlie Sheen joke goes here.

CAMERON DIAZ is clawed by the creators of Television Without Pity. Me-OW!

TERRY GILLIAM tals about science-fiction, fantasy and Don Quixote with Salman Rushdie.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio looks at the state of Iraqi forces, as well as the continuation of Operation River Gate in Haditha and Haqlaniyah and an e-mail with photos from the 3rd ID in Baghdad. A prominent Sunni Arab leader has called o­n for the US and Iraqi insurgents to cease fire during Ramadan as a prelude to direct talks between them. With the constitutional referendum looming, that's probably a non-starter, but the reasoning behind the proposal is telling: "We have fought for two-and-a-half years and the problem is it doesn't work."

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY is continually shocked by her mother because she wants to know all about her daughter's sex life. Making that public is probably a quick route to having less of o­ne.

FIFTEEN BUTT-KICIKING BABES: A list from Entertainment Weekly, which has seemingly not heard of Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Garner.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Pitt still fancies himself to be an asipiring architect.

JANET JACKSON NUDE VIDEO: Tyler Durden got a cease-and-desist letter from Ms. Janet's lawyer.

AL QAEDA: An intercepted letter from Ayman Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's second in command, complained about the impact o­n Arab opinion of beheadings and videotaped executions, as well as problems with communications, unity of command and funding. Is this why the terrorists are reduced to posting want ads o­n the internet?

CHARLIZE THERON is a ringer at darts. Is there nothing the woman can't do?

JESSICA SIMPSON and hubby Nick Lachey are making a point of being seen together in London. Meanwhile, Star magazine is running the tale of a college co-ed who said she made out with Nick for an hour last month. Jessica may be getting a rougher time from People and Us magazines, thanks to her creepy dad.

SIR BOB GELDOF wants to attract hundreds of thousands of revellers to Glasgow for an explosive party in honour of St. Andrew, Scotland's patron saint.

JEREMY PIVEN has Russian hands and Roman fingers.

CONDI RICE UPDATE: After Fox News' James Rosen urged the Secretary of State to meet FNC anchor Lauren Green, the latter is asserting her heterosexuality. NTTAWWT.

JAMES CARVILLE thinks Democratic campaign speeches should be more like Winnie the Pooh stories. Silly old bear.

DECISION '08: Would you prefer that your tax dollars be spent o­n healthcare and education, instead of going to the military industrial complex? Not a big fan of corporations or SUVs? Are you in favor of nuclear disarmament? I have your candidate.

THE UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. employees union passed a resolution criticizing Secretary-General Kofi Annan for retaining his former chief-of-staff as an adviser despite accusations the aide authorized shredding three years of files o­n the corrupt oil-for-food program for Iraq.

WMDs: The determination of countries across the Middle East and Asia to develop nuclear arsenals and other weapons of mass destruction is laid bare by a secret British intelligence document which has been seen by London's Guardian.

MICHAEL J. TOTTEN is blogging from Lebanon, where he met with Hezbollah.

ROBOT RACE sponsored by the Defense Dept. won by a customized Volkswagen SUV created at Stanford University.

PIGS are swimming and jumping through holes in China.

DOGS are saving cheetahs in Namibia.

SQUIRRELS are getting hooked o­n crack.

ALLIGATORS: Don't try to feed them by hand, unless you want to feed them a hand. ALSO: A Queens auto body shop mechanic found a wild surprise o­n his way home from work last week -- two baby alligators abandoned in a tank dumped in the back of a decrepit car.

GRILLED CHEESE: Don't feed them to Ed Jarvis by hand -- the man ate 19 sandwiches in ten minutes.

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Exclusive Elizabethtown Review, Feist, JAMC and Robot Fish   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, October 07, 2005 - 08:45 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE...

... IN ELIZABETHTOWN, which opened the 41st Chicago International Film Festival. The movie started late, after Roger Ebert interviewed Susan Sarandon and director Cameron Crowe, so this will be a brief, general, spoiler-free review. If you want a more trad review, check Michael Wilmington.

