HITS Daily Double
In a nutshell:
"I done got me a feelin’ somethin’ of Biblical proportions is goin’ down…as the fragile line between being alive and being dead…will be mostly DJ/electronica-oriented…with
what should’ve been quirky characterizations…and a possible homoerotic interest in his host…a
Marilyn Monroe impersonator…with beautifully detailed graphics…and plenty of fluids (other than beer)."


Not Really...But One Of Our Grade-School Dropouts Actually Managed To Read A Book

If you live with a sports fan, be patient. By the end of the weekend, some of the 16 teams engaged in the (best of five) first round of the NBA Playoffs will have been eliminated. In your best-case scenario, five of the eight series will be decided. But before the weeknight TNT double-headers give way once again to reruns of "ER," you’ll have to endure seven games—six of them on NBC—Saturday and Sunday. You’re not out of the woods Saturday night, either. If your Sig. Other suggests that the two of you curl up on the couch and catch the original movie "*61" on HBO, be forewarned: It’s about baseball. As a last resort, perhaps you should catch up on your reading…or spend Sunday in picturesque Fontana, the jewel of the Inland Empire…

HE WILL RISE! Good Gawd, I done got me a feelin’ somethin’ of Biblical proportions is goin’ down this here weekend in danged ol’ Fontana. The Intimidator woulda been 50 years old this Sunday, and I’m a-bettin’ the dang #3 car is gonna pull out and win the Cali 500. Now, just in case I’m wrong about this, you gotta bet the farm that at the very least, Jr. is gonna win the race. I’d like to go on, but I’m a-tearin’ up. See ya at the race. God bless Dale. —Guy W.T. Goggles

Jim Crace, "Being Dead" (Picador USA):
This National Book Critics Award winner for Best Fiction resembles the movie "Memento" in that it starts at the end, with the brutal bludgeoning murder of husband-and-wife zoologists who have returned to the beach where they first met and had sex 30 years earlier. What's fascinating about this British author's meditation on the biological and emotional journey from life to death is its David Lynchian description of the ravages of nature on the pair's bodies, which go undiscovered for almost a week before their ne'er-do-well daughter reluctantly turns up to identify them. Crace describes the way gulls, crabs, maggots, flies and beetles ransack the corpses, forming their own life-sustaining environment, which gradually turns the pair into part of the physical landscape. As Dylan once said, "He who isn't busy being born is busy dying." At once about the scientific continuum between animals, plants and minerals, the long-term evolution of passion into routine, indifference and renewal, as well as the fragile line between being alive and being dead, this remarkable novel touches an impressive number of philosophical and emotional bases in its 196 relentless, airtight pages. Check http://my.linkbaton.com/bibliography/crace/jim/ for more info on Crace. —Roy Trakin

Coachella—Not Just About Grapefruit:
In October 1999, Goldenvoice put together the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, a two-day extravaganza at the Indio/Palm Springs Polo Grounds. It was hot—literally—as temperatures hit triple-digits. For the second Coachella, it should be cooler (see below for weather details), and it’s only a one-day affair. With two outdoor stages and three tents, it promises to be a full day of eclectic sounds and arts and crafts, or some such junk. But who cares, the lineup is pretty amazing. A reunited Jane’s Addiction is headlining the main stage, with DJ Paul Oakenfold, Weezer and the Roots preceding them. The other outdoor theater shows the well-rounded bill of neo-funk soulstress Nikka Costa (don’t sleep on her Virgin album, coming 5/22), indie rockers Blonde Redhead and Pedro The Lion, jazzy hip-hoppers Gangstarr, Latin funksters Ozomatli and super groove-meisters St. Germain. The three tents will be mostly DJ/electronica-oriented with Squarepusher, Fatboy Slim, the Orb, Jason Bentley, Andrea Parker, and Photek all doing sets but one of the most-hyped underground bands, Iceland’s Sigur Ros, is performing as well. The group’s late-night set of dreamy, ethereal guitars and Icelandic/nonsense lyrics makes it a perfect companion to the spooky trip-hop sounds of Hollywood’s Tricky, who follows them. With 60 acts playing between noon and midnight, there’s no way to see them all, or a need to, but that’s kind of the point—present too much music and let people choose from the smorgasbord. For those of you going, drink plenty of water and don’t forget the sunscreen. And if I see anybody in one of those "Cat In The Hat" raver things, I’m punching him.
—David Simutis

