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!