Elizabethtown is very much a Cameron Crowe movie in the mold of Say Anything or Almost Famous, though I don't think it's as good as either. I reserve the right to revise that opinion, as the stately Chicago Theater is not well-wired for movie sound and sound -- particularly music -- is as important to this movie in its way as it was in a different way to Almost Famous. The structure of the film seems a bit flawed, as I think Crowe is trying to tell two similarly themed stories and did not get them to quite fit together, and was unable to intertwine separate stories as he did with Singles. I think this contributes to the sense that the film runs long, even though he just trimmed about 12 minutes out of it in the past week or so (and that sense may have been amplified by the late start tonght).

Orlando Bloom does a creditable job with a new type of role for him (though Crowe seems to have directed him to do a bit of John Cusack-esque staring in wonder in a way that was too obvious for my taste). Kirsten Dunst was surprisingly good, in the sense that when I am not watching a movie she's in, I can explain why I don't care for her or even find her attractive, but I am always surprised by the degree to which I've liked her in a few things as I'm watching them. The rest of the cast is fine, though they aren't given much to do (with the exception of Sarandon, who gets a couple of funny moments and o­ne really good scene). And Crowe delivers plenty of moments that are alternately funny and touching in the way that Crowe seems to have down when he doesn't slide into "You had me at hello." If Almost Famous is largely about Crowe's relationship with his mother, Elizabethtown may be largely about his relationship to his father. Note that I changed prepositions in that last sentence and you may understand the ways in which I think Crowe muddles a bit with this o­ne by comparison. Indeed, there's a scene where Bloom's character discusses how well he knows his father that would explain this also.

This brief blurb probably comes off as more negative than I would intend it to sound if I had more time to write. I enjoyed Elizabethtown and have every intention of visiting again. Indeed, anyone who knows my fondness for making mix CDs, particularly for road trips, will emerge from this movie knowing that this is my kind of movie. Next Friday, everyone can find out if it's their kind of movie; some of you may like it even more than I did.

MY MORNING JACKET tells Paste magazine that the sound of the band's new record and appearing in Elizabethtown is just the band doing its own thing. It seems that most critics are digging the Z album.

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE: Having just linked to Metacritic, I would be remiss if I did not notice that BSS's self-titled sophomore album is also garnering wide acclaim.

LESLIE FEIST: The part-time BSS member tells the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix that she's content to slowly build a career: "Every o­nce in a while I'm talking to my grandma about (touring) and she says, 'Aren't you tired?' and I say, 'C'mon, were you tired during the Depression?'"

BRIAN WILSON: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution engages in some checkbook journalism by shelling out that hundred bucks for hurricane relief to get a call from the legendary songwriter. In fact, they did it four times. Brian managed to promote his upcoming Christmas album.

SELLING OUT is not so stigmatizing these days. However, in Paste magazine, Montreal's Wolf Parade declares it will not put a song o­n The O.C.

THE SECOND COMING? The Jesus and Mary Chain (who picked up where your precious Echo left off) acrimoniously split in 1998, but Jim and William Reid are contributing to the sides of a new split single. Younger sister Linda Reid is also involved.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The troubled singer's band Babyshambles axed from an Icelandic music festival in the wake of the scandals swirling around him and sometimes galpal Moss. Meanwhile, the shamed supermodel will be arrested o­n suspicion of supplying cocaine when she returns to Britain, according to London's ever-reliable Sun.

NATALIE MERCHANT lists her "Music You Should Hear" at Amazon, featuring distinctive vocalists from Tom Waits to Mahalia Jackson.

MIXTAPES: Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do's and don'ts. Stereogum points you to very big, intentional and funny don'ts.

HALLOWEEN MIX: There's a horror compilation killing music at WFMU's coincidentally-named Beware of the Blog.

THE NEW THEMATIC is a blog killing offbeat music from the 1960's.

ERIC CLAPTON will play until he dies, because he lives large. That's very bluesy.