"When angry, count four; when very angry, swear."
—Mark Twain

Nearly a decade ago, Cincinnati expatriate Sharkey Laguana founded Creeper Lagoon in San Francisco, with Ohio singer/guitarist Ian Sefchick and a frequently changing rhythm section. The group released an EP and did a record for Nicklebag, the Dust Brothers’ label. With Brother John King behind the boards, the band (which now includes bassist Dan Carr and drummer David Kostiner) crafted "I Become Small And Go," a record that upon its release in 1998 garnered stupendous raves from slack-jawed reviewers. Its DreamWorks debut, "Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday," removes the samples and puts more crunch in the guitars. With the album’s first single, "Wrecking Ball," knocking down spins, Laguana talked to fellow ex-Cincinnatian, HITS’ small fish in a small pond, David Simutis "Kit A Tasket" about the finer points of pretending you never lived in Ohio. Here’s a little sample of what you’ll get if you click here:
"Nothing in the band has ever been really super-linear so it didn’t seem right to just keep on making the same record over and over again. We knew we were going to be making a different kind of record. Any time you make that kind of decision, it’s more, kind of, artistically overwhelming. And a lot of times you don’t even realize what it is that you’ve laid out for yourself. Sometimes you take on a bigger job than you thought and that’s what happened to us. We got there and it was pretty crazy."

"With A Friend Like Harry…": This French production, a second feature from director Dominik Moll, comes with critical praise comparing it to Hitchcock identity-switch classics like "Strangers On A Train" and "Shadow Of A Doubt." A thirtysomething family man named Michel, on the way to his country home outside Paris with his wife and three infant daughters, runs into a mysterious guy named Harry (played by international star Sergi Lopez) at a rest stop. The stranger claims to have known Michel since high school, going so far as to recite a poem and excerpts from a surreal novel he wrote back then. Harry and his sexy girlfriend Plum attach themselves to the family and insist on accompanying them to the house. A foreboding psychological thriller ensues, as Harry reveals a hidden temper and a possible homoerotic interest in his host. A Miramax art-house entry that could well turn into one of the Weinsteins' patented sleepers. Check www.miramax.com for more.

"Driven": I wonder why auto-racing movies haven’t been more successful. "Days Of Thunder," even with Tom Cruise, didn’t exactly set the box office on fire, and perhaps the last successful ones were John Frankenheimer’s 1966 all-star epic "Grand Prix" and the 1971 Steve McQueen pseudo-documentary "Le Mans." Sly Stallone passes the torch in this one, playing the savvy, one-time wild man turned grizzled old-timer who mentors young rookie hotshot Jimmy Bly (Kip Pardue of "Remember The Titans"). The newcomer has his sights set on beating icy veteran Beau Brandenburg (German actor Til Schweiger), who responds to the pressure by dumping his dishy fiance (visual knockout supermodel Estella Warren). Of course, that’s where Stallone’s screenplay loses me, as it should anyone who’s seen his ’87 Menahem Golan-produced tribute to arm-wrestling, "Over The Top." There’s also Burt Reynolds, playing a wheelchair-bound car owner who brings in Stallone to guide his young client, Robert Sean Leonard as Bly’s brother, an overly ambitious racing promoter trying to exploit his sibling’s talent and Gina Gershon as Stallone’s bitter, acerbic ex-wife. Is there any other kind? Hey, just kidding. Directed by Renny Harlin ("Die Hard 2," "Deep Blue Sea," "Cliffhanger"), whose chief accomplishment at this point has to be considered getting out of his marriage with Geena Davis alive. See http://www.what-drives-you.com for more.

"Town & Country": Three years in the making, Warren Beatty’s "Ishagtar" comes with the requisite tale of the budget ballooning past $100 million and a trailer that’s painful to watch. Beatty and the gruesomely aging Larry Shandling play past-their-prime Lotharios with lotsa disposable income, married to Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn, respectively. Beatty goes through mid-life crises and guilt-ridden affairs with the likes of a female cellist (Nastassja Kinski), a wacky heiress (Andie MacDowell), a Marilyn Monroe impersonator/outdoor enthusiast (Jenna Elfman) and supposed best friend Shandling’s wife, while Gary steps out with a cross-dresser. Supposedly modeled after the screwball comedies of the ‘30s crossed with "Shampoo"-style sophisticated repartee, the requisite quirky, light touch was apparently not provided by director Peter Chelsom (who did the light, quirky "Hear My Song" and "Funny Bones"). Musta been too busy making sure the film’s real auteur’s on-screen appearances were thoroughly airbrushed, as everyone in the cast seems to be. Charlton Heston takes his lumps in the Charlie Ruggles role as a wacky tycoon who can't satisfy his sexually frustrated wife (Marian Seldes). The screenplay is by legendary "Graduate" author Buck Henry, and I’m betting right now, sight unseen, there’s at least one Viagra joke. These people are too damned old to act this cutesy and get away with it, and it shows in the purely terrified looks on the faces of Beatty and Shandling. Go to http://www.townandcountrymovie.com for reasons why men cheat. As if you didn’t know.

"The Golden Bowl": With director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala adapting a novel of manners by Henry James (which they’ve previously done for "The Bostonians" and "The Europeans"), you know what you’re getting—and don’t tell me it’ll be as interesting as watching paint dry. The always-meticulous and period-correct filmmaking team takes us to England and Italy at the turn of the 20th Century for a tale of love and desire thwarted by social class and convention. A wealthy American widower/tycoon art collector (Nick Nolte) and his sheltered daughter (Kate Beckinsale, about to star in the big budget "Pearl Harbor") both marry, only to discover that their respective mates, a beautiful American expatriate and an impoverished Italian aristocrat (Uma Thurman and Jeremy Northam), are entangled with one another in a web of seduction and deceit. James Fox is an easygoing, aristocratic British colonel, and Anjelica Huston is his robust wife, who sets the wheels in motion by trying to match up Northam’s financially challenged Rudolf Valentino-esque Italian prince with Bekinsdale’s shy, retiring daughter. A series of meditations on human nature’s ability to surprise with its compassion and strength of character ensues, with what are reportedly superb, Oscar-worthy costumes, sumptuous production design and a stirring score, equal parts majestic and melodramatic, with a soundtrack on Milan. Surf http://www.thegoldenbowl.com for more.

"One Night At McCool’s": Liv Tyler is a femme fatale named Jewel who runs a grift to lure guys in and then rob them with her beefy leather stud puppet Utah (Andrew Silverstein) before he gets shot to death under mysterious circumstances. In this trying to be tongue-in-cheek black comedy from first-time Dutch director Harald Zwart, Jewel then ends up in the bed of laid-back bartender Matt Dillon, who works in the titular ’50s retro saloon McCool’s. It might be even more fun to guess how this film managed to attract such talent as John Goodman, who plays a detective investigating the murder, and Paul Reiser as Dillon’s obnoxious lawyer cousin. There’s also a cameo by Michael Douglas, in an over-the-top rug, as a bingo player listening patiently to Matt pour out his heart. The comedy and dramatic elements apparently never quite mesh, though, with what should’ve been quirky characterizations reportedly turning into annoyingly hammy overkill. The Universal Records soundtrack, features Joan Osbourne, the Village People, Ween, Johnny Cash, Bottlefly, Marc Shaiman, Caleb, Thomas Rusiak, Jungle Brothers, Morcheeba, Touch and Go and a-ha, seems to be as all over the board as the movie. Maybe there’s a key to unlock the mystery of how this movie got made at http://www.onenightatmccools.com.

"The Forsaken": Sorta the WB's version of "Dracula" and touted as the sexiest vampire movie since "The Lost Boys," this teen horror flick boasts a cast of young, good-looking, but experienced TV vets, including Kerr Smith ("Dawson’s Creek"), Brendan Fehr ("Roswell"), Izabella Miko ("Coyote Ugly"), Phina Oruche ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and Simon Rex (MTV VJ, "Felicity"). The only familiar name is Carrie Snodgrass, and hopefully, she gets knocked off early. Early reviews have been inconclusive, mainly because the studio hasn’t screened the film for anybody. This is writer/director J.S. (Joe) Cardone’s eighth film. I haven’t heard of any of the others, which include "Black Day, Blue Night," "Shadowhunter" and "A Climate For Killing." The movie’s marketing line is, "The night… has an appetite." I feel my stomach growling already. Check http://www.Sony.com/theforsaken for all the grisly details.
—Roy Trakin

Various Artists, "Wild Pitch Classics" (JCOR): Hip-hop has scored such a decisive cultural victory—not only overcoming the mainstream’s years-long attempt to ignore it, but arguably remaking the mainstream in its own image—that it’s not easy, in retrospect, to understand how tracks like these triumphant jams from 1988-94 could ever have been denied. In any case, JCOR has done the world a service by packaging this essential batch of cuts from the hugely influential Wild Pitch label. Founded by Stu Fine in 1985, the same year JCOR head Jay Faires launched his Mammoth imprint, WP rapidly established itself as a cutting-edge source of beats and rhymes. With old-school style still such a dynamic presence across the entire entertainment spectrum, "Classics" selections like Gang Starr’s "Words I Manifest," Main Source’s "Looking At The Front Door," "Funky Technician" from Lord Finesse & D.J. Mike Smooth and "Raise It Up" from Ultramagnetic MCs can still kick any party up a notch. Don’t let this "Pitch" go by.
—Simon Glickman