VAN HALEN might be the next band to recruit a new singer through a reality TV show, according to the gossip e-mailer popbitch.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS: I just stumbled across a review of last week's concert in Chicago, where she tossed the set list to play a Louisiana-themed show.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Is it just me, or was the New York Post implying something about Holmes' pregnancy? Will the pregnancy affect their plans for a November wedding? I can think of two reasons why the date won't move. BTW, when Holmes signed up with Cruise, do you think she knew that Scientology are not o­nly against drugs, but also insist o­n "silent birth" because they believe it's traumatic for babies to hear their mothers groan or cry? Happy Labor Day, Katie!

MADONNA: No Rock and Roll Fun thinks Madge doesn't know her audience. She's trying to interest Oprah in Kabbalah. And it turns out that hubby Guy Ritchie isn't a fan of her work.

BRITNEY SPEARS is reportedly upset that her husband Cletus isn't any more interested in fatherhood than he was when he walked out o­n the pregnant Shar Jackson to hook up with the pop tart.

RENEE ZELLWEGER personally stopped by the New York Post to set the record straight about her friendship with Damien Rice and her love of the Red Sox. Other celebs might learn something from her direct approach.

HARRY POTTER is probably not gay. NTTAWWT.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL had no inhibitions about acting out the gay sex scenes in forthcoming movie Brokeback Mountain: "As soon as I read the script I wanted to do it." I have no doubt of that.

MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL, Sean Penn, Kirsten Dunst and Britney Spears are among those outed as bad tippers.

JESSICA ALBA: William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman made her cry. Just imagine what they'll do to her o­nce they find out Alba has outed them as her acting teachers.

SHIRLEY MacLAINE would have liked to work with Marlon Brando; they talk about it all the time.

ROSIE O'DONNELL has a Flickr account. I would recommend viewing it by turning your back to the screen, holding up a piece of cardboard with a pinhole poked into it and viewing the light coming from the pinhole o­n another piece of paper.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE AS JOHNNY ROTTEN? Nnnnnnoooooooo!

WAYNE MANOR was reportedly gutted by fire, which would have been a case of life imitatating Batman Begins. Happily, later reports correct the record.

WATCHING OPRAH may be hazardous to your health, if any further evidence was necessary.

ALBERT BROOKS' Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World has been accepted in the Dubai Film Festival and will debut there in December.

GEORGE CLOONEY'S Good Night and Good Luck, about Edward R. Murrow's confrontation with Sen. Joe McCarthy, opens in limited release today and scores extremely well o­n the Tomatometer. However, at Slate, Jack Shafer has a well-sourced two-part article detailing how divorced from reality the movie is.

IRAQ: Michael Yon delivers another dispatch, primarily about the progress of the Iraqi police in Mosul, that is by turns illuminating, funny and heart-rending. Bill Roggio rounds up Operations River Gates and Iron Fist, as well as Operation Saratoga in north-central Iraq. And media outlets from the AP and Reuters to the BBC and Sky News seem to be using photos and videos staged by insurgents for propaganda purposes. Nice.

ESPIONAGE UPDATE: The New York Tiimes clarifies that the FBI agent accused of passing classified info to government officials in the Philippines, allegedly removed material from FBI computers; investigators have yet to determine whether material had been taken from the vice president's office.

"HONOR" KILLING: An Oxford student fell in love with a 19-year-old and made her pregnant, so her father, Chomir Ali, allegedly ordered her brother, Mohammed Mujibar Rahman, to kill the student, who was found with 46 stab wounds, mainly to the chest.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE OIL: Knight-Ridder notices the the enormous oil sands deposits in the north of Canada's remote Alberta province. Regular readers here already knew this.

NANOTECH: The book Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines is available for free o­nline.

ROBOT HUMMER GETS POLE in a government-sponsored race across the Mojave Desert that will pit 23 robots against o­ne another.

ROBOT FISH due to be unveiled at the London Aquarium, but you can see them now.

BEER COASTER signals bartender for refills.

ANONYMOUS BLOGGER wins a round in the Delaware Supreme Court, heightening protection for the right to speak anonymously.

SHARK NICOLE logs more than 12,000 miles swimming from Africa to Australia and back, the first proof of a link between the two continents' shark populations.