ATV Offroad Fury:
Omigod! Get the BBQ sauce out, and grab your cowboy boots & straw hat. I wanna dedicate this week’s game review to all my redneck/hillbilly playa partnas in tha PS2 world sending mad luvvv to Todd & Murphy on tha Redneck Deck. This week we go off road. Careen off tha dirt path and take on rocky hillsides, sandy deserts or deeply forested mountain trails in your dash to tha finish line. ATV Offroad Fury delivers tha thrill and excitement of ATV racing with more than 20 tracks, huge free-roaming game environments, six unique event types and enough realism to make it feel as if you're hurtling down tha side of a rocky canyon wall. With beautifully detailed graphics, 11 ATV models from top manufacturers, realistic crashes and challenging gameplay, ATV Offroad Fury immerses players in tha action-packed world of intense ATV competition, stunts and racing excitement. Yee-haw! —Latin Prince

If you ever saw the movie "The Game" and were fascinated by the concept of your life being fucked with, keep on reading. Electronic Arts will soon to release the most interactive video game imaginable, Majestic. You supply them with lines of contact, such as AOL Instant Messenger, e-mail, telephone and fax numbers, where you will receive clues to the ongoing mystery suspense thriller. On any day, at any time, fictional characters will contact you through these devices and provide clues for the ongoing mystery in real time, just as a real person would do. This concept has never before been attempted in this magnitude, and it will tailor itself to your life, anticipate your needs and become very personal. Find out more at www.majestic.ea.com. Better yet, try it out on someone who needs a little spice in their life.
—Paul Karlsen

Chester A. Arthur, our 21st president, was born October 5, 1830, in Fairfield, VT. "Elegant Arthur," as he was sometimes known, succeeded to the presidency when President James Garfield succumbed to the gunshot wound administered by anarchist Charles Guiteau. While not very popular at the beginning of his administration, Arthur earned the nation’s respect during his tenure. Arthur was not renominated for the presidency but had secretly been suffering from Bright’s disease—a kidney ailment—during the tail end of his administration. He died less than 18 months after leaving office. Upon his death, publisher Alexander K. McClure recalled, "No man ever entered the presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted, and no one ever retired ... more generally respected." Best Anagram Of His Name: Rear thrust ache.

Upcoming Birthdays
April 27-May 3

27—Walter Lantz (would have been 101) & Pete Ham (would have been 54)
28—Jay Leno (51)
29—Duke Ellington (would have been 102) & Jerry Seinfeld (46)
30—Willie Nelson (68)
May 1—Joseph Heller (would have been 78)
2—Bing Crosby (would have been 98)
3—James Brown (68)

Special Events
27—Arbor Day
May 1—International Worker’s Day
3—Kite Battles of Hamamatsu (Japan)

Free Of Any Adult-Rated Content
New York City, where the Knicks, er, play, looks like it’ll be lovely this weekend. Tonight will be the low 50s. Saturday should be sunny, hitting 60, with an overnight low approaching 40. Sunday will be partly cloudy, reaching the mid-60s, with lows in the upper 40s. The early part of next week looks even better, with temps hitting the mid-70s. On the West Coast, the forecast looks pretty good, especially for sleeping, with overnight lows in the upper 50s. There should be a mix of clouds and sun during the daytime, with temps in the upper 60s to low 70s. If you’re one of the 40-some-thousand people making the trek to Palm Springs for the Coachella Fest, you’ll be sweating. Tomorrow’s high will be in the upper 90s. The low will be in the low 60s. Let me break it down for you: The hottest time of the day will be between noon and 4 p.m. The wind will kick up to about 15-20 miles an hour around 4, and things will really cool down when the sun sets at 7:27. Humidity will be in the 30% range during the day, meaning it won’t feel much warmer than it is—you will need to drink plenty of fluids (other than beer), and you shouldn’t spend too much time dancing—you’ll just look stupid doing it. Meet me near the Shrimp On A Stick booth, I’ll be the guy with the glowstick.
—David Simutis, apprentice meteorologist.

Tootie's father, an intellectual snob, thinks Mrs. Garrett is a bad influence on his daughter and threatens to take her out of Eastland.