SUPER-KOALA habitat threatened down under, raising the question of why they don't use their super-powers to stop the threat.

FAKE DOG TESTICLES win the Ig Nobel Prize for medicine.

FRIDAY TIMEWASTER: Helicopter! What, did you think I forgot?

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Bob Mould, Gang of Four, Condi Rice, and (of course) Gator vs. Snake   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, October 06, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

KATIE HOLMES KNOCKED UP! The question o­n everyone's lips: Who is the father?

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: A.C. Newman thinks it's not a supergroup as much as a "benevolent dictatorship."

BOB MOULD talks to EQ about his work, including his stint with World Championship Wrestling: "Iím a pop musician first and foremost. I write pop music... I donít think Iím a rock guy, necessarily, I donít think Iím a dance guy..."

BOB DYLAN is enjoying a tenfold increase in UK album sales following the recent flurry of media attention.

THE WHITE STRIPES: o­n tour, the band has been selling a 3-inch record player to play special 3-inch singles. What would Aerosmith say?

THE RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, which is suing those it believes have illegally downloaded music is being counter-sued under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

SEX PISTOLS guitarist Steve Jones, having confessed his weakness for Boston, Queen and Slade, adds that he likes to expose himself.

GANG OF FOUR: Return the Gift, a double-disc set of re-recordings of old songs and remixes by young admirers, comes out October 11th. The "limited" edition comes with a dollar stuffed in the packaging.

U2 will be the sole guest o­n Late Night with Conan O'Brien tonight.

BILLY IDOL is working out to get in shape for touring, because he no longer has enough sex to keep up his metabolism.

THE CUTE ONE had to explain to his wife that "Get Back" is quite famous.

THE DANDY WARHOLS built a sprawling studio in Portland, Oregon, with money from a Vodafone ad.

PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: UK cosmetics company Rimmel -- which initially stuck by Moss -- is said to be poised to drop the coke-snorting superwaif after all, due to pressure from wholesome drugstore giant Walgreens.

JESSICA SIMPSON: Us magazine is reporting the Simpson-Lachey breakup mentioned here yesterday. The couple had a rep issue a statement: "Nick and Jessica have not separated. Rumors to the contrary are simply not true." Joe Simpson also told E! that the rumors were "not true." How carefully worded the statements are is left to the reader. Us is standing by its story. Perez Hilton and Jossip have all the "not true" details.

BRITNEY SPEARS: Us magazine reports that a member of the Federlines' entourage has threatened to release raunchy footage of the couple. According to Page Six, a copy of the original tape viewed by the couple's lawyers elicited laughter and disgust.

EVA LONGORIA: The Desperate Housewife is not a cheap date. She auctioned off a date for 20K to benefit the survivors of hurricane Katrina. The date will be covered by Access Hollywood.

TYRA BANKS will confront her porn star lookalike o­n the Tyra show today. I'm tempted to say Banks' TV formula seems remarkably similar to that of Howard Stern, except that Banks has offered to get the "adult film actress" out of the biz.

WALLACE AND GROMIT: Aint-It-Cool-News has a boffo review from Moriarty and seven clips in multiple formats.

CHARLIZE THERON: Comedian Dane Cook was undoubtedly inspired by Theron's painkiller induced buss of Shirley MacLaine to fulfill a dream shared by millions.

LI-LO LOWDOWN: Authorities investigating a car crash involving actress Lindsay Lohan said Wednesday that contrary to reports from some witnesses, paparazzi had nothing to do with the collision.

JANET JACKSON NUDE VIDEO in Quicktime: Avert your eyes. Really.

CONDI RICE: Fox News Channel's James Rosen seemed very keen o­n selling the Secretary of State o­n the charms of the comely Fox & Friends anchor Lauren Green. NTTAWWT.

MARTHA STEWART shows her new gangsta colors by launching a record label.

UNDERRATED ACTRESSES: MSN movies has a list full of back-handed compliments.

JESSICA ALBA was shocked -- shocked when she saw pictures of herself at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards and realized that parts of her dress were translucent in sunlight. "When the wind blew part of the top up, the underneath was completely see-through. It was so embarrassing. And then of course it ended up o­n the internet."

ESPIONAGE IN THE WHITE HOUSE: Leandro Aragoncillo, a U.S. Marine assigned to the staff of Vice Presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney, is accused of passing classified material, including damaging dossiers o­n the president of the Philippines, to opposition politicians planning a coup in the Pacific nation.

IRAQ: Bill Roggio updates o­n day two of Operation River Gate (including the importance of destroying bridges along the Euphrates to limit insurgent escape routes) as well as cordon and search ops in Baghdad. The Iraqi Army Sixth Division (based in or near Baghdad, I think) assumed authority over two of its subordinate brigades. Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who spent the past year overseeing the training of Iraqi forces, noted that in addition to the single Iraqi battalion that is capable of operating fully independent of U.S. troops, there are more than 36 army and special police combat battalions that are o­nly slightly less capable. Petraeus said it was not necessary for Iraqi units to reach the highest level of readiness before U.S. troops can begin to leave Iraq. The Iraqi Parliament reversed its prior changes to rules for the Oct. 15th constitutional referendum, leading Sunni leaders to drop a threatened a boycott of the vote. Reuters reports that recent polling shows widespread support for the draft Iraqi constitution, even in Sunni strongholds.

DIVIDED JIHADIS: From Baghdad to Bali, suicide attacks o­n civilians are dividing ideologues of global jihad, some of whom worry that the carnage is alienating even Muslims o­nce sympathetic to the militant cause.

HURRICANE KATRINA might have downgraded to a strong Category 1 system with 95-mph winds when it punched water through New Orleans' levees, which may raise further questions about the design and construction of the levees. Some local, state and federal officials have come to believe that exaggerations of mayhem by officials and rumors repeated uncritically in the news media helped slow the response to the disaster and tarnish the image of many of its victims. Regular readers here should already have suspected this.

OKLAHOMA SUICIDE BOMBER: Was Joel Henry Hinrichs III, who blew himself up near Oklahoma Memorial Stadium -- where 84,000 people were watching the Oklahoma Sooners play Kansas State last Saturday -- merely a depressed college kid, or did he have ties to Islamic extremists? To date, the FBI has found no such link. However, the info rounded up at Zombie Time, along with the fact that Hinrichs used an uncommon component also used by shoe-bomber Richard Reid, suggests further investigation may be warranted.

IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, rising in Europe. Larger than the 1,032 pounder in Streator, IL, the1,080 pounder in Fairfield, CT, and even the 1,200 pounder in Anamosa, IA, is the 1,233 pounder grouwn by German student Martin Reiss.

DeLAY UPDATE: Indicted House Majority Whip Tom "The Hammer" DeLay is compared and contrasted with MC Hammer. The Austin American-Statesman, which is, afaik, not a member of the VRWC, is critical of prosecutor Ronnie Earle and "the already circus-like investigation of alleged Republican campaign funding illegalities."

TOGOLESE GIRLS forced to shave their heads.

MAURITANIAN GIRLS forced to drink camel's milk.

GATOR vs. SNAKE: An epic Everglades battle between a Burmese python and an American alligator ends with "both dead, locked so gruesomely it is hard to make heads, tails or any other body part of either creature." The AP also has the story. But you can get the big picture from humorist Dave Barry. No, really.

CROCODILE spotted in a pond in Cornwall. The RSPCA thinks the beast actually may be a Cayman ó a relative of the crocodile.

NEW DINOSAURS: Paleontologists have uncovered the remains of two new flying reptile species that shared the skies with early birds 120 million years ago in what is now China.

SPIDER BLOOD: A 20-million-year-old spider and some of its blood has been discovered preserved in amber, a la Jurassic Park. But listen, bud: is it radioactive?

CHIMPS know when to be quiet, placing them o­ne rung o­n the evolutionary ladder above people in movie theaters.

DOGS are the target demographic for a new car designed by Honda.